What changes can be done to the [Halberdier] for making it both more viable and special?

With recent updates to the game the [Pikeman] unit has now an increased attack range which will make it even more effective against cavalry. The added attack range does contribute well into making the [Pikeman] function slightly differently than just being a [Musketeer] without a ranged attack. With this respective change to the unit I started to wonder if it would be a good idea if the [Halberdier] could have something that makes it more special other than just being a [Pikeman] who is better in general combat, where it perhaps could have increased snare capabilities against other units, as suggested by @DoctBaghi.

From my understanding of the halberd and it use, these weapons were very versatile and was apparently a suitable choice against armoured opponents during the Medieval Ages and other periods in history due to the back spike on this polearm which could be used for either piercing through armour or tearing it apart. But except for this purpose the back spike could also be used for either pulling an opponent or dismounting a rider.

What are your thoughts for both improving the [Halberdier] and giving it something that will make it special in a certain aspect?

(Edit: When I created this discussion I first suggested that the [Halberdier] could have the ability to ignore the melee resistance of other units, but over time I realised that this ability may not be that practical for in-game use based on the responses that I got, and making a verdict on this matter myself, so I chose to rewrite my original post. Perhaps this ability to ignore the resistances of other units will find a better use in ranged combat than in melee combat as a majority of the battles in the game revolves around that, but as for which ranged units that could have this ability is something that I don’t know at the moment.)

(OBSERVATION: I recommend disregarding anything that concerns giving the [Halberdier] the ability to ignore the melee resistance of other units in the discussion below, since I have chosen to discard this idea.)

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on halb itself it would likely result in more use than atm, the rest is hard to conclude tho, not sure giving already strong and viable units further boost would do much good, dopple would get dangerously close to OP

The pikeman is an hard-counter anti-cavalry unit unlike the musketeer and halberdier. It’s there specifically to do that (and to pressure buildings early).

The halberdier is a chonky boy unit. It counters anything at all which it is stood next to. It shares this role with doppels, samurai, etc. Yes it kills cavalry, but it’'ll kill cannons and skirmishers if it’s stood next to them (following in a cavalry charge perhaps).

The musketeer is a ranged damage generalist unit which soft counters both light and heavy cav.

As it currently stands, all of these units are circumstantially viable in all ages, but in practice, pikes are mostly used in age 2 to deter hussars or to push buildings in the absence of actual siege equipment. Afterwards, muskets and halberdiers are more useful overall and more population efficient respectively. Of course, the dragoon for many civs succeeds these units for countering cavalry.

I don’t really see why ignoring melee resistance would be a good idea. The halb already beats everything up close. Changing this stat would only be fair if the other chonky boy units also got this (samurai, doppels, etc). I’d say they are usable in their current condition and would likely be overpowered if buffed.

5 Likes

Agreed with this. The halb is a unit that the devs have to be super careful with - It’s probably got some of the best stat numbers per pop and resource cost, their only weakness is their speed and the fact that they are melee. They should almost be treated like ‘berserker’ units such as the samurai, dopp, skull knight, etc in the sense that they will likely beat anyone they are in melee with.

I will say that a unit type that sort of bridges the gap between pikes and halbs is the Papal Guard, they aren’t as slow and sluggish as halbs but still pack the melee punch against units other than cavalry which the pike doesn’t have. To offset this, the devs gave the Papal guard a mediocre siege attack, which is a good compromise so that people don’t use them like oprichniki. The unit is super fun to use imo and looks badass, it’d be interesting to see more units like the Papal guard.

Armor penetrate is an interesting idea for a concept - idk how the community will react to such a mechanic but cards/techs that affect armor penetrate would change the way units like the cassador, pavisier, or iron flail would perform in fights. Unfortunately melee armor as a stat isn’t very substantial, maybe rods would perform different but that’s about it.

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That sort of thing is usually implied via the high base damage in the first place. Let me pull up an example - why do muskets have higher base damage than skirms? Thats cuz when initial attempts to make bullet proof armor invented the very thick cuirass, the armor was effective for stopping the small projectiles of the arquebus - so then gunsmiths made the gun and ammunition alot bigger. This let the shot have enough kinetic energy to go through ‘bullet proof’ armor. So when armor started disappearing, the stopping power became less relevant and rifles that fired smaller projectiles but had longer effective ranges became more popular.

How does this relate to what you said? Well, consider that the sword techniques really boil down to using the sword as a mass weapon and that mass weapons as a whole are pretty much just ‘hit it really hard’ types, you can draw a comparison between how the development of just shooting heavier rounds is reflected as high base damage with the musketeer. Similarly, the halberd made the pike heavier to deal with armor, losing advantage of making pike squares - thats reflected in the very high base damage but lower anti cav multiplier.

All in all, melee armor pen would be kinda wierd since the game has its own ways already to present capabilities of various old weapons.

3 Likes

I personally don’t think that the halberdier needs an unique aspect to make them more unique and different from untlits like doppelsoldner, papal guard, rodelero, since it’s just the baselines unit for all those unique units, otherwise the same reasoning could be done for other baseline units, like skirms or muskets.

I’m not against some tweaks for the halberdier though… either by increasing some of its stats like HP or attack, or some other more subtle buffs, maybe a slight cost decrease, or less training time, since it’s an age 3 unit (unlike pikes or muskets which are available an age earlier) having them training faster it might help.

Like, taking inspiration for the papal guard, the halberdier could have an extra snare ability, meaning that units hitted by them get very slow. Historically, halberds often have some part of them that could hood the enemy, and often dismount even a horsemen, so it wouldn’t be that far fetched as an idea.

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The chonky boys with AoE attacks are 2 population units. The Halb is one. Two halbs can be damaging two separate targets at any given time. One Samurai may be damaging one, two, four. All depends on micro and a bit of luck. Costing half the population and being around half the price is about as solid as a distinction from its equivalents as can be made in my opinion. That’s like a Cuirasser being compared to a Boyar. Both share similar counters and multipliers and they fulfil a similar role beyond the obvious nuances which effect playstyle.

If I may try to totally reframe the question being discussed:

  1. What should the halberdier counter (or no longer counter) which it already does (or doesn’t)? (Note: If you don’t intend to change this and you intend it to remain the same, you are advocating for a change which wouldn’t be noticable in gameplay.)
  2. How would this make it different to the pikeman? (A unit which overlaps but is quite different.)
  3. Would this obsolete other chonky boy units?
  4. How does punching through melee resistance achieve the intended goal?

I’m all for tweaks and balancing, but that one change to that one unit in the absence of considering its place in the wider tech tree would have certain negative effects, specifically making it crush other chonky boy units which would mean Germany, Malta and Japan would be at a worse matchup vs civs with viable halbs.

@DoctBaghi Hmm… I should have probably put down some more thought to my original post before I posted it, where I widened my perspective for what could make the [Halberdier] more special instead of just suggesting that it could ignore the melee resistance of other units.

Giving the [Halberdier] extra snare capabilities sounds like a great idea, I know that the Halberd can be used for pulling an opponent and dismounting a rider just as you said but this knowledge did not cross my mind as I wrote my original post. I am going to include your suggestion in my original post which have been rewritten.

@Whitby96 I have to admit that when I came up with this idea of giving the [Halberdier] the ability to ignore the melee resistance of other units, I was very spontaneous about the idea, therefore I wasn’t very thorough as to what consequences it could lead to. I have now realised the issues for my original suggestion and have discarded it. I am not going to continue with this topic any longer in this discussion.

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I just wish they’d make them faster. Slow melee units are useless, they’ll always get outmaneuvered or just avoided and kited by everything else. They don’t really provide any benefit over Musks, unlike Pikes with their movement speed. Pikes can be used to block off cavalry more reliably, Halbs just take too much time to reposition. They’re only useful as bullet sponges, but they’re to expensive for that to be viable as that in a prolonged fight. The Dutch Halb is the only useful one in my eyes when sending their speed upgrade and not sending coffee trade.

1 Like

They already have 4.25 speed which is pretty good for a unit that deals so much more base damage.

Their primary job in a standard fight is body block and snaring potential so they just need a little more speed so that if the opponent tries to kite, they will be caught and also faces counter fire

I think the best buff to hand infantry units in the game is giving a slight nerf to the melée base damage of ranged heavy infantries (musks, sepoys, janissaries, etc.) especially in Ages II & III. That would suddenly make hand infantries more attractive as a necessary tool to deal with cavalry more effectively.

A compromise solution could be to simply require that you shift your ranged heavy infantry to melée combat stance to get the current full melée damage level (while in normal ranged mode their damage would be slightly reduced). This would force the player to either add some hand infantries like halbs to their mix, or just get better at their quick micro during battle. It would also be a nice callout to the reality that early musketeers needed to affix the first bayonets into the barrel of their weapons during combat. By the time the game reaches industrial age permanent screwed bayonets were already available so that need for quick reaction and change of stance is no longer needed and I am happy if the game no longer requires such micro in Age IV.

In addition, hals got really good siege damage per pop which goes alot better with all that extra hp. Not rare for them to turn a good fight into a win just by smashing through production buildings.

Don’t worry, often is just by discussing and brainstorming that the best ideas come to mind.

The extra snare ability is just one idea, and it might work, as might work a increase of some stats or the decrease of its cost of training time.

Personally I just looked at the papal guard, which is considered all in all a good unit, but blocked by the basilica sistem. Even if the halb would “stole” the extra snare ability, the papal guard would still have 2 different kind of charges (melee and ranged ones), a ranged resistance and the bodyguard ability.

1 Like

I onestly don’t see how this would help them. The unit would become a counter to such units, neither would perform better.

In my opinion, you should look at what is the role of the halberdier, which is that of a tanky unit with high melee attack, which is a bit good against everything.

Having extra snare on them for example, would make them better at being a strong meatshield, as the enemy should think twice before fighting your mass of halbs, as he may not be able to disengage quickly, and so it would take more damage. Halbs also are often used in combination with cannons, and better snare would help protect them against cav.

I’m not saying that my idea is better than yours, I’m just showing the reasoning that you should follow. The chance of ricochet wouldn’t really help the halbs in my opinion, as while it would increase its survivability a bit, they would still be kited by muskets or dragoons, and relying on something that might happen or not isn’t really great…

the halberdier doesn’t really need a buff. the only one that really uses them is the dutch and they have cards to make them viable.

everyone else that have them have alternatives. French have goon/musk, russia have cav archer/musk.

I think a change that would make both pikemen and halberdiers more effective would be to given them +1 or +2 range on their melee attack by default, without having to send any card or buy any upgrades (for reference meteor hammers have a melee range of 5 and spanish lancers have a melee range of +1 of normal melee distance with the Caballeros card).

If pikemen or halberdier are lucky enough to connect on an enemy, most of the units in the group waste time pathing around each other, and many resources and damage are lost as a result. This is particularly tough for melee infantry because they do not have the speed of cavalry to catchup to a a unit who simply just walks away. This will slightly help ease a major problem of why musketeers are always used over melee infantry, musketeer are always allowed to do damage, because they can just shoot “over” their comrades.

Thinking about this in math terms a group of units can be represented by a circle on a plane. The number of units determines the size of the circle.
-Because musketeers are ranged units, their damage per second is effectively a function of the area of the circle that the units occupy. They also get a nice bonus of having melee multipliers for units at the edge. At 12 range, a large group of musketeers will all be able to shoot anything that comes near and especially in contact with the edge that circle (due to those musketeer being in melee combat which has higher damage per second and has multipliers vs cavalry).
-For example, if a 5 hussar attacks a group of 25 musketeers, we can estimate that 5 of the musketeers will make melee contact with the hussar, and the other 20 will shoot their muskets. In an instant, those 20 musketeers did 560 damage (assuming default veteran musketeer for sake of comparison with halbs who are fortress age unit, 28 * 20 = 560 damage) and the 5 in melee did 240 damage (16 * 3 * 5 = 240 ‘3 comes from musketeer multiplier to cav’) for a total of 800 damage.
-Because Pikes and Halbs (melee units in general actually) do not have any range, their damage per second is effectively a function of the length of the edge of the circle/shape that has contact with enemy units.
-For example, if 5 hussar attack 25 halberdiers, we can estimate that only 5 of the halberdier will be able to attack initially. In that first instant of fighting, those 5 halberdier did 280 damage (28 * 2 * 5 = 280 damage)
-The damage difference between these two examples is astounding, but I will admit it is a very simplified scenario. If the Halbs are allowed to path past each other and encircle the hussars, or the hussar somehow run into the halb and get encircled, the damage of the halbs is much higher than that of the musketeers. But it can also easily be said that in both of those scenarios clearly the opposing player has done something wrong with their micro and unit control which is not something we should always assume in unit design. In addition, range damage from musketeer as the cav approaches and backs away is not being taken into account, which further increases the total damage the musketeer did.

Pikes and Halbs with a slight increase of +1 or +2 range will be able to hit “over” their comrades increasing their DPS and effectiveness, without really changing their functionality or making them over powered, as their main weakness is still in tact, kiting them and running away.
-Bringing it back to the earlier example, if we now assume out of the 25 halberdier, 5 are able to attack normally and 5 more behind those ones are able to attack because of the change, this brings the damage up to 560 damage (28 * 2 * 10 = 560)

Thinking back on these examples, analyzing the effective usage of resources of the units paints a starker picture for slow melee infantry.
-25 musketeer cost 2500 resources. Because every single one of the musketeers gets to shoot and “does something”, all 2500 of those resources could be said to be utilized.
-25 halberdiers cost 3000 resources. Because only 5 (25% of the population of halberdiers) gets to attack the enemy and “do something”, only 600 resources of the 3000 are actually being utilized, meaning that 2400 resources are being idle, completely unutilized, as the halberdier slowly attempt to path around each other to attack.

On a final note, due to being melee and forced to walk towards enemies to engage in combat, usually walking slowly straight toward enemy counter unit’s range, it can be assumed that several halberdier will be instantly killed before having any opportunity to have any effect on the fight.
-This is simply a waste of resources, except for the fact that they soaked some damage that MIGHT have been directed to other units. Each unit cost 120 resource (50f + 70c, notice more expensive in coin arguably a more precious resource than food)
-This is just ridiculous when in comparison to musketeers who cost 100 resource (75f, 25c), and consider that the musketeer probably got at least one shot off before he died or didn’t even need to come into the range of the enemy counter unit at all to shoot.
-Due these reasons I propose a cost reduction of halberdiers to 50f 60c (from 50f 70c)