Drakes against thunderers?

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Ultimatum479
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Post by Ultimatum479 »

Doc Paterson wrote:(Yes or No answer, please.)
Yes.
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Kalis
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Post by Kalis »

Whoa the thread exploded since I last posted :shock:

Just a quick comment to Doc:
I didn't question your expertise, but I would appreciate it if you share some of that expertise. I think that's what Lunar and ultimatum are saying as well.

If writing out a long post is far too tedious, why not give us 2 films? Doesn't have to be against me. Ideally, it would be you and another great player, and the films would be drake vs loyalist, and drake vs knalgans, with the match being very close.

Preferably on a map with less manuever than Blitz: such as sablestone delta or hamlets.

Some suggestions on what else I could of done in the drakes vs knalgans game I won (posted in the 1st section) would also be appreciated. I won, but I know I made mistakes. But viewing it, I'm not entirely sure where.

Velensk:
I've been offering myself up for some matches against a drake player repeatedly. I'm perfectly willing to get slaughtered if it means I get a film to study. :)
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Post by Ultimatum479 »

Well, I dunno why Thrawn hasn't posted the match we did. I'll post it soon if he doesn't. But I'm not a great player, so that's hardly a good example.

I haven't been saying that Drake v Knalgan is an unbalanced match. I've actually been trying to see _how_ it's unbalanced. I agree with the people here who say it's balanced...I just wish they'd give actual explanations of why the opinions of others are wrong.

Really, I think the match is balanced if you use Saurians well in conjunction with your more expensive Drakes. The obvious disadvantage of a Thunderer is that if he misses once, his turn's over. High-dodge Saurians in front of the Drakes acting as meatshields makes keeping your expensive units alive a lot easier. That's the main point I was trying to make earlier.
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Post by Kalis »

Note: I would like to say I'm not arguing it's unbalanced. Again, it's more that I'm searching for answers. :)


Ultimatum:

Several comments in response:

1: Saurians don't have high dodge without terrain.
Assuming you do manage to lure the thunderers off their cliffs, you got a 40% block. On terrain it's 60% (not 70%).
Also, augurs are 15 gold, skirmishers are 16. Neither unit is cheap enough that you can afford to use them to front, unless you're willing to lose them.
This is especially true since they have a base hit points of 18 and 22 respectively, which is extremely easy to kill.
While saurians have 10% pierce resist, it just isn't enough to make up for that really low hit points.

2: Where are you going to get the gold for the saurians?
As I recall, with 100 gold, you'll spend most of that on drakes, which leaves little gold for a "saurian frontline".

3: Your army should already be outnumbered since your cheapest unit costs 15 gold. If you position saurians in front, and lose them, your army strength is reduced dramatically, which is asking to be killed.


From what I've seen, you have to have drakes front. Resilient clashers have exceptionally high hit points, which makes them capable of taking numerous thunderer shots and surviving.

Yet giving the enemy the initiative isn't the key to success. It gives them the option to attack, and setup proper ZoCs so each of their units can only be attacked by 2 of your units. Even if they step onto grass with 30% block, 2 units generally cannot kill a thunderer.
I suppose that's where the saurian skirmish ability fits in. Yet, in giving them the initial shot (which takes a clasher out of combat), and then attacking with 3 units to take out a thunderer, you're certain to take heavy damage, and lose the saurian the next turn. Which is an exchange rate of 2 effective units to 1. Even worse, all of your surviving units will have taken several hits from the 6-2 thunderer attack. This is now a setup for the complete elimination of your army (damaged drakes, all in vulnerable terrain, and easily reached by enemy troops).

With all this said, I also believe the match can potentially be balanced. I suspect I may be missing a certain critical point which would make all the difference.
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Post by Cackfiend »

Kalis and I just played a Drake vs Dwarves in where the Drakes won, but it was more due to lucky fights (on both ends) rather than good strategy that made the game. We're gonna play a few more and post a replay of a good one.
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Post by Lunar2 »

Noy wrote:
Lunar2 wrote: I have to seriously question that there is even one person who can claim "thousands" (2000+) of observed and/or played Dwarf v Drake 1v1 matches, especially within a timeframe that would make this relevant to the question (ie Drakes have changed a ton since their introduction, and so have Dwarves). Few people can even claim to have played/observed "thousands" of Wesnoth games period, let alone a specific 1v1 matchup.

Ugh of course I meant thousands of general games. There are three of us who have been here since 0.7.X, playing multiplayer almost every day. If we averaged about two games a day (a conservative estimate)over the space of three years its easy to accumulate several thousand games. Moreover I personally only play 2v2s so I've watched and played double the number of match ups. I couldn't place how many drake vs knalgan games I've played or watch. Maybe a 100 or so Drakes vs Knalgans matchups.
Lunar2 wrote:To put this to an analogy, you're asking us to have faith in your religion that all faction matchups are balanced, and we're taking the atheist or agnostic stance. This doesn't make you inherently right - only that you're not proven wrong (nor easily proven wrong, but neither is the contrarian stance. It's easy to tear an argument apart when presented, but I don't see anyone offering one on the other side of the arguments). And having faith should not be the status quo - if it is, then balancing will come to a halt.
See this is what I'm talking about. You don't know, you're just throwing around statements to attempt to understand, shrilly stating that we're victims of groupthink or the magic koolaid of balacning. For anybody actually involved in the MP debates or watch us on IRC, its laughable to think we agree everything is balanced. This game is about competition. Do you honestly think we'd keep the game UNBALANCED just for the kicks of it? Do you understand how much work people like DK, Soliton, and myself have put into balancing the factions, how much work Becephelaus and Doc have done on maps? Do you have a conception of how contentious our debates on balancing are? Seriously?

I work on this on a day to day basis. I actually just watch games just to understand balance, and new strategies. This game isn't designed for new players, its designed to be for the top end of players. And those people, (who are on every night) bring examples to me all the time about specific balancing problems.However those comments are far more nuanced and show a better understanding of the game than what is on display here. I'm going to be absolutely blunt here, the comments in this thread is like watching kids play in a sandbox.

Here I'll give you a specific example of a balancing concern that was brought forward by jb and mythological a couple of days ago (two very experienced players). The changes to holy in 1.3.1 on the ghost made it less than effective against countering the Ulfzerker. Specifically, instead of draining for 2 damage, it drained for one. Now the counterargument that I put forward was that even if the ghost was nolonger a viable response, you still had skeletons. However their inferior movetype made them less than effective. Since Ulfs could kill DAs easily, losing the ghost as an effective counter diminished the factions effectiveness. Its not much, but its perceptable. Now we had two options here. First we could remove quick as an option from the ulf, something that has been discussed before, but wasn't implemented at the time due to a lack of traits. Now that healthy is a trait this reopened this debate. Alternatively we could dial down the new holy resistances on the dwarves and bring them back to 10%, exactly it is for cold before. We decided on the latter after much discussion. You'll see it in 1.3.2

Now thats a typical balancing concern. Its thought of on many levels, and shows a nuanced understanding of the game. Its not that we think aspects of the game are balanced, we don't. People disagree with each other all the time. In this case the loss of 1 point of drain prompted a balancing debate. Now compare this to the level of discussion in this thread.


You know, I could do what happened back in the day prior to when DK and I became the MP developers. Changes just happened and nobody was consulted. You can look at the history of the ulfzerker. I remember those days, and I'd like to I'd like to help people understand why certain things are the way they are. But when I come into threads like this, and watch myself and other developers get disrespected by people who think they know better than someone that has actually put serious effort into making the game better, I get slightly ticked off. It seems like some people never question their own culpability and limitations, instead blaming the people who actually took the time to do something about it.

Think about that for a second Lunar before your reply.
I will also preface this that I do not agree that Dwarf v Drake is unbalanced as much as others are claiming.

I'm going to examine specific statements now:

"For anybody actually involved in the MP debates or watch us on IRC, its laughable to think we agree everything is balanced."

Never have liked IRC. Been on a few times, and all was quiet the times I was. I multi task enough, and would not want to keep another program up just in case a conversation sparks that I have interest in. Also, "For anybody who has not read or been involved in the debates on IRC, it is possible to think they agree everything is balanced, considering the relative lack of serious discussion on the forums."

"But when I come into threads like this, and watch myself and other developers get disrespected by people who think they know better than someone that has actually put serious effort into making the game better, I get slightly ticked off."

Get over it? This is commonplace in any game! I get criticized with decisions I've made with programs too (Beyond just Wesnoth. A series of RPGs I made, both for TI-85/86 and TI-89, mods made for UT2k, a variety of programs written in different versions of BASIC, etc). However, I haven't seen any aimed, explicit disrespect so far.

Now thats a typical balancing concern. Its thought of on many levels, and shows a nuanced understanding of the game. Its not that we think aspects of the game are balanced, we don't. People disagree with each other all the time. In this case the loss of 1 point of drain prompted a balancing debate. Now compare this to the level of discussion in this thread.

General discussion is no more right or wrong than specific discussion. For example, in this case, it sounds like most of a faction is being changed in regards to a damage type. It'll make Dwarves weaker to the Elvish Sorceress line and the White Mage line - granted, both are Lv2+ units, but if they didn't matter, why was the Sorceress changed from Cold to Holy? It'll also make Holy even less intuitive than it is in 1.3.1, if that's even possible - "This damage type is effective against anything deemed magical in nature, doubly so if said target has the trait Undead, but is randomly effective against Orcish/Naga/Merman offspring and ineffective against humanoid forms, doubly ineffective if said humanoid is a human". No, I don't believe any name for this damage type would make any sense. I am allowed to believe that this is a bad path for balancing even if those "superior" to me believe otherwise.

Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but don't they get 2 drain per hit at night, and mobility enough to pick the time they attack?
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Post by Noy »

Meh, I'm done with you lunar. I've made my point, you're not really responding to my comments, so there is no real point to keep this up.

Kalis, I watched the zip save of both of your 1v1s with drakes, and I'll give you my commentss. On the silverhead crossing game your main error was doing nothing to stop his northern offensive. Essentially you let him take the northern villages without much of a fight. One glider vs a spearman, fencer, mer fighter and a horseman, isn't going to last very long. By turn 6 you were already down 4 villages. That might be acceptable if your main offensive in the centre actually intended to do something. However by turn 9 you decide to commit the bulk of your combat strength to excavating a spearman out of a cave village that only had three attacking points possible. There is no real pressing reason for this, you could have left him there and gone for other objectives. There were at least three open villages around you, however instead you decided to attack the village unit for two consecutive turns. Moreover this placed all your units in an area of restricted mobility: a huge no no for drakes. This allowed gallifax to surround your more mobile forces and eliminate them. By that time he's pumping out spearmen by the turn and you didn't have a hope. Nothing unbalanced there in the least.

Game two on blitz had a bit of screwy luck but you make the same error, though galifax didnt take you up on it at first. Instead your error here is to send all your chaotic saurians into the centre at dawn and initiate combat against Merfolk and spearmen. Merfolk who do have resistances to cold as well. Sure you had bad luck, but that wouldn't have changed the outcome that much. Average luck would have made it a stalemate, by which time he DID start taking your villages, and you were out of the game. Nothing inherently unbalanced about each situation.

Thanks for posting your replays Kalis, I appreciate that you did have the honesty to do so. If you want help with your game come see me on the server and we'll talk more about.

So are there any more examples of unbalanced matchups people would like to show?
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Post by Kalis »

Noy: the silverhead crossing game... Gallifax was drakes :)
I freely admit Gallifax is a more skilled player than I am at 1v1s, with far more experience.
That film was posted more because it showed how the loyalist of a lesser skilled player slaughtered the drakes of a better player.

The blitz game, however, I was really at a loss.
So rather than commit and stay in combat, I should of given up on the merman kill?
Do a full retreat and wait for nighttime to fall?

My main worry was that the more time I gave him, the more advantage he would get as the "initial strike" of a combination of spearmen and horsemen would of slaughtered me in seconds (which is what I performed against him on silverhead crossing)
Last edited by Kalis on April 2nd, 2007, 7:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Ultimatum479 »

Noy wrote:Meh, I'm done with you lunar. I've made my point, you're not really responding to my comments, so there is no real point to keep this up.
And you responded to his? When?
Noy wrote:Kalis, I watched the zip save of both of your 1v1s with drakes, and I'll give you my commentss.
There, however, you did respond. Thank you. That's all I wanted. Be nice if the Doc would either do the same or not post at all.

Since Thrawn still hasn't posted the match we did, I guess I'll post it. I seem to recall an observer saying it wasn't a good match to post, though. Probably true. He made a couple silly mistakes, although so did I.
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Post by Noy »

Ultimatum479 wrote:
Noy wrote:Meh, I'm done with you lunar. I've made my point, you're not really responding to my comments, so there is no real point to keep this up.
And you responded to his? When?


First off, he's brining in arguments here that are not part of the drake balancing discussions, particularly on holy which I've gone over enough, on the mailing list, forum and on wesnoth-dev. None of these discussions occur in secret they are available for anyone to see. Its not my problem if he fails to do so.

Second, he hasn't really responded to anything. Where is the respone to my response that this is some sort of group-thinking organization that thinks everything is balanced? I give a precise example about how balancing occurs, and then he jumps on it and goes on a tangent about how holy was our own mess, while still implying we're the "cult of balance" because we don't really change anything. One look at the changelog blows that claim out of the water:
changelog for 1.3 wrote:
* Increased the HP of the Longbowman from 45 to 51.
* Decreased the XP requirement of the Longbowman from 80 to 68.
* Increased the HP of the Master Bowman from 58 to 67.
* decreased the HP of the Arch Mage from 57 to 54.
* Increased the melee attack of the Elvish Shyde from 4-2 to 6-2.
* Increased the ranged slow attack of the Elvish Shyde from 7-2 to 6-3.
* Increased the ranged magical attack of the Elvish Shyde from 7-3 to 8-3.
* Increased the melee attack of the Elvish Enchantress from 5-2 to 6-2.
* Increased the melee attack of the Elvish Sylph from 5-3 to 6-3.
* Increased the ranged slow attack of the Elvish Sylph from 6-4 to 6-5.
* Increased the HP of the Elvish Sylph from 58 to 60.
* Increased the XP requirement of the Guardsman from 42 to 47.
* Increased the HP of the Stalwart from 48 to 54.
* Increased the XP requirement of the Stalwart from 65 to 85.
* Increased the HP of the Sentinel from 56 to 68.
* Decreased the cost of the Mudcrawler from 9 to 5.
* Decreased the HP of the Shadow from 26 to 24.
* Increased the HP of the Goblin Rouser from 26 to 31.
* Increased the melee attack of the Goblin Rouser from 5-3 to 6-3.
18 Changes, NOT ONE to do with Holy. Yes thats right, we do no balancing here. Just ignore the whole guardsman balancing, or the UD vs UD balancing changes. Just a lot of noise pretending to be an effective argument.

Also: The sorceress change occurred because of esthtetics, It was thought that elves who are adept magic users would likely use far different attacks than cold to do their damage, more the ability to control magic itself, which is what arcane is. And no, this is not an invitation to discuss Arcane damage.

Ultimatum479 wrote:
Noy wrote:Kalis, I watched the zip save of both of your 1v1s with drakes, and I'll give you my commentss.
There, however, you did respond. Thank you. That's all I wanted. Be nice if the Doc would either do the same or not post at all.

Since Thrawn still hasn't posted the match we did, I guess I'll post it. I seem to recall an observer saying it wasn't a good match to post, though. Probably true. He made a couple silly mistakes, although so did I.

Well watching this Thrawn made some key errors. Its very much the same problem that galifax had in the other game, and Kalis in the other. You essentially ganged up on him on the left hand side, which occurred just about the same time Thrawn sent his leader on the expedition on the right to go kill units. With no reinforcements coming, and inadequate units to create an effective defensive barrier, you were able to get on good terrain and attire his units. Incidently this is one of the reasons I don't enjoy playing 1v1s, because I don't find balancing that fun. The best player at left right force balance? Soliton, without a question. He just has a sixth sense to it. Go watch one of his replays if you want to see how to play 1v1s better.

Thrawn's offensive on the right suffered the exact same faults that galifax's game did. He wasted three good turns trying to eliminate two separate thunderers on 18 10. Why? There was no pressing strategic reason to do so, seriously, let him sit up there to rot. The minute you took 22 8, the thunderer died in a hail of spears and swords: text book example of what a drake is supposed to do.

By this time massive village advantage seals the win.

More and more this is proving my point, failure to use drakes properly, plus a lack of understanding of how to play 1v1s is at fault, not something being unbalanced. Even by your own admission ultimatum you've only started playing drakes, and you can see why. I've always maintained that the knalgans are the easiest to learn, and drakes among the hardest, might that have something to do with your perspective?

Any more replays? This is actually pretty fun.
Last edited by Noy on April 2nd, 2007, 9:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Noy »

Kalis wrote:Noy: the silverhead crossing game... Gallifax was drakes :)
I freely admit Gallifax is a more skilled player than I am at 1v1s, with far more experience.
That film was posted more because it showed how the loyalist of a lesser skilled player slaughtered the drakes of a better player.

The blitz game, however, I was really at a loss.
So rather than commit and stay in combat, I should of given up on the merman kill?
Do a full retreat and wait for nighttime to fall?

My main worry was that the more time I gave him, the more advantage he would get as the "initial strike" of a combination of spearmen and horsemen would of slaughtered me in seconds (which is what I performed against him on silverhead crossing)
Stop going on about how good galifax is, because he isn't that good according to that replay. He played a very poor strategy in two different places, and he lost because of it. Either one of those errors was enough to lose him the game. Your northern attack was a very good move. You outplayed him, big time.

The key with drakes is how you watch your time of day. Saurians are good to hold key positions at night for drakes, but both need to run unless you had an all saurian force. You had like 6 saurians + leader and a drake in the centre in your game and he had 2 merfolk and three spears and a horse. At day that was not an even matchup, as the merfolk in water are very well equipped to handle saurians at any time of day. Had you of had two burners instead of a couple of saurians you probably would have trounced him pretty badly. Instead your augurs did no effective damage against the merfolk, and your skirmishers had to attack them on 40% vs 60% at dawn or day. Hmmm, I wonder who was going to win that? IT would have been far more prudent to have run there. Instead a bad decision+ bad luck created a massacre.
Last edited by Noy on April 2nd, 2007, 8:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Ultimatum479 »

In the end, then, I think we've all agreed on one point: if Drakes don't use their mobility to their advantage (in earlier cases, by surrounding units and attacking all at once to quickly kill them one by one; in this last case, by getting the village advantage early), they're screwed. That's true in any scenario, but possibly more so against Knalgans simply because the Gryphon + Footpad combo is, I think, the best of any faction for quickly grabbing villages. So, that's so far not a balance issue, as I've thought all along. However, since this is the main issue, now I'm actually worried it _could_ be a balance problem when before I wasn't...How do Drakes use this mobility in a small map? Does anyone have any replays of Drakes v Knalgans on small maps, or is a decent Drake player planning on logging onto BfW within the next hour?
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Post by Noy »

Ultimatum479 wrote:In the end, then, I think we've all agreed on one point: if Drakes don't use their mobility to their advantage (in earlier cases, by surrounding units and attacking all at once to quickly kill them one by one; in this last case, by getting the village advantage early), they're screwed. That's true in any scenario, but possibly more so against Knalgans simply because the Gryphon + Footpad combo is, I think, the best of any faction for quickly grabbing villages.p


Umm is it? Its a lumbering 24 gold beast. Buying two will cost you half of your initial gold. This is a faction that has some pretty expensive units. Your main unit costs 16 gold, your main ranged unit costs 17, and your mage costs 19. Under your terms, the Elvish scout/archer combo is probably better, because one gets far more moves, and the other has a better movetype and better damage.
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Post by Thrawn »

sorry, I haven't been on to post replay...

Thanks for the comments Noy. I think that wasting time killing units that don't need to be killed is my biggest problem...besides not remembering to pay attention to the enemy enough (I got out of practice in my mini-hiatus from the game).

Just a comment & question about the game though: by not killing the thunderer, I allow for an extra unit when the rest of his army gets there. I was trying to get rid of one before the rest could reach. By letting him rot there you mean that I should have pushed past him and taken out the units not on good terrain, right?
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Post by Noy »

Thrawn wrote:sorry, I haven't been on to post replay...

Thanks for the comments Noy. I think that wasting time killing units that don't need to be killed is my biggest problem...besides not remembering to pay attention to the enemy enough (I got out of practice in my mini-hiatus from the game).

Just a comment & question about the game though: by not killing the thunderer, I allow for an extra unit when the rest of his army gets there. I was trying to get rid of one before the rest could reach. By letting him rot there you mean that I should have pushed past him and taken out the units not on good terrain, right?


I'd have to look at it again but my initial answer is yes. Drakes are not about actually using terrain to give itself and advantage, but denying other factions the use of terrain that is advantageous to them. You want to get units on terrain that gives you an 10% difference or less, so 30 vs 40% defence. A thunderer and a drake fighter fighting it out on open terrain is usually a dead thunderer. Put the drake fighter on a hill and the thunderer on grasslands or forest, you're denying him 60%.

You could have also conducted a slow withdrawal on the left, and moved units over there... that might have worked, or gone back to recruit yourself. Instead committing everything on the right to kill the gunner on the hill, sucking up over 50% of your combat power, for no gain at all.
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