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Thread: Crossbows too strong?

  1. #1

    Default Crossbows too strong?

    The crossbow units avaiable to recruit in Sicily (Gastraphetes: http://www.honga.net/totalwar/rome2/...R_10_Crossbows), as romans even without auxillia barracks, are imo overpowered. By now, they are my favourite ranged weapon units, here's why:

    - At the begin of the battle I place them in front of my legions because they seem to be more effective when dont have to shoot over someones head. Because of their armor penetration skill they make serious damage to either elite units or even take out the enemy cavalry.
    - When the melee battle begins, I place them behind my infantry line and let them shoot the enemy cavalry (if theres any left) thats trying to flank, with deadly outcome for enemy cavalry.
    - After shooting off the enemy cavalry I use them to flank the enemy lines myself and shoot their infantry in the back - deadly outcome for enemy. I dont even flank with my reserve units or my own cavalry because of friendly fire, also the crossbows are more effective.
    - Once the enemy army routs I even send my crossbows in melee attack mode to hunt down the enemy. Deadly outcome to the enemy, beacuse the crossbows are fast units.
    - I make 200-300 kills per crossbow unit (at normal unit size) per battle.

    Possible solutions:
    a) Reduce the speed of these units. Crossbow units where always slow. (Is it possible to make ranged weapon units as slow as heavy melee infantry?)
    b) Reduce the ammunition, so you have to decide weither you take out the enemy elite units or the cavalry. They seem to have more crossbow ammo than archers have.
    c) Make them only aviable after some reforms - dont know if Im correct, but recruiting crossbow units 200 B.C. feels strange for me. I know late roman armies had crossbows, but I think it was only late like 300 A.D.

    Feel free to post your opinion and feel free to recruit an complete army of crossbows and play like it's Empire: Total War
    Last edited by motaboy; July 17, 2017 at 07:21 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Crossbows too strong?

    I agree, they are OP. Reduce the ROF to 3 or perhaps nerf the accuracy to make them primarily useful against stationary targets (siege).

  3. #3

    Default Re: Crossbows too strong?

    Gastraphetes was invented somewhere around 400 BC in Sicily, later on it was most likely even used by Alexander during siege of Tyre. They fired regular arrows but with much better force and great range although the construction must have been rather expensive.

    Currently they are capped at 6 or 8 I think but I would leave their stats as they are. I am more keen on either lowering their cap or slightly lowering their squad size.

    Below is the picture of how Hero of Alexandria thought it was designed:

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    [img][/img]
    Last edited by KAM 2150; July 17, 2017 at 12:32 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Crossbows too strong?

    Quote Originally Posted by KAM 2150 View Post
    Gastraphetes was invented somewhere around 400 BC in Sicily, later on it was most likely even used by Alexander during siege of Tyre. They fired regular arrows but with much better force and great range although the construction must have been rather expensive.
    Hail to you, chief of battle systems team
    Indeed, I just read the honga site about these units (thats why I edited the post), I didnt know crossbows where invented that early. Thats what I love about these game, teaching us something about ancient history while playing. Great picture btw.

    Quote Originally Posted by KAM 2150 View Post
    Currently they are capped at 6 or 8 I think but I would leave their stats as they are. I am more keen on either lowering their cap or slightly lowering their squad size.
    What do you mean "they are capped"? You can only have 6-8 units of them or you can only recruit 6-8 till the needed men replenish? Maybe making them more expensive in recruiting and upkeep could also be a good idea. They are costly already, but by far the best units in invest/outcome ratio I think.

    edit / I just wanted to add: I just fought a battle in the syrian desert - all my legionaries where just leftovers with 10-20 men per unit. But 2 velites and 4 Gastraphetes where nearly at full unit size. So placed the crossbows on top of a dune and the 2 velites in front, legionaries in turtle formation so they dont get shot. I shot 4 camel archer and the general units even before they could attack me, hold up the enemy spears for just 1 min with my velites and flanked them with my crossbow --> heroic victory
    Last edited by motaboy; July 17, 2017 at 02:13 PM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Crossbows too strong?

    You can only have max of 6-8 of them in all armies combined.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Crossbows too strong?

    Was enough for me I'm pretty sure its 8, I just had 2 "main armies" with 4 crossbow units each after realizing how strong they are. I only used them after half of the campaign, but I think the campaign would be pretty boring if you use them from the start / after conquering silcily. I think my main issue with these units is that they don't have any weaknesses and work against all other fractions. Shooting down heavy holpites, shooting down horse archers, shooting down german elite units - all no problem for them.

    But I dont want to complain, I just wanted to show my opinion, do whatever you feel like - worked out very well with this mod

  7. #7

    Default Re: Crossbows too strong?

    I like the idea of lowering their unit size. That way they're still dangerous but more fragile, and can't get kills quite as quickly as they do now.

  8. #8
    Senator
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    Default Re: Crossbows too strong?

    What is however a reasonable proposal is to make them a slow unit. How gastraphetes actually looked like is debated. Most seem to agree that they were unwieldy weapons, heavy and more for siege warfare.

    Here is a reconstruction of a "light" interpretation from the Saalburg museum in Germany: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/C...n_Saalburg.jpg

    I will also make their reload a bit slower, I think.

  9. #9
    Semisalis
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    Default Re: Crossbows too strong?

    Slower speed and smaller unit size seems like a good way to go. Maybe in that case up the ammo slightly to give them a feel of a stationary artillery unit. The smaller size should help slow down their kill rate. They are an amazing unit, though I'm starting to learn to like the cheaper Kestrosphendones (sp????).......dart slingers....unit you also get in the area. Shorter range, but they can still rack up the kills in the right situation.

  10. #10
    Tiro
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    Default Re: Crossbows too strong?

    I don't see much of a point in reducing their stats, they are already auto-balanced by their AOR status so you can only have 8 total across your whole empire. Two or three of your eighteen army stacks will have their advantage and no others. Slower movement seems reasonable, but right now they are probably the main reason for conquering Sicily. Reducing that reward would bring a frown to many faces.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Crossbows too strong?

    I don't see why people are having more than 2 armies? Yes, I have many small armies to fight off rebellions, but most of the conquering I did with my Legion I and my Legion II. By the time you conquer Sicily you are just big enough to afford 2 armies anyway. And so those 2 armies are overpowered with 4 crossbows per army and I shot millions of enemies around the world without even losing 1 crossbow unit...

  12. #12
    Semisalis
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    Default Re: Crossbows too strong?

    4 crossbows, the dark side is. 2 crossbows, house rule must be.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Crossbows too strong?

    If you can protect a 5+ province, 15+ region, empire with 2 stacks while at the same time conquering an enemy, you must be playing a different game than I am

  14. #14

    Default Re: Crossbows too strong?

    Played on hard/hard...
    Italy can be held with 1 general, just recruiting troups when an enemy is attacking. Greece can be held without army after liberating all of the Balkan enemies. So just 2 armies where fighting through Africa and later Spain. Then those 2 armies conquered France and "liberated" Germany, southern Britain was conquered, north Britain became a client state. No enemies left to face or making trouble (or can be fought off with naval units when they try to land an army on your posessions)

  15. #15

    Default Re: Crossbows too strong?

    Again, if Egypt did not backstab you while your only 2 stacks are in Germany, you are playing a different game

  16. #16
    Tiro
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    Default Re: Crossbows too strong?

    Quote Originally Posted by motaboy View Post
    Played on hard/hard...
    Italy can be held with 1 general, just recruiting troups when an enemy is attacking. Greece can be held without army after liberating all of the Balkan enemies. So just 2 armies where fighting through Africa and later Spain. Then those 2 armies conquered France and "liberated" Germany, southern Britain was conquered, north Britain became a client state. No enemies left to face or making trouble (or can be fought off with naval units when they try to land an army on your posessions)
    Sounds like you are assuming everyone that conquers Sicily is playing Rome. If I'm say, Seleukids, or Hayasdan, or Bosporus, I have to journey halfway across the world to conquer Sicily. I'm covering such a vast amount of territory that I have to be pulling more than two stacks behind me. If you're floating 20,000+ income per turn, why wouldn't you build more armies to increase your conquest speed? I usually have 6 or more armies by turn 150 not because I need them, but because I can, and because the more armies you have the easier everything becomes.

    I don't see how Gastraphetes are 'more overpowered' than any other AOR ranged unit, such as Baelearic or Rhodian slingers. Each unit will knock over anything it shoots at for long enough and while it is true Gastraphetes don't have to shoot for as long to knock their target over, each unit is balanced by their limited availability. Having units that are unique makes the campaign more interesting, and having a ranged unit that has a uniquely strong ranged attack makes Sicily a uniquely desirable place to conquer. This all makes the campaign better. It reminds me of the olden days of Medieval 1, where every unit in that game had a particular province where it would be stronger if trained there. Collecting the provinces that enhance your core units was a major goal for the game and gave you an objective to pursue other than constant wanton destruction of everyone you border.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Crossbows too strong?

    They're indeed, not stronger that rhodian slingers. If you think they are, use citizen archers instead? I'd rather if there were gastraphetes as they are now. :p

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Crossbows too strong?

    As I play intensively with campaign cap units (made me a custom faction with capped core units, otherwise I use AOR) I would say that the caps are not the same for each unit branch.

    While it is true that I need a lot more than two stacks to protect and police my empire (Greece, Thrace and Asia Minor mainly), the difficult tasks are mainly done by two to three armies. So if I had 18 armies I would never need good units in all of them. Also, one nice aspect of AOR unit armies is that you can actually lose battles from time to time.

    So a campaign cap of 8 for very good ranged units is no real campaign cap imo; you can perfectly fill your two best armies. (That also Rhodians, Cretans and Balearic slingers are available does not make it better.) A cap of 6 pike units f.e. however is a relevant cap.

    For this reason for my custom faction I have no campaign cap for bad/less than mediocre units, a cap of 12 for unarmored heavy infantry (hoplites), of 6 for armored heavy infantry (hoplites), of 4 for peltasts (practically naked but with good melee stats), of 4 for ranged (medium quality but with some melee abilities), of 2 for the heavy armored sword melee and of 1 for the best (elephants and artillery). You have to position your armies wisely, and from time to time you curse the movement range.

    Concerning that the gastraphetes was seemingly a niche weapon, I would be ok with a more restrictive campaign cap and lesser soldiers per unit.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Crossbows too strong?

    And once again you nonchalantly toss assumptions and observations that are either true only for your self-motivated game or completely false.

    Saying that only the composition of 3 armies (at least we are up for on 2 in previous posts) matter is bogus. If you have a large empire with 3 good armies and 5 ok armies, you will be fighting 5/8=62.5% of the time with crappy armies, this my experience with the mod. Given that you will be attacked on multiple fronts and armies are super-slow you can't really decided what army gets to fight.

    The campaign caps are fine as they are. Gastaphrastes are neither more powerful than other elite missiles nor in need of a nerf.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Crossbows too strong?

    Good posts here, nice discussing. Because of the aviabilety of many STRONG ranged units, I think we should discuss about the strength of these units (and not about which are the best or how many armies you need in campaign).

    I think there's an unhistorical advance for flanking enemy lines with ranged units. While roman Velites could and surely did, I dont feel right when flanking with crossbows/slingers/archers. The Velites have just some shots and advance into melee fight soon, which is very costly and dangerous for them. But flanking with crossbows/slingers/archers is because of their amount of ammunition much more effective. And because the AI likes to suicide their cavalry at the start of the battle, there's seldom a real danger for your flanking units. Maybe the friendly fire should be increased?

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