An Evony member made a very interesting suggestions post. I thought it worthy enough to come here.
After over three weeks of play and evaluation, this is my assessment of the Evony RTS system. The goal of this post is to provide the community with food for substantive thought. To place this in perspective, I am a graduate of the US Army War College. I welcome any feedback beyond the drive-by infantile sort.
- The economic/city building system is first rate.
- Alliance system works fairly well.
- The association of noble rank to medal farming. This is the biggest negative of Evony.
- The non-realistic army/combat system, it takes the “strategy” out of RTS.
- Inability to use alliance members’ cities/allied cities strategically (e.g., as a staging ground for offensive operations). Adding this to Evony would elevate the game from decent/good to “totally awesome.” Again, an RTS needs to have the tools in place to implement meaningful strategic diplomatic and military goals.
- Lack of an Extended Truce. Everyone likes take vacations. Each account should get two Extended Truce items per year … this would put them in a protected mode while they are away from the game.
Any critique should provide constructive criticism — that is, it should also provide food for thought on how to improve rather than just a blanket “the strategic use of forces sucks.” It should provide a basis for a discussion on turning Evony from a decent RTS game into a stellar one.
1. Add the ability to use allied cities. It’s great that you can Reinforce an ally with troops, but what about attackers? The option should exist to use an allied city as a Forward Operating Base for scouting and attacking. This would add a whole new dimension of strategy to the game.
2. Add the ability to conduct joint operations. Troops sent to Reinforce an alliance member or ally should have the option to “Conduct Joint Operations,” the Reinforcing troops usable by the hosting city and/or the reinforcing troops could draw on local troops in conducting operations.
3. Provide Alliances with appropriate reports about the state of the cities of their members. Strategically there is no way to get an overview of city status, other than by mailing members and asking. The Alliance interface should allow designated persons the ability to view a report of a member’s city (similar to a scouting report) so that alliance-wide strategic goals can be evaluated and set.
Nobility is a function of politics historically, not of medals won on the field of battle. Advancing through noble ranks should not be tied to mindless medal farming. Tie noble rank to Prestige and Alliance size. This would provide motivation to work on individual and collective prestige building.
Tie the rise through military ranks to the current medal system and weight it with Honor gained.
Currently there is no emphasis on combined-arms operations and power units unrealistically dominate the “tactics.”
There is an over-emphasis on ballistas/catapults to project power. Historically “artillery” are a great means to project power, however, while power can be projected, they do not have the means to take or hold ground. Also, siege-type units have a small unit strength (for example, a battery of artillery is 1/3 to 1/2 the size of an infantry company) and their individual self-defense weapons are minimal. Give strategic weapons a defense equal to workers. Futhermore, the presence of enemy troops in a resource or city would make them vulnerable to sallying if they are not protected. No more taking NPC level 1 cities with 50 ballistas with transport support. Catapults are designed solely to attack point defenses.
Stress should be placed on efficient combined-arms forces. A smaller, but arms-balanced force, can defeat a larger opponent that is one-dimensional in nature. By shifting to a combined-arms methodology of combat, the combat part of Evony becomes both more tactically and stratigically realistic.
Types of Combat
Basically these fall into two categories in Evony: City attack/defense and non-city battles. At the tactical level, the major difference (other than the defensive capability afforded by walls) is that combat outside a city is more fluid, while city defense/attack is a set-piece type of warfare.
The rounds of battle should reflect the three phases of offensive/defensive operations: the meeting engagement, the initial assault/defense and the reinforce/exploit phases.
The key to the meeting engagement is the army’s screen; in the case of Evony, that role would be filled by Scouts and Cavalry. The opening rounds of combat should determine who “wins” the meeting engagement. Denying your opponent battlefield information is the key to winning a battle. The result of this phase should impart modifications to the main part of the battle. The ratio of the result should determine who’s force benefits from better tactical intelligence and thus would more efficiently commit their main combat forces (warriors, swordsmen, pike) to best tactical advantage, it could be rated thusly: Screen Overwhelmed (big negative to combat modifier); Screen Bypassed (moderate negative); Partial Screen would provide intelligence, but also yield intelligence to the opponent (no modifier, both sides have benefited equally); Screen Gains Tactical Advantage (moderate positive); Screen Gains Battlefield Superiority (big positive bonus).
Middle rounds of combat should be weighted by the meeting engagement results (e.g., the commander with good intelligence will utilize it maximally. Here the Intelligence score of the commander can come into play). This constitutes the heart of the battle and would weight the effective deployment of archers‘ impact on the battle. Also during this phase, counter-battery combat takes place, ranged weapons seek to eliminate the enemy’s ranged threat.
The latter rounds are all about exploitation/reinforcing. Either the defender bolsters their defense effectively or the attacker is poised to exploit the breach of the defenses. If the battle is fairly even, neither side benefits from this; that is, the battle becomes a statemate with the attacker withdrawing in good order. If the attackers wins the battle of the middle rounds, they are then poised to exploit or pillage the resource or city. If the defender wins the battle, the premise is that they sallied effectively, wreaking havoc on the attacker’s strategic assets (transporters, workers, ranged weapons such as ballista and catapults, and siege equipment (battering rams)).
Rates of Fire
Ranged combat needs to factor in rate of fire. Archers are more effective than ballista in this, as a bow reloads far faster than a ballista does, and a ballista reloads faster than a catapult (see Caesar by T. Dodge for Roman army rates of fire). The volume of fire from 1000 archers will be much higher than a comparable number of ballista. So while ballista will have a definite effect during a span of rounds (due range diferential and the “power” of the weapon), ultimately the archers will prevail (given a favorable combat ratio and a positive result in the main battle) in the exploitation phase as they close to within range and directly engage strategic assets such as ballista and catapults. A suggestion would be to have archers fire every round, ballistas every two rounds and catapults every three (and against point defense targets only).
The Meeting Engagement Phase
Scouts and cavalry loss ratios during this phase should actually be quite low, as historically an army’s screening elements tend to disperse and filter rearward of the army rather than stand and fight to the death.
The Main Battle Phase
This is where the majority of infantry and archer losses are taken, as well as losses to strategic weapons and defenses from counter-battery fire.
This is where the “fruits of battle” are realized. If the battle is fairly equal, neither side benefits (that is, the attacker is presumed to withdraw in good order, but with little to show for it). In the Exploit mode, the attacker plunders the resource or city. For the defender, the “Open City Gates” to fight option would need to be checked; that is, they sally forth to exploit the results of the battle, otherwise the impact on attackers strategic assets in the attack would be reduced.
The Spoils of War
City attacks should fall into two categories: the raid and the assault. The first is geared more to economic disruption and a favorable (or even neutral) result in combat would yield the bounty of the outlying farms, mines, quarries and mills. Based on Logistics level (or some other), this could have a production impact as the city’s resource fields recover from the attack.
In the assault, to effectively sack a city, the defenses must be breached and sufficient ground forces to conduct the pillaging should be present (sorry, but the crews of 50 ballistas cannot effectively plunder). In the combat system, this is where the close-in wall defenses should come into play as well as battering rams (a huge boost to gaining entry to the city. In this case of actually breeching a city, the spoils would include warehoused goods, gold and (possibly) population reduction.
I will add more to this as time goes on, as real life calls and I also want to see what feedback this post garners.
Regards to all,