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[gameplay] Increase hack damage of pikemen
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Authored by borg- on Aug 25 2020, 2:50 AM.

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Summary

It's a little frustrating when women do more damage to siege engines than pikemen.

This patch increases the attack base hack damage of pikemen from 1 to 2.

Test Plan

No need.

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rP 0 A.D. Public Repository
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Event Timeline

borg- requested review of this revision.Aug 25 2020, 2:50 AM
borg- created this revision.
borg- updated this revision to Diff 13284.Aug 25 2020, 3:13 AM
borg- updated this revision to Diff 13291.Aug 26 2020, 1:23 AM
myou5e added a subscriber: myou5e.Aug 26 2020, 6:22 AM

Yes, this is a good idea. Alternately use "a secondary attack" such as using the pike as a "lever" ;-)
Subtly implying I really want to see many attacks available ;-)

Angen added a subscriber: Angen.Aug 26 2020, 8:29 AM
Angen added inline comments.
template_unit_hero_infantry_pikeman.xml
10 ↗(On Diff #13291)

should not this be 12 and 12?

Nescio added a subscriber: Nescio.Aug 26 2020, 9:36 AM

Increasing the hack attack to 2 and decreasing the pierce from 3 to 2.

Given that pikemen already have by far the lowest damage per second of any soldier, I'm not sure the pierce damage reduction is an improvement, why not simply increase the damage, e.g. 2 hack + 4 pierce? (2 + 4) / 2 = 3 is still a lot less than the next weakest unit, i.e. spearmen: (3 + 2.5) / 1 = 5.5.

Yes, this is a good idea. Alternately use "a secondary attack" such as using the pike as a "lever" ;-)
Subtly implying I really want to see many attacks available ;-)

Would not that require https://code.wildfiregames.com/D368, though?

Yes, this is a good idea. Alternately use "a secondary attack" such as using the pike as a "lever" ;-)
Subtly implying I really want to see many attacks available ;-)

Would not that require https://code.wildfiregames.com/D368, though?

Yes it would :-). Once we have D368, I would like to suggest that spears and pikes could have thrust, lever, and swing attacks (swing, perhaps, only if it is like the chinese ge with a head designed for swinging).

borg- added a comment.Aug 26 2020, 1:28 PM

Increasing the hack attack to 2 and decreasing the pierce from 3 to 2.

Given that pikemen already have by far the lowest damage per second of any soldier, I'm not sure the pierce damage reduction is an improvement, why not simply increase the damage, e.g. 2 hack + 4 pierce? (2 + 4) / 2 = 3 is still a lot less than the next weakest unit, i.e. spearmen: (3 + 2.5) / 1 = 5.5.

For the patch proposal yes, it is an improvement, -33% pierce and + 100% hack attack. Not only better against siege but against all units.
I lowered the pierce a little bit because they are already good enough being tank units and now they move a little faster, so I thought this drop in the pierce was fair.
For me pikemen should be more than just a meat tank.
Maybe values like 3/3 attack and a reduction of armor to 8/8. That would also be more realistic.

Not only better against siege but against all units.

That's not exactly true: a few entities (e.g. cavalry swordsman) have higher hack than pierce armour, therefore this patch makes pikemen slightly less effective against those.
Compared to spearmen, pikemen have +5 armour, which is equivalent to c. +70% health. However, due to the fact their attack repeat time is twice as high, their damage per second is only about a third of spearmen (2 vs 5.5), therefore I'm in favour of raising the attack damage of pikemen a bit.

borg- added a comment.Aug 26 2020, 5:40 PM

2/3 is a good number for you?
Still armour 10/10?

template_unit_hero_infantry_pikeman.xml
10 ↗(On Diff #13291)

No. Hero is doubel of champion.

2/3 is a good number for you?

2+3 is better than 1+3, though I'd prefer 2+4, 2+5, or 2+6, which would still result in a damage per second less than that of spearmen (4 vs 5.5).

Still armour 10/10?

Yes, that's what's characteristic of pikemen in 0 A.D.

borg- added a comment.Aug 26 2020, 6:02 PM

2/3 is a good number for you?

2+3 is better than 1+3, though I'd prefer 2+4, 2+5, or 2+6, which would still result in a damage per second less than that of spearmen (4 vs 5.5).

Still armour 10/10?

Yes, that's what's characteristic of pikemen in 0 A.D.

3/3 should be better, vs siege too.

I never really understood why Spearmen dealt so much pierce armour, effectively making them ranged units, damage-wise, which was always rather annoying to balance. I'd actually support moving them more towards Hack, if necessary adding some multipliers.

Overall though this seems like a minor change and if you guys say it helps, I'd say let's go.

Personally I'd favour splitting pierce into pierce (e.g. arrows) and thrust (e.g. spears), which would allow units countering each other via difference in armour levels, but that's rather a major change and outside the scope of this patch.

I do not understand too. the pikemen were a vulnerable unit from a ranged attacks, but an armored unit attacking vs melee. I think it's fair to decrease your piercing armor and increase your attack slightly.

Nescio retitled this revision from [gameplay] Make pikemen more effective against siege to [gameplay] Increase hack damage of pikemen.Aug 29 2020, 10:22 AM
Nescio edited the summary of this revision. (Show Details)
Nescio accepted this revision.Aug 29 2020, 10:26 AM
  • The patch is complete and correct.
  • The new values solve the problem described in the summary.
  • The new values won't make pikemen suddenly very effective, unbalancing the game.

Values by @Nescio

Actually I proposed raising the pierce damage a bit too. Anyway, the proposed hack damage increase is better than the current status quo.

This revision is now accepted and ready to land.Aug 29 2020, 10:26 AM
badosu added a subscriber: badosu.EditedSep 20 2020, 11:07 AM

Anything that increases the role of melee is a plus for me. My comments:

  • Avoid swordsmen being irrelevant, they should still counter pikemen
  • Would be nice to make pikemen all hack like all other melee should, but with a bonus against cavalry (whole damage gets multiplied, not pierce)

That said, I like indeed pikemen getting some love, it's sad to see all ranged when in reality most big battles of antiquity had the majority of units as pikemen (or swords).

Skirmishers (slingers count as skirmishers in my book) and cavalry still had an important role though, so in the future some balance patch that makes them very good in tactical positions but vulnerable head to head with infantry would be nice.

This patch looks good to me. Small sanity check, this maintains the balance between pikemen and spearmen right (armor v damage)?

What about giving them an attack bonus vs siege? They are already the strongest infantry unit in the game by far due to how tanky they are. Giving them the attack bonus would make them a little bit better vs siege while not buffing them too much.

Pikemen have five additional resistance levels, yes, which is equivalent to c. +70% health, making them harder to kill. However, they have by far the lowest damage per second:

Swordsman:          (5.5 + 0)   / 0.75 = 7.3
Spearman:             (3 + 2.5) / 1    = 5.5
Pikeman (proposed):   (2 + 3)   / 2    = 2.5
Pikeman (current):    (1 + 3)   / 2    = 2

The change does not seem excessive; I'd actually favour increasing it by even more.
Also, D3080 is related.

What about giving them an attack bonus vs siege?

Hard bonus attacks are ugly and ought to be avoided, in my opinion.

borg- added a comment.Nov 14 2020, 2:08 PM

As I mentioned earlier, I think we should reduce the pikeman armor a little bit, so that the new attack can be balanced. Giving a bonus is not a good solution, he would still have 1 attack, which is unpreparable.

What about armour 9 vs melee, 8 vs pierce? Maybe I'm wrong, but it was a unit more vulnerable to projectiles.

This patch looks good to me. Small sanity check, this maintains the balance between pikemen and spearmen right (armor v damage)?

If you mean if spearmen best pikemen, yes, one-on-one a spearman always wins. For larger numbers the outcome is less predictable, due to units focussing on the nearest foe, and also promotion, therefore I wrote a scenario and did a bit of testing, with the +1 hack damage change:
10 pikemen vs 10 spearmen: repeated five times, spearmen always win, 1 survivor
20 pikemen vs 20 spearmen: repeated five times, spearmen always win, 9 survivors
100 pikemen vs 100 spearmen: repeated five times, spearmen always win, 27, 39, 31, 28, 26 survivors
I guess with different placements one might get different numbers, but the general picture seems clear.

borg- added a comment.Nov 14 2020, 6:26 PM

As mentioned by @ValihrAnt, pikeman is a great unit, specially with ranger units, better than spearmen or swordmen ofc. it doesn't seem bad or unbalanced, it doesn't seem bad that they are stronger, some civilizations can take good advantage of it. what cannot happen is the extremely strong unit to the point of ruining gameplay. Rome may have a best sword inf of the game or iber with slings. Some "specially" units dont seems a problem with me.

Nescio updated this revision to Diff 14064.Nov 19 2020, 1:21 PM
Nescio removed a subscriber: Balancing.
  • updated
Owners added a subscriber: Restricted Owners Package.Nov 19 2020, 1:21 PM
Angen added a reviewer: Angen.Dec 2 2020, 2:27 PM
Nescio added a comment.Dec 2 2020, 3:36 PM

It's a little frustrating when women do more damage to siege engines than pikemen.

current pikeman  : 1 hack / 2 s = 0.5 hack/s
proposed pikeman : 2 hack / 2 s = 1 hack/s
female citizen   : 2 hack / 1 s = 2 hack/s
This revision was automatically updated to reflect the committed changes.