Topic: Ranged balancing

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  • #21273
    rydinhigh64
    Participant

    Twice now tonight while playing I have lost an archer who was behind double cover (2 battle brothers w/ shieldwall up) when the enemy rdps hits my ranged guys head with 2 and 3 straight headshots and kills him through armor, going from full health to dead. Assuming approximately a 40% hit chance for the enemy rdps on my battle brother behind 2x cover (which still seems very high), a single head shot would be 10%, and 2x headshots in a row would be 1%. 3x headshots would be .1%. I understand statistics and maybe I really am just that unlucky, and maybe this is me just venting, but there seems to me there should be some balancing with ranged dps (maybe a lower crit chance than melee, helmets that reduce crit chance from ranged attacks, etc.). Thanks

    #21275
    RusBear
    Participant

    I’ve done some further testing and can now confirm that if you have one of your brothers standing in front of the intended target of a ranged attack and the shot decides to hit the blocker instead of the intended target then the ranged defense of the brother actually being hit IS COMPLETELY IGNORED.

    I tested this by using cheat engine to make a brother that has 1,000 melee defense and 1,000 ranged defense and replaying a fight against an army consisting solely of archers/crossbowmen several times. When standing or fighting by himself, the super brother was not hit a single time despite standing there and allowing the enemies to shoot at him endlessly. I did the fight 5 times, went to round 10 each fight and then retreated and reloaded the save, and he wasn’t hit a single time. I then played the fight 5 times over again, 10 rounds each, with a naked brother standing behind him (to draw their fire since they love shooting at low-defense characters), and he was hit 17 times. None of these shots hit the shield, they all hit the actual brother and he died in all but one of the tests (He was wearing special named armor and helmet as well).

    Seems pretty conclusive to me. If your brothers are standing next to each other you’re completely at the mercy of the enemy crossbowmen. Just pray that their AI wigs out and they just run around for the entire fight instead of actually shooting. Not a fan of this situation to be honest. Fighting a caravan with 2 crossbowmen is scarier than fighting orc warriors and warlords. At least the orcs can’t kill one of my brothers before I even start my first turn. The only way to stop this is to get my initiative high enough that I move before the crossbowmen, but that’s not really feasible without the rest of the noble army tearing me to pieces.. especially since the noble armies are allowed to be a lot larger than your company. As it stands, fighting the noble armies is ‘easy’ in that I’ll always win the battle, but it’s dangerous in that there’s a chance one of my brothers will just die in one turn. If a brother doesn’t die, I usually take 0 hp damage, just some minor armor scratches, but if the RNG gods find me unworthy, the crossbows will just insta-snipe a brother and I’m out of luck.

    Side note: On the topic of shields, you only get the ‘shield hit’ if the attack would’ve hit your brother without the shield’s extra defense bonus, and it does 1 damage to the shield no matter what weapon is used, as far as I can tell.

    #21276
    Teslarod
    Participant

    First of all those test results are odd. Even a Brother with 1000 Ranged Defense should get hit by 5% of all shots, so there is that.
    Also the observation of “the shield never eats the arrow” probably results from that as well. You get an animation for the arrow hitting the shield instead of a miss quite often when trying to shoot “through” someone with a shield. Its probably just that the 15-30 Ranged Defense for the shield don’t matter against the 1000 the Brother already has.

    I can confirm that if you target someone behind someone with a shield, the shield eats the hit quite often. Shooting center mass into a bunch of enemies seems to check 2 things.
    1. If the intended shot is a hit.
    2.1 If it is, the game checks if it is still a hit against the guy who causes the shooter to suffer from 75% “interception penalty”.
    2.1.1 If your BS roll is high enough to get a clean hit on the guy intercepting you will get a hit on him
    2.1.2 If your BS roll is high enough to hit but not high enough to account for shield defense bonus, you will get a hit on the shield.
    2.2 The shot doesn’t hit and scatters
    2.2.1 The shot scatters to an empty field and nothing happens
    2.2.2 The shot scatters to an occupied field and hits automatically

    This makes a lot of sense as it means you can reliably hit more often by aiming center mass into a group of opponents without shields.
    The best way to make a shot go away is by “catching” it with a shield.

    From these observations I came up with the following and run it successfully on Expert Ironman.
    Fighting against opponents who hang back to shoot you:

    Frontline put exactly zero points Ranged defense and gets Heavy Armour, Battle Forged as well as Kite Shields – they want to get “hit” as much as possible. Goal is to catch as many arrows as possible with the shield’s Range Defense bonus.
    Second line (Archers, Polearms) skills Ranged Defense and Anticipation.
    The front line then puts up a Shieldwall to get to 50+ Ranged Defense with adjacency bonus. Anything other than Mercenaries and Master Archers is down to 5% hit chance a
    Crossbows camping in the back aren’t able to shoot back with their 6 tile range. So if your opponent camps in the back his Crossbows are of no concern for now. Bows without Bow Mastery can only hit your Frontline and get mostly caught in your Shieldwall. The occasional freak miss hitting someone will happen anyway but rarely.

    Be aware of high ground – if you can, take it. If an opponent with multiple Crossbows has a height advantage against you, I’d strongly consider retreating and reengaging. Even a significantly weaker opponent gets scary with high ground.

    After setting up go for exposed targets without shields. Use Aimed Shot to make those Arrows count. Creating a breach to shoot the opposing Crossbows/Archers has priority.
    Fair warning, fighting like this makes the game a lot more manageable until you have higher levels and better armour, but it takes ages. Its a real challenge on your patience to maneuver to high ground and then Shieldwall/Skip turn with 9 Brothers just to shoot 3 arrows a turn. But its fairly safe and completely worth it if you have a tough fight ahead.

    #21286
    rydinhigh64
    Participant

    From a balancing perspective, when a crossbow shot hits the head, without the “steel brow” talent, it deals 30-45 damage to health. Somehow recently I had one of my ranged with a 70 armor helmet (undamaged) get hit in the head for 57 damage, followed up by a hit to the body that killed him. From a balancing perspective, a “normal” ranged enemy, i.e. marksman or poacher, should not be able to kill ur ranged with cover in 2 shots because of RNG in a game that wants you to play it on ironman. I really do enjoy this game a lot, but playing expert ironman experiencing this just demoralizes you, especially since replacing a good ranged either takes a very long time.

    #21287
    mrbunnyban
    Participant

    Be aware of high ground – if you can, take it. If an opponent with multiple Crossbows has a height advantage against you, I’d strongly consider retreating and reengaging.

    In my experience, that means guaranteed death for a front row bro before you can retreat and reengage, haha. Still, I haven’t had nearly as much bad luck with crossbows as the OP, and I’m playing on expert but not iron man. Newbie archer killed by one headshot before I can get steelbrow and anticipation, yes, but so many headshots in a row on an already well statted bro with anticipation and ranged defence, no. That really doesn’t happen. Normally the enemies decide the high ranged defence bros in the back row are not worth shooting at and shoot at my highly armored brothers with kite shields in the front instead.

    …. ah, maybe that’s it. If you make your back row a poor target, enemy archers and crossbowmen will decide (quite rightly) that the front row bros are better targets. Did you dedicate ranged defences stats to your front row bros? That may be the problem.

    #21288
    nope100500
    Participant

    From a balancing perspective, when a crossbow shot hits the head, without the “steel brow” talent, it deals 30-45 damage to health. Somehow recently I had one of my ranged with a 70 armor helmet (undamaged) get hit in the head for 57 damage, followed up by a hit to the body that killed him. From a balancing perspective, a “normal” ranged enemy, i.e. marksman or poacher, should not be able to kill ur ranged with cover in 2 shots because of RNG in a game that wants you to play it on ironman. I really do enjoy this game a lot, but playing expert ironman experiencing this just demoralizes you, especially since replacing a good ranged either takes a very long time.

    HP damage taken on headshot for Heavy Crossbow is 50-70 * 1.5 (head) * 0.7 (0.5 base + 0.2 spec penetration) – 10% remaining helmet armor (after it takes damage from shot).

    30-45 is closer to what you’d see in Heavy Crossbow vs top unique helmets (350+ armor) scenario.
    70 armor helmet on the other hand is almost nothing against crossbow users with specialization, even with lower tier crossbows.

    I consider SteelBrow (or totally ridiculous 100+ health pool) in combination with heavy armor mandatory to survive crossbows reliably.

    #21292
    hruza
    Participant

    From a balancing perspective, a “normal” ranged enemy, i.e. marksman or poacher, should not be able to kill ur ranged with cover in 2 shots because of RNG in a game that wants you to play it on ironman.

    What should game use instead or RNG in this case?

    #21296
    rydinhigh64
    Participant

    Fair point, and i’m not saying it should be impossible, just more difficult. This is why my suggestion is more to change how crits work with ranged weapons which atm can be quite broken (i can show u a screen shot of my ranged taking 57 dmg from a light crossbow hit while wearing 70/70 durability helmet). Personally, and just my opinion, changing crossbows to be unable to crit, change their crit chance to something lower than 25%, change the mechanic so the crit only does 1.5x damage to armor but no extra to body, special helmets u can buy to decrease crit chance, easier to find/train archers, decrease archery skill of marksman/poachers, all are valid. And I don’t think it has to be a big change, just some minor balancing to how ranged works atm. Of course this is just my opinion and for all I know making some of these changes could potentially unbalance the game in other regards.

    #21297
    Sekata
    Participant

    From a balancing perspective, a “normal” ranged enemy, i.e. marksman or poacher, should not be able to kill ur ranged with cover in 2 shots because of RNG in a game that wants you to play it on ironman.

    What should game use instead or RNG in this case?

    RNG is inherent in the combat. It can’t help but use RNG. It could spawn fewer crossbowmen, or tone down their initiative, or their perks. I’m with rydinhigh64.

    #21298
    hruza
    Participant

    RNG is inherent in the combat. It can’t help but use RNG. It could spawn fewer crossbowmen, or tone down their initiative, or their perks. I’m with rydinhigh64.

    I did not see code but to me their stats and perks are nothing unusual, nothing you don’t have access to. Their very high initiative comes from the fact that they use very light or no armor and light weapons (mix of tier 1 and 2 bows and crossbows). If you would equip your level 4-5 brother the same way and gave him few points more in to initiative, he would be acting before enemy marksmen in combat.

    Bandit marksmen are nothing but middle level guys with very light equipment.

    #21299
    hruza
    Participant

    This is why my suggestion is more to change how crits work with ranged weapons which atm can be quite broken (i can show u a screen shot of my ranged taking 57 dmg from a light crossbow hit while wearing 70/70 durability helmet).

    Light crossbow does 30-50 damage, 50% ignores armor, that’s 15-25, head-shot is x1.5 and if enemy had crossbow expertise, additional 20% ignores armor.

    30 x 0.7 x 1.5 = 31.5
    50 x 0.7 x 1.5 = 52.5

    So enemy marksman with light crossbow and xbow expertise can do maximum of 31.5-52.5 damage. I am aware of the fact that there is some additional reduction on damage done by armor, so it’s probably slightly less.

    Now there might be some additional perks or traits in play which ups damage so 57 is not entirely impossible without math behind it being broken.

    However you may still fill bug report or request to devs.

    Personally, and just my opinion, changing crossbows to be unable to crit, change their crit chance to something lower than 25%, change the mechanic so the crit only does 1.5x damage to armor but no extra to body, special helmets u can buy to decrease crit chance, easier to find/train archers, decrease archery skill of marksman/poachers, all are valid. And I don’t think it has to be a big change, just some minor balancing to how ranged works atm. Of course this is just my opinion and for all I know making some of these changes could potentially unbalance the game in other regards.

    But would you agree that the same will apply to you as a player? Because then I see lot of other players coming and complaining about their archers and crossbowmen being useless.

    One of the better part of this game is it’s AI. One of the best AI I have ever seen in a game. Fact that unlike most other games, AI plays with the same stats as a player and is able to present competent challenge without need of cheating is a testimony to the brilliance of the game and I don’t want to see it changed.

    #21300
    Sekata
    Participant

    @hruza

    AI is fantastic, that I’ll agree with. Wouldn’t suggest changing it.

    However the AI can field more units and does not have to worry about limited resources and time. Not only do these units spawn with their stats and gear, but they can easily show up 15+ strong to an engagement. An enemy spawning instantly with a perk is in no way similar to you having to get your guys through 6+ engagements to take the same perk. Lets say I take your suggestion and hire 3-4 brothers with decent ranged stats and give them very light armor with crossbows. Will they be at all comparable to enemy marksmen with crossbow mastery? I haven’t looked at the code myself. I can’t comment on what other advantages or disadvantages they may or may not have. To recap:

    Greater Unit fielding capability + No logistical or resource cap means that it is not presented on an even field with the player.
    The same rules do not in any way apply to the player. The marksmen you can field yourself are some of the most deadly units around if you can get them to the proper level, so the charge that the players marksmen aren’t any good isn’t true. What is true is that the player and the AI are in no way subject to the same rules. It is not an even field.

    #21303
    rydinhigh64
    Participant

    Hopefully it lets me include this headshot on my BB…34 dmg to head armor, 57 to head….he was wearing the coif (70/70) armor rating on it. So maybe part of my anger is a bug….I will say that I would agree with some nerfs to human ranged as well to keep it equal. Even if it was something like the 1.5x damage only applies to armor, and any additional dmg over goes to body damage (and it would work for both sides)….@hruza I appreciate you doing the full math as I am a little lazy to do it to show how it should be working.

    Even making it so crit hits only effect your health AFTER you loose armor would be a huge benifit to the game (or 2 types of crits…1 for just armor (20%), and 1 for body (5%))…something like this

    Attachments:
    #21306
    hruza
    Participant

    Even making it so crit hits only effect your health AFTER you loose armor would be a huge benifit to the game (or 2 types of crits…1 for just armor (20%), and 1 for body (5%))…something like this

    Well if hitting head deals critical damage (which is just 50% more …not really that bad) and some weapon ignore armor, which in real life equals to penetrating it, I would see it as a bit illogical.

    Steel Brow is perk which I give to all brothers and it’s available at level 3, so very affordable. So there is way to counter it and make RNG less unpredictable if you feel that’s what you want.

    #21307
    hruza
    Participant

    However the AI can field more units and does not have to worry about limited resources and time. Not only do these units spawn with their stats and gear, but they can easily show up 15+ strong to an engagement. An enemy spawning instantly with a perk is in no way similar to you having to get your guys through 6+ engagements to take the same perk. Lets say I take your suggestion and hire 3-4 brothers with decent ranged stats and give them very light armor with crossbows. Will they be at all comparable to enemy marksmen with crossbow mastery? I haven’t looked at the code myself. I can’t comment on what other advantages or disadvantages they may or may not have. To recap:

    Greater Unit fielding capability + No logistical or resource cap means that it is not presented on an even field with the player.
    The same rules do not in any way apply to the player. The marksmen you can field yourself are some of the most deadly units around if you can get them to the proper level, so the charge that the players marksmen aren’t any good isn’t true. What is true is that the player and the AI are in no way subject to the same rules. It is not an even field.

    No, field is in fact still in player’s favor. They can spawn with more then 12, but they can spawn also with less. Meanwhile it’s in players hands how many brothers he will bring (up to 12). AI spawns with equipment, yes, but can’t change it. It can’t reequip based on how many ranged did you player brought to battle. Did player brought lot of ranged and bandit have spawned without the shield? Bad luck. AI spawns leveled, but can’t level more. It’s struck at the same level and equipment forever. In most cases AI can’t decide when to fight and when not. You can outrun it and it won’t retreat from the battle unless loosing. Yes AI does not have to pay wages, not it have to feed it’s troops. But it also can’t hire more and buy better equipment. Those are just examples where player have advantage. You can sure find more. And then there is human brain, which no AI can compete with. It will newer learn from mistakes.

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