Troops : Quality v Quanity

By on October 1, 2009 1:41:41 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

ozmono

Join Date 03/2006
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I'm just wondering and hoping to incite discussion regarding the balance of troop quality versus quanity.

Personally I hope to see both strategies as being viable. However that said I have reservations. If having a large amount of troops can equal high quality troops with good equipment than that might undermine a very exciting part of the game (that part of the game being resource management and unit customization). Anyone have any thoughts on this?

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October 1, 2009 2:50:33 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

As long as upkeep costs are balanced things should work out.  Just another part of normal game balance.  Although in these types of games usually QUALITY wins out over quantity, if only because magic can give you immunities, etc.

 EDIT - In conclusion, balanced armies win wars! EG- if you have a bunch of awesome powerful water elementals that destroy most armies and they come accross some hero/unit that resists well their primary attack they're all dead. 

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October 1, 2009 2:57:05 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

you're up too late Trippin!   go to bed!  (actually, it isn't as late as I thought it was)

 

Anyway, ozmono,  I think your 1st sentence is what most of Stardock would like to say, I know I would.   That being said, I'm not sure.  Its tricky to balance that with so many other variables.   I mean, more of the higher quality troop is better, right!

 

The way it will likely work is ...  More = better.    But with some super high quality units (like dragons) you can't have more, so you can ONLY go with better.   And if the stats match up as seen in some of the earlier dev posts, 1 dragon will be stronger than 100s of regular dudes.

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October 1, 2009 3:21:19 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think your both right. It'll be a complicated thing to balance in such a game due to the many factors. Base units, magical powers , magic resistance, different equipment and the composition of troops for tactical battles to name some factors.

Trippin you said "As long as upkeep costs are balanced things should work out." which brings me back to my original question(well statement anyway). I hope to see it viable to have large numbers overcome a few higher quality units to a certain extent however would that than undermine a large portion of the game such as resource management, production of items and unit customization?

 

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October 1, 2009 3:21:52 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

A better equipped army should always stomp a mud hole in a bunch of untrained peasants.

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October 1, 2009 3:22:26 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Also it's mostly economic, if you have more wealth/magic resources, you can control more/better.  Economy is always key in a good strategic game.

 

Also i'm at work, work nights, heh.

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October 1, 2009 3:26:08 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Raven X,
A better equipped army should always stomp a mud hole in a bunch of untrained peasants.


I disagree although that might better suit such a game.
EDIT

If there outnumbered 10-20 to 1 than the lesser quality units should win.

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October 1, 2009 3:38:08 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ozmono,

If there outnumbered 10-20 to 1 than the lesser quality units should win.

Well in that situation yes, the lesser quality troops would win. The lesser would always win with a massive advantage in numbers. I left my post vague. I meant as a general rule with more equal numbers.1000 Knights verses 3000 peasants and I'd go with the Knights. 1000 knights verses 10,000 peasants and I'd go with the peasants.

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October 1, 2009 3:43:25 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Raven X,

Quoting ozmono, reply 6
If there outnumbered 10-20 to 1 than the lesser quality units should win.

Well in that situation yes, the lesser quality troops would win. The lesser would always win with a massive advantage in numbers. I left my post vague. I meant as a general rule with more equal numbers.1000 Knights verses 3000 peasants and I'd go with the Knights. 1000 knights verses 10,000 peasants and I'd go with the peasants.

Yeah I knew what you meant and my example was overkill. It'll be a complicated balancing issue but I tend to disagree on principle that quality should beat quanity not neccesarily the extreme of knights versus peasants either. That said in regards to praticallity I tend to think that a heavier importance of quality in a game such as this would underscore some of the exciting features of this game. It'd make you want to fight over resources, it'd make you want to create good items and it'd make you want to put it all together in the form of good troop creation/customization.

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October 1, 2009 4:01:37 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well, they should be adding an expert on game balance of some kind to the elemental team soon, I'd wager       so we can blame him if it isn't perfect.

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October 1, 2009 4:07:32 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting landisaurus,
Well, they should be adding an expert on game balance of some kind to the elemental team soon, I'd wager       so we can blame him if it isn't perfect.

I don't doubt there current ability to balance it even though I do recognise it'll be difficult, just a good point of conversation in my books.

EDIT

Also I'm impressed with the fanbase for elemental so far.

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October 1, 2009 4:35:07 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well, not to be picky (But im going to be because im bored at work) but I think 1,000 knights would probably utterly destroy the 10,000 peasents morale well before numbers began to tell at all...now 10,000 fanatical peasents..

 

 

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October 1, 2009 4:39:00 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well as long as we are being picky I'd agree in so far as the knights were fighting as an organised army and the peasants weren't but reduce the numbers to something like 2 knights versus 20 peasants, my money is on the peasants.

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October 1, 2009 5:04:42 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I fail to see how the organization has to do with the reduction in #'s.  Neverthless I stand by my inital statement.  20 peasents would quickly realize they want to gtfo of there fighting two, platemailed/warhorses, multi-weapone'd knights.  Well, probably 14 of them...

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October 1, 2009 5:23:48 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Organisation has alot to do with it. If they were in a formation it'd be harder for the aforementioned 10k peasants to overwhelm them. Even if it was on a large plain there would no doubt be exploitable terrain in a battle that size and you'd need organisation to utlize it. Now if they were all mounted knights with platemail and warhorses that's changing what I was thinking but still I wouldn't rule out 20 peasants depending if they stood there ground and what they were armed with ofcourse.

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October 1, 2009 5:33:07 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well, being normal peasents some would probably run as soon as one of them died, and i'm thinking they'd have no 'real' weapons but scythes/hoes, etc. Also I said "I fail to see how the organization has to do with the reduction in #'s," anyway I need to actually work a bit now. 

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October 1, 2009 5:36:58 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting SnallTrippin,
Also I said "I fail to see how the organization has to do with the reduction in #'s," anyway I need to actually work a bit now. 

Okay but I didn't say it would reduce the numbers I just added that to support quanity over quality. It's much easier to start running if 3k others are but if it's only 20 men v 2 I don't imagine the peer pressure/fear to have the same impact.

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October 1, 2009 5:41:02 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,

Personally I hope to see both strategies as being viable.

Same here. Both of these strategies should work in a balanced strategy game.

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October 1, 2009 11:31:11 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ozmono,
I hope to see it viable to have large numbers overcome a few higher quality units to a certain extent however would that than undermine a large portion of the game such as resource management, production of items and unit customization?

Population is a resource too. If you send 10,000 peasants into the army, all of the sudden you have 10,000 fewer people working farms, mining, and making goods. That kind of population shift should be a pretty big negative impact on your economy. Plus, even if you're only going to equip them with sharp sticks, that's still 10,000 sharp sticks that have to come from somewhere.

A GC2 example would be if there's some nice enemy worlds ripe for invasion but the only planet you have with enough population to crew up a few transports is your main economy planet.

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October 1, 2009 11:37:35 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 

There's plenty of beta testing for balancing the effectiveness of units, spells, buildings, independents, heroes, etc., etc.,  .  Virtually any aspect of the game can have this topic. 

    Spells:  Quality vs Quantity

    Items:  Quality vs Quantity

 

etc., etc., 

 

Obviously part of beta testing is for game balance.

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October 1, 2009 2:00:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Odds are the main balancing factor will be money. Seeing as this is fantasy, it's likely 2 knights would have no problem with 20, maybe 30 peasants. However, those knights could very well cost as much as 100 peasants, so there's where the main tradeoff comes in. Also, stronger troops are likely to have magical abilities, letting a single man kill hundreds, in theory, so I can see it very likely that quality will win over quality at almost all times, except when it comes time to pay the bills. If you have too many magical flying men of death in your employ, you won't be able to have armies, since you'll need all those men making the money to pay the magical flying men.

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October 1, 2009 2:21:05 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I see the quality vs quantity thing as being more a question of initial investment versus ongoing investment. So while training and equipping 100 knights would probably cost alot more that to equip 1000 peasants (they could probably just be levied from the population) the cost to keep an army of 1000 peasants in the field is significantly more than 100 knights. OTOH after the war the peasants go back to the fields and cost upkeep no more but the knights may need to be retained as professional warriors (depending on the society). So a peacetime army would likely consist of well trained and equipped professional soldiers. They would be more cost effective for their upkeep even though they have a larger investment. But during war time the professional soldiers would be supplemented by masses of cheap to train and equip recruits. Also a peasant army could be created QUICKLY while an army of knights would need ALOT of time to train. There will be alot of tradeoffs and I suspect any well-rounded player will use both types of troops according to the situation.

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October 1, 2009 2:39:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quality vs Quantity can't be really well balanced if there isn't such things as morale, supplies and fatigue.

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October 1, 2009 2:48:31 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

From what I have seen of such games, I think quality will win over quantity in the end. But the time and other resource investment required to create the infrastructure necessary for training the high quality units will be large, which will mean a gradual shift to high quality units as the time goes on. If nothing else, the maintenance costs will be in their favour.

But this game could be different. Not sure if that's a good idea or not. Personally, I am a big fan of high quality units, whether it be Civ4 (no choice), AoW:SM or even Age of Empires. Not always the best strategy in multiplayer, although it works fine against the AI.

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October 1, 2009 3:18:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting vieuxchat,
Quality vs Quantity can't be really well balanced if there isn't such things as morale, supplies and fatigue.

Hm...so morale won't be in the game at all?

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October 1, 2009 4:19:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Hm...so morale won't be in the game at all? 

we have no idea at this point.    can't even speculate until tactical combat is in, and even then who knows.

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