Mabye northerns balance needs a second look

Discussion of all aspects of multiplayer development: unit balancing, map development, server development, and so forth.

Moderators: Forum Moderators, Developers

Locked
Fosprey
Posts: 252
Joined: January 25th, 2008, 8:13 am

Mabye northerns balance needs a second look

Post by Fosprey » May 9th, 2008, 6:15 pm

I just want for good players out there , specially ladder players, if they can take a closer look to northerns, i personally feel that in general they tend to be on the losing side of th espectrum.

I invite players to help me test this, so you choose northerns, and i choose whatever side in different maps, so we can play and discuss what happens.

User avatar
Sapient
Inactive Developer
Posts: 4453
Joined: November 26th, 2005, 7:41 am
Contact:

Re: Mabye northerns balance needs a second look

Post by Sapient » May 10th, 2008, 2:40 am

I suspect that north is a bit too weak against deadites, but I feel good with them in all other matchups (yes, including drakes).

Then again, this is just a suspiscion based on limited playing time of a non-"pro" so it should not be taken too seriously.
http://www.wesnoth.org/wiki/User:Sapient... "Looks like your skills saved us again. Uh, well at least, they saved Soarin's apple pie."

User avatar
Wintermute
Inactive Developer
Posts: 840
Joined: March 23rd, 2006, 10:28 pm
Location: On IRC as "happygrue" at: #wesnoth-mp

Re: Mabye northerns balance needs a second look

Post by Wintermute » May 10th, 2008, 4:45 am

Fosprey wrote:I just want for good players out there , specially ladder players, if they can take a closer look to northerns, i personally feel that in general they tend to be on the losing side of th espectrum.

I invite players to help me test this, so you choose northerns, and i choose whatever side in different maps, so we can play and discuss what happens.
Gallifax and I were just talking today about how few of the 'good players' are actually on the ladder, so I am not sure if your testing out things with generic 'ladder players' will have the effect that you want. :wink:

Also: when are you on? I have tried chatting with you every time I see on in the lobby about playing a game, and I get no response. I am on Chicago time, where are you? I would enjoy playing some test games.
"I just started playing this game a few days ago, and I already see some balance issues."

Fosprey
Posts: 252
Joined: January 25th, 2008, 8:13 am

Re: Mabye northerns balance needs a second look

Post by Fosprey » May 10th, 2008, 4:58 am

uhu my time is just....random, it can be at any time, since i play when i'm tired or have free time for whatever reason, and i can't predict when that happens, maybe i should make sure i'm logged out so people don't waste their time trying to talk me , when i'm not, sorry for that.
But i will look for you on the lobby and contact you if i see you so we can play :)

Velrei
Posts: 26
Joined: May 14th, 2008, 3:11 pm

Re: Mabye northerns balance needs a second look

Post by Velrei » May 17th, 2008, 8:16 pm

Fosprey wrote:I just want for good players out there , specially ladder players, if they can take a closer look to northerns, i personally feel that in general they tend to be on the losing side of th espectrum.

I invite players to help me test this, so you choose northerns, and i choose whatever side in different maps, so we can play and discuss what happens.
idk, I play undead quite well, and troll/archer groups with the occasional other units give me quite a run for my money in the hands of a good player.

Of course, I am open to the possibility of changes, of course.

Nebiros
Posts: 86
Joined: July 24th, 2007, 5:20 pm
Location: Charlottesville, VA, USA

Re: Mabye northerns balance needs a second look

Post by Nebiros » May 17th, 2008, 9:07 pm

Northies have a problem against *random* undead because a balanced initial recruit set is usually poor against undead. (Although I generally don't include an assassin in my initial recruit for exactly this reason, you still want more trolls and orcish archers and relatively fewer grunts than vs. other factions.) But nearly everyone has that problem against random undead. If they know the undead are coming, I think northies can deal with them ok.

One of the main problems northies have against everyone is that their numerous cheap units give away more exp compared to fewer, more powerful units. This makes your opponent level up abnormally fast, which can be a real pain. (Northies could have lower exp requirements to balance this out, but IIRC, they don't. So every time you trade (say) three grunts for two clashers, you come out nearly even in gold counting upkeep, but about 8 exp behind. Worse, while you can try to kill partially-experienced units to make up for this, your opponent can do that better too because your units are individually weaker, including your partially-experienced ones.) But you have the ZoC advantages of large numbers to make up for it, so overall it more or less balances out.

The most important ways you need to play differently with northies vs. undead (IMO) are:
1. Trolls don't tank in this matchup. You need them to stay away from adepts so they can bash skeletons. Put the grunts up front.
2. You're chaotic, but they're more chaotic than you are. Regen works better in daylight (relative to the damage both sides are doing) and some trolls are fearless. This is the one matchup where fighting in day can be good for you. (The neutrality of the naga comes in handy here too.)
3. When in doubt, make more orcish archers. They can hit skeletons and ghouls for significant amounts without being hit back and they retaliate against adepts (putting the adepts in danger on your turn) while being cheaper than adepts. They even break even against the skel archer, which no normal archer can do. On top of all that they're your best ghost-killer. As long as you have something to ZoC for them, they can give undead a real hard time.

User avatar
Thrawn
Moderator Emeritus
Posts: 2047
Joined: June 2nd, 2005, 11:37 am
Location: bridge of SSD Chimera

Re: Mabye northerns balance needs a second look

Post by Thrawn » May 17th, 2008, 9:59 pm

I agree w/ neibros. I use exclusively orcs when I actually played on-line, and what got me was getting assassins turn one. But againt undead, that was a wasted 17 gold, that was better spent on another archer

meh, I'm not good at this game, so my opinion doesn't really matter >_<
...please remember that "IT'S" ALWAYS MEANS "IT IS" and "ITS" IS WHAT YOU USE TO INDICATE POSSESSION BY "IT".--scott

this goes for they're/their/there as well

User avatar
Sapient
Inactive Developer
Posts: 4453
Joined: November 26th, 2005, 7:41 am
Contact:

Re: Mabye northerns balance needs a second look

Post by Sapient » May 18th, 2008, 3:53 am

Nebiros wrote:1. Trolls don't tank in this matchup. You need them to stay away from adepts so they can bash skeletons. Put the grunts up front.
Trolls have more HP per cost and the same resistance to cold as grunts. Also, their lower defense% on most terrains doesn't matter against a magic attack which has a 70% chance of hitting. So you need to justify this statement a little better.
Nebiros wrote: 2. You're chaotic, but they're more chaotic than you are. Regen works better in daylight (relative to the damage both sides are doing) and some trolls are fearless. This is the one matchup where fighting in day can be good for you. (The neutrality of the naga comes in handy here too.)
Depending on the map, nagas can be really a waste of gold against the undead. The naga fighter has 33 HP and -20% resistance to cold damage, and no ranged attack. Basically, a sitting duck for dark adepts to attack. Their blade damage type isn't very effective against skeletons, either.
Nebiros wrote: 3. When in doubt, make more orcish archers. They can hit skeletons and ghouls for significant amounts without being hit back and they retaliate against adepts (putting the adepts in danger on your turn) while being cheaper than adepts. They even break even against the skel archer, which no normal archer can do. On top of all that they're your best ghost-killer. As long as you have something to ZoC for them, they can give undead a real hard time.
Yes, but by the time they realize that they need to recruit a ton of orcish archers, they usually don't have enough time or gold to deploy them where they're needed. The bats can also use their high movement points and lack of upkeep to easily harrass Northerner villages in the places where they *didn't* scramble to place those orcish archers. At 60% Defense, these winged pests are a lot harder to eliminate by melee units, which will often be chasing the thing and attacking from grassland, thus "feeding" the bat with more life.
http://www.wesnoth.org/wiki/User:Sapient... "Looks like your skills saved us again. Uh, well at least, they saved Soarin's apple pie."

User avatar
F8 Binds...
Saurian Cartographer
Posts: 622
Joined: November 26th, 2006, 3:13 pm
Location: Mid-Western United States

Re: Mabye northerns balance needs a second look

Post by F8 Binds... » May 18th, 2008, 6:24 pm

Sapient wrote:
Nebiros wrote:1. Trolls don't tank in this matchup. You need them to stay away from adepts so they can bash skeletons. Put the grunts up front.
Trolls have more HP per cost and the same resistance to cold as grunts. Also, their lower defense% on most terrains doesn't matter against a magic attack which has a 70% chance of hitting. So you need to justify this statement a little better.
Expanding on Sapient, I'd also add that usually you want to save your grunts to bash adepts, rather than vice versa. :wink:
Proud creator of 4p- Underworld. Fascinated by Multiplayer design and balance.
I am the lone revenant of the n3t clan.

User avatar
Thrawn
Moderator Emeritus
Posts: 2047
Joined: June 2nd, 2005, 11:37 am
Location: bridge of SSD Chimera

Re: Mabye northerns balance needs a second look

Post by Thrawn » May 19th, 2008, 1:32 am

F8 Binds... wrote:
Sapient wrote: Trolls have more HP per cost and the same resistance to cold as grunts. Also, their lower defense% on most terrains doesn't matter against a magic attack which has a 70% chance of hitting. So you need to justify this statement a little better.
Expanding on Sapient, I'd also add that usually you want to save your grunts to bash adepts, rather than vice versa. :wink:
I think it's because they both get equally damaged, but trolls are needed vs undead, whereas grunts are needed for DA control/ meatshields...I hope this is clear >_<
...please remember that "IT'S" ALWAYS MEANS "IT IS" and "ITS" IS WHAT YOU USE TO INDICATE POSSESSION BY "IT".--scott

this goes for they're/their/there as well

Trau
Posts: 119
Joined: October 21st, 2007, 7:34 pm

Re: Mabye northerns balance needs a second look

Post by Trau » May 19th, 2008, 4:57 am

My personal take on Northerner balance is that its design philosophy is countersynergetic with Wesnoth's game mechanics, so it gets shafted in practice without appearing too bad on paper.

- Northerners have no units costing over 17, and those that do cost 17 are specialists. This means that the northerners will be constantly screwed by upkeep unless they resort to goblin spearmen... which only exacerbates the other evil of cheap, weak units: they give the enemy a dispropotionately large amount of xp compared to what he gives you.

To think of it another way, a grunt costs the same as a spearman once the grunt has been on the board for two turns.

- Speaking of the goblin spearman, it is a pretty awful level 0 unit. It's actually 1/7 more expensive than walking corpses and do the same melee damage, trading the ability to plague with a 3-1 ranged attack.

- Northerners have low damage, as a rule. Believe it or not, the biggest recruitable hitter on the northerner team puts out as much damage as the loyalist cavalryman. The grunt, if he scores both hits, will do a meager 18 damage in a neutral time of day. Add to that the absence of a secondary attack, lack of any spectacular terrain defenses, bad synergy with the Strong trait, and no resistances whatsoever and you find that grunts can, will, and do get steamrolled by every other faction's mainstay generalist units.

- Northerners do not have a tactical advantage, despite being able to field a large number of units. It seems fine on paper that having many weak units (actually, your number advantage won't be that great either, considering upkeep) will allow more ZOC blocking and manuevering, but in reality, the Northerner lack of a battleworthy fast unit (would you be alarmed if I told you a wolf rider costs the same as a cavalryman?) or skirmishing means they're on the short bus as far as mobility is concerned. This, together with the Northerners' inability to hit for any meaningful damage means enemies will have a much easier time healing their units and getting levelups.

To be fair, the Northerners do have some things going for them. Assassins are capable of racking up damage by poisoning multiple enemies, yet this still often fails to net the northerners easy kills, since poison damage is nonfatal, not applied until your round is over, and in either case, Northerners are unable to wield any ZOC advantage to force the enemy to take the poison damage.

Now, I know I compared a lot of Northerner units to other factions' units, which is a no-no as balance is done on a faction to faction basis. But what I'm trying to do is point out that Northerners don't really have any units that are truly superb... or even reasonably good, nor do they have much in the way of unique niches that only they fill. In fact, allow me to be so bold as to suggest that there is nothing the Northerners can do that the Rebels can't do better.

Fighters are superior to grunts in both offense and defense, putting out more damage in melee, able to retaliate or harass with ranged.

Woses make better tanks than whelps since, on top of being uncrippled by upkeep costs, they have the damage to act as a deterrant to attackers and have fairly robust resistances.

Scouts are better at harassment than wolves and better at stealing villages while being more expensive by a negligible amount (remembering upkeep).

Elvish archers are better at piercing than orcish ones, in fact, a dextrous elvish archer does as much piercing damage as an orcish CROSSBOWMAN.

Mages are better at snatching good terrain than assassins. Since an assassin may force the enemy to move his unit sitting on good terrain, a mage has the potential to kill that enemy and then have YOU steal the terrain.

Finally, goblin spearmen are unneeded because Rebel level 1's can actually fight.

Noy
Inactive Developer
Posts: 1321
Joined: March 13th, 2005, 3:59 pm

Re: Mabye northerns balance needs a second look

Post by Noy » May 19th, 2008, 8:45 am

First off making direct unit comparisons is not how we balance. And how would you really do it anyway? You say that a 14 gold fighter vs a 12 gold grunt is imbalanced. Yet Grunts have much more HP, have better movement over hills (the most common terrain besides grasslands), do better damage at night (when you are most likely to attack). Or how about Trolls vs Fighters, which have much more effective melee, and a better defence. In reality you can throw arguments across about what is balanced and isn't and it doesn't prove anything.

Instead factions are balanced vs each other after weeks of playtesting.We watch games in default, 1v1s, 2v2s and 3v3s. If there is an obvious imbalance we correct it, its not like we leave imbalances. Unfortunately we do not believe that at this time this is the case.

So I'm locking this thread.
I suspect having one foot in the past is the best way to understand the present.

Don Hewitt.

Locked