I understand the purpose of shield screen for the melee units as a counter to ranged, but three things continue to confuse as they just don't make sense for me.
1. Why on earth do non-shielded melee units have access to loose formations but not ranged? Loose formations enable you to move forward and engage artillery with ranged without suffering 10-20 casualties every time you get hit by a rock. It doesn't make sense to limit them further since they already have the range and positioning disadvantages against artillery.
This doesn't even address ranged vs ranged combat, which is now brought to an ignorant density for exaggerated casualties on one another that make absolutely no sense at all. The default state of ranged engagements has been brought to the level of the lowest involvement and skill possible short of locking them in place once firing (like melee engagements). (If Eastmen Archers are bugged and supposed to have this ability but don't, well, see #3.)
2. Why don't melee keep loose formations for artillery salvos that you must weather on approach? This seems like a grotesque oversight as well, as the ham-fisted approach to not manage formations by integrating shield-wall defaults has now left these units getting slammed by boulders on their advance. Since when were swordsmen too stupid to realize that they shouldn't stand shoulder-to-shoulder when giant pieces of detritus are en-route to crush them at regular intervals?
This is especially pertinent given that some shield castles fill the defensive testudo (forced immobility) role in the .pack, so there is absolutely no way to approach with a melee unit that mitigates risk to them. I understand this brings the micro down a bit for new players, but again, this rolls around to #3.
3. I searched through data.pack and could not find a single reference to enable loose formations for these units so I could at least share with my friend who I play head-to-head with. This is obscene. Why on Earth is this hardcoded (like barricades still, if I am correct, even though other siege escalation variables and tables exist within the .pack) and unworkable?
I would love any response CA has in regards to this, because if it can be explained away well, I'd deal with it. That being said, I'm skeptical you can actually make sense of men wandering to their deaths with the intellectual capacity of Orc Boyz.