Historically, Carthage takes a lot of influence from the Greek military. They fought the Greeks over control of Sicily, and this conflict influenced and shaped the future of Carthaginian warfare. They were famous for hiring mercenaries, recruiting from Spain, Greece and North Africa. As a result, the Carthaginian army was highly diverse, and we’ve tried to capture that in their units and abilities. Carthage's roster draws on influences from across the Mediterranean, combining Greek, Roman and Barbarian influences with their own unique and terrifying inclusion: the mighty War Elephants.
Carthage are an ancient Empire who dared to challenge Rome and were arguably the only significant threat to the Roman Republic. They are most famous for their role in the Punic Wars, and although they lost each one (the third ending in their annihilation), the battles that they fought are legendary. Hamilcar Barca led Carthaginian forces in Sicily during the first war, and he was undefeated. His son, Hannibal, defeated the Romans several times over in stunning victories, but after more than a decade of success in Italy, was defeated. Hannibal may be best known for crossing the Alps with elephants, but that single moment is only a glimpse into the astonishing career of this epic commander. The story of Carthage is the story of an underdog, and while they were knocked out in the final round, they put up an incredible fight.
Hannibal Barca is perhaps one of the hardest historical figures to sum up in one paragraph. In popular history, he is perhaps best known for marching across the Alps with elephants, but that tale barely scratches the surface of the man Hannibal was. He was the son of Hamilcar Barca, a legendary general from the First Punic War (Rome Vs Carthage), and matched his hatred for all things Roman. During the Second Punic War (which he had a huge part in starting), he brought Rome to its knees with three dramatic victories at the Trebia, Lake Trasimene (still the largest ambush in military history), and Cannae (a battle that is taught in military schools today). He won these victories by playing perfectly into his own strengths and his enemies' weaknesses, and by all account was a military and tactical genius. Hannibal occupied much of Italy for roughly 15 years, but Carthage was unable to support him properly, and so he was forced to return home, where he fought the final battle of the Second Punic War, the battle of Zama. It was this battle where he was finally bested by a Roman, Scipio Africanus, who only beat him by adopting Hannibal's tactics. The Romans never managed to kill Hannibal: in fact, when they finally hunted him down many years later, he took a poison instead of letting them have him. With all that said, Hannibal Barca's character is ultimately best summed up through his own words:
'I will find a way, or make one' - Hannibal Barca
Hannibal’s great strength as a commander was in the speed and decisiveness of his actions. Again and again he caught the Romans unawares, appearing where they least expected. We’ve tried to capture this by making Hannibal a ‘mobile heavy’, capable of getting slow, tough units like elephants and heavy infantry into position much faster than anybody else.
Available to infantry & Elephants
Hannibal’s starting ability is Forced March. This toggleable ability increases the speed of a unit, but at a cost to its morale, vision range and charge deflect. This allows Hannibal to cover ground quickly, but makes him vulnerable to enemy ambushes. Bold Hannibal players will wait right until the last moment to end their march.
Hannibal’s force of will was legendary, and this determination was passed onto the men who served him - they followed him deep into enemy territory, full-knowing they might never return. Determination can be used to drive the men to cross difficult terrain, or as an in-combat buff. This is particularly useful for elephants, who struggle in heavily-forested terrain.
Available to sword infantry, elephants
To the Romans, Hannibal was a force of nature, a divine punishment sent to scour Italy. This ability seeks to capture that destructive, terrifying side of Hannibal’s legend.
In the first phase, the unit’s melee damage will build over the course of a minute while the unit stays in combat. After that minute is complete, the unit gains even more damage bonuses. However, they also become Silenced. Ability-dependent units such as elephants will have to hope that raw strength alone will carry the day.
A canny enemy commander can take advantage of this uncontrolled fury and goad Hannibal into a bad situation – much as Scipio did at the Battle of Zama.
The second son of Hamilcar Barca and younger brother of Hannibal, Hasdrubal Barca's life tells the tale of a talented military tactician who was continually a victim of circumstance. After Hannibal departed for Italy, Hasdrubal was sent to Iberia (Spain) to make sure the tribes didn't rebel, but ended up in a very messy engagement with the Scipio brothers. He made several attempts to break through the Roman forces and reinforce his brother, but was unsuccessful. A revolt in Africa then forced him to return to his home continent and deal with King Syphax of Numidia. After crushing this rebellion, Hasdrubal found himself leading some of the finest Numidian troops, troops he took to the Battle of the Upper Baetis, where he bribed the enemy mercenaries to desert his foes. This was followed up by a merciless battle where Hasdrubal's forces killed both of the Scipio brothers. It is at this point that Scipio Africanus is sent to Iberia. After several inconclusive battles between the two, Hasdrubal escaped from the Romans with his army and headed to reinforce his brother. He crossed the Alps using Hannibal's route, but was intercepted and killed by a huge Roman force that had anticipated his movements. When Hasdrubal realised he was losing, he charged into the enemy lines and died fighting. His head was later thrown into Hannibal's camp.
Hasdrubal is a support commander with access to powerful, single-target buffs and debuffs. These abilities work best with fast, light units, who can move quickly around the battlefield to deliver support where it’s needed most.
Available to infantry, melee cavalry
In Iberia, Hasdrubal was a constant thorn in the side of the Roman forces, employing hit-and-run tactics to harass and weaken his opponents. We’ve tried to capture this with his first ability, Flying Column.
This short, low-cooldown charge is an excellent harassment and mobility ability. Use it to get into combat quickly, escape a losing fight, or simply to move quickly around the battlefield.
Available to all units
Carthage’s role as a major Mediterranean trade hub made it spectacularly wealthy. Hasdrubal used this to good effect, recruiting skilled mercenary troops to supplement his armies. Excess gold can be an excellent combat incentive, and we’ve represented this with Hasdrubal’s ability Deep Pockets.
Deep Pockets is a solid, all-purpose buff that’s useful in a variety of contexts. Hasdrubal can apply it to his own units, or those of any ally. However, it cannot be used while in melee combat, so Hasdrubal players will have to dodge in and out of combat to get the ability’s full benefit.
Available to all units
A hefty sum of cash can persuade the enemy to fight less... enthusiastically. Hasdrubal’s ultimate ability, Bribe, is a potent debuff that dramatically reduces the aggression of a single enemy unit. The enemy is forced to make a choice between retreating until the debuff wears off, or hoping that they can weather its effects.
With the Carthaginian unit tree, we had an opportunity to tell the tale of Hannibal's Italian Campaign. You will find this represented in the units you encounter as you level up: the Iberian rebels, recruited before his passage into Gaul, The Boii and Insubres tribesmen, inspired by Hannibal's arrival, and in the veterans of the battles of Trebia and Cannnae. You may also notice the presence of War Elephants, which we'll cover in the next section.
The core Carthaginian unit tree has the following unit types available:
The Carthaginian spears are not like the Greek hoplites. They aren't a citizen army fighting for their freedom - most are mercenaries fighting for loot, glory and fame. This distinction influences their playstyle. The Carthaginians favour a looser phalanx that trades defensiveness for speed and aggression. The accumulated spoils of war allow them to purchase sharper weapons and stronger armour, but without the bonds of citizenship to tie them together they're more likely to flee in the face of a tough fight. They also show a Roman influence, favouring a deeper, narrower formation.
The sheer diversity of Carthage's mercenary armies is demonstrated in their Sword Infantry line, where flexible Libyans sit alongside aggressive, lightly-armoured Gauls and tough Samnites. Some will be more support focused while others will be more aggressive, some will use javelins and harass while others will be more defensive. Their historically diverse army allows for different playstyles to be used at the different tiers, which makes this line continually refreshing to play.
We know that the practice of using elephants in war started in India and spread across Asia and the Mediterranean. Alexander the Great confronted Persian and Indian war elephants during his conquests, while Rome saw them used by the Greek King Pyrrhus. Carthage also had ample supply of elephants, and they too trained them for war. Hannibal used his elephants to intimidate his enemies and to create chaos in the battle lines. They were famous for getting themselves into a crazed state and losing the ability to differentiate between friend and foe, but if they had been correctly guided to enemy lines, this anger would allow them to wreak devastation. Hannibal knew that these beasts could be used to great effect, which is why he bothered to bring them across the Alps with him. In fact, it's possible that without his elephants, Hannibal would never have made it across the Alps at all: when a Gallic ambush left him trapped in a narrow pass, it was his elephants going berserk and literally forcing themselves through the Gaul battle lines that allowed him to turn the tide and defeat the ambushers.
In ARENA, War Elephants are the ultimate formation killers. With their heavy splash attacks capable of striking multiple foes at once, they excel at smashing through carefully laid out formations and flattening dense clusters of enemies. However, they are weak from the rear, where they have a gap in their armour. Hitting Elephants from behind with missiles or with melee attacks is the quickest way to bring them down. They also have trouble finishing off small groups of enemies, or loosely-formed units. As a result, while good at beginning the assault, they need help from allies to finish the fight before they get whittled down and executed.
1 Elephant per unit
Frontal Splash attacks
Smashes through artillery and deployables
Elephants cannot be flanked, but they also cannot apply flank effects
Gap in the Armour
Elephants do not get knocked back by phalanx attacks
Elephants can move through enemy formations with impunity
Slowed by Javelins and Pila
|Anath Blessing||All melee units||Only death will please Baal's chosen warrior.||Passively increases the Aggression of the unit.|
|Astarte Sacrifice||Melee infantry||Enough blood can buy the Lion's blessing.||Passively increases Mobility and Aggression of the unit.|
|Baal Sacrifice||All melee units||Baal Hammon demands much, but his rewards are great.||Passively increases Morale and the Defence of the unit.|
|Down Payment||All units||A soldier fights harder when they've got a fat pile of gold waiting at home.||Passively increases Morale, Aggression and Survivability of the unit.|
|Drill Whistle||Melee infantry, Cavalry||A blast of the whistle signals the call to retreat.||Temporarily increase the Manoeuvrability of a unit at a cost of reduced Aggression.|
|Melqart Horn||Spear infantry||With a blast of a horn, signal the troops to turn to face the enemy.||Greatly increase the Turn Speed of the unit.|
|Pay Day||All units||Carthage always pays its debts.||Temporarily increase the Speed and Aggression of the unit.|
|Tanit Banner||Melee infantry, Elephants||Raise high the standard of Carthage.||Temporarily increase the Morale of nearby allies.|
|Infantry Barricades||Melee infantry||Construct a wall to hinder the enemy, and defend your allies.||Enables the unit to build a Barricade.|
|Whetstones||Melee infantry, Cavalry||Sharpen your arms, make it count.||Increase Armour-piercing Damage for a short period.|
|Blinders||Elephants, Cavalry||Soothing darkness can calm a beast in even the most tumultuous environment.||Makes the unit Unbreakable for a short time.|
|Elephant Wine||Elephants||If you think they're bad when they're drunk, try dealing with an elephant when it's hung-over.||For a short duration provides increased weapon length and damage at the cost of making the unit unorderable.|
|Imported Wild Apples||Elephants, Cavalry||Crunchy and delicious.||Passively increases Mobility and Aggression of the unit|
|Missile Remover||Elephants||Just like removing splinters. Deadly, iron-tipped splinters.||Eliminates any Speed debuff caused by missile damage.|
|Bodkin Javelins||Javelins||Aerodynamic and viciously pointed, these javelins fly well and penetrate armour even better.||Increased range and Armour-piercing damage at the cost of reduced base damage.|
|Broadhead Javelins||Javelins||A wide head increases cutting damage, but reduces armour penetration.||Increased base damage but reduced Armour-piercing damage.|
|Flaming Javelins||Javelins||Reduced range, increased horror at being set aflame.||Increased base and Armour-piercing damage at the cost of reduced range.|
|Trilobate Javelins||Javelins||These javelins, though light on damage, soar herculean distances.||Increased range at cost of reduced base and Armour-piercing damage.|
When Carthage needed help in military matters against Rome, they turned to the Greeks. In the First Punic War a Spartan mercenary general named Xanthippus led the Carthaginian forces in the Battle of Tunis which ended with the routing of the Roman forces. Strict training and an impressive military heritage meant that Greek warriors were sought as mercenaries by many different cultures. One of the largest and most famous Greek mercenary forces was the Ten Thousand, led by the Spartan Cleatchus, which is famous for helping Cyrus the Younger in his (unsuccessful) revolt against his brother. Carthage's famed wealth managed to attract many Greek mercenaries to their cause, and their ability to train others, alongside their own military prowess, made these men invaluable.
|Phalanx Thrust||Hoplite Phalanx|
|Effects||Turn Speed: -50%|
|Movement Speed: -50%||Movement Speed: -50%||Movement Speed: -50%|
|Phalanx Fatigue Regeneration Rate While Moving Backwards: +12||Phalanx Fatigue Regeneration Rate While Moving Backwards: +12||Phalanx Fatigue Regeneration Rate While Moving Backwards: +12|
|Phalanx Fatigue Increase Per Attack: +3||Phalanx Fatigue Increase Per Attack: +3||Phalanx Fatigue Increase Per Attack: +3|
|Melee Defence: -25%||Melee Defence: -25%||Melee Defence: -25%|
|Melee Weapon Damage: +50%||Melee Weapon Damage: +50%||Melee Weapon Damage: +50%|
|Description||Order the front row of the phalanx to thrust forward, causing Damage and Knock Back to any enemies they hit||Enter a Phalanx Formation. While in a Phalanx, the unit will Knock Back and Damage anyone who approaches them from the front. Fighting in a Phalanx generates Fatigue, making it less effective|
In ancient warfare, elephants were weapons of terror: even the best-trained cavalry horse would bolt when faced by a charging elephant. The Carthaginians first came up against war-elephants in Sicily in 278-276 BCE. Realising the animals' potential, they abandoned their chariots in favour of elephants and first used them against Rome in 262 BCE.
Even though Hannibal set off with less than forty elephants, most of whom did not make it through the Alps, they played a decisive role in the battle of Trebbia. However, all but one of those who had survived the Alpine crossing died that winter. The last elephant was Surus, thought to be Hannibal's favourite, and the toughest, oldest beast travelling with his army. The name 'Surus' means 'the Syrian', indicating he was of superior breeding, and despite his privations and the loss of one of his tusks, he served Hannibal well.
|Description||Smash the ground. All nearby enemies will be Knocked Down or Knocked Back, and those closest to the elephant will take Damage. This ability removes any slowing effects caused by missiles.||Reduce the Morale of nearby enemies.|
The term 'Gauls' applies to the Celtic peoples who lived in and around what is now France, and when Hannibal travelled through the Alps, he was confronted by many Gallic tribes. Some of these he crushed, some he avoided, and some he recruited. The Gallic contingent of his army further increased upon his arrival in Italy, where Gauls fighting for Rome defected in the night, choosing to fight for the freedom that Hannibal represented rather than the tyrants that enslaved them. These men joined in Hannibal's war against Rome, and when Hasdrubal followed Hannibal's path, he found that many of the Gauls already feared and respected him, some were even willing to join him after hearing about the great successes his brother was having with their Gallic kinsmen.
Although on foot the Gauls used heavy swords best suited to slashing or bludgeoning their enemies, when on horseback they used spears to pierce through enemy lines during a charge.
|Cavalry Charge||Cavalry Dash|
|Effects||Movement Speed: +50%||Effects|
|Acceleration: +50%||Acceleration: +50%||Acceleration: +50%|
|Silenced||Movement Speed: +15%||Silenced|
|Description||Surge forward in a powerful Charge||Break into a gallop, increasing Mobility but preventing the use of other abilities.|
The slingers of the Balearic islands were legendary throughout the ancient Mediterranean: the very name 'Balearic' is thought to derive from the Greek for 'to throw or launch'. Slingers carried several different lengths of sling, appropriate for different ranges, wrapping them around their waist or head to serve as a belt or headband when not in use. Balearic slings were woven from a species of rush, so few survived, but some shot did. Balearic slingers favoured stone shot though lead was also used in the ancient world, sometimes embellished creatively; a hoard of Etruscan lead shots had words including 'Ouch' and 'Catch' cast into them.
At the battle of Cannae slingers were up against Roman archers and javelin throwers but the slingshot had a greater range, and they were able to inflict heavy casualties while remaining safe behind their own lines. Balearic slingers in particular were famed for their accuracy, and within the first moments of the battle of Cannae they managed to severely injure consul Aemilius Pallus with a rock to the head, living up to their deadly reputation.
|Effects||Missile Weapon Damage: +8%||Phase 1 (8s)|
|Missile Weapon Range: +10%||Missile Weapon Range: +10%||Missile Weapon Range: +10%|
|Phase 2 (8s)||Phase 2 (8s)||Phase 2 (8s)|
|Movement Speed: +50%||Movement Speed: +50%||Movement Speed: +50%|
|Description||Fire a volley of missiles at a targeted are.||Increase Range for a short time, after which the unit will become Tired and move more slowly.|
Scutarii was a Roman term for infantry fighters who used a particular type of shield, the scutum, and who hailed from the Iberian peninsula. The scutum was rectangular or oval and constructed of leather over wood, sometimes with a metal boss. Scutarii often wielded a type of short-sword now known as a falcata. These iron weapons had a gently curving blade, single edged for the first half or two-thirds, then double-edged and coming to a sharp point, making it suitable for both cutting and thrusting. Falcatas were forged with an integral hilt that curved round to protect the wielder’s hand, a testament to the superior iron-working skills of the Iberian peninsula. The hilt was often shaped like an animal's head, and sometimes inlaid with precious metal. The falcata was the weapon of choice for Iberian infantry for around 500 years, and was adopted and adapted by the Romans.
|Heavy Pila||Defensive Testudo|
|Effects||View Range: -80%|
|Missile Block Chance: +40||Missile Block Chance: +40||Missile Block Chance: +40|
|Cannot Move||Cannot Move||Cannot Move|
|Description||Throw a heavy javelin at the targeted enemy. This javelin has decreased Range but increased Damage.||Enter a defensive Formation that offers excellent Missile Blockbut prevents and other actionand reduces Vision Range.|
In 9 AD, Varus, the emperor’s general in Germania, suffered crushing defeat at the hands of Arminius leading an alliance of Germanic tribes. The Romans were deceived and subsequently ambushed at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, resulting in the total destruction of three legions. The loss of the legions' eagles (Aquilae) was devastating to Imperial pride, and abruptly halted Roman expansion beyond the river Rhine. In later years Germanicus led the retaliatory campaign in Germania and recovered two of the three eagles. Upon hearing of the defeat, it is claimed that the Emperor Augustus was so distraught that he wandered the halls of his palace butting his head and repeatedly proclaiming: “Quintilius Varus, give me back my legions!”
Teutoburg Forest is a barbarian map which features similar paths to Hadrian’s Wall, but offers many more avenues from which to ambush the opposing team, which thematically fits with the map’s location. The map plays like a staggered assault, where both teams initially try to either rush over the river first, or tempt the enemy into crossing over, leaving them fighting while bogged down. After the battle here, the defeated team falls back to their defensible base and establishes a new frontline. The various defensive positions leading uphill towards the base will be where the most important engagements of the map are made, the loser being forced into a final, desperate attempt to reverse the tide of battle by defending the chokepoints into their base. The aggressors will be advancing and trying to break through these base defences, using the multiple routes to assault the base from different sides in an attempt to create a breach. Successful defenders will be left to force their foes back down the hill, while those who crumble will fall and their bodies be lost to the forest. Co-ordination is important from the very start of the game, as a cunning enemy might be able to sneak past your army and start capturing the base, so make sure you talk to your teammates and cover all approaches. Communicate with your team and set up ambushes of your own, or organise scouting to make sure nobody gets by unnoticed
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Tier Banding Adjustment
We adjusted the Tier Banding for better matchmaking and player experience, as follow:
New Loading Screen
Barrage changes + Rapid shot + Rapid Fire:
Barrage has been changed to help improve the raction time window for the player who is getting barraged. We've reduced the burst damage potential by speading the damage out ofver a longer period of time, giving the receiving player a few more seconds to mitigate the incoming damage by dodging. We have also eliminated the “seemingly infinite” barrage display by reducing scenarios where stacking reload speed would result in extreme dps bursts with ranged units, and it should now be possible to properly count the number of extra shots barrage gives to the play.
Created Rapid Fire unit ability:
Removed reloading buff from confident state
Cretan archers equipment Hellenic epic bow – reload speed reduced from 17% to 12%
Defiance bug fix
Units performing an attack+move order while under the effect of "Unorderable" applied by Defiance would incorrectly pull through the enemy unit instead of attacking it.