Delving deeper into RTW balance

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Spectre
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Delving deeper into RTW balance

Post by Spectre » Fri Mar 11, 2005 20:32

Had a couple of interesting battles today. The overpowered heavy cav seems to lose badly to chariots for some reason - probably because of the chariot armour-piercing attack. (My Praetorian cavs lost badly in melee to a few units of British light chariots. How embarrassing. :P) Those same chariots got absolutely destroyed by a unit of baby elephants that my ally sent into the fray.

That got me to reopen the unitstats file and take another look at the stats.

As far as I could tell, chariots don't get a specific bonus against cav, so it must be the armour-piercing special attack that's so deadly against heavy cav. Elephants, on the other hand, get +8 to attack (?) against chariots, while chariots get -8 against elephants. No wonder the chariots got annihilated! :wink:

Rome has a very odd balancing system under the hood. Clearly there are some overpowered units that offer simply too much combat power for the cost, but OTOH there are at least some ways to counter just about everything. With this in mind, I'd like to start a discussion about the various unit -> counter unit relationships, as well as faction-specific counter options. Some kind of insight into viable denarii ranges would be very welcome as well.

If this thread feels alive, I might gather some points into this first post in this fashion:

FACTION POINTERS

Rome:

+ Good at most denarii amounts
+ Terrain-neutral (no penalties or bonuses in forest, snow or desert)
+ Great shock infantry
+ Great cavalry
+ Decent archer options
- No "exotic" units
- Weak spear infantry
- Typical armies weak against armour-piercing units

- Good factions against Rome: (insert factions here)
- Useful units against Rome: (insert units here)

UNIT POINTERS

Urban Cohort (Roman factions):

+ Good power to cost ratio
+ Good against most other infantry
+ Good against cavalry
+ No severe weaknesses

- Best countered by: (insert counters here)

And suchlike. :P Let's see if we and I have the energy for this kind of silliness. :wink:

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ladyAn
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Post by ladyAn » Fri Mar 11, 2005 22:04

You sure chariots have no bonus against cav? I thought they do. Both remembered seen it in the stats (I don't have it here unfortuantely). And also in the field.

I just played a 10k game where I had 7 british heavy chariots against 7 pretorian cavs. The preatorian cav got destroyed. the chariots lost only half a unit and a few horses in other units. Against the cataphracts, it is not so successful, because of cataphract dense formation.

They inflict morale penalties to infantry.

Britons
- overall feel: terrorist faction, ultimate barbarian warfare;
- crappy cav;
- great british heavy chariots (kills cav and infantry) morale penalty to infantry;
- good chariot archers (a bit expensive) morale penalty to infantry if in H2H with infantry;
- all infantry could warcry (attack bonus to the unit; morale penalty to opponents);
- headhurler throws yukky stuffs (morale penalty to opponents);
- druid chants (morale penalty to opponents);

Britons are good for unleashing furry. Everything had to go at once, as you could only warcry for so long and you can't warcry if you are exhausted.

Briton chariots are not so good against armor piercing units such as maidens. But they can kill maidens. Britons will lose on 1x1 against heavy archers army, unless it could have trees cover.

They are good if you could ambush. Chariots behind the infantry line is to be worried.

Annie
- Possess weapons of mass distraction

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Spectre
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Post by Spectre » Fri Mar 11, 2005 23:33

You sure chariots have no bonus against cav?
I'm pretty sure. I think it's the battlefield behavior that does the trick: cavalry are larger targets than infantry and usually in a looser formation = chariots have more room to slice & dice. Chariots also have no bonus against infantry other than the morale effect; I think that's why they aren't actually so good against legionaries and phalanxes. They're _supposed_ to be infantry killers, but IMO they're better used against cavalry.

The armour-piercing property of chariot attack should theoretically make 'em good against cataphracts too. If they're not, it's IMO further proof that the opposing cav formation makes a difference. Also, Egyptian Desert Cav are slaughtered in seconds even by light chariots, and they're in a very loose formation.

Like I said in the first post, elephants get huge bonuses against chariots. So, right now the RPS looks something like this:

Heavy cav > Light cav, shock infantry (sometimes spears too)
Light cav > Archers, skirmishers, light inf
Chariots > Cavalry, non-elite infantry
Elephants > Chariots, cavalry
Frightening things > Elephants
Armour-piercing attacks > heavy cav, elite inf
Phalanxes > cav, non-elite shock infantry (with some exceptions)
Elite Shock inf > Spear inf, phalanxes (though phalanxes can hold for a long time)
Archers > lightly armoured units, other archers, chariots
Horse archers > lightly armoured units, foot archers, chariots?

... did I miss something? :P

Skirmishers get a +6 bonus against chariots and elephants, but IMO they are still pretty sucky. Ditto for the camel bonus vs. cavalry.

And this is only the unit types... not counting tactics and terrain. Teamwork could also mitigate many of the faction specific weaknesses. Yes, the game is probably a bit more complex that at first glance. :wink:

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Louis Ste Colombe
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Post by Louis Ste Colombe » Mon Mar 14, 2005 12:48

There is nothing in the unit stat that gives either chariot or cavalry a bonus against each other. As Spectre puts it, it's more likely to be a game mechanics at work than stats.

What I see with chariot against cavalry is cavalry being stopped while chariot do the "happy circle around and kill you" animation. Cavalry being in a somehow loose formation might explain why it happens; what is odd is that cavalry is not moving throught chariots...

Chariot can be killed by elephants (still rather rare occurance), by dense foot formation (phalanx), and by the heavy javelin thrower (heavy pelstat does the trick for me). Maybe Light auxilia for Roman could be good enough too, but their defense stat do not look strong enough to do the job.
Those Javelin throwers are the only troop I put guard on, and that's mostly for elephant or chariot killing purpose!
It does not work all the time though...

BTW; how come Illyrian mercenaries got no bonus against chariot or elephant? How come they still seem to do OK against both?

Louis,

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Post by Spectre » Mon Mar 14, 2005 16:15

BTW; how come Illyrian mercenaries got no bonus against chariot or elephant? How come they still seem to do OK against both?
Against both? I think the good performance vs chariots could be explainable by the lousy defense of chariots - you don't need much of an attack bonus to get in a successful strike. Against elephants, I don't know. EDIT: Maybe it's because you're mostly using javelins? I don't think missile weapons get the "mount" bonus or penalty.

Hmm. Illyrian mercs are right after Merc peltasts in the statfile. Maybe the "mount effect" -row of one unit affects ALL units after it in the list that do not have their own "mount effect" variable set. That would be something dreadful...! 8O

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ladyAn
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Post by ladyAn » Wed Mar 16, 2005 23:15

Anything that could throw javalins would do good against the elephants. Am not talking about fighting with elephants using other weapons. But if I am able to throw pila into elephants and avoid them tramble the legion when they run amok, legion are elephant killers too.

Another thing I observe: elephants kill a lot against dense formations. In lose formation, it will step on a guy or two at a time, while the other 78 guys still able to throw javalins at the elephants.

Annie
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