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[gameplay] give all civs rams
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Authored by Nescio on Jun 13 2020, 8:51 PM.

Details

Summary

Following the “counter rams with rams” logic (D2782), all factions in game ought to have a battering ram. This patch does that. While at it, it also adds a skirmish placeholder, and corrects the Greek specific name.

Test Plan

Check for mistakes and omissions, agree this is an improvement.

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

Nescio created this revision.Jun 13 2020, 8:51 PM
Owners added a subscriber: Restricted Owners Package.Jun 13 2020, 8:51 PM

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

Link to build: https://jenkins.wildfiregames.com/job/docker-differential/2425/display/redirect

ValihrAnt accepted this revision as: ValihrAnt.Jun 15 2020, 7:47 AM
ValihrAnt added a subscriber: ValihrAnt.

I don't know about historical accuracy, but from a gameplay perspective, this makes a lot of sense. Currently, Seleucids and Ptolemies need to use elephants, which are much easier to counter, as rams if they want to go for a quick push. Kushites are forced to use elephants if they want to push at all. This patch would free up elephants to be used more like they were in history and will make seeing elephants used as alive rams rarer. This will also hopefully incentivize players to play a more diverse field of civilizations.

This revision is now accepted and ready to land.Jun 15 2020, 7:47 AM
Imarok added a subscriber: Imarok.Jun 15 2020, 9:48 AM

Isn't this another step into making the different civs indistinguishable?
Wrt rams vs rams: Afaik swordmen are quite effective against rams aren't they?

Isn't this another step into making the different civs indistinguishable?

It can be argued that we're resetting differences for A24, and we can re-differentiate down the line.
IMO our civilisations aren't really different anyways in how they are played, particularly because balance is an issue (difference thrives off balanced gameplay, not the opposite).
I don't see it as much of a problem.
See https://wildfiregames.com/forum/index.php?/topic/25992-splitting-our-civs-by-tier/ for my idea on civ balancing.

Wrt rams vs rams: Afaik swordmen are quite effective against rams aren't they?

Not all cils have swordsmen ;p

Wrt rams vs rams: Afaik swordmen are quite effective against rams aren't they?

Macedonians don't have sword units at all, which is the main reason they are almost never seen in MP. A similar story for the Seleucids and Ptolemies, but they get them from the Military colony, which is a big investment to set up and even then takes a while to mass up enough swordsmen to counter siege. The good thing for the Ptolemies is that their early game is so strong they'll be way ahead and already have elephants before rams will generally arrive.

Isn't this another step into making the different civs indistinguishable?

In my opinion rams are a unit that should be available to all civs. Civs should be distinguished by unique bonuses, buildings and units, and the unique strategies those make available, not by lacking an, in my opinion, base unit. All civs having rams doesn't mean they must be the same either as upgrades for them can be withheld from some civs to incentivize players to opt for other siege weapons unless they see a good opportunity to use rams.

Cavalry melee must counter siege ram. Then spearman counter the cavalry.

borg- added a subscriber: borg-.EditedJun 15 2020, 3:45 PM

I don't know, I think it makes everything look very similar.
We can give siege bonus for spear cavarly for example.
What do I mean there are other ways to do that.

I think that patch has some advantages

  • Could make the siege workshop feel less empty overall for some civs (it's in the game right ?)
  • Gives another option for some civs to attack building : both rams and elephants have a way to be destroyed very quickly when the defender is well prepared, however the ideal units used to destroy the rams are different from those that kill the elephants. So another option is welcomed.
  • Possibly a tool to battle rams but as @borg- said it's far from ideal.

It has also the drawback to reduce the diversity in civs. And keep in mind that rams could possibly become quite weak in next alpha with a buff to champions, making ram-only civs suffer the most.

I would agree with @ValihrAnt that this would allow us to make elephants much more realistic and 'interesting', which seems like a good idea.

In general rams are pretty basic stuffs. I wonder if we should have a simpler 'two guys and a log' variant of rams.


Player opinion seems somewhat divided on this so not moving to commit at this time.

Stan added a subscriber: Stan.Jul 14 2020, 11:01 AM

I wonder if we should have a simpler 'two guys and a log' variant of rams.

There is one somewhere, dunno if it was committed.

In D2815#123710, @Stan wrote:

I wonder if we should have a simpler 'two guys and a log' variant of rams.

There is one somewhere, dunno if it was committed.

I know that Xiognu from Terra Magna mod is using it.

wraitii requested changes to this revision.Jul 25 2020, 10:51 AM

I think I'd be willing to commit this if we had a "two guys and a ram" variant, to differentiate "ram civs" from other civs. Those would have solid crush damage, but little HP. It might be a specific unit, trainable earlier than regular rams.

How about that @borg- , @Feldfeld , @ValihrAnt ?

This revision now requires changes to proceed.Jul 25 2020, 10:51 AM
Nescio removed a reviewer: Restricted Owners Package.Aug 15 2020, 9:15 PM
badosu added a subscriber: badosu.EditedAug 24 2020, 12:46 PM

From a gameplay perspective it makes sense that all civilizations should have a ram equivalent. In this sense this patch is an improvement.

If we could have this aspect refined though, in my opinion:

  • All civs should have a '2 guys 1 log' ram equivalent at phase 2, this would make it possible to have a rush decider. It would possibly not have such high armour as actual rams and with specs that make it cost-ineffective to spam while being usable against heavily damaged opponents. Doing damage to this structure kills the garrisoned units (max 4 or 6), when there are no units garrisoned it is destroyed.
  • Not all civs should have the actual full ram, those that have unlock it at phase 3. To complement this, the other available siege options should have similar effectiveness.
  • Allow siege workshop to be built at phase 2 with only the 'log ram' available as an economic deterrent to early log spam. Make phasing up more desirable.
  • Perhaps decreasing CC crush armour at lower phases and increasing with each phase up. Allow fast games while still rewarding phasing up earlier if you can punish an aggressive opponent.

Anyway, this is not an actual proposal for development but more as an ideal state of things in my opinion.

The "two guys and a ram" does not exist (yet), and would require new art (actors, animations, icons) to be created, therefore it's not an option right now. This patch uses existing art and is therefore an option for right now.
The question to be asked is whether or not it is an improvement over the status quo.

Both a lack of swordsmen and siege rams are troublesome. If a siege ram is available at the town phase, it should be noted that it would furthermore unbalance the game for some civ.

Iberians and Romans have swordsmen from the start. Britons, Gauls, Persians, Kushites, Mauryas and Spartans get swordsmen or a slashing cavalry directly from the barracks at the second phase, so it should be ok for them.

However, Carthaginians and Athenians got their first slashing units at the town phase only if they build a new structure. An early siege rams rush could be really difficult to counter if this building hasn't been built.
Furthermore, Ptolemies and Seleucids got their slashing units only if they built their colonies (Klerouchia) and finally Macedonians would get their first slashing unit at the city phase (according to A24 tech tree).

Maybe a compromise would be to give the siege ram to everyone but to reduce significantly its armor or health, especially if it is introduced at the town phase. But in addition, giving to some civ a technology to improve its armor or health back to normal during the city phase.

If each civ have the possibility to build siege ram at the town phase, even a weak one, it could be a counter against other siege ram even later.

borg- added a comment.Aug 24 2020, 3:56 PM

The problem of lack of swordsmen is easily solved by decreasing the spearman pierce attack and increasing the hack for example.

badosu added a comment.EditedAug 24 2020, 7:09 PM

Nescio

The "two guys and a ram" does not exist (yet), and would require new art (actors, animations, icons) to be created, therefore it's not an option right now. This patch uses existing art and is therefore an option for right now.
The question to be asked is whether or not it is an improvement over the status quo.

badosu

From a gameplay perspective it makes sense that all civilizations should have a ram equivalent. In this sense this patch is an improvement.

Yes, I think this is an improvement over the status quo, taking into consideration the siege rework underway.

Stan added a comment.EditedAug 24 2020, 9:17 PM

That unit exists and has been updated recently in mods. If you want it I can add it to vanilla

borg- added a comment.Aug 25 2020, 1:35 AM
In D2815#129693, @Stan wrote:

That unit exists and has been updated recently in mods. If you want it I can add it to vanilla

Really? That would be incredible.

Stan added a comment.EditedAug 25 2020, 11:11 AM

I need to know for which civ, and ideally what kind of units should carry it eg what equipment should they have.

(Courtesy of Alexandermb)

genava55 added a comment.EditedAug 25 2020, 4:13 PM

Tough men! A log of this size should weigh around 2 tons. But that's fine, this is useless nitpicking.

For the Celts, you can use any basic version of spearman, javelineer or slinger. I don't think this is a privileged position to hold a log like this.

Anyway, this is a great addition for A24 I think.

(Please don't make rams like this practically unbeatable like in BFME 2.)

About the revision demanded by @wraitii, I think we have the simpler log-ram available so is the revision still a necessity? The simpler log-ram should be addressed in another diff I think.

I think this is an important diff and that it should be carried on.

The debate about the log is not concerning the topic directly and @wraitii 's objection is not relevant. Although I agree the log ram should be implemented to balance the game at the town phase.

After re-reading this entire discussion, I count @ValihrAnt, @Feldfeld, @badosu, and @genava55 in favour. @Imarok and @borg- pointed out this would make different civs more similar. @badosu and @wraitii would like to see weaker rams available in the town phase. I think that could be done in a future patch.

Nescio updated this revision to Diff 14072.Nov 19 2020, 3:42 PM
  • rebased
Freagarach added inline comments.Thu, Jan 7, 9:43 AM
binaries/data/mods/public/simulation/templates/skirmish/units/default_siege_ram.xml
16 ↗(On Diff #14072)

Is this used somewhere? I guess we don't need to add it.

Nescio added inline comments.Thu, Jan 7, 7:43 PM
binaries/data/mods/public/simulation/templates/skirmish/units/default_siege_ram.xml
16 ↗(On Diff #14072)

It won't be used if it doesn't exist. Adding this file gives skirmish map creators an extra option. (It's part of this patch because such placeholders only really makes sense for entities available to all civs.)
For comparison, not all simulation/templates/skirmish/structures/ files are actually used either, but that doesn't mean they're useless.

wraitii accepted this revision.Sat, Jan 9, 9:31 AM

I guess this increases the playability of Alpha 24 enough that the concerns about similarity should be overturned.
I say 'go'

This revision is now accepted and ready to land.Sat, Jan 9, 9:31 AM
This revision was automatically updated to reflect the committed changes.