Missing Dwarves in Multiplayer

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Shatner
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Missing Dwarves in Multiplayer

Post by Shatner »

Hello everyone, I'm a new member to the forum who has been playing Wesnoth pretty intensely for about two months now (mainly campaigns but recently multi-player). I have played a couple of MP games as the Knalgans (all players using 1.7.6) and noticed the dwarvish scout was not available for recruitment.

Why is that?


Anyway, great game and a big cheer to everyone involved in it's creation and ongoing refinement.

Yogibear
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Re: Missing Dwarves in Multiplayer

Post by Yogibear »

That is because the multiplayer factions of the standard era are carefully balanced and the function that the dwarvish scout fulfills is delivered by other units (like footpad or gryphon). You will also notice that other units known from campaigns are missing (for example the thug, who has been removed because he made dwarves overpowered against undead).
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Harion
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Re: Missing Dwarves in Multiplayer

Post by Harion »

Yogibear wrote:That is because the multiplayer factions of the standard era are carefully balanced and the function that the dwarvish scout fulfills is delivered by other units (like footpad or gryphon). You will also notice that other units known from campaigns are missing (for example the thug, who has been removed because he made dwarves overpowered against undead).
i had to check as soon as i read, that is horrible thug was such a pwnage unit that was ubnoxuos to the enemies, i will miss thug alot :cry:

just kiding but thug was pwnage

Shatner
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Re: Missing Dwarves in Multiplayer

Post by Shatner »

Alright. Thanks for the quick and tidy response Yogibear.

That's a good segue to my next question:
What methodology is used to balance the factions of Wesnoth (we can stick to discussing the Standard Era to keep things simple)?

For example, the L1 Drake Fighter has 39hp, the L2 Drake Warrior has 60hp and the L3 Drake Blademaster has 80hp. Looking at that data, the trend would indicate 40hp->60hp->80hp but you have that initial 39 instead. The inclusion or exclusion of a single hp from the L1 Drake Fighter, to me, hints at some balancing formula with a high degree of precision. If that's the case I would be very interested to hear what it is!

Further example: the Elvish fighter is pretty good as far as grunts go. Speaking from experience, that 5-4 attack tends to deal out plenty of damage for its level, even against high defense opposition. It also has a modest ranged attack, adding a great deal of versatility (especially against pierce-weak opponents like cavalry and drakes). It also has overall good defense and you get all this for the low, low price of 14gp. Even it's starting hp (33) isn't that much lower than the equivalent units in the other factions. Now, the Rebels ARE balanced and I am really curious how this was all done on a faction-wide level (knalgan only get physical attacks, undead have circumstantially excellent resistances and immunity to poison, northerners are unit-for-unit generally cheaper, etc.) and on a unit-specific level (ulfs have modest defensive ratings, thieves/assassins/footpads/etc. have a -30% resistance to blade (not -20%, not -40%), heavy infantry can get the FEARLESS trait, etc.)

Velensk
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Re: Missing Dwarves in Multiplayer

Post by Velensk »

There is no model, the game is balanced by how it plays out when both sides are very competent. If it seems that there is some imbalance that can be changed without disrupting to much else then that change may be made. The game has gone through this process enough that these changes come very slowly
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AI
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Re: Missing Dwarves in Multiplayer

Post by AI »

Also worthy of note is that the scout only recently became a mainline unit and the knalgan faction was balanced without its presence.

Eskon
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Re: Missing Dwarves in Multiplayer

Post by Eskon »

The 5-4 has a disadvantage on the defense: If the fighter is killed by a high-powered melee unit - or, really, just about any melee unit - he won't have delivered all his blows before he dies. The best he might have managed is three strikes against another elvish fighter. Also, the elvish fighter is neutral, so spearmen and drakish fighters at day and grunts and skeletons at night severely outperform him.

33 HP is not really a lot for a mainstay melee unit. 3 HP less compared to the spearman or 5 HP less compared to the grunt feels like nothing, but it's significant. Even with their ranged ability forest movement and forest defense need to be made use of.

There is a reason for just about anything in default balance. 39 HP of the fighter for instance got changed from 38 HP once so they could survive two adept hits if they were full HP, I think. Keep in mind that balance for higher levels is not generally as thorough as for level 1 units because they come in more rarely.

HomerJ
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Re: Missing Dwarves in Multiplayer

Post by HomerJ »

Probably a good way (although tiresome) is to check the changelogs. I don't know how far they reach back, but you potentially get all number for all changes. Reasons are, unfortunately, not provided.

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Rya
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Re: Missing Dwarves in Multiplayer

Post by Rya »

I actually think it's kinda sad if units get removed because they are not balanced. I'd prefer it if they were actually just balanced for multiplayer instead.
Also I wouldn't really call it balanced if one faction can recruit more different units than another faction.
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Thrawn
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Re: Missing Dwarves in Multiplayer

Post by Thrawn »

Rya wrote:I actually think it's kinda sad if units get removed because they are not balanced. I'd prefer it if they were actually just balanced for multiplayer instead.
Also I wouldn't really call it balanced if one faction can recruit more different units than another faction.
Factions are balanced on a faction vs faction basis, not unit vs unit. In that light, it makes it hard to throw units into a preexisting faction without changing many things to keep the factional balance the same. Furthermore, if balancing left one faction with fewer units than another, there would be no inherent problem with that.

I think you you don't appreciate the difficulties of balancing, my friend =P
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Ken_Oh
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Re: Missing Dwarves in Multiplayer

Post by Ken_Oh »

Rya wrote:I actually think it's kinda sad if units get removed because they are not balanced. I'd prefer it if they were actually just balanced for multiplayer instead.
Also I wouldn't really call it balanced if one faction can recruit more different units than another faction.
Kind of contradicted yourself with those statements. Knalgans can already recruit 8 units, with only one other faction having that many. With Thug, that would be 9. The other factions have 6 or 7.

So, what's worse, an unbalanced unit or having the Dwarves being able to "recruit more different units"?

Shatner
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Re: Missing Dwarves in Multiplayer

Post by Shatner »

How do you test the balance of one faction versus another? Is there more to it than repeatedly pitting competent players against each other? I ask because I am fascinated by the task of balancing a game and Wesnoth is driven by simple enough mechanics to make that manageable but it has enough strategic depth to make it fun. Even if there isn't some function for determining the fitness of a given unit or faction, there must be a list of "things to check" or some "rules of thumb" so that you can tell if a faction is balanced just looking at the data you'd see on the Wesnoth Units Database page.

For example, the dark adept is a real killer unit that represents a large part of the Undead's offense; it does very high damage at very high accuracy. To offset this you could lower its hp below some average amount, give it crappy resistances, give it crappy defense, make it slow/give it a poor move type, make it more expensive than some average amount, make it's non-ranged attack really weak or some combination thereof. At a glance, I'd say the dark adept is on the cheap side of offensive casters, has average move, average hp for a caster, average (if marginally good) resistances but it is the only recruitable unit that completely lacks a melee attack. How was it decided to balance this unit in that particular way?

Also, the undead faction is largely resistant to the two most common damage types (blade and pierce) and weak to probably the third and forth most common types (impact and fire). These resistances would necessitate every other faction having units with impact or fire damage to compete. It's my guess that it was because of that pressure that the rebels were given the mage unit (since they are otherwise overwhelmingly a blade and pierce faction).

Wesnoth is filled with all sorts of hard (Every Rebel unit having a ranged attack) and soft (humans being resistant to arcane damage) balancing points and I am really curious how they were derived; specifically what rules/heuristics/procedures were used to derive them.

And again, thanks everyone for the good and prompt responses.

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Ken_Oh
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Re: Missing Dwarves in Multiplayer

Post by Ken_Oh »

Shatner wrote:there must be a list of "things to check" or some "rules of thumb" so that you can tell if a faction is balanced just looking at the data you'd see on the Wesnoth Units Database page.
I'd say there isn't, as that data is incomplete. It lacks the map data to put those units into context.

Unit balance doesn't come from some sort of formula: http://www.wesnoth.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=26558

Shatner
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Re: Missing Dwarves in Multiplayer

Post by Shatner »

Ken_Oh wrote:
Shatner wrote:there must be a list of "things to check" or some "rules of thumb" so that you can tell if a faction is balanced just looking at the data you'd see on the Wesnoth Units Database page.
I'd say there isn't, as that data is incomplete. It lacks the map data to put those units into context.

Unit balance doesn't come from some sort of formula: http://www.wesnoth.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=26558
Fair enough. If there isn't a formula (and clearly there isn't) then there must be a procedure, even if it hasn't been formally defined. Say that you were tasked with creating the Standard Era for multiplayer. You wanted to create a faction where every single unit had a ranged attack and the majority of them could even get a trait that made their ranged attacks do more damage (the Rebels, DEXTEROUS for elves). Now you need to somehow sculpt that idea into a collection of units that are mechanically different but still balanced against the smashy faction with little range (Northerners), the faction resistant to shooting (Undead), the shooty faction that is weak to piercing damage (Drakes), and so on.

I'm not asking for an equation (which doesn't exist). I'm not asking for the internal document used by developers to balance factions (which, again, doesn't exist). What we have with Wesnoth is an interesting and seemingly well balanced game and I am wondering what lessons can be derived from it.

So, consider this a request for what balancing tips you all have learned from playing and developing Wesnoth. The more general the rule the better (ex. units with generally high defense should have poor resistances, like the thief, assassin and skirmisher) but I appreciate any observations and insights this community has.

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Ken_Oh
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Re: Missing Dwarves in Multiplayer

Post by Ken_Oh »

I can't exactly let you into the minds of the devs, but I can provide a list of what they've done.

http://svn.gna.org/viewcvs/*checkout*/w ... _changelog

That will take you as far back at 1.3.1.

http://svn.gna.org/viewcvs/wesnoth/bran ... iew=markup

This one will bring you to the start.

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