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Thread: Research: Battle Difficulty

  1. #1
    Humanist Senior Member A.Saturnus's Avatar
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    Default Research: Battle Difficulty

    On request by Simetrical, this topic is meant to present research on the influence that the battle difficulty setting has on the actual difficulty of battles.
    It is secundary here whether battle difficulty setting works as intended, we are concerned about game mechanics. These should be the focus of discussion.

  2. #2
    Spends his time on TWC Member Simetrical's Avatar
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    Default Re: Research: Battle Difficulty

    I saw some lovely research on this a while back, under the URL http://www.twcenter.net/forums/index...howtopic=24032, but it seems to have vanished. If anyone else has something to add, they should, but I don't have anything right now. It's just that we should have a thread on this issue, which is rather significant. *wishes he had more time for research*

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  3. #3

    Default Re: Research: Battle Difficulty

    I've heard poeple say medium is actually very hard on the campaign map battles, however, in custom battle mode, I find easy and hard to be glitched (as in, easy mode's morale bonuse, but hard mode's combat malus and vice-versa). Could custom game's combat and the campaign map's combat be bugged differently ?

    I would be overjoyed if someone with more time would do some research, as it is a very important issue.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Research: Battle Difficulty

    My last statement was completely wrong, here's what I think i've found out:

    Very hard difficulty is like medium difficulty, all the other settings are biased thowards the computer.

  5. #5
    Humanist Senior Member A.Saturnus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Research: Battle Difficulty

    Quote Originally Posted by Abe
    My last statement was completely wrong, here's what I think i've found out:

    Very hard difficulty is like medium difficulty, all the other settings are biased thowards the computer.
    On what do you base this?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Research: Battle Difficulty

    Quote Originally Posted by A.Saturnus
    On what do you base this?
    Warband vs Warband custom battles.

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    Bug Hunter Senior Member player1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Research: Battle Difficulty

    Well, my research says that higher difficulty battles are faster, while at lower slower (when pinning two same units against each other).

    Also, victory chances seem same for both attacker and defender regardess on difficulty level.

    This leads me to conclusion that attack and moral factor that is supposed to be added to AI, is added to player too.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Research: Battle Difficulty

    Quote Originally Posted by player1
    Well, my research says that higher difficulty battles are faster, while at lower slower (when pinning two same units against each other).

    Also, victory chances seem same for both attacker and defender regardess on difficulty level.

    This leads me to conclusion that attack and moral factor that is supposed to be added to AI, is added to player too.
    You are correct on the battle speed. However, in my experience, victory chances varied between the difficulty levels. I wonder if this could be the cause of some randomness or if the mode other than very hard are biased thowards the AI.

    On 60 against 60 warband battles, the AI almost always killed more of my men by a 10-20 margin on normal unit size.
    On very hard, the margin was reduced to 1-2.

    Do any modders out there know if the battle difficulty can be de-bugged ? Because I find it to be game-breaking almost.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Research: Battle Difficulty

    I did some more tests and got inconsistant results, this is giving me a headache.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Research: Battle Difficulty

    With Darthvader's mod and some of my own minor changes, I'm playing a M/VH campaign- and OMG the battles are TOUGH! The AI keeps coming and coming with powerful armies, and in the battles they maneuver very well-.

    Then I ran some VH battles, and the maneuvers were no better, just when the units clashed, people died a lot faster and it was over in clickfest blink with lots of death. Booooring.... on M AI units survive to retreat and regroup sometimes- and I find the battles just more fun.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Research: Battle Difficulty

    My poeni phalanxes get smashed through way too easily on my Carthage campaign on medium battle difficulty. Damn that crazy difficulty bug.

  12. #12
    Bug Hunter Senior Member player1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Research: Battle Difficulty

    Quote Originally Posted by Dearmad
    With Darthvader's mod and some of my own minor changes, I'm playing a M/VH campaign- and OMG the battles are TOUGH! The AI keeps coming and coming with powerful armies, and in the battles they maneuver very well-.

    Then I ran some VH battles, and the maneuvers were no better, just when the units clashed, people died a lot faster and it was over in clickfest blink with lots of death. Booooring.... on M AI units survive to retreat and regroup sometimes- and I find the battles just more fun.
    Definetly my experience too, which leads to belivef that attack rating bonus that AI should get is added to a player too giving quicker battles. For for morale bonus that AI gets I just don't know, maybe yes, maybe no?
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  13. #13

    Default Re: Research: Battle Difficulty

    Quote Originally Posted by player1
    Definetly my experience too, which leads to belivef that attack rating bonus that AI should get is added to a player too giving quicker battles. For for morale bonus that AI gets I just don't know, maybe yes, maybe no?
    Yep, that is pretty much how "very hard" works. A level playing field.

    However, in the other difficulties, the AI seems to enjoy a higher killing rate than the player, which leads me to believe the bug is not as simple as: Bonuses/Maluses added both to player and AI.

  14. #14
    Member Member sunsmountain's Avatar
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    Default Re: Research: Battle Difficulty

    From the frogbeastegg RomeTW guide:
    Battle map
    (NB: this is how 1.1 and 1.0 worked, and how 1.2 probably should work) Normal is a level playing ground with no advantage to either side. I shall quote CA developer JeromeGrasdyke on the effects of difficulty on combat bonuses:
    “The combat bonuses are easy; they apply to attack only, while on Easy the human player gets a +4 bonus, on Hard the AI is given +4, and on Very Hard +7. The morale bonuses are much more complex, as they work on a series of sliding scales.”
    Unfortunately the very hard bonus is rather ridiculous and it allows the AI do crazy things, such as smashing a phalanx head on with plain hastati. The AI achieves results which should never happen, and the general attitude I have seen expressed towards this difficulty is one of frustration. So for now I recommend sticking with normal; it might be rather easy for veterans but at least your phalanx works …
    It is my personal experience that these attack bonusses are given to both the AI and the player in patch 1.2, but this was not the case in version 1.1 (they were given to AI on Hard/Very Hard and to the player on Easy). The reason i am saying this is quite simple: Horse skirmishers charging over Principes, even when standing still. In 1.1, this occurred to me frequently and it still did in 1.2, but i could give the AI the same pleasure, where i couldnt do so in 1.1.

    This fact, combined with the fact that morale bonusses are more beneficial on lower difficulty levels as well, has led me to switch my playing style from VH/VH to M/VH on the battle map/campaign map. For the record: Higher morale increases the number of casualties will take before it decides to run, typically raising it from 50% casualties to 80-90% casualties.

    It normalizes battles and gives the AI more time to allow for tactical use of its troops. It almost seems as if the AI has not been tested on Very Hard (versus extensive testing on Normal).
    Plus the AI actually tries to outflank my units, impossible situations are actually impossible, etc., etc. Of course i still beat the AI, hands down, but am having a lot more fun while doing so.
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  15. #15

    Default Re: Research: Battle Difficulty

    So the medium difficulty did not change between 1.1 and 1.2 ?

    I'll test some more, anyways, dank u wel.

  16. #16
    Member Member cruix's Avatar
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    Default Re: Research: Battle Difficulty

    is there a way to change battle difficulty midway through a campaign? I'd like to try and do some tests of my own, but it looks like I'm stuck with VH/VH at the moment.

    my bad, found a way here: http://www.twcenter.net/forums/index...howtopic=11393
    Last edited by cruix; 07-01-2005 at 01:02. Reason: found solution

  17. #17
    Member Member Agent Miles's Avatar
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    Default Re: Research: Battle Difficulty

    The difficulty levels are like rungs on a ladder. On starting medium, no one gets any bonuses. After you play on medium to the point where you and the AI have units with a silver chevron (conferring +4 bonus to attack), this is about where you would start out on Hard. Once you get to the point on medium where the units get a gold chevron (+7 attack bonus), this is almost where Very Hard would start you out. The higher difficulty levels also give a morale bonus, which you would not get by simply playing with more experienced units on medium. The faster kill rates that this creates makes for an ever less forgiving timescale in the battle environment and equates to the system that we use in the U.S. Army. Recruits get more time to do a task in “training mode” (medium), than veteran units get to do the same task (Hard), and veterans get even less time in exercises that test accomplishing the task at “combat speed” (Very Hard).
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    Bug Hunter Senior Member player1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Research: Battle Difficulty

    Is battle difficulty bugged in campaign games?

    I used to think so.
    Not anymore.

    With testing custom battles I agreed with other testers, that it's bugged, since harder battles are faster not biased toward AI, in same way as easier battles and slower and not biased toward player.

    Well, the problem is that we all jumped the gun and "concluded" that same works for campaign games. Even whole debates about is M or VH battles more challening arised.

    Well, it's not true!

    I did a dozen of tests on campaign maps, when I set up several one on one battles, and my conclusion is that battle difficulty works in campaign game.

    On easy it's easier for player to beat similar unit, on harder it's easier for AI to beat similar unit.


    I hope someone else could do some tests and confirm the issue, so we could put this myth at rest.


    P.S.
    I modified descr_start.txt files for campaign, so I could set up several one vs one battles. Also I tried when attacking to keep same elevation with defender as possible to prevent any bias.
    Last edited by player1; 09-01-2005 at 02:36.
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  19. #19
    Simulation Monkey Member The_Mark's Avatar
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    Default Re: Research: Battle Difficulty

    That's what I've been saying all along

  20. #20
    Bug Hunter Senior Member player1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Research: Battle Difficulty

    The flattest battle location on campaign map I found is x88 y88, if attacked from south east.
    You should attack enemy unit while running, so both parties would use charge.
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  21. #21

    Default Re: Research: Battle Difficulty

    I like a VeryHard Campaign Map, Medium Battle Map. The maneuver of the AI on the CM are very tough to manage and defeat and often I am forced to retreat to find better ground. Experienced generals survive traps set by the enemy. Others get massacred. I have battles that are epic (2000-5000men) and I have some battles that are unit against unit. If the enemy detects your unit, it will assign a unit of its own to defeat yours. If you beat that one, the AI will send a better one. I had a unit of Archers defeat three individual units before being wiped out itself (GCS v. Macedonia).
    Medium battle maps guarantee this: Only a generals skills and the experience of his troops count towards victory. All bonuses To the game are otherwise zeroed. So it is a fair playing field and makes for some interesting(stimulating) and often severely competitive battles.

    All my test are with the single player setting:

    diBorgia

  22. #22

    Default Re: Research: Battle Difficulty

    I like the m/vh combination too. One problem tough, naval battles seem to be really hard to win. Seems like the possibility of winning or losing is not 50/50, even when I and the enemy have the same amount of men/boats against each other. I think the naval battles are unfairly biased to the computer in vh. Is there any file where this could be corrected back to 50/50 change of winning or losing? I'd like to keep the very hard level on, because of the good stuff what it makes to the ai behaviour, but the naval battles are a problem.

  23. #23
    Arrogant Ashigaru Moderator Ludens's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Re: Research: Battle Difficulty

    No, the autocalc balance can not be modded unfortunatly.
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    RTW V1.5 & BI V1.6 Member Severous's Avatar
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    Default Re: Research: Battle Difficulty

    The combat strengths of your factions ships could be modded upwards.
    Regards
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  25. #25

    Default Re: Research: Battle Difficulty

    Quote Originally Posted by Severous
    The combat strengths of your factions ships could be modded upwards.
    That would be cool, now we only need to know how mutch to raise the strength..

  26. #26
    Arrogant Ashigaru Moderator Ludens's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Re: Research: Battle Difficulty

    Aradan posted this information about the effect of battle difficulty on morale in the EB forum:

    Quote Originally Posted by Aradan
    The Devs have said some things that were not entirely accurate afaik, mainly because things got changed between patches. No modder can claim perfect knowledge of the engine's inner workings, but proper testing can help give us a clue.

    In case anyone's interested...
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Simple test I ran to research it:
    • Set up a battle on flat ground (both campaign and custom), normal difficulty, 1 vs 1, and gave my unit uber stats, frighten enemy etc and made the AI unit useless with 1 morale.
    • Started the battle and walked my unit towards the enemy, while viewing the AI's morale status. It took a specific amount of time and a specific distance from my unit until the enemy dropped from Eager to Steady. Run the test 2-3 more times after quitting and restarting the campaign and I always got the same result.
    • Then I gave the AI unit +7 morale and timed again. This time their morale dropped to Steady only after they engaged me. Again repeated 2-3 times, always getting the same deal.
    • And finally I restored their morale to 1, and played on VH difficulty. Got the same results as with 1st setup.
    • To be sure, I tried giving the AI morale 3 in the EDU (diff=Medium), but still they didn't drop to Steady until after engagement, while on VH/morale=1 they dropped before that. So the bonus is either very very small or non-existant (I believe the latter)


    On a related note, morale bonuses from buildings in campaign mode seem to not work at all. Similar way of testing it.
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  27. #27

    Default Re: Research: Battle Difficulty

    Quote Originally Posted by Humba
    I like the m/vh combination too. One problem tough, naval battles seem to be really hard to win. Seems like the possibility of winning or losing is not 50/50, even when I and the enemy have the same amount of men/boats against each other. I think the naval battles are unfairly biased to the computer in vh.
    The Campaign difficulty VH, is used by the AI for all non-battle map battles, according to some FAQ I read some time.

    So VH/M means all Auto-calc battles will be VH on strategy difficulty setting, and the ones you fight out M battlefield setting.

    As all Naval battles are Auto-calc, what you saw was to be expected, presuming your settings were same as previous poster, who used VH/M as his Campaign/Battle map difficulty settings.

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