Genoese Crossbows

There have been a lot of suggestions to make Genoese Crossbows (GC) train about 20% (4s) faster.
Instead it would be possible to make GC 20% more expensive, with 20% more damage output (attack and bonus damage) and 20% more durability (either as health or as armour).
This would have the advantage of making GC more unique in its comparison with the other archer UU. They would be more population efficient, but no more population efficient than eg cav-archer UUs.

I don’t have the best grasp of precise balance, but I’ll provide a detailed proposal below, to facilitate discussion:
price: 45/45 -> 50/50
hitpoints: 45 -> 50
attack: 6+5(vs cav) -> 7+6(vs cav)
armour: 1/0 -> 2/1
range, movement speed & TT remain fixed.

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Anyone who has played against post imp genbows knows that buffing their damage output vs cavalry would be a massive mistake.

That would give them 6/6 armor, in post imp, that’s more armor than every infantry UU aside from TK and huskarls.

Genbows are fine. Don’t mess with their stats, just reduce train time a bit to make them more in line with other archer UU.

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GC does need a relevant buff. However I am a bit conservative on this topic, so, the only real thing I would like to see is a massive reduction of the TT. As it should be for a counter unit.

GC is more expensive than ckn. It is worse in every scenario. If you consider the huge TT and the fact that cavalry is often paired to skirms, even vs cavalry.

Despite that I would act just on the TT, to make it comparable to ckn. A counter unit should be trained fast. To be even more conservative, we can give this as a secondary effect of the Pavise UT (+1/1 armor and -40% TT).

Then of course GC may need other buff (even a +1 range maybe) but I would wait. And, if extra armor is provided, it should be locked in the UT (which is currently to expensive since it is just a worse version of a blacksmiths upgrade).

Regarding the armors, I like the proposal for Italians of free archer armors (or archer +1 PA). That would be also a small help for GCs.

So, to wrap up:

  • massive reduction of TT (maybe locked by pavise)
  • benefit from a (needed) Italian buff, like free archer armors or archer with +1 PA.

Other buffs should be postponed to see if these urgent ones are sufficient imo.

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Well, the uniqueness of the GC is their bonus vs cavalry, right now that forces the Italian player to choose between them and the standard xbow, depending of the enemy civs and units, if he make the right decision he’s rewarded, if he doesn’t, he’s punished.
If you buff in general the GC, you risk to make it always a preferable choice over the standard xbow, though I’m not against a small buff of some of their stats in general (considering other UU, GC aren’t that powerful or versitile) in the end they fill their theoretical role quite fine.

The thing is, that right now they are a broken unit (in a bad way), since even if you need less of them to counter cavalry, with such high TT you can’t keep up with production, and have even the smaller number that you require. The enemy can outnumber and kill you with just cavalry, and they should counter cavalry.

It really their only weakness, since all foot archers need to be massed, but with GC you can’t do it.
So what we usually propose is more of a fix than a buff, since in its original concept, GC do their work on paper, but you can’t have enough of them thanks to the big bottleneck that the TT and the need of a castle provides.

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I’ve been playing around with various combinations of generic Crossbowman + Genoese Crossbowman against Knights a lot in the Scenario Editor. From what I’ve seen and considered, I believe Genoese Crossbowman are almost certainly only useful against cavalry when using them in a long term Feudal Age archer aggression strategy that continues into Castle Age and ends with a mixing in of Genoese Crossbowman. And I believe Genoese Crossbowman should be good enough at such a very specific strategy in a real game, that if they were buffed, then they would become broken.

For the details, I first made a test assuming both players spent an equal amount of time creating military. I did this by pretending the Italians player played Fast Castle into two Archery Range production with a Castle added later, and by pretending the generic Knight player played Fast Castle into two Stable production with a third Stable added later. I assumed the Knight player built 10 Knights out of each of the three Stables for a total army creation time of 900 seconds and total army count of 30 Knights. For the Italians player, applying the same total creation time over two Archery Ranges and one Castle produces 22 Crossbowman and 13 Genoese Crossbowman. Since the current amount of military buildings and units usually implies the game is in mid-late Castle Age, I also gave both armies full Castle Age upgrades except for Pavise. I then made the two armies fight. The results were disastrous for the Italians player, including when adding Pavise and starting the fight at maximum range. This made me think Genoese Crossbowman are not good for a Fast Castle strategy, where players going for the same Fast Castle strategy are likely to spend an equal enough time on creating military. I suppose you could play defensively to mass both Crossbow units, because long term adding more Archery Ranges and Castles is faster than adding more Stables due to both Crossbow units costing less total resources per minute than Knights. But that also means giving the Knight player a free boom.

From comparing same creation time armies I moved on to comparing same total resource cost armies. Using the same 30 Knight army from the last test comes to a total of 4,050 resources. Applying this same total resource cost for the Italians player between the two Archery Ranges and one Castle from the last test produces 38 Crossbowman and 15 Genoese Crossbowman. I gave the two armies the same upgrades from the last test and made the two armies fight. The Italians player, without Pavise and starting the fight at less than maximum range, still loses to Knights badly. Starting the fight without Pavise but at maximum range finally gave some promising results, where the Italians army has a 50/50 chance of winning that depends on how early the Genoese Crossbowman die. Last, starting the fight with Pavise at maximum range gives the best results possible, where the Italians army could consistently win against Knights with around 20% units remaining. For comparison, I tested 57 Crossbowman with Pavise against the same 30 Knights. The Knights stomped that normal Crossbowman army every time. It’s not even a close fight.

It’s clear to me Genoese Crossbowman has a place against cavalry in equal resource fights where Genoese Crossbowmen are not the entire army, but mixed in with normal Crossbows. But an equal resource archer army creates much, much slower than a Knight army. For example, the army sizes I used in the equal resource test comes out to 900 seconds for the Knight army vs. 1,356 seconds for the Archer army! A 456 seconds difference! This difference is why I said Genoese Crossbowman are almost certainly only useful in a long term strategy starting from Feudal Age archer aggression, where you have a head start in archer numbers over a Knight civ and might further delay Knight numbers with early economy damage with pressure continuing into Castle Age.

Using the same armies with Imperial Age upgrades, Cavalier, and especially Paladin, take the lead again by far. However, with a post-boom economy it should still be possible for the Italians player to fight back and win with even higher archer numbers. Because 3 Stable Knights cost 405 resources per minute, but 2 Archery Range and 1 Castle Crossbows cost 230 resources per minute, meaning the Italians player can add in more production buildings faster than the Knights player to keep the numbers advantage started way back in Feudal Age.

Next, and finally, I pretended Genoese Crossbowman got a cost and/or creation time buff, allowing me to add 2 more Genoese Crossbowman in the 30 Knights vs. 38 Crossbows/15 Genoese Crossbows matchup. The difference is HUGE! In the Castle Age, 13% more Genoese Crossbowman power is enough to win against Knights so hard, I don’t even need Pavise to consistently win! And with Pavise, the Italians army has so many units left over for raiding or more military fights, that it could be GG if the Knights player doesn’t scramble out Mangonels. The results would be no less than the same with a buff to combat stats. And with Genoese Crossbowman being better than generic foot archers since the release of DE, good luck using anything but siege or a stronger archer civ against an army of buffed Genoese Crossbowman and Pavise foot archers. This massive power spike from a relatively small boost, in addition to everything else I have said about combat performance, is why I said a buff to Genoese Crossbowman would make them broken. The safest buff I can think of, if there still needs to be a buff, is a cheaper and faster researching Pavise, as it’s a requirement for efficiently fighting heavy cavalry with Genoese Crossbowman even in the most ideal situation.

Other than that, my conclusion is the same as my opening.

A standard game isn’t a scenario editor, going for xbow and then transition into GC seems good on paper, but there are 2 massive flow.
First, both are so easily and hard counter by adding some skirms, so it’s unlikely that you go for only archers.
Second, transitioning from xbows to GC takes a lot more than just keep training knights. If the Italians has gone with 2 AR, it should take a wile for them to have all the stone for building a castle (you should had a perfect dark/feudal, which is unlikely) and then it also take a lot of time to build it, while the enemy can build stables even when aging up. So when you finally tech into GC, you already are outnumbered, and you’ll only be more ad more if you wait to have GC.

It’s not like the enemy wait for you to have a castle to start training knights, he probably have even more if you consider how much faster he can add stables.

Again, great on paper, but the problem is that you can reach that situation, since the enemy can attract you before you complete your army.

For sustained production yes archers cost less than knights, but in imp it really depends on how the castle age fight ended up. Also, consider that is much more easier to spam stables than castles, so again, the enemy is always ahead in production, if he is huns or franks even more.

And that is how is supposed to be. I mean, GC are good only vs cavalry, they have no others use except that of a counter unit, which Italians need since they don’t have neither halbs or camels, so without the GC are completely vulnerable to any civ with good knights, even more if they can tech into paladins.
In castle age GC should win consistently vs knights, since they cost more (than a standard xbow or a pike) and take longer to tech into them (you have to build a castle), so you should be able to train them in response to a knight rush, since it literally the only reason why they should be made (unlike other UU archers, which are better unit than in general than the standard xbow, like the chukos, the plumes, the longbows or the rattan). Also, consider than it’s like the enemy is defenseless, skirms, rams manganels/onagers still work perfectly fine in both castle and imp, it’s unlikely that he’ll go for knights alone.

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Well… the easiest comparison is with ckn. They have the same range. Ckn is cheaper, faster to create, better in almost every scenario. They only thing is vs heavy cavalry, but if you assume that the knight player will add some skirms, I expect that ckn does better.

So I would say that, at least, the two units should have a similar TT.

Moreover the fight knights vs crossbowman is balanced per se. It is the main fight of the game. So clearly if you reduce the number of crossbowman to add GC the thing improves.

The point is that if a unit fights with its counters, the fight should not be balanced at all. The counter should dominate.

Fine if crossbowman vs knights is balanced, but if knights vs camels (of GCs) is balanced it is a big problem

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This fact proves that GC needs a relevant buff

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Since they are cheaper, they have more base attack, and the extra arrows ignore armor, if you mass them they actually are better than GC vs cavalry.

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They will remain better even if GC TT is buffed. But fine, Chinese are a top civ, while italians are a bottom tier civ.

The point is that, since it is allowed the existence of ckn, at least give GC a comparable TT.

Moreover a counter unit should have a small TT.

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More like give them a TT that allows them to do their job, since it’s really their main problem.

Well, italians have better monks and gunpowder, and they have hussars, chinese have camels, halbs, siege rams and better CA, so the civs are balanced when we look at their tech trees.

The problem of the GC is that they can’t properly fill the only role that they have, while the problem of the Italians in general is that they usually die before they have the opportunity to use their strengths (like massing GC or gunpowder).

Imo this is mitigated by heavily reducing the TT. Either as a direct action or by an additional pavise effect.

This is another problem, similar to the one of the Portuguese. Imo a small buff disappearing in imp (free archer armors?) Would be enough.

The biggest issue I see with Italians and Portuguese is that the civs in their tier have been buffed (vietmamese, Khmer, tatars, Teutons, Lithuanians, goths), so now they are too weak. That is why I am also favorable to bring back the old effect of pavise

It’s a flaw of the unit itself, so it should be corrected directly. Doing it through pavise it’s a palliative.

It would still a low tier civ, though at this point anything is better than nothing.

Being low tier civ is better than being unplayable since there are no more civs in your tier

I think we should add a specific topic on Italian buffs since there are a lot of requests, with a good consensus.

My feeling is that the community really wants to see Italians buffed. Even more than turks

Let’s wait for this month patch first.

Turks need some tweaks, but overall they are fine. They’re able to train powerful units in castle age (janissarys and sipahi CA), the free light cav upgrades with their late imp powerful options also make them a fearsome civ.

Their main problem is that their only weakness (lack of foot trash) is easy to exploit, but as a civs they don’t need properly buff, just something small to avoid that the enemy abuse so often this particular weakness.

EDIT: However, here we are getting of topic, sorry, my bad.

I mean, it’s not that, every civ have a context where they shine. The problem of italians is that they don’t shine even where they should (except for full water map).
Look at this month map pool, I personally was expecting to see more italians in bog islands, since on paper they should be a solid civ, but I actually never saw them (I admit that I didn’t had that much time recently, so maybe it’s me).

@DoctBaghi, have you read read Dbuen’s post in detail?
@Dbuen specifically talks about having 2 archery ranges producing whilst at the same time having a castle producing. No Archer -> GC transition.
This strategy will have significant downsides when the time comes to transition to imp; namely that both units have to be upgraded.
But please read posts you reply to.

I understood the analysis, my only point is that a similar effect is obtained going just crossbowman. And, if you factor the large economy investment and the risk to build the castle, probably you can just win the fight going just crossbowman. Crossbowman vs knights is very balanced. GCs vs knights should be extremely unbalanced, since you are creating an expensive unit (more expensive than a crossbowman), weaker vs everything else but knights, from a castle (which needs a huge investment). If the use of GCs makes the fight balanced, there is no reason, at all, to use GCs. Just other crossbowman. Which is, btw, what italians do atm

I did, but as I specified, that is a scenario editor contex, not a real game context, usually you don’t have a castle spawn out of nothing.
Even if we assume that both players have gone with a fast castle strategy without feudal fighting (which is rare), it’s more likely that you start producing xbows with 2 AR and then produce GC from a castle. Even if you have 650stone upon reaching castle (which again, it’s rare that you have all 650 stone + the stone needed for other TCs), you still have 200sec of build time, while the enemy can add stables when aging up.
So, in a real game, the enemy will always start training knights before you can train GC, so he always start with a number advantage.
And even if we don’t count this, it’s still 22s vs 30s, but from a building wich is easy to spam (650 stone and 200sec vs 175 wood and 50sec of build time).

I did, however I apologize, maybe I wasn’t clear on my answer, english is still a second language for me, but I fully understood and considered what he wrote.

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Ah. Sorry I misunderstood you and assumed the worst.

FWIW I do agree with most of the things being said in this thread, especially Sylux’s analysis.

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