The Point of Goblins?

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Hulavuta
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Re: The Point of Goblins?

Post by Hulavuta » February 11th, 2010, 10:26 pm

Huumy wrote:Is there actual strategies in wesnoth? I usually just scout what and where my opponent has and play according to it.
That's a strategy right there.
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Yoyobuae
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Re: The Point of Goblins?

Post by Yoyobuae » February 11th, 2010, 10:36 pm

@Huumy: Well, you missed the part where my plan failed:
Yoyobuae wrote:Things worked great, I managed 10+ kills with no losses during day. But I made a good few mistakes afterwards. I focused every single unit into the daytime attack and I mantained this offensive for too long, even my leader was committed on the attack. One Wolf escaped and managed a few village steals. Also the lack of reinforcements, together with the too prolonged attacked made the retreat quite painful, lost too many units there.
Once I started fighting I got too carried away with just killing stuff and preventing the enemy from killing my stuff. I failed to take into account the wolf being able to escape from any of my units reach on one turn. I should've seen that coming and kept a unit available to block/kill that wolf. I should've started my retreat earlier, so that I could defend better and prevent the kind of losses I had (losing nearly leveled units was specially bad).

In other words, I should've planned ahead better. Ain't that what strategy is all about. Planning so that the ultimate goal is achieved, and not to be distracted by immediate, attractive tactical goals which in reality may not help the overall strategy?

We're getting caught in semantics here though. I may oversimplify and say that Wesnoth is about clicking hexes in specific patterns, if you get the pattern just right there's a good chance to win. Or overcomplicate it and talk about economic advantages, probabilities, etc.

Anyway, in-game one plays more by gut feeling rather than pure analysis. That's doesn't take away the fact that there is much strategy depth to the game and that it takes much experience and learning to master it.

Fate
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Re: The Point of Goblins?

Post by Fate » February 12th, 2010, 4:05 am

Huumy wrote:Is there actual strategies in wesnoth? I usually just scout what and where my opponent has and play according to it.
You could also say, "Is there strategy? I usually just do the right thing." The point is that "scouting what and where my opponent has and playing according to it" IS strategy. While some things can seem obvious (Ulfserkers vs Adepts) some things (such as adding some Warriors to protect the Ulfserkers even though the opponent currently only has Adepts because you know they will build something else when they see your Ulfserkers) require actual thought. Thought Wesnoth is more likely to be won by an excellent tactical player than a good strategic player, there is an appreciable strategic level to recruitment and deciding where and when to scout/raid/attack/defend.

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Zarel
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Re: The Point of Goblins?

Post by Zarel » February 12th, 2010, 5:14 am

Fate wrote:You could also say, "Is there strategy? I usually just do the right thing."
Or "Does English have spelling rules? I usually just spell things the right way."
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Re: The Point of Goblins?

Post by Huumy » February 13th, 2010, 2:01 pm

While some things can seem obvious (Ulfserkers vs Adepts) some things (such as adding some Warriors to protect the Ulfserkers even though the opponent currently only has Adepts because you know they will build something else when they see your Ulfserkers) require actual thought.
So more accurate would be saying: I play according what and where my opponent has and is likely to have.
(My english not perfect)


The Point of Goblins? in longer games they are good for your economy.
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Mystery
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Re: The Point of Goblins?

Post by Mystery » February 14th, 2010, 10:38 pm

Huumy wrote:Isn't this whole segment reacting to "What and where your opponent has" ???
Well, is that not part of strategy? You can't blindly rush into whatever you were doing and expect to beat even a remotely competent opponent, if you do not take heed of what they're doing and adjust accordingly.

And now, a relative blast from the past... :P Like, days ago dude!
Eskon wrote:They are glass cannons - you should keep them behind your lines.
Yet, one could also say the exact opposite: Due to their low cost and the low gain of XP to enemies who kill them, they should be used up front to patch up holes in your ZoC or block for more important units.

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Re: The Point of Goblins?

Post by Yoyobuae » February 14th, 2010, 11:03 pm

Mystery wrote:
Eskon wrote:They are glass cannons - you should keep them behind your lines.
Yet, one could also say the exact opposite: Due to their low cost and the low gain of XP to enemies who kill them, they should be used up front to patch up holes in your ZoC or block for more important units.
"Units that get hurt can be healed, but units that die cannot be brought back"

Goblins may be cheap, but a kill always hurts more than just a damaged unit. Unluckily, goblins will most likely end up dead, rather than hurt when put recklessly on the frontline. Grunts, on the other hand, are far more survivable and only cost +3 gold.

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Re: The Point of Goblins?

Post by Eskon » February 15th, 2010, 1:41 am

Grunts and trolls are unrivalled already when it comes to cheap HP. Goblins don't offer cheap HP. They get only double their price in HP, while grunts get triple (trolls even more). This makes them more desirable at defending in my eyes. The XP issue doesn't really change this I think - you get 4 XP for a dead goblin and only 1 XP for fighting a grunt, after all. In a situation where you have to expect a defending grunt to die, chances are good the goblin dies even faster and lets opponents through to strike at your other units. Moreover, losing a grunt frees up one point of upkeep whereas a goblin lost is just a goblin lost. Goblins also have three strikes, so if they do die they are quite unlikely to have used all their strikes in retaliation, whereas you have to kill a grunt in one or two strikes to avoid at least part of its retaliation. (The ranged retaliation of the goblin spearman has scarce defensive value and doesn't really enter the discussion, its main purpose being leeching XP.)

siowy
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Re: The Point of Goblins?

Post by siowy » February 15th, 2010, 1:47 am

it really depends on what units are in the area / in range. whether those units can kill the goblin in one attack or one turn.

goblin on mountain has a good chance of surviving one attack from some units (ghost, orc archer, grunt[2 strikes], etc.)
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Re: The Point of Goblins?

Post by Tonepoet » February 18th, 2010, 4:06 pm

Eskon wrote:Grunts and trolls are unrivalled already when it comes to cheap HP. Goblins don't offer cheap HP. They get only double their price in HP, while grunts get triple (trolls even more). This makes them more desirable at defending in my eyes. The XP issue doesn't really change this I think - you get 4 XP for a dead goblin and only 1 XP for fighting a grunt, after all. In a situation where you have to expect a defending grunt to die, chances are good the goblin dies even faster and lets opponents through to strike at your other units. Moreover, losing a grunt frees up one point of upkeep whereas a goblin lost is just a goblin lost. Goblins also have three strikes, so if they do die they are quite unlikely to have used all their strikes in retaliation, whereas you have to kill a grunt in one or two strikes to avoid at least part of its retaliation. (The ranged retaliation of the goblin spearman has scarce defensive value and doesn't really enter the discussion, its main purpose being leeching XP.)
Yeah but their starting charge is pitiful, so they end up having virtually no H.P. to work with at all. Many of the pierce weak units they're supposed to be good at attacking have considerable melee attacks for what they are. Unless you keep them perfectly topped off, it seems too risky to use them to attack the pierce weak units that they should be capable of attacking for fear of losing them mid-attack. This is because most of those units tend to be heavily melee geared.

As a somewhat simple example, a strong burner (9-2 during the day) can kill a dim goblin (18hp) during the day with a single melee attack, leaving you with solid loss just for even trying. Even if the burner isn't strong, your goblin will be near fatally wounded on a double hit, meaning any unit can kill it with less than a strike's worth of damage. True, perhaps I shouldn't be trying to attack burner during the day but there'll be times where I have to. There's a 21.6% chance of this happening according to the in game damage calculator.

Contrast to an opposite situation, where the opponent is defending against me at night: For the same initial investment and upkeep of one Drake Burner, I can buy both a Grunt and a Goblin. Pretty sweet deal right? 2 for the price of one. But what if the Burner tries to attack me? I deal no retaliation damage. Fine, I'll just attack it and get all of my strikes in to kill it, same as it got both strikes against me: This is even right?

Not quite: For the first example, the burner doesn't even have to utilize a turn to start capitalizing. Also, in the second, the damage is spread out along many more strikes, so the damage evens out more giving you less chance to deal maximal damage and less chance to kill. (I'm bad at math so I don't have the numbers on me but I'm sure if you do it, you'll find it to be true: the logic makes sense and has been brought up in many of the "this game is too luck based" threads, albeit under different contexts.) If you cannot kill the burner outright, it likely uses its superior mobility to just fly away over some forests or mountains to eventually heal at a village. This leaves you with pretty much nothing after they've taken a similar potshot at your health.

What does this mean? In defensively based situations. Burners (a specialist ranged unit) will beat both goblins (a unit primed to be their natural counter) and grunts (the intended baseline of the faction) in even gold situations, due to a superior number of opportunities made by extra turns and a greater accumulation of kills. Offensively speaking, the burner is much more mobile than either and hence more likely to make itself clean openings and deny new ones. If not as being a good supplemental unit to fight burners with, what role are goblins supposed to actually be good at? (Also: Whee, thread loop! XD)
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Re: The Point of Goblins?

Post by Eskon » February 18th, 2010, 7:47 pm

Goblin spearmen aren't "supposed" to be good at attacking any unit with a strong melee attack on the wrong time of day. If you have to do that, you're either desperate or trying to finish off a hurt unit. Yes, goblins more often run a risk of dying on the attack than other units do. They have to; otherwise their attack power is ridiculously overpowered for only 9 gold.

Don't just define them by their damage type. That the damage is pierce doesn't mean their purpose is to fight all pierce-vulnerable units, in all circumstances. Having a goblin around rocks against casters and archer-types (excluding skeleton archer for obvious reasons); everything they can attack while retaining most of their small HP pool, while the grunts and trolls take on the bigger, more punishing fights. Goblin spearmen are not near as useful overall as a grunt, or troll; if they were, they'd have to cost 12/13 gold for recruitment and upkeep. This should really be kept in mind - you can argue that the goblin is flimsy and slow - of course he is. That's why he is so cheap. We're talking about a 9 gold, no upkeep unit.

Anyway, my post was dealing with why you shouldn't (usually, exceptions are present to every rule) defend with goblins, but grunts or trolls. That they may often need their precious few HP just to be able to fully use their damage potential just reinforces that notion.

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Re: The Point of Goblins?

Post by Yoyobuae » February 18th, 2010, 9:22 pm

@Tonepoet: Actually, Northies night time assault against my drakes usually go more like 2+ grunts + archers + wolfs + occasional goblin. 3 or 4 of these units can make an attack on a single village hex I'm trying to defend. No drake unit can take that without a good chance to die. Neither do I have that many units to defend to begin with. :annoyed:

The situation you describe would only happen on a scenario where either there is a very easy to ZoC wall bottle neck or one that only has 21 initial gold with no income at all.

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Re: The Point of Goblins?

Post by Tonepoet » February 18th, 2010, 9:33 pm

Eskon wrote:Goblin spearmen aren't "supposed" to be good at attacking any unit with a strong melee attack on the wrong time of day. If you have to do that, you're either desperate or trying to finish off a hurt unit. Yes, goblins more often run a risk of dying on the attack than other units do. They have to; otherwise their attack power is ridiculously overpowered for only 9 gold.

Don't just define them by their damage type. That the damage is pierce doesn't mean their purpose is to fight all pierce-vulnerable units, in all circumstances. Having a goblin around rocks against casters and archer-types (excluding skeleton archer for obvious reasons); everything they can attack while retaining most of their small HP pool, while the grunts and trolls take on the bigger, more punishing fights. Goblin spearmen are not near as useful overall as a grunt, or troll; if they were, they'd have to cost 12/13 gold for recruitment and upkeep. This should really be kept in mind - you can argue that the goblin is flimsy and slow - of course he is. That's why he is so cheap. We're talking about a 9 gold, no upkeep unit.

Anyway, my post was dealing with why you shouldn't (usually, exceptions are present to every rule) defend with goblins, but grunts or trolls. That they may often need their precious few HP just to be able to fully use their damage potential just reinforces that notion.
The attack is rather strong: The problem is I cannot use it against the units that it matters against because the H.P. is prohibitive. Yes a burner's melee attack is strong but it's a primarily range geared unit; the sort of unit you'd want to attack using a meleeist such as the goblin, just the same as any other archer-type. I mean, certainly you wouldn't suggest I use a ranged unit like the Orcish Archer instead unless I simply had no other choices, right? Sure, the Burner's a far more expensive unit but that's why i recompensed with a grunt to make things run more smoothly on an even gold basis.

Also, you have to define units by damage type to at least some extent, it's a part of their build. If not for the resistance differences, what makes a Goblin Spearman better suited at attacking something than an Orcish Grunt? Grunts are already cheap, high damage yield units too and just as well suited for attacking regular archers and mages because their total base damage essentially amounts to the same. Yes, Grunts do cost upkeep but will that matter when the goblin dies too quickly to've even been worth even the initial investment? As I see it we have two units serving the exact same purpose here, except one's just better suited for the job, in a statistical sense: High attack and H.P. economy just simply beats out high attack economy alone.

On the other hand I must be at least somewhat fair: If whatever you want to do could kill the Grunt just the same, a goblin may be better suited for the job due to its price, if you don't need to distract multiple units. Strong attacking stats are poorly geared for baiting though; it discourages bites due to their hefty in turn cost. Maybe you would want to specifically bait ranged units out so you can smack them hard with your other melee units, then resulting in a high retaliation threat? I'm not sure.
Yoyobuae wrote:@Tonepoet: Actually, Northies night time assault against my drakes usually go more like 2+ grunts + archers + wolfs + occasional goblin. 3 or 4 of these units can make an attack on a single village hex I'm trying to defend. No drake unit can take that without a good chance to die. Neither do I have that many units to defend to begin with. :annoyed:

The situation you describe would only happen on a scenario where there is a very easy to ZoC wall bottle neck or one that only has 21 initial gold with no income at all.
A full match is rather complicated so I'm simplifying the scenario to isolate the Goblin's specific job as I see it. Yes you have archers and wolves too but they have Gliders and Skirmishers and you'll fight 'n fight 'n fight with those units in all sorts of ways. It's kinda hard to see what does what like that or why exactly somebody won a particular game. The units in a faction are supposed to serve certain roles though. Goblins are supposed to be well geared at fighting Drakes to my understanding and the Burner is likely the best unit for them to be fighting in the matchup, not counting the glider, because of either the resistances or even heavier melee attacks. These assumptions aren't wrong, are they?
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Re: The Point of Goblins?

Post by Yoyobuae » February 18th, 2010, 10:52 pm

@Tonepoet: The problem with those assumptions is that a pair of Northie units can't achieve any chance to kill vs most Drake units. If the kill is possible, then using a goblins for attack starts making more sense. At night they can always survive the Burner's retaliation and there will probably be a free grunt afterwards to take the same hex that the burner was standing on (even better if that happens to be a village).

In this case it doesn't really matter if goblin has 1hp left, the drakes still have to go thru a grunt before reaching it. The main goblin weakness is hidden so that the enemy can't take advantage of it. While its main strenght as a cheap damage dealer works in full force.

In general, such pure stat comparisons, as yours, easily stray far from real Wesnoth combat. You should know the saying that goes "Wesnoth is balanced as faction vs faction, not unit vs unit" or something like that.

In these discussions we need to always assume that there are two players which start with their respective leaders and ~100 starting gold, which recruit the units of the faction, units which move out into the field and fight together in coordination. Any balance discussion that strays from this context doesn't have anything to do with Wesnoth balance, at least not with MP server balance

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Re: The Point of Goblins?

Post by Eskon » February 18th, 2010, 11:01 pm

The Burner is one of the few units in the game that is primarily ranged, but also has a decent melee attack. Another unit with similar strength is the thunderer. And I would very much use the goblin against a burner, just not at day. And a goblin would have to be quite damaged to not be able, for instance, to withstand a burner's 5-2 at night.

In my experience, goblins become damaged in one of two ways: By attacking and taking retaliation, or by being attacked by the enemy and surviving. In both cases, you already got something out of it; retaliation damage is balanced by the attack damage you hopefully did, which should have contributed to getting the kill, if it didn't strike out the kill outright - if you choose poor, senseless targets for your goblins that is really your own fault. If the goblin got attacked and survived, it diverted some of the enemy's attention, and if it was a melee unit that attacked, it likely still dealt decent retaliation damage. Having a low HP goblin is usually the result of a good thing.
If not for the resistance differences, what makes a Goblin Spearman better suited at attacking something than an Orcish Grunt?
Three strikes, with different damage value. Take a closer look (This is at night, but it's pretty much the same picture at day - except that 2/3 of all goblins, at 5-3, beat the majority of grunts, at 7-2, at day)

- Enemy unit has 6 HP or lower: Goblins are better.
- Enemy unit has 7 HP: Non-weak goblin is better than grunts, who is better than weak goblin.
- Enemy unit has 8-11 HP: Grunt is better than any goblin.
- Enemy unit has 12 HP: Strong grunt is better than goblin is better than non-strong grunt.
- Enemy unit has 13-14 HP: Non-weak goblin is better than grunt is better than weak goblin.
- Enemy unit has 15 HP and upwards: Grunt is better than goblin.

(This assuming resistance differences don't enter into it, which was the premise of your question.)

See this? Goblins are already significantly cheaper at grunts, but there are even situations in which they are better-suited at killing enemy units than grunts are. I consider this a testament to their strength.

But apart from costing only 9 gold and no upkeep, and the presence of a ranged attack, and the greater ctk in many situations, and the different damage type... Now I'm out of ideas. How much reasons do you need to recruit a unit that only costs 9 gold? Does it have to fetch the paper in the morning? ;)

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