How To Give More Relevance to Ships/Sea

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Home Forums Age of Wonders 3 Discussions How To Give More Relevance to Ships/Sea

This topic contains 34 replies, has 18 voices, and was last updated by  Jolly Joker 4 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #150129

    This has been mentioned already, I know, but this is trying to be a list of improvements that would help in that direction, when all applied at the same time.

    1) Make a distinction between a Lake and a Sea: if there are more that X hexes (30?) of water the game should consider that it is a sea. (that would also prevent the AI from building a port and tons of ships in a pond!!)

    2) Encourage building cities next to water. When a water (SEA!!!) hex is next to a city it should be clear that the city would make a substantial amount of extra money due to trading.

    3) Increase the minimum distance between cities (or make it a value that can be selected by players). That would hopefully give even more relevance to port cities, since (probably) there would be less cities in the main land. It should still be possible to build forts at closer distance to use resources but they shouldn’t be transformable into cities. Also stone walls and observatories should maybe increase of two rows of hexes the territory so that it would be easier to create a continuity of territory.


    4) Allow ships to attack raid and conquer the now very important coast cities !!!

    5) Apply those rules to increase the prominence of ships that have been discussed in several other posts: Flyers should die if end their turn twice in a row in water (attrition eats up half their hit points each time – but they could end their turn regrouped with ships.) Diminish everyone’s visibility in sea except for ships. Diminish everyone’s movement at sea except for ships…


    Hopefully if ships become useful to raid the now very important sea villages and become the only force that can face another fleet, the sea world in AOWIII will finally make sense.

    As it is, it’s just useless.

    #150132

    Gloweye
    Member

    At siege battles of port cities, allow a bit of water on the side, where you can get your ships – so that your land forces can breach the walls while under the shadow of your ship’s cannons. It also allows the defender to fall back to his harbor if he’s got some warships there, for added protection(though an attacker wouldn’t need to kill the ships to capture the city?)

    #150138

    I like that, I was worried to suggest making a graphic change like that for battles but it would be indeed nice.

    As long as ships gain relevance I would be already happy just to see them auto fight against cities.

    #150139

    Gloweye
    Member

    Well, the level I played where water was most important was The Sapphire Archipelago in the Elven Campaign…and you’re being encouraged more to just never go on water hexes than actually wrestling away control of the sea from Isabella. A buff to ships like this would make it very good to have control of the seas on a water-rich map.

    Maybe the Racial Governance can give water income to humans, like it gives wetlands income to goblins. Since you could require a harbor for that, it could be given much earlier than the rank 5 buff goblins get. Still, that’s more of a specialist buff to humans and their water affinity than to water itself.

    #150156

    Fonzosh
    Member

    Totally agree with everything written here. I started another post http://ageofwonders.com/forums/topic/let-the-sea-matter/ some time back just because I felt the sea was just a minor obstacle with no strategic importance. In the old times dominance of the sea almost certainly made way for dominance at land. In AoW, you can totally avoid the sea (even on water rich maps) and still rule supremely.

    #150206

    All of these ideas are neat, but would take a lot of work to implement. Simply changing the way the free transports work would be a much easier fix that would make naval units much more important. Slow them down, reduce their sight range, and suddenly they are a bit vulnerable when crossing the water. Naval units now have a chance to catch them and are a big threat to them, and naval control becomes something people might care about. This would of course still only matter on maps with significant water, but right now people don’t even care about naval units in that situation when free transports are almost as good and take no effort to acquire.

    Not only that, but those land armies on free transports can actually win the game by taking cities, which naval units can never do. Even if they changed the game to put in coastal sieges you could simply not put your throne in a coast city, and you’d still need land armies to win, so naval units have only one purpose: stopping transports. Right now they can’t really hope to catch them.

    #150211

    Wintermoore
    Member

    I feel the same in regard to the irrelevance of sea at the current moment.

    I hope RGM in Continent-Setting will have 2 or 3 big land masses separated by vast body of waters (like earth); currently it is not the case.

    All non-sea/non-naval units have a penalty when combat in the sea.

    Enrich the sea with more resources (rainbow fishes,singing coral reef,glowing pearls,dancing water sprout, etc) that require a harbour in order for the cities to access them.

    #150234

    I’ve seen these threads a lot, but never weighed in before. I can imagine that much of the reason behind the current predicament with water transport is due to the AI never quite figuring out how to use the old Transport mechanic from SM. Something I actually miss quite a bit. Meaning allowing all units to transport themselves kind of acts as a work around, as well as solving some frustrating issues with how to deal with tactical when the units aboard are better than the ship they’re on.

    Anyways if I had to think of a way to fix the problem I’d probably do the following.
    a) give a movement penalty or a greater movement penalty to units transporting themselves. units on transport ships by themselves should be moving at about the same speed as if they were underground without cavecrawling. (water walking would negate this)

    b) Grant ship units a party wide buff that negates the above debuff. This will encourage people to group their units with ships when moving across water.

    c) Grant builder units the ability to build sea forts. This will solve the problem of having resources spawn out of reach of cities on shore lines. Allowing the RMG to have more freedom with what it does with water. Unfortunately forts don’t benefit from mystical structure upgrades. =/ To get around this sea forts could spawn “floating cities” when settled. Which could be a city attribute/structure that also makes it so if the city is destroyed no ruins are left behind.

    It’d also be worth considering moving the transport option up one on the ship spell tier. Making it teir 2 or 3 as opposed to tier 1. But if they do that. They might want the party wide buff ships provide to be water walking. That way units can still be transported without the tech. Of course that opens the door for frustrating human error where someone misclicks their ship out of the party and loses all their units. xD A life boat buff that procs afer losing the party buff could help reduce that problem. But I’m not sure that sort of thing is possible.

    #150238

    Gloweye
    Member

    c) Grant builder units the ability to build sea forts.

    How, exactly, would you build a fort on water?

    I agree with the movement penalty for embarked units. make it 6 movement or something – those fast-made rafts aren’t really for speed, but more for floatation. -1 vision range.

    Advanced seafaring then makes it 5 movement and removes the vision range.

    Aside from that, make a Transport ship without battle capacities, which could transport units (like a swimming party ability would work nice, good plan! but just make them unable to enter combat), and which would than have 3 mp per hex cost.

    variations could be transport ships that inherit ranged attacks from transported units, though it’s a little more complicated. You CAN fire a bow from a ship, but executing an Assassin’s Strike should be a bit more complicated.

    Frigates and Galleons could maybe share the transport ability, or just a limited amount of this. Also, disallow movement that would drown units, but for example using spells to sink a ship with personal on board should kill them all.

    Ironclads though, should remain purely battle units IMO.

    #150251

    All of these ideas are neat, but would take a lot of work to implement. Simply changing the way the free transports work would be a much easier fix that would make naval units much more important. Slow them down, reduce their sight range, and suddenly they are a bit vulnerable when crossing the water. Naval units now have a chance to catch them and are a big threat to them, and naval control becomes something people might care about. This would of course still only matter on maps with significant water, but right now people don’t even care about naval units in that situation when free transports are almost as good and take no effort to acquire.

    Not only that, but those land armies on free transports can actually win the game by taking cities, which naval units can never do. Even if they changed the game to put in coastal sieges you could simply not put your throne in a coast city, and you’d still need land armies to win, so naval units have only one purpose: stopping transports. Right now they can’t really hope to catch them.

    Slowing down transports would not be enough to encourage building a fleet. They would just be killed by swimmers and flyers. That’s why swimmers and flyers must not be able to survive on water (which is in fact perfectly logic and realistic)

    #150253

    variations could be transport ships that inherit ranged attacks from transported units, though it’s a little more complicated. You CAN fire a bow from a ship, but executing an Assassin’s Strike should be a bit more complicated.

    I agree, embarked units should pretty much be sitting ducks, transports should have little or no defense. Archers on water should have a negative bonus or maybe they should just be able to shoot once. Transports should have no melee capability at all! Right now they seem to fight like they would on land, makes no sense at all!!!!

    #150259

    ffbj
    Member

    I talked about this in another thread too. I think, as I said there, that many ideas are good and something is needed. Reducing the efficacy of normal transport, not ships, and making them more vulnerable to storms, stuff like that was what I talking about.
    Certainly no ships should be built by the ai inland with no sea access.

    Digressing many assumptions are being made as to what the capabilities of ships should be.
    The first question I would ask is just what period of shipping is this game trying to emulate? We can clearly rule out ancient sail since Aow sail is not fixed, you can go any direction you want at always the same speed. So it is closer, at least movement is, to the age of steam in that sense.
    So in general ships, in the age of sail, were used mainly for interdiction and to fight other sailing ships. Yes there were raids but by and large they were not all that effective. I am talking about actual bombardments not Viking raids for instance where the ships were mainly conveyances. Maybe the cannon on the boats in harbor could blast a wall or gate, but that would be about it. I mean we are not talking HMS Victory and 104 guns now, are we?

    Howsoever trade interdiction, blockades, could have great effect on the towns and cities they were directed against. So back to the Black Knight’s original concept of an increase in commerce due to shipping, I am all for that. However if enemy ships are within zone of control of the city then that bonus trade is interdicted.
    As far as actually bombarding the city you might be able to represent that by lowered morale due to enemy shipping in the harbor. Mainly thinking of ease of implementation.

    #150297

    Hunter
    Member

    Slowing down transports would not be enough to encourage building a fleet. They would just be killed by swimmers and flyers. That’s why swimmers and flyers must not be able to survive on water (which is in fact perfectly logic and realistic)

    Agree with this. Flyers and floaters should be able to cross water, but not stop on it.

    #150306

    Jaduggar
    Member

    I agree, embarked units should pretty much be sitting ducks, transports should have little or no defense. Archers on water should have a negative bonus or maybe they should just be able to shoot once. Transports should have no melee capability at all! Right now they seem to fight like they would on land, makes no sense at all!!!!

    God, I know… this drives me up the fricking wall! >.<

    I have said it many times now… it is so silly when cavalry charge their opponents in a boat. It is pretty dumb :/

    All of these ideas are neat, but would take a lot of work to implement. Simply changing the way the free transports work would be a much easier fix that would make naval units much more important. Slow them down, reduce their sight range, and suddenly they are a bit vulnerable when crossing the water. Naval units now have a chance to catch them and are a big threat to them, and naval control becomes something people might care about. This would of course still only matter on maps with significant water, but right now people don’t even care about naval units in that situation when free transports are almost as good and take no effort to acquire.
    Not only that, but those land armies on free transports can actually win the game by taking cities, which naval units can never do. Even if they changed the game to put in coastal sieges you could simply not put your throne in a coast city, and you’d still need land armies to win, so naval units have only one purpose: stopping transports. Right now they can’t really hope to catch them.

    I agree. I do not like the embark mechanics one bit. Whatever the change, though, it needs to be something the AI can handle or this will become yet another multiplayer only part of the game.

    Slowing down transports would not be enough to encourage building a fleet. They would just be killed by swimmers and flyers. That’s why swimmers and flyers must not be able to survive on water (which is in fact perfectly logic and realistic)

    Yeah, I dont like the way hunters and shamans can just run around on lakes and rivers and fight hand to hand with boats… or the way they can camp out for a couple of months on the surface of an ocean tile. Thats not swimming, the jesus-esque water walking powers with comic book logic.

    How, exactly, would you build a fort on water?

    Millions of dollars in production costs, thats how.

    #150311

    Knight: I don’t really see the devs killing flying units over water simply because it would totally wreck the entire balance that is already set up for scouting, which is a hugely important aspect of the game. You could make airborne units suffer the same penalties as transports to cross water though, even force them to use transports, that might be much easier to work in. That way naval-only units are still the biggest threat on the water, and while flyers could potentially attack transports they wouldn’t be at an advantage in doing so any more than on land.

    The more I think about it the better it sounds, it would keep naval units as undisputed water superiority / transport intercept only units while mobile flyers would not have their scouting and sneak attack roles compromised much.

    Though honestly there are very few significant flying units before tier 3, basically just scouts. If people are building entire armies of flyers they are making much less cost effective armies since a lot of the value of those units is in their mobility and speed. If they throw that away by bringing the fight to your main army they are playing right into your advantage. Doubly so if they also get a debuff over water for sure.

    #150320

    Eji1700
    Member

    One thing i’d like to see is the distincting between river/lake/sea tiles, or maybe just the shallow/deep water you see in civ 5, with swimming being confined to ONLY shallow tiles, or river/lake.

    Having my “assassin” navy feels weird. It’s a swimming skill, not a boating skill.

    #150322

    Gyor
    Member

    Instead of building a Fort on the Sea, you build a Flotilla, which functions like a fort.

    #150426

    limaceman
    Member

    My concerns about slowing down transports is that they could fastly become useless.
    The main points of using ships for transport irl were the ability to transport huge amounts of goods in one ship, and increased speed compared to land transport. This increased speed came from the fact that a footsoldier can only walk for a few hours/day, whereas a ship will sail 24h/24.
    When a soldier can walk, let’s say, 40km in a day of exhausting walk (8h at 5km/h), a slow ship sailing at 7km/h will still travel around 170km/day.

    1 – Here my opinion on a solution to the navy vs transports issue :

    • All naval fights start with units wider apart to give advantage to the range of ships.
    • Coasts cost 6MP/tile to cross.
    • Basic seafaring allows embark, then move over coasts only(include rivers), and unlocks frigates.
    • All embarked units and ships have +1 vision range when on water, except flying units.
    • Frigates have 36MP (faster than flyers) and an inherent +2 vision range (thus higher than flyers), but -1Def and -5HP. They can travel the seas from start, for 3MP/tile. They will be transport hunters.
    • Advanced seafaring allows embarked units to cross the oceans for 4MP/tile, unlocks the galleon, and give all embarked units and ships +1 vision.
    • Galleons get the reinforced trait and +4 fire damage on flaming arrows, but only 28MP, to turn them into fighting ships.

    2 – I agree with the need to increase water use through multiple changes:

    • New water resources (aka gold mine, mana nodes, farms and magma forges for water)
    • Ability to build harbors further away from city center (maybe is there is water 3hexes away from center), harbors bringing gold through trade routes, and ability to raid harbors/trade routes.
    • Allowing naval units to take actions during siege battles, even if used in the same way as defensive city upgrades (a non-dispellable battlefield enchantment).
    • Allowing naval units to take actions during siege battles, even if used in the same way as defensive city upgrades (a non-dispellable battlefield enchantment).
    #150463

    Historical stuff really doesn’t matter, this is a matter of effects on gameplay. A slower transport still allows a land unit to cross water, and this is a big deal. Naval units can NEVER go on land. Ever. They have only one purpose, killing transports.

    Transports have been changed a couple times since release to make them weaker in combat (removing crazy abilities like cannons and fire arrows, debuffing defenses) but it still doesn’t matter because they can see and move comparable to those water-only units.

    If a unit is forced into a very specific role it needs to be absolutely fantastic at that role or it is worthless to build. This is on top of naval units being difficult to acquire in general, needing coast cities and a harbor.

    The idea of having shallow and deep water that are linked to the two transport upgrades is another great idea that can honestly be combined with others, but would require a bit more work since it would mean more code for map generation and such. It is definitely a good idea though, civ proved that it worked pretty well. It could also be combined with knight’s idea of limiting flyers over water, in that they could go over shallow water but have trouble with deep. You could even have that apply to swimmers too with shallow and ocean swimming so the “assassin navies” someone mentioned are less silly while still being very powerful sneak attack tricks. Deep water units could go into shallow, but not the other way around.

    As an aside, boosting the speed and sight of naval units to hunt speedy transports isn’t terribly useful if the transports still move fast enough to cross oceans in a short amount of time. They would need an absurd amount of movement and sight range to be able to effectively screen a coastline. Defense is naturally more difficult than offense in this game, and since it doesn’t have the sort of army area of influence that total war does a navy parked in an area can only stop transports by catching them in the open water. If those transports only need to be on the water for a couple turns there is a very limited window for those naval units to be useful. In addition because of the nature of the game mechanics the attacking transports have a big advantage in that they can choose where to move, and the burden is on the person who built a navy to know where they are going and catch them before they get across. You could say that scouting is important, and it is, but if you can keep perfect tabs on armies all the time then you wouldn’t really need to build a navy anyway since you can have a real army meet them when they get off the boat anyway.

    For navies to work transports really need (another) nerf.

    #150465

    To be honest pretty much all other similar games have already realized this (even if it took them a few patches). Total war rome 2 and civ 5 for example both nerfed transports in exactly this way, reducing movement and sight. It is a simple change.

    #150476

    limaceman
    Member

    As an aside, boosting the speed and sight of naval units to hunt speedy transports isn’t terribly useful if the transports still move fast enough to cross oceans in a short amount of time. They would need an absurd amount of movement and sight range to be able to effectively screen a coastline.

    That’s quite true. Move speeds are much higher in AOW than in Civ, and it makes it that much harder for naval units to catch up with them. Maybe have embarked units move slower, like 6MP/tile with 30MP (=5 hexes/turn) would be wiser. Less than that and I personally fear that transports would become so much slower than land units that they would only be useful when no land joins the starting location and destination, especially with roads.

    However, if a penalty to flyers is to be applied for crossing waters, it shouldn’t be a damage every turn, else the AI might not be able to deal with it. They could suffer an “exhaustion” morale penalty instead, something like -300/-400 morale if the unit starts its turn on water. Maybe make it stay for 2 turns, not sure about that.

    Then, as it has been mentioned, most units should lose their offensive abilities when embarked, with maybe some exceptions with ranged units. Just replace it with a ram ability, and say goodbye to charging transports.

    #150503

    Gloweye
    Member

    I like the morale penalty for fliers…much more doable than HP damage.

    #150519

    Morale is meaningless unless it drops them to the point that they’ll desert. It doesn’t give much of a drawback in battle unless the morale hit is enormous. Giving them the exact same debuff that land troops get on transports would be easy to do. It would also be easy to balance, since it would work exactly the same.

    #150521

    Nyanko
    Member

    The idea of having shallow and deep water that are linked to the two transport upgrades is another great idea that can honestly be combined with others, but would require a bit more work since it would mean more code for map generation and such. It is definitely a good idea though, civ proved that it worked pretty well. It could also be combined with knight’s idea of limiting flyers over water, in that they could go over shallow water but have trouble with deep. You could even have that apply to swimmers too with shallow and ocean swimming so the “assassin navies” someone mentioned are less silly while still being very powerful sneak attack tricks. Deep water units could go into shallow, but not the other way around.

    I don’t think it would require so much more code anyway cause the game is already able to detect a river compared to sea. And you can define all the coastal hexagons as being another type. So it would make it that way:

    Basic transport ship: can only navigate on rivers.
    1st upgrade: can navigate only on rivers and coastal hexagons.
    2n upgrade: can navigate everywhere there is water.

    We can even imagine that maybe the 2nd upgrade cannot navigate on river and you have to access another upgrade to make viking type longboats able to go up rivers.

    #150532

    ffbj
    Member

    One of the main thrust of this thread seems to me to be that there is little sense in building regular ships since transports are so capable. So the idea of gimping transports or making ships more useful, like my interdiction suggestion, a fairly common device in war games. I suggested storms whereas transports would more badly effected, blown off course or damaged, but maybe that is just too much to ask for a game that has no weather anyway. No day and night cycle, but ok.
    What about storms in combat, basically add a chance for lightning or that wind node terrain where missiles are at a disadvantage. Well I think you get the picture. Since ships are less vulnerable to lightning than most transports they get an advantage at sea, in both these cases. That would be easy to code and you could have regional or map frequencies for how often, what kind and where storms occur. Like an area equivalent to the Cape of Good Hope, (irony).

    #150602

    FerrisB
    Member

    The original way seafights were handled was good, then some people complained about it and we got this stupid system as it is right now.
    Ships are useless!
    I just lost two galleons against one Firstborn.
    Two WARSHIPS lost against one TRANSPORT!

    Seafights are ridiculous right now 🙁

    #150614

    Gloweye
    Member

    The original way seafights were handled was good, then some people complained about it and we got this stupid system as it is right now.<br>
    Ships are useless!<br>
    I just lost two galleons against one Firstborn.<br>
    Two WARSHIPS lost against one TRANSPORT!

    Seafights are ridiculous right now <img src=”https://ageofwonders.com/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_sad.gif” alt=”:(” class=”wp-smiley”)

    They used to be worse…All units would get Fire Cannon on sea when you had seafaring, which means their’d be even less use for warships.

    Current system > launch system. That said, there can still be much improved.

    #150720

    The original way seafights were handled was good, then some people complained about it and we got this stupid system as it is right now.<br>
    Ships are useless!<br>
    I just lost two galleons against one Firstborn.<br>
    Two WARSHIPS lost against one TRANSPORT!

    Seafights are ridiculous right now :(

    I don’t understand this post at all. Transports have only been nerfed since release, if you lost a fight against a transport now you would only have lost harder before those patches.

    This is the whole point of the thread.

    One thing to think about is that other 4x that use transports (civ, total war) have the transport stats be independent of what it is carrying. A boat carrying a tier 1 is the same boat that carries a tier 4. They don’t inherit boat stats from the units they carry, so it is much easier to balance them and you don’t get boats that can tank 3 warships without a sweat. This would certainly eliminate the sort of situation that Ferris posted about. You also wouldn’t have transports that can charge or regenerate or other weirdness. Total war manages to do a pretty great hybrid of this and the current aow3 system: all transports are the same boat, but the units they carry are also on deck and can board other ships or fire arrows etc. Those land army passengers get a debuff to make them much less effective at fighting on the water, but they can try as a last desperate attempt. The main important thing is that the transport boat itself is slow and weak, and sinking it kills anything it was transporting.

    What I am saying is other games have solved the problem quite effectively and no one really needs to reinvent the wheel here.

    #150732

    Ericridge
    Member

    A firstborn defeating two galleons is a real possiblity.

    Fire immunity = fire arrows cannot harm Firstborns.

    Ram a single attack while Firstborn does physical/fire damage on galleons who have fire weakness.

    Fire cannon only fires every other turn.

    It is also very possible for firstborns to win when two galleons fight very poorly.

    #150747

    Gloweye
    Member

    Ram a single attack while Firstborn does physical/fire damage on galleons who have fire weakness.

    20%, where a firstborn has 2 fire damage. However, fire cannon is only every other turn, so you’d have to make it a point to flank often, an never park your ships on adjacent tiles, and the galleon’s should win.

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