Lately lancer has gotten a lot of attention due to the nature of IMCs developers buffing the class and its affiliate 2 handed spear/riding classes going way over the top.
For everyone with a brain,however, it seems that the developers have had a misconception about horseback fighting as well as the classes identity, which is nowhere as unique as it could be.
Instead, they push the class to be a simply overpowered facetanking class where the companion it’s riding just being a mean to more hp,defense and movement speed.
But let us start with some basic information about what strategic position riders actually had in pre-industrial warfare.
For the longest time of militaristic history, humans have fought on foot.
This had two major reasons:
- it was easier to coordinate movements and to create strategic formations
- breeding animals as something else aside of livestock was uncommon and expensive
Cavalry units generally got more popular in the Iron Age when horses slowly became the mean of transportation throughout Eurasia.
During the Bronze Age, we already have horses used to pull chariots on the battlefield in the Near East and Egypt, and elephants becoming military transportation throughout India and Persia.
Later we also find camels in the Arabian and African deserts as military carriers for cavalry units.
But it is not before the Romans and the nomadic Steppe people rule over large parts of the world that we actually see whole cavalry units with hundreds to thousands of riders.
From that point on, we actually have lancers as common cavalry units.
And from here the developers of IMC have made a huge misconception about what being a lancer actually means.
First of all, the lance is the most useless weapon from a horseback when the horse is not in motion.
The general reason behind this is that all the impact force of the lance comes from combining the speed and weight of both rider and horse with the couched hold of the lance, providing it with a piercing power similar to siege weaponry like the ballista.
However, once the horse stops moving, the lance is way too long and too heavy to be used effectively as a weapon, meaning you cannot deal any significant damage to an enemy who is standing below you (i.e. the infantry units).
Another reason why it was basically impossible to inflict harm to someone below your body line is that given the weight of the armor of the rider and the missing foothold on the horse, compared to when you stand on the ground with two legs, the rider ran a big risk that by putting his whole body weight into a motion, he would throw himself off the horse in the process.
This is the reason why Jousting became popular, because it showcased the ability of the person riding on the horse to remain in the saddle while meeting with an enemies charge, and the one who lost balance first and thus fell to the ground, either because he moved too much or took a direct,unguarded hit.
On the battlefield however, it was so very easy to defeat a lancer just by pulling his leg to fell him once his horse stopped having any momentum, so lancers were replaced in cavalry units to only act as the forefront units to break through the enemies lines, with saber-/sword-wielding units behind them that were able to fight well even if the horses moved little or stood still.
That being said, the lancer in TOS is a total fail.
Not only does the class not embrace the unique possibility to present a high-mobility shock unit (i.e. by making joust the strongest skill, possible a channeling skill that boost movement speed and hits enemies for more damage the greater the movement speed difference between them is),
it actually turns the lancer into a hoplite by making all other damage skills either movent skills that end in a standstill (Rhongomiant) or just basic immobile melee hits (Crush,Quintainn) which as we just learned should actually deal no damage without any movement energy involved in them.
So, to make lancer a better class, the developers should embrace the idea of the lancer having to actually build momentum by moving over the map and then run into the enemy (best not targeted skills but by actually having to move into and through the enemy with the control stick/mouse/ direction keys held/pressed).
Joust should become the main damage skill with a channeling process that increases movement speed over time, with the players movement speed providing the mean of the damage.
Crush and Quintainn should become weak debuff skills you can utilize in close combat to decrease the enemies movement speed so you can get away to charge in again.
Pain Barrier needs to reflect the vulnerability of riders to get knocked off their mount, providing only a small chance to resist knockdown;
Knockdown in general needs to be enabled for all riding classes, so they can get knocked off their companion during battle, giving battles in general more strategic depth than currently as you would have to watch out not to engage the enemy carelessly.
All in all this game needs to focus more on a reasonable and unique approach when creating and changing classes.
No-one needs lancer as just another hoplite.
Rebuild the class as one that utilizes movement to deal damage while making it dependent on doing so.
That way, a build that can include other classes to cover each others weaknesses or building upon each others strengths can be created, feeling that every class you picked actually fulfills a certain role.
A cavalry class needs to play differently than an infantry class, otherwise, what else is there to it other than costing another character slot and the developers having to promote it by being overpowered so someone actually plays it?