Combat Rehash and Battle Testing

Week 55 is over. I was away from home most of the week, had a wonderful Dominance sub-gathering with Dargor in Split! Yes, all meetups of 2+ Dominance-related people carry the mandatory “Dominance gathering” description. So, what’s new?

Ability descriptions

A bit of rebalance was done on the abilities, attack types and numbers in general. Let’s start with the basics.

Attack types

We recognize 6 different attack types, up from 4 since the last round.
MELEE: (Basic)

A club or a sickle, a hammer or an axe; it takes little but the desire to kill.
Melee units proportionally target all enemy units, but focus on enemy melee units first. When attacking archers and longbowmen, melee units deal double damage.

RANGED: (Basic)

Slings and short bows, poisoned blowguns and simple rocks – equipping peasants was always the easy part.
Ranged units have one extra attack at the beginning of combat. All subsequent attacks are at cumulative -10% attack value.

MOUNTED: (Men)

From horses and tonnes to squilix and shaslaks, different races utilize various powerful beasts bred for combat.
Mounted units will charge into the largest present enemy unit stack. If such enemy is not mounted or burrowing, attacks deal additional 50% damage.

ASSASSIN: (Wud)

As silent as death, the Haralin of Esen were trained killers, merciless and unstoppable. It was the ritual practice of shedding their own selves that caused their eventual downfall.
Assassins fight only in the first round. They attack the least numerous enemy unit stacks.
After first round assassins withdraw, if able, and such retreat does not affect morale.

LONGBOW: (Erol)

Men call them “obsidian longbows”. To Erol, they are Sothraak, the Spore-Seeders.
Longbowmen have one extra attack at the beginning of the round, which is twice as deadly.
All subsequent attacks are at cumulative -25% attack value.

BURROWING: (Haad)

Nothing lived in the dirt, save for the Beasts and the savage burrowers we called Del-nartun. Now, we live in the dirt.
Burrowing units target all enemy units proportionally.

Menar, Wudar and Haadar start with Melee. Eroleks start with Ranged. Non-basic attack types require research so don’t roll with Wud 1 if you want to use assassins from the get-go. Once you research an attack type, you can assign any of the races with it. For example, a Haadek is creatable as soon as you research Tier 2 Haad units since Ranged attack requires no research, and you can craft Wudun as soon as you research Burrowing attack and Tier 2 Wud units.

Common Abilities

Common abilities are applicable to any race. All you need to do is research them, and naturally research unit upgrades for the race you wish to modify.

ARMSMASTER: (Men)

Only the most skilled and the most brave may ceremoniously bear a single strand from the helm of Emet Ka, losing it means losing all honor.
When attacking melee units armsmasters do double damage.
When defending against melee units armsmasters have double defense.

AWARENESS: (Wud)

“Silence tells us more than a shout”, Um Slatar is quoted to have said. Lies, of course, anyone who ever met the insane diviner had died within seconds.
Units with awareness ignore terror attacks.
When defending against assassins their defense is tripled.

AMBUSHER: (Erol)

The Trickle of Keis, and the Whisper of La; dual-faced Leaf of Change is a god of mandatory worship among many Erol clans.
Striking from shadow and natural cover, opportunistic squads strike where the enemy is least expecting them.
If the terrain provides a defense bonus, that bonus is multiplied by 10 and turned into attack advantage.

BERSERK: (Haad)

Fierce as the bloodied horned face of ROROD QOR, the berserkers of RAGLAH QOR consume the blood of their fallen comrades to fuel their battle-rage.
Berserkers gain power as their comrades fall, they gain attack percentage increase equal to twice the morale loss so far.

Not all abilities are equally easy to research. Awareness is a Low-omni ability, Armsmaster is not. Again, as soon as you research any of these, you can apply it to any of the races. So, if you have a ton of Men settlements, and need awareness units, you can create Menar Um after you research the Wud Awareness ability.

Special abilities

ORGANIZED: (Men only)

For centuries the Gymnasiums of Dor`Helen have produced only the most disciplined and obedient soldiers. Make good use of them.
Organized soldiers live and fight together in tightly-knit phalanx regiments.
They gain 50% more defense against all mounted, assassin, ranged/longbow and terror attacks.

DESPISED: (Wud only)

The Heg`Harab of Shak-Sileth first used ritual practices of self-mutilation and self-cannibalism found disgusting by today’s standards.
Deaths of Punctured Eye Initiates do not lower morale of your “Thrice-Blind” civilized troops.

MINDBENDER: (Erol only)

Ish`Mareen of the Third Leaf Under Tsa voiced the now commonly-known Ede to Altering the Flow.
Each mindbender soldier raises his army’s defense by its own defense value, distributed equally over all troops.

TERROR: (Haad only)

Many are the worshippers of Un`Gragoon the Many-Tentacled, blessed and revered Horror of the Pit. Many more are forever remembered as its sacrificial victims.
Units with terror gain an extra terror attack which panicks enemy soldiers.
Enemy units that are panicked flee the battlefield, and are treated as dead for morale loss purposes.
Panicked units rejoin their army once the combat is over.

Special abilities can be applied only to units of that particular race. So, Un`Haadar Ka is possible, but Un`Erolar Ka is not, as Terror (Un`) is Haad-only ability.

Ability Effects

Not all abilities are born equal, some are inherently more powerful than others, and each affects the base unit in different ways. Jury is still out on whether all unit upgrades will cost the same or some will be more expensive than others. The latter is likely the case. In the meanwhile, here are some numbers, but take heed how easily these can change.

Ability Modifiers

Attack Type / AbilityAttack ModifierDefense ModifierMorale ModifierSpeed ModifierCost
Melee00001
Ranged10-20001
Mounted00023
Assassin200-75012
Longbow30-20012
Burrowing20300-12
Armsmaster00012
Awareness0201011
Ambusher00023
Berserk20-202012
Organized002012
Despised200-2001
Mindbender00023
Terror1002012

The table lists common modifiers to base units. Not all units are the same, of course:

PlaneAttackDefenseMoraleSpeed
Men32320255
Wud28280197
Erol39260176
Haad30360274

These are the base values for units hailing from a plane. Let’s take Eroleks for example which start at base attack 39, which is really high. Then, we apply Ranged modifiers and end up at Att: 43, Def: 234, Mor: 17, Spd: 6. Slapping Awareness onto Eroleks would apply the +20% defense modifier, canceling out the inherent ranged penalty of -10%, with +10% to spare, for a final defense of 286 – a fine investment at a low low price of 1 mana.

Battle() changes and rewrites.

Good news! All necessary changes to Battle() have been completed, but haven’t been properly tested yet nor balanced. That’s on schedule for this week.

There’s not much to tell at this stage – there was a lot of pain and suffering due to several new concepts freshly introduced; One man’s Menar Ka are not the same unit as another man’s Menar Ka – both are different unit types entirely, which is necessary because later on focus upgrades such as +attack or +defense make these units different in anything but name. So, when stealing one’s Menar Ka – do we add these to our own stack or not? Answer is Not. Until Ticker() can verify these units have identical templates we must treat them as different stacks.

Then there was the very fact we no longer have 16 units with preset values. In fact, 3 people in a battle may each bear 20 functionally different unit designs, so we have to load every one of these separately.

Then there is a curious case where units of the same design differ between one’s own avatars! Anything with an Ambusher takes terrain bonus to boost its stats – but when 2 own avatars in combat stand on different hexes, the ambusher base stats are different.

So, next week you’ll hear how the testing went. I’ll probably be going on a working trip for the next weekend, so here’s to hoping I manage to test and bugfix everything by then.