More flexibility in combat system and improvin pre-combat decision making

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Home Forums Update v1.5 – Open Beta Balance More flexibility in combat system and improvin pre-combat decision making

This topic contains 8 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  oscaros 7 years, 3 months ago.

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
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  • #177455

    oscaros
    Member

    Hi,

    I would like to talk about the actual combat system. First of all I must say I love it a lot and has strong positive flavor and it’s rewarding for the player, but I feel and that’s why I open this topic that has more potential to be even more rewarding and tactically deeper.

    So I think the most relevant fact of the combat for improving the flexibiliy it’s the system of action points. This one leads you to be able to move and shot or move less and shot or hit harder/more (simplification). In some way each untis has 3 action points. So for me is odd that you can use your action points to move and then attack or use abiliy but you can’t make the reverse action: attack or use an ability and then move. It would be ideal that units can attack and move or move and attack. It opens for more tactical decision and different playstyles, for example the use of irregular units would be more creative.

    So that was all about using the action points to increase the posibilites in decision making for the player in the use of her units.
    Next stuff i want to talk about is having the possibility of a tactical deploy. It could be by default or by needing some investigation and open to the influence of morale or other stuff. And the third matter I would like to talk is the fact that who moves first in the combat? I think now is random right? So basically could depend in the morale (the army with better morale begins first), in the surprise factor (if you are engaged by an army that was not visible -stealth, fog of war etc.- last turn they move before you) or could be a combination of morale and surprise factors or by other thinks you can suggest.

    So in summary:
    1) Move –> attack/use ability/defend // permit to: attack/use ability –> move
    I must say attack or maybe some kind of offensive ability or all use of abilities shouldn’t be compatible with defend position for obvious reasons.
    2) Exploit the action point system assigning for example 1 action point for some abilites, 2 for other or even 3 for other ones. The attacks and defense position can use 1, 2 or 3 action points varying its effectiveness.
    3) Permet tactical deploy at the beggining of the combat, and decide in which order 2 human players deploy their armys if they face themselves.
    4) Decide by factors of the strategical map (morale, surprise factor, “army camped”, domain etc.) who move first in the combat or some influence in the tactical deploy.

    I think honestly this proposal would only make the game better, and more rewarding without complicating too much the system. My question about this are:

    1) To dev: Would be possible “to recycle” the action points system to add that flexibility commentated above? Without not much work in coding etc.
    2) Would create hard issues in balance? I don0t think so.
    3) Would opent the window to cheese tactics or others awkwards elements like an excessivenes of kite (hit and run)? I don’t think so.
    4) Maybe this suggestion of more flexibility in the movement of units is reserved for some special units and not for all for balance reasons or becuase of units types. (Maybe is the decisions of Developers)

    So I only see positive in-put with this changes in combat 🙂
    Please comment and share your opinion about this topic to improve the concept, also any dev comment would be wonderful. Sorry for my english, not native 😛

    #177470

    oscaros
    Member

    Sorry for double post.

    Simply say that the thing of be able to attack and then move would reward the strategy of hit and run without in my opinion making it OP I mean, overall since you decide that your attack hit harder or not (using 1 or 2 or action points on it) you will move after less or more. This is becuase I think at moment making hit and run is not really rewarding. This changes will only increase the damage output (since if you attack before the movement you will have less probability of have long distance penality etc.) of units making the hit and run tactic, so it would make this strategy more viable.

    #177474

    Fenraellis
    Member

    (Disclaimer since I haven’t seen you before: Not a Dev, of course)
    Well, considering it’s your primary point, I’ll just say that, yes, it would likely be quite the change in coding for units to be able to attack, then move, then act again.

    That being said, there already exists four ways to do this.
    — Killing Momentum
    — Quick Dash
    — Revitalize
    — Invigorate

    So, if you don’t have units with Killing Momentum, get a Warlord Hero. If you’re not a Rogue for Quick Dash, get a Rogue Hero. If you’re not an Archdruid for Revitalize, get an Archdruid hero. If you’re not a Tigran for Invigorate… then you’re out of luck there.

    Also:

    2) Would create hard issues in balance? I don0t think so.
    3) Would open the window to cheese tactics or others awkward elements like excessive kite (hit and run)? I don’t think so.

    There is a reason why only certain units and spells can provide this function, so the answer is a firm “Yes.”

    4) Maybe this suggestion of more flexibility in the movement of units is reserved for some special units and not for all for balance reasons or becuase of units types. (Maybe is the decisions of Developers)

    As stated above, it already is reserved to certain units and abilities.

    Now, I don’t see tactical deployment happening, well, ever(aside from potentially bringing back first-turn-unlimited-in-city-movement-for-defenders-in-cities/forts from the previous game), but deciding who starts a battle based on average party morale could maybe, just maybe, happen. Almost definitely not, but who knows? ‘Surprise’ is far too nebulous of a point, and presumably ‘Camped’ would be the defending side which goes first by default regardless.

    #177478

    oscaros
    Member

    Hi,

    Ok really nice reply i didn’t kept in mind the passives of Killing Momentum etc. With that point of view I don’t see necesary anymore the stuff of attack –> move. Still would improve the flexibility of the units but would make less valuable that passives so the way it’s now seems fine.

    About the surprise factor is enough reward the possibilite of surprise your enemy for itself, and the morale yes maybe interesting to change who moves first in the battle but maybe in real game has not real impact so not worth the implement.

    Thx. I’ll post if I see some stuff can be changed 🙂

    #177482

    Tombles
    Keymaster

    Hi Oscaros!

    We actually experimented with a lot of the things you’re talking about when we designed the combat system, for example:

    Initially, we had many actions that took 2 action points, as well as far more that took 3 (instead of just Phase and Hurl boulder, which use it now). We dropped it because we found it confused people a lot, especially new players. For example, when a unit had one ability that needed 1 AP, and another that needed 2, the players would frequently spend 2 AP moving, and then realize one ability was locked out and couldn’t be used any more. I thought it would work out well too, but I was wrong!

    We also had a deployment system, the removal of which was very controversial both in the dev team and from the fans. I personally liked it, as did a few others, but others felt that it slowed combat down too much, and that it would be simpler to just start with armies slightly further away from each other, so you could deploy or attack in your first turn as you desired. There was another issue that the AI was terrible at deploying units well. Eventually, for better or worse, we dropped deployment, and ended up where we are today.

    We do have some designs lying around for things like ambushes and stuff. For example, if a concealed army attacks another one, then it goes into ambush mode, which lets the attackers go first. I think they were dropped because we didn’t have time to implement them well, there were also doubts as to whether we could come up with ways of using things like Ambush in a way which actually mattered. I think the idea does still have potential though, and it might be nice to look into it in the future!

    Finally, allowing units to spend action points flexibly, like you describe, would chnage the combat system to the degree where it would nearly be a different game. The problem isn’t so much that we’d need to rebalance everything (though we probably would), but that so many things would change that rebalancing things would be the least of our issues! The AI would need a big overhaul to understand all the new things which are possible, the interfaces and HUD would need to be updated to give the players new information like “After you move and strike, you will have 1 AP remaining” and things like that.

    As a matter of taste, I personally feel like it would make the combat system worse. If the game was something like XCOM, or Blackguards, where tactical combat was really all you ever did, and battles were long, grueling affairs that typically lasted 30-60 minutes or longer, action points would work better as you describe. In Age Of Wonders though, you have lots of small battles, often only lasting a few minutes each. The action points system we use helps streamline and speed up the battles, by forcing you to only do one thing per unit, per turn.

    #177494

    Ericridge
    Member

    Ambushes? .. if this ever get implemented, I have a feeling that alot of terraform spells will finally see heavy use.

    Although that has a subtle possibility of increasing the value of juggernauts as they can act like bulldozers in mowing all those freshly planted trees down!

    #177502

    oscaros
    Member

    Hi,

    Well with your replay Tombles I’m totally satisfied now about the combat system and I can agree you took a good direction since it feels really rewarding. Thanks for the feedback of your job designing the system it makes me understand better the stuff.

    So I’ll try post comments about the ambush mode so it can progress an be implemented as soon as possible.

    I imagine the concept of ambush as:
    A) An improvent in stats or maybe an ability passive Or Active Of ambush that would improve the performance of units attacking.
    B) Special configuration in the deploy of the units to make easier the attack.
    C) Simply armys begin closer each other and attacker can make a tactical deploy and/or have a boost in the first movement.

    Ambush would occur:
    A) Every time you are attacked there is a % of probability to enter in ambush mode.
    Domain, affinity with terrain, units passive ability (explorer, high sound, big tale – giant, mamout- etc.), cuantity of hexcares around your army with fog of war etc. Would make that % grow or decrease.
    B) Some global spell, some area of the strategic map (tipically a forest) would be able to permet the ambush mode.

    Wathever I personally like the idea of the % since add a new dimension in the army management since if you prepare a expeditionary force you should take care of that handicap. Of course to not damage too much the rushes and to not make too easy defense and too hard to attack should be cheap and accessible ways for every class to put resources to control that %. For example rogue could investigate: spies or something like that or simply some of his class units would have a passive to reduce the probability to be ambushed.

    In definitely I thing is a good concept, this way maybe a strong army of musketeer spam which is attacking, the defender has the tools to stop them with some counter and in case he has not total access to the counters he has the advantage of been able tu ambush it if the musketeer army hasn’t prepare properly against the handicap of ambush with special units or investigation which at the same time permet that rush/spam be effective but with a price.

    Overall would be interesting which concept of the ambush we are looking for and what would be his niche in the game, a good niche would be being a handicap to the not carefully spams/rush and a soft tool to the defenders which take the initiative of defending with a agression rewarding this way a brave commander and with some kind of random that is always fun because the surprise element.

    #177510

    ephafn
    Member

    We also had a deployment system, the removal of which was very controversial both in the dev team and from the fans. I personally liked it, as did a few others, but others felt that it slowed combat down too much, and that it would be simpler to just start with armies slightly further away from each other, so you could deploy or attack in your first turn as you desired. There was another issue that the AI was terrible at deploying units well. Eventually, for better or worse, we dropped deployment, and ended up where we are today.

    While a full deployment system would indeed slow the game down, I would really like being able to decide which of my unit gets stuck in the back row. I still haven’t figured out how it is decided (why did the halbardier went in the back while the priest stayed in front?). Even better would be a system where each unit had a “front-row” and “back-row” toggle on the strategic screen (on the unit portrait, next to the medal, possibly), which would be followed when starting combat. That way, you would be able to decide whether your hero goes in front or in back, without having to do the deployment by hand every battle.

    #177512

    oscaros
    Member

    While a full deployment system would indeed slow the game down, I would really like being able to decide which of my unit gets stuck in the back row. I still haven’t figured out how it is decided (why did the halbardier went in the back while the priest stayed in front?). Even better would be a system where each unit had a “front-row” and “back-row” toggle on the strategic screen (on the unit portrait, next to the medal, possibly), which would be followed when starting combat. That way, you would be able to decide whether your hero goes in front or in back, without having to do the deployment by hand every battle.

    Yeah, it could be like in heroes IV, it would solve the annoying situation of having your ranged unit in front of your defender/melee unit that normally you will have to fix with the combat movement. If this is easy to add in the code could be an improve, specially for the big/late fights.

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