iPillage is the special ability of some units to do instant pillage, hence the name "iPillage".
MP2-Caravel units with iPillage
|unit||iPillage type||targets||targeted||odds †||move cost||notes|
|Dive Bomber||Dive Bomb||1||yes||50%||6||missions are short-range, exciting, and chancy.|
|Ground Strike Fighter||Ground Strike||1||yes||75%||3||odds, move cost, and fuel=2 make this highly effective|
|Armor I and II||Blitz Sack||1||yes||75%||2||sacrifices move points and odds to do its existing Pillage ability faster|
|Strategic Bomber||Bomb||1||random||60%||3||may have a few tactical benefits; or limited economic pestering|
|Jet Bomber||Carpet Bomb||2||random||75%||3||can non-selectively cause significant infrastructural destruction|
† odds increase +5% for every veteran level
iPillage on Freeciv-Web
FCW rulesets have 5 iPillage variables. Each unit can specifically set them.
- Ability - whether the unit can iPillage.
- Targets - the number of targets that are simultaneously pillaged
- Target Scope - This can be set to surgically pinpoint a single target, or it can represent a powerful widespread scope without selectivity -- a number of random targets. For example, high-altitude carpet bombing by Jet Bombers.
- Odds - Normal Pillage is a slow deliberate action: "use all your moves, take your time, and keep at it until finished." But real-time actions with an urgent deadline have odds of success. iPillage represents pre-emptive target destruction in "the nick of time." Thus, each unit type gets configurable odds of success. Each vet level adds +5% to the base odds.
- Move Cost - the move cost of the iPillage. Typically, set to more than 1 move point to limit the destruction of an excessive number of targets.
The need for iPillage
iPillage seems contrary to the longturn pace. Longturn gives players more reaction time via unitwaittime, vigil fighters, etc. It may seem counterintuitive that real-time iPillage helps the longturn format more than any other format.
Consider the relationship normal Pillage has with other game mechanics. Pillage exists in a game that also has unit movement, unit attacks, and hostile spy actions. All of those are real-time.
Imagine a spy sabotaging a building. She must scope the area, discover when guards switch shifts, smuggle in explosives, wait for night time, and so on. Yet, a spy can "iSabotage" a building in real-time. Military units can also "iMove" and "iAttack" in real-time. Again, Riflemen and Marines cross a bridge on foot and attack, or the spy makes the journey to arrive in the city, complete the operation, and return home safely, all faster than a supersonic jet can fire an anti-bridge missile to prevent the operation.
Pillage is almost always a time sensitive pre-emptive tactic. "Scorched earth" is timely prevention of continued movement of invaders. "Blitzkrieg" and "sacking" disrupt supply lines, reinforcement, and counterattack. Freeciv's Pillage lacked its pre-emptive raison d'être. Preventing real-time actions with TC-delayed action incurs a huge penalty. This fell short of the tactical purpose of the Pillage action. It increased the "unfair advantage" of people who logged on more often, timing their actions so they can't be pre-empted by a once-a-day player. Pillaging with Air units was especially bad, as players who logged in more often could easily shoot down the actor unit.
The iPillage solution needs realistic restrictions to avoid overcorrection. It must carefully craft limits to balance with other real-time mechanics. The ability to iPillage should be given to a unit if 1) it has a realistic role-ability of quick pre-emptive tactical destruction, and 2) the in-game unit was unable to adequately manifest its real tactical roles and purpose. In other words, iPillage is a buff for a small group of units to enhance their realism and tactical purpose, if it also improves balance and playability. iPillage might not be appropriate for the majority of units.