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Prodigal Son

My Suggestions After Testing Alpha 17 SVN (And In General)

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I wish mythos could explain why its design doc was that way. He may disagree on the balancing but his knowledge would be useful. maybe he is still around :)

Mythos sorted many things right from a realism point of view. Still 3 infantry swordsmen for a non-sword focused civ don't make that much sense either realistically or gameplay-wise.

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The Mauryans have Wootz Steel, so its not like they don't have anything to buff all of their swordsmen.

Does this mean they should have unnecessarily many types of swordsmen or that their armies had a focus on swordsmen? They already have a tech in relation to that and I never claimed it should be removed.

RTS gameplay design needs some clear unit roles, without needless duplicates. Since they have two identical champion swordsman units what would be the way to differentiate them? Giving them different roles is confusing, having them doing the same job is useless. And it's not like they were some iconic units of a very specific legacy that should stay in the game with their historical role for flavor. The one is named "warrior" and the other is a "maiden guard", which I doubt we know how they fought or much about them (the only thing I've found places them as archers - here's a possible fix, we can make the archer version trainable instead).

Edit: Just noticed, Yoddha (warrior) might be classified as swordsman, but is actually armed with a mace and does crush damage. That makes all this discussion (partly) invalid, but raises more questions. Do we want a dude with a metal mace classified as swordsman while playing differently and more importantly, do we want a maceman as a siege weapon in a historical game?

Possible solutions?

  • Citizen Soldier Swordsman stays as he is.
  • Maiden Guard goes Archer, as the unit already exists, and it better reflects the Indian focus on archery and the (doubtful but anyway) sources.
  • Champion Swordsman (Yoddha/Warrior) either gets pure swordsman attributes or a new class. The former has the downside of treating mace as a hacking weapon, the later adds one extra class to an already hard to balance game. I'd go with the former, which could also include replacing his weapon with a sword. Infantry ripping through structures just doesn't make any sense and they have war elephants for that already, it's not like it would add something they miss.

On another note, is the Ptolemaic inf archer intentionally faster to train and slightly more expensive than the rest or is that an oversight?

Edited by Prodigal Son

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Personally I agree with Prodigal Son on this one. Even the (supposedly) swordsman-focused Romans only get one swordsman unit and one sword champion. Poor Princeps...

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A melee/ranged toggle was actually suggested for the Persian Bactrian Lancer (lance/bow), the Mauryan Maiden Guard (sword/bow), and the Ptolemaic and Seleucid Thureos Spearman (spear/javelin), but I am not sure if anyone figured out how to do that. And on a similar note, a cooldown-based volley ability with pilum (Roman heavy javelin) was suggested for the Roman Princeps, Extraordinarius, and Eques Consularis to make them more representative of what they were actually capable of.

Edited by Zeta1127

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Personally I agree with Prodigal Son on this one. Even the (supposedly) swordsman-focused Romans only get one swordsman unit and one sword champion. Poor Princeps...

I was about to mention the Roman example in my previous post but I though I write too much:p.

A melee/ranged toggle was actually suggested for the Persian Bactrian Lancer (lance/bow), the Mauryan Maiden Guard (sword/bow), and the Ptolemaic and Seleucid Thureos Spearman (spear/javelin), but I am not sure if anyone figured out how to do that. And on a similar note, a cooldown-based volley ability with pilum (Roman heavy javelin) was suggested for the Roman Princeps, Extraordinarius, and Eques Consularis to make them more representative of what they were actually capable of.

That would be ideal for some of those units (I partly disagree on some) and a few other I can think of. Then again it's not terribly bad to depict units only in their main roles, avoiding extra balancing (two different attacks per unit will be a pain to balance) and increased micro (active abilities).

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About those "abilities" I remember discussing with mythos on giving the ability of units to dismount, and he said he was against it. However, since we have garrisonning, I believe we can make horse garisonnable and that should toggle between anims :)

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About those "abilities" I remember discussing with mythos on giving the ability of units to dismount, and he said he was against it. However, since we have garrisonning, I believe we can make horse garisonnable and that should toggle between anims :)

I'm mostly against it as well. It's too much micro for an RTS. It works fine in later Total War games, but in RTS games who have it (like Ancient Wars: Sparta) it doesn't. 0 A.D. fits in with the RTS's that have an important economic management aspect, plus large number of troops, so adding extra micro of that form would be even worse than on most games. Added to that, extra balancing is needed (mounted/dismounted versions).

Edited by Prodigal Son
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  • Maiden Guard goes Archer, as the unit already exists, and it better reflects the Indian focus on archery and the (doubtful but anyway) sources.

Are you talking here about Maiden Guard Archers trainable by Mayurian Hero Elephant? Is your suggestion to make them trainable from fortresses instead Maiden Guards?

On another note, is the Ptolemaic inf archer intentionally faster to train and slightly more expensive than the rest or is that an oversight?

Afaik they are considered mercenaries (Nubian), thus faster training time and higher cost.

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I'm mostly against it as well. It's too much micro for an RTS. It works fine in later Total War games, but in RTS games who have it (like Ancient Wars: Sparta) it doesn't. 0 A.D. fits in with the RTS's that have an important economic management aspect, plus large number of troops, so adding extra micro of that form would be even worse than on most games. Added to that, extra balancing is needed (mounted/dismounted versions).

I agree on that point. However I think since we have the ability to make 0ad modular, would be nice to have options on that. They could be restricted in multiplayer games to the host liking. But too much choice is nice I think.

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Are you talking here about Maiden Guard Archers trainable by Mayurian Hero Elephant? Is your suggestion to make them trainable from fortresses instead Maiden Guards?

Afaik they are considered mercenaries (Nubian), thus faster training time and higher cost.

Yes, to reduce the number of sword infantry the Mauryans have available and have them more historical as well. The only ancient (even if doubtful) sources depict them fighting with bows, the rest is modern speculation. Also I'm against units trained from other units or ships in general, very unrealistic and often hard to balance.

That would be great if it applied to all mercenaries, not just them. Also, as I've mentioned before, mercenaries shouldn't cost wood, at the vast majority of cases they brought with them their own armament. Metal as their payment, and perhaps food as well if full metal is a very heavy cost (they would be fed from the army's food supply) makes more sense.

Furthermore, it's been suggested by Mega Mania that Ptolemaic era Egyptian armies shouldn't have Nubian troops/mercenaries and from what I've read it seems to be correct. So I guess this unit could be swapped by something else (possibilities at op, under Ptolemies).

I agree on that point. However I think since we have the ability to make 0ad modular, would be nice to have options on that. They could be restricted in multiplayer games to the host liking. But too much choice is nice I think.

Having the option available for mods would indeed be great. But overwhelming the option screen with such minor things for the main game wouldn't be that good imo and balancing several such secondary options would be a nightmare.

Edited by Prodigal Son

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Having units toggle between mounted/dismounted or ranged/melee would be great for something like a Total war Mockemup, ....not so much for the main game.

If someone could put it's functionality into the engine however, would be greatly appreciated.

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Too many 'toggle' ability in an RTS game with masses of troops is extremely hard to balance indeed (not to mention micro-heavy).

But I think an autocast, cooldown-based "pilum salvo" ability can still work.

IMO weapon switching should be automated and limited to ranged unit that is forced into melee. (With rare exception for dual-role unit like Ekdromos, when inside/outside a hoplite formation)

EDIT

Some "truly versatile" unit, like Thureophoroi (or maiden guard), should default to ranged unit, auto-switch weapon only when engaged in melee AND/OR ordered to form into formation (depend on how said unit was historically used).

Edited by wolflance

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Having units toggle between mounted/dismounted or ranged/melee would be great for something like a Total war Mockemup, ....not so much for the main game.

If someone could put it's functionality into the engine however, would be greatly appreciated.

Too many 'toggle' ability in an RTS game with masses of troops is extremely hard to balance indeed (not to mention micro-heavy).

But I think an autocast, cooldown-based "pilum salvo" ability can still work.

IMO weapon switching should be automated and limited to ranged unit that is forced into melee. (With rare exception for dual-role unit like Ekdromos, when inside/outside a hoplite formation)

EDIT

Some "truly versatile" unit, like Thureophoroi (or maiden guard), should default to ranged unit, auto-switch weapon only when engaged in melee AND/OR ordered to form into formation (depend on how said unit was historically used).

That would be a partial solution to the infinite chase bug :)

I'm mostly against having toggle abilities (or as least as little as possible). Some autocast ones for melee units who carried javelins could work, but this again requires extra balancing, of an easier kind though. Examples are roman, iberian and celtic swordmen, thureophoroi (the spear version - there were also simple skirmishers with a thureos shields as well as many other troops), thorakitai, and some heavy cavalry who also carried javelins or bows in addition to their main armament. Persian immortals also come to mind with a possible bow shot before going melee. Some of those units could be more hybrid ones but again, that's not fitting that well in 0 A.D. style gameplay. I wouldn't be against it if formations are somehow implemented in a way that make troop management easy. However all the best RTS have at most possitional formations, going full total war style might be an issue having to manage the economy real time as well. I'm eager to hear more about the plans on this, if what we know about running/charging/stamina/directional bonuses etc is outdated. If it's not it probably has to be simplified compared to total war games, not expanded with extra micro requirements.

Ekdromoi were just light hoplites (spear/shield/helmet/no armor) tasked to chase missile troops for armies lacking cavalry and fight in the main line if needed, not hybrid units with javelins. The Maiden Guard should be just archers from the little we know, not meaning they noway carried a side arm, many archers did, but that they shouldn't get any special treatment.

I'm not sure on ranged units having an alternative attack, most of them would flee or die fast when caught in melee anyway and there's again the hard to balance and extra micro issue.

The infinite chase thing has been reduced due to melee units being able to attack while moving in the last couple of alphas and the ability to run away reduced to ranged cavalry. Makes some sense as it is, though no solution seems perfect to me.

Edit: Ranged units seem seriously OP, especially for a melee-dominated era game. Imo they should get cheaper, weaker and with lower relative dps. The only serious advantage for training melee units currently is vs structures which I don't like. Structures can stay with higher pierce than hack armor, but a smaller difference and melee units get more effective in field battles. Only with vastly superior numbers could ancient ranged units beat heavy infantry on their own and even then it was considered an achievement. Old AOE games had the balance quite right on this aspect.

Edited by Prodigal Son

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Archer switching to melee should be canon folder, just holding enough to let the time of the player to find a better strategy.

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snip

When I mention "auto weapon switching” for ranged unit, I was actually thinking along the lines of Starcraft 2's Hydralisk, same attack, different (melee) animations. For err, flavour and aesthetics, I guess. (They still die like flies when engaging any dedicated melee unit)

For Ekdromoi I meant sword/spear switching, if for some reason Hellenes REALLY need a swordsman unit. Spear-all-the-way is more historical though.

Edited by wolflance

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Archer switching to melee should be canon folder, just holding enough to let the time of the player to find a better strategy.

As they currently are when caught in melee, so it's the more or less the same effect, but requiring extra micro, changes and balance. From a realism point of view I can stand by that you said, but as a core mechanic I'd only apply that to a game that has extra developer manpower and a gameplay with enough time for tactics.

When I mention "auto weapon switching” for ranged unit, I was actually thinking along the lines of Starcraft 2's Hydralisk, same attack, different (melee) animations. For err, flavour and aesthetics, I guess. (They still die like flies when engaging any dedicated melee unit)

For Ekdromoi I meant sword/spear switching, if for some reason Hellenes REALLY need a swordsman unit. Spear-all-the-way is more historical though (probably).

Got what you said, my reply to stan just above is more or less my view on it (except from the micro part).

Hellenic factions have a quite good rooster as well as many possible units left out, as their history is better recorded than most, so I see no need to add units they didn't have. I'm even for removing/replacing Spartan swordsmen (see op - spartans).

Edited by Prodigal Son
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For Mauryans, I'd go ahead and move the Maiden Archer to fortress and then, if you wanted to keep the Maurya Hero's training ability, make the sword Maiden the one he trains. Though I would point out that the Yoddha melee champion in the Fortress was basically designed to be more of a suicidal mini-siege weapon instead of a standard swordsman (unless his stats have been changed lately).

Edited by Mythos_Ruler

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Weapon toggling is too much micro, well then why even bother with RTS games? It wouldn't be much different from packing/unpacking siege weapons, which we already have.

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For Mauryans, I'd go ahead and move the Maiden Archer to fortress and then, if you wanted to keep the Maurya Hero's training ability, make the sword Maiden the one he trains. Though I would point out that the Yoddha melee champion in the Fortress was basically designed to be more of a suicidal mini-siege weapon instead of a standard swordsman (unless his stats have been changed lately).

For the Maiden Guard units that's close to what I suggested as well, though I'd prefer not having unit/ships train units.

Yoddha is still having his crush damage, however a "swordsman" class siege weapon might be confusing while all other swordsmen have the same, different role and siege maceman sounds like a unit from a fantasy game (or AOE online:p).

Weapon toggling is too much micro, well then why even bother with RTS games? It wouldn't be much different from packing/unpacking siege weapons, which we already have.

You've missed my point. RTT games like Total War are also turn-based for their economy/training/infrastructure management part, so in battles you can have many micro-requiring things and it makes sense, you have all the time for it. Some RTS like Warcraft 3, keep economy to the very basics, with few workers, few techs (even fewer economic ones) so that they can fit in "rpg" elements and active skills and population is also limited, you won't have to control more than 25-30 units on average. AOE games which have a bigger focus on economy had either no or very minor active skill micro (AOE, AOK), or reduced the economical focus by removing the need for dropsites and added buildings that autogathered resources to fit in some more (AOE 3).

0 A.D. falls closer to AOK, but with the even larger population (and even more workers) leaves even less time for micro. Would you still enjoy the game if every unit (or half units) had a toggle like siege weapons then? Wouldn't it be much different? If/when the game is redesigned around formation combat, we can revisit the discussion of what fits there (but that alone will make it much more micro heavy imo).

Edited by Prodigal Son
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Realize formations should streamline it dramatically. Either way, economy is fairly automated. If a toggle option were integrated into the game, it would not be much more complex than myth units were to Age of Mythology, and furthermore, it should be rather intuitive. Regardless of your sentiments, which I admit have a valid basis, the plan is to incorporate such mechanisms into the combat system. I would say that making the game pace slower would be one way to accommodate more complicated aspects however.

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Realize formations should streamline it dramatically. Either way, economy is fairly automated. If a toggle option were integrated into the game, it would not be much more complex than myth units were to Age of Mythology, and furthermore, it should be rather intuitive. Regardless of your sentiments, which I admit have a valid basis, the plan is to incorporate such mechanisms into the combat system. I would say that making the game pace slower would be one way to accommodate more complicated aspects however.

I don't believe formations alone would streamline the gameplay. Having to short formations and choose new ones under different conditions and that for several unit types (in an average army) will add much micro. Directional bonuses, running/charging, stamina will add even more. It all comes down to how it will turn out, we can't be exactly sure on what will be implemented in the end, but logically speaking micro will increase when those things are thrown in. Making the game pace slower could help (less dps or more hp/armor for units, reduced movement speeds).

Edit: Economy in 0 A.D. is the least automated of all RTS I've played, maybe excluding early AOE with their finite farms, but on the other hand having more workers to manage, many economic techs and a rather fast depleting majority of resources, requiring quite frequent relocation of dropsites. I'd call rather automated economy the one of WC3, with it's only two resource types, very few techs, few big mines (with a staple of 5 workers per mine) and only lumber kind of needing attention. An automated example would be Battle For Middle Earth games, with structures auto-producing resources and workers only as builders.

I can understand the desire for "throwing everything realistic in the combat system", I'd love that as well, but it doesn't work that way. Unless we want a game with a combat system mixing Total War and Starcraft (that's were it heads if all those get thrown in) and an economic management similar to AOK. That would make the hardest to master RTS ever, frustrating anyone who isn't great at both micro and macro.

Edited by Prodigal Son

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Don't we favor realism above all ? I don't think the aim is to make an easy game. How do you get better ? By playing. If people are frustrated, make it so the community is the help they need.

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Don't we favor realism above all ? I don't think the aim is to make an easy game. How do you get better ? By playing. If people are frustrated, make it so the community is the help they need.

I don't want an easy game, I want one with a balance of it's micro accordingly to it's macro (or the opposite) not too much of both, and as a personal preference and since the economy/base building in this game is pretty heavy I'm mostly against too much micro. If a simpler economy was used, it might not be that much my kind of game, but heavy micro would make sense.

The game shouldn't be just dominated by frantic players, but have other ways for players to be effective as well. I favor realism a lot and the game aims to be historical anyway, but that can be left to having accurate units and civs, not throwing in every mechanic possible in the shake of realism.

Edited by Prodigal Son

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