Unit abilities ? Becoming a war chief


While playing other strategy games, I started pondering the lack of military control over your hearthlings. Not just “stop attack”, “go there” & “defend here”. But like real command over your hearthling army like a war chief would have over his army. So more like “ambush”, “flank” & “tactical retreat”.

What exactly?

First of all, to use these tactics it needs one to divide one’s troops split: Ranged & melee. Also a special button in the military options menu, to bring these different abilities to use.
Basically these skills are unnecessary when playing in normal or easy difficulty. But can become quite handy when playing in hard mode, and especially when the new “bosses” are coming to the game.

List of abilities:

Arrow hail: requires lvl +5 archer. Allows you to select (?pixels x ?pixels, fixed area) area where your selected archers will fire. The input damage would be their normal damage, archers able to fire two arrows simultaneously would be nice (although double shot is lvl 6 ability in normal combat), and the range they can shoot would be increased as well. So it would seem like a real arrow hail not just random drizzle.

The trick here is that the arrows randomly hit the selected area (fixed size), so when fighting a large group it’s very very efficient. Because then almost every arrow is guaranteed to hit. But when fighting against one large individual, it looses its efficiency due to the target being still quite small compared to the area of the arrow hail.

Charge: requires lvl +(3?) standard footman. Allows you to command your selected footmen to charge towards selected enemy units. Heavily increased movement speed, and allows guaranteed vanilla power spike ability (deal 2x dmg)(plus some extra). OR it would be also an area, and every footman going in for the charge will choose a enemy unit closest to them which to attack, so not everyone would be attacking the same enemy unit.

The magic here is that this is very efficient when you need to get rid of the enemy archers in the back lines. So for example: your troops are fighting in the front line, and the enemies are distracted by your knights. You can just select (1-3) footmen and send them to charge at the enemy archers (who are usually far away from the battle itself). Also this is very efficient ability when you need to run someone down. For example someone stole things from your village and he is soon to escape. So you can just send your men to charge and they will run him/it/she down.

Unyielding: requires lvl 5 knight. “Knights raise their shields to make unbreakable wall…”. So knights would get 20-40% damage reduction. But it would also lower their damage output by the same (or higher) amount. It would also grant some kind of % damage channel from allies to the knight, so the knight would tank their damage.

This ability has no special or secret tactic… It just makes future large boss fights easier. I can already hear the ground shatter under their footsteps!

Second chance: requires lvl (5-6) cleric. Allows the clerics (area, or just aura) to greatly heal allied units. Meaning they would heal for something like x5 the normal heal, and it would heal every ally! (inside the area/aura)

Just to help when multiple heartlings are under attack. Nothing special here either.


The cleric ability would be something like “Till the last man standing”. Which would grant your hearthlings immortality. They would still take damage like normal units, BUT they can’t die. So they will stay with the 0hp unable to die. And another BUT, the ability’s effect does not last for long. So great strategy is involved when using this ability! Because if the units whose hp is 0 don’t get healed one way or another, they are going to die after the ability’s effect stops. Pretty risky… But in the hands of a good player it becomes very good tool.


There are 2 different methods:

  1. Every unit gains his/her ability whenever the ability is choosen. So you can’t target few units. Because everyone’s (who represents the class of the ability: footman, knight…) ability will be triggered, no matter where they are.
  2. Group/Selection specific. This way you need to choose your units whose abilities you wish to use.

To keep track…

To keep track of the units whose ability has already been used (every class has one, as you by now know) they would have a speech bubble with some kind of hourglass symbol or somekind of exhaustion symbol.

So what do you guys think of this idea?


This is exactly how I envision “end game” combat abilities – targeted, highly strategic tools which the player combines to create their overall strategy. If they want to create a flanking attack, then they might combine a Knight’s “hold the line” style of ability with a Footman’s “charge!” ability. If they want a war of attrition, then that can be achieved with lots of archers backed up by clerics “on guard” in an area, volley-firing into enemy ranks rather than aiming directly.

Giving a general “attack at will” order is something you do at the height of the battle, or once every enemy is engaged. By that stage, most battles have already been won or lost based upon the strategies in play. Of course, the enemies’ strategy is always straightforward and easy to pick; but that doesn’t mean that charging headlong into them is always the best idea. Currently, it takes a lot of micro-management if you want to defeat a well-positioned enemy group; unless you rely on the terrain or other distractions (read: those poor hearthlings who didn’t run away in time) to distract and scatter the attackers.

I would much prefer to set up defensive positions; with designated areas for archers to pelt with arrows, or for footmen to counter-charge through. And when I’m on the attack against enemy camps, I don’t want everyone rushing in like Zergs… it would be much more interesting to, say, set up a group of archers in a field nearby and have them start raining arrows over the camp, drawing out the defenders to break against a wall of knights; and then have my footmen sweep through the enemy barricades to scatter their archers…

So this whole idea gets a big +1 from me!