Simple change to improve Captain Mode

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Zergmuffin

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The current meta is melee blobbing, focussing on getting as many shock troops into the fight as soon as possible, basically running in a straight line. For anyone with an interest in strategy or history, this is completely frustrating because it is basically stupid and should be easily defeated. However the balancing in this game means that it is the most effective way to achieve a high win rate, even against organised opposition. A lot of the arguments about balancing factions are due to this meta, everybody is just charging to B and having a big brawl, and the faction most suited to that usually comes out on top, factions which are not are considered sub-par. The vision for what the different factions should be good at is clear but it doesn’t translate into reality and there are two key changes that could improve the balance.

To improve Captain Mode light archers need to be faster than armoured, shielded line infantry. For example, as fast as shock troops and skirmishers. Otherwise they are unable to kite and have limited value.

This will also increase the value of cavalry, particularly light cavalry, and give them a role in chasing down archers, as they were used in real life. For this to work, archer Ai has to be changed so they no longer yolo 360 no-scope point blank yeet headshot cavalry players charging in. They either need their targeting for close units travelling at high velocity nerfed or switch to melee much earlier, because it is insane. Not only is it herculean and unrealistic, it completely undermines the value of light cavalry.

In this set up there will be a role for light cavalry in captain mode (they've become a waste of space now they are no longer a cav superiority unit), shock troops will still be able to keep pace with archers but will need cavalry support, armoured infantry will need to work together with the other units to achieve victory.

In the future there would have to be adjustments to factors such as light cavalry health, archer damage against armour etc. but this fundamental change will make the meta interesting, allow some strategy to emerge and stop faction balance disputes being about brawl blob competitiveness.

Clearly you will have to balance skirmish and captain separately, the changes made to models to improve skirmish do not work for captain mode balance.
 

Mabons

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IIRC They are already planning to balance the modes seperately, shock infantry are clearly overperforming in captains mode but you will never see them picked except as a last resort in niche situations in skirmish using up the last of your available gold.

I don't play Captain as much as I did in beta, but even the few games I've had recently are exactly as you describe, it's painful playing light archers and 3 or 4 units of rabbles(which should drop like flies to concentrated fire) still reach you and demolish you without too many losses.

I don't want to see a return to the previous meta of 6 archers kiting you constantly but clearly something must be done about the shock infantry and light infantry spam.
 

Zergmuffin

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Yeah agreed archer spam meta would be gross. Like I say, making light cavalry effective against archers could make a counter available for all factions and maybe skirmishers being faster would also give them a role.

I am really suprised there aren't unit caps, like maximum of three archers/ shock/ shield per game.
 

.Brandis

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I'm not sure how this would make light cav better than heavy cav at dealing with archers. Nerfing point blank shots would elevate light and heavy cav equally, and light cav is much weaker than heavy cav. Armor is huge damage mitigation against arrows.

I think light cav makes more sense as anti-cav. They get similar speed bonuses to cav, which is most of the damage generation, but there's more of them. That should give them an advantage in cav vs cav, but existing heavy cav just have all the armor and weapons making light cav useless. (Except courser+mena)

Also, I think archers are weak because of cav, not shock. These changes would just make them worse.
 

Zergmuffin

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Don't get me wrong I don't think this change would make archers super strong or OP, although I have to say I don't see how making them faster can make them worse. I'd like to play a game where there are balanced roles and strengths and weaknesses. The counter to cav should be polearms support. If the 360 no scope point blank headshots at 2m on a horse going 40mph is an attempt at balance then I will just uninstall the game right now.

I liked when the courser and vanguard had lances and shields and could be cav-superiority, no arguement here. They've lost that though and are struggling to find a role. In my opinion light cav kill a unit of archers faster than heavy cav in a stationary/ slow moving brawl. They have more numbers and hence more choppin' power, however the point blank no-scoping deters any sensible player from attempting it.

I agree it wouldn't suddently make light cav better than heavy cav, or archers strong, but I do think it's a simple change that could have a knock on effect for other units in the meta.
 

.Brandis

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If the 360 no scope point blank headshots at 2m on a horse going 40mph is an attempt at balance then I will just uninstall the game right now.
I'm pretty much a cav one trick and that doesn't really happen to me. The goal isn't to kill them anyways.

I liked when the courser and vanguard had lances and shields and could be cav-superiority, no arguement here. They've lost that though and are struggling to find a role. In my opinion light cav kill a unit of archers faster than heavy cav in a stationary/ slow moving brawl. They have more numbers and hence more choppin' power, however the point blank no-scoping deters any sensible player from attempting it.

I agree it wouldn't suddently make light cav better than heavy cav, or archers strong, but I do think it's a simple change that could have a knock on effect for other units in the meta.
Yeah, it was nice when they had lances. I think some light cav is better at a single time pass, but they get a lot less passes in total, so the overall value is lower.

The problem when relying on spears to protect archers is that if you dedicate 2 units to keeping archers unmolested by cav, that one archer unit has to have incredible value to justify the 'waste' of a unit. The cav can just avoid the spears, meaning that the spears are doing nothing while the fight is occurring. So it's effectively a 5v6.

I'd rather see archer accuracy buffed again. Cav v Archer should be a positioning and timing game from each side. Not sure how to make that work out though.
 

Yukmouth++

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They should add all the commands that are available in SP, such as splitting our troops in multiple groups.
 

.Brandis

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I don't see the benefit of splitting low numbers of units into multiple groups.
 

rektasaurus

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Good points. I think an important point though, skirmish and captain should be balanced identically. Captain has ai and skirmish does not. Ai behavior can be tweaked. This way the gameplay is consistent for the player which is 100% necessary.

Agreed on all other points. Infantry should take more damage than cavalry when approaching archers because cav closes the distance faster.

The inf > archer > cav triad is not balanced well at all and it isn’t as easy as making a Rock Paper Scissors format. The considerations need to be (very roughly) more like something below:

Dealing damage:
Inf = Spears > archers > cav
Spears = cav > inf > archers
Cav = archers > infantry > spears
Archers = spears > inf > cav

Taking damage:
Inf = archers > spears > cav
Spears = archers > inf > cav
Cav = spears > archers > cav
Archers = cav > infantry > spears
 

Zergmuffin

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I'm pretty much a cav one trick and that doesn't really happen to me. The goal isn't to kill them anyways.
Yeah true it doesn't happen loads, I get super triggered when it does though!

To my mind it's about roles in phases, so the polearms would have a role in defending archers up to a certain phase (main melee), then the roles change and the infantry have to press for damage. This would mean the archers become vulnerable but for a reward, potentially then the value of having light cavalry is defending archers in the melee phase while they try and get a flank, very hypothetical. The current meta has about 2 phases, 1: run at them, 2: choppy chop XD

Good points. I think an important point though, skirmish and captain should be balanced identically. Captain has ai and skirmish does not. Ai behavior can be tweaked. This way the gameplay is consistent for the player which is 100% necessary.
I take your point, speeding up archers could damage skirmish so changes focussed on AI make the good sense. I don't envy Taleworlds trying to balance 5 different multiplayer modes in a single game.

The only thing I'd add to your rock paper scissors is Skirmishers. They probably fall somewhere between Inf and Spears as they can be equipped either way, but lighter and faster than inf. So without spears something like:
Dealing = Archers>Inf>Cav (they have shields and should be faster than archers imo, so a hard counter one on one)
Taking = Cav>Inf>Archers
 

the_hajji

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Heavy polearm archers shred shock infantry and cavalry alike. There isnt gonna be any serious balance in the game mode until thats settled.
 

Lord Bryggan

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I wish they'd use the "Realistic Battle Mod" for captain mode:

With the AI soldiers actually trying to stay alive, there would be time to maneuver. Right now there is no time for archers try get behind a fight to shoot in people's backs.

It would also be an interesting perk if you had to choose between armour piercing arrows (for heavy and medium infantry and cav) and flesh cutting ones (for shock troops and light infantry and cav).
 

Vantasner

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I loved captain (commander) mode in Napoleonic Wars, it was such a fun playing there, at first I thought this captain mode would be as much fun, but it's not. Nevertheless it's still enjoyable
However, there are few things that could be added (I udnerstand that this is no easy task of adding all these stuff, it's just what I would love to see in this captain mode)
  • Bigger, open-fielded maps, without all the buildings and everything. In my opinion the battles on these maps don't feel much like battles.
  • The commander of the unit starts with something extra, which means that dying takes some advantage away from you. Which would would make people be rather careful with slashing through AIs themselves, after all it is a captain mode, so it should be focused on being a captain. For example, make it possible to rout commanderless units. Or make a commander some banner bearer that gives morale (the stars) to the team, and after killing the commander, the morale decreases significantly.
  • Add more troops to units, and enable players to divide troops into smaller stacks, and also to transfer the command of the said smaller stack to other player. Which could be used to leave some forces behind in the control of the archer player for more protection, for the cost of having less troops in the infantry engagement. It would make this game mode more about teamplay and tactical use of your troops, rather than brute force.
  • Add modifier to the troops depending on the the stars, the morale. Otherwise the whole flag game is just pointless. Some combat bonuses for high morale to actually reward players for actually playing the game as intended. This would force the team who's losing the morale for early engagement, or to send some troops to fight for the flags. RIght now it's just as OP said, big fight and no one even cares if the flags are taken or not, cause they're ****ing useless. I've won few games by enemy team running out of morale, but it was simply few cav left, and they were ****ing about somewhere on the map.
I would say that cav can be gamechanger if used correctly. I see peolpe who think it's used only to kill archers and so on, well it could be used like that obviously; however the best use for cav, could be its mobility to control the flags, however the two flags dissapear definitely to early in the game, it should be much longer till they disappear. You can ride your cav, control as much flags as possible, when your team tries not to engage, but simply halt the enemy at one point. And cav takes care of the other two. This makes cavs fighting for flags, and when the flags disappear then it'stime for cav to charge archers or something.
 
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