The state of infantry

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Sweynforkbeard

Sergeant at Arms
So, with some of the changes of late I finally decided to give an infantry based army a try.

Originally, I was going for an empire background and trying for medicine 275 but I ultimately abandoned both ideas. You need every bit speed so the Batanian background is more useful and, although massively improved, medicine 275 remains a case of accepting a huge handicap early in exchange for an advantage in the future when you are invinsible anyway. That aside


Some personal observations that I thought I would share.

In my observation infantry does seem to work considerably better these days. I had countless zero or minimal loss fieldbattles using a solid wall of infantry (the legion).

Infantry actually does well against everything else. Shields do their job against archers and I actually found that they did surprisingly well against cavalry in normal battles.

Infantry synegies with more infantry!
Basically, if you have the stronger/longer line then quality will do its job, you create gaps or break their flanks resulting in a one-sided slaughter. Maybe someone could make infantry and cavalry work, but from my experience, once the lines connect the battle is decided so rapidly that any type of flanking or tactics are wasted. The AI also seems pretty good at staying together so I am not sure luring half their army to the other side of the map or something similar really works.

You could probably make a case for infantry + archers, but really, the best combination of infantry and archers is still 100% archers.


The weakness of the infantry army
Numbers! As long as you fight opponents that are roughly even (or smaller) in size than you, you get a nice, more or less, even battle linje and your quality advantages takes care of the rest. When that is no-longer true the table is basically reversed and you are the one that face slaughter. Fighting with an infantry based army really has a 0 or 1 quality to it, dead or alive, total defeat or brutal slaughter.


My thought. I dont actually think that making infantry stronger or armor better, would really solve anything. I think what might actually help is that infantry would be able to fight effectively in formation, e.g. a shieldwall or square formation. Basically anything that would help the numerically weaker side stick together and avoid being swarmed.
 

black_bulldog

Knight at Arms
WBWF&SVC
My thought. I dont actually think that making infantry stronger or armor better, would really solve anything. I think what might actually help is that infantry would be able to fight effectively in formation, e.g. a shieldwall or square formation. Basically anything that would help the numerically weaker side stick together and avoid being swarmed.
The advantage to making armor stronger especially against arrows, is it allows melee to survive longer so they have a chance to make it to the archer lines. It makes buying top tier armor worth the price for you and your companions, and most importantly it makes battles more tactical allowing you as the commander a better chance to actually be a commander. Imho RMB might overdo it a bit on armor but it combines better armor along with better formations making battles feel more tactical and that's what I want. I get tired of seeing battles that look like a playground brawl and once armies collide I can't give any input that will change anything. I just have to sit an watch it play out.
 

Sweynforkbeard

Sergeant at Arms
The advantage to making armor stronger especially against arrows, is it allows melee to survive longer so they have a chance to make it to the archer lines. It makes buying top tier armor worth the price for you and your companions, and most importantly it makes battles more tactical allowing you as the commander a better chance to actually be a commander. Imho RMB might overdo it a bit on armor but it combines better armor along with better formations making battles feel more tactical and that's what I want. I get tired of seeing battles that look like a playground brawl and once armies collide I can't give any input that will change anything. I just have to sit an watch it play out.
My observation has been that they dont really need better armor against arrows. A shieldwall (against the AI) totally nullifies the impact of ranged units until the lines collide.

Again, for the overwhelming majority of battles I have fought the results have been entirely loopsided in my favor.

I have fought battles where the enemy had 80% ranged, battles where they had almost exclusively cavalry and everything inbetween. As long as the numbers are not too badly against you, your line will hold and the enemy gets slaughered. But again, when that is not true the table is turned and it is quickly down hill from there. On the individual level 2 or more vs. 1 is mostly a death sentence so what is really needed is something that prevent swarming which, most likely, can be achieved by being able to fight in a tight formation.
 

Ananda_The_Destroyer

Grandmaster Knight
The best improvement for me comes from using the RTS command mod, so you actually MAKE the infantry attack a certain formation and NOT other enemies, meaning they won't turn butt out all the time on the way. The armor improvement is good too but can easily be off set by their slow movement. Best is to use a small infantry force as a clean up crew to get rid of stubborn enemy SW and such after horse archers have killed the bulk of junk troops, cavalry and archers. I think they should give them some utility ability to off set not giving a speed bonus like mounted units do.
 

Sweynforkbeard

Sergeant at Arms
The best improvement for me comes from using the RTS command mod, so you actually MAKE the infantry attack a certain formation and NOT other enemies, meaning they won't turn butt out all the time on the way. The armor improvement is good too but can easily be off set by their slow movement. Best is to use a small infantry force as a clean up crew to get rid of stubborn enemy SW and such after horse archers have killed the bulk of junk troops, cavalry and archers. I think they should give them some utility ability to off set not giving a speed bonus like mounted units do.
Well, there will always be one useful reason to add a small group of infantry to your party. To activate Forest Kin!
 

Zerosaiko

Knight
Well, there will always be one useful reason to add a small group of infantry to your party. To activate Forest Kin!
That perk is currently bugged and once that bug is fixed, getting Forest Kin will actually require 75% of your party to be Infantry (not Archers either), so a small group won't be enough.
 

Sweynforkbeard

Sergeant at Arms
That perk is currently bugged and once that bug is fixed, getting Forest Kin will actually require 75% of your party to be Infantry (not Archers either), so a small group won't be enough.
I know.

But lets wait and see how long it takes (if ever) before it is corrected:wink:
 

geala

Squire
...


My thought. I dont actually think that making infantry stronger or armor better, would really solve anything. I think what might actually help is that infantry would be able to fight effectively in formation, e.g. a shieldwall or square formation. Basically anything that would help the numerically weaker side stick together and avoid being swarmed.

My conclusions too. And that was playing (1.7.1) with increased armor, better armor against damage modifiers and bows/low tier crossbows set to "Cut" damage, while using myself a faction with custom troops with mainly just loincloths on. Shields in formation do work the best.

A funny thing is that a realism mod like RBM (combat module), which makes armor incredibly strong, also makes (high tier) archers incredibly strong, much more so than in vanilla, because shields do not protect so well due to the invisible protection rim removed.


A question: how do you fight with an infantry army against horsearchers? I don't have a receipt, except destroying them with my small cavalry forces. Foot archers are of no use as they cannot hit horsearchers well. With my cavalry tactics (and the absence of control over unit behavior) I had high cavalry casualties, but when turtling I had huge casualties overall.
 

Sweynforkbeard

Sergeant at Arms
A question: how do you fight with an infantry army against horsearchers? I don't have a receipt, except destroying them with my small cavalry forces. Foot archers are of no use as they cannot hit horsearchers well. With my cavalry tactics (and the absence of control over unit behavior) I had high cavalry casualties, but when turtling I had huge casualties overall.
Just place youself at the edge of the map. If they cant circle you they tend to not know what to do.

If it is a small number I will just kill them myself, this is usually the case since there is little reason to be anywhere near Khuzait lands unless you are there to recruit, otherwise just charge them when they come to a halt.
 

five bucks

Knight at Arms
In my observation infantry does seem to work considerably better these days. I had countless zero or minimal loss fieldbattles using a solid wall of infantry (the legion).
How much did you outnumber the enemy parties? Were you using only infantry, or other units too? What difficulty/damage settings? What proportion of the enemy parties were archers or horse archers? What level and perks did you have?

Legionaries are literally the best infantry units in the game, by a big margin - they are not representative of all other infantry, who are pretty garbage.
Infantry actually does well against everything else. Shields do their job against archers
Yeah, they do until the melee unit gets into melee range, then they become useless at blocking arrows because the melee unit is swinging their weapon instead of blocking - and so a group of archers sitting on a hill at the back of the melee fight can pump arrows into the shield unit and kill them in just 4-5 hits.
My thought. I dont actually think that making infantry stronger or armor better, would really solve anything
It would definitely solve something - it would make shieldless infantry stop being so incredibly useless. It would make overpowered archers stop being so overpowered.

Armor absolutely needs to be better against arrows. It is one of the biggest balance problems in the game.
I think what might actually help is that infantry would be able to fight effectively in formation, e.g. a shieldwall or square formation. Basically anything that would help the numerically weaker side stick together and avoid being swarmed.
A shieldwall or square formation isn't going to stop my Voulgiers or Falxmen dying at the start of every battle because it takes only 4 arrows to kill them!!!!!
 

geala

Squire
...

It would definitely solve something - it would make shieldless infantry stop being so incredibly useless. It would make overpowered archers stop being so overpowered.

Armor absolutely needs to be better against arrows. It is one of the biggest balance problems in the game.

A shieldwall or square formation isn't going to stop my Voulgiers or Falxmen dying at the start of every battle because it takes only 4 arrows to kill them!!!!!

Did you play BL with greatly increased armor and toned down ranged? It does not change that much, except you tone down ranged to such an extent that it could be removed at all.

A good formation would help your twohanded killers if they could be integrated well into shieldwalls, standing behind the lines with shields. Like they did in real combat. That would of course need a possibility to combine two formations for a while because you had to be able to give commands to the twohanded to move out and attack at some time.
 

Sweynforkbeard

Sergeant at Arms
How much did you outnumber the enemy parties? Were you using only infantry, or other units too? What difficulty/damage settings? What proportion of the enemy parties were archers or horse archers? What level and perks did you have?
I personally use the normal damage (full) setting myself and the enemy parties out there would be the same as everyone else would encounter. It was my observations from roughly one year of fighting.
Legionaries are literally the best infantry units in the game, by a big margin - they are not representative of all other infantry, who are pretty garbage.
Thats a different balancing issue. I wouldnt go, Sturgian archers suck buff archers, either!
Yeah, they do until the melee unit gets into melee range, then they become useless at blocking arrows because the melee unit is swinging their weapon instead of blocking - and so a group of archers sitting on a hill at the back of the melee fight can pump arrows into the shield unit and kill them in just 4-5 hits.
This is not really the case. The AI´s archers will practically always follow/stay with their infantry. If you are on the offensive, which will usually be the case, then they will have their archers infront of the line and as you shieldwall get close they will start falling back. At roughly that point you charge and overwhelm them.

It would definitely solve something - it would make shieldless infantry stop being so incredibly useless. It would make overpowered archers stop being so overpowered.
And likely create other balancing issues in its place. Again, my observation is that quality does infact work for infantry now. You are not going to loose scores of elites (more often than not any) fighting lower tier units.

If you were to buff armor to such an extend that shieldless foes wouldnt have to fear them then, archers would become useless instead. Frankly, I think I have played "enough" archer that I wouldnt personally mind the change.
Armor absolutely needs to be better against arrows. It is one of the biggest balance problems in the game.
No, the problem for infantry is not armor. It is being wacked at from multiple sides.
A shieldwall or square formation isn't going to stop my Voulgiers or Falxmen dying at the start of every battle because it takes only 4 arrows to kill them!!!!!
Again, that is a different issue. I am not personally interested in the viabilty of shieldless infantry. They clearly belong in a different age setting that here.
 

Sweynforkbeard

Sergeant at Arms
Did you play BL with greatly increased armor and toned down ranged? It does not change that much, except you tone down ranged to such an extent that it could be removed at all.

A good formation would help your twohanded killers if they could be integrated well into shieldwalls, standing behind the lines with shields. Like they did in real combat. That would of course need a possibility to combine two formations for a while because you had to be able to give commands to the twohanded to move out and attack at some time.
Interestingly, I have actually seen situations where infantry from the second row of a shieldwall would poke at the enemy with their Pillums. Battles certainly would look alot better if infantry actually were to fight in formations.

It looked great in VC, unfortunately only when fighting bandits and the like. When you actually had two formations fighting each other it looked more like a chield trying to push two magnets together.
 
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