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Kushite tweaks and balancing
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Authored by Hannibal_Barca on Feb 27 2018, 5:41 PM.

Details

Summary

As discussed with several people, the diversity of the units they field make Kushites are too strong as they are, they need some adjustment
Further tweaks might be needed but for now this is sufficient

What is new:

  • +20% attack +2 capture hero now only affects champions
  • Triremes renamed to Ptolemaic Mercenary Triremes, cost is still +30 but Nastasen reduces this back to normal
  • Barracks (which cost 150 wood and stone) no longer hold the irrelevant tech entry (the technology itself doesn't allow kush civ to research) - nor should it be accessible
  • Meroe Temple Guard 1.3x counter vs other champions and heroes, -1 hack armor
  • clubmen stats adjusted
Test Plan

Test if the patch works and see if things work as advertised. Test champion strength.

Diff Detail

Repository
rP 0 A.D. Public Repository
Lint
Automatic diff as part of commit; lint not applicable.
Unit
Automatic diff as part of commit; unit tests not applicable.

Event Timeline

Hannibal_Barca created this revision.Feb 27 2018, 5:41 PM
Nescio added a subscriber: Nescio.Feb 27 2018, 5:52 PM

Kushites are too strong as they are

Don't you think giving one of their champions a new +30% bonus attack vs all champions would make them even stronger?

Hannibal_Barca edited the summary of this revision. (Show Details)Feb 27 2018, 6:23 PM

It makes them weaker vs. citizen soldiers and this way if the player wants to spam champions that are effective against a citizen-soldier army then (s)he can either do these (weaker), do ATG (costly temple) or do fort champions
Making them weaker doesn't mean making one of their units worse than their other alternative, worse than their counterparts in other civs
Although it is open to discussion and maybe -1 pierce armor for 1.5x multiplier could be considered (ranged units are more common than melee)

Vulcan added a subscriber: Vulcan.Feb 27 2018, 7:20 PM

Successful build - Chance fights ever on the side of the prudent.

Link to build: https://jenkins.wildfiregames.com/job/differential/112/display/redirect

I'd say that pikemen available from Town Phase is fair enough.
Other civs have more available units in Town Phase and can't find a good reason to have pikemen available in City Phase yet.
As Axe champions are a brand new unit, i have no strong opinion on that. Just -1 something armor and +30% attack against something seems not good numbers.

Advanced Mercenary tech should be available in the mercenary camp.
Seems legit to have clubsmen with 5 armor like any other melee unit and less crush dmg like from 5 to 3 or 3.5
Also other buildings tweaks are needed like Barracks cost which doesn't seem fair to have an african civ with 300 wood cost.

  • Clubmen 5 crush armor totally OP, I'd prefer 1.5 if slingers have 1
  • Someone fix the cav / ele hero icon pls
In D1343#54980, @elexis wrote:
  • Clubmen 5 crush armor totally OP, I'd prefer 1.5 if slingers have 1
  • Someone fix the cav / ele hero icon pls

I think you mean 5 crush attack. Sure, I totally agree with you on the topic that it should be 3 instead.
I didn't fix the hero icons because it didn't really fit in to the subject of the patch (note the skirmisher infantry is out of barracks due to rename of template, clubman template unchanged and stayed)

I'd say that pikemen available from Town Phase is fair enough.
Other civs have more available units in Town Phase and can't find a good reason to have pikemen available in City Phase yet.
As Axe champions are a brand new unit, i have no strong opinion on that. Just -1 something armor and +30% attack against something seems not good numbers.

Maybe you got a better idea for a historically-based differentiation?

Advanced Mercenary tech should be available in the mercenary camp.
Seems legit to have clubsmen with 5 armor like any other melee unit and less crush dmg like from 5 to 3 or 3.5
Also other buildings tweaks are needed like Barracks cost which doesn't seem fair to have an african civ with 300 wood cost.

Maybe kushites don't need the mercenary tech, quoting @Sundiata

In general terms, Kushites should feel like this:

early units/citizen: low armour: poor defence,
merc units: trash,
mid units (sword/pike): decent fighters,

Although that might draw into question the usefulness of the camel raider since we got a citizen-soldier skirmisher horseman already. @Sundiata ?

Clubmen attack stats adjusted, pikemen reinstated to the Town Phase.
Barracks cost 150 wood and stone
Nastasen and Arakamani icons swapped

@Hannibal_Barca The reason behind the Blemmye camel merc is that Blemmye formed the Eastern section of Kush (the Eastern desert people, Beja). Without them, there would be no Blemmye at all, which would make the Kushites feel a little less like Kush... Civ unit rosters need to be based on historically relevant military units as far as I understand. It doesn't matter that there are similar types of units. If they're "useless", people won't use them (much) in MP (which makes it a non-issue to begin with IMO), and most people enjoy SP, and the choice of a historically accurate variety of units regardless of their exact stats...

There are already a large number of compromises for gameplay considerations, like the lack of at least two more Blemmye units (camel lancer, infantry swordsman), a number of infantry units (Nubian Axemen), and even chariots. Same goes for buildings like shrines, kiosks and statues which could all have interesting game-play applications, but alas.

Successful build - Chance fights ever on the side of the prudent.

Link to build: https://jenkins.wildfiregames.com/job/differential/133/display/redirect

Hannibal_Barca added a comment.EditedMar 3 2018, 5:43 PM

@Hannibal_Barca The reason behind the Blemmye camel merc is that Blemmye formed the Eastern section of Kush (the Eastern desert people, Beja). Without them, there would be no Blemmye at all, which would make the Kushites feel a little less like Kush... Civ unit rosters need to be based on historically relevant military units as far as I understand. It doesn't matter that there are similar types of units. If they're "useless", people won't use them (much) in MP (which makes it a non-issue to begin with IMO), and most people enjoy SP, and the choice of a historically accurate variety of units regardless of their exact stats...
There are already a large number of compromises for gameplay considerations, like the lack of at least two more Blemmye units (camel lancer, infantry swordsman), a number of infantry units (Nubian Axemen), and even chariots. Same goes for buildings like shrines, kiosks and statues which could all have interesting game-play applications, but alas.

What is never added will not be missed by the masses. I was referring to the scenario in which we would leave out the Mercenary technology for Kushites. Seems like we'll add it after all.
I would like an alternative suggestion on how to differentiate the 2 melee infantry champions.

And finally, all civilizations got many possible additions. From Cartahginian Sacred Legion swordsmen to Helot archers for Sparta... but we must limit potential of Kushites to fit the rest

Hannibal_Barca edited the summary of this revision. (Show Details)Mar 3 2018, 5:55 PM

@Hannibal_Barca , sorry, to clarify, I'm fine with no techs for mercs...

I'm really not the balancing guy, but ideally axemen should perform well against swords, bad against spear and pikes. Swordsmen good against spear and pikes, bad against axe. But I guess that's not possible with the current system? What was wrong with the relatively higher crush damage for axe?

And finally, all civilizations got many possible additions. From Cartahginian Sacred Legion swordsmen to Helot archers for Sparta... but we must limit potential of Kushites to fit the rest

Yeah, you're right... but admit, how awesomely sexy do those units sound?! :p Especially Carthaginian Sacred Legion Swordsmen... Future alpha?

Nescio added a comment.Mar 4 2018, 3:51 PM

Removing the mercenary technology from the barracks is logical. Hero aura improvement seems sensible. I've no opinion on the trireme tweak.
For the clubman, I'd recommend D1354; for the axeman, I'd recommend D1355.

In D1343#55589, @Nescio wrote:

Removing the mercenary technology from the barracks is logical. Hero aura improvement seems sensible. I've no opinion on the trireme tweak.
For the clubman, I'd recommend D1354; for the axeman, I'd recommend D1355.

When artists will provide the Mercenary Camp, the mercenary technology will be available from that building, in that way it will be consistent with any other civ with a dedicated building.
The topic is going in a more complex direction involving stuff that probably needs to be redesigned, thus discussed and approved by devs.

  1. it makes perfectly sense that Maces/Hammers do Crush damage instead of Hack like an Axe or a Sword, still there is an issue with units Crush armor as most unit (if not every) has high crush armor ( i didn't go further thus i don't really know the reason why ). Reducing every organic unit ( infantry, heroes and cavalry, supports and perhaps elephants ) crush armor would result in more room for crush damage dealers like sieges ( which shouldn't be allowed to attack units, for such a system to work ), slingers and eventually Macemen. This is the reason why splitting Macemen damage ( yoddhas too ) from pure Crush to Hack and Crush would be a workaround for the system to work, for the moment. They would be trained and play a role in fights and not just in sneaky sieges, at least.
  2. it makes sense for Axemen to be Hack damage dealers with a bonus against sieges and wood structures ( which aren't really defined in the current system, but i am talking by abastraction ) and no penalty at all in armor. Soft counters are useful to handle such particular cases.
elexis added a comment.Mar 5 2018, 3:48 PM

(Besides, kush_champion_infantry.xml sounds like it should be kush_champion_infantry_archer.xml, in particular since kush_champion_infantry_apedemak doesn't inherit kush_champion_infantry)

Nescio added a comment.Mar 5 2018, 5:25 PM

(Besides, kush_champion_infantry.xml sounds like it should be kush_champion_infantry_archer.xml, in particular since kush_champion_infantry_apedemak doesn't inherit kush_champion_infantry)

D906 implements a consistent champion naming scheme.

@Hannibal_Barca , sorry, to clarify, I'm fine with no techs for mercs...
I'm really not the balancing guy, but ideally axemen should perform well against swords, bad against spear and pikes. Swordsmen good against spear and pikes, bad against axe. But I guess that's not possible with the current system? What was wrong with the relatively higher crush damage for axe?

As far as I remember, the Kushites ported over from DE had 2 identical infantry champions, rest is unknown.
The system could be done via hard counters (see spear cav vs cav/spear vs cav) but as far as I know this isn't the usual choice in balancing, hard counters are a no-no

Yeah, you're right... but admit, how awesomely sexy do those units sound?! :p Especially Carthaginian Sacred Legion Swordsmen... Future alpha?

Rome Total War had them, really nice units both graphically and tactically. Adopted to Roman combat tactics.

temple added inline comments.Mar 6 2018, 2:59 AM
binaries/data/mods/public/simulation/templates/units/kush_infantry_clubman_b.xml
8–9 ↗(On Diff #6000)

Fine with me since kushites have pike, spear, and sword already, but notice that human units have about ten more levels of crush armor compared to hack and pierce, meaning that crush attacks are effectively multiplied by 0.9^10 = 0.35. So their equivalent hack or pierce damage against units is only 2 + 2.5 * 0.35 = 2.9, half what swords do. So they should only be used as an alternative to siege.

temple added inline comments.Mar 6 2018, 3:01 AM
binaries/data/mods/public/simulation/data/auras/units/heroes/kush_hero_nastasen_2.json
5–6 ↗(On Diff #5961)

These should be multiply by 0.8 to be consistent with the aura description.

Somehow that didn't really work out, instead of 180 coming out then 150 again it became some ..9 number, probably that's why the cost increase was done like that by someone

Add the pair tech for temples as we discussed.
Make the healer tech to depend on the right choice. We can't have High Priests of Amun trained all from Apedemak temples, this balances the choice between "normal" temples and those big things that cost 500 stone. (Could use 1 more tech, something that can be useful and pass under the title "Royal Titulary of Amun")

Icons are placeholders but I guess they are passable if noone does others.
Clubmen got 3 hack again, supposedly this makes their attack overall ~ 3.9 hack?

Forgot to add the new files, it's late in the day.

Hannibal_Barca edited the summary of this revision. (Show Details)Mar 7 2018, 10:37 PM

Forgot to add the new files, it's late in the day.

The mercenary camps were added in rP21456, can you update to that? (The barracks doesn't need ProductionQueue.)

Somehow that didn't really work out, instead of 180 coming out then 150 again it became some ..9 number, probably that's why the cost increase was done like that by someone

Also please include the Nastasen aura files, I can't see the changes. (Could do 200 cost then 150 is 75% or -25%, if you want round numbers.)

Clubmen got 3 hack again, supposedly this makes their attack overall ~ 3.9 hack?

I wasn't saying what the value should be, just mentioning that like the Mauryan warriors (10.5 crush attack = 3.7 hack) and Iberian flaming jav cav (5p + 15c = 10.3 pierce), the clubmen aren't cost-effective as normal combat units and instead will probably only be used as siege specialists. That said, 3.9 is fine (2.9 was fine too).

Build failure - The Moirai have given mortals hearts that can endure.

Link to build: https://jenkins.wildfiregames.com/job/differential/174/display/redirect

Build failure - The Moirai have given mortals hearts that can endure.

Link to build: https://jenkins.wildfiregames.com/job/differential/175/display/redirect

mimo added a subscriber: mimo.Mar 8 2018, 9:09 AM

While i'd like to see more pair techs in the game, i'm far from convinced by this temple one. I don't think anybody will ever want to build more than one amun temple (and even zero in most cases just because there is no room for it in most of our maps). And a pseudo-choice where you always choose the same output looks rather like an annoyance to me.

If we want to rationalize the kush temples, i'd say the apademak temple is supposed to play the role of temple of other civs (its template could even be simply renamed kush_temple.xml to avoid useless complications in the builder's templates) and the amun temple is an extra building for that civ (which can be limited or not to 1, as its size makes itself an effective limitation).

And, to ease reviews and fasten acceptation, it is better to not add new (nearly) uncorrelated changes to an existing patch, but to make a new revision.

In D1343#55962, @mimo wrote:

I don't think anybody will ever want to build more than one amun temple (and even zero in most cases just because there is no room for it in most of our maps). And a pseudo-choice where you always choose the same output looks rather like an annoyance to me.

On the contrary, most of the regularly played maps do support such a size (assuming normal settings). Of course if you choose to play special scenario maps it might be different but then you just have to clear the brush first.
If as I said 2 useful techs are linked to the amun side not all players will choose Apedemak. Therefore if you want elite healers and the titulary thing you are forced to choose Amun.

In D1343#55962, @mimo wrote:

If we want to rationalize the kush temples, i'd say the apademak temple is supposed to play the role of temple of other civs (its template could even be simply renamed kush_temple.xml to avoid useless complications in the builder's templates) and the amun temple is an extra building for that civ (which can be limited or not to 1, as its size makes itself an effective limitation).

You seem to assume much based on the size, I don't agree. In late game much of the starting forests are already cleared leaving lots of space (unless it's already clear like on Mainland which is the most frequently played map. Sure it won't fit unto the frontline but for a quick "battle temple" you got that apedemak one, temples weren't built right under the enemy's nose.

In D1343#55962, @mimo wrote:

And, to ease reviews and fasten acceptation, it is better to not add new (nearly) uncorrelated changes to an existing patch, but to make a new revision.

You might be right but this change affects Kushites too, it is for balancing.

You will only make a choice useless if you don't offer enough. Sure, if it'd be only Amun Temple & Guard vs. Apedemak then the choice would be obvious
But perhaps you can do without those extra 5 temples, you want elite healers to support your units instead. You'd like that Titular

mimo added a comment.Mar 8 2018, 8:04 PM

I don't know what tells you what is a "regularly played map" unless you mean on the lobby which is quite a heavily biased sample.
Usually, "on most maps", once you've built all the other structures that you need, you've no more room for the amun temple (except if you are already winning and control most of the territory). Specially that one temple is already allowed without the choice, so you'd have to find room for two such temples!
So the choice is about choosing amun to have a tech healer but being certainly unable to build other temples, or choosing apademak which allows more temples? i would not hesitate a second.

Update to reflect the mercenary camp implementation.

Vulcan added a comment.Mar 8 2018, 8:59 PM

Successful build - Chance fights ever on the side of the prudent.

Link to build: https://jenkins.wildfiregames.com/job/differential/179/display/redirect

So, personally, I kind of agree with Mimo on this:

If we want to rationalize the kush temples, i'd say the apademak temple is supposed to play the role of temple of other civs (its template could even be simply renamed kush_temple.xml to avoid useless complications in the builder's templates) and the amun temple is an extra building for that civ (which can be limited or not to 1, as its size makes itself an effective limitation).

Although a build limit of 1 for Amun temple is desirable. Virtually every map I play, and most maps I see other people play have enough room for several Amun temples, even/especially in late game when forests are cleared. Apedemak temple = regular temple. Amun temple = special/extra building. Isn't that the simplest solution most in line with other civs?

You could still have a tech in each temple to favor that god, which would then grey out the option in the other temple?

Hannibal_Barca edited the summary of this revision. (Show Details)

Apedemak Temple now kush_temple
Added "Grand" in front of Amun name and changed it's icon (2 different buildings in different places of build list shouldnt share icon - laurel may not fit but it's better than nothing)
Max 1 Amun temple
Healer tech renamed to Divine Instruction (HP of Amun doesn't look good effecting Apedemak temples)

Nescio added a comment.Mar 9 2018, 3:23 PM

Better move all the entity limits from the player_kush.xml file into the generic player.xml file for consistency.

Vulcan added a comment.Mar 9 2018, 3:32 PM

Successful build - Chance fights ever on the side of the prudent.

Link to build: https://jenkins.wildfiregames.com/job/differential/195/display/redirect

Hannibal_Barca edited the test plan for this revision. (Show Details)
Vulcan added a comment.Mar 9 2018, 3:51 PM

Successful build - Chance fights ever on the side of the prudent.

Link to build: https://jenkins.wildfiregames.com/job/differential/196/display/redirect

temple accepted this revision.Mar 9 2018, 7:44 PM

The patch has technical problems which I'll fix in commit.
Besides that,

  • The nastasen_2 values need to match. Making the ships cost 200 instead of 180 and then using -50 and -25% would be fine.
  • I think the Grand Temple of Amun should be moved to city phase, makes it less confusing for the players.
  • The axe champions are okay but we should do -1 pierce armor too.
  • I just noticed that the kush spearmen are different (lower armor, higher speed). Since they have unique axemen and clubmen (not to mention the pyramids and mercenary camps), I think those should be changed to be the same as other civs.

If you agree with these then I'll start committing.

This revision is now accepted and ready to land.Mar 9 2018, 7:44 PM
In D1343#56274, @temple wrote:

The patch has technical problems which I'll fix in commit.
Besides that,

  • The nastasen_2 values need to match. Making the ships cost 200 instead of 180 and then using -50 and -25% would be fine.

Sure, 200 is good

In D1343#56274, @temple wrote:
  • I think the Grand Temple of Amun should be moved to city phase, makes it less confusing for the players.

Yes

In D1343#56274, @temple wrote:
  • The axe champions are okay but we should do -1 pierce armor too.

Indeed

  • I just noticed that the kush spearmen are different (lower armor, higher speed). Since they have unique axemen and clubmen (not to mention the pyramids and mercenary camps), I think those should be changed to be the same as other civs.

Unique traits, maybe keep them just for the variety?

elexis added inline comments.Mar 9 2018, 7:51 PM
binaries/data/mods/public/simulation/data/auras/units/heroes/kush_hero_arakamani_2.json
3 ↗(On Diff #6090)

Isn't it easier to track if all temples start with temple?

binaries/data/mods/public/simulation/templates/special/player/player_kush.xml
6 ↗(On Diff #6090)

whitespace

mimo added a comment.Mar 9 2018, 8:02 PM

Looks good.

binaries/data/mods/public/simulation/data/auras/units/heroes/kush_hero_amanirenas.json
15 ↗(On Diff #6090)

Shouldn't elephants be removed?

binaries/data/mods/public/simulation/data/auras/units/heroes/kush_hero_nastasen_2.json
5–6 ↗(On Diff #5961)

Agree.

binaries/data/mods/public/simulation/templates/special/player/player_kush.xml
6 ↗(On Diff #6090)

indentation?

Since elephants are champions they get affected too by the hero but usually people don't associate elephants with champions so it's better to write it out

In D1343#56274, @temple wrote:
  • I just noticed that the kush spearmen are different (lower armor, higher speed). Since they have unique axemen and clubmen (not to mention the pyramids and mercenary camps), I think those should be changed to be the same as other civs.

Unique traits, maybe keep them just for the variety?

My point is that Kushites already have plenty of variety. :) Players want consistency too, that a spearman is a spearman.

This revision was automatically updated to reflect the committed changes.
temple added inline comments.Mar 10 2018, 1:39 AM
ps/trunk/binaries/data/mods/public/simulation/data/auras/units/heroes/kush_hero_amanirenas.json
15

Elephants show the Champion class, and it's on the summary page too, so I think it's fine to just say "champion units" here.

ps/trunk/binaries/data/mods/public/simulation/templates/structures/kush_temple_amun.xml
23

This seemed appropriate, since it's bigger and costs more than the other temple.

In D1343#56323, @temple wrote:
In D1343#56274, @temple wrote:
  • I just noticed that the kush spearmen are different (lower armor, higher speed). Since they have unique axemen and clubmen (not to mention the pyramids and mercenary camps), I think those should be changed to be the same as other civs.

Unique traits, maybe keep them just for the variety?

My point is that Kushites already have plenty of variety. :) Players want consistency too, that a spearman is a spearman.

My view was to keep one of their units weak and unusable in late game battles, reducing their variety by diversifying it at the same time