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Balancing ranged attacks?
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Bee
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Joined: 13 Aug 2005
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 1:44 am    Post subject: Balancing ranged attacks? Reply with quote

My experience has been that ranged fighters dominate the game. A few ranged units with high archery and top end longbows have been able to take any army the computer has fielded against me. I think there's a couple things that could be done to balance this a little.

1. allow trees, etc to provide cover (or at least reduce hit percentage for every covered space arrows pass thru).

2. Vary the distance the opposing team will appear (you can even note this before a battle so people can plan for it, thus increasing the level of strategy).

3. Reduce damage or accuracy of ranged weapons.
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Tertsi
Mitorah Games Studio Head


Joined: 29 Aug 2004
Posts: 331
Location: Finland

PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We've tried to make them worse already but it indeed seems that they should be made even more worse. We'll rebalance the bows for the 1.02 version.

We're thinking about making training archery cost more, learning to improve shooting skills in battles slightly slower and reducing the range and/or damage of the top bows and/or taking them out and replacing with middle-level bows.
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Godzilla Blitz
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Joined: 12 Aug 2005
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 6:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't played all that much, but I would have to agree that bows seem extremely powerful. I've picked up a couple of ranged attackers with my current team, and they can often take out two enemies each before they reach us. Often only one wounded enemy reaches my three fighters, and one hit later he's dead.

Decreasing accuracy at long distances even more and decreasing damage done at long range might be a good place to start.

One other thought would be to reduce the rate of fire of the various archery weapons. For example, short bows fire every turn, long bows every other turn, and crossbows every third turn. It would then be necessary to adjust the damage they cause as well. You could make even the best short bows do relatively light damage, which would make them highly effective against lightly armored foes but next to useless against heavily armored foes. Crossbows could keep their current damage scale and long bows would be somewhere in between crossbows and short bows. This kind of a setup might create some variety between the three archery weapon types and make for some fun team management decisions.

I'm not sure if it's in the game already, but it might also be nice if there were some spells to counter arrows as well.

Some random ideas off the top of my head:

1. Arrow Reversal. Cast on friendly target? Causes the archers next shot at that particular target to fire back upon himself.

2. Arrow Weakening. Cast on enemy archer? Causes arrows to do half whatever damage they would have caused.

3. Arrow Scatter: Cast on enemy archer? Causes arrows to lose accuracy.

4. Arrow Shield: Cast on Friendly target. Absorbs x amount of damage on target from arrows.

6. Slow: Cast on enemy archer. Causes archer to fire at half speed.

I like Bee's ideas about trees effecting arrows as well. That might be a nice touch. Arrows would be trickier to use in the woods, unless you can find a place to make the enemy charge across open terrain. Sounds like it might be tough to get the AI to handle the change in tactics, though, I suppose.
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Oggy
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Joined: 04 Jul 2005
Posts: 19
Location: Belgrade, Serbia

PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would like to see how will the battle flow change by making obstacles (trees and such) "solid". Only then, if the ranged weapons are too strong, would I change their damage ratio.

Hm.. I can agree to make some difference between three types of bow. Should crossbow fire faster than a bow?
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Tertsi
Mitorah Games Studio Head


Joined: 29 Aug 2004
Posts: 331
Location: Finland

PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While trees and big rocks affecting arrow missing chances was initially in the design document, I found it to be too complex for the player (The maps are tile-based so it's quite hard to see which trees are between the target and the shooter) and especially too hard to create the AI for it so that the rest of the AI desirabilities for the available actions wouldn't suffer and thus weaken the AI. Not that it can't be done, but there are much better ways to solve the overpowered bows issue.
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AtmaVegeta
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Joined: 02 Jun 2005
Posts: 106
Location: Statside Finally

PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 3:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah totally agreed here. In Division One, I don't use my Melee much, I use my 3 Archers and they decide the battle (or the other teams archers), very very far for the melee to decide.
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Tertsi
Mitorah Games Studio Head


Joined: 29 Aug 2004
Posts: 331
Location: Finland

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2005 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good news for you.
I've decided to just go ahead and try rebalancing the bows for the 1.01 version although it will delay the version with a day or two. See if you have any comments of the relevant upcoming changes:

Quote:

* Minor: Increased Fire bolt's, Poison bolt's, Ice bolt's, Lightning's, Chain lightning's and Holy bolt's range from 20 to 22. Also increased Tear from inside's range from 22 to 23.
* Cure's and Negate's ranges were increased from 28 to 32.
* Balanced ranged weapons: Now the best longbow's hitting chance bonus is 25 instead of 30 and range is 30 instead of 38, while Magical punch's range remained as 38 and the top bows' damage was slightly decreased. Many other bows' range was also decreased. The missile weapon cost formula was edited to still make the bows cost much even after these changes. The damage reducing (after the target's defence has reduced the damage) was increased to 30% from 25%. Chance of hitting a head with a ranged bow is now 43% instead of 50% of the torso hitting chance. Bless now increases ranged damage to 135% (Used to increase to 150%). Combat eye now increases shooting hitting chance to 135% (Used to increase to 150%). Training the archery skill in the Training camp also now costs more and the ranged weapon hitting skill trains slower in battles.


Last edited by Tertsi on Thu Aug 18, 2005 8:38 am; edited 1 time in total
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AtmaVegeta
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Joined: 02 Jun 2005
Posts: 106
Location: Statside Finally

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2005 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thats sounds much better, hopefully it will balance it out a lot. I miss the good ole Melee Battles! I also like how you added some range on Magic Attacks. In comparision to bows they were very bad after playing awhile.
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Godzilla Blitz
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Joined: 12 Aug 2005
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2005 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Be interesting to see how they play out. Looking forward to it!

I have to agree, though, after playing a bit more, that the current archery model is extremely powerful. Just started a game on "difficult" level and won my first 38 matches before losing to the #1 team in Division 1 in Glory Cup play. Have gone on to win another nine or so in a row after that. I started with a year-long contract with a minotaur, then kept adding archers. Buy them better bows and train archery as fast as possible, and only the best teams can hurt you. Once their hit percentages get high enough, switch to aiming for the head against armored targets. Melee/magical teams have no chance against this.

Now in division five with three archers, a priest, and a minotaur. Last year, the minotaur only had three kills, two of which we gave him out of sympathy. No one gets close enough to us to melee.

Don't know how I'll ever beat Might of Chaos, the best team in Division One though. They had a half dozen incredible archers, and a handful of casters to buff their forces for battle, not to mention another half dozen or so fully decked out melee fighters. We got mauled, and they have yet to lose (3 undefeated seasons in Division One; 3 Glory Cup wins; over 50 wins now in a row). so they just keep getting more and more money. I don't think any AI team can touch them anymore.

Beating them should be a good challenge. My initial thought is that we have to simply have more and better archers than they do.
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Tertsi
Mitorah Games Studio Head


Joined: 29 Aug 2004
Posts: 331
Location: Finland

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2005 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

By the way, 'Difficult' difficulty level isn't exactly much more difficult than normal difficulty in version 1.0, which is about to change:

Quote:
* Difficulty setting changes: The 'Difficult' difficulty now sets all AI values to the maximum (4) instead of just increasing them by 1 as that didn't have a significant enough effect. The 'Quite easy' difficulty now makes human controlled clans get 118% of the normal winning money instead of 125%. The 'Easy' difficulty now makes human controlled clans get 130% of the normal winning money instead of 140%.
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Tertsi
Mitorah Games Studio Head


Joined: 29 Aug 2004
Posts: 331
Location: Finland

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2005 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It actually only took a couple of hours to design and make those changes after all so the patch won't be delayed by much and the estimation of it becoming available BEFORE September still holds.
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Barrrt
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Joined: 12 Aug 2005
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the main trouble is that the actual distance to target seems not to have any influence on the chances to hit.
Thus, an archer gets many chances to hit at a high percentage before the horde gets close.
I suppose it should not be too difficult to determine the range and let that factor play a deciding role in the chance-to-hit.
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dom
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Joined: 09 Feb 2006
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2006 3:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tertsi wrote:
While trees and big rocks affecting arrow missing chances was initially in the design document, I found it to be too complex for the player (The maps are tile-based so it's quite hard to see which trees are between the target and the shooter) and especially too hard to create the AI for it so that the rest of the AI desirabilities for the available actions wouldn't suffer and thus weaken the AI. Not that it can't be done, but there are much better ways to solve the overpowered bows issue.


just thought i'd say you could place on the battle gui of the character you are trying to shoot at how hidden by obstacles he is and notify the player of the penalty to hit. AI still a problem though.
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Barrrt
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Joined: 12 Aug 2005
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2006 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with dom, it would make the game a lot more interesting if obstacles actually did something other than blocking movement, eg line-of-siight for archers and magic in relation to chance-to-hit.
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Paul_G
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Joined: 12 Feb 2006
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 3:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A large part of the problem is that the AI is very poor at handling mixed unit battles.

Example: I was just in the semi-finals of the Cup of Glory.

I'm a division 4 team with a core of 2 Elite Archers, 3 above average melee types, and a mediocre mage. In addition I had some cannon fodder and a couple of other mages who were contracted for a battle or two.

My opponent was a division 1 team who outclassed me in every category and outnumbered me about 2-1, except that I had Taulmerit Bows and long range oriented spells so I could hit them at 30 squares and they could only really start hitting me at about 24.

If they had just run at me, I would have been overwhelmed. Instead, the melee types hung back while their archers and wizards closed and shot at my cannon fodder, who I'd moved in front of my team. Their ranged guys had weaker armor, and I shot them down. After I shot them down, their melee types ran at me in a 2nd wave, and since I had fewer targets, I was able to take them out, too. The AI seems to do this type of thing a lot.

So I don't think missile weapons are too overpowered. A strong warrior with top armor and maybe a stone skin is a pain in the butt to bring down even with a premier archer shooting a Taulmerit bow. It's just that they seem way overpowered because the computer isn't managing the melee people properly - they should just be closing. There is no reason for them to be hanging behind spellcaster and archer teammates, unless the opponent has little or no ranged capability and no melee units that are close enough to be a threat.

Also, a bit harder of a fix is that AI ranged units should be a bit more intelligent at threat recognition and choices of targets. A goblin with a dagger and a couple of barehanded orcs with crude leather armor, at 25 squares away, are obviously not a threat. Especially if there are unarmored archers not far behind them with Taulmerit bows who are wreaking havoc on your team.

So in short, I would work on the AI before playing with other things too much.
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