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Ranged units+pikemen vs. ranged units+swordsmen, how much DPS do the ranged units need to make the fight ballanced?


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Suppose we have a sandbox fight in which a number N pikemen supported by N ranged units face of against N infantry swordsmen supported by N ranged units of the same type that supports the pikemen. In this assumption the pikemen march to the swordsmen and fight in the middle while the ranged units do damage from behind.

In my view, the fight would be balanced if the swordsmen die as fast as the pikemen do. In a simplistic model we could say that the damage the pikemen receives per second is (5.5/0.75+P)(1-0.65), where P is the DPS(damage per second) of the ranged unit before taking armor into account. The damage the swordsmen receives is given by (5/2+P)(1-0.41). If we demand that each unit dies equally fast, they should receive the same amount of damage since their HP is equal. Solving this for P gives a value of P=4.55. This model does not include misses, but I can say that archers are fairly accurate if the melee units meet in the middle and slingers would in such a sandbox fight miss about 20% to 10% of their shots.

You might argue that this is just an oversimplified model, but it goes to show that the value of ranged damage would be far lower than the current ones, if you want these fights to be balanced.

This calculation is what I think describes the current situation of pikemen vs swordsmen (+ranged support on both sides) fairly accurate. Once again, I argue that ranged units deal too much damage.

Let me discuss another sandbox fight in which a number N pikemen supported by N ranged units face of against 2N infantry swordsmen. Once the N pikemen are killed, the ranged units run away. This time we say that the fight is ballanced if both sides deal equal damage. The damage received by the pikemen is 2*5.5/0.75*35 and the damage received by the swordsmen is (5/2+P)(1-0.41). Solving this for P gives a value of 6.15. This calculation has is limits as the ranged units will be able to get a few kills before the fight starts. On the other hand, if the damage is distributed over the swordsmen, it might mean that less than 10 swordsmen die. Again, the P value should be significantly lower than we see in game.

 

I realize that these calculations have their limitations, but I think it is a decent example where it shows that ranged units have to much DPS.

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Lower damage increases the opportunities for micro; increased damage gives more value to initial positioning. Low damage games have more tendency to snowball, as players will be more able to escape from bad fights before suffering significant damage. Personally I like micro opportunities, but I must say, EA already suffers from a problematic amount of snowballing. RTS is at its most interesting when there is a sustained back and forth (see AOE2 and SC BW). This requires the ability to either trap or immediately kill large numbers of units when they get out of position. EA's pathfinding doesn't really allow much trapping, so buffing melee DPS is probably the better option over all.

Edit: But on the other hand, it might also be that slow, grindy fighting has become a staple of 0AD's identity. Changing it to prevent snowballing could alienate current players. In that case nerfing ranged DPS combined with other measures to reduce snowballing might be the better solution... in short, IDK. ^_^

Edited by ChronA
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5 hours ago, ChronA said:

RTS is at its most interesting when there is a sustained back and forth (see AOE2 and SC BW).

This is much more about team balancing than unit balancing imo. Yes unit balancing plays a part too. But unbalanced teams can ruin any game even when the balance of units is "optimal". That part honestly gets overlooked in every balancing discussion i've seen yet. But it's probably easier to say civs are unbalanced than to accept the fact that you got your ass handed to you and you went out of your league :P 

disclaimer: i'm not talking about anyone specific.

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2 hours ago, Grapjas said:

unbalanced teams can ruin any game even when the balance of units is "optimal".

Very true. And a good community can often salvage a flawed game by adopting rules of sportsmanship that counteract balance problems. But a craftsperson should strive to produce an ideal product regardless.

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@Grapjas Ah, I see what you are saying. Yes, it is possible that my premise is flawed. I don't actually play competitively, so I am drawing from a biased sample of what vocal multiplayers are saying on the forums, and my own inferences from studying unit stats and casted matches. Perhaps I am looking at the wrong games, and in more even matchups people are rallying more.

Still, I think it is still valid to acknowledge the merit of a patch that would encourage more volatile games.:)

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, ChronA said:

RTS is at its most interesting when there is a sustained back and forth (see AOE2 and SC BW). This requires the ability to either trap or immediately kill large numbers of units when they get out of position. EA's pathfinding doesn't really allow much trapping, so buffing melee DPS is probably the better option over all.

I think this is a fair statement. Buffing melee DPS could help making a comeback after outflanking an opponent.

However I think the high DPS of archers is a problem. Often they cause significant casualties before the fight begins. That gives in my opinion an unfair advantage to the archers. I also feel cavalry archers are too strong and they are not affected as much by increased melee damage as they run anyway.

So I think we need to do a bit of both of them. Also I think it would be nice if we had a triangle swordsmen>spearmen>melee cavalry>swordsmen. I attempted something like that in

 

Edited by LetswaveaBook
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Hey guys!

I saw some thoughts about balance and I thought I would put in my 2 cents. From what I have observed, team balance has meant different things in a23 and in a24. In a23, a balanced game would usually involve each player getting super sweaty and the game would get super intense. In a24, the intensity peaks at 15-16 minutes and then the game stagnates, a variety of things influence this like ranged units, metal availability, stone excess, structures power. The end result is that a balanced game does not feel competitive and exciting, but competitive and tiresome.

I hope you guys can agree with these observations of 4v4s and 3v3s.

 

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2 hours ago, BreakfastBurrito_007 said:

Hey guys!

I saw some thoughts about balance and I thought I would put in my 2 cents. From what I have observed, team balance has meant different things in a23 and in a24. In a23, a balanced game would usually involve each player getting super sweaty and the game would get super intense. In a24, the intensity peaks at 15-16 minutes and then the game stagnates, a variety of things influence this like ranged units, metal availability, stone excess, structures power. The end result is that a balanced game does not feel competitive and exciting, but competitive and tiresome.

I hope you guys can agree with these observations of 4v4s and 3v3s.

 

Not sure about what rating bracket you are talking about. But at 1400+ in A23 games also had a peak around the 15 minute mark, because they will be phase 3 and have a fort + siege and a good sized army. If every player survives the initial siege attempt the game is likely balanced (and the teams played well together) and then comes down to further tactics.

My experience in A24 is limited though, been mostly modding and taking a break. A23 i know like the back of my hand.

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4 hours ago, Grapjas said:

Not sure about what rating bracket you are talking about. But at 1400+ in A23 games also had a peak around the 15 minute mark, because they will be phase 3 and have a fort + siege and a good sized army. If every player survives the initial siege attempt the game is likely balanced (and the teams played well together) and then comes down to further tactics.

My experience in A24 is limited though, been mostly modding and taking a break. A23 i know like the back of my hand.

yea in those 1400+ games, or what used to be worth 1400, there could be balanced teams as well. We loved balanced games because it seemed like either side could lose at a moments notice. In a24, balanced games often become endless, and at all times it seems like neither team can win. Usually these ones go for 45-50 minutes and then someone goes AFK.

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On 20/05/2021 at 9:53 AM, BreakfastBurrito_007 said:

stone excess

@BreakfastBurrito_007 This might be off topic, but did you try to make a mod where stone piles contain less stone and maps are bigger? Because it is unclear to me if endless 4v4s are caused by a result of wrong settings or whether they are caused by unit/structure imbalance.

If you wanted to, I could try to make a mod where stone piles contains  less stone and try if I can make the map bigger.

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11 hours ago, LetswaveaBook said:

@BreakfastBurrito_007 This might be off topic, but did you try to make a mod where stone piles contain less stone and maps are bigger? Because it is unclear to me if endless 4v4s are caused by a result of wrong settings or whether they are caused by unit/structure imbalance.

If you wanted to, I could try to make a mod where stone piles contains  less stone and try if I can make the map bigger.

I don't think that there is one particular thing that is contributing to the endless 4v4s/ turtling. The stone/metal imbalance is frustrating and it causes metal intensive things such as rams/eles/champs (things that can win a game) to be used with the utmost caution while stone intensive things can be easily replaced (forts/towers/ccs/temples) and can make games last longer. People have said a good way to balance stone/ metal would be to make the "small" sources that can appear on each map all metal rather than all stone, this might just be on mainland. In 4v4s in 24 we have tried larger maps to free up space but it did not help that much, although it made cavalry slightly easier to use. I think a map size slider would be nice (with upper and lower limits) to take over the map sizes: "normal" vs "medium" vs "large". Current map sizes could then be labeled points along that slider.

Edited by BreakfastBurrito_007
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