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Skirmisher Units

Discussion in 'General Balance' started by Stalker0, Nov 8, 2019.

  1. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    There is a lot of interest in adjusting the skirmisher line of units right now, so this thread is to discuss that.
     
  2. ridjack

    ridjack King

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    Quoting myself from the beta thread:

     
  3. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    I’m gonna put my money where my mouth is and create a modmod rebalancing skirmishers and spearmen lines with my ideas for them and share it here. Probably be done with it tomorrow

    Skirmishers:
    Increase base move to 5 (except light tanks and chariots)
    Drop RCS to the higher between:
    1. The RCS of the previous era’s archer unit
    2. The RCS that deals 15 damage to an unprompted melee unit of the same tech era
    Change Mongolia’s bonus from +2 moves and ZOC to +1 move and +1 attack

    spear line:
    Remove anti-cavalry bonus
    Add formation I
     
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  4. usadefcon1

    usadefcon1 Chieftain

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    My vote is:
    Give Melee Cav the terrain penalty too
    Ranged Cav Ignore Zone of Control
    Terrain penalty goes away with Armor

    I think this would be relatively friendly to the AI. But then again, I know nothing about programing.
     
  5. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    Something to consider: this would mean a melee cab unit attacking a unit in rough terrain would lose 3-4 moves. I worry this makes hill cities even better.
     
  6. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    I know we have gone round and round on skirmishers before. For me the issue is niche protection. It seems that each change pushes the skirmisher against another units territory, so that the skirmisher is either superior to the other unit (and therefore, why build the other unit) or inferior to the other unit (and therefore, why build the skirmisher?).

    In the earlier version, I felt skirmishers stepped on both the melee horse and the ranged units roles. The skirmisher was as mobile as the horse unit, and while it didn't do as much damage it did not have to push into dangerous spots either. Further even though it shared the city attack penalty, because it took no damage from cities it was still effective at softening them up. On the ranged side, it did more damage than an equivalent ranged unit, could hit places a ranged unit couldn't (aka into rough terrain spots), and could retreat far better than a ranged unit could. So it was the dominant unit to build. I personally have no desire to return to the original skirmisher, it was simply too good.

    So then we added the rough terrain penalty. Now I feel the pendulum was swung the other way. Ranged units do more damage (and are cheaper), and hit about the same place a skirmisher can hit. Melee horse gives me more mobility, damage, and tank ability. So I don't see a strong need to build skirmishers.

    In my head I can see a few ways to go with skirmishers:
    (Note: Some of my ideas steal from certain civs. I know some people's immediate reaction is...that will totally buff/nerf Civ X". Frankly, I always value standard balance over a single civs. I would much rather come up with a good idea that works in general, and then adjust a single civ to compensate...than give up a good idea because one civ already uses it)

    1) Return to their original mobility with lower damage. So I buy bows for the power, skirmishers for the mobility. And the difference needs to be pretty strong, I'd say at least -25% CS compared to the bow equivalent.

    2) Original mobility and power....with a significant cost increase. Effectively these are your cream of the crop troops. They are your most powerful, but with a significant investment vs just getting bows. If you wanted to go more costly here, you could make them cost 2 strategic resources.

    3) Give them 3 speed but ignore terrain penalties. So less mobile than horseman but consistent mobility in all fields. To me we are likely still back to the old "untouchable" problem here, but its an idea.

    4) Drop their attack entirely, giving more CS, and give them the Pilum ability (10 damage to all adjacent enemies). This is a more extreme idea to give skirmishers a different niche. Effectively they are engaging with the enemy (aka skirmishing), and gain an area attack of a sorts (representing their high mobility to hit multiple places). However, unlike the original model they have to stand their ground, and so counterattacking is possible.

    5) Low damage splash attack (aka the Arabia camel archer as a standard). Similar to number 4, the idea of area damage to represent their high mobility and ability to hit several places at once. This would be more traditional than the pilum idea. So skirmishers would help soften up armies, but you would still want bows to do the "real" ranged damage.

    6) Give them something that grants them double bonus from flanking or something. Aka skirmishers are normally pretty weak (in general not worth using compared to bows), but if the enemy is tied up (aka you have a lot of flanking), than skirmishers do a tremendous amount of damage, as the enemy cannot avoid them. So this gives me a specific niche on the battlefield that has to be earned.

    7) Skirmishers get ignore zone of control by default. So even if rough terrain ties them up a lot, they can still get in and out of certain places more easily than other units.
     
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  7. ridjack

    ridjack King

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    Comments inline.

     
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  8. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    Another thing you can do with CPP is you can fix the damage that the unit does on attack. Ie, there is a promotion you can set that makes it so the unit always does 10 damage every time it attacks

    the idea of giving them a sort of pilum as the skirmisher’s only attack seems anti-fun. They would have no way of getting XP except being punched.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
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  9. phantomaxl1207

    phantomaxl1207 King

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    As an individual Unit, I don't find Cavalry that impactful. They don't perform too well vs Gatling Guns and Fusiliers. They just happen to come with Military Academies. They just feel outclassed.

    Light Tanks gain a noticeable increase in power. And Helicopters have Hovering, which allows them to maneuver yhrough where other Units can't easily access.
     
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  10. andersw

    andersw King

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    My recent egypt game is the first time that I invested in the new skirmishers (to reap chariot rewards) and I sort of like where they are at.
    I had to plan where to use them, in some spaces I could use them as before but to a lot more limited extent.
    I sort of like
    "7) Skirmishers get ignore zone of control by default. So even if rough terrain ties them up a lot, they can still get in and out of certain places more easily than other units."
    its a suggestion that makes them a bit easier to use without making them op again but not sure it's needed.
    It would take unique power away from the Mongols and create a new problem.
     
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  11. JamesNinelives

    JamesNinelives Prince

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    From my point of view, simply removing the rough terrain penalty but keeping them at 4 movement solves most of the issues we've had. It makes them useful in situations where bows aren't, without pushing anyone else out of their roles. It also fixes the oddness of light cavalry getting stuck in forests while heavy cavalry don't :).

    5 movement with the rough terrain penalty is also fine, it gives them a more specific niche that favours open terrain rather than closed terrain. In this case fixing the bug with Inca and Iroquois ranged cavalry, and Berber cavalry, allows them to still retain their uniqueness.

    Either way, you get situations where you can hit and run by making good use of terrain, but it's not ubiquitous - which makes combat more interesting IMO. And none of this requires big changes.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
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  12. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    It returns them back to their original state, where they were the most dominant unit.
     
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  13. JamesNinelives

    JamesNinelives Prince

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    How so?

    Edit: I guess I'll find out soon enough.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
  14. Omen of Peace

    Omen of Peace Warlord

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    I like the low splash damage idea, to make them feel different.

    And yes, light cavalry being less mobile than heavy cavalry is odd, but I'll take balance over realism in this instance too.
     
  15. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    Nov 8 patch gives skirmishers 5 moves while keeping the rough terrain penalty.
    Key differences between this and what I have been proposing:
    • skirmishers can only move twice in rough terrain, rather than 3 times. I think many will find this a nice change that feels suitably restrained
    • with that 1 more move, skirmishers can move into a forest or hill, shoot, and move back, but they can't move into a forest/hill, shoot, and move back. this is in many respects identical to how skirmishers behaved when they had 4 moves and no movement penalty.
    I fear that, without the accompanying nerf to RCS, this puts skirmishers in a veeeery strong position. They function as the old 4-move skirmisher in rough, and they have 5 moves and still hit for respectable damage in open.
     
  16. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    I agree, what we have is a skirmisher that is just as strong as the old version in most terrain, but now even stronger in open terrain/roads. Its too much.
     
  17. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    In the original version of the skirmisher (4 move, no rough terrain penalty)….skirmishers had the same mobility as a horseman, but the power of a ranged unit not to take damage. What made them so amazing was that in rough terrain they could move in, shoot, and then move back out....while a ranged or melee unit could only move forward 1 square and not fire.

    So in practice what happened was that skirmishers became an untouchable unit. In capable hands they would never get hit by enemy forces, and since they are ranged units would never take any damage. So you would build an army of them and be absolutely invincible. There was little reason to build other units unitl you had built up your skirmisher forces.
     
  18. Bromar1

    Bromar1 King

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    But aren't open terrain/roads the skirmishers exact niche though?
     
  19. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    Sure, but the 4 movement skirmisher from old was already dominating that niche. This skirmisher is EVEN STRONGER than the version people were saying was too dominant. The old time this unit is weaker than the old one is going into forest + hill tiles.
     
  20. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch

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    stronger in certain locations. Not as universally potent.

    G
     
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