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Pyre Zombies

Discussion in 'Fall Further' started by Evalis, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. WarKirby

    WarKirby Arty person

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    Guess who's not capable of intelligent decisions?

    The AI.

    using pyre zombies against the AI is like giving yourself divine essence with the world builder. It's practically cheating, and they have no idea how to counteract it.

    Aside from that, although it may force intelligent decisions on the part of someone playing against sheiam, it discourages intelligent decisions for the sheiam player. Because nothing is as effective as pyre zombie spam. You don't need any other tactics.

    And if controlled by a human, the PZs are not so easy to outsmart. I always give mobility to mine, for a start. And I avoid tiles with roads, pilaging them where I find them.


    Pyre zombies are extremely powerful because
    1. The AI does not know how to exploit their weakness
    2. A human player controlling them, can use them in a manner that negates their weakness, by giving them speed and avoiding roaded terrain.

    One unit should have a simple rock/paper/scissors counter, because it's a simple tactic. Complex counter tactics should come when facing a complex mixed army. Pyre zombies force a disproportionate amount of effort and micromanagement on the part of their opponent, while almost negating the need for tactical thought by their user.
     
  2. Vehem

    Vehem Modmod Monkey

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    The concern isn't that countering them takes thought, it's that using them doesn't.

    Sheaim get plenty of toys in various areas of the tech tree, but Pyre Zombies potentially beat all of them in terms of damage that can be caused. In all honesty, once you've researched Pyre Zombies, you could actually just stop researching as with every city you capture using them, you can produce more in shorter time. There isn't a point where they become too weak to defeat the higher tech units - as they die, they'll cheerfully take the enemy with them.
     
  3. xienwolf

    xienwolf Deity

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    Always hitting the strongest 3 units might work, but since part of the reason behind the move would be simple/quick python, just hit the first 3 units in the stack.

    The real question would be: Is the limit 3 units PER TILE, or 3 units total? If the latter, then which tile to target is the important question. Hence it would be best to make it 3 units per tile, using the first 3 units to be popped out by running a standard loop over all units on a tile. Then the Sheaim still run the risk of harming themselves if they don't stack their units appropriately.
     
  4. WarKirby

    WarKirby Arty person

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    Per tile, or total. is an interesting question.

    Is there a solution we can think of, that doesn't favor stacking?
    If it's 3 per tile, then the logical tactic to counter them would be to pack your troops into one tiny space to limit the amount of tiles hit, which doesn't make sense, I think.

    Is there a way to do it that encourages spreading out?

    Oh, I've just remembered an idea I had a while ago. one solution I thought of to the PZ problem,, is to remove their explosive radius, and instead detonate "where" they die.

    When on the attack, they would harm units in the tile they're attacking
    when defending, they would explode on the one attacker, and other units of their own in the same tile.

    Personally, I don't think it makes sense that you can be hit by friendly fire from your own PZs if they're one tile over, but NOT if they're in the same tile (which is closer, in almost any interpretation you can think of)

    This solution would solve the question neatly, by simply removing it. they would only explode in one tile. it would also make PZ's dangerous to use on the defensive, providing a weakness to be exploited, and also requiring more tactical thought on the part of the sheiam player, to put them to use.
     
  5. Vehem

    Vehem Modmod Monkey

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    I was actually thinking "no python" for the collateral part. The current python means that winning a battle does less damage than losing one. Switching it out for literally collateral damage (as with catapults/cannons) removes the python hog and solves the issue of which units to hit.

    From there, we can simply have the postCombatExplode inflict damage on the single enemy unit involved in the combat if the zombie is defeated, which means you still need to select the unit to attack with carefully (as if the combat is close, you'll likely die afterwards in the explosion), but there's no need to artificially separate your stacks and attack one at a time from 2 squares away.

    ======

    Lorewise;

    The burning dead shambled through the Bannor camp, trailing chaos in their wake as tents, supplies and warriors alike burst into unholy flame. Despite there only being relatively few of them, they inflicted a heavy toll before the Bannor could drive them back.
    [Sheaim attack, collateral damage to several units]

    "They cannot be allowed that close again - dispatch swordsmen to slay their hellion sorcerors and end this". Two regiments arrived at the Sheaim temple within the day, to be met by more Pyre Zombies. Even as they hacked down the undead, the fires burst and leapt, clinging to their armour and skin like a living thing. For every Pyre Zombie that was torn down, two Bannor warriors fell back aflame. These creatures truly were abominations...
    [Bannor counter attack, units taking damage when defeating the zombies]

    ======

    Mechanic Breakdown

    Offense: Standard attack, with Collateral damage affecting 3 units to 100 limit 6 units to 50 limit (as catapults).
    Defense: Standard defense.
    Defeated in either case:Inflicts 2-20 damage on the unit that defeated it, with no limit (same damage as caused already, but to single unit).

    Benefits to the Sheaim (over a standard axeman)
    • Cheapest collateral unit in the game (catapults cost 50% more than Pyre Zombies)
    • Collateral unit available at an early (and generally needed anyway) tech
    • Bonus damage inflicted even when the unit loses.
    • Increased collateral damage with further metals (personally I'd trade for the techs)

    ====

    In addition to that, I'd be tempted to grant them a +1 Fire Damage promotion that is AutoAcquired when the player gains Strength of Will (or maybe Arcane Lore) and possibly a +1 Death Damage at Malevolent Designs or Fanatacism. In that way, they do get better as you research lines that are more appropriate to the Sheaim.

    ====
    EDIT:

    Effectiveness

    Having just tested 20 Modified Pyre Zombies against 100 Champions (both in single stacks) with the Zombies attacking, we had 13 kills and only a single champion "undamaged" (was actually displaying 6.0, so it had taken *some damage*, just not enough to reduce the strength by 0.1). Most survivors were around the strength 3.5 to 4.0 mark, which is fair game to any further Pyre zombies that you may have.

    It also took less than 2 seconds to perform using stack attack - the old method was around 10 seconds and would have practically wiped out all of the Champions.

    Comparative costs of the 2 stacks
    Sheaim: 1200:hammers: (60 x 20)
    Enemy: 12000:hammers: (120 x 100)

    Permanent Losses
    Sheaim: 17 zombies (1080:hammers: lost)
    Enemy: 13 champions (1560:hammers: lost)

    Given how badly the Sheaim army is outclassed there (10 to 1 in terms of cost, ignoring tech cost) - it did very well in terms of damage inflicted. In fairer fights, the battles will tend to favour the Sheaim even more if they are attacking against a single large stack.

    Under the old system, even against those odds, the Pyre Zombies would have practically wiped out the enemy (the only thing stopping them from doing so is that they reach a point where the enemy units are so weak that the zombies start *winning* the combats, which significantly slows down the slaughter.)


    The original testing here was flawed - I've redone some and retweaked them - the Pyre Zombies will return similar odds to this in a straight fight (equal numbers of Pyre Zombies and Champions), but not in a 10-to-1 outclassed fight as suggested above. They do however become noticeably more dangerous if they have the Sheut Stone promotion.
     
  6. [to_xp]Gekko

    [to_xp]Gekko QCT junkie

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    this new system sounds perfect actually. nice thinking :goodjob:
     
  7. Iceciro

    Iceciro Special Ability: Decimate

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    I support this! Well done, sir.
     
  8. odalrick

    odalrick Emperor

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    Overall it seems like a good idea, but...

    Wouldn't this pretty much remove the weakness Shearim supposedly have in not having a metal line?
     
  9. Vehem

    Vehem Modmod Monkey

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    That one's not in yet - but is an idea for later if they do need anything else.
     
  10. WarKirby

    WarKirby Arty person

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    I like the idea of the bonus fire strength in the arcane line. Although I have the feeling that Arcane lore is a bit late.

    How about, +1 fire strength when they get both Elementalism AND Necromancy. Ie, both are required to get the bonus, not a +1 from each.

    or would that be too early?
     
  11. Vehem

    Vehem Modmod Monkey

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    I had originally thought Sorcery may be a little too early (especially given the double benefit it would provide with stronger melee and stronger adepts). Eitherway - that one isn't going into the first version - it's a reserve idea if they suddenly turn out to be ridiculously weak (which they don't seem to be).
     
  12. zup

    zup Emperor

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    Cool, now I will not miss out too much damage because I want my pyre zombies to survive and get promoted. Granted, they cannot match an equally promoted champion in melee, but cannibalize makes them great for owning cannon fodder. Gate creatures and summons can deal with the tough nuts.
     
  13. cIV_khanh93

    cIV_khanh93 Prince

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    Glad to see these balance issues getting worked out. Now if FF was only stable... or is it yet? been a while since I checked.
     
  14. xienwolf

    xienwolf Deity

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  15. Iceciro

    Iceciro Special Ability: Decimate

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    I have to say, Xien. While that would be a shame, FF is so unstable it's really eating into my playtime with it. I may have an even more vested interest since Fall Flat is still built off Fall Further.

    (I can't make the DLL compile once I add Fall Further's code so I can't just pull them myself! And I'd really rather not, if they can be made to work. But if the options are "bonus barbs, but unstable" or "fall from heaven core's barbs with the same level of stability" the awnsers are pretty clear to me. :( )
     
  16. WarKirby

    WarKirby Arty person

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    But seriously, this is one of my favourite FF features. I'd be glad to accept any hacky or dirty workarounds, like having a barbarian capital on the map, and treating them as normal civs, rather than removing this feature completely.
     
  17. Vehem

    Vehem Modmod Monkey

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    I know the feeling - but the current version was a "hackjob" to get things working as far as they do. A lot of the game initialization and uninitialization is done as a result of calls from the executable and barbarians are treated as a separate, special case of "player". The first version tried to expand upon that and treat the new civs in the same way. I believe what Xienwolf is working on now is largely what you suggest - though there's no need to have the capital on the map so far as I'm aware (the game explicitly has to remove you if you don't have a capital after 10 turns, so by excepting some civs from that restriction, it's possible to have no cities for the duration of the game - or such is the theory).

    ====

    Even if it is removed to restore stability - you can be fairly sure we'll be throwing theories around about other ways to achieve the same goal. We like it as much as you do...


    ====

    Other news - I was playing with the Pyre Zombies again and realized the initial testing was flawed (not sure how, but the subsequent tests weren't showing the same results - possibly just a freakishly luck first set). I've tweaked them some more to compensate, as well as offer an early game counter to Pyre Zombie rushes (which were turning out to be very potent indeed)...

    • 20% bonus vs Melee (fighting them at close range is bad)
    • 40% penalty vs Archery (fighting them from a distance is good)
    • Increased the retaliatory damage amount (20% average to a single unit when killed)
    • Added a bonus amount of retaliatory damage if the unit has the "Sheut Stone" promotion (this damage is Death damage rather than fire)
     
  18. Thunder_Gr

    Thunder_Gr Emperor

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    I also agree with WarKirby. Even if you just add them as 2 non-selectable civs, keeping the separate barbarian factions is a great feature. With capitals or without.
     
  19. Vehem

    Vehem Modmod Monkey

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    It's definitely not being argued either...
     
  20. Iceciro

    Iceciro Special Ability: Decimate

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    I admit, in many ways I've grown fond of them myself. I don't think anyone here is against that feature, like Vehem said. We're just not fond of the exploding!
     

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