Discussion about cavalry balance and knock downs

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NIN3

Developer
NW
Hey everyone!
A couple of weeks ago we changed the requirements for horses being able to knock down and bump players. Basically making knockdowns less common and bumps more consistent.

To clarify: When a horse charges someone, we check how high the relative speed between the cav and inf is. Depending on that we either give charge damage and bump or knockdown the inf, or we do nothing (if the relative speed was to slow, or charge damage below the threshold).

Why we are bringing this up: Right now we are looking at horse balance again and are following some feedback from the community about unreasonable differences between some horses regarding perks, heavy/light cav classes and horse breeds. Some of the feedback was about heavy horses having very low charge damage sometimes, making it actually easier to bump with light horses (certainly also because they are faster).

Meta Implications: I think balance wise cavalry is a good spot right now. They can certainly decide battles, while in competitive battles we see less 2 cav setups than before. But there are some cav classes that really can't reach their potential or justify their gold cost.

Increasing the charge damage of heavy cav might have some drastic and in my opinion bad consequences for the current meta. It will result in an uncalled for buff for heavy cav, make light cav less viable and overall cause more knockdowns to happen on the battlefield.

What we have in mind: Instead of flat out increasing the charge damage of heavy cav, we are thinking of slightly decreasing charge damage on light cav and slightly increasing it on heavy cav, to be somewhat similar.

On top of that we want to go over the horse perks, for them to be more interesting and not instant- or non-picks anymore, but rather fit a playing style.
Additionally we would like to bring out cultural/breed differences between horses more, making them more distinguishable and fit the lore.Also there will be a slight nerf to camels, sorry humphrey.

What do you think of bump/knockdown frequency right now?
What do you think of the power difference between heavy and light cavs and mounts in general?
 

Tryerror

Sergeant
khuzait lancer to expensive and week
light empire cav to expensive
bump is balacned because you need to get the better horse perk to do it and cant take other perks making it fine
Battania is a very strong light cav through eqiuip sharing methods making other perks available like jevs.
 

Namakan

Grandmaster Knight
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
that's the sort of communication I like to see

I mostly play cav, so bias warning I guess.

What do you think of bump/knockdown frequency right now?
Overall, too few knockdowns & too much pushing people around with your horse. Having a higher knockdown chance on heavy horses compared to light ones would be fair I guess, though I don't think the knockdown rate light cav has right now is too much (I don't use the camel though so that might be an exception). With heavy cavs at 200 gold, I don't think making it as easy or even slightly easier to knock someone down is unfair.

What do you think of the power difference between heavy and light cavs and mounts in general?
I don't really feel like heavy cavs are worth the extra gold.
Couched lances used to be a deciding factor, but they were rightfully nerfed (bit too far IMO but oh well) so right now heavy cav has fairly little going for it. Sure the horses do survive a few more hits, but that's not worth much when the rider still likely dies to the same amount of hits as a light cav would - and with the abundance of projectiles on offer for infantry and archers, that can happen fairly quickly. For public play, I guess weapons like the Glaive or the Kontos that heavier cavalry units have access to might make a difference, but those are fairly rare in a competitive setting.

tl;dr I guess: buff heavy cav but be careful about it. light cav is mostly fine as it is, considering that most horses are pretty weak to any sort of ranged attack coming at the front of their horse.
 

Firates

Steppe Dragon
Archduke
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
I played 1000+ games just on horse with 2+ KDA. I think I should express my opinion about cavs, as dozens of people have to say.

About bump mechanics:
At many points where the horse has to bump, the horse does not bump. Although I hit it at a very correct angle and at a high speed, sometimes it just feels like touching the opponent. The opponent just walks away and does not fall to the ground. I think the bump mechanics should be more balanced and directly proportional to the size of the charge damage / horse.

About Light Cavs:
In the current meta we have to play light horse, until we reach the money to be at least 1 heavy horse. Therefore, the distortion of balance of the light horsemen became more noticeable. If I create a tier ranking among light horsemen, it will look like this: (S: strongest tier, C: weakest)
Tier List:
Beduin (S): because the camel strong and not slow, but also very maneuverable and has 280 hitpoints. And beduin is just 130 cost.)
Vanguard(A): When you choose the improved armor and half barding perks, your crossbowman drops a shield at the beginning of the game and you have a tank with a giant shield for 130 cost.)
Mounted Warrior(A): (In summary, you have one of the strongest light horse classes in the game with Tougher horse and half barding perk.)
Nomad (B): (Not C tier because of charger horse)
Raider and Courser (B or C according to your play style)

About Heavy Cavs:
In heavy cavs, the Khuzait lancer is too expensive for its work and the glev perk is not useful enough for competitive play. Moreover, his spear is also short. So I'm waiting for the next patch to comment on this. I know it will change in the next patch.
 

Mabons

Knight at Arms
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
I can finally comment on this having played a few competitive matches as cav. But before I do so, is the hitboxes being looked at? The amount of times I won't rear someone from the front then stab from a weird angle and actually rear(that could be dodgy netcode or whatever though). And also the shield hitbox is really weird, it works fine vs melee attacks (almost too well, blocking thrusts to the head of the horse despite the shield being behind the head) but vs ranged it's almost non existant sometimes.

Changing the classes to have a more distinct feel ie. light cav is maneuverable and favours stabs and fighting other cav and heavy cav is slow but high charge damage and favours couching etc. would help shake up the way the game is played a lot.

Every cav should have shield and cav sword by default(Like, the meta on vlandia is to give sharpshooter pavise to vanguard who takes half barding on his horse also to make him super tanky, because his shield is tiny and as mentioned before the hitboxes are terrible for ranged on horseback), and perk choices should be horses in perk slot 1(faster horse, tougher horse, armoured horse as an example.) and weaponry in perk slot 2(lance, spear, 2 handed as an example.)

I'm not really a fan of cav having throwing weapons as right now it's just used to cheese an easy kill on an enemy cavs horse which again, you can't really outplay because dodging your horse is a little difficult with how restricting your turning is. Talking of turning I'd like to see low speed turning made tighter, I'm sure someone brought this up in a thread during the beta as well. This would help cav actually fight an archer because right now they can just duck and weave with a bow out and you can't punish it because your dumbass horse won't turn quick enough(maybe really good cav players find it easy but personally it just feels really **** that I can't land a hit on an archer who is shooting arrows point blank into my horse). Is also why the Camel is literally the best horse in the game, it can turn much nicer than other horses.

Overall as you said, cav feels in a good spot, but it's not really satisfying for either the cav player or footsoldiers the way they fight right now. (e.g. being knocked down by cav is so so so frustrating, it's as good as dead most times and usually your in a tight spot and can't dodge the horse. Being bumpstabbed is far preferable because it's only ever used on someone who is actually aware of the cav coming at them anyways.)

Also, are you balancing cav solely for skirmish mode and competitive at the moment? Do you consider how it feels to play Siege as an attacker and being spawn killed by cav, or how woefully the class performs in captain, or how by it's nature it just runs rampant in tdm?

An example of the wonky ass hitboxes on cav right now.
 
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There is a 3-4 sec. (maybe longer maybe little bit shorter) knockdown, that should not be longer than riders falling down from his horse and riders can sometimes attack while they are standing up (like animation glitch) when they fell to the ground from horseback.
 
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Hairless

Squire
Honestly, with knowing what coming in 1.5.5, removal of throwing will be great indirect buff to cav that will most likely push the class to be even stronger than it is rn, so leave everything as it is, with maybe nerf to camel and charger horse on Nomad. Bumps and knockdowns are fine as they are with few exceptions(mentioned second ago). Buffing cav in any way right now is just plain stupid to me.
 
am i the only one who thinks new throwing spears with new throwing weapons slow charge are disastrous?
i have never seen a good horse javeliner even before EA (in beta times, when we could have 4-8 javelins on light cavalry)
nowadays 2-3 throwing spear cav was hard AF but still usable and fun, before september javelin-ultranerf update

what do you guys think about horse skirmisher? I found them most unique and very fun classes in game, but now its useless (oh yea right i will choose 2 fookass slow throwing spears with worst aim in game OR a menavlion, what a hard choise isnt it)

and how the hell this joke of perk is even going to be nerfed even MORE (lose one of spears in upcoming update)
 
Bumping should be alot easier but the time you lay on the ground should be reduced (4 -> 1,5 sec) and teambumps need to be enabled.

I agree that Cav is pretty balanced in the current patch. Even though they have by far the best stats in Division A.
 

mrArgentum

Sergeant
Cav is balanced atm. Actually i am pretty sure that in next patch without throwings, cav will dominate the battlefield and you will need to nerf them.
 

Horatius

Sergeant
WBNWVC
"I'm an archer main and second class inf"

Cav bumps are wonky atm as they are fairly unreliable but they are incredibly powerful. This makes it that you go for it but it isn't really viable as it is fairly unreliable (except for camel which is insane).

What I would suggest is making knockingdown more reliable same for doing damage but the amount of time that you are knocked down should be reduced. This would make knocking down and bumping more viable while not making it super important and OP.

TLDR: increase the chance of it happening but reduce the consequences.
 

Silvernj

Grandmaster Knight
I would say knockdown time should be reduced. Now it's almost certain death. Make it possible to land only 1 hit on knocked down inf pls. If you take throwables away + make cav harder to rear they will dominate for sure.
 
and teambumps need to be enabled.
This. I don't want to go off-topic, but I still don't get why interactions with teammates, be it damage or horse bumps, are so vastly reduced. We're not playing TDM. This is a skill based mode where you should have to watch out for mates too, and not just get a free ticket to go geronimo with your camel all the time. This and damage should be 100%.
 

hoonii

Sergeant
I'm going to speak about cavalry in general as well. 500+ hours cav main so I think I can contribute.

Throwing weapons are the worst nightmare of cav players, especially the damn axes with their absurd damage output, now they're getting nerfed and some units are losing the javelin access, in 1.5.5 cavalry is certainly going to be in a much better(and maybe a bit op) place.

Bumps are still a bit inconsistent, sometimes you think its going to deal 20 charge damage but instead deals 5 or something, or when moving slowly it just knocks you to the ground straight away.

Bedouin with the camel is no doubt the best light cav in the game just because of the camel because it deals absurd amount of charge damage and is unreasonably fast with 190ish speed it outruns a lot of other light cav classes. But with 1.5.5 its going to trade camel for shield so its going to be much less reliable unless you're able to get a shield from your friends, probably the heavy archer.

Now 1.5.5 will bring the long spear+shield default to the nomad and that will make it the best light cavalry IMO because bedouin will have to trade his shield for the camel. Charger horse is already very strong(but not op) and paired with the long spear(I hope the long spear will be the spear khuzait infantry uses) its going to be very strong along with the bedouin. Also Khuzait lancer is getting the much needed buff that is longer lance and I think it's going to put up a serious fight now as lance speed is still the same while being longer.

Raider is the worst light cav it literally can't do serious damage unless it trades spear with a varyag. Battanian cav is in a very good place and needs no nerfs nor any buffs.

Empire cavalry economy is just so bad. While other factions are getting 130 cost light cav Empire gets the not-so-great courser for 140 gold which means most of the time you won't be able to spawn cataphract-courser in the 2nd spawn. This needs a rework IMO. Bedouin is MUCH better than the courser yet courser costs more.

I feel like vlandian light cav deals more charge damage than its supposed to, I think its stated as only 2 in stats but is able to deal like 10 or something with slow speeds. Maybe because its too fast.

Also SHIELDS sometimes acts like as if they were not there, letting spears and projectiles go through it. They are VERY inconsistent. Also I feel like shields on cav should cover more of abdomen area because most of the time it doesn't.

Cavalry rearing up angles are still bad and needs to be narrowed down a little bit more. Also damage threshold might need a little increase as well.

Cavalry is in a good place now and any changes to spears/lances or horses would break this balance. Horse speed, breed, charge damage(on most of them)spear and lance speed/damage are on a good place and in no need of changing. Also I noticed that when riding a horse hitboxes of your weapons change slightly and you will be able to hit a guys head even though it doesn't touch.

And oh yeah couch lances are BAD. You somehow murdered it and they don't work properly anymore. You won't kill a light armored guy running straight away from you with a full speed couch lance. Sometimes lances will only bounce off the enemy and deal no damage.
 

Namakan

Grandmaster Knight
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
This. I don't want to go off-topic, but I still don't get why interactions with teammates, be it damage or horse bumps, are so vastly reduced. We're not playing TDM. This is a skill based mode where you should have to watch out for mates too, and not just get a free ticket to go geronimo with your camel all the time. This and damage should be 100%.
fair points, in favor.
to add to what Apri said, I don't think bumps should knock you down quite as long as they currently do, but the same should go for cavalries being dismounted IMO - laying on the ground for 4 seconds or so is just agonizing, no matter how you got there. The two should be comparable in length, though maybe dealing some amount of damage to a cav being dismounted (based on speed they were going at, I'd say starting at 5 going up to maybe 20-25ish, comparable to bump damage I guess) would be needed to balance it out a bit.
 

Einarcf

Sergeant Knight at Arms
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
As an archer main, I think cav serves a very important role in the meta. In addition to the stats Aprikosenmann posted; cav also acts like great scouts, can take flags much faster, knock down enemies for the inf to kill, block enemies from leaving/entering areas with their mounts. This is generally not reflected in the individual stats you see in the scoreboard. As such, a team without cav is much more limited than one team without either a spearman, archer or twohander etc.

If many heavy infanty classes were to lose throwing weapons, cav would get stronger. Not only would infantry lose its mid-range threat to cav and their mounts, they would also lose their ability to rear cav with javelins in melee mode. Infantry would be left with 1 handed spears, polearms that can also swing (menavlion, voulge and glaive, IIRC) and maybe some two handers (because of their raw damage) to counter cav. Pikes are not used at all, neither is bracing for that matter.

This would make bumps and knock downs happen more often, simply because cav would not fear crashing into the melee fights as much. This would in my opinion skew the fairly good balance we have at the moment towards cav. If the removal of throwing weapons is set in stone, one should perhaps look to ways to make bumps and knock downs less common, perhaps by increasing the amount of relative speed needed to inflict one of those conditions on an infanty/archer. As for the current balance, bumps seems good. Bump attacks requires enough skill that I don't find it to unreasonabe. The damage itself for bumps should not increased, the opening it gives is reward enough. I would like to see knock down period reduced, perhaps halved, maybe make it happen a bit more. As such, a single cav won't be able to take advantage of somebody knocked down, but it would help his teammates. This should if not reward good teamplay, discourage solo cav.
 
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Fyren338

Recruit
Well I know that most people don't agree with me as this is something i've discussed with many of the veterans of the game but i've always despised bumps at all. Two things to be said about that right off the bat. One: most people don't utilize it like i hate it, maybe 1% of players are good enough to make it miserable. Two: I even would say it's difficult enough to master that it's just personal that I don't like it. Past that though there is obviously a split second after a bump with good timing to lower someone's block forcing a hit, combined with the fact that at that speed you will be doing good damage, equalling unblockable unstoppable full power swings consistently is infuriating to me. Furthermore two handed weapons on cavalry! PLEASE remove them. Unbalanced unrealistic unfun overpowered and straight up looks silly. Of course it's "cool" and "fun" for the person riding around with a one shot max range unblockable swing attack riding around getting free kills as fast as they can click. For the rest of us it RUINS tdm it's AWFUL and needs to be removed entirely. who's steering the horse? why does every person on a horse have olympic levels of balance and titanium grips plus being bolted ontop of the horse somehow? Scimitars are a mounted weapon they are curved which inflicts less damage but tends to get stuck inside people less due to that curve letting it slide around the swing. a MENAVLION FUNCTIONALY WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE, a glaive maybe with accuracy and a lifetime of practice might work a few times before it got stuck and ripped from your hands by force with the magic of physics but a MENAVLION would break or be ripped away instantly.
 

Mushbeast

Squire
What do you think of bump/knockdown frequency right now?
Bumps seem like they're in a decent spot at the moment, though it can be quite annoying to be on the recieving end especially as mentioned earlier in the thread where the cavalry rider can recover from being dismounted so much easier. I'd raise the time it takes to recover from that first of all.

It would be interesting to see if light cav created a shorter knockdown, whereas the heavy horses could knock you down like they do now. It'd help to cement the power difference between the two, and possibly you could look into having different knockdowns based on where you were hit (ie. being charged from behind would knock you down easier/longer) though you'd need to strike a balance to keep it feeling consistent.

What do you think of the power difference between heavy and light cavs and mounts in general?

There's really not much of a difference, with it all coming down to HP and the weapons cav are handed. As @Mabons mentioned earlier in the thread, one of the biggest factors of manoeuvrability on the horse is the turning factor. It'd be cool if light cavalry could turn much quicker (based on horse/perks) to create a more manoeuvrable and zippy style of play whereas heavy should have to invest into a charge and really pick it's moments. I'd say making it harder for the heavy cavalry to slow down and possibly getting rid of the double S tap (that rears and stops your horse near instantly) could further solidify the difference in roles between the two classes. Of course, some armor or health changes-- or an increase in charge damage like this thread is about-- may need to be made to compensate for this.

Anyway, I haven't really thought about these too deep from a balance perspective but just throwing some ideas how you could separate the two classes. Cavalry are powerful at the moment but also easily countered if you are prepared, which is how it should stay in my eyes, but it's always good to see more done to seperate playstyles.
 

Varadin

Spring chicken
Sergeant Knight at Arms
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
Don't want to go too deep and write a whole blog but i agree with most ppl here.

1.Team-Damage on horses is like 5% of whole damage , question is why ? Especially in competitive game if you shoot your teamamte horse noone even cares .
2. Horse knockdowns , brah it feels like a whole eternity and it is so anoying. lower it for atleast a 50% down.
3.Horse team bumps , you charge into team mate and you literally push him so he can "walk" faster. Just make horses do same damage and bumps/knocdowns on teammates to force cav players to be more careful in teamfights. One of the thing i loved in cRPG mod in Warband when a cav charges and bumps both teammate and enemy.
 
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