Killer Stacks

Field of Glory: Empires is a grand strategy game in which you will have to move in an intricate and living tapestry of nations and tribes, each one with their distinctive culture.
Set in Europe and in the Mediterranean Area during the Classical Age, experience what truly means to manage an Empire.

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YohanTM2
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Killer Stacks

Post by YohanTM2 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:28 pm

Sadly, I'm starting to see "killer stacks" of ships or troops appearing in the game too often. These massive troop concentrations are, IMHO, skewing the game too much. I know the developers have established a supply system that overall works quite well but does not mitigate army/fleet concentrations of 70 or more. If I might suggest the implementation of a large stack supply penalty aka "horde of locusts" penalty? Any concentration above say 2 times the current base supply/forage level would immediately degrade the army/fleet unit and eliminate or significantly reduce it the following turn? Thoughts?

pnoff
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Re: Killer Stacks

Post by pnoff » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:43 pm

YohanTM2 wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:28 pm
Sadly, I'm starting to see "killer stacks" of ships or troops appearing in the game too often. These massive troop concentrations are, IMHO, skewing the game too much. I know the developers have established a supply system that overall works quite well but does not mitigate army/fleet concentrations of 70 or more. If I might suggest the implementation of a large stack supply penalty aka "horde of locusts" penalty? Any concentration above say 2 times the current base supply/forage level would immediately degrade the army/fleet unit and eliminate or significantly reduce it the following turn? Thoughts?
I think the main problem with killer stacks is that they take too little attrition from winning when they have an advantage.

On the other hand, too much attrition would not be fun with the frontage mechanics.

I wish there were more "injuries" but some way to consolidate troops.

I doubt that when phalanx would get battered an ancient commander will field it with holes in the ranks and have more phalanxes sit and watch the action in the backline.

Also it would be nice if standing army would slowly get XP to get more even with combat veteran troops.

In reality if I have a legion fighting in Gaul for 20 years they will have half strength and ready to retire. In FOGE I get a full legion of terminators worth 10 times usual troops (I mean they should be better troops, but the frontage mechanic and no attrition makes it ridiculous).

Bivox
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Re: Killer Stacks

Post by Bivox » Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:57 pm

So units should have a slow exp attrition to represent the old soldiers retiring and being replaced by new ones.

Geffalrus
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Re: Killer Stacks

Post by Geffalrus » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:34 pm

pnoff wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:43 pm
YohanTM2 wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 12:28 pm
Sadly, I'm starting to see "killer stacks" of ships or troops appearing in the game too often. These massive troop concentrations are, IMHO, skewing the game too much. I know the developers have established a supply system that overall works quite well but does not mitigate army/fleet concentrations of 70 or more. If I might suggest the implementation of a large stack supply penalty aka "horde of locusts" penalty? Any concentration above say 2 times the current base supply/forage level would immediately degrade the army/fleet unit and eliminate or significantly reduce it the following turn? Thoughts?
I think the main problem with killer stacks is that they take too little attrition from winning when they have an advantage.

On the other hand, too much attrition would not be fun with the frontage mechanics.

I wish there were more "injuries" but some way to consolidate troops.

I doubt that when phalanx would get battered an ancient commander will field it with holes in the ranks and have more phalanxes sit and watch the action in the backline.

Also it would be nice if standing army would slowly get XP to get more even with combat veteran troops.

In reality if I have a legion fighting in Gaul for 20 years they will have half strength and ready to retire. In FOGE I get a full legion of terminators worth 10 times usual troops (I mean they should be better troops, but the frontage mechanic and no attrition makes it ridiculous).
Hmmmmm, here's an idea. Unit/Army maintenance could increase as their experience increases beyond say 1 or 2 stars. This would represent how experienced armies that had been in the field for a while became - more - expensive to maintain because they could demand more. Caesar's legions, Alexander's army, etc etc. Historically speaking, it was actually hard to manage these doomstacks for reasons that went beyond logistical supply challenges. The more "powerful" soldiers became, the more they tended to demand great sums of money to maintain their loyalty to the general/king/state/etc.

So if the player has this big army with lots of experienced units.......the cost to maintain that army increases. The player then has some options.

1) Disband entire units, which is something that was quite common AND NECESSARY for historical commanders. In the game, the benefit is that you get some of the manpower and equipment refunded to you, I believe.

2) Rotate the experienced units around to other commanders. In the game, this automatically decreases unit XP, which would then decrease your overall maintenance costs. Historically, this was also something that happened as rulers/commanders could come to fear large concentrations of experienced soldiers that had close bonds to each other. Such concentrations would be powerful in battle, but dangerous in peacetime. A real risk-reward situation. Imperator: Rome obviously has a more complex version where the armies can get TOO loyal to individual commanders and then betray the state or something.

3) You could theoretically have an army command button where you click it to quickly decrease the XP of the units in the army (by rotating in new recruits) and thus bring army maintenance costs down.

4) Maybe that button could only be active when in a region with a Training Ground/Barracks or Palace? Maybe the button could have the additional positive benefit of bringing the units to full HP/Exertion - essentially healing them at the cost of XP. This could be useful for quickly getting depleted units back to strength, something that I believe was mentioned farther up the thread.

pnoff
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Re: Killer Stacks

Post by pnoff » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:56 pm

Geffalrus wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:34 pm
I'm wouldn't want it to be too in details or "realistic", just would be nice to get some common sense in first approximation. (Imperator: Rome was quite a mess when I played, maybe it's better now. But all these small details loyalty mechanics were mostly annoying)

Right now 4 star XP high quality army can mow through infinite hordes of usual troops suffering literally 0 losses, which is detrimental to gameplay in my opinion. And the army that gets battered suffers too much drop in performance. Say if I have 16 inf+12 support and all my 12 inf gets a bit injured then the next battle would be disastrous. Why can't I split fresh 4 inf between 12 injured ones? I'm not arguing that it was literally happening in reality (afaik on the short notice they would keep the units as they are but just on the smaller frontage, maybe somebody can correct me), but the game mechanic should be tailored to ingame frontage system since I doubt it will change.

Geffalrus
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Re: Killer Stacks

Post by Geffalrus » Mon Sep 23, 2019 2:07 pm

I mean, I think that - is - where the advantage of the massive doomstack really comes into play. Even if your 10-12 front rank infantry get damaged, if you have 10 more, they'll just fill in on the next round of combat. The main weakness of that approach is that it can play havoc with what happens in the support rank. The algorithm for who goes where in both ranks is currently wonky, but much more so in the support rank, where ranged non-support units can displace fresh ranged support units with better all-around stats.

I think combat practicality-wise, we need to see if they fix any of the frontage placement issues in the Triumph update. And how the flank zones work out in practice. I think the issue of how to deal with doomstacks is an important one. Whether that is resolved by combat dynamics, or by logistical restrictions, remains to be seen........

YohanTM2
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Re: Killer Stacks

Post by YohanTM2 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 4:44 pm

Great discussion everyone, I should also have stated quite clearly that I love this game, it is on the way to being my all-time favourite computer game and is certainly in the top 5 already.

loki100
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Re: Killer Stacks

Post by loki100 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 4:49 pm

Geffalrus wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:34 pm
...

So if the player has this big army with lots of experienced units.......the cost to maintain that army increases. The player then has some options.

...
this is actually in the game, elite units cost more to maintain than others. The problem is that by the time elite units become common, you rarely have any real resource constraints.

so it maybe part of the wider issue of scaling - I think the game doesn't need much resource constraint in the early game (not least that would make minor/secondary factions seriously unfun), but does need something say T100+ as you start to build up stocks to the extent that you no longer need to pay attention?

Jagger2002
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Re: Killer Stacks

Post by Jagger2002 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 5:24 pm

this is actually in the game, elite units cost more to maintain than others.
So are you saying the maintenance costs go up with each increase of experience or are you saying if you buy an elite unit, the maintenance costs are higher?

As Geffalrus states, having maintenance costs go up with each experience level increase would be the easiest way to encourage the disbanding of doom stacks of highly experienced troops. Once a war is over, it is time to disband as many troops as possible to keep the economy from collapsing. And of course, the costs will also encourage seeking peace sooner rather than later. So if you want an experienced standing army doomstack, you will need a very strong economy that can support it. Maybe not entirely historical but would probably work in reducing the longevity of doom stacks and still maintain some game play balance.

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Re: Killer Stacks

Post by Geffalrus » Mon Sep 23, 2019 5:38 pm

How about this for clarity:

Silver Shields are an elite variant of the Phalanx unit that represent the Royal Guard of the Diadochi kingdoms. They are much, much more expensive than normal Phalanx units.

However, you can also have Phalanx units that are more experienced than others. After a lot of combat, a 0-star Phalanx unit can become a 3/4/5/etc-star Phalanx unit. The experience, obviously, raises the minimum combat roll the unit will generate in combat........though I haven't actually tested the upper limit of this value and its exact impact. All I know for sure, is that experience cannot be decreased by ranged damage, while Exertion (stamina) can be.

Questions about the exact impact of Experience aside, what I want to clarify is that my suggestion is that multi-star units aka experienced units should have a higher gold upkeep than fewer-star aka less experienced units. In other words, as you gain experience on a unit, its maintenance cost would increase.

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Re: Killer Stacks

Post by loki100 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 6:00 pm

Jagger2002 wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 5:24 pm
this is actually in the game, elite units cost more to maintain than others.
So are you saying the maintenance costs go up with each increase of experience or are you saying if you buy an elite unit, the maintenance costs are higher?

...
I'm saying exactly what I wrote - the maintenance costs for elite units are higher. This only applies at that level and of course you can't 'buy' an elite unit (in terms of experience)

as in the rest of my post, my feeling is that by the time you have enough elite units (ie the issue the OP points to), you also have too many resources so you don't really notice this.

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Re: Killer Stacks

Post by Geffalrus » Mon Sep 23, 2019 6:27 pm

loki100 wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 6:00 pm
I'm saying exactly what I wrote - the maintenance costs for elite units are higher. This only applies at that level and of course you can't 'buy' an elite unit (in terms of experience)

as in the rest of my post, my feeling is that by the time you have enough elite units (ie the issue the OP points to), you also have too many resources so you don't really notice this.
But what you wrote isn't clear, because elite can mean units that have gained experience - AND - it can mean units that are intrinsically superior. Silver Shields, Ambactes, Sacred Band, etc. Clarifying that would make it a lot easier to understand what you wrote.

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Re: Killer Stacks

Post by Jagger2002 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 6:34 pm

I'm saying exactly what I wrote - the maintenance costs for elite units are higher. This only applies at that level and of course you can't 'buy' an elite unit (in terms of experience)
Clear as mud to this pleb but I went to the manual and with some searching, figured it out myself.

Every unit has one of four experience levels: recruits, regular, vets and elites. So I guess 0 star is recruit and 4 stars is elite. So if your army is composed of 4 star experienced elites expect maintenance costs to go up but how much is not stated.

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Re: Killer Stacks

Post by Geffalrus » Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:36 pm

Jagger2002 wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 6:34 pm
Every unit has one of four experience levels: recruits, regular, vets and elites. So I guess 0 star is recruit and 4 stars is elite. So if your army is composed of 4 star experienced elites expect maintenance costs to go up but how much is not stated.
Good finding. And here I thought I was being smart or something. :lol:

So if that's already implemented, then maybe there needs to be another way to manage the dynamic balance between rich powerful factions with doomstacks and smaller powers. Maybe something that interacts with loyalty, uprising chance, and an incentive to Retaliate rather than Occupy?

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Re: Killer Stacks

Post by loki100 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:45 pm

Jagger2002 wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 6:34 pm
I'm saying exactly what I wrote - the maintenance costs for elite units are higher. This only applies at that level and of course you can't 'buy' an elite unit (in terms of experience)
Clear as mud to this pleb but I went to the manual and with some searching, figured it out myself.

Every unit has one of four experience levels: recruits, regular, vets and elites. So I guess 0 star is recruit and 4 stars is elite. So if your army is composed of 4 star experienced elites expect maintenance costs to go up but how much is not stated.
yes exactly ... elite units cost more
Geffalrus wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 6:27 pm
loki100 wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 6:00 pm
I'm saying exactly what I wrote - the maintenance costs for elite units are higher. This only applies at that level and of course you can't 'buy' an elite unit (in terms of experience)

as in the rest of my post, my feeling is that by the time you have enough elite units (ie the issue the OP points to), you also have too many resources so you don't really notice this.
But what you wrote isn't clear, because elite can mean units that have gained experience - AND - it can mean units that are intrinsically superior. Silver Shields, Ambactes, Sacred Band, etc. Clarifying that would make it a lot easier to understand what you wrote.
at the risk of pedantry - both types of elite unit cost more but for diferrent reasons. The Silver Shields et al cost more intrinsically, and cost even more if they reach elite in terms of experience. All units costs more when they are elite in terms of experience.

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Re: Killer Stacks

Post by Jagger2002 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 8:57 pm

So if that's already implemented, then maybe there needs to be another way to manage the dynamic balance between rich powerful factions with doomstacks and smaller powers.
It is implemented for elites. Why not increase the maintenance costs of regulars and vets as well? Also large armies maintained for long time frames consume massive amounts of manpower from more productive activities. Currently there is war weariness based on time at war. Why not increase the impact of war weariness? Maybe a negative impact on agriculture, loyalty, manpower and finance if armies are above a certain level in comparison to the manpower of the nation in addition to time at war. Undoubtedly there are a number of approaches that would encourage disbanding or reducing the size of armies. Influencing the human player shouldn't be too hard but any changes would also have to be implemented by the AI as well.

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Re: Killer Stacks

Post by Pocus » Tue Sep 24, 2019 7:19 pm

It is implemented in 1.03, but given that you had some "free upkeep" on 10+ units, the most experienced units were costing zero anyway.

But this has changed, with 1.04 "free unit upkeep" top at 20 money 5 metal and 5 manpower.

So you should feel more the sting of having experienced units.
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Re: Killer Stacks

Post by Hendricus » Wed Sep 25, 2019 3:40 am

Pocus wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 7:19 pm
It is implemented in 1.03, but given that you had some "free upkeep" on 10+ units, the most experienced units were costing zero anyway.

But this has changed, with 1.04 "free unit upkeep" top at 20 money 5 metal and 5 manpower.

So you should feel more the sting of having experienced units.
Some buildings give free upkeep too, are those topped also ?

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Re: Killer Stacks

Post by Pocus » Wed Sep 25, 2019 8:18 am

Free Upkeep is now always and only 'free upkeep up to x cost', which is 20-5-5. This covers 99% of the base upkeep cost of units as set in the database, but it won't be enough to cover increased upkeep from veterancy and increased upkeep from 'MoneyIncrease' costs, i.e the extra cost you pay for having several uncommon units (silver shields for Antigonos or more simply archers).
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Re: Killer Stacks

Post by pnoff » Wed Sep 25, 2019 9:57 am

I better stock up on money then. I think I know the true cause why Roman Empire collapsed: a new patch came out.

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