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JW
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Post by JW » November 30th, 2007, 4:25 pm

Weeksy wrote:
JW wrote:A Strong, AMLA Stronged Lancer would be 14-3 Charge, or 84 damage at DUSK.
Because 100 xp for a 6 damage increase is really so overpowering.
Just trying to point out the strengths of both. And it would be more than 6 damage at day. :wink:

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Post by Velensk » November 30th, 2007, 4:37 pm

I've still never been completely sure that the standard AMLA ought to be +3 max HP consitering how hard they are to get. For other unit's than lancers increased damage might not be that bad an idea, however with all of lancers qualities including having one of the highest damage potentials in the game I don't think it would be a good idea for that unit.
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Lvl 2 units...

Post by multilis » December 1st, 2007, 3:36 am

A rockthrower can defend against a gang of ranged units, unlike a normal troll.

Lancers and beserkers are good at attacking most ranged units and threatening kings, and the extra speed sometimes helps.

Lancers and beserkers COULD lvl up to 3 if it were possible at times in serious multiplayer games. It depends on luck/situation of game, sometimes they kill many units quickly, sometimes they die quickly and sometimes they do nothing sitting in reserves (they may still pay for themselves by limiting enemies options with ranged units or they may be a waste of gold).

Griffins are great (for dwarves) for open water, scouting, slipping behind to kill wounded units, being nasty in large map grabbing villages behind enemy lines, killing enemy king on larger map. They have better defense than dwarves on open terrain, sometimes worth using them to protect a weak/ranged unit before they fly back to heal (can take turns longer for a dwarf to go back and heal).

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Post by Jozrael » December 1st, 2007, 1:27 pm

You have a point that they can reach level 3: you do not have a point that it would be balanced doing so.

At least for the lancers/berserkers/gryphons. You also don't make an argument for the rocklobbers, but with those I don't really see the reason not to, its just sort of a flavor thing unless I'm missing the underlying balance reason.

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Post by multilis » December 2nd, 2007, 6:25 pm

I was not claiming they should get a lvl 3. The thread started as a discussion of what these units can be good for (compared to others that can lvl 3). IMO the game works good as is.

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Re: Lvl 2 units...

Post by Jetrel » December 3rd, 2007, 10:42 pm

multilis wrote:A rockthrower can defend against a gang of ranged units, unlike a normal troll.
This is a major point. Trolls, grunts and such are usually sitting ducks against a mage, or other ranged units. One of the most common strategies against a melee-only tank like that is to pepper him with several ranged units, and then bring in a melee unit for the kill (since you're often out of ranged units by then, or want a melee unit to level). The rocklobber does a _LOT_ of damage if he hits, enough that he'll generally turn a L1 ranged attacker from "high health" to "in danger of being killed on the next turn".

What's especially transformative about it is how good of a defense it is against wounded L1s which are close to levelling - often those units are brought to a level by ranged harrying of melee tanks, or by dealing the finishing move to one. Usually they can do this with impunity, but against the Rocklobber, they really have to think twice; there's often a chance of them dying if they try it.
zookeeper wrote:
Nebiros wrote:Even when art and stats have already been created the level 3 outlaws are excluded from Default for no apparent reason.
They most likely will be included everywhere when the art is finished. Currently it is not.
I second this motion.
JW wrote:
Btw, I hardly ever choose lancers because they basically never get much more than 50 XP for me - they just die too quickly... and actually, nobody said the XP requirement for the lancer to level up into an even more powerful unit had to be low. It could merely be about 200 XP or higher...
Btw, I'm not demanding for such a unit to exist. But as long as it doesn't the lancer will probably stay a rather rare choice...
You really are missing out by not picking any Lancers. Always make sure they're Strong, and hopefully Resiliant. They play a devastating role. I'm not lying.
Lancers have to be used very carefully, but they can be monstrous if you use them right. Their speed can usually keep them away from potential piercing units, and their speed also allows them to engage at favorable times of day. One huge thing to remember is that lancers have 20% resistance to blade, and 30% resistance to impact. This can make it feasible to actually attack certain melee-focused units such as trolls, during the day.

Lancers are great for deleting particularly -threatening- enemies (even level-2 enemies) before said enemies can do much damage to you. This really transforms a battle. For example, quickly offing that approaching red mage can basically decide a fight. One of the most important things about the lancer is it's three lance strikes. This makes all the difference, because when fighting many L1 units, 2 lance strokes can kill. It's dicey for any other horse unit, but the probability of hitting with 2 out of the 3 lancer's strikes is fairly good by comparison. You can usually rely on it to off a particular mage/etc,

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Post by Pookie Pitviper » December 4th, 2007, 9:24 am

Weeksy wrote:As for the gryphon master, a level 3 for this would probably mean a bit more hp and a bit more melee damage, probably putting this over the line of 'too incredible for most campaigns' and thus severely limiting gryphons' involvement in the story.
The HP would be useful, but I like the idea of giving them a ranged attack rather than improving on the melee attack. Dropping rocks is not a bad idea. If it works for the trolls....

There are so many units, in general, that have no ranged attack. It's kind of disappointing. While really powerful melee-attack specialists like Royal Guards, Grand Knights, Lancers, etc. are fun enough, but they can't defend against ranged attacks.

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Post by Xandria » December 4th, 2007, 2:06 pm

The gryphons really could get a lvl 3 rock-dropping version, or a net-dropping version that slows... given the dwarven penchant for alchemy, they could get a ranged fire attack: dropping a fire bomb.
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Post by Nebiros » December 10th, 2007, 12:16 am

Pookie Pitviper wrote:
Weeksy wrote:As for the gryphon master, a level 3 for this would probably mean a bit more hp and a bit more melee damage, probably putting this over the line of 'too incredible for most campaigns' and thus severely limiting gryphons' involvement in the story.
The HP would be useful, but I like the idea of giving them a ranged attack rather than improving on the melee attack. Dropping rocks is not a bad idea. If it works for the trolls....

There are so many units, in general, that have no ranged attack. It's kind of disappointing. While really powerful melee-attack specialists like Royal Guards, Grand Knights, Lancers, etc. are fun enough, but they can't defend against ranged attacks.
I think that's one of the things that makes them interesting as units. If they had effective ranged like an elvish avenger or champion, their melee or HP would have to be toned down to those levels to keep them from being unbeatable. As long as range is their Achilles' heel they can kick much ass in melee and still be ok.

The lancer is definitely useful; the problem is that his main use is killing, which puts exp on him, where it does you no good. Orcish slayer doesn't have a L3 either (and doesn't even have a branch which does like the lancer, rocklobber, javelineer etc.), but that's far less of a problem for them. They fight to cripple, so your exp goes to some other unit that can make better use of it. It's the specific fact that a unit that gets disproportionately many killing blows and disproportionately high amounts of exp then has no use for that exp that makes lancer complaint threads recur again and again.

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Post by Trau » December 10th, 2007, 3:00 am

Pookie Pitviper wrote:
Weeksy wrote:As for the gryphon master, a level 3 for this would probably mean a bit more hp and a bit more melee damage, probably putting this over the line of 'too incredible for most campaigns' and thus severely limiting gryphons' involvement in the story.
The HP would be useful, but I like the idea of giving them a ranged attack rather than improving on the melee attack. Dropping rocks is not a bad idea. If it works for the trolls....

There are so many units, in general, that have no ranged attack. It's kind of disappointing. While really powerful melee-attack specialists like Royal Guards, Grand Knights, Lancers, etc. are fun enough, but they can't defend against ranged attacks.

Pookie
Your defense is that you get to ram big sharp objects into their faces next turn, so if they want to attack you now, they'd better be sure they can kill you before their turn is up. 8)

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Post by Pookie Pitviper » December 12th, 2007, 4:05 am

Nebiros wrote:If they had effective ranged like an elvish avenger or champion, their melee or HP would have to be toned down to those levels to keep them from being unbeatable. As long as range is their Achilles' heel they can kick much ass in melee and still be ok.
Good point. I just have a soft spot for ranged attacks, I guess. :)
Nebiros wrote:The lancer is definitely useful; the problem is that his main use is killing, which puts exp on him, where it does you no good.
Oh, definitely. I don't use Lancers much, but one special situation where even I admit they can be useful is if you're trying to take down an enemy with massive HP. The Lancer can bring the enemy down to manageable HP, and then you can give the kill to somebody who can use the XP.

One problem with level-2-max units is that their max HP, although sometimes high for a lvl 2, are weak compared to their lvl 3 counterparts. Lancer would be ridiculous if he had a Grand Knight's HP, but there are others that just aren't worth it: the Javelineer is no better than the Longbowman, and much worse than the Master Bowman, e.g. He isn't even a particularly good specialist; I can't think of any time I'd want one.

A suggestion for developers writing longer campaigns (feel free to ignore, of course): you may want to consider making a few changes in order to make life a little more interesting for maxed-out units. Some possibilities:
- Have new types of units join you or get added to your recruit list at some point in mid-game (lots of campaigns do this, some multiple times). This way, your maxed-out units can serve as bodyguards for the new units and help them build up experience. (I imagine this as representing a sort of mentor/protege relationship, with the veteran helping to train the newbie.) Of course, some types of maxed-out units, like the Lancer, wouldn't be suitable for this: they'd end up making all the kills.
- Have a choice of what sort of (modest) improvement you want for an AMLA, rather than just the standard additional HP. (Like the way that Kaleh levels up in the latest installment of UtBS, but with less powerful options - he can actually get completely new attacks, like a slowing ranged attack, and abilities, like desert Camouflage.) For example, units could have the option of healing some or all their HP instead of getting additional max HP. Or they could choose a slight improvement in some other area (e.g., increase the strength of one of their attacks by a little bit). There's a huge variety of improvements you could offer. Just something to make it worthwhile to let them kill things occasionally. IMO, it doesn't make sense that the only way they can keep improving is by getting more HP. I'd rather be able to choose to give a unit even a slight improvement in an area in which it's weak - like giving a Lancer slightly better defense on a particular terrain type, or against a particular attack. The list of possible improvements could even be randomized with each AMLA (i.e., you get a certain number of improvements to choose from, but which ones are on the list is random).
- At least in very long campaigns, it might be a good idea to add a 3rd level (as has been done with the outlaw units, though I'm not sure if it's mainline or not) for units that don't have one, and maybe even a 4th for some that do. In this case it would be necessary to do some balancing with respect to gold.

I'm *not* saying any of these changes should be mainline, they're just some thoughts about how one might avoid the problem of AMLA ennui in long campaigns. Of course, you want to avoid giving units godlike powers, but when most of your units have maxed out and new recruits aren't much use except as fodder, making kills can feel more like a dead end than an achievement.
Nebiros wrote:It's the specific fact that a unit that gets disproportionately many killing blows and disproportionately high amounts of exp then has no use for that exp that makes lancer complaint threads recur again and again.
I know...I was just remarking on one weakness they do have, which is another (albeit more minor) reason I rarely use them. I guess I prefer to reserve specialist units for...well, special occasions. Besides, it is perfectly possible to kill a Lancer with a couple of mages and/or other strong ranged-attack units. Especially if the unit he showed up to attack was able to defend itself to any significant degree, so that the Lancer starts out wounded. It's tempting to send the fast-moving Lancer all by himself deep into enemy territory in hopes of assassinating the leader, but this strategy doesn't always work - the Lancer's speed can be a two-edged sword (er, spear). Here's a scary thought, though: Lancer mobs! :o

I sometimes like to give maxed out units a kill here and there if they are weak on HP (e.g. Mages of Light), and (of course) if there's no other unit available to make the kill that has more use for the XP.

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Post by Shammah » December 12th, 2007, 3:49 pm

The original question was "Why would you choose the level-limited variants?" so I thought I might try and answer it.

There are four level-limited with non-limited alternatives:

Lancer
Javelineer
Troll Rocklobber
Goblin Pillager

I'm going to focus mainly on MP, as that is what I prefer. As campaigns provide more opportunity to get lvl3 units, the level-limited variants are that much less attractive. However each variant does have its distinct advantages which can justify including 1-2 in a campaign force.

LANCER (50/10 mP12-3ch)
vs.
KNIGHT (58/8 mP14-2ch mB8-4)

The first thing to consider is that the Horseman is a shock unit. It's job is to kill, irrespective of its own safety. If you get more than two turns out of a shock unit before it is rendered combat ineffective (ie. dead or back on a village healing) you've been obsenely lucky. A horseman can do 45-pierce during the day, and (in favourable terrain) is by far the most effective lvl1 shock unit in the game.

The Knight does a potential 70-pierce, and can also do 32-blade without suffering the charge penalty. Thus it significantly improves its ability to function as a shock unit, while adding the ability to stiffen a battle-line. The Lancer on the other hand does a potential 90-pierce! That is more than enough to threaten almost every unit in the game, INCLUDING lvl3's.

So a Knight is a generalist - a solid fighter that retains a good strike capability. The Lancer however is a specialist shock unit. On good terrain a 30-3 attack makes the lancer by far the most lethal unit in the game (of any level). So the question you should be asking is "Why would you choose Knight?". You recruited a shock unit, what has changed that you are considering a generalist?

Sometimes things have changed: I gambled on a first-turn Horseman, only to face UD; My battle line/flank is faltering and I need the Knight to prop it up. However in the majority of cases nothing has changed - I wanted a shock unit, I still want a shock unit; consequently most of the time the Lancer is the better option.

JAVELINEER (48/5 mP8-3fs rP11-2)
vs.
SWORDSMAN (55/5 mB8-4)
vs.
PIKEMAN (55/5 mP10-3fs)

Again we start out by considering why we bought the spearman in the first place. The spearman is the loyalists primary main-battle-line unit. As such its role is to push the enemies battle-line back while not being pushed back. It follows that a line-unit's primary responsibility is to "not die". When it comes to pushing back, of course you kill when you can, but you expect to face units that are also good at "not-dying", so most of the time you do this not by killing, but by wounding the enemy unit sufficiently that it is forced to withdraw.

There are two ways to avoid dying quickly. The first is obvious, high HP. The second is less so - don't attack. If you aren't taking damage on your turn, it can take your opponent a lot longer to weaken your unit sufficiently to force it to retreat. Clearly if you are using the second tactic having first-strike melee combined with a range option has its advantages. Of course having a range attack does mean you can often attack in your bound without risking much (if any) damage. On the other hand, to gain a range attack you sacrifice 7HP and either 8 or 10 melee damage. So when is this trade-off worth it?

In a battle-line, where passive damage plays such a critical role, first-strike is invaluable - easily worth 2-dmg. Moreover as the ability to wound is more important than the ability to kill, the 4 strikes of the swordsman vs. 3 for the pikeman is largely irrelevant. The reason you would prefer a swordsman is because you want the switch from pierce to blade, not for 2-dmg and an extra strike. Therefore anytime you prefer the swordsman to a pikeman, the same argument will apply to the javelineer - presumably you are facing UD, Woses, or Trolls. So we can simplify our comparison further to pike vs javelin.

In a close-order press, with only 5MP, there are limited opportunities to rearrange your line. As a result your ability to choose which unit you attack, or which unit attacks you is correspondingly limited, and therefore the option of a range attack becomes important. On the other hand, only the largest MP maps permit this sort of enagement, so it is uncommon.

On a refused flank or delaying action, you have conceded the local initiative so you will have almost no choice of which unit you face. This alone would be sufficient reason to prefer the javilineer, however even more important is the dominance of passive damage in this case. In fact with its 6-1 even a lvl1 spearman might be preferred to a pikeman in this role - the javelineer is
unsurpassed.

On the offensive or in the reserve for an open-order shield-wall you hold the initiative. In this case the extra damage and extra HP become dominant. There is no reason why you wouldn't go with the hard-hitting Pikeman here.

TROLL ROCKLOBER (49/5 mI10-2 rI17-1)
vs.
TROLL (55/5 mI14-2)

This is a very similar choice to the Javelineer with only one twist. Unlike the loyalists the northerners don't have a main-battle-line unit with a ranged attack. The orcish archer doesn't do enough melee damage, and the goblin spearman doesn't have enough hitpoints. Dispite these disadvantages, supported by a Welp or two, they are often used in passive roles. A single rock-lobber can significantly stiffen a refused flank - and if I can put one there I will.

Of course, as with the Pikeman, where you hold the initiative the Troll is preferred. Still even with the initiative, my first leveling Welp will normally be a Rocklobber - just expect it to be redeployed at the first opportunity.

GOBLIN PILLAGER (44/9 mF7-3 rI6-2sw)
vs.
GOBLIN KNIGHT (49/9 mB7-4)

The Wolf Rider is a cavalry unit. That means Recon, Harass, and Screen. Or in other words: Find out where the enemy is; Hit-and-Run where the enemy isn't; and Prevent the enemies cavalry from returning the favour. Light Cavalry focuses mainly on recon/harass. Medium Cavalry on harass/screen. Heavy Cavalry is a shock rather than a cavalry role. In this case we talking about Medium Cavalry.

It is important to realise that unlike the battle-line, cavalry never depends on its passive attack. If its facing something it can't fight it evades, otherwise it attacks. So the choice is primarily focused on what units it is going to come up against in its role.

As a screen, cavalry fights cavalry - so the question is which unit is more effective against the enemies cavalry? As a harasser the cavalry will be facing both the enemies cavalry as well as skirmishers and other light-troops. So you are facing...

Against Drake Cav: Gliders & Fighters; Sk/Lt: Skirmishers & Augurs
Fire-Resist or Blade-Vun, so the Knight is clearly superior.

Against Knalgan Cav: Gryphons & Footpads; Sk/Lt: Footpads & Thieves
If it's on its own then you probably want the Knight - slow isn't very useful, and in the Direwolf you have a superb solo med-cav unit, if you can get it. However if it's part of a pair the slow is extremely effective and easily worth 7-dmg and the switch from Blade.

Against Loyalist Cav: Cavalryman; Sk/Lt: Fencer & Bowman
This is tougher choice. The Cavalryman has a 30% resist to blade; the Fencer a 30% vun. With ranged-slow the Bowman is a wash. If my Rider is alone I'll take the Pillager, otherwise my advantage can be nullified for only 17 gold. As the first upgrade of a pair I'll go with the Knight if I'm harassing or the Pillager if I'm screening (ironic I know).

Against Northerner Cav: Riders; Sk/Lt: Assassins & Spearmen
This is a brute-force match-up so the only time I would even consider a Pillager is if I have a pair of Riders and there is a troll supporting the light troops I need to clear. Otherwise it's Knight every time.

Against Rebel Cav: Scouts; Sk/Lt: Fighters & Archers
The Rebels don't actually have any Skirmish/Light troops, however their battle-line units have sufficiently good defense you'll be facing them. On the plus side they don't have any Medium-Cavalry so as long as you are careful of terrain you can screen him easily. As with the Northerners, the Pillager is only useful if there is a pesky Wose to clear - otherwise it's Knights only.

Against Undead Cav: Bats & Ghosts; Sk/Lt: Corpses, Archers, & Gnolls
The few times I get the option, Pillager wins hands down - however this is a tough matchup for the Wolf Rider. If you can catch a Bat you can kill it and corpses go down easily for anything, but a Wolf Rider is outmatched by everything else. Between Blade resistant Ghosts and Poison-melee Gnolls a Rider is pretty much restricted to defensive screening duty supported by an Archer or two, and it's hard to gain XP doing that.

So the Pillager is generally preferred against Loyalists, Undead and (with support) against Knalgans, other Northerners, and the occasional Rebel Wose. Knights against Drakes, Rebels, and alone vs. Knalgans, or Northerners.

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Post by Dodgy Tactician » December 12th, 2007, 7:25 pm

there are others that just aren't worth it: the Javelineer is no better than the Longbowman, and much worse than the Master Bowman, e.g. He isn't even a particularly good specialist; I can't think of any time I'd want one.
The Javelineer has a ranged attack and firststrike with a spear. He is therefore strong enough in melee to stand up for himself and fairly good at range. If I had Horsemen, the first unit type I'd go for (assuming no other units with low health and Magi/Healers are protected) is enemy archers because they generally have less HP than infantry and can hurt my cavalry badly. I wouldn't charge a Javelineer, who can with two hits during the day (64.8 % on Grassland) kill a Horseman, reduce a Knight to 10 HP or reduce a Lancer to 2 HP and a little over one time in five can kill a quick Grand Knight outright with the retaliation.

Note that he also has a 40% pierce resistance, which makes him better than a swordsman or a pikeman for facing Elvish Marksmen/Sharpshooters since he can retaliate to and takes less damage from their very accurate arrows. The pierce retaliation all round also makes him a good choice against Drakes.

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Post by Jozrael » December 12th, 2007, 7:35 pm

Pikemen also have 40% pierce resistance. Drakes also have many blade attacks, not pierce. The only pierce I can think of is the clashers, who also have a blade attack. Oh, and the skirmishers, thats true.

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Post by Kens_Mom » December 13th, 2007, 7:20 am

Jozrael wrote:Pikemen also have 40% pierce resistance.
What DT is saying is that with the javelineers, you can retaliate AND resist the ranged attacks from ranger/marksman. Pikemen can resist pierce, but the ranged attacks (especially that of the marksman) is still formidable. Being able to retaliate to ranged attacks makes the javelineer an extremely bad target for ranger/marksman, especially if they are damaged prior to the intended attack because of their already below-average hp.
Jozrael wrote:Drakes also have many blade attacks, not pierce. The only pierce I can think of is the clashers, who also have a blade attack. Oh, and the skirmishers, thats true.
DT is saying that javelineers can counterattack with pierce on both ranged and melee, which makes it difficult for most drakes to attack it due to their vulnerability to pierce. The javelineers' resistance to pierce plays little role in terms of their effectiveness against the drakes because - as you mentioned - they barely have any units with pierce damage.

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