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Skirmisher Units

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

  1. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    ... so another glass cannon? You hit a unit for 40dmg with your cuirassier and then the AI hunts it down with his lancer and hits it back for all the marbles? Sounds like a bad use of hammers
     
  2. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    I think the only way that 5 move skirmishers than can enter forest, shoot, and move out will be balanced is if their damage is pitifully low; so low that they won't compete with archers very well in the open terrain. It ends up being a unit whose niche is dominating forests, which aside from being really bad in terms of flavor, is a huge human advantage over the AI in warfare.
    Who said anything about glass cannons? Higher RCS than archers of the same tech level, they should be able to take 1 hit from lancers and sometimes 2 depending on flanking and other bonuses.

    The consensus seems to be that with rough terrain penalties and 4 movement, muskets were better. So the first to try would be buffing curaisser power. Skirmishers had several patches in a row where their power got nerfed, and then their mobility got nerfed. They didn't need a nerf to both.

    I'm actually fine with trying 5 movement, if we increase the rough terrain penalty. I think its really important that you cannot enter-forest, shoot, move back with a normal skirmisher unit. The whole reason this unit line is in a state of redesign is to stop that from happening, if we cannot find a solution that does that we should just revert to the old 4 movement version of the unit.
     
  3. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    Your point of view is that we should nerf mobility in any way necessary to disable move-shoot-move in rough terrain. My point of view is we should do whatever is necessary to make move-shoot-move doable in any terrain without making it broken.

    We will never agree, because your assessment of the skirmisher unit is that the one thing breaking it is the one thing that I think makes it unique.
    I don't really see it that way, but I'm not as laser-focused on steppe peoples as the template for how light cavalry must be presented in the game. Steppe civs already have specific abilities in their UAs which augment those units beyond their normal capabilities. I'm more focused on making the unit useful for brigandry and fabian tactics, and they don't need a lot of RCS to pillage a civ's tiles, capture its workers, and cut off :c5trade:connections. Ghazzu/Razzia/depredation tactics are just as valid a template for mounted ranged units as whatever point of reference you seem to be using.

    If verisimilitude was actually one of your goals -- I don't think it is -- then there's no universe in which:
    1. Heavy/melee cavalry situationally have more movement than light/skirmishing cavalry
    2. light skirmishing cavalry don't have a withdraw on melee attack, since that was literally their 1 job for much of military history. The Mongol conquests, the Golden Horde, the Battle of Grunwald, every major military success featuring light cavalry centered on their ability to a) screen and harass enemy infantry while their own infantry/heavy cavalry could set up, or b) bait an enemy into breaking formation with a feigned retreat
    If people are going to interpret this as a push to give ALL mounted units the rough terrain movement penalty, then verisimilitude be damned. It feels awful to play with that promotion on stuff. I can handle it on Chariots, but it's so unpleasant to have an entire game of it.
     
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  4. amateurgamer88

    amateurgamer88 King

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    From my experience with the old and new versions of the skirmisher line, I do think the changes were too extreme. The Skirmisher and Heavy Skirmisher were the unit that were really dangerous with their enter forest, shoot and withdraw capabilities. Why? There are still Forests and Jungles still existing when they become available so they have this incredible use that sadly humans are capable of taking advantage of a lot better than the AI. Therefore, I believe the nerf should only apply to those two units. Meanwhile, we have the skirmisher line starting from Cuirassier and lasting until Light Tanks where they are so weak that they aren't as worthwhile to build compared to their ranged counterparts. These units actually need a buff to make them worthwhile. Below is my proposal of what I think can happen.

    Skirmisher: 4 Movements with rough terrain penalties. RCS equal to ranged counterparts.
    Heavy Skirmisher: 5 Movements with rough terrain penalties. RCS equal to ranged counterparts.
    Cuirassier: 3 Movements without rough terrain penalties and range increased to 2. RCS less to ranged counterparts.
    Cavalry: 4 Movements without rough terrain penalties and range increased to 2. RCS less to ranged counterparts.
    Light Tank: 5 Movements without rough terrain penalties and range increased to 2. RCS equal to ranged counterparts.
     
  5. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    To your first point, the two sides are not necessarily mutually exclusive. You are correct that the move shoot move is what makes Skirmishers interesting and distinctive. But CrazyG is also right that it makes them incredibly powerful. So what we have left with is the fundamental question: Is it possible to balance skirmishers while leaving move shoot move intact? And if not, than is it time to rethink the skirmisher line entirely instead of lumping on restrictions that remove the distinctiveness from the unit?

    To your second point, the issue I have is that melee horses do all of those things just fine. Why do I need another unit line to do that?
     
  6. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    Let me throw in a few more new ideas to find a way to make the skirmisher distinctive outside of scoot and shoot.

    1) Evasion: Takes 25% less damage from melee attacks. Similar to withdrawal but less random and doesn't compromise position.
    2) Does big damage, but gains the "-50% CS when attacking a unit below 50% HP". The opposite of charge, the unit is designed to weaken units but not kill them.
    3) Low RCS and gains the "+50% CS when attacking in open terrain" bonus. So even though it can do its scoot in forests (no more movement weirdness), its does minimal damage. However, that is compensated when its open terrain...aka where it really should be fighting.
    4) Gain "Skirmish" ability: In open terrain, when a enemy finishes its movement adjacent to you, deal 10 damage. A "citadel-light" ability.
    5) I will also repeat an earlier idea that the camel archer splash damage as base might be an interesting approach.
     
  7. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    That 5th move.

    I would also increase their CS across the board. For some reason, the skirmisher unit has 11CS, a respectable amount for that era. Comp bows only hit for 12 RCS after all.

    After that, heavy skirmishers have 15CS. That’s 2 below pikemen CS and 4 below crossbow RCS. they and every proceeding skirmisher unit gets melted pretty easy, because they generally are 2-3 points below the melee unit for their tech level, but with no terrain bonuses. The lancer has 10 CS over a cuirassier, and tercios have a +50% bonus, so cuirassiers kinda live to die right now.

    If they are going to serve that raider roll they need a bit more survivability, so they can live until next turn and then pillage 3 tiles with their 5 moves.
    Or, they could get a 100% chance to withdraw from all melee attacks, but take a % if the full damage damage. Could call the promotion ‘Feint’. It’s consistent that way, but you’re consistently playing billiards vs skirmishers, so you have to be careful that fighting one won’t put your unit out of position
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019
  8. Guynemer

    Guynemer Prince

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    Should skirmishers get a bonus to pillaging, such as double healing, or double gold gain, etc?
     
  9. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    I feel like we are trying to create a new job that isn't needed just to find something for this unit to do (this includes some of my ideas as well I'm falling into the same trap).

    1) We need something for the skirmisher
    2) Okay...how about a raider?
    3) Well....the melee horse already does that pretty well, I mean the skirmisher can do it too.
    4) Sure but....what if made the skirmisher REALLY raidy?
    5) But....we already have good raiding, why do we need more raiding?
    6) MOAR RAIDING!!
     
  10. nmb93

    nmb93 Chieftain

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    I'm mostly done with a game on the 11/8 beta having recently played two on the 10/23 beta. I don't think I was playing much when skirmishers were OP but here's my two cents. Emperor/epic/communitas/domination victory.

    I really like 5 movement. It allows them, assuming compatible terrain, to move in, poke, and then retreat. Without that I only really used them in the beginning of wars when the frontline was out of range of cities and they could still escape within their 4 moves. And even then I ended up leaving them in cities anyway once my other ranged started getting fairly promoted. With 5 movement I definitely kept a few with the pack throughout the game. Given how difficult it can be to grind down cities these days, they were useful to temporarily complete a blockade before my meat shields could fully move in.

    I don't see myself using pillaging with my mounted units either way. Unless I'm just sending them in to mass pillage for attrition, I'd much rather save the pillage heals for units that don't have an escape.
     
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  11. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    Well, if that’s the perception. There’s also a potential roll as spotter/scout

    I would invite you to try my modmod; it includes that formation change we discussed as well. I think a conversation would be more productive if you had a first-hand impression of it.

    with 5 moves, regardless of terrain, there is no situation where a skirmisher can’t move at least as far as a horseman, with or without the movement penalty. If people don’t like horses moving through 3 rough tiles in 1 turn, then 5 with rough is the fix.

    I don’t think it is worth the weird interactions with certain civs’ movement bonuses (Inca, Songhai, iroquois), and I don’t like the interaction with certain UUs (Berber), but I can live with it if moves is increased to 5. I do think RCS numbers need to be lowered, and CS numbers raised, regardless of all else. As I have pointed out, skirmisher line CS fluctuates massively in respect to their contemporary units, and much of the hate levelled at later eras units could be explained by how easily they die.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019
  12. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    The thing is we already have a scouting unit. Its called the scout:) This is the problem I keep running into. We created these new unit roles, but I keep wondering if they are even necessary. Asked another way...if the skirmisher line was gone...what would we really be missing? You get scouting from scouts, mobility with horses, power with ranged, tankiness with melee. What is the skimisher really doing that makes the game better?

    Your point about the modmod is fair, is it compatible with 11/8?
     
  13. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    Bare minimum, a place to put 8 unique units and a solution to that awkward as hell transition from chariots to knights. An acknowledgement that there is a lot of history in light cavalry and raiding as core military tactic (the mongol invasions, Cossacks, much more). Beyond that, at least an iteration on archer units so there is more than just ranged and siege on land.
    yes
     
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  14. nmb93

    nmb93 Chieftain

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    I'd be happy to try the modmod but I feel like I should say my combat tactics in VP generally might not be totally optimal. I hate losing units and am not above save scumming for them during the first half of the game. And I take whatever promotion line can get logistics (naval range now being the exception) for 3/4 of a given unit type because logistics = double xp...eventually...!

    So regarding the 5 moves specifically, I mean they can move 2, shoot, then move back 2 away without taking damage. The ideal scenario would be a city with flat plains to one side where I could park 3-4 light cav just out of range cycle them all through safely each turn. IE the camel archer shuffle from vanilla.

    I think what I'm trying to say is, I can't confidently comment on CS/damage because that so rarely makes a difference with how I know to use the units. It's always just a question of can I position them to get in and out, or not. I guess if I could confidently rely on them tanking one turn next a city that'd be nice?

    Edit: But also, if I'm 'doing it wrong' in any way I would love to know!!
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019
  15. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    Even with those units present though, there are tons of different units roles in warfare that Civ never touches on. One quick example, the military engineer. Or the sniper. So that argument alone isn't strong enough to me.

    Now note, I am not REALLY arguing to remove the skirmisher entirely. Too much work has been done with it, I think G would shoot me before he removed it :) But I use the argument to try and get down to the real question...what are we lacking in our military combat with Civ 5 (aka another unit doesn't already do a good job of) that we could use the skirmisher role for?
     
  16. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    Knights are pretty good at pillaging tiles,so I can't see myself building a unit just because its better at pillaging (explorers also exist and can do a good job of pillaging). I understand the theory but in practice the niche is too small.

    The forest thing really seems like a gimmick to me. The AI just does not handle it well. I'm not that interested in a unit which is a gimmick in some situations but mediocre in all others.
    I see it them as an alternative knight-class unit. There are situations where they are better than knights, there are situations they can attack but archers cannot. There are situations they suck, which is okay. They don't need to be a part of every single military, and certain civs have big bonuses to them.

    I'd rather it lean towards weak than it be an overpowering force that turns otherwise defensive terrain in a place to slaughter the AI.
     
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  17. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    So I gave PADs alternatives a try (thread is here: https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/pineappledans-unit-tweaks.651611/)

    Basic Jist: 5 move with rough terrain + decent CS + weak RCS. Spearman +33% mounted + 10% open terrain defense.

    So I played a Russia start, and after a horrendous start (lost the pyramid on turn 20 + lost my pathfinder + had barbarians take the spot I wanted to settle)...I restarted and got a beautiful open field map. Aka skirmisher central. So I gave them a serious whirl with PADs changes. What did I think?

    1) Unbeatable Raider: I could pillage what I wanted, when I wanted. Nothing was out of reach, I was even able to dig into the backyard and get some goodies there. So with this change they are definitely a raider's raider....hehe this is Denmark's new favorite unit.

    2) Terrible City Hitter: With walls my units were doing 4-5 damage, so not worth even bothering to attack the city. So your cities are safe from these things.

    3) Alright Unit Hitter: I was doing ~17 damage to a spearman, and did find a few spots with rough terrain that I was able to abuse. With the damage I wasn't doing a lot to spearman. My biggest benefit was killing stray catapults that were out of position.


    So in general my units were invincible as I expected, doing low but consistent damage (basically I needed to get 2 skirmisher hits in, else they just healed it). If I were to repeat I would build a small group of skirmisher to mow the plains and pillage everything, but then keep a core stock of units with better city hitting potential.

    I am moving into the heavy skirmisher phase now, so we will see how that goes.
     
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  18. JamesNinelives

    JamesNinelives Prince

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    I think both of these perspective distract somewhat from the original intent. Personally I just want to know how people find skirmishers in their current iteration, so that we can get a good idea where to go from there.
    It's in the name: skirmishing. Get in, hit, get out. Another way of looking at it would be, as FruityDan said, harass. Even if skirmishers are more useful defensively than offensively I think that's fine. Consider the role that the Comanche Riders played historically. It wasn't about overhwhelming force, it was about being able to outmaneouvre your opponent and make moving through territory difficult for them. And they do that eccelently.

    Dan, I would be happy for the current iteration of skirmishers to recieve a nerf to RCS and a buff to CS - that would suit me well.

    I think it's important though, to focus on what testing of this version is telling us. That is how we are going to get a meaningful assessment of it. Obviously tesing with your mod-mod is useful to. I'm just asking people to focus the discussion on the data first before we make projections. This iteration (whether using the mod-mod or not) is still relatively new.
     
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  19. azum4roll

    azum4roll Prince

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    I'd take 4 moves without rough penalty (leave that to chariots only) over 5 moves with the penalty, with lower RCS for all (15 damage to same era melee unit seems good) and higher CS for Cuirassier+. And then 5 moves for light tanks.
     
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  20. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch

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    What about a simple promotion tweak that reduces CS/RCS of skirmisher units on rough terrain by, say, 25%? So your skirmishers can shoot and scoot from rough terrain, but they're weakened by doing so (without leaving them worthless outside of rough terrain). Or flip it and give them a bonus on open terrain.

    In short, I'm thinking that we could, for both mounted melee and mounted ranged, shift their promotions/attributes towards the vanilla 'open v. rough' dichotomy.

    G
     
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