The Uselessness of the Merman Spearman

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Skrim
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The Uselessness of the Merman Spearman

Post by Skrim » May 1st, 2011, 8:38 am

Hi,

There's one unit I've noticed to be usually useless in campaigns and multiplayer, with an alternative that is in most cases more useful. This would be the Merman Spearman, one of the advancements of the Merman Hunter. I see almost no situations where this unit would be preferable over the alternative advancement, the Merman Netcaster.

The Netcaster is faster (7 vs 6 mp), equally tough, has a better melee attack (6-3 vs 6-2), and a ranged attack that is not much worse in terms of power (9-2 vs 6-4) - but much better overall since it Slows. It also does impact damage, which is better against the Undead opponents that frequently occur in campaigns, and none the worse against Orcs and Nagas. In multiplayer, it would be worse than the Spearman's piercing damage only against Drakes and Cavalry - and slowing Drakes over water would still be a bad thing for them.

So it's useless in campaigns compared to the Netcaster, only perhaps better than the Netcaster against Loys in multiplayer (even that's situational and debatable), and in all other cases worse. So does this unit really have any extra purpose that I haven't been able to deduce, or is it just plain broken? :?

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perseo
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Re: The Uselessness of the Merman Spearman

Post by perseo » May 1st, 2011, 9:13 am

Maybe its advance, the mermaid javelineer it's a bit better then the entengler. Its 10-4 range attack is better then the other 8-3. But I dunno exatcly the reason of its existance. I've never use them.
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what a beautiful day!- he said- for visiting a red herring
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salade
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Re: The Uselessness of the Merman Spearman

Post by salade » May 1st, 2011, 9:14 am

first, i think Netcaster is way more useful than Spearman, too.

i wouldn't say Netcaster is always better or Spearman is broken as there could be scenarios that Spearman is useful. e.g. in player-vs-AI survival games like World Conquest, one of the possible strategy against drake is to build sea pierce units and lure the drakes to fight in water. (20% def terrain for most drakes) I could say Spearman could kill drake more effectively. (even though, for the first Merman hunter, i'll probably level it to Netcaster and use it to slow the enemy and kill them with L1 Hunter)

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pauxlo
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Re: The Uselessness of the Merman Spearman

Post by pauxlo » May 1st, 2011, 3:10 pm

The spearman is the RIPLIB-conforming alternative - there should always be at least one leveling alternative which is better or same (in all parameters except upkeep/level/experience) than the original unit.

If there were only the netcaster, a hunter being leveled would lose the pierce attacks as well as on the number of ranged attacks. The first would be bad against enemies which are weaker to pierce than impact (like horses and drakes), the latter would be bad against low-hitpoint units, which can be killed easier with three (or four) attacks than with two.

It is the same reason that the human spearman can level up to javelineer - without this, it would always loose the ranged attack.

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Skrim
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Re: The Uselessness of the Merman Spearman

Post by Skrim » May 1st, 2011, 4:43 pm

So it's just a Hunter++ for the sake of there needing to be one? Ok...

it's still usually useless, though. A 7-4 ranged that allows it to better take advantage of its daytime bonus could make it more widely useful against general enemies, not just its optimum targets (drakes and horses).

And given RIPLIB, I find another anomaly in the same unit line - the Netcaster's damage per strike goes down when it levels up (9-2 to 8-3). That's one parameter that's broken there - a 9 hp target can no longer be one-shot. Unless of course damage-per-strike is not a valid parameter as per the rule, although it seems to be followed on all other units' More-power-same-abilities upgrade options.
Which gives me another idea - reducing the Netcaster's damage to 8-2 would increase the difference to the Spearman (16 vs 24 now), still do more than the Hunter's 15 damage, and maintain the slowing role - perhaps making the Spear a bit more relatively useful, without having to buff it, while also removing this odd anomaly.

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Re: The Uselessness of the Merman Spearman

Post by monochromatic » May 1st, 2011, 6:28 pm

An alternative: what if we do away with the throwing spears thing completely? We already got pierce in the main fighter's attack. Also, the slows ability doesn't have to come until level 2.

This would make the Rebels marginally more useful against undead, and would cause drakes to recruit more fighters and less saurians. But overall, it wouldn't change much.

(Though it would upset the balance of DW alot)

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Moribund
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Re: The Uselessness of the Merman Spearman

Post by Moribund » May 1st, 2011, 6:54 pm

How about Pillager vs Knight?

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Re: The Uselessness of the Merman Spearman

Post by monochromatic » May 1st, 2011, 6:57 pm

Moribund wrote:How about Pillager vs Knight?
I prefer a Knight over the Pillagers in a lot of cases.

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perseo
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Re: The Uselessness of the Merman Spearman

Post by perseo » May 1st, 2011, 7:03 pm

It depends, In my opinion knight is better because can advance to direwolf and has more HP and a maximun attack 7-4 (28) higher than pillager best attack 7-3 (21). Pillager is better vs undeads of course. Another problem with knight is that is easy to round it with archers and attack it without loses. That's my opinion. I hope I've explained it correctly.
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and getting hoarse."
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Velensk
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Re: The Uselessness of the Merman Spearman

Post by Velensk » May 1st, 2011, 7:06 pm

I am against removing the hunter and/or it's spearman line advancement.

I am for either improving the spearman line (though I'd think that making it much better in melee than the netcaster would be a little more interesting/fitting) or nerfing the netcaster line hp (I find netcasters rather difficult to kill due to the fact that most of the units that can attack them most easily are slowed by them, if the spearman was considerably tougher than the netcaster it might help it be more generically useful).
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Maiklas3000
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Re: The Uselessness of the Merman Spearman

Post by Maiklas3000 » May 1st, 2011, 7:11 pm

In Dead Water:BilHeld, you are Mermen fighting drakes, and the walkthrough* says:

"Here's where you can use all the piercing units you have. Hopefully you haven't been totally ignoring the spearman and warrior lines. Even level one units can do pretty high damage to drakes though, so you can level up some more here. Get piercing units, almost exclusively. Netcasters aren't really necessary, and one diviner is enough (but a second healer can help.)"

So, sometimes, like when facing Drakes, the Merman Spearman is not totally useless. What about nerfing the Netcasters/Entanglers? I find they are "too" useful, relative to other level 2/3 units. And nerfing them would also help make the Spearmen more useful. I would suggest dramatically reducing the melee damage of Netcasters/Entanglers, to make it easier to kill them.

* I created the walkthrough, but I didn't write that part. It came directly from the walkthrough-style comments in the .cfg files.

uzy5o
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Re: The Uselessness of the Merman Spearman

Post by uzy5o » May 1st, 2011, 7:33 pm

While we're at it, I find the Enchantress pretty useless compared to the Priestess.

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Skrim
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Re: The Uselessness of the Merman Spearman

Post by Skrim » May 2nd, 2011, 6:07 am

Maiklas3000 wrote:So, sometimes, like when facing Drakes, the Merman Spearman is not totally useless. What about nerfing the Netcasters/Entanglers? I find they are "too" useful, relative to other level 2/3 units. And nerfing them would also help make the Spearmen more useful. I would suggest dramatically reducing the melee damage of Netcasters/Entanglers, to make it easier to kill them.
I'd disagree with the writer of that piece. I myself find Netcaster slowing followed by stabbing with Warrior types more effective than assaulting unslowed drakes. Their low dodging rate pretty much guarantees that they'll get slowed.
Moribund wrote:How about Pillager vs Knight?
The Pillager achieves whatever niche roles it fulfills very well by sacrificing some of the Knight's attack power, a little HP and the potential to advance.
In the Netcaster's case all you're sacrificing is piercing damage (traded for impact) and a little lower ranged attack power. In everything else, the 'caster is equal or better than the Spear, and it retains its ability to advance.
uzy5o wrote:While we're at it, I find the Enchantress pretty useless compared to the Priestess.
The Enchantress is a bit less useful compared to the Priestess, perhaps. It is a bit tougher than the very-low-HP Priestess though and has a unique impact-magical attack... but then again impact is most often used on the undead, and arcane is already more powerful against them so the point is moot. It would still be better against elusive foot units, heavy infantry, Ghouls, and Saurians, but unfortunately there are no situations where any of these battles occur - HttT and DW have Initiates but they generally fight undead, and TRoW has Saurian targets but no Initiates. Ghouls might pop up a bit amongst undead armies, and you may face the rare Orc Assassin perhaps, but that's about it.

That aside, its level 3 form, the Siren is very powerful - 19-3 impact magical at daytime making it second to only the Great Mage in terms of peak magic damage output, and it has a magical melee poke, extra speed and about 20% more HP than the Diviner still. So I still stick a few extra leveling Initiates, if I have any, down this route.

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tr0ll
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Re: The Uselessness of the Merman Spearman

Post by tr0ll » October 17th, 2012, 11:03 pm

(copied from a digression in another topic)
Huumy wrote:
tr0ll wrote:i find it curious that merman hunters who wield spears graduate into netcasters who wield club and net. one would expect them to start with one or the other in a weaker form, or continue with spears and get faster or stealthier or acquire one new weapon at most between levels.
It makes sense if you think them as creatures who hunt fish, they are just given better tools when they are experienced enough.
except that a club is mostly nonfunctional in more than 0.3m of water. why not stay with spear and add a tail impact attack to replace the club?

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nuorc
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Re: The Uselessness of the Merman Spearman

Post by nuorc » October 17th, 2012, 11:42 pm

As I said in that other thread I like Netcasters, so please don't nerf them! :D
tr0ll wrote:except that a club is mostly nonfunctional in more than 0.3m of water. why not stay with spear and add a tail impact attack to replace the club?
To what depths are thrown nets effective? Why could this fish hit with its' tail and no other mainline fish?
I have a cunning plan.

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