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Ramble on Battalion-Shapes

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# 1MauH˙R Jan 27 2018, 15:46 PM
Recently I've been playing an euqal amount of Rotwk and Bfme2 (not 1.09) again and so also got to observe and compare how the basic-unit interactions feel with different battalion sizes and shapes. Now this is by far not the only time I've ever been thinking about this and I'm quite surprised that this as a discussion isnt more prominent in Bfme2's/Rotwk's history, but as you can guess, I wouldnt come up with this if I hadnt come to a few points that are in favour of Bfme2 battalions when it comes to creating a more enjoyable earlygame at least.

The basic arguement actually just boils down to two of the four units that have undergone this change in Rotwk, but I think their cases make quite clear what's desireable and what leads in the wrong direction. The two units are the Lorien Warriors, which throughout Rotwk history have always suffered a niche role due to their fragility that couldnt have been compensated by more aggressive capabilities, the other are Axethrowers, which never had a well-defined role in general.

But before I go deeper into these examples, I quickly wanna state how to me, certain unit interactions in Bfme2 just felt more right. And I'm really talking about simple stuff, stuff that hasnt really too much to do with balance apart from raw stats, like one battalion of Lorien Swords and Archers fighting vs. a bunch of Goblins. When I observed such skirmishes, the outcome seemed predictable but not hectical, it didnt feel out of control or gimmicky, it just felt right and fair and nice to watch. I know some of this is quite subjective, but I think there's undeniably a certain pace and dynamic in smaller fights that are more suitable for this game and that lead to a more appropriate priority of things than others.
And to me, the game should only to a certain degree, only in certain phases of some match-ups, encourage microing, outrunning and kiting more than macroing, positioning and planning. I'm not by any means a fanatic when it comes to shifting the attention to macro so heavily that the game becomes all about non-stop running 6 production buildings, but I do believe that there overall needs to be less volatility between tier 1 infantry in Rotwk.

That brings me back to the example of Lorien Warriors, one of the units that suffered the most from said volatility in my opinion. I dont think I need to list a dozen of points to show how these guys have a relatively small window of usefulness in pretty much every match-up, as everyone experiences it in every game as Elves anyway.
It can be broken down to the fact that they are too fragile for their formation, (as opposed to Guardians, which just have insane enough stats for it) that they dont have any special ability like Shieldwall or Charge (apart from the stealth thing) and that Elves become more archer oriented as the game goes on and those require your Barracks-buildtime to be used for pikes to cover them, not swords.

A 2x6 formation results in the battalion shaping up differently at the front lines in melee fights in a way that the two outer warriors are more exposed to flank attacks. The fact that more units are gonna be engaged in the front lines this way also results in the "stickyness" of battalions to occur more often which makes retreating them harder aswell. Both of these factors, flank damage and retreating, are not really an issue for Guardians but crucial for Elves in general.
The third downside of Rotwk battalions is that they are more abuseable by clumped-up spam units like Goblins Warriors, since you can reach pretty much reach every single member of the battalion if you run into it properly. I think it's safe to say that this is the least appreciated feature of the battalion system and that anything that makes it more abuseable isnt good.
All these factors lead to the 12 (from 15) Lorien Warriors dying more quickly and thus the fight being less predictable as it has a more snowbally nature, aswell as less controlable since the units will get stuck. This is especially a predominant issue when facing Goblins and Angmar.

As I already said, the Dwarven Axethrowers never had a clearly defined purpose in Rotwk and that's propably something you'd have to clarify first before considering battalion size and shape.
Some would say they are supposed to counter archers, but in practice that's a very poor idea unless you wanna let them outrange units like Gondor or Lorien Archers, which just doesnt make sense. Guardians or Phalanx in porcupine are the ones who will always tank the arrows and Axes will never get in range of them because any archer unit will always just start to kite then.

A more reasonable idea is to let them be tankier (they carry shields, have armor and are slow after all) which 2.02 is already exploring. However, when you think of making a unit tankier, you assume it's gonna be involved in direct combat eventually as opposed to retreating once the meatshield is gone. And that does indeed bring us back to the whole problematic of the 2x6 battalions in melee fights. And having a 3rd line in your battalion is propably even a bigger factor for ranged units in so far that it doesnt only decrease vulnerability to flank damage but it also means another row of guys dealing damage and not taking any, while all units in a 2x6 battalion are very quickly completely in reach of melee units. To make it clearer in an extreme example: would you rather have a 1x12 or a 12x1 archer battalion face an aproaching group of Uruk Hai? Of course the 12x1 battalion cause the Uruks would pretty much only attack 1 archer at a time.

How to concretely realize the idea of tanky Axethrowers that do alright in melee is a question for another topic, but to me it's the only reasonable approach of making them viable in all match-ups. And their Bfme2 battalion would definitely help them more at that than minor buffs in armor or hp.

As closing thought I'd like to add my assumption on why the 2x6 battalions were introduced in the first place. My guess is that EA felt like the elite/quality-character of Dwarves and Elves should be emphasized a bit more, especially as they were adding another faction. And that thought also is perfectly in line with the two units that actually work with a 2x6 battalion: the Guardians and the Lorien Archers. Guardians being elite/tanky enough for it and Lorien Archers being exclusively ranged damage dealers that are never really supposed to engage in melee. In the same fashion you could propably change Uruk Warriors and Crossbows to 2x6 battalions and have them work just fine.

How big do you think is the impact of battalion shapes on gameplay? Would it be an elegant way of handling certain issues or am I overestimating it?
Also do agree that the little skirmishes feel better in Bfme2?




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# 2alexshellnot Jan 27 2018, 18:55 PM
I think you should not look to making uruk swords and crossbows a 2x6. Uruk swords in their standard 3x6 can barely beat gaurdians and they cost 100 more, I understand they are faster but even in sheild wall they wont be tanky enough to be in a 2x6. And if you make crossbows a 2x6 they will become the worst unit in the game and you would have no reason but to go for axe throwers. (and the axe throwers are already better imo and cost 100 less)

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# 3TaDa! Jan 27 2018, 18:55 PM
I remember situation playing bfme2 when lorien archers horde was slaughtering Sogs horde in melee due to their 3x5 or 3x6 formation. And they didnt give a dumn about retreating or bringing some meatshield like we do often in rotwk in same situation. Very nasty thing for me. Imagine what happens when its poor gobs instead of sogs. Also imo transforming units to 3x5 hordes can bring some other issues like for example it will be needed more pikes to cover these units same effective as before or as we know hordes get stuck often so if 2x6 horde got stuck its one thing and if 3x5 - another. Or for example if u give command to your archers to focus some unit in enemy army they usually come too close and i think if horde will be bigger they will come even closer.
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...these guys have a relatively small window of usefulness in pretty much every match-up
I use lorien warriors in every part of the game any mu(and not only me) like swords+pikes harassing combo so i dont understand this sentence. Swords + pikes sometimes better than Archers+ pikes because kill structures faster and swords quite always are covered by pikes. And im curious how looks this process of transforming 2x6 horde to 3x6 or 3x5? So u have to make single unit 1.5 times weaker to avoid damaging current balance? So lorien warrior must be equal gundabad orc? I disagree.
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The third downside of Rotwk battalions is that they are more abuseable by clumped-up spam units like Goblins Warriors, since you can reach pretty much reach every single member of the battalion if you run into it properly.
Cant they do the same vs 3x5 version of lorien warriors? In my opinion if u dont want to be surrounded by more numerous enemy and take flank damage so dont send 1 horde against 2-3 enemy hordes and wait for another one.
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Both of these factors, flank damage and retreating, are not really an issue for Guardians but crucial for Elves in general.
Ye, retreating especially, nice joke. If unit has better stats it doesnt mean he doesnt suffer flank damage same as others.
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A more reasonable idea is to let them be tankier
Making axethrowers as ranged version of guardians makes no sence for me. But i would agree transforming them to 3x5 with stats a bit better of gondor archers and low exp reward just to have some unit for dwarves that feeds heroes less.

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# 4alexshellnot Jan 27 2018, 18:58 PM
and for more accurate results use 1.09.... Im not saying make axe throwers as good as they are in 1.09 but find a good middle ground. And in 1.09 lorien swords are 360 compared to 350 for mithlonds and 300 for archers, but they are very fast and deal good damage to buildings and spam. I also find them to good so try to find a good middle ground between v7 lorien sowrds and 1.09 lorien swords.

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# 5MauH˙R Jan 27 2018, 19:51 PM
First of all, take the hard counter system of most bfme2 patches out of the equasion, cause obviously that completely changes the archer vs. sword performance.
Then, when I'm talking about 2x6 to 3x5 battalions, then ofc think of the stats as adjusted proportionally.

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I think you should not look to making uruk swords and crossbows a 2x6. Uruk swords in their standard 3x6 can barely beat gaurdians and they cost 100 more, I understand they are faster but even in sheild wall they wont be tanky enough to be in a 2x6. And if you make crossbows a 2x6 they will become the worst unit in the game and you would have no reason but to go for axe throwers. (and the axe throwers are already better imo and cost 100 less)

The Uruks were an example. And as I said, if you adjust the values accordingly, the performance of a 2x6 crossbow battalion wouldnt be any different from a 3x5 battalion in terms of total damage output. That's why I said it works on units like them.

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Cant they do the same vs 3x5 version of lorien warriors? In my opinion if u dont want to be surrounded by more numerous enemy and take flank damage so dont send 1 horde against 2-3 enemy hordes and wait for another one.

They cant do it to the same degree. Waiting for another bat of Lorien swords before you send stuff out obviously euqals 3-4 for battalions more for the gob aswell, so..

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Ye, retreating especially, nice joke. If unit has better stats it doesnt mean he doesnt suffer flank damage same as others.

What? I'm not saying Guardians dont suffer the same flanking damage, I'm saying they can simply take it because of their stats, unlike Loriens.

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if u give command to your archers to focus some unit in enemy army they usually come too close and i think if horde will be bigger they will come even closer.

You can adjust the range of every row so the total range stays the same.

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and for more accurate results use 1.09

As I said that wouldnt translate into useful stats at all because hard counter system.

This post has been edited by MauH˙R: Jan 27 2018, 19:58 PM


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# 6TaDa! Jan 27 2018, 20:13 PM
QUOTE(MauH˙R @ Jan 27 2018, 19:51 PM) *

I'm saying they can simply take it because of their stats, unlike Loriens.
I dunno what does this phrase means. Some units have better stats some worse, some die fast some not but u agree that if even guardians take flank damage they die faster so its not desirable for them?
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They cant do it to the same degree. Waiting for another bat of Lorien swords before you send stuff out obviously euqals 3-4 for battalions more for the gob aswell, so..
So make 3-4 raxes like gob did. But elf has better counters usually so he doesnt do this. Do u want to say that if in game elf makes just lorien warriors and gob only gob warriors so gob must win even without harassing and avoiding engagements? In your opinion its lorien warriors must avoid engagements? I doubt it.

This post has been edited by TaDa!: Jan 27 2018, 20:24 PM

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# 7MauH˙R Jan 27 2018, 20:34 PM
QUOTE(TaDa! @ Jan 27 2018, 20:13 PM) *

I dunno what does this phrase means. Some units have better stats some worse, some die fast some not but u agree that if even guardians take flank damage they die faster so its not desirable for them?

I'm saying Guardians take the same kinda flank damage as Lorien Swords because of their battalion shape but they can take it cause they are more durable. That's why a 2x6 bat is fine for Guardians.

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So make 3-4 raxes like gob did. But elf has better counters usually so he doesnt do this. Do u want to say that if in game elf makes just lorien warriors and gob only gob warriors so gob must win even without harassing and avoiding engagements? In your opinion its lorien warriors must avoid engagements? I doubt it.

I'm saying single Lorien Warrior bats cant be sent out vs. Gobs atm cause their battalion shape can easily be abused by multiple spam battalions. And I think Loriens would have a much easier time in those kinda MUs if their battalion was 3x5 because you cant clump against them or abuse their flanks as easily.
And yes, if Gobs are only allowed to make GWs and Elf only Loriens then Gobs always win in Rotwk.


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# 8TaDa! Jan 27 2018, 20:57 PM
QUOTE(MauH˙R @ Jan 27 2018, 20:34 PM) *

I'm saying Guardians take the same kinda flank damage as Lorien Swords because of their battalion shape but they can take it cause they are more durable. That's why a 2x6 bat is fine for Guardians.
But its intended for guardians beeing stronger loriens. Its fine. Loriens for example can escape many engages that guardians cant though.
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And yes, if Gobs are only allowed to make GWs and Elf only Loriens then Gobs always win in Rotwk.
I agree, but its rather by abusing gobs higher speed for harassing than bigger units quantity in battles.

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# 9Mako Jan 28 2018, 00:05 AM
Maybe i wrong on this but more big battalion -> harder trample of cav? and viceversa.

Just to enlight all things that can change.

You know solas that about this changes i follow you. I open another topic about another thing.

on others ...

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