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Skirmisher Units

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

  1. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    At the end of the day, this is still the crux of our disagreement:
    Yeah. So make their damage pitifully low. Don't force them to compete with archers. If we make them compete with archers on RCS in open terrain then best-case scenario is that we have 2 interchangeable archers
    Archers already have a weaker movement system. If you make skirmisher movement weaker, you make them closer to archers. So if you want archers and skirmishers to be distinct from each other, strengthen the skirmisher's movement system
    Why?
    As I have stated before, archers on hills can shoot through rough. The reason why skirmishers were useless for more than a month was because they consumed 3/4 moves in 1 rough tile and couldn't retreat after firing, so they got massacred on the following turn. In other words, archers could reach units that skirmishers couldn't. Not without getting themselves killed, at least.

    As I have said before, we just aren't going to agree, ever, because you have decided that skirmishers shooting/retreating in rough is completely unacceptable while I have decided that retreating in ALL terrains is the only thing that is worthwhile about this unit type. We're never going to see eye to eye on this, so the disagreement between us should have ended on page 3

    edit: the 3rd option, as @Stalker0 has stated, is some other mechanic, either support, or damage mechanic, that skirmishers could employ. If you and I can agree one 1 thing, @CrazyG, it’s our reluctance to go that route. Between interactions with UUs and UAs, it would be a nightmare to get right, and that is before you consider how well the AI can employ this unnamed ability.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2019
  2. azum4roll

    azum4roll Prince

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    Can we at least try the logistics with nerfed xp yield and RCS idea? AI should be able to utilize an existing promotion well.

    Details:
    4 :c5moves: (Light Tank has 5 :c5moves:, Helicopter has 6 :c5moves:)
    Lower:c5rangedstrength: than previous version (do 15% max HP damage to melee units of the same era after accounting for DFPs etc.)
    Lower:c5strength: than previous version (take 40% max HP damage from melee units of the same era)
    No rough terrain penalty for Skirmisher+
    Logistics
    -1 xp from attacking (should affect Great General generation too right?)
    -50%:c5rangedstrength: when attacking cities and fortified units
    OPTIONAL: gain 1xp from pillaging improvements

    The only side effect should be that the French would love this unit even more than before.

    EDIT: This model basically means you either choose to do full damage with a 3-move Skirmisher, or do half damage (and get half XP) with a 4-move Skirmisher.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2019
  3. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    Not really.

    I'm going to make some things clear. I play Vox Populi. Not your mod-mod for unit tweaks. I've played some of your mods and enjoyed them, but this trend where anytime G doesn't adopt your suggestion you immediately make a mod-mod for it and discuss in these forums is extremely confusing. I think it's bad for the community and frequently derails balance discussions. I prefer some of your changes, and I think a few of them would probably make the main mod if were presenting them differently.

    I'm disagreeing with you because I disagree with your ideas themselves. That fort thing would not improve the game. It adds a lot of complications and text for very little gameplay change at all. Unless you rework forts entirely, which is a whole other discussion. The damage penalty on cities is worth discussing though.

    I disagree with raider being a niche for skirmishers. Frankly I think I've explained this prettyclearly. All units can pillage, its not a relevant niche. I won't spend hammers on a unit which is better at this but worse at everything else. Similarly, I don't think they can serve as a scout. The scout niche is filled pretty well by well, scouts. I've also seen you refer to skirmishers as light cavalry, which isn't necessarily true. Their art show heavy armor, the skirmisher having more than the horseman. Basically, a lot of your reasons supporting your ideas were dubious, that's why I'm disagreeing with them.

    I disagreed that terrain-related promotions are bad, however you did show that the AI can't handle them, which was a great point I wasn't aware of. I might be wrong. That isn't what any of your initial posts were about though. Reread those and put yourself in G's shoes, would you have taken your own idea? They were needlessly full of hostility, light on evidence, and you never responded to me when I challenged your overstatement. If you want a genuine discussion, leave out the hyperboles. I don't like skirmishers this patch either, but exaggerating how bad they are won't take the discussion anywhere.

    I 100% disagree with 5 move skirmishers + no terrain penalty being a good idea (perhaps we agree?), which is what I thought you were suggesting, and what my explanations were about. It this exists, it should at most be a UU, or reward for a highly promoted unit.

    I think we agree that logistics is a bad idea, and we agree that 4 moves + terrain penalty is bad (this appears to be a common opinion with players). This patch was intended to be an experiment, but I think it's lacking as a test for anything because it still includes the rough terrain thing.

    So we have two somewhat similar ideas here. We both want moving into a forest, shooting, and moving out to consume all of the standard movement. You want an extra move for open terrain to buff them in open fields, but only open fields. G's idea that I supported was extra damage in open terrain.

    G's idea has simple gameplay impacts. Earlier you suggested "something player's actually control", and you do often have control what terrain you attack from. Sure, sometimes every tile is rough, but skirmishers are great in that terrain even without the bonus. So to me, it feels like a win-win, I'm happy to attack in rough, I'm happy to attack in open (but I took away the rough penalty). The only place they fall short is extremely hilly areas, which I can live with. Your own posts like this one
    make me a lot less likely listen to your proposal, because you just showed that you have a poor understanding of the problems in this situation. I can't tell what I'm supposed to take literally and what is just hateful venting.

    This is what I think your idea does for skirmishers. It helps them cycle damage, and ensures they can attack every turn. It puts them in a situation where they can work with archers, even in open terrain. It helps them avoid damage in the early game. It doesn't (often) help them avoid damage in the mid game though. By medieval era, the size of armies means I either hide my skirmisher behind a forest, or I'm usually protecting it with ZoC. The main benefit of this extra movement point would be more damage dealt. I'd also put forward Egyptian war chariots as evidence for this, the most important part of that 5th movement point is that it gets an attack off in situations a normal chariot wouldn't, especially when groups of units are cycling.

    I think I agree with you but I'm not sure exactly what you mean. I don't like logistics or infinite attacks for a common unit (UU would be fine though). I think Stalker might just want to theorize some ideas that interesting and fun to think about, but wouldn't actually be good for the game.
     
  4. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    I do think you all are biased against the logistics idea because of your experience with logistics in other unit lines...but it is radically different in this case.

    1) Power: there is a noticeable difference in giving logistics to a unit line balanced without it (aka slingers) vs giving it to a unit line designed with its inclusion. In fact it’s more balanced, because the unit line cannot suddenly gain logistics and get a big power bump.

    2) XP: promotion wise, if you remove Parthinian tactics as i recommended...than even if the unit gets more XP...what promotions is it going to get that are so bad? It doesn’t get a logistic, range, or overrun kind of bump like the other line...it’s just gets the basic progressive bonuses. Is a level 6 heavy skirmisher more scary than a level 4 crossbow with range?

    The other concern was great generals. Compared to the melee horseman getting 5 Xp on attack and defense...the skirmisher needs a lot of double shots to keep up in the XP department. It’s more comparable, but I don’t think you would get generals quicker compared to going horseman.
     
  5. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    Trying to narrow the debate, can we all agree that movement wise we should go with either:

    1) 5 range with rough penalty.

    Or

    2) 4 move with no penalty

    just to set the bar somewhere
     
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  6. vyyt

    vyyt Emperor

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    2) 4 move with no penalty, pretty please
    2.1) and low ranged attack
     
  7. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    I certainly believe the logistics idea is more sensible than the current terrain-based idea. It demands less of the AI, and they know how to attack twice a lot better than they know how to prioritize open targets/retreat onto open. I do think that move after attack needs to be kept on the unit though. I think if the AI is given the chance to expend all its moves on attacks and not retreat, it will often do that when it should really move back.

    As you say, if they have logistics to start, they basically have coup de grace as a final big promotion, and that's not so scary. I still haven't tested if XP percent modifiers are even allowed to be negative, but if it is possible, I think the XP/general issue with free logistics would be fairly moot.
    As I have said, 5 move with penalty is acceptable to me. It allows for move-shoot-move in all terrain without giving skirmishers 2 moves in rough AND attack, or travel 3 rough terrain spaces. They would be just as mobile as melee cavalry and slightly more mobile in open with that combination.
    You've been spelling it this way for weeks now. Why must you hurt me so? :cry:
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2019
  8. Rekk

    Rekk Emperor

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    I pass on terrain penalties. I can't reconcile that horse archer movement is worse than melee horseman movement.
     
  9. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    I felt this one hit a little below the belt. I am simply suggesting that working with attack and mobility alone is a narrow set of variables. We have a lot of niche overlap to avoid, and many failed attempts so far.

    By introducing an alternate support mechanic, we can avoid the niche overlap entirely. The skirmisher has a weak attack but provides some X factor that makes it attractive to use...suddenly all units lines have a clean and clear niche.

    now if we can crack it with just attack and mobility adjustments than great, but it’s not the only option...and honestly may not be a viable option considering our failures so far.
     
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  10. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    It wasn't intended to, I enjoy discussing the mod with you and others.

    However, your post above mentions narrowing the debate, but at the same time your suggestions very much widen the debate. I won't blindly oppose any "support mechanics" suggested, but I don't really know what support means here. Do you mean something such an elephant-type effect, or a great general? I think would take away from the uniqueness of elephant UUs.

    An X-factor could be great, but we need an X-factor to try.
     
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  11. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    When I said narrow, I mean narrow where we have a good consensus to switch more attention to the remaining pieces. I think we have general consensus that 5 movement with no penalty is too generous, and 4 movement with a rough terrain too penalizing. So either 5 movement w/ penalty or 4 move no penalty has some good consensus at this point.

    Attack Ideas
    Looking at the attack, the trick here is that:

    1) Burst damage belongs to melee (strong damage but cannot be maintained due to damage taken)
    2) Damage over time belongs to ranged (weaker damage per shot but generally does the most damage due to taking shot after shot without stopping).

    So we have to find something either between these areas that work, or something outside of it.

    The current "Open Terrain" model is attempting "circumstantial damage over time" with the open terrain bonus. Ultimately my problem with that is, it simply creates a scenario where in certain terrains I will always produce lots of skirmishers, and in others I will never produce them...but it still doesn't encourage any "combined arms" strategies with them.

    The logistics idea is actually "circumstantial burst damage". The unit can switch between a "very low damage unit that doesn't take damage" and a "burst damage unit that then takes a lot of damage in kind...or has to be properly protected). The nice thing about this model is that the skirmisher is at its best when its supported by other conditions. Aka using roads to help them escape, or putting melee/mounted units in between them to shield them from counterattack damage. They are strong units with proper play...but strongest when they work with other unit types and not just themselves. But this proper play can work in all terrain conditions (though open is generally better), they don't become useless in rough terrain.

    Another attack idea discussed a while back was splash damage at base. Again the skirmisher is designed for weak attacks but giving it area damage provides a new niche not seen on the battlefield until later game promoted siege units. This means skirmishers don't kill armies that well on their own but they do well at softening up forces for other entities. Its a good combo with Charge Mounted Units for example.

    X Factor Ideas


    Here is a brainstorm list of various X factors that could be tried to make a skirmisher more of a "supportive unit" instead of a direct attack unit like melee/mounted/ranged.

    1) Support Aura: Friendly units within 1 of skirmisher gain +10% CS.
    2) Truest Flanking Unit: Skirmisher units count double for the purpose of flanking - This is one of my favorites if it could be done.
    3) France bonus: Skirmisher hits provide +10% CS to further attacks on the same unit
    4) Retreating Unit Destroyer (common skirmisher role): Units take 10 damage when leaving a skirmisher ZOC
    5) Pillager Bonuses: Gain double gold on pillage, or share pillage healing with adjacent units.
    6) Finisher Unit: Give them coup de grace promotion by default....designed to finish a highly weakened enemy.
     
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  12. azum4roll

    azum4roll Prince

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    Hey @pineappledan can you make a skirmisher mod with my idea?

    All skirmisher units get a new promotion that gives 2 attacks per turn, -30% RCS when attacking (Logistics), +25% ranged defense (Cover) and -1xp per attack.
    Remove Logistics from available promotions. If not possible, give them free Logistics at start and remove that effect from the new promotion.
    Chariot archer and war chariot get rough terrain penalty.
    Light Tank gets 5 moves.
    Helicopter Gunship gets 6 moves.

    Tweaked stats:
    Chariot Archer: 7 :c5strength: 7 :c5rangedstrength:
    War Chariot: 8 :c5strength: 7 :c5rangedstrength:
    Skirmisher: 11 :c5strength: 10 :c5rangedstrength:
    Horse Archer: 12 :c5strength: 11 :c5rangedstrength:
    Heavy Skirmisher: 15 :c5strength: 13 :c5rangedstrength:
    Camel Archer: 17 :c5strength: 14 :c5rangedstrength:
    Cuirassier: 23 :c5strength: 19 :c5rangedstrength:
    Hussar: 25 :c5strength: 20 :c5rangedstrength:
    Naga-Malla: 27 :c5strength: 22 :c5rangedstrength:
    Cavalry: 36 :c5strength: 28 :c5rangedstrength:
    Berber Cavalry: 37 :c5strength: 29 :c5rangedstrength:
    Comanche Rider: 37 :c5strength: 29 :c5rangedstrength:
    Cossack: 38 :c5strength: 31 :c5rangedstrength:
    Light Tank: 52 :c5strength: 41 :c5rangedstrength:
    Helicopter Gunship: 71 :c5strength: 54 :c5rangedstrength:

    With these stats the non-UU skirmishers should be doing 15 damage to same tech tier melee units, and taking 40 damage from their melee attacks in return. This is after factoring in expected promotions both units are having, except the free anti-mounted bonus and cover promotions that the earlier units are getting. To balance out the rough terrain penalty of the chariots, their CS/RCS is based on Spearman (11) instead of the geometric mean of Warrior and Spearman (7.4). They're devastating to Warriors, but then everything else does.

    They're comparatively weaker to ranged units (which serve as skirmisher counters) even with the free +25% ranged defense. Basically if they stay in front line they die, but if they retreat they don't do much damage AND don't get as much XP.
     
  13. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    There has been enough interest in testing a logistics skirmisher unit that I just might roll out a version of the unit tweaks mod that gives skirmishers free logistics.

    I wouldn't give them ranged defense. That overlaps with siege units and I don't think it's necessary. I would increase their base defense by a few points instead. I would also have to test and ensure that XP promotions are allowed to be negative.

    Would you want to also remove their ability to move after attack? ie. if they use their second attack they can't retreat
    Would you want me to include my spear line changes from my base unit tweak mod? It has been received very positively.

    I wouldn't be able to do this until the weekend
     
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  14. Bromar1

    Bromar1 King

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    Would it be possible to reduce the movement after attacking to a maximum of 1? So even if you attack first without moving, you can only retreat 1 tile in any direction
     
  15. Kim Dong Un

    Kim Dong Un The One & Unly Supporter

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    Skirmishers with 4 moves getting logistics was always my first choice at the start of all this (thematically and gameplay wise), so I'm definitely interested to see how it plays out. I'd keep move after attack though.
     
  16. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    I will make a version of my unit tweaks with the following:
    skirmishers
    4 moves
    Low RCS
    Logistics (+1 attack -30% attack)
    -50% XP modifier
    Can move after attacking
    City penalty
    No bonus from terrain
    Mongolia
    Mounted ranged units gain +1 moves and gain XP normally (+50% XP reversing the XP malus)​

    speamen line
    Formation I for free
    No anti-mounted bonus​
     
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  17. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    Though I have come to like the new skirmisher model I certainly would like to try this out and see if its better.
     
  18. azum4roll

    azum4roll Prince

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    Since ranged defense depends on RCS you can't just raise it without making it too good at attacking. I feel like the extra ranged defense promotion is needed (Light Tanks are being OHKO'd by Machine Guns) but we'll see.

    You also buffed Formation right? Do Tercio and Fusilier still get anti-mounted?
     
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  19. phantomaxl1207

    phantomaxl1207 King

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    I wil play anything that gives Helicopters more than 4 Moves. Their inability to use Roads is very hampering.

    I would suggest that a merge of the 2 unique Helicopter Promotions: +1 Mobility and the Tank Hunter (25). If we don't increase their base Movement.
     
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  20. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    Here it is! Skirmishers rebalanced for logistics with half XP per attack.

    Personally, I think this whole idea of logistics skirmishers doesn't accomplish anything that can't be achieved with adjustments to the base movement, RCS and CS of the skirmisher line; it creates the need for 2 promotions where none would do the trick. I think that slimming VP down to some core, essential characters for unit lines will both make the game more streamlined and approachable. Thus, if skirmishers were designed to prioritize movement above all else, that would be key to making them feel both unique and effective in a role

    infantry are defensive :c5strength:CS
    archers are :c5rangedstrength:RCS
    mounted melee are offensive :c5strength:CS
    mounted range are :c5moves:movement
    recon are vision
    Siege are :c5citystate:anti-city

    @azum4roll, @Stalker0
     

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    Last edited: Jan 26, 2020
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