Disccusion about the current position of Infantry

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Loyal2Odin

Sergeant
Hello there folks,

''Infantry is in a nasty place right now''

Over the last couple of weeks there have been a lot of discussions about many aspects of Infantry that supposedly need to be worked on by the developer team. The incentive being, Infantry just doesn't feel in the right place now. Some of these posts include ''buffs'' that would not only make Infantry stronger, but also archers or cavalry. Most players seem to agree that, on average, an infantry loses to an archer or a cavalry. For many this causes frustration, especially when an enemy team chooses 4 or more non-infantries. It is fairly obvious that this mostly results in infantries chasing enemy archers all over the map. Generally speaking there are two ways the position of Infantry can be boosted:
1: By creating buffs that ONLY apply to Infantry, improving their position in comparison to other classes.
2: By nerfing other classes, archers and cavalry.

Cavalry and archers have been addressed many times with the last patches where archers got a substantial nerf and some changes are still in the work for cavalry. This leaves us with Infantry and the question of ''How are we going to make Infantry worthwile and most of all; FUN?''.

Firstly, we shall explore some of the challenges and frustrations for an Infantry player during daily skirmishes.
1: It takes a long time to catch up to an enemy archer running away.
2: Once you get to the archer, you realize you cannot 1v1 him because he has a 2h and will kick-slash you to death because you have no way of opening him up.
3: Heavy Infantry classes are quite common and they don't come with throwing weapons (anymore) which is not beneficial when chasing archers. In the case for Sturgia this is insanely frustrating because archers get outmatched by any other faction. Sturgia is supposed to be an Infantry heavy faction but chasing an archer across the map as a varyag is pointless and frustrating.
4: In the majority of cases, the 2h classes are not that feasible because of their limitations in large group Inf vs Inf fighting (no mace, etc.). Moreover, if we look at some examples for the 2h class in Sturgia, the shield leaves much to desire. The point is that if you don't have that running speed of the 2h class, you won't easily catch up with archers.
5: Infantry gets a perk called Stronger shield which is 100% useless. It could work in some scenarios but its rare. This needs to be removed.
6: This is my personal opinion, but I find it annoying to spawn with 2 sets of throwing weapons. In some cases you are practically forced to either take more throwables or better ones. In some cases we don't want to spawn with throwables because of the situation and we are forced to. We could take peasant class to, but this only works for certain factions like Aseria with strong peasant.
7: The class system is MORE limiting for Infantry than it is for Archers or Cavalry

If any of you has more to add to this, please feel free to do so.

My question to ALL OF YOU!!!
How should we improve the position of Infantry in the game?
 

hoonii

Sergeant at Arms
For inf v cav;
  • Make infantry spears same length as lances so cav won't outrange infantry every time with lances and it will depend more on skill who hits first.
  • Increase infantry spear damage.
  • Increase sword, mace and axe damage to horses in cqb so cav won't just push into a fight and stay there.
  • Increase throwing axe damage against cav by a bit, the nerf was just too harsh, throwing axes barely do 30 damage to a charging knight now.
  • Fix the glancing issue for spears against horses and rearing angle problems. Don't make infantry being able to rear a horse from behind or sides again(which is still present but reduced) but increase the angle a bit or reduce the damage threshold to like 30 or something.
I don't know how you can improve archer v inf, maybe nerf 2 handers damage and speed, disable archers being able to shoot below or above shields for small ones? Or give javelins back to heavy infantry and increase their damage by a bit. Maybe heavy infantry swords can be faster, they are swords after all and maces being faster than swords doesn't make complete sense. Maybe removing swords bouncing off enemy, dealing 3 damage or so, will put swords in a better place, no one I encountered in skirmish takes swords anymore it's either maces or axes.
 

Ikea Knight

Sergeant Knight at Arms
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
-slow down archers

- set friendly fire to 100% and enable bumps on friendly fire. I know that sounds counterproductive but atm cav just doesn't have to worry much about their friendly units. And while teamkills by archers already happen a lot. I guess the risk/reward Ratio is still high enough for archers to try dangerous shots.
 

Silvernj

Grandmaster Knight
- set friendly fire to 100% and enable bumps on friendly fire. I know that sounds counterproductive but atm cav just doesn't have to worry much about their friendly units. And while teamkills by archers already happen a lot. I guess the risk/reward Ratio is still high enough for archers to try dangerous shots.
Friendly bumps sounds good for competitive but public skirmish will become such a mess - I predict massive rage quits, myself included. It's already pretty harsh to play inf no need to make it more complicated
 

Loyal2Odin

Sergeant
Friendly fire bumps do punish the team in general but I doubt they will improve the overall Infantry experience.

As for all the other points mentioned, I think they are very solid options.
 

Zdzichu

Veteran
Imo the cavalry is not afraid of infantry with spear. Only I have a problem with spear bouncing especially when a cavalryman shortens the distance?
+ infantry is unable to catch up archers.
 

Silvernj

Grandmaster Knight
Imo the cavalry is not afraid of infantry with spear. Only I have a problem with spear bouncing especially when a cavalryman shortens the distance?
+ infantry is unable to catch up archers.
Spear works fine only when stabbed properly. Late stab or early stab just don't work. I get a lot of 15-20 dmg hits to horse head without rear happening.
 
My 5 cents on that topic would be the following:

Archers - at least the light version is good as it is. No need for nerfs as they are utterly dismantled once INF or CAV reaches them. And they are weak vs. INF one-on-one as the INF usually has shields. Sure, they will take damage and lose some to odd headshots or arrows hitting the legs but to properly work you either have to amass archers to get those lucky hits or lock them into a certain direction so that the archers can flank them and shoot from an angle not protected by a shield. The Top-Tier archer units however...tend to have a good combination of armor, manpower and good secondary weapon to make them very challenging to INF. Light Archers should always be able to outrun medium and heavy INF.

Cavalry has the innate advantage of mobility. The can harass and pick off straglers. Also their lances are king distance-wise. They are also the smallest units. I guess they do not need a nerf as well - per se - but the behavior of the mount should be crucial and reckless riding should be punished by being thrown off the mount taking damage. Seriously, they are literally glued to the saddle currently.
My obvious approach to deal with CAV in a MP game is trying to kill the horses. Unmount them and surround and kill 'em off. Which proves to be very hard as projectiles do not a lot damage and horses have a crapload of HP. Thrown weapon damage must go up again and hits to the horse's head should lead to the horse rearing or even throwing off its rider. This also is true for heavy hits over a certain damage treshold. Introduce skill checks to determine the rider stay in saddle. If doing reckless stuff, you fall off and be picked of or swarmed.

Toward archers, INF must be weak. They have lighter gear, thus are quicker on the retreat - they are called skirmishing units for something. Archers should be able to lock INF into place with suppression fire or exploit flanking them. This works as long you have arrows. If you are out of ammo, INF should beat you 1 on 1 in 9 of 10 cases or better.

Toward CAV, INF CAN be strong, if properly equipped. The equipment of choice is a spear or pike and we need the ability to toggle bracing it. In that case, it would represent an obstacle wounding mount or rider touching it with speed making things even worse. Ride heads-on into a pike formation and you get dead riders. Drawback: INF must be stationary for that and use 2 hands and could picked off by archers easily while braced. The suggestion of archer friendly fire to 100% damage would help as well to prevent exploits.

For me, the arms branches have different jobs on the field.
INF is numerous, well protected and should make short work of the others, if contact is made. Advance under shieldwall protection, claim and hold points and defend other assets. It should be resilient versus CAV (and is by having spears and shields)
ARC is useful to pin INF into place or skirmish but useless in melee and is countered by CAV.
CAV neutralizes ARC, scouts and flanks like riding into the back of a formation.

None of those are more important than others and will win in some situations and lose in others. So I find it very dangerously to just throw around buffs and nerf. Nerfing thrown was a mistake in my book and missing or inadequate horse behavior is giving CAV an undue advantage. Imagine the horse panicking and riding around randomly with the rider not able to act properly for some time. Imagine riders thrown off the horse because the horse backs off or gets wounded. THIS we are missing. The rest is o.k. for the moment.
 
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Slow down archers, reduce archer damage.

Make sûre inf always has longer Spear

Massive buff to all non-spear weapons such as Swords axes and maces vs hordes. A horse getting hit by Weapons shorter than spears needs to be very punished
 

OurGloriousLeader

Grandmaster Knight
Archers are always going to kite. The more you nerf them the more they're going to as well. It's not always the inf's job to chase down and solo kill archers, you can't really create the perfect anti-kiting game without ridiculous movement disparities. Inf should generally eventually catch archers, but since that catch-up can never be instant, there will always be kiting. The counter is disrupting archers with cav and other archers, and fighting in areas beneficial to you e.g. you have better archer positions and cover, or you have caught the archers in the open.

There also needs to be a change in mindset for a lot of the inf complaints: unless you make other classes completely non-viable, you are always going to be shot, and you are always going to get killed by cav. Some of this is broken (e.g. shooting around shields, and very strong armoured cav), but some of it is just frustration and not something that needs to be addressed by balance changes.

I also think relying on throwing weapons as a way to buff inf is a mistake - you're just adding more ranged to a game already frustrating because of non-melee damage and kills.

The key to making inf feel good is to encourage melee as much as possible, and the key to that is improving combat, particularly aggressive attacking combat. Which is why this should worry inf players. I would slow down the hit-back speed, add a slight turncap, and slowdown the speed of kicks to make defensive passive style encouraged less.

As for other classes, I would definitely focus on some cav nerfs - less armour, less speed, less pushing people around (literally remove this from pvp please), more punishment for running into obstacles, remove being able to double-tap W after being stopped, less manoeuvrability at speed, rework polearm animations so that standing still and stabbing isn't so quick and damaging. Archers need some time to settle, but I would be happy to see less footshots and shooting over shields.
 
Maybe stick to damage type in that regard. Horses might be resillient a bit versus blunt and slash damage, but pierce damage should work fine. In that way some weapons still can be used in alternative mode.

And no: I think a light archer should outrun anything on foot but a light INF. Armor and gear is encumbering. And a shield should cover only the areas it physically is - so yes, leg shots happen as do arrows coming from above like ballistically. Draw the arrow's path from archer to target area - if arrow hits shield, then it is blocked, if not, then it hits, what ever there is. Archers are skirmishing units doing hit-and-run tactics. Only chance to counter them is
a) be able to outrun them (by horse or even having less gear like Rabble units)
b) block their arrows until they are out of ammo
c) herd them to places where they cannot run anymore i.e. towards other units of your side whilst forming shieldwall. Works ofc with shieldbearing INF only. Stuff like berserkers is naturally weak vs. archers but great vs. INF as they have reach and smash shields. Mind, I am not talking units like the Fian or Khan Guard having both a bow AND good armor and sidearm. INF should be able to catch up with them all the time.
 
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Silvernj

Grandmaster Knight
And no: I think a light archer should outrun anything on foot but a light INF. Armor and gear is encumbering. And a shield should cover only the areas it physically is - so yes, leg shots happen as do arrows coming from above like ballistically. Draw the arrow's path from archer to target area - if arrow hits shield, then it is blocked, if not, then it hits, what ever there is. Archers are skirmishing units doing hit-and-run tactics. Only chance to counter them is
Why lol. It's not real life - archery in BL is much easier. Right now, every shield in this game is not safe - you can shoot through without being op skilled archer. Why would you even call something A HEAVY INF if basically, you get 20-30 dmg leg shots, 60-70 dmg cav stabs and 40-50 dmg mace hits and 20 dmg camel bumps lmao. The only things that make you heavy are low movement speed and high resistance to axes and swords, nice trade-off.
 

Loyal2Odin

Sergeant
I would slow down the hit-back speed, add a slight turncap, and slowdown the speed of kicks to make defensive passive style encouraged less.

I also believe that aiming improvements into the direction of discouraging defensive/passive playstyle are a good idea. What do you mean precisely with hit-back speed though?

Why lol. It's not real life - archery in BL is much easier. Right now, every shield in this game is not safe - you can shoot through without being op skilled archer. Why would you even call something A HEAVY INF if basically, you get 20-30 dmg leg shots, 60-70 dmg cav stabs and 40-50 dmg mace hits and 20 dmg camel bumps lmao. The only things that make you heavy are low movement speed and high resistance to axes and swords, nice trade-off.
 

OurGloriousLeader

Grandmaster Knight
I also believe that aiming improvements into the direction of discouraging defensive/passive playstyle are a good idea. What do you mean precisely with hit-back speed though?

I mean how quickly people can attack after blocking. There is barely any animation difference between a block to when an attack happens, in some cases the block can still be happening but the attack has already started. Which is why I'm shocked to see people think it's possible to be "not be able to respond through the spamming", simply blocking then hitting is extremely safe and forgiving. Any fail vs spam is entirely the fault of the player.
 
Why lol. It's not real life - archery in BL is much easier. Right now, every shield in this game is not safe - you can shoot through without being op skilled archer. Why would you even call something A HEAVY INF if basically, you get 20-30 dmg leg shots, 60-70 dmg cav stabs and 40-50 dmg mace hits and 20 dmg camel bumps lmao. The only things that make you heavy are low movement speed and high resistance to axes and swords, nice trade-off.
Funny - this behavior is somewhat the depiction of real life although you are telling me that BL is something very different. Heavy armor protects you from cuts and slashes and to a certain amount can deflect arrows when coming in in the wrong angle or at least prevent them to get too deep into the flesh. Piercing stuff and heavy blunt weapons - NOT talking a one-handed mace here - is the bane of armor - and was historically. And those are those, that still hurt the most, so I say: o.k., reasonable. And ofc I know archery is much more difficult in RL but guess what? Swordsplay is as well. Training archery takes years, right. I guess mastering melee does as well. BL loads a sprite and we only need to know keyboard commands and hone our muscle memory so moot comparison. Btw: if we would depict RL, then archers with longbows should get a damage boost when swinging an axe. Using a longbow takes lots of muscles so guess why the english longbox archer was sidearmed with a hammer or axe - it was damn efficient in his hands. And metal armor weighs a bit more than no armor or padded stuff so you tend to be slower. But it is BL, right? No RL (although we want to feel immersive).
We have no stamina system in the game that prevents us from spamming attacks with heavy weapons, lift shields perpetuously although 5 javelins stick in it with their combined weight and we can run at top speed all the time. Or have blunt weapons knock out some breath when hit like stamina damage. We do not have these in the game.
INF could sprint, but a shorter time than light troops. I think the damage model is quite o.k. - the circumstances how the battles are fought, however, are not as some parameters are missing.

My points of critique there - and this touches every type of armed troop:
- troops should become tired and need to draw breath to recover. Otherwise damage and speed penalties should be appropriate.
- cavalry should take horse reactions into account. Horses can panic, rear up and throw off their rider if hurt or ramming an object. I find it somewhat unrealistical, that CAV can always rush around at top speed and even bump into obstacles without hurting themselves or the rider. Falling damage is there but applies seldom.
- One should take into account that INF almost all the times paid the biggest butcher's bill since first it gets shot, then melee is bloody and when you flee the cav will run you down because you are slower than your comrades with all that chainmail. Being INF is rough, but in the end you decide the battle, if there are enough of you. Archers, Cav and INF are not equal - never were and did not fulfill the same role in battle. Trying to force some kind of balance there...well, feels wrong to me. I could imagine, that INF could cap points quicker in captains mode or could radiate a kind of field that is preventing others from decapping as long as the inf is near enough. Bracing polearms is missing (what use is a pike when pikewall does not work?). I would also penalize taking too much of a troop type like having less men, when certain unit types are spammed. I could see heavy CAV (e.g. Druzhiniks) and heavy Archers (Fian, Khan guard, Mameluke guard,Sharpshooters) being the target for that rule. Like 1 unit per side is o.k., a second one takes away one troop of each matching unit, a third takes out 2 and so on. I mean I have not been long on the MP-servers yet but actually you can play all CAV or all ARC and I can see, why especially INF player groan when presented with such a setup, because they always take the brunt of it. They are meat shields in that regard and playing a meat shield needs a certain mindset and is not fun, if done all the time.
 
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Namakan

Grandmaster Knight
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
There also needs to be a change in mindset for a lot of the inf complaints: unless you make other classes completely non-viable, you are always going to be shot, and you are always going to get killed by cav. Some of this is broken (e.g. shooting around shields, and very strong armoured cav), but some of it is just frustration and not something that needs to be addressed by balance changes.
🙏
 

Firunien

Grandmaster Knight
Going down the route of nerfing cav, one thing that always was pretty weird to me is friendly fire to horses, why is it so low ? I mean even whale hunting devices(Pila,Ash,Eastern) do like 20dmg max to a horse, melee teamhits are totally neglectable they are only like 5 dmg. Teamhits on human allies do more damage, is this intended ? @AVRC
 

Hans 77

Squire
WBWF&SVC
Massive buff to all non-spear weapons such as Swords axes and maces vs hordes. A horse getting hit by Weapons shorter than spears needs to be very punished

It's 2021 and there's still instances where I do 5 damage to a stopped horse with the Varyag heavy axe.

Heavy cav horses just soak up so many attacks that don't come from a bow or an opposing couched lance.
 
It's 2021 and there's still instances where I do 5 damage to a stopped horse with the Varyag heavy axe.

Heavy cav horses just soak up so many attacks that don't come from a bow or an opposing couched lance.
Yet all the focus is on the god damn Spears that have been perfectly fine vs horses for 6 months. The issue isnt the spear folks, its the god damn tankiness of horses vs all the other weapons. These horses are so tanky we ignore them because we know we'll hit them for 5.
 
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