Some observations regarding archery for both the player and the AI.

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SirLosealot

Recruit
Hi guys,

So after playing some custom battles (I played too many of them, somebody help me!), I notice foot archers are not particularly good at shooting down horse archers. So I did some little tests in custom battles to check out why the AI are bad at shooting horse archer formation.

First test: AI archers vs player as horse archer.

Army composition: 10 Fian champions for the AI vs 1 Khan's guard and I on horseback.

Testing method: I followed right behind my Khan's guard to simulate the AI's orbit around the foot archers' formation. One, I tried to shoot the enemy's formation while on horseback to see if it was easy. Two and the most important thing, I observed the enemy's projectiles coming at me and the ones in me and my horse to check the AI's aim.

Result and evaluation: Even though the crosshair spread was big while moving fast, I was able to hit the formation. This is as expected, because hitting one man is hard, hitting anyone in a almost-static formation is easier. The second and most important thing is, the projectiles coming from the enemy's archers almost always missed and flew past me from behind. Even if they hit my horse, the arrows always ended up in the rear of the horse. Take a look at the pictures below and see for yourself. Notice the rear of the horse and the flying arrow. This looks like the AI was aiming AT me and not AHEAD of me, resulting in so many misses by lagging behind.
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But maybe it is not fair to judge the AI without trying to be in their shoes so let us move on to the next test.

Second test: Player as foot archer vs AI horse archer

Army composition: Myself with Longbow/Composite bow/ Crossbow vs AI commander who was also a horse archer.

Testing method: Trying to kill the horse archer before the enemy or myself running out of arrows and evaluating afterwards. That's it. Be aware that this is a 1 vs 1, shooting 1 guy on horse is harder than shooting at a formation of horse archers (at least for me).

Result and evaluation: Took me a few tries to get used to the way of the bow/crossbow but I managed to kill the enemy horse archer while he was still circling around me with the composite bow and crossbow. I could not kill the enemy while he was circling around me with the longbow. The reason is the spread of the crosshair while moving the mouse. It exists on every bow and crossbow, but the longbow suffers the most from this mechanic. Using the longbow, I could not track and lead the shot without the crosshair spreading out but I could with the composite and crossbow though.

Conclusion: It seems the AI's foot archers suffer from two things when facing horse archers. First thing is how they aim at the horse archers and not ahead of them. Secondly, the crosshair spread. I do not know if it affects the AI or not. If it does, then any AI archer with bow or crossbow will suffer against fast moving target because of the spread, especially the longbow. It's as if this mechanic was made to punish foot archers against horse archers. Because against infantry, archers don't have to move the bow too much. As for the player, when facing horse archer, use something that is not a longbow or maybe you fare better than me with the longbow against horse archer.

So what do you guys think about my tests? And what do you think about the AI's archers? Should there be changes or not?
 
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Ananda_The_Destroyer

Master Knight
Stationary ranged (including horse archers) is bad at shooting down circling HA, it's really lame and fake. The way to deal with them is to basically position ranged at the back left of map to reduce the amount of circling they can do so they go in a more in line to the left, and stop circling.... it's really lame to have to do .

It really stands out when you have 100 ranged units and it's 12 or less HA and they don't kill them all and they get to just ride around and around and around. I complained about it before, a lot and TW tinkers with it, but I think they miss the point that we want out tier and numerical advantage to be respected and actual in our battles. If we have 2x 3x 10x the fire power we need that immediately reflected in results and it isn't because of the aim programming. I'm sure they do their battles and see some HA getting kill and say "oh it's fine" but really it's just from the mass blog of HA getting hit.

Going into range of 100+ ranged units with no shield should be a death sentence, the IA should be punished for senselessly sending in it's HA alone. On the other hand archers will obliterate other units from 4X the distance with ease. There's a whole lot of balancing issues that need to be addressed, but this one really stands out to me. It's very annoying also because "Everyone shops a Mongug's", all parties start to have some HA (often khan's guards) and even just 12 or less distorts the whole battle by making you have to position to kill them (or kill the all yourself) before attacking the main force, or have a few of them getting cheap kills through the entire fight.
 

SirLosealot

Recruit
The way to deal with them is to basically position ranged at the back left of map
Yeah the problem is never about how to counter HA as the corner tactic always works, for a few times, and then you got bored of it. Because it just seems like a workaround or even an exploit but if you don't use it, prepare to have a bad time.

But wait, what if we use melee cavalry to intercept the HA formation, both killing them and slowing them down for the archers? Firstly, again, it is only a workaround, not an actual solution to why foot archers are bad against HA. The second problem is....
often khan's guards
These guys kill everything, they kill at range with bows, they kill in melee with their "totally-balanced" glaives. Using melee cavalry to try to stop them? Then you are, again, in for a bad time. But that is a different problem for a different day.
 

Ananda_The_Destroyer

Master Knight
t. Because it just seems like a workaround or even an exploit
Oh it is an exploit, in one update they actually made it much harder to do this. In older versions the HA would always circle in a way that they would stop at the edge of the map if you were at the back. They changed them to make them try to avid this. You can still do it but it's much more particular and it's clear TW intention is for the AI HA formation to just circle you until you kill them them all.

But wait, what if we use melee cavalry to intercept the HA formation
Because cavalry has to move toward the HA they take a boosted damage from the ranged attacks and because the HA is often moving away from the Cav the Cav has an even harder time doing lethal if they catch up. Keep in mind the AI doesn't know to go to the rear-right of the HA to avoid being shot and often chase in a way that is easy for the HA to shoot them. I have little expectation of Javelin cavalry being able to land javelin other then by chance in a large mass of HA.
 
The AI still handle moving targets better than it did in Warband.

In Warband you could literally singlehandedly clean an entire army of its arrows by just circling around them, with virtually zero risk. It is not quite as riskfree in Bannerlord.
 

SirLosealot

Recruit
The AI still handle moving targets better than it did in Warband.

In Warband you could literally singlehandedly clean an entire army of its arrows by just circling around them, with virtually zero risk. It is not quite as riskfree in Bannerlord.
I notice that they are godlike when it comes to stationary target vs stationary target and they do alright when a target is moving somewhat in front of them. But from what I have seen after the test, going in circles is what makes the AI struggles. So many arrows wasted on empty space just behind my horse, some hit the rear of my horse, and none hit the front of my horse. It seems the AI's estimation is a bit off and it needs to lead the shot a bit more. The preferable area to hit is, of course, the middle where there is a chance of hitting the rider.
 
I notice that they are godlike when it comes to stationary target vs stationary target and they do alright when a target is moving somewhat in front of them. But from what I have seen after the test, going in circles is what makes the AI struggles. So many arrows wasted on empty space just behind my horse, some hit the rear of my horse, and none hit the front of my horse. It seems the AI's estimation is a bit off and it needs to lead the shot a bit more. The preferable area to hit is, of course, the middle where there is a chance of hitting the rider.
May I say that I would prefer that they dont become too good at it:wink:
 

kweassa

Sergeant at Arms
Lateral movement makes targeting extremely difficult in real life as well. Especially with premodern weapons.
 

SirLosealot

Recruit
May I say that I would prefer that they dont become too good at it:wink:
The thing is.. It is very weird seeing them doing very well against infantry. But suddenly against HA, they become incompetent. Surely there can be some middle ground and not 2 polar opposites between infantry and HA. I dont believe they should hit HA as well as hitting infantry. As you can see in the second test, I tried to be a foot archer shooting at 1 HA. It was hard, but after like... 2 tries to get used to it., I can reliably shot the rider down (except with longbow, longbow sucks). And that was 1 vs 1, it is even easier to hit someone in a HA formation.
 

SirLosealot

Recruit
Lateral movement makes targeting extremely difficult in real life as well. Especially with premodern weapons.
True. That is why I did the second test. To see if I could shoot down the rider in 1 vs 1. And I did. By estimating and leading the shot AHEAD of the HA. Which I did not see the AI foot archers had done in the first test. They more likely aimed AT me than AHEAD of me. Resulting in most of the arrows flew past BEHIND me. That is what I want to be changed, at least they should lead the shot a little since it is only logical doing so.
 
True. That is why I did the second test. To see if I could shoot down the rider in 1 vs 1. And I did. By estimating and leading the shot AHEAD of the HA. Which I did not see the AI foot archers had done in the first test. They more likely aimed AT me than AHEAD of me. Resulting in most of the arrows flew past BEHIND me. That is what I want to be changed, at least they should lead the shot a little since it is only logical doing so.
As many others probably also do, when the AI is defending I will try to bait the enemy cavalry back to my archers. The results are not always all that impressive.

But, one time, I must have managed to hit that "perfect angle" so when I looked behind me it was like the scene from "the last samurai" with the whole enemy cavalry force being mowed down. The ground was littered with dead men and horse.

I seriously laughed so hard that I managed to spill coffee all over my desk:smile:
 

SirLosealot

Recruit
As many others probably also do, when the AI is defending I will try to bait the enemy cavalry back to my archers. The results are not always all that impressive.

But, one time, I must have managed to hit that "perfect angle" so when I looked behind me it was like the scene from "the last samurai" with the whole enemy cavalry force being mowed down. The ground was littered with dead men and horse.

I seriously laughed so hard that I managed to spill coffee all over my desk:smile:
You mean melee cavalry or HA? They act differently. Melee cavalry dont go in circle so the foot archers will have better time shooting them.

If it is about HA. Just camp at the corner of the map, when the HA got stuck in the corner trying to move in circles, that is when the massacre begins. Still, that is more like a workaround or an exploit and I grew bored of that "tactic" fast.

So it is not about how to counter HA because it is easy to do so. It is more about the accuracy of the AI foot archers vs HA, the way they aim that is the problem.
 
You mean melee cavalry or HA? They act differently. Melee cavalry dont go in circle so the foot archers will have better time shooting them.

If it is about HA. Just camp at the corner of the map, when the HA got stuck in the corner trying to move in circles, that is when the massacre begins. Still, that is more like a workaround or an exploit and I grew bored of that "tactic" fast.

So it is not about how to counter HA because it is easy to do so. It is more about the accuracy of the AI foot archers vs HA, the way they aim that is the problem.
I know, this was against melee cav.

It was in relation to the aiming at you part, the rare case where I have experienced that perfect angle.
 
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