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[GS] Unit class rebalance

Discussion in 'Civ - Ideas & Suggestions' started by Mik1984, Nov 3, 2019.

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Don't you think that unit classes should be rebalanced in this game?

  1. Yes

    75.8%
  2. No

    30.3%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Mik1984

    Mik1984 Prince

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    Sources, please.

    It is not a dead horse for me, I don't sit at this forum for an hour every other day, so it is likely I am not aware of majority of conversations that may already have had place in here, even if they were discussed multiple times before.

    I believe recon units need a buff, but not direct combat buff, just a buff that makes them worthwhile and more of an interesting choice. Two things:

    - Include recon units in production buff from military policy that buffs land infantry units
    - recon units get +1 sight range for each level of fortification. A scout unit that has not moved for 2 turns will have +2 sight range making them very useful units to place in strategic observation points.

    Regarding anti-cav:
    - Damage they receive and deal in melee combat is lowered by 25%, this modifier is applied after all other factors are applied, and this does not apply in combat vs city center or encampment, where the anti-cav will deal and receive full damage.
    - anti-cav receive strength bonus when well supported and penalty when outflanked. They receive +1 strength per each unit difference in support/flanking. So an defending spear with one adjacent friendly unit fighting against one adjacent enemy unit gets +1 strength on top of their support modifier, however if it is supported by one friendly unit, but has 3 adjacent enemy units, that is 2-3 = -1 which means that it gets -1 strength on top of other modifiers. Same on attack, instead now you need to have more flanking units than enemy supporting units. Now these units are very interesting, they are additionally vulnerable to being outflanked, but additionally strong from being well supported, furthermore they are more line-holding units, they deal less damage but they are more difficult to destroy, even to a stronger enemy. The impact of the flanking/support bonus is not dramatic, as it is a maximum impact of -6 for being surrounded by enemies or+5 for all other friendly units except for the single enemy attacking unit, but it is giving you a taste.

    Regarding catapults getting pwned by crossbowmen, DO NOT MAKE medieval catapults please. This breaks the entire game like pulling the thread on a woolen sweater. The point of this game is to have multiple units serve two eras and it needs to stay this way. Please mind that the crossbowmen are also breaking medieval naval combat, because they are slightly too powerful versus ancient ships. The solution is simple:
    - Nerf and cheapen crossbowmen:
    -4 ranged strength, - 2 melee strength, upkeep - 1 gold, cost 150(-30) production or 600(-120) gold
    -Buff catapult:
    +1Bombard strength, +2 Melee strength, free buff production cost stays the same.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
  2. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    I explained fairly well, you became dogmatic in your approach which I suggested is not the entire way to judge any unit.
    I decided I was flogging a dead horse. As in it was pointless to try and explain further.
    +1 sight for each level of fortification? Are they building towers for fortification? You do not get +1 sight from a city but yes, why can light troops designed for scouting the enemy have 2 sight while a settler gets 3? Light troops should just get 3 vision..
    They are already an interesting choice IMO and I have no idea what you mean by sources. You are on civ fanatics where lots of fanatics read this post and strangely many use scouts. This is a source, there is validity in numbers I have quoted an expert that used them and also said many more do. I have explained some of their good points and now I just feel like I am flogging a dead horse. This is no offence to you. Some people just do not like scouts, great, the world is a place of variety and there is no single one right way to play this game.
     
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  3. Mik1984

    Mik1984 Prince

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    IMHO the settler gets 3 vision in order to avoid build city scumming, where you build a city just to take a peak and then reload the save.

    The extra vision from fortification in my imagination rather symbolizes that when a scouting unit establishes itself in an area, it starts "spying around" the nearby areas in various ways. It may build a tower on the shore on a high ground to extend its vision into the sea, but it will most likely send off forward observers into surrounding areas, including into foreign territory.

    The reason for this solution instead of just giving 3 vision, is again, meta-gameplay. This is to curb the later game tedium of moving the scout around to get more anti-fog information. If the scout gets effectively +2 vision when fully fortified, then actually fortifying a scout in place is the best solution to get the most out of its recon ability.
     
  4. Sostratus

    Sostratus Emperor

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    Emphasis mine.
    As a general aside, I do not seek to antagonize people when I post. Sometimes these threads can get a bit heated with the back and forth between posters.

    Balancing something based on meta gaming is a double edged sword; the meta grows out of the current balancing. Not that it's a bad approach- certainly it's a very fast way to identify and fix outliers- but we must also be aware that a balancing choice will change the meta. So you sort of end up with a second order effect to consider.
    There are several people who appreciate the unit gaps; I preferred civ5's approach (few gaps, slower pacing) but hey, that is just personal taste. It does, however, make balancing extremely hard because the Unit Gap approach layers very discrete dynamics on top of a design that is otherwise built around continuous dynamics - namely, the progression of unit strength each era, the relationships between unit classes, etc. The problems you run into with this era gap approach are usually when a unit of era N has it's counter upgrade in era N+1, but it itself does not. An example of this is Spearmen- when they are unlocked there are warriors (I have laid out in an earlier post in this thread why warriors are 20 instead of 25) but spears also must serve in the classical, when warriors become swordsmen. Swordsmen are so efficient against spears (+21, or ~+130%) that you just won't use spears in the classical. That is what it is - often people will stop using muskets once they have cuirassiers too- but because of how discrete the upgrades are, it leads to people not building spears at all because swords come on literally the next tech, and this also completely takes anticav out of the early game.

    That's a very extreme example, but when we talk about naval units, we have to recognize that we have what are, numerically, two ancient era units representing the navy until the renaissance. Yes, crossbows can plink at galleys & quads pretty decently, but this is not because xbows are strong - it's because those naval units are numerically (I recognize that shipbuilding is a classical tech) two eras behind it. This would be analogous to saying in vanilla that pikemen aren't a very good counter to cavalry, so we should nerf cavalry; even though the pike is a medieval unit and the cavalry is an industrial one. If the quads were balanced to be an actual classical unit, it wouldn't be an issue at all. But this line of thinking - of course we shouldn't use really out of date units against advanced ones- runs into a serious problem:
    There are no alternative siege units. There are no alternative naval units. This is the cost of unit gaps; half your options are fairly ineffective at any point.
    That said, the two units mentioned - xbows and catapults- happen to perfectly fit the trend for unit combat, and so rather than singling out the units, their unit classes should be the target of your balance changes. Bombards are a perfect translation of catapults to the renaissance, as field cannons are with crossbows in the industrial. (both upgrades are +20 in all stats.) It's possible that one of neither units has an issue, and other units not mentioned could be playing a role.
    For example, weaker xbows may be insufficient to hold off knights, and the currently weak pikeman may further lead to a situation where we have a knight meta. If pikes were stronger and thus more common, then we may see defenders having more direct-attacking units; this is turn may justify a "bonus defending vs ranged" attribute of siege units, since defenders still have direct combat units (the pikes) to target siege units in melee combat, where they are very weak.

    The reason I mentioned the interaction between balancing a game and its own meta gameplay is that a designer must recognize
    1) when his design isn't inherently balanced (eg. if unit class dynamics aren't balanced) and
    2) when his balance isn't conforming to his design (eg if one felt pikes were unusually weak units compared to other anticav.) There is an important distinction between the two. I happen to take the Papa John's approach- "better ingredients, better pizza" that if the unit class rules are well designed, and units largely conform to them, then natural balance will emerge from the game. Not everyone needs to feel that way but we should always be aware that unlikely suspects can be contributing to issues we see.
     
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  5. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    Well they cannot stop savescumming and build city scumming is more of a pain so I cannot see it myself. If people want to do it, they can. IMHO it is for the first settler only to get a better sight for choice.
    Just feels like a sentry to me then and I treat my scouts like skirmishers anyway. When I started I used to end up fog busting with them but then When I tried them as skirmishers (before the promo was available) they just worked, that extra MP is great but it’s the move after attacking that is really great. There is that and the +1 sight level 3 promotion and I think it was their intent to differentiate your troop as a scout or a skirmisher after promotion. Regardless they are a little steep for what they provide hence I build only one and do not treat it particularly carefully.

    I really struggle with someone saying the reason for something changing is meta-gameplay. It is sort of like saying grass is green. but is curbing tedium meta? I am so confused.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
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  6. Mik1984

    Mik1984 Prince

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    I think that with my solution, the +1 sight option might actually be a worthwhile alternative to +20 strength, as sight view upgrades are actually much stronger as they stack, because adding +1 sight to a unit that has 4 vision does discover a lot of extra hexes. Call it what you want, but placing a scout in place and having him gain sight as he gains fortification bonus is just much better from the practicality and fun of the gameplay than just a straight boring +1 vision bonus, which then you have to waste tedious moves to move the scouts around every single turn in repetitive patterns in order to get extra vision. It is dull and tedious and you never want the player to have to make a game power sacrifice to curb tedium, that is just immersion murder. Also forts get more interesting now, as scouts moving into forts get full fortification instantly.
    I think with my fixes, anti-cav in general will be fine and interesting and will not suffer from gap problems, when used properly, with the exception of spearman, who need a small buff, just make them cheaper by lowering their production cost by 10. They are just a bit too expensive to in the game as for now. After such change they still may be worthwhile to produce because how cost competitive they are.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
  7. Tomice

    Tomice Passionate Smart-Ass

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    I'd be interested for sure!
    In fact, I've changed a few units according to your suggestions, but in an ugly way (by changing the base files instead of creating a proper mod).
     
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  8. Mik1984

    Mik1984 Prince

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    The problem is, if you are running mods, like RealStrategy, you want the changes to be implemented into base game, otherwise issues with the patch may arise.
     
  9. Sostratus

    Sostratus Emperor

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    Step right up, you're first in line :lol:
     
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  10. acluewithout

    acluewithout Deity

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  11. Sostratus

    Sostratus Emperor

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    My big risk now is that they’ll announce XP3 and totally overhaul the units themselves. I also still have to fix earlier naval units and go deeper into costs/promos/modifiers.

    Although it seems to work quite well as is; I’ve done a lot of later era starts for testing other stuff I’m working on, and AC/recon/machine guns feel good to use. Most notably, in the ancient era I won’t mind building some spearman- unheard of in this game!

    (I have much more speculative unit stuff in the works but I’m currently bogged down doing a custom civ, and trying to pull art assets from civ5/BE and adjust the UI to handle a building mod. Why did they have to make art so hard to configure!)
     
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  12. Tomice

    Tomice Passionate Smart-Ass

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    Thank you! :thumbsup: We certainly lacked an up-to-date, minimalistic and well-considered balance mod.
    Most people have a pet peeve or two and change stuff bluntly to remedy it, creating more problems than they solved.

    Have you considered changing the range of a few units? I think that recon units and slingers could use 2 range, unsure what you did in the mod judging from the description (I'll intall it after I finish my current game).
    Also, what about production cards? Thought about adding skirmishers to one of them?
     
  13. Sostratus

    Sostratus Emperor

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    Thanks!
    As far as range goes:
    Spec Ops have 2 range, and I’m semi-worried about them in the case that they get Guerilla- which allows move after attacking.
    Mobile units with 2 range is extremely strong in Civ’s 1UPT. Anyone who played with Civ5’s camel archers, or civ6’s Nubian Pitati, understand the danger of 2 range and more than 2 move. But they are recon units more than true front liners, and they are now tough enough to take 1 hit and then them get out of the way.
    On policy cards- I haven’t gotten to modding in policy cards (aforementioned custom civ taking a lot of my time) but I do plan to do a few things. One of them is to change the unit production cards to Melee/AC/recon, ranged/siege (late game also /support) and heavy/light cav.
    This is intended to both make siege units more viable as well as increase the value of red slots in governments (currently the agoge line lets you completely boost an entire military, splitting them would force you to run 2 cards for that.) Which, I’m also looking to tweak slot distributions very slightly for balance reasons but the database won’t accept my slot changes. Working on it!
     
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  14. Tomice

    Tomice Passionate Smart-Ass

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    Regarding range - true, range and move-after-attack can be abused by the human. But that was mostly a problem with units like Keshigs in civ5 which had 5 movement IIRC.
    3 seems not too abusable.

    I see it in this way:
    - archers (and upgrades) are fun, useful and one of the most built units.
    - later recon units are ignored by many and unpopular, many struggle to find a purpose for them
    - 1 range units are weird and don't fit the unit model (who have either bows or rifles)
    --> having a brute force archer line and a mobile archer line could be fun and useful
    --> how much of a strength penalty would the new mobile archer line need to be balanced vs conventional archers?
     
  15. acluewithout

    acluewithout Deity

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    I hope you don’t rework the production cards as you’re suggesting. There’s clearly a design decision that Siege don’t get a production bonus from cards, and I think that works if only just as a point of differentiation. The real problem Siege have is just there’s no Medieval upgrade, but that’s beyond the scope of a Lite Mod to fix.

    Heavy Cav could lose their Production Bonus if you wanted to nerf them. They could maybe even lose the benefit of Conscription. You could then maybe combine LC and Ranged to one card; so, you have a M/AC/Recon card and a LC/Ranged card (slight nerf to ranged, because you need to get to Military Disciple for the card, which is off the path of Political Philosophy).

    The if you want to buff Red Cards generally, I’d suggest changing Professional Army to bonus xp rather than discounting upgrades. First, the helps nerf timing pushes; but Second, it makes the card something you’d want to slot long term. There’s maybe also room early game for a Red Card that boosts the value of Walls, which might encourage Medieval and Renaissance Walls later. Not sure what though - something not too powerful.

    Your changes to Recon look fine to me. It’s really only at high levels there could be an issue, and even then I don’t think Recon will be that powerful compared to other units.
     
  16. Sostratus

    Sostratus Emperor

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    I'm sure someone could easily just siphon off the trebuchet from steel & thunder, make it the base version of a domrey. Easy enough. But yes, creeping outside the scope.
    I really just don't like that ranged+melee+anticav is a complete, fairly well rounded army all boosted on the same card line. It makes it way too easy to get by with 1 red card governments.
    As far as siege units are concerned, while making some excel tables of unit production to consider how to best rebalance costs in v2, early siege units are quite expensive for what they do- catapults especially. A lot of people complain about it, and I suspect it's why we see a "beat the walls down with your fists" early meta rather than towing in the siege units. Later in the game certainly, bombard or artillery spam isn't really a risk i can foresee no matter how cheap i make them :lol:

    I'm half thinking I should have unit balance as a separate mod fromt he rest, but yes, I am trying to find a good way to balance things so Heavy cav isn't just the best choice whenever you can make them, which current balancing has. Having them actually able to lose to AC currently feels a lot better, but there's just no reason other than resource shortage to build LC instead. Doing some changes to class modifiers will alleviate a lot of that, though.

    Professional army will 100% be getting changed. It just trivializes so much. I was going to hack it down to -25%, but I like more XP.
    My main goal is to keep a nice synergy in t2 & 3 gov'ts by making them all (2,2,1,1) and (3,3,1,1) for different slots. That mainly means monarchy and fascism seeing a red convert to a wildcard. I know some strategies really enjoy heavy red cards, but there's currently almost no reason to take monarchy except as a step stone to theocracy. I would also take a wildcard from MerchRep and Democracy make them a diplo slot; you can't have the most econ cards and wildcards.
    For my personal amusement I might add a couple new policies, but mostly just stick to tinkering with those unit cards and the upgrade line. At the cost of needing to change magnus, i would rather see the upgrade resource card be changed so to apply to units you build instead. But then that might hamstring the AI - although resources are very minimal compared to the effect of gold cost.

    My solution to a spec ops is a helicopter: it's faster and 20 points stronger in melee, and crucially has 1 cost to move anywhere, so you cannot run away into the jungle (this trick works on heavy cav). Highly promoted units are fairly rare, and I can't really balance things around commando/melee or incendiaries/ranged either. A recon unit is set up to die in 2 hits from a contemporary ranged hit (or ~1.5 melee attacks) precisely so that unlike foot soldiers, they cannot hold ground against contemporary foes!
    If specops are really too spam-able, Then I will look at maybe reducing their range to 1 and considering a "sniper" promotion to add it back. That would probably not affect scouts.
     
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  17. acluewithout

    acluewithout Deity

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    @Sostratus All good points.

    I agree Agoge is too powerful including ranged. Hence my suggestion to have Agoge be Melee, AC and Recon (as you proposes), and the other Red Cad be LC and Ranged (which is therefore also a slight nerf to ranged), and have no +% Cards for HC.

    For Siege, you could either make Catapults just cheaper, and or give them a +% but just not via a Policy Card, e.g. maybe a Victor Promotion or (as I’ve suggested before) as a bonus from Medieval and Renaissance Walls. I just think the game is a bit more interesting when it avoids the “everything gets a card, bonus etc” trap, so keeping Siege as the one without a Production Card seems like a good thing to keep.

    Personally, I wouldn’t mess with Gov Card Distribution. Monarchy really is quite well balanced - you get to the Gov sooner (which also means you can build T2 GP Buildings sooner), the Civic it unlocks at has some very strong cards and by that stage there are plenty of Red Cards (particularly now Red Cards boost Harbours). Monarchy’s bonus could maybe be buffed a little, but that’s it really.

    I think your changes probably already obviate the need to mess with Promotions much. That said, I think Ranged could lose their Incendiaries Promotion. It’s just yet another reason to not build Siege.

    You’re doing a good job thinking this stuff through. It’s hard to tweak the game on the basis of making the least changes necessary and or only to sharpen up the existing design. Once you move beyond just Combat Strength and Costs, it’s really hard to find a bright line as to what is a “minimal and common sense” change and what is more “personal vision”. I wish you luck.
     
  18. Sostratus

    Sostratus Emperor

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    As part of a "more extensive balance" of units I do want to adjust a few unit classes' modifiers, and while it is a more ambitious project that would require a ton of playtesting, it might mean swapping a couple promotions around here and thereor tweaking a number.
    For example, one thing I would like to do is grant LC an inherent bonus against Ranged+Siege units. I envision, for example, the courser being a great unit to have to relieve a siege of one of your cities - by ignoring ZoC, he scoots around the pikes to take out the siege units and crossbows in the back. But they already have an aptly named coursers promotion, so I'd want to make sure those things work well together. But that sort of thing is part of making sure there's a task for which LC is actually a superior choice to just using the hammer than is HC.
     
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  19. criZp

    criZp Emperor

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    Not sure if you know it already but the three you mentioned produce extra quantity because these resources double as power for the cities.
     
  20. Sostratus

    Sostratus Emperor

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    Those three are indeed are used as power, but they are also part of the set {coal, oil, aluminum, uranium} that are used to fuel units.
    2 is just too little IMO- you can have 2 planes per aluminum mine.
    Iron and horses also give 2, but if we applied the consumption model backwards, would people be happy if they could have 2 swords per iron mine, or 2 horsemen per pasture?
    Then why is it different for planes and helicopters? This is less of a meta game balance thing than a gameplay loop thing- the scarcity of aluminum doesn’t have any alternatives beyond “don’t have an air force.” Why do we let Aerodromes hold so many planes if you’ll never really be able to fill them?

    I also think we really need to be able to trade for resource income, otherwise there’s just no stability at all. (and it’s almost cruel to sell the AI oil knowing they’ll build units they cannot fuel.)
     
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