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PIkeman and Spearman are too week vs Knights or Horseman

Discussion in 'General Balance' started by Boombar, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. Boombar

    Boombar Chieftain

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    A well know fact is that group of mounted knights would never dare to charge into a well defended wall of pikes or a group of spearman on a high ground.
    In Civ, Knights will always win vs PIkeman, horseman will always win vs spearman and that doesn't make any sense. It doesn't matter if pikeman is fortified on a hill, knight will eventually win.
    My suggestion is to give all melee mounted units a promotion that makes them extremely vulnerable when attacking anti mounted.
    Knights should still be able to defend against pikeman but attacking them should always be a suicide.
     
  2. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    Spearman I think are in a good place right now for a few reasons.

    1) Horses are better, but not amazingly so. Yes a horse beats a spearman eventually, but horses are a lot rarer than the later horse units at this point in the game.
    2) Spearman are a mainstay front line unit in the early game for civs that don't have access to iron. They also can deal with archers decently well.
    3) They generally see a decent amount of use.
    4) Civs at this point are still building up their strategic resources, so spearmen are a good default.

    But I think your right about pikeman. I never build them, mainly because I always have enough strategic resources by that point to build a large group of knights/heavy skirmishers and/or longswords and/or crossbows. I just don't need to build pikes, everything else just does it better.
     
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  3. CrazyG

    CrazyG Warlord

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    Spearmen are fine, pikemen are useless. If I have to build a unit with no strategic resource, I'll just get a composite bowmen or crossbow instead
     
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  4. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    This said, before we go on a "buff the pikeman!" crusade, the pikeman's strength is not why its not built. Its because its niche is not needed in the current game dynamic.

    The best say to counter knights...is with knights. That was true in real life as well, a kingdom always wanted to have more knights.

    If you don't have knights, longswords do the anti-knight job decently well. They are strong on defense, and can tank city and ranged attacks. And at this point in the game, I usually have both horses and iron. Or I have a lot of one of them. If I have neither of them by that point in the game....well I deserve to die:)

    Rounding this out is the crossbow. Its a great ranged unit, weak enough it needs protection, but with protection is very good at damaging longswords and knights.

    Its a great dynamic right now, medieval warfare is a lot of fun. But that doesn't leave much for the pikeman to do. Even if you buff it, now all you do is make the longsword look weak....or the longsword will still be the unit I build and I ignore the pikeman.

    I honestly don't think there is a good change here to fix this; I also don't know if you should. Otherwise you mess with a war dynamic that is very solid right now and doesn't need to be changed.
     
  5. Han_YOLO

    Han_YOLO Chieftain

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    I think spears are in a good place, but agree pikes could use a boost. I can't recall what % bonus spears get against horses, so let's say hypothetically they get a boost of 25%.

    Spearman: 10 CS + 25% = 12.5 CS
    Horseman: 15 CS

    Pikeman: 15 CS + 25% = 18.75 CS
    Knight: 25 CS

    With my hypothetical 25% bonus, Spearmen have 83% of the CS of Horsemen while Pikemen have only 75% of the CS of Knights. I think it makes sense to keep the ratio even at the very least. How do you all think Pikemen perform vs. other units of the era? A concern with raising their CS is it makes Longswords less useful. Increasing their % bonus vs. horses could work, but I think it is only necessary for Pikemen. Tercios seem to perform fine against horses.
     
  6. ElliotS

    ElliotS Warmonger

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    I don't think buffing pikes to 17 CS would change the war dynamic, aside from making smaller empires with no horses/iron stand a bit better chance.

    The boost is 50%. That means theoretically a spearman and horse will trade equally. Then they both get promotions and horses start to get slightly ahead, but not much. Spearmen are fine.

    Pikemen are naturally at a 2.5 CS disadvantage at level one that grows much larger with promotions. If Pikemen were buffed to 17 CS they would be about equal again.

    -----------------------------------------

    The thing this reminds me of is how bad the authority mercenaries are. (Well at least the pikemen version.)

    They're okay if you turn them into a Tercio UU, but for most civs they suck. It's sad that a finisher might as well not exist.

    If Pikemen are buffed moving the Mercenaries to either 19 or 20 CS would make sense and be the easy resolution.

    I would rather make them longswordsman replacements regardless so they're actually worthwhile, even if you're still going to favor knights. (Even at the base 20 CS and the ability to leech gold and move instantly makes them at least useful. Right now authority's finisher is a huge missed opportunity and less fun because of it.)
     
    Voker57 likes this.
  7. DarkZero

    DarkZero Chieftain

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    You know a mechanic is being used wen one of the most active players of this mod cant even remember the unit names and calls them "authority mercenaries" , LOL, agreed that in their current situation they might as well not exist.
     
  8. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch

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    Eh, I think you're too hard on the Landsknecht. It's two CS more than the pike (so at an advantage versus knights), cheaper to buy, gets full XP, and can move after purchase (so you can spam them).

    G
     
  9. ElliotS

    ElliotS Warmonger

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    I can promise you I'm not. I've tried hard to find a spot for them, but I only purchase them once or twice a game to provide Discipline happiness, ZoC on a barbarian/stray enemy troop or something else small.

    Medieval/Renaissance warfare is hugely strategically focused. Your force limit should be full of Catapults, a few Comp Bowmen and as many Knights and longswordsmen as possible. The force limit is low enough that unless you're truly starved for resources and sucked at war earlier there's typically no room for a unit that's outright worse than both main units.

    They lose to longswordsmen outright, having 3 less CS and no advantage.

    They lose to knights unless both are level 0, except they'll level up mid-fight and knight will gain superior strength.

    In a defensive position they can ward off knights decently well, but they're not intended for defense. Their promotion encourages offense, even hitting their cities.

    That's the next problem: For a unit with a promotion that benefits hitting cities, they sure are terrible at hitting cities!

    This isn't just theoretical, or just the math, (plenty of that done) but rather dozens of games of experience on recent patches.

    The fact is that I would rather take +1:c5gold: per city per turn than that part of the finisher. That's insanely low value. Hell I would consider taking Tradition opener of flat +2:c5food:/:c5culture: in capital over it.

    It's really sad, because it's close to being fun. The fact is just that a Pikeman UU is worthless if it can't fight longswordsman and knights evenly at least.

    I would like to see them get 19:c5strength:, and pikeman move to 17:c5strength:. In my professional guestimation it won't change much, but will be a positive anti-snowball change.

    This will keep pikemen about as effective as spearmen and make Landsknets have a slight advantage to knights and slight disadvantage to long-swords.

    As much as I wanted to suggest new ideas or promotions, I think this super simple tweak is the best solution.
     
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  10. CrazyG

    CrazyG Warlord

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    The absolute only situation I ever end up with a pikeman is if I had a spearmen (which is something I try to avoid doing anyways) and he manages to get a bunch of promotions, and I've upgraded every other unit.
    I could list all the reasons that my restaurant's steak tastes better than dog poop, but I think the fact that I compare it to dog poop shows how bad it is. Pikemen are really bad, a massive upgrade on a pikemen is still pretty bad.
     
  11. Infixo

    Infixo Warlord

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  12. tu_79

    tu_79 Warlord

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    The issue is trying to make spearsmen and pikemen a generic unit, when there are swordsmen and longswordsmen available. If you are a warmonger, even when not, you look for iron to get those elite units which you will fight with more often.

    Spearsmen are ok for a while, up until swordsmen make an appearance, then combat changes. If a pikeman is a poor man heavy swordsman, then pikemen are useless when iron is available.

    To make such units really uniques, they should be much better at what they are supposed to do best: fighting against mounted units. With a lower CS but a stronger bonus vs mounted we'll see this:
    + Cheap armies with archers and spearsmen, archers doing main damage, spearsmen protecting ranged units from mounted attacks, and killing mounted units when they can. Sieges made primarily with siege units, and one last hit of spearsmen to take the city. Spearsmen may survive while hitting city walls, but it should be tought to conquer a city only with this.
    + Expensive armies of horsemen, skirmishers and swordsmen. Horsemen kill everything in range but spearsmen. Skirmishers may do some safe damage against those spearsmen, but not that much against other ranged units. Swordsmen beat easily spearsmen, but they are slow and receive damage from ranged units. They can take cities on their own, maybe with some help from skirmishers. Best advantage in this case (since strategic resources are required) is mobility, mounted units moves faster already, and swordsmen move faster than catapults.
    + In medieval, keep more or less the same scheme, but with knights and crossbowmen being a bit stronger, relatively.
    + Actual army composition might be a mix of cheap and expensive units.

    Right now, spearsmen are on par with mounted units but weaker in every other aspect, except for the ability to use terrain for defense.

    What I think relative strengths should be:
    Melee in open terrain.
    Knights = Pikemen
    Knights > Swordsmen
    Knights >> Crossbowmen and Heavy Skirmishers
    Knights >>> Trebuchets (one shot kill)
    Swordsmen > Pikemen
    Swordsmen >> Crossbowmen and Heavy Skirmishers
    Swordsmen >>> Trebuchets
    Pikemen > Crossbowmen
    Pikemen >> Heavy Skirmisher and Trebuchets

    Ranged in open terrain.
    Crossbowmen < Trebuchets
    Crossbowmen = crossbowmen and heavy skirmishers
    Crossbowmen > Swordsmen and Knights
    Crossbowmen >> Pikemen
    Heavy Skirmishers < Trebuchets
    Heavy Skirmishers = Crossbowmen and pikemen
    Heavy Skirmishers > Swordsmen
    Trebuchet << land ranged
    Trebuchet = land melee
    Trebuchet > naval units
     
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  13. LukaSlovenia29

    LukaSlovenia29 Chieftain

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    I'm ok with the current situation. In my experience, with proper use of terrain and defensive positions, both spearmen and pikemen can hold their ground against horsemen/knights AND (long)swordsmen. In an offensive war (on open terrain), not so much, but that imo is kind of the point, and also very realistic. Spearmen and pikemen don't require any strategic resource, so it makes gameplay sense that you can't use them as a mainstay of your offensive force against a player who uses units with horse/iron requirements. The need to secure&use strategic resources in order to go on the offensive, with the ability to defend without having any strategic resources, seems a great balance solution that's currently in effect in VP.
     
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  14. halvorni

    halvorni Chieftain

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    Agree with tu_79 above, but what type of unit is 'Heavy Skirmisher'?
     
  15. tu_79

    tu_79 Warlord

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    It's the medieval version of a skirmisher, which is the classical version of the horse charriot. Fast movement, requires horses, ranged damage at range 1, may move after attack.
     
  16. Gothic_Empire

    Gothic_Empire AKA, Ramen Empire

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    I agree with this post, but want to add that Venice can make absolutely horrifying use of Landsknechts.

    Capture an enemy city, then buy an instant, active, ready-to-move army out of the puppet a few turns later.
     
  17. Gidoza

    Gidoza Chieftain

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    What if we had the Pikeman show up at Metal Casting instead of Steel? The earlier show would encourage building more - so even if it's not the ideal unit in Medieval, you'll simply have some already around by that point and thus will continue to use them. It also keeps the Spear/Swordsman dynamic by having these units show up at different progressive technologies; and the earlier use of Pikeman will "buff" them indirectly by giving them more experience by the time Knights show up, thus having them perform better against Knights.

    We could also just buff the bonus VS mounted even higher than the Spearmen would get, so the Pikeman is fairly average generally but insanely powerful against Knights in particular - but I think I like my first suggestion better.

    Lastly, in virtue of the fact that these units are so generic and the resource-units are so much better, maybe a wider price/production differential between the two could help: that is to say, the Pike is weaker than the Longswordsman, but if we drop the production cost of a Pikeman, then although 10 units of resource-power will defeat 10 units of pike-power, those Pikes will come sooner and are more easily replaceable, which is a kind of balance.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
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  18. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch

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    Lol. Had I only known one of my favorite customers felt so strongly about his/her steaks...

    G
     
  19. ElliotS

    ElliotS Warmonger

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    Anyone who says they like well is getting denounced, and well done is getting nuked. If your tastes are **** you're getting hit with rocket ships. :nuke::thumbsup:
     
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  20. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch

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    What about ketchup?

    In all seriousness a slight CS bump is reasonable for both units. I do wonder why you veterans waited so long to bring this abomination to me. :)

    G
     
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