Cardinian's Combat & Morale System

Level 5
May 27, 2007
Planned Features:

Morale: Status: Definite.
  • Every Unit has a Morale Rating. (It's Custom Value)
  • Morale goes from 1 to 98.
  • 0 and 99 are special Morale levels.
    • 1 to 10 :: Fleeing. The unit is no longer under your control, and runs away.
    • 11 to 25 :: Trembling; on the brink of collapse. Units gain a slight chance to miss.
    • 26 to 30 :: Shaken. Units attack and move slower.
    • 31 to 50 :: Weary; tired out. Units gain no mana regen. Certain abilities are disabled.
    • 51 to 75 :: Ready. Unit gains no bonuses or penalties.
    • 76 to 85 :: Warmed Up. Unit gains slight attack and move speed bonuses.
    • 86 to 98 :: Victorious. Unit gains moderate attack and move speed bonuses.

Morale constantly changes. When unit's are not in combat - defined as not attacked or taken damage for 5 seconds, morale slowly returns to between 51 to 75.

When a unit dies, depending on the importance/value of that unit, nearby units (of the opponent) gain a morale increase, and nearby friendly units, gain a decrease in morale.

When a unit begins fleeing (Morale < 11), nearby units suffer a morale penalty.

Unit's all come in three different levels. For example:
Peasant Archers -> Longbowmen -> Elven-Trained Marksmen
Militia -> Footmen -> Royal Guard
Spearman Militia -> Spearmen -> Praetors
Squire-Conscripts -> Knight -> Knight-Templar.

In addition to the obvious combat advantages a Knight-Templar has over a Peasant Archer, the main difference in unit levels is the way morale effects them. For example, Peasant Archers are the first to run away from a fight which see's them losing. Whereas, a Knight-Templar will stay and fight until it is absolutely certain he has no chance of winning.

Similarly, if a Knight-Templar dies, surrounding (friendly) unit's suffer a greater morale penalty than if, for example, a Militia Unit was to be killed. The vice-versa is also true, killing a Knight-Templar will give your troops a greater morale increase than butchering a hundred Peasant Archers.

Flanking: Status: Undecided.

  • Units are merged into 'groups'.
  • Attacking a 'group' of units from two different angles inflicts penalties and bonuses.
  • Attacking a 'group' of units, in the rear, results in a bonus.
  • Surrounding a 'group' of units, has dire consequences.
    • If a 'group' is surrounded their morale is set to 99.
    • 99 :: Last Stand. Unit's gain a chance to crit for 4x normal damage.
    • Unit's in a Last Stand scenario take damage over-time.
    • Unit's remain in a Last Stand until they a) die, or b) are no longer surrounded.
    • 0 :: Given Up. These units flee the battlefield.
    • Morale goes to 0 once a Last Stand has been broken.
I am not sure this is possible to implement. Any help with this is much appreciated (thoughts, comments, criticisms).

In theory it is relatively simple. Unit's being flanked suffer 2x morale penalties and take 10% extra damage. Unit's being attacked in the rear suffer an additional 10% extra damage. So, flanking a 'group' by attacking them from the front, and then ambushing them in the rear, will result in your units dealing 20% extra damage to this 'group of units', and additionally they will Flee (or suffer Morale Penalties) 2x faster.

Combat Mechanics: Status: Definite.

  • Unit Types
    • Archers
    • Footmen
    • Spearmen
    • Cavalry

Archers beat Footmen but are weak to Cavalry.
Footmen beat Spearmen but are weak to Archers.
Spearmen beat Cavalry but are weak to Footmen.
Cavalry beat Archers but are weak to Spearmen.

The Units in Detail:

Weak, ranged attacker. Has a melee attack range of 150. Ranged attack has a minimum range of 275 and a maximum range of 775. Best used against Footmen and vulnerable to Cavalry.

Abilities & Upgrades:
Deadly Aim: +4 damage and +8.75% chance to deal 2x critical damage.
Sneak - Ability: 15 second windwalk, -25% movespeed, 1.2 sec casting time.
Traps - Ability: 200 AoE - 20% slow, 10dps for 5 seconds.
Flaming Munitions - Ability: Causes enemy morale to drop. Does less damage.
Woodsmanship: +10% chance to dodge, +50 hitpoints, +4 damage.


A light infantry unit, melee attacker. Has an attack range of 185. Best used against Cavalry, but vulnerable to Footmen.

Abilities & Upgrades:
Javelins - Ability: 30 second cooldown, ranged attack, 80 damage, 400 range.
Stamina Training: +20 movespeed, +50 hitpoints.
Phalanx - Ability: Like 'Defend', gains protection from archers, -35% movespeed.
Wartraining: +50 hitpoints, +20 movespeed
Stockade - Ability: Creates a destructible blockade made from spears.


A heavy infantry unit, melee attacker. Has an attack range of 120. The ultimate counter to spearmen, but very susceptible to Archer-fire.

Abilities & Upgrades:
Taunt - Ability: 50 second cooldown, causes nearby enemies to attack the Footman.
Sprint Training - Ability: Gains 100% movespeed for 3 seconds.
Strength Training: Gives +80 hitpoints and +5 attack damage.
Brutal Kills - Passive: Each kill lowers nearby enemy morale further.
Battle-Hardened - Passive: Makes this unit more resistant to morale drops.


A mounted unit, melee attacker. Has an attack range of 100. Cavalry are the most powerful units available, and are best used against archers. However, they are very weak against spearmen.

Abilities & Upgrades:
Charge - Ability: Gains 100% movespeed for 3 seconds, next attack does +20 damage in a 250 AoE.
Pedigree Warmounts: +45 movespeed, +50 hitpoints.
Fearsome Tactics: Causes this unit to lower nearby enemy morale.
Mithril Platemail: +50 hitpoints.
Equine Wartraining: When the Cavalry unit reaches <249 hitpoints, there is a 20% chance that the rider dismounts and remains as a 50% hitpoint Footman.

Terrain Modifiers: Status: Undecided.

  • High Ground
    • High Ground gives archers a range & damage bonus.
    • Moving up high ground slows units move speed by 25%
    • Moving down high ground causes units to move 25% faster
  • Trees & Vision
    • Unit's nearby to tree's are hidden from sight - visible at close range/attacking.
    • Being nearby to tree's causes your units to have a reduction in their sight radius.
  • Shallow Water/Swamps/Marshes
    • Fighting in shallow water causes melee units to attack more slowly
    • Moving through shallow water causes your units to move 25% more slowly.
    • Units in shallow water for a long time start to lose morale
  • Weather Effects
    • Rain causes units to gain morale more slowly.
    • Wind causes archers to attack more slowly
    • Fog causes archers to miss (25%).
    • Sandstorms (Sandy Terrain & Windy) causes melee units to miss (50%).
    • Snow reduces all units vision radius.

Developers Comments:

Further Information:

To those of you who havn't already noticed, much of this idea (pretty much all of it) is stolen from the Total War series of games. I simply want to recreate as much of this as humanly possible in a Warcraft 3 environment. Why? I hear you asking. Well, let me tell you why. Real-Time Strategy games rely too much on pre-defined tactics and strategies. A few of these are obvious, strike hard and fast (or Rushing), gain an economic advantage (or Outnumbering), then there are other tactics, such as Focus Firing or the much quoted 'Micro'.

What this Combat system will integrate is a new level of tactics and strategy onto an already very robust and sturdy mechanic.

If your opponent has a small force of strong units, and a larger force of weak units, you can cause his strong units to flee by massacring his large force of weak units. An example of this would be a player using Heavy Infantry (Swordsman) and a large force of Peasant Archers. By charging into his archers or ambushing them and causing them to flee - you can cause his Heavy Infantry to a) Panic or b) Flee. Which will make them a) a lot easier to deal with or b) dealt with.

A large battle can easily be won by laying the smack down on one section of your opponents force. This will cause a chain reaction of morale-dropping, as one unit flee's, his neighbor will see the fear in his eyes and lose confidence... So, by focus-firing and micro-ing your Archers to completely obliterate a small section of an opponents 'impenetrable' line of Swordsmen might cause a chain-reaction to occur which opens up his rear allowing your Cavalry to deal the final blow in ambushing his now-accessible rear.

Further Idea's:

Generals - a specific unit which gives an aura bonus to similar units. Acts very much like a Hero in Warcraft 3. A Knight-General unit will give bonuses to Knights, an Elven Hero would give bonuses to archers and so on and so forth. These generals also gain abilities to boost morale of nearby friendly units, or in some cases, lower the morale of an enemy force.

A general being killed will have momentous effect on morales at a global level.

Special Creatures - Dragons, Warhounds, Ogres, Undead... all have adverse effects on enemy morale! Some even have no morale and fight to the death or undeath as the case may be.

Project Goal:

  • To merge conceptual ideas and strategy from the TotalWar series and implement them into Warcraft 3.
  • To give a fantasy element to the TotalWar series.
  • To combine magic, special effects and large scale traditional combat.
  • To make a fun and kick-ass map!
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Level 4
Apr 10, 2010
I've thought of doing something similar to this before, but the Warcraft 3 engine isn't so great in this department. It would be nice to see it in action if you can get a demo video or map up of it once you've gotten it working fairly well.

As great as flanking sounds, I highly suggest not implementing it right now, at least not until all of the basics of the map are covered first. You'd have to run so many checks and calculations, let alone for the basic morale triggering of each unit on top of having to deal with the groups in total.

Well I'm sure RTS maps with these concepts would provide a lot more strategy to plan out which is sure to make the game a lot more fun. Good luck with it!
Level 5
May 27, 2007
As great as flanking sounds, I highly suggest not implementing it right now, at least not until all of the basics of the map are covered first. You'd have to run so many checks and calculations, let alone for the basic morale triggering of each unit on top of having to deal with the groups in total.

Yep. Agreed. I'm going to be spending the best part of the next month ironing out and implementing the Morale System. Should be relatively straightforward to get the bare-bones done. Then it's just a case of testing, balancing and nerfing.

As for the flanking system. I think it is impossible. I just can't even conceptualize how to start implementing it...

Update: Major Edit in progress - I realized the main post only talked about Morale & Flanking, not about the actual Combat mechanics involved...

  • Major Edit: Change Log
    • Added Combat Mechanics (Vulnerabilities, Advantages)
    • Added Unit Types (Archers, Footmen, Spearmen & Cavalry)
    • Added Terrain Modifiers (High Ground, Trees, Shallow Water)
    • Added Weather Modifiers (Rain, Fog, Sandstorms, Snow)
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Level 7
Jan 18, 2010
As for the flanking system. I think it is impossible. I just can't even conceptualize how to start implementing it...

It should be do-able, I can see 2 approaches to this.

Each of them would use a damage-detection system (make one yourself or download and use one of the multitude that are available). When a unit is damaged, you have access to the damage source (the unit that damages him). From here on, the paths diverge.

Option 1: Unit Facing. This would increase damage if the damage source is behind the unit being damaged, or at least not in front of it. War3 lets you check a unit's facing angle. You can also compute the angle at which the damage source is to the unit. So you can see if the damager is behind the target, flanking it or in front of it. After you see that, you can add extra damage to the attack or whatever you want.

Option 2: Alternating attack directions. You could remember where the last attack against each unit came from, within 5 seconds or something. Say it is hit from the north, then immediately after from the south. In that case, you would increase the damage done by the attacker from the south or whatever effect you want.

Each option would not interfere with much else, depending on what effects you use to give bonuses to flanking / rear attacks. Raw damage increase should work easily, using additional spells (for example for slows or stuns or whatever) might impact other stuff of course.

My 2 cents. Good luck
Level 19
Oct 15, 2008
This looks wonderful. I remember seeing this 'Morale' Concept in another huge project by Ham_Ham too (Was it that World War game?), except that it wasn't too complex...
I hope that this idea would turn out well for you:)

PS: A +Rep to encourage you!