Khergit Strategy

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Remedius said:
Xt - man - sounds too good to be true - so the vha start firing and then you tell em to charge and they flank right? Wicked!

Do they hit thier targets? Mine don't seem to - please read above posts. Cos if what you say is true then I will keep my vha as a permanent element in my army.

I tested companions with 190 archery, 5 power draw, 10 horse archery, 5 riding using warbows + khergit arrows x 3.  I observed that they hit their target at close/natural skirmish range roughly 10% of the time.  When dismounted it was closer to 70%.  These aren't hard data numbers, but I just don't have the patience to do a perfect experiment with a lot of data when its doubtful it would yield any changes.

What was useful was that since they only had the option to use ranged weapons, without any order at all they could be trusted to stay skirmishing reliably.  Unfortunately since they don't hit anything, I found the power draw points to be quite a waste...  if I were to make companion horse archers, it would likely be light xbows + lances to try to force the A.I. to first couch an enemy, back out of the melee -> skirmish with xbows, then have enough range to charge again.  That middle step is exceedingly tricky, as if you don't micro manage the charge, they are pretty likely to just hit a huge mob of enemies and stop right there.

My theory is this:  Ranged fighters always aim for the head, and mounted ranged fighters do not take their higher position due to being mounted into account when aiming.  Of course, it's easy to test this theory, and I might just go do that...  by observing stationary VHA's on a hill firing while mounted.

-After a few custom battles vs. varied enemies, it looks like the problem isn't that they are aiming incorrectly... it's more along the lines of 'a lot of them inevitably charge in and block the shots of the ones who attempt to skirmish' so since the A.I. stops attempting to fire when the path is blocked, the rate of fire goes way way down .  I feel like it would take some serious A.I. tweaks to fix that.

With that in mind, the ways to get around useless horse archer troops without changing anything but the equipment would be: 

*All bows with x3 arrows - works, but without serious micromanagement frustration, they'll rarely fire at targets, and then there's the issue of shields / low damage / not prioritizing targets that are facing something else.  This takes a great deal away though as well... they run out of arrows and become useless (noticeable in sieges, I'm sure), and they lose one of their defining traits as the only archers with shields.

*All throwing weapons x2 + 1h weapon + shield + increased melee proficiencies / skills + Steppe chargers.  So the unit becomes a medium cavalry unit that embraces the melee-centric A.I., and has a little more adaptability due to throwing weapons.  This severely takes away from the Khergit flavor, though...

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Could of one of you folks who is familiar with the module system and modifying A.I. Caba'drin, do you know if it is possible to make archers prioritize targets that are without shields or out of the arc of their shield's protection (I.E. has back or side to the archer). 

Also, is it possible to make the A.I. always turn their horses to face to the right in order to be able to fire while stationary?

Finally, is it also in the realm of possibility to make the A.I. fire at a cavalry target's mount if the rider is equipped with a shield...?  Or better yet, script an order that orders all of the selected units to target mounts...  I could see something like that being effective for spearmen like the rhodoks.
 
Remedius said:
Xt - man - sounds too good to be true - so the vha start firing and then you tell em to charge and they flank right? Wicked!

Do they hit thier targets? Mine don't seem to - please read above posts. Cos if what you say is true then I will keep my vha as a permanent element in my army.

You are very welcome to try this tactic. I use it all the time.

I like Khergits and I found myself being dissapointed with the horse combat in Warband (ALL horse combat not just the HAs), not from the player perspective, I got used to it quite easily, but the cavalry charge, once being powerful in M&B has become... it's difficult to describe.

I hate when ALL your cavalry charges the closest enemy with the result of stacking there, unable to move and the half of them dismounting. :???: I tried, successfully I might say, leading my infantry on foot, exploiting those awful cavalry stacks but... I'm a motorcycle man. I feel at home with a horse. :grin:

So, Khergits with their fast horses and horse archery were my biggest threat. A really difficult opponent, raining arrows upon my troops while keeping their distance, fast with their swords, killers with their bows while on foot, and very difficult at sieges because almost all their troops have ranged.

I didn't really like them in M&B but in Warband they just rock!
My army, dear Remedius, consists of 75-80% of HAs, the rest being lancers.

I'm sure there are people who have better use for Khergits, but they do work for me just fine.
I don't recommend them though to people who like to kill 150 enemies in the field, losing 1-2 of their own troops.
They're not armored knights. They're fast, ranged cavalry.

I read a lot of people writing that Lancers are not useful, they die easily, not powerful etc.
Lancers are not the Khergits primary weapon of war. Horse archers are.
As are Huscarls for the Nords, Swadian knights, Rhodok sharpshooters etc.
It's very rewarding to use these troops as the majority of an army composition.

While the effect of 80 Nord veteran archers with 20 Huscarls as support may be good, one should consider the difference in the battlefield of 80 Huscalrs with 20 VAs as support. The same goes with Khergits. Lancers, while more heavily armored, are the support force here.

Answering your question, they DO hit their targets. Not as a foot archer would, but they do.
Basically, they occupy your enemies for you to kill, killing some, wounding many, so, you kill most already wounded troops with one hit. :grin:

Has anyone noticed that the Steppe Bandits perform better without guidance than Khergits?
They skirmish better than HAs, can't understand the reason why...
 
Caba`drin said:
@XT:
First, your English is excellent.

Second, your above post is a very well thought out strategy.

Third, in regard to my skirmish script--yes, the horse archers will not fire when running away (they are effectively routing for a short period) which make it less than ideal. I've not found a solution for that yet...though it is why I noted that the script works much better with foot archers than horse archers. I appreciate you giving it a try and reporting your experience, though.

XT_Billy said:
Tell the horse archers to hold position before they are within bow range.
Position yourself and your bodyguards slightly behind them.
When all the HA's start shooting, tell them to charge.
Since they are already shooting, they flank to the right, performing their magic.

This can be accomplished without the micromanagement with the first "fix" I suggested in my post above: a script that forces horse archers to begin with their bows equipped rather than their light lance or scimitar side-arm. Effectively what your sequence above does is force this swap to bows...scripting it takes away the hastle...and then with their bows equipped they perform fairly well.

Thank you for your kind words. :smile:
I've not used your script with foot archers, but i've read the replies on your thread.
I'd be grateful if you have a link on the above mentioned script.
I'm not finished yet testing your archery script. I will post feedback when able.
 
@StinkyMcGirk

Excellent observation. They do seem to aim for the head.
And an excellent idea of having only bows/arrows.
They would definitely skirmish very well, but the problem with major battles/sieges still persists.

A Khergit HA is a balanced unit on foot, very good archer, relatively fast due to light/medium armor and able to hold his own in melee against many foot troops, except the most armored ones. Being balanced means that he has many uses while not being excellent in one way or another.

I do believe though that the script Caba'drin proposes, the one that gets them spawn with the bow, will definitely make them very capable in skirmishes. You may find the horse archers useless, but they really have their use. Even the distraction of the enemy and the formation breaking they do would be enough, even if they kill none.

I've won battles with 20-25 Khergit skirmishers with them killing 3-4 troops of the 50-60 enemies, with me just following and killing the cavalry chasing them, almost without opposition, losing 1-3 of our own. Once the cavalry is eliminated, the battle is won.

A horseman chasing a skirmisher. I chase the horseman. His shield pointed front to defend against the arrows.
Leaving him naked to my bow, and if he slows down, which he will, he's a sitting duck for my warspear. Often wounded from arrows, it's a one shot-one kill for a lot of enemies. The result being, the player, getting a whole lot of kills and experience, with minimum danger to himself and minimum casualties among his troops.

Everyone has his own style and way of playing I guess. :smile:
 
Given the recent comments I think I will drop off my knights in a garrison and put vha in top army/priority slot. I will get them to firing range and order them to charge while having my companions follow me.

This is a huge leap of faith but at least I can collect my knights again if it all goes to hell - I hope I will have my faith restored.
 
Thanks Xt - I know you stated your strategy three times over but for me I've had such difficulty with - what should be - one of the best units in the game - I have found them to be frustrating and useless and at times suicidal ie a waste of time and effort. I think you have persuaded me to give them another go. I may even have a solid Huscarl/Vha army with the companions and myself as a small elite cavalry unit.

I'm now busting to give it a go but won't get to play for a few days - i will let you know the results.

Thanks very much to all - Caba'drin and Stinky for helpful information and mods and testing and especially Xt for your strategy - which may avoid my having to alter game code.
 
Remedius said:
Thanks Xt - I know you stated your strategy three times over but for me I've had such difficulty with - what should be - one of the best units in the game - I have found them to be frustrating and useless and at times suicidal ie a waste of time and effort. I think you have persuaded me to give them another go. I may even have a solid Huscarl/Vha army with the companions and myself as a small elite cavalry unit.

I'm now busting to give it a go but won't get to play for a few days - i will let you know the results.

Thanks very much to all - Caba'drin and Stinky for helpful information and mods and testing and especially Xt for your strategy - which may avoid my having to alter game code.

Have fun mate !!

Taleworlds have created such a balanced game that everyone can defeat everyone with everything.
Imagine how much planning and testing is needed to create such units that cannot leave any faction lover unsatisfied.
Every faction has its own carefully created charecteristic units that can beat anything the enemy throws at them.

I believe the Khergits, the ultimate underdogs of Warband, deserve something better than "useless".
I like their tribal style and that made me search ways to use them effectively in battle.
The movie "Mongol" also, inspired me a lot. A definitely "must see". :cool: Epic !!!

I want to state that I really enjoy this very creative conversation we have here, with all of you gentlemen.
I even plan (in my mind for now) to write a thread with some kind of specific tactics I use, that work effectively against all types of faction troops, using only Khergit HAs/Lancers, as I do now.
Thanks for the pleasant time.

Cheers, Billy.
 
Caba`drin said:
XT_Billy said:
Tell the horse archers to hold position before they are within bow range.
Position yourself and your bodyguards slightly behind them.
When all the HA's start shooting, tell them to charge.
Since they are already shooting, they flank to the right, performing their magic.

This can be accomplished without the micromanagement with the first "fix" I suggested in my post above: a script that forces horse archers to begin with their bows equipped rather than their light lance or scimitar side-arm.

XT_Billy said:
I'd be grateful if you have a link on the above mentioned script.

My combined lancer/horse archer/spearman weapon use code: the final spoiler in this post.
This will force lancers to start with their lances and use them unless they are in close combat or dismounted, when they will switch to a one- or two-hander. When they have room, they will swap back to lances. Similarly, spearmen/pikemen will use polearms until swarmed by enemies, when they will switch to one- or two-handers. And horse archers will start with their bows and use their bows until they are out of ammo (no proximity/melee check as they should try to run away a bit if they still have their bow equipped).

My Order: Use <Weapon Type> code: this thread.
With this, you can order, by division/group, your troops to use one handers, two handers or polearms, bows or throwing weapons at your command.
 
CABA'DRIN !!!!!!! :eek:

I just can't believe what I see !! :grin:
I'm speechless of your talents at modding!!

What strategy are we talking about when you can have your troops use the right weapon?
And ordering them to use your weapon of choice AT YOUR COMMAND !!!
AWESOMENESS !!!  :grin:

I'm too excited to continue... :eek:

Only one question. Can these two scripts be combined together?

Thank you very much for your help. Your work will help many people to enjoy the game as it is intended.

You have my outmost respect. Have a very good night Sir Knight !!
 
XT you are far, far too kind.

XT_Billy said:
Only one question. Can these two scripts be combined together?
There is nothing in these scripts that would prevent you from combining them, but I'm not entirely sure how they would behave together. My guess is that you would give a "Use One-Handed Weapons" command to a group of horse archers with the command script, but then the weapon usage code would say an individual horse archer in that group should be using a bow since it still has ammo, so it would switch back to the bow. Test it if you'd like and let me know if you think a better synthesis would be useful.

StinkyMcGirk said:
I tested companions with 190 archery, 5 power draw, 10 horse archery, 5 riding using warbows + khergit arrows x 3.  I observed that they hit their target at close/natural skirmish range roughly 10% of the time.  When dismounted it was closer to 70%. ....snip....
Stinky, I strongly, strongly, recommend you begin a bug report at bugs.taleworlds.com detailing your tests and their findings as you do in the post above. That's the only way there will be any adjustments made to this as where on an enemy an agent/bot targets is ENTIRELY hard coded.

StinkyMcGirk said:
Could of one of you folks who is familiar with the module system and modifying A.I. Caba'drin, do you know if it is possible to make archers prioritize targets that are without shields or out of the arc of their shield's protection (I.E. has back or side to the archer). 

Finally, is it also in the realm of possibility to make the A.I. fire at a cavalry target's mount if the rider is equipped with a shield...?  Or better yet, script an order that orders all of the selected units to target mounts...  I could see something like that being effective for spearmen like the rhodoks.
There is no direct command to set a bot's target or affect the way an agent-bot chooses its target (the prioritization of threats seems to be more or less hard coded). I've not seen others have any success yet in this regard either (the closest is motomataru's battlefield tactics/formations kit, but that focuses on divisions/groups of bots moving toward one another and doesn't actually change individual agent/bot decision-making).  I'm fiddling with some slight possibilities in this targetting realm, but don't have anything to report as of yet.

StinkyMcGirk said:
Also, is it possible to make the A.I. always turn their horses to face to the right in order to be able to fire while stationary?
I've not noticed this as an issue...they don't move their mounts to get into firing range/angle? I've had some difficulty in getting "turning" codes to work, but the commands exist to instruct an agent to turn, more or less.
 
@Caba'drin

One can never be too kind. There's always improvement to be made. :smile:

After the initial shock after reading your post, I was thinking that maybe people would like to have this extreme level of management over their army, but I think most would be really happy with your Lancer/Archer/Spearman (LAS) script. Mostly people who are fighting hard in battles, not the general/commander types.

In the case of Khergits, they do scatter a lot, you cannot see them all, so I suppose your LAS script would be perfect for them.
My only consideration is their use of the bow in sieges. If there is no melee/proximity check as you state, will they switch to swords when their opponent reaches them or will they continue to try shooting their bows at point blank range?

Excuse me if I ask too much, but my way of playing is to stick with a faction and recruit only units of that faction.
In the case of Khergits, the LAS script would make them real killers in the battlefield, but would be devastating in a siege defence, making them lambs for the slaughter.

The solution to my question is to utilise the LAS script and see for myself :lol: but I'm a little eager as my job obligations are too demanding for the time being, leaving me little time to play.

Thanks again.
 
Has anyone noticed that the Steppe Bandits perform better without guidance than Khergits?
They skirmish better than HAs, can't understand the reason why...
The AI handles them better, largely because they tend to have a lot more thrown weapons, and that's what usually does the wounding / killing.  With speed bonuses, the javelins are pretty dangerous.  That, and I *think* that because javelins are dual-type weapons with a HTH mode, the AI doesn't auto-switch as much, but I haven't tested that.

Anyhow, I agree that mounted missile troops' AI is not really working well atm.  I think they added a bunch of "safety" code, which the prohibition of team damage in SP from missiles (other than the player's own screwups) made moot, but they didn't change it back so that the archers would take "unsafe" shots, which must have been pretty broadly defined when TD was a big problem.  The other major problem for horse-archers as an archetype is that they don't actually do a circle behavior.  They basically loop around a target, which is a single Agent, and the collision-avoidance AI seems to go bonkers dealing with the situation when everybody else gets mixed in.  They probably need to handle hotspots on the map and loop them, instead of dealing with individuals to do a better job.  That, and they just need to move a lot farther out when leaving a loop, imo- another 100 meters would often give them the speed and change of vector that would make them a lot more efficient.
 
XT_Billy said:
My only consideration is their use of the bow in sieges. If there is no melee/proximity check as you state, will they switch to swords when their opponent reaches them or will they continue to try shooting their bows at point blank range?
Actually, I think that'd be a plus. I'm driven to distraction by the archers on the walls putting away their bows and taking out a sword to push around at the very back of the knot of infantry guarding the breach because the enemies on the ladder got within 20 feet. If this script makes them keep shooting instead, I'm getting it immediately.
 
LBaeldeth said:
XT_Billy said:
My only consideration is their use of the bow in sieges. If there is no melee/proximity check as you state, will they switch to swords when their opponent reaches them or will they continue to try shooting their bows at point blank range?
Actually, I think that'd be a plus. I'm driven to distraction by the archers on the walls putting away their bows and taking out a sword to push around at the very back of the knot of infantry guarding the breach because the enemies on the ladder got within 20 feet. If this script makes them keep shooting instead, I'm getting it immediately.

You really think so?
My first thought was: an archer shooting from the wall. The enemy gets within melee range.
The most simple sword is far faster than a bow.
The archer tries to shoot, gets hit, tries again, get hit again, and so on until he's killed.
And what an irony this is, seeing the sword at his waist and the shield at his back.

Since I took a brief look at Caba'drin's scripts, I think he could implement at least a minimum proximity check, so that the archer could use his melee armament when the enemy gets within 2-3 meters.

Only a real siege test will give us the answer in this.
You're right about the archer behavior, that would be good in conjunction with infantry, my consideration is specifically for the Khergit troops, since they all have ranged weapons.
 
Caba`drin said:
My combined lancer/horse archer/spearman weapon use code: the final spoiler in this post.
This will force lancers to start with their lances and use them unless they are in close combat or dismounted, when they will switch to a one- or two-hander. When they have room, they will swap back to lances. Similarly, spearmen/pikemen will use polearms until swarmed by enemies, when they will switch to one- or two-handers. And horse archers will start with their bows and use their bows until they are out of ammo (no proximity/melee check as they should try to run away a bit if they still have their bow equipped).

My Order: Use <Weapon Type> code: this thread.
With this, you can order, by division/group, your troops to use one handers, two handers or polearms, bows or throwing weapons at your command.

First off, your input on the problems with Khergits straight from the source has been very much welcome.  Your scripts sound great, but the headaches associated with making them actually work are making testing them an impossibility for me, a complete novice to the module system.

I got the module system working for me... and I can make the changes and get my copied native module started with them... but I don't notice any change in behavior at all.  The Khergits with bows still start out using their melee weapons, rhodok sergeants still start out with shields + 1h weapons, and I don't notice any weapon switching up close...  so I'm guessing I must have messed up somewhere... the problem is that I have no idea where I've messed up... I followed your instructions exactly... I think.  The whole module system is just so cryptic, and it's difficult to figure out just where everything needs to go, directions or no directions.

Could the problem just be that I just copy pasted my native save game into the new copy's folder in order to test it?  Do I need to start a new game?

Is there any way you could upload an already altered modded native 1.132 with your script(s) active?

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http://bugs.taleworlds.com/edit_bug.aspx?id=3236
Okay, started a topic.  Please add to it as necessary to flesh out the problems as you see them.  I was trying to keep it brief and within the realm of possibility to improve while considering that it's likely a small development team with little time to make changes...  I may have fallen short in that respect.
 
XT_Billy said:
My only consideration is their use of the bow in sieges. If there is no melee/proximity check as you state, will they switch to swords when their opponent reaches them or will they continue to try shooting their bows at point blank range?

Excuse me if I ask too much, but my way of playing is to stick with a faction and recruit only units of that faction.
In the case of Khergits, the LAS script would make them real killers in the battlefield, but would be devastating in a siege defence, making them lambs for the slaughter.

A couple of options here...first, if you only add the 'LAS' script to the "lead_charge" mission template (which is what I designed it for) it won't be impacting sieges at all. All troops (lancers, Khergits, and spearmen/pikemen) will simply behave as if the code isn't there.

XT_Billy said:
Since I took a brief look at Caba'drin's scripts, I think he could implement at least a minimum proximity check, so that the archer could use his melee armament when the enemy gets within 2-3 meters.

The other option, if you want to include the script's triggers in other mission templates beyond lead_charge, such as sieges, would be to add that proximity check. I could post that code and where to stick it without issue, but I'd be reticent to add it to the main code block as it is mainly for field battles...and forcing horse archers to keep with their bows should also force them to move away if they are confronted in melee. If with further testing this doesn't work as I envision, then adding the proximity check like there is for lancers would be the appropriate way to fix that.

StinkyMcGirk said:
so I'm guessing I must have messed up somewhere... the problem is that I have no idea where I've messed up... I followed your instructions exactly... I think.  The whole module system is just so cryptic, and it's difficult to figure out just where everything needs to go, directions or no directions.

Could the problem just be that I just copy pasted my native save game into the new copy's folder in order to test it?  Do I need to start a new game?
It will work with a save game, no problem. No need for a new game. Two likely places were there was a mistake--one in setting up the constants and defining the agent slots, and two getting the triggers into the lead_charge mission template. Feel free to upload your files onto MediaFire or something similar (module_: _mission_templates, _scripts, _constants, and _info), PM me with the link and I'll look them over.

StinkyMcGirk said:
Is there any way you could upload an already altered modded native 1.132 with your script(s) active?
...and I can see about this as well.
 
With Caba'drin's help, I was able to get the scripts up and running, and I have to say, it's a subtle difference at first, but when you start to notice your horse archers dying less, and getting more kill spam, it's a breath of fresh air.  It works pretty well - especially where it won't let them switch weapons until they run out of arrows.  Still, the throwing weapon horse archers are dead-weight (though they are actually excluded from the script, so maybe that's the main issue).  I'll probably remove the throwing weapons from the inventories of horse archers and veteran horse archers, but leave them in the skirmishers' and horsemen's, and see if it makes Khergit strategies more user friendly.

Oh yeah, I wasn't able to locate the mission template for 'custom battles.'  Anyone know what that's called in module_mission_templates.py?
 
KK.  Got it.  I have to say, I'm a little giddy right now, it's a lot more fun to use Khergits with the scripts.

I just thrashed a balanced tier swadian force of 117 (11 knights around 20 men at arms) with a balanced tier khergit force of 54 using 10 lancers, 10 companions, 14 VHA, 10 HA, 10 assorted skirmishers/horsemen.

I started out with a three pronged attack, HA + VHA to the right, lancers to the left, archers skirmishing down the center and spread out, then forgot about the lancers for the vast majority of the battle.  The horse archers murdered most of the ground troops on the flanks while leading the swadian cavalry on a goose chase.  Finally I remembered my lancers holding position on a hill and sent them in to mop up - an easy task since it was just a bunch of spread out swadian trash + the knights and men at arms that chased my HA's.

-Right before I loaded the scripts, I tried the same battle without the scripts and lost pretty bad doing the same thing.

This is how the Khergits are supposed to work.

Thanks for the help and the scripts, Caba'drin.

I'll be testing out the rhodoks next using the forced weapon switches.

Oh, and the only issue I've noticed so far is that some of the HA's who had their horses killed seemed to stay shooting their entire quivers even in melee.  Not a huge issue since I'd consider a dismounted HA amongst the enemy mob dead anyway, but still probably something you'd want to know about.

---

I think you should strongly consider releasing your own mod of A.I. fixes perhaps with associated troop re balancing to better utilize the scripts.  Either that or get your scripts included into diplomacy or something like that.  It really is a different game.
 
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