I thought a lot recently how we could make Infantry more interesting.
First I though about some micro mechanics that make cavalry and archers so intersting, but I got no good idea what could be the third dimension after the first two of speed and range. So I had to skip this approach.
But I remember from other games that there were abilities that you can use mid battle that change the outcome. I jsut don’t think this is a good approach for age 2. Cause the basic mechanics of the game are what makes it so cool. It’s like chess, very basic rules but an open field to play with it. If you would implement such abilites there would be the need to make sure they have an impact which would force to change up general interactions. This then would shut down all the cool strategies that have evolved over time to compensate for certain disbalances.
I want to propose a different concept that may sound a bit weird, but I will try to explain why I chose that and why I think it could allow to make infantry gameplay more interesting for players who like this kind of more macro-oriented combats but still keep alive the general interactions we have in the game and don’t destroy any established strategies.
The key concept is to associate the four different stances (Agressive, Defensive, Stand Ground, No Attack) with certain boost/decreases to damage, damage taken and speed. At first only for infantry but probably there is also a way to make if for all units.
The in-game effect is then that to effectively use the infantry you would need to be careful of what stance you chose at which situation and also have to change stances in combat situations to get the best result. So you could use a stance that increases the speed of your unit to close the gap faster and then change to a stance with higher damage output. But this can also backfire against ranged units cause the stance that increases your speed also makes your units take more damage. So in this situation you may consider a stance that reducess the taken damage. But this then makes your unit slower so you may not be able to close the gap. Also the Stance with increased damage only increases the damage output against units with full HP, so if you switch not with the right timing to it you may lose a decent amount of damage output.
So it’s a matter of chosing the right stances at the right situation and even have the right timings when switching to another stance. You possibly even could try to reduce the damage taken from microed ranged units by trying to change to the stance which reduces the taken damege at exactly the time when the arrows hit. But this might be quite hard to execute. Which is intentional cause I only want the very best players to be able to consistantly do this. As infantry naturally is less strong the higher the level of the players. So I add one specific micro system that can be made use of only by the best of the best to compensate for this general trend.
So what are the Impact of the stances to the unit stats?
First I have to say that I don’t have a perfect solution. I still evne struggle to think of it’s better to make base stat increases/decreases (like +2 atk) or ratios (like +25 % more damage dealt). I decided for now that I will use the ratios for all damage related stuff but absolute values for non-damage related like speed. But idk if this is really the optimal choice.
Also I tried to match the stances with stat changes to make them more effective in how they are ########### used currently. Which leads tto a discrepancy between the naming of the stance and the associated effect. So will the attack stance increase the defences while reducing the attack but the defensive stance increase the speed and reduce the defences. Makes no sense from the naming, but actually sense in the way infantry stances are currently used in the game.
Speed: -.1 T/s
Damage Taken: -40 %
Damage Dealt: - 40 %
Speed: +.2 T/s
Damage Taken: + 15 %
Damage Dealt: - 15 %
Speed: +/- 0 T/s
Damage Taken: +/- 0 %
Damage Dealt: +/- 0 %
Bonus: + 50 % Damage vs Targets with full HP
No Attack Stance
Speed: - .3 T/s
Damage Taken: - 33 %
Damage Dealt: 0 %
Bonus: Heals 20 HP / minute
So in conclusion, when and why you chose which ot the stances:
Agressive stance is usually used when in the enemy base. The units spread out and raid which makes it hard for the opponent to clean it up. The bonus to damage taken makes the units resist the defensive fire better so they have longer time to damage the eco. Units which take less damage but have less damage output are better suited for this usage. At least as melee units.
Defensive stance is mostly used for the prodection of exposed ressources against cavalry raids. So you want your units to get fast to the cavalry units but also return fast when they are lured away. The downside of this stance is that the units take more damage which is ofc especially bad vs ranged units but they also have reduced damage output. This means that setting them on the defencive stance can even backfire vs cavalry as the cavalry may just overwhealm your infantry with sheer fighting power. Unless ofc you manage to see it and change the stance to one that makes increases the fighting capabilities of your units.
Stand Ground is atm rarely used for infantry. But this could then change. Cause this stance is ideal for fights. The units have basically the stats as they are tooltipped. They only deal increased damage against units with full health. (The first swing). This little tweak is there to increase the impact of timing with the stance changes. Whilst this stance alone is basically useless as the units don’t move towars the opponents to attack them, you can switch to this stance righ before you attack the opponents to greatly increase the damage output in the first few moments of the battle.
This can be further increased by using no attack stance in between Defensive/Agressive Stance and Stand Ground. If you change to this stance just before the two lines finally clash your unist won’t attack anything, so you make sure most opponent units have 100 % hp. When you then give the order to change to Stand Ground you will greatly increase the damage output. It’s associated with a risk though cause no atk stance has reduced speed which gives the opponent the opportunity to retreat and look for a better engagement. No Attack Stance is then also associated whith a slow regeneration ability. I thought this could be kinda handy for infantry units. Whilst ranged units can function basically as good with 1 hp as whith full HP and Cavalry units have a high HP pool and speed to retreat so a monk additon makes sense, infantry have neither. So damaged infantry becomes less useful, especially if the opponent has counter units out you don’t really have anything to do for them. But if you don’t have a castle to put them in, they just stand there doing nothing until you finaly decide to send them to a suicide mission. Basically this. A stance that gives them a slow regeneration you can just retreat them and let them slowly heal up until there might be a better situation where you can make use of them. This can possibly also be used for damage units that you use to protect your expansion, but this is associated with a kinda high risk. They wouldn’t prodect anything whilst in this stance anymore.
As you can see when facing ranged unist you could switch between defensive and agressive stance whenever the opponents arrows arrive. This way you could increase the effective speed of the units while taking less ranged damage. But ofc to pull this off you need to be very precise with your timing.
What do you think about this approach? And please differ your opinion on the approach (make infantry more interesting by adding micro mechanics) the concept (using the stances for this) or the actual implementation idea with the specific bonusses to the individual stances.
Edit: it would be cool if this could be associated with some visual effect to the unit itself (no weird markers over their heads or something). Really cool would be if the units would like hold shields over their heads when they are in a stance where they take less damage or visuably run when in a stance with higher movement speed. But if there is no viable way to make it visible from the model itself it’s probably better to just leave it as it is.