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Thread: A horse-archer's view of the passive AI "bug."

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    Typing from the Saddle Senior Member Doug-Thompson's Avatar
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    Default A horse-archer's view of the passive AI "bug."

    Something's wrong when knights (or infantry) sit there and take shots from catapults that they could easily overrun. No disputing that, and I've seen at least one screenshot showing that.

    However, there's also no point to infantry chasing something they can't catch, either. The infantry die and the army is scattered.

    I say all that to say this: Huddling up under shields and armor is not a bad option for well-armored infantry equipped with shields who are faced with a unit they can't catch. I learned this in my recent defeat in my Russian campaign.

    To be candid, I got used to pouring arrows into units and watching the whole army stop. Then, as the game wore on, the enemy produced armies with higher and higher portions of armored infantry. They did not stop. They kept marching toward my melee line, particularly if my army was cornered.

    I watched all my cossacks empty their quivers, and the enemy infantry still came.

    The higher the morale of a unit and the better it's armored, the less likely it seemed to freeze under a hail of arrows.

    That would be realistic.

    If the passive AI "bug" is fixed, it needs to be fixed so units will charge unprotected missile troops that the unit can catch. If the target skirmishes away, is fast enough to skirmish away and has the room, then there's no point to chasing them, especially if the unit can effectively fire on the move. However, as already noted, HA seem to be less effective at the "parthian shot."
    Last edited by Doug-Thompson; 11-27-2006 at 23:27.
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    Member Member Reapz's Avatar
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    Default Re: A horse-archer's view of the passive AI "bug."

    Doug I just did a Rus campaign also. You might try the horse archers again against armored units after you flank and fire from behind or from higher ground. I haven't found any infantry units that are immune from arrows. Of course as the game progresses my HA get more experience points which increases kill rate.

    After pitched battles I always shuttle back those tattered unit remnants to castles to recruit to full strength keeping the experience bonus for the entire unit. I never merge depleted units as it averages out and lowers the experience bonus.

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    Praeparet bellum Member Quillan's Avatar
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    Default Re: A horse-archer's view of the passive AI "bug."

    I used tons of horse archers in my Byzantine game, and my retraining mechanic was to use high xp units to top off low xp units, then retrain only the high ones. I'd never merge two into one, but say I had a 4 xp unit at 58 men, I might use that to top off 3 units of 45 men who only had 1-2 xp, then retrain the now-depleted 4 xp unit. The majority of my battles with an all horse archer army resulted in a large number of my units down anywhere from 1 to 5 men due to friendly fire.
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    Typing from the Saddle Senior Member Doug-Thompson's Avatar
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    Default Re: A horse-archer's view of the passive AI "bug."

    Quote Originally Posted by Reapz
    Doug I just did a Rus campaign also. You might try the horse archers again against armored units after you flank and fire from behind or from higher ground. I haven't found any infantry units that are immune from arrows. Of course as the game progresses my HA get more experience points which increases kill rate.

    After pitched battles I always shuttle back those tattered unit remnants to castles to recruit to full strength keeping the experience bonus for the entire unit. I never merge depleted units as it averages out and lowers the experience bonus.

    Yes, I know what you mean. I didn't find any infantry immune to HA either. What I did find, however, was infantry armies that were more resistant.

    Certainly getting behind an enemy unit or taking higher ground are the fundamentals of using any archer unit, including HA. So is going to your left/their right to get on their weapons side and not the shield side.

    To be perfectly clear, any single infantry unit will die to a decent HA unit that's competently managed.

    My point is that standing and "taking it" is not necessarily an illogical "bug." If there's enough infantry, well-armored enough, the army can outlast a lot of arrows. That has obviously been taken to extremes if the AI just leaves units sitting there while getting pummelled from unprotected catapults.

    What I'm trying to warn against is a patch "fix" to the passive AI problem that has units charge missile troops they can't catch.
    "In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns."

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    Praeparet bellum Member Quillan's Avatar
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    Default Re: A horse-archer's view of the passive AI "bug."

    Tell me about it. I didn't realize the "passive AI" bug existed until I read it on here, because it makes perfect sense to me for those units to not chase my horse archers. In my experience, when the unit starts running, it loses the shield bonus. At the very least, casualty rates go up when running. And, if they stop and backtrack to get back to their friends, they're turning their backs on the archers, which is even worse. I have had them try to corner me before, and learned quickly to be careful of that.
    Age and treachery will defeat youth and skill every time.

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    Typing from the Saddle Senior Member Doug-Thompson's Avatar
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    Default Re: A horse-archer's view of the passive AI "bug."

    Quote Originally Posted by Quillan
    ... In my experience, when the unit starts running, it loses the shield bonus. At the very least, casualty rates go up when running. And, if they stop and backtrack to get back to their friends, they're turning their backs on the archers, which is even worse. I have had them try to corner me before, and learned quickly to be careful of that.
    Exactly. Furthermore, it doesn't seem unnatural when poorly trained levy and militia troops just freeze. It would be less surprising if they routed.

    I don't think one unit of archers should be able to stop a whole army from marching by peppering one unit. However, I don't think the AI is just being passive, either.
    "In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns."

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    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Default Re: A horse-archer's view of the passive AI "bug."

    But I hope you agree that an army with only one ranged unit and many good melee fighters should not just stop in front of an army consisting of 2/3 ranged foot units and wait until they all got peppered to death.


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    Typing from the Saddle Senior Member Doug-Thompson's Avatar
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    Default Re: A horse-archer's view of the passive AI "bug."

    Quote Originally Posted by Husar
    But I hope you agree that an army with only one ranged unit and many good melee fighters should not just stop in front of an army consisting of 2/3 ranged foot units and wait until they all got peppered to death.
    Yes, I agree. Under those conditions the foot army should keep moving and engage the 1/3 of the enemy who are melee units — if, as you say, they are good melee figthers, good troops with good morale.

    There's a balance to be struck here.
    Last edited by Doug-Thompson; 11-27-2006 at 23:19.
    "In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns."

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    Default Re: A horse-archer's view of the passive AI "bug."

    Quote Originally Posted by Reapz
    Doug I just did a Rus campaign also. You might try the horse archers again against armored units after you flank and fire from behind or from higher ground. I haven't found any infantry units that are immune from arrows. Of course as the game progresses my HA get more experience points which increases kill rate.

    After pitched battles I always shuttle back those tattered unit remnants to castles to recruit to full strength keeping the experience bonus for the entire unit. I never merge depleted units as it averages out and lowers the experience bonus.
    does experience increase kill rate?

    i was under the impression that it just increased melee ability, even with missile units.

    this is not a big problem with has's as they just end up becoming more effective cav.

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    Member Member Reapz's Avatar
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    Default Re: A horse-archer's view of the passive AI "bug."

    Doug's point is well taken that infantry units shouldn't run after HA they cannot catch.

    I often mix mercenary crossbowmen/spearmen with HA and Boyars. It would be extremely rare for me to battle with just HA so my comments maybe don't apply to HA only but to mixed missile unit groupings. However I also frequently see passivity under crossbow fire when targeted units could catch the firing crossbow units. It is mainly with militia targets though and I find armored infantry units will charge crossbowmen. So perhaps the AI is working here.

    I am not sure of the answer to KARTLOS' point - does experience increase ranged kill rate or just melee attack. I have the strong impression from my campaigns that it does increase kill rate with missiles but I can't say I understand how the game engine does the math and where exp affects the missile kill calculus. Does anybody know?

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    Typing from the Saddle Senior Member Doug-Thompson's Avatar
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    Default Re: A horse-archer's view of the passive AI "bug."

    There's another thread on the kill rates/veteran issue, but that aspect should be simple to check in custom battles. I'll check it.

    Quote Originally Posted by reapz
    ... However I also frequently see passivity under crossbow fire when targeted units could catch the firing crossbow units. It is mainly with militia targets though and I find armored infantry units will charge crossbowmen. So perhaps the AI is working here.
    Hmm. I wonder if the militia unit could beat the crossbowmen in melee if they charged? Just a thought. Some of the crossbowmen in MTW1 were decent fighters.

    Anyway, units under fire and suffering casualties take a morale hit. Perhaps a certain level of morale is needed to keep advancing.
    "In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns."

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    Senior Member Senior Member econ21's Avatar
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    Default Re: A horse-archer's view of the passive AI "bug."

    Quote Originally Posted by Reapz
    ... does experience increase ranged kill rate or just melee attack.
    Yes, CaptainSolo has a thread showing it does.
    https://forums.totalwar.org/vb/showp...36&postcount=1

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    Member Member Reapz's Avatar
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    Default Re: A horse-archer's view of the passive AI "bug."

    So Econ21 based on CaptainSolo's results it is very much to your advantage to have archer units accrue experience. He was describing two to three times the kill rate with experienced units. All the more reason to figure out whether the AI is responding appropriately under missile fire as these units become more deadly with time.

    I just fought another battle tonight that bothered me. I (Rus) was being seiged by the Danes at Thorn and I sallied to attack. Both armies were full stacks with Generals of similar rank, and the game offered me autoresolve at 1:1 odds. The seige army had only two militia (spear) units. The rest were 2 Norse Archers, dismounted knights, huscarls, axemen, and some light viking infantry. They had two units of scout cavalry and the General's Heavy Cav Unit. They deployed in front of the gates with spears on the flanks, archers lined in front, then a line of heavy infantry, then scouts and light infantry and General in the rear. I sallied with 5 Kazak HA (all exp 3), 3 Merc Crossbows (exp 1), 2 Merc Spears, 3 Boyars (exp 2), and 5 Heavy Cav Units (2 Generals, 3 Druz). Pretty good odds IMO in my favor if it was an open field of battle. However here I'm thinking this is viable only IF I can get the cavalry out into the field, maneuver and charge weaker units and their General. (If I was seiging the AI I would never have let my army sally and deploy at their leisure but rather would have jammed them up at the gates with spearmen and my cav while I missiled them and charged the heavy infantry into the sides of exiting units if possible. Fighting at the gates is a whole lot more effective now with no boiling oil I think)

    However they let me sally and deploy. The Danish army continued to sit still while I placed the crossbows and spears facing their front, and posted missile cav units on their flanks and then brought my heavy cav units all the way around behind them waiting to charge their rear. Since they are not moving I thought I will see if I can use the missile units to pick off the spearmen and their best heavy infantry first. I proceeded to exhaust all my missiles and again they did nothing. Each of my crossbow units notched up 200 kills alone - standing right in front of ranks of dismounted knights, axemen, and fast cav units all of which could have caught them in no time. By the time I charged the remnants of their units after the missiles they routed easily and I destroyed every last man. My casualties were 56 total. So I'm worried that a fairly decent seige army with strong units sat and took 600 casualties from 3 merc Crossbow units (exp 1) and did nothing. Do people think that is appropriate or problematic?

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    Typing from the Saddle Senior Member Doug-Thompson's Avatar
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    Default Re: A horse-archer's view of the passive AI "bug."

    I don't think anybody thinks armies should just stant there and get massacred if they can take somebody down with them, Reapz, not even me. There is a balance to be struck, but I don't know where it is.
    "In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns."

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    BLEEEE! Senior Member Daveybaby's Avatar
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    Default Re: A horse-archer's view of the passive AI "bug."

    I agree that facing an all HA army is probably a special case, and that if (note: IF) the game works in such a way that hunkering down with shields reduces losses, then that's a viable tactic.

    But i dont think that's what we're seeing here with the passive AI bug.

    Also, in such a case, i would hope that the campaign AI would respond correctly to 'HA whores' such as yourself and start fielding armies designed to at least be able to engage them, e.g. 50/50 of missile inf to beat you in ranged attack & heavy cav to defend against your charges (dunno if that would actually work or not, but its gotta be better than fielding melee inf).
    Last edited by Daveybaby; 11-28-2006 at 15:43.

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    Default Re: A horse-archer's view of the passive AI "bug."

    Quote Originally Posted by Orda Khan
    Second Battle......Mongol v Hungary.
    Decided on normal interface. This battle began much like the first with Hungarians taking the offensive. I rotated my main force of infantry and sent HA and heavy archers to left and right flank respectively. The advancing Hungarians allowed their crossbows to get too far ahead and a charge by my heavy archer cav dealt a severe blow. On reflection that was a mistake on my part because from that point the AI was absolutely clueless. From the screenshot you can see I had 4 HA and 3 heavy archer. The rest of my army was on foot and I would have liked to see the AI determine an attack on my infantry as the best course of action. Instead it remained clueless even when I marched right up in its face. I then proceeded to hit it from 3 sides and the battle was over.
    The above is a quote by myself after trying out a custom battle on VH settings (testing the hype that it would prove difficult)
    The Hungarian army was strong enough to easily defeat my infantry units and it had enough cav to repell any of mine that dared venture in to support. Had I been the Hungarian General I would have decided upon a quick assault on my infantry, thus minimalizing losses to HA arrows. Infantry without support from cav or archers are going to suffer against HA (as they did historically) but with eight cav units they can almost safely launch an attack.
    Instead I lost 37 men total

    .....Orda

  17. #17
    Typing from the Saddle Senior Member Doug-Thompson's Avatar
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    Default Re: A horse-archer's view of the passive AI "bug."

    There needs to be a trigger tied to unit speed.

    If:

    Unit A is under fire, and
    Unit B is no faster than Unit A, and
    Unit B doesn't have skirmish ability and or is slower than Unit A, then

    Unit A should charge.

    Something like that, anyway.
    "In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns."

  18. #18

    Default Re: A horse-archer's view of the passive AI "bug."

    Thanks to whomever for removing my post, very rude.


    Been in a siege for some six hours now and it is still going. Turned off HUD previously and it seems the AI doesn't explore the city much oris hesitant to do so...........Ihave twelve remaining arquebusiers whom are picking off HRE handgunners and hack-butteers at their leisure. The AI is not doing much but waiting as if stumped by my resistance. In general I don't have the said 'bug' though....................

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