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Ranged units in all regards too strong

Discussion in 'Community Patch Project' started by dailyminerals, Jan 18, 2020.

  1. dailyminerals

    dailyminerals Chieftain

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    I have a fundamental disagreement about how ground combat in general plays out. Every conflict is reduced to a small handful of melee units keeping ZoC for a vast array of ranged units that can obliterate anything with ease, reducing melee units to a glorified support role for the archer and skirmisher line. Shouldn't this be the exact opposite? Shouldn't archers be the support unit?

    There's always been something that feels off about combat, and I think it's the role reversal of what is supposed to be "front line" units massively under-performing in comparison to their ranged counterparts. When I assess whether or not to engage in a war with a rival civ, the question is never how many swordsmen, horsemen, or spearmen they have, it's ALWAYS how many ranged units they have - ie: can I even make it two tiles into their territory without being obliterated by ranged units.

    I really dislike this feel. War should be a brawl, a slugfest, not a lightning strike of ranged units that deletes an entire military in a two turns.

    As for solutions? Something like:
    • Nerf the damage of ranged units by half. Yes, half.
    • Or give an explicit cap to the amount of ranged units a civ can make. Two separate supply caps: One generalized for all units, and one specifically for ranged units that is substantially lower than the general cap. This makes ranged units important, but not the one-above-all dominant units on the battlefield they currently are.
    • Or give us REAL tools to deal with ranged units. Horsemen that ignore terrain cost or ZoC to actually allow REAL flanking maneuvers, melee attacks against ranged units that stun archers for a turn, reducing their damage, or movement speed by one, or disallow them to attack for one turn, etc.
    • Or maybe only allow ranged units to attack the second tile out, not the first, but give them all indirect fire as a base ability to compensate, which from a tactical perspective could be interesting, as it would give you an incentive to actually keep them at RANGE, like they are meant to. This would give the current meta of melee baby sitting real meaning, as having an enemy melee unit close in on a ranged unit always amount to a small tactical defeat, rather than just a modest inconvenience like it currently is.
    • Or fundamentally change what ranged units are. Substantially reduce their damage, maybe disallow them from even being able to finish off a unit, but give their attacks debuffs - reducing their target's movement down to one, or reducing their target's damage by half for one turn, or "open their defenses", making them take increased damage for the next turn, each capability decided by what promotions you give them. This would give ranged units a special role in war - debuffers. Weakening the enemy unit to allow a more effective follow-up from your melee units and introducing an entirely new dynamic to the frontlines that isn't oppressive or overpowered like current mass archer spam currently is.
    I don't know. I'm just brainstorming. Maybe it's just me, but I feel that something needs to be done to reduce to dominance of ranged units on the battlefield.

    And don't even get me started on the change to city attack damage - too high. Way. Too. High.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
    grmagne, Maxxim69, Yaviel and 6 others like this.
  2. Snipergw

    Snipergw Chieftain

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    It is true. Ever since the Civ5 change to 1UPT and ranged units having actual ranged attacks (instead of the pseudo-range in 4), they've been broken. Even if their damage is low, attacking without being hit back is such a big boon, and 2 range is incredible when so much of the map is rough terrain where they can't be struck back.

    IMO archers needs to be lowered to 1 range, all ranged units needs cs nerfs across the board (take about 10-25% damage of them, and make them significantly squishier. Would not be opposed to a -50% CS in Melee unique promotion for ranged units, that goes away at gatlings). Cavalry units could use a unique "+25% strength against ranged units, take 15% less ranged damage" or so promotion as well to really make them proper ranged slayers and make a frontline of infantry actually necessary.
     
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  3. BiteInTheMark

    BiteInTheMark Emperor

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    I agree with you, ranged units are the key to win the war in VP.
    But with ranged units only doing half the damage they are doing now, you couldnt make any real progress, or atleast extremly slow in comparison with now.
    The AI can produce more units than you in same time and can field more of them at the same time. I dont see a real chance to break the AI stream of units, if the majority of your units get harmed in the same way as your units do and then have to wait 5-8 turns till they are healed. In the meantime, the killed unit would be already replaced. Emperor is already sometime really tedious, what would happen in deity, if enemy can produce 3 units in the same time you can produce one?
     
  4. Snipergw

    Snipergw Chieftain

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    Then we can take it away. Part of why the AI needs to produce so many units is because the player can use ranged units so much better than they can and slaughter their units without repercussion.
     
  5. tothePAIN

    tothePAIN Warlord

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    If ranged units only had one range, what fun would I have as a warmonger? I would just be smashing melee units against each other. I wouldn't have anything to really solve. That wouldn't be very fun.
     
  6. Snipergw

    Snipergw Chieftain

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    If ranged units only had one range, siege units would still have two range. There would still be terrain bonuses and penalties. There would be fast moving ranged units, like chariots, there would be mounted troops for flanks or anti-ranged warfare with horsemen and knights, you might spec your trebuchets into anti-unit warfare. You would still have moving frontlines, chokepoints and strategic cities and tiles to take. Later in the game you would have naval landings of troops, shore bombardment with your ships, and even later missiles and planes, paratroopers and nuclear bombs.

    The game doesn't suddenly become chess if you take away the absurdly powerful cheesy range of the archer line.
     
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  7. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    What’s your basis for these statements? Did you watch 300 a few too many times?

    People have this notion that ranged units don’t win wars? Like the arc of historical conflict mainly consists of burly men forming shield walls and smashing into each other? You can dislike ranged combat, fine, but don’t justify your dislike by pretending that archers and crossbows and the like are ancillary to the “real” fighting. That’s just patently ahistorical.
     
  8. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    Regardless of history, I don't think ranged units should be so dominate for every era of combat in VP.

    Archers are being discussed but I don't think the relationship really changes later on. I do not get excited about swords, longswords, or tercio at all, for example. In my current game I'm repelling knights with comp bows.
     
  9. Snipergw

    Snipergw Chieftain

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    Ranged units were obviously historically important, but they were quite often ancillary. Obviously "history" is incredibly vast -- some places relied much more on them than others, and it also varied through time. But generally a smaller ranged force is reasonable, except for outliers. Levies and conscripts with spears and pikes is definitely overall more common than large forces of yeoman archers or such.

    Gameplay wise, they are definitely too prominent, and not just due to archer rushes. Cbows and Xbows are also too strong, as are musketmen -- but at that era it starts to feel better to have dominant ranged units. By gatlings it makes perfect sense that infantry gets torn to shred from across the no-man's-land. That only means it's time to replace the spearhead of your forces with armor that plow through the ranged units and allow your infantry to follow after.
     
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  10. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    While its possible it does require the right terrain and very precision movement. It also requires that the AI is not pushing knights too hard. If you get a strong push of knights your c bows will get slaughtered.


    I've brought this up before, and the solution was the change to the Fusilier+ line of melee units. Overall I have been pretty happy with those changes, I think they did a good job making those units competitive with their ranged counterparts. That said, if additional changes are made, honestly I think the easiest change is to look at promotions. Ranged promotions like accuracy mean I'm doing +20% RCS when it matters...that's an incredible boost. It takes a shock melee with 2 flanks to get the equivalent. Just weakening some of the core ranged promotions would probably give some good results without having to overhaul ranged units in general.
     
  11. ryanmusante

    ryanmusante Regular Supporter

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    So overall is the promotion of units in line with others? This needs to also be in Going Gold discussion in game balance.
     
  12. Rosete

    Rosete Chieftain

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    I think the archer line RCS is fine. If there is to be a nerf it should be to their CS so that they would take more damage as well. Nerfing their RCS wouldn't really stop them from being dominant. That's because there are no other units that offer a mixture of good durability+decent damage. Seige and mounted range are too brittle; one good hit from a mounted mele will force them back or take them out entirely.

    Nerfing RCS wouldn't make mele units much stronger, I fear it just makes combat becomes whoever have more units to bash into the enemies' lines. Or in a situation where you can set up a choke point against a bigger army, prolonging the war without any real change to how combat usually plays out. You still park range units around chokepoints, then fire down enemies walking in, the unit may get damaged instead of killed (due to RCS nerf), and retreats. Nothing would change combat wise. Things just take longer to kill and range units will still be dominant.

    I think a decrease to CS will be much better because it introduces more weaknesses.
     
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  13. Snipergw

    Snipergw Chieftain

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    The problem is that decreasing their CS doesn't actually do anything. It makes it even easier for players to snipe away AI archers, but players already keep their archers safe almost always. As long as two range exists, archers will be good, unless they do literally <5 damage. It's just free chip damage from afar with no threat of losing your own hammer investment since they can stay in the back always.
     
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  14. legoras

    legoras Chieftain

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    Again...
     
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  15. vyyt

    vyyt Emperor

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    I think this is a matter of preference and it has been discussed several times already with no concensus. It is impossible to please everyone. I personally cut RCS by 30-50% and reduce CS of non-siege ranged a bit too. I also make skirmishers much weaker. I also add a 33% malus against land units to ranged naval.
     
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  16. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    I think the Anti-warmonger penalty also greatly favors ranged attacks, so the fact that its been weakened recently would also give some love back to melee units. Aka probably too early to do any alterations.
     
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  17. andersw

    andersw King

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    Even now already I mostly go melee/siege, nerf ranged more and its borderline useless.
    I have little issue with that atm playing warmonger, there are even civs (mainly denmark and japan) where wars are more than viable (below diety) even without siege.
    Ofc ranged units are an issue if you expose yourself, no cover promos, enemy have a lot of hills and if you are inexperienced as player, hey I used to get wrecked by AI agression and that was when it was worse than today.
     
  18. dailyminerals

    dailyminerals Chieftain

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    I'm basing it on what mechanics can maximize the the entertainment factor. Let's not pretend that Civ is a historical simulator, because if that's what is it's trying to be, then it's failing miserably. Civ's interpretation of complex societal change and geopolitical modeling is simplified to below that of a 1st grade education. And it's capacity to simulate real battlefield scenarios? lol no. Basing gameplay off of what could be justified from a historical perspective in a game like civ is a bad idea. The systems in place are utterly incapable of capturing the nuance and complexity necessary to properly model historical accuracy at any scale. And simply put, that's not what Civ has ever tried to be. (I wish Civ was capable of capturing more of the complexity and nuance of human history, but it never will.)

    What is in a basic sense "fun" is being able to actually use some semblance of tactics and strategy when it comes to preparing and engaging in conflict. To actually hold a line against an opposing force that doesn't devolve into smashing them to pieces with city attacks and garrisoned archers as the most effective tactic, to use units in such a way as to maximize their strengths and minimize the impact of their weaknesses, to diversify your capabilities and apply them intelligently. What isn't fun is spamming the same unit and blowing away the enemy before they even get within a tile of your units - spamming ranged units into oblivion should not allow you to win any and every conflict, but it can, because they are just not properly balanced. Ranged units needs to change because they are too dominant on the battlefield. This dominance works as an argument against unit diversity. Against different approaches to battles. Against any real battle plan that isn't mindlessly spamming ranged attacks. Something needs to change.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2020
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  19. civplayer33

    civplayer33 King

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    This is just massive hyperbole...City attack is going to be reduced in the next version and like Stalker0 said above, some of these situations are possible but not the norm. Part of the problem is that the human is better at waging war than the AI, but that's why the AI gets a massive anti-warmonger boost on higher difficulties, among other things; that said, I do agree with his point about ranged promotions having an edge over melee promos right now, so that could be looked at.
     
  20. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    Another "simple solution" idea would be to increase the cover promotion from 25% to 33% or something. Currently cover provides a 15% bonus against ranged attack (because the core promotions give you a 10% CS anyway). So maybe that could be increased a bit. Since swordsman, longswords, and siege already get cover...it would make those units overall more competitive naturally against ranged.
     
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