Tower Elephants may become stuck shooting at Battering Rams

This is a bit of a complex one, but bear with me:

It’s well known that the Tower Elephant’s archer/crossbow/handcannon attack fires while the Tower Elephant is moving. However there are a few quirks to how this attack works:

  • A Tower Elephant appears to “lock on” to a certain unit (usually the closest unit or the first thing that comes into range). Unlike other ranged units, it will continue to fire at this unit even as other units move closer to the Tower Elephant
  • Giving a stop command, a move command, or an attack move command does not force the Tower Elephant to change targets.
  • You can select another unit to lock on to by target firing that unit.

The issue arises when a siege unit with high ranged armor (such as a Battering Ram) is the first unit that enters a Tower Elephant’s range. The Tower Elephant will waste all of its attacks on the siege unit even as melee units attack it directly. And unintuitively, you cannot fix this by giving a stop command or a second attack move.

You can see an instance of this happening in a recent high level game:

There are a few ways to fix this:

  • Stop command or attack move command forces the Tower Elephant to retarget
  • Tower Elephant that was not specifically target fired onto a siege unit does not lock onto siege units, switching targets to the first non-siege unit that comes in range (like how Town Centers work).
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