Ideas for making Tier1&2 less obsolete

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Home Forums Age of Wonders 3 Discussions Ideas for making Tier1&2 less obsolete

This topic contains 197 replies, has 58 voices, and was last updated by  GrassMudHorse 8 years ago.

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  • #75011

    razzafazza
    Member

    One thing i d really like to see changed to make tier 1/2 units less obsolete and which also makes sense from a “realism” (if you can call it that in a game with magic and dragons :p) point of view is how gaining medals affects a units stats.

    i find it really counterproductive that right now the best units even get better whereas the weaker units gain the least from leveling up. a lot of similar games have the same problem with leads to a boring endgame where people only use 10% of the available units because everything else turned obsolete. a waste of unit art and lack of variety that imho isnt necessary.

    Take real life for example: if your average guy starts getting serious about fitness he ll make absolute huge gains in his first 1-2 years with the right training and nutrition. meanwhile the “gains” of a highly trained bodybuilder in the same time will be fairly small in comparision even if both are training just as hard as the other.

    real life combat is the same. an elite unit doesnt get that much more elite because it does 1-2 missions. a rookie unit that survives 1-2 missions however is suddenly easily “worth” twice then before.

    of course changes like these would have to be properly balanced but think about it for a second.

    in a game where army size would be unlimited one could surely find arguments for tier 3-4 units being balanced by their costs and it being necessary for math-reasons to have better scaling then tier1-2 units ….. but we dont play such a game but one with fairly small armies. armies in which it becomes utterly pointless to field units that have no survivability – no matter how much “cheaper” they might be in ressources.

    what i m suggesting is making it so that hitpoints (and only hitpoints, the other increases to dmg/resistance etc. can stay the same ) increase a lot more for lower tier units whereas higher tier units dont get (much) more hp.
    i d go as far as saying that it should be possible for a tier 1 unit to almost double their hitpoints at gold medal whereas tier 3&4 units would only gain maybe 10-20% more compared to base.

    just increasing the hitpoints doesnt mean that your goblin skewers will suddenly solo manticores but it might make all the difference in justifying their slot in the army. under the current systems feel free to disagree but i dont see that.

    Personally i m not really obsessed over balance as i m a singleplayer guy mostly but i really dislike how in every single fantasy TBS the lategame ignores the little guys.

    i want to (have a reason to) field HUGE armies accompanied by heroes and rare, powerfull monsters. unfortunately all the games including AOW3 are about fielding parties of heroes and (not-so) rare powerfull monsters instead with no place for the common soldier/orc/undead.

    and i think a lot of blame can be put on this “domino” effect where gaining experience/loot/buffs has a lot more effect on stronger units than it has on the weaker ones – when it should be the opposite for both logic & balance reasons.

    which leads to me another thing that would help making tier1/2 units more attractive in case the hitpoints buff is not enough.

    magic spells, buffs, enchantments … whatever you call them. once again usually you have the domino effect. +20% damage on a unit that does 100 damage is more usefull than +20% damage on a unit that does 10 damage – hence buffs are mostly used on your best units ( i m talking not AoW3 here directly but all games like it). why ? it should be the other way around as it is in fantasy literature . usually powerful magic gives normal guys a fighting chance – instead of (as it is in games) turning the strongest badasses into one-man armies.

    its more a suggestion for future expansion but how about “fixed” buffs ? Instead of +2 Damage have for example an “enchanted weapons” buff that gives the unit 17 dmg. that would be useless on manticores but amazing on goblin skewers.

    what do you people think ? i d love if AOW3 would be a game where an endgame army would be viable like this (assuming 3 stacks, i.e. 18 units)

    1-2 heroes
    1-2 tier 4 unit
    3-4 tier 3 units
    10-13 tier 1&2 units

    #75018

    Sugar Rush
    Member

    I like the idea of better rank rewards for T1 and T2. I do not think T4 should have reduced rank rewards, since they are harder to level up. T1/2 can be produced at rank 2 after all.

    If T1/2 had better upgrades, and there were more buildings which gave new units higher ranks (like grand palace giving T1/2/3 +1 rank, bring T1/2 to 3, and T3 to 2) then I think it would a long way to balancing everything out.

    #75026

    Jorlox
    Member

    I think that when you construct the building for your tier four racial units (The Firstborns, the Knights etc.) that your racial tier 1 and 2 units should gain better elite upgrades to make them a force to be reckoned with, While still requiring some Tier 4 might.

    #75061

    Sathra
    Member

    That might not be too bad. Racial building giving buffs to lower tier racial units (which is basically everything but what the building unlocks). They’re already hugely expensive and it’d give a reason to use those units compared to roughly comparable class units (why would I use any kind of racial t1/2 infantry over Crusaders?).

    But it could also screw with balance pretty hard overall if not done delicately.

    #75070

    Mezmorki
    Member

    what do you people think ? i d love if AOW3 would be a game where an endgame army would be viable like this (assuming 3 stacks, i.e. 18 units)

    1-2 heroes
    1-2 tier 4 unit
    3-4 tier 3 units
    10-13 tier 1&2 units

    I’d love that too.

    In so many 4X games, the design and intent seems to be about having these cool mixtures of units going in your armies/fleets – yet in so many cases it becomes best tactically/strategically to just spam high power units.

    So – I think the issue you raise is important and I’d love to see some late game buffs become available for Tier 1/2 units. Frankly, finding a way to buff Tier 1 units a way that lets them, when massed, effectively counter Tier 4 units would be a good thing to make doom stacks of Tier 3/4 units less effective overall.

    #75151

    apopov
    Member

    Low tier units are already well balanced vs higher tiers with the exception of wasted production. The only change left to do is to allow production of multiple units per turn so that they can be fielded in appropriate proportions, at which point they will be perfectly balanced.

    Current gaming mechanics allow multiple units to basically shut down the enemy by taking away all their move points, and more importantly by making them waste those move points on turning toward flanking attacks. If one actually regularly uses the flanking mechanics and fields appropriate numbers than everything is balanced.

    For cases when one side uses extreme power focus by massing high tiers in adjacent stacks, the low tier counter is not to attempt to directly overwhelm these strong points with low tiers, but instead to use number superiority attack and overwhelm less defended locations on strategic map.

    edit: it seems to me that the players that consider low tiers to be obsolete later in game are mostly perfectionist types that prefer no-loss tactics and are unwilling to use the main asset of low tiers – expendability.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by  President.
    #75159

    Jorlox
    Member

    Why expend units when there’s an option not to? It’s a waste of resources really.

    #75163

    Timujin.il
    Member

    it was proposed here on the forum elsewhere to boost T1-2 usefulness by allowing cities build several units in 1 turn, by spending unused production on the next item in queue.

    so for example instead of getting 1 shrine of smiting you could get a combination of 2 archer + 1 pikeman + 1 support + 1 cavalry in around the same time.

    in several circumstances the diverse combination actually might be more useful and therefor viable as a strategic decision.

    #75177

    Epaminondas
    Member

    i find it really counterproductive that right now the best units even get better whereas the weaker units gain the least from leveling up. a lot of similar games have the same problem with leads to a boring endgame where people only use 10% of the available units because everything else turned obsolete. a waste of unit art and lack of variety that imho isnt necessary.

    Take real life for example: if your average guy starts getting serious about fitness he ll make absolute huge gains in his first 1-2 years with the right training and nutrition. meanwhile the “gains” of a highly trained bodybuilder in the same time will be fairly small in comparision even if both are training just as hard as the other.

    real life combat is the same. an elite unit doesnt get that much more elite because it does 1-2 missions. a rookie unit that survives 1-2 missions however is suddenly easily “worth” twice then before.

    An even more compelling “realism” argument for T1/T2 units benefiting more through medals is that they represent multiple individuals rather than a single individual – which is the case with T4 units. That is, it is obvious that a group of men gaining experience will in the aggregate improve more than a single individual will improve – no matter how exceptional the individual.

    At any rate, I have been advocating boosting T1/T2s from the very get-go. In fact, I have made the very proposal that the medal progression should be reversed from the current scheme of 10 extra HPs for T1 Elite to 40 extra HPs for T4 Elite and instead adopt 40 extra HPs for T1 Elite to 10 extra HPs for T4 Elite.

    Further, T1/T2s should get a massive survivability boost from “out of the box” altogether: I envision something like 80 HPs for T1 melees andslightly increased Defense and Resistance. It is simply not tactically interesting when individual T1 units can be wiped by a single Flank Attack from a T4 or even en masse via a high-level spell. And while this is admittedly a radical change and would significantly reduce the gap between the tiers, T4s would still have a massive edge in damage potential and in the sheer diversity of meaningful Abilities available.

    Of course, I realize that my ideas for balancing the game – at least the initial stat distribution aspect of it – are too radical for the devs to genuinely consider implementing. And this is why it is absolutely imperative that full modding support is made available ASAP. Among other things, giving the players the capacity to tailor their game experience according to their own conception of the ideal fantasy 4x game would reduce game balance complaints by at least two-thirds.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by  President.
    #75190

    Diair
    Member

    I love how every early game unit seem to fit snugly into their role in the army. Every unit has their uses (Pikes vs cav, melee vs pikes, shields vs melee, etc etc.)

    And then t4 units show up and brushes everything away. Sigh.

    #75220

    Epaminondas
    Member

    I love how every early game unit seem to fit snugly into their role in the army. Every unit has their uses (Pikes vs cav, melee vs pikes, shields vs melee, etc etc.)

    And then t4 units show up and brushes everything away. Sigh.

    The issue is not really T4 units being over-powered, but T1/T2 units being too weak. Two points in this context:

    1) T1 melees cannot handle T3 melees either in any meaningful way.

    2) T1/T2 units are blown away by not just higher tier units, but by high-tier spells. In fact, they are basically one-shotted by things like Destabilizing Mana Core and Hellfire – which means they are not even worth bringing to the battle at that stage.

    #75247

    vyolin
    Member

    I proposed somewhere else that lower tiers should profit much more from ranks.
    I envision something along the lines of +25% stats per rank for tier 1 and +15% for tier 2 with tier 3 and 4 staying where they are, i.e. gaining utility mainly.
    This way lower tier units would scale nicely into the later stages of the game. Might even cause some people to field racial units again.

    #75309

    This one gives you <3. In all ones teaching I recommend ‘1-2 tier 4 units’. To fix the game / world. Hopefully, Triumph will remedy (within 30days).

    #75357

    What about a different game mode that handled the unit obsolescence problem with prescribed army slots? As just one example your six slots could carry up to 6 T1, 4 T2, 2 T3, 1T4 and 1 hero in this mode. Then again the way you can break up all armies into separate stacks and put them in the fight anyway would be a huge loophole. So much for that.

    Narrowing the gap between the tiers might be a better answer. I feel your pain, OP. I don’t look as forward to the end game like I used to because the ultimate power of my magic isn’t that impressive and the ultimate power of my army is lot more boring than the early stages where everything might have a spot in my ranks.

    #75385

    thabob79
    Member

    can you beat a t4 with the same value in t1?

    #75387

    @ Thabob, yeah you should be able to.

    Depends on the t4 unit, and depends on the t1 unit.

    I suspect swarm darters against Juggernaut wouldn’t work, but against a Manticore Rider it probably would, or at the very least hurt it significantly.

    multiple initiates against a Juggernaut would cause it pain.

    #75388

    asterisk
    Member

    I’d like more medal levels for T1, T2 and T3 regressively. I’d like my Max level T1 to be on par with first level T3

    #75392

    thabob79
    Member

    so maybe if you created multiple unit per turn if you had the production it would be rather balanced?

    #75413

    @ Asterisk, I don’t have the stat upgrades to hand, but gold medal t1’s are in many ways teh same as t3 units.

    The multiple unit per turn thing is an interesting idea.

    I think it is possible in the game engine because if you have extreme happiness sometimes your production auto completes.

    Assuming it is, I originally thought it would be most fitting for the Goblins as a buildable upgrade, that they’d unlock quite early on.

    Perhaps other races could unlock it later, to represent industrialisation of a sorts, versus Goblin swarminess.

    I don’t know what you could do with Draconians.

    I had the idea for these unique racial buildings that would expand the roster of racial units available, but which locked out the Class units past t2, so as, for example, a Warlord, your top tier units would come from racial cities, or class cities, and not both, so you’d be pushed towards diversifying your cities, but you could go all Warlord and ignore racial t3s.

    I’ll spare you the wall of text, but the first idea I had was:

    Goblins–>Filth hole, buildable after barracks—> allows production to be carried forward, unlocks Wyvern Rider (t2, requires Warhall) and Butcher (t3, unlocked with the racial t3 building). You can chop and change to make it more balanced, but that was the essential idea.

    That way, you get 2 awesome choices, as a Goblin Warlord for example:

    stick with my Goblin Phalanx and Manticores, or build a filth hole so I can pump out lower tier goblin units, and get a good, but fragile scout at t2?

    You can tweak the balance to make it that it locks out class t2 units as well if you liked, so you can go Warg and Wyvern Riders (cheap scouts, can be pumped out 2 or even 3 turn depending on city size) or go for berserkers etc, all of which are useful, but you can’t do both in the same city.

    #75423

    Epaminondas
    Member

    @ Asterisk, I don’t have the stat upgrades to hand, but gold medal t1′s are in many ways teh same as t3 units.

    False.

    #75437

    Please keep this discussion going, guys. Lovingly growing up lower-level units via tactical warfare is one of the great pleasures of AoW for me. Discarding everything and starting over for the second (or longer) half of the game is a sad time for me.

    #75462

    @ Asterisk, turns out I was thinking t1 to t2, then t2 to t3.

    Comments on the Goblin filth hole?

    #75471

    razzafazza
    Member

    can you beat a t4 with the same value in t1?

    pretty sure thats possible depending on the units involved. the problem is that production costs and “value” dont matter much when all your army slots are filled.

    countering 1 tier 4 unit with 8 tier 1 may be possible but how are you supposed to counter 10 tier 4 units ? you cannot field 80 tier 1 troops because army size is limited.

    the whole tier 3/4 thing is more of a singleplayer balance issue anyhow: when you play a multiplayer match on a small map the players will probably never get into a situation where each side can field a stack entirely made of tier3&tier4 units. in these multiplayer matches the units are balanced by their costs.

    But when you play a huge singleplayer map where the AI might even get bonus resources … well what do you expect ? why should the AI build 80 tier 1 troops if 3 stacks can only hold 18 units. of course they ll fill these Slots with tier3&4 as any human would.

    “limiting” tier3 and 4 units is also a great and possibly the easiest solution to said problem but i think even with that army variety wouldnt be as great as it could be. you d see less tier3&4 units but they d be replaced by a handfull of tier 2 units and i guess you d still have a big part of tier1&2 units “obsolete”

    my suggested chance of more survivability for lower tier units as they gain ranks i think is a good way to tackle the issue while making almost every unit somewhat attractive. of course like every suggestion it needs testing and balancing.

    but look at this :

    HE Phalanx start with 65 hitpoints and at gold medal they have 95 hitpoints.

    HE Swordsmen start with 36 hitpoints and at gold medal they have 46 hitpoints.

    So the already elite troops gain 30 hitpoints whereas the basic troops gain only 10.
    You could easily justify this by saying “well for the price/upkeep of a Phalanx i can field 4 swordsmen …. so thats 4 x 10 hitpoints = justice (more than) served.

    But this type of math completly ignores army size limit. yes i can field 4 swordsmen for 1 phalanx. no i CANNOT field 40 swordsmen but i CAN field 10 phalanx ….

    … as long as there is an army size limit (and thats an engine Limitation you just cant change … and even if you could i m not sure if having battles with 100s of units would be fun if you had to controll them all ^^ ) simple math wont solve balancing Problems.

    i think if one d reverse the hitpoint scaling so that the HE swordsmen would gain 30 hp at gold medal ( 66 total ) hp while the HE Phalanx would only gain 10 hp ( 75 hp total ) we d be in a much better situation. the Phalanx has still slightly more hp and better overall stats so at unlimited ressources it would still be a much better use of an army slot ….. but those 66 hp would give units like swordsmen some much needed survivability and enable strategies where you field many tier1-2 units to weaken an enemy army and finish them in 2-3 battles. right now thats not possible because with their low hp tier 1-2 units die like flies against tier3-4 armies not causing much damage in return.

    #75512

    vyolin
    Member

    I feel your pain, @camelotcrusade. My personal preference would be for two units of the same category, e.g. infantry, to be of roughly equal power if the sum of their tier + rank are the same. Note that this would still result in higher tier units eventually outperforming lower tiers. At this point, enter production transfer: Let me choose whether to swarm my enemy or destroy him with a few top tier units. Either way should be viable.

    #75533

    Rev
    Member

    The multiple unit per turn thing is an interesting idea.

    In the end it’s not a good idea. The units will still be weak causing massive turnover and investment just to keep them on the field. While you keep pumping out weak units that constantly die, your opponent will have more higher tier units with multiple medals. It’s a losing proposition. Remember the number of units on the battlefield is limited.

    The only way to properly balance this game is a complete approach. Here is how to do it.

    1. Understand at a fundamental level what the goal of balancing is.
    The goal is to have all tactical options and counters viable throughout the course of a complete game. The players experience should never become more limited as the game goes on.

    2. Understand the two extremes of #1.
    All new units every tier or tiers that are equal in power but offer new tactical variations. We will not be getting new units for every tier nor do we want all the units to be equal in power. Somewhere between the two extremes is what we want. We already have a reasonably nice mix of units so working to balance what we already have is the best option.

    3. Adjust the power of T4 and to a lesser extent T3.
    This has already begun with the adjustment to shrines of smiting but we need to lower the power of all T4. This could include limiting units within the army. Flat adjustments in power across all of T4. Or a mix of both. I would probably start with a 20% reduction to all tier 4 stats. Maybe a 10% reduction to tier 3.

    4. Up the power of the lower tiers
    This cannot be done as a flat buff without unbalancing all the treasure sites. Doing this through medals alone also causes problems. The building that unlocks racial units does not do enough to buff T1 and T2. Perhaps this building should also give flat bonuses to existing and future T1 and T2. Start with a +2 all stats for T1 and +1 all stats for T2. Also, +10 HP for T1 and +5 HP for T2.

    Keeping all tactical options viable through the whole game is important in a tactical game! We have a fantastic foundation here.

    #75536

    Epaminondas
    Member

    but look at this :

    HE Phalanx start with 65 hitpoints and at gold medal they have 95 hitpoints.

    HE Swordsmen start with 36 hitpoints and at gold medal they have 46 hitpoints.

    So the already elite troops gain 30 hitpoints whereas the basic troops gain only 10.<br>
    You could easily justify this by saying “well for the price/upkeep of a Phalanx i can field 4 swordsmen …. so thats 4 x 10 hitpoints = justice (more than) served.

    But this type of math completly ignores army size limit. yes i can field 4 swordsmen for 1 phalanx. no i CANNOT field 40 swordsmen but i CAN field 10 phalanx ….

    … as long as there is an army size limit (and thats an engine Limitation you just cant change … and even if you could i m not sure if having battles with 100s of units would be fun if you had to controll them all ^^ ) simple math wont solve balancing Problems.

    This is really the crux of the matter. As the beta testers themselves now concede, most of the testing and balancing prior to release was done with the MP aspect in mind first and foremost. And in MP games with smaller maps, the fighting starts early and the game itself ends quickly enough so that you rarely achieve the economy of scales to churn out dozens of T4 units. And in that context, the type of argument that goes something along like “it is more efficient for me to build 16 T1s to counter the 2 T4s you have” makes sense. But in larger map SP situations (the situation that the majority of the player-base will actually find itself in), such mathematical arguments cannot hold water, since you cannot cram enough T1s in a battlefield to counter the 18-24 T4s the AI will bring to a single battle.

    #75544

    Epaminondas
    Member

    3. Adjust the power of T4 and to a lesser extent T3.<br>
    This has already begun with the adjustment to shrines of smiting but we need to lower the power of all T4. This could include limiting units within the army. Flat adjustments in power across all of T4. Or a mix of both. I would probably start with a 20% reduction to all tier 4 stats. Maybe a 10% reduction to tier 3.

    4. Up the power of the lower tiers<br>
    This cannot be done as a flat buff without unbalancing all the treasure sites. Doing this through medals alone also causes problems. The building that unlocks racial units does not do enough to buff T1 and T2. Perhaps this building should also give flat bonuses to existing and future T1 and T2. Start with a +2 all stats for T1 and +1 all stats for T2. Also, +10 HP for T1 and +5 HP for T2.

    If you look at purely unit tier balance, the precise location of the imbalance could depend on the perspective: That is, you could either say that T3/T4’s are over-powered and need to be nerfed (the majority view) or that T1/T2s are under-powered and need to be boosted (my view and the OP’s view).

    But there are balance issues other than unit tier balance. Most specifically, even if you nerf T3/T4s, T1/T2s would still be massively under-powered in relation to certain battlefield nukes (e.g. Destabilizing Mana Core, Hellfire, which will literally one-shot every T1) and to high-level, well-equipped heroes.

    Hence, it makes a lot more sense to boost T1s/T2s if you look at the big picture.

    #75568

    razzafazza
    Member

    But there are balance issues other than unit tier balance. Most specifically, even if you nerf T3/T4s, T1/T2s would still be massively under-powered in relation to certain battlefield nukes (e.g. Destabilizing Mana Core, Hellfire, which will literally one-shot every T1) and to high-level, well-equipped heroes.

    Hence, it makes a lot more sense to boost T1s/T2s if you look at the big picture.

    well said.

    -nerfing tier3/tier4 is imho the worst possible solution (apart from individual cases where it makes sense like removing devout from shrines as triump already did).

    -increasing costs/support cost of tier3/tier4 or changing production times does nothing but delay the problem. it ll appear less in small-medium sized games but it ll remain in huge games.

    “limiting” tier3/tier4 Units is a quick an easy solution that will bring some success but its ultimativly just a bandaid: it will make some Tier 2 Units more attractive and take the room of army slots now “free” from tier3/4 spam but the majority of Tier 1 & 2 will remain as useless as now.

    -the imho best solution is to adress the survivability issues of tier1/2 units instead. at the end of the day an army of 18 Phalanx would still beat an army of 18 swordsmen. BUT now the swordsmen would be able to hold out longer and in return deal more damage. it would open up the 18 Phalanx army for another attack in the same turn by another 18 swordsmen army and maybe another of that. at the end of the day while you could not have 72 swordsmen at once attacking 18 Phalanx …. you could do so over 3-4 battles and ultimativly win. currently i dont have the feeling thats possible. with the low hitpoints the 18 Phalanx would destroy the 18 swordsmens without them doing much in return.

    mind you thats just a simple example: of course i and hopefully every AOW3 fan wants diverse armies with tons of different units from all tiers and not 18 of this vs 18 of that.

    #75575

    MasterSlayer
    Member

    they could always put some sort of rebirth or promotion system in where tier 1’s and 2 can upgrade to the next tier as a elite *like if you had pikemen name become elite pikemen. with a tier up could boost their stats more towards a tier 2 units but loses all previous medals. im not sure what would work but the fact its easy to stack a bunch of tier 4 and just desolate forces of tier 1 or 2 without much resistance at all really limits their use later on

    #75585

    Rev
    Member

    If you look at purely unit tier balance, the precise location of the imbalance could depend on the perspective: That is, you could either say that T3/T4′s are over-powered and need to be nerfed (the majority view) or that T1/T2s are under-powered and need to be boosted (my view and the OP’s view).

    I think my post shows my view which is that both are correct. T4 is overpowered and T1 (T2 to a lesser degree) is underpowered late-mid to late game. Meeting somewhere in the middle rather than drastic swings from one side or the other is a better approach.

    But there are balance issues other than unit tier balance. Most specifically, even if you nerf T3/T4s, T1/T2s would still be massively under-powered in relation to certain battlefield nukes (e.g. Destabilizing Mana Core, Hellfire, which will literally one-shot every T1) and to high-level, well-equipped heroes.

    Individual abilities need to be balanced after tier wide reductions (like I outlined above) take place. I agree some abilities need adjustment.

    Hence, it makes a lot more sense to boost T1s/T2s if you look at the big picture.

    I disagree, a balanced approach is better. T1 and T2 are fine early to mid game. Why would we need to change that? Triumph would then have to go balance all the neutrals and treasure sites. There is no need for that. The racial building (hall of chivalry..etc) could be used to buff the lower tiers when needed. Actually it might be better to have the racial building unlock 1 or more Throne City buildings for empire wide buffing of existing and new production low tier units.

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