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?