Two minor QoL requests (control group 0, easier staggered formation)

Hello, just thought I’d post this here.

Two small things that keep bothering me a bit and I would love if they were implemented/improved:

  • Make 0 an assignable control group, like in AoE1 or 2. I always liked to use that for “special” training buildings like forts etc., and especially with the complexity of AoE3 I sometimes run out of control groups (1-4 for fast/melee/ranged/artillery combat units, 5 for healers/support, 6-9 for all sorts of production buildings… if you have something like barracks + stable + foundry + native trading post + fort, it’s no longer enough)

  • Either a “set ranged units to staggered formation by default” setting in options, or a way to instantly apply a formation/stance to all selected units (if there is one already, tell me I’m a potato and tell me how). I see pretty much no reason for ranged units to not always be in staggered formation, and if you have like 8 types of ranged units selected…


Hello. You are a potato :slight_smile:. You can set all selected ranged units to a particular formation simultaneously by using the hotkeys. So, for example, if you have a group of units selected that contains Musketeers, Crossbowmen, and Skirmishers, and your hotkey for Stagger Mode is S, then pressing S with that group of units selected will put all of them in Stagger Mode.

This is useful for setting the resource for multiple Trading Posts on an upgraded trade route at once too. You can select all the trading posts, for example by selecting one and using the Select all of unit type hotkey, and then press the hotkey for whatever resource you want delivered for them. This works even if some native Trade Posts end up in the mix too.

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Potato is grateful, thanks :smiley:

Though still, I think it would be useful to have the ability to set that by default - is there really any reason ranged units would be in something else?

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You’re welcome!

I’d guess it has to do with pathing. It’s easier to maneuver a group of units if they’re in close formation. Depending on the level you play at, bad pathing can range from anything from catastrophic to a minor inconvenience. At higher levels you can suffer a lot of damage from a bad path. In the original AoE III trilogy there was an exploit called a cav box whereby you could place heavy cavalry in a super tight formation if you put them in Defence Mode together with one light cavalry unit (if I remember it correctly) and with some cavalry units like Oprichniks this was a nightmare to play against because of how nimbly the group could move between buildings or the environment. It was so oppressive that the devs removed the ability to create cav boxes in DE.

skirms dont really want to be staggered against cav since being spread out means more space for cav to charge in and kill

musk sometimes wants to be set to melee in minor engagements with cav since the melee attack in range mode has like a small animation delay

so there are reasons to not just set it by default, its better to be flexible in this case

I use 1-4 as military buildings, using them for units is kind of unnecessary if they get killed…

It’s more about having specific types of units in specific control groups. It makes your micro vastly more efficient.

Yes, it could be… at least I don’t use it that much, because sometimes I mess up the buttons…

Hm, I’ve tried this multiple times and it doesn’t seem to work - in my case staggered formation is S, and it always only applies to the current unit type selected. So e.g. if I have skirmishers and musketeers selected, I still need to set staggered for skirmishers, then select musketeers within the group and set staggered manually again. I tried Shift+S too (which seems to be “apply to all/multiple apply” according to the hotkey menu), and same effect. Am I missing something here?..

Hm, I kinda get it, though it still sounds to me more like exceptions than the usual (as pretty much since Fortress Age the main concern for infantry is to not get massacred by artillery).

But as for cavalry vs. skirmishers, I actually thought that’s another bonus of staggered formation in AoE3 - since cavalry getting closer to more skirmishers forces them all into melee, whereas if they remain slightly further away, they can still shoot?

Skirms would only melee cav if they are right next to each other so I think thats the opposite of what will happen.

Say If you have your skirms in a ##### #### as it were then then the cav can only attack (and therefore the skirms will melee back) the skirms that are on the edge of the ball, while everyone else inside the ball will fire.

If you are spread out, then the cav can attack as many skirms as there are cav so proportionally a lot more of your skirm will go into melee.

this will depend on a lot more factors (matchup, play level, even civs)

Like playing against non euro civs, stagger is almost a non factor since they dont use much artillery at all and the ones they do have usually have usually have smaller splash area

check if there is any conflicting hotkeys, even like find unit ones, assuming you are using legacy hotkeys

I honestly don’t know why that is happening. It works fine for me. Perhaps try coffeeco01’s suggestions.