Balancing Flying and Floating units

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    As Nemesis Zero pointed out in another thread, Flying and Floating units (and to a lesser extent Swimming) units have a big mobility and versatility advantage, especially on Continent (in particular with rapids) or Island maps.

    Players who can get a Floating or Flying stack will gain a huge advantage vs players without such stacks, and be able to harass their opponents without much risk.

    There are several ways to counter this. One way is to nerf Flying and Floating units (less defense, resistance or HP for instance, because the energy they spend Flying or Floating weakens them). Another is to boost potential counters.

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    So here are some proposals:

        Nerfing Flying and Floating units
    • Draconian T3, Elves T3, Halflings T3, Exalted (all races), Manticores (all races) now have Lesser Flying. Succubus still has Flying
    • Flying units get -2 MP (so 28 for most of them).
    • Flying units get -1 def and/or -5 HP.
    • Flying units get +5% to +10% costs.
      1. Boosting their counters
    • Pike Square does more damage vs Flying units (and maybe vs Floating units?).
    • Pillar of the Stylite and Solar Spire give additional bonus vs Flying units.
    • Units with Throw Net get an additional ability to stick Flying and Floating units to the ground (like Double Gravity).
    • Add some specific counter to Floating (what?).
      1. Acting indirectly on their balance
    • Swimming now uses 4 MP/hex on the strategic map. Sea Creatures get Natural Swimming and still uses 3 MP/hex.


    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by  Hiliadan.
    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by  Hiliadan.

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    Jolly Joker

    Is this a thread specifically for Live MP or in general? If it’s for Live MP, that doesn’t seem to be the only problem there is, and the discussion should be between live mp players, because they know what theyx want and what not with a view on settings.

    If it’s in general, tampering with the unit stats doesn’t make sense. Mobility IS important in the game, part of end-game spells and the main reason why, say, T1 Inf lose viability later in the game, but that is part of the equation.

    The one thing that is striking ME odd (and would address) is that if you do play Con and Isl maps Adept Water Magic is basically a matter of course. Freeze Water helps a lot, of course, but it’s just one part of what the specs should offer.
    1) Make Freeze Water T2 spell (cheaper to research).

    2) It shouldn’t be too difficult to have an Earth spell “Dry Rapids”, which would change one or more hexes of rapids into passable terrain, like, Mountains or Wetlands.

    3) There might be an Air Spell, say, “Lifting Winds”, giving a stack the Floating ability for 1 turn. I could imagine something like that even for Creation, like, “Divine Wings” or somesuch.

    4) Something like the Double Gravity spell on a global level, might be fun. Should work like Freeze Water, just the other way round. Disables Fly/Float in the area (making it impassable for flying/floating units) for 3 turns or so.

    5) What I could imagine for Dread would be a Transport Balloon as a unit (Floating), basically reducing stack size to 5, since the Balloon had the fighting abilities of a Settler unit. Would be an additional Class unit, probably T2.

    And so on, and so forth. In other words, don’t touch the units.



    I agree with the “boost their counters” part. And maybe lesser flying to manticores. The other nerfs of flying units I don’t agree with. Gryphons, Eagle riders and draconian flyers should have real flying, also don’t make them loose mp they should be fast. Costs and stats maybe, but I think especially eagle rider has quite lousy defense stats for a T3 already.
    Your proposed change in swimming is ok too, though there are not sooo many units that have swimming so I don’t really know if it’s necessary (I don’t think hunters, druids, swimming animals or human assassins are too strong atm)



    I’m agreed to decrease movement pts and maybe def/HP, but not more. Flying and floating units aren’t very cheap already.



    there are not sooo many units that have swimming so I don’t really know if it’s necessary (I don’t think hunters, druids, swimming animals or human assassins are too strong atm)

    That would apply to embarked units as well, forgot to write that. But it’s not fully related to Flying/Floating, it’s just that it was a related idea from Nemesis Zero and I wanted to keep it somewhere, to avoid forgetting it. 🙂


    I’m agreed to decrease movement pts and maybe def/HP, but not more. Flying and floating units aren’t very cheap already.

    Also raising cost would not help much vs mind-controlled Flying units.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by  Hiliadan.

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    I agree that flying/floating units are currently too strong in general. Especially Tier 4s. This doesn’t come up nearly as much in the kind of competitive PvP content I’ve seen on places like Hiliadan’s youtube channel, however in my SP games that go super late, you can really see the objective OPness of Dragons/Manticore Riders/Eldritch Horrors/etc. compared to every other unit in the game. And as Hili mentioned, the Swimmers aren’t too far behind in this either, esp. for Island maps.

    Their combat stats/unit costs don’t take into account their mobility. Also, you have to factor in how awkward and slow Sea travel is compared to floating/flying/swimming, Embarked penalty , etc.

    This also exacerbates and ties into another core problem with the game – Flying/floating units are better at contesting the Sea than pretty much every “naval” unit. The only couple I can think of that match up are hybrid swimmers like Lord of the Deep, Naga T3, etc. AND the fliers can raid/invade back on the shore at a moment’s notice.

    So, what would I do?

    First, Pikeman and counter units in general definitely need a buff – one tied into a general philosophy of, “T4 and upper tier T3 are too strong and dont have enough counters, while lower tier units get useless too quickly and have no purpose mid/late game” So, for instance:

    1. Pike square buffed specifically against flying units
    2. Pike bonus specifically increased against Flying units, floaters, and heroes on flying mounts (I feel flying mounts are all reward and no risk and generally a bit OP)
    3. Flying cavalry (maybe even just all cavalry) get a debuff when located within X tiles of pike units, to represent their “formation” interfering with them. Could also instead be a buff for units located near Pike units getting some support from their formation.
    4. Fliers and floaters get their own “Embarked” penalty when flying on mountain or sea tiles, to represent the extra “strain” of having to keep flying or fall to their death

    I really don’t like the idea of changing many of the fliers to Lesser fliers. Lesser flying is already a mechanic I really dislike – because I would prefer Sea get a quality of life buff instead of nerfing fliers mobility. It’s just a little too tedious to get around at sea without floating/flying. Not EVERY floating/flying unit is OP in combat, mind you – so blanket nerfs to mobility feel wrong to me. Better to just buff Sea travel a lil bit Imo.


    Jolly Joker

    It’s obvious that no one will bother to answer, but aren’t you all forgetting that Advanced Logistics reduces walker movement on roads to 2 points giving Cavs 18 hexes movement which no flyer can’t match – which means only that players have an option to increase the mobility of their walkers in late game, working with builder units.

    So I repeat, there should be more options to increase the mobility of walkers punctually. Another option I’m trying out currently is giving Heroes (racial) stack abilities that give units abilities they don’t have. For example, a Dwarven Hero might give units in their stack Mountaineering and Cave Crawling (as 2 different stack abilities) – abilities which flyers wouldn’t profit from, obviously.

    Sure, there are OP units. Tigran Manticore Riders (with Pounce???), for example. And no bonus for pikemen can make up for that.



    I do like both that idea about hero mobility abilities Joker, and I’d like to see those. They do a fine job of addressing some of the general problems I’m seeing here.

    Perhaps Advanced Log (The entire 3 tier Basic -> Advanced -> Log tree tbh) could be reworked and expanded upon a bit. It feels like there are some gaps there in the research, which never really give the player options to spend research time upgrading naval/embarked units. A player could invest some knowledge in some tech that reduces embarked penalty, or in some way buffs mobility of units at sea.

    The Pikemen/counter unit issue.. yea you pretty much nailed that one on the head. At this point, a decent chunk of T4s (And some T3s) are just SO much better than anything else going in the game. That’s why, of my suggestions, my personal favorite is one that allows the presence of Pikemen to “lend support” to adjacent stacks in combat via cover, or formations. Lower level units could find use in later game as fodder/cover units, with low gold costs/production + niche little auras that make them enticing.

    Doubles up as a good way to flavor-fully compensate for their lower mobility to fliers/cavalry, kind of like a real army. Pikemen divisions move slower and more defensively ofc, with a clear role in the army of protecting more important divisions.

    Also, Joker – If you feel like people aren’t addressing you on these forums – I’m with you, lols. I think everybody feels that way a bit – we seem to have more interesting topics/threads than members around to have full conversations about them, lol.



    In terms of nerfing flyers/floaters, in general I wouldn’t want to make them less mobile. For me, that’s what makes them unique and valuable.

    Instead, the -5hp/-1DEF seems pretty good. The +5-10% cost increase seems good, too. I guess it depends whether you want them to be just as common as they are currently (but less powerful) or whether they should be just as powerful individually (but less common).

    That said, I could see an argument for reducing the MP to 28 for some of the larger and/or non-avian flyers. Manticore Riders, Exalted, Drac Flyers, Succubi.

    I guess in the end you could do a variety of different nerfs depending on the unit. If you wanted to keep things as simple as possible, I might just go with a 10% blanket cost increase for all flyers/floaters.


    Jolly Joker

    Isn’t it a fact that all Classes have access to flying/floating units and/or swimmers with the exception of the Dreadnought? And isn’t it a fact that for example AD’s high mobility is part of the class design? And Dreadnought’s low mobility as well?

    I mean, when the game stage moves from exploring to competitive expansion, isn’t mobility ( in combination with reconnaiscence) the most important thing anyway? Sure, sheer force is important as well, but mobility and vision is what makes you dominant strategically and allows offensive operations.

    So basically the only thing to check here is, in my opinion, whether SPECIFIC units may be too powerful (like the afore mentioned Tigran Manticore Rider) or too cheap (this would be something to decide more with a view on time of appearance, for example, for Hunters) and whether it’s okay to have Dread being as slow as they are or whether they should get access to a transport unit like Balloons or Airships or Zeppelins.

    You do realize that in earlier game incarnations melee units couldn’t even touch flyers except in counterstrike, right?



    You do realize that in earlier game incarnations melee units couldn’t even touch flyers except in counterstrike, right?

    It was the first thing I thought of. Second – ‘nerfing everything strong and interesting into oblivion, as usual…’ As if flyers haven’t had enough of that.
    It’s good not to care anymore. =)


    Jolly Joker

    Well, luckily enough this isn’t an official thing. 🙂

    As I said, I have no problem to nerf single offenders – Tigran Manticore doesn’t need pounce, for example, nor does Ellven one need Inflict Stun (which is probably an error anyway and should be Inflict Shocking) and you should at least think about the ramifications of Dwarven Manticores haveing Defensive Strike – but when you do that, you’ll see that there is a counter with Guard Breaker (and potentially Inflict Guardbreak).

    That’s why I said immediately, don’t touch the units – add options to increase walker mobility. I mean, being surprised by a stack of walkers is so much more satisfactory than parking flyers over mounatin ranges anyway… 🙂



    Is it possible that water hexes and any terrain hexes (except mountains) require 4 Movement Points? Streets 3. So the only difference between Flying and Floating would be the mobilty on mountains?
    At least delete the “Cave Crawling” for Floating Units as it is simply unlogical for me.
    A small deterioration of stats for flying/Floating Units would be an idea, too.
    Not so harsh for the beginning though. Maybe -1 Attack and -5 HP? I think Defence is a heavier blow..

    Buffing pikemen should be discussed in a thread like this:

    Making currently rarely used units more useful

    But I have the feeling as well that everyone just gives his opinion but in the end Nothing will happen 🙁



    Pikemen get a bonus against any cavalry and flyers, plus initiative.
    All cavalry and some flyers get Charge.
    That means that pikemen can disable the charge ability of any cavalry and some flyers, if they don’t have initiative themselves.(Should work against Pounce as well?).
    All in all, pikement get a (small) bonus against said opponents, whereas they shouldn’t be approached at all.

    What if pikemen get a “Deadly Retaliation” ability that would buff them only when they retaliate in defense, except when they make use of their initiative ability. The damage bonus could reach the amount of a charge.

    For example, against a pike formation and depending of the stats, a “recommanded” tactic could be: charge with only one AP left so that you get only one retaliation strikes (normal initiative), disengage on the next turn (getting an opportunist, normal strike); whereas a non recommanded tactic would be: charge with three AP and get 3 retaliation strikes (normal initiative, 2 x deadly retaliation), then keep on attacking on melee (3 x deadly retaliation per turn).

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