Anvil Game Studios

Author Topic: Balancing the Classes for Linebattles and not just for public servers  (Read 189 times)

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Offline Sir Madijeis

  • Landsman
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Line Battles are repetitive and monotonous. You only ever fight infantry, and most of the gameplay is just shooting at each other from one hill-crest to the other, until the all-charge comes around. Barring occasional charges against the artillery and, of course, the shifting frontline of a battle, the gameplay is incredibly static. Being an officer is all about the positioning and pressing the buttons 1 2 and 3 at the right time. Can't imagine how bad it is for the people always playing ranker. This is the obvious result of only ever balancing your game around rando-gameplay in public servers: that is the only context where the power of cav and the ability to reload while walking, and it just translates horribly in competitive events where people realize that, while a welcome addition to any funny moments compilation, things like bayonet charges are just way too ineffective to be seriously considered. This needs to change and fast.

Always the cav's fault
It really doesn't matter how much I spin it, but the most serious offender, in terms of breaking the game balance, is cavalry. Cavalry, CAVALRY, CAVALRY!. Games with classes usually use a triangular 'rock-paper-scissors' balancing, in napoleonic terms: cavalry scatters skirms and arty, skirms and arty decimate infantry, infantry repulses cavalry. Now, what happens when cavalry, even light cavalry, is perfectly capable of frontally breaking an infantry formation? Even when it's just 6 of them? It well and truly destroys the balance. The number 6 is the one admin decided to use because it's enough to kill one regiment, but not enough to withstand much more than that. Ramifications of that:
  • Horsemen never seek out light infantry, their otherwise perfect target, because they have to make their lives count by cutting down as much infantry as possible. This means that nothing can counter lights except other lights
  • It's rare for a regiment to face the enemy cavalry. You might go a whole night without doing so, this feeds into the monotony, and the frustration of when you do encounter them but get immediately trounced.
  • Artillery is also way too safe. While not as elusive and frustrating to deal with as lights, it is rare for the artillery to be silenced even a minute before the all charge, let alone before. Basically, artillerists have basically no other worries than their enemy counterparts.

How do we fix this?
Infantry is not blameless. The static gameplay is also a result of the extreme effectiveness of defensive tactics. Simply put: you literally cannot dislodge a regiment from his hill crest, unless you beat it in a skirmish, and that's it. What about bayonet charges? Catching the enemy while reloading and without bayonets should be enough to rout them, right? Well, not quite. Bayonet Charges are remarkably uneffective. This has happened to me atleast once, haven't dared charging ever since: we waited for an enemy reg to fire, then we ran to squat right under their crest; they fired at our allies and thus we charged them, however, as soon as they saw our hats from the crest, they walked backwards while reloading, they mantained their line, and then just fired a volley, just 3 of ours remained and were easily dispatched in melee. The speed at which people walk while reloading is too fast, and due to the nature of the crest-to-crest fighting, where ballistics allows you to curve a shot at people right behind a crest, regiments instinctively walk back while reloading, encouraged by how fast they can walk while reloading. It needs to be halved, and you should consider adding a significant speed buff to the '6' Charge order of the officer.
Let's get right into this:
  • Horse Soaring already exists in the game, I've pulled it off consistently with musket fire, but not with bayonets. The reason for that is probably due to the ridiculous swinging arc (more on that later) swords on horseback have, but either way, I remember hitting a horse a mere second before death and then still getting trampled. Any method to make horse soaring more consistent is welcome. My personal suggestion is to make the front of the horse a weak spot which, if hit by a polearm, immediately causes the horse to soar, regardless of damage
  • Do people like it when the gentle caress of a sabre causes their avatar to immediately have a stroke and die? The swing of a saber should never be able to reach the front of the horse, in real life they would've already spent their energy, but this game doesn't have momentum in the melee so it still causes a hit and a kill. Restrict it enough to force the cavalrymen to attack by the side. A byproduct of this would be that now there's a niche in the gameplay for straight swords (capable of a weak thrust) and LANCERS. One simple fix for one whole new class of cav!
  • The destructive, wrecking ball-like impact cavalry has towards infantry formation is also aided by the lengthy ragdoll animation, where you're still vulnerable from hits from horseback, the unequip-effect of being trampled and the very high damage trampling does. I'm not saying you should be fine after getting trampled by a warhorse, but this is too much: one of the first 2 has to go, and only heavy cavalry should be capable to kill you after trampling you 3 times.

These are my suggestions. Keep in mind that I do not want cavalry to disappear, quite the opposite: by implementing simple and effective counters to their ability, I hope that their numbers would be less limited in the future. I'm tired of playing WW1 but with muskets. Let there be cav and bayonets and epic charges.