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Thread: Balance Problems

  1. #1
    Member Member sudo1996's Avatar
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    Default Balance Problems

    I've been playing this mod and love the historical accuracy and the wide variety of units to choose from. But after playing into some campaigns (the longest being Hayasdan), some things are bugging me a lot, and I hardly want to play anymore. Am I doing something wrong, or do we agree about these problems?

    1. Phalanxes are overpowered. In regular RTW, you could hit them in the side or rear and rout them pretty easily. That is not the case in EB. They only lose a few men when I hit from behind with ANYTHING, then they turn around and slaughter mine either with spears or their secondary weapons (axes). You'd think a perfectly coordinated charge with 2 units of my best cataphracts would do it, but no. I can only ever effectively fight them using archers/slingers, and they take a ton of ammo to kill, seemingly more than in regular RTW. And the phalanxes don't even cost that much. Frustrating because the Alexander factions throw tons of them at me in every battle.

    2. Slingers are overpowered, especially Celtic ones. The Celtic ones, like the rest, are super inexpensive, and they're the deadliest projectile units I've seen. I've tried inexpensive Celtic slinger armies against expensive armies of varying sorts in custom battles, and the slingers always win easily. I think this is even worse than the phalanxes. I've banned myself from using Celtic slingers during my Carthaginian campaign where I took over some Gallic land, and I consider it a bit of a cheat to use any kind of slinger unit.

    3. Cavalry is very weak and crazy expensive, with exceptions below. The weakness is due to the unit movement and the stats. Their attack power is terribly low, and they do dumb things. Sometimes, they'll charge "through" an enemy unit and repeatedly turn around, not really doing any damage. They don't seem to be able to charge at anything in skirmish mode, and attacking while "pursuing" hardly does anything. They can charge at a moving unit but will stop after hitting the first few men. They don't do any real damage while running through enemies, only when you directly click to attack them. They often die while charging (well maybe this is realism, but it's still another weakness to add to the list). Oh, and spear units all have a big bonus against them, so that basically means I shouldn't use them against 90% of any army I'll fight since there are so many spear units. So I don't use them for anything except killing routing units and maybe killing an unprotected general.

    4. The Saroumatae and Sakka have very strong units that are cheap and easy to produce in campaign, and it's to a point that seems unfair. Somehow, their ranged cavalry doesn't cost too much and does well in both ranged and hand-to-hand combat. Their base-level archers have great range and good stats otherwise. They'll destroy any similar army of ranged units from any other faction, and in any battle in general, they seem to have an advantage. In the campaign, it's very easy to build up a settlement enough to make amazing horse archers. As Hayasdan, I've yet to have a settlement capable of making my comparable but more expensive noble horse archers.
    Last edited by sudo1996; 08-25-2015 at 09:09.

  2. #2
    Arrogant Ashigaru Moderator Ludens's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Re: Balance Problems

    Hello sudo1996, welcome to the .Org and to EB

    You've certainly touched on a few issues with EB's design, though in my opinion only one of these is as bad as you suggest.

    1) Phalanxes are indeed very though, particularly the professional and elite ones. Mind you, that is historical. It was a dense formation of well-trained men: these didn't break easily. The only way to defeat them is to pin and flank; or pin and use repeated cavalry charges. That said, I fell the armour and shield values of phalanx units are a tad too high. They are almost impervious to frontal missile attacks (being impervious to frontal charges is part of the design), and annoyingly resistant to rear attacks as well. They also turn their formation too easily to counter flank/rear attacks when not pinned, but that's part of the R:TW engine and cannot be modded.

    2) Absolutely. Slingers are amour-piercing as well, making them great for killing elite troops. This was by design (Balearic and Rodian slingers were apparently in high demand as mercenaries), but the team overdid it. If even cheap slingers were that effective, why would anyone use bows?

    3) Cavalry has been toned down from vanilla, and rightly so in my opinion. These are not medieval knights: only the heaviest cavalry could perform shock charges, and the lack of armour meant that they didn't do well in a melee. So you are best of by using a skirmishing, hit-and-run style when fighting close-combat infantry (do not use skirmish mode when ordering a melee attack, as that seems to prompt weird behaviour). Also, charging distances have been increased, so allow the cavalry a good run-up before hitting the enemy. Finally, you know that you can order shock cavalry to use their secondary weapon after a charge by using the alt-attack command? This way they will charge with their lances, and then switch to swords (if they have them: the lower-end cavalry doesn't).

    4) That's realistic. The Saka and Sauromatea spent their life in the saddle and with the bow, so recruiting good cavalry and good archers is far easier for them than it is for settled cultures. The trade-off is that haven't much in the way of infrastructure or wealth, so they can't raise large numbers of them until they conquer richer provinces. In history, nomadic cultures were mostly a nuisance, right up until one of them managed to unite and assemble a large number of horse archers. That's when all hell broke loose for their neighbours.
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  3. #3
    the angry, angry elephantid Member wooly_mammoth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Balance Problems

    I am thinking of trying out this mod in the future. It's nice to hear that phalanxes are actually tough and able to hold their ground against a frontal cavalry charge when well braced and deployed. In vanilla, a lot of cavarly units can easily destroy a lot of well-grounded phalanx units with frontal charges, which is just ridiculous. Horse charging into a wall of spears, unless wearing the whole taffing armory, are dead horses. I see no way around it.

    That being said, can the AI in EB still divebomb a line of phalanxes by clustering up the cavalry into a blob and then smacking them all in a single point, obliterating anything present there?

  4. #4
    Arrogant Ashigaru Moderator Ludens's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Re: Balance Problems

    Are you asking if the A.I. can wipe out phalanxes that way, or if it's dumb enough to waste its own cavalry? The answer to the former is no. Phalanxes are probably too though in this game. The answer to the latter is, unfortunately, yes, it does happen. The team made some improvements to the battle A.I., but it is still pretty dumb. Installing the "DarthFormations for EB" submod will help a bit, but don't expect miracles.

    ETA: just to be clear, I don't recall seeing any outrageous cavalry blobs. However, I have seen the A.I. do pretty stupid stuff with its precious cavalry units.
    Last edited by Ludens; 08-26-2015 at 20:04.

  5. #5
    the angry, angry elephantid Member wooly_mammoth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Balance Problems

    Good to hear. The AI's abuse of cavalry blobs is one of the few complaints I have with the gameplay of vanilla rtw.

  6. #6
    master of the wierd people Member Ibrahim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Balance Problems

    regarding cavalry: you can also read my super sexy cavalry guide

    EDIT: why stop at mine? there's a wealth of treatises on the subject of EB tactics:

    http://forums.totalwar.org/vb/showth...actical-Advice
    Last edited by Ibrahim; 08-27-2015 at 03:29.
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    Member Member Thoras's Avatar
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    Default Re: Balance Problems

    This was by design (Balearic and Rodian slingers were apparently in high demand as mercenaries), but the team overdid it. If even cheap slingers were that effective, why would anyone use bows?
    The interisting fact is that the more padding and heavier ramror was used sligns went out of use.
    and assemble a large number of horse archers. That's when all hell broke loose for their neighbours.
    Just horse archers and other cavalry are not winning battles just by being there...they aren't anything special when countered with the right tactics or when fighting a compenent army with enough heavy troops and archers or crossbow, there is a reason why the Battle of Lechfeld or Jaffa didn't end well for the side using them.The idea that HA's are magical troops that win battles just by themself without tactics is ridiculous.

  8. #8
    master of the wierd people Member Ibrahim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Balance Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by Thoras View Post
    The interisting fact is that the more padding and heavier ramror was used sligns went out of use.
    Just horse archers and other cavalry are not winning battles just by being there...they aren't anything special when countered with the right tactics or when fighting a compenent army with enough heavy troops and archers or crossbow, there is a reason why the Battle of Lechfeld or Jaffa didn't end well for the side using them.The idea that HA's are magical troops that win battles just by themself without tactics is ridiculous.
    Oh, believe me, I'm with you on the last part. I feel that the faction coordinators for the steppe cultures (particularly Parthia), might have been a bit...overeager.
    I was once alive, but then a girl came and took out my ticker.

    my 4 year old modding project--nearing completion: http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?t=219506 (if you wanna help, join me).

    tired of ridiculous trouble with walking animations? then you need my brand newmotion capture for the common man!

    "We have proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that if we put the belonging to, in the I don't know what, all gas lines will explode " -alBernameg

  9. #9
    New Member Member LegateLabienus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Balance Problems

    My two cents, as somebody who plays waaay too much EB:

    1.) I used to think pikes were a bit (just a bit, mind you, I've read Livy) overpowered. I could beat them as a non-phalanx faction by adopting an echeloned formation like the Boeotians did at Leuctra or similar tactics, but it was still tough. Then I played a Baktria campaign, learned their weaknesses through learning how to use EB pikes, and now making even elite pikes break and run is no biggie. Just a few hours ago I went up against an almost full stack of African Elite pikes backed up by some akontistai with a slightly smaller roman army (historical camillan roman army too, no extraordinarii-spamming or high-end auxilia) and routed them with less than two hundred losses, almost entirely to my leves. There are lots of tricks to make it easier, but chief among them are husbanding javelin ammo and not throwing it away against the front or shielded side of the phalanx, understanding how to use cavalry in EB (i.e., if you don't have cataphracts skirmisher cav is your best friend), good campaign map maneuvering (its always nice to make them come at you uphill), and rapid maneuver with light infantry.

    2.) Slingers are pretty powerful, but they have one clear and overwhelming disadvantage when compared to archers - namely, they can only fire laterally. While Cretans, Numidians, Syrians, etc. can hang out behind your main line, plinking away, slingers have to be in the first line or kill your own troops. Add to that the fact that unlike many archers (looking at you dacian archers, spears or AP swords as backup weapons? welcome to murderville), no slingers (except maybe rhodians?) are good at close combat or are equipped to deal with cavalry, making them extremely vulnerable to somebody who brought more than one unit of melee cav to the fight. Also, aren't celtic slingers just as bad as roman accensi? Or are they more accurate? The scary slingers are the Balearics, those guys in the right position are a major headache for just about anything (though once again, the moment they're behind a friendly unit, they're worse than useless). A favorite tactic as Baktria was to have Subeshi archers use my phalanx for cover while they killed enemy slingers, then run forward my dedicated skirmishers (by which i mean slingers/javelins) to start harassing their main line. Rarely took heavy casualties to slings that way.

    3.) Cav - as someone said, "these aren't medieval knights." They don't have stirrups, and therefore suffer in prolonged melee where infantry would have no trouble dismounting them. charge, wheel, charge again, wheel, charge again, never let the melee go on long with cav unless it's a) an all-cavalry affair and you can't let the enemy have room to breathe/flank you or b) they're heavy (ex. hetairoi), extra-heavy (ex. Baktrian medium cavalry), or super-heavy (ex. cataphracts) and you're sure the enemy will break soon and you can mop the routers up more easily if you stay stuck in. The exception is units of skirmishers who carry a knife for melee and don't outnumber you by more than two-to-one - most cav can handle that with minimal losses.

    4.) The Saka and Sauromatae are tough factions to deal with, but HA's are far from OP. An army with large numbers of well-armored pikes, for example, may necessitate the HA player fighting until he's expended his ammo and then withdrawing, only to come back next turn and slaughter their much reduced forces. conversely, you shouldn't ever attack these factions in open field encounters when you're playing as a hellenic/celtic/other mediterranean faction. Instead, build forts, let them hit cities, and hold chokepoints like rivers and mountain passes, and use plenty of good archers, as foot archers inevitably outrange mounted ones (well, not toxotai, but then toxotai are just there to set towers and rams on fire, not actually kill anyone). Persian archer-spearmen on a hill can take out most Saka and Sauromatae stacks, provided they aren't all-cataphract stacks or bodyguard spamming.
    Last edited by LegateLabienus; 03-30-2016 at 12:23.

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  10. #10
    Arrogant Ashigaru Moderator Ludens's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Re: Balance Problems

    Welcome to the .Org and to EB, LegateLabienus .

    Thanks for your detailed response. I am afraid that the OP has moved on since then, though.

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