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Mythos_Ruler

Formations Review

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Probably not for Alpha 14, but maybe Alpha 15, and definitely by Alpha 16, I think we should decide how formations should work once and for all, because I know we all agree that the current implementation is mostly useless for gameplay. A new revamp should focus on making formations more tactical, intuitive, and useful.

First, let's decide if we should have intensive formations at all. By that, I mean, should formations be anything more than cosmetic? The answer to that question determines the rest of the discussion.

If we decide upon purely cosmetic formations, then the number of them should probably be reduced, and the way they look should be fixed. And probably reduce the number possible within a formation to perhaps 60 to make them more tactical and to help pathfinding.

If we decide upon intensive, important formations, then...

  • First, I would like to cull the list of formations a bit, down to the most useful formations, plus the formations unique to different civs.
  • Second, we should settle on some (initial) bonuses for each formation. The final bonuses can be decided through testing, but should decent initial stats and bonuses can be decided.
  • Third, we should decide the behaviors inherent to each formation. How they react to other formations and how individual soldiers within formation move and behave.
  • Fourth, how do formations behave in conjunction with other formations? E.g., a formation of spearmen is tasked to move along with a formation of cavalry and a some loose siege weapons.
  • Last, but not least, how to create formations (should be easy and intuitive) and present them to the player (how can a player see which units are in formation or not).

Discussion at http://www.wildfiregames.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=17241

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Why use formations?

I think there should be multiple reasons the player should want to use formations and to make formations worth using. These reasons include unit behaviors, stats bonuses, and tactical usefulness (micro/macro).

An example of "unit behaviors" could be that for ranged units (in this example: skirmishers), their minimum range attribute is turned off when in formation, so that they will stand and fight when attacked at close range by an enemy melee unit. They would draw their knives or short swords and fight back against melee aggressors instead of run away. This would be a 'defensive' secondary attack. Only when the formation 1. breaks due to attrition (too many units are killed to maintain formation) or 2. is disbanded by the player himself, would the skirmishers run away due to the minimum range attribute.

Another reason to use formations would be to neutralize focus-fire. An enemy cannot focus all their missile fire onto one individual soldier, but rather must target the entire formation. This is especially useful for heroes, as forming heroes up into a formation of soldiers helps protect the hero from focus-fire.

Just a few examples of how this can work and be useful.

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