This post is going to be a discussion on chariot functionality in 3.0, how it's changed over time, and what needs to change to produce viable chariots in the context of 3.0. I'll be breaking this apart into 3 sections, the first on articulation changes, the second on mass and impact damage, and the third on collision attacks. This post focuses on multi-entity chariots. Single-entity chariots, while having similar issue have a much wider range of functionalities. I suspect addressing them will require a list of individualized approaches to compensate for differences in attack animations and abilities, rather than a consistent list of changes. A follow up post focusing on them is potentially forthcoming.
1. chariots post articulation changes are smaller, decreasing the consistency of hitting infantry on the charge, with many needing a size increase.
2. Chariot mass is often too low to allow chariots to consistently push through unbraced chaff and should be raised; 2700 is a good floor for mid tier chariots and 4000 is a good floor for high tier chariots.
3. Collision attack damage is far too low for many chariots, particularly non-ap mid tier and all high tier chariots, needing fairly significant increases. Mid tier non-ap chariots could use around a 20-30% increase in collision attack damage through any combination of WS, BvI, and CB increases. High tier chariots could use around a 50-60% increase in collision attack damage through a combination of WS, BvI, and CB increases. The specifics are detailed below but this increase roughly let's them keep pace with the damage gained from upgrading empire knights to Reiksguard over 5 seconds post charge, as currently chariots gain basically no damage from upgrading.
A mod putting these principles into effect can be found here
. Specific change notes are included on the mod page. Note this is not an exact set of recommendations, it's a way to test of the general principles are sound. The changes are quite conservative in most cases and there are many chariots in the mod whose performance is probably still too weak. Price was not considered in this post but is a factor to consider for many chariots which don't seem to have a clear tier to function in (Ithilmar are still extremely pricey). I'd be happy to clarify points, provide more specific examples, and run some games with folks on the mod if they are interested and my schedule allows. I think playing with the changes is the best way to see them for yourself.ARTICULATION
The articulation changes introduced in 3.0 were largely good for chariot performance, increasing their responsiveness and mobility while reducing the instances where chariots interfere with themselves on a charge. However the articulation changes also introduced some performance issues that were previously not present as most chariot collision profiles were reduced significantly. The result is while chariots move better many no longer consistently collide with enough infantry to take advantage of their collision attacks or mass to deal damage on the charge.
The Razorgor chariots for the beastmen is the best example of a chariot negatively impacted by this change, with the unit now dealing less damage than the Tuskgor chariot on average despite a superior statline. This is not the only chariot negatively impacted, with basically all WH1 and WH2 chariots seeing some performance loss from their profile being shrunk. For the reverse principle, where a chariot markedly improved despite minimal stat adjustments see the Hellflayer, which has only marginally better stats on paper than the Seeker chariot but deals significantly more damage on the charge. Still not enough to warrant the price increase, but the chariot model being wider translates directly to better performance.
Tuskgor vs Razorgor comparison on live
Seeker vs Hellflayer comparison on live
This issue is easily fixable by simply increasing the chariot sizes slightly while maintaining the relative size differences to preserve the chariots shape while colliding and moving around other chariots. I found between 0.2 and 0.5 was sufficient depending on the chariot, with HE's needing the largest adjustments since their chariots are very small to start out with. These changes also didn't produce any visual oddities, though if you increase the size too much you will start to see phantom hits (Gorebeasts needed their size to be increased to nearly double before this was clearly occurring so you have some wiggle room).MASS
Mass effects chariot damage in three ways. First, directly though the impact damage calculation, second by allowing chariots to make solid contact with many entities quickly to deal both collision attack damage and impact damage, and finally by allowing chariots to stay on the move to charge again more quickly. For these purposes as best as I can tell a mass value of around 2700 seems to be the minimum for chariots to consistently pull through chaff infantry and chariots with 4 entities falling below this value massive impairs performance. For the higher tier chariots a mass value around 4000 seems appropriate to allow the chariots to pull through mid tier infantry like chaos warriors fairly consistently. Note that this does not apply to braced infantry which are generally not feasible to pull through without mass values increasing significantly. Gorebeasts moving from 2300 mass to 4100 mass early in game 3 simply to pull through chaff like blue horrors demonstrated this point admirably but also showed mass on it's own is insufficient to produce solid chariot performance.
Mass as a tool to increase chariot performance has become much less effective than it was in game 2. This is the result of compounding system changes. First, knock down changes have made chariots lose speed much more consistently as infantry units hold their ground better, impairing mobility which decreases the number of collision attacks per charge and reduces impact damage. Second, virtual mass increases from bracing have resulted in mass values changing in effectively drastically based on the targets state. To punch through braced infantry depending on tier, positioning, and abilities can require mass values comparable to Mammoths or Stonehorns which aren't tenable for multi-entity chariot units. Finally, CB is no longer used in damage calculations for impact damage making bracing and charge defense more effective in reducing chariot damage. The result is less impact damage being dealt overall and units reliant on impact damage without extreme mass values seeing major hits to their performance in game 3.
For the above reasons I do not think balancing chariots going forward sole with mass increases will be tenable. For most of game 2 impact damage was sufficient to make chariots perform well because infantry didn't meaningfully stop chariots from pushing through them and charge defense didn't meaningfully defend against chariot damage output. This also had the negative side effect of flattening chariot performance, where regardless of base stats most chariots performed at roughly the same level which forced elite chariots out of the meta (Chaos chariots and Tuskgors completely supplanting Gorebeasts and Razorgors being the two biggest examples). Rather than relying on mass to balance and differentiate chariots collision attacks will need to pick up a significant portion of the expected damage output, something which allows for a greater differentiation between both ap and non-ap chariots, as well as between mid tier and elite chariots.COLLISION ATTACKS
The first element to note with collision attacks is they replace splash attacks on a per second basis. For most chariots this means they splash damage between 3 targets for the first second, and for each additional second they can splash their damage to 2 targets, at least for chariots with 4 entities on ultra. These values should be synchronized for all chariots so that collision attack damage will be consistent throughout a charge. As is a significant portion of damage is being squandered by this inconsistent application, and some chariots like Doom Wheels are effectively bugged making only a single collision attack for each second beyond the first in a charge. I'd recommend 3/3 as the values for 4 entity chariot units and 2/2 for multi-entity units with greater than 4 entities. SE chariots having collision attack profiles set so that about 100 WS is used per splash is a sweet spot for performance but varies based on SE statlines.
The second element to note with collision attacks is the amount of damage they provide. Assuming a chariot charges for 3 seconds, this effectively multiplies the listed WS, CB, and BvI by 3. While this may sound impressive in practice the damage numbers are rather modest and seemingly large increases to WS, CB, and BvI do not produce large damage gains. In practice most charges last at most 3 seconds translating to roughly 12 attacks per charge.
The short version is that currently the damage gains from collision attacks are so small between chariots that non-ap chariots get outdamaged by AP options with similar prices and stats at armor values under 30. Chariots over 1000 gold gain so little damage in comparison to cheaper chariots they'd need to land roughly 3 solid charges to match the damage gains of high tier cavalry over mid tier cavalry on a single charge, which tracks with cavalry making attacks with a bit more than half of their entities on the charge after the Great Stag Knight bugfix (36 attacks for chariots vs ~40 attacks for cavalry). Since chariots aren't making that many attacks, they need to hit significantly harder with the ones they do make.
For Tuskgor chariots (750 cost) the max damage dealt per second through collision attacks is 130 (42+70+18) per entity, or 520 damage per second. 76% AP meaning into 30 armor we see an average of 504 damage per second total.
For Chaos chariots (750 cost) the max damage dealt per second through collision attacks is 134 (40+18+76) per entity, or 536 damage per second. 28% AP meaning into 30 armor we see an average of 486 damage per second total. The damage difference is so small armor values under 30 make AP chariots deal more damage than non-ap chariots. They need significantly more WS, CB, or BvI to be a reasonable comparison to AP chariots with at least 20 damage per entity per second being added to see consistent gains over the AP chariots in matched circumstances. I'd place that damage either in WS or BvI.
For Razorgor chariots (1150 cost) the max damage dealt per second through collision attack is 160 (48+88+24) per entity, or 640 damage per second. 71% AP meaning into 30 armor we see an average of 616 per second total. 400 gold gets you 112 max extra damage per second total.
Reiksguard gain 24 damage on their charge per entity attack while coming with 60 entities, with close to 40 of them engaging in combat. The difference is 3661 vs 2836, or 825 extra damage into 30 armor for a 300 cost hike in an average example. For chariots to match the modest gain seen between two relatively low damage cavalry on one attack cycle after a charge, the Razorgors would have to charge for ~8 seconds, which is both extremely unlikely and would allow the cavalry unit to get a second attack cycle putting the chariots hopeless behind in a real game.
This also misses the bigger issue of target health pools. Empire swordsmen have a health pool of 8280, which makes Tuskgors ~1512+impact damage (end result of around ~1900) feel price appropriate in optimal circumstances but for the more expensive chariots which cost 3+ times the price of many infantry only dealing around ~2100 damage makes them totally untenable.
Mid-tier non-AP chariots need a significant boost to their base damage to have a meaningful role in comparison to AP chariots. Adding between 20 and 30 damage to WS, BvI, and CB in some combination should be sufficient to meaningfully distinguish the units in terms of performance. If mid tier AP chariots are buffed in damage these non-AP chariots need to maintain a similar damage hike if they are to have the same price, and more expensive chariots like Ithilimar's would benefit from a larger difference in WS. Below are some curated examples to demonstrate the impact of these changes.
Mid-tier performance on live (Tuskgors are control)
Mid-tier performance on mod
Elite chariots need significantly more damage to be viable with the low end of damage gains being around 1000 and the high end being around 2000. My current approach has been to add ~70 max damage per entity per second, which brings the gain to 182 per second. This brings us to matching the Reiksguard gain in about 5 seconds which at least no longer leaves chariots hopelessly behind on damage gains but may still be overly conservative. I split the added damage between WS and BvI to reduce the risk of altering performance into cavalry or large targets (about 30 in WS and 40 in BvI). Below are some curated examples to demonstrate the impact of these changes.
Elite chariot performance on live into chaos marauders.
Elite chariot performance on mod into chaos warriors and chaos marauders.
This also has the benefit of making elite chariots effective into low tier braced infantry. While they'll still be bogged down their damage output is not longer reduced to near 0 which allows them to fulfill an anti-infantry role somewhat effectively.
Braced performance in mod
While the elite chariot doesn't push through it deals cost effective damage against a CDvL target like Longbeards. Charging into Halberds is still a very bad idea for cost effective trading (spears it depends on armor values) but you no longer have the issue where chariots become completely worthless into braced targets.
I'll note these are relatively conservative values. With how the current system works for bracing it is possible larger values are needed for both mid and high tier chariots, as units previously viewed as overbearing like the Tuskgor chariots are questionable in the current meta, at least for multiplayer. Chariots have been in a pretty terrible place for most of game three and I would suggest more drastic changes to chariot stats would be appropriate moving forward rather than trying to simply nudge mass higher in the hopes chariot functionality will be restored. SPECIAL NOTES
Doom Flayers are negatively impacted by both extremely low mass and by the relatively small profile which cannot be easily corrected without visual jank. They probably require a price cut as their ability to serve more than a supporting role is extremely limited even with massive buffs.
Khorne Characters on Gorebeast Chariots do not have a collision attack profile at all which means they massively underperform similar chariots like the Nurgle Exalted hero. This needs to be corrected. I'd also consider adding collision attacks to the Burning Chariot, especially the character mounts which currently are a net downgrade compared to the discs.
Pump Wagons are bugged and making too many attacks, causing significant overperformance into large targets who are getting hit significantly more than would be expected from a chariot (infantry should take more attacks so the impact is harder to notice).
While Lion Chariots are missing attack animations for the riders and also significantly underperform other elite chariots even when statlines are synced. This is a notable departure from the last patch where increasing damage stats produced more reliable performance gains. Size increasing had some benefit but does not seem to be the only issue.
The Sibilant Slaughtercade (Chaos Chariot RoR) has lower mass than the base unit because of assets shared with other units. Either mass needs to be adjusted for shared assets to address this issue or the RoR needs additional damage buffs to compensate for the mass loss, since the chariots damage and mobility are notably worse than a baseline chaos chariot even when mass is buffed to 2700 (2500 for the RoR). My value was an additional 20 BvI but many approaches could work.
War Sleds for Kislev are a solid place to look for decent melee chariot performance, I'm not sure they needed the mass buff last patch. I'd avoid additional buffs for them going forward.
I am aware 3.1 launches tomorrow so the timing here is somewhat awkward.