Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Karamel

[Design] Unit roles

Recommended Posts

Considering that the current unit roaster is not reconsidered, what should be the general role of each unit type?

There are plenty of things that can be tweaked and differences from the same unit class in different civs but should the same class have the same abilities?

So here is an open discussion topic for unit class role, that could be validated (or not) on a design meeting later.

From the design documents

Infantry: http://trac.wildfiregames.com/wiki/List%3A_Entities%3A_Player%3A_Infantry

Cavalry: http://trac.wildfiregames.com/wiki/List%3A_Entities%3A_Player%3A_Cavalry

There are also a lot of details in each civilization description.

Generally armies were composed of mostly infantry with more or less cavalry (maybe around 1/10).

Unit class role

Spearmen

Spearmen were the core of most armies. Often found heavily armored, or at least with a large shield.

The phalanx was designed for the 2 first row to fight together.

General role: basic infantry, medium melee range

Strength: good armor, good against cavalry (just need to point the incoming target)

Weakness: subject to hit'n run (see Battle of Lechaeum, where Athenians derouted unsupported Spartian hoplites with skirmishers hit'n running them)

Pikemen

Pikemen are a variation of the Greek hoplites with a longer weapon and ligher armor for more mobility and charging abilities.

They compensate their lack of armor with using the pike upward as a deflector for projectiles when in pack.

Also in pack the forest of pikes makes a frontal assault almost a suicide, with multiple rows of soldiers protecting the front (see siege of Atray, were the roman infantry couldn't advance and persian chariots hold in the battle of Gaugamela).

But if very strong from the front, they were almost not able to fight back from the side or back. Once the ennemy has passed the pike, the weapon was almost useless and with no proper armor the pikemen didn't last long (see battle of Pydna, where the Macedonian phallangites were defeated because disorganised by the rough terrain. The Roman took a great advantage once in close quarter).

General role: strong infantry, long melee range

Strength: get the best when in good order and in sufficient number, super strong against cavalry

Weakness: almost ineffective individually or disorganised

Swordmen

Swordsmen are stronger melee infantry. A good sword was expensive and more restricted to an elite.

The Roman Testudo allowed them to advance under cover.

General: strong infantry, short melee range

Strength: the best melee fighter one on one

Weakness: short range (less shield effect of 3 on 1), less suited against cavalry

Javelinists

Javelinist are short range support troops. They were usually going before the front infantry line, throw a javelin or two and retreat back to soften the advancing troops. They were also equiped with a secondary melee weapon but not matching their dedicated fellows.

General: infantry support troop, skirmishers

Strength: strong short-range troop, expert of hit'n run (see Battle of Lechaeum), good mobility

Weakness: lightly armored

Slingers

Slingers were used as skirmishers like javelinists. The finest slingers would use some hi-piercing bullets with great accuracy and long range. A sling shot could be very fast from an experimented slinger.

It was said the slingers could outrange even archers by Xenophon, saying the Ten Thousands couldn't approach the Persian with the lack of slingers on cavalry.

General: infantry support troop, long range mass killers, skirmishers

Strength: longest range troop

Weakness: not armored, unprecise (doesn't work well on small targets)

Archers

Archers are long range troops. Like their javelinist counterparts they usually acted before the melee battle or target fleeing ennemies. They seemed to be historically efficients with quick long range hi-piercing arrows, and archer continued to exist long after the game period (contrary to some other units).

To distinguish them from javelinists they would be long range support troop unable to hit'n run and very vulnerable to any attack. Still with a shorter range than slingers but better accuracy.

General: long range general purpose unit

Strength: long range

Weakness: not armored

Spear cavalry
The spear cavalry is the heavier one. It is well armored and has the best weapon for pinning down ennemies. Even if it is not the most manœuvrable.

They are so the most expensive cavalry. I haven't found a clear reference cavalry weapons, but they was very often light and heavy cavalry. The spear cavalry would be the heavy one.

Strength: good and reliable cavalry
Weakness: expensive, weak against spears and pikes are their nightmare

Sword cavalry

Sword was not the weapon of choice to fight mounted. Celtic sword cavalry tend even to fight by foot and get back to their horse afterward.

For the game, they would be the light cavalry. They are best suited for raiding and targeting strategic points (siege units, support troops).

Strength: deal a lot of damage quickly
Weakness: not well armored they will not stay long in open fight

Javelin cavalry
Dedicated mounted javelin throwers weren't mentionned historically. They were mostly bound with spear cavalry, throw some javelin as secondary weapon before joining the battle.

For the game, they would be the top hit'n run unit, but more expansive than the infantry javelinists.

Strength: strong at hit'n running, more efficient than their infantry counterpart by being faster
Weakness: because faster than the infantry, they will be lightly armored to be still counterable by other cheaper skirmishers or archers. Otherwise they wouldn't have significant weakness.

Archer cavalry
Fast long range unit, but rare at that time. Mounted archers will after be the most effective unit in the battlefield, until heavy armored knight came. Historically truely overpowered, combining the strength of the bow with the speed of a horse, even able to shoot back while running away.

Strength: fast and long range, hard to pick
Weakness: no armor, to give them a weakness, not so much ability to hit'n run

Elephant

They were very few elephants in the battles, but they were devastating. Battle tactics often consisted of not fighting the elephants directly.

They were frightened during the battle of Zarma and some of them turned back against the Carthaginian army. The charge was driven past the ranks to be dealt in the back by skirmishers.

Strenght: very durable and powerfull
Weakness: very expansive, can lose control

Edited by Karamel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My ideas about unit roles:

Sword infantry: basic infantry for Romans; taking missiles from enemy and hold force for enemy's infantry.

For other civs elite infantry with same role. Do not counter cav!!

Spear/hoplites: Same role as Roman sword for other civs (taking fire and holding infantry) AND DO counter for cav.

Pikeman: special hoplite, elite in holding infantry and cav from the front almost without losses. Vulnerable to missiles and flank/back.

Spear cav: shock/charge force. Good to ride down skirm and charge melee infantry from flanks/back. Too fast to really be hurt by skirm.

Sword cav: counter for spear cav (good up-close) and good vs buildings. Like city flanking unit. Too fast for skirm but very vulnerable any mellee infantry.

Ranged cav: basic cav made for the hunt. Using hit and run to kill other cav (fastest cav). Do little damage to infantry too. Countered by any ranged infantry.

Javelin: pikeman and ranged cav and other skirm killer at close range. Vulnerable to mellee cav. Less good than regular mellee infantry but ok in mellee.

Archer: like javelin but less attack and long range. So slower killing at longer range. Very vulnerable in mellee.

Slinger: good versus all infantry at medium range. Very vulnerable in mellee.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In AOE Slingers are good vs defensive structures but these rol was cover by skirmishes in AoK. ( I mean high resistance vs towers)

-You forgot a special class like Maceman, it's like sword but with more crush attack and less pierce or cut.

- Chariot it's another range cavalry but these in the old alphas aren't weak vs spearman

- and a variant of Elephant are the ranged elephant...

Many of this aren't in design document because nobody planned introduce the Mauryans.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Lion for showing me the gaps in my mind :fool:

Slingers should be good vs buildings indeed

Maceman: weak vs all units (no armor) but good vs buildings. Being living siege.

Chariot: can trample down all infantry, shoot down ranged cav. but vulnerable to all other cav.

Elephant: Good vs mellee infantry (stampede) and cav (terror), but easy to kill with any ranged. Also good vs building; another walking siege machine

Ranged Elephant: having great health, so being able to stand long against vs any mellee. Attack from a long range but slow movement and vulnerable to other ranged.

Siege ram: stand long to ranged attacks. Good vs building (walls even better). Vulnerable vs mellee and woman. City siege equipment.

Catapult: good vs building and masses. Have long range to shoot inside towns etc. Hold long vs ranged. Vulnerable to mellee and woman. City siege equipment.

Bolt shooter: field artillery, to shoot down some incoming units: high attack and medium/long range. Hold long vs ranged But slow movement and Vulnerable to mellee and woman.

Woman: weak vs everything but siege (Spartan have some bonus). Good at gathering food

Slaves (converted units -not in game yet-): weak vs everything. Good at mining.

Edited by bouke

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think sword cav be countered by spear cav and be efficient against infantry. It makes no sense to me that if you have a lance someone with a sword can hit you :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think sword cav be countered by spear cav and be efficient against infantry. It makes no sense to me that if you have a lance someone with a sword can hit you :)

Simple, the lance is too cumbersome to waive around and duel with swords...

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've search a bit about Yoddha warriors, but just to see that they were men living a war-way of life, heavily armored wielding a broad sword or sometime an Indian mace. But not much more about them which could make them different from just an elite infantry.

About chariots they were kind of outdated already (the Persian ones being more prestigious than effective). Still it had an interesting combo with an archer or javelinist that could attack while the chariot was charging (moreover with the scynthe on Persian ones).

I have found that cavalry didn't engaged the infantry directly but was very strong when it came to strike from the side or back. They were often deployed on the flanks mainly to prevent the other cavalry to flank them... Once the cavalry battle was over, they wold join the infantry from the side or the back.

From the spear vs sword debate, if the spear takes the swordman down before being at range, the spear won. If it miss, the sword would take advantage of closer range.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From the spear vs sword debate, if the spear takes the swordman down before being at range, the spear won. If it miss, the sword would take advantage of closer range.

So spears have more charge but less recular attack then swords.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My biggest issue here is the term 'overpowered' in these unit roles. It seems major gameplay imbalances are built in already. The only units that should be coined as overpowered are champions. Archers have their weaknesses, according to Xenophon's accounts one of these is being outranged by lead shot slingers

Ranged harassment should not be a short-term substitute for an actual infantry assault like it has been. I'm still all for the missile spread modifier to be used to calm archer superiority. It would also make cavalry being a bigger target a factor.

As far as spears vs swords, melee range plays a huge part in gameplay, getting the first hit in and the ability for multiple ranks to support the front line make spears very strong in formation, pikes even stronger.

I dont want to flaunt my mod too much but i feel like the pike units are reasonably balanced to where they can destroy lightly armored short ranged units if they're attacked in a Syntagma. Out of formation they're clumsy and awkward and get torn apart by short range infantry.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that in order to have a proper unit balance analysis we need to factor in cost-effectiveness. Thus a unit may be admittedly stronger than another as long as it's price (and, dare I dream, maintenance) is proportionally higher.

E.g. horse-archer vs foot-archer

This would allow tthe existence of heavily-armored horse-archers, which did exist as an elite component of several armies, instead of the suggestion above of nerfing their armor as part of a purely gameplay consideration rather than an historical example...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

About balancing and roles, there are a lot of ways to balance units. Either by effectiveness, cost, requirements… But balancing will hapen later once you know what you want to achieve.

Also when I said overpowered, I meant archers were very effective in battle, not that they should be overpowered :) Anyway, thanks for pointing a slinger trait.

Talking about spreading, it may be something rather important: precise weapons are more dedicated to pick a single target, whereas weapons with large spread should be more suited to target large groups. Not to say which one should get higher spread value but that the size of the target(s) can enter in unit roles.

Edited by Karamel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've update range units with a corrected use of slingers. They would have a very long range but poor accuracy, being better when dealing with large targets (being massed units or maybe a building) and work worse against small or individual units. In fact there is two way of throwing a bullet, one direct short range accurate way, and the other parabolic long range less accurate.

Thus javelinists would get the most effectiveness from the ranged troops but requires to take more risks. More suited to ge in the battle and deal with it from the inside.

Archers would have larger range and no armor, so be better from the outside.

Slingers would outrange every other one, but would be more covering an army blindly with stones. They would in fact act like mini-catapults, with faster rate of fire but obviously way less damage (and it was cheap).

Stan had done some work on unit turrets, chariots could then take their power from the mounted units (be it like two archers or javelinists). Which seems to be more the way they were used.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agree with Rangel of archers, but they must be vulnerable to melee cavalry ( spear / lancer / sword) archer are last line before elite and general body guard, when fight is after first skirmish encounters, when are over wall are very effective but no more than slinger ( defending) but superior at taking in a siege probably fire arrows against defenders.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Archers would have larger range and no armor, so be better from the outside.

Why "no armor"? Various civilizations had archers with varying degrees of armor protection...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a good point. Some civ archers have more armors than others. Like some spearmen being lightly armored and even swordmen.

But if the unit from the civilization may differ, their general strenght and weaknesses should remain the same (but more proeminent or not). For archers it would be being in a bad position when they can be reached.

So in fact "no armor" is not a good term for the role, I set it more to say they are generaly less durable once in range (even if they could be civ traits exceptions).

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We can start to which Civs have archer infantry and start from there.

Step two how many archer they have ( citizen+ mercenary+ elite)

Step to start to determine the level of armor and the kind of armor

After define the armor is important define type of attack( fire power) based in type of bow ( the regular bow is not the same as a composite bow or long bow)

The third is distance determined by bow

Edited by Lion.Kanzen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's close to the way I'm setting damages and armors.

Once the general role is set for every basic unit I have something like a design contract from which I can predict some behaviour (for example spear cav countering skirmishers). Once the behaviours are set I can tweak armors and damages reasonably to make it happen more or less.

I'll open an other topic a bit later about weapon damages and general counter scheme a bit later. The next step would be designing civilizations traits (like Greek be more heavy infantry, Iberian more light guerilla...). And the final one tweak civ units stats to reflect this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The roles you outlined for units are accurate, but imo they are too different. The core issue in 0 A.D. is that most civilizations have vastly different unit rosters (see attached image).

You also need to consider the champion/citizen soldier dichotomy. All civs have spearmen. Not all civs have champion spearmen.

Here are the viable rolues imo, assuming we'll get charging someday, and not relying on formations particularly. CS = citizen soldier.

CS Spearman/Pikeman: cannon fodder, somewhat useful against cavalry charges and cavalry units. Pikeman a bit more general purpose (because Mace has no spearmen).

CS Swordsmen: more agile, slightly stronger, not really good against charging cavalry but will tear down non-charging cav. So pretty much the same unit but slightly better at raiding.

CS Ranged: Most civs have javs (except mauryans), but not all have archers. I'd say they should have mostly the same role, with javelineers being more powerful but much riskier since they'd have a much lower range. As ranged units, they would be absolutely destroyed by any melee unit, but should deal reasonable damage to unprotected units, including champions. Basically the idea is that having ranged units tips the balance in your favor.

The CS cavalry javelinist should be OK-ish at raiding and that's it. More of a scout. The CS melee cav (either sword or spear) should be useful to have a cheap mobile force that can target ranged units, but should never get into real combat. Maybe some light raiding. I don't think they should really be able to charge, or not super efficiently.

Champion melee: both spearmen and swordsmen champion units would serve the same role: be a general-purpose good army unit. I think the dichotomy from the CS can be somewhat kept, but under no circumstances should champion swordsmen really be too vulnerable to cavalry charges, or civs that have champion swordsmen (gauls, brits) will get absolutely torn down when facing the civs with cavalry champs.

The next two roles would be more niche-roles, but you'd still want them.

Champion Melee Cav: They would be countered by melee infantry, which is a problem. I think they should have the role of highly expansive, "joker" units that have an absolutely devastating charge but not much more use beyond that. A very strategic unit that would have one shot at tipping the scale of a battle in your favor if used at the right time, but get completely mauled down otherwise.

Champion archers should probably be glass cannons, compensating for a weaker base infantry. And have a sniper role.

These however would be quite strategy-dependant:

Champion cavalry archers imo should mostly be great raiding units (and I mean great) but circumstancial, they'd require your opponent's base to be somewhat open.

Not sure if we have champion cavalry javelinists except for the Iberian "siege cav", which is again circumstancial.

Slingers are an odd case. I agree with Karamel that making them longest-ranged makes sense. I think we should use them so that they become somewhat useful to bring down infantry units from a distance despite their protection (since the crush damage should go through armor - which it doesn't right now), and help against buildings and other things since the civs that have slingers are usually weaker in the siege department. But I'd make them less mobile. And a very poor accuracy. So really more of a siege helper with a slight support ability on the side.

I would add that citizen soldiers would by default be quite rubbish, but upgrading them to elite status should make them somewhat cost-efficient options against their counters.

The rock-paper-scissors would go, for both CS and champions.

Melee Inf > Melee Cav > Ranged Inf > Melee Inf (as support).

However cavalry charging into engaged melee infantry should be quite efficient to make it a viable tactic - we don't need formations for that.

Melee champions should be much stronger, which makes them the core of late-game armies. However I think they should be slower to build than they are now, to make them rarer. In combat, having unsupported champions should also be somewhat easily counterable: having ranged units, some CS melee inf to hold them and a simple cavalry charge should make short work of them. This dynamic doesn't really exist right now as champions are just waaay too tanky and mobile. But this is very reliant on population caps.

On top of that we'd have a few units with a different role intersecting in there.

Then on top of that we could add some civilization specializations. Some shielded units should have higher base pierce armor making archers or other ranged units less useful against them. Some civs would have army comp that make them more archer+melee or cav+melee. Some civilizations might have citizen soldiers that become viable units on their own with upgrades, I dunno.

I think we need to completely change where units get trained and how they get upgraded and stuff, too.

post-9128-0-26352400-1449141068_thumb.pn

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What I see is most of your CS proposal are already in Sibyllae Vox (at least from a first read) with some exceptions like spear cav which is stronger than you suggest and swordmen not that good against cavalry. I don't feel them to be very different but I may be too familiar with them. Most of the traits between the same type (melee infantry, ranged cav…) give a slight bonus but don't make them totally different from each other.

For the champion thing, you seem to suggest they are no match at all for citizen soldiers (so if a civ has a counter-champion, it wins). If champions are just better but not THE unit of phase III I don't see a good reason to split them from regular units. They are just strength that must be dealt with, not the only way to win. This point is not discussed at all and thanks for pointing it (the fact is I almost never use champions and end the game before champions are wide-spread)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All civs should be able to win regarding unit roster. I think that aoe 3 made a good design (at least in the vanilla), some civs were harder to play but could strike hard with the right strategy. Today I played some games, and almost everybody playeed Britons. Currently rushing it's not viable and therefore turtling it's not needed.

When designing unit military roles, you should take into account economic side. Booming it's the only strategy cause there's no real choice: you can make more or less citizien soldiers or woman, but an average player would try to set up a ranged CS economy. Cause booming it's almost the only way (to get champions), phasing doesn't have really sense.

If the idea of phase I the choice to make a rush, some structural changes have to be made. For example, as Ancient empires mod, I think that spearman (militia) should be the only unit trainable in phase in civic center. Then you could build barracks and train spearman (rank 2), one ranged (rank 2) and cavalry javeliner.

Militia units shouldn't be able to rank, in contrast with barrack infantry that should start at rank 2 with better stats, but 50% penalty at work. Then you should have to make more decisions between training units on civic center or more military oriented units in barracks. Defending a rush should be more difficult without ranged spam.

Then cavalry javs could fit main rushing role (with low range attack, but not the OP way of the first online alphas). They should die if spearman gets close, but expect hit and run tactics. If player suppose an early rush, he/she should build towers that cav javeliners shouldn't be able to stand / capture. Civic center should grow the fire potential with every phase, starting lower.

With this post only wanted to say that unit should be viewed in the broader context, taking into account the economic side of the CS, the availabilty, their role as defenders..

Sorry for the randomess.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that it's not tooo different from what you did in Sibyllae Vox, I think there are two big differences between the approach I'd take and yours:

-I'd make cav weaker than infantry. The idea is that Cav is for charging.

-It makes champion swordsman and champion spearmen mostly the same units, allowing them to always be the bulk of a strong army.

I do believe champions should be the "way to win" in general, and not just a particularly strong unit. However you don't really get another option right now because buildings are pretty much too difficult for citizen soldiers to capture or tear down.

I think part of the reason why is that garrisoning is a little too efficient, and too used as a mechanism in 0 A.D. in general.

In a mod I'm working on I'm currently making champions have about 3 times the attack and 2 times the resistance (same HP, higher armor), but I think their HP should be bump-able by tech (I'm also slowly starting to think of techs). So basically yes they are no match for citizen soldiers. They are very costly units though, so they're not really as cost-effective as it seems.

I think the progression should go:

-first 15-20 minutes battles with citizen soldiers, where hard counters are more possible so you can't just insta-win. But winning then needs to be possible, and in 0 A.D. right now it's kinda hard.

-Champions would come into play slowly, it should take some time to get a sizable army (and a few champs won't be a match for ranged units).

-in parallel you could research technology to make your citizen soldiers better counter units. I don't think all civs should have the possibility of improving all citizen soldiers, though. Fully upgraded, you might end up with units that are more cost-effective than champions, but the pop cap makes champions attractive. It's also a bit of a choice between champions and upgraded CS, so we should probably try to differentiate on that

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me battle longer are the formula, you can have time to think more like total war, order your units make formations, like total war

You can save units , if you are been defeated by a counter, and you can hold an attack.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On regards to cav, there were some units that could definately hold their own in a melee, and were used to not only charge, but plow though entire armies just fighting. The prime example is Hetairoi. If one looks at how Alexander used them at Guagemala, they got off a good charge, but held their own against the Persian infantry quite well. Right now, cav needs to be a tad stronger in my opinion. I'm only using them out of practice for the next alpha, but they are pretty much useless.

All civs, Rome and Iberians excepted, have spears or pikes as a base unit, (and the aformentioned factions can get spears easily) and because of the low armour of cav, they get slaughtered immediately. The only cav that I use that doesn't drop like flies instantly is the Seleucid Cataphract, but that is because it has insane armour, like it should.

And due to the expense of cav, and the economic drain to keep a powerful cav arm ready, they need to be stronger, not for historical accuracy reasons, but for gameplay reasons. That, or their price needs to be lowered, because a fairly expensive throwaway unit is not preferable to a slightly less expensive infantry that can hold its own better. At this stage, there is no point in using cav.

Edited by SeleucidKing

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...