Archers ARE pretty useless at real mass combats, unless they come in big numbers. I don't exactly know how much are they useless in game, but I can tell how it should be as I see. If slings and bows damage suffer a penalty from AC and bows (not slings this time) have a chance to get crits, it gets pretty realistic, because there are some holes in an armor, and the only archer's hope was to randomly hit one of those. Also, arrows are barely dodged, but easily blocked with a shield. Actually, shield users should be way more efficient in combat than those who use the sword only. By the way, I can't imagine a defense meter unless we take it as some concentration or stuff. If it's true, ranged combat shouldn't ignore the defense meters. Thus, archers make a great defense in cases of a castle being stormed (they just rain down hell on enemies' troops) and a great support in a field battle (they do the same stuff standing on the distance). Another thought... armor could give some penalty to aiming speed, so it's either you're armored and you suck at shooting or you're unarmored and get killed as soon as a melee character reaches you to attack.