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[Brainstorming] The Problem with Archers and in general the range units


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Another open post to discuss the problems of Alpha 24.

 

You know the rules, think about now and then tomorrow.

 

What do we do with the archers?

What do we do with the others? (Slingers,skirmishers, calvery skirmishers...etc)

 

Related.

 

 

Edited by Lion.Kanzen
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  • Lion.Kanzen changed the title to [Brainstorming] The Problem with Archers and in general the range units

I have played some cavalry games in a24. I noticed that they work very well against archers with some spears, provided your numbers are more like 30 cav 50 archers. Spearcav are great versus archers, but their main issue is that only the front bunch of spearcav can fight at the same time, for this it is helpful to have at least some javelin cav to bring the damage. I think spears and pikes are good counters vs cav in a24, and dont need buffing or nerfing with respect to cav. Spears and pikes are not a "prevent all" to cav, but require considerable effort to work around. 

I think implementing cavalry acceleration like I have described in that topic would be a good way to make cavalry more than just high health high speed versions of infantry, and trickier and more risky to use.

As for archers, I think "archery tradition" should not apply to cavalry-archers and should make archers more susceptible to smaller groups of cavalry.

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Hi

For Skirmish : More armor against arrow and agility (they run more fast than archers and heavy infantery). Make it harass unit with big dammage but lower speed attack rate. Attack and run. Easy killed by cavalery and useful against infantery melee. Balanced against archers because they have low range and armor good against arrow.

Now : attack 16 speed 1.25 = 12 DPS range 30

Change : attack 32 speed 2 = 16 DPS range 20

if we change skirmish like that, all civ need to have possibility to have big range unit so archers or slingers except sparta because courageous civ with skiritai lol ! And all civ can make skirmish.

Archers/Slingers without shield must have 0 armor. Trash support unit. They did good dammage at unit without armor and shield -> So natural counter of archers and slingers and all unit without shield. 

Not to mention their ability to keep ennemies away thank to their range. They are not hard counter cavalery but they did dammage where orther units without range don't do dammage. I would to insist that unprotected archers/slingers sould be demolished in melee as no armor and difficult to shot at very low range. Is already the case with spear cav but i want also with all melee infantery. 

So like orther thread say we have a lot of possibilty to nerf archers:

Spoiler

 

-0 armor

-decrease range to 50 (of 60 currently)

-decrease precsision

-decrease precsision at big range ( low and medium range : good precision , big range : low precision),

-decrease dammage by the range ( more target is far away less you do dammage with arrow, same as slingers? )

 

 

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For a slight differentiation of civilizations, civ with archers with shield like Carthage. Can have benetif from a little overall armor, and reduce their range from 5. 

For orther civ, skirmish without shield gain +5 range and +2 move speed compare to classic skirmish.

Skirmish cav sound good already if we take into account a potential nerf for archers (whatever the form proposed: nerf of other THREAD : dammage, range, precision, dammage by range, precision by range, etc. ).

Archers cav good with the same nerf selected as archers infantery

Champion : more health, armor and attack thank to quality equipment. archers champ +5 range ?

Delete maurya/kush/parisnas tech which up range for balance

 

 

 

 

Edited by Dakara
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It seems right to me that archers remain the ranged supremacy troop type of choice, so long as 0 AD maintains its commitment to historical authenticity. Good quality bows and arrows take a huge amount of engineering and labor to manufacture compared to slings and shot, or javelins. If all of these weapons had a similar degree of effectiveness, why would anyone in the ancient world have bother equipping their armies with bows instead of the cheaper options?

Ultimately, some type of generic range unit has to be the best generic ranged unit, and to me it fits that that unit would be the archer. The challenge for maintaining unit diversity then is to give slingers and javelinists some sort of role besides generic ranged DPS, so that they are not just a disappointing version of an archer.

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Equalize range of archers and slingers and give one of the two to almost every civ if not all of them.

1 hour ago, ChronA said:

It seems right to me that archers remain the ranged supremacy troop type of choice, so long as 0 AD maintains its commitment to historical authenticity. Good quality bows and arrows take a huge amount of engineering and labor to manufacture compared to slings and shot, or javelins. If all of these weapons had a similar degree of effectiveness, why would anyone in the ancient world have bother equipping their armies with bows instead of the cheaper options?

Ultimately, some type of generic range unit has to be the best generic ranged unit, and to me it fits that that unit would be the archer. The challenge for maintaining unit diversity then is to give slingers and javelinists some sort of role besides generic ranged DPS, so that they are not just a disappointing version of an archer.

It is true that bows were overall a superior weapon to slings, that is proven by history in many ways. However, I think it mostly boils down to the fact that bows are more versatile than slings: they are better for hunting, and much much better for shooting behind cover, which is a key advantage in sieges. By the way, in the ancient world noone bothered equipping their armies with slings or bows, that kind of weapons were personal, and cared by their owners from the moment they were taught to use it by their fathers.

At that time, it appears from the sources that slingers were generally valued no less than archers, and they were considered interchangeable.

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I tested Dakara's & Yekaterina's proposal in my sandbox. My findings:

Javelinist attack to 32 P, speed 2.000, range 20 --
Good changes IMO. Slower attack means units no longer look like they are having seizures! 32 attack hits like a truck, but doesn't seem game breaking. 20 base range might be a little short. It definitely underlines the idea that these guys are not just off-brand archers, which is good. Less good is that they almost feel like weird melee-infantry with such short range. 25 may be a better compromise number. 25 +5 range per rank would sweeten the deal IMO.

Javelinist HP to 75 --
Way overpowered! 75 HP javs annihilate archers, and every other unit type I tested them against. That's way too much meat. If the intent is to make javelins tanky, without massively changing their role, I'd suggest a different idea...

Javelinist armor to 5 H, 2 P (which is +4 H, +1 P compared to their current) -- 
I think this is much more in line with the visual depiction of their gear. Those small light shields would not be so great against projectiles, but they would be excellent for parrying sword and spear strikes. I think the balance effect is better too. In combination with Dakara's changes, these javelinists have a strong anti-melee flavor, both as a tank for other ranged units and as a DPS source in themselves. This seems to have been the intent with their base stats as well, but now it is accentuated. And against archers they still lose by a respectable margin, which I think is right. 

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7 minutes ago, alre said:

It is true that bows were overall a superior weapon to slings, that is proven by history in many ways.

One thing I would like to add is that you need less space to fire a bow. In order to fire a bow, you only need to stand sideways and stretch one arm out. You don´t need more space than that.

Now imagine what would happen if you were in a dense formation and you would try to use a sling. Your neighbours won´t like you. Not every warrior was part of a dense formation, but those dense infantry formations where what ultimately won the day.

@Dakara @Yekaterina@ChronA @a 0ad player , can you explain why javelineers need to be buffed if 40 skirmishers beat 30 spear cavalry in loose formation on an open field battle?

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2 minutes ago, LetswaveaBook said:

can you explain why javelineers need to be buffed if 40 skirmishers beat 30 spear cavalry in loose formation on an open field battle?

Because unless javelinists are good for something, no one will ever make 40 skirmishers, and thus whether 30 spear cav can beat them or not will be irrelevant.;)

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36 minutes ago, LetswaveaBook said:

can you explain why javelineers need to be buffed if 40 skirmishers beat 30 spear cavalry in loose formation on an open field battle?

Currently skirmishers << archers. The were an essential part of ancient military and they should not be defeated by archers. 

I am not suggesting any attack upgrades, I just want to increase their health to 75. I would like to see this trend: as unit health increases, its damage per second increases slightly but attack range decreases. This way all units are quite even if they start from full range, but melee and javelineers have an advantage for close quarter combat. 

Also the elephants run very fast, skirmishers are the only way to deal with them for most European civs so they need some health increase so that they won't be killed in one hit by an elephant. 

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Is a idea for give a real identity to skirmish. Not a archer like unit. we have already slingers with crush dammage and less range. So what idea for skirmish? They kill good elephant but ..  it all ?

In A23 skimish have already difficult to fight big army slingers 

So with my idea, almost balance in fight against archers and can kill infantery with slow move speed. Like historic. And they very weak at melee fight.

I don't know if the idea of big dammage and low attack speed is good but it for do an unit of hit and run. We can found orther idea if not liked by people lol

 

Edited by Dakara
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2 minutes ago, Dakara said:

Is a idea for give a real identity to skirmish. Not a archer like unit.

Yes, that appears to be our consensus objective with this thread. If the javelinist is just a inferior archer variant, why would anyone with a choice make it? And if we buffed it to make it better than archers, why would anyone make archer? It needs a distinct identity.

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On my sandbox testing: actually I am wrong.

The unmodified Javelinist already performs well on all of my analysis criteria. They lose to the archers but consistently beat equal resource groups of melee infantry, which in turn beat the same number of archers by a considerable margin. That means there should be a functioning counter cycle. Build melee infantry to beat archers, javelinists to beat melee infantry, archers to beat javelinists. The question is why this is not happening in real gameplay.

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6 minutes ago, ChronA said:

Yes, that appears to be our consensus objective with this thread. If the javelinist is just a inferior archer variant, why would anyone with a choice make it? And if we buffed it to make it better than archers, why would anyone make archer? It needs a distinct identity.

The right approach to that question is perhaps to look at the different possible variables at play.  Namely, there is defence, damage per second, mobility, and range.  All of these are then considered in relation to the cost and necessary training time of the said unit.  Fortunately those last variables are constant in most cases.  Generally speaking a unit should be able be decent with two of those categories to be potentially worthwhile.  Honestly the difference between archers and slingers is more or less a false dichotomy; they had similar roles.  It's trying to figure out a niche for the skirmisher that is a bit tougher since their lack of good range, defence, and mobility make their high damage output harder make use of.

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Real gameplay is not like open field simulations. In 0AD positioning is very important, and archers with their range can attack and retreat before having losses, which means they can decide either when or where to fight. The only way to break this is with cavalry (but of course you have archer cavalry).

I think this is a fairly realistic thing, it's what ranged units used to do in history: they would provoke the enemy into fight.

Another realistic thing is that archers beat javeliners, as the latter are not armored enough to stand the archers volley for the approaching time (historically, they had similar armor, similar shields and side weapons).

I proposed, when a24 came out, that javeliners were differentiated lowering their price, another thing (realistic for other reasons) is that archers and slingers have longer training.

Also, if bush-hiding is implemented, I can see some potential in javeliners there...

PS: lowering the importance of positioning is something undergoing, so we can expect range advantage to lose some importance in a25.

Edited by alre
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I did some sandbox testing to to simulate an open field battle and then a combination of skrimishers and pikemen look really good. I challenge you to give this a try and to find a combination that performs better under these conditions. Pikemen are very good for soaking damage whereas skirmishers deal a lot of damage from behind. Skirmishers have a DPS of 12.8, which is a lot considering that infantry swordsmen have most DPS of all melee units with a value of 6.67. In most medieval/ancient RTS games, you see that ranged units have less DPS than melee units.

36 minutes ago, alre said:

what ranged units used to do in history: they would provoke the enemy into fight.

This is true, but the other side of the story is that the battles were decided in melee and that ranged units weren´t decisive. In 0 ad they are very important since they have a very high DPS and I think that is the core of the problem. I think ranged units should be weaker and mainly a means to provoke fights or force them to retreat.

The preferred role Javelins is doing damage(DPS=12.8) while supporting a melee fight.  I think we should encourage melee units more and then the preferred role of javelins will see more use, since there are more melee fights. If all citizen ranged units lost say 20% of their DPS, the skirmisher still has a good 10.2 points of DPS left and will remain to see use for this supporting role, while archers remain with only a DPS of 5.4 (and on top of that they miss shots, they miss 30% of their shots on 60m range). That way you only would use archers to provoke fights, but for the actual fights archers would not be so great.

One side note is that 20% would be on the more extreme side, but you can see that I think reducing ranged DPS for all citizen soldiers is my suggestion.

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1 hour ago, Thorfinn the Shallow Minded said:

Honestly the difference between archers and slingers is more or less a false dichotomy; they had similar roles.

I agree with this. Slingers seem to be in an ok spot in A24, even if they are not as shiny as they were in A23. We could possibly discuss bumping up their range to equal or slightly exceed the archer's, based on historical evidence (with compensatory nerfs), but that should be a much lower priority for this thread than figuring out the javelinist's identity and the archer's counter cycle.

1 hour ago, alre said:

Real gameplay is not like open field simulations. In 0AD positioning is very important, and archers with their range can attack and retreat before having losses, which means they can decide either when or where to fight. The only way to break this is with cavalry (but of course you have archer cavalry).
[...]
PS: lowering the importance of positioning is something undergoing, so we can expect range advantage to lose some importance in a25.

I agree. Basically kiting and static defense (which in this context is both actively damage-dealing turrets and normal buildings and walls acting as pathing blockers) both greatly advantage the archer, breaking its intended counter cycles. Fix that and you fix a lot of what is wrong with the ranged unit lines. Question is: are these efforts meant to be part of that generalized fix you are alluding to, or separate? 

Edited by ChronA
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Why are people hesitant to re-introduce ranged unit speed differences? when all ranged units were given the same speed, this made archers the most maneuverable unit in the game besides cavalry. If they need to go somewhere, and do damage, archers will have the shortest timespan to do that out of any infantry unit. This is a problem because it enables them to turtle with spread-out defenses over a wide area and effectively lock down the map, making it hard to move anywhere but back and forth along your defenses.

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