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AP and attack intervals

2twoto2twoto Posts: 66Registered Users
edited February 1 in Balancing Discussions

This is the description for AP damage in the game. Basically, the game presents AP as a trade-off: AP is more expensive and those with AP generally have higher attack intervals than those without it, but it completely ignores armor. This, ideally, helps balance the stat: by having a longer attack interval, the unit in question is slow or even outright cost-inefficient at fighting unarmored units, thus making non-AP damage relatively equal. Recently, there was a discussion on AP chariots that noted, among other things, that “AP is king,” claiming that it is important for a variety of other stats (notably CB and BvI/L). Likewise, there were a few discussions of power creep with AP in the past, noting that it seems to be making armor irrelevant and becoming more prevalent and important. I decided to do some digging on the subject, and… well, see for yourself:

Note: I realized after posting this that the images are a little blurry, so it may be hard to read the attack intervals. Open the picture on a new tab (right click the image for the option) if you need to.
Confirmed: swinging giant blades nearly as tall as you is faster than stabbing with a pokey stick (but in all seriousness, what is up with that spearman attack inteval?!)

Why are Blorks faster than goblins?

Again, non-ap units are actually slower than their ap counterparts

I mean, at least the dragon is a little slower than the manticore, but the hydra/kharibdryss are equal Attack interval with AP.

The AP hyppogriffs are significantly faster than the Pegasus knights.

Someone please explain how on earth swinging around a halberd on an angry chicken-lion is faster than just lancing someone on a normal horse?

Bestigores are faster than supposed chaff-clearing infantry...

Great sword speed > normal sword speed apparently

While the dryads are faster, there is no reason the Rangers should attack faster than the wardancers


Long story short, the supposed attack interval increase associated with AP weapons is generally not true. If anything, it can sometimes be the opposite: look at those Empire Great Swords, whipping around their giant blades as fast or faster than the other state troops can poke with sticks or swing a normal sword. While there are, of course, exceptions (Chaos, notably, seems to respect the original description of “AP has higher attack interval” in regards to chaos warriors and Chosen), there are many more of examples of AP coming with almost no attack interval increase compared to similar units on the roster (or worse, may even be faster than similar units in the roster: see the bestigores, Blorks, and CoK), many of which I didn’t take screen caps of due to time (notable highlights include: All Dawi melee infantry having the same attack interval except hammerers whom are faster, GG w/GG being faster than normal GG, dragons being faster than eagles, and nearly every AP monster being faster than spear infantry).

This is a widespread issue and one that needs to be addressed in one of two ways: the first way, and the one that I advocate for, is to re-balance AP damage to generally (i.e. at least 2/3rds of the time, though ideally it would be applied universally except in special cases like ethereal units, Special lords, or the like) come with a higher attack interval compared to other weapon types (again, there is no reason the empire spearmen should be slower than their halberd counterparts). This method might need to be accompanied by further balance changes (like buffing under performing AP units in other areas and/or nerfing over performing non-AP units likewise), and likewise I understand the hesitation in wanting such changes when the game seems relatively well balanced currently. However, more strictly following the guideline of “AP = Higher Attack Intervals” would help make AP less universally good, making it a more balanced stat rather than currently where it seems like “AP is almost always better” is the rule. I mean, it does say something when all of the recent DLC lords (basically from the Vampire Coast onwards) were given AP, some previously non-ap units (like Treemen) were given AP to help them, and many of the non-ap fighting lords (Tyrion and Archeon) had to be buffed with AP to make them all competitive. Basically, it seems that AP is too strong and part of that may be a lack of adherence to the aforementioned description of AP damage, which has necessitated adding AP to units in order to make them competitive rather than balancing AP damage itself.

The second way, of course, is to change the description of AP damage.

But again, these are merely my thoughts on the subject: what are yours?

Comments

  • ystyst Posts: 6,520Registered Users
    That cannot be taken on face value due to the fact these r directly related to animation. Aka the guy swinging it so the number presented while true does not fully translate into whats really happening.

    Nor will any1 EVER know the true value of it. Much like hit boxes, why does eagle takes less missile dmg than pegasus while terradon almost takes more than twice
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  • eumaieseumaies Senior Member Posts: 4,875Registered Users
    I think the game needs to be balanced around performance and not an arbitrary correlation. Are AP units in general too strong? No I don’t think so. So whatever their attack intervals I don’t see the problem.
  • another505another505 Posts: 1,297Registered Users
    Yst is right
    The attack interval in twwstats doesnt provide true details since you need to account animation

    Supposedly the faster interval ones are to compensate longer animation
  • SarmatiansSarmatians Posts: 3,312Registered Users



    Supposedly the faster interval ones are to compensate longer animation

    Sometimes, not always.

    It really needs to be addressed on a case by case basis. But, the underlying logic of what OP is saying is valid - AP is presented as something of a trade-off, but often it really isn't.

    Whether it requires a rebalance is another issue certainly. The system certainly feels dated, though. Armour stops being an issue with AP. AP damage penetrates 20 armour and 20,000 armour equally well.
  • GriffithxiGriffithxi Posts: 579Registered Users
    I am really starting to think Attack intervals/and or animations on AP lords should be adjusted to be in general slower than non AP lords. Right now everyone is just slowly demanding AP on all lords.
  • mightygloinmightygloin Posts: 1,749Registered Users
    yst said:

    That cannot be taken on face value due to the fact these r directly related to animation.

    I'm not sure this is the case since some mods standardise these values and there is no issues with it whatsoever.

    Also look at Varghulfs's interval, it has 2.9 or something. That is probably why its total damage is relatively low.
  • 2twoto2twoto Posts: 66Registered Users
    edited February 1
    yst said:

    That cannot be taken on face value due to the fact these r directly related to animation. Aka the guy swinging it so the number presented while true does not fully translate into whats really happening.

    Nor will any1 EVER know the true value of it. Much like hit boxes, why does eagle takes less missile dmg than pegasus while terradon almost takes more than twice

    I do realize the value alone isn't the only consideration, but even considering animations AP units seem to attack just as fast, if not faster, than their non-ap counterparts. Compare, for example, the eagle's animation to the Pheonix's: they use the same animation and seem to be at about the same speed. They both have the same attack interval as well, despite one being AP and the other being non-ap. Similarly, when Tyrion, Archeon, and the treemen got AP majority damage, it didn't come with any changes to animation or attack intervals (Evidence: https://www.totalwar.com/blog/the-aye-aye-patch-notes/): assuming that their attack intervals/animations were initially balanced around them being non-ap (a reasonable assumption, considering the claim about AP damage being slower), that basically means they got AP damage for essentially no drawback (just a small price increase). Similarly, empire spearmen and halberds share similar animations and animation lengths, but halberd are have a smaller attack interval and AP compared to spearmen.

    Admittedly, these are only a few solid examples: I did try looking for more, but the problem is that there are a few different animations for each unit and each animation varies in length rather drastically, so I just looked for the easy ones where both units were relatively similar (either using the same skeleton, animations, or both), but one was AP and the other wasn't. However, it is enough to demonstrate that AP often comes without the advertised drawback (though if someone wants to time the animations for various units, compare them, and present their findings, that'd be appreciated).
    eumaies said:

    I think the game needs to be balanced around performance and not an arbitrary correlation. Are AP units in general too strong? No I don’t think so. So whatever their attack intervals I don’t see the problem.

    I don't think this is an arbitrary correlation: the games specifically calls out that AP weaponry will generally be slower than non-ap weaponry. Furthermore (at least from what I understand; I never played table top), it also pays homage to the table top rules: Great Weapons had the "always strike last" rule and taking halberds over spears was trading off more ranks attacking at once for higher attack strength (i.e. less attacks per round in exchange for more damage). Thus, it seems that there is not an "arbitrary correlation" here, but a specific policy concerning AP damage that is both advertised in game as a trade-off and based on table top rules.

    And again, it's not certain that AP units/lords/herores are actually too strong, but it is clear they are becoming more common and seem to be increasingly ignoring this trade off. Performance can be enhanced in other ways: it doesn't always need to be "give x under-performing non-ap unit/lord more AP to make them better." In fact, giving ap damage shouldn't be the default solution to an underperforming unit, but recently this seems to be the case with some here on the forums as well as with CA themselves (see the doomdiver, Archeon, Tyrion, and Treemen rework).

    Again, though, if you disagree and think things are fine, I can understand looking at the current balance of the game and wanting to not risk throwing it all off again. However, I at least ask that you advocate for the little AP description blurb to be changed to reflect this perspective: wouldn't want to confuse people into think AP has a trade off with attack speed.

    Edit: grammar
  • Green0Green0 Posts: 5,519Registered Users
    AP or non AP is balanced stat-wise these days. This is a non-issue, higher AP = lower stats elsewhere if cost is equal.
  • KurnothHunterKurnothHunter Posts: 259Registered Users
    edited February 1
    ye i think ap and non-ap is balanced more by price and other stats

    i.e.

    Screenshot-1

    also, the description says "often at a slower rate" not "always"
  • WitchbladeWitchblade Posts: 474Registered Users
    I agree the problem here is merely the description, not game balance. AP is still a trade-off, not because of attack interval but because you pay for it, so if you fight something unarmored, you'll probably not trade very cost-effectively, e.g. Wild Hunters of Kurnous trade very well against Questing Knights (even beat the RoR often).
  • rambotop1playarambotop1playa Posts: 54Registered Users

    I agree the problem here is merely the description, not game balance. AP is still a trade-off, not because of attack interval but because you pay for it, so if you fight something unarmored, you'll probably not trade very cost-effectively, e.g. Wild Hunters of Kurnous trade very well against Questing Knights (even beat the RoR often).

    lol wild hunters trade vs ror questing knigthts? are we even playing the same game???
  • Wyvern2Wyvern2 Posts: 1,391Registered Users

    I agree the problem here is merely the description, not game balance. AP is still a trade-off, not because of attack interval but because you pay for it, so if you fight something unarmored, you'll probably not trade very cost-effectively, e.g. Wild Hunters of Kurnous trade very well against Questing Knights (even beat the RoR often).

    lol wild hunters trade vs ror questing knigthts? are we even playing the same game???
    I dont see why that should be a ludicrous notion, even though i havent tested that particular fight. Hunters get a beefier charge, magic damage to bypass the physical resist, and while 80 armor isnt bad, its nowhere near the 100+ on nearly every other high tier heavy cav. The ap on the qk ror is also overkill vs such a flimsy unit, and the wild riders get 20% pr. I could certainly see them scraping out the occasional win
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  • rambotop1playarambotop1playa Posts: 54Registered Users
    Wyvern2 said:

    I agree the problem here is merely the description, not game balance. AP is still a trade-off, not because of attack interval but because you pay for it, so if you fight something unarmored, you'll probably not trade very cost-effectively, e.g. Wild Hunters of Kurnous trade very well against Questing Knights (even beat the RoR often).

    lol wild hunters trade vs ror questing knigthts? are we even playing the same game???
    I dont see why that should be a ludicrous notion, even though i havent tested that particular fight. Hunters get a beefier charge, magic damage to bypass the physical resist, and while 80 armor isnt bad, its nowhere near the 100+ on nearly every other high tier heavy cav. The ap on the qk ror is also overkill vs such a flimsy unit, and the wild riders get 20% pr. I could certainly see them scraping out the occasional win
    witchblade said they trade very well, which is lol. I still cant see them beats ror qks except on very very rare occasions lol. even grails can roflslap hunters
  • SarmatiansSarmatians Posts: 3,312Registered Users

    I agree the problem here is merely the description, not game balance. AP is still a trade-off, not because of attack interval but because you pay for it, so if you fight something unarmored, you'll probably not trade very cost-effectively, e.g. Wild Hunters of Kurnous trade very well against Questing Knights (even beat the RoR often).

    It is not often as clear cut as that.

    I do remember a while back a test I did with a friend, Chaos Warriors vs Wardancers.

    Regular CW had 50% win rate (5/10).
    Great Weapon CW had 80% win rate (8/10) and generally performed significantly better. Now, I admit I never extensively tested it, so this could be an outlier.

    Also, usually it is not just AP that is the difference. GW units have lower MD and lack shield, but higher MA, WS and CB.
  • 2twoto2twoto Posts: 66Registered Users
    Green0 said:

    AP or non AP is balanced stat-wise these days. This is a non-issue, higher AP = lower stats elsewhere if cost is equal.

    ye i think ap and non-ap is balanced more by price and other stats
    ...

    also, the description says "often at a slower rate" not "always"

    @KurnothHunter "often" implicates that it is true a majority of the time. As has been discussed, that is not the case: if anything, the rule seems to be that AP damage comes without any trade off in attack interval (and similarly, animation speed doesn't seem to be slower in the easily comparable cases noted previously). Ironically, your example with the glade guard proves my point: the starfire shafts have the same reload speed as their non-ap counterparts. Likewise, I'm not saying it must be universally true, just that there are too many exceptions to the rule to claim that the description is still accurate

    Regardless, these opinions seem to be the general consensus of people here on the forum: AP is balanced by cost. Again, though, this makes AP anti-everything rather than just anti-armor: baring cost, an AP unit will perform as well, if not better, against a low armored target as an anti-chaff unit will.
    Here's a little example of that I found:
    These are 900gp WWR (AP and not specialized anti-chaff units) fighting VC Skeletons.This is the start of the fight.

    This is the end of it. As you can see, the cleared out the chaff in about 40 or 41 seconds.

    Now let's compare that to 800gp Wardancers (anti-infantry and specialized anti-chaff) fighting VC Skeletons. This is the start of the fight (I was a little late on the pick so its not as clean as the WWR fight)

    This is the end of the fight. The time they took to clear out the skeletons was about 44-45 Seconds (Didn't use the coil).

    I also did a test with dryads, but they performed worse than the wardancers or WWR (talking a minute and 17 seconds to kill 1 group of skellies)

    The result is that WWR handle chaff as well as, if not better than, Wardancers and dryads (anti-chaff units) can (both in terms of cost efficiency and time). AND they have AP as well, allowing them to also damage/kill armored units better than wardancers can.


    It seems, at least based on the description in game, that this isn't supposed to be the case: even if an AP unit is cost-efficient against an unarmored unit, it should be time-inefficient against that unit (i.e. take longer than a non-ap unit at a similar cost would). This would make AP damage less universally good and turn it into a counter-able damage type (like how non-ap is counter-able by Armor)

    But in the end, it doesn't seem like many people are convinced by this: balancing AP by cost seems like the preferred solution. If this is the case, then I'd ask just for two things: First is for the description of AP damage to change. Maybe replace the last part with "They are often rare and expensive weapons, costing significantly more" or something along those lines; point is to convey to players that AP just means more expensive, not more inefficient against poorly armored enemies.
    The second is to revisit chaos/norsca and implement this change across their infantry and skirmish calvary. Chaos and Norsca are currently the only faction that still adheres to the "AP is slower" system consistently across all their infantry and skirmish cavalry (with the exception of, unsurprisingly, Forsaken, who seem to have also been forsaken in the attack interval department): if the rules are going to officially change, Chaos and norsca should no longer be beholden to that system either.
  • KurnothHunterKurnothHunter Posts: 259Registered Users
    edited February 4
    WE with the majority of their melee units, even above 800 gold cost, having low armor and low HP pool combined with the low model count + no reliable constant protection from missile fire, in this case, are an exception

    I believe it will be hard to provide a list of infantry units from Norsca or especially Chaos with high price + AP damage + having as low armor and HP as WWR, but you can try if you want



    unironically, I said "ap and non-ap is balanced more by price and other stats" and didn't say that description was 100% correct,
    but you chose to ignore this part just to prove "your point"



    balancing goes not only around AP and non-AP damage but many other factors, that's why dryads in your example perform so bad against skeletons

    try checking regular dryads vs a unit of Empire's shielded spearmen with 3 gold chevrons, you will see that dryads lose hard in this matchup, despite being same price, despite chevrons being cost-inefficient because dryads have magic damage and vanguard + higher speed


    if instead of skeletons you take Empire's swordsmen, you will see that wardancers perform on par or on some occasions even better than WWR

    why? because despite lower damage, wardencers have anti-infantry


    so balancing is a multilayered process and the only thing that CA did wrong here is the description and honestly, trying to make a statement about poor balancing through the claim of a wrong description is a bad choice and completely unconvincing

    Post edited by KurnothHunter on
  • 2twoto2twoto Posts: 66Registered Users
    Real quick, there are 2 clarifications I want to make before beginning: first, from here on out, assume that I am exclusively discussing melee AP units and thus disregard what I've said about glade guard and choas skirmishers (I'll explain why at the end). Second, I recognize that balance is multi-layered and if all my argument rested on was a single description then yes, it would be a flimsy argument. However, that is not the case: my argument relies on the idea that there should be more counter-balance against melee AP units to help AP not be an overpoweringly important stat for melee units.

    @KurnothHunter I actually didn't ignore when you said "ap and non-ap is balanced more by price and other stats," I just noted that that opinion seems to be the general consensus of the board. My point was that AP does not come with a trade off in attack speed as advertised, which makes AP a straight upgrade baring cost. Again, as I said earlier, I'm not contesting whether or not AP units are OP, but rather if how AP is handled is correct and balances out against non-AP damage: I argue that it isn't and should instead be inefficient against unarmored foes (but in exchange price or stats can be improved if needed), whereas it seems that the others here (yourself included) think that it is correctly balanced against price or stats.

    I will admit, in hindsight, to gravely misrepresenting my argument when comparing the Wardancers to WWR: my complaint was that AP units are still, in general, cost efficient and time efficient against unarmored foes. I tried to show that by demonstrating how the two units performed similarly well against a unit of skeletons (this being mostly because I wanted routing to factor in minimally into the test), though I got caught up in how the WWR actually performed better against skelly bois and ended up overemphasizing that (which I will fully admit was neither the point nor really helpful to this discussion).

    I actually did the test you suggested with swordsmen, and while I will fully admit that wardancers do generally do better than WWR (both in terms of damage and time), it's not a case of inefficiency in either case: WWR still kill swordsmen without taking cost-inefficient damage (they loose about 1498 HP [24% of their health] which translates to ~214gp lost while beating a 400gp unit [admittedly, in a real battle the swordsmen could come back, but even being ungenerous the WWR take off 3/4th of the Swordsmen's health, earning about 300gp in exchange) or time inefficient (it's 47 sec for WWR vs 42 sec for Wardancers). Admittedly, the Wardancers about 30% more cost efficient in this new scenario (they loose ~ 19% of their health, which translates to a ~153gp of HP lost).

    I then decided to try comparing with a few other units from other factions, and this pattern of AP units still being cost and time efficient persisted: Longbeards w/GW are time and cost efficient vs swordsmen compared to regular longbeards, Harganeth (of course) buzz-saw through them faster than SoS while taking about the same amount of damage as the sisters (equaling similar cost efficiency), and foot squires are faster and only slightly less cost-efficient against them compared to battle pilgrims (the frenzy bug did not interfere with this result: they didn't gain a chevron). Unfortunately, here I ran out of reasonably comparable examples (and I'll admit that even comparing LB, a holding unit, to LB w/GW, a unit meant to actually be somewhat aggressive, was a bit of a stretch, but they are only separated by about 50gp in cost): every other roster separates chaff-clearers and AP units be too much (i.e. well over 100gp) to be considered in the same price-range or tier. Thus, it still seems to be the case that AP does not often render a unit inefficient against low armor compared to their non-AP counter parts.

    Admittedly, performed against different chaff (especially in some of the cases where one unit is more armored than the other, AP chaff would skew cost efficiency) across different tests with different units, results would probably change (we already see that in the comparable efficiency of WWR and WD vs Skellies and Swordsmen). Likewise, I don't doubt my choices for units to compare are not clear-cut the best choices, and some may disagree with my choice to have the limit be a 100gp difference. However, I'm greatly disinterested in trying to go through and test all units against each other to determine relative cost and time efficiency: though I try to be thorough on these forums, I still have things I want to do besides this. As such, I unfortunately have to leave it at this for evidence to my point: if it's insufficient for those here, then... I still got one thing below.

    There's a real kicker to this whole thing, something even I missed when I started this discussion; there's actually a different description for AP damage that still adheres to this idea of AP being inefficient against armor:
    Here's the funny thing: unlike the first description of AP damage that is almost always not true, this second one is actually generally true in regards to ranged units. Seriously, go look: Quarrelers have higher overall damage than thunderers, normal irondrakes out-damage trollhammer torpedoes, the Solar engine and Ancient Sally's blowdart gun out-damages the steggadon's AP balista, huntsmen and crossbowmen out-damage handgunners, etc. There are really only a few exceptions, and even then that's generally because they don't have comparable units within a reasonable price range/tier of comparison (i.e. SoA have higher ranged damage than the rest of the HE roster [excluding the RoR Shadow Warriors], but are also the only elite ranged unit on the HE roster). Point is, this proves there is an alternative way to balance AP damage that conforms better to the idea of making AP damage relatively inefficient against low-armor targets.

    It also shows that the description isn't just there for flavor text: it is supposed to indicate to new players what a certain stat means. In the case of AP ranged damage, this second description does that. The first description doesn't quite do this, and hence the post: I argue the game should change to match the description to better handle melee AP damage overall (though, at this point, I'd alternatively advocate for having AP units have less WS as a counter-balancing point to match how ranged AP damage is handled and the first description yeeted). Most people on this forum seem to think that the description should change to match how melee AP is currently handled in game. Though I admit I'm in doubt as to whether I've convinced anyone of anything at this point, I do think one or the other of these two options should occur. And given that the description for AP ranged damage is accurate AND balanced in such a way that there is a legitimate counter-balance between AP and non-AP ranged damage beyond just cost, I contend for the former option over the latter.

    Evidence for the testing (I'm not posting numbers this time cause it's late where I am and I'm off to bed):
    Wardancers beginning
    Wardancers end
    WWR begining
    WWR end
    Longbeards begining
    Longbeards end
    LB w/GW begining
    LB w/GW end
    BP beginning
    BP end
    FS beginning
    FS end
    SoS beginning
    SoS end
    Har Gen beginning
    Har Gen end
  • BovineKingBovineKing Posts: 172Registered Users
    edited February 4
    I’ve messed around with ap vs non ap vs armor at about 85 up armor most non ap units are terrible below that non ap units with high damage like saurus and chaos warriors still trade well into armor but above it struggle to do much. Speaking of dryads this is a unit that I have no love for they trade poorly with chaff they’re fine Against armor of 15 against 30 though you might as well use eternal guard.

    Now that I think about it is possible to test non AP vs armor take somthing like 2 swordsmen unit they have something like 7 AP from damage. Set armor value to 0 for both and slowy raise armor value of one unit and damage on the other I would expect at some point armor value would stop being bypassed efficiently. But this could give a fairly decent Idea of the ratio needed.
    Post edited by BovineKing on
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