Dunefolk Rework - Changes In Unit Lines & Base Units

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Hejnewar
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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Changes In Unit Lines & Base Units

Post by Hejnewar »

Pentarctagon wrote:
March 31st, 2019, 5:01 pm
Is the Shock special taken into account by damage calculations?
It is.

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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Changes In Unit Lines & Base Units

Post by The_Gnat »

Krogen wrote:
March 31st, 2019, 5:30 pm
There is another problem with melee marksman that perhaps wasn't mentioned before. Giving any of the DF units from the soldier line marksman makes little sense in lore. DF units are just humans, and if they get melee marksman, why no other unit from default gets a similiar ability? Shouldn't say Royal Guards be just as skilled, or more skilled with a sword than DF swordsmen? But even if we accepted that say level 3 DF swordsman is more skilled with sword than a Royal Guard, elves are supposed to have the most skilled swordsmen in lore (albeit maybe not the strongest physically). Then why would a mere human be more skilled with a sword than an elf? It makes no sense in lore.
That is a good point. :) So along with the other 8 trillion reasons we have against marksman we can add 'lack of consistency in game'. ^_^

The very reasoning we are using to say that the Cataphract should have a 'charging' lance we are, in fact, negating and going the opposite direction by giving this unit marksman.

However, ultimately it should be noted that 'marksman' while a clear reflection in archery of who is the master archer is not so cut-and-dry in swordsman ship (please do not go on a long argument about archery!). In swordsmanship strength, ability to block enemy blows, speed in your attacks, maneuverability and dodging, stamina, positioning, distancing, and many more are keys to good fighting.

So my point is that arguably 'marksman', thematically: the ability to hit key targets in the best location (most vulnerable point of the enemy) and thereby inflict maximum damage with each strike, is not the main criteria for an ultimate swordsman.

Clearly the elves and others such as the master at arms value maneuverability and speed. And given the fact that it is common knowledge that elves and 'masters at arms' are the best swordsman apparently that is the criteria in which swordsmanship is measured.

It is also worth noting that damage and strength of each strike, as the DF clearly are going for with their large swords and few strikes, is something very similar to the fighting style of orcs (who also have few strikes but high damage). Every race has different styles of swordsmanship. For example the Royal guard, arguably a master swordsman is the ultimate balance of defence, armor, strikes, and damage. His armor limits his mobility compared to elves, and he lacks the strength of orcs but he compensates for his flexibility and proficiency in every aspect. I would like to imagine all of these swordsmen are good in their own areas.

So in conclusion, I believe that theme should always remain a secondary priority compared with balance. Because there are always two sides to every coin and when it comes to discussing thematic consistency we could argue for ever.

I am not opposed to the level 3 Blademaster having marksman. It would add variety and interest while not affecting balance.
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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Changes In Unit Lines & Base Units

Post by Celtic_Minstrel »

In my opinion, if there were any non-Dunefolk core unit where melee marksman really made sense lore-wise, it would be something in the Duellist line. I'm not actually suggesting it, mind you, but the concept of precise strikes fits the duellist better than the elvish marshal or hero, and better than the royal guard as well. Elvish swordsmen (marshals or heros) would be agile, probably with parry and riposte and stuff, but not necessarily especially precise. Human swordsmen, including the royal guard, are more heavily armoured and thus probably rely more on the strength of their blows, much like the orcish grunts probably do.

(Another place where melee marksman would make sense lore-wise is on any backstab attack. But I'm sure that's a terrible idea in actual practice.)

I also have a second counter to Sigurd's arguments, though. (To clarify: the first counter is that outlined by The_Gnat.) Why do elves supposedly have the best swordsmen? You seem to be assuming it's because they're elves, so they're just inherently better than humans, but there's no real reason to assume that. The obvious reason why one race has better swordsmen is because of training. The elves simply undergo better training in the sword than humans do. Perhaps they start practicing younger, as well. So it's not some inherent racial feature, just an accident of history. With this in mind, it's not strange at all that the Dunefolk might have swordsman that surpass those of the elves. The Dunefolk have little to no contact with Wesnoth, so those of Wesnoth wouldn't be aware of their potentially-superior swordsmen, and would thus believe the elves to be the best.
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Krogen
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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Changes In Unit Lines & Base Units

Post by Krogen »

I think its a fact that in lore elves have superior dexterity to humans, considering that their archers are the best its hard to dispute (since in fantasy archery is related to dexterity). So it is logical that they would be the most skilled with swords, even if it could be said that the opinions about their great swordsmanship in their descriptions are just the bias of Wesnoth people.

Meanwhile if swordsmanship depended only on training, then it actually should be even more skewed towards elves, since elves live peaceful lives and much longer than humans, so they have much longer time to train, and they are usually dedicated to self-betterment. Also they do not lose their skill by aging or lack of practice (I think I remember reading this in lore)

Either elves have more time to train, are inherently more skilled with swords or both, either way given that at the very least its a fact that elves live longer - no human can really surpass them.

Even if people of Wesnoth had no contact with DF, it doesn't mean that their swordsmen can be so much better. The army of Wesnoth should have money and resources to train their royal guards as best as they can, but they don't have marksman. One nation of humans cannot have so much better warriors overall than some other nation, unless for example they use superior weapons or tactics. Humans aren't so much diverse from each other, especially if they live relatively close.
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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Changes In Unit Lines & Base Units

Post by Celtic_Minstrel »

Even superior dexterity could in theory be attributed to training, rather than race, though I suppose most likely it's a combination of the two. You do have a point about their longer lives, too, though I wouldn't take that to mean no human can surpass them. (Not losing skill through lack of practice kinda feels like cheating though...)

As for the argument from Wesnoth's resources, well, like The_Gnat said, precision isn't exactly the most important aspect of a good swordsman, so perhaps the Wesnoth training simply doesn't emphasize it.

Finally, do keep in mind that we're discussing marksman for a level 3 unit, and the unit name is "Bladesmaster". This in no way implies that the Dunefolk have better swordsmen as a whole – the bladesmasters are not representative of the average skill of a Dunefolk swordsman. They are the masters, the best of the Dunefolk swordsmen. So it's not strange for them to surpass the average elvish swordsman.
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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Changes In Unit Lines & Base Units

Post by ghype »

Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
April 1st, 2019, 12:58 pm
Finally, do keep in mind that we're discussing marksman for a level 3 unit, and the unit name is "Bladesmaster".
Well, actually we might have found a way to balance it on the lv2 as well.
Thats something we are going to present in an update later this day. Point is, Krogen obviously doesn't agree with marksman from a lore perspective (which would exclude marksman from the lv3 and lv4 as well). But if the lv2 really turns out to be balanced, then it will please much more people then the entire line not having marksman.

Please be a bit more patient about that, later this day we are going to a major update. then we can discuss more.

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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Changes In Unit Lines & Base Units

Post by Hejnewar »

For me marksman is not about hitting but about dodging. Arrows are much harder to spot and dodge than sword is, if you shoot an arrow from a strong bow straight at the target, its so small and fast that dodging it is very hard, while you can always block a sword strike and predict from which side the opponent is going to attack. You could ask "Why every archer doesn't have it then?". Well Huntsman needs to be quiet and fast, hunting moving animals in forest is hard if they are moving since there are many obstacles in the way. Elves live mostly in forest and I believe eat animals too. Drake Glider is very fast and probably quietly moving unit (at least in comparison to horse stampede) so I think it's quite hard to spot too, depends on their flying height but I think it's quite high since they are not affected by water terrain.

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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Changes In Unit Lines & Base Units

Post by nemaara »

I just tried out the faction in a few games against the ai and playing against myself. Overall, I don't have too many complaints about the level 1 units. I think the Shieldbreaker is a touch weak; there's not a lot of situations where I'd want to recruit them. I think bringing the cost down by 1 might be helpful, or alternatively you could give it the slow on the ranged attack after all (that might be overkill...). The nagas are actually a really nice addition, they helped a lot with a necessary bit of control over water.

Regarding unit costs, the other one I think you could consider adjusting is the burner. I think it might be more reasonable to pay 16g for the burner, but it's really up to you. (Side note, originally I thought 18g was a bit much for the soldiers, but after trying them out, I quickly realized that they're definitely worth that price :roll:).

Overall the faction feels a bit weaker than the other factions on regular terrain, but as soon as there's an abundance of hills, they do just fine. In desert, they absolutely smash a lot of the other factions as expected, so I see nothing wrong there.

I haven't tried out too many of the level 2s, but considering that very few of the factions have extremely balanced level 2-3s, it probably isn't as big of an issue anyway. :hmm:

One more consideration to make them stand out more from other mainline factions: I'm wondering if it would be worth trying to emphasize them as a fast, skirmish focused faction with high mobility? Right now, the core 4 "foot soldier" units (soldier, rover, burner, herbalist, corresponding to fighter, mixed fighter, archer, and healer) all have 5 base MP. It might be interesting to increase MP to 6 (on the rover, maaaaybe the herbalist) and rebalance accordingly so that they have the option to play more as a "nomadic", hit and run faction. Again, up to you to decide whether this idea is worth pursuing or not.

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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Changes In Unit Lines & Base Units

Post by Celtic_Minstrel »

Hejnewar wrote:
April 1st, 2019, 1:47 pm
Elves live mostly in forest and I believe eat animals too.
Just noting that you really can't assume this as fact. Elves as vegetarians is a fairly common theme, after all. I'm not sure if it applies to Wesnoth though.

But as to your main point, I don't think it's a correct way of looking at it. Marksmanship is about hitting a target precisely at a great distance. A normal archer can hit targets just fine at a certain range, but a marksman may be able to hit the same targets with comparable precision at twice the range.

I think there's also something wrong with your characterization of "easy to block a sword, hard to dodge an arrow", but I'm not familiar enough with the physics and typical parameters to be certain...
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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Changes In Unit Lines & Base Units

Post by The_Gnat »

nemaara wrote:
April 2nd, 2019, 12:26 am
I just tried out the faction in a few games against the ai and playing against myself. Overall, I don't have too many complaints about the level 1 units. I think the Shieldbreaker is a touch weak; there's not a lot of situations where I'd want to recruit them. I think bringing the cost down by 1 might be helpful, or alternatively you could give it the slow on the ranged attack after all (that might be overkill...). The nagas are actually a really nice addition, they helped a lot with a necessary bit of control over water.
Hi nemaara,

Thank you very much. :) The feedback is really good!

Though, in particular I was wondering if you could expand your comments about the Shield Breaker being over priced and not useful enough. I thought to ask what factions you played against and what units you decided to go for instead, perhaps you could share replays if you still have them? :)

We tested the Shield Breaker in a number of matchups and we found it well balanced for the price. Of course it is better in some matchups (ex. loyalists) than in others (ex. UD) but overall we thought it was well priced for its role so any extra data you have would be great! Also it is probably worth noting that the Fencer and the Saurian Skirmisher are the same price as the Shield Breaker (both are similar units), but of course faction balance, as a whole, is the most important.
Regarding unit costs, the other one I think you could consider adjusting is the burner. I think it might be more reasonable to pay 16g for the burner, but it's really up to you. (Side note, originally I thought 18g was a bit much for the soldiers, but after trying them out, I quickly realized that they're definitely worth that price :roll:).
:D Yes this is a good point, but as a matter of fact the Burner was originally 19g!!! :roll: For its usefulness and role 17 is definitely the correct price. Probably the best comparison is the Drake Fighter, and Elvish Archer. Compared to the Fighter the Burner has better overall damage and better defences while slightly worse HP and resistances. Compared to the Archer it has better damage and HP and worse defences. The only disadvantage of the Burner is the fact that it is a mixed fighter. There are not many similar mixed fighters in the game to compare with and the disadvantage is that it is weaker than a specialist unit. This is, however, compensated by its versatility which should be exploited whenever possible. Also against UD its is a very powerful unit. 8)
Overall the faction feels a bit weaker than the other factions on regular terrain, but as soon as there's an abundance of hills, they do just fine. In desert, they absolutely smash a lot of the other factions as expected, so I see nothing wrong there.
Interesting assessment. :) Yes it is a bit weaker than others on flat. That is, in fact, one of the reasons in which we added the Shield Breaker. In many matchups its ability to help on regular terrain is very useful. However, overall it is advisable to pick and choose where you fight your battles (as the elves also very much do).
It might be interesting to increase MP to 6 (on the rover, maaaaybe the herbalist) and rebalance accordingly so that they have the option to play more as a "nomadic", hit and run faction. Again, up to you to decide whether this idea is worth pursuing or not.
That is a really good idea. It would be quite interesting. However, fast units are often good in certain matchups and not in others making it harder to balance. Also since we are already at a near-balanced state we ideally would try not to re-arrange all the stats of the units. For example the Rover was reduced to 5mp because it was found to be to powerful.
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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Changes In Unit Lines & Base Units

Post by ghype »

nemaara wrote:
April 2nd, 2019, 12:26 am
It might be interesting to increase MP to 6 (on the rover, maaaaybe the herbalist)
a 6mp herbalist would suffer penalties which would not make the unit fit for combat anymore. it would became basically a running healer, but nothing more.

as in the 6mp rover, we had such for a very long time, but it turned out very OP to the point where you could spam rovers on certain matchups and control the game that way. With 5mp it's just not quick enough for that kind of gameplay anymore.

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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Changes In Unit Lines & Base Units

Post by holius »

Like nemaara, I started playing with the era in some games against the AI. I am quite pleased by the faction. The cost difference between Rover and Soldier makes the recruit choice easier to understand. In general, I found the fork-less unit easier to level up than the "interesting" ones to advance, which is slightly frustrating, for assessing the level 2 forces.

In the "old" Dunefolk, leveling up a Rover was the only way to really get high damage on a single hex, thanks to the old Skirmisher, now you can get a skirmishing recruit, that's a very clever solution to one of the faction problems. Yet the Shieldbreaker has weaknesses that make it quite a gamble to recruit, I will need time to adjust my plays to this new faction.

I feel the internal balance of the faction is quite good, with a liminal/lawful separation that seems logical. I hope my suggestion of emphasizing the alignment difference in visual aspect of the units can be taken into account rather sooner than later, but that's up to the artists.

TL;DR : well done !

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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Changes In Unit Lines & Base Units

Post by ghype »

holius wrote:
April 2nd, 2019, 8:42 am
I hope my suggestion of emphasizing the alignment difference in visual aspect of the units can be taken into account rather sooner than later, but that's up to the artists.
I am willing to give this a try, all tough i'd like to ask you to elaborate on this further in the art thread - now that you see how Dunefolkd potentially could look like at its final state as in sprite designs

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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Changes In Unit Lines & Base Units

Post by nemaara »

Note that I also might not have figured out how to use the Shieldbreakers properly yet, so I really wasn't sure if they were UP or not (like I also have the same feeling about fencers, they're just not all around as good as spearmen, so it could just be me). I figured the 6 MP might be overkill for rovers, especially since their stats are low enough that +- 1 dmg will make a huge difference in their balance, probably not enough to compensate for that 1 MP. So looks like the lvl 1s are good to me; I'll put up another post when I try lvl 2s and 3s. ^_^

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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Changes In Unit Lines & Base Units

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nemaara wrote:
April 2nd, 2019, 1:29 pm
(like I also have the same feeling about fencers, they're just not all around as good as spearmen, so it could just be me).
The fencers' resistances are quite weak compared to spearmen and due to the way attack damages are rounded during an alignment's strong time of day, the spearmen actually do substantially more damage during day turns. The spearmen also costs less gold, has more hitpoints and a ranged attack (albeit a weak one).

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