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Grugnas

[A21] Catapults

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The subject of this thread are the Catapults, a ranged siege able to attack enemy buildings from distance. I'd like to discuss about their usability in games, arguing about some weak spots of this siege obviously showed in the replay attached to this post.

Let's begin with the range:

Catapults are ranged units and, as all ranged units, they are supposed to attack from distance going to detriement of their health(they only have 100 hp) / armor and accuracy. Towers with range increase tech (expecially if supported by an outpost) are able to attack them in particular iberian towers  that inflict higher damage than regular towers due garrison capacity. Since towers are able to attack them, soldiers trying to repair catapults will be damaged aswell making the repair even harder. There is a Seleucid Hero who decreases building health by 20%, by the way, since  the aura range of that hero cover 70mt, such hero is forced to be under enemy fire in order to attack with catapults and benefit of the aura effect.

Cost:

They cost 350 stone each which is actually the highest cost of resources for a siege.

Weakness:

Rams, elephants, champions can easly destroy catapults (we are talking about few hits) due the patch/dispatch time and their slow movement speed. Sword champions expecially destroy catapults in 2 - 3 hits.

Slow Movement:

Infantry can reach catapults too easly due their slow patch time giving time to enemy infantry reach it and destroy it and for reaching i mean that, expecially without outpost vision range increase, it is really hard to move catapult before the enemy reach it, expecially talking about cavalry. The catapult would not move fast enough for escaping anyway..

Accuracy:

As any ranged units, they are exposed to an accuracy factor which reduces the siege effectiveness if compared to close-quarter sieges. There could be a tech that increases catapults accuracy, there is  one in the fortress for Bolt Shooter only.

Summing all those points, i think that catapults aren't worth to train due their high cost and weakness. My experience is that the catapults can be rescued only if they are attacking close to the own fortress and garrisoning them into it when the enemy appears from the fog of war. However in the most of cases champions of fast units destroy them anyway giving no chance to save them. For their population / resources cost, they are really not worth to train, unless playing naval maps. A player should be able to retreat catapult without risk to lose it unless the enemy uses cavalry in order to reach it so fast to don't give no time for a patch, in this way catapult could have more "survivability".

Replay attached to the post will show some of the points i listed above.

2017-01-20_0009.rar

Edited by Grugnas
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You habe to protect your catapults with some champs and only use them against buildings/walls. Then they are very valuable in game.

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Catapults are really useless now.

My proposal to them would be a slight increase in distance, hp improved maybe to 200 or 250, and most importantly, their speed, it is slow for everything, to move, to mount / disassemble and mainly to shoot, I would like to sail More agile, especially at attack speed.

I would like to talk about the darts catapults too. These I have never come to be used, are totally inute in all alphas.

Needs a total refinement, especially in its accuracy and damage, and one thing that would be very cool and realistic, the dart could cross more than one unit in line.

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As I wrote above, catapults are hard to defend due their low range. Towers will easly attack champions protecting the catapult and enemy can skip my covering units anyway and destroy it with few hits. Catapults are really hardly valuable due their weakness, the cosf / performance ratio is really low. You need more than 1 catapult in order to deal significant damage, by the way you can't train a lot of catapults because they cost too much stone and they will be destroyed easly.

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I agree

  • that they are too hard to use outside of the range of ones own fortress
  • to increase catapult and bolt shooter health from 100 to 200 or 250 (since rams have 400 and still vanish quickly)
  • to reduce catapult cost from 350 wood 350 stone to 350 wood 200 stone (as rams cost 350 wood 200 metal)
  • to give bolt shooters 75 pierce + 5 crush linear splash damage, as planned in #4328

but disagree with

  • making them outrange towers
  • making them so tanky that they are not easily destroyed by sword units anymore
  • increasing their accuracy in particular, since all units should receive a higher accuracy

Would need an ACK by @scythetwirler or @fatherbushido before changes can take effect.

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The ability to outrange defenses has been the crux of AOE siege since the original. Not because it does a particularly large amount of damage but rather forces the besieged to take action instead of hiding behind his walls. This is part of the reason I hate rams so much because taking appropriate action isnt so important as having the right units at the right time, and still taking heavy building losses regardless. I also disagree with the siege catapult damage buff because it has the exact same effect.

at the end of the day I'd rather employ strategy than brute force, which is really what my current beef with siege boils down to

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Quote

making them outrange towers

This isn't necessary if catapults have higher hp or amor, the tower damage on the catapults would be less significant on a higher amount of hp and losing workers in the act to repair it will make the action more interesting.

Quote

making them so tanky that they are not easily destroyed by sword units anymore

increasing movement speed or reducing patch time would make them easier to defend. However that has to be tested.

Quote

increasing their accuracy in particular, since all units should receive a higher accuracy

catapults could gain more accuracity by unlocking the tech aviable from the fortress just like happens with bolt shooters.

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@fatherbushido wanna commit your diff then?

Health + cost changes at D102. Couldn't convince myself to make catapults 250HP, a quick test with 400HP has shown that a single sword unit takes really too many hits to destroy it (I believe catapults should melt when encountering sword units). Catapults can easily become OP if they are too hard to destroy.

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Agree with that stuff (and that doubts too) (catapult was yet buffed in previous releases).

(Else svn games are still open for tests ;-))

(Also: @Grugnas: consider too that Roman has better siege)

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A catapult should have a massive range advantige against an arrow tower not less range, and a small buff in dps, a buff for health and speed wouldnt be needed if the range of cattapults is greatly improved and would also make for better strategy and alot more realistic gameplay, i know that it is probably too late to change for the upcoming alpha now but its a shame that there range and lack of dammage makes them such a pointless unit

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1 hour ago, Franksy said:

A catapult should have a massive range advantige against an arrow tower not less range, and a small buff in dps, a buff for health and speed wouldnt be needed if the range of cattapults is greatly improved and would also make for better strategy and alot more realistic gameplay, i know that it is probably too late to change for the upcoming alpha now but its a shame that there range and lack of dammage makes them such a pointless unit

Yes, not sure why they are so resistant to simply making the catapults outrange towers. It's probably because towers have ridiculous range as it is...

Edited by wowgetoffyourcellphone

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In terms of range we should have:

catapult > tower > organic units.

That would be the best in terms of gameplay imo (and it's realistic too).

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IMO, catapults are bad because they deal damage so slowly.  The enemy has too much time to react, counterattack, or repair the building after you start attacking it.  Also, if the enemy attacks your ally and you have only catapults, you can't counterattack the enemy like you could with rams or elephants, because they can just ignore you for a while since their buildings die so slowly.  I see that in Age of Empires II, trebuchets deal DPS similar to battering rams.  So perhaps it is possible to balance it like that by increasing the cost of catapults to compensate.

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I've heard of AoK players proclaiming that Trebuchets are OP because they outrange fortresses, which I also find a bit strange because it looked natural to me: history, reality, and even gameplay.

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5 minutes ago, sphyrth said:

I've heard of AoK players proclaiming that Trebuchets are OP because they outrange fortresses, which I also find a bit strange because it looked natural to me: history, reality, and even gameplay.

It's a ridiculous criticism, since Trebuchets are specifically anti-castle. lol They're good against buildings and that's it. Not like Siege Catapults which can mow down hundreds of enemy soldiers and destroy buildings.

Edited by wowgetoffyourcellphone
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Perhaps after last changes and,hopefully, an eventual accuracy tech applying to catapults (bolt shooters have "Bolt Accuracy" tech) their dps would increase reasonably

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(One thing would be also to set 0 0 0 to main attack stat and move them all to splash damage.)

(And perhaps point attack instead of ent attack, though that should be discuted if the change is worth.)

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