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Why elven archers are significantly more useful than human arquebussiers?:

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  • Why elven archers are significantly more useful than human arquebussiers?:


    Kings of War has made quite a lot of progress from version 1 and the early days of version 2 to the Clash of Kings 2018 we play these days. One of the things we see is that the value of normal shooting has diminshed quite a bit since the Kings of War 2 beta. I remember that late in the beta the number of attacks that shooting regiments have was dropped from 12 to 10 as the RC didn’t want to facilitate gun lines (good call, IMHO) and shooting was perceived to be “too good” at that point of time.

    Nowadays, very few people use regular shooting except for those few units which are quite a bit better than their counterparts. Examples are the elven/twilight kin archer hordes (usually with piercing), ogre shooters and volley guns which are all significantly better than average.

    As a predominant human player (former Empire in that other game) I’d like to explain why no kingdoms of men (or league of Rhordia or brotherhood, as their units share characteristics) will ever use their own archers if better options are available as allies.

    This post is not meant to be critical to the RC or anyone who helps buildings this game. As explained before, I completely understand why these choices were made in the KoW2 beta. Furthermore, it’s inherrently better to have a game in which shooting is undervalued over a game which turns every match into a shooting gallery. The goal of this post is solely to explain the current situation and provide insight for when KoW3 is going to be designed.

    Below I compare the best human shooters (arquebussiers) with archers from the elf list because these two compare well. I also could have chosen ogre shooters or enslaved guardians as comparrison, but I had some difficulty in getting values of the the range difference in my comparrison.

    First of all: Elven archers are 150 points and therefore 10% more expensive than the arquebussiers of 135 points. In addition to their combat statistics, the elves have +1 nerve and speed over the arquebussiers while the arquebussiers benefit from the KoM’s/League’s “very inspiring” which has also been included in their post costs.All-in, we can safely assume that elves should be a little (say 2%-5%) more effective than the arquebussiers due to their increased point cost.

    In KoW1 (and that other game) terrain was not really an issue. Therefore, shooters were most likely “pointed” in a straight out shooting match. The game since than has evolved, as terrain has been a KoW staple since then.


    Scenario analysis
    To use this advanged knowledge I’d like to explore three scenarios instead of only the straight out shooting match to compare the two. All comparissons meassure the damage in 100 shots (or % per shot)
    • Open fire lane to target (straight out shooting match)
    • Target in cover
    • Target out of fire arc/range
    Scenario a) open lane of fire

    Elven archers will do 39 damage versus def 3 and 19 versus def 5.
    Arquebussiers will do 27 damage versus def 3 and 22 versus def 5.
    Conclusion: Archers are more effective versus def 3; arquebussiers marginally better versus def 5.

    Scenario b) Target in cover (or individual; or stealth; resulting in -1 to hit)

    Elven archers will do 26 damage versus def 3 and 13 versus def 5.
    Arquebussiers will do 14 damage versus def 3 and 11 versus def 5.
    Conclusion: Archers are almost twice as effective versus def 3 and marginally more effective against def 5.

    Scenario c) Target out of fire arc or range. Move! Order required to be able to shoot.
    Elven archers will do 26 damage versus def 3 and 13 versus def 5.
    Arquebussiers will not do any damage due to Reload!
    Conclusion: Archers do damage; Arquebussiers don’t


    What do these results mean?

    Every battle is different and there are more scenarios available than the three mentioned above. In my battles, I see these three scenarios come up more often than the others. For the sake of my argument I value them all at 1/3rd. This is of course an abstraction, but it’ll have to serve.

    On average the elven archers will do 30 damage to def 3 and 15 to def 5
    The arquebussiers average 14 damage to def 3 and 11 to def 5

    When I average these numbers and divide by the point costs, I get the following numbers:

    The elven archers will do 0.15 damage (in 100 shots) per point spent; while the arquebussiers do 0.09 (per 100 shots) damage per point spent.

    This illustrates why elven archers are a much better choice (even as allies) than human shooters with Reload!

    I guess that Reload! wasn’t discounted enough in the KoW2 base rule set as was the difference between 5+ shooting and 4+. (5+ means that cover/individual/stealth halves damage output, while 4+ only diminishes it by one third). Also the combination of Elite + 4+ shooting proves a significant increase, so elves get two racial buffs to shooting over humans, which shows quite a lot of synergy.

    The same shows in the choice of war machines. While elven bolt throwers are not a popular choice, they are not a waste of points. The human/dwarven cannon are inherrently bad due to 5+ and Reload! Siege artillery are a little better because they can circumvent the cover penalty, which gives them some credibility.

    What would I want:
    In KoW3 to have a better balance between elite (Elven) shooters and non-elite (i.e. humans, but the same goes for ork skulks and dwarven crossbowmen) shooters.

    If there will be a Clash19, I’d really hope to see some kind of buff to human/dwarven shooters. Even the removal of Reload! to crossbowmen and arquebussiers would help.

    Does anyone else feels like this or am I alone?
    Last edited by Vince1248; 16-04-2018, 03:02 PM.

  • #2
    You are comparing non piercing elves archers to high piercing human guys. There are lots of super powerful and successful non elite shooting armies, some of the toughest ones in the game currently - goblin and Rhordia shooting spam namely.

    Although non have have done it, the same builds are possible in Kings of Men with plenty of cheap ranged units, cheap wizards, and good siege artillery along with great points efficiency combat units for delaying forces if you choose to include them.

    Comment


    • #3
      The proper comparison is KoM Bowmen, which are 100 pts in Regiment form. So point for point they end up fairly similar given that KoM can field 3 for the elves 2.

      Arqs are badly costed, like any other reload Infantry

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Thorgrim View Post
        You are comparing non piercing elves archers to high piercing human guys.
        One of the reasons for this analysis was the comparison of the elven best (archers) versus human best (arquebussiers). In the calculations I've accounted for the amount of piercing since I;m calculating the average damage per point spent.

        Originally posted by Thorgrim View Post
        There are lots of super powerful and successful non elite shooting armies, some of the toughest ones in the game currently - goblin and Rhordia shooting spam namely.
        Why are goblins so effective? Cheap wizards and BW combined with spitters for unlocks, but it's never the spitters who do the damage. I've yet to encounter an effective League shooting army, though their cheap casters and volley guns make decent tools.

        Both combine effective characters/war machines which are too cheap (point wise), but never normal guys with a shooting weapon.

        Originally posted by Thorgrim View Post
        Although non have have done it, the same builds are possible in Kings of Men with plenty of cheap ranged units, cheap wizards, and good siege artillery along with great points efficiency combat units for delaying forces if you choose to include them.
        I've tried many times and failed. All ranged weapons (including ranged 5+ siege artillery) are not worth their points as they cannot do reliably enough comparable to an elven gunline. KoM isn't really an effective army due to having not enough hitting power, either in ranged or melee. That's why League is far better. The volley gun is decent and honour guard are great, even halflings make better (cheaper) anvils than men. Granted, KoM wizards are great, but only 150 points for Lightning 9.

        This is why I posted this. Elven gunlines are hated due to effectivity, KoM/League not so. Not saying KoM should be as painful to face as elves, but more balance would be appreciated.

        Originally posted by njaegara View Post
        The proper comparison is KoM Bowmen, which are 100 pts in Regiment form. So point for point they end up fairly similar given that KoM can field 3 for the elves 2.

        Arqs are badly costed, like any other reload Infantry
        This is exactly my point

        Other than that, the math on KoM archers is that they will do 0.13 damage (per 100 shots) per point spent. Significantly better than arquebussiers, but also quite a bit less than the elves.
        Last edited by Vince1248; 16-04-2018, 03:05 PM.

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        • #5
          If you really believe that "KoM isn't an effective army" there's really nothing to discuss as you won't see reason. KoM can be one of the best damn armies in the game, they have some of the best, most cost effective units in the game. They are a brilliant army. You don't see them talked about a lot simply because not many people want to play generic, bland human armies in a fantasy game with dragons and demons and trolls and elves.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Thorgrim View Post
            If you really believe that "KoM isn't an effective army" there's really nothing to discuss as you won't see reason.
            Dude, no reason to be offensive.

            Anyhows, the reason for the OP is to give insight why I think KoM shooting is far less effective (point for point) as other shooting.

            The effectiveness of the KoM army is something completely else, and it seems to trigger you as our discussion tends to derail into that direction. Truth is, I play several armies (amongst which KoM is one of them, I also use it as League, Brotherhood but also play Empire of Dust, Undead and Abyssals.) and I honestly *want* KoM to be as effective as the others, as I am a big fan of human blokes doing their thing against dragons and the like. Fact is that I have a far higher success rate with the "other two human armies" (Brotherhood and League) than Kingdoms of Men. this is not the object of this thread, so therefore I leave it at this.


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            • #7
              Maybe those other armies suit your play style better. I mean the one time I've seen a top level player take KoM at an event they finished like 4th battle out of 86 players in possibly the toughest field of players ever at an event, including the US Masters (that being Lonewolf 2017).

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              • #8
                Elf bowmen are undercosted. There i said it. They are the best non piercing ranged unit in the game by a longshot. They should have been RA 5+ and cheaper. without elite they are the same total effectiveness right now per point.

                Human bowmen arent bad, they just arent elves. Just like knights arent Stormwind.

                Comment


                • #9
                  You raise a good point about the costing of Reload. KOW is a game of movement and with the generally accepted amount of terrain on the table as well as fast moving units that can run through shooting arcs, 4+ Ranged is probably a bit too cheap and Reload is not discounted enough. I think it would be more fun and Reload units taken more often if Reload were changed as a rule (and priced) to say that you reduce your attacks by half if you move and fire rather than losing all of them.

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                  • #10
                    The original post has some valid points. The use of terrain (often 8 to 10 pieces including hills and forests), individuals, cover, and stealth reduces the effectiveness of shooting in general where I play.

                    I've struggled with how to come up with a system for point costing and evaluating units. I have found that it is not simple. Even apparently slight tweaks, such as we saw for some chariot units in terms of +1 speed and +1 nerve can change the practical math considerably. The math is quite difficult for valuing the multiple elements of shooting effectiveness, combat effectiveness, speed and movement flexibility, and resilience (ability to take hits without waivering or being routed) and requires a lot of assumptions to account for all the elements and potential roles of normal shooting infantry and large infantry (which can claim objectives, fight in melee some, and often is a bit more resilient that war machines, especially when charged). Moveover, rather than being additive, these factors can be partially multiplicative as well.

                    [Arquebusiers, to me, simply do not compare well with Elf or TK archers/light crossbowmen. They have reload and piercing 2, which makes their use fundamentally different (more potentially still worth considering brew of keen-eyedness on a regiment at least theoretically where for 30 points one can increase the hits from shooting by 50% or 100% when at Ra5+ depending on the target and situation with ). Heart-seeking chant is a common artifact for archers but often wasted on Arquebusiers. The better comparison is KoM bowmen with other archers/light crossbowmen that can move and shoot.]

                    The result is often rough approximation and tweaking points and stats and abilities by trial and error (with fewer people playing and play-testing and reporting feedback, often biased, when KoW2 and then Uncharted Empires were in beta testing.)

                    1. Units with reload are not necessarily overcosted if they have indirect fire or increased range or are Ra4+ (and elite or vicious as the elf and TK bolt throwers with Ra4+ and increased range). I can think of Dwarf sharpshooters as decent value with reload because they have longer range and Ra4+. (Cannons were uniquely overcosted due to substantially overvaluing Piercing 4 and not having indirect fire while having reload.)

                    2. It all comes down to math. With most normal shooting units, the key value is the number of shots, hits, and damage they get on average in the battle on desirable targets with some residual benefit of not routing too easily, holding something up, or maybe contributing some damage in combat for one turn, chariots and mounted shooting units being the exception. The use of penalties for movement when shooting at units in cover, individuals, and stealthy units disproportionately adversely affects units with inferior Ra. The D6 dice don't allow for a lot of the nuances that say D10, D12, or D20 dice might have allowed in setting up shooting penalties (something recognized in the past in the old Dungeons & Dragons games in the 1970s and something to consider!?). (This is called the "integer problem" in that when working with and rounding to the nearest integer-or nearest 5 points for costing-penalties and boosts can have disproportionately positive or negative effects in the game.)

                    Bowmen of various types with Ra5+ are not cost effective or taken in a lot of armies unless really cheap (Goblin spitters), have some special rules (League halfling archers with stealthy, or units that are nimble or vanguard or similar special rules) partly because of the math of cover and movement. When hitting on Ra5+, the penalty for movement or cover or stealth puts you at effectively Ra 6+ and if two or more of those are at issue, then the unit is at Ra 7+ (which means cutting in half the shots rounding down and hitting on 6's). Most of the game, one ends up with either ineffective or no shooting. Perhaps a solution to this problem is to effectively reduce the penalty by reducing the number of shots but increasing the hit rate by giving say Ra3+ to elves and Ra4+ to bowmen and cheap sacrificial units still at Ra5+. KoM bowmen regiments cost one-third less than Elf archer regiments, which would make sense if KoM bowmen consistently hit one-third less of the time, but they don't even do that without penalty (because of elves having elite) and hit more than 57% less than elf archers even with a single penalty or two penalties to shooting from cover, stealth, individual, or moving. Thus, from a math perspective the shooting of KoM bowmen is maybe on average worth only 50% of the shooting of say elves or TK.

                    This integer issue was one of the reasons why putting Brew of Keen-eyeness on a unit of Ogre shooters or Enslaved Guardian Archers was so useful. It often meant doubling the hits against anything in cover, stealthy, or individual rule worth shooting at. It turned a worthwhile unit into a great unit for the point costs.

                    I found these penalties so significant that putting nimble on a large horde of chariots (even EOD chariots) or even elf or TK shooting horde often pays off by both eliminating the movement penalty and increasing the ability and willingness to move to get into range or line of sight or, alternatively, back-up and shoot to stay in shooting range but out of charge range. Putting nimble on a prince on a chariot was a huge boost to that unit as with other hero chariots.

                    One way to correct for this (would need a new book) would be to change the attacks proportionately such that KoM Bowmen with Ra5+ get 12 shots whereas Elf or Tk archers/crossbowmen with Ra4+ (and elite or vicious) get 10 shots in regiments but that might alter the melee abilities in favor of the bowmen more than desired.

                    3. Part of the costing of shooting units is also based in theory on their resilience (combination of De and Nerve and possibly stealth or phalanx when granted) and some Me combat abilities. But with archer or bowmen types this value tends to be of less concern and value given the purpose of the unit.. Sometimes, when costing out warmachines and normal shooting units, KoWv.2 over-valued De and nerve relative to simply average hits and damage realized in a battle.

                    Elf and TK archers/light crossbowmen also have Me5+ and De4+ and Nerve 14/16 as regiments. These are +1 better than one or more of the standard Me or De for Ne or some other bowmen type units as well. KoM regiments have -1De and -1 Nerve. Spitter regiments have -1 Me, -1De, and -2 Nerve but That means that they can hold up just a little bit longer and/or hit back in Melee with a bit more of a threat, especially with elite or vicious.

                    4. I have found, due to the math, unless I need the unlocks, I will favor troops or hordes of normal shooting infantry units but not regiments. The increase in attacks from a troop to regiment is so modest (25% or 20%) that it often is not enough to justify the increased unit cost, even with significantly greater nerve gained. With large infantry and chariots, however, the math is very different and can favor at times even taking a regiment at times.
                    (Elf and TK chariot regiments without artifacts are reasonable choices relative to hordes without artifacts even with the doubling of attacks and increase in nerve of the hordes due to the unit strength and value of regiments in many armies, especially in armies that do not need multiple unlocks of multiple types at the same time. With the increased nerve, there some incremental value of greater drops/units, the ability to divided up shooting into smaller increments of shots, and movement flexibility gained by regiments ,and, also, the increase in effective resilience from regiment to horde for a chariot unit is not as significant as one might expect.)
                    Last edited by Lurcker2; 16-04-2018, 07:12 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Agree overall - I think shooting units as a whole that are designed to be more of a "all or nothing" proposition because of reload or very low shots and low accuracy or both tend to be avoided by players because it's relatively easy to force units to move in order to continue shooting and with opponents of equal skill, you're unlikely to get more than 2-3 turns of decent shooting in with a unit. That prioritizes units that have good range, can move and fire and have enough shots to be somewhat reliable statistically.

                      Without increasing overall and maximum damage output, making such units a bit more reliable and a bit more flexible would likely earn them a spot in more lists. They're mostly not all that bad, but they're not as useful and thus tend to lose out when comparisons are made.

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                      • #12
                        While I dont think the initial comparison was entirely the best to chose (or if going with it at least throw de6 into the mix to give the piercing 2 handguns more opportunity to show their stuff) the overall conclusion is pretty accurate.

                        ra4+ stuff with elite or viscous that doesn't have reload will always be seen as a better option than ra5+ stuff that just has reload. Alternatively stuff that is really cheap and also work as unlocks for the fun stuff in the army (spittters).

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                        • #13
                          Sceleris as I had the calculations in an excel-sheet anyhows I expanded on the original idea and included the whole range of D2 to D6. I don;t know if this information is any more accurate as the previous calculations, but the general conclusion remains the same.

                          Feel free to experiment with my calcs

                          As earlier, I calculated average damage per 100 shots per point spent for the archers/arqus/elven archers. All can be found in my dropbox:
                          https://www.dropbox.com/s/36r945lb4r...ison.xlsx?dl=0

                          Of course these comparisons don't completely match up as it only measures offensive power, so increased speed, nerve and defense of the elves aren't take into account, but neither are the very inspiring rule and increased unlocks of the humans.


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                          • #14
                            Thanks for sharing the working.

                            The gap between 5s and 6s to hit is much wider than the gap between 4s and 5s to hit. In a game where a -1 modifier is quite common, that makes Ra4+ a big deal. Conversely, though, there is much more De6+ than De2+ in the game so if you weighted by frequency with which the De value occurred instead of equally weighting them, my guess is that you'd see more impact from the Piercing (2) than the 3/5 values used suggest. Could be wrong here though, as there are a lot of De3+ units out there too.

                            Reload! is an issue - but I actually think you've overweighted it as a problem in your calculation Vince1248 . You weight the scenario where the target moves out of sight equally to the other scenarios, so for your calculations to be correct you are saying that not only are the arquebusiers as likely to have a shot completely blocked as they are to have a clean shot, you are also assuming that in every case a single move would allow the archers to go from fully blocked to a clean (no cover) shot. I get the need to simplify, but I don't think this accurately reflects what you'd find in battle. I think there would be many situations where those archers would be hitting on 6s or still have the LoS blocked completely after one 6" pivot/move or a 3" shuffle.

                            The other limitation (again, reasonable given the complexity of modelling actual battle scenarios) is that it assumes there's one unit available to shoot. Sure, you may want to shoot their ranged horde to get it off the table before it can do damage, but if you can't this round that doesn't mean you can't shoot at all, and you can still remove that unit of chaff from the table. The number of scenarios where you can't shoot anyone at all due to reload would be much lower (mostly 1st turn on 24" range units), and you can always choose to shoot the less important target in the open rather than roll those 6s on the unit in cover, and you're still doing damage.

                            I actually think the 24" range reload is the biggest problem. I like Phasestar 's suggestion of half attacks if moving (I assume not for war machines), or perhaps even giving reload! units an extra 6" range so they aren't guaranteed to be useless for a round if you end up with 1st turn. One of the old Warhammer Empire books had a neat little solution to this exact problem, which was to give their handgunners +D6" range on the first turn only (as a fluff justification they were overcharging their guns with powder for the first volley), just to allow them to shoot turn 1 at whatever was directly opposite without buffing them at all in subsequent turns. That's probably too fiddly for KoW's design philosophy, but shows that this is not the first time the issue has come up and that there are ways of dealing with it.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by dustandpolos View Post
                              Thanks for sharing the working.

                              The gap between 5s and 6s to hit is much wider than the gap between 4s and 5s to hit. In a game where a -1 modifier is quite common, that makes Ra4+ a big deal. Conversely, though, there is much more De6+ than De2+ in the game so if you weighted by frequency with which the De value occurred instead of equally weighting them, my guess is that you'd see more impact from the Piercing (2) than the 3/5 values used suggest. Could be wrong here though, as there are a lot of De3+ units out there too.
                              Quick shameless plug for an idea I've had for the last two years: this is kind of why I wish that the game used d8s instead of d6s. Granted, I really do not want to roll 30 d8s ever, but having a slightly more granular scale than a 6-point scale would allow for a less drastic difference.

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