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Proposals for game mechanic enhancement for better unit balancing

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Currently we have three types of damage

  • Pierce: done mainly by archers, spearmen, skirmishers, …
  • Hack: done mainly by swordsmen
  • Crush: done mainly by siege units, such as catapults, battering rams, …
That leads to some problems when designing the counter-unit-relation. For example we want (generally spoken) swordsmen to effective against skirmishers, skirmishers to be effective against bowman and bowman to be effective against swordsmen. Because skirmishers and bowmen do the same damage (pierce) giving swordsmen a good armour against skirmishers will also improve them equally against bowmen which we don't want.

Proposal 1

Introducing another type of damage for skirmishers/bowmen could of course solve the problem. But what should that be? Both deal ranged pierce damage. I think an idea of resolving this could be found in the real world. The difference between a thrown spear and an arrow is the kinetic energy. You can read in several articles (e.g. in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bow_and_arrow) that bows had the advantage that shot arrows have/had a higher kinetic energy than a spear thrown by an arm. An arrow with high kinetic energy was able to destroy an armour, as demonstrated for example here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCE40J93m5c. A thrown spear didn't have sufficient energy to do that damage.

In the game 0ad that can be used like this. Let every unit have a kinetic-energy-value for an attack, and an armour a value determining the absorption of kinetic energy. Swordsmen the can have an armour which can deal well with the less kinetic energy of the thrown spears of skirmishers. They can reach them and – because skirmishers have a very low armour on everything – kill them easily. On the other side the swordsman's armour wouldn't perform well against the high-kinetic-energy pierce damage of bowmen and would be weakened to much before a swordsman can reach the bowman. Skirmishers on the other side don't need to reach the bowmen because they have range themselves (and move quicker than swordsmen with heavy armour). The just throw their spears and the bowmen should be vulnerable to high-kinetic-energy pierce damage as well as low-kinetic-energy pierce damage performed by the skirmishers (which themselves could have a better armour against high-kinetic-energy pierce damage). So the situation described above is resolved.

Of course the concept with kinetic energy is also of use in other situations. For example the crush damage of a battering ram comes with less kinetic energy than the one of a catapult. And a two-handed sword also performs damage with more kinetic energy than a longsword.

Proposal 2

Another idea would be to introduce – instead of the kinetic energy – a probability to avoid a hit, as done for example by a game like http://wesnoth.org. They describe it here: http://www.wesnoth.org/manual/stable/manual.en_GB.html#_fighting; We can use it, to give skirmishers a high probability to avoid arrows (because they are more agile than swordsmen with their heavy armour).

What do you think? Any other ideas? Any objections and proposals to improve that?

Edited by joergdw
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Reimplement counter system. Boom. :)

I do like idea of attack energy and stuff like this, thinking outside the box, but what's the probklem with just giving the "skirmisher" in your example a debuff vs. "swordsman"? It is all math anyway.

But that's a hard counter – the developers said that they are in favour for soft counters.

Btw. it shouldn't be that much work. Add two parameters and include them in the damage formula. If the developers like the idea, we can start talking about the how. (If not, we can stop discussion here.)

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But that's a hard counter – the developers said that they are in favour for soft counters.

This is a mistake on their part. Like I said, it is all math anyway. It is just as valid to make a hard counter ( a multiplier) to do what you want units to do as to fiddle with other numbers to attempt (and fail) to do the same thing. There is no "win" in spending hundreds of man-hours in making soft-counters work when hard-counters are already there and workable. Only the end product matters

Btw. it shouldn't be that much work. Add two parameters and include them in the damage formula. If the developers like the idea, we can start talking about the how. (If not, we can stop discussion here.)

The current developerrs certainly have the "direction" they want to take the the combat. It is possible that direction will change when new developers come... current developers seem pretty committed to current thinking, which is why I make my own mod). But if there is good idea I am sure they will consider. They dont communicate much on the forrum. Maybe you can try chat room.

Edited by wowgetoffyourcellphone
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You need to understand the usage of the weapons, armour, tactics, and situation. For example, one of the Roman pilum's purpose is to burden and break shields; therefore, it would also mean its suitable to use against other infantry. People don't hack at each other until someone breaks, fighting is more of a thinking and speed situation with timing and endurance as constant factors. Kinetic energy alone should not be what decides the counters.

Edited by Sighvatr
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