Opening up the Battle Formula

We can finally start diving back in here. I tested a baseline where both the attacker and the defender were the following:

  • no military bonuses of any kind
  • 1000 figs

This is just a basic, equally matched fight. The results:

125 fighters lost dogfights against the defending fighters
55 defending fighters were shot down by the attacking air forces

@Darrk’s assessment is close, but it’s even more than large fleet disparities: any matchup inherently favors the defender by more than a factor of 2x. This is because battles are turn-based. In each stage:

  1. All of your target’s defending units fire first, taking no damage.
  2. Your attacking forces take losses.
  3. Your remaining forces fire, your target takes damage.

The result is a dramatic mismatch on its own, with bonuses compounding the issue. This is why it’s so dramatic when Wardancers defend; their “attack bonus” is actually a bonus on their defensive units’ attacking stat, not an “attacking only” bonus.

So bonuses themselves aren’t the problem, they just exacerbate the root imbalance.

What’s worse is, defender-first makes it incredibly difficult for smaller players to fight back. If a smaller player is able to muster up enough fleet to match their opponent, they’re going to get smacked around anyway. A smaller player has to support a larger fleet than their larger opponent before they can even break even.

Solution A: Attacker-First

Attacking-first would also be a problem, because farming would be cheaper. However, as farming cost is not much of an existing factor as it is, the impact would be less dramatic.

Solution B: Randomize Order

Turn-order is determined randomly on a per-battle basis. This could be something that is influenced by ops, research, etc.

Solution C: Replace Turn-Based Entirely

We replace turns with direct match-ups, with neither attacking nor defending having any inherent advantage.


The great news is that we can now build support for all 3 of these (and/or others), and swap them in and out as galaxy settings.

As always, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Awesome stuff Pie!!!

Here’s my suggestion:

Add a new science called something like “Battle Tactics”

For every percent your Battle Tactics exceeds your foe’s, that percent of your troops acquires First Strike. (ie, if you have 50% BT and your foe has 30% BT, then 20% of your fleet has FS)

In each damage phase, first allow all first striking units to inflict their damage, reducing the opponent’s force. Afterwards, all remaining units inflict damage simultaneously.

Finally, consider creating, or altering existing races, to add bonuses such as “Gain 20% Battle Tactics for Offensive Attacks”. Something like this would fit quite well for the Camaar, for example.

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Love it

Solution c seems most fair to me.

I don’t see why there should be a turn advantage.

Use full fleet to calculate defence loss air
Use full fleet to calculate attacker loss air
Mutate numbers in one go.

Use full fleet to calculate defence loss ground
Use full ground fleet that landed to calculate attacker loss ground
Mutate numbers in one go.

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Agreed. It also seems the most intuitive.

@Byakko, I really like the concept you’re describing; it offers the benefits of option B (ability to influence battle logic) but more formally defined as an initiative bonus than just tilting a random factor in your favor.

I wonder if it would be better as a buff though; especially as a shared buff, with a counter-buff to nullify it. For example, when active, 10% of your forces gain first strike, unless your opponent is counter-buffed.

This would allow smaller players to use it more easily as it wouldn’t be bound by research, and highly-funded small attackers in large families wouldn’t gain an advantage due to lower networth bumping their research percentages.

WOW.
Lots to read in the links.

Knee-jerk reaction:
I agree with LGunz / Pie “3” sounds/feels right.

2Q’s would like some A’s:

  1. Are any of the changes live yet? I see in a link Pie has been testing them.
    Update: Battle Rewrite!

  2. If live, has anyone really noticed? A link to a praise/whine thread would be most welcome.

I will totally read up and share anything I see this weekend.
Exciting stuff!

Agree with this approach!

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Solution a: just seems like it would be switching from 1 inbalance to another imo

Solution b: If moving forward, shared buffs are implemented I think the way @Byakko lays it out is great and adds another important element to attacking. Could see this having a fun impact on the game.

Solution c: with everything staying as is, i.e. no new race changes/buffs implemented for solution b, I agree with @The_LiGhTgUnS that this is the most fair approach. Just a 1 for 1 fight

This is really cool that we’re able to start looking into this stuff more in depth!

Personally, I think this is the best option. The way it stands isn’t ideal, and option B wouldn’t really stop what we see now. I believe this option would be best for all sides involved

So I am going to throw in a little magic game play into this discussion, as I think that option c is the only way to take away and advantages or disadvantages,

so in magic, if my creature is a 5/5 and your creature is a 5/4 they deal damage simultaneously and kill each other. If one creature is a 5/5 and the other is a 3/3 then the 3/3 would die, and the 5/5 would live, but be assigned 3 damage for the rest of the turn, meaning 2 more damage would kill it.

My thought is that if play a has 5000 fighters, and player b has 3000 fighters, assuming their is no military science involved, player b should lose all his fighters and player a should have 2k remaining.

their are abilities that could change how damage is dealt like first strike and double damage and things like this could be made into ops.

dont know if that completely makes sense, but thats my thought.

2 Likes

MTG_Dad, I love how you apply MTG to IC. Haha. :slight_smile:

I think I’ll go with Solution C.

However, I am totally lost on battle formula as I’m not expert in code. Maybe you can simplify into formula where I can understand it? If you are going to fix it, then show us the formula? Or it’s going to be secret? :open_mouth:

I’ve played for many years and I figured out what I need to do: If failed, build more fleet. If win, then good, keep build more fleet. I always pay attention to networth to make sure I’m still in range and work on military % to get bonus. But I’m aware that battle was not accurate or whatever. If we are going to improve the formula, we’ll have to analyze it and fight it out to understand how it work better.

this seems to me like the best option, also the race attack bonus would be your turn advantage as an attacker… if u attack first u get the bonus of the race, as a defender not…

As a banker Option C sounds most fair, will make defending against raids slightly more even.

The thread is a bit old, as am I, but I am not so regularly reading the forums.

Aha, so the boni are additive and not mulitiplicative, I seem to remember that I’d been never really sure.

Originally program code usually is neat, efficient and perhaps even clearly represented. then the firsst bugs are detected, a few fixes needed here and there…

In old ancient beta 1 battle losses were dramatic… so I could imagine VAR_A might be the first fast fix to lower them down, VAR_B the second fix.

To ensure that nobody walks away from battle with actually more units than less. Cut out the VAR_A and _B and it starts making sense to use such a saveguard.

Initially in beta 1 it was the other way around. First the attacker shot and inflicted damage on the defender (seems kind of logic since the attacker should have the ini), there was no “reduced” damage and no cap on max losses.
For a bloodthirsty Harkonnen those were truly glorious times:
When my quite formidable fleet attacked, it left back only desolate barren planets resulting in the usual total wipeout of ALL military units on the poor defenders’ sides in the very first stage of attack round 1 without any more defenders alive to inflict damage on the attacker. My fleet often enough suffered not a single loss.

What Harkonnens love is not everyones taste, some misliked the total wipeout of all their units and considered it demotivating (just bad loosers, of course), so several things were introduced:

  1. Defender inflicts damage on the attacker (now I guess by just switching the code lines and thus giving the defender the first shot instead of the attacker… without ever realising how difficult and bloody this will make attacks and thus rather supporting “economical” attacks=farming.).
  2. General lowerment of losses (probably VAR_A and _B).
  3. Cap on max losses were, if I recall correctly, introduced sometime afterwards.

Not sure but it might be that this is related to the “Trans/Parashooter”-bug. In beta 1 the check for sufficient Transporters in relation to solders/droid was only made in the “send out attack”-screen. Soon enough players realised that there was no later check and back then you could recall not only whole fleets but also only a part of them like eg only the transporters. In the actual air battle there were no transporters which the defending fighters could aim for… if your attacking troops can’t be attacked you don’t really need fighters escorting them…
So, one missing check for transporters, led to players abandoning the whole air fight because it was useless and soon enough ONLY soldiers or droids were built (plus some transporters to recall).
I imagine that’s sufficient to tinker quite around with any code regarding air battles and checks.

And as usual in IC everything turned completly around: For beta 2 the trans-bug was fixed but initially the players did not really realize what drastic change this meant for battles… except for Starstrike who built lots of fighters and now the total wipeout did not happen in the ground battle but in the air battle (aaah, I guess, THIS is the point when a cap on max losses was introduced into the code).

Probably. Nevertheless it feels a bit cold that my fighters and soldiers are handled by such an approach.

Somehow roundbased feels more realistic and allows some very interesting things:
surprise rounds, in 2nd round attacker realising that the defender are better armed, trained and digged in than anticipated, in 5th round losses and morale are low enough that they break away from the attack… or in a very even fight it goes on and on…allowing pepped up battle reports like:
“Sir, the battle was long and bloody, initially we were able to surprise the defender but nevertheless the defenders were stubborn and brave. It took us 12 rounds to achieve our tactical aims…”

[sorry for the many edits, but I have the bad habit to introduce a trillion typos which need correcting.]

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What a hilarious bug haha.

Battle rounds is a really intriguing idea. :thinking: I can see that adding another layer of depth/strategy.

For example, do you order your units to fight to death, or do you set a threshold for retreat? What if that threshold included other factors, like how starved your population is? How does something like Fleet Efficiency change things?

We’ve also been talking amongst the @team about a defection mechanic that can be based on a “quality of life” metric that includes things like excessive overbuilding, overpopulation, etc. In the context of your round suggestion, it would mean being too harsh of a ruler could make you liable for a target to use your own troops against you mid-battle if the circumstances fit.

All of this stuff can and should tie together for a more holistic approach to how an empire functions.

Progress is happening behind the scenes to make this kinda thing possible. I’m excited for players to test the Revamp Attack Formula work.

I love, Love, LOVE this idea!!!

It allows you to manage expectations of a battle with a preset retreat command. Thinking it through, would that give a little bit of a tactical advantage to the attacker if the same privilege is not offered to the defender as well?

Not that I would mind since I’ve almost always been an attacker.

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That’s a great point. I can see that being balanced by a defensive threshold in the same regard, but active as a “default order” for your standing fleet.

Players could, for example, order their figs to abandon the fight if it’s too costly. I can see this as a system or planet specific setting. :thinking:

  • Critical planet = fight to death
  • Low-value planets during war = give it a shot but allow early retreat to conserve forces

This would replace stationing fighters to hide them with a more thoughtful approach to defensive planning.

Station fighters? People do that?? They must not be stubborn like me!!!

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It’s partially to keep them safe, but can be a useful tool for nasty surprises too:

  1. Keep a small-to-mid decoy fighter fleet to deceive your enemy into thinking they have broken your figs
  2. Let them take a few portalled planets
  3. Un-station your secret massive fleet of fighters
  4. Enemy loses all their ground because they got comfortable sending everything to each planet
  5. Reclaim original losses while your entire family takes remaining enemy shares that are now practically defenseless

It’s very satisfying to do, but awkward in its execution. Ideally we could support the same kind of trickery but through a more reasonable interface and flow.