Balance issues discovered playing HttT with Elvish Scouts.

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Elvish_Pillager
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Balance issues discovered playing HttT with Elvish Scouts.

Post by Elvish_Pillager »

1. The Elvish Scout is fairly balanced. It works fine, even at killing the enemies.

2. Siege of Elensefar is WAY too hard in Easy. You see, Elves Besieged was easy, Blackwater Port was easy, Isle of Anduin was easy, even Bay of Pearls was easy, and Muff Malal's Peninsula was easy, but the Siege was impossible. However, this is possibly less bad than it appears, because...

3. The Elvish Rider is *way* underpowered. I'd almost always rather have an Elvish Scout. Its minimal-upgrade in HP and damage is no match for the enemy-XP and upkeep issues. (Upkeep is a real killer for scouts, and it's really bad giving the enemies twice as much XP when your unit can't kill the enemies quickly due to its weak attacks, and is easier to kill due to its weak HP.) The Elvish Riders were rarely useful in battle. For objective evidence, let's compare it with the Dragoon:
Melee: 5-4 vs. 7-4. Dragoon wins for sure.
Ranged: 5-3 vs. 15-1. Equal.
HP: 42 vs 58. Dragoon wins for sure.
Resistances: -20% to Pierce, vs. -20% to pierce and resists three other damage types. Dragoon wins for sure.
Defense: Elvish minus 10% in forest and village. Rider wins for sure.
Moves: Rider wins by a little, elves can use mountains and Riders move a bit faster.
Alignment: Since they're fast, the one with an alignment is better.
XP to become: Cavalry take less.
XP to advance: You don't eve WANT to advance an Elvish Rider unless it's Loyal, Rider->Outrider is even more minimal than Scout->Rider. Dragoon wins for sure.

Basically, the Scout gets worse when levelling up, and it should get better, and it's really bad when compared with a comparable unit.

I suggest the following changes: Give the Rider 50 HP, 6-4 melee and 6-3 ranged, and 60% defense in villages. Yes, this is almost as powerful as the current Outrider. The Outrider, I propose giving 70% defense in forest and villages, and having 8-4 melee and 7-4 ranged, and 58 HP.
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hiryuu
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Post by hiryuu »

Siege of Elensefar does take a sharp upward turn in difficulty in Easy (and even in Medium).

Elvish Outrider has been a running gag for as long as I've been in these forums. I consider it subtle punishment for getting your scouts in so much combat. They're best left to gathering houses and, when necessary, charging in as sacrificial fodder.
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Post by Invisible Philosopher »

But the real question is why the Elvish Rider/Outrider is supposed to be bad.

One of the basic rules of Wesnoth is that units don't get worse when levelling up. Inevitably they have more upkeep (unless loyal) and give out more experience to enemies. This is normally acceptable, but when it outweighs the benefit of their only slightly better stats, it is unreasonable. Elvish Rider/Outrider does not need to be a really powerful unit, but it has to be clearly better as a general unit, taking the inevitable disadvantages into account, when levelling up.
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Post by silene »

When I started playing Wesnoth, I didn't mind having a slow progression in the Elvish Scout line. It was adding a bit of diversity: the stats of some units were evolving slower. But now that I know the cost of upkeep and experience, I tend to be of the same opinion: there is slight upgrade problem with the Elvish Scout.

But rather than just making the Elvish Rider and Outrider stronger, I would suggest a more invasive change. Why not simply remove the level 3 unit and make the level 2 unit stronger? Do we really need to have a level 3 scout? Recalling a scout that costs 3 gold each turn at the beginning of a scenario is rather suicidal, and later you usually have other units more important to recall than simple scouts.

As for which set of animations to remove, I don't have a strong opinion on it. I find the Elvish Rider quite good looking, so I would tend to either remove the Elvish Scout or the Elvish Outrider.
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Post by Darth Fool »

Well you could keep both sets of animations by having the scout unit branch into two different level two units. One could be more combat oriented and the other might get better movement...
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Post by ott »

Darth Fool wrote:Well you could keep both sets of animations by having the scout unit branch into two different level two units. One could be more combat oriented and the other might get better movement...
Sounds good to me: finally a reason to level up Scouts while maintaining some variety in this branch of the unit tree.
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Post by Dave »

I tend to concur with silene and Darth Fool's suggestions here.

Perhaps the options should be Elvish Outrider and Elvish Horse Archer?

Both units forever capped at level 2....

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Post by Mkgego »

For me recruiting scouts = drop money to the toilet...
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Post by Dragonking »

Why do not add Elvish Horse Rider to next relase, and just upgrade Rider & Outrider a little?
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Post by Circon »

silene wrote:But rather than just making the Elvish Rider and Outrider stronger, I would suggest a more invasive change. Why not simply remove the level 3 unit and make the level 2 unit stronger? Do we really need to have a level 3 scout? Recalling a scout that costs 3 gold each turn at the beginning of a scenario is rather suicidal, and later you usually have other units more important to recall than simple scouts.
Uhh... going backwards? We did the exact opposite a while back: Made the lvl 2 unit weaker and added a 3rd level.
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Post by quartex »

I guess we didn't realize that adding a third level actually makes the unit weaker. ;-) I understand their argument, becuase upkeep is so expensive, but it's ironic. I guess we should buff level 2 and 3 a bit...
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Post by Disto »

If you buffed up the Rider and Outrider up you would need to buff up the Horse-archer as well....
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blackwater port in need of balancing

Post by jp30 »

Pillager's attempts to play HttT with only scouts inspired me to try playing httt with only scouts and shamans. It found it surprisingly easy (on Medium).

I also found some odd ways of winning various scenarios. In blackwater port I won in four turns without ever attacking a unit by sending a single unit to the far southwest of the map. The entire army of orcs swooped on him, and while they were busy one of Sir Kaylan's knights charged up to the orcish leader and killed him in two blows. (I can post a replay if anyone's interested).

I think I enjoyed BP more when the allies were Mages, and the player had to protect them while they walk across the map to attack the enemy leader.
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Re: blackwater port in need of balancing

Post by Elvish_Pillager »

jp30 wrote:Pillager's attempts to play HttT with only scouts inspired me to try playing httt with only scouts and shamans. It found it surprisingly easy (on Medium).
Shaman > Scout. Shaman > Archer. Shaman > Fighter. Playing HttT with only Shamans is easier than with only Archers, or only Fighters, or only Scouts. (Scouts are the hardest.)

Cool thing with Scouts is that in Blackwater, you can fight on the first day since they go so fast.
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Post by Jetrel »

Circon wrote:
silene wrote:But rather than just making the Elvish Rider and Outrider stronger, I would suggest a more invasive change. Why not simply remove the level 3 unit and make the level 2 unit stronger? Do we really need to have a level 3 scout? Recalling a scout that costs 3 gold each turn at the beginning of a scenario is rather suicidal, and later you usually have other units more important to recall than simple scouts.
Uhh... going backwards? We did the exact opposite a while back: Made the lvl 2 unit weaker and added a 3rd level.
Agreed. Please do not remove the outrider from the game. I can understand having special units which do not have third levels, such as the dwarvish berserker, or the orcish slayer, but this is not an acceptable candidate.

This is the basic cavalry unit of the Elves, it needs three levels. Elves do not need a charging cavalry unit, but as riders of horses they need something mounted that can challenge the human cavalry in power - albeit by being a ranged unit, not a melee powerhouse.

I also agree completely with what Elvish Pillager said about improving their second and third levels. His specifications are almost exactly what I had proposed - the level-3 unit is as powerful as most level-2 units, but makes up the difference in speed.
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