Combat - Effective distance mechanic suggestion.

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Introduction
So. first of all I'd wanna thank the devs for this great game. I can see that they are really working on it and being a small studio it's hard so keep it up guys.

The main thing I wanna talk about today is combat. While I know the game isn't complete and this might be on the devs' list but just gonna post it anyway. Currently the main problem I see with combat is not about armor or something but it's a lot more basic i.e the effectiveness of certain weapons and units over others. There should be a clear purpose to use a certain unit type over the other which the game is sadly lacking currently. It's there for the bows and cavalry but not when it comes to melee vs melee. I've seen random results when testing in custom battles. And you can't tell which unit is gonna win just by looking at the armor and the weapons in the encyclopaedia which is kinda counter-intuitive. I also see no clear purpose when I see a unit having more or less armor than the other. The fights also feel a lot more hectic or arcadey?. All of these things should be tied in a more logical manner which basically boils down to the effective distance mechanic I'm gonna be talking next.

Real Fights and Effective Distance
I watched a lot of videos on people explaining how historical battles and duels went and the usage of weapons and found that Weapon reach and as a consequence effective distance is a really big big factor in deciding fights especially in 1v1, 2v2 or short duels. In short, an axeman with a small one handed axe should in no way win against a longsword (2H) user assuming the skill level is same and the axeman doesn't have a shield. The only chance of the axeman winning is to parry/dodge blows and rush inward to close the distance reaching the point where his "axe" now has superiority over the other guy's "longsword". On the contrary the longsword user would obviously try to back off quickly as he charges or stop him with his superior reach. The same thing happens with spears and other weapons. Of course when you add in shields, the chances of the axeman rushing in increases since he has a way to deflect or block attacks and move in at the same time. That's what real fights are about more or less.

When it comes to large scale battles, this thing doesn't have that much of a presence as the battlefields are usually dominated by pikemen since as I said, weapon reach really did made an impact. But since this is a game we have to add functionality for all kinds of weapon to make this fun. So I'd propose to add this mechanic where both parties try to maintain a distance w.r.t to the weapon they are holding.

The real question is how to implement this in the game and if we implement it what benefits do we see?

Implementation?
I'm in no way eligible to answer the "how" part but I'm still gonna post what's in my mind. The only thing I can think of for now is of big Bounding Boxes surrounding all the formations on the battlefield and calculating the distance between each other. Each BB has a certain threshold which it tries to maintain. So if another BB tries to step inside that distance, the BB signals it's children which are prolly the individual BBs for the soldiers? and thus tells all the individual soldiers to just back off. Sounds pretty basic, but I know it's not that easy. Perhaps someone here on the forum is more knowledgeable on these matters or perhaps the devs can figure it out.

Benefits
If both parties would be trying to maintain an effective distance according to their weapon type the fights turn out to be more fun, more logical and prolonged. Reason is, since both parties are trying to maintain a distance you don't get to see 2 big masses just engulfing each other. Fights last longer and take more time unless there is a breakthrough in the formation.

Secondly, now you don't just switch your brain off and tell your axeman to just charge in. You would now have to carefully manage your army to have all sorts of units i.e. Pikemen, Sword Infantry and Axeman and each having a different purpose. You no longer would want to send your axeman/1H sword users to fight against polearm or long 2H sword users ideally. And even if you are sending them then you know for sure that they will close the gap despite taking a hit to their front line. And in order for them to do so, their overall weight and atheltics would have to be higher than the long weapon users which implies lighter armor than the opponents. This brings us to the third benefit.

Thirdly, we get a strong connection between which troop unit has what values for the armor and their stats. So you could have an easier time deciding, as the devs, which troop unit has what stats and what gear/armor. This would also help in adding new troop units both for the modders and the devs. For e.g, you could have heavy pikeman that could be gap-closed by lighter axeman or you could have lighter-pikeman that don't have this con but now they are really weak against arrows if they don't have a shield. If they do, then you can run them down by horses more easily as compared to heavily armored pikemen or you'll have to face them with a similar pikeman unit.

Summary
So, in short I would want the devs to think on adding this effective distance mechanic whereby both parties try to maintain a distance that's effective w.r.t the weapon they have.

Posting some extra suggestions which I think are related to the combat/troop types

  1. 2H axes fare better against polearms than 2H swords since axes can hook the polearms away
  2. Axes are cheaper than swords and easier to maintain. Since we don't have a weapon repairing or maintenance mechanic, sword units should have high wages or request a certain amount of gold after battle to simulate this maintenance factor. Although this can be implemented as well.
  3. Every faction should have a unit which is more or less their identity and it should be logical. This can be a double-edged sword but this was present in warband as well. Currently some units don't make any sense. Why do sturgians have cavalry as t6? Why do Battanians that have a culture of 2H swords have archer units as their t6? The wiki says they are known for forest warfare which includes longbow archers. If that's the case why do longbows weigh even less than aserai normal bows and have a speed rating of only 1 less than aserai archers? Makes no sense.
  4. Shields give a bonus to close the gap since it's easier to fend off blows. But not so much. A lighter pikeman unit should still be able to fend off a light axeman + shield combo. But now the axeman would be better at holding them off and surviving till you charge or flank them with a different unit

Anyways thanks to anybody who takes the time to read this big wall-o-text. I'm done.
 
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emo_edjiboye

Regular
I agree. As of now types of infantry aren't differentiated enough to have their own rolls. It doesn't help that in battles infantry combat breaks down to blobs of men fighting face to face regardless of weapon length or type. They don't give each other room to fight effectively and because of this their strikes are blocked by their own fellow solders.
I believe there is a mod that fixes this, but it goes without saying it should be in the base game.
 
I agree. As of now types of infantry aren't differentiated enough to have their own rolls. It doesn't help that in battles infantry combat breaks down to blobs of men fighting face to face regardless of weapon length or type. They don't give each other room to fight effectively and because of this their strikes are blocked by their own fellow solders.
I believe there is a mod that fixes this, but it goes without saying it should be in the base game.
Yeah, stuff like this should definitely be in the base game so modders can work on actually expanding and introducing new things rather than fixing things. It's still EA though, I can only hope they fix the combat soon.
 
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