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AoW3: General Discussion & suggestions
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Age of Wonders 2 Heaven » Forums » AoW3: General Discussion & suggestions » Flying units
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Topic Subject:Flying units
you3
Member
posted 03-31-13 08:13 AM EDT (US)         
I thought I would start a new thread rather than continue the thought in the game play video.
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When I made my first comment I was well aware that the devs had said that flying units had been removed and I was expressing that I think this is a mistake. Others than posted repeating the dev's thought without really expanding the discussion in a useful fashion.
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Yes there were abuses with flying units and certainly removing them remove those abuses but it is rather naive to repeat those comments verbatim as that is only one solution to the problem. I.e, I believe that flying units can infact be implemented with reasonable constraints.
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Having said this the first issue I would like to hear from the dev is whether the dimension on strategy that flying units add is useful. It does infact force armies that might encounter flying units to consider how they can be defeated. In AOW-SM the most common method was to learn gravity and this quickly became some what singular dimension approach but I believe that there is quite a bit of flushing out that could be done that makes the most direct approach (gravity in this example) possible but very expensive; and that less expensive alternatives could be viable (with their handicaps). The player would then have to make a choice or choices between method and cost. With good balance the choice is not obvious or the same in all games and with weak balance there is a singular choice that nearly all adopt.
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This begs the question as to whether the addition is worth the effort. That is of course more difficult to answer. In a sense the dev did answer this question by removing flying (or at least combat while in flight). So my question to the dev is whether this is something worth reconsidering if not immediately then perhaps in the future ?
AuthorReplies:
balance11
Member
posted 03-31-13 09:36 AM EDT (US)     1 / 21       
As for me, with this new rules for flying units the devs just killed two birds with one stone:
a) resolved the serious balance problem of flyers being invincible for melee units.
b) made things more realistic - each bird ) has to land periodically, no one can be always in the air as it was in AOW previously, especially on the global map.

So I'm quite satisfied with what I've seen in the video. Now playing my favorite hot-seat we wouldn't have to make strange agreements like 'parties undertake to attack with flyers if..'

UPD: Just realized that now flyers have even more maneuver on the battlefield because they can overcome obstacles, not only walls and so on, but also another units (it was mentioned somewhere by the devs). As far as I remember in AOW-1 and 2 there were no such opportunity, which looked a bit unrealistic.

[This message has been edited by balance11 (edited 03-31-2013 @ 09:43 AM).]

sikbok
VIP
posted 04-01-13 04:55 AM EDT (US)     2 / 21       
Hi you3 & balance11,



I'll take the advantages of our current 'flying' game mechanic - as noted by balance11 here - is clear.


The argument here is that if we implement something which requires a binary counter - have the counter and you're okay / don't and you lose - we'd better make sure everyone has a fair chance at getting it.
Flying used to require a binary counter, concealment still does.

In a game like AoW, ensuring everyone has a fair chance of getting the binary counter - in time to counter the first attack requiring it - is trickier then in other games; e.g. StarCraft.
Given the amount of choice players have - class, race, specializations, which skills do I get, which units do I get, do I rush/expand/tech up - squeezing in binary counters is hard.
The 'double gravity' present in AoW:SM is an obvious fix for a problem, not an elegant game mechanic.
I'd even argue that for a high fantasy game, shoehorning binary counters into each race/class/ etc is not desirable, if only to maintain the style of the game.

In conclusion, there's only a limited number of game mechanics we can have in AoW that require binary counters. So we've chosen to keep some - e.g. concealment - and redesign others - e.g. flying.


Then - in counter to 'the devs had said that flying units had been removed' - I'd like to argue flying is still a strong ability. Time for a bullitpoint list:
* Nothing much has changes on the strategic map.
** Flying is faster then walking.
** Flying allows for surprisingly cheap travel across terrain such as water and mountains.
* In combat, flying has swapped invulnerability for mobility gameplay.
** Flying incurs no attacks of oppertunity.
*** I.e. fliers are one of the few units that can disengage without penalty.
** Flying allows a unit to counter positional play.
*** I.e. fly over walls, obstacles, defensive lines of units.
** Fliers are efficient with movement points, they always travel as the crow flies : )>

So while ranged units are no longer a required binary counter to fliers, I'd be carefull entering a battle against flyers without them.
With ranged units positioning has become of greater importance, since flyers can fly past melee units to snipe ranged units.
For players without ranged units, other units can also help dealing with flyers. E.g. high mobility units - such as cavalry - can be used effectively against fliers.
Still, the dragon dragon in the demo - with a breath weapons, a nice melee attack and enough defense and hitpoints to have some staying power - will require a good bit more then some archers or cavalry to deal with : )>

In conclusion, imho the change we've made with fliers:
* Has removed exploits - e.g. flyers on gate and obstacle hexes.
* Has removed the need for a boring counter to the old-skool fliers - e.g. 'double gravity' a.k.a 'press X to not die'.
* Makes fliers more interesting to deal with in battle.
* Makes using fliers effectively in battle more interesting.
* Allows fliers to be more versatile - e.g. I can now give a flier a ranged attack without in causing serious inbalance.


Sorry for the wall of text - the reason I don't often go into design decision is because they always spawn walls of text, you should see our design documents : )>
tl;dr:
* Worst flyer problems fixed.
* Flyers are still worth having.
* Using and dealing with flyers now offers more gameplay depth.

p.s. balance11, "killed two birds with one stone" is just a brilliant remark is so many ways.
p.p.s did I just summarize my summery? yo dog ... must be all the easter eggs getting to me ; )>

>>>Delete Yourself; You've got no chance to win<<<

Atari TeenAge Riot

[This message has been edited by sikbok (edited 04-01-2013 @ 05:03 AM).]

COCONUTKNIGHT
Member
posted 04-01-13 05:05 AM EDT (US)     3 / 21       
I'd like to see the design document regarding tactical spacing in battles, i.e. why armies start so close to each other!

Getting back on topic, if flying is no longer always flying in a battle, shouldn't my dragons be considerably tougher than they are now?

Also, it was suggested on the other forum, but why not have flying units fly most of the time, and descend to 'take a break,' or whatever, every 5 rounds or so?

Or allow units to move under them, or allow a different victory condition in a battle other than destroy all enemy nits, so that this way a city can still be captured and your lone zephyr bird defender can't stop my uber warlord stack...

Take an old, dirty, hungry, mangy, sick and wet dog and feed him and wash him and nurse him back to health, and he will never turn on you and bite you.

This is how man and dog differ.
you3
Member
posted 04-01-13 06:51 AM EDT (US)     4 / 21       
Well to be honest I would have to play the game to judge the effectiveness of your comment. The only bullet point I disagree with is that flying is a binary. I.e, yes you need to be able to counter it and in aow-sm for the most part it was a binary because gravity was the primary effective method but one could consider extending the game mechanics to provide many alternative methods (more range units, nets and other alternatives with different level of effectiveness and duration) and so forth.
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Having said this there is a limit of what can be provided with good balance in a limited amount of time and your bullet list is long but it is difficult to judge the pro/con impact on strategy without playing. That's not to say I doubt you but rather it is difficult to absorb the abstract change and impact on game play (esp when many of the points are dependent on landscape and army composition).
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On the other hand I do want to thank you for your reply and level of detail.
i30817
Member
posted 04-01-13 07:19 AM EDT (US)     5 / 21       
I don't like it.

The 'problem' of the sole flying unit making cities invulnerable to nonflying armies could have been handled otherwise (by for instance, making a hugely superior army that breached the city against a only flying army 'win' after 10 rounds without attacks and displace the flyers from the city)

The 'invulnerability' problem for flying attackers was just stuff that was countered by ranged units that... was needed anyway in cities... or by spells.

And since most units with flying were high level this seems like another facet of the general nerfing of high level units and the 'intense' combat where i expect very high casualties (and that dragon is just pitiful, losing to a first level hero unit like that).
Almost the same kind of nerfing could have been done by making ranged units attacking flying units making them waste their unit points, up to a limit (to simulate arrow avoidance) or another; make AoO apply to flying units that are 'diving' to attack a unit, so that adjacent units to a target can hit them, etc.

[This message has been edited by i30817 (edited 04-01-2013 @ 07:32 AM).]

balance11
Member
posted 04-01-13 08:42 AM EDT (US)     6 / 21       
i30817:

I can't agree, the dragon doesn't look that 'pitiful' loosing to the hero which in deed has serious stats (HP 80, def 16, res 16) and probably is '1st level' just nominally. Consider also his 'dragon slaying' ability. Moreover, the hero is assisted by two 2d-level crusader units intensified with two special spells, along with possible inherent bonuses vs undead. All still the Player's army is seriously damaged by the dragon...

But anyway it's already a balance issue, not mechanics. High-level flyers stats can be boosted if it's justified, why not?
The Harlequin
Member
posted 04-01-13 08:43 AM EDT (US)     7 / 21       
The lone zephyr was not a problem. It was annoying as hell, but not a problem.

So, let's forget about flyers's many exploits for a sec, or the problems the AI had to deal with them, etc., and focus on the TC map (where the change will have its bigger impact), and flyers's viability.

When I played MP I learnt, the hard way, that if I was going to build a unit, that unit had better serve a purpose in expanding and not just defending, or I was wasting resources.

So, in the case of facing flyers, you had to build units that could deal with them, but also help you expand and conquer. The problem is, there are not many units that are as versatile, and even some of them are useless against some of the flyers: i.e. druid vs fairy dragon. So your options are even fewer.

So what happens when you are not building those units is, the flyers get to make the calls on how the fight is going to be fought: They can pick on the few individual units that can challenge them, even managing the order of melee engagement if some of them are injured, and then sit there or finish with the rest.

What I mean to say with all of this is, the flyers (flying) are just too viable: They can attack anything (sometimes with total impunity), anywhere (try conquering a walled city with a stack of archers), they can defend exceptionally well, and they can scout and move over any strategic map obstacle (who hasn't parked a zephyr bird on a mountain where only other flyers or mountaneiring ranged units could kill it, or in a lake, etc?). What other type of units can make such a claim?

[This message has been edited by The Harlequin (edited 04-01-2013 @ 09:12 AM).]

ffbj
Member
posted 04-01-13 11:15 AM EDT (US)     8 / 21       
I think the current flying solution for AoW3 is very good.
I think most can agree that flying was an overpowered ability in the earlier versions.

In the current demo battle, as pointed out above, the dragon does a lot of damage before it goes down.
So if you think, as some have said, that the dragon is too weak consider this scenario. In the last part of the battle the dragon, or player playing it, decides, after a few rounds, to fly across the map to some healer. Allthough there was not a healer in the undead group, there very well could have been. The dragon flys to the healing unit and gets healed.
It disengages without incurring an opportunity attack and flying the full measure of it's movement nothing can reach it, except maybe the mounted hero. Anwyay units now approaching the dragon will be at disadvantage as it can use it breath weapon again, as they close.
Seems like it will still be a very powerful ability if used properly.
COCONUTKNIGHT
Member
posted 04-01-13 01:38 PM EDT (US)     9 / 21       
Fewer fliers, or more expensive ones (to recruit and maintain), just 2 more ways to make fliers more vulnerable, without taking away flying.

And, ffbj, isn't that maneuverability the whole point of a flier?

AND, with the new system you can still park a zephyr bird on a mountain with impunity, as it'll take another flier, or a mountaineering unit, to beat it down?

Another thought, why not have some 'very large' units be able to melee a dragon. It just seems very bizarre to have a group of swordsman be able to go toe to toe with what is supposed to be an uber unit after all...

However,if we had larger battlefields, many of the problems I foresee with non flying fliers might be made moot. As it is, I am a bit concerned (admittedly going off SM experience here) that my dragon may be mincemeat in the first turn...

Take an old, dirty, hungry, mangy, sick and wet dog and feed him and wash him and nurse him back to health, and he will never turn on you and bite you.

This is how man and dog differ.
ffbj
Member
posted 04-01-13 05:19 PM EDT (US)     10 / 21       
And, ffbj, isn't that maneuverability the whole point of a flier?
It's part of it, but not the whole point. The major point is they can fly and that gives them more manuverability, amoung other things but I never even mentioned that word, until you did. I was just pointing out that flyers are fully capable with the changes in the system for them, imo, in Aow3. What specifically are you asking?

If it is should not flyers be more manuerable than units that don't have flying? My answer would be yes, and nothing I have said is counter to that. I was just pointing out one way they could use that ability in combat. Neither pro or con just elucidating the options available.
Draxynnic
Member
posted 04-01-13 06:55 PM EDT (US)     11 / 21       
I'd agree with Coconutknight's question on armies starting too close to one another...

One of the big flaws I found with sieges in AoW2 was that the confined space made siege weapons (catapults, cannons) less than useful. If the enemy doesn't have many ranged units... you can pretty much just storm the gates with impunity anyway. If they do, their first priority is destroying your siege engines, and since the defenders get first turn and your units start within bowshot of the walls, unless you brought a truly overwhelming amount of siege it's going to get destroyed before it does any good. And if you did, that's eating into slots that could be the units that will be attacking the breach(es). The end result is that, generally, siege engines just aren't worth the effort of getting them to a city. Armies attacking a city should really start outside of bowshot so that siege engines can make use of their greater range, and requiring the defender to make use of countersiege.

As a comment on the demo - it's worth mentioning that the crusaders in the demo are more than simply swordsmen. They're a special class unit that are probably roughly the equivalent of a third-level unit in AoW2, or at least a 'heavy infantry' style level 2 akin to the Crusher and Butcher.
The Harlequin
Member
posted 04-01-13 08:32 PM EDT (US)     12 / 21       
AND, with the new system you can still park a zephyr bird on a mountain with impunity, as it'll take another flier, or a mountaineering unit, to beat it down?
Well, yeah. The new system doesn't change much for the flyers on the strategic map, which is good. Still, in this example, the mountaineering unit does't also have to be a ranged unit, which is better.
Fewer fliers, or more expensive ones (to recruit and maintain), just 2 more ways to make fliers more vulnerable, without taking away flying.
IIRC, I think that's all been done in the previous AoW's...and then some more: A new spell was created specifically to deal with flyers (double gravity), there were changes done to existing spells (i.e. no stone skin for flyers, haste values, zephyr costs), added penalties for traversing through mountains, and so on and so forth.

In the end, the balance achieved in SM regarding flyers was good enough, IMO (although I think they still have some edge because of their viability: i.e. you can't go wrong building dragons, but you can go wrong building, I don't know...Gluttons). But the efforts to do that were too big for a single ability. Like I said on the official forums: It's like the game has to be built around flying and not the other way around. I think it's just too costly.

And if you then add the exploits and the AI that can't quite figure out what to do against them, and well, it's kind of a clear choice.
Picard
Member
posted 04-02-13 05:19 AM EDT (US)     13 / 21       
The balance in the video looked just fine. The dragon was left exposed, surrounded (flanked) and the high-elf units were heavily buffed damage wise. Also the hero was quite strong and the "swordsmen" were actually advanced theocrat units and they even had holy champion iirc. The elf army still took huge damage from the gas attack and likely would've lost without the damage buffs.

One interesting aspect of the new flying is that now you can (potentially) have barracks-level flying units. In previous games that would've been really op.

[This message has been edited by Picard (edited 04-02-2013 @ 05:21 AM).]

COCONUTKNIGHT
Member
posted 04-02-13 09:44 AM EDT (US)     14 / 21       
ffbj, an apology, my comments should have been directed at the Harlequins post before yours.

I also think the flier balance was just right in SM...

As always though, we're all over analysing and reacting atm.

Take an old, dirty, hungry, mangy, sick and wet dog and feed him and wash him and nurse him back to health, and he will never turn on you and bite you.

This is how man and dog differ.
ffbj
Member
posted 04-02-13 04:22 PM EDT (US)     15 / 21       
Ah, sorry. Yeah I agree about the over analysis part.
Felinel
Member
posted 04-04-13 09:01 AM EDT (US)     16 / 21       
I understand why flying units are no more flying constantly but, well, they are now nice target for high end ground units like titans, doom wolves etc...

So, they would need a great boost in defense. Or a dodge skill like "air escape" wich give % chance to avoid a hit from melee ground units.

And what about airships ?
feargus
Member
posted 04-05-13 09:02 AM EDT (US)     17 / 21       
I understand the choice for flying units to land in between turns
but if it means that units with ranged abilities can never target actual airborne units I will miss that aspect.
Maybe there can be some middle ground here ...
jwj442
Member
posted 04-05-13 09:48 PM EDT (US)     18 / 21       
I think that some of you are underestimating how big a difference being able to directly fly over units in combat will probably make. Protecting vulnerable units when the enemy has flyers won't be easy, and they'll be great flankers. And if one of your flyers is wonded, it can retreat to your back lines very easily.

Yes, they won't be as powerful defensively as before, but they'll be extremely mobile.

[This message has been edited by jwj442 (edited 04-05-2013 @ 09:50 PM).]

Oleg123
Member
posted 04-26-13 04:12 PM EDT (US)     19 / 21       
I suggest that flying units will become floating on a turn after they commited melee or touch attack on a non-flying unit.

Spell check failed - not enough mana
meeber
Member
posted 06-18-13 02:07 PM EDT (US)     20 / 21       
I too have to agree that flying in SM was just right and AOW3 should have stuck with that. There were many way to counter flyers they were not immortal you just had to use something called "strategy." Remember you are playing a strategy game. This dumbing down of flying does concern me because there are other abilities like flying that some would whine and say was too powerful such as passwall/climb walls, all the immunities etc. Please keep those abilities the same as they were in SM or at lest give those of us that like to use strategy in our strategy games an option to turn off the Carebear mode. Melee units should not be able to attack flyers unless the flyer used melee against it such as how SM handled it.
PawelS
Member
posted 06-18-13 03:06 PM EDT (US)     21 / 21       
It looks like the "Civ5 effect" to me, I read too much about "dumbing down" lately... For me it's not dumbing down, it will be just different than in the previous games, and using a strategy will be still welcome - for example the aforementioned ability to fly over other units will encourage that.

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Creator of the AoW1 Mod.
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