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Skirmishers are obnoxious to fight


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You would think that Fusiliers or Grenadiers would be trained to "if ordered to shoot at skirmishers, shoot as soon as you are in range, forget the volley or formation when it comes to fighting skirmishers, just shoot before they run away".

The way skirmishers can fire and the Fusiliers just refuse to fire back until the whole lot slooooowly turn around to face the skirmishers--who are long gone out of range by then--is quite irritating. Because any officer with half a brain is going to train the men to use line tactics when facing line infantry, but against skirmishers just shoot as quickly as you can aim before they run away again.

Please program the units to fight more intelligently against skirmishers! Because really, if they were armed with rifles or better muskets as skirmishers usually should be, they'd be out of range anyhow, it's quite irksome to have 1/3 of your unit in range yet no one shoots because they got to turn half the unit or more to be in range first.

I am continuously losing more men than I kill in land battles on EASY, albeit with captives making up the gap, because of the inability of enemy troops who are routing to actually run away more than 10 meters before rallying to let off another volley, the inability of my troops to navigate, the left-click drag often disrupting manoeuvres, and the accursed lack of anti-skirmisher firing.

Edited by Guardian54
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1 hour ago, Reorx Redbeard said:

thats is kind of the point with skirmishers. to harash the enemy battle line until you own battle line is in place to shoot volleys. 🙂  and you should have your own skrimishers out in front to fight the enemy skirmishers

Except player skirmishers shatter if they stub their toes on a tree root! 😆

No seriously: the way some (well many) of the land battles are set up is obnoxious and the skirmishers are just part of the problem; Or to be more accurate, "battles lean toward being more obnoxious than challenging." Testers and developers can ignore this at their peril or they can take the complaint seriously and consider why it is perceived by many as being "more obnoxious than challenging" by some, and how that ratio might be shifted more toward the "challenging but not in an obnoxious way."

My two cents on why and how: (i) battles have been scripted to maximize difficulty, even to the extent that realism, historicity and plausibility are swept under the rug. (ii) UI does not afford enough features to minimize the "heavily micro-manage" nature of game play; and probably the most salient (iii) it seems pretty clear that computer opponents operate by a different set of parameters than player entities.

As an example of number (iii): I'v played mostly as Yanks, but last night played for a bit as Brits. I was surprised to see that, much the same asymmetrical effects in volleys seems to take place. I had a small ship (I forget if this was the first or second battle), that was cruising near an enemy merchant trying to force it to surrender. Merchant had maybe 130 onboard, my ship maybe 90. I was strafing her with grapeshot. They were Spanish I was British. I watched the result of the damage popup icons for a full five volleys of my grapeshot and their periodic rifle fire:

I. British Grape causes 1 casualty; Spanish rifles cause 2 casualties

II. British Grape causes 0 casualties; Spanish rifles cause 3 casualties

III. British Grape unable to fire, apparently out of arc; Spanish rifles cause 1 casualty

IV. British Grape causes 1 casualty; Spanish rifles cause 2 casualties

V. British Grape causes 1 casualty; Spanish rifles cause 2 casualties

This is on "Easy/Easy." I cannot imagine what the game is like on "Normal/Normal." Anyway, anyone can confirm such observations for themselves just with a notepad.

There is no such thing as "Artificial Intelligence," so it is perfectly reasonable that the algorithms we can accurately refer to as "Computer Opponents" in PC games "cheat." In games like this, they pretty much HAVE TO cheat in order to present any challenge to players, and useability and user satisfaction depend on presenting the population of users with a decent range of challenge options, ranging from what is rightfully a population median "Easy" to an "Intermediate" and a "Difficult."

The trick though is: HIDING the cheating CO so that the illusion of "A.I." is achieved. Not an easy trick to pull off, and even when it is pulled off no one actually believes there is a HAL 9000 inside there trying to foil the human and save the mission.

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7 hours ago, Reorx Redbeard said:

thats is kind of the point with skirmishers. to harash the enemy battle line until you own battle line is in place to shoot volleys. 🙂  and you should have your own skrimishers out in front to fight the enemy skirmishers

My own unit of 30 skirmishers detached from a normal unit, vs a dedicated enemy unit of 50+ skirmishers is a foregone conclusion. Believe me, I tried it.

Better to have the fusiliers just keep on exchanging volleys than throw men away like that. At least Grenadiers are somehow the same price as Fusiliers so I was lucky to switch to them really early in a campaign.

(It's nice that you can't upgrade/switch unit types for the same unit in this game, because I don't think fusiliers can magically grow taller to qualify as grenadiers)

5 hours ago, Anthropoid said:

I watched the result of the damage popup icons for a full five volleys of my grapeshot and their periodic rifle fire

You sailed far too close and presumably didn't wear their armour on that side down to 0 with round shot first.

Because even a cutter with 6 guns per side can pull 3 casualties per salvo with canister if the enemy has 0 armour left on the side being shot.

Meanwhile a 5th rate vs a troopship in that 2.3 (IIRC) intercept mission, in the same stage as Crossfire, can only do 8 crew kills per salvo of canister even after his armour on that side was at 0, ugh. However, I kept the ships easily far enough apart despite me being upwind (at half sail though) that he couldn't snipe any of my men.

5 hours ago, Anthropoid said:

The trick though is: HIDING the cheating CO so that the illusion of "A.I." is achieved. Not an easy trick to pull off, and even when it is pulled off no one actually believes there is a HAL 9000 inside there trying to foil the human and save the mission.

As an example, Age of Empires DE got good enough with the AI coding that the AI now knows to scout with sheep.

Edited by Guardian54
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36 minutes ago, Guardian54 said:

(It's nice that you can't upgrade/switch unit types for the same unit in this game, because I don't think fusiliers can magically grow taller to qualify as grenadiers)

You can basically accomplish this by dismissing the unit with an empty reserve pool, and then creating a new grenadier unit from those reserves.

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'Blast the armor to zero before using cannister' . . . what about the crew men on deck, or in the rigging? Gun wales only extend up to about waist height right? Am I supposed to believe that the crewman on deck are consistently going around in a stooping posture and keeping their heads below the level of the gun wales most of the time?

I am no expert in the naval combat of the era but it does not make sense to me that it is impossible to cause substantial casualties with canister or grape shot at point blank range simply because the ships "armor" is still largely intact. For that matter, my observation is that even with armor on a side to zero, the anti-personnel ammo is shockingly ineffective. I'm not the only one who has posted this observation on this board.

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7 hours ago, pandakraut said:

You can basically accomplish this by dismissing the unit with an empty reserve pool, and then creating a new grenadier unit from those reserves.

Shh, no taking steroids when on duty!

...I mean that's APPARENTLY how it works...

5 hours ago, Anthropoid said:

'Blast the armor to zero before using cannister' . . . what about the crew men on deck, or in the rigging? Gun wales only extend up to about waist height right? Am I supposed to believe that the crewman on deck are consistently going around in a stooping posture and keeping their heads below the level of the gun wales most of the time?

I am no expert in the naval combat of the era but it does not make sense to me that it is impossible to cause substantial casualties with canister or grape shot at point blank range simply because the ships "armor" is still largely intact. For that matter, my observation is that even with armor on a side to zero, the anti-personnel ammo is shockingly ineffective. I'm not the only one who has posted this observation on this board.

I know, it's ridiculous that I fire like 15 guns into his side with grapeshot (canister doesn't work vs ship hulls, grapeshot can once they're weakened enough) and still only manage to kill 8 people on his gun deck.

If I aim at his weather deck a lot of the shots miss high so I don't bother, and even then the killing isn't nearly effective enough.

Seriously, once the armour is compromised each shot of grapeshot that hits the enemy ship and penetrates its residual hull thickness should kill at LEAST one crew member, and that's for a 4-pounder!

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Just had a little experience with skirmishers in Snakes and Powder. Had two brand new 150 trooper Grenadier companies. Broke off some skirmishers to guard flanks, I guess about 35 troopers? Moved cautiously up road. Spotted an enemy unit in the 40 ballpark. Lead Grenadier formation engaged it might have done a casualty or two, but they definitely killed one or two of my guys. Sent the right flank skirmisher to flank the enemy, and also the left flank, and brought the rear Grenadier company up on the left. Instantly spot another Spaniard on the right coming up the road, and then another up the road down the middle. My right flank skirmisher gets engaged, I tell it to withdraw, it doesn't do it, Men are dropping like flies for a couple seconds. *Poof* Shattered.

This kind of thing makes the game "not fun," and turns it into an exercise in: play the battle sea what nonsense scripted ambush is waiting, to kick the user in the nuts, restart and take action appropriately.

Great game. Glad I bought it. Looks promising, cannot wait for it to finish up. Needs a LOT of balance work.

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I am pleased to report that the (detached) Skirmishers problem has apparently been fixed so that Grenadiers can actually reliably beat them within 6 volleys if the Grenadiers have the stamina remaining to keep chase for that long and close distance whenever they are reloading.

In other words, micromanagement FTW.

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