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magnetic pikemen


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In previous alphas one of the best ways to counter pikes was to ignore them and first kill the units that they are protecting that do damage. In a25 it seems that all units will prefer pikes over any other unit in a fight. Is there some feature of the game that makes this happen?

This is a huge problem that makes pikes quite overpowered. No matter what a player does, their units will always return to attacking the nearby pikemen after 1-2 seconds. It is my expectation that if this "magnetic pikes" feature were not present, that pikes would not be overpowered given the stats they currently have.

Is there something that can be done to fix this issue?

I would post a replay that demonstrated this but I can not figure out how.

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I think instead of ranged units attacking the closest thing to themselves, they should attack the closest thing to their attack order mouse click. This would give the players the ability to direct the fire of their ranged units, and make the battles less about whose melee die first.

The only way to win if you have a spear+skirm combination versus a pike+skirm combination is to individually attack-click each skirmisher. This allows the greater dps of the spears to win the resulting melee battle as they would if it were straight pikes versus straight spears. I tested this in multiple micro arrangements with real_tabasco_sauce and we both agree about this.

During a25 testing @Yekaterina was very concerned about pikes being op, and indeed there is a whole thread about it. But it is not the pikes' stats that are op, it is their magnetic ability to distract fire away from the weaker ranged units that actually deal damage.

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My concern is not just to do with drawing fire. Undying meatshield is fine, if you have upgraded infantry. However, the pikes have an attack range of 6 metres, and allowing units to overlap means many, many pikemen can be squeezed into a very small space. In some of my experiments, 5 or 6 rows of pikeman could damage the same target all at the same time. At this point, the effective hack damage being dealt to the enemy is 6x2 = 12 hack and 6x3=18 pierce. This is more than any champion unit or any other unit overlap. 

A test shows that a pike will lose to a spear in a 1v1. However, 3 pikes vs 3 spears results in pikes winning. 

Now that charging is removed, pikes are less OP, but as long as overlap exists they will still be a problem. 

Edited by Yekaterina
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@Yekaterina

I went through the civs and Ptolemies (Royal Guard) with Seleucids (Silver Shield) both have pikemen champions with the 8 range.

3 hours ago, Yekaterina said:

[T]he pikes have an attack range of 6 metres, and allowing units to overlap means many, many pikemen can be squeezed into a very small space. In some of my experiments, 5 or 6 rows of pikeman could damage the same target all at the same time. At this point, the effective hack damage being dealt to the enemy is 6x2 = 12 hack and 6x3=18 pierce. This is more than any champion unit or any other unit overlap.

This [I think] also plays a role in capturing towers .... I know it's easier to capture them with pikemen than spearman for some reason and this sounds like it.

Edited by Dizaka
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57 minutes ago, Dizaka said:

 

This [I think] also plays a role in capturing towers .... I know it's easier to capture them with pikemen than spearman for some reason and this sounds like it.

This is false.Both units use the "template_unit_infantry" as a base template, and only in this template can you find the capture attack values. Since they share the same template and therefore have the same range when capturing, any other info is superfluous but the values i mentioned are:

<Attack>
    <Capture>
      <AttackName>Capture</AttackName>
      <Capture>2.5</Capture>
      <MaxRange>4</MaxRange>
      <RepeatTime>1000</RepeatTime>
      <RestrictedClasses datatype="tokens">Field Palisade Wall</RestrictedClasses>
    </Capture>

....

 

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@Yekaterina 

That 6m pike length is a good thing to consider as well. When I did my tests with real_tabasco_sauce we were fighting in an open field where an even line was formed between spearmen and pikemen, and the spears won every time. For now I will be sure to avoid fighting pikes in a chokepoint.

@Dizaka @Yekaterina Do you guys think that ranged units should be able to hit the units in the back of the formation? or do you guys not think it makes a big difference?

 

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10 hours ago, Dizaka said:

This [I think] also plays a role in capturing towers .... I know it's easier to capture them with pikemen than spearman for some reason and this sounds like it.

Pikemen have good armour so they can survive longer under the tower fire, so they have a bigger chance of surviving. Spearmen live shorter and you would most likely withdraw them from the tower before they die. 

5 hours ago, BreakfastBurrito_007 said:

Do you guys think that ranged units should be able to hit the units in the back of the formation? or do you guys not think it makes a big difference?

I think you can hit units in the back of the formation, if you manually target them. However, this is often not recommended, because you might be able to kill a fraction of their ranged units this way, but your enemies' melee are still hurting your melee and their ranged units are also hurting you melee. Therefore your melee will die quickly and you will be left with only ranged units, but having to face a combination of ranged and melee units from the enemy. It never ends well. 

Furthermore, if you hit their ranged unit, they will also hit you back if you are in range. It might be worth it if you use your archers to hit their javelineers, as they can't fight back. -> Persians OP

Edited by Yekaterina
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On 21/08/2021 at 7:33 AM, BreakfastBurrito_007 said:

No matter what a player does, their units will always return to attacking the nearby pikemen after 1-2 seconds.

We are all discussing what needs to be done here, but personally I would like to take a step back.

I am no noob, but I can't see what really changed between alphas. Can you extensively clarify? I think in both alphs,a ranged units preferred the closest target when seeking out a target on your own, which is most often a meleeunit. However you can click an opposing unit and then it will attack it until it dies. Once it dies, you can click another unit.

I know unit stacking is an issue, but do pikemen really stack more than spearmen? I must admit that for a large part of A24 I did not use the "attack move" command. Did something change about that?

Edited by LetswaveaBook
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4 hours ago, alre said:

I actually feel that pikes are less OP now than in A24. You must have a huge quantity of pikemen to make their longer range really make the difference, compared to spearmen

This is true, but if you add in some ranged units to both sides, the side with pikes will win by quite a bit, because the pikemen will not die as fast as the spearmen and then the pikemen +full health ranged units can go attack the remaining ranged units. Keep in mind in a24 that people mainly used pikes to push archer-based armies which could easily beat anything else, so they felt more powerful based upon what they could do to an already op unit.

4 hours ago, alre said:

I actually feel that pikes are less OP now than in A24

I think stat-wise this is actually true, for example 30 skirms beat 30 pikes in a straight battle with no micro. Their power becomes apparent once you try pikes+skirms versus spears+skirms. 

8 hours ago, LetswaveaBook said:

However you can click an opposing unit and then it will attack it until it dies. Once it dies, you can click another unit.

This is not viable in a large battle as there will be a lot of overkill. I think it would be better if a player using ranged units could make an attack order and then the ranged units would seek targets close to that order as their natural behavior. 

 

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13 hours ago, BreakfastBurrito_007 said:

This is true, but if you add in some ranged units to both sides, the side with pikes will win by quite a bit, because the pikemen will not die as fast as the spearmen and then the pikemen +full health ranged units can go attack the remaining ranged units. Keep in mind in a24 that people mainly used pikes to push archer-based armies which could easily beat anything else, so they felt more powerful based upon what they could do to an already op unit.

That's true if you compare two armies with the same number of ranged units and the same number of melee units. Making a difference between different composed armies I think it's what makes this game beautiful under the strategic point. If you want to counter a classic ptolemy army (pikes+slingers, which I consider maybe the best combination in the game) you can:

- Make melee cavarly to go behind the pike enemy line and target directly the ranged units, or do it with some of your melee infantry (swords preferibly);

- Use the hero or a few cavarly champions to distract the enemy ranged units by moving them back and forth the line during the fight;

- Just don't fight and turtle the enough amount of time needed to build a cav army (which is a perfect counter against pikes because pikes are really slow)

13 hours ago, BreakfastBurrito_007 said:

This is not viable in a large battle as there will be a lot of overkill. I think it would be better if a player using ranged units could make an attack order and then the ranged units would seek targets close to that order as their natural behavior. 

In my opinion this is problematic.

Firstly, I don't think that an attack order would be realistic. In real life it's true that you can modify the angle of your bow while shooting an arrow, but you won't be able to see who you are shooting at (the failure percentage is be much higher). 

Secondly, you have to remember that the range of shooting remain unvaried (60 m for archers, 45 for slings, 30 for skirms). If you want to target the enemy ranged units you will have to keep your own ranged units really close to the enemy pike line, which is really risky for the safety of your units. 

Thirdly, I think that this feature would cancel the original importance of melee units, which is in fact creating a shield for the shots of the enemy ranged units. Being a good player in the game (1700+), and seeing what different changes in different alphas have brought to the game when talking about games between good players, I think that this would bring to armies composed just by ranged units. 

Lastly, rush would became so easy that even a medium skilled player could easily destroy the eco of a pro player in early game (just imagine ordering the cavarly to focus only on women and skirms/archers/slingers when rushing a woodline: the only skill required would be being clever to avoid the enemy pikes).

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@Jofursloft

your point is well taken about micro choices. And when I do see pikes, I always try to kill the ranged units they protect with both melee and ranged units. I disagree about the primary role of melee units being to tank damage, but this seems to be the case with the behavior of ranged units to target melee. If infantry melee units are mostly just to tank damage from ranged units, that makes pikes the best.

Also I can’t imagine what makes it unrealistic to shoot over the first row of enemies. Units can already shoot over their own infantry units. Also, what is the point of archers’ range if they can only shoot the melee units right in front of their own?

I am afraid that this alone is what is making pikes frustrating to play against and archers so frustrating to play with. Some people think javelins are op, but I think that they are just the best option to kill the melee fastest. I think battles need to become more complicated than just a race to who can kill melee the fastest.
 

I see your point about rushing, but usually this is on a small enough scale that any medium player could individually target units just as well. Also you misunderstood my idea for “following the order”, I meant that they would target units closest to the attack order, not necessarily the same type. So the cav wouldn't automatically select the next woman as the next target.

Edited by BreakfastBurrito_007
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3 hours ago, BreakfastBurrito_007 said:

I am afraid that this alone is what is making pikes frustrating to play against and archers so frustrating to play with. Some people think javelins are op, but I think that they are just the best option to kill the melee fastest.

If everyone is arguing over which unit is best and everyone has different opinions then that is usually a pretty good indication that that portion of the game has pretty good balance. 

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3 hours ago, BreakfastBurrito_007 said:

@chrstgtr what do you think about ranged units choosing the closest target to the attack order click rather than defaulting to the closest unit?

I feel that it gives the player more control over the fights.

I always like anything that gives more control to players. Plus you could still use H to get your men to attack the nearest enemy unit

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14 hours ago, BreakfastBurrito_007 said:

Also I can’t imagine what makes it unrealistic to shoot over the first row of enemies. Units can already shoot over their own infantry units. Also, what is the point of archers’ range if they can only shoot the melee units right in front of their own?

True. Units cannot shoot their own ones, but I think that make them being able to shoot even over the enemy melee units line it's too unrealistic. I don't understand your question: the point of archers' range is to damage units from a safer distance. While in a open field if you are playing skirmishers you will push in order to get as close as possible to the enemy units, archers will use the different tactic of retreating bit by bit. Range is good also to defend a base (you can keep them behind a safe building like a fort, a wall or a palizade...

14 hours ago, BreakfastBurrito_007 said:

I am afraid that this alone is what is making pikes frustrating to play against and archers so frustrating to play with. Some people think javelins are op, but I think that they are just the best option to kill the melee fastest. I think battles need to become more complicated than just a race to who can kill melee the fastest.

I agree. That's why I would nerf pikes just by slowing them down a bit (especially sele and ptolemy champs). I think that a 8.1 speed is too much compared to the 9 of spearmen. 

14 hours ago, BreakfastBurrito_007 said:

Also you misunderstood my idea for “following the order”, I meant that they would target units closest to the attack order, not necessarily the same type. So the cav wouldn't automatically select the next woman as the next target.

I'm sorry I don't understand this very well. Do you mean that the attack order can be set on a specific unit (let's suppose archers) and then your units will target the closest archer available? But in this case after having killed him they will just continue to attack archers who are in their range. So this logic applies to what I have said about rushes.

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1 hour ago, Jofursloft said:

True. Units cannot shoot their own ones, but I think that make them being able to shoot even over the enemy melee units line it's too unrealistic.

it's evident in the game that archers can hit everything in their range, and possible obstacles are ignored, I don't get your point about realism, in reality archers could, and sometimes did, shoot volleys against enemies further away. at agincourt they did.

1 hour ago, Jofursloft said:

I agree. That's why I would nerf pikes just by slowing them down a bit (especially sele and ptolemy champs). I think that a 8.1 speed is too much compared to the 9 of spearmen. 

I agree that pikesmen should better be nerfed, however, I don't agree on the how (we have discussed that here). I also actually found out that the description of pikemen that sometimes come out in game in the loading screen does not reflect their actual stats, saying that they are good agains cavalry and other melee, ignoring the fact that they also brilliantly absorb pierce damage (and that they lose to other melee, without ranged support). I'd rather straight that out.

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21 minutes ago, alre said:

 

I agree that pikesmen should better be nerfed, however, I don't agree on the how (we have discussed that here). I also actually found out that the description of pikemen that sometimes come out in game in the loading screen does not reflect their actual stats, saying that they are good agains cavalry and other melee, ignoring the fact that they also brilliantly absorb pierce damage (and that they lose to other melee, without ranged support). I'd rather straight that out.

Well that was thing that bothered me when i started to play, realistically a pikeman and the syntagma are just "offensive" versions of the traditional hoplite and phalanx perfect for defending a city state of modest proportions. They trade the aspis for a pelte and a dory for a sarissa, much better for empire building.

"So why not make a pikeman an offensive version of a spearman, better attack stats but less pierce defence" was what I though, but then swordsman would need a bonus multiplier vs pikes and 0 AD does not like hard counters.

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54 minutes ago, alre said:

I don't get your point about realism, in reality archers could, and sometimes did, shoot volleys against enemies further away. at agincourt they did.

You are right. What I mean is that if we want an attack order who automatically sets your units to attack the enemy ranged units avoiding the pike shield we should add a "failure percentage" (even if the units are in range) . As I already said above in another comment: "in real life it's true that you can modify the angle of your bow while shooting an arrow, but you won't be able to see exactly who you are shooting at." 

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56 minutes ago, Jofursloft said:

Not sure about it, I would like to know more  

well, it's just that projectiles have a random spread that gets bigger with distance traveled, so they can easily miss distant targets. if they miss their target but they hit another enemy, they still deal damage, if they hit an ally, they do not.

the size of random spread depends on the type of ranged weapon, but those parameters are not shown in the game. also the probability of hitting depends on the size of the footprint of the target, and clearly on how many possible targets are next to the one at which you are shooting: massing your troups doesn't help against ranged enemies, and open order formation may be useful instead.

the probability of hitting as a function of the distance is non-linear, but I don't really know how it behaves really (in theory it's a sigmoid function, and you want to stay on its fatter side, wich means that further than some point, shooting at a lone target can become frustrating because you hardly ever get it).

as Angen just said, if the target is moving, the attacker will try to shoot at its future position.

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