Military units are the core of combat and participate in battle. Each age, more powerful military units are made available through building upgrades, research, and the occasional wonder. They are trained at the parade ground during the Ancient, Classical and Feudal Age, at a recruitment office during the Renaissance and Imperial age, and at an army fort during the Industrial, Modern and Future ages. Military units have varying speed, attack and defense power, training time and upkeep. The 8Realms team also hinted at hidden stats, which are not shown to prevent players from completely mastering combat.
Types of Units
There are 6 classes of units, in three broad role-categories. All early unit training is performed from the parade ground (shifting to specialist offices later on as space unlocks), however most units require specialist buildings and support to be trained.
Unit damage and classification is split into the categories of Infantry, Vehicular and Air, and these provide ratings for each unit against units of that class. Defensive damage is always taken in the attacker's class - early units have little air defense, meaning they will be obliterated - but although unit will always defend on their vehicle rating to artillery, but the reverse is not true; a ballista will do different damage to a ballista and a swordsman and attack varies based on the target type.
Caution: You may only build military units in your age and one age back. (eg. once you reach the Feudal age, you will no longer be able to make Spearmen) - this is called obsoletion. Generally, although the newer age has improved troops, they may not be more effective troops for the same price. Be warned that as the ages increase, some units roles and types are removed and replaced, and upkeep costs can be increased dramatically, especially with the introduction of oil.
Infantry Melee are the early frontline units. They are inexpensive and perform well, but attack last of all units and are comparatively slow. They require Barracks to be trained. The most basic units, only the Spearmen, Swordsmen and Pikemen families are of this class; the Feudal Age, there are no new foot soldiers. The front-rank role is replaced by cavalry, such as mounted and vehicles.
Ranged units are initially supporting firepower, weakening an enemy line before the melee attack. They later become main units. They fire after artillery with ranged-infantry damage. It is generally assumed they will attempt to weaken whatever category is strongest. These are essential in every army, especially in early ages because of their big advantage over melee units (which cannot return fire). Their first appearance is in the Classical Age, and they are the main units of the Renaissance and Imperial Ages, where they are the most common unit.
Mounted units are early cavalry, engaging after ranged, but ahead of melee, but are attacked by enemy cavalry and melee first. They are fast units and are strong, but have low armour, meaning they rely on numbers or ranged support to avoid enemy counterattack. The two main variants are heavy cavalry and fast/light cavalry. They appear from the Classical Age to the Imperial Age, being replaced in Industrial Age by land and air vehicles.
Artillery units, who deal major ranged vehicle damage and always fire first. However, they have minor defense and are very slow. They are usually the most effective units as they can eliminate units before they can fire, but are very expensive to train. Their first appearance is in the Classical Age and they appear in every subsequent age.
Air units replace fast cavalry, and usually have extremely high damage ratings. They are very effective but also have very low defense. Air units are also useful scouts and raiders when sent alone. Note that air-only raids do not have any attached bonus, but are still very effective.
Generally, Artillery fires first, then Ranged, finally followed by the close-in units like Cavalry (Vehicle/Mounted) and lastly, any Melee.
Each class of units can generally be divided into specialist roles and objectives, for example Raider, Cavalry and Guardian, or Anti-Infantry and Anti-Siege.
Frontline units usually two major purposes, generally to protect ranged infantry; absorbing the brunt of the enemy firepower (a shield wall type), and fighting in or against counterattacks, as Cavalry. Mounted and vehicle cavalry are special in this role as they are the frontmost part of an army, and although they can decimate units in a first strike, they are hit hard in return.
It is notable that ranged unit casualties can still occur while a frontline is intact (from enemy ranged fire) but a well-placed frontline or cavalry force can protect the ranged from damage, diverting the target of the ranged attack, or counterattacking in melee to cripple the enemy ranged forces and prevent their counterattack. This melee engagement is especially effective because ranged units have low defense, and for every melee cavalry attacking the ranged rank, more ranged will die than cavalry, for similar resource costs.
Specialist forms or variants also exist for both purposes, as well as light/assault variants which exist for counter-raiding.
Ranged units, composed of Infantry with projectile weapons, fire after artillery. They are usually highly effective, and usually should form a large part of any army. They fire upon the strongest enemy group by attack power (it has been observed that ranged cannot engage artillery until all other ranks are clear).
The main variants encompass:
- Anti-ranged (skirmishers) such as the Agincourt Bowmen (Unit) which are effective even if the enemy has ranged units, and the anti-vehicle heavy units (mostly useful with heavy backup against vehicles and siege units).
- Standard anti-infantry, which has high attack but low defense, which relies on a defensive frontline.
- Anti-cavalry/vehicle - heavy variants of the anti-infantry designed to prevent their attack against the frontline, prominent in later ages.
Support units are divided within the battle system, with artillery firing first of all units.
Artillery', initiates the battle by firing first. This makes them highly effective, allowing them to eliminate enemy units before they can fire back. They are the only units able to clear multiple ranks of troops; if an artillery unit can eliminate multiple ranks, the artillery will split, fire upon each until that rank is dead, and fire on subsequent ranks until all artillery have fired.
Air units are special, and can perform air-raids when attacking without support. They replace
Unit speed defines which units will be hit first (the fastest units will take the damage before the slower ones) and how fast your army reaches a tile (the slowest unit decides the time), and can be improved by research, wonders, a parade ground upgrade or by building a watchtower (which can be upgraded to a aerodrome in the Modern Age).
Attack and defense power tell players how strong the unit is against different kinds of units. Higher attack means more damage, and higher defense means more sustainability. These can be increased by research, a blacksmith and wonders. More attack and defense usually means more upkeep.
Unit upkeep is how much food, gold, and/or (starting with the Industrial Age) oil is needed to maintain artillery, vehicle, and air units. Without food or gold, units will be lost, and without oil units will no longer march or even fire. Upkeep can be reduced through research and wonders. It is very import to always have sufficient gold, food and oil for your units.
Military Resource Requirements Tables
Units by age
- Main article: Units/Ancient
- Main article: Units/Classical
- Main article: Units/Feudal
- Main article: Units/Renaissance
- Main article: Units/Imperial
- Main article: Units/Industrial
- Main article: Units/Modern
- Main article: Units/Future