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The importance of scouting (or why lines of sight should be lower)

cool_ladcool_lad Senior MemberIndiaPosts: 2,272Registered Users
One of the most important things that Total War tries but doesn't manage to do is depict asymmetry of information in the game. Right now, the overly large deployment zones and generous lines of sight conspire to create a situation whereby certain strategies (such as hit and run) and concepts (scouting) become less important than they should be. This has an adverse impact on units and factions that utilize and benefit from such tactics (such as the beastmen and maybe the wood elves).

Taking the example of the beastmen; their units are not capable of going toe to toe with units of other factions. However, what these units lack in straight up combat capability, they make up for in their ability at hit and run and ambush tactics. This also applies to a certain extent to the goblin units amongst the greenskins, which are best used in such situations due to their good stamina and speed.

The problem that arises for such factions is that generally, the enemy can see them coming from across the map. This is not truly an issue with the battle maps themselves (which are on the whole pretty large), but rather a problem of the line of sight mechanic, which allows virtually the entirety of the battlefield to be seen with ease; and the deployment zones which are far too large and therefore leave far too little space between them (essentially forcing a brawl in the centre of the map).

The solution for these issues is somewhat simple, but would go a long way in enhancing the tactical depth of the battles:-

1. A severe reduction to sight lines for units across the board. No unit should be able to see till even the middle of the map even on flat ground. I would personally suggest that the maximum line of sight for infantry and cavalry be no further than 180 at best; flying units may have slightly higher ranges, but would still need to get closer to actually make out the enemy units. If indeed distant units are present, they should be depicted as merely indistinct shadows till a unit gets line of sight on them. This allows for a better implementation of hit and run and ambush tactics by factions which can then take advantage of lightly armoured and highly mobile units that can strike fast and retreat without exposing the main force to the risk of a pitched battle. This also makes scouting an important factor, thereby giving added importance to units such as miners, rangers, pistoliers and mounted marauders, which can function as scouts.

2. A significant reduction to the size of deployment zones, thereby leaving the majority of the map as no mans land. This will also encourage the use of scouts in order to prevent the army from being outflanked and give renewed importance to units with vanguard deployment. This may also contribute to the need to mauoeuvre forces and utilise the rest of the map instead of simply brawling in the middle.

These ideas are relatively simple to implement and would in my opinion add greatly to the Total War experience by increasing the tactical and strategic depth of the battles.

What do you think?
«1

Comments

  • WarlockeWarlocke Senior Member Posts: 2,627Registered Users
    Nay.

    Line of sight should remain as is: if it is not obstructed and it is in your field of view, then you can see it.

    A reduction in deployment zones would only serve to create a more frenzied mad dash to find tactically advantageous ground. There should be more room around the deployment zones, but that is a different issue.

    Use line of sight by using terrain (hills, forests and structures) to hide troops. I tend to always use scouts when I am in a heavily forested or hilly map, as it is necessary, so I am not sure what the objection is there.
    ò_ó
  • twwatchertwwatcher Posts: 2,301Registered Users
    Quite keen on ideas in point 1 although from the opposite perspective it should be easier to spot fliers and giants.

    Not so keen on point 2, although I find vanguard deployment ok (I don't like splitting my army up too much) there have been quite a few who see this area as being too limiting and that it should be larger.
  • SeldkamSeldkam Senior Member Posts: 4,336Registered Users
    Absolutely not would you like to make artillery completely useless? Literally rush across the map while the guy with artillery desperately uses whatever scout he has to find you before they get too close

    This fails so hard if the dwarfs are meant to be at all balanced too, cause dwarfs won't find you fast enough since they're too damn slow
    The inferior races of this world will be crushed one by one, as our armies move from shore to shore, and hill to hill, and city to city-- and each of their cries will be as music to our ears, for we are the Druchii.
  • AxikusAxikus Junior Member Posts: 775Registered Users
    I'm hardly okay with the current situation when armies of goblins can sneak up on your spearwall, but I can buy it as a rare trait.

    It makes absolutely no sense to not see an entire army on the opposing side of a flat surface. Why not hide terrain then, if units are so nearsighted?
  • SeldkamSeldkam Senior Member Posts: 4,336Registered Users
    Goblins hide because in TWW you can't really show off how they would normally fight, which is coming out of a hole in the ground or forest AT NIGHT... but that's not possible in tww so.

    Also because they'd have absolutely no role in the gs roster without it lol. They'd die to skirmishers before they can deliver their poison in melee.
    The inferior races of this world will be crushed one by one, as our armies move from shore to shore, and hill to hill, and city to city-- and each of their cries will be as music to our ears, for we are the Druchii.
  • HoneyBunHoneyBun Senior Member Posts: 4,634Registered Users
    No.

    This would be an unhelpful and 'gamey' change just to make your favoured faction more powerful. It would deeply frustrate every other player.

    They are making an FPS. Who knew a company could have a mid-life crisis ...

  • OspreyOsprey Posts: 500Registered Users
    The only line of sights I would like some change is missile units and artillery. It doesn't make any sense to shoot without seeing the enemy, at least they could reduce the accuracy. I never liked Thunderers or Handgunners shooting from behind the infantry in flat terrain, it doesn't make sense. Besides, this game doesn't have friendly fire for the missile units, or is extremely low and doesn't have any impact in the game.
  • SeldkamSeldkam Senior Member Posts: 4,336Registered Users
    Osprey said:

    The only line of sights I would like some change is missile units and artillery. It doesn't make any sense to shoot without seeing the enemy, at least they could reduce the accuracy. I never liked Thunderers or Handgunners shooting from behind the infantry in flat terrain, it doesn't make sense. Besides, this game doesn't have friendly fire for the missile units, or is extremely low and doesn't have any impact in the game.

    They don't shoot from directly behind friendlies on flat terrain, go check on the frozen lake map
    The inferior races of this world will be crushed one by one, as our armies move from shore to shore, and hill to hill, and city to city-- and each of their cries will be as music to our ears, for we are the Druchii.
  • JavorJavor Posts: 910Registered Users
    Gotta say no to this.

    It would be all kinds of iffy.. Why shouldn't my artillery be able to bomard stuff at their maximum range unless I have units there, especially if it's a flat expanse?

    When it comes for flying units, this is especially weird. The maps are small enough that there is no reason to not see something unless it's obstructed.
  • Commissar_GCommissar_G Senior Member Posts: 10,223Registered Users
    HoneyBun said:

    No.

    This would be an unhelpful and 'gamey' change just to make your favoured faction more powerful. It would deeply frustrate every other player.

    Yeah. Remember those super fog battles from Med 2? I hated them so much.
    "As a sandbox game everyone, without exception, should be able to play the game exactly as they see fit and that means providing the maximum scope possible." - ~UNiOnJaCk~
  • cool_ladcool_lad Senior Member IndiaPosts: 2,272Registered Users
    edited December 2016
    Ok ,a few clarifications. The lines of sight should be limited in my opinion, however, the extent of the line of sight could vary. Whereas normal units would have limited lines of sight, scouting units (such as rangers and flyers) would have longer sightlines.

    I would suggest that when a unit is directly in front of the army, but beyond the line of sight, then it appear as an indistinct shape to reflect the idea that the army can see something is there, but can't make out exactly what it is.

    The limitation of line of sight would essentially make scouting and concealment more relevant; these two things are of supreme importance in warfare (Sun Tzu talks at length about the importance of deception, scouting and intelligence in any battle). What this would do is make it more important to scout out the enemy by sending scouts to do reconnaissance before advancing.

    Artillery would require spotters in the form of scouts in order to actually be able to utilise it's range advantage (as is actually the case with most artillery), unless it occupies a vantage point where it has direct line of sight on the enemy.

    The problem as I see it right now is that battles often devolve into brawls as there is little scope for concealment and deception in the game, scouting being made irrelevant due to generous lines of sight.
    Seldkam said:

    Absolutely not would you like to make artillery completely useless? Literally rush across the map while the guy with artillery desperately uses whatever scout he has to find you before they get too close

    This fails so hard if the dwarfs are meant to be at all balanced too, cause dwarfs won't find you fast enough since they're too damn slow

    The Dwarves would have scouts in the form of Miners and Rangers in the early and early-mid game. Their scouting would improve significantly once they gain access to flyers which would be excellent scouts due to their mobility and height.

    Artillery would require spotters in order to make the best use of it's range advantage.
    HoneyBun said:

    No.

    This would be an unhelpful and 'gamey' change just to make your favoured faction more powerful. It would deeply frustrate every other player.

    Just to clarify, I prefer to play Dwarves and Chaos Warriors. I don't even have the Beastmen or the (upcoming) Wood Elves. That does not mean that I can't want their style of play to become more relevant and significant.
  • SeldkamSeldkam Senior Member Posts: 4,336Registered Users
    Oh wait this is about mostly sp no wonder you don't see a problem.

    Look mate here's how this will work:

    Dwarfs deploy miners or rangers near enemy. Enemy knows there are enemies there because of the "mysterious shapes" enemy sends massive force to destroy your precious spotters and since you are a dwarf player, chaos player, or even beast man player, you either a) are too slow or b ) can't do anything about it since your ranged units are garbage and the enemy will have slaughtered them before you get there.

    The only way itd work is if you use rangers or units with stalk but it's not like that make a huge difference, it's very, very easy to find enemy stalking units with cav or flyers. And no miners shouldn't be able to have LOS while underground because that would be broken if everyone else doesn't lol. And no gyros don't work because no one wants to spend 800 gold for a unit that is just going to make air force spam even more meta and toxic , important...


    And even if you come up with good points against that......

    It does. Not. Matter. It changes literally nothing, all it does is Nerf artillery and ranged units because you'll be doing the EXACT SAME thing. That is, charging mindlessly across the battlefield (mindlessly is sarcasm) in order to close asap with the enemy.

    You might say oh I can put my expensive units up front in order to fool the enemy artillery into shooting at the units-- great now things are up to luck, whether you can a) guess the enemy's expensive units locations, or b ) figure out which direction the enemy vanguards his scouts

    Not only that, but why would the enemy army engage your main force with his before taking out your scouts: the first 10 minutes of every match will be Empire Vs Empire flying monsters and Lords running Round trying to snipe enemy scouts for crying out loud.
    The inferior races of this world will be crushed one by one, as our armies move from shore to shore, and hill to hill, and city to city-- and each of their cries will be as music to our ears, for we are the Druchii.
  • endurendur Posts: 3,242Registered Users
    There are a couple of issues with vanguard. The first issue is that AI doesn't tend to use it, which results in an asymmetry where the players can do something which the AI can't.

    The second issue is that the original vanguard zones were very powerful for some factions, which is why MP got vanguard areas reduced to the point where you can't flank or attack from the rear anymore.

    My preference would be for AI to actually use vanguard zones, although that might be difficult to code. And that the vanguard areas be restored to what they were originally.

  • WarlockeWarlocke Senior Member Posts: 2,627Registered Users
    Still no. These ideas are terrible, unnecessary and convoluted.
    What's more: they have virtually no chance of being implemented.
    You are wasting your time.
    ò_ó
  • thesniperdevilthesniperdevil Senior Member Posts: 1,929Registered Users
    I agree with the op, but am not a fan of the proposed solutions.

    Some lil ideas to as to the mix.
    1. Flying units should not be able to spot units hidden in a forest. Yes get in the way.
    2. Forests should block line of sight again. I'm pretty sure only elevation blocks l.o.s
  • Combat_WombatCombat_Wombat Posts: 4,092Registered Users
    This should only be something to discuss in terms of the campaign map, not in battles. Its strange to be able to see all the armies on the map as easily as we can right now.
  • glosskilosglosskilos Posts: 1,176Registered Users
    endur said:

    There are a couple of issues with vanguard. The first issue is that AI doesn't tend to use it, which results in an asymmetry where the players can do something which the AI can't.

    The second issue is that the original vanguard zones were very powerful for some factions, which is why MP got vanguard areas reduced to the point where you can't flank or attack from the rear anymore.

    My preference would be for AI to actually use vanguard zones, although that might be difficult to code. And that the vanguard areas be restored to what they were originally.

    I disagree with the ops idea because it wo t work in mp. But i do think vanguard deploy should be unnerfed. Some factions should be better at vanguard deployment than others as they are in the lore
  • cool_ladcool_lad Senior Member IndiaPosts: 2,272Registered Users
    Another idea is to make the forests have a more significant impact on line of sight; effectively blocking units (maybe including flyers) from seeing what is within or beyond them.

    Right now, the forest only do this to a very limited extent. I propose making forests act as significant blockers to line of sight. Any unit within them would also have it's line of sight reduced (unless it is a scout, beastmen or elf/treemen) making entering and crossing forests a riskier gamble while also making them that much more useful in setting up ambushes.
  • TheGuardianOfMetalTheGuardianOfMetal Senior Member Posts: 10,362Registered Users
    ", scouting units (such as rangers and flyers)"
    so a Chaos Dragon is a scout unit? Silly me... i thought it's an extremely powerful, mass murdering beast...
    Every wrong is recorded. Every slight against us, page after page, ETCHED IN BLOOD! Clan Gunnisson! Karak Eight Peaks! JOSEF BUGMAN!"

    CA hates the Empire confirmed. The FLC LL for the new Lord Pack is Gor-Rok. Meaning the Empire still hasn't gotten their FLC LL. And no, moving Balthasar Gelt from Reikland, where he should be, DOES NOT COUNT. If they wanted a LL in the Southern Empire: Marius Leitdorf of Averland or maybe Elspeth von Draken in Nuln...

    Where is Boris Todbringer? Have you seen him?

    GHAL MARAZ IS THE WEAPON OF THE SETTING! YET SOME BRETONNIAN SWORD IS MORE POTENT?! BUFF GHAL MARAZ IN SIGMAR'S NAME!
  • RedbuttonRedbutton Posts: 10Registered Users
    I don't think the battlefield aspect should change much, but I do agree that the campaign map might use a little tweaking. What comes to my mind is a more restricted line of sight for moving armies (which might be altered with research, tech, or particular units being in the army) while their movement range remains the same. Throw in some varied obstruction levels for terrain types and I think you have a workable system.

    ...Determining campaign map army vision by unit type in the army (scouts, rangers, etc) I think would be a nice touch, but it'd probably be ditched seeing as most players have a hero with their armies that can be detached and sent to scout around instead.
  • SeldkamSeldkam Senior Member Posts: 4,336Registered Users

    ", scouting units (such as rangers and flyers)"
    so a Chaos Dragon is a scout unit? Silly me... i thought it's an extremely powerful, mass murdering beast...

    You're not serious? Why do I need to explain that a chaos dragon currently is a worthless investment, and even if it was still buffed to where it should be, it still can serve as a scout just fine, better than heavy cav in some cases and certainly better than footmen
    The inferior races of this world will be crushed one by one, as our armies move from shore to shore, and hill to hill, and city to city-- and each of their cries will be as music to our ears, for we are the Druchii.
  • Combat_WombatCombat_Wombat Posts: 4,092Registered Users

    ", scouting units (such as rangers and flyers)"
    so a Chaos Dragon is a scout unit? Silly me... i thought it's an extremely powerful, mass murdering beast...

    It's probably better at scouting than mass murdering. Just some slight maiming. It's specialty is mostly dieing.
  • StylianStylian Posts: 83Registered Users
    They should change line of sight to only be on the general, meaning that sometimes you can't even see your own forces
    "Anything's a **** if you're brave enough" - Abraham Lincoln
  • Ephraim_DaltonEphraim_Dalton Senior Member Posts: 21,824Registered Users
    Stylian said:

    They should change line of sight to only be on the general, meaning that sometimes you can't even see your own forces

    That would suck hardcore and turn battles into random messes where you lose track of what's going on after a few minutes. That's verisimilitude I can easily do without.

  • StylianStylian Posts: 83Registered Users

    Stylian said:

    They should change line of sight to only be on the general, meaning that sometimes you can't even see your own forces

    That would suck hardcore and turn battles into random messes where you lose track of what's going on after a few minutes. That's verisimilitude I can easily do without.
    But it would be more of a challenge and would feel more like you're part of the battle
    "Anything's a **** if you're brave enough" - Abraham Lincoln
  • Ephraim_DaltonEphraim_Dalton Senior Member Posts: 21,824Registered Users
    Stylian said:

    Stylian said:

    They should change line of sight to only be on the general, meaning that sometimes you can't even see your own forces

    That would suck hardcore and turn battles into random messes where you lose track of what's going on after a few minutes. That's verisimilitude I can easily do without.
    But it would be more of a challenge and would feel more like you're part of the battle
    Battles being overly randomized affairs ain't a very fun challenge. It would also encourage doing blobs just so you can see where all your men are.

    Terrible, terrible idea.

  • StylianStylian Posts: 83Registered Users

    Stylian said:

    Stylian said:

    They should change line of sight to only be on the general, meaning that sometimes you can't even see your own forces

    That would suck hardcore and turn battles into random messes where you lose track of what's going on after a few minutes. That's verisimilitude I can easily do without.
    But it would be more of a challenge and would feel more like you're part of the battle
    Battles being overly randomized affairs ain't a very fun challenge. It would also encourage doing blobs just so you can see where all your men are.

    Terrible, terrible idea.
    Ceaser never needed to see the entire battlefield and he did alright
    "Anything's a **** if you're brave enough" - Abraham Lincoln
  • Ephraim_DaltonEphraim_Dalton Senior Member Posts: 21,824Registered Users
    edited December 2016
    Stylian said:

    Stylian said:

    Stylian said:

    They should change line of sight to only be on the general, meaning that sometimes you can't even see your own forces

    That would suck hardcore and turn battles into random messes where you lose track of what's going on after a few minutes. That's verisimilitude I can easily do without.
    But it would be more of a challenge and would feel more like you're part of the battle
    Battles being overly randomized affairs ain't a very fun challenge. It would also encourage doing blobs just so you can see where all your men are.

    Terrible, terrible idea.
    Ceaser never needed to see the entire battlefield and he did alright
    Caeasar had actual human subordinates, not AIs that need near-constant player input to work efficiently.

    Did I really have to point that out? You need to get out more.

  • CanuoveaCanuovea Posts: 13,487Registered Users, Moderators
    Stylian said:

    Stylian said:

    Stylian said:

    They should change line of sight to only be on the general, meaning that sometimes you can't even see your own forces

    That would suck hardcore and turn battles into random messes where you lose track of what's going on after a few minutes. That's verisimilitude I can easily do without.
    But it would be more of a challenge and would feel more like you're part of the battle
    Battles being overly randomized affairs ain't a very fun challenge. It would also encourage doing blobs just so you can see where all your men are.

    Terrible, terrible idea.
    Ceaser never needed to see the entire battlefield and he did alright
    Caesar also didn't point and click on his troops in the battlefield to tell them where to go. He also didn't tell them how to run from enemy units while he was in the middle of a battle.
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  • StylianStylian Posts: 83Registered Users
    Canuovea said:

    Stylian said:

    Stylian said:

    Stylian said:

    They should change line of sight to only be on the general, meaning that sometimes you can't even see your own forces

    That would suck hardcore and turn battles into random messes where you lose track of what's going on after a few minutes. That's verisimilitude I can easily do without.
    But it would be more of a challenge and would feel more like you're part of the battle
    Battles being overly randomized affairs ain't a very fun challenge. It would also encourage doing blobs just so you can see where all your men are.

    Terrible, terrible idea.
    Ceaser never needed to see the entire battlefield and he did alright
    Caesar also didn't point and click on his troops in the battlefield to tell them where to go. He also didn't tell them how to run from enemy units while he was in the middle of a battle.
    You don't know that for certain....
    "Anything's a **** if you're brave enough" - Abraham Lincoln
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