Are archers useless?

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Leviako
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Are archers useless?

Post by Leviako » May 29th, 2009, 2:05 am

Ok i have been playing wesnoth for some time, and for some reason i can't see how an archer can be useful (here I'm talking about campaigns). I mean, they are like a mediocre hybrid unit, with weaker ranged than a mage and less hp than a spearman. Normally I use spearman as a front line, the enemy attacks and i kill some of them with mages, then cover the mages with spearman. I cant see how an archer can be used better than a mage or a spearman in that situation.

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A-Red
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Re: Are archers useless?

Post by A-Red » May 29th, 2009, 3:16 am

They're great when you level them, but I agree that level 1 archers are terrible--this is true of every archer line I've played with (bowmen, poachers, and elf archers). Out of those, the elf archers are the best, and the poachers are worst--I've never yet been able to level one, and I've played all the way through Liberty, so that's saying something. I too would like to see slightly more hitting power (or maybe just one more round of attack, at least on the human archers), though I think their current weak health makes quite a bit of sense.

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Maeglin Dubh
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Re: Are archers useless?

Post by Maeglin Dubh » May 29th, 2009, 4:35 am

That probably has more to do with playstyle than with the unit's strength, since poachers and footpads are all I leveled in Liberty.
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jmegner
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Re: Are archers useless?

Post by jmegner » May 29th, 2009, 5:55 am

Leviako wrote:Ok i have been playing wesnoth for some time, and for some reason i can't see how an archer can be useful (here I'm talking about campaigns). I mean, they are like a mediocre hybrid unit, with weaker ranged than a mage and less hp than a spearman. Normally I use spearman as a front line, the enemy attacks and i kill some of them with mages, then cover the mages with spearman. I cant see how an archer can be used better than a mage or a spearman in that situation.
Do you mean elvish archer or the loyalist bowman?

Let's compare the bowman and the mage first since they're more similar than the elvish archer and the mage. Yes, there's more to bowman vs mage than my following points, but I'm just concentrating on some basic points why a bowman can be preferable to a mage at times.

1) The bowman (14 gold) is significantly cheaper than the mage (20 gold). Mages cost 43% more than bowmen.

2) The bowman (33 hp) is significantly hardier than the mage (24 hp). Bowmen have 38% more health than mages.

3) The bowman does piercing damage while the mage does fire damage. Different damage types make a huge difference. Think about a mage versus a Drake burner. Think about a bowman versus a Drake burner. Recall that a Drake burner doesn't get above 40% defense/evasion.

4) Finally, let's just calculate how many bowmen it takes to kill a mage on grassland in one turn and calculate how many mages it takes to kill a bowman in one turn:

Bowman does 6*3*1.0*0.6 = 10.8 damage per round. It takes 24/10.8 = 2.22 bowmen to kill a mage in one turn.
Mage does 7*3*0.8*0.7 = 11.76 damager per round. It takes 33/11.76 = 2.81 mages to kill a bowman in one turn.
And let's remember that each bowmen costs less too!

Again, I'm not saying one unit is better than the other, and I know the analysis I'm doing is very crude. Point #4 is particularly...simplistic. I just want to show that bowmen aren't outright inferior.

Edit: Point #4 also assumes it is dawn or dusk.

Max
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Re: Are archers useless?

Post by Max » May 29th, 2009, 6:04 am

- being (quite often) able to do damage without retaliation is worth a lot in campaigns
- much easier to level compared to mages
- elvish archer and poacher have l2/3 units with marksman

if you're able to use only mages for ranged attacks maybe you're playing on a difficulty that's already to easy for you?

silent
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Re: Are archers useless?

Post by silent » May 29th, 2009, 6:09 am

I disagree

It's the bowman which is the worst of the archers, mainly due to having only standard defensive bonus in comparison to other archers (such as in the rise of wesnoth) or is completely overshadowed by other available units (northern rebirth)

Yet even then I've found it fairly easy to level up bowmen. A few LV 2 kills and they easily level, also the extra HP is useful as you can actually expose the slightly whereas you cannot do that whatsoever with a mage.

Poachers are an awesome archer unit and are very difficult to hit, getting several nice terrain bonuses, and continue to do so as they level. Marskman as a huntsman is pretty good too.

Elf archers are really good. Either advancement line is great as you get either marksmanship early or ambush and good melee and ranged attack.

Only in northern rebirth are archers terrible, and that's mainly on the reliance that you have a dozen plus dwarven lords at your disposal

Velensk
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Re: Are archers useless?

Post by Velensk » May 29th, 2009, 11:35 am

He's obviously talking about the loyalist bowman. I don't know if he is talking about campaigns or multiplayer, but I'm going to answer for multiplayer. They are not useless, but generaly you won't get too many of them. They are not a hybrid of the mage and spearman though you could compare the three the bowman has a diffrent roll.

The spearman has good damage and hp for its cost but is a melee unit. It is an efficent unit that works well as the bulk of an army.

The mage has horrible hp/damage for its cost. However, it does good damage, good damage type, ranged, and always has a good chance to hit. They are a very effective unit, but not an efficent one. This tends to regulate mages to support because you want to avoid having too many of them as they drive down your armies overall bulk and are very vulnerable.

Bowmen are not as efficent or as effective as spearmen, and are not as effective as mages. However the fact that they provide a solid ranged attack without costing a bucket load or dieing extreamly easy is important to the loyalists who are lacking in many ranged attacks. Ranged attackers help conserve/support your melee attackers against other melee enemies. If you take the situation of a grunt standing in the open during a perpetual dusk when the loyalists can attack him, spearmen would kill the grunt faster, however each of the spearmen would take retaliation. If you attack the grunt with two bowmen first then put to spearmen on either side of the grunt then attack from there, in the end you not only kill the grunt while taking less damage but you also provide a sheild for your bowmen so that any other grunts he has must attack the spearmen and take damage and next turn your bowmen would be able to attack without taking damage, ect. You could do this with mages too, however mages cost 6 more gold apiece and in the event of something going wrong (as things tend to do) bowmen are less likely to die as a result.

Short summery: Mages work best as specialised heavy artilery. Bowmen are cheap support.

Of course, if this is a campaign then the rules are entirely diffrent and in those situations I agree with you that you are better off sticking to spearmen and mages.
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Araja
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Re: Are archers useless?

Post by Araja » May 29th, 2009, 11:37 am

I found the best thing to do with Bowman is to make them hang back, it helps stop the enemy sending his big, melee-only tanks your way and if you can get a few killing blows then they actually become useful.

As for the Elvish Archers, they're not so bad simply because you can put them in a forest and they have such amazing defense it's hard to melee them.

Joram
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Re: Are archers useless?

Post by Joram » May 29th, 2009, 4:45 pm

In Campaigns:

I don't like bowmen. I vastly prefer mages. I rarely have my mages die anyway, so the lower defense isn't an issue (it just means I have to be a bit more careful). Having a weaker ranged attack for more melee power is a waste; since I am practically always fighting with my best attack, the penalty is a lot bigger than the benefit.

Poachers and Elvish Archers, on the other hand, I like. Why? The speed bonuses. Elvish Archers and Rangers are a full mp faster than mages, plus they get a better movetype. Go speed.

The cost difference in a campaign is not nearly so crucial as it is in a multiplayer game.

So I would agree with the OP. I just finished The Rise of Wesnoth, and I had one Master Bowman at the end, compared to a Great Mage, 4 Silver Mages, and 3 Mages of Light.


In multiplayer, I concede that archers are a good deal more useful than they are in campaigns.
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HomerJ
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Re: Are archers useless?

Post by HomerJ » May 29th, 2009, 5:37 pm

Joram wrote: So I would agree with the OP. I just finished The Rise of Wesnoth, and I had one Master Bowman at the end, compared to a Great Mage, 4 Silver Mages, and 3 Mages of Light.
People that like the bowman however would say especially the Master Bowman is just an awesome unit because it retaliates so well against melee attackers. Together with almost 70 HP you can hold your ground quite reliably well and have the opportunity to seriously weaken enemy tanks in ranged combat.
Of course, the same goes for the Ranger, just on the other side of tod.


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Radament
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Re: Are archers useless?

Post by Radament » May 30th, 2009, 11:07 am

I thought the bowman was great while he still had 6x2 melee and cost 15 gold. Versatile, solid defensive unit, and you certainly didn't mind if he got strong.

Now it's a cheap support unit, and having a couple most definitely doesn't hurt, even in NR. Not more tho.

xivarmy
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Re: Are archers useless?

Post by xivarmy » May 31st, 2009, 1:28 am

I think of the loyalist bowman as an alternative spearman - close in hp, same dodge, same cost, just having a couple bowmen instead of all spearmen gives you a different option for when you're throwing together a fodder line (say you're taking a tile next to an orc grunt at night as a sacrifice - attacking with the spearman would leave it weak, attacking with the bowman will whittle a little bit off and leave it with its full hp to be a sacrificial lamb the next turn - or say you're likely to be attacked by a flock of ranged - a bowman will either get them to use their weaker melee or take sizeable retaliation damage from range. Poachers are mean at night, and level fast. Elvish archers on upgrade either get a hard hitting marksman attack or are strong at both range and melee and 70% dodge in forests often makes them a decent tank.

AThousandYoung
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Re: Are archers useless?

Post by AThousandYoung » May 31st, 2009, 7:42 am

Bowmen make excellent fodder against enemies with a lot of ranged weapons. They do well against cavalry in open terrain, though they are likewise vulnerable to them. Higher level Bowmen can act as medium tanks and can take riskier shots that you wouldn't expose your Mages to. You can get more of them than you can Mages, and this lets you hold ground and pin enemies down. They aren't useless, just not as useful as Mages.

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Re: Are archers useless?

Post by HomerJ » May 31st, 2009, 8:29 am

Actually this thread screams for a bowman only challenge for TRoW!

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silent
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Re: Are archers useless?

Post by silent » May 31st, 2009, 9:27 am

HomerJ wrote:Actually this thread screams for a bowman only challenge for TRoW!

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You would probably need to make some exceptions to this, notably for the scenario rough landing, a final spring and return of the fleet, which all contain at least one island boss only accessible by merman, or losing on turn limit.

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