Archers, passive abilities, and reinforcements
Lately we have spent a considerable effort in balancing the game, and figuring out exactly how all the game mechanics need to work for a fun, interesting experience, while preventing the game from becoming too overwhelming. Today I’d like to talk about some of those.
First, we needed an early game ranged unit, to provide tactical coverage for your front line melee units. Units like trebuchets add a lot of tactical options to the game, but are quite expensive. To solve this, we introduced archers, which are infantry units that can shoot at range 3. One thing that makes them behave differently from trebuchets is that archers can move and attack on the same turn, whereas trebuchets can only do one of the two actions on each turn.
While this fills the need for an early, mobile, ranged unit, it does remove the tactical decision of moving vs attacking, and makes them more effective on attack than on defence. To account for that, we need to discuss another mechanic that was added to the game: passive abilities.
Every unit in the game has one ability – either active or passive. Active abilities manifest themselves as verbs on the action menu, such as the wagon’s ability to load and unload units, or the commander’s unique powers (more on that a future post!). Passive abilities typically increase the damage that a unit does in combat when certain conditions are met. For the archers, their damage is increased by 35% (relative) when they attack without moving.
Other examples include knights, which double their damage after a full charge (5 tiles moved), dogs, which get a bonus if their target is being flanked by another dog, spearmen, which get a bonus if they’re adjacent to another spearman, and mages, which get a bonus if it’s raining (they do call down lightning, after all!).
Finally, we’ve introduced reinforcements. If you’ve watched our previous gameplay Twitch stream, you’ll have seen that commanders were responsible for healing the army. We have now changed this, so units can be healed by moving adjacent to a friendly city and choosing “reinforce”. This will drain health from the city to heal the unit, and it will also cost you a proportional fraction of the gold cost of the unit. For example, healing a unit with half health will cost you half that unit’s total cost.