Some Ideas on Buffing Heavy Melee Infantry

In general, heavy melee infantry (halberdier, pikeman, doppelsoldner) needs a buff. They get countered by almost every other unit type in the game, and anything they are strong against (melee cavalry, shock infantry) can just run away. Aside from the occasional pikemen in colonial age burning down some buildings, melee units are simply too weak after Colonial Age. To make them more viable, here are some ideas to improve melee infantry:

  1. Increase the speed of all melee infantry to at least 4.5. This is probably the weakest buff, but also affect the current counter system the least. If caught in a bad engagement, melee infantry can at least run away from cannons and skirmishers (except cassadors).

  2. Give all melee infantry a “sprint ability”, like caroleans. This is a temporary version of 1).

  3. Infantry Breastplate upgrade should give a greater HP buff (at least 20%). Most melee infantries do not have that much hitpoint to start with. The current increase of 10% is too small. For example, a halberdier will have its hitpoint increased from 200 to 220, which is barely a difference for most situations.

  4. Ranged Cavalry should have a (0.75) fractional damage multiplier against heavy infantry. This is sort of like how skirmishers have a fractional multiplier against melee cavalry. Ranged cavalry can still kite melee infantry, but it would not be as devastating as before.

  5. Remove (change) counter-infantry rifling. This technology effectively eliminates heavy infantry (even musketeers) from being viable in the mid to late game. And it is rather cheap for what it does. After all, it is not as if a skirmisher without counter-infantry rifling have too much trouble against heavy infantry anyways. Removing this technology could probably improve the viability of heavy infantry a lot. (Of course, there is the problem of the caroleans, but that is more of the Swedes being too strong.)

  6. Have a card/upgrade that changes the melee resistance of the slower heavy melee infantry (maybe not rodeleros) into ranged resistance. Unlike the Swedish card that changes the resistance of caroleans, this should not result in overpowered infantry. Melee infantry do not shoot back. so as long as their resistance are not too high, this should make a decent meatshield (and not die to skirmishers before fighting off the hussars charging my cannons).

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I would be down for all changes but the 5th one.
Removing counter infantry rifle is a big no.
Its a big investment to start with, and prevent the enemy from massing only 1 unit type, this upgrade is now essential when playing against the swedes.
Also it helps euro civs on fighting civs with ridiculously strong musk units such as sepoys or ashigarus.

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I agree with 1, 3, and 4. I think the other ones would make them too strong. I would also add more upgrades in the arsenal for heavy melee infantry like an attack upgrade. Also it would be really cool if they made pikeman type units have a ranged melee attack (after all it does make sense).

I agree with 1 and 3. For 1 the speed increase I think should be 4.6 just to reach 5.06 with advance arsenal, while pikeman can be left as it is. With 3 an increase of 15-20% is a nice buff for heavy infantry it also force player to choose the tanky halbs or ranged musk on age 3, I also hope iro tomahawk to get its benefit and remove it’s gunpowder tag on the unit.

I don’t like with 2, I just don’t like adding such niche ability. It’s a charge but most of the time it used as a retreat or moving boost, besides german pikeman already have 5 base speed with a potential of 30% bonus making it 6.5 speed, adding charge on that is just :neutral_face:.

About 5 removing CIR is a big no, I believe all faction should have at least 1 option that can deal at least 100 damage to infantry (skirmisher, cannon, lancer) or cavalry (melee musketeer, dragoon) in the late game. Cannon are not easily massable, and the other option for anti infantry just can’t reach that number.

On 4 and 6 I’ve got mixed feeling.

counter infantry rifling may be too strong and could be changed to a 50% bonus instead, cautious on that though.

but the major issue with hand infantry is that stat per cost they are just straight up worse than their ranged counterparts. rodeleros in legacy straight up lose to musketeers even if the musketeer never fires a shot though the rodelero has a higher villager second cost, pikemen have 8 melee attack and 120 hp despite having the same villager second costs of a musketeer with 13 melee attack and 150 hp, halberdiers in legacy where squishier than musketeers in melee and did less damage to cavalry after bayonet despite costing significantly more, and all of this while having a ranged attack.

compare dog soldiers/cuirs/spahi to skull-knights/macemen, or hussars to dopples/samurai, or ronin to mamelukes. while multi-pop melee infantry try to compensate with area/siege damage, their lack of stats and move speed means they often die before they get to do anything. meanwhile the massive hp pools, ranged resistance and move speed of cavalry ensures they always have a place in the game.

melee infantry need a minimum of 5 move speed to be viable, and while breastplate increasing their hp is a good start their base hp could use a boost as well in general. I’m not spending more than a hussars worth of villager seconds on a 4.5 speed 240 hp dopplesoldner unless I’m in treaty and stacking buffs, and even then its just to try and cheese the enemy base. keep in mind that hussars even when countered can pressure hunts endlessly and meaningfully join in a nearby battle with their move speed/durability/high base damage and snare while slow moving dopples get picked off and kited.

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When they become a protective formation, the defense becomes into ranged resistance.

1 - Agreed. But I’d say rather 4.3 or maybe even 4.4 on the principle that they are supposed to be slow and “heavy”. Makes no sense for “light” infantry at 4.0 speed to be outran by “heavy” infantry at 4.5 by principle. But for balance’s sake, I do agree that melee infantry should be a little faster for viability.

2. No, as seen by the effectiveness of Caroleans charging into skirms, this would be too much. Caroleans don’t even have area of effect melee damage. If you manage to sprint like 30 healthy samurai or doppels into the middle of 40-50 skirms, good luck bro, most likely the DPS of the skirms will sharply drop (due to meleeing and dying) and you will win. This would make light infantry unviable to heavy infantry then, unless you were kiting the hell out of your skirms or had cannons backing you up.
I believe melee infantry should be a little faster to do some sort of damage to mass skirms, but sprinting would absolutely ruin the counter system.

3. Agreed.

4. Agreed.

5. No, CIR is essential. Some infantry have ridiculous amounts of HP (ronin) and some trainable infantry have considerable amounts of HP when massed (janissaries, ashiguru, samurai, doppels, etc.)
Some civs don’t have strong anti-infantry skirmishers (Russia’s strelets for example. Imperial Strelet with Boyars, Strelet Combat, and arsenal upgrade gets you 24 x 2 = 48 without CIR). Hell, a normal musketeer gets like 50 ranged attack without buffs, I think. Russian Musketeers get 47 with the arsenal upgrade.

This is balanced by the Strelet’s super cheap cost, yes, but treaty-wise, have you ever seen 60 imperial strelets try to take on 40 exalted samurai? That’s awful. While you’re waiting on horse cannons, you are micromanaging like crazy to kite them when you could be doing something else. You’re wasting money on halberdier meat shields too, since samurai eat them. Light infantry should be able to do their job, and CIR is vital.

It’s already awful enough for civs with weak anti-inf.

And 6. No. If you give them #1 and this buff, melee infantry would be… strong. Not unstoppable, but I can see people charging halberdiers, doppels, samurais, pikemen into skirms and being successful ~40% of the time. I don’t think this is good for the light infantry > heavy infantry counter system.
As you can see with Caroleans, a unit with 300+ HP and some ranged resist is already a huge pain for skirms, whether they are meleeing or not, let alone samurais or doppels with easily 500+ HP.

Once again from point #5, some civs have weak anti-inf already. This would break those civs as well.

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How about make the Military Drummers update only increase the speed of heavy (melee) infantry or increase the speed of heavy by 20%(or 10%) while light only gets 10% (or 5%).
Or add the bonus to Infantry Breastplate. That would make archers a bit stronger but I don’t think they are too powerful anyway.

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All the melee heavy infantry needs are more damage.
They have too many weaknesses and have to compete with Hussar.
If they are given higher damage, multipliers for certain units, and price discounts, they will appear more frequently.

Apart from my thoughts I think 3 and 4 are good

Quoting myself here:

Tl;Dr: Give Aztec melee units more speed and ranged resist. To do this, make change the Jaguar and Skull Knight Temple cards to grant speed and armor. And/or rework some of Aztec big buttons to provide armor/movement speed for these 2 melee units. Aztec big buttons do not offer any special unit upgrades unlike Iroquois or Lakota, who can directly upgrade their units with their big button.

Having the Jaguar Knight as heavy infantry anti-Skirm with 0.10 melee resist and 0% range resist is complete nonsense, the unit loses to the unit its supposed to counter. And being melee with only 4.50 speed means it gets picked off by Dragoons or any ranged units, causing Aztec to suffer heavy losses after a poor engagement.

Make it only affect melee infantry, not ranged infantry sounds like a good choice to me. Ultimately melee infantry will need more than this. But there are some cards like buffing Samurai speed for Japan, and Japan can also toggle their wonder to more speed. So Japan could go out of control with too many speed changes.

Generally speaking, hand infantry is bad only against musketeer units.
They beat the cavalry and lose to archers, skirmishers and cannons and so it must be.
To resolve this it is necessary that all hand infantry units receive a small multiplier against heavy infantry (musketeers do not receive this buff), so that the hand infantry will not be too strong against other types of units.