I put this in another thread regarding the use of the sword line but wanted to post it here for some discussion.
Disclaimer: Just a thought experiment, I don’t expect the devs to add any of my ideas to the game. Lol.
So every 14 seconds a post is made on this forum regarding buffing the militia line due to under use, and the Militia are compared to Archers and Knights. I would like to propose that the reason Archers and Knights are such core units is not so much due to base stats, but their ability to be micro’d.
Archers - can do hit and run, as well as split and dance to avoid taking damage from mangos, skirms, and other archers.
Knights - can avoid taking damage by running away from bad fights due to their mobility.
The Militia line cannot be effectively micro’d to the same extent. Most ideas I’ve read are about buffing base stats or cost. But those are actually areas the units already good at so if you buff their base stats or spam-ability they just get better at what they can already do, which would then result in more people just flooding infantry to the enemy base, which is a brainless, micro-less strategy. Think goth spam, or eagle spam.
If there is a fix, I think it needs to occur at the micro level. In other words give a buff that requires skill to use. My suggestion:
A new formation specifically for sword line and infantry UUs: Shield wall. This is a tight pack formation that boosts pierce armor, but nerfs speed. Specific stats could be determined but it would give your infantry the ability to continue to exist in the presence of archers.
There is obviously historical precedence since infantry have been using shields against archers since phalanx and testuto formations in antiquity.
Your specific infantry counters are still just as strong, such as hand cannons, and scorpions (even stronger actually since its tight packed) but I would boost the pierce armor enough that it makes the xbow line relatively unhelpful. Strategically you could use infantry in shield wall in a similar way to rams. Knights would still do fine against it which is good since they cost more.
I already know the argument of “no new mechanics in the game” and I respect that my question is, as a thought experiment what would this type of formation do for the viability of infantry throughout more stages of the game?
::Edit:: Units in Shield wall can’t fight. So you can’t do damage when you have the pierce armor bonus.