That berserk ability make-over...

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dtw
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That berserk ability make-over...

Post by dtw »

Some time ago, during the Great MP Balancing Wars, I suggested a change to the berserk, which I thought would help to bring the ability more inline with other abilities, rather than having it sooo unique it is all most out of place.

At the moment berserkers (the only units with berserk) are only really used in MP - the major campaigns do not feature them hardly at all. I think this is because the berserker is not much of an RPG type character, they die to easily too get attached too and are basically used in MP as suicide troops to break lines. I suggest this change to the berserk ability in the hope that it might make berserk units more useful in campaigns.

The idea is simple:

"Units may only 'go berserk' if they have more than 33% of their health remaining" - i.e. if their health bar is not red (good visual indicator)

How to implement:

At the start of any round of combat perform a simple check - if health_remaining is > 33% then round of combat will be "berserk".

What will this mean?
1) Less suicidal berserk attacks - when a unit begins a round with 33% or less health this will be a normal round of combat i.e. the last one with that opponent. The unit could still die in this final round but if it is attacking a unit of similar strength - the berserk unit will have a small advantage. However if the berserk unit is defending this advantage is substantially decreased.

2) Weakening berserk units with ranged weapons before finishing them off with short range units is now safer.

That's about it.

I can see many people saying that this makes the unit too strong - if there is not an equal chance that it will die it is unfair. I disagree. In normal combat with two identical units the advantage lies with the attacking unit - so it is never fair anyway.

My suggestion improves the chances of a berserk unit surviving when it attacks and basically renders it a normal unit when it is badly injured. It also still means that berserker vs dark adept or shaman is still a certain outcome. It is still as vulnerable to ranged attacks as it ever was and it's berserk abilty can still be turned against by a more powerful unit. It is also still just as vulnerable after any combat that leaves it significantly wounded (i.e. most combat).

Lastly, I would argue that it makes more sense that a unit cannot continue fighting (potentially indefinitely) when greviously wounded but I can see how people would argue that that is a positive point.

I also think that this adds a more tactical component - decisions about a unit with berserk need not be on a turn by turn basis ;)

I would ask that people read this post at least twice before responding - I'm happy to get flamed but if it is about a point I have already taken time to address it is very annoying!
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Yogibear
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Post by Yogibear »

Hmm, i disagree with you about the way berserker units are used in multiplayer. Some people (like Beleth for example, see one of his recent posts about dwarven tactics) try carefully to keep them alive.

Even if you expect it to die at last, you will try not to waste that unit, because it is quite expensive compared to others. So i might use an ulfserker to finish a dark adept or another enemy unit with weak melee attack. But if the enemy unit is less expensive, i won't have an advantage out of that if my ulf gets killed the very next turn. There might be situations, where it is very important to kill a certain enemy unit, no matter what the costs are. For example in order to hold or conquer a strategically important point on the map. Then you might want to sacrifice an ulf to achieve that goal. But even then in most cases your ulf will be quite healthy or he is rather useless, because he dies too fast.

I don't think that people in multiplayer can afford to just throw ulfs into enemy rows to weaken an enemy. IMHO ulfs are too expensive to waste them like that. If you did that a couple of times, you will realize that the outcome is very hard to tell in advance. I once had an ulf fight against a wounded troll, having the advantage (chance to hit) clearly on his side: The ulf died and the troll leveled. Recently my opponent throwed an ulf on grassland against a bowman in the forest: the ulf died. If you saw that a couple of times you become more carefully and use your ulf only to finish badly wounded units, preferably with bad melee attacks (and full health dark adepts of course :wink: ).

So to sum it up:
- ulfs are too expensive to waste
- if you get a clear tactical advantage sacrificing an ulf i think that is ok. Actually that is what berserk was made for.

So sorry, but i don't see the need to implement your proposal.
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Post by Hellrider »

What if you have an ulf near to lvlup with 25% hp in front of an adept? Wouldn't you kill the adept to lvlup and gain full hp? With the idea you suggested you can't do this, and imo it's a bad suggestion. I like the way it is now.

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Post by appleide »

http://www.wesnoth.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8266

I made a new suggestion, different though..
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turin
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Post by turin »

Berserkers aren't good in campaigns because they aren't supposed to be. No matter what change you make to the specialty, as long as it keeps its current basic idea (fights much longer than other units), it will not be useful in a normal campaign. So, we shouldn't try to make it be. ;)

(This was the conclusion reached in the time of the Great MP Flame Wars.)
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dtw
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Post by dtw »

Turin, that's such a typical answer from you - I think you are without doubt one of the most change reluctant people on the board - look at Dave's sig and learn...

Please tell me another unit in Wesnoth that is part of the major trees but is only designed for use in MP - if there is no such unit please explain why the berserker exists as an exception to all others.

It would be nice to be able to have the berserk ability in campaigns. Making the ability more campaign friendly is not a negative step.

Yogi: You have said nothing even related to my proposal! All you have said is you use ulfs in a certain why and I can see from that that my proposal will not in fact affect you tactics at all - it will in fact improve the chances of your expensive ulf surviving!

Also you can get a tactical advantage by sacrificing any number of units. The ulf as a sacrificial unit is a daft idea. People say that the guarantee that one unit will die in a berserk combat is a basis for tactics. I think some people mistake the berserk ability for some sort of super-strength rather than what it really is: it is a normal fight between two units carried out in one turn.

There is no inate advantage - the only advantage you have with berserk comes from any normal advantage namely who is attacking, terrain, resistances, HP and attack strength. What it does allow you to do is to trap an opponent in a combat situation that gives you all the advantages. My idea does nothing to alter that - it just means you might not die if you are more unlucky than usual!

P.S. I HATE it when people aplogise to me as if their opinion counts more than mine - "I'm sorry but..."
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Post by Yogibear »

dibblethewrecker wrote:Yogi: You have said nothing even related to my proposal! All you have said is you use ulfs in a certain why and I can see from that that my proposal will not in fact affect you tactics at all - it will in fact improve the chances of your expensive ulf surviving!
You said, that berserkers are used in multiplayer as suicidal units to break the enemies lines. I already told you why i don't agree with that. And you are right, your proposal won't have any influence on strategics, if you try to keep your units alive anyway.

What is the difference between multiplayer and campaigns? There are of course many but in campaigns it is even more important to keep your troops alive. Which holds true for the berserker as well. So unless i am in a desperate situation i would not use my badly wounded berserker to attack another unit, no matter if it berserks or strikes as a "normal" unit. If on the other hand i really "have to kill that unit at all costs", having berserk will always be an advantage.

So why should we implement an ability that is not going to be used in multiplayer as well as in campaigns? If i understood you wrong, maybe you can give a specific example to make it more clear under which circumstances that ability is useful.
dibblethewrecker wrote: P.S. I HATE it when people aplogise to me as if their opinion counts more than mine - "I'm sorry but..."
Wow, i never met a person that complains about me apologizing!

To explain that, my friends know me as a very - umm - "diplomatic" person. It doesn't have anything to do with thinking my opinion counts more than yours (since my friends also no me as being quite modest :wink: ) but rather i did not want to offend you in negating your proposal. Some people here on the forum have quite a "direct" way of expressing their disagreement and that can deter others from making proposals. I don't want to support that.

I am tempted to <do-that-thing-you-hate-so-much> but since you don't like it i won't :P .
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Re: That berserk ability make-over...

Post by Dragonking »

dibblethewrecker wrote:(...)they are basically used in MP as suicide troops to break lines(...)
They are??!! Oh.. I have to be out-of date... yesterday it was still unit with great ability, and with 3 main various using-styles... but seems things can change fast...

Sorry, but now serious: I should just ignore this post, like you seems to ignoe our whole one-site guide how_to_use_ulf_and_why_it_is_fun in the previous topic about it.
dibblethewrecker wrote:(...)they die to easily too get attached too(...)
Yup... mages die easly too when used as fighters...
(this comment IS answer on your comment - just it need to have knowledge about previous ulf-topics)
dibblethewrecker wrote: I would ask that people read this post at least twice before responding
And I would like other people to read previous posts about ulf at least 2 times too, to understand how to play with them, and really play with ulfs _dozens_ if not hundereds of games to prove that they really know how to play with them, not only think that they can do so.
dibblethewrecker wrote: P.S. I HATE it when people aplogise to me as if their opinion counts more than mine - "I'm sorry but..."
Arguments count - not opinions. And if opinions count, then obviously the ones from who will commit any change - so from developers.
dibblethewrecker wrote: I can see many people saying that this makes the unit too strong - if there is not an equal chance that it will die it is unfair. I disagree. In normal combat with two identical units the advantage lies with the attacking unit - so it is never fair anyway.

My suggestion improves the chances of a berserk unit surviving when it attacks and basically renders it a normal unit when it is badly injured.
So, in short - you are giving him no-berserk-at defence when hp is lower than 33%? This idea (no-B-A-D) was rejected because it was unbalanced (again read to find whole resoning). Your version is better only a little than that IMO...
dibblethewrecker wrote: Weakening berserk units with ranged weapons before finishing them off with short range units is now safer.
Safer why? Because if you hurt ulf a lot, it will be unable to berserk archer? Well.. in fact if weakened ulf (less than 33%) attacks archer now, it is often equal to suicide... (and ulf isn't suicider, as you seems to claim).

Now:
dibblethewrecker wrote: At the start of any round of combat perform a simple check - if health_remaining is > 33% then round of combat will be "berserk"
dibblethewrecker wrote: It also still means that berserker vs dark adept or shaman is still a certain outcome
If ulf has less than 33% hp - no certain adept kill. I agree with this:
Hellrider wrote:What if you have an ulf near to lvlup with 25% hp in front of an adept? Wouldn't you kill the adept to lvlup and gain full hp? With the idea you suggested you can't do this, and imo it's a bad suggestion. I like the way it is now.

But this:
dibblethewrecker wrote: Also you can get a tactical advantage by sacrificing any number of units.
...is completly wrong. If you want, fell free to sacrifice as many ulfs (19g) against my fighters (12g-14g) in any normal MP game to gain advantage...
especialy when map is balanced.
dibblethewrecker wrote: Please tell me another unit in Wesnoth that is part of the major trees but is only designed for use in MP - if there is no such unit please explain why the berserker exists as an exception to all others.
It is beacuse berserk is ability which works great in human vs himan fights - AI can't use it - that is reason why it sucks in campaigns.

Ok, now positive sides: (don't think that I'm blid and want only deny all your proposals :-) )
dibblethewrecker wrote: It would be nice to be able to have the berserk ability in campaigns. Making the ability more campaign friendly is not a negative step.
I agree. Making new ability for campaigns, which would not affect MP balance would be really good IMO. As it was said before - main problem in campaigns is AI, which don't know how use berserk, and suicide every unit.. In MP this problem usually doesn't exist, if ulf-user is good enought to think how to use it... (and yes - it needs practise to know how use berserk, but same is with charge and other abilites - I've seen many new players wasting horseman against spearman in village..).

Thing about berserk, is that it (belive me or not) _really_ works in MP. Many players found it as a great ability. It adds some important thing to you strategy - you have unit whic can kill every secondary, but cad die easly as well.

P.S.
Don't take this post as personal attack please... I'm just tired of talking about same thing over and over, and noticing that noone listens to arguments...
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Post by scott »

[Edited out an unnecessary and inappropriate personal comment. I publicly apologize.]

If I understand the gist, the proposed beserk is only a fight to the death unless the beserker is in danger of losing the fight to the death. Seems one-sided to me.
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Beleth
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Re: That berserk ability make-over...

Post by Beleth »

dibblethewrecker wrote:I would ask that people read this post at least twice before responding - I'm happy to get flamed but if it is about a point I have already taken time to address it is very annoying!
Hi, Dibble. :) As requested, I read through your post twice before responding, once before going to work and once after getting to work. Having had some time to think through it, I think that I'm against your proposal.

Reason #1: Wesnoth seems to be focused on what I'll describe as a "simple and straightfoward" approach. Traits, abilities, etc. should be simple and straightforward. Adding a health percentage condition on an ability seems to go against that idea.

Reason #2: Beserk should always be a liability. If you have the ability to likely kill any somewhat wounded enemy then you should also be able to be killed when you are partially wounded yourself. Yes, 'zerkers have a high mortality rate. In my mind, they're supposed to: kill hard, die hard.

Reason #3: I disagree with your premise that 'zerkers are "suicide troops". They definitely can be, but they aren't always suicide troops. They are too expensive to be suicide troops when playing in 2 or even 3 gold per village multiplayer games. They are also a liability because a skilled opponent can use your 'zerkers to get almost guaranteed level ups for his units.

Reason #4: Certain units are "always units" and others are "sometimes units", for lack of more imaginative names. Dwarven Fighters, Thunderers, and Guardsmen are "always units" in my mind because it's pretty much always a good idea to get more of them. There are time when one is definitely going to be better than the other (such as Fighters being much better against Woses than Guardsmen), but you usually won't go horribly wrong buying these units. 'Zerkers are "sometimes units" because they should only be built and used sometimes, not all the time. They have a specialized job, they do it well, and they should occur in small numbers. Trying to make them more survivable makes them more likely to fit in with always units which isn't, in my mind, a good thing.

I hope that you find this feedback to be constructive and respectful. :)

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Re: That berserk ability make-over...

Post by Beleth »

Dragonking wrote:Sorry, but now serious: I should just ignore this post, like you seems to ignoe our whole one-site guide how_to_use_ulf_and_why_it_is_fun in the previous topic about it.
Dragonking, could you provide a link to this topic? I can't seem to find it... :oops:

dtw
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Re: That berserk ability make-over...

Post by dtw »

Dragonking wrote:
dibblethewrecker wrote:(...)they are basically used in MP as suicide troops to break lines(...)
They are??!! Oh.. I have to be out-of date... yesterday it was still unit with great ability, and with 3 main various using-styles... but seems things can change fast...
My comment was based purely on discussion I remember from the previous debate - apologies if it is incorrect but to be honest the specific usage of the ulf within MP really has almost NOTHING to do with my suggestion - as I REPEATEDLY made it clear that I was discussing the ability and NOT the unit (as much as that is possible). The ulf/berserker are the only units with berserk but that doesn't always have to be the case.
Dragonking wrote:Sorry, but now serious: I should just ignore this post, like you seems to ignoe our whole one-site guide how_to_use_ulf_and_why_it_is_fun in the previous topic about it.
Where is this topic? I am ignorant of it's existance. Regardless, it would not alter my suggestions as they are in regard of future possibilities - change is inevitable.
Dragonking wrote:
dibblethewrecker wrote:(...)they die to easily too get attached too(...)
Yup... mages die easly too when used as fighters...
(this comment IS answer on your comment - just it need to have knowledge about previous ulf-topics)
Yup, well aware of that too and good usage of the ulfserker - again - not under debate here.
Dragonking wrote:
dibblethewrecker wrote: I would ask that people read this post at least twice before responding
And I would like other people to read previous posts about ulf at least 2 times too, to understand how to play with them, and really play with ulfs _dozens_ if not hundereds of games to prove that they really know how to play with them, not only think that they can do so.
Yeah, we're not talking about the unit, dude, you getting it yet? Have I complained of a weakness in the unit? Or an inability to use it? Have I complained that it is unbalanced? No. I am suggesting what in my opinion would be a very MINOR change that would make the berserk abilty more useful in campaigns.
Dragonking wrote:
dibblethewrecker wrote: P.S. I HATE it when people aplogise to me as if their opinion counts more than mine - "I'm sorry but..."
Arguments count - not opinions. And if opinions count, then obviously the ones from who will commit any change - so from developers.
Which neither Yogi or myself are sooooooooo what's your point?
Dragonking wrote:
dibblethewrecker wrote: I can see many people saying that this makes the unit too strong - if there is not an equal chance that it will die it is unfair. I disagree. In normal combat with two identical units the advantage lies with the attacking unit - so it is never fair anyway.

My suggestion improves the chances of a berserk unit surviving when it attacks and basically renders it a normal unit when it is badly injured.
So, in short - you are giving him no-berserk-at defence when hp is lower than 33%? This idea (no-B-A-D) was rejected because it was unbalanced (again read to find whole resoning). Your version is better only a little than that IMO...
Yes and No. Did you read it twice?
Dragonking wrote:
dibblethewrecker wrote: Weakening berserk units with ranged weapons before finishing them off with short range units is now safer.
Safer why? Because if you hurt ulf a lot, it will be unable to berserk archer? Well.. in fact if weakened ulf (less than 33%) attacks archer now, it is often equal to suicide... (and ulf isn't suicider, as you seems to claim).
Not sure that this comment is based on my ACTUAL suggestion - see above.
Dragonking wrote:Now:
dibblethewrecker wrote: At the start of any round of combat perform a simple check - if health_remaining is > 33% then round of combat will be "berserk"
dibblethewrecker wrote: It also still means that berserker vs dark adept or shaman is still a certain outcome
If ulf has less than 33% hp - no certain adept kill. I agree with this:
Hellrider wrote:What if you have an ulf near to lvlup with 25% hp in front of an adept? Wouldn't you kill the adept to lvlup and gain full hp? With the idea you suggested you can't do this, and imo it's a bad suggestion. I like the way it is now.
And how often does this exact situation happen? Enough to design an entire unit on? :roll: Aside from that...Yes, I can see that I condradicted myself - it is not a certain kill against if the ulf is badly injured - but isn't that a bit fairer on the dark adept? Or is the whole MP balance of Knalgan vs Undead founded on the U/B vs DA balance? Give me a break.
Dragonking wrote:But this:
dibblethewrecker wrote: Also you can get a tactical advantage by sacrificing any number of units.
...is completly wrong. If you want, fell free to sacrifice as many ulfs (19g) against my fighters (12g-14g) in any normal MP game to gain advantage...
especialy when map is balanced.
Whatever. I was simply saying that risking losing expensive units to gain an advantage was not a pratice solely restricted to berserk units.
Dragonking wrote:
dibblethewrecker wrote: Please tell me another unit in Wesnoth that is part of the major trees but is only designed for use in MP - if there is no such unit please explain why the berserker exists as an exception to all others.
It is beacuse berserk is ability which works great in human vs himan fights - AI can't use it - that is reason why it sucks in campaigns.
I wondered if someone would bring up the AI debate. The same arguement comes up with stealth but we keep stealth because it makes the game more interesting. The problem here is the AI not the idea.
Dragonking wrote:Ok, now positive sides: (don't think that I'm blid and want only deny all your proposals :-) )
dibblethewrecker wrote: It would be nice to be able to have the berserk ability in campaigns. Making the ability more campaign friendly is not a negative step.
I agree. Making new ability for campaigns, which would not affect MP balance would be really good IMO. As it was said before - main problem in campaigns is AI, which don't know how use berserk, and suicide every unit.. In MP this problem usually doesn't exist, if ulf-user is good enought to think how to use it... (and yes - it needs practise to know how use berserk, but same is with charge and other abilites - I've seen many new players wasting horseman against spearman in village..).
Cool - so my suggestion WOULD make it better for the AI to use berserk! With luck it should be quite a bit harder to suicide! :D I'm not sure my idea would really affect MP that much, even to the point that it has such a small impact that it is not worth it :)
Dragonking wrote:Thing about berserk, is that it (belive me or not) _really_ works in MP. Many players found it as a great ability. It adds some important thing to you strategy - you have unit whic can kill every secondary, but cad die easly as well.
Yeah, I can see that but I really don't think that my idea would change that much. An ulf has 34 HP, 33% of that is approx 10. What are the chances of surviving the last round of combat when you are already down to 10 or less HP? Pretty small probably.

In defense, when wounded, the berserk ability is not available, which reduces the risk to both sides equally - it is as much a threat to both sides - but more so to the berserk as they are defending, and it theory their own abilty should get the killed first. That makes little sense to many people.

These minor benefits to the berserk unit are balanced by the loss of the abilty to mercilessly slaughter defenseless units while only having one HP remaining - if anything it requires you to be MORE cautious with your berserkers when they are hurt but allows you to be a TINY bit more adventurous when they are not - which I think is in keeping with the current situation.
Dragonking wrote:P.S.
Don't take this post as personal attack please... I'm just tired of talking about same thing over and over, and noticing that noone listens to arguments...
Maybe you should quit then and they should get someone new who takes arguements under careful consideration and tries to be objective rather than having their opinion clouded by previous, different arguements?
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dtw
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Post by dtw »

scott wrote:[Edited out an unnecessary and inappropriate personal comment. I publicly apologize.]

If I understand the gist, the proposed beserk is only a fight to the death unless the beserker is in danger of losing the fight to the death. Seems one-sided to me.
That's about it but it is more complicated than that - I can't explain all the nuances in suitable detail, it needs some imagination and I can't force that on people!
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dtw
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Re: That berserk ability make-over...

Post by dtw »

Beleth wrote: Reason #1: Wesnoth seems to be focused on what I'll describe as a "simple and straightfoward" approach. Traits, abilities, etc. should be simple and straightforward. Adding a health percentage condition on an ability seems to go against that idea.
Fair comment but it is not THAT complicated - less confusing than ZoC to a complete newbie.
Beleth wrote:Reason #2: Beserk should always be a liability. If you have the ability to likely kill any somewhat wounded enemy then you should also be able to be killed when you are partially wounded yourself.
In pratice I don't think my idea will change that to a large extent.
Beleth wrote:Reason #3: I disagree with your premise that 'zerkers are "suicide troops". They definitely can be, but they aren't always suicide troops. They are too expensive to be suicide troops when playing in 2 or even 3 gold per village multiplayer games. They are also a liability because a skilled opponent can use your 'zerkers to get almost guaranteed level ups for his units.
We've been over that one enough now :lol:
Beleth wrote:Reason #4: Certain units are "always units" and others are "sometimes units", for lack of more imaginative names. Dwarven Fighters, Thunderers, and Guardsmen are "always units" in my mind because it's pretty much always a good idea to get more of them. There are time when one is definitely going to be better than the other (such as Fighters being much better against Woses than Guardsmen), but you usually won't go horribly wrong buying these units. 'Zerkers are "sometimes units" because they should only be built and used sometimes, not all the time. They have a specialized job, they do it well, and they should occur in small numbers. Trying to make them more survivable makes them more likely to fit in with always units which isn't, in my mind, a good thing.
Ah - well at least you saw the point: you might not agree that it is a good idea but at least you do get the idea :) I do actually want to make them a bit more of an always unit to make them more usable in campaigns but not too much. They are an extreme case and I think to have such an extreme unit is almost bizarre in itself.
I hope that you find this feedback to be constructive and respectful. :)
Yes, thank you :)
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Beleth
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Re: That berserk ability make-over...

Post by Beleth »

dibblethewrecker wrote:as I REPEATEDLY made it clear that I was discussing the ability and NOT the unit (as much as that is possible).
I understand the distinction you're making, and at the same time I think that it's hard to talk thoughtfully about an ability without talking about units that have that ability. I think that a lot of what can be said about beserk can be said about ulfserkers and vice versa. If you replace the word "ulfserker" with "unit with beserk" I think that a lot of the arguments and points will still be just as valid.

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