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What are your thoughts on Cavalry Gather Rates?


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Cavalry gather rates are fast, and to quantify that, I ran a number of tests with Cavalry spawning on the two player Acropolis Bay Map.  First I tested the cavalry unit collecting chickens.  The result was that the cavalry unit gathered 200 food in roughly 1 minute and 19 seconds (I set it to gather the most efficient group.).

In comparison, I set one woman to gather from the nearest berry group (without constructing a dropsite nearby) and was able to collect 50 food in that same amount of time.  Her collecting less, however, makes sense since a female unit costs one third the number of resources and has more economic flexibility than its cavalry counterpart at the cost of having next to useless stats for combat purposes.  

Three women, the equivalent resource cost, only gathered 140 food in that same timeframe mostly due to the pathfinding causing them to bump into each other.  

As some general comments, even if the women worked at peak efficiency, they still would take up three population which makes them at the immediate early game rather poor gatherers in comparison.  Granted, hunting does grow much more inefficient after the few animals within each player's border dies, and building more dropsites is generally difficult.  This does not change the fact that early on, there is an absolute no brainer to having the cavalry unit hunt instead of scouting the map.  Personally I would like to see there be a validity of either approach if we discount the possibility of cavalry being unable to perform any economic role.

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37 minutes ago, Thorfinn the Shallow Minded said:

 This does not change the fact that early on, there is an absolute no brainer to having the cavalry unit hunt instead of scouting the map.

maybe the problem is that the chicks like to be near the cc instead of the cavalry having high gather rates.

Edited by LetswaveaBook
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I think that the gather rates are fine. The cav is specialized in hunting, so it's much faster, but it can't do anything else.

This makes it also possible to replace in the late game the farming by corralling, which rewards skillful play!

It's no problem neither that chicken are close to the CC.

Conclusion: Just don't change anything

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22 minutes ago, Player of 0AD said:

I think that the gather rates are fine. The cav is specialized in hunting, so it's much faster, but it can't do anything else.

This makes it also possible to replace in the late game the farming by corralling, which rewards skillful play!

It's no problem neither that chicken are close to the CC.

Conclusion: Just don't change anything

The thing is that cavalry were not hunting specialists; I can live with them hunting faster than other units, but to me the current approach makes the unit completely one dimensional outside of combat in the early game.  Do you ever scout with your cavalry unit at the beginning of the game?  Most people don't and tend to only scout once they are attacking.  Personally I would like to see there be a roughly 50% divide of preference of scouting versus hunting depending on build orders.  Scouting could reward the player with knowing the locations of key resources and potentially allow them to grab treasures like in some maps while hunting would be a greedier yet riskier option since there would be a complete lack of intel regarding a potential rush.  

The other issue that primarily sparked this analysis was the fact that in a different thread I proposed that Sparta should lack cavalry at the beginning of the game and be only able to train them in the Town Phase to represent their poor cavalry.  This suggestion was shot down by borg for the good reason of cavalry being critical to the early economy.  I'm okay with cavalry complementing the economy, but if the problem is that by nerfing their hunting skill they become much worse, maybe there could be another way of buffing them such as having the ability to build outposts, tying into a more reconnaissance approach.

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Thumbs up for asking in a public forum!

Gather rates and carry capacity of cavalry determine if and what distance hunting makes sense. Besides hunting wild, corralling needs to be considered as well. My take is a slight decrease in gather rate and a slight increase in carry capacity would be acceptable, thou the current values are pretty fine already.

Comparing hunting vs foraging doesn't make much sense to me, having different sources produce at different speed is fine and even desirable. What should be questioned is the relative speed of hunting of cavalry vs citizen soldier and woman. I don't see a compelling reason why there should be a substantial difference for very short distances (~20m).

Having other units having the same gathering rate for hunting still leaves the cavalry as the optimal unit for hunting chickens by a bit due to faster walk speed and higher carry capacity but at least you'd have the choice of using the "scout" for scouting.

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Indeed, butchering animals should be compared with butchering animals, not with growing grain, picking fruit, or fishing.

For comparison, the current food.meat gather rates are:

basic cavalry:     5
advanced cavalry:  3.5
elite cavalry:     2.45
female citizens:   1
slaves:            1
basic infantry:    1
advanced infantry: 0.7
elite infantry:    0.49

Furthermore, cavalry has double the default resource carry capacity (20 vs 10) and melee cavalry twice the walk speed of their infantry counterparts (ranged cavalry a bit less).

If you want to maximize your food income, don't waste time on hunting, just set up a corral supply as soon as possible.

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2 hours ago, hyperion said:

Comparing hunting vs foraging doesn't make much sense to me, having different sources produce at different speed is fine and even desirable. What should be questioned is the relative speed of hunting of cavalry vs citizen soldier and woman. I don't see a compelling reason why there should be a substantial difference for very short distances (~20m).

The reason I did so was to compare a task that cavalry tend to do with one that women do as well in the immediate early game.  Fair points though.

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2 hours ago, Thorfinn the Shallow Minded said:

instead perhaps the other gather rates of citizen-soldiers and women could be adjusted to be almost or just as fast.

If that would happen, then people would put at least 3 of their citizens on chickens at the start and your eco would be skyrocketing for the first few minutes. Also if you scout can push the deer to the cc it would be a huge bonus making map gen way more decisive.

Edited by LetswaveaBook
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14 hours ago, LetswaveaBook said:

If that would happen, then people would put at least 3 of their citizens on chickens at the start and your eco would be skyrocketing for the first few minutes. Also if you scout can push the deer to the cc it would be a huge bonus making map gen way more decisive.

Fair objection.  There could however be a marginal increase, bringing the value from 1 to 2 or even just 1.5 that would make the option of putting a few women or men to hunting viable but not optimal.

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Well, putting 3 woman on chickens means 3 less on berries. It indeed increases food gathering efficiency at the start slightly but I see little harm here. Currently up to 25 pop there is pretty much only one way to play. Some additional early food would allow some diversification as the limiting factor of constant unit production from the CC can be easier fulfilled.

Bringing gathering rate up to 1.5-2 probably wouldn't make it viable alternative to berries or cav hunting due the walking distance. Gather rates are very high compared to carry capacity in 0ad, which is fine, just if you look at efficiency it makes walk distance (and path-finding) incredibly important.

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On 12/4/2021 at 7:40 AM, hyperion said:

Bringing gathering rate up to 1.5-2 probably wouldn't make it viable alternative to berries or cav hunting due the walking distance. Gather rates are very high compared to carry capacity in 0ad, which is fine, just if you look at efficiency it makes walk distance (and path-finding) incredibly important.

This is more an attempt to bring variety to the immediate early game, in which walking distance is not much of an issue due to the animals spawning close to the Civic Centre.  It would do little to make hunting better in other cases.

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Guess a bit of calculation is required to show the point.

Let's say the average distance for chicken to CC is 25 and ignore path finding and turn rate which make gather rate even less important for current gather rates, then currently cav has an efficiency EC5 = 20 / (2*25/15 + 20/5) = 2.72 and for inf EI1 = 10 / (2*25/10 +10/1) = 0.66.

Increase Gather rate for inf to 5, 50, and 100 it's

EI5 = 1.42

EI50 = 1.92

EI100 = 1.96

Ergo, distance to chickens is very relevant. Even with a gather rate of 1'000'000 the cav still beats the inf.

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42 minutes ago, hyperion said:

Guess a bit of calculation is required to show the point.

Let's say the average distance for chicken to CC is 25 and ignore path finding and turn rate which make gather rate even less important for current gather rates, then currently cav has an efficiency EC5 = 20 / (2*25/15 + 20/5) = 2.72 and for inf EI1 = 10 / (2*25/10 +10/1) = 0.66.

Increase Gather rate for inf to 5, 50, and 100 it's

EI5 = 1.42

EI50 = 1.92

EI100 = 1.96

Ergo, distance to chickens is very relevant. Even with a gather rate of 1'000'000 the cav still beats the inf.

Distance is relevant, and the reason I said that the space between chickens and the Civic Centre is small is because on nine out of ten random map generations it is that case; the chickens are practically hugging the building.  If we set the arbitrary distance number to two for soldiers at a gather rate of two, using roughly same equation logic, a single cavalry unit is roughly 2.58 times more efficient than a soldier, and is 1.86 if the gather rate is set to 3.  

The point is not for cavalry to beat infantry or women in this case.  Cavalry are more expensive than the other counterparts and lack flexibility, and in these short distances it would perhaps be a conceivable to put soldiers or women to work on chickens rather than cavalry.  That said, your point is otherwise quite valid in that hunting would be practically meaningless outside of this context for non-cavalry units.  

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The higher gathering rate of cavalry is one of the reasons that cavalry rushes are interesting in early game. It allows to increase food faster and to pay for the more important food cost of these units. Removing/reducing the differences would remove the incentive to make any cavalry units in early game since as it was mentioned, hunt is a finite resource and once hunt is over, cavalry have no economic role.

Assuming that all players have the same amount of hunt, if my enemy see me making cavalry and produce citizen soldiers, I would be behind by a large amount since I would have made units which are more expensive, need more time to be trained and will be useless for my economy later on in the game. Scouting will be highly rewarding since it will remove most incentives to rush with cavalry.

For me, this is a solution that might create more new problems than it solves exiting one.

 

On 10/04/2021 at 8:31 PM, Thorfinn the Shallow Minded said:

Do you ever scout with your cavalry unit at the beginning of the game?  Most people don't and tend to only scout once they are attacking.  Personally I would like to see there be a roughly 50% divide of preference of scouting versus hunting depending on build orders.  Scouting could reward the player with knowing the locations of key resources and potentially allow them to grab treasures like in some maps while hunting would be a greedier yet riskier option since there would be a complete lack of intel regarding a potential rush.  

Spoiler

 

I think this guide provides a relatively good idea about the importance of scouting and what a typical early game should look like.

I guess once you have scouted the enemy, a greedy player might simply stop producing cavalry earlier if he thinks he is safe. Putting the cavalry on chicken in early game also makes sense since as illustrated in this guide, you might have quite a lot of other actions to do in the first few seconds of the game anyway (I guess that this could be a reason to have chicken in addition to the berries in the first place).

 

 

On 10/04/2021 at 8:31 PM, Thorfinn the Shallow Minded said:

The other issue that primarily sparked this analysis was the fact that in a different thread I proposed that Sparta should lack cavalry at the beginning of the game and be only able to train them in the Town Phase to represent their poor cavalry.  This suggestion was shot down by borg for the good reason of cavalry being critical to the early economy.  I'm okay with cavalry complementing the economy, but if the problem is that by nerfing their hunting skill they become much worse, maybe there could be another way of buffing them such as having the ability to build outposts, tying into a more reconnaissance approach.

I think it might have made more sense to start this topic with this part (if this is the final purpose), it would avoid the talk to focus too much on the suggestion made.  

While the idea of scout/hunters that have been made on the forum are interesting in themselves, I don't think they would solve this particular problem. How would Sparta fight archers cavalry/camels without having cavalry ? 

What about nerfing Sparta cavalry in late game rather than in early game? Gauls have better sword cavalry currently, so worse spear cavalry for Sparta? I might also have less issue if the nerf was set on stables rather than on the cavalry itself if the aim is to have Sparta producing few cavalry. Producing a few cavalry through the civic center would work as it is the case now, but you wouldn't be able to mass a lot of them since stable would be more complicated to get.

If the aim of the post is to brainstorm to improve historical accuracy, it might also be helpful to define "poor cavalry". If Sparta had poor cavalry because they simply didn't think it was useful, then the restriction on stable construction time could make sense for me (I might even consider the idea removing them) :) 

Edited by faction02
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29 minutes ago, Thorfinn the Shallow Minded said:

If we set the arbitrary distance number to two

The length of a house is about 15, a barrack 20, me thinks chickens are farther away than that on average.

Anyway it's easy to see that hunting anything besides chicken even with gathering rate of infinity needs to be done with cav. And even then hunting is not that efficient, just that it's better than having nothing to do for cav at all.

1 hour ago, Thorfinn the Shallow Minded said:

Cavalry are more expensive than the other counterparts

They only cost 1 population, therefore the added health and speed for only 50 extra resources make them well worth it.

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There must consider also the fact cavalry can't build, or gather metal, wood, stone, or any other food than meat..
That counts as a disadvantage, yes?
They can gather at a rush, but once they are out of things to gather.... they are little more than a combat reconnaissance unit which has light raiding capability.
They CAN fight, but not at a good cost/combat ratio.

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13 hours ago, faction02 said:

I think it might have made more sense to start this topic with this part (if this is the final purpose), it would avoid the talk to focus too much on the suggestion made.  

While the idea of scout/hunters that have been made on the forum are interesting in themselves, I don't think they would solve this particular problem. How would Sparta fight archers cavalry/camels without having cavalry ? 

What about nerfing Sparta cavalry in late game rather than in early game? Gauls have better sword cavalry currently, so worse spear cavalry for Sparta? I might also have less issue if the nerf was set on stables rather than on the cavalry itself if the aim is to have Sparta producing few cavalry. Producing a few cavalry through the civic center would work as it is the case now, but you wouldn't be able to mass a lot of them since stable would be more complicated to get.

I mainly wanted to spark discussion to have a feel for what people genuinely think.  Most seem to like it the way it is or do not have terribly strong feelings about it.  Your questions really open a can of worms that might be worth a different topic, but for the moment, not considering the economy, let's go through those.

The primary answer to ranged units for Sparta should be the Skiritae unit, but possibly all melee infantry could benefit from a technology that increases their pierce armour called "Fight in the Shade."  Honestly the idea of cavalry being an answer to a camel unit is a bit unintuitive.

As for late game cavalry, that's kind of when things for Sparta started taking off.  King Agesilaus II even formed a fairly decent Spartan cavalry force while they often were able to rely on horsemen from cities such as Olynthus.  That all said, them not being able to build a stable during the Village Phase is better than nothing.  The guide you shared did provide some interesting nuance to the early game that I was unaware of, but a cavalry rush with Sparta honestly seems weird. 

 

All that said, most people do seem to prefer things the way they are, making much of this discussion needless.  I went into this with one primary reason; cavalry to my understanding are at the moment vital to early game economy, which seems weird for most village and does mean that all civilisations, regardless of historicity, must start with cavalry to be able to function in the current meta.  That all said, it seems that I am more or less just a vocal minority about that position, and I do appreciate the fact that people have been willing to share their thoughts on this aspect of the game.

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chicken and bushes at the beginning of the game make it possible to create a fast growing economy, in the moment of the game that would feel slowest. I think it's good the way it is.

If you want to add variety to the start game, there should be an economic incentive on scouting. A solution already exists and it's treasures.

I've often had the feeling, throughout the forum, that the economic role of cavalry is some kind of an issue. I too think it's less than convincing, but I fail to think of a better alternative.

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4 hours ago, alre said:

If you want to add variety to the start game, there should be an economic incentive on scouting. A solution already exists and it's treasures.

I've often had the feeling, throughout the forum, that the economic role of cavalry is some kind of an issue. I too think it's less than convincing, but I fail to think of a better alternative.

I share the idea that the role of cavalry seems a little odd and I like the idea of discussing it. However I feel like there is no easy solution and maybe the system we have is not ideal but just the best we can get (for now).

That being said, I am just waiting patiently until someone gets the 200 IQ move that no one else(including me ofc) had thought off. In the mean time, the current system seems okay

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6 hours ago, alre said:

chicken and bushes at the beginning of the game make it possible to create a fast growing economy, in the moment of the game that would feel slowest. I think it's good the way it is.

That's kind of the baffling thing to me.  Why should the beginning of the game feel that way?  There's something to be enjoyed about a somewhat more slow-paced beginning that ramps up as the game continues; naturally there is a balance to be struck, but why should a village economy be fast?  

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On 17/04/2021 at 3:22 AM, alre said:

If you want to add variety to the start game, there should be an economic incentive on scouting. A solution already exists and it's treasures.

Indeed, and if there were fewer resources parked right up next to the starting CC, it would behoove the player to scout out the nearby resources. 

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