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Thorfinn the Shallow Minded

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Posts posted by Thorfinn the Shallow Minded

  1. The problem with regarding them as cavalry is that there is not explicit reference to my knowledge of them serving to that capacity.  Sparta was notoriously incapable when it came to fielding an effectual cavalry force, and although Agesilaus II did at one point succeed on that front, it was only temporary.  At the moment, there are cavalry represented by Perioikoi, but even that seems to be a major stretch.  To be able to employ horsemen in in warfare, one usually was landed nobility, and it is highly unlikely that vassals were able to do so.  This can be supported by the fact that most of Sparta's cavalry came from league members rather than Laconia proper.  If Skiritae were cavalry, we would expect historians like Xenophon, an experienced cavalry commander, to have mentioned it.  Simply speaking, if there were Skiritae that were cavalry, it would be a small contingent representing some aristocratic caste since not all people could afford to use horses that way; the historians refer to Skiritae collectively as scouts, not a mere fraction.  

    On that front, Skiritae infantry armed to fight on the frontlines and used for recon are not an exception.  The Silver Shields seem to have served a similar function in Alexander's campaigns.

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  2. 5 hours ago, borg- said:

    It would be really fun for every hero to recruit their administrative king. Administrative kings would have economy aura while combat kings would have combat aura. For this though we need some additional modelds. Maybe in the short time the idea of being able to train two heroes at the same time is more interesting.

    There are a couple obstacles to that from a historical perspective.  First, kings had little authority outside of military matters.  Of course they did sit in the Gerousia, but Ephors were much more influential.  The second problem relates to the heroes used.  Brasidas is not a king.  The simplest option would be to introduce two kinds of heroes: Eurypontid and Agaiad, and have two or three of each.  The player could train one as the primary dynasty, and the second one could be unlocked via technology.  


    On 27/6/2022 at 10:02 AM, borg- said:

    Change your cost too? Spartans didn't produce siege? Which civ did they buy from?

    The Spartans did besiege cities, but this was usually done by building siege walls (Take the siege of Plataea).  The ram is an adequate way of represent their less than creative means of taking cities.  

    I appreciate your advocating for Spartans being available at phase 1.  I would, however, encourage two suggestions that I have made in a previous thread: make them free albeit with a long training time, costing 2 population, and limiting the number of Syssita to 1 +1 per next phase.  This would encourage Spartan production yet make it extremely difficult to mass.

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  3. On 22/12/2021 at 12:01 AM, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

    Why should the "Balance Team" have any say in what features get added to the game? Isn't it their duty to balance the features the team decide to add? 

    What is balance and what is not can be a fine line.  It feels at the moment that the weight is far too conservative, but I could easily see it swinging the other way.

    10 hours ago, Stan` said:
    • Since A24 I wanted to avoid a balancing debacle and or ruin the work that had been done

    For what it's worth, yes there was a scathing criticism for issues, but I think that in part, that has to be expected with any change.  Ideally speaking those should not be taken personally, but that's asking the impossible.  

    Again this is why I think that when making changes that could both add colour to each faction, transparency is key, especially if there will be sweeping overhauls.  Likewise, since the work would focus on just one faction at a time, there could be a large amount of balance testing focussed on just it alone.  

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  4. 1 hour ago, ChronA said:

    To get out of this rut, this community needs to accept that 1. it is worth breaking things to add features, and 2. that a more bold, rough-strokes approach to balance and counter design will cause less balance problems while the game is in heavy development. Otherwise I think 0AD should accept that its game design has fully matured to its natural conclusion, and slap a beta number on the next update. ;)

    This is precisely why I proposed working with a new schema, the kill your darlings concept applied to 0 AD.  First, while the current alpha is an excellent template to work off of, it does not have to be followed to a T since the first civilisation that would be reworked could be balanced against itself.  Things would complicate themselves with each successive rework, but the important thing is that there would be a coherent idea of how each civilisation would perform beyond just looking back at previous versions.  At the same time since there would be the option to play the factions prior to the rework, players could still enjoy the variety of them without a grossly imbalanced game.  

    This would allow for much more radical departures from the current formulae.  Instead of champions always being available at the 3rd phase simply because, there could be some, like say the Spartans, who could train Spartans at the very outset.  There could be new ways of collecting resources like Athenians collecting metal from olive fields.  

    • Like 4
  5. 29 minutes ago, Yekaterina said:

    Also, houses / barracks are now used as walls to defend against cavalry rush. If barracks train faster when close to blacksmiths, this will temp the player into making economically beneficial but tactically nub decisions. 

    Personally the house walling concept is something I dislike; they take away the idea of using other structures for defence like... walls.  I think that a soft way of punishing that sort of tactic would be to allow a town phase technology that allows infantry to set buildings on fire.  If they are too close together, the fire would spread, but I digress.  Walling with buildings is nothing new to RTS games.  What we want to think about is ways of providing more nuance.  Another thing blacksmith adjacency could do is award experience to units trained from nearby barracks.  Honestly there are so many cool, thematic synergies that have remained unexplored that could add some much needed spice to the economic/base building side of the game.

    • Like 5
  6. 2 hours ago, Yekaterina said:

    Let's put it this way: even the very slight change in mechanic or stats or addition of a seemingly irrelevant unit  would suddenly make an unit or civ OP, and then upset the multiplayers. 

    Currently, it seems that A25 is one of the most balanced alpha, so why don't we use that as a foundation and do small tweaks on it as suggested by the balancing advisors?

    Then, for excitement, we can add new aesthetics and new maps, which pleases the singleplayers without upsetting the hardcore TG players. 

    We can also introduce upgraded versions of the AI, if the singleplayers fancy a challenge! See Res Gestae mod by nagasushi.  

    This is precisely why I would propose a systematic approach to updating civilisations one by one.  There would be time to forge a clear identity to how they would work, yet at the same time since it would just be that civilisation, players would be able to see how matchups with it and other factions would function.  Choices would be deliberate, not either dogmatically following the whims of the meta or taking in every shiny idea..  That said, I see the balancing advisors to be have a valid place here, noting where things are broken and noting where fixes could be made.

    At the moment the economies for civilisations run fairly similar to each other, which I find unfortunate, especially since a large amount of a players concentration has to be dedicated to it.  It also can be fun to build aesthetically nice cities in game, but there are no rewards to consider with building placement.  What if there was one faction that had reduced training time to barracks placed next to blacksmiths?  The Romans could also have their Temple of Vesta offer increased gathering speed to nearby women.

    11 hours ago, alre said:

    wrong. 0AD design choices are all near sighted because there is no long term project, not because of general focus on balance. actually devs give fairly little attention to balancing.

    Maybe so, but the point is still valid.  There is no clear documentation of where the team wishes to take the civilisations from a design perspective (There are documents on each civilisations design, but those seem to have been left by the wayside.), and this would perhaps fix that apparent issue.

    • Like 1
  7. First I would like to offer the disclaimer that an emphasis on balance is not a bad thing.  It helps to maintain a thriving community, and the community is integral to an open source topic.  That said, many design decisions that have changed the game on an integral level were done so with balance in mind, not an end vision.  Again, this is not bad either, but ultimately it means that many of 0 AD's design choices are near sighted and balanced =/= good design.

    Ultimately a problem I see with the game from this standpoint is that the factions are fairly bland.  Yes, there are restrictions to what units are available, but at the end of the day a Persian spearman has the same statline most other factions.  Many great proposals have been done to flesh them out better.  I would particularly mention wowgetoffyourcellphone's and my own, but I'm sure that there are plenty of others.  Despite often a great amount of thought being put into them and at least some of the community having positive opinions on the alterations, to my knowledge little if anything gets done.  This is ultimately motivated by the fact that these would throw the balance in flux.  While this is exasperating to people who would like change, the points behind these conservatives are valid.  The multiplayer community might suffer.  

    That said, I think that there is a reasonable compromise that 0 AD can and should take to help diversify factions and gameplay for the longterm without ruining the competitive scene.

    One by one factions could experience overhauls with key things in mind:

    How would their economy function differently from other ones?

    Are there any ways to reward strategic building placement?  

    Are there any glaring inaccuracies in the design?

    What are current strategies used in the competitive scene, and how could these be expanded upon?

    These new iterations of the factions would initially be an option until all factions have experienced an overhaul, allowing for players to freely choose between the current, more balanced faction designs and the more experimental ones.  Then, the team could in theory even turn around and continue the cycle of overhauls.  

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  8. 17 hours ago, Lion.Kanzen said:

    they should leave them for the maps.(editor)

    Definitely that would be fair.

    15 hours ago, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

    Yet, she was massively influential.

    True, but her ability was in recruiting foreign leaders to side with her.  Her retreating at the Battle of Actium was baffling at least in my opinion.  Neither of these really are the makings of a 'hero,' but I am sure that there are some qualities to her I've missed.  

    16 hours ago, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

    Cleomenes III are definitely better choices than Agis III.

    I would support this even though he was not ruling during the Golden Age, but that would definitely be contingent on Sparta having access to pikemen.

    16 hours ago, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

    Iphicrates isn't bad. He did pretty much win a war against Sparta single-handedly. Miltiades is a good choice though, along with Aristides and maybe Thucydides.

    While Iphicrates is hardly bad, he is again outside the scope of Athenian hegemony.  Aristides would be a redundancy to me.  Pericles fills the role of statesmen pretty well as is.   Thucydides was a phenomenal historian; his quality as a general is difficult to assess as he is only known for being late to the Battle of Amphipolis. 

    Another alternative I would offer would be for Cimon to be represented.


    • Like 1
  9. At the very least their removal and replacement should be strongly considered.  0 AD attempts to represent factions at their zenith.  

    Cleopatra was reigning when the Ptolemies were in decline; she might be iconic, but that does not change the fact.

    Agis III reigned when Sparta was at most a minor regional power.  The Spartan golden age could be considered immediately following the Peloponnesian War, but during the Persian Wars and up to the Battle of Leuctra would be a more general point.  Agis IV died heroically, but so did many other kings.  As a final note, having more hitpoints is just boring.  Agesilaus II would be an objectively better king to select in my completely unbiased opinion.

    Iphicrates suffers from the same problem.  The Golden Age of Athens could be regarded as from the Persian Wars up to the end of the Peloponnesian War.  He is simply after that.   I would argue for someone like Miltiades who could have a similar function.

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  10. 23 hours ago, LetswaveaBook said:

    I think Sparta without Spartans is weird, but it is also weird to have only one champion unit and let it be available early.

    Small typo there.  Allow me to show how it could be rewritten:

    "I think Sparta without Spartans is weird, and it is also unique to have only one champion unit and let it be available early."

    Jokes aside, I don't see non-citizens as a champion being a good candidate despite the mechanics you proposed being interesting.  Those individuals seemed to be rather rare.  Xenophon probably only was able to get such an education for his children due to his personal friendship with Agesilaus.  

    To me the skiritae unit virtually occupies the second champion slot despite being a citizen soldier.  There are definite problems with its current state (why is it so slow?) that I think would make it not just a beefy legionnaire.   

    Removing champions in fact might be a good way of improving diversity.  Rome for instance, had horrendous cavalry compared to that of Carthage, leading to much of Hannibal's success, yet in game their consular bodyguards are considered first rate.  I would strongly advise removing it to better establish Rome as a predominantly infantry and siege based civilisation.  Why does the bodyguard exist?  Because the commandments of game design dictated that all civilisations should only have two available champions at the time.  

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  11. 3 hours ago, BreakfastBurrito_007 said:

    The only way I could see this happening would be to give the sparta the option to train hoplites 1 at a time for 30 seconds each from the cc to prevent them from booming women while making hoplites for free, this way the 0 cost of hoplites would also be an opportunity cost of the CS and women that could not be trained in the meantime. This feature is one that would be either not strong enough and no one would ever use or too strong and it would be OP.

    Keep in mind that building the Syssiton itself is an expense; supposing that there was no batch training possible and Spartans had something like a sixty second training time, I would hardly call that a completely broken mechanic.  This could be coupled with their champions having reduced stats that improve with each subsequent phase.  Making them spawn from the Civic Centre would make the Syssiton a redundancy, an unideal outcome.

    My point is that Spartans should be able to viably have Spartans at the beginning of the game in a way that is not a massive opportunity cost.  Keep in mind that we are talking merely hypothetically, and calling such a mechanic either weak or overpowered is a false dichotomy without further experimentation.

    • Like 4
  12. I believe that I already outlined my opinion much earlier regarding a very obvious Spartan gimmick:

    Be able to train Spartans at phase 1.  Simply speaking Sparta without Spartans is stupid.  My proposal in a thread regarding ways to diversify champions included making making Spartan hoplites free as well, only offset by a lengthly recruitment time, two population, and a hard cap of one Syssiton in the Village Phase and +1 for each subsequent one.  Technologies would be able to change the characteristics of its citizenry over time, making each Phase give an option to represent the political elements affecting Spartans.

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  13. Crush, Hack, and Pierce attack types do not have to conform to reality.  Simply speaking there are plenty of abstractions as is.  Swordsmen for instance dealing hack damage in the case of the legionnaire makes little sense as the gladius functioned primarily as a stabbing weapon.  Likewise spearheads could oftentimes be used for cutting, as represented by medieval treatises on the matter.  The terms hack, pierce, and crush are merely lovingly face-lifted from Age of Mythology.  Yes, the terms generalise and are unoriginal, but they kind of work (outside of the fact that spearmen and pikemen suddenly become worse at demolishing buildings and destroying rams).

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  14. 21 minutes ago, maroder said:

    And yes imo spearman should also be able to reasonably counter cav.

    Again though, the conversation is always about equally numbered spears against cavalry.  If we have 15 spearmen against 10 advanced sword cavalry, how does the fight play out assuming no micro? (I genuinely don't know since I do not have the game installed due to lack of available space)  

    If I am not mistaken, mercenary cavalry cost a bit less, but I think the comparison is still fair.  

    More importantly, how do you think it should play out?

  15. Could somebody clarify the spearman versus sword cavalry matchup?  How does rank 1 versus 1 play out?  Obviously in most cases sword cavalry cost 150 resources, meaning that engaging against spearmen with a narrow win is already inefficient, yet at the same time spearmen are extremely slow, meaning that cavalry rarely have to take these unfavourable engagements.  It is that problem that I believe makes sword cavalry difficult; their counter to them has no easy way of getting close enough to force fights.  The question that we maybe should ask ourselves is if spearmen are not an adequate counter, what is?

  16. 21 hours ago, borg- said:

    Some victories ofc, but nothing that in my view justifies a bonus. They were feared on land not at sea like the Athenians for example, although a Persian financing technology for some warships would be very interesting.


    19 hours ago, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

    Similar to Epigamia for Seleucids, Spartans could have a "Persian Patronage" tech that spawns X number of Triremes.

    Precisely.  I don't necessarily want a naval superpower Sparta, but I would like there to be some niche options available to the faction in which a sudden new flood of naval units could pave the way for a landing, where they could really shine.

    • Like 1
  17. 20 hours ago, borg- said:

    5- Spartans lost tough naval battles in your history, why should there be any naval bonuses?

    On the contrary they had a number of great successes in the latter half of the Peloponnesian War in part due to the genius of Lysander, but another major way in which they were able to turn the tide was through the funding of Persia.  I could see there being a one time technology that would give x number of free ships to Sparta.

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  18. On 10/9/2021 at 2:21 AM, alre said:

    - I have read in history sources, that polearms were often weapons of choice of footed soldiers against knights, on 1v1 just as much as in mass, and even if massed soldiers can more easily stop a cavalry charge, I don't really see what difference does the weapon make in that

    The spear/polearm being specifically designed to combat cavalry is a bit of an RTS convention; simply by virtue of much better reach spears were used by and large by all infantry regardless of whether they were facing cavalry or not.  Whether a spearman would outperform a horseman one-on-one is a triviality in which matters of other equipment, training, etc,... complicate the matter.  

    On 10/9/2021 at 2:21 AM, alre said:

    - consider that in 0AD soldiers don't fight in formation (ranged units may do, but not melee) so it doesn't make much sense to me to grant them any bonus. It is true that formations had a role, historically, in combat too, but for that you'd need formations much more flexible than those we have, so that soldiers can stay in formation while fighting

    Even if the game does not embrace a battalion system, it would be nice for players to benefit from engaging in orderly formations.  Even making it possible if only suboptimal would be a nice change of pace.  I personally like to see my troops in proper battle lines, but the stand ground stance is annoyingly restrictive while the defensive stance goes too much in the other extreme.  

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  19. On 4/7/2021 at 2:44 PM, ChronA said:

    do not dispute that reducing the turn rate or persistence of formations would make them unusable in 0 AD as it currently exists. However that's only because 0 AD fails so miserably at simulating some of the basic dynamics of ancient warfare. Without those simulation improvements there is really no point in having formations. They don't meaningfully interact with any other game systems. (Contrast AoE2, where they are at least used for micro against splash damage sources.)

    That is an unfortunate aspect of the current gamestate.  In the past there were a few ways the original team though that they could be more useful.  These included making individual target random units in the formation in such a way that ranged units and melee could never focus fire a single unit.  Others included a number of buffs and debuffs.  Phalanx for instance made hoplites generally tougher at the expense of being slower.  Seeing just a few of these ideas in the game could perhaps make the mosh pit battles a less common occurrence.

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  20. A lot of people have been throwing flak at Biden, and while I would not say the withdrawal was the best parade out of a country, I find it unfair to push all of the blame on him.  Clearly he was acting on some intelligence, and the idea that the government would collapse in a number of weeks I would say blindsided much of the world, myself included. The New York Times has an interesting article on the matter that might be worth a read.  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/18/us/politics/afghanistan-intelligence-agencies.html

    Obviously he could have delayed the pullout considering the warning signs, but that would have been political suicide.  Keeping to the arranged time was arguably the best bad decision, but quite obviously mistakes were made by Biden and a large number of others.

    • Like 1
  21. On 22/8/2021 at 10:52 AM, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

    I would turn Skiritai into the "Eagle Warriors" from AOE2. Essentially really fast spearmen, good for raiding and flanking, but can get massacred by swordsmen and archers if they don't keep on the move.

    That I could generally get behind.  It could even open up the divergent upgrades, one that focusses on pierce armour and the other that ups their melee attack so that in one case they could have better survivability in raids or in attacking ranged units, or in the other case being a force to be reckoned with in a pitched battle.

    On 28/8/2021 at 9:15 PM, Marbod said:

    Even though i like this very much, the most obvious simple thing to diversify would be the ability of champions to gain experience.

    I attack you with new "trained" (called, bought) champions but you have still some who already seen 3 battles.

    I'm not sure if I would extend an option for champions to gain for all cases, but it could be cool to have one or two do so.  To paraphrase Syndrome, if all champions gain experience, no champions gain experience.  I guess that didn't really make much sense, but the point still stands.

  22. I edited the initial post to include a few suggestions I thought were good ideas along with a few additional thoughts and clarifications I thought of following the post.  Skiritae are kind of weird in that they are regarded as a champion unit but don't actually fulfil that role since they are citizen soldiers.  With this change Spartans would be the only faction with one champion (two if they had access to Spartan pikemen but I digress).  This would be an interesting difference from others.  As for Skiritae, them being super swordsmen is not really a proper approach to them; a more accurate one would be that they were one of the more mobile elements of the army that was generally higher quality than other non-citizens, and doing this would help show that in my opinion.

  23. 13 hours ago, chrstgtr said:

    I like most of these. Balancing gets tough. But this makes them closer to somewhere between a hero and a CS instead of just being a stronger CS. 

    Glad you do; giving any suggestions for changes or additions is obviously welcome.  As a clarifier, Spartan Hoplites would never be able to be batch trained.  That could quite obviously abuse their lack of any cost.  

    14 hours ago, PyrrhicVictoryGuy said:

    kataphracts: more armor

    hetairoi/agema: +speed, +small bonus vs infantry and reduced bonus vs cav.

    One of the things I tried to do when writing up a list of examples was to go beyond the mere defined role.  Think about Age of Empires II.  A berserk was like a champion but also regenerated.  Cataphracts were like knights but with a bonus versus infantry.  

    Kataphracts having more armour could maybe work if they have a speed reduction as well.

    Hetairoi having more speed and a bonus versus infantry could work as viable trade off for not performing as well against cavalry.  That said, I can't think of a historical justification for it, but not everything needs that.

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