[Following] Naval Balance Discussion

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Home Forums Age of Wonders 3 Discussions Balance Suggestions [Following] Naval Balance Discussion

This topic contains 73 replies, has 17 voices, and was last updated by  Shaithias 7 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #122840

    ExNihil
    Member

    Hi Fellas,

    I think its high time to start this discussion.

    —–

    A recent issue in the Rogue thread that catalyzed this thread is the concealment of the Human Assassins in water terrain; to which some people started finding some creative explanations. Yet the fact of the matter is that the Assassins practically walk on water in the same way Monster Hunters and Hunters do. If anything this is a conceptual problem that needs amendment, including the Arch-Druid hero/leader Swimming skill, which makes that unit ride its horse across the waves.

    I for one think the Swimming skill is highly problematic as is and that it should be limited to aquatic creatures only (including water elemental). I further think Flying units should get some degree of malus when crossing water terrain – for instance, if a flying unit finishes it’s turn above water it shouldn’t be able to regenerate and perhaps actually incur some small amount of damage.

    Regarding the Hunter / Monster Hunter / Human Assassin – I think these units should get a special boat skill, something like Canoe, that removes or substantially reduces the embark penalty and allows them to embark and move at the same turn.

    —-

    Now, Naval mechanics are highly problematic as is, and there is in fact no real point in producing ships and building harbors – these units, while powerful, are inherently limited to some parts of the map only and are extremely situational. Unless all other units are thoroughly nerfed in water by reducing their travel speed and visibility as well as increasing the embarked penalty, specialist naval and marine units are going to remain redundant.

    If you guys have suggestions and/or issue you would like to discuss, please do so!

    #122868

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    Yes, imo, the naval system is pretty unsatisfactory, and in fact I do have a couple of suggestions.
    1) The first is to make a difference between SWIMMING and AQUATIC. Beings that are meant to swim – Snakes, Naga, Water Elemental, Kraken and so on – get AQUATIC and have full regular movement plus regular fighting abilities in the water, maybe even with a bonus (at least in Moral); they do not need a boat in any way, and there are no embark/disembark costs.
    2) SWIMMING is exactly that – a very slow way to move in the water, without a boat. There should be no embark/disembark costs, but movement costs should be like with mountains: 14 MPs per water hex. Swimming is considerably slower than marching.
    3) I’m ok with the tech/movement boat situation.

    4) Battling. Now the problem is the following: while for movement purposes the Seafaring tech with an imaginary boat or boats is ok, for battling it’s not, because what actually happens is that the units are on the boat and can therefore not move all by themselves (they wouldn’t need a boat in the first place otherwise). So what we actually need is an actual boat with actual HPs, that should have a size to allow all up to 6 units to be placed into it: it could be a centre hex with a circle of 6 hexes around it, minus 1 hex of the circle, that would be the stern.
    This boat would be a generic construct and only appear in case of a naval battle. Boat speed was 4 hexes at most. Melee units couldn’t fight, except when adjacent with other UNITS, only ranged troops could. The Boat had very moderate HP, no attack, except maybe a ram attack, but one that would hurt the ramming boat as well. However, the boat should have high physical defense (but low magic defense) to reflect the fact that a couple swords or Arrows won’t do a lot of damage against a boat.
    Of course units on board of the ship without swimming would die, in case the boat was sunk.
    Units aboard a ship should enjoy a line of sight penalty if shot at.
    Swimmers should suffer from a big penalty when fighting swimming.
    This would make a naval battle a rather painful and ineffective affair, since you couldn’t bring much to bear – except spells and the better ranged weapons.

    The Warships could transport units as well, but obviously one less, since the ship was counting for the stack. Of course it would be possible to build, say, two 6-unit stacks with the generic boats, and a 3rd escort stack of Warships, solely to guard the “troop transports”.
    Warships would have 1-2-1-1 shape (for 5 units) and their weaponry would always aim at the BOATS, not at the units on it (but they could target Swimmers and aquatics, of course), but the units on it would suffer random damage. Do a Fire Bomb attack would do, say 28 damage to the ship plus have a certain chance to damage each troop on the boat for a certain percentage (range) of that damage.
    The effect SHOULD be, that ONE Warship would be enough to kill ANY number of “transports”, except that the transports might try to rush it, ram it and/or board it. If a transport would end its move adjacent, the troops could switch and capture a LONE Warship, that is, a warship without its own troops (otherwise the boarding units would have to fight the units on the ship first.

    So, in a nutshell: the main idea is to change the size of the Warships to a 5-hex shape, to introduce generic transports with a 6-hex shape, and to make difference between swimmers and real aquatic monsters/units. This would allow rules, that would make it extremely dangerous to cross waters without a proper escort.
    Embarking rules are also fine the way they are: if a unit must pause once it has embarked, the opposition might have an opportunity to attack it while on the water, before it can then next turn cross over and disembark.

    Which leaves 5) Fliers.
    It makes sense to suspend regeneration for Fliers which end their turn on a water Hex – except if they are also swimmers or aquatic, which is possible in theory. Other than that, Fliers should be able to attack normally, but keep in mind, that boats would have their high physical defense against them as well.

    Boats should be immune against stun effects, and vulnerable against fire.

    #122890

    vota dc
    Member

    Speed should be
    EMBARKED—>SWIMMING—>SAILING
    Digging a tunnel requires 8 movement points, swimming in real life is faster but if we give 8 movement points for swim in water we have an assassin that moves 4 hexes and a galleon that moves 9 hexes, if water is slow like wetlands is 5 hexes, still the frigate moves 8.
    I think that an assassin should be able to track down an embarked unit but being caught by dedicated naval units when in water.

    #123084

    Draxynnic
    Member

    It’s worth noting that one thing that was tried is giving embarked units the health of the boat they were theoretically on (according to the level of Seamanship had been researched). This meant that powerful units could become very vulnerable on water. The decision was made that they were TOO vulnerable – people generally avoided naval battles at all if they could.

    Presumably, one way to look at the current situation is that tough, powerful units are better at preventing attackers from damaging the ship.

    #123120

    Shvidler
    Member

    Thanks for creating this discussion. I’ll just post here what i’ve posted in the topic created by myself.

    1) Embarking option should be removed for all land units.
    2) Ground forces only should be ables to swim via transport ships. To simplify the logistics each ship must carry 6 units (a single army).
    3) Transport should be defenceless and in need of the naval ships to protect it. No land units should be able to wage war while embarked.

    I really think that the waters should be ruled by ships and land armies shouldnt produce boats out of thin air. Besides it creats new opportunities in, say, defending bridges and crossings. Current system ruins way to much uses for navy at all IMHO.

    #123146

    vota dc
    Member

    What about basic seafaring conjure a transport ship with 24 mp, advanced a frigate with 28 mp but allow to build galleons?
    Because transport ships are really boring in a stable fleet, you can use the fleet to patrol but dedicated transport would require to taxi in a boring way.

    #123297

    Make transports significantly (1/4, 1/2?) reduce move speed and suddenly naval units and abilities matter.

    Suddenly people might actually build port cities and ships, and freeze water / summon kraken might be important spells! How exciting! The swimming ability suddenly means something!

    #123304

    Draxynnic
    Member

    Swimming does mean something – you don’t lose movement points for embarking, and your unit doesn’t take embarkment penalties. Swimming also means that you can have the unit on land and it can still be drawn into combats on adjacent water hexes. I know the embarkment mechanic makes crossing water barriers a lot more convenient than in previous installments, but it’s still a lot easier to carry out amphibious operations with swimming (or floating/flying) units.

    #123330

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    Yeah, but the way it is implemented it makes everything else useless, more or less.

    It’s pretty simple, actually: you have to make a decision whether you want to have ships or not, because the way it is now, you could completely do away with ships and the Harbor. If you want that to be a factor – and it makes sense, because there are two RM settings that will make the crossing of water a game necessity -, then the system has to be refined and made interesting.

    As I sketched above, there should be a difference between monsters that will be somewhat at home in the water (full movement, full fighting capabilities) and those who are not, but can swim (reduced movement and fighting).

    Also, naval battles should be modified, and I sketched a way above, how it would be possible without actually changing much, just making the ships bigger on the tactical map, so that they can hold units, and put embarked units into a generic transport ship once the battle commences.

    The thing is, OF COURSE units die fast when they sit in a nutshell on an ocean and are attacked by units made for that – but that’s not so different from Scouts being ambushed by bandits. You have to escort vulnerable units – that’s the whole point of having water in the game – it’s not just another terrain like the underground, where you need a special skill to cope with the movement peculiarities.

    #123364

    Draxynnic
    Member

    The thing is, OF COURSE units die fast when they sit in a nutshell on an ocean and are attacked by units made for that

    Even with the idea of needing escorts, they were TOO vulnerable. I wasn’t involved in most of the discussions (I think I was busy moving house at the time) but it seems it really did boil down to only crossing oceans with stronger units in transports if other units had already gained pretty much complete naval superiority, and that was deemed too much.

    Like I said, too, it’s reasonable that a strong unit can defend their boat. Most sea monsters are going to be more interested in attacking the tasty crew rather than the boat itself to begin with, and if instead of tasty crew you’ve got stout warriors on the gunwales – that’s at least going to make it a lot harder to damage anything on the top of the ship, and while in principle they might not be able to do much against something coming up from underneath and trying to break the keel… well, people went whaling in wooden sailing vessels, and of the sea or swimming monsters in AoW3, only the kraken and glutton really approach whales.

    Bottom line, though, is that something like that was tried, and rather than making naval combat more interesting, it just encouraged people to find ways to bypass it. Meanwhile, dedicated sea units are still quite scary to embarked and often even swimming troops (I had a kraken kill a glutton and a matriarch… in the same battle – and racked up a significantly larger kill list before I was able to heal it of the wounds from that fight…) – if a set of water hexes are of genuine strategic significance, having a dedicated navy is often worthwhile.

    Regarding making ships bigger on the tactical map… making what is effectively a unit that takes up more than a single hex, and which furthermore can carry other units while still being able to move itself, is a much more complicated proposition than anything you can describe with ‘just’. Even if this is something that could be coded in the current engine at all, if the transport ships are made big enough to carry a stack’s worth of units (which would mean at least six hexes, plus any room given to maneuver on board, plus any non-traversible areas on the ship) then realistically warships would need to be of similar sizes, and fitting multiple ships like this on a battlefield… we’d probably be looking at going back to the system in previous installments where you could only have one ship in any given stack at all. Seriously, that is NOT a simple or easy proposition you’re making.

    Plus, if it was to be incorporated, it’d probably result in purpose-built warships being made obsolete anyway. If you’ve got ships that have multiple spaces on the tactical map, then that invites representing a warship as just another hull loaded with war machines and possibly troops to repel boarders and sea monsters. A ‘transport’ with a few ballistae, catapults or even cannons, a unit or two of archers, and a melee unit or two to engage in boarding actions is probably pretty much what any non-ironclad warship is – just add ballistae to the list of available land war machines and the ability to custom-build your own warships would be there.

    Now, I would say that a distinction between units that are at home in the water and units that are simply able to swim without being comfortable there would probably be a good one to have – possibly the latter could have something similar to the embarked penalty to represent that they don’t fight as well in the water. Movement penalties, particularly strategic movement ones, I think would be too much of an encouragement for players to just keep on land if at all possible, which is off – historically, river travel was often faster than road travel. Since this is partly because ships and boats were able to continue moving through the night when marching troops would need to set up camp and sleep, though, they could probably stand to be slowed down in tactical.

    #123518

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    We are talking past each other here, but I understand your point.

    Anyway – the problem isn’t the way things are handled with the regular units, actually; you can do it this way. The problem are the ship units, the Harbor and the repair of ship units.

    Here are EASY suggestions that CAN be easily done.

    1) The first thing is, that if you can build a ship (Harbor) you can also repair one – obviously (which is true for all Machines(!), mind you) -, so a ship (machine) ending it’s turn in a town with the structure that enables their building should repair (regenerate) HPs with a certain rate. This is important, since the inability to repair ships except when you have built Master Guild (and something else as well, I seem to remember?), is an extreme liability.

    2) The second thing is, that the warships are completely useless (and one reason is the above). The other reason is that they are too weak in comparison. They should be more effective – but then they should also cost something. So in my opinion you can make this a lot more interesting by simply promoting ships to T3 and T4 status:
    a) making the Harbor more expensive (250 Gold, for example) and include repair ability;
    b) make ships basically T4: let the first one cost at least 200, the second one 300, and the Ironclad even more, and make them POWERFUL, with a lot HPs and devastating attacks.
    The aim is to make them count. If you invested into a harbor plus the tech plus 3 ships, that stack should simply kill a 6-unit stack, boat or no boat, in the current system. On the other hand having such a stack and using it as an escort stack to convoy troops over a body of water should be good.

    The aim is this: suppose you play continent or island maps. If you cross the water to another island or continent in order to attack a player, you should NOT be able to simply ship troops over like hell. If the other player had “a navy” – invested into a harbor and actually built, say 6 Warships – the invading player should get a MASSIVE problem, and if he had no ships at all, those 6 ships should devastate his troops on the water. A Warship should make a BIG difference on the water, so they must simply be tougher and meaner and more expensive because of that.

    That can be easily tested.

    #123561

    f a set of water hexes are of genuine strategic significance,

    I think you are onto something here.

    water is just an obstacle/highway for players, if we could make it strategically interesting, then the importance on naval units (which are supreme on the water) would rocket.

    I think making water more attractive financially somehow would be good. I suggested somewhere else a trade routes idea but the details of how to do it are unresolved.

    Basically, it’s be something like

    Build a port, and it generates wealth dependant on the number of cities it is connected to. Trade routes can be blocked and plundered, ergo defending them becomes useful. You’d need to make them pretty lucrative to justify setting them up.

    The British Empire beat Napoleon not just because of better troops (debatable in any case), but because of better economy and the Navy was vastly important here.

    I do think harbours should repair Ships, and see no reason for this not to be so.

    #123626

    Bouh
    Member

    1) The first thing is, that if you can build a ship (Harbor) you can also repair one – obviously (which is true for all Machines(!), mind you) -, so a ship (machine) ending it’s turn in a town with the structure that enables their building should repair (regenerate) HPs with a certain rate. This is important, since the inability to repair ships except when you have built Master Guild (and something else as well, I seem to remember?), is an extreme liability.

    I very strongly disagree with this.

    Machine’s drawback is that they don’t heal. If you can heal them reliably, the balance of quite a few of them will have to be reconsidered. Machines are usualy a lot stronger than living units (immunities, abilities and stats), and this is balanced by the fact they don’t heal.

    I think one thing could make warships a lot more practical : we could extend their vision to as many hexes as they can travel. This way, they would become very good at exploring the seas, and any unit stoping in their range would be seen and vulnerable to attack.

    But giving them an easy way to heal is just removing the drawback of machines. Now builders can repair machines with master guild, so you can send a couple of them wherever you need a field repair station, but you need to work on it.

    #123641

    ExNihil
    Member

    1) The first thing is, that if you can build a ship (Harbor) you can also repair one – obviously (which is true for all Machines(!), mind you) -, so a ship (machine) ending it’s turn in a town with the structure that enables their building should repair (regenerate) HPs with a certain rate. This is important, since the inability to repair ships except when you have built Master Guild (and something else as well, I seem to remember?), is an extreme liability.
    2) The second thing is, that the warships are completely useless (and one reason is the above). The other reason is that they are too weak in comparison. They should be more effective – but then they should also cost something. So in my opinion you can make this a lot more interesting by simply promoting ships to T3 and T4 status:
    a) making the Harbor more expensive (250 Gold, for example) and include repair ability;
    b) make ships basically T4: let the first one cost at least 200, the second one 300, and the Ironclad even more, and make them POWERFUL, with a lot HPs and devastating attacks.
    The aim is to make them count. If you invested into a harbor plus the tech plus 3 ships, that stack should simply kill a 6-unit stack, boat or no boat, in the current system. On the other hand having such a stack and using it as an escort stack to convoy troops over a body of water should be good.

    There are all good suggestions IMO and will defiantly help the game.

    I think all units should receive greater penalties in water:

    1. The Swimming trait should be reserved for aquatic and semi-aquatic creatures, it should allow movement in waterways at the cost of 3 or 4 MP per hex.
    2. Assassins / Hunters / Monster-Hunters / Arch-Druid heroes should receive a special “boating” trait that allows them to traverse water with greater effectiveness. Alternatively, they should receive a special magical trait that allows them to traverse water. Either way – walking on water without a boat should be exchanged for a little less silly solution IMO. These units should be able to enter water without the Embarkment cooldown but still be slower than units with the Swimming trait – say 6 MP per hex. These units should still receive the embarked stats penalty unless they also possess the Mariner trait IMO.
    3. Normal units that enter water should move at the base cost of 8 MP and with the embarked penalties unless they possess the Mariner trait.
    4. Floating units should move at a slower rate over water, I suggest 6 MP, this can be justified by the water itself or by wind conditions if need be.
    5. Flying units should move at their normal rate but shouldn’t be allowed to regenerate above water and perhaps also incur a small amount of damage for every turn spend above water – after all they need to rest from time to time.

    I think that if the above changes are made and ships receive a decisive MP advantage – allowed to move like swimming units basically and receive significant base MP, than these units could really become serious threats albeit being limited to one terrain type. This should occur in conjunction to a serious buff to their combat stats and abilities IMO.

    #123653

    Draxynnic
    Member

    2) The second thing is, that the warships are completely useless (and one reason is the above). The other reason is that they are too weak in comparison. They should be more effective – but then they should also cost something. So in my opinion you can make this a lot more interesting by simply promoting ships to T3 and T4 status:

    In my experience, warships ARE quite effective. I’ve had times when 3-4 ironclads have destroyed armies which included a couple of Horned Giants and a handful of gryphon riders, with additional troops. I’ve also had times when I’ve confidently sent galleons or even frigates against what on paper is a superior force of embarked troops and come out victorious.

    Admittedly, this generally involves doing sneaky things with range that the autocombat AI won’t attempt, and this was before the first-turn cooldown was put in for mortars and such, but in my experience, ships ARE powerful. It’s just unusual that oceans are strategically important enough to be worth building dedicated units to control them.

    #123696

    @ Bouh, healing, in harbour, for boats, seems okay to me.

    #123717

    madmac
    Member

    Swimming works exactly as intended, and Warships are actually among the strongest units in the game. (And they specifically maul most of the light skirmisher units that get swimming.) There are various reasons why no one builds ships but it’s not because of either of these.

    Also nerfing swimming just indirectly buffs Flying and Floating units, which is exactly the niche swimming is competing with.

    Reducing Water Movement for non-ship units just slows down the overall pace of the game, and again rewards flyers/floaters.

    There’s two, maybe three problems with Warships presently.

    1. There’s nothing in the water worth dedicating units to fighting over exclusively.

    2. You can’t repair them, so they’re bad at patrolling and attrition.

    3. Due to game mechanics, you can’t realistically intercept units with them much of the time.

    So, in my opinion fixing 2 would be a nice quality of life change as long as it’s not over the top, fixing 1 and/or 3 is necessary to actually encourage ship use instead of just irritating everyone, slowing down movement overall, and promoting even more use of flying units.

    Regarding point 3, one possibility is giving ships something like a “patrol” command, that locks them in place but projects a zone of control one or two hexes around them that can’t be passed through without attack triggering. This would allow you to set up actual ship blockades and chokepoints both offensively and defensively.

    #123722

    ExNihil
    Member

    Well, you are ignoring the fact I propose to nerf all movements on water except swimming – making floating substantially slower and giving flying units no regen and even some damage every turn spent on water. This way only units with swimming would be both very fast and safe over water at the same time.

    #123729

    madmac
    Member

    Well, you are ignoring the fact I propose to nerf all movements on water except swimming – making floating substantially slower and giving flying units no regen and even some damage every turn spent on water. This way only units with swimming would be both very fast and safe over water at the same time.

    I don’t actually consider this an improvement, though. Let the flyers fly, the swimmers swim, and the floaters float. They are meant to use their movement to avoid obstacles and there’s no reason Water needs to be a special mega-obstacle just because building boats is tedious and unrewarding and non one wants to do it. Water being a pain no one wants to bother with is a tale as old as strategy games.

    No one will learn to love the ocean because it’s even more of a chore then it already is. Instead, make the Ocean a fun and exciting place to be and everyone will row row row their boat straight to Ocean Partytown. Give people resources to fight over, a reason to build boats that isn’t the alternatives being a pain in the backside, anything.

    #123735

    Bouh
    Member

    Oceans and rivers are useful. embarked was actualy seen as overpowered because you could attack a city from coast without warning. Now disembark doesn’t gives you any more MP.

    The thing is that most people look at seas as a road yet don’t consider them strategicaly. Warships suffer the same problem than mariner trait suffer. A bunch of warship can easily prevent your ennemy to use water, provided you scout him and place your warships at the right place. If your ennemy is not an idiot, he will not dare fighting them, yet they will do exactly what they are supposed to do : they provide naval superiority.

    Sometimes I feel like people would like their ships to be able to at least roam the seas and clear sites like they do with their land armies. Why would you need regen on the ship otherwise ? Because warships are already *very* strong. They will definitely kill far more than their price, unless their are hilariously outnumbered. They are machines, so their power comes from this trait too, and this trait balance their power.

    But I guess this problem goes along the “heal to everything and everyone, everywhere” problem. Sometimes I have the impression that any imbalance problem in game can be solved by giving more heal.

    #123759

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    Not true. Regular Warships suck. And they should gain HPs back when they lie at anchor in a friendly harbor. That’s not even worth a discussion.

    #123770

    jb
    Member

    I’d also consider differentiating between Rivers and Ocean. Shallow Water and Deep Water.

    Swimming could be split into two types. Shallow and Deep. As examples, Monster Hunter is a shallow swimmer. Kraken is a deep water swimmer.

    I don’t like the idea of reducing the movement of floaters/flyers…at that point just let them get their own ship.

    they should gain HPs back when they lie at anchor in a friendly harbor. That’s not even worth a discussion.

    Totally agree they should heal in harbors. I’d even go further and let them heal (modestly) within the domain of any city with a harbor. Or allow a Carpenter upgrade.

    Why would you need regen on the ship otherwise ? Because warships are already *very* strong.

    Because the game is long and units take damage.

    The thing is that most people look at seas as a road yet don’t consider them strategically.

    Very true, especially rivers I view has ‘the fast lane’. But oceans are different, a chaotic mess of movement sometimes, hehe. But that is why I propose a deep water type to really give a terrain for galleons to truly dominate.

    #123775

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    Deep/shallow water is a good idea.

    #123798

    ExNihil
    Member

    I propose to slow down floating units above water, but leaving flying units with the their current speed and instead give them no regeneration and even some damage for every round spent over water.

    Specifically for the flying units I think this would be a good way to balance it relative to seafaring units, and will also make parking a flying scout above a water tile a temporary thing, which in my book is good.

    As for the floating unit – these can preserve their speed, the two elements aren’t inherently tied, but I think all units should be slowed over water except those with swimming capacities.

    As for deep/shallow water swimming. I think this is a good conceptual distinction but that the actual traits should simply have different names and different conceptualization – creating a distinction between different types of water terrain will over complicate matters and will probably not be made by the devs IMO. I already proposed an ability called “Canoeing,” perhaps “Boating” will do it just as well. I have a problem with the way these units are animated – they “walk” or “ride” on the waves. And with all due respect, they are not Jesus :). Even without changing the naval mechanics there needs to be some solution to this that involves the use of different animations.

    #123825

    Bouh
    Member

    Regular Warships suck. And they should gain HPs back when they lie at anchor in a friendly harbor. That’s not even worth a discussion.

    Not true, and that’s not worth a discussion either. But if we are on a forum not to discuss, what are we doing here ?

    Warships are machines, and if machines can be healed easily. That’s the main advantage of kraken BTW : they heal while warships do not.

    And more importantly, I’m quite convinced nobody woulb build warships even if they would heal. The problem is not warship effectiveness, it’s how people use water and the opportunity cost of warships. You can of course make warships so stupidly powerful that people would make them, but I wouldn’t call this balancing.

    #123864

    Draxynnic
    Member

    That’s my impression as well. Warships ARE powerful, although they aren’t as good a deal as they used to be when they were treated as a tier lower. The reason they don’t see much use is because it’s rare for water tiles to be strategically important enough to build a strong navy.

    Take it from me, though, when for whatever reason a water area is strategically important, having a few dedicated sea units there can be a HUGE advantage.

    @ Bouh, healing, in harbour, for boats, seems okay to me.

    Agreed. One of the problems with ships that adds to the normal problem machines have is that you can’t move them into a city with a master’s guild. Having the harbour tile act as a substitute seems a reasonable compromise.

    I guess the other option is sending them a builder across the water, but… eh.

    I don’t actually consider this an improvement, though. Let the flyers fly, the swimmers swim, and the floaters float.

    The general idea is that flyers and such can grow tired while flying, and this stops them from being able to remain in the air indefinitely. Having some penalty for ending their turn over a water tile would represent this.

    What you could do is have an ‘ocean endurance’ quality that represents flyers, floaters and swimmers that, for whatever reason, are at home enough in or over an ocean that they can still effectively rest there. This could be something like a naga that is at home in the water rather than, say, a human scoundrel or assassin that will probably tire and drown if they try to spend more than a couple of days in the open ocean. It could represent things like seabirds that can glide for long distances without much effort, and floaters that, while not true flyers, still float high enough that the waves don’t bother them and, again, don’t require any special effort to continue floating. But it does make a certain amount of sense that units that can’t rest in or over water should have some penalty to spending too long there (not being able to heal naturally is probably a fair representation of this).

    That said, the point about not making water travel too awkward is one worth mentioning. There’s no point in going to a lot of effort to make a robust sea combat system if sea travel and/or combat is simply so awkward that people simply avoid it whenever reasonably practical.

    Swimming could be split into two types. Shallow and Deep. As examples, Monster Hunter is a shallow swimmer. Kraken is a deep water swimmer.

    This has been discussed with the devs, and their response basically boiled down to: what happens when a ‘shallow swimmer’ hits deep water? Do they have to embark there? Embarkment is already a little strange from a realism perspective when you’re doing it from the coast, it’d get even weirder if it’s happening from the continental shelf. And what if you’ve got a mixed stack of shallow swimmers and regular land units? Would they then need to embark at different points, meaning that keeping the stack together forces you to stop and take the embarkment penalty multiple times?

    #123870

    Garresh
    Member

    I think the issue with warships is mostly a factor of opportunity cost relative to actual gains. Say you drop 1000 gold getting a decently strong navy. Your enemy is coming to attack, but you’ve got a navy ready to defend the river. He shrugs and disembarks, and proceeds to take an extra turn or 2 to walk. Or he just freezes the river and goes around anyways.

    With 1000 gold worth of troops and upkeep invested in a purely naval unit, your defenses aren’t strong enough to repel his attack despite the extra time it took him to reach you. He makes quick work of your defenses and captures your throne. GG

    Simply put, so long as regular troops can transition to naval troops for free, specialized naval units will not be used. Even with all the penalties, the cost of committing any significant amount of gold to a warship is too great. On top of that, there’s not really any incentive as the advantages of a warship, while fairly good, doesn’t affect the game much. In the grand scheme of things, naval tiles don’t really produce much, except for one or two structures that give pretty good research bonuses. And naval units cannot attack or defend cities, so their advantage is purely in limiting or delaying enemy movement.

    While that is nice, it simply cannot be justified given the costs.

    #123877

    ExNihil
    Member

    That’s my impression as well. Warships ARE powerful, although they aren’t as good a deal as they used to be when they were treated as a tier lower. The reason they don’t see much use is because it’s rare for water tiles to be strategically important enough to build a strong navy.

    ATM there is no strategic imperative to build warships for two reasons:

    1. All units can travel fast over-water, allowing large stacks to traverse water expanses with relative ease and security.

    2. All units are viable over-water, although to a decreased degree. Fire based units have a distinct advantage in water warfare, and fire vulnerable units are even more vulnerable. Saying that, you can use your normal units quite well.

    In fact there are strategic considerations that make building Warships a bad choice:

    A. they can only be built in coastal cities and through the construction of a special building.

    B. they cannot be repaired unless within a city with Master’s guild, or when accompanied by a unit with repair machine. Now necessitating either a Dread hero or a Builder.

    C. they are limited to water tiles only, which represent a limited part of the map, and one which has substantially less creeping options.

    D. all players use water as a medium of travel, not as a territory that can be held.

    Due to the above, constructing Warships simply takes valuable resources and valuable turns, and than costs maintenance and requires attention, while being thoroughly under used in most circumstances.

    Only the inhibition of non-naval units above Water terrain will make these units truly useful. Here are some proposals (non of which are mutually exclusive or mutually dependent):

    1. Reduce all non-swimming units’ MP above water with or without the exception of Flying units.
    2. Give penalties to flying units, e.g. no regeneration and even some damage per turn spent above water.
    3. Increase the penalties above water, with or without a relation to the embarked penalty. For instance- increase the ranged penalty from 50% to 75% AND/OR reduce the range of ranged attacks by 1 hex due to Wind.
    4. Change all melee attacks above water to ramming attacks and remove retaliation. The exception will be Infantry and Irregular units with the special trait “Boarder” or “Buccaneer” which will allow a unit to use its normal melee attack and retaliate but at a penalty.
    5. Water tiles ARE almost exclusively water elemental tiles. As such, all units with the Elemental tab that are not Water Elementals should receive serious penalties above water, perhaps by making them frost vulnerable and reducing their resistance and defense modifiers. The same should also apply to units with strong elemental aspects – e.g. First-Born, Fire Giant, Fire Dragon and so forth. The same can be made true regarding support units that use elemental damage.
    6. Phase and Sprint should not work on water tiles.
    7. Throw Net, Webbing and Greater Webbing touch, and Stunning touch should not work over water tiles.
    8. Assassin’s Strike should not work over water tiles, unless the Assassin has the Buccaneer trait (Scoundrels should have it.)

    Finally, I think Warships should receive a significant buff to their MP, extra vision range and an increase to their core stats and damage output. This will make them truly worthwhile, and for my money they should be able to hunt down flyers above water and take them down – even when the flyers are a tier above.

    As for @madmac‘s proposal to make water expanses more rich, I support this move. I would like to see much more water dungeons and treasure structures. Perhaps also some new visit structures and resource structured. Here are some proposals:

    A. Bucaneer Hideout- an equivalent to the Inn, where units with the Bucaneer trait can be bought.
    B. Trading station- a resource structure that can boost cities / forts when within domain. It should always spawn close to coasts.
    C. Mermaid dwelling- enabling the creation of primarily aquatic, but also partially land based, units.

    I also think an equivalent to forts can be created over water hexes – something like a mercantile nexus or marine fort. There should perhaps be some reef tiles introduced that will enable this construction.

    #123878

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    I repeat, the problem is, that although you can create maps with a lot of water, boats are not really advantageous.
    Sure, if you build a stack of them, you can clear a couple of pirate sites, until your boats are basically finished without repair (which will cost a rather large investment), but it’s almost like a separate game.
    Considering the impact boats have when two continents get at each other’s throat, something is wrong with the way this works.

    I mean, a galleon took hundreds of people months and a small fortune to build. They weighed a couple hundred and even a thousand tons and had a lot of cannons, so what we are talking about here are monsters.

    That’s not what the boats in the game are, and I see two options to alter the unsatisfactory situation-
    The first is, to put more effort in them – make them stronger and more expensive, let them repair in harbour.
    The second is, leave them as they are, but give them T1 price and upkeep. That way you can at least build more of them, which would make up for the fact that they have a very specialized use only and are difficult to repair.

    Consider, that you must balance the fact that their use is limited to a certain terrain only. In my book that means, if nothing else changes, they are either too expensive or not powertful enough for their small window of use.

    #123894

    Bouh
    Member

    D. all players use water as a medium of travel, not as a territory that can be held.

    This is the core of the problem, and it’s not due to water being impossible to hold, it’s only the players mind.

    Warships are already fast and deadly. Place them at the right place, and you can take oportunity of the embarking unit, but for this you need good scouting.

    It’s what Garresh says, but he doesn’t realize it actualy :

    With 1000 gold worth of troops and upkeep invested in a purely naval unit, your defenses aren’t strong enough to repel his attack despite the extra time it took him to reach you. He makes quick work of your defenses and captures your throne. GG

    Here, you forced the ennemy to use mana (and have water adept) or to spend more turns traveling. If the 1000 gold spent are too big, maybe you should have spent less, but the warships actualy served their purpose very well : they forced the ennemy out of water.

    Warships are not killing units, they are interdiction units. When you have a stack of warships or you human, you can use water while your ennemy can’t without huge risks.

    What I proposed was expanding the role of warships : they only lack vision. If they see far enough, they can hunt down anything in their move range. The current problem is that you have to see it first so you sometimes see the ennemy too late to catch him. Maybe instead of this we need a new scouting warship with true sight and insane view range. On water heavy map, it could even replace real scout as far as intelligence goes.

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