List of major improvement propositions (LMIP)

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duneix
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List of major improvement propositions (LMIP)

Post by duneix » Wed Jan 04, 2017 9:49 pm

Hi everyone,

As you probably know I've been playing AoS for a while.
I love this game and find it very interesting and fun. However, I think a lot of things could be easily improved to better balance the game.

I've listed here some notes and recommendations on how to improve our favorite games. I prefer to first write everything here cause many propositions has to be considered as a whole, and wouldn't make so much sense if taken separately. However I'll also create a topic for each of this proposition, so that it can be discussed separately. Every proposition is numbered ; sometimes numbers are not consecutive because some propositions have already been implemented, opened in the forum or discussed with Daniel.

So here they are:

II) Multi-player

1) Minor improvements :


a) Quick defeat (as standard or as a game option) = once a player has the double of point of the other, this player can decide to end the game earlier and to win it.
Reason is, it happens sometimes (and it's terrible) to play against players who know they have lost, but refuse to resign and prefer not to play their turn, waiting 23h before passing it without moving any unit.
The end of the game should not be automatic cause sometimes, return games are discussed once the game is almost over and it would be a pity that the game ends before name & password of the revenge game are given)

h) It's always a big advantage to start, as it's possible to conquer some tcs before the other. I would suggest to balance it by another advantage for the second player.
For example, the second player start with a free dog (if game is created with minimal starting units) or 2 dogs if few/many starting units.
Don't know how it should work on 3-6 players games. If you have other suggestions, would be great!

i) improvement of the building process by implementing pourcentages instead of absolute values (HP) during the construction. Right now for example, it lasts the same time to construct a catapult with workers or with laborers (16 turns), because both gives one HP each turn. If it were calculated with percentages, workers would give 6,25% each turn, laborers maybe 4 or 5%, and it would be more balanced.

k) it would add a strategic value if we could place our units in the towns / wagons / towers in the order we want, in order to decide which one will defend first and which one will survive in case the wagon/tower is destroyed.

2) Major improvements :

a) Statistics
A game may be boring if there is no challenge. In the single player mode, ending every campaigns is a motivating challenge. But in the multiplayer game, something is missing.
For example, Windows Games (spider, Freecell, ...) or Sudoku games may be repetitive but their statistic tools is a good way to keep people playing and playing, in order to improve their stats.
I guess it would be very important to have its own stats on AoS (number and % battles won/lost (total & during the last 3/6/9/12 months, nb victories in a row, time to play, % turns skipped, ...).
Why also not adding a kind of achievement table, like in hattrick (for the one who know that online game) : https://wiki.hattrick.org/wiki/Achievements, which medals for every quests realised.

b) Player profile
When playing with someone, it should be possible to have a page view of the player with Avatar + a device or description + of course every stats (on the game description page, where game name/options can be chosen): it's nice to have its own statistics, but better to be able to share/show them ;)

c) A league with ranking
Or several leagues, like in Starcraft 2 for ex, with more or less the same rules by the calculation of the ranking (I'm not a Starcraft 2 expert but I remember a very efficient system)
Reaching a better ranking or league and losing ranking if no game is played is an objective that can motivate people to play again and again.
This ranking(s) should be viewable from the game app + possibility to challenge anyone in its own league + to search players pseudonym. This is maybe harder to implement cause a party lasts several days and it would be boring to be harassed by challenges from other player. Solutions should be researched to avoid such inconveniences : only possible to challenge someone within its own league? impossible to challenge someone already playing? Holiday-Modus + possibility to go on holidays once a month without losing ranking?

III) The units balancing
That's a huge topic.

Right now, the game is really fun and quite balanced, so it's not a priority to improve that point.

But I would have 2 remarks:

1) Too many different units
There are about 50-60 (?) different units in the game (without upgrades) but only a few are really useful. I don't see much utility for slinger, chariot, chariot archers, etc. Anyway, it doesn't hurt.

2) Some units are too powerful
At a high level, my opinion is, there is only one strategy working : stables + workers/laborers building castles, catapults and wagons + assassins destroying castles. I haven't seen anyone winning with barracks / archery range.

Same problem on the sea. Only cannons are efficient, there is nothing against that.
That could maybe be improved / more balanced. Ideally it should be impossible to win with only 1 kind of units (cavalries/wagons/catapults on the earth or cannon ships on the sea)

3) Indispensable units
I find these units excellent/very interesting in a strategic point of view:

a) light cavalry: weak and fast, the ideal unity at the beginning to explore and conquer tcs. No need afterthat but that's already perfect.

b) dogs: weak unit but built in one turn, and able to resist 2 turns to light cavalry and archer. Perfect to defend a city that has just been conquered if an hostile light cavalry us around. However, this role could be played by peasants if this unit is once implemented, which would be more logical.

c) Pikemen: quickly trained and very efficient against cavalry. The last update (reach) is very important cause it makes a halbardier able to kill an upgraded heavy cavalry in just one turn.

d) Spies: there is no strategy without information.

e) Assassins: the only way to destroy castles. The solution is quite radical (especially cause an assassin in a battering ram in a wagon has a 10 tiles action range) but it adds fun. Maybe divide this unit in assassins (able to kill units) being built in 3 turns and saboteurs (able to destroy buildings) in 4 or 5 turns?

f) cavalry/heavy cavalry: fast and powerful, can wipe every ennemy units easily but are useless against towers and vulnerable to pikemen and lancers; they are strong against archers.

g) lancers/heavy lancers: more or less only useful against other cavalries, and that's what is fun. For player playing cavalries like me, the most important is to correctly balance the number of lancers and cavalries, as having too many lancers is useless. Furthermore, the fact that lancers are killed by pikemen and other lancers in one turn (depending on the upgrades) adds fun. This unit has to be always carefully positioned on the field, as it's always a "kill or be killed" move.

h) wagons: for me, one of the most important unit in this game:
. Wagons enable rush strategies
. they help units to move faster across the map (a cavalry in a wagon moves 15 tiles in a turn with the help of a second wagon)
. They hide units (ennemy wagon is approching my towns ; is there anything inside? what is inside/how many units? against what should I defend?)
. They protect units against ennemies (infantries in a wagon are for example well protected against archers)
. They can rescue injured units on the battlefield, that quickly jump in the wagon, are protected inside, and are led away

i) archers & longbowmen: very nice long range units, excellent to defend and to clean fields. Very vulnerable to catapults and ballists, and vulnerable to cavalry, but fast to train so that's fair. I would personally maybe add a 10% (?) bonus against every kind of cavalries, because right now they can hardly do something against cavalries in wagons + cavalries are too powerful, it would balance units.

j) battering rams: only useful to defend tcs (very hard to destroy) or to give 2 extra range action to assassins. Not efficient enough against buildings / towers / walls.

k) trebuchet: top unit, the only valable unit right now against catapults (it's a pity there is no other option) + essential in an offensive phase to destroy towers, buildings and castles. I find the unit's power perfect / very well balanced with the buildings hp + it makes masonry and massive walls a very interesting option (so that fortresses are not destroyed in one turn for example)

l) catapults: right now the most powerful unit in this game, which is a problem as it's possible to win the game with only workers/laborers building catapults and wagons + a few units to conquer tcs. They are very long to research (6 turns + 7&8 turns for the upgrades) but once it's done they are terrible.
Very resistant to long range units (except trebuchets) ; fire don't killed them fast enough ; their range protects them against cavalries. Only cavalries in wagons + spies or towers+town patrol to localise them can help, but only if there are enough cavalries / wagons, else everything is lost in the next turn.
The II) 1) i) point will make it a bit harder for laborers to build catapults, however I think they are still too powerful. I think it should last a bit longer to construct them, maybe 18 turns?
I also think upcoming points III) 4) a) & b) could balance the power of catapults.
Except that, I think they are perfect, adding a bit of hazard in the game as it's hard to know how many damage catapults will provoke.

m) workers and laborers: laborers are a very good idea, as it's a key point to have the right number of workers comparing to laborers. It also adds a strategic value during offensive ; it can be worth foe example to send a suicide attack targeting only workers cause if there's no workers anymore, laborers are useless.
However, the fact that workers and laborers can build units (catapults / wagons / battering rams / ...) give them a importance which is just too high.
Why training a catapult in a tc when I can train a worker which will then build the catapult?
. For example, in 9 turns I can train 1 catapult in a tc + one turn remaining for something else.
. But in 9 turns, I have 1 worker + 3 laborers + 1 catapult if this manpower build it.
. In 16 turns, I would have 2 catapults in the tc or 1 worker + 6,5 laborers + 3 catapults + one catapult being build at 50%.
. and so on, it's exponential.
Because of that, my tcs never train anything else than workers or laborers, except the one which are a bit isolated or the one too close to ennemies.
I really think construction time of units should be increased, so that the exponential advantage of training only workers would be compensated by a huge danger at the middle of the game, when the other one has many units while the workers have build anything yet / are not building fast enough.

4) Units with huge potential that should be ameliorated

a) encourage players to build ornithopters.
This unit has a huge potential but it takes too long to research and build it, it is too weak, and it can be only built in tcs. Right now it's more interesting to build workers/laborers that build catapults rather than trying to train ornithopters.
However it could be a terrible answer to strategies based on catapults, and it could also be fun to attack with that (adding new strategies like ambush or attack from behind thanks to their high speed). Furthermore it would force people to build fortresses in their own base (attacks may come from everywhere, especially against weak units like workers) + to always have some archers, especially in offensive phases. My strategy (catapults + cavalries + wagons) wouldn't work anymore.
An idea would be to give them a bit more hps + to give the possibility to workers to construct them (in that case, research should only be done in advancement centers like gunpowder, or in castles)

b) Fire archers are excellent/essential against ships, but not good enough against other units. They should be a possible answer against chariots and catapults, and an option to destroy buildings. Maybe by increasing the fire damages (I would prefer this option) or giving them better bonuses?

c) Poison archers are an excellent idea but it takes too long to kill a unit with poison. I would suggest that units poisoned are killed in 1 or 2 turns, no matter how many hps left it has. That would give by the same way more importance to healers and would reduce the power of heavy cavalries. Poison archers should be trained in 4 turns.

d) Healers / missionaries : I also see a huge potentiel for them but right now, they are not used a lot. I think poison archers will probably force players to train more healers / missionaries but something should be done to encourage converting other units. Don't know what (better conversation rate?).
Maybe another healing unit without conversion ability but with 2 healing actions in the same turn would be relevant to help heal everyone poisoned ;)

e) Birds are relevant but they are mostly useful at the very beginning of the game and losing 2 turns to train them is not profitable as they can be killed very easily. Maybe add some HPs to them? Or giving them only 1 hp but ability to train them in only one turn + replacing dogs by peasants? (cf point III) 3) b) )

f) why not adding an air transport unit, not too fast (more than speed 5 would be give an advantage to assassins), able to resist at least 2 turns to a fortress, transporting only one unit.

IV) New game balance

1) Archers
Right now, the cavalry are advantaged. Maybe these changes would advantage the archers too much, let's see. The right balance is extremely difficult to find.

2) Infantry
What is sure is that infantry (except pikemen) would not be enhanced, and that's a problem as they are almost useless for the moment. I guess it would not be bad to increase their HPs but to be honest, I don't know if it would be enough as their main weakness is their low speed and their vulnerability against archers / cavalries / catapults (well, actually against every other units). I think 2 options to investigate further would be
. to allow strategies combining infantry + a very strong transport unit (like battery ram, but faster and able to transport more people)
. to increase the morale / legion effect. Combination of infantry and banner bearer / centurion / anything similar would also add a strategic value.
But again, as I don't have much experience with infantry, it's hard for me to assess it correctly.

3) Sea battle
Sea battle are also unbalanced, as right now cannon ships are too powerful in comparison to the rest. I guess fire ships would not be bad, but that's another huge topic.

4) Further changes
I think they are a lot of other things that could be modified / improved or just changed but it's a never ending question. It's always possible to add new things (units able to camouflate/hide/disguise other units?) and everyone have (sometimes excellent) suggestions, it's impossible to deal with all of them. That's why I've tried not to add new things (except the air transport unit), only to modify already existing things.


V) Summary

These suggestions are (for me) the most important in order to better balance the game. The main objectives for me are the following:
. adding new macro strategical possibilities (right now I only see the catapults+wagons+trebuchets+assassins option to win). Maybe another one with archers and another one with air units? Ideally a last one with mostly infantry but I don't know how.
. adding new micro stragical possibilities: targetting healers first and then attacking with poison ; harrassing workers with ornithopters ; targeting centurion/banner bearer during attacks from infantry ; ...
. forcing the players to have a bigger range of different units (it would be a suicide to send cavalries without healer to face poison archers or catapults without archers to protect them against ornithopters)

These points should be the only one to be considered when changing or adding new stuff in the game.

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DoomCarrot
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Re: List of major improvement propositions (LMIP)

Post by DoomCarrot » Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:38 pm

I admit to not reading the entire thing, (I skimmed the last part).

However, I think that stable + workers is NOT the only effective strategy. It may be the EASIEST to execute (especially on open maps like greenfield), but try pulling a strategy like that on dry canyon and see how that turns out (I kicked phoenix's butt when he tried that exact strategy on that map). :P

Barracks and archery range, even church and roman garrison have their place imo.

I also think that although cannons are currently the ultimate unit, an army made up solely of them would easily be destroyed. If you had only cannon ships, a couple of orthnicopters and turtle ships could absolutely wreck havoc.

This is a pretty interesting analyzation of the game though. I agree with parts of it, but not all. :)
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Detros
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Re: List of major improvement propositions (LMIP)

Post by Detros » Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:48 pm

Great summary.
Though it should be noted beside "Upgrades:Yes" mode s there is also that "Upgrades:No" which would be very affected by some of your proposed changes. That "Ornithopters researched in Advancement Center" won't work as there are no ACs there.

duneix
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Re: List of major improvement propositions (LMIP)

Post by duneix » Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:13 am

Detros wrote:Great summary.
Though it should be noted beside "Upgrades:Yes" mode s there is also that "Upgrades:No" which would be very affected by some of your proposed changes. That "Ornithopters researched in Advancement Center" won't work as there are no ACs there.
You're right! I completely forgot that option ;)
Do you think many players are using it?

duneix
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Re: List of major improvement propositions (LMIP)

Post by duneix » Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:42 am

I agree that's a huge debate. :)
Well Dry Cannon is a very specific map and for specific maps, every strategies should be adapted.
However I'm pretty sure that a strategy based on cavalries will be better and I would be pleased to challenge you on that map :D

Based on my experience (but I may be wrong), archers + infantry cannot beat stable + workers. Here are the reasons:
. You need only to research 5-6 upgrades to have the best cavalries possible (sword mastery 1-2, cavalry armor 1-2 + heavy cavalry - eventually heavy lancer if the opponent has some cavalries) while you need at least 10 for archers & infantiles (including halbardier & crossbowman)
. You need 10 fully upgraded crossbowmen to kill only one heavy cavalry and 15 units to kill a heavy cavalry in a wagon.
. You need 15 crossbowmen or 6 fire archers to kill an heavy catapult in one turn
-> facing an organized attack is almost impossible with archers.

With infantry its possible to face against some cavalries but if catapults are coming in a second wave, you have huge losses.

By the way, with all the workers and laborers trained, you have about 1 heavy catapult + wagon built each turn at turn ~15, and at least 2 a turn at turn 20 (I guess more). And the longer you wait, the more catapults are produced each turn.

Which means, the opponent has to attack quickly if he wants to keep a hope to win...which is hard with archers + infantry as:
. they are slow
. archers can't do much against towers (and constructing towers is easy when many workers are trained)
. infantry could help against towers but would be quickly wiped out by cavalries sheld and healed in the towers.

That's the reason why I was thinking of increasing the damages of fire (so that fire archers can face catapults and towers) and poison archers (against cavalries)

DoomCarrot wrote:I admit to not reading the entire thing, (I skimmed the last part).

However, I think that stable + workers is NOT the only effective strategy. It may be the EASIEST to execute (especially on open maps like greenfield), but try pulling a strategy like that on dry canyon and see how hat turns out (I kicked phoenix's butt when he tried that exact strategy on that map). :P

Barracks and archery range, even church and roman garrison have their place imo.

I also think that although cannons are currently the ultimate unit, an army made up solely of them would easily be destroyed. If you had only cannon ships, a couple of orthnicopters and turtle ships could absolutely wreck havoc.

This is a pretty interesting analyzation of the game though. I agree with parts of it, but not all. :)

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Detros
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Re: List of major improvement propositions (LMIP)

Post by Detros » Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:43 am

duneix wrote:
Detros wrote:Great summary.
Though it should be noted beside "Upgrades:Yes" mode s there is also that "Upgrades:No" which would be very affected by some of your proposed changes. That "Ornithopters researched in Advancement Center" won't work as there are no ACs there.
You're right! I completely forgot that option ;)
Do you think many players are using it?
Hoping Daniel logs some stats it should be quite easy to ask for a distribution of "No", "Yes(0)", "Yes(5)" and "Yes(10)" upgrade-mode of last month MP games.

Well, I only recently started with MP so I can't tell much what I have seen. I am still playing my first MP game where I went for no-upgrades mode when creating the map. I have so far unlocked only like a half of upgrades so I felt in yes-upgrades mode I would be in quite a disadvantage. Even later I am going to mostly seek either for no-upgrades or yes-0 modes.

I must admit I partly expected proposal for a new upgrade mode where you can check which upgrades can be used would be also part of your list of ideas. Nevermind, I will make a separate thread about that.

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Re: List of major improvement propositions (LMIP)

Post by COOLguy » Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:36 pm

DoomCarrot wrote: If you had only cannon ships, a couple of orthnicopters and turtle ships could absolutely wreck havoc.
:D
Thanks!
Josh

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Re: List of major improvement propositions (LMIP)

Post by COOLguy » Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:53 pm

Thanks for the detailed summary, Detros! I see you put a lot work into it. I would say you have very good points, but I would be careful of saying that there is only one magic strategy to win everything. The only way to win every game is with strategy, adaptability, and a balanced army.
Thanks!
Josh

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Re: List of major improvement propositions (LMIP)

Post by DoomCarrot » Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:53 pm

Yes I gree cavalry are very tough to bring down with archers. Typically, archers shouldn't waste their attacks on heavy knights and catapults, but even if they have to, the idea is to keep them in towers and such, so even though they have a hard time killing the cavalry, the cavalry have an even harder time getting to them.

Unfortunately, I execute this strategy poorly about 50% of the time and end up with half my archers in the open. :lol:
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Detros
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Re: List of major improvement propositions (LMIP)

Post by Detros » Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:36 pm

COOLguy wrote:Thanks for the detailed summary, Detros! I see you put a lot work into it. I would say you have very good points, but I would be careful of saying that there is only one magic strategy to win everything. The only way to win every game is with strategy, adaptability, and a balanced army.
I am just a random passerby! Blame duneix, not me! :D

duneix
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Re: List of major improvement propositions (LMIP)

Post by duneix » Fri Jan 06, 2017 9:27 am

Detros wrote:
COOLguy wrote:Thanks for the detailed summary, Detros! I see you put a lot work into it. I would say you have very good points, but I would be careful of saying that there is only one magic strategy to win everything. The only way to win every game is with strategy, adaptability, and a balanced army.
I am just a random passerby! Blame duneix, not me! :D
That's unfair :roll: :D

duneix
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Re: List of major improvement propositions (LMIP)

Post by duneix » Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:08 pm

COOLguy wrote:
DoomCarrot wrote: If you had only cannon ships, a couple of orthnicopters and turtle ships could absolutely wreck havoc.
:D
Destroying a fleet of cannon ships with turtle ships? Good luck...

Turtle ships have no chance :
. You need 2 turtle ship shots to destroy a cannon ship
. Their poor range and their low speed (4) make them very vulnerable, almost useless
. You can build turtle ships in docks only, so with 6 docks (!) you get only 1 ship a turn, which is nothing
. Turtle ships can help defending, but impossible to attack with that

On the other side, cannon ships may be built by workers / laborers which means that with this tactics, you get one ship a turn from turn ~15 on (+ the ones from your docks), ~2 ships a turn from turn 20 on. And the longer it lasts, the more workers/laborers you get, so the more ships you produce each turn (it's exponential)

No chance to fight against that with turtle ships :)

Ornithopters also could help but you need too much time to research and build them, and I would already have a decisive advantage (many workers/laborers) before you launch your first ornithopter. Plus ornithopters can only be built in tcs so you won't get many at the same time and counter them with warships is just to easy. It would be waste of 10turns+ to build a strategy which would be wasted by a few warships being built in 4 turns (and even less by workers)

And again, still the same problem, the longer you wait, the more workers/laborers are available to build units.

That's why I proposed to improve ornithopters (proposal III) 4) a) ). But that's not enough, other things have to be done to better balance sea battles (better turtle shops, fire ships,...?). Anyway it's another huge topic

If anyone doubts from what I say, I would be happy to play with him, there's nothing better than a real proof, even for example on a revealed map. But right now, I haven't lost for at least 6-8 months (since I play this strategy), so believe me, I really know what I'm talking about

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Re: List of major improvement propositions (LMIP)

Post by COOLguy » Sat Jan 07, 2017 3:45 pm

Detros wrote:
COOLguy wrote:Thanks for the detailed summary, Detros! I see you put a lot work into it. I would say you have very good points, but I would be careful of saying that there is only one magic strategy to win everything. The only way to win every game is with strategy, adaptability, and a balanced army.
I am just a random passerby! Blame duneix, not me! :D
Lol my bad ;)
Thanks!
Josh

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