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JW
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Re: You think a faction is overpowered? Come here!

Post by JW » April 5th, 2009, 6:44 pm

nurgles_herald wrote:I know that people are quite convinced that drakes can do well against the undead in the hands of an experienced player, but the issue for me is that if both sides are in the hands of an experienced player, I find the undead consistently have the upper hand. Let's run the numbers.
I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to counter all of your points.
During the day, das do 15-2 against most drakes, 11-2 against skirmishers.
Actually, at dawn/dusk. At day it's 12-2 and 9-2.
Because we're talking about magical attacks, that still gives 2 das a pretty solid chance (34%) of dishing out 45 damage to any drake, or 33 to any skirmisher. Not an assured kill, unlike at night, mind you, but it allows the undead to still pose a significant threat. This forces the drake player to play cautious aggro during the day, whereas the undead player can essentially go berserk at night, for reasons that I am sure all people here are well aware.
That's great, but a strong clasher at day can do 36 (9-4) damage to a defenseless DA. Alone. Fighters are also pretty good at 9-3 or 10-3.
But it doesn't end there. Skirmishers, frequently cited by the uninformed as being an appropriate way to deal with das, are very poor at this role as well. If the undead player isn't a giant idiot, they can and will keep them in positions with high % defense. I think it is not absurd to assume an average defense % of 40 for das. 50 is probably more common, but that might strike some of you as being hyperbole. So, with 40% defense, doing 4 damage per strike with 4 attacks, you need two skirmishers to even do enough damage to kill a da. But, even then, you have an abysmal % chance to succeed (1.7% to do 32 damage).
You're assuming the Drake player will want to attack at night. Really he'll want to run. Skirmishers are there to get at exposed adepts and create a threat of a counter on an UD attack.
The most obvious conclusion is that you really can only beat an undead player with drakes if he or she is a giant idiot, or you happen to be blessed with tremendous luck. Because this game should be at least partially based on strategy, I have issues with that.
I won't be condescending here, butit's clear you're missing a huge part of the dynamic.
There is a second glaring problem with drakes. Drakes versus knalgans. Yes, the common mantra is "thunderers, thunderers, thunderers." It's a mindless mantra.
Or thunderers, poachers, guards, even fighters and thieves can work well.
Thunderers do 18 piercing damage, which against most drake units translates into 20. But this is one attack, and so can be easily controlled by playing drakes defensively. On decent terrain, most drakes would have 40-50% defense, meaning that, in order for a knalgan player to have any good statistical chance of killing an enemy drake, they would need three thunderers. And even then, at 40% defense, it will only do at least 40 damage 64.8% of the time (and only 60 damage 21.6% of the time). 40 damage is enough to kill the weaker drake units, yes, but not enough to take down the heftier level 1's, especially not if they have resilient.
Name which drake gets 50% defense and you win a cookie.
In other words, thunderers are an inefficient way to defeat drakes. Another, less common counter, is to suggest massed fighters. However, because most drake units have resistance to blade and impact weapons, and because most drakes have ranged attacks, and because drake clashers are more than capable of handling fighters in melee, unless the fighter is on a mountain, this strategy is dependent upon the drake player not comprehending ZoC or the importance of hills/mountains to a Knalgan player. In other words, a knalgan player's best hope is for the drake player to be a noob, much as the drake's is for the undead player to be a noob. That is not a strategy. It's not even luck. It's just an obvious flaw in the game. Yes, some factions should be better against others, but it should not be a game of rock-paper-scissors with cooler graphics.
This entire section makes no sense. You suggest mass thunderers and then mass fighters, but you don't look at the other extremely viable options. This is tunnel-vision.
One, more complicated way to fix this would be to introduce a new unit to the drake faction. While this might work, it would require more labor than the more readily apparent fix. Just change drake weaknesses and resistances. I suggest setting drake cold weakness to -30%, and pierce weakness to -20%. This gives rebels and knalgans, the two factions that, in my experience and opinion have the most difficulty with drakes, a better shot against them, while simultaneously giving drakes a better chance against undead but keeping the faction balanced.
You come to this conclusion without fully appreciating the dynamics of the matchups and from using incorrect statistics.
Comments? Yes. I took a statistics class. I recommend that, before you comment on how "balanced" things are, you run the numbers. It not only makes you look informed, it actually makes you informed, and an informed opinion is really the only thing that matters when it comes to suggestions for making a game balanced.
You may have taken a statistics class, but your knowledge of Wesnoth and its dynamics is somewhat lacking at the moment. Keep playing with experienced players and figuring out the strategies and I'm sure you'll come back with a much deeper understanding of how the faction balance plays out.

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Re: You think a faction is overpowered? Come here!

Post by svek » April 5th, 2009, 7:15 pm

I started writing a long reply but found that JW already had said everything I wanted to say...

So just making a nitpick:
JW wrote:Actually, at dawn/dusk. At day it's 12-2 and 9-2.
Make that 11-2 and 9-2

I also found this pretty hilarious:
nurgles_herald wrote: During the day, das do 15-2 against most drakes, 11-2 against skirmishers.
[...]
I recommend that, before you comment on how "balanced" things are, you run the numbers. It not only makes you look informed, it actually makes you informed, and an informed opinion is really the only thing that matters when it comes to suggestions for making a game balanced.

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Re: You think a faction is overpowered? Come here!

Post by Wintermute » April 5th, 2009, 9:04 pm

nurgles_herald wrote:During the day, das do 15-2 against most drakes, 11-2 against skirmishers.
...
Comments? Yes. I took a statistics class. I recommend that, before you comment on how "balanced" things are, you run the numbers. It not only makes you look informed, it actually makes you informed, and an informed opinion is really the only thing that matters when it comes to suggestions for making a game balanced.
I suggest you run your numbers again...

EDIT: wow. Did I ever get beat to the punch on this one... :wink:
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Re: You think a faction is overpowered? Come here!

Post by nurgles_herald » April 5th, 2009, 9:12 pm

Actually, at dawn/dusk. At day it's 12-2 and 9-2.
Good catch. I admittedly misspoke. This does not reduce, however, the fact that das have the advantage over drakes for nearly 2/3 of the game, with total dominance during night, controlled pushing at dusk, and a solid fighting withdrawal at dawn. Drakes, on the other hand, can only really run wild during full day, meaning that the undead player should have consistently more resources at his disposal, considering that he is more of a threat for more of the game.
That's great, but a strong clasher at day can do 36 (9-4) damage to a defenseless DA. Alone. Fighters are also pretty good at 9-3 or 10-3.
Absolutely true, but that's dependent upon the undead player only recruiting das. Considering how powerful das are against drakes, and how fragile they are, undead players really don't need that many to maintain total dominance at night and primacy during dusk/dawn. Note, of course, that I am commenting on the game as a whole, particularly the middle-game, where there are few level 2s running around but you have progressed past the period of extra haxx (the early game is, in my opinion, one of primarily luck, both in recruiting and attacking).
You're assuming the Drake player will want to attack at night. Really he'll want to run. Skirmishers are there to get at exposed adepts and create a threat of a counter on an UD attack.
I am aware of the push-counterpush dynamic, but the issue is that drakes only pose a significant threat during the day, whereas the undead can control dusk/dawn fairly effectively, and have dominance over night time. As a result, the undead should have the advantage in terms of resources, and this advantage should be accentuated every couple of cycles.
I won't be condescending here, butit's clear you're missing a huge part of the dynamic.
Again, I understand the dynamic, but due to the fact that drakes are not overwhelmingly faster than undead, they cannot take advantage of their dominance during the day, whereas the undead player can play aggressively during both dawn and dusk, resulting in more time for expansion and resource control.
Or thunderers, poachers, guards, even fighters and thieves can work well.
They can, and guardsmen are, in my (admittedly limited) experience, excellent for defending against drakes, but in terms of the push/counterpush dynamic (which is, of course, nowhere near as intense as in an undead/drake matchup), drakes have the advantage. Knalgan units are not markedly cheaper than drake units, and so offensive potential and, thus, long-term growth potential is greater for the drakes. Meaning that the dwarves have to hope for the drakes to either screw up or be very unlucky, which takes strategy off the table.
Name which drake gets 50% defense and you win a cookie.
I should have been more precise with my terms. I meant drake units, which would include saurians. Drake units, specifically, cap at 40%, which is why I used that for my math.
This entire section makes no sense. You suggest mass thunderers and then mass fighters, but you don't look at the other extremely viable options. This is tunnel-vision.
Most other factions have an appropriate "counter unit" for other factions, and those factions usually have a "counter-counter unit." That the knalgan lack such a unit- or even something approaching such a unit- when dealing with the drakes suggests to me that *something* is off balance.
You come to this conclusion without fully appreciating the dynamics of the matchups and from using incorrect statistics.
The math involved in this is entirely correct, with the exception of the damage das do during the day. You obviously disagree with my analysis, but the math involved is entirely correct. Adjusting these resistances would help to rebalance these factions, would be easy to implement, easy to test, and easy to analyze from a power-perspective. What I would like to do, ideally, is see a lot of top-tier Wesnoth players play against each other with random races on a balanced map, and see how drakes match up against undead and knalgan under their current settings and, then, under my suggested settings. This is, of course, a time-exhaustive experiment, so a math debate is probably the more *efficient* route to take. If you disagree with my analysis of Wesnoth, which you are certainly qualified to do, that's fine, but I'd like it if you'd engage me in the math section of this debate as well. Otherwise it's an argument of "I am more experienced than you and hence correct in everything," which I feel is not compelling.

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Re: You think a faction is overpowered? Come here!

Post by Turuk » April 5th, 2009, 9:23 pm

nurgles_herald wrote:The math involved in this is entirely correct, with the exception of the damage das do during the day. You obviously disagree with my analysis, but the math involved is entirely correct. Adjusting these resistances would help to rebalance these factions, would be easy to implement, easy to test, and easy to analyze from a power-perspective. What I would like to do, ideally, is see a lot of top-tier Wesnoth players play against each other with random races on a balanced map, and see how drakes match up against undead and knalgan under their current settings and, then, under my suggested settings. This is, of course, a time-exhaustive experiment, so a math debate is probably the more *efficient* route to take. If you disagree with my analysis of Wesnoth, which you are certainly qualified to do, that's fine, but I'd like it if you'd engage me in the math section of this debate as well. Otherwise it's an argument of "I am more experienced than you and hence correct in everything," which I feel is not compelling.
Right, however you mention in your own post that you have admittedly limited experience on certain aspects of drakes versus other factions. Both approaches you suggested, by play-testing or mathematical analysis, have been taken by a number of developers who devote their time solely to issues of faction balance for multiplayer. Those individuals, such as Wintermute, Noy, and Soltion for some examples, are highly qualified to post here in the definitive and indeed be correct based on the fact that they have put in the time, effort and testing to attempt to make the game as balanced as they can.

Even JW is a long-standing player of MP who did respond to your post by addressing all of your points. Engaging solely in an understanding of the dynamic of Wesnoth is not compelling, but neither is engaging solely in the matter of mathematics, and an effort has been made to engage you on both points. If you still desire a more definitive answer, hopefully one of the MP devs can address your thoughts accordingly.
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Re: You think a faction is overpowered? Come here!

Post by MDG » April 5th, 2009, 9:51 pm

@Nurgles_herald: I'm not going to respond to your posts point by point as has happened already I'll just add a few things for you to consider.

1. Replays please? Seriously, this will all achieve nothing except time-wasting forum posts without replays to back up your points. They can be checked by the MP devs who can give you feedback on any alternate choices that could have been made or any tactical and/or strategic oversights before perceived balance issues become the only apparent option...

2. The drake faction is THE most manoeuverable default era faction. Period.

3. Drake Fighters, during the day, versus Dark Adepts (possibly Saurian skirmishers to clean up any almost dead DA's at dusk...).

4. The Drake unit that has 50% defence is the Glider (yes, they don't ALL cap at 40%...). Cookie please?

5. Regards Knalgans, they have more units than just Dwarven units. Thunderers and Poachers both have (ranged) pierce damage type available. Footpads and Thieves have high defence as do most Dwarven units on Mountains and Hills. Ulfserkers are immensely powerful (when properly used) and yet you don't seem to mention them as having much significance (but then you didn't seem to mention Poachers, or Thieves much either...). Thieves do very high damage on the offensive at night if they can get a backstab opportunity (which they can often enough to count).

There's loads more than this but, it's a pain writing it all out on the forum. The game has all kinds of subtleties to it and those that have played the longest (not me!) appreciate the nuances and less obvious options far better than the rest of us. You will, in my opinion, genuinely be better off posting up some replays and asking the more experienced players to give you their advice or, alternatively, ask politely whether they would arrange to play you on the server at a mutually convenient time, and see if there is more to learn.

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Re: You think a faction is overpowered? Come here!

Post by Noy » April 5th, 2009, 10:01 pm

nurgles_herald wrote: Comments? Yes. I took a statistics class. I recommend that, before you comment on how "balanced" things are, you run the numbers. It not only makes you look informed, it actually makes you informed, and an informed opinion is really the only thing that matters when it comes to suggestions for making a game balanced.
Actually this all makes you look quite narrow minded in your analysis. Anybody can take one type category of statistics like damage in exclusion of all else and claim the game is unbalanced. You don't need a statistics class to be that ignorant, as your post illustrates.

As a general rule the drakes' advantages are based on high HP, high damage and mobility. The latter is absolutely critical for playing the faction versus the UD and the Dwarves. Sure Dark Adepts do more damage than drakes normally; you've raised nothing that isn't already well known. They are also significantly slower, and have less of an ability to react to time of day shifts. This is particularly true if there is terrain interceding.

Drakes on the the other hand typically have better movement, and more critically, better movetypes. They typically are able to control when and where they attack and when and how they withdraw. Moreover it has less risk at being surrounded by the UD, because the ghost (the faction's best flanking unit) is exceptionally vulnerable to basic drake units. Drake fighters at day can easily kill adepts, particularly if they are out in the open. A similar balancing act is required with the Dwarves. This is a difficult balance, which requires significant skills to work successfully, but it is balanced when one possesses those skills.

So my suggestion; learn how to play better, instead of raising a one dimensional analysis which does not accurately portrait the actual depth of the gameplay.
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Re: You think a faction is overpowered? Come here!

Post by ElvenKing » April 5th, 2009, 10:54 pm

nurgles_herald wrote:Again, I understand the dynamic, but due to the fact that drakes are not overwhelmingly faster than undead, they cannot take advantage of their dominance during the day, whereas the undead player can play aggressively during both dawn and dusk, resulting in more time for expansion and resource control.
They are way faster than undead. You only need to be one hex faster to avoid getting attacked. One hex is a lot. Drake fighters have a one hex advantage over adepts if they both lack or both have the quick trait. In addition they have a better move type, which further enhances this advantage.

That one hex advantage is all you need to avoid being hit at night and to get your undead opponent with a powerful counter-attack at day.
MDG wrote:The Drake unit that has 50% defence is the Glider (yes, they don't ALL cap at 40%...). Cookie please?
Actually, that is slightly incorrect. Gilders have 40 % defence. It is the Glider's upgrades that have 50% defence.
Last edited by ElvenKing on April 6th, 2009, 2:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: You think a faction is overpowered? Come here!

Post by JW » April 6th, 2009, 12:46 am

Others have pointed out my primary points, but since you were polite enough to respond I feel the desire to help you understand better by sharing my experiences:
nurgles_herald wrote:Good catch. I admittedly misspoke. This does not reduce, however, the fact that das have the advantage over drakes for nearly 2/3 of the game, with total dominance during night, controlled pushing at dusk, and a solid fighting withdrawal at dawn. Drakes, on the other hand, can only really run wild during full day, meaning that the undead player should have consistently more resources at his disposal, considering that he is more of a threat for more of the game.
The real advantage lies with who strikes first. Whoever does generally will score more kills in the exchange. As mentioned, Drakes can control the time of engagement better, so they will likely strike at dawn or day to inflict the most damage and receive the least. Since undead units are cheaper, even if they lose more units it may be an even trade - this is all part of the balance. If undead get the first strike the drakes are at a severe disavantage because of how deadly adepts are. Usually if the undead do get the first strike it is because they've pushed the drakes to retreat deep into their territory, meaning it will be hard for undead reinforcements to arrive, and easy for drake units. In this case the undead may score many kills, but they will likely lose many units in a hard retreat at day. Even in this case it is pretty well balanced.
Absolutely true, but that's dependent upon the undead player only recruiting das. Considering how powerful das are against drakes, and how fragile they are, undead players really don't need that many to maintain total dominance at night and primacy during dusk/dawn. Note, of course, that I am commenting on the game as a whole, particularly the middle-game, where there are few level 2s running around but you have progressed past the period of extra haxx (the early game is, in my opinion, one of primarily luck, both in recruiting and attacking).
If the undead player is not recruiting many DAs, then the drake player only needs to concern himself with where the DAs are and avoid them. No other undead units can really destroy drakes in a way they have to worry about when it isn't night. If they recruit mass DAs then they risk getting chopped up pretty easily. It's best to have a balance of units.
I am aware of the push-counterpush dynamic, but the issue is that drakes only pose a significant threat during the day, whereas the undead can control dusk/dawn fairly effectively, and have dominance over night time. As a result, the undead should have the advantage in terms of resources, and this advantage should be accentuated every couple of cycles.
They're actually pretty good at dawn/dusk too, but they're also vulnerable then. Timing and positioning isn't something that's easily explainable without pictures or replays.
Again, I understand the dynamic, but due to the fact that drakes are not overwhelmingly faster than undead, they cannot take advantage of their dominance during the day, whereas the undead player can play aggressively during both dawn and dusk, resulting in more time for expansion and resource control.
I kinda covered this above, but if the undead do get into drake territory they will face a tough position the following day.
They can, and guardsmen are, in my (admittedly limited) experience, excellent for defending against drakes, but in terms of the push/counterpush dynamic (which is, of course, nowhere near as intense as in an undead/drake matchup), drakes have the advantage. Knalgan units are not markedly cheaper than drake units, and so offensive potential and, thus, long-term growth potential is greater for the drakes. Meaning that the dwarves have to hope for the drakes to either screw up or be very unlucky, which takes strategy off the table.
Dwarves have just as good hp as drakes, but much higher defense. This is the advantage you have to utilize. Take good terrain and only let go of it when it's absolutely necessary or advantageous.
I should have been more precise with my terms. I meant drake units, which would include saurians. Drake units, specifically, cap at 40%, which is why I used that for my math.
Drakes are often on 30% as well, not that it matters too much.
Most other factions have an appropriate "counter unit" for other factions, and those factions usually have a "counter-counter unit." That the knalgan lack such a unit- or even something approaching such a unit- when dealing with the drakes suggests to me that *something* is off balance.
That's one of the great things about some of the matchups: there are no 'counter' units, but only counter strategies. It's actually pretty interesting in that way.
The math involved in this is entirely correct, with the exception of the damage das do during the day. You obviously disagree with my analysis, but the math involved is entirely correct. Adjusting these resistances would help to rebalance these factions, would be easy to implement, easy to test, and easy to analyze from a power-perspective. What I would like to do, ideally, is see a lot of top-tier Wesnoth players play against each other with random races on a balanced map, and see how drakes match up against undead and knalgan under their current settings and, then, under my suggested settings. This is, of course, a time-exhaustive experiment, so a math debate is probably the more *efficient* route to take. If you disagree with my analysis of Wesnoth, which you are certainly qualified to do, that's fine, but I'd like it if you'd engage me in the math section of this debate as well. Otherwise it's an argument of "I am more experienced than you and hence correct in everything," which I feel is not compelling.
I'll defer to I'll defer to Noy's response on this one. This game has been balanced over several years so the testing and analysis has been done over that time. Check out the replays elsewhere in the forum for some examples of the matchup. The game is pretty well balanced as it is, but you're free to test those settings out yourself by editing the units and putting them into an era.

-ps, sorry, I didn't read this over before posting because of its length, so there might be some typos/sentence structure errors.

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Re: You think a faction is overpowered? Come here!

Post by WildPenguin » April 6th, 2009, 12:50 am

nurgles_herald wrote:Again, I understand the dynamic
Clearly, you do not. Otherwise you'd not have said this in the same sentence:
nurgles_herald wrote:the undead player can play aggressively during both dawn and dusk.
If the undead player plays aggressively during dawn and you're not prepared to punish them for it, you've made an error. As drakes you should be preparing to go on the offencive the turn immediately before undead face dawn; undead simply can not afford to commit to an attack during this time.

As with any balance concern, it must be supported with replays. The fact you've ignored at least one offer suggests you're not interested in supporting your claims with evidence.

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Re: You think a faction is overpowered? Come here!

Post by nurgles_herald » April 6th, 2009, 2:06 am

Thanks for the suggestions and explanations, JW. I am currently looking over the replays at http://wesnoth.org/replays/1.6 for information. I was hoping that I could find one with you in it, but no such luck.
If the undead player plays aggressively during dawn and you're not prepared to punish them for it, you've made an error. As drakes you should be preparing to go on the offencive the turn immediately before undead face dawn; undead simply can not afford to commit to an attack during this time.

As with any balance concern, it must be supported with replays. The fact you've ignored at least one offer suggests you're not interested in supporting your claims with evidence.
Yet they can play aggressively. Instead of just running like all hell during dawn, they can afford to take potshots, making a fighting retreat. If we assume that drakes are faster, due to their better movetypes, then the most safe way to defend your das is to just kill the threatening drakes. And, as noted above, you have a pretty solid chance of taking out a non-resilient level 1 drake with two das. Meaning that they will be able to do more than just run for their lives during dawn.

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Re: You think a faction is overpowered? Come here!

Post by Noy » April 6th, 2009, 2:35 am

nurgles_herald wrote: Yet they can play aggressively. Instead of just running like all hell during dawn, they can afford to take potshots, making a fighting retreat. If we assume that drakes are faster, due to their better movetypes, then the most safe way to defend your das is to just kill the threatening drakes. And, as noted above, you have a pretty solid chance of taking out a non-resilient level 1 drake with two das. Meaning that they will be able to do more than just run for their lives during dawn.
Sure then I'll trade 17 gold drake fighter for 32 gold worth of adepts when the other drakes come and kill it in daylight. Thats also assuming you kill it, which is a big if. I've watched countless inexperienced players try what you're suggesting, only to leave the game three minutes later after they have no units left.
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Re: You think a faction is overpowered? Come here!

Post by Wintermute » April 6th, 2009, 2:48 am

nurgles_herald wrote:Yet they can play aggressively. Instead of just running like all hell during dawn, they can afford to take potshots, making a fighting retreat. If we assume that drakes are faster, due to their better movetypes, then the most safe way to defend your das is to just kill the threatening drakes. And, as noted above, you have a pretty solid chance of taking out a non-resilient level 1 drake with two das. Meaning that they will be able to do more than just run for their lives during dawn.
Yes, 2 DAs can often take out a drake a dawn. But in such situations the drake player has left the drake out to be killed in an attempt to drake the undead into combat. If you just kill it with two DAs, then the rest of the drake force kills two units for the loss of one drake. If you protect your DAs with other units, then the drake player has forced you into combat on his terms (I.E. drake attacking UD, probably on grass in the daytime). If you watch high-level games, UD players are often in full retreat at second watch.

As suggested, playing some games with the people who are replying, or posting some replays might be educational. I'd also like to add that when I first started playing I thought drakes were impossibly good. Then I tried to play with them and thought that they were terrible. It take a long time (months, or even years for some players) to really understand how the different factions should (or could) approach different situations.

EDIT: (beaten to the punch again!)
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Re: You think a faction is overpowered? Come here!

Post by Doc Paterson » April 14th, 2009, 1:41 pm

nurgles_herald wrote:The most obvious conclusion is that you really can only beat an undead player with drakes if he or she is a giant idiot.
Does this mean that if we all own you, you'll admit to being a giant idiot? ;)

What's your server name? I'm sure somebody here will be on whenever you are.
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Re: You think a faction is overpowered? Come here!

Post by ninjarealist » April 15th, 2009, 8:44 am

Not that they are overpowered but Northerners are totally beastly in 1.6. The main difference is that giving assassins marksman makes it a lot harder to mount continuous effective offense against them.

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