The other posts about movement are not exactly on this topic, I believe, so I created this new one. Of course, if mods think otherwaise, I understand it being merged.
I have a “problem” with movement and formations, which is units speeding up to meet the formations. This creates those weird situations where you send in a cavarly raid into the opponent’s woodline, and as he reacts his villagers become faster than your cav for one ot two seconds, which is enough for them to Usain Bolt their way into the TC. This also happens versus siege and other slow units, and is quite frustrating and hard to predict their behavior, to be honest.
They way I see formations, they are a way to pre-desing confrontations, part of the effort to get an optimal clash with the opponent’s forces. But getting into formation, which is something that should cause a moment of weakness into my troops, happens way too fast, due to this acceleration of movement from units. Formations end up being somewhat trivial, in the sense that changing between them mid combat is not a big issue, demanding less and less preparation from the player. I do believe formations should also be a part of the game of counters that AoE 4 is, at least in the sense that if I can bodyblock the opponents counters to my units (just like MAA protecting crossbows from knights) I should be able to profit from that. And if my opponent scouts my formation and instead goes for a flank, than he should reap the rewards of it.
The way I imagine things, a unit just shouldn’t get faster because he is getting into formation. Is not like his superior is yelling and him to get in formation or the platoon will have to run an extra mile while fully geared. So, if you want an entire ball of units to move in formation, the ones which are already in position should wait for the others to get in position, so the formation as a whole can move the way it’s intended. And I know I just stumbled into a problem with this, which is traveling the map.
On this topic of traveling the map, I see that the method I advocate will create the problem of every tree, every deer, every little obstacle making the whole formation slower, because units will move out of formation in order to go around the tree, and everyone else have to wait Pvt. Clownshoe to get back into formation. This would slow things down by way too much, and I do agree it wouldn’t be fun. But I also have a solution to that.
Well, I’m not exactly a military theorist guy, probably not even a proper enthusiast, but I do believe full combat formations are used when contact with the enemy is expected, or at the very least is likely. During travels, other types of formations are used (correct me if I’m wrong) to just make logistics not the biggest of hassles and for troops not to lose themselves from their battallions and whatnot. Anyway, if you enforce a way too strict formation, into a traveling army, it should slow it down. But, as I said, this just wouldn’t be fun. So, finally getting to my solution: let’s not, at first, have formations while traveling our units through the map.
Yes, it can be a little ugly to see our units moving all disorganized, and can leave us very vulnerable to ambushes (any Teutoburg battlers in the chat?) but it does make sense, right? I mean, when we click to send units somewhere else, the game can continue to find the formation positions ->at the point of arrival<-, just like when we right click and drag, so we can find the ideal positioning to our army when it arrives on location. This type of tool is already in the game and it is well developed, so nothing to be changed here.
In the future, we could have another army command hotkey to enforce formation traveling, which would be a type of attack move but with formations enforced (so everybody would wait for Pvt. Clownshoe to get around himself). I know I’m asking for more code, and I’m not a code guy, so I don’t really know how complicated would be to implement this, but I’m laying down ideas either way.
This was a long post, but I hope it was worth your time.