Raw unit usefulness?

Field of Glory II is a turn-based tactical game set during the Rise of Rome from 280 BC to 25 BC.
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Raw unit usefulness?

Post by MVP7 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:36 pm

Are you people finding the raw (or untrained) units useful in any army?

To me they just seem like an unnecessary weak link that is more of a liability than an asset, not only useless but actively harmful to your own army. Raw units can easily start a chain reaction of cohesion drops with their routing (the more raws you have the harder it escalates). Even a gap in the front or a slowly failing flank can be preferable to having raw units panicking there, disturbing everyone around them. They of course also provide the enemy with easy victory percentage in the most common game modes.

If they are deployed in the first line they'll break fast unless enemy is matching an equally subpar unit against it (which I think is an opportunity better exploited by breaking the weak enemy unit with good unit anyway). Using them as a reserve is also kinda pointless since most of the time any enemy units breaking through are high quality and won't even slow down for raw troops. They are also pretty lackluster as flankers since they are usually unmaneuverable.

There is virtually no unit in the game I wouldn't rather take than a raw unit. Raw heavy foot can only match medium foot in the open and little else. Raw medium infantry is pretty much the weakest unit that exist in the game. If I have enough point for one regular or two raw units, I'll take the regular any day. If I have points for raw unit, it usually means I also have points for a regular light unit which is also far better option. If I can purchase nothing but a raw unit, I'll rethink my other purchases to use the points more effectively.

This isn't in any way unique to FoG2. I find low quality units often do more harm than good in pretty much every game with morale system. It's the exact same thing in Total War games. Some low quality units are just so bad that no matter how cheap or numerous they are, they do more harm with their mere presence than by not being there at all.

Is someone actively using raw unit for reasons other than added challenge or realistic army composition?

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Re: Raw unit usefulness?

Post by stockwellpete » Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:41 pm

Yes, I use them quite often. For example, raw pikes are very good against most cavalry and medium foot and will often hold their own against other pike units (not veterans). They can be used to outflank enemy units just like everything else and they can be used to defend your own flanks too.

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Re: Raw unit usefulness?

Post by MVP7 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:54 pm

Yeah the pikes are definitely the best of raw units but they cost as much as Mercenary Hoplites and more than most medium units and regular cavalry.

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Re: Raw unit usefulness?

Post by fuzzayd » Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:01 pm

I mainly play the campaigns and auto-fill my army as to increase the variety and make battles less sure...so while I don't actively choose them, the game does. I find they are serviceable. I use them in two ways:

- Stick them behind a moderate/good unit to prevent it from being able to fall back if I need the line to hold and the unit is over-matched. This is good if it's Thracians vs phalanx or something not ideal. Might be able to flank with them at some point if things go okay.

- Light missile troop fodder. Just stick em with your missile troops and march them up to disrupt whatever plans the AI has. When/if they rout, hopefully your missile troops are far enough away and you've prevented their missiles from disrupting a flank.

Sometimes they're pretty useless except for dropping in a garrison after a battle.

Wondering how others utilize them!

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Re: Raw unit usefulness?

Post by vakarr » Tue Jan 23, 2018 11:27 pm

the mob units have more than 1,000 men in them, so they take a lot of punishment. I was playing Galatians and was stymied by a mob unit in a woods that would not die - yes raw units can be useful - it doesn't survive long obviously if hit by a superior warband in the open, but put it in the woods and it takes a lot of shooting and attacks by light javelinmen to make it go away. Camels for instance are raw units, their chief function is to stay out of combat but be near enemy cavalry. It takes some good heavy cavalry to beat them.

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Re: Raw unit usefulness?

Post by MVP7 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 11:36 pm

I guess there's a lot of luck involved with the performance of mob units. Just today I saw poorly armed rabble getting wrecked by light javelins in melee.

Speaking of mobs, is the units routed percent based on number of men in routed units, number of routed units or points value of routed units?

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Re: Raw unit usefulness?

Post by MikeC_81 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:43 am

Percentage based on numbers routed. This has been tested when I was making my guide. Mobs are godawful. They actively hurt you since routing one of them counter towards a very large percentage of your total force.

Raw units are definitely not high on my list of picks unless I have a very good reason to take them. They suffer from a multitude of problems and are, imo, not discounted nearly enough points wise (12 points per 480 men) to justify taking them unless carefully thought out.

First and foremost is their vulnerability in passing cohesion tests. At the modifier ranges that occur most often, they fail anywhere between 12%-17% more often than Average quality units. This includes the ability for a routing unit to rally from routing status or withstanding adjacent friendlies breaking . One of the biggest ways to quickly lose a battle in FoG2 is to suffer panic chains. Since it is much harder to regain cohesion than it is to lose it, and how devastating even a single drop in cohesion level from steady to disordered is to a unit's ability to win a fight, the relative unreliability of these troops means that you definitely don't want to risk them in combat or have anyone else nearby in combat that is at risk of losing. They also don't like to get shot at because of this.

The -25 PoA doesn't change the combat math that often but it isn't insignificant. It doesn't change units that the average quality counterpart will beat but it will significantly affect how quickly on average you can expect it to rout an opponent that you should defeat. Ofcourse changing the PoA modifier also means that your risk of a bad roll in terms of losing a combat you expect to win will be higher, and the inherent risk of now having to take a cohesion test as mentioned above.

They have a higher autobreak threshold than Average troops. Average troops tend to be willing to accept up to 50% casualties before quitting for good, Raw units will quit somewhere around 60%. Finally all Raw units are classified as unmaneuverable. While some units like Pikes are already unmaneuverable, things like Citizen hoplites vis a vis Merc Hoplites or Raw Legionaries lose their ability to get a free 45 degree wheel under General command radius. It is a huge dent in the maneuverability of a force.

In general I tend to stay away from raw units. But keep in mind quality is relative. Against a swarmish opponent with a lot of things like Irr Foot or raw type units themselves, you are on equal footing. Sometimes you just need that extra medium foot unit or whatever and your alternatives in spending do not significantly help your strategy, you have to bite the bullet and take the Raw unit over spending the points of something worse or outright runs against your strategy. But when you sit down and think about it, on average, its 12 points for a 480 man block, if you can cut some fat to get the average quality unit instead, I would do it every time.
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Re: Raw unit usefulness?

Post by MVP7 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:04 am

Thanks for the numbers MikeC. I very much agree that the price reduction is not enough to make up for the synergy of weaknesses that the raw units suffer from. Together the various small penalties make a unit that has a performance far worse than the discounted price makes up for.

I wonder how it would work if the price of raw units was severely dropped so that the choice was around 3 raw units vs 1 average unit rather than 2 vs 1 or even just 3 vs 2. The unit limits would still keep the raws from being spammable. Because of the victory conditions I probably still wouldn't use them in battle unless I knew that I already outnumbered the enemy significantly and had the possibility of completely surrounding them.

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Re: Raw unit usefulness?

Post by GiveWarAchance » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:26 am

Don't the raw units quickly escalate in experience so they become useful? I guess it's hard to gain xp without them routing off the map after the slightest slap in the face.

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Re: Raw unit usefulness?

Post by GiveWarAchance » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:33 am

If there were Greek fire or napalm type ranged weapons in the game, you could get them cooked.

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Re: Raw unit usefulness?

Post by MVP7 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:58 am

GiveWarAchance wrote:Don't the raw units quickly escalate in experience so they become useful? I guess it's hard to gain xp without them routing off the map after the slightest slap in the face.
I guess you can build them up in a campaign but I'm not sure if it's useful in the end. The unit price increases with the experience and any bad perks and armor level stay the same. With all the scaling, garrisoning and reinforcing I don't think you can really get ahead. You are just essentially risking a lot, painstakingly building a bad unit to a level you could have got right off the shelf for just a few points more.

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Re: Raw unit usefulness?

Post by rbodleyscott » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:22 am

Actually, Raw units can be good value if you use them right. I always take the Raw Legionaries in a pre-Marian Roman army, they are useful spare units at the back of the formation as they are quite capable of fending off enemy cavalry, and charging enemy in the flank. If nothing else they can keep an enemy unit occupied for a few turns if it breaks through the front line.

I also use the Raw Thureophoroi in a Ptolemaic army if I want a numerical advantage in rough terrain troops - (emphatically not to try to match numbers if the enemy is a MF army). They hide behind the Average Thorakitai and Thureophoroi but can be used when numbers count and are also quite capable of fending off enemy cavalry.

I always take Arab camelry if it is available.

Mostly when you see posts commenting that Roman legionaries (or whatever) are overpowered, it is because the posters are relatively inexperienced and are trying to match them toe to toe rather than outflank them while delaying contact with their main line. The same applies to complaints that Raw troops are useless. With experience comes the certainty that "quantity has a quality all of its own", but only if you use it right, and raw troops can have a role in this.

I am fairly convinced that their current points cost is well-balanced.
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Re: Raw unit usefulness?

Post by MVP7 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:05 pm

Unless unit cap is the issue it's pretty hard to get a numerical advantage with raw troops. Four Militia Thureophoroi cost 6 points (or about 5%) less than three regulars. In my experience there's rarely situations where just one more unit would have made the difference AND it wouldn't have mattered if 2 or 3 other units had performed far worse.

Arab camelry is nice though, I forgot they were raw. They have a set of qualities that mitigates the weaknesses caused by their rawness. I still prefer Nomad light horse though if I have the option.

edit. I saw that :wink:

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Re: Raw unit usefulness?

Post by GiveWarAchance » Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:51 pm

Sounds like raw units have a legit place in the game from all this. They are basically a weak fodder unit that puts a bit more fluff in front of the enemy to help stretch out your line like when you are making a pizza dough and it gets too thin in one area.

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Re: Raw unit usefulness?

Post by MVP7 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:05 pm

They definitely have a place in the game as fluff and variety but I'm still of the opinion that they are virtually never the optimal pick for an army.

If we go with the pizza dough comparison then patching the line with raw units is the equivalent of slapping toilet paper on the thin areas :D

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Re: Raw unit usefulness?

Post by MikeC_81 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:33 pm

I don't think any one is saying they are useless, those that don't like them (such as myself) pick them only for high specialized jobs as you mentioned, so they are not high on my list. Any evaluation also has to take into account the army list itself. A top tier Roman army has more than enough heavy hitters that a 30 point Raw legionary can be useful as a backstop or speedbump for opposition cavalry. But for a force where the majority of your units are average quality, downgrading them to raw units to save 12 points per unit is not an attractive choice in most cases.

Certainly if you have maxed out on existing average or better unit types and you need another unit and the only option you have is a Raw quality unit, you just go ahead and take it. But I would always look first to see if I can simply cut x points elsewhere if I can upgrade the unit from Raw to Average instead. It remains to be seen whether 12 points is a balanced in a "GTO" setting but given the disparate situations FoG2 presents with different armies and different terrains, who even knows what a proper GTO points balance would be.

It just feels a bit off currently imo.
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Re: Raw unit usefulness?

Post by rbodleyscott » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:06 pm

MikeC_81 wrote:It just feels a bit off currently imo.
If that were so (which I would dispute) surely it is better to have them slightly overpriced than risk them becoming a "best buy".

I should mention that I have had the benefit of seeing the beta discussion for the next DLC, where it has been suggested that a certain army with a lot of Raw troops is overpowered against its main historical opponent, and it was suggested that we should increase the cost of the units!
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Re: Raw unit usefulness?

Post by SnuggleBunnies » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:54 pm

I find raw units useful. This is coming strictly from a MP perspective. Raw Legionaries and hoplites can fend off most cavalry, and can be used to plug gaps, flank pushbacks, and generally be a nuisance. Militia Thureophoroi can hold off cavalry in the open, making them useful for having on flanks. They can defend themselves well against heavies if they are in rough ground. I tend to get a couple for MP matches. Mobs are of limited utility, but again, they can hold out in terrain. I also find them useful for hiding in forests and pulling off ambushes; if they never get the chance, they keep hiding, and 15pts wasted is no big deal. Levy skirmishers are garbage, but extremely cheap and capable of soaking in some arrows.

Basically, raw troops are useful in all kinds of situations that are not head on main battle line combat, just like other weird units. Think of the Indian cavalry. I think they are average, but, being unprotected and having only light spear ability, they cost 20. 20! That's very little to spend to be able to run down skirmishers, charge archers, and cause flank attack cohesion drops. No, they can't face non lights head on, but that doesn't mean they're not useful.

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Re: Raw unit usefulness?

Post by MikeC_81 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:33 pm

SnuggleBunnies wrote:I find raw units useful. This is coming strictly from a MP perspective. Raw Legionaries and hoplites can fend off most cavalry, and can be used to plug gaps, flank pushbacks, and generally be a nuisance. Militia Thureophoroi can hold off cavalry in the open, making them useful for having on flanks. They can defend themselves well against heavies if they are in rough ground. I tend to get a couple for MP matches. Mobs are of limited utility, but again, they can hold out in terrain. I also find them useful for hiding in forests and pulling off ambushes; if they never get the chance, they keep hiding, and 15pts wasted is no big deal. Levy skirmishers are garbage, but extremely cheap and capable of soaking in some arrows.

Basically, raw troops are useful in all kinds of situations that are not head on main battle line combat, just like other weird units. Think of the Indian cavalry. I think they are average, but, being unprotected and having only light spear ability, they cost 20. 20! That's very little to spend to be able to run down skirmishers, charge archers, and cause flank attack cohesion drops. No, they can't face non lights head on, but that doesn't mean they're not useful.
Indian cavalry are amazing I agree, thats mainly because they are aggressively costed to the point where they are useful. They cost less than most skirmishers yet count as formed troops so they can inflict the compulsory drop in cohesion when flanking. And they are mobile. Most of the 'special jobs' that we use Raw units for are less reliant on their combat power and more for the fact that they are simply formed troops that can force cohesion drops and also exert ZoCs. In cases like that I would prefer to pay the bare minimum in points costs to buy those abilities.

As to RBS's point about the DLC thing, I am not a beta tester so I can't comment, but I understand the sentiment of not making them a "best buy" option. Still 12 points to upgrade seems like a very good deal to me especially when they get to ditch that "unmaneverable" trait.
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Re: Raw unit usefulness?

Post by stockwellpete » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:48 pm

SnuggleBunnies wrote:Basically, raw troops are useful in all kinds of situations that are not head on main battle line combat, just like other weird units. Think of the Indian cavalry. I think they are average, but, being unprotected and having only light spear ability, they cost 20. 20! That's very little to spend to be able to run down skirmishers, charge archers, and cause flank attack cohesion drops. No, they can't face non lights head on, but that doesn't mean they're not useful.
I think that Indian cavalry are one of the best value units in the entire game if you time their intervention correctly. I usually max out on them.

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