Proposal: More realistic city defense

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Home Forums Age of Wonders 3 Discussions Proposal: More realistic city defense

This topic contains 100 replies, has 19 voices, and was last updated by  Hatmage 6 years, 10 months ago.

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  • #216009

    apopov
    Member

    To preface, I am considering this mostly with single player in mind.
    Partly I would like to know if other players think this idea is good.

    But also for developers: if modding tools are still being considered, than when you consider what functions/events handlers to provide the modders, it would be very nice if they were sufficiently robust to allow us to implement a mod like this.

    On to the proposal/request:

    It always bugged me that we have a strange degree of abstraction in this game that results in a seemingly tiny force been able to plunder/destroy a city with tens of thousands of people – and they are not impeded by the inhabitants at all, except for it taking a few days…
    A lot of the variables we currently have in the game – race relation, city happiness, empire happiness – they seem underused to me. More can be done with them.

    So what if:

    What if Cities needed to be ‘ground down’ by an enemy first?

    Following are proposed implementation mechanics, for a Tl,DR, scroll down to expected [END results]

    Basic idea – when a city is assaulted by the enemy, the following checks are made to decide how many if any defenders and of what type the city is going to deploy to defend against the assault:

    1) How fiercely should the city defend itself? –

    First determine the ‘maximum amount of defenders’ – for every 300 heads of population, the city can draw 1 unit of defenders.

    (so a village could field up to 9 defending units, a metropolis could potentially go as far as 70s)

    Then we take into account the buildings inside a city, to see if any of those defenders are going to be more than basic militia units of each race – basically every building that produces military units gets to roll a small chance to ‘upgrade’ each of the militia units for the battle to one of the units produced by the building.

    This step is to simulate the fact that while you as a Warleader might not have the money or desire to recruit another military unit from a Warhall in your city, that Warhall isn’t sitting there empty – there are likely trainees there practicing for potential recruitment and old veterans training them… people who live in that city, have access to some weapons, have the training and aren’t likely to just sit and wait to be slaughtered by a particularly vicious enemy.

    The chance of such upgrades should be set so that on average, in a city with every single building, about half the defending forces remain militias, while the other half gets randomly converted to various units.

    2) Now we take the city’s level of Happiness and use it as a gauge of how many of those units of potential Max pool of defenders will actually take to the field.

    It’s important to include Empire happiness Vs. Attacker’s City Race Relations – here we take as a general approximation a check of how likely is the civilian population to resist their city being taken from their current empire and falling under rule of the enemy.

    The general idea here is that if there were 2 Human kings at war, both of them having ‘ok’ relationship with Human race, then to civilians of a city that is about to change hands, that change means little – so the flag is going to be different, and taxes are going to go to the other guy – but they are not likely to be mistreated by him and more then by their current ruler – so in such a scenario one wouldn’t expect many civvies to take up arms and risk their lives.

    However if the same human city was being assaulted by a necromancer who is pretty known for killing all living things when he can, or an Orc warlord who has pillaged, raped and burned that last 10 cities he conquered – then it’s pretty unlikely that the people wouldn’t even attempt to fight such fate…

    So for this step it’s going to be City Happiness + Enemy Race Relations *(-1)

    The idea being that at Cheerful (600), that chance is going to be almost 100% and at Rebellious (-600) it will be almost 0%. This roll is to be taken against each defending unit in the max pool of defenders, and only those that pass will be fielded to defend.

    3) Outcomes of battle: First, if the attacker wins, killing every defending unit, it doesn’t always mean they get the city. Every ‘volunteer’ unit casualty taken in battle should subtract 100 heads of population from the city, as well as add a cumulative 10 point City Happiness penalty for 10 to 20 turns. Whether the defenders win or lose the battle would also change City Happiness +-100. If defenders lose a battle, there is also a chance that some of the buildings in the city will be destroyed.

    Defenders losing would only result in the city being actually taken, if they deployed less then 30% of the city’s current potential max pool of defenders OR less than 4 defending units.

    [END results] of what one would expect to see if this was implemented:

    1) As far as just the city battles: More realistic and longer city sieges. When a big bad conqueror assaults a large, happy metropolis, it won’t be with 1 or 2 units coming in and shoving their flags everywhere. In fact, straight up assault by sheer strength against such a target would be a most challenging feat. The attacker would need to pummel at the city again and again, grinding down the morale, numbers and quality of the defenders, perhaps for many turns. The city would try to defend itself even if its ruler couldn’t field their own army there. As more defenders fall, not only does the city get weaker, but lower morale means there is greater and greater chance of the city seceding from the empire that has failed to defend them.

    A 600 (with race relations included) Happiness Metropolis of over 22k population would have max number of defenders of over 70 – so at first battle would almost certainly field full 36 units, of whom many would represent the various guilds, fighter schools, temples and other military organizations of the city.

    Should it lose that battle with all defenders being killed, the attacker would fall back to regroup, while the city would suffer a loss of 3600 population, and have -360 (casualties) and -100 (a defending battle lost) Happiness penalty applied. Also may lose some of the important buildings, that could mean more militia units instead of higher quality troops among defenders – or even less happiness…

    When the next wave comes, a metropolis will still have a max pool far exceeding that 36 unit limit, but it would now have 280 happiness, which means only about 3 in 4 of the potential defenders have the spirit to mount the walls…

    And so on, until the city’s people are too tired and discouraged to fight.

    2) As far as campaigns
    – War is often much more a matter of morale than just numbers and skills, and this change would greatly increase importance of managing relationships and happiness.

    – The snowball effect (when one side starts taking the other’s cities) would be greatly reduced, because the winning side might take severe losses in prolonged sieges.

    – Military pushes would need to be much more substantial. Small incursions would still be effective tactic to harass smaller settlements and annoy larger ones with ‘enemies at the border’ penalties – but to have a chance to make a meaningful conquest, the attacker would now need to deploy a much more substantial force, which may need to fight several large battles to get their prize even after overwhelming the opposition’s official armed forces.

    -Even more importance is now placed on race relations and conduct of players toward races. Migrating/razing/plundering is going to be more costly, because it will have very direct impact – cities you attack will put up more defenders and take more battles to conquer if their inhabitants hate/fear you more.

    -in my opinion… it would just make this game even more awesome.

    #216030

    Ericridge
    Member

    Stacks would need to be bigger lol. Cuz 36 units in a single hex is quite alot.

    #216032

    apopov
    Member

    I did not mean the defenders to appear on the global map at any point. They are meant to be drawn from city population.

    I meant it to be dynamically generated at the moment when enemy army moves at an undefended ‘city’, the battle takes place, city stats are adjusted, if the above listed conditions are meant, city is taken. Or not. Any surviving defenders would presumably return to their civilian lives.

    I put 36 as the limit because that’s the maximum number of defenders current system allows.

    But you are right – no one would attack under 6 vs 36 conditions.

    Limit to 18 or 24

    #216060

    Hasbulat
    Member

    I dont think, this idea will bring somthing especial for the game. Just work for the developer.
    But to the topic. I dont like way of handling with satisfaction and general relation. If I see, the cty is perfect for another race, its, lets say, in feiry plants and wonderfull for halflings, why it should be not a good thing to settle them in this city?

    #216076

    Ericridge
    Member

    Let’s say, a late game metropolis that has it’s 36 defenders active plus 18 units from the leader. That is 54 units easily.

    And the attacker brings… 18 which is three stacks. You can just leave the walls and bang on the attacking force easily. That will bring city defenses of aow3 up to civ5/civbe levels of toughness.

    Which is probably kind of a good thing because currently you can cap a large city and burn it to the ground with a single crow.

    But if we think on this harder, racial unit isn’t as tough as class units usually. Like you’ll generally need two racial units to one class unit.

    At very least the change might mean that racial units might see more action because they will be recruited to fill the numbers needed to take on a metropolis that really hates you. If people is like me, they will have seven stacks defending a metropolis.

    And thus, endgame tactics will be used to soften it up. Because if you don’t, you’re facing off Leader’s 24 units + 36 = 60 units against your 18 in that initial siege battle. I think just to give you the idea of what this would look like.

    Personally I don’t mind this at all but others likely won’t like it at all.

    #216114

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    Well, first of all, OP is actually considering just a special case here.

    Neutral towns are actually pretty well defended, and the bigger they are, the bigger the garrison (and depending on the settings you play, a city can have a pretty tough defender force.

    However, a town that got under a control of a player loses its inherent defense potential, which is completely correct: if the owning player doesn’t care about a fitting defense, he is not to be rewarded by automatic garrisons.

    So, imo, things are as they should be.

    #216119

    @ericridge
    How do you manage to play games that big?

    But on topic, I don’t think the auto generated garrison should be in large numbers as you suggested(300 pop per unit). Partially explained by JJ, and it greatly tips the offence/defense scale, encouraging turtling. This also kind of kills the roaming and partisan tactics people can deploy to take down a strong foe from the back.

    #216121

    Ericridge
    Member

    Uh I’m not sure what you mean by that grassmudhorse?

    #216380

    Like every gameplay you upload seem to fighting on a huge scale. So many units on all sides.

    #216387

    zlefin
    Member

    I think the proposal goes too far in providing defense. I do think having some built-in defense would be logical and good for the gameplay. Nothing much, weaker than what a vassal city has, but a little bit of something. Single crows shouldn’t be able to take metropolis.

    #216390

    Lykus
    Member

    If you annex/conquer they give up/are foreced to give up their own military in fovor of protection by you. This is not so unrealistic as you think.

    Plus this implemention would mean a straightup nerf for all classes who rely on mobile harrassing forces to conquer light defended cities behind the front lines.
    The tactical map would be overly crowded.7
    These massed racial units would be a feast for flametanks, juggs and cannons.

    #216400

    Ericridge
    Member

    Like every gameplay you upload seem to fighting on a huge scale. So many units on all sides.

    Ahh well, that screenshot is from the first megabattle thread I made last year. There haven’t been a single huge scale battle for me anymore ever since the AI’s settling abilities got killed off so hard. Its gotten to the point where I decided to try and move up to emperor to try regain the old megabattles I used to have but it’s proving to be not fun because I can’t get the empire quests anymore. They’re all taken by the AIs except for the magical forge one.

    If i can’t get huge battles anymore there is a pretty good chance of me quitting aow3 this year.

    #216415

    Ahhhh, non wonder the screen shot looked familiar.

    You could always try playing PBEM mega battle with people, though that would take very long.

    #216419

    NINJEW
    Member

    i don’t think the defender in a city battle needs more advantages than what is already given to them

    #216472

    apopov
    Member

    Thank you to everyone that chimed in.

    Particularly again to @ericridge for pointing out how the max number of defenders fielded to battle in my initial post is way over the top and should be reduced (rather than 36, I think 24 should be the limit now)

    That said, I see that several people are concerned that this idea would completely invalidate ‘harassment’ tactics.

    So with that in mind, remember that primarily I pitched this idea as an ‘optionable’ setting for single player games – because in my opinion AI just does not do a good job of defending cities and is pretty easy to steam roll with aggressive play style due to how quickly cities can change hands.

    But even if this was used in multiplayer, consider this – morale penalty that lasts 20 turns is nothing to sneeze at. Yes, under this scheme you won’t be able to harass the enemy with 1 unit anymore – but should you have been able to do that at all? Does it makes sense that one scout unit can meaningfully threaten settlements with over a thousand inhabitants?

    Harassment overall would remain a part of the game as well the value of defense. Only instead of easy grabs at cities, successful harassment now instead focuses on crippling your enemy’s settlements with morale penalties that can’t be dispelled. 20 turns is a pretty long time to have your city bear a morale penalty that impacts all outputs and makes it even more susceptible to further attacks.

    Under this scheme a sneak attack with a stack of scoundrels/assassins, is still a pretty big deal if it hits an ‘undefended’ town and that likely won’t field an overwhelming defense.

    #216510

    NINJEW
    Member

    losing a couple of assassins in a snipe is a pretty big deal. if even the most weakly defended towns can accomplish this, due to coming with their own defenses on top of the normal player provided ones, that’d suck a lot for anyone trying to harass. replacing harassing units is a huge pain.

    #216542

    Nerdfish
    Member

    Automatic defense has been proposed many, many times.
    But GSL players want their one crow raze. Because it’s leet and ****.

    Automatic defense is an anti-frustration feature in all modern strategy games, not having one is jarring and anarchic by this point.

    Making capturing a city a monumental undertaking makes viable strategy that aren’t entirely focused on military.

    #216544

    Nerdfish
    Member

    Beside The automatic defense, I’d like to suggest another point.
    Increased city defense reduces garrison upkeep, up to a point.

    Upkeep for garrison is reduced for a certain number of units, depending on city size if the city is happy. One stack at towns, two stacks for cities and up to three stacks at metropolis.

    At maximum happiness the maintenance becomes free.

    #216568

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    It’s just dumbing things down to a point where you can safely leave cities alone because they take care of themselves.

    If you take a close look at things you’ll see that the defense of your town – building walls and garrison units – directly affects your economy and your offensive abilities. Player has the task to simply juggle the two, and some may risk light defenses to mount offensives while others will play more carefully.
    Then there is the sneaky part of the game – and the roving bands problem -, which would all become irrelevant with automatic defense.

    Would it all be oh so beneficial for the AI? Nah. The AI has enough economic advantages, and if it hasn’t been done already with 1.6 when AI settlemania got clobbered, then it should be an easy thing to teach the AI not to leave their cities undefended. In fact, recently I haven’t seen an undefended AI city.

    I also would like to point to fast Scouts making peace with towns and dwellings on the other side of the map. As long as they are just Vassals, they maintain their own units, but if there was an automatic city defense it was WAY easier to have them join your empire, since the town was perfectly garrisoned from the getgo.

    So, no, thank you very much, no “automatic defense”, please.

    #216573

    NINJEW
    Member

    Making capturing a city a monumental undertaking makes viable strategy that aren’t entirely focused on military.

    AoW3 is an extremely military focused game so that sounds like exactly what we don’t want

    there’s a reason so much care was put into the tactical battles, and why the city mechanics are rather simplistic

    it’s because the devs planned on their players going out and fighting, not playing sim city (you could boot up sim city if you wanted to play sim city)

    #216956

    Nerdfish
    Member

    It’s just dumbing things down to a point where you can safely leave cities alone because they take care of themselves.

    There is nothing dumb about a city that can hold off a few bandits.
    It’s the opposite of dumb. A city that cannot hold off a scout without manual intervention is dumb. The player still have to make decision to deal with a credible threats (a two stack siege, for instance). it removes frustration and tedium from the game. Those who like frustration and tedium can go out and get a job.

    AoW3 is an extremely military focused game so that sounds like exactly what we don’t want

    Unity and Seal victory were included because Devs want things beside armies to matter.

    #217095

    thabob79
    Member

    If you don’t leave defender, you can get raze by à single crow. If you leave defenders, you weakened your frontline. IMO as it should be. Giving bonus to defender is nice, giving defenders is not.

    #217130

    Nerdfish
    Member

    Giving bonus to defender is nice, giving defenders is not.

    Why is it not nice ? Explain exactly what gameplay value is there to force player to keep track of every single crow. you have dishonestly omitted everything about scout wars and how tedious it is to manage scouts all over the map every turn because that is the efficient way to deal with scouts, as opposed to leaving garrison in every city.

    You clearly want pointless annoying activity in the game because it gives YOU an advantage.

    #217135

    Wallthing
    Member

    Giving bonus to defender is nice, giving defenders is not.

    Why is it not nice ? Explain exactly what gameplay value is there to force player to keep track of every single crow. you have dishonestly omitted everything about scout wars and how tedious it is to manage scouts all over the map every turn because that is the efficient way to deal with scouts, as opposed to leaving garrison in every city.

    You clearly want pointless annoying activity in the game because it gives YOU an advantage.

    Not leaving even a tiny garrison in backwater cities is a strategic decision the defender makes that allows the game to be more complex and interesting. What do magic garrisons add? Realism? I beg to differ. If you can’t be bothered to defend a city under your protection from being razed, plundered, migrated, etc., why should the inhabitants vigorously defend themselves? The new conqueror might actually try to protect them.

    #217137

    thabob79
    Member

    Giving bonus to defender is nice, giving defenders is not.

    Why is it not nice ? Explain exactly what gameplay value is there to force player to keep track of every single crow. you have dishonestly omitted everything about scout wars and how tedious it is to manage scouts all over the map every turn because that is the efficient way to deal with scouts, as opposed to leaving garri
    You clearly want pointless annoying activity in the game because it gives YOU an advantage.

    Not leaving even a tiny garrison in backwater cities is a strategic decision the defender makes that allows the game to be more complex and interesting. What do magic garrisons add? Realism? I beg to differ. If you can’t be bothered to defend a city under your protection from being razed, plundered, migrated, etc., why should the inhabitants vigorously defend themselves? The new conqueror might actually try to protect them.

    This is pretty much m’y opinion. Leaving à city defenseless is à choice, a strategy. If you lose because of this, deal with it and act accordingly. On the other hand, defensive building, spells and walls let you the possobility to leave less defender and having à chance to do something against invaders. Sometime I have a few defenders and a mobile defensive force (with roads and advanced logistic, that I love), posted in a central city from which I can reach others city within one round. So if I spot trouble I can send renforcement or liberators. Often I even left à hero behind(I play leader +3 heroes) to lead them. But if you don’t you have a stronger frontline and less defence.
    I really think that should demain à choice and not some cheesy magical defenders

    #217139

    NINJEW
    Member

    Unity and Seal victory were included because Devs want things beside armies to matter.

    both of those things explicitly require an army to accomplish. you literally can not achieve either without fighting off nonstop waves of neutrals spawning. what is your point.

    even the “peaceful” options require having a military, because military is the primary focus of this game.

    #217144

    Nerdfish
    Member

    both of those things explicitly require an army to accomplish. you literally can not achieve either without fighting off nonstop waves of neutrals spawning. what is your point.

    You also cannot achieve unifier victory with only an army. Clearly the devs doesn’t want armies to be the only thing that matter.
    And there is just something super tactical about combat between two scouts, right ? Especially if they are both scout drones. LOL.

    #217153

    NINJEW
    Member

    “only thing that matters” is not the same as “main focus of the game”

    things i did say:
    -military is the main focus of the game
    -a lot of care was put into the tactical battles

    things i did not say:
    -every single little aspect of the game is, wholey in itself, a small microcosm of pure tactical challenge

    what is your point?

    #217310

    Nerdfish
    Member

    My point is you are grasping at straws to justify intentional omission of a feature that would make game much less of a headache for vast majority of players so a few GSL trolls can have an advantage in multiplayer.

    #217311

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    “Vast majority of players” is a pathetic stunt to pull.

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