Author Topic: Starting Unit tweaks : Archers  (Read 331 times)

Chenier

  • Honourable King
  • *****
  • Posts: 7956
    • View Profile
Starting Unit tweaks : Archers
« Topic Start: August 09, 2018, 03:11:03 PM »
    Title: Make all starting archer units have R4
    Summary: Currently, archer starting units seem to have a random range rating. It's often 3. Maybe always? I propose that all archer units generated at character creating have a range of 4.
    Details: No further details necessary.
    Benefits: Just about nobody uses R3 archers. At most, experienced players will mix them in with R4 archers in order to benefit from superior stats, while keeping the final unit at R4. The problem is that newbies don't typically know how this works, and that them starting with R3 units can make it difficult for them to increase to R4, since they'll typically recruit as much as they can, or at the very least, more than half of their recruitment limit. But having R3 units, and being the only ones to have them, can often result in your unit walking out in front of the rest of the army, thus much more likely of getting killed or captured, or at the very least having costly damage forcing them into an early refit. In any case, not something desirable for newbies. Defaulting them to R4 always has almost no game-balance impact given how rare new units are and how the difference in combat efficiency is limited, but it can make a big difference for those few players at their beginnings.
    Possible Downsides or Exploits: Negligible.

Anaris

  • BM Dev Team
  • Honourable King
  • *
  • Posts: 7838
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Unit tweaks : Archers
« Reply #1: August 09, 2018, 08:52:33 PM »
...I notice you're not even mentioning R2 archers.

I think this is probably a good idea; I have felt for a long time like the tradeoffs of shorter-ranged archers were not worthwhile. I would like to make it more of a strategic choice, such that the shorter the range of your archers, the more damage they deal.

Not sure exactly what the right way forward is on this, but I do agree that something needs to be done in this vein, and making starting archers all R4 is probably a good step in the right direction.
Timothy Collett

"The only thing you can't trade for your heart's desire...is your heart." "You are what you do.  Choose again, and change." "One of these days, someone's gonna plug you, and you're going to die saying, 'What did I say? What did I say?'"  ~ Miles Naismith Vorkosigan

Zakky

  • Noble Lord
  • ***
  • Posts: 376
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Unit tweaks : Archers
« Reply #2: August 09, 2018, 09:15:50 PM »
...I notice you're not even mentioning R2 archers.

I think this is probably a good idea; I have felt for a long time like the tradeoffs of shorter-ranged archers were not worthwhile. I would like to make it more of a strategic choice, such that the shorter the range of your archers, the more damage they deal.

Not sure exactly what the right way forward is on this, but I do agree that something needs to be done in this vein, and making starting archers all R4 is probably a good step in the right direction.

Thought you already do more damage in the shorter range? I mean shorter range is usually bad because how the game is designed. Because you fire before you move, if your target is out of your range, you waste that turn completely. If you have archers with R2, you get to shoot only once before you get hit by cavalry units unless they move from outside of your range. Even worse for R1. R1 is essentially useless. I don't even know why we are even seeing R1 archer options.

I can think of one quick way to change how much damage you do with ranged units. Maybe your overall damage is the same. Let's say you can do 1000 damage across all of your range. If you are range 4, you will do 250 each row. But if your enemies are 4 rows away, you will do 250/4. Maybe you get an option to focus your fire so instead of doing equal 250 damage per row, maybe you can focus 700 damage on row 3 while doing 100 damage per row on your remaining rows.

That way if you have a unit with 1 range, you will do 1000/1 damage to the row right in front of you. If your range is 2, you will by default do 500 damage in each row.

This will make archers attack multiple units like infantry units but they will do more damage on a specific row if you get an option to adjust the ratio of damage. Otherwise, their damage will be spread out across all their range.

Just a quick thought. Numbers might need to be readjusted and with arrows having different ratio across hit or miss you might need to make archers do more damage overall to adjust for that.

Anaris

  • BM Dev Team
  • Honourable King
  • *
  • Posts: 7838
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Unit tweaks : Archers
« Reply #3: August 09, 2018, 09:22:26 PM »
Thought you already do more damage in the shorter range?

You do, in linear proportion—twice as much damage at 2 lines as at 4 lines, regardless of max range.

But based on the way people see and use archers, which I think Chénier's post is probably fairly representative of, I think that is likely insufficient to make up for the extra rounds of damage archers do by having longer range. At least in the players' minds.

Quote
Even worse for R1. R1 is essentially useless. I don't even know why we are even seeing R1 archer options.

...You are? That's a bug.

Quote
I can think of one quick way to change how much damage you do with ranged units. Maybe your overall damage is the same. Let's say you can do 1000 damage across all of your range. If you are range 4, you will do 250 each row. But if your enemies are 4 rows away, you will do 250/4. Maybe you get an option to focus your fire so instead of doing equal 250 damage per row, maybe you can focus 700 damage on row 3 while doing 100 damage per row on your remaining rows.

That doesn't sound quick, or simple ;D

I invite further discussion on this, and I'll see if I can come up with something good (or use something that comes out of the discussion) some time late next week when I'm no longer at a beach house in Florida.
Timothy Collett

"The only thing you can't trade for your heart's desire...is your heart." "You are what you do.  Choose again, and change." "One of these days, someone's gonna plug you, and you're going to die saying, 'What did I say? What did I say?'"  ~ Miles Naismith Vorkosigan

Zakky

  • Noble Lord
  • ***
  • Posts: 376
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Unit tweaks : Archers
« Reply #4: August 09, 2018, 09:33:14 PM »
Heh well I thought it was a simple option. Maybe I was overthinking too much. I just wrote whichever the way I could think of right away.

The easiest fix for low range RC is to not have them. Make all R2,3 to R4. That would be a super fast answer.

If you want to make R2 and 3 useful, then I see the way I described top or other few other options.

1) Make R2 and R3 units more resilient against infantry. This will pretty much turn them into mixed infantry. Not sure this is what you want.

2) Change the linear damage reduction formula. So you do a lot more damage in R1 and R2 while less in R3, R4 and R5. The problem I see here is how much damage you lose from shooting units that are engaged. You lose a lot of hits from firing carefully at enemies that are engaged in your melee units. Increasing that damage will make all shorter range good in general but that also makes archers strong in general. Melee units will be used as cannon fodders again to buy as much time as possible.

I don't really see a simple option. Maybe someone else has a brilliant and elegant fix ;)

Chenier

  • Honourable King
  • *****
  • Posts: 7956
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Unit tweaks : Archers
« Reply #5: August 10, 2018, 02:28:47 AM »
I do think that range on new character's starting archer units can be handled apart from archer range issues in general. I *think* it would be fairly simple and quick to make it so that everyone who starts a character with an archer unit automatically gets R4. Much more than anything else mentioned or to be mentioned in this thread, I reckon.

That point made, regarding archer range in general... yea, I think most people reckon "greater range means an extra round of shots before getting into melee". Thus, more range = good, always. Or, an extra round of shots if you can outrange the enemy ranged troops. In any case, more range will always be better, because if you want the archers to shoot from closer, you can just deploy them closer to the front. A purely R3 army vs a purely R4 army would suffer from 1 wasted round of attacks, after which both forces will have exactly the same range penalties, thus putting the R4 army (or R5) at a clear advantage. When facing melee, greater range can mean more rounds of shots at the infantry without getting any hits in return.

Managing multiple range values gets... complicated. A hassle. Because you typically want your archers on the same line, because otherwise they block the view from each other (unless I'm interpreting things incorrectly). So that one R3 archer unit moving ahead of all the other R4 units... is causing more harm than good, because that increases the odds of the rest of them then wasting a turn to move up, when they could have kept firing otherwise, thus wasting the whole lot a turn on each unit.

R2... urgh. By the time a R2 unit gets to shoot on enemies, odds are the next turn they'll have infantry in their faces. Best case scenario, almost all, if not all of their shots will be penalized by "must shoot carefully into melee". It's pretty useless.

I'd be fine with eliminating R2 archers. Maybe even making all archers R4. I'm not sure it really adds anything to the game, other than making the odds of getting a truly good RC smaller than they otherwise would be.

Similar arguments could be brought for MI and SF, though. I rarely see people build SF of range less than 4, if they aren't melee. People aim for R5, even R4 is kind of looked down upon, though at least those match the best ranged archers. MI, I've never really thought less than R3 was worth it. With R2 or less, you may as well just hire infantry, in my opinion. The one round of ranged shots they'll get is not worth the loss of effectiveness in melee they get for all the other rounds.

Zakky

  • Noble Lord
  • ***
  • Posts: 376
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Unit tweaks : Archers
« Reply #6: August 10, 2018, 03:43:32 AM »
Maybe the game should go the other direction. Reduce all range by 1 so archers at most have R3 and SF R4. Archers are firing too far I think since they can literally cover half the field.

PolarRaven

  • Knight
  • **
  • Posts: 49
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Unit tweaks : Archers
« Reply #7: August 11, 2018, 12:16:21 AM »
I am not sure how the archer system currently works, but here is my two cents worth.

The listed range of the archer unit should be the range where the archer unit should be most effective.
A range 5 unit should be most effective (100%) at range 5.
A range 3 unit should be most effective at range 3.

As enemy troops get closer than their effective range, the ranged units should loose strength.

Two archer units equal in all but range.  One range 3 and one range 5.
50/50 50 r3  (unit a)
50/50 50 r5  (unit b)

Round 1
unit a has no enemy in range and moves forward
unit b fires and does max damage. (say 1000)

Round 2
unit a now has  enemies at range 3 and fires for max damage (1000)
unit b now has enemies at range 4 and fire for reduced damage (700)

Round 3
enemy troops move forward
unit a now has enemies at range 2 and fire for reduced damage (700)
unit b now has enemies at range 3 and fire for reduced damage (400)

Archers are trained and equipped to work best at their maximum range.
A bow that is made to fire a long distance away is not so good to hit targets that are too close.
Archers that have been trained to hit targets "5 lines" away have specialized in their training for THAT distance.  Sure they can hit closer targets, but they are not as effective as those that have been trained to do so. 

Morale also plays a part in their effectiveness. 
An archer that has been trained and equipped to fire range 5, will not be so confident as they see the enemy moving towards them at range 2.
Whereas a range 3 archer knows that they will face enemy troops in a couple of rounds and is more prepared to deal with range 2 and range 1 encounters.

Range 5 archers are trained and equipped to fight from a distance and should be almost useless in close/melee combat.
Range 3 archers are trained and equipped to fight in closer quarters and should be much better in dealing with enemies that make it through the lines to engage them in close/melee combat.

In today's terms, a sniper with the right rifle is an excellent choice to take out an enemy from a mile away, but 5 guys with handguns standing 10 feet away from him would negate much of his advantage.

Not all archers are the same.  Training and equipment gives them different advantages/disadvantages.

Range 5 archers would be equipped with better bows, more arrows and much less (if any) armor (cloth or padded).  They may have a dagger handy for defense, but are not prepared to face an enemy close up as the enemy should never be able to reach these troops.  The battle should be over before any enemy troops ever reach these range 5 troops.

On the other hand, range 3 units would have mid-grade bows with fewer arrows and more armor (leather or studded - not enough to hinder their archery effectiveness) knowing that they are closer to the front-line.  They would also have better melee weapons, say a short sword, knowing that they are likely to have to engage enemy troops in melee.

Range 1-2 troops would essentially be infantry with a few spears each to throw before engaging in melee.  These would be heavily armored (chain) with significant melee weapons (long sword, halberd, short sword and dagger...) knowing that they are very likely to face enemy troops in melee battle.

Infantry would of course have the best armor (plate) and the best hand to hand weapons (long sword and dagger, two short swords, mace and shield...)


Chenier

  • Honourable King
  • *****
  • Posts: 7956
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Unit tweaks : Archers
« Reply #8: August 11, 2018, 03:14:04 AM »
A sniper might be trained to shoot a target a mile away... he should still have an easier time hitting a target half a mile away, and even more ease with a target a hundred yards away.

Projectiles have more kinetic power closer to the weapon than further apart. Air resistance had less impact and all.

Infantry is already far, far better than MI and archers in melee.

Lefanis

  • Mighty Duke
  • ****
  • Posts: 1096
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Unit tweaks : Archers
« Reply #9: August 14, 2018, 04:05:08 PM »
I invite further discussion on this, and I'll see if I can come up with something good (or use something that comes out of the discussion) some time late next week when I'm no longer at a beach house in Florida.

I think two options sounds good- First seems quick and easy, eliminate all non R4 archers- all existing centres turn to R4.

Second option, somewhat more complicated, is to have maximum weapons caps on R4 (longbows) centre options to 65, R3 to 75, and R2 get 100 (crossbows). An alternative could also be to eliminate R2, have R4 with a maximum cap at 75 and R3 get max cap at 100. This also balances the archer/infantry game a bit.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2018, 04:07:53 PM by Lefanis »
The conscience of an individual comes before the will of the majority.

Zakky

  • Noble Lord
  • ***
  • Posts: 376
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Unit tweaks : Archers
« Reply #10: August 14, 2018, 06:05:26 PM »
Hmm. Make all archers R4. Make them do more damage as enemies approach but make them do far less at R4 and R3.

Make all MIs attack at R2 but make them ignore armor.

On top of these, maybe reducing range by 1 overall wouldn't hurt. So technically, make all archers R3 while all MIs R1.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2018, 10:45:37 AM by Zakky »

Medron Pryde

  • Noble Lord
  • ***
  • Posts: 240
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Unit tweaks : Archers
« Reply #11: August 15, 2018, 07:58:45 AM »
This would drastically dial back some of the better recruitment centers in the game.

Some of which have been lovingly cared for and created by players who sometimes spent thousands of gold finding and building them.

Is this something we want to do?

Zakky

  • Noble Lord
  • ***
  • Posts: 376
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Unit tweaks : Archers
« Reply #12: August 15, 2018, 10:46:18 AM »
This would drastically dial back some of the better recruitment centers in the game.

Some of which have been lovingly cared for and created by players who sometimes spent thousands of gold finding and building them.

Is this something we want to do?

RCs come back go. There is no such thing as lovingly cared RCs. Even the most loved RCs disappear over time.

Chenier

  • Honourable King
  • *****
  • Posts: 7956
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Unit tweaks : Archers
« Reply #13: August 15, 2018, 04:27:34 PM »
RCs come back go. There is no such thing as lovingly cared RCs. Even the most loved RCs disappear over time.

Some RCs lasted a very long time, were relics from the game's creation. And back in the days, before consults, getting good RCs usually involved throwing a LOT of gold at the lottery game that was new RC constructions.

Medron Pryde

  • Noble Lord
  • ***
  • Posts: 240
    • View Profile
Re: Starting Unit tweaks : Archers
« Reply #14: August 16, 2018, 09:16:36 AM »
In old realms, or in cities that have been constantly held by one human faction or another, there are RCs that are older than any character in the realm.

I would point to Perdan's rather amazing RCs, and it took direct Developer action to delete one of them in response to a Portal Event wishlist of stuff the adventurer in question wanted to see happen.