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Thread: The reason why cavalry are so damn effective

  1. #1
    blaaaaaaaaaarg! Senior Member Lusted's Avatar
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    Default The reason why cavalry are so damn effective

    In the course of trying to balance cavalry for my Lands to Conquer mod, i decided to remove all charge bonuses for primary and secondary weapons for cavalry units. This, combined with some slight changes i'd made to spearmen(slightly better attack) results in a charge by Mailed Knights being halted by Armoured sergeants, whereas normally the Knights would flatter the sergeants.

  2. #2

    Default Re: The reason why cavalry are so damn effective

    I wish there would be an easy way to make spearmen more efficient vs. cavalry whilst not to overpower them vs. infantry.

    Imho armored saegeant should withstand a cavalry charge of these early mailed knights in vanilla game, shouldn't they? They have shields and spears. Of course infantry with swords or axes should be totally destroyed by knights of every time...

  3. #3
    blaaaaaaaaaarg! Senior Member Lusted's Avatar
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    Default Re: The reason why cavalry are so damn effective

    There is, the changes i've made to spearmen make them better aganst cavalry, but make them no more stronger against sword/axe infantry, because the spear attrbute all spear units have makes them weak against sords/axes.

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    Member Member Malachus's Avatar
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    Default Re: The reason why cavalry are so damn effective

    Lusted, how are you able to make all those changes? Do you have an unpacker? Cuz I'd like to mod stuff for my game, too, but I can't unpack those files.

    Are you using the files ER posted earlier? If so, how are you implementing them in the game cuz I tried and failed.

  5. #5
    blaaaaaaaaaarg! Senior Member Lusted's Avatar
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    Default Re: The reason why cavalry are so damn effective

    Are you using the files ER posted earlier? If so, how are you implementing them in the game cuz I tried and failed.
    Yes they are, you need to use the mod switch to use the files.

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    Member Member Malachus's Avatar
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    Default Re: The reason why cavalry are so damn effective

    Thanks man, now I can finally get started... I've already lost favor with the vanilla game and I've only been playing it for a week

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    Senior Member Senior Member Fisherking's Avatar
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    Default Re: The reason why cavalry are so damn effective

    Look! Spears were not all that great against knights. It wasn't until pikes came back into use that knights began to suffer. Scottish skilitrons(SP?) of pike were the first units to surprise the knights and stop a charge in several hundred years. But don't take my word for it...look it up!


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    blaaaaaaaaaarg! Senior Member Lusted's Avatar
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    Default Re: The reason why cavalry are so damn effective

    Historical accuracy be damned, spearmen in this game are meant to be useful against cav, but in the default game they are completely useless.

  9. #9

    Default Re: The reason why cavalry are so damn effective

    Hey lusted... I expect to see you in the unit guide thread.

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    Senior Member Senior Member econ21's Avatar
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    Default Re: The reason why cavalry are so damn effective

    This is strange - I thought in MTW (the original), a key feature of spears was that they negated the cavalry charge bonus (if attacked to the front). I rather liked that feature - it seemed intuitive. But trom the OP, it's clearly no longer true in M2TW.

    Getting rid of cavalry's charge bonus altogether seems a little extreme. I rather liked the modelling in RTR Platinum, where the charges was (almost) everything. I thought M2TW was like that too, but maybe I am wrong.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Senior Member Cheetah's Avatar
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    Default Re: The reason why cavalry are so damn effective

    Quote Originally Posted by Lusted
    Historical accuracy be damned, spearmen in this game are meant to be useful against cav, but in the default game they are completely useless.
    Spearmen are not completely useless vs cavs (though the "elite" spears IMO are costlier than they need to be).
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    Magister Vitae Senior Member Kraxis's Avatar
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    Default Re: The reason why cavalry are so damn effective

    Quote Originally Posted by Lusted
    In the course of trying to balance cavalry for my Lands to Conquer mod, i decided to remove all charge bonuses for primary and secondary weapons for cavalry units. This, combined with some slight changes i'd made to spearmen(slightly better attack) results in a charge by Mailed Knights being halted by Armoured sergeants, whereas normally the Knights would flatter the sergeants.
    Are you sure?

    I mean I could get Khazaks to act as heavy cavalry with nice formed charges. And their charge value is 2 I think. Given that they use their secondary weapon in the charge, what would the result be there?

    And how about units such as Merchant Cavalry Militia? They have no secondary weapon, yet they can punish spears a lot in their charge. I don't mind them being lousy chargers really, they are not meant to, so perhaps removing their chargebonus would be a good idea?

    Anyway, until this is tested through I will remain cautiously optimistic.

    And yes spears certainly could turn knights. The simple fact that knights didn't charge spears (look up the battle of Bouvines where one allied unit of spears got charged a few times but managed to turn back the French knights, and thus managed to get a favourable surrender agreement) and the few times they did they ended up feeling a bit hung over, is enough point for me. Spears were not pikes, but a 9 foot spear is still plenty long to kill horse and/or rider. While a sword can be troubled to do the same (lance outreaching the sword by a great margin).
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Senior Member Carl's Avatar
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    Default Re: The reason why cavalry are so damn effective

    And yes spears certainly could turn knights. The simple fact that knights didn't charge spears (look up the battle of Bouvines where one allied unit of spears got charged a few times but managed to turn back the French knights, and thus managed to get a favourable surrender agreement) and the few times they did they ended up feeling a bit hung over, is enough point for me. Spears were not pikes, but a 9 foot spear is still plenty long to kill horse and/or rider. While a sword can be troubled to do the same (lance outreaching the sword by a great margin).
    Indeed, people need to remember a couple of things here.

    First, a spear formation would be a lot more densely packed than a Knight formation, so even Lances will only kill some of the formation. The rest are still going to be stood their when you slam into the formation. That's instant skewerd horses, even if the dead horses fall on the spearmen and kill them.

    Second, once you have dead horses and people on the ground theirs a LOT of stuff for charging horses to trip up over. If you've seen horse racing even once you'll have seen examples of this happening. The falls are going to kill and injure still more horses and riders. They won't wipe a unit of knights out I don't think, but they will do a fair bit of damage overall.
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  14. #14

    Default Re: The reason why cavalry are so damn effective

    Quote Originally Posted by Fisherking
    Look! Spears were not all that great against knights. It wasn't until pikes came back into use that knights began to suffer. Scottish skilitrons(SP?) of pike were the first units to surprise the knights and stop a charge in several hundred years. But don't take my word for it...look it up!
    How wrong can one be? Besides all the historical examples that could be dredged up, rememebr that pikes were replaced when the bayonet was invented. I will leave to your estimation the total length of a musket plus bayonet, but it wasn't anywhere near as long as a plain old spear - let alone a pike.

    In fact you don't need a pointy thing to stop cavalry at all, the Saxons did it plenty fine at Hastings to the Norman cavalry.
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    Senior Member Senior Member Jambo's Avatar
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    Default Re: The reason why cavalry are so damn effective

    The light_spear, spear and spear_bonus is one option, but there's another and that's simply the mounted_effect bonus. As far as I remember from RTW this could be an extra bonus and also doesn't come with the associated penalties when fighting against swords.

    E.g. Camels have "horse +2"
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  16. #16
    Confiscator of Swords Member dopp's Avatar
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    Default Re: The reason why cavalry are so damn effective

    It relies on the ability of the infantry to hold ground in the face of charging cavalry, creating an impassable barrier. Their armament is secondary, as long as it can reach the fellow on the horse. Note also that the pointy bayonet is actually attached to something with a much longer range (the musket). Most of the time the cavalry didn't even reach the musketeers after the first volley... often they slowed as soon as they got within range.

    The common view is that infantry in the Middle Ages was quite bad and thus deserves to get trampled to death by charging cavalry. It's not just their individual skill-at-arms that is a factor, it's also their discipline, formation, drill (one of the most underrated things in all this discussion about various weapons) and morale. The medieval foot soldier had little to none of these things. Supposedly.

    However, Total War has always distinguished spear units by making them resistant against cavalry, whatever the historical record may be. Now I find that even light cavalry will bowl them over (although they suffer higher casualties). Maybe heavy cavalry should plough through them but not light cavalry? Spearmen are the cheapest units you can field so I would prefer that they not slaughter the heavy cavalry. Having a cheap counter to the most expensive units in the game right from the onset doesn't strike me as good game balance.

    Perhaps the spearmen were not intended to withstand the improved charges of the knights in M2TW, but instead to take more of the knights with them. In other words, they dissaude knights by MAD (mutually assured destruction).
    Last edited by dopp; 12-11-2006 at 12:58.

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    Relentless Bughunter Senior Member FactionHeir's Avatar
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    Default Re: The reason why cavalry are so damn effective

    I second dopp's post.
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  18. #18
    Magister Vitae Senior Member Kraxis's Avatar
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    Default Re: The reason why cavalry are so damn effective

    Armoured Sergeants are as expensive as many of the better sword/axe infantry units. Yet they are not really effective.

    Armoured Sergeants are about as high as a non-noble would get early in the period. He would be a privileged (armour) professional soldier (drilled and trained) of some local standing. He would not be the match of a knight, but he would be a far cry from the rabble or 'gray mass' that often appear to be infantry. He was the one who defended castles and supported the knights in battle. He was tough without being a superman.

    He and his compatriots should definately be able to halt knights. I don't mind that the knights actually kill the man they hit, but they shouldn't be going deep into a Sergeant unit (or any spear unit in gameterms), sending men flying and reducing it to 30% (70% losses) in an instant. That is bad gameplay and not terribly historically correct.

    Since Mailed Knights can do this, what is the point with the higher ranked knights? Aside from beating up enemy knights it seems...
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  19. #19
    Man-at-Arms Member Dave1984's Avatar
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    Default Re: The reason why cavalry are so damn effective

    Quote Originally Posted by Freedom Onanist
    How wrong can one be? Besides all the historical examples that could be dredged up, rememebr that pikes were replaced when the bayonet was invented. I will leave to your estimation the total length of a musket plus bayonet, but it wasn't anywhere near as long as a plain old spear - let alone a pike.

    In fact you don't need a pointy thing to stop cavalry at all, the Saxons did it plenty fine at Hastings to the Norman cavalry.

    Hell of a lot of spears in that shield wall...

  20. #20
    Confiscator of Swords Member dopp's Avatar
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    Default Re: The reason why cavalry are so damn effective

    Agreed, but historically-correct sometimes results in dull gameplay. Cavalry and infantry playing chicken is not really fun.

    Examples:

    Cavalry makes a charge, crappy infantry panic and run, cavalry chops them up. Result: Boring, plus you get negative traits like "Fond of Blood".

    Cavalry makes a charge, quality infantry in good defensive position hold bravely, cavalry pulls up before making contact, trades a few blows, rides away, calls for archers. Result: Boring, plus loads of complaints about "charge bug" and "M2TW sux".

    More examples:

    Cavalry charges, infantry brace, cavalry commit suicide, infantry laugh, player screams and smashes monitor. Result: Player will never use cavalry again, player will build loads of cheap spears and camp. Ultimate result: Boring.

    Cavalry charges, infantry stand bravely, huge massive collision with bodies going everywhere, loads of carnage, confusion, men hacking at each other, both sides reduced to tatters. Result: Fun. Stupid, but fun.

    I exaggerate a bit, of course. You're really supposed to use swordsmen or spears of your own to engage the spears in front while you flank with cavalry (like I do), or call up archers and shoot those idiots to bits, but it's much more exciting when the knights drive through everything. Still, it does leave armored sergeants without any meaningful existence as a game unit. Maybe spears should be less about fighting cavalry and more about forming a solid defensive line against anything, swords included?

  21. #21
    Magister Vitae Senior Member Kraxis's Avatar
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    Default Re: The reason why cavalry are so damn effective

    Yes... they were actually pretty much that in MTW.
    Spears hardly killed heavy cavalry (if you let them get enough time they would though), but they held them and were all but displaceable by cavalry. Against heavy infantry they lost, but they held a long while and they did well as long as their formation held (rank-bonus).

    They were intuitive to place in the center of your line, and unless the enemy had superb swords or shock infantry (like Ghazi) in the center you were safe until the flanks had duked it out.
    It wasn't fun with spears alone of course, but when you combined them with other units it became much more fun than those units alone. They served a valuable purpose in the line, now that is hardly the truth.

    About the historically correct situations. Right now it is neither good gameplay nor correct. Double shot in the foot.
    Cavalry charging spears that are standing still should suffer. So should the spears, but not to the point that it becomes just a matter of soaking up the casualties to rout spears instantly. Knights killing a few spears on the charge would be cool enough, but the spears negate the followthrough power of the charge that sends men flying. This would then leave the cavalry with an opportunity to pull back and do it again depending on losses taken on impact.
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  22. #22
    A Livonian Rebel Member Slaists's Avatar
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    Default Re: The reason why cavalry are so damn effective

    Quote Originally Posted by Lusted
    Historical accuracy be damned, spearmen in this game are meant to be useful against cav, but in the default game they are completely useless.
    Well, in my experience MASSED spears against cavalry work... Like 4/5 units of militia spearmen can actually take down an AI king's unit. Example, I would send a single militia spearmen unit against the aforementioned king and it would get decimated in no time. Send 4 units of the same crappy spearmen - and the king dies easily with actually few losses on the spearmen side...

    It seems, for spears to be effective, they have to be in a VERY DEEP formation (if that can be called formation). So, maybe increasing the realative spear unit size would help? On the current setting, if spears are deployed in sufficiently deep formation, that invariably allows the cavalry to envelop them from flanks.

    But then again, increasing spear relative unit size would outbalance them against other units (swords).

  23. #23

    Default AW: The reason why cavalry are so damn effective

    I have modified armored sergeants to have a collision mass of 5.2 instead 1.2 and tested them against hobilars and feudal knights. The sergeants won both battles. They formed schiltron and lost about 30 out of 75 men from the charge then they slaughtered the horsies. Oddly enough the fk did not do much batter then the hobilars.

  24. #24
    blaaaaaaaaaarg! Senior Member Lusted's Avatar
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    Default Re: AW: The reason why cavalry are so damn effective

    I've tested this all extensively for my Lands to Conquer mod. In the latest version of my edu i've removed all charge bonuses for light cavalry and cavalry secondary weapons, making it easier for infantry to hold cavalry, and easy for spearmen. Heavy cavalry have small charge bouses of 1 for the cheaper units and 2 for the more expensive ones. I've given all spearmen 2 more attack, and changed their collision mass to 3.

    It works like a charm. Armoured Sergeants, the best spear unit in the game for catholic factions discounting pikemen, can stop all cavalry charges but will lose to elite cavalry. Heavy cavalry can still massacre sword infantry with ease, and light cavalry charges are much less effective. Spearmen get massacered by sword infantry.

    Elite pikemen units can beat all cav, but get massacered by swords.

    All in all i think it's quite a good balance, i've even sent my version of the edu off to CA for them to have a look at.

  25. #25

    Default Re: The reason why cavalry are so damn effective

    Quote Originally Posted by D Wilson
    Hell of a lot of spears in that shield wall...
    Yep, but quite a few axes and swords.

    Doesn't affect my point about the ability of the short spear to stop cavalry.
    Last edited by Freedom Onanist; 12-11-2006 at 19:16.
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  26. #26

    Default AW: The reason why cavalry are so damn effective

    Stupid question, but what effects the effectiveness of a cavalry charge. I tested jinetes (no lances) and they killed the same number of sergeants than FKs. I could not spot any difference between hobilars and FKs. Could this mean that all cavalry has the same effectiveness when charging. Even Gothics lost to the heavier armored sergeants although they were able to kill a few more of them in mêlée.

  27. #27

    Default Re: The reason why cavalry are so damn effective

    Cavalry has large collision mass. I upped infantry to 20 collision mass testing to see at what point cavalry would not achieve push back. Looks like cavalry is around 20 mass but I didn't test extensively.

    I assume the cav collision mass values are tied to the mounts. Unfortunately I haven't been able to locate the values for mounts.

    I have also taken away the hardy/very hardy values for all heavy cavalry. Light and missle cavalry receive hardy/very hardy dependent on their mounts and their armor. Helps a bit in preventing heavy cavalry running all over the battlefield non-stop.

  28. #28

    Default Re: The reason why cavalry are so damn effective

    Quote Originally Posted by dopp
    Agreed, but historically-correct sometimes results in dull gameplay. Cavalry and infantry playing chicken is not really fun.

    Examples:

    Cavalry makes a charge, crappy infantry panic and run, cavalry chops them up. Result: Boring, plus you get negative traits like "Fond of Blood".

    Cavalry makes a charge, quality infantry in good defensive position hold bravely, cavalry pulls up before making contact, trades a few blows, rides away, calls for archers. Result: Boring, plus loads of complaints about "charge bug" and "M2TW sux".

    More examples:

    Cavalry charges, infantry brace, cavalry commit suicide, infantry laugh, player screams and smashes monitor. Result: Player will never use cavalry again, player will build loads of cheap spears and camp. Ultimate result: Boring.

    Cavalry charges, infantry stand bravely, huge massive collision with bodies going everywhere, loads of carnage, confusion, men hacking at each other, both sides reduced to tatters. Result: Fun. Stupid, but fun.

    I exaggerate a bit, of course. You're really supposed to use swordsmen or spears of your own to engage the spears in front while you flank with cavalry (like I do), or call up archers and shoot those idiots to bits, but it's much more exciting when the knights drive through everything. Still, it does leave armored sergeants without any meaningful existence as a game unit. Maybe spears should be less about fighting cavalry and more about forming a solid defensive line against anything, swords included?
    Disagree. It's fun to see knights do it a few times, then it gets tired in an hour of gameplay and then it's back to leveling up an alt in World of Warcraft. I prefer MTW and STW where you used spears to hold the line, swords to do damage and cavalry to flank. Spears are too easily killed in RTW and MTW2 and just don't do anything.

    Fact is, the strategy is what keeps me playing the game and there's no strategy with cavalry charges so overpowered and spear units so underpowered. It's hard to have rock-paper-scissors gameplay when rock loses to both paper and scissors. I'm in the middle of my second campaign right now (Russians) and between them and the Venetians, I've probably built around 2 spear units from castles, both of which I just used as garrison. I've built lots of Italian spear militias as Venice but only as garrison units.

    MTW2 is just way, way lacking in spears, both in their power and the number of choices factions have in spear units. MTW had better spears, even had a light shock spear unit in the Muwahid light militia or something of that order.

  29. #29

    Default Re: The reason why cavalry are so damn effective

    I am also guessing that the horses themselves cause casualties during a cavalry charge. I assume the collision mass of the horses may determine their effectiveness in causing casualties during a charge.

    I would like to play around with the collision mass of cavalry mounts but again, I haven't found the values for cavalry mounts. Hopefully when we have the unpacker, they will be available for modding.

  30. #30
    Magister Vitae Senior Member Kraxis's Avatar
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    Default Re: The reason why cavalry are so damn effective

    Ahhh yes the Muwwahids (just that). They were terribly fun to play with.
    Not really any great stats, a little on the offensive side, a superb charge and stellar morale. You never knew what they might end up doing in a battle, much like a version of Ghazi with a bonus facing cavalry. Dead fun!

    In RTW I found out along with many other (independantly) that cavalry charges had little to do with the bonus, and a lot more to do with the weight of the horse and apparently armour (as tests showed that Cataphracts had a quite stronger charge than Cappadocian Cavalry, where the difference was 4 point lower armour for the Cappas but having a shield of similar value instead).

    Apparently the armour-part of the charge has been removed, but now all horses seem to have an equally strong charge (but difference in survivability in said charge).
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