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[a25] Merc Cav (Carthage + replay)


Dizaka
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1 minute ago, Dizaka said:

What if the mercenary buildings behaved like colonies maybe

I mean if they behave exactly the same I would still say that makes the civs more uniform.

But what I think is missing in this debate is the fact the the effectiveness and viability of turtling has been massively nerfed since A24. So imo the problems with super effective raids is the direct effect of that. 

The defense against raids should be: build towers and palisades or as it is normally called: turtling.

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1 hour ago, maroder said:

I mean if they behave exactly the same I would still say that makes the civs more uniform.

Not necessarily.  Maybe Mercenary buildings can behave like the Kushite merc outpost.  It can be built in neutral territory (not enemy) but does not have land influence.  Merc buildings can be provided to allow a 5-10 unit garrison depending on size of building or based on how much of a threat it is.

 

1 hour ago, maroder said:

But what I think is missing in this debate is the fact the the effectiveness and viability of turtling has been massively nerfed since A24. So imo the problems with super effective raids is the direct effect of that. 

The defense against raids should be: build towers and palisades or as it is normally called: turtling.

In my opinion, the Carthagian raids are more finalies to end enemies than actual raids.  I can do similar strategy with Romans (spear cav).  @Boudica probably is familiar with my "thunder spear cav" strategy.  This is basically the same strategy, with a substantially stronger unit.  With Romans (100 food, 50 wood) its expensive with weaker units.  Since every sword cav is 75 metal this becomes a cheaper strategy with substantially stronger units that is more about tying up and ending a player within 10 mins (Ricsand_godmode was ended in 8 mins though :D).

I agree with the palisades though.  I think palisades should have less intermediate turrets so they can be brought up faster and maybe cost less wood, but only in p1 (in p2/p3 they go up in cost maybe?).  Make palisades also harder to be damaged by sword/spear/axe/skrim cav ( @BreakfastBurrito_007 ).

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21 minutes ago, maroder said:

I mean if they behave exactly the same I would still say that makes the civs more uniform.

But what I think is missing in this debate is the fact the the effectiveness and viability of turtling has been massively nerfed since A24. So imo the problems with super effective raids is the direct effect of that. 

The defense against raids should be: build towers and palisades or as it is normally called: turtling.

This is obviously wrong--raiding doesn't need to be OP to be viable, and even if a unit isn't OP under defensive structures doesn't mean that it won't be OP in the open map. OP units existing is a problem. This has nothing to do with turtling.

 

If nothing else, look at the forums to see how poorly balanced a24 was because of archers. 

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Another game.  Same result.  I was border my pocket was Vicktualia.  The immediate border was tonyshark and his pocket was ycswyw.  Havran (other side) tried rushing me but I played more defensive than offensive.  Vick just came around with max upgrades and captured CC's, lol.

Note how low my economy score is.  I only had 36, or so, units gathering whole game.  Maintained population below 80 i think.

 

image.thumb.png.ece82ed7534178818de730b7c940c53c.png

image.thumb.png.9f2ea8dfccc682d575c94402de5ddf24.png

 

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50 minutes ago, maroder said:
1 hour ago, ValihrAnt said:

Give every civ a Military Colony

That would definitely make it easier to defend your territory, but is also contrary to the efforts to differentiate the civs.

I'll take potentially improved gameplay over 2 civs having a unique buildings, same story as the Persian stable and Macedonian siege workshop.

38 minutes ago, maroder said:

But what I think is missing in this debate is the fact the the effectiveness and viability of turtling has been massively nerfed since A24. So imo the problems with super effective raids is the direct effect of that. 

The defense against raids should be: build towers and palisades or as it is normally called: turtling.

This works in team games where you can just have everyone on the same woodline and not worry about it running out for the whole game but not 1v1s. Towers were never good against raids and still aren't as units don't spend enough time near them, they work against a sustained push. A possible small cavalry rush and boom into p3 has been the meta for the last few releases and I don't see any good way to add P2 aggression if there aren't footholds (Military colonies) for a defending player to set up. Very well evidenced by the Carthaginian Mercs, which are the only really good P2 unit that has existed in my time around. It would also potentially allow for players to actually execute slow pushes by setting up a colony near the enemy, using towers and infantry units that otherwise take far too long to just run around the map.

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1 hour ago, ValihrAnt said:

Reminded me of something that I had thought about a while ago and it would be a roundabout way of solving the issue. Give every civ a Military Colony (I do also think that a general reduction of territory and cost for the CC and Colony would be beneficial, but that's going a bit off topic). Allows a player to defend important areas, the aggressor to utilize their map control to secure important resources/strategic areas. Keep in mind that in close, aggressive games affording even a colony can be tough and it would still only protect one area. And then instead of nerfing aggressive strategies, expand on them.

But do you agree that these units should not be capable of easily beating spears 1 to 1?

They can still be very good units.

What do you think about giving spearmen in general an experience boost when doing damage to cavalry? And/or a nerf to the rate at which mercs gain experience?

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1 hour ago, maroder said:

I mean if they behave exactly the same I would still say that makes the civs more uniform.

But what I think is missing in this debate is the fact the the effectiveness and viability of turtling has been massively nerfed since A24. So imo the problems with super effective raids is the direct effect of that. 

The defense against raids should be: build towers and palisades or as it is normally called: turtling.

I think that palisades and towers should be helpful in defending a rush, but not completely counter it. I am not sure if you have witnessed some of the engagements the merc cav are able to easily win, but we frequently see 30 of the cav able to beat 30 spears, or more after being ranked to veteran r3 status.

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17 minutes ago, Thorfinn the Shallow Minded said:

Sword cavalry cost more than spearmen.  Provided that spearmen handily beat cavalry when resources are balanced out, that is the relevant point.

Sword cavalry do, at 100 food, 40 wood, and 10 metal.

Merc Sword Cavalry do not, at 80 metal.

Spear units cost 50 food and 50 wood.

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In my opinion, CS swordcav are a little op, but I feel if we nerf them it would just be from a .3 counter vs palisades and a +30% promotion gain bonus when spears attack cavalry. This way, swordcav will easily beat a few spears, but even numbers will be a loss for sure.

 

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1 minute ago, Thorfinn the Shallow Minded said:
14 minutes ago, BreakfastBurrito_007 said:

But do you agree that these units should not be capable of easily beating spears 1 to 1?

Sword cavalry cost more than spearmen.  Provided that spearmen handily beat cavalry when resources are balanced out, that is the relevant point.

Collection time wise the cavalry mercenaries have an ignorable 6 second advantage over spearmen. Normal rank 1 cavalry get convincingly beaten by normal rank 1 spearmen, the big problem stems from the fact that these mercenary cavalry start as rank 2 and thus are capable of instead beating spearmen quite convincingly. Now an advantage that the spearmen have is that they require less upgrades. So the cavalry need 2 stable upgrades and 3 blacksmith upgrades (spearmen do split hack and pierce damage), but the spearmen only need 2 blacksmith upgrades. A fight in which the rank 2 cavalry have only stable upgrades and the spearmen have the 2 blacksmith upgrades is won by spearmen. Though just the attack upgrade for cav evens the fight out and add any of the defense upgrades to that and they start winning consistently.

I really don't think this would be an issue if players were able to reinforce their most vulnerable areas with colonies in P2. The spearmen have an advantage of being able to gather resources too.

27 minutes ago, BreakfastBurrito_007 said:

What do you think about giving spearmen in general an experience boost when doing damage to cavalry? And/or a nerf to the rate at which mercs gain experience?

Cavalry could provide more experience in general. An infatry unit which has 50hp gives 100 and a cavalry unit (hp ranges from 100-160) gives 130. So just increasing that would be something to look at. Ranking up also only gives +20% extra experience as loot but +25% hp and +1 armor. So scaling that differently would benefit infantry units. Spearmen already rank up 3x faster when fighting cavalry as the experience comes from damage dealt against how much experience loot the enemy unit gives.

I also added a recording which showcases defending the mercenaries on a 1v1 with spread out woodlines. The hardest part is getting a Civic Center down due to the insane cost and it's a must because I need a forward foothold to be able to push and protect nearby economy units because otherwise he can easily raid my gatherers whilst I'm attacking and then come back to flank my army at a favourable time. The replay does also showcase that the defending player will have a far stronger eco even if there are losses and idle time as long as the enemy isn't able to snowball.

CarthaMercCavDef.zip

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3 minutes ago, ValihrAnt said:

Collection time wise the cavalry mercenaries have an ignorable 6 second advantage over spearmen. Normal rank 1 cavalry get convincingly beaten by normal rank 1 spearmen, the big problem stems from the fact that these mercenary cavalry start as rank 2 and thus are capable of instead beating spearmen quite convincingly. Now an advantage that the spearmen have is that they require less upgrades. So the cavalry need 2 stable upgrades and 3 blacksmith upgrades (spearmen do split hack and pierce damage), but the spearmen only need 2 blacksmith upgrades. A fight in which the rank 2 cavalry have only stable upgrades and the spearmen have the 2 blacksmith upgrades is won by spearmen. Though just the attack upgrade for cav evens the fight out and add any of the defense upgrades to that and they start winning consistently.

In TGs, the cav almost always come before the blacksmith. Even with no stable upgrades at all, and against the sparta-bonused 111 hp spearmen, it is a clear win.

Another strategy I have not seen done is getting 3 of the gaul merc camps from carthage, and going fast p3 to get +30% damage hero. But maybe this requires too much stone.

@ValihrAnt I think the spears would win much easier if during a 1v1 1 spearman vs 1 merc-cav (all upgrades aside) the spearman reaches rank 2 before cavalryman reaches rank 3. However, this would not stop the (likely) possibility of the cavalry attacking some other, weaker unit for the purpose of ranking up to r3.

Perhaps another way would be to give mercenaries a -50% experience rate, and combine that with whatever solution comes from the spearcav vs swordcav rebalancing raised by @LetswaveaBook on his discussion. This would make it harder to reach rank 3, where the cavalry become truly unstoppable, and would make spear-mixed woodlines a lot safer vs those units.

Also, ranged vs infantry rank-up values should be looked at when considering changing these units. There are a large number of possible ideas to fix these units, but we need to be very careful about how the changes might affect other units.

 

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5 hours ago, chrstgtr said:

This is obviously wrong

Always nice discussing with you. lol

5 hours ago, chrstgtr said:

raiding doesn't need to be OP to be viable

True and I never said or intentionally implied that.

5 hours ago, chrstgtr said:

and even if a unit isn't OP under defensive structures doesn't mean that it won't be OP in the open map.

Disagree about it in principle. How can it be op if there is a counter? Then it's your problem if you don't use it. 

Of course when the counter is only semi effective that's not working. The problem with A24 archers was that there was not that one effective counter for their opness.

5 hours ago, chrstgtr said:

OP units existing is a problem

True and I won't mind if sword cav is nerfed a bit, but I would still say that the natural defense against raids should be defensive structures aka turtle.

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5 hours ago, BreakfastBurrito_007 said:

I think that palisades and towers should be helpful in defending a rush, but not completely counter it.

If we're talking about a smaller rush I disagree. If we're talking about a rush with 30+ units I agree with you.

And yes imo spearman should also be able to reasonably counter cav.

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21 minutes ago, maroder said:

And yes imo spearman should also be able to reasonably counter cav.

Again though, the conversation is always about equally numbered spears against cavalry.  If we have 15 spearmen against 10 advanced sword cavalry, how does the fight play out assuming no micro? (I genuinely don't know since I do not have the game installed due to lack of available space)  

If I am not mistaken, mercenary cavalry cost a bit less, but I think the comparison is still fair.  

More importantly, how do you think it should play out?

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@maroder I was thinking about your idea that fortifications should help with rushes. I agree. I was wondering what makes palisade walls so ineffective to protect from rushing and I am thinking that it is because you can not easily wall of wood-gathering. sentry towers should not prevent entry to an area, but they should prevent long term existence in an area, so they don't need to be changed. palisade walls are primarily for denial of entry, and should be made easier to build in order for that mission to be viable.

Do you think a good mechanic addition to 0ad would be walls automatically re-routing around small obstructions. In a woodline, it would look a bit jagged, but would still be sealed. I think also reducing the build time of palisades, and improving their ease of placement would be an improvement. I don't think palisades should be given extra HP, since this would make them more frustrating, and would not help against rushing.

Another possibility would be that a palisade can be built in a woodline, ignoring resource obstructions until it is fully built, and then it deletes the obstructions. possible issues with this would be players trying to delete enemy resources by building palisades that interfere with them.

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9 minutes ago, BreakfastBurrito_007 said:

I was wondering what makes palisade walls so ineffective

My opinion is mostly that palisades should be useful to prevent attacks on you city /fields. I don't really think it would be desirable to wall off wood lines when they are not inside your city. For that it should be enough to have a good amount of spearman there and then maybe a tower as additional support. So if swordcav is so strong at the moment that the same amount of cav can just overrun an woodline with the same amount of spearman (and maybe a tower) then it should be nerfed. 

But I think the basics gameplay concept should be scouting and if you see your opponent is preparing a rush -> wall off your fields and build a tower near the woodline. And if he is not preparing a rush either rush yourself or boom.

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5 hours ago, LetswaveaBook said:

There has been a lot of discussion about Carthaginian mercenary cavalry, inspired by @Dizaka and @BreakfastBurrito_007. I would like to point out that it is not unstoppable as I stopped it in this video against a respectable opponent.

 

I have to admit that this was the 3rd game I played with Dakeyras that day. In the first, I played as britons against Carthage and I opened with a stable. Later I added a barracks but before I lacked enough spearmen, all my units were slaughtered. That build did not seem to be a workable strategy. So then we played again and I took Seleucids. I was housed 2 times before reaching 40 population and planned on getting 2 colonies, which did not do wonder either. Only the third game I got a right approach and execution.

 

So one of the reasons why I don't play 300 pop games or 1vs1 games it b/c they are totally different animals.  Hence, on my username there is no ranking.

I agree with the fact that the strategy can be countered 1vs1.  The fewer players there are per team the more likely it is to get countered effectively.

I've seen 002 counter me effectively in a team game when he was Romans.  I was surprised b/c Romans do not have spear infantry p1.  Spear cav are sticky though.

The main issue with Merc Cav is that in a 4v4 game 1 player decides what 4 others should be building in the first 8 min of gametime otherwise they risk of being effectively countered.

In the end, being entrenched in a defensive position and knowing what is coming is always going to win.  Even in team games it is better to entrench, let the first attack happen, then counter.  However, I genuinely believe merc cav are OP the way the are.  Actually, few players are OK with letting me play merc cav atm.  So instead, I play Kush and club Iberian CC's @roscany.

 

 

I *think* it would be different in 1v1s if CIVS were hidden from other players when selecting them.

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51 minutes ago, Dizaka said:

I play Kush and club Iberian CC's @roscany.

lul epic

 

52 minutes ago, Dizaka said:

I *think* it would be different in 1v1s if CIVS were hidden from other players when selecting them.

This is a cool idea, but maybe better as a host option because I am sure people will want both options.

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18 minutes ago, BreakfastBurrito_007 said:

This is a cool idea, but maybe better as a host option because I am sure people will want both options.

The other thing that would be needed is true fog of war - the game not knowing what civ someone else is until you uncover their CC.

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