[0.91] Heavy Armor Too Slow?

By on May 16, 2013 12:29:28 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Naidrev

Join Date 06/2010
+5

I finally got to a point in a game where I could build heavy armor and give it to units. I can't help but notice that the intiative penalty from heavy armor makes them slow... very slow. Slow enough that my leather armor units, and most monster units, can attack two or three times between their turns. When my heavy armor unit gets hit twice as much before it can strike back, or worse never even makes it to the battle front, it makes heavy armor seem very unappealing. Considering it requires a trait to use, could the intiative penalty for heavy armor be lowered? It is rather underwhelming for an end-of-the-tech-tree tech.

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May 16, 2013 12:56:37 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

To top it all off, the AI often uses clubs/mauls which give a init penalty as well, making their units even slower. I've faced enemies whose "best" units were equipped with best techs available. Their init was an abysmal 8. They never even had a chance to hit me since I always backed away before their turn.

I agree the init penalties are too high. Both for plate armor for clubs.

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May 16, 2013 12:59:01 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Its supposed to be there as the tradeoff for getting way more defense than the faster units. With encumbrance gone, its the only tradeoff left for wearing full plate. Try giving your heavy armour units weapons with counter-attack, traits that boost their initiative, or putting bread and butter spells like haste and slow to good use. Also don't make just heavy armour wearing armies, a mix of unit types works best just like in real life. The role of the heavy armour units on the battlefield is to soak damage, bring some friends along with them who can rapidly dish it out.

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May 16, 2013 1:17:45 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It's too much of a tradeoff, especially now that it requires a trait on top of it.

 

 

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May 16, 2013 2:05:34 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Cwg9, my problem was that I was using mixed armies. The heavy armor troops just sat there while my faster troops rushed forward to deal with the enemy. The alternative was to just keep passing my turns until the enemy army walked up to my heavy armor troops and attacked them. That isn't very fun or balanced. And if the only way to use heavy armor effectively is to rely on counter-attacks, there is a problem.

If requiring a trait is not enough of a balance, here is another suggestion: Remove the init penalty of each individual item, and put a low, flat initiative penalty on the chainmail and heavy plate traits during unit creation (perhaps -2 for chainmail and -4 for heavy, but I don't recall what the current total intiative penatlies are for full suits of those armors, so that my be high/low). That way there is still a tactical choice in armor selection, but you can generate an init penalty that is lower than -1 or -2 per piece of armor (which is what the current system requires for balance).

Additionally, have the heavy plate trait include the ability to wear chainmail. That way units can still mix chain and plate without needing two traits and a lower init.

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May 16, 2013 4:02:16 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Good ideas, Naidrev.

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May 16, 2013 5:08:27 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Init penalty directly in the trait sounds a bit problematic. For instance, would it behave differently for champions? Or does a champion instantly get -4 initiative if he gets the plate trait, even if he's wearing only leather?

I do agree that plate proficiency should contain chain proficiency as well.

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May 16, 2013 5:52:04 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Unit traits can act differently from champion traits, even if they have the same name.  So it would be quite possible for units to get a penalty from medium or heavy armor and champions, because they are champions, don't.  They would still be restricted to the armor they have proficiency with though.

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May 16, 2013 9:00:43 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Right, the traits I mentioned would only be for units, and not champions.

Honestly, I don't see a problem with champions being able to wear chain and heavy armor without an initiative penalty. Unlike units, champions have to be a certain level to wear those, and require the use of a trait slot to get them. Heavy plate also requires chainmail to get, so they balance themselves out.

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May 16, 2013 9:23:42 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This ties into the problem of removing encumbrance.  If you have the armor proficiencies and then added additional encumbrance to them it would remove some of the initiative penalties by lowering encumbrance and would not effect lesser armors as they are already light enough to not be effected.  But since its gone its just a balancing act of what is the appropriate amount of penalty to give each piece of armor.

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May 16, 2013 9:55:46 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

While it is true that removing encumbrance means armor must be re-balanced, I still believe removing it was the correct decision, and a huge step in the right direction. We just need to keep pushing until we make it all the way.

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May 16, 2013 10:32:19 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The way the game is now, initiative by far the most important stat.  The AI should know this and design its units accordingly.

If it's pushing out a heavy armor, club wielding unit, then it should buff the snap out of that unit with +init traits and gear.  (And then cast haste on the thing.)

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May 16, 2013 10:38:21 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The problem is the AI does not "design" units it only uses predesigned units that are listed within the AIUnits file along with the normal units that show up when you unlock certain techs.

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May 16, 2013 10:51:14 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I dunno, low init units with 50-60 defense are still hard to kill, and can devastate you with crushing blow once they get their turn. 

Agreed that the AI needs to increase priority on init, but slow units with high defense and attack are still a threat. 

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May 16, 2013 10:54:35 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Chain gives a penalty of -2 initiative now that gloves have no penalty. I don't even know what the Plate Penalty is, as before I ever unlocked it I faced Yithril in a war of extermination and won easily when they started producing Oppressors in plate with their 8 initiative. Also I remember how bad Plate was the last time it had a penalty per item.

Plate should be a great bonus in combat, if it needs a cost it should come from huge production and metal costs, not the fact it weighs an unrealistic amount.  I'd support a -3 or even -2 penalty on platemail, its not supposed to be balanced vs leather or chainmail, its supposed to be an endgame technology.

 

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May 16, 2013 12:14:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Historically, plate armor was no more cumbersome than chain mail (actually probably a bit less). It was the pinnacle of armor technology. I think the initiative penalty should be cut in half for plate. The huge initiative penalty cancels much of the advantage of better protection.

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May 16, 2013 1:17:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well, that not completely right.  The problem comes from the weight versus how well it is distributed   Maile armor was heavy, about 40 lbs or so but all the weight was on the shoulders with a small amount held by a belt when given.  Maile armor did have greaves but once again they were heavy with all their weight only on the hips held by the belt.  Plate on the other hand was slightly heavier, by virtue of using more metal but because of its rigidity it allowed for a better distribution of weight.  So while it weighed more it was easier to wear.  Oh and munition armor which was the general plate they handed to line soldiers was around 50-60 lbs depending on point of manufacture.  Milanese fully articulated field plate was I believe around 65 lbs but was supposed to be the most protective and non restrictive  armor at the high time of plate armors.  How does this translate in game?  Plate is generally hard to run in so should reflect with a movement penalty but it is about the same penalty to actions as chain.  So maybe a -2 Init for chain and a total of -2 init and -1 movement for plate.  This would be balanced by mounted plate wearers and chain infantry.

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May 16, 2013 1:32:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Anyone who's ever worn actual chainmail can attest that it is more cumbersome than a well designed suit of plate. The weight of all those links, unless made with modern alloys, is substantial, and as most of the weight is on the shoulders, it can wear you out quickly. Add in the heavy gambeson worn underneath, and it becomes even more bulky. A good waist belt helps to alleviate some of the burden, but not by much. Chain armor's attraction was that it was relatively cheaper, and quicker to produce. I hate it; wore it a few times, and quickly went to leather and plate.

 

Good plate armor will see the weight distributed much better, and late period plate armor was typically lighter than equivalent chainmail, but as each piece must be individually fitted, the construction process was much more detailed, as well as expensive.

 

Check out this match between the Baltic and Israeli teams at last week's epic Battle of the Nations to watch just how well a big man in full plate can maneuver, action starts about midway.

 

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May 16, 2013 1:49:36 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This reiterates what I said but I can not attest to how it works personally as I have not experienced it.  I am going off research.  How would you represent this in game though, which ultimately is the goal here.  I gave the suggestion of -2 Init for Chain and -2 Init and -1 Movement for Plate but based upon what you are saying it should be -2 Init for Chain and -1 Init and -1 Movement for plate.

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May 16, 2013 1:55:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The init penalties seem a bit severe. In addition to initiative, though, the other component to plate/chain is:

*The need to burn a trait to use it

*The metal/labor cost to equip/buy it

Seems like initiative could come down a bit because of the other two restrictions (and even increase metal/labor if needed).

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May 16, 2013 2:27:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yea halmal242, dinna see your post until after I'd made mine, I'm kind of slow.

 

Quoting halmal242,
-2 Init for Chain and -1 Init and -1 Movement for plate.

 

This sounds good to me, keeps them different while not too restrictive.

 

 

 

 

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May 16, 2013 4:28:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

don't know if the game has to model the effects of armor accurately - i think it's a fairly common RPG trope to show plate as heavy/bulky and chain as the medium option between leather and plate. though this apparently isn't quite true

if they stick with the current system, i guess lowering the penalty wouldn't be a bad idea. as it stands now, you're often better off just using def units with leather armor and kite/tower shields- no penalty and still ~50-60 def while defending. -6 init and ~ +20 metal cost per figure for another ~20 def doesn't really sound like a good deal.

maybe the higher tier shields should get the penalty instead - those tower shields sure look quite bulky, don't think someone with an object the size and shape of a door strapped to his arm is very agile (maybe wrong, haven't tried it )

 

 

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May 16, 2013 4:48:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I don't know i don't seem to have to many issues, make sure you give the right traits and give them swords and horses and i've been able to make them effective. 

Yes it sucks that they are heavily penalized for it and having to give up a trait for the armor on top of it all. But if you create a unit all around initiative get a champion with the command skill tree you can actually have a damn near unstoppable force.

 

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May 16, 2013 10:37:48 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

How about going in a completely different direction than with init... how about a loss of dodge.  Like a ridiculously high dodge penalty that basically means that the opponent will score a hit no matter how low their accuracy is.  And that even offers reasoning as to why Resoln doesn't use armor.

 

Or perhaps a penalty to dodge and accuracy.

 

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May 17, 2013 1:03:38 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think a penalty to both would be the most realistic but some might consider that too harsh a penalty.

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May 17, 2013 4:29:25 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

That's the difficult thing when designing a game- How to make things as realistic as possible and still balanced. 

 

My opinion is heavy armor should be:

A.  Expensive (Medium should take 2 times longer than light, and heavy should take 4 times longer than light)

B.  Trained (Medium with one, Heavy with 2 perks)

C  Decreased mobility (You shouldn't be able to dodge in full plate)

D.  Awesome (Because heavy cavalry is historically bad-ass) 

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