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Thread: Horses and elephants seem really good at dodging projectiles.

  1. #1

    Default Horses and elephants seem really good at dodging projectiles.

    Is it just me, or do cavalry units seem very impervious to missile weapons.

    I remember back in EB1 one of the strategies I could use against steppe factions is to field armies of foot archers guarded with a few well placed units of spearmen and some light cavalry. If properly supported and protected, the foot archers with their greater numbers could make short work of the horse archers in a missile duel. But if left unprotected, a well-placed charge from the horse archers could do serious damage to the foot archers (after modding the EDU to give foot skirmisher units a melee penalty against cav, otherwise you would have slingers standing their ground and killing even dedicated melee cav that cost up to 4x as much).

    EB2 is better balanced in the sense that cavalry are significantly cheaper, more effective at routing unguarded foot skirmishers in melee without having to mod in a melee penalty, but still vulnerable in melee with just about anything if bogged down. You as the player are really well rewarded for proper use of cavalry, but can lose multiple units very quickly if you don't pay attention to them (except for katas, which will rout basically anything with a frontal charge and can even push through and rout units of spearmen guarding a gate during sieges...). I really do enjoy the balance decisions y'all made with cavalry in this mod.

    However EB2 cav are bulletproof compared to EB1 cav.

    I know that the EB2 team adjusted the missile kill rate down compared to EB1 via the battle_config.xml, but I don't think that this accounts for why horses and elephants are so hard to kill. A long time ago I adjusted the missile kill rate so that missile units are a bigger threat when left alone:

    <missile-target-accuracy>
    <infantry>0.235</infantry>
    <cavalry>0.295</cavalry>
    <elephants>0.25</elephants>
    </missile-target-accuracy>

    With this, and some changes to descr_projectile and the EDU, the balance of missiles vs infantry fits my own personal tastes (to each their own, I respect y'all's reasoning for setting it so low in the first place). But somehow horses and elephants are still crazy good at dodging non-siege missiles:

    In a shoot-out with foot archers, each party in loose formation and using all of their ammo, a unit of cheap ~1,000 mnai pajama-clad horse archers will kill many foot archers and take few losses of their own. Even without cantabrian circle.It makes it especially boring to fight against steppe factions as settled factions: you either have to field armies of light cavalry to chase them down on the battlemap, or armies of phalangites for the autoresolve cheese.

    I've also noticed that elephants are nearly impervious to javelins, which are supposed to be their Achilles' heel. I've had multiple units of foot skirmishers and jav cav hurl more javelins than the entire history of the Olympic games at a unit of elephants, to only maybe kill 1 or 2 after exhausting all of their ammunition. So the only way to kill elephants is a meat grinder of cheap spearmen. Or getting them to front charge a phalanx. Or shooting them with oxybeles. No longer do well-micro'd jav cav cut it, like the venerable ol' Daha Rog Baexdzhyn Aefsad who helped me conquer the mines of India in my old EB1 Baktria campaign.

    Is this something to do with the game engine and how it treats mounted units? Does M2TW overcorrect for the larger hitboxes of cavalry or something? Because I just find it weird that cavalry die quickly in melee combat, but even with some pretty heavy-handed buffs I gave to missile units, they fare much better than infantry units when under fire.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Horses and elephants seem really good at dodging projectiles.

    It may be because light cavalry units have a naturally loose formation. Conversely if you've ever tried assassinating an enemy general (heavy cavalry) using missile troops, you may have noticed that they're killed at a much faster rate than light cavalry despite having higher armor. You can test this theory by playing a custom battle as a pack of condensed horse archers stacked on each other against a horde of archers. You may find that they get killed as quickly as you'd expect now that their spacing advantage is nullified

  3. #3

    Default Re: Horses and elephants seem really good at dodging projectiles.

    Huh. Honestly, I can’t ever remember either killing or losing a general to missile fire in EB2.

    Do the very loose formations of horse archers (compared to foot skirmishers) really make that much of a difference? If so I might edit them in the EDU and start a new game over (really hate that EDU changes in the M2TW engine aren’t save game compatible). I always disliked how far apart some of them are spaced. Makes them very difficult to use in even remotely close quarters, and the more spaced out ones take forever to hunt down routing infantry. Knowing that it might make them a bit more vulnerable to missiles sounds like a nice balance.

    On a related note, I also changed the non-loose spacing for Thracian Peltasts to 0.9 0.9. They’re the only assault infantry skirmishers that can’t do close formations by default, unlike the Dacians, and EB1 Thracian Peltasts. They feel a bit more well rounded now, as they can charge through wall gaps and effectively scale battlements in sieges.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Horses and elephants seem really good at dodging projectiles.

    I'm not sure if, of all units, Peltenai need a boost.


    At least they're balanced. Something you can't say of Thureophorontes Toxotai/Hippotoxotai.


    Although I do agree that cavalry is a smidge too impervious to missiles. It makes the historical way of dealing with unarmored cavalries being unreliable.
    Last edited by Satapatiš; August 18, 2020 at 06:59 AM.
    Furthermore, I believe that Rome must be destroyed.


  5. #5
    Roma_Victrix's Avatar I am your sovereign now
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    Default Re: Horses and elephants seem really good at dodging projectiles.

    Thanks for bringing this up. You can tell the AI takes advantage of this too with skirmisher cavalry, soaking up all your missiles if you just have archers/javelin throwers set on fire at will mode. Then they send in the heavy infantry once most or all of your missiles were foolishly expended and largely wasted on stupid cavalry who you barely damaged despite there being a billion arrows and javelins peppering the landscape around them.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Horses and elephants seem really good at dodging projectiles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    Thanks for bringing this up. You can tell the AI takes advantage of this too with skirmisher cavalry, soaking up all your missiles if you just have archers/javelin throwers set on fire at will mode. Then they send in the heavy infantry once most or all of your missiles were foolishly expended and largely wasted on stupid cavalry who you barely damaged despite there being a billion arrows and javelins peppering the landscape around them.
    Exactly. Who needs Cantabrian Circle when you can just do the skirmish mode cavalry wiggle?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Horses and elephants seem really good at dodging projectiles.

    Cavalry aren't invulnerable to missiles though, especially when they get shot on the sides. It seems that in that area the hitbox is much larger than when they're facing straight to my troops.

    This is how I use my horse archers to kill generals and cavalry units. I must confess though that it is more difficult to shoot the side of cavalry units with archers.

    I also share the sentiment that cavalry should be more vulnerable to missiles.

  8. #8
    Marvzilla's Avatar Ducenarius
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    Default Re: Horses and elephants seem really good at dodging projectiles.

    Agree with the sentiment, but on what difficulty do you play ?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Horses and elephants seem really good at dodging projectiles.

    Hard battles. But as I understand, battle difficulty doesn’t affect kill rate. And it’s more that cavalry are much less vulnerable to missiles when compared to similarly equipped infantry.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Horses and elephants seem really good at dodging projectiles.

    I recently read somewhere here on this very forum (can't find it now) that there was something about the hit box of cavalry being really small from the front, but a lot larger from the sides, so arrows are a lot more effective against horses when shooting at them from the sides. I haven't tested this though (much less systematically), and --as I said-- I can't find the post now, but if someone knows what I'm talking about (or that my utterances here are complete nonsense), please speak up!

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