Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

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Zrevnur
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Re: Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

Post by Zrevnur »

My take on this:

XP: Shamans are much easier to level than mages. The combination of low damage, heal and slow makes them the best unit type for actively maximizing XP from enemy units. So not only do they require less XP, they also can turn an enemy into more XP than other units.

Slow: The importance of slow I think depends a lot on difficulty and if one plays with reloading or not. If you can fix bad RNG by reloading then you may not need Slow. But otherwise in dense encounters (like can happen in Siege of Elensefar, Valley of Death and some others even if you try to avoid this kind of situation) it becomes much harder to protect important units. I think the AI cant handle 'slow' effect properly. It tends to not replace slowed units with unslowed ones and just keeps attacking with the slowed ones.
Leader Assault: In my gameplay assaulting leader keep usually involves a "slow strike". This significantly reduces the risk and I can then safely close with units which otherwise could be oneshot or tag-teamed by enemies.
And then there is the 'slow for damage' thing. This works out best with chargers. The particularly good thing here is that the slowing unit (Shaman) is also a healing unit so if you place the chargers adjacent to the slower you get then the heal too.

Mobility: This is one of the best advantages of the Shaman line. The ability to fly for Sylph/Shyde makes them IMO far superior to the mage line. And the Shyde is needed for healying Sylphs and other Shydes. So the flying on the Shyde isnt lost at all. In addition the flying is very useful for reinforcing if you have multiple fights nearby but cant know beforehand (due to RNG and AI decision making) where you will need how much power. There are also a few scenarios where even 6-move mages are simply too slow because the leader gets an extra turn and needs to move somewhere fast. Only with Shyde you can overcome this, White mage simply doesnt work in this situation. You would have to make a sacrifice (one turn lost on leader movement or hire mage one turn earlier) to compensate. Edit: Mobility is also critically important for divide-and-conquer - this also (ab)uses AI aspects. Only Silver Mages are potentially good at this too.

Tanking: I dont agree with this "keep the mages" always back kind of simplistic doctrine. Tanking should be done with anything suitable which cant be killed. Often higher level mage type units are best for that due to other units being wounded. There are even situations (Valley of Death suiciders) where tanking with mages is preferred over tanking with sturdier melee units. (This isnt necessarily an argument for/against mages vs shamans though.)

Silver Mages: These have a unique thing which can make them situationally the best units by far. Unfortunately this "situationally" part. On some maps they simply are just weak because they arent very good in a fight. So I think these are supplemental optional units.

Mage of Light: In the right circumstances (dense fight against chaotics outside of day time with Lawful units on my side) these are very strong. In other circumstances they are very weak due to their poor tankability and/or because the other side has lawful units. This makes them rather situational too. One thing which I personally dont like about them is the complicated positioning required to maximize their usefulness. This is similar to leadership. That part is just a game play/style preference though.
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BTIsaac
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Re: Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

Post by BTIsaac »

You can't rely on reloading to fix bad rng. Slow can be a game changer, especially when dealing with high damage units.
Zrevnur
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Re: Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

Post by Zrevnur »

BTIsaac wrote: January 16th, 2020, 11:57 am You can't rely on reloading to fix bad rng.
If I have bad RNG and reload from before the bad RNG by default BfW uses a new random seed and thus there will be new results if repeating the exact same actions. If I do that whenever I have bad RNG I will end up never having bad RNG.
Or maybe you meant something else?
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Krogen
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Re: Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

Post by Krogen »

In a campaign, especially one as long as this, you'll need both healers and heavy damage dealers. You also have to consider the fact that you can probably reach level 4.
I'd say Elvish Sylph and Great Mage are roughly equally good, but have different damage types, so using a mix of the two would be ideal.
On the other hand, i'd consider the White Mage line superior to Elvish Druid. So... i guess those should make up the majority of your healers.
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BTIsaac
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Re: Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

Post by BTIsaac »

Zrevnur wrote: January 17th, 2020, 1:24 pm If I have bad RNG and reload from before the bad RNG by default BfW uses a new random seed and thus there will be new results if repeating the exact same actions. If I do that whenever I have bad RNG I will end up never having bad RNG.
Yes, and if the probability of a favorable result is less than 10%, be prepared to spend hours reloading the same save.
Zrevnur
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Re: Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

Post by Zrevnur »

Krogen wrote: January 17th, 2020, 9:57 pm I'd say Elvish Sylph and Great Mage are roughly equally good, but have different damage types, so using a mix of the two would be ideal.
Based on my experience Sylph is much better than Great Mage in HttT due to:
1) mobility advantage (obvious), this is IMO very important for outplaying the AI without relying on not having bad RNG
2) got slow
3) reliability advantage (more attacks)
4) tanks better
I turned 'Elrian' (loyal mage from 'Isle of Alduin') into a Great Mage and later thought he would have been better as a 'Silver Mage'. A 'quick' Great Mage would be somewhat better I guess but still.
BTIsaac wrote: January 18th, 2020, 12:48 pm
Zrevnur wrote: January 17th, 2020, 1:24 pm If I have bad RNG and reload from before the bad RNG by default BfW uses a new random seed and thus there will be new results if repeating the exact same actions. If I do that whenever I have bad RNG I will end up never having bad RNG.
Yes, and if the probability of a favorable result is less than 10%, be prepared to spend hours reloading the same save.
"Bad RNG" := "Worse (or much worse) than expected" So mathematically speaking the expected number of reloads to "fix" it is 2 or less.
Edit: This (2 or less) is not always correct. Usually it is sufficiently close though.
Edit 2: It would probably be better to define "Bad RNG" differently so that its RNG with worse than median result instead of worse than expected.
(With "expected" I mean the mathematical version not some (warped) subjective psychological version of somebody not sufficiently understanding the underlying math.)
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Krogen
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Re: Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

Post by Krogen »

Up to personal preference. Great Mage deals far more raw damage and that's their main role. A unit being better at it's main role is often more significant, even if the other is superior in everything else. Huntsman is inferior to Ranger in every way and overall, except ranged damage and it's still picked more often, because that attribute is more important than all the others combined.
Also, while Sylph vs Great Mage can be debated, i just think White Mage is objectively better than Druid. So if we follow that, there is already access to arcane damage, so having some fire aswell will be better than just more arcane. Slow is not really an argument in my opinion. You don't want a level 4 Sylph to simply slow down an enemy. You want to drop arcane nukes and destroy them altogether. Slow will be more useful on level 1 and 2, when they don't have the power yet to simply get rid of anything in their path.
So i guess my answer would be Mage, with few Shamans to support, especially in earlier maps.
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Zrevnur
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Re: Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

Post by Zrevnur »

Krogen wrote: January 18th, 2020, 9:24 pm Up to personal preference. Great Mage deals far more raw damage and that's their main role. A unit being better at it's main role is often more significant, even if the other is superior in everything else.
Can you give some example/s (HttT scenario, maybe replay to show it) of that? Because this doesnt fit my recent playthrough. The only "hard spots" (where damage dealing may matter significantly to break up enemy blobs) I remember are 'Siege of Elensefar' (sort of too early to have Great Mage), 'Valley of Death' (Sylph obviously better), 'Hasty Alliance' (Slow being more helpful than damage there) and some easier scenarios like the last one where it doesnt really matter due to them being easy. OTOH there are some scenarios where Great Mage wouldnt work at all or not very well like 'Gryphon Mountain', 'Snow Plains', 'Home of the North Elves'
Krogen wrote: January 18th, 2020, 9:24 pm Also, while Sylph vs Great Mage can be debated, i just think White Mage is objectively better than Druid.
I dont agree. 'Mage of Light' has the exact same mobility issue as 'Great Mage' - see scenario list above. And its too slow (etc) to heal-support Sylph. IMO (based on gameplay) the main advantages of Druid line over White Mage line are:
1) XP required to level them
2) mobility
3) gold required to get them - the problem here is that White Mage line really wants 'quick' + 'resilient' traits - same as 'Great Mage'; the odds of getting that makes getting multiples of them rather costly; and unlike Shamans which are very good vs higher tiers due to their 'Slow' mages do not have that going for them; and if I get too many of them they take away XP from other units instead of giving it to other units like the Shaman as doing damage is the only thing they are good at; so due to Shaman spam (which you yourself support) I automatically get Druids with good traits - this is not so for White Mages which require a 'gold sacrifice' to get
(Note that I am not trying to say that it doesnt make sense to make some 'Mage/s of Light'.)
Krogen wrote: January 18th, 2020, 9:24 pm So if we follow that, there is already access to arcane damage, so having some fire aswell will be better than just more arcane.
Obviously they have some advantage/s too. But I would rather get Silver Mage over Great Mage. And later you get 'Great Mage on a stick' anyway.
Krogen wrote: January 18th, 2020, 9:24 pm Slow is not really an argument in my opinion. You don't want a level 4 Sylph to simply slow down an enemy. You want to drop arcane nukes and destroy them altogether.
Its good for letting other units have the XP and its good for reliability and survival. Shamans dont have the mobility of the flying Sylph/Shyde and cant be arbitrarily and quickly deployed like them. Having flyers makes gameplay much easier. And in some scenarios hiring new move 5 elves isnt even a good option due to terrain (like caves) and/or time constraints.
Krogen wrote: January 18th, 2020, 9:24 pm Slow will be more useful on level 1 and 2, when they don't have the power yet to simply get rid of anything in their path.
This is IMO a reloading vs not-reloading thing. Its quite possible that with reloading Great Mages are quite good. Without reloading "simply get rid of anything in their path" just doesnt work.
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Re: Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

Post by Krogen »

Great Mage is way better on any scenario where the enemies are humans, due to their arcane resistance. Even without resistances, its 50 damage overall vs 64, that is not some small difference, it's quite huge. Looking at unit costs, Great Mage is also a unit of higher value than Sylph. (This is true at level 3 and 2 aswell, not just 4.) Humans have 20% arcane res, which takes 50 down to 40, that is 24 difference already. That is not some little negligible diff, this makes or breakes games. This has nothing to do with reliability, GM will be far superior in terms of damage, no matter how many strikes they have, that's just a fact. 16-4 is just sooo much better than 10-5. Sylph might seem superior against something like Undead, but even where they excel, GM is not bad either. They will roughly do the same damage there. In case of Druid vs WM, it's still not even close, even with arcane resistance.
Druid line is almost useless when it comes to damage. They can only heal and slow. Mage of Light can do the healing and do a quite impressive work on the battlefield aswell, not to mention the support it can grant to lawful troops against chaotics. When facing human opponents, giving them a bonus can be easily avoided by smart unit placement. Moblilty doesn't even really come into play until the elves grow wings, they are roughly the same before that.
I can't recall ever facing drakes in this campaign. Which makes fire a reliable damage type in all situations. That's not the case with arcane. The main antagonists are humans here, and that's exactly where arcane falls short.
Mages have 50% to get quick trait, while Shamans need to get it out of 5, due to dexterous. Though the existence of dex can be a pro-shammie argument.
I played this campaign a long time ago, so i can't provide any replays. I rely on my experience as a player and common sense entirely. (The first is not to be underestimated.)
In campaigns, raw damage and tankiness beats the crap out of mobility. That's just what it is. The AI is not smart enough for it to be otherwise. Having a successful playthrough doesn't mean that it's the best way to play.
Sylph line is better in terms of mobility and despite having less hp, it has better defences, so it survives better, but not by much. Let's not forget that Mages get resilient far more often than elves.
HttT is not a campaign though where you rely on a small variety of units. You are gonna have tanks to tank damage and mobile units where you need mobility (which would be chargers for most players). Just because Shaman line is a little bit better at tanking, it doesn't make up for the tremendous gap in damage. Especially when you have other units that are supposed to tank. On scenarios, like the one where you cross the river, yes, Mages are a poor choice. But you'll have plenty of other troops to recall. This is not a topic about buying only Shamans or Mages, of course you'd have the rest of your army. It is typically a campaign where you'd have more units than what you can recall. You're gonna have to select each time, according to the scenario. Mage line is just a more solid choice in general.
About Silver Mage: well, having like 1 to use for teleportation to take a crucial spot, might makes some sense, but more... not really. 9-4 aint got nothing on 16-4 or even 12-4. And it's not like they are tankier or anything, they can only teleport. So one makes sense, but no more.
I don't support Shaman spam, i don't know where you got that from. That would be just silly.
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Zrevnur
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Re: Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

Post by Zrevnur »

Krogen wrote: January 19th, 2020, 4:30 am Great Mage is way better on any scenario where the enemies are humans,
Name a scenario which makes it worthwhile to get Great Mages in campaign (to the degree of making more Great Mages than Sylphs in the campaign)?
Krogen wrote: January 19th, 2020, 4:30 am Even without resistances, its 50 damage overall vs 64, that is not some small difference, it's quite huge.
Sylphs can have 'dextrous'. If damage is particularly important for you you can focus on that.
Krogen wrote: January 19th, 2020, 4:30 am Looking at unit costs, Great Mage is also a unit of higher value than Sylph.
That says nothing about their usefulness in HttT.
Krogen wrote: January 19th, 2020, 4:30 am (This is true at level 3 and 2 aswell, not just 4.) Humans have 20% arcane res, which takes 50 down to 40, that is 24 difference already. That is not some little negligible diff, this makes or breakes games. This has nothing to do with reliability, GM will be far superior in terms of damage, no matter how many strikes they have, that's just a fact. 16-4 is just sooo much better than 10-5. Sylph might seem superior against something like Undead, but even where they excel, GM is not bad either. They will roughly do the same damage there.
These are all abstract arguments which may be correct against a human player in a certain kind of situation. But this is about HttT vs AIs. Again: I asked in the previous post to name a scenario but you didnt. Nothing of this matters if you never actually need it in the campaign.
Krogen wrote: January 19th, 2020, 4:30 am In case of Druid vs WM, it's still not even close, even with arcane resistance.
Druid line is almost useless when it comes to damage. They can only heal and slow.
Their (Shyde) piercing damage is quite good vs horses. Similar to what Mage of Light does to (human) horses. And unlike Mage of Light they dont boost (human) horse damage if you dont kill the horse. If used vs enemy units their purpose often is to slow them anyway. Which the Mage of Light cant.
Krogen wrote: January 19th, 2020, 4:30 am When facing human opponents, giving them a bonus can be easily avoided by smart unit placement.
The only way to attack is to move next to an enemy which boosts that enemy. This is only reliable in situations where you have a blob of units.
Krogen wrote: January 19th, 2020, 4:30 am Mages have 50% to get quick trait, while Shamans need to get it out of 5, due to dexterous. Though the existence of dex can be a pro-shammie argument.
Neither Shyde nor Sylph needs 'quick' trait so this doesnt matter much. And I hire lots Shamans anyway for slowing support.
Krogen wrote: January 19th, 2020, 4:30 am I played this campaign a long time ago, so i can't provide any replays. I rely on my experience as a player and common sense entirely. (The first is not to be underestimated.)
In campaigns, raw damage and tankiness beats the crap out of mobility. That's just what it is. The AI is not smart enough for it to be otherwise. Having a successful playthrough doesn't mean that it's the best way to play.
This is about HttT not some (generic or other) "campaigns". Neither your experience nor common sense help you if you dont actually know/remember the campaign which is the topic here. IMO HttT is not well balanced nor does the difficulty progress in a manner that I would consider "properly". This is just how it is in the current HttT.
Krogen wrote: January 19th, 2020, 4:30 am HttT is not a campaign though where you rely on a small variety of units. You are gonna have tanks to tank damage and mobile units where you need mobility (which would be chargers for most players).
Chargers arent actually 'mobile' in many of the scenarios. They cant even cross mountains. They (chargers for mobility) are only useful in some scenarios. And chargers (as 'Grand Knights') need to have 'quick' in some scenarios to be able to move >1 hex.
Krogen wrote: January 19th, 2020, 4:30 am Just because Shaman line is a little bit better at tanking, it doesn't make up for the tremendous gap in damage.
Its the mobility and slow which are the big benefits. They (both) are way too expensive for risky tanking outside of emergencies.
Krogen wrote: January 19th, 2020, 4:30 am Especially when you have other units that are supposed to tank. On scenarios, like the one where you cross the river, yes, Mages are a poor choice. But you'll have plenty of other troops to recall. This is not a topic about buying only Shamans or Mages, of course you'd have the rest of your army. It is typically a campaign where you'd have more units than what you can recall. You're gonna have to select each time, according to the scenario. Mage line is just a more solid choice in general.
Far as I remember Sylph is a good choice in every scenario. Great Mage is situationally good only and I dont remember any Scenario where I thought more Great Mages (other than the loyal one which I made) would have been good - unlike Sylphs - I should have made more.
Krogen wrote: January 19th, 2020, 4:30 am About Silver Mage: well, having like 1 to use for teleportation to take a crucial spot, might makes some sense, but more... not really. 9-4 aint got nothing on 16-4 or even 12-4. And it's not like they are tankier or anything, they can only teleport. So one makes sense, but no more.
I dont agree. They are situational so not good in every scenario. I remember some people using them to assassinate Lichs. My "more than one" opionion is based on me playing with (only) one though.
Krogen wrote: January 19th, 2020, 4:30 am I don't support Shaman spam, i don't know where you got that from. That would be just silly.
I was referring to "Mage, with few Shamans to support". I may have interpreted that as "few Shamans per (one) Mage".
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Krogen
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Re: Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

Post by Krogen »

I completed this campaign on the hardest difficulty back in the day and it wasn't even that much of a struggle.
You clearly just underestimate what raw damage can do. I like how you only mentioned dex after i brought it up.
I somewhat get the Sylph vs Great Mage argument, indeed, you can make a point for both sides there. (Even though mobility comes into play at level 4 after elves grow wings, so for a very, very long time they'll actually have roughly even mobility. Elves having better foot and mages having more quick traits.)
What makes the difference is the Mage of Light vs Slyde debate. MoL just stomps there so hard it's not even close. Illuminate is actually better than Slow. What slow does? It halves the damage of one unit for a turn, but it's an AI, you are already standing right next to it, so it'll attack you anyways. Therefore halving mp is not that relevant. Now what Illuminate does? It boosts the MoL itself, the lawful units you have next to it and the chaotic enemies next to it. Not just one, all of them, by 25%. That easily makes up for one enemy dealing 50% less for one turn. And this is done by not having to attack anyone. Therefore Illuminate is better than Slow. (Also there are a bunch of cave scenarios where it's even better.)
And it's not only that, it boosts the Mage itself. Decisively. They essentially don't have bad ToD, and they get 25% bonus 4/6 turns a day. Sooo... boosted damage is actually what they do most of the time instead of their regular one. What that means? Instead of 12-3 they'll do 14-3 most of the time. That's overall 42. Now what's the damage of the level 3 Enchantress? 9-4, right? (Even without boost they are only equal.)
The HEALER of the Mage line just outshined (pun intended) the DAMAGE DEALER of the Shaman line in terms of DAMAGE at level 3.
That's game over basically.
Making the argument for Druid line over WM is laughable. It's not even close. Mage of Light is essentially a demigod compared to Slyde. And that puts it's stain on the Sorceress vs Red Mage side of things, because damage type diversity. (Humans resist to arcane and often to most physical damage types, fire is the only reliable weapon against them.)
I always had the impression that Elvish Druid and Slyde were somewhat underpowered. We already considered trying to buff this unit, i think it's still relevant. Maybe giving it 6 mp at level 2 instead of 3 would be a good idea, then there would be at least something going for it. Right now, it's just ridicilous how superior MoL is.
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Zrevnur
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Re: Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

Post by Zrevnur »

Krogen wrote: January 19th, 2020, 1:37 pm I completed this campaign on the hardest difficulty back in the day and it wasn't even that much of a struggle.
You can see all my replays and some additional text here: https://forums.wesnoth.org/viewforum.php?f=39
It was on hardest difficulty without reloading and mostly it was too easy.
Krogen wrote: January 19th, 2020, 1:37 pm I like how you only mentioned dex after i brought it up.
I only brought it up because you omitted it in the damage comparison.
Krogen wrote: January 19th, 2020, 1:37 pm What makes the difference is the Mage of Light vs Slyde debate. MoL just stomps there so hard it's not even close. Illuminate is actually better than Slow. What slow does? It halves the damage of one unit for a turn, but it's an AI, you are already standing right next to it, so it'll attack you anyways. Therefore halving mp is not that relevant. Now what Illuminate does? It boosts the MoL itself, the lawful units you have next to it and the chaotic enemies next to it. Not just one, all of them, by 25%. That easily makes up for one enemy dealing 50% less for one turn. And this is done by not having to attack anyone. Therefore Illuminate is better than Slow. (Also there are a bunch of cave scenarios where it's even better.)
And it's not only that, it boosts the Mage itself. Decisively. They essentially don't have bad ToD, and they get 25% bonus 4/6 turns a day. Sooo... boosted damage is actually what they do most of the time instead of their regular one. What that means? Instead of 12-3 they'll do 14-3 most of the time. That's overall 42. Now what's the damage of the level 3 Enchantress? 9-4, right? (Even without boost they are only equal.)
The HEALER of the Mage line just outshined (pun intended) the DAMAGE DEALER of the Shaman line in terms of DAMAGE at level 3.
That's game over basically.
Making the argument for Druid line over WM is laughable. It's not even close. Mage of Light is essentially a demigod compared to Slyde. And that puts it's stain on the Sorceress vs Red Mage side of things, because damage type diversity. (Humans resist to arcane and often to most physical damage types, fire is the only reliable weapon against them.)
Damage should be 15x3 in daylight. I dont agree with your claim (of ridiculous superiority of the Mage of Light over the Shyde) here. I dont know if Shyde or Mage of Light are better. But your argumentation here is off at least for:
1) Illuminate is bad for chaotic units. In HttT you get some chaotic units.
2) Illuminate not inhibiting movement can be critical. In my experience most of HttT is about control and not about dealing damage. Slow is simply a better controller than Illuminate.
3) Illuminate is exactly the wrong thing vs lawful enemies so its not universally good like 'Slow'.
4) While Illuminate is good for your own lawful units this is situational. Far as I remember apart from White Mage you only get Horseman and Mer. I dont think it matters much for Mer as they have their own Illuminate. So its Horseman line only. On some maps this can be good. On others Horsemen are not good though. But Slow is always there to help.
5) About ToD: Slow is always good. Illuminate does nothing during ~33% of the time. And often the campaign sets the player agains chaotic enemies. Obviously as human I mostly control ToD. Obviously mostly this will thus be exactly the time when Illuminate does nothing. So no - vs AI in HttT Illuminate does not help as much as you say.
6) Special case Illuminate in cave scenarios. Lawful units (apart from White Mage line) are bad in caves. And you have to use your 'Mage of Light' to be adjacent to an enemy. While this can be useful especially if only positioning yet this isnt a big thing. And the main problem in most HttT caves is mobility.
7) Unless you want to place more than 1 enemy next to your 'Mage of Light' Slow simply does more damage reduction than Illuminate. The only big advantage is the greater reliability - 'Slow' can miss. If you have more than one (notable) enemy next to MoL they may all attack it and potentially kill it.
8) There is no reason to not combine 'Slow' and 'Illuminate' if it makes sense.
9) While MoL can be very good in some scenarios its not universally good like the Shyde. Due to mobility advantage Shyde is (far as I remember) good in every scenario. Same scenarios where Great Mage is bad (see list above) MoL is bad too. As I surely dont want to go without healer I must have at least one Shyde in HttT. The same is not true for MoL. So if going without one or the other I would rather go without MoL.
10) Your argumentation is very general. It doesnt correlate properly to the flow/progression in HttT.
11) MoL needs 190 XP, Enchantress needs 132 XP, and Shyde needs only 112 XP. This is one of the main benefits of Shyde over MoL.
12) While damage on Enchantress can be her selling point (esp against undead, or doing more reliable damage to get rid of an entrenched unit in the way) it usually is not. The best thing about Enchantress is that the next tier is the 'Sylph'. MoL doesnt have that going for it.
13) About your damage dealing focus: Usually I want my XP to go to units which arent in AMLA stage already. AMLA stage Shaman line is much better to help with that due to 'Slow'. (And Sylph also has greater damage reliability.)
14) A large part of the gameplay vs AI is positioning and outmaneuvering it. Which Shyde is much better at. So no - MoL isnt a "demigod" vs Shyde.
15) About damage and damage diversity. I dont disagree with these points. Its just that I dont value them anywhere near the level of much better mobility. And later on you have 2 obligatory heavy fire damage dealers with 6 (foot) MP anyway. Only the Silver Mage (which you dont seem to like) breaks out of those 6 (foot) MP.
Edit 16) Shyde are needed for healing mobile Sylphs. MoL simply cant do that.
Krogen wrote: January 19th, 2020, 1:37 pm I always had the impression that Elvish Druid and Slyde were somewhat underpowered. We already considered trying to buff this unit, i think it's still relevant. Maybe giving it 6 mp at level 2 instead of 3 would be a good idea, then there would be at least something going for it. Right now, it's just ridicilous how superior MoL is.
Its quite possible that Druid line is somewhat weak - especially if not considering healing Sylphs. But this doesnt matter much in later HttT. Mostly you have more power than the other side anyway. The goal becomes thus to maximize XP (this is not losing important units but also making new leveled ones) and map control (to min-max gold vs XP, and to get AI to split its forces instead of bunching units together). MoL isnt good at either of these two. Shyde however is good at both.
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Re: Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

Post by Krogen »

It seems to me that we used entirely different unit compositions for this campaign. In the later stages i barely got any elvish troops. Only units with leadership and marksman abilities.
I will only comment on MoL being bad against humans: so are Shaman level ups. MoL can still be used as a background healer and illuminating your own troops from the second line, all it takes is good play and positioning and maybe a quick trait which it'll probably have. And even with arcane resistance and pierce vulnerability it still deals more damage to Loyalists than Shyde. Even when MoL is "bad", it's still way better than Shyde. Melee reliability wasn't even mentioned. (From the whole bunch WM line is the only one that doesn't have an almost useless trait, even strong will be useful on it at level 3.) I still find comparing Shyde to MoL to be a ridicilous attempt.
Overall i relied more on a mix of dwarves, chargers and mages, with little elvish support and no chaotic forces at all. (It's really amazing how quickly one can level up those unkillable dwarves.) Funny thing is that the Druid i leveled early on survived to the end.
I guess HttT really allows you to make up your own composition, more than any other campaign. For mine, Shamans just wouldn't have worked all that well. It's probably just a campaign that's not hard enough and it's possible to complete with different compositions. I found that the most optimal way to play is to rely on elves in the first half, and then on everything else in the second. But... everyone remembers the endings, right? And there, Mages rock. Fire is still the only reliable damage type against Loyalists.
"A lion doesn't concern himself with the opinions of the sheep." - Tywin Lannister
Zrevnur
Posts: 90
Joined: January 11th, 2020, 12:04 pm

Re: Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

Post by Zrevnur »

Krogen wrote: January 19th, 2020, 4:19 pm It seems to me that we used entirely different unit compositions for this campaign. In the later stages i barely got any elvish troops. Only units with leadership and marksman abilities.
I will only comment on MoL being bad against humans: so are Shaman level ups. MoL can still be used as a background healer and illuminating your own troops from the second line, all it takes is good play and positioning and maybe a quick trait which it'll probably have.
This is a gameplay style thing. I dont like MoL (nor Leadership units) due to the complication of gameplay. In later stages of HttT its mostly about not making dumb mistakes to increase the power gap between me and the opposition in further scenarios.
Krogen wrote: January 19th, 2020, 4:19 pm And even with arcane resistance and pierce vulnerability it still deals more damage to Loyalists than Shyde. Even when MoL is "bad", it's still way better than Shyde.
Vs loyalists I think Shyde is better than MoL due to 'slow' unless maybe if you use MoL to boost your own lawful. But I dont remember any notable battles in the later stage where this (boost my own vs loyalists) would have mattered. This also may be a gameplay style thing though.
Krogen wrote: January 19th, 2020, 4:19 pm Melee reliability wasn't even mentioned. (From the whole bunch WM line is the only one that doesn't have an almost useless trait, even strong will be useful on it at level 3.)
Sylph/Shyde have magic melee but Mage line does not. IME based on my playstyle Sylph can also use it defensivly to demolish enemy units. This is one of the things making Sylph so strong in HttT as enemies often have many lower tier units.
Now Shyde vs MoL: Shyde always does avg 8.4/9.8. MoL depends on ToD and terrain of enemy - 7x3/8x3 or 9x3/10x3 which ranges from avg 6.3/7.2 to avg 21.6/24. So most of the time (esp outside caves) MoL does more melee damage.
The 'reliability' is more varied though. Shyde has only 9% chance to do no damage in melee. For MoL this varies between 0.8% (vs 20%) and 34.3% (vs 70%).
Krogen wrote: January 19th, 2020, 4:19 pm Overall i relied more on a mix of dwarves, chargers and mages, with little elvish support and no chaotic forces at all. (It's really amazing how quickly one can level up those unkillable dwarves.)
Dwarves (Steelclad & Lord) are the strongest race. They replace Knight line for tanking (but not mobility). I also focused on them later. But they are too slow for scenarios which require speed like 'Home of the North Elves'.
Krogen wrote: January 19th, 2020, 4:19 pm It's probably just a campaign that's not hard enough
Yes, its sad how the difficulty drops later on.
Krogen wrote: January 19th, 2020, 4:19 pm But... everyone remembers the endings, right? And there, Mages rock. Fire is still the only reliable damage type against Loyalists.
Too bad it was a big letdown in terms of difficulty. I gave it a 2 in the review. It may even be the easiest of all combat scenarios in the campaign. If that scenario would be hard it would be a good argument for 'Great Mage' being useful in HttT.
lifaen
Posts: 6
Joined: February 11th, 2020, 11:19 am

Re: Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

Post by lifaen »

In terms of ranged damage, few units, if any, can keep up with the arch mage/great mage. Their damage type being fire also helps, because resistances against fire are kind of rare in Wesnoth (drakes and the red mage line are the only ones I can only think of off the top of my head). This applies especially to HttT, where you meet drakes only in Cliffs of Thoria (which you don't even have to play if you choose another path) and red mages are few in numbers among the enemies you face (and your spellcasters won't be dealing with them anyway).

So, when choosing how to develop the spellcaster fraction of my army in HttT, I usually rely on mages who predominantly become red mages and then arch mages. While the teleportation of silver mages comes in handy in some scenarios, the 1 or two that I tend to develop are more like part-time players on my roster reserved for those specific situations, because arch mages just do so much better in battle.

Still, at the beginning of the campaign, levelling up a few shamans is one of my primary goals, because:
  1. I want an 8-point healer as soon as possible. If you happen to recruit an intelligent shaman and have a little luck in setting up the kills, you can have a druid by the end of the first scenario.
  2. My preferred fighting style relies on magic, and an elvish sorceress is definitely better than a level-1 mage.
So while mages overtake the elvish spellcasters in terms of the damage they do later on, elves are your only option early in the campaign if you want – somewhat – powerful magic, since the earliest you'll be able to get a mage to level 2 is probably towards the end of Bay of Pearls. And even then, mages aren't really that impressive yet (red mage 8-4 fire vs. sorceress 7-4 arcane); level 3 is where the fun really begins with them if you ask me.

A word on the special abilities: The one that has proven most useful to me in HttT (aside from leadership, which spellcasters don't have) is illuminate, since a good part of your army will be lawful at any point in the campaign. Teleport is undoubtedly useful, but as I said above, I view it as a specialist ability reserved for a few specific situations. Slow, while very useful in other campaigns, is rarely necessary in HttT, because ... well, why bother slowing down a powerful enemy unit if you can just as well kill it in one turn using an arch mage/great mage (for enemies with strong melee attacks) or a knight/lancer/paladin/grand knight (for units with strong ranged attacks).

That said, there's plenty of XP to go around in HttT (especially on medium or difficult), so I usually keep developing a few elvish spellcasters as well just for the fun of it. And while they're not the universal killing machines that arch mages and great mages are, they are good for a few situations:
  • With their combination of good mobility in difficult terrain, magical and slowing attacks, elvish shydes and sylphs make great assassination teams. In my opinion, assassinating enemy leaders is rarely the best approach to HttT scenarios, though: most of them are easily winnable by taking on the full strength of the enemy army, which gets you a lot more XP, and gold is rarely ever an issue in HttT, meaning you can engage in lengthy battles, get the most XP possible out of a scenario and likely still finish with a nice amount of gold carryover.
  • The damage of an arch mage/great mage comes in large increments, which can make it difficult for them to set up a high-level kill for a level-1 unit. For example: you attack an enemy who has 47 HP remaining with a great mage; if you hit him twice, he will have 15 HP remaining, which is too much for a non-horseman level-1 unit to get a high kill probability without level-3 leadership; if you land 3 hits, the enemy dies without your level-1 unit getting the killing blow. A combination of 2 slightly less powerful units to do the main damage can be better in such cases. If there is an elvish spellcaster among those 2, you will be able to slow the enemy, which means your level-1 guy, who probably doesn't have a whole lot of HP to begin with, will take considerably less retaliation damage. This is the one case in HttT where I find that the slow ability really comes in handy.
  • When you divide your forces and rely on a group of elves moving quickly through a forest, you will probably want a healer and at least one offensively powerful spellcaster in that group (at least I would, though depending on the enemy I'm facing, a sharpshooter might also do). Mages would simply not be able to keep up with the elves in the forest.
  • When you're going with a small army on a map with lots of high-defence terrain, an elvish druid/shyde might be your preferred healer, because you don't need to guard them as heavily as a white mage due to their superior terrain defence.
The last point on the list is in my opinion the biggest drawback of mages: there is no terrain outside of encampments and villages that gives them good defence (except when you send them into the mountains, where they can barely move).

So while mages are generally better for most situations during HttT, elvish druids and sorceresses are definitely helpful early in the campaign. And I personally would recommend to keep developing a few of them even later on, if only for the sake of versatility of your army. In HttT, you'll reach the point where you have more units on your recall list than you'll ever want to use in a single scenario pretty quickly anyway.

Some people have pointed out earlier in this thread that it is desirable to keep an elvish druid at level 2 to keep the upkeep low. While this is true, I would argue that levelling up a druid is not something you should avoid at all cost if battle tactics call for something else. Use your druid in combat as is strategically appropriate, and if you accidentally level her up to a shyde, the extra upkeep won't kill you – having enough gold is rarely ever a problem in HttT.
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