Does The New Defense Mechanic Contribute to OP T4s?

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Home Forums Age of Wonders 3 Discussions Does The New Defense Mechanic Contribute to OP T4s?

This topic contains 34 replies, has 23 voices, and was last updated by  apopov 8 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #71049

    Unknown250
    Member

    First, let’s get something out of the way: Since the dawn of fantasy TBS games, top-level units have always been incredibly overpowered. This is not unique to AoW 3, or even AoW in general.

    However, I do feel that AoW 3 seems to be experiencing a bit more outcry over OP T4s than usual. Personally, I love this, as seeing more balance between T4s vs other levels in AoW has been near the top of my wishlist since 1999.

    After playing a game last night, I began to wonder if the new Defense mechanic was part of that.

    For those of you who are new, in older AoW games, every unit had an Attack value. The RNG would roll, and if the unit’s Attack + randomly rolled number was higher than the target’s Defense (or Resistance) + randomly rolled number, the attack would hit, and then damage would be rolled based on the damage rating. If not, nothing would happen.

    This is kind of your classic D&D system. AoW 3 got rid of it, and instead opted for a less random system – attacks always hit, and Defense/Resistance just reduce damage.

    In a lot of ways, I like this change. When it comes to combat, at least, less luck tends to be better – and with Damage rolled randomly, it’s not as though luck has disappeared entirely.

    However. In the earlier games, every single attack had a 10% chance to hit, regardless of Attack or Defense ratings. This means that no matter how high a unit’s Defense was, swarms of units were bound to hit and deal damage. In AoW 3, this is gone. Instead, unless I am mistaken, Defense always operates.

    The problem with this is that it means that T1 units will rarely, if ever, be able to deal more than 1 damage/hit against T4 units. In other words, T4s can slaughter vast droves of T1s with impunity.

    The difference here is that T1s used to be able to get lucky and seriously hurt T4s. It was rare, but it happened enough that the scales were more balanced (or at least they would’ve been if upkeep hadn’t been so punishing in the earlier games…). Now that can’t really happen.

    So what’s the solution? Well, that’s the question. Maybe we could give each attack a small chance of halving or even ignoring the target’s Defense. Maybe this could be integrated with the Critical Hit system. Maybe this is already part of the game and I haven’t noticed for some reason.

    #71057

    Shiara384
    Member

    That actually makes alot of sense. Unfortunately. As you said, TBS games have allways had this problem. RTS games not so much, since you could allways crap out so many units rapidly, instead of a turn by turn basis.

    Which is why its allways so glaring on a TBS game, but not as much on an RTS.

    #71060

    Unknown250
    Member

    That actually makes alot of sense. Unfortunately. As you said, TBS games have allways had this problem. RTS games not so much, since you could allways crap out so many units rapidly, instead of a turn by turn basis.

    Which is why its allways so glaring on a TBS game, but not as much on an RTS.

    Also I personally argue that TBS games tend to go for the “Whoa, epic!” mentality. TBS games are more likely to say “Of course it’s overpowered. It’s a frigging dragon. What kind of dragon could be brought down by its weight in level 1 infantry? Not the sort of dragon worth having in a fantasy game, that’s for sure.”

    #71063

    Shiara384
    Member

    Agreed. Very much so Unknown. Sadly, I think people are spoiled by RTS games.

    #71068

    Riaktion
    Member

    Perhaps flanking attacks could negate defence or reduce defence? Rather than just miss a retaliate.

    However armoured units get less of an impact to their defence… rather than a permanent defence bonus they get, that could be their perk.

    Where as shields give bonus defence from non flanking attacks (like now) and defence bonuses against ranged perhaps?

    Perhaps.. maybe… I’m just saying stuff.

    #71069

    dameneu
    Member

    I love the new combat system. It’s way steadier and reliable than it used to be. You don’t end up losing T3 units to T1 summons anymore due to wonky RNG streaks. Besides, lower tier units still pack a considerable punch with flanking/leader buffs/enchantments/etc.

    I don’t really feel the T4 units themselves as powerful as you depict in your opening post, perhaps the rate of production or AI’s tendency to have them stacked before you’ve managed to research them is, but that’s completely separate from the combat system.

    Even if they would be broken, you’d start tweaking their stats and abilities first. You wouldn’t turn the combat system inside out right away because there are some flaws on release day.

    To put it briefly, no, I don’t think the combat system is to blame for any units being overpowered. I think it’s a way more reliable system where insight and good play is rewarded. Luck can tip the scales, but it won’t secure you the fight.

    #71071

    C4ptainZA
    Member

    I mentioned this exact observation here. Glad someone felt it needed it’s own thread.

    In previous titles it was this exact luck mechanic that kept t1 and T2 units viable, especially when defending behind walls.

    Luck is very bad in a competitive skill match up game, but in previous titles I felt it made things a bit more interesting and made me hold my breath when fighting using my expensive high powered units, because that archer and ballista might get lucky! Now the tactical combat is much more predictable. Which isn’t a bad thing, but means that unit match ups are always predictable with observable power levels.

    #71073

    Reefpirate
    Member

    I think you’re right that this is contributing to the problem… But I prefer the system where there’s no random chance to hit or miss.

    So rather than giving T1 units a chance to hit and deal full damage, ultimately they just need to nerf T4 survivability a little bit. You can let the T4 dragon rip through several T1s, but eventually they should be wearing him down.

    #71077

    Unknown250
    Member

    Just to clarify, I’m not suggesting that we toss out the “every attack hits!” system, but instead that we look for ways to prevent high Defense from becoming too difficult to overcome.

    #71081

    CrazyElf
    Member

    I’m inclined to say that the systems proposed here probably are going to lead to their own problems – excessively strong T1s. I think that T4s need to be pushed up in price (so that they are not spammable), but at the same time, they do need to justify their price. I’m worried what you’re proposing will lead to less of a strategy and skill type of game, but rather a luck type of game. It already is to some extent (critical hits and resistances), but much more so than before.

    #71086

    Thariorn
    Member

    But, if you swarm an enemy T4, and that T4 isn’t guarding right now, even your t1 will do moderate dmg when flanking/backstabbing is applied.

    This is especially true for ranged attacks as you wouldn’t melee flank with more than one attack avtually hiting the T4 to prevent retaliation.

    #71094

    C4ptainZA
    Member

    Just to clarify, I’m not suggesting that we toss out the “every attack hits!” system, but instead that we look for ways to prevent high Defense from becoming too difficult to overcome.

    Agreed there, it’s way too late for that sort of conversation. Maybe each race or class just needs a way of dealing with high defense and resistance opponents, like % based defense shred, more effective on high defence enemies, less effective on lower defense enemies.

    Or maybe spells need to be buffed.

    I find a lot of high tier units also have a lot of immunities. Theocrat vs Dreadnaught is aweful, spirit damage is useless against machines, so I need to hope I find a suitable dwelling. A lot of fun for the dreadnought, not a lot of fun for the theocrat.

    #71105

    Kilo24
    Member

    Honestly? No, I don’t think it contributes to overpowered T4s. At least, even if the current status of T4s is too powerful because minimum damage is reduced to 1-2 or so, you can easily fix it by increasing minimum damage – much in the same way you could balance out the old system by tweaking the minimum percent chance to hit.

    I’d say the opposite: guaranteed damage makes T4s weaker. With no misses, you don’t have that 90% chance for a unit’s attack to do absolutely nothing. You know that X number of attacks from tier 1 units are going to kill off a Tier 4. It’s an especially pronounced effect against Shrines of Smiting and Juggernauts since they have no natural healing. You also know that any unit with an attack can finish off a tier 4 unit with 1 hit point left, which was no guarantee in the prior system.

    Flanking does give a damage bonus that will usually improve beyond the minimum damage. That and the guaranteed damage have, from my experience, made individually powerful units much more vulnerable to being mobbed than in the prior games. It doesn’t matter how many hitpoints your Shrine of Smiting has if it can’t move because it’s being forced into using its melee attack by a horde of T1s.

    #71111

    Horg
    Member

    I feel like the most powerful tools against T4 units in this combat system are slows. Throw curse is especially good, often better if it is resisted. If you reduce their mobility you can reduce their action points, and the absolute best units to kill a slowed T4 unit with are the irregulars. Hard hitting single shots are great against the higher armour, especially if you flank, so they scale better than archers against higher tier units. Musket units are the apex of the low tier T4 killers. Other than that, using cheap summons to waste action points will immobilise a T4. I do think T4s are still too cheap, but the combat system does provide ways to kill them as it is.

    #71113

    dameneu
    Member

    The argument that lower tier units aren’t viable because you can’t get lucky with them is so flawed it’s ridiculous. The fact that lower tier units are only viable when you’re on a lucky streak is a design flaw if anything.
    The new combat system is more reliable but still has plenty of luck thrown in for you to cross your fingers before you right click that enemy. 15-21 damage on a 20 hp enemy? Are you clenching your butt cheeks yet? No? What’s wrong with you?

    #71141

    Mips
    Member

    That actually makes alot of sense. Unfortunately. As you said, TBS games have allways had this problem. RTS games not so much, since you could allways crap out so many units rapidly, instead of a turn by turn basis.

    Which is why its allways so glaring on a TBS game, but not as much on an RTS.

    talking about RTS games with ridiculous powerful super-units…. Supreme Commander 1 is my favourite in that regard. it was perfect. you could go for these huge experimental units, but that would affect your economy and your normal unit production, or you would keep spamming normal units. first T1, then T2, then T3. if both players were equally good then the experimental vs the T1, T2, T3 was an even match.

    the thing is, these experimental units were even more imba compared to a single normal unit than it is in AoW3, but the reason why it was still better balanced was because you could spam these normal units in crazy large quantities and in no time.

    i think it isnt really so hard to fix this issue in AoW3. they just have to adjust the differences in cost, upkeep and build time. it could also help if T4 units had slower health regenerating or if it would cost additional ressources or require a spell to heal them.

    i want to see huge masses of cheap goblin armies vs powerful dwarven strongholds. they would send wave after wave but nobody would get the advantage.
    the right choice would be to have a good mix of T1, T2, T3 and only a few T4 units

    #71142

    Added damage abilities and upgrades also help in a bad matchup. +1 lightning damage to the army or +5 damage from a temporary spell (unnatural bane, oooh) helps me actually hurt things when I run into mobs I can’t really hurt for whatever reason.

    Flanking is working fine for me, though sometimes it’s the only thing happening to the point of absurdity. I laughed out loud after watching a replay where the AI waged an elaborate game of butt tennis with 5 hunters and the back of a manticore rider. It was really the only way they could hurt it, so even though they only took one shot each they could at least hurt it, all the while spinning that manticore like it was on a turntable.

    #71157

    Sloul
    Member

    Even if they would be broken, you’d start tweaking their stats and abilities first. You wouldn’t turn the combat system inside out right away because there are some flaws on release day.

    This.

    #71161

    I find the exact opposite Unknown, the new combat rules make t4 units less OP, as now everything will hit them.

    Many a time a swordsman would miss against a Titan, much more so than a Titan missing against a swordsman.

    #71168

    Shiara384
    Member

    The argument that lower tier units aren’t viable because you can’t get lucky with them is so flawed it’s ridiculous. The fact that lower tier units are only viable when you’re on a lucky streak is a design flaw if anything.<br>
    The new combat system is more reliable but still has plenty of luck thrown in for you to cross your fingers before you right click that enemy. 15-21 damage on a 20 hp enemy? Are you clenching your butt cheeks yet? No? What’s wrong with you?

    I agree, Totally.

    @mips. Unfortunately, RTS and TBS games are apples and oranges. Yes..they really are, You can’t compare them, they play so differently.

    @BBB I do agree, especially because Titans were bad? Oh shit. Shadow Demon Lords were even worse, I never saw a damn thing that could stop a full 8 stack.

    #71190

    vota dc
    Member

    So what’s the solution? Well, that’s the question. Maybe we could give each attack a small chance of halving or even ignoring the target’s Defense. Maybe this could be integrated with the Critical Hit system. Maybe this is already part of the game and I haven’t noticed for some reason.

    You get some sort of critical hit while you do 2 damage instead of 1 against an enemy with superior defense and resistance. In some cases (swarm darter) is meaningful, in other isn’t because the hitpoints scale is 30-100 and no more 4-30 like the first game so making +3 damage in three attacks (if counterattack don’t kill you before) isn’t so great.

    They could make 3 minimum damage with very low chance to trigger
    50% 1
    40% 2
    10% 3

    #71235

    Unknown250
    Member

    The argument that lower tier units aren’t viable because you can’t get lucky with them is so flawed it’s ridiculous. The fact that lower tier units are only viable when you’re on a lucky streak is a design flaw if anything.<br>

    I don’t like luck either. I prefer having it more predictable. I like the new”every attack hits” system. But what I’m saying is that the older games had a ceiling – a limit to how much of an impact a high defense could have. You could have 20 Def and they could have 1 Att, but they’d still hit you 1 in every 10 tries. AoW 3 still has that ceiling – every attack does a minimum of 1 damage unless target is immune to the damage type – but IMHO it’s too low.

    I mean, think about it. In AoW SM, an Archer who gets twelve shots would do an average of, let’s say 5 damage, to a Gold Dragon. 5 damage over the course of twelve shots. Now let’s say it’s AoW 3. An Archer is going to do, on average, 1 damage per hit – so 12 damage over the course of twelve shots. So it seems like in AoW 3, the Archers are doing more damage, right?

    However, in AoW SM, the Gold Dragon had 35 HP, while in AoW 3, it’s closer to 130. So the SM Archer is going to kill his respective Gold Dragon a lot faster.

    I don’t want to go back to the “Roll to hit” system. I like things the way they are, and approve of the new system. However, I do think there needs to either be ways around the Defense bonus, or a higher minimum damage.

    #71240

    Or a lower hp? 😛

    #71256

    Unknown250
    Member

    Or a lower hp? :P

    Hahahaha I thought of that too. I’m not sure how that would affect the balance between T3s and T4s though – however, when you think about it, that ~130 HP is nearly double what a lot of T3s get. I’m guessing we could nerf it down to ~100 HP and the Dragon would still be pretty strong.

    #71269

    scfs123
    Member

    Archers seem very strong at all levels of the game.

    That said, All T1/2 melee infantry seem near useless at most stages of the game

    #71303

    Diair
    Member

    Ah! I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but this is why I wasn’t too fond of the combat system change when it was revealed.

    In shadow magic, I would actually avoid attacking human halberdiers (human irregular t1) with my T4 dragons, as even if the odds were widely stacked in my dragon’s favor, that one hit from the polearm boosted halberdier would be enough to take down my dragon’s health by a third.

    Compare that to the AoW3 system, where a t1 unit would need to hit a t4 in excess of 30 times before taking it down (if he does 3 damage a hit), and it’s obvious that t1’s are completely useless against a t4.

    After playing the game, however, I must admit I like the new combat system. It’s perfectly balanced for t1-t3 units. Them t4’s though. Maybe reducing t4 health would help? They would still do much more damage than any t3, so even if their HP was closer to that of t3’s, they’d still be worth it.

    Changing the way minimum damage works I do not think would be the way to go, as that would ruin the balance between t1-t3 units.

    EDIT: Actually, just flat out lowering the defense of t4 units would probably go a long way in resolving the issue as well. The problem is that lower tier units can’t hurt higher tier ones, no?

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by  President.
    #71319

    Shiara384
    Member

    Ah! I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but this is why I wasn’t too fond of the combat system change when it was revealed.

    In shadow magic, I would actually avoid attacking human halberdiers (human irregular t1) with my T4 dragons, as even if the odds were widely stacked in my dragon’s favor, that one hit from the polearm boosted halberdier would be enough to take down my dragon’s health by a third.

    Compare that to the AoW3 system, where a t1 unit would need to hit a t4 in excess of 30 times before taking it down (if he does 3 damage a hit), and it’s obvious that t1′s are completely useless against a t4.

    After playing the game, however, I must admit I like the new combat system. It’s perfectly balanced for t1-t3 units. Them t4′s though. Maybe reducing t4 health would help? They would still do much more damage than any t3, so even if their HP was closer to that of t3′s, they’d still be worth it.

    Changing the way minimum damage works I do not think would be the way to go, as that would ruin the balance between t1-t3 units.

    EDIT: Actually, just flat out lowering the defense of t4 units would probably go a long way in resolving the issue as well. The problem is that lower tier units can’t hurt higher tier ones, no?

    I agree to a point. Don’t lower the T4 too much.

    THink of it this way, numbers count for something, You don’t want a single T3 ripping apart a T4, but out-numbering the T4s should work. I’m against One army smashing a T4 (Unless the player flanks the F- out of it.) but multiple armies? Sure. Their designed to be powerful weapons, and an oh shit when deployed, but I don’t think they were ment to be the battlekings. (Unless their dragons, then tahts another story entirely, All hail golden dragons. LOL.)

    #71328

    CrazyElf
    Member

    I find the exact opposite Unknown, the new combat rules make t4 units less OP, as now everything will hit them.

    Many a time a swordsman would miss against a Titan, much more so than a Titan missing against a swordsman.

    I’d be inclined to agree with this.

    Relatively speaking, the T4s in this game are arguably less powerful than the T1s, compared to older versions of Age of Wonders 3.

    #71333

    razor436
    Member

    I think OP T4 units aren’t necessarily a bad thing. The power they wield make them highly prized and feared units. In a tactical battle with one T4 unit on each side, the entire focus is on those two units.

    The issue is when are so many of them make up your army that their sheer number turns a uniquely powerful unit to an ordinary OP one.

    Make no mistake, I’m all for making them more vulnerable to the weaker tier units, but I think late game T4 spam is more a consequence of allowing the player to stack an army with 6x “the best unit”.

    #71380

    b0rsuk
    Member

    Also I personally argue that TBS games tend to go for the “Whoa, epic!” mentality. TBS games are more likely to say “Of course it’s overpowered. It’s a frigging dragon.

    This is something specific to fantasy games, not TBS games. As if every single fantasy game had to be heroic fantasy.

    As for the difference in mechanics… No, the 10% chance to hit is too low to base your strategy upon. But let’s look at some stats:

    Unit Attack Defense
    Elves
    Glade Runner 5 4
    Swordsman 7 6
    Longbowman ? 4
    Scout 10 7
    Druid 10 8
    Iron Maiden 14 10
    Treeman 10 11
    Fairy Dragon 14 12

    Orcs
    Impaler 5 5
    Axeman 7 8
    Archer ? 5
    Heavy Cavalry 9 9
    Abomination 7 7
    Shaman 14 9
    Warlord 16 13
    DooM Bats 10 15
    Glutton 17 8

    Nomads
    Spearman 5 4
    Barbarian 9 6
    Horse Archer ? 6
    Djinn 8 8
    Elephant Rider 8 8
    Slaver 10 10
    Chief 15 10
    Pit Guard 12 10
    Roc 16 11

    Frostlings
    Snowscaper 5 4
    Raider 7 7
    Shard Thrower ? 4
    Wolf Raider 9 8
    Frost Witch 8 6
    Icedrake Rider 10 8
    Mammoth Rider 13 10
    Yeti 11 10
    DooM Wolf 15 12

    Draconians
    Hatchling 4 5
    Charger 7 7
    Flamer 5 6
    Crusher 10 8
    Slither 9 7
    Elder 10 8
    Flyer 13 9
    Hydra 11 10
    Red Dragon 16 12

    Undead
    Zombie 4 4
    Swordsman 6 5
    Archer ? ?
    Death Knight 9 7
    Vampire 9 6
    Spectre 12 13
    Bone Horror 13 9
    Necromancer 9 9
    Dread Reaper 13 13

    Dark Elves
    Night Guard 5 4
    Warrior 7 6
    Archer ? 4
    Executioner 9 7
    Blade Dancer 9 7
    Shade 12 10
    Spider Queen 13 9
    Succubus 11 9
    Incarnate 15 12

    Dwarves
    Axeman 6 6
    Berserker 8 5
    Crossbowman ? 6
    Boar Rider 9 8
    Engineer 8 10
    Mole 12 12
    Rune Master 13 13
    Gargoyle 9 9
    Steam Tank 1 14

    Tigrans
    Shredder 6 5
    Hunter 8 6
    Fire Cat 5 5
    Cat Master 9 7
    Prowler 9 7
    Mystic 9 9
    Manticore 12 9
    Beholder 9 8
    Sphinx 15 12

    Humans
    Halberdier 5 5
    Infantry 7 7
    Crossbowman ? 5
    Cavalry 9 8
    Swashbuckler 8 7
    Knight 14 12
    Herbalist 10 9
    Chaplain 10 9
    Air Galley ? 10

    Halflings
    Peasant 4 4
    Swordsman 6 7
    Rogue 8 7
    Pony Rider 9 8
    Sheriff 11 10
    Eagle Rider 10 9
    Centaur ? 10
    Leprechaun 12 16

    Syrons
    Prospector 4 6
    Lightning Catcher 4 6
    Spellbinder 7 6
    Rider 9 8
    Shadow Runner 9 8
    Giant Warior 13 10
    Changeling 10 12
    Astral Sprite 12 12
    Force Ship ? 10

    Goblins
    Grunt 5 4
    Swordsman 7 6
    Darter ? 5
    Bomber ? 5
    Wolf Rider 9 7
    Butcher 12 8
    Big Beetle 12 11
    Wyvern Rider 10 8
    Troll 12 10
    Kharagh 16 11

    Archons
    Militia 5 5
    Legionary 7 7
    Archer ? 5
    Avenger 9 9
    Paladin 9 8
    Pegasus Rider 12 8
    Charioteer 13 12
    Titan 15 15

    I would say Defense stat of T4 units in Age of Wonders 2: Shadow Magic is almost on the level of T3 units. Many of them have something extra like flying, but overall it seems they were more like glass cannons. The big deal was upkeep costs: 6 gold for lowliest unit and 15 gold for T4. You couldn’t even afford 3 Swordsmen for the price of a Titan!

    The bottom line: it’s not the system, it’s the values.

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