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Skirmisher Units

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

  1. HungryForFood

    HungryForFood Prince

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    Throwing out some ideas here.
    • Skirmishers cannot move after attacking. Higher RCS and CS compared to now. Their niche would then be something like mobile firepower. Contrasting this with mounted, which can move after attacking, but take damage during the attack. We have done something similar to naval ranged, and it seems to have worked well.

    • If the problem is that skirmishers can fire from rough terrain, then retreat behind it, such as shown by Pineappledan's image, what if they can't attack when in rough terrain? This is a much more extreme version of -RCS in rough (or +RCS in flat), but it prevents the malus (or bonus) from being swamped by promotions.
    Both would deal with the issue of skirmishers being too good in rough terrain.
     
  2. azum4roll

    azum4roll Prince

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    Regarding the latest (11-25) version, is the rough terrain penalty still here for all skirmisher units?
     
  3. randomnub

    randomnub Prince

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    Yes.

    Base rcs as of 11-25:

    Chariot Archer 4 (War Chariot 5)
    Skirmisher 6 (Horse Archer 8)
    Heavy Skirmisher 13 (Camel Archer 15)
    Cuirassier 25 (Hussar 26)
    Cavalry 40 (Cossack 44, Berber/Comanche 42)
    Light Tank 52
    Helicopter 62 (loses skirmisher doctrine/rough terrain penality)

    Archery Units:

    Archer 7 (Slinger 8)
    Composite 12 (Atlatist 12, Babies 14)
    Crossbowmen 20 (Cho 19)
    Muskets 32 (Janissaries/Minutemen 32)
    Gatling 45
    MG 60
    Bazooka 65


    Early Eras you really have to use terrain well or they look like wasted supply.
     
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  4. azum4roll

    azum4roll Prince

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    They're now terribad in rough terrain and okay in open terrain until Cuirassiers, then they're simply OP in open terrain, especially when defending in a road network.
     
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  5. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    feels like we’re circling the drain. With a 75% RCS delta in open/rough AND a movement penalty in rough, these units are now thoroughly pigeonholed.

    Sakastan? Numidia? Transoxiana? Tuva? Those don’t exist. Forget that flim-flam. Horse cultures don’t exist outside the steppes. the berbers, famously endemic to mountainous terrain, now do -75% less damage on their own turf.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2019
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  6. phantomaxl1207

    phantomaxl1207 King

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    I am concerned about Helicopter movement on own Terrain. They can't use Roads and have to rely on their previously high Movement (6, now 4) or Airports to get around. Good thing they come after Airports, I guess.
     
  7. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    I think helicopters could have 5 movement to split the difference, no using roads is a big disadvantage.

    Do skirmishers need a bonus in open and a penalty in rough? Couldn't we achieve the same effect with fewer words?
     
  8. JamesNinelives

    JamesNinelives Prince

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    I know it's silly of me, but I find this very amusing. Babies have the highest damage output of ranged units in their era. Must be that projectile vomit ^^.
     
  9. JamesNinelives

    JamesNinelives Prince

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    I know it's silly of me, but I find this very amusing. Babies have the highest damage output of ranged units in their era. Must be that projectile vomit ^^.

    Honestly I thought helicopters were fine with 6 moves. I never found them particularly over-powered.

    Well, at least now we know the promotion is working lol.
    Seems reasonable. From what's been said, it seems the promotion is working maybe a bit too well. What do you think about dropping the penalty to damage in rough terrain and just keeping the bonus in open terrain?
     
  10. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    Or removed entirely.

    Better hope your battlefield doesn't shift or you'll be fighting in hills and you spent hundreds of hammers on units that don't do anything. Why would I ever. EVER. build these skirmishers? If I actually manage to use them well then I get to conquer some open terrain city. A city that was easy to take before all this anyways. Then the battle moves to the next city, which has a few hills around it, and I have to replace all the skirmishers in my army mix because they don't do anything. Even their ridiculous railway gun utility is hurt, because even if the movement penalty goes away, they still do -75% damage if that road is on a hill.

    God. I hate this. I hate this so much. The unit's too unreliable to be worth it.

    Escaping rough/open terrain is what attracted me to VP in the first place. The Barrage/Accuracy and Drill/Shock progressions were atrocious in vanilla, yet here we are, going bigger an harder on it. Now we have an entire unit line that just gets switched off in certain terrain. Reroll Mongolia/Huns until 2 of your neighbours are put on plains starts, because it doesn't matter what your start bias is. If you're playing Mongolia defensively then you're losing, and if the person next to you got a forest start then you're boned.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2019
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  11. Coffee Monopoly

    Coffee Monopoly Warlord

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    A rare occurance, a pineapple post that I wholeheartedly agree with!
     
  12. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch Supporter

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    Sure - it's more of a proof of concept, really, to see if the mechanic works. I think it does.

    Comparing a single line of units having terrain-based mechanics to the entirety of vanilla civ is an unfair comparison. Mounted ranged units make a lot of sense as the one line of units most affected by terrain roughness.

    G
     
  13. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    It is a fair comparison.

    I have spoken my piece as to why I think the terrain mechanics that already exist (25% defense in rough, skirmishers don't benefit from terrain) are sufficient if you tweak movement to maximize potential in open.

    The rough terrain penalty on chariots was verisimilitude. This is not. horseback replaced the chariot because horses were bred large enough and steady enough that they could be ridden through rough terrain. I would go so far as to call these changes anti-historical.

    Lower RCS than archer units is verisimilitude. horse archers and cavalry used smaller, lighter bows/pistols/carbines than a contemporary archer/musketeer. They also had a less steady aim being on horseback (hence the range reduction). An arrow flies in a forest or a hill doesn’t do more/less damage than one flown in the steppes. And now you have Berbers — hill people — doing less damage in their own terrain.

    This goes beyond some olive branch towards verisimilitude anyways; this functionally disables skirmishers in certain terrains and makes them so wildly inconsistent as to be unusable.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2019
  14. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch Supporter

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    Parthian tactics fail when applied in terrain that is too rough or forested/scrubbed. Furthermore, pastured animals suffer in scrubby land that is too thick or difficult to graze on. This is one of the reasons steppe peoples remained - hey - on the steppe, and suffered setbacks in expansion when attempting to break into southern China as well as central Europe using traditional steppe military tactics.

    Civ lacks a 'steppe' terrain type, so we work with what we have. Mounted ranged units (and mounted melee, to a lesser degree) thrive in grasslands/plains, and suffer in rough terrain.

    G
     
  15. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    Parthian shot gets its own promotion, and skirmishers are meant to reflect the tactics of mounted skirmishers beyond just that 1 culture. Numidian mostly used javelins, for instance. Parthians and their superb horsemanship is a rather extreme example of skirmishing. Hence being a lvl 4 ability. That’s also unhelpful for a discussion of cuirassier/cavalry and completely ignores chariots.

    bringing up the logistics of rearing/grazing horses, and climactic issues isn’t helpful in a discussion of the unit combat. Horse resources already spawn on flat plains/grassland, so your point has been made. Regarding the issue of humidity, that is indeed a concern, up until medieval at least. Get thee to a farrier. How badly do you want to get into veterinarian and husbandry considerations with an Albertans to make an all-encompassing point, and somehow ignore that you aren’t making the same gross generalizations for melee mounted units?

    also, your steppe vs. Plain comment is just bizarre. Steppes vs plains carries the same climactic/ecological distinction as forest vs jungle or savannah vs cerrado: none at all. It’s a naming convention and reflects no biological or geographical reality other than implying a continent.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2019
  16. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch Supporter

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    Not bizarre at all - grassland encompasses a wide variety of biomes - since civ doesn't really take into account temperature (aside from tundra) for tile types, we do with what we have for steppe grazing lands versus savannah grazing lands, etc.

    In any case, it's a moot point, because I don't see a path forward with tinkering with movement mechanics for mounted ranged units. I would rather movement remain as-is and play with combat power, than constantly fiddle with movement mechanics, which are much harder to translate to a player.

    G
     
  17. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    ... what part of combining a 50% terrain FROM bonus with a -25% FROM penalty with a -25% TO penalty, for a potential attack bonus delta of 100% IN rough TO rough sounded easy to translate to a player?

    open terrain doesn’t present interesting tactical problems to solve. Giving a unit line +100% attack bonus inside that terrain situation doesn’t add complexity, it just adds a ridiculous binary big bath. It only combines with the lack of rough terrain defensive bonuses. You seem to be implying you can finesse this system by simply reducing the swing. It’s only accentuating a pre-existing swing. This idea is rotten to its core; throw it away!
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2019
  18. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch Supporter

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    Many aspects of civ's combat system rely on binary swings of power. Agree to disagree on this.

    G
     
  19. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    ah, but this is the root of my hatred for the old promotion system, and why I am loathe to see its return in any form.

    the old drill only served to reinforce an existing rough terrain bonus on defense and mitigate it on attack. Shock only served to mitigate an open terrain penalty on defense and reinforce it on attack. They had a mechanic, and then they used another mechanic to beat you over the head with it.

    in VP’s superior promotion system, drill and shock do other things, and these terrain bonuses are relegated to leaf promotions (formation and charge) and even then, they only augment either defense or attack, never both.

    The other things is the fun part. Make flanking, terrain, GGenerals, domain bonuses all stack in your favour. Don’t make 2 different systems overlap completely or else they functionally are 1 system gerrymandered into 2 mechanics.

    Now cometh the return of firaxis’ design, where terrain does a thing, and then promotions come and do the same thing. On a mounted unit no less! The unit type that previously didn't even interact with terrain bonuses.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2019
  20. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    I know G likes the debate the actuals, so I went ahead and did another Shoshone run with the new skirmishers (I have now done it with 11/8 version, PADs modified version, and now this version with Shoshone to give me a reasonable comparison).

    So far I've been using skirmishers and now heavy skirmishers in a war against Siam. There is both an open front year and a back rough area, so I played around in both. My general notes:

    1) Even in the open terrain, Skirmishers get murdered by C Bowmen. One took a potshot at me for 48 damage, again in open terrain.

    2) The combination of rough terrain penalty AND movement bonus has been crippling. Even though most of the terrain I am operating in is open, any amount of rough translates into no man's land. I don't have enough movement to always avoid it, and if I land in it I am a dead man.

    3) In open terrain I am doing decent enough damage, but its not as much as you would expect. I do think Heavy Skirmisher base RCS is too low right now, even with the +50% I'm not doing that much damage to a Cbowmen. If I had knights, I would be crushing them right now.

    4) My general feeling in this run is....I would honestly rather have 2 c bowmen than 1 heavy skirmisher....and I literally can for the cost.

    5) I know PAD and G are arguing over the intuitiveness of the mechanic. It is quite intuitive in terms of...its very binary. Effectively I have this:

    a) In Open Terrain, decently tanky, decently offensive.
    b) In Rough Terrain....so weak a warrior could kill me. Never ever ever ever tough rough terrain with a 10 foot pole don't even look at it!!
     

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