Greetings, denizens of the Campus Martius....
Today I am very proud to present you with
The Unofficial EB Online export_descr_unit File, version 2.0.
The whole concept of a heavily altered online EDU came up in a conversation between Vartan and I when we were discussing what might come up in the online tournament. Several definite conclusions were reached between us about what ought to be changed. I then proposed that I make a new EDU for the upcoming summer of EB Online, as a way of correcting perceived imbalances and injecting a shot of vitality into the whole EB Online metagame.
The original goals of the alterations were fairly simple - to make phalanxes more vulnerable to missile attack, to increase the effectiveness of shortswords, and to depower certain units such as Thraikioi Peltastai. However, the goals became very quickly much more far-reaching, with hundreds of documented changes, from small tweaks to major restattings of certain units.
At its core, this project seeks to further the EB team's goal with the original unit stats - to create a balanced battle system through historical accuracy.
For the full list of instructions for EB Online, be sure to visit http://www.ebonline.tk/getting-started.html
A Short List of Major Changes
Obviously this EDU changes a lot, but here, I have listed a short list of changes that I feel will be the most impactful on EB Online gameplay, with explanations.
-Lethality of all kopides & falcatae increased from 0.11 to 0.135, and lethality of all axes & maces decreased from 0.165 to 0.15
Reasoning: The original EB stat system made falcatae/kopides more expensive than axes/maces and gave them a lethaltiy of 0.11; axes and maces were cheaper and had 1 less attack but a lethality of 0.165. Given what we know of RTW battle mechanics this means that falcatae and kopides were more expensive but less effective versions of axes and maces. This did not make sense because historically, falcatae and kopides were highly effective weapons, and it was also imbalanced from a gameplay perspective. The new stat setup is designed so that the two weapons are of roughly equal effectiveness.
-Prodromoi armour decreased to 9 and cost decreased to 2210. Carthaginian Citizen Cavalry defense skill reduced to 8.
Reasoning: The EB depiction of prodromoi features heavy armour including facemasks and scale-reinforced linothorax cuirasses. Historically, such xyston-wielding light horsemen rarely had anything more than a linothorax and helmet, but we have decided to stat them so they are on par with the Carthaginian citizen cavalry, which had a defense skill decrease. Previously, Prodromoi were often used as a "filler" cavalry unit, that were relatively cheap but still fairly resistant to missiles for their cost and able to drive home a charge well. Now, their cost has been reduced, but their durability against missiles and their ability to avoid casualties during a charge have both been reduced, which (I believe) outweighs the cost reduction. This is part of an overall effort to reduce the importance of lance-armed cavalry in EB Online battles, as lance-armed horsemen were historically not the majority of cavalry as they typically are in EB Online battles.
-Shortsword lethality increased to a minimum of 0.13, and made 0.15 for units that have been deemed "trained in its use"
Reasoning: Before this change, many shortsword-wielding troops had only 0.1 lethality, which made them useless, when historically they played valuable army roles. For example, Galatian shortswordsmen were historically an important part of Galatian armies, and effective melee fighters for their cost, but this was not the case with the previous stat system. Also, there was very little reason to use shortswords instead of spears for units like Iphikratous Hoplitai, even though such units were historically trained in their use.
-Cavalry charge bonuses redone on a new system
Reasoning: The old system failed to give cavalry an increased charge power based on training, only based on horse and weapon type. The new system takes into account training, horse, and weapon type. In particular, it increased the charge effectiveness of overhand spear wielding cavalry, though this is also due to an increase in overhand spear cavalry lethality.
-Pre-Marian Roman heavy infantry cost reduction reduced to -10%
Reasoning: Previously, pre-Marian romans were only allowed to use 91.7% of the money available to other factions in "official" games - 33,000 mnai in a 36,000 mnai game, for example - because of how cheap their units were. The need for rules to restrict the money available to some factions at a certain era indicates, to I and some others, a problem in unit balance. There is also historical reasoning behind this: Pre-Marian Romans were only able to draw on Roman citizens for Hastati, Principes, and Triarii. While the mandatory service system and a large population did give romans a large manpower supply that would reduce the cost of recruiting infantry, it was not to the extent that it would be in post-Marian times, where legionaries could be recruited from all Roman citizens, which included all the former Socii.
-All horse archers have arrow attack values reduced by 1.
Reasoning: The EB stat system, as it is, fails to represent the lower accuracy of horse archers compared with foot archers. Instead of modifying the descr_projectile_new file and making everybody install an additional file, I have decided that it is just simpler to lower the power of horse archers' arrows. This is historical as well, as EB itself describes, as foot archers were able to use bows with more powerful draw, or draw their bows more effectively in general, thus firing off more powerful and penetrating shots.
-Thraikioi Peltastai have the AP ability on their secondary weapon removed.
Reasoning: Thraikioi Peltastai were able to serve as the best of pretty much everything that wasn't a phalanx, cavalryman, or archer, in Hellenic armies because of their combination of excellent skirmishing abilities and high-lethality armour-piercing secondary weapons that could cleave through cataphracts and Carnute Cingetos alike. Also, a rhomphaia wielded in one hand lacks the force and penetrating power of one swung with two hands, thus making it difficult to produce the same sort of devastating results as a Drapanes; yet compared to the Drapanai, the Peltastai had only two less attack! Hence, they have had their AP ability removed, and their secondary has been given +1 attack, so it is comparable to a longsword in effectiveness, which I and others feel is an appropriate level of power. Testing has shown that the Peltastai remain a decently armoured, highly effective unit capable in many roles, but no longer able to just cleave through enemies like their two-handed cousins, the Drapanai.
Shout-Outs and Balloons
-To Vartan, for supporting and encouraging the project from start to completion, well worth two.
-To Antisocialmunky, for providing valuable and indispensable insight and a game or two to boot - two in one!
-To Lusitanian Wolf, AGATHODAIMON, LMT_710, stormrage, and The Celtic Viking for playing entertaining, challenging, and insightful testing games.