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Skirmisher Units

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

  1. azum4roll

    azum4roll Prince

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    If skirmishers only gain 1xp per attack and start with logistics, they'll probably gain xp slower than they are right now. What about adding a +1xp from pillaging promotion?
     
  2. lunker

    lunker Warlord

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    Balance-wise I always felt that skirmishers were perfect for the longest time. They had a unique usage as "police", patrolling roads and chipping away at stray invaders. They could also make use of hills/forest to attack and retreat safely. They were very helpful at weakening an attacking army but when attacking they would have to make use of both open and rough terrain, limiting when they could be used. 5 mov is too oppressive while lowering their rcs will make them too tedious to use. I would really just rather they be reverted
     
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  3. JamesNinelives

    JamesNinelives Prince

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    To clarify, are you talking about 4-move without rough terrain penalty? Just not sure which version you mean.
     
  4. lunker

    lunker Warlord

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    I've been away for a while so I'm not up-to-date on the developments. I was referring to the ones who had the exact same movement as knights, so +1 movement cost for hills or forests.
     
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  5. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    I maintain that lowering RCS, raising CS, removing the move penalty and keeping moves at 5 is the most effective way to make skirmishers handle differently from archers without having to train the AI on new mechanics

    Logistics sounds like the most reasonable alternative of all the ones we've heard, but I'm not convinced there's a way to balance the damage and XP potential without making the unit's power output pitiful, or lowering their XP gain to 1XP per action. Any new pillage mechanic isn't worth the energy to teach to the AI, that's why the XP for pillage promotion was taken off the scouts.

    Much has been made of the ability of skirmishers to move into rough, hit, and retreat. I find this entire line of argumentation a bit daft because ranged units can already do this. Archers can hit things 2 tiles away, even through rough if they are positioned on a hill. There is no difference between this:
    upload_2019-11-21_7-13-7.png
    and this:
    upload_2019-11-21_7-13-16.png
    None. The only material difference in that terrain is damage output.

    Skirmishers can do this in flat rough too, but Enough ink has been spilled on these peripheral considerations

    With 5 moves, however, a skirmisher can move 2, hit, and move back 2 in open terrain. No need for a movement penalty any more, because this:
    upload_2019-11-21_7-18-6.png
    Is better than this:
    upload_2019-11-21_7-19-58.png
    Archers can still hit 3 tiles away, but they can't retreat back 2 tiles. That's where skirmishers excel. That's their comparative advantage, and they don't need a movement penalty in rough terrain for that to exist. Archers already can shoot through rough terrain and they get a 25% defense bonus in that terrain too. There is absolutely no need to make the rough/open dichotomy between these units more obvious than that.

    The other major difference, outside these tactical attack moves, is the raw movement difference between 5 moves and 2. Skirmishers can give much larger scopes of vision, and can reach fronts much faster, and can pillage more than 1 tile. If you lower RCS on the whole line then you are waiting for the real damage potential of siege and archer units for the real fight to begin.

    The only thing a movement penalty does with 5 moves skirmishers is limit their traversal potential from this:
    upload_2019-11-21_7-28-17.png
    to this:
    upload_2019-11-21_7-27-55.png
    I don't think that's necessary, and I think it hurts skirmishers' flavor by making them road warriors, while most of the cultures that deployed mounted archery units aren't exactly known for their infrastructure projects. However, if people really feel that 3 moves in rough is really that big of a deal then fine.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2019
  6. Coffee Monopoly

    Coffee Monopoly Chieftain

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    IMO the change from normal movement like regular cav (4 moves, no penalty) to 5 moves + terrain penalty was absolutely terrible. It serves only to make them even more overpowered on roads while changing absolutely nothing in rough terrain. As far as I can tell, the move and attack opportunities in any contellations of rough terrain are exactly the same as they were before. So all this change did was make the system more complicated while achieving the same result as before, which is just horrendous design.

    Their movement should be reverted to be the same as regular cav, and any necessary balancing should only be achieved by tuning their RCS, CS, and maybe hammer/gold and resource cost.
     
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  7. vyyt

    vyyt Emperor

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    Also very much against 5 moves. I don't care that much about the rest (although I prefer low RCS and, ok-ish CS, no movement penalty).
     
  8. azum4roll

    azum4roll Prince

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    Logistics AND much lower RCS (with 4 moves) makes them worse as road warriors since they only have one move to get into position and one move to get out, instead of 1.5 each. Of course lowering the xp gained is a must.

    The AI does pillage a lot nowadays, especially with mounted units, so the +1xp on pillaging is just an alternative to get xp rather than shooting. Both take one movement point and have a requirement (a target/an improved tile).
     
  9. Coffee Monopoly

    Coffee Monopoly Chieftain

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    I'm not a fan of the logistics idea.
     
  10. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    I did another round of skirmisher testing using PADs adjusted mod. Just a reminder for the discussion:

    1) 5 moves + rough terrain penalty
    2) Higher CS
    3) Low RCS
    4) Spearman start with fortification, but do not have an innate +50% anti-mounted bonus.

    So this time I had a much more forested start, so got to see the skirmishers in rough terrain. My general notes:

    1) The Skirmishers were basically invincible to everything that wasn't another mounted.
    2) There damage was pretty low (doing 13ish to spearman...and note these spearman generally had less anti-mounted than normal ones).
    3) So generally what I found is they created a stalemate. I couldn't really do a lot of damage to the enemy, and the enemy couldn't really hurt my units.
    4) Swordsman take their damage very well, they were the only unit that was able to get close to my units, but at the end it was still good and wounded before it could do anything meaningful.
     
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  11. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    There is a big difference, in that you need hills to make that work. I have seen many a forest with few hills. Case in point, in the current game I just commented on, there is one hill in whole area I am fighting on...and it belongs to the enemy. All of my c bows are 1 ranged units right now.
     
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  12. azum4roll

    azum4roll Prince

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    4 moves + no rough penalty has these problems no matter the CS/RCS/production cost are:

    1. Human players can go rough -> shoot -> retreat spam with skirmishers against any 2-move units or cities and the AI doesn't seem to know how to deal with it since they aren't within sight during their turn.
    2. AI can't do the same thing against a human mobile target (city is fine since they know it's there) unless they happen to have a spotter to identify a target. Humans also know to flank AI skirmishers from the side/behind to take them out without unnecessarily sacrificing 2-move units in the rough terrain.
    3. Skirmishers are basically invincible in a road network until it's pillaged, when they don't seem to be designed for defensive purpose.
     
  13. randomnub

    randomnub Prince

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    Supply and strategic/hammer/gold cost are finite resources so if RCS is lowered and production cost increased I wouldn't fill my ranks with skirmisher units no matter how abusable are them against the AI, often I'd pick an heavy dmg horseman or a couple of sacrificable grunts over an annoying harasser.

    Not sure how doable is it, could the AI get vision of any unit that damaged them during the previous turn? As a player that's already easy enough to guess. Bonus points if any unit with the 'indirect fire' promotion is exempt from this lil cheat.
     
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  14. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    Right, the exact same situation as 4 moves with no penalty, but with less damage. The 5th move makes no difference in rough.
     
  15. JamesNinelives

    JamesNinelives Prince

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    I'm not against 4 moves, no rough terrain penalty, but I have to admit that I am a little confused why people who are against the current version are putting so much emphasis on the area where there is no difference. Surely if that is the case we should be focusing on where the differences lie?

    If 5 moves with a penalty makes them better than 4 moves no penalty on open terrain, that seems to fit the intended purpose of making their focus more open-terrain. Even if they still perform well in difficult terrain.
    I also don't think that going from 3 moves to 2 moves in rough terrain makes skirmishers 'road warriors'. That's still twice as fast as foot units (which is kind of the point of units which require horses).
     
  16. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    I think the trick is that the previous skirmisher was seen as pretty good in open terrain, and really good in rough (and really really good on roads). So if the rough is about the same, but you have made the open terrain/road warrior better with more movement....than by definition the unit is now stronger than it was before. So I think that is what people are concerned about. Now if the unit is weaker in rough than ok, we have a trade off of rough vs open...but otherwise its just a power increase.
     
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  17. JamesNinelives

    JamesNinelives Prince

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    Sure. I guess what I'm saying is that we've made the unit stronger on open terrain. It's now more powerful overall though. So a simple reduction in power seems like the appropriate way to go. E.g reduce rcs.

    Granted, if it's still more prominent in rough terrain than in open terrain in the current iteration I can see why we might want to look at alterantives. Just not sure what our current objective is.

    Edit: 'oven terrain' lol.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2019
  18. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    I will float another crazy idea out there. I'm not even sure if I like it, but since we are getting stuck in the mud with thoughts I am trying to stay as open minded as possible.

    IRL, knights for example were also horse archers. They weren't as famous for it as the mongels but it did happen. What if we allowed the core horse unit to regear itself for skirmishing. In other words, what if the skirmisher line was scrapped, and skirmisher esque promotions were added to the horse line (which they receive at the appropriate techs). Maybe things like the Impi first strike ability, or maybe just go full out and the promotion grants them a ranged attack? Then maybe UUs like the mongels could get the first skirmisher promotion for free, so they don't need the extra tech to start using it.

    We keep struggling to find niches for the skirmisher line that doesn't tread on existing unit lines. Do we just want to combine parts of two lines into one instead of trying to shoehorn things into two separate lines?
     
  19. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    I don't see why this has to be so hard.

    Skirmishers are the ranged unit that :c5moves:moves fast.
    Archers are the ranged unit that :c5rangedstrength:hits hard.
    Both have enough :c5strength:defense that they don't get 1-shotted, so they don't constantly need protection like Siege units.
    That's all that's needed to make the two different.

    4 moves and 5 moves makes no difference if doing military maneuvers in rough. If you want the unit to shine in open terrain, give them an odd number of moves.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2019
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  20. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    Apparently not enough ink has spilled, since you are more or less actively ignoring a common opinion about their performance in forests. There are a lot of differences between the unit lines other than damage. Your screenshots only involve combat between single units, which isn't very applicable because battlefields quickly become crowded and ZOC exists.
     

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