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Thread: How does the combat system work in Medieval 2 Total War?

  1. #1

    Default How does the combat system work in Medieval 2 Total War?

    Hey guys,

    (I'm new to the forum, but been playing this game since it came out 7 years ago)
    I have a pretty good feeling that this is different from combat from games like Age of Empires (where each attack does the same amount of damage, every time, no randomness involved) because I see, e.g., soldiers can die in one hit from a longbowmen at times, but the guy next to him (who should have identical stats, but not sure) might take 2 or 3.

    I'm not sure, but I thought individual soldiers had hit points (which would have to be decimal numbers), so once they get non-fatally hit, they would be more likely to die from the next hit. But when I think about it more, when playing with elephants, which (I assume) have to receive 6 fatal hits to actually die, or Hospitaller Marshall, which have 2 hit points, when they are under missile attack, (or when all their soldiers are somewhat equally engaged in melee combat,) they rarely lose any men at first, but after their clothes turn bloody and stuff, they start dying really fast. (Easily exploitable by hit and run attacks for minimal losses)

    Normal soldiers can start dying under the first missile barrage. So I guess most wounded soldiers (those that look bloody) aren't really any weaker (of course, their attack may be decreased, but I'm not sure how to really test that)


    I've always assumed that how powerful an unit's attacks are scales with the square of their attack points, so a 10 damage arrow does 4 times as powerful as a 5 damage one. But according to
    forums.totalwar.org/vb/showthread.php?75233-How-the-Combat-System-Works
    it looks like it's actually a logarithmic scale so a 10 damage arrow would be 1.2^(10-5) = 2.488 x as powerful

    BUT that's for Shogun 2. AFAIK, that uses the engine from Empire, which might have changed that stuff.

    The reason I think this would be wrong is because that would mean a retinue longbowman with 8 missile attack that hits a dismounted chivalric knight with 8 defense (2 from armor, 6 from shield) would only have a 1.9% chance of killing it, and if soldiers can only be either dead or alive (not wounded with partial hp left) then they would be able to walk up to the longbowmen with only a few losses, (obviously not true, at 120 unit size, one unit can easily lose 10 or 20+ men per volley at close range)
    Also, this would make units almost impossible to kill, unless they're attacking over 10 times/second.

    This also means that the shield still provides most of its protection, even from the sides or back while the in-game advisor kept telling me (before I shut him up ) that the shield does nothing (although this wouldn't be the first time the in-game advisor has lied to me before, not just from this game)
    This would also mean that the "ap" or armor piercing attribute means (target armor-1)/2 instead of just target armor/2, which is what export_descr_unit.txt told me in the description (and I think the in-game advisor may also have told me that at some point)

    I think this is really important for deciding which soldiers to recruit, especially for deciding whether to use 1200 cheap ones or 600 really expensive ones (in battles I have seen my expensive knights and heavy inf get creamed by hordes of peasants, even without ap weapons. So why even bother to build expensive stables when mounted sergeants would do?

    Also important for mods - this would make the Realistic Archery mod unbalanced, since he multiplied the attack points of all arrows by 3, so longbows do 18 attack instead of 6, peasant archers do 15 instead of 5, etc. but he really should've added 6 to everything (since we're actually dealing with a logarithmic scale) to triple every arrow's damage so all archers get equally boosted.

    -Gene

  2. #2
    Moderator Moderator Gregoshi's Avatar
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    Default Re: How does the combat system work in Medieval 2 Total War?

    Hello gene and welcome to the Org!

    I just started playing M2TW for the first time this week, so I have no idea as to the details of combat either. However, I usually don't delve that deeply into the game mechanic anyway. I'm sure there is someone though that can shed some light on the subject for you.
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  3. #3
    Strategist and Storyteller Member Myth's Avatar
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    Default Re: How does the combat system work in Medieval 2 Total War?

    In vanilla m2tw ranged units rule. Arrows ig lnore defence and most high tier archers use AP to halve the armour value. The calculation used a 1d100 IIRC and most units hav 1 hp. Some elites have 2 (forlorn hope, muire etc.) and elephants have more. Archers and horse archers are the easiest way to get heroic victories vs the stupid vanilla battle ai. Install stainless steel to get a much more competent and deadly battle AI and realistic ranged units. AI knights in SS will give you nightmares, unless you hav jav cav or elite HAs.
    The art of war, then, is governed by five constant
    factors, to be taken into account in one's deliberations,
    when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field.

    These are: (1) The Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth;
    (4) The Commander; (5) Method and discipline.
    Sun Tzu, "The Art of War"
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    Infinite Jest Member easytarget's Avatar
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    Default Re: How does the combat system work in Medieval 2 Total War?

    One other question about battles in MTW2 about reinforcements. When I combine armies when attacking I appear to have only two options, either not have them join the battle by unclicking the AI control (which unclicks them joining) or have them join and I'm stuck with the AI taking its own sweet time to join the battle (tantamount to them joining basically after the battle is won).

    Am I doing something wrong here? Or is there no way to control the reinforcements?

  5. #5
    Strategist and Storyteller Member Myth's Avatar
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    Default Re: How does the combat system work in Medieval 2 Total War?

    Yep, you click the reinforcements but don't allow the AI to lead them. Note that you can only lead a maximum of 20 units at a time.
    The art of war, then, is governed by five constant
    factors, to be taken into account in one's deliberations,
    when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field.

    These are: (1) The Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth;
    (4) The Commander; (5) Method and discipline.
    Sun Tzu, "The Art of War"
    Like totalwar.org on Facebook!

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  6. #6
    Infinite Jest Member easytarget's Avatar
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    Default Re: How does the combat system work in Medieval 2 Total War?

    I could swear when I click on bring in reinforcments the only way I'm allowed to click it is with AI control, when I unclick that it unclicks bringing them in at all.

    I've got to pay close attention the next time I'm in a battle. Because I guess the lesser of two evils is, assuming I can make it happen, for the AI not to control and then tell units at they get worn down to leave so replacements can come in (unfortunately you of course can't control what the next unit is).

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    Moderator Moderator Gregoshi's Avatar
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    Default Re: How does the combat system work in Medieval 2 Total War?

    Quote Originally Posted by easytarget View Post
    (unfortunately you of course can't control what the next unit is).
    As it should be. History is full such uncertainties.
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    Strategist and Storyteller Member Myth's Avatar
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    Default Re: How does the combat system work in Medieval 2 Total War?

    Leading battles is always preferable to AR, unless your build your armies specifically with AR in mind.

    In my current vanilla campaign as the Byz I'm getting Heroic Victory after Heroic Victory with my horse archers versus superior numbers of Egyptians and quality armoured men from Sicilly.

    Vanilla Byzantines have another interesting trick: fireships. They're like medieval frigates.
    The art of war, then, is governed by five constant
    factors, to be taken into account in one's deliberations,
    when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field.

    These are: (1) The Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth;
    (4) The Commander; (5) Method and discipline.
    Sun Tzu, "The Art of War"
    Like totalwar.org on Facebook!

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    Infinite Jest Member easytarget's Avatar
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    Default Re: How does the combat system work in Medieval 2 Total War?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gregoshi View Post
    As it should be. History is full such uncertainties.
    True, but while we wax philosophic I also just want to make sure I've got a basic understanding of the game mechanics as they are supposed to work in MTW2, haha

  10. #10
    Infinite Jest Member easytarget's Avatar
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    Default Re: How does the combat system work in Medieval 2 Total War?

    So, back to the question at hand then, or the specific mechanic at work, if I click on no AI control what will happen is the 2nd army will park at the periphery and as I have units route or leave the battlefield a replacement will do what? March onto the field? Highlight in my stack of 20 allowing me control? Do they just stand off in a corner doing nothing unless I take notice of the fact they are now under my control?

  11. #11
    Strategist and Storyteller Member Myth's Avatar
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    Default Re: How does the combat system work in Medieval 2 Total War?

    As soon as a unit slot is made available, one unit will come from right at the map edge into the actual map and show up in your unit cards. You can then order it into the fight.
    The art of war, then, is governed by five constant
    factors, to be taken into account in one's deliberations,
    when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field.

    These are: (1) The Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth;
    (4) The Commander; (5) Method and discipline.
    Sun Tzu, "The Art of War"
    Like totalwar.org on Facebook!

    Member thankful for this post:



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