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Siege Engine Balancing


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Siege engines crumble at the trunks of elephants, which causes elephant civs to be OP. If you look at the cov rankings by Tom0AD and Valihrant you will see that almost all of the top tier civs contain elephants. Elephant civs also coincide with archer civs.

To give other civs a chance, I propose we offer them more techs to upgrade their siege engines, so that they are no longer at a significant disadvantage against elephant civs. These techs should be available to non elephant civs only.

Here is a list of potential upgrades:

1. All siege weapons move faster, faster than elephants.

Cost: 800food, 500wood,300stone,300metal

2. Siege weapons plus 5 hack and crush armour. 

Cost: 800 wood, 300 stone,300metal

3. Lithobolos, oxybeles, ballistae +10 pierce armour

Cost: 600 wood, 300 metal, 200 stone

4. Lithobolos +20% firing rate

Cost: 500stone, 300food

5. Oxybeles and crossbow champions +20% firing rate. 

Cost: 300metal, 500food

 

 

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Considering the other changes currently under discussion, I think adjustments to elephants and siege engines are premature. You are going to waste a lot of energy if you start designing solutions to problems that may not even exist any more by the time you implement them. (Or worse, you will create whole new sets of problems for yourself with too many degrees of freedom to know for sure what even caused them.) Better to take things slow and apply your work tactically.

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I think the problem is with the elephants. An Indian elephants can defeat 5 champion swordsmen. This means elephants are incredibly cost effective.

6 hours ago, Yekaterina said:

1. All siege weapons move faster, faster than elephants.

I think it would be historically inaccurate to do this.

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28 minutes ago, LetswaveaBook said:

I think it would be historically inaccurate to do this.

I guess you can argue that by improving the military rations of soldiers who push siege engines, they are able to exert greater magnitudes of force and hence the terminal velocity of the engines are greater. 

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5 hours ago, ChronA said:

Considering the other changes currently under discussion, I think adjustments to elephants and siege engines are premature. You are going to waste a lot of energy if you start designing solutions to problems that may not even exist any more by the time you implement them. (Or worse, you will create whole new sets of problems for yourself with too many degrees of freedom to know for sure what even caused them.) Better to take things slow and apply your work tactically.

I have noticed this as quite a severe problem. If you take a look at mysticjim's latest video, 2 of my siege towers were destroyed by an elephant chasing after them. The rams and towers cannot outrun elephants, which is annoying. Having 1 or 2 elephants would be enough to take out an entire army of rams or siege towers, which is too OP. 

We either make elephants much weaker, or siege engines much faster, or slow down elephants. 

If you change the hack attack of elephants to pierce attack, this problem would be solved instantly. I discussed this in another thread. 

 

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4 minutes ago, Yekaterina said:

I have noticed this as quite a severe problem. If you take a look at mysticjim's latest video, 2 of my siege towers were destroyed by an elephant chasing after them. The rams and towers cannot outrun elephants, which is annoying. Having 1 or 2 elephants would be enough to take out an entire army of rams or siege towers, which is too OP. 

I concur to a large extent. Yesterday I sent 20 rams against my AI opponent, who whipped out 3 Persian elephants and crushed my whole army like a lightening. I attempted to order my rams to dodge the elephants but they could move at a faster pace and catch up with any unfortunate ram. Therefore, having access to a tech that improves the resistance of siege engines against elephants would be much appreciated. However, I stand corrected. 

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4 minutes ago, Robin Li said:

I concur to a large extent. Yesterday I sent 20 rams against my AI opponent, who whipped out 3 Persian elephants and crushed my whole army like a lightening. I attempted to order my rams to dodge the elephants but they could move at a faster pace and catch up with any unfortunate ram. Therefore, having access to a tech that improves the resistance of siege engines against elephants would be much appreciated. However, I stand corrected. 

Use spears and skirmishers to back them up. 

Will you have an Exeat anytime soon? Then we can join the lobby. 

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I can't actually argue against switching elephant attack damage from hack to pierce. :laugh: I think that's an indictment of how arbitrary EA's damage types are, more than anything else.

More importantly though, I argue that this issue is merely symptomatic of the deeper problem that we've been discussing elsewhere: you guessed it... ranged vs melee balance and static defense vs unit balance. Elephants would have a harder time killing rams if those rams were actually escorted by meat shield to their target. However, no one escorts their rams because there is no unit type with sufficient arrow resistance to dive against static defense and ranged fire support.

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34 minutes ago, Thorfinn the Shallow Minded said:

Therein I would say is the biggest problem.  It should be viable to escort siege weapons.

There we go, so the solution is to decrease the maximum arrows of buildings. Currently we have some ridiculous stats for fortresses and civic centres. 

But it is still hard when marching because the enemy has so many archers / ranged troops to take care of your escort. This is why I put people in siege towers. 

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1 hour ago, Yekaterina said:

There we go, so the solution is to decrease the maximum arrows of buildings. Currently we have some ridiculous stats for fortresses and civic centres. 

Like I've said elsewhere, halving the attack speed of ranged fighting assets (buildings included) would probably improve a lot of balance problems. ;)

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15 minutes ago, alre said:

Elephants are now the only counter to siege towers, which would be riddicously OP if they were faster. I am against turning 0ad in a tank battles game.

Siege towers can also be countered by rams, catapults and melee troops, especially cavalry. But of course they must not get a speed bonus.

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2 hours ago, Player of 0AD said:

But of course they must not get a speed bonus.

Why not? I am not talking about a free bonus but a tech that comes at great costs to research. 

If no speed bonus then what about better armour?

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2 hours ago, Player of 0AD said:

Siege towers can also be countered by rams

Once you have 8 fully loaded siege towers, rams are destroyed pretty quickly, and they move at the same speed as the towers, meaning it is difficult for rams to catch up. The only time when rams can take down siege towers is when the towers are cornered, or, spammed archers in range to absorb arrows. 

Elephants, on the other hand, can survive much longer under fire from siege towers, because they have pretty good crush armour which rams don't. The sheer amounts of hit points also makes elephants deadly against siege towers. 

So if you have both elephants and siege towers you are OP: Seleucids, Kushites and Ptolemies. 

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8 minutes ago, Yekaterina said:

Why not? I am not talking about a free bonus but a tech that comes at great costs to research. 

Because it’s unrealistic to have these units moving fast, besides that a24 was asked very hard for rams to be slower.

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Any thoughts on returning splash damage to catapults?

I liked this mechanic in a23, but it was sometimes frustrating, it could do more damage to a smaller number of units, perhaps limiting cap on the net damage each shot can do?

I think we should be careful to limit tech proliferation. A feature is broken? lets just make it an expensive tech! I think this is a solution sometimes, but we can't let it become a lazy way to "balance" something.

Edited by BreakfastBurrito_007
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Speaking of siege rams, one of the things that bothers me the most is the extreme discrepancy between melee and spears to counter. I mean, I get it they can have some different efficacy, but shouldn't be as extreme. 

This really is a turn off for immersion. Maybe this is going to be already patched in a25 tho, i'm not in the loop.

Besides, I think rams are already tanky enough and I wouldn't favour to buff them even more. Instead, maybe is possible to tweak a little bit the state of elephants so they're not so OP as rn 

Edited by Radiotraining
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Rams have high pierce armour to counter ranged units.

As spearman deals pierce damage, it is affected by that.

Giving spearman only hack damage, would make them more similar to swordsmen.

Giving them another type of damage, its kind of hard for new players to get into current 3 damage types.

Spearmen and pikeman got pierce damage in the (dont remember number) alpha rebalance, which have been told has been tested with players at that time for some month(s).

So to not end up spearman is better version of swordsman and swordsman is now useless, it needs deeper thought.

From the current state swordsman is supposed to be anti siege unit.

What role it will have if that is taken away?

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31 minutes ago, Angen said:

So to not end up spearman is better version of swordsman and swordsman is now useless, it needs deeper thought.

From the current state swordsman is supposed to be anti siege unit.

What role it will have if that is taken away?

The first problem is that the sword is not inherently designed to cut.  Some weapons such as the gladius tend towards stabbing.  On the flip-side, cutting with some spears is viable.  

Next off, there doesn't need to be a massive difference between the two.  As I would suggest, swordsmen should move a bit faster and have more pierce armour while performing a slight bit better in fights against spearmen.  Swordsmen historically were not deployed with the sole purpose of destroying siege weapons.  

Giving all melee units hack damage would overall be a much better way of streamlining the game.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 20/05/2021 at 1:40 PM, Thorfinn the Shallow Minded said:

As I would suggest, swordsmen should move a bit faster and have more pierce armour while performing a slight bit better in fights against spearmen.  Swordsmen historically were not deployed with the sole purpose of destroying siege weapons.  

Totally off topic, but I agree. Right now players don't make sword because melee is generally used as a meatshield and no one wants to waste metal training units that never even make it to enemy lines. If swords are quicker then they would more quickly close the gap and engage in fighting where they could do real damage. 

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