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Attack-ground: include in A26 or not?


real_tabasco_sauce
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There has been some discussion about implementing attack ground, and I think we should go ahead and decide if this should be implemented for A26. I have no idea about the implementation process. Currently there seems to remain a need to design a graphic to display for the attack-ground radius, I imagine the mouse scroll wheel and using the existing radius for towers and forts might work fairly well. the graphic would probably only be needed when executing the attack ground command, for example when holding 'A' for a group of ranged units. Perhaps there could also be a hud element for attack ground alongside patrol, garrison, and delete.

I think more players are beginning to realize what benefits this could bring to the game.

Reasons for Attack-Ground:

  • allow players with ranged units to attack significantly beyond an amount of melee units.
  • "silent nerf" for pikes (as opposed to reducing armor, which would basically make them bad again)
  • "silent buff": for units with higher range (ie archers, which are considered weak, primarily because their range benefits are hampered by their limitation to shooting closer units)
  • Reducing Overkill:
    • Allows players with ranged units to better allocate their damage
    • high pierce units will have even less overkill
    • Overkill seems to be calculation-heavy, might even reduce lag if many players use this.
  • In general: adds more creativity, balance, and skill to fights involving ranged units.

Attack ground:

id like to test this in more realistic situations to see if it has the benefits I outlined above. Here is a video posted by @Freagarach a few months ago.

I could test this with a group if it became a mod.

Could I get an idea of how favorable people see this for A26?

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It looks like a nice feature, but the video looks like most of the arrows are missing the target. That make this seem like an extremely inefficient way to use ranged units, since most of the projectiles will be wasted. Would there be a way to have attack-ground, instead of firing at an area of ground, automatically target any units within that area? That would be a better use of the soldiers, and probably better for game performance.

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3 minutes ago, Nullus said:

It looks like a nice feature, but the video looks like most of the arrows are missing the target. That make this seem like an extremely inefficient way to use ranged units, since most of the projectiles will be wasted. Would there be a way to have attack-ground, instead of firing at an area of ground, automatically target any units within that area? That would be a better use of the soldiers, and probably better for game performance.

Agreed. It should be "Target Group" or something like this. 

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40 minutes ago, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

Agreed. It should be "Target Group" or something like this. 

I think this is what most people want. Attack move just targets the nearest unit, so why can't we have something where we just attack units within an area. This would be similar to how towers and defensive structures work.

 

But more to the point, is there any downside here? Players don't have to use it if they don't like. The only downside I can see is that it decreases micro, which many would see as upside and is irrelevant in large group battles. 

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1 hour ago, Nullus said:

It looks like a nice feature, but the video looks like most of the arrows are missing the target. That make this seem like an extremely inefficient way to use ranged units, since most of the projectiles will be wasted. Would there be a way to have attack-ground, instead of firing at an area of ground, automatically target any units within that area? That would be a better use of the soldiers, and probably better for game performance.

with this being one target, it makes sense that most miss. The merit of attack ground as seen in the video is in larger battles. Id like to see either attack ground or attack group. Attack group does seem like it would be more complicated, however.

Since currently overkill (80 archers shoot 1 skirm) is the biggest offender when it comes to game performance, this may actually improve performance as it avoids overkill.

see discussion below:

 

27 minutes ago, chrstgtr said:

The only downside I can see is that it decreases micro

It's hard to say if it will increase or decrease micro until we test it, but I would say attack ground would require close attention to be effective, like updating the area as units move. The player most effective with this tool would avoid overkill more. Because of that, I'd say it would either increase the skill ceiling, or do nothing if nobody ends up using it. 

Also attack ground could be used to anticipate the movements of something at long range, for better accuracy on fast moving targets.

I think it's still worth testing as is, especially since there is existing code for it. Maybe if it is determined that the additional benefit of hitting specific units within the selected area is necessary, then we see about attack group?

 

I will say that simply selecting a group of units to kill does not sound beneficial for gameplay.

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19 minutes ago, real_tabasco_sauce said:

It's hard to say if it will increase or decrease micro until we test it, but I would say attack ground would require close attention to be effective, like updating the area as units move. The player most effective with this tool would avoid overkill more. Because of that, I'd say it would either increase the skill ceiling, or do nothing if nobody ends up using it. 

 

It will 100% decrease micro in certain situations (at least amongst the best players). Has anyone ever effectively defended against a pike and skirm/sling rush successfully without microing to attack the range units in the back? Some unit combos are just better than others, but that can be overcome with good micro that targets certain units. That element will largely disappear (and I don't think many will be sad that they will no longer have to select 30 units one by one).

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1 hour ago, real_tabasco_sauce said:

I will say that simply selecting a group of units to kill does not sound beneficial for gameplay.

What I had in mind wasn't quite like that, I was thinking that it would be more like a "Target Area" function. Rather than ordering the units to attack a group, they would instead target any units within a selected area of ground. In that respect, it would work quite similarly to attack-ground. However, instead of actually firing at a selected point on the ground, they would automatically target any units within the selected area.

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7 hours ago, chrstgtr said:

It will 100% decrease micro in certain situations (at least amongst the best players). Has anyone ever effectively defended against a pike and skirm/sling rush successfully without microing to attack the range units in the back? Some unit combos are just better than others, but that can be overcome with good micro that targets certain units. That element will largely disappear (and I don't think many will be sad that they will no longer have to select 30 units one by one).

I still bet sending cav or even a group of melee inf to exposed slingers or skirms will be way more powerful than a group of archers using attack ground. The point is it gives archers and other units with longer range more of a chance in these kinds of battles, and another option when it comes to these scenarios. Overall, I just think attack ground or attack group will just give players another option to deal with battles like you described, and it can't hurt to test it.

One does have to expect some changes to the current playstyles as the game is developed, maybe the outcome wont be better or worse, just different.

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@LetswaveaBook personally I liked @chrstgtr's description of it best: working like a tower but for a square drawn area.

My main issue with attack group would be that you could 'select' a group of vulnerable units and your enemy would have no way of ensuring that those specific units are not targeted. For example, the 'tower' idea would mean that someone could move their units out of the area if they were paying attention, I like this because there are some ways to counter play it and ensure that pikes can still be useful. 

I am worried that attack-group would make it too easy shoot prioritized targets, especially while the target army is moving across the map. Example: you are Rauls with 20 pikes and 30 slingers, when suddenly a group of skirms attack-group selects your slingers and so they all die while your pikes sustain no damage. (obviously no attack-group exists like this, but this is just my worry of what it could be like). 

I would advocate for starting with what we have, which is the "attack-ground" that exists as a diff.

Edited by BreakfastBurrito_007
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39 minutes ago, real_tabasco_sauce said:

I'm fine with either, but do we agree to do this or no?

 

do we start with attack ground, or go for attack group?

I don’t quite get what the difference is. 
 

My suggestion had always been that a player should be able to drag and select an area where units will focus their fighting on until they are given a different command or no more units exist in that area. This can be done where units focus on the nearest unit with a selected area (like how normal attack move works) or where they spread out their projectiles within a selected area (like how towers work). Ideally both iterations would be possible

 

what I don’t want is a feature where units will just aimless shoot at an empty area (or stand idle) because they were “told” to while enemy units walk right in from of them 

Edited by chrstgtr
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23 minutes ago, chrstgtr said:

what I don’t want is a feature where units will just aimless shoot at an empty area (or stand idle) because they were “told” to while enemy units walk right in from of them 

That's the current attack ground patch with "planned changes" status. You define a zone (no control over the radius) and units shoot aimlessly in there. Main use would be a narrow pathway.

 

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3 minutes ago, Stan` said:

That's the current attack ground patch with "planned changes" status. You define a zone (no control over the radius) and units shoot aimlessly in there. Main use would be a narrow pathway.

 

Thanks, I didn’t know a difference had been created yet. Can you link me to it  

It doesn’t sound very functional given what players want it to be able to do, but I would like to be able to take a look

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39 minutes ago, chrstgtr said:

My suggestion had always been that a player should be able to drag and select an area where units will focus their fighting on until they are given a different command or no more units exist in that area.

That is exactly what I thought attack group meant.

@BreakfastBurrito_007, I am not saying the current situation is optimal, but if your units would be able to focus their attacks on vulnerable targets, the pikemen could become entirely useless. I am not against changes, but there is always the risk that you might only solve one problem with another.

The base problem for me seems more like the big difference in attack values of ranged compared to melee.

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1 hour ago, LetswaveaBook said:

the pikemen could become entirely useless

Pike men should have higher attack anyway, and need a minimum range from the target to attack. Making them either good 2nd rank frontline support, or in that case, make work of ranged shooting over them.

Edited by Grapjas
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2 hours ago, chrstgtr said:

what I don’t want is a feature where units will just aimless shoot at an empty area (or stand idle) because they were “told” to while enemy units walk right in from of them 

Yeah, I dislike attack-ground for this reason. It can have its (narrow) uses (especially for splash damage), so I don't oppose its inclusion from the game. What I really think will solve the original issue of ranged units always targeting the meat shield (because it's closer) would be attack-group.

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Ok my main question I have with attack-group as some have described it is: do the selected units remain the exclusive targets of that group until all are dead?

In my opinion, this would render the pikemen useless (unless their stats are changed of course). This leads me to support @chrstgtr's explanation of the function the most, since it is counterable, and also does not remove the meatshield functionality of melee units.

14 hours ago, chrstgtr said:

This would be similar to how towers and defensive structures work.

4 hours ago, chrstgtr said:

what I don’t want is a feature where units will just aimless shoot at an empty area (or stand idle) because they were “told” to while enemy units walk right in from of them

I agree, the units could just cancel the area-attack and then just revert to normal behavior once there is no one in their area to attack.

Edited by BreakfastBurrito_007
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1 hour ago, BreakfastBurrito_007 said:

Ok my main question I have with attack-group as some have described it is: do the selected units remain the exclusive targets of that group until all are dead?

In my opinion, this would render the pikemen useless (unless their stats are changed of course). This leads me to support @chrstgtr's explanation of the function the most, since it is counterable, and also does not remove the meatshield functionality of melee units.

I agree, the units could just cancel the area-attack and then just revert to normal behavior once there is no one in their area to attack.

Not useless. But maybe not the best CS unit in game. 
 

Remember melee units will continue to fight other melee units, where pikes will do well, and range units quickly fall when melee is able to directly engage with them. 
 

 

In response to your question, I think it depends. Is it the situation where you pick an area or pick units. Pick units would follow. Pick area would disengage after they leave. No strong preference for me here, but I do think both could encourage more movement in fight, which could be interesting (ie large-scale luring or moving your units into safety

Edited by chrstgtr
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