Footman [First Responder] Ability Change

I am really not a fan of the Footman’s First Responder ability. Although I can see some merit to have a quick, speedy character who can intervene to save the life of a villager, more often than not, I’ve seen the following:

An enemy somewhere in the world shows up and aggros onto my village. This immediately pisses off all my combat units, and they start the long, slow trek to go knock some skulls together. Because the footmen are so much quicker than everyone else, if they have to run more than 30 blocks or so outside the walls, they arrive a considerable amount of time before any reinforcements are around, but engage anyway. As demonstrated in the previous couple of DT posts, this does not end well, as footmen all on their lonesome will get absolutely slaughtered, especially on hard.
Eventually, a cleric will show up and try to sustain them through the damage until a knight finally gets around to participating. However, if the distance is too far or the knights get otherwise occupied, the footmen will throw themselves to their deaths until the end of time.

Overall, I understand that this combat system has been arranged around particular compositions, but I have a very hard time justifying footmen in this current dynamic. I would much prefer being able to provide some kind of conditional instruction to people who are organized into a party together to allow the tank to pull, just like in any good MMO. Because selecting units can be fairly clunky in stonehearth, especially compared to other kinds of RTS games where micromanagement is a key part of successful play, it makes the requirement of moving each footman around individually, or making them ping between points while waiting on a knight, just excessive.

Something about this system isn’t working, and I can’t help but think that having some of the softest fighters being the first into the fight is a part of the issue.


i actually disagree, I mean you can manually move them away to help move the enemy closer to the troops etc. I am finding the new system amazing in its hardness. I believe I am also on hardmode. and with having ( or rather had) 30 hearthlings and no knights/archers or clerics found this a nice difficulty.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the difficulty - it’s a welcome step forwards from normal mode before it. Rather, when it sounded like, to me, that the dev team wanted to focus on party-based combat, it seems rather counter-intuitive to have some of the worst people to get hit be on the front line. I would actually be very open to some kind of toggle (slow down the footmen, or render them useless until a knight has engaged first) with a penalty, I just don’t find the processes of managing 10 different units across two parties effective, when I have to click for a specific unit (not a sword, not a shield, not a bow, but the person using them), and issue move commands individually.

It’s doable, but it’s clunky, and it seems to be counter to my interpretation of the goal of this new combat trifecta.

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I agree. There still needs to be a ton of strategies and commands added, especially now that we’re getting units with different qualities and stats. I’m hoping to see some options like “travel at speed of slowest unit until point B” or “wait at B until all units arrive/unit(s) X arrive at location C”. That way, you can have the whole fighting force together for the entire trip, or set up flanking maneuvers so we can make the battles require less manual control.


Playing in A16 on hard, training up a squad consisting of a Knight, some Footmen, some Clerics, and some Archers, I’ve noticed my Footmen having some issues because of their increased run speed. They’re the first to get to any combat activities and are taking a good walloping before my Knight can get there to take the heat off.

I think either that buff needs to be nerfed, or needs to be passed on to Knights once we promote them so that all the melee units can get to combat together and the Knight can correctly take the aggro and tank while the Footmen deal damage. The Archers and Clerics are not so badly affected since they can stand at range to perform their actions and are somewhat secondary; the Knight being able to be first on the scene will make a huge difference to the health and safety of my Footmen.

Admittedly it is possible to micromanage the combat by putting the Footmen in a different party to the Knights & Archers & Clerics, and instructing them differently, but given how aggressively they run towards danger this means constantly re-issuing “go here” commands away from the combat until the Knight party catches up. It can be done but it is clunky, and it feels weird when the rest of the game is much broader with control of Hearthlings; I feel like micromanagement is counter to the feeling of the rest of the game.

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I actually like it, and its the only reason I keep footmen around instead of promoting them to archers. Archers seem to do more damage even with footmen in the best gear. First responder lets me agro the enemies and then I use the move command to pull them to the rest of the group. Granted it is a bit micro-manage-y which many people might not like much. Maybe there should be a way to toggle on/off abilities if you don’t like to use them. Not sure if the devs can do that, might be hard coded into the system or something.

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I wanted to link my post I made in another thread related to this issue, but the post, along with the thread mysteriously disappeared, so I’ll say it again here.

Temporary Defense Bonus
Footmen could be given a temporary defense boost that lasts for 3-4 seconds after entering combat to give the knight(s) enough time to catch up.

This would solve the problem where first responding footmen get obliterated by powerful enemies before the knight arrives.

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Interesting idea, but I think it’s a change in the wrong direction. Personally, I don’t find hardmode to be challenging enough; a part of the threat is that if you don’t play at least the way the game is intended, then you will lose people, no questions asked. To that end, buffing footmen isn’t the way I personally think the problem should be addressed. In my other thread, I suggested either a toggle or outright nerf - in my eyes, that’s more in line with the was I would like to see things adjusted.


After having given it some thought, I would like to see some kind of augment along the lines of “Call for Party”, where in conjunction with the first responder ability, the footman calls for the rest of the group he’s in a party with (which in my game would get a cleric, knight, and two archers to come running to his aid) as he’s triggered to run into combat. This way, when the footman starts to run into battle, he doesn’t do so all be himself; instead, he gets flagged for combat, calls for help, then runs in by himself to get murdered, with backup right behind him.


The knight is supposed to be the class tanking all the hits and being in the middle of the enemy mob. But thanks to the skill “First Responder” it happens very often that my bad armored footman are the first ones who engage in battle and therefore they tend to tank quite alot of damage until my knights have arrived. This shouldn’t be the case in my opinion. And to avoid this, the player has to do alot of micromanagement (select footman, send them back etc. so that your knight engages first). To make it more simple, it would be better if the skill “First Responder” gets some kind of change. I have some solutions in mind, but ofc other opinions/ideas are also welcome!


  1. Skill doesn’t activate when a knight is close. This way, footman can still react fast if no knight is around but dont rush in when a knight is close.
  2. You implement formations that will not break until getting into melee range. So you can place your knights in the frontline, footmen in midline and archers in backline, preventing your footmen to rush blindly in the enemy mob.
  3. Knight gets the skill “First Responder” and Footmen get the skill “Inspiring Presence” (maybe rename it, because inspiring sounds more like a knight). This would be the easiest (simple switch of skills) and best solution, since the knight IS supposed to be the first in battle and this skill would assure that this happens most of the time.

I personaly think 3 would be good, becuase it requires less coding time and also makes more sense. It would be a simple balance change which makes combat (especially late game, when you have 10+ soldiers) less exhausting.

I’d suggest ditching first responder, giving archers’s armor penetration to footmen, giving knights an arrow-block skill, and giving archers a bigger range bonus from height.

Instead of armor penetrating skill, archers could also get armor penetrating arrows.

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Hrm. I kinda think the armor penetration itself is a problem for archers. It’s a big part of why Kobold archers shred footmen into mincemeat; anything that penetrates plate shreds chain. Maybe their base damage needs to be tweaked, or maybe chain needs a missile defense bonus…

By the way, no-one might care, but it is almost impossible to shoot through actual rivited mail armour with bow and arrow.

Hey ya’ll, nice thread, but it’s been started for a while.

Check over here for the first version… with any luck we can get a merge: Footman [First Responder] Ability Change

Relyss, any chance you could give us a hand with the merge please? Last I heard everybody’s favorite Omni-crab didn’t have that trick in his toolkit for some reason :stuck_out_tongue:

— EDIT: Oh snap! Three cheers for Omni-Crab! Thank you <3

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haha… i seem to still have it :wink: i’ve just been really busy as of late, so i haven’t had much time to check anything on the discourse other than my notifs…


I still would like to see giving knights the first responder skill and footman the inspiring pressence skill. It makes sense that they are the first in battle and take all the aggro at the start of a fight and that footman provide good backup for knights.

Though taking it from a reality standpoint, plate armor would make it harder to be a first responder due to it’s weight. I also find plate armor more inspiring than lighter armors. Though the game doesn’t have to follow reality. :wink:

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Honestly, the first responder skill is pretty good if you want to catch those god-damn archers.

In a real fight, you would let the good armored soldiers (tanks) be the first ones in battle, so your footmen should stay behind the knights. You could argue that the knight isn’t moving faster, but everyone else slower. Gameplay wise it doesnt make sense that the class who is supposed to tank gets in last and has problem getting the aggro away from your footmen hearthlings.

About the inspiring pressence, you could rename it to something like “encouraging roar”. Same effect, different name. :slight_smile:

I’m not saying it is a bad skill, I just think it doesn’t work well with footmen, since they are to weak armored to be the first ones in battle.

No, in a real (medieval) fight, your knights would NEVER be the first ones to charge. People who charge first in a battle mostly get themselves killed, therefore mostly peasants and low-ranking badly equippe dsoldiers were sent in. The few people who could really afford good weaponry and armour were noblemen who would swoop in and trample down said peasants once they were fully engaged and tired.