Archers are a bit dumb

I don’t have any media to showcase what I mean right now so I’ll try my best to explain.

I’ve been building a mountaintop town and I thought to myself, this is pretty bloody defensible, it’s got naturally high mountain walls, I can cut stairs into it to restrict enemy movement to one or two bottlenecks and rain murder down on goblins attempting to summit my mountain.

And then I noticed that archers, the masters of ranged combat and sticking it to the foe at distance behave, well, suicidally. On a higher plane, they can shoot down towards enemies from safety with greater range and yet they often head straight for the stairs and descend to the same level as their target, often into the waiting axes of ferocious goblins.

So I tried to put them on ‘defend location’ at the lip of the cliff and to my surprise they just stood there, idle and completely oblivious to the assaulting force passing below them. So as I’ve figured they need to be finely micro-managed to keep them on the higher platform and engaging the enemy effectively, even then they keep trying to run off to maximum fire distance only to find they can no longer see their target and again, head for the stairs to descend and engage them at the same topographic level.

Is there anything that can be done about this? I’d like to see my archers manning their mountain-wall top position and raining pain as effectively as they should.
I know with 1.1 out there’s probably not going to be any major overhauls until ACE so I’m leaving this as a suggestion rather than a bug report as I’m guessing overhauling the AI to be a little smarter is a big task.
If there’s a mod out there that fixes the issue somewhat let me know.

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Ah yes, the dreaded Archer dilemma. I’ve explained it to people on my stream before, my Necromancer uses Archer ranged attack as a base for it’s summons, the problem with Archers is that their “Range” doesn’t behave the way you’d like or think.

In most games if I have a range of 8, it means that if I’m 9 blocks(steps, paces, tiles, etc.) away I cannot attack and need to move forward 1 block. At the same time, if I’m 3 blocks away, I should be able to attack freely. Some games will have a minimum range, where if I’m too close I HAVE to back up. For example: let’s say my range is 8, yet my minimum is 3. If I’m 2 blocks away, I’d have to back up 1.

Now we have Stonehearth, where it seems as though “Range” is both maximum and minimum at the same time. I had my Necromancer set to a range of 7 originally, and I believe Archers have 8. This would make the enemy archers attack my necro from 8 blocks away, causing my necro to move forward in order to be 7 blocks away so he could attack. At which point the enemy would back up 1 block to achieve it’s range of 8 and the attack sequence would repeat itself until one of them was dead.

Seeing this in game opened my eyes to the fact that “Range” in this game is more of their “Desired” range more than actual range. Their AI basically tells them to always try and attack from max distance(make sense, but it sucks).

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I figured from examining their behaviour in-game that something like this was happening. I think the main gripe for me at the minute is the ‘defend location’ ignores enemies that are below it yet still in sight range, meaning posting archers on walls is pointless as they’ll ignore anything coming towards them until they’re physically on the wall with them.

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yea I never understood that either. I’m guessing it’s something to do with the games wonky path finding. They search on the same elevation or something only… I don’t know anything about AI other than what I’ve observed from playing the past 2 years.

The odd thing is the AI know the enemy is there, I had 2 footmen standing guard waiting for Ogo’s maniple to arrive up some stairs and even though they were out of range of the defend location’s zone they were tracking the enemy and turning slowly to face them as they scaled the cliff’s side, so they know they’re there on the lower elevations they just don’t do anything to engage them even once they cross the defender’s zone.

again probably something to do with how they pathfind. Perhaps also, “Defend” might not work how we think or would like. Perhaps it’s telling them to stay in that spot most importantly, and only leave if they HAVE to attack? I don’t know, combat has always been rough.