Son of the Black Eye

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oea
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Re: Son of the Black Eye

Post by oea » March 9th, 2013, 8:44 am

scenario "the desert of death":
first it would be nice if the second filter on this event wasnt there as gruu might never kill a scorpion and it is nice flavor text.
[event]
name=die

[filter]
type=Giant Scorpion
[/filter]

[filter_second]
id=Grüü
[/filter_second]

[message]
speaker=Grüü
message= _ "Ahh, finally! Lunchtime!"
[/message]

second thing is [blarg! my bad. above was all]
[i am playing 1.10.5]

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Adamant14
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Re: Son of the Black Eye

Post by Adamant14 » May 29th, 2013, 4:43 am

This report belongs to here I guess:
http://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php ... 80#p554080
Maybe a moderator can move it.
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CannonFodder
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Re: Son of the Black Eye

Post by CannonFodder » March 1st, 2017, 8:36 pm

Huh...

With lots of struggle, numerous restarts I managed to get across The Silent Forest in Warrior difficulty. I think this was the most difficult scenario in the entire game this far. Is this supposed to be this difficult or maybe I am (was) doing something seriously wrong?
Spoiler:
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taptap
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Re: Son of the Black Eye

Post by taptap » March 1st, 2017, 9:09 pm

The Silent Forest is hard, no doubt. (I am on this scenario in a current replay as well w/ same difficulty and w/ significantly less gold, 168.) What comes to my mind seeing your recruits is the complete absence of grunts, especially mid xp warriors are a great, resilient (w/ implied level up), hard hitting asset. I am playing quite spammy w/ basic infantry, but not seeing any at all caught my eyes. (You gave 91 gold for wolves, 3 of which L1 for 51) Were the L1 wolves worth their cost as compared to e.g. 4 grunts or a vet, a wolf + a grunt? (I wish this were in scenario feedback.)
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CannonFodder
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Re: Son of the Black Eye

Post by CannonFodder » March 2nd, 2017, 4:26 pm

Grunts... I didn't go without them (in the campaign), but didn't use many, either (once I had trolls I often mixed these two depending on the terrain for my meele power). I had one warrior in my recall list which I could have used. Maybe I could have tried it, but in The Silent Forest I thought trolls being a better choice as there are very few villages, and often I got in the situation that I sort of survived the initial wave, but everyone was barely limping at the end. Trolls hit for less, but they have some defence (especially against pierce and blade, primary elvish weapons) also often receive a fearless trait which may come useful to survive the day, and in The Silent Forest, I saw I was crippled. Orcs move slow in forests, it is not possible to retreat (when I tried to grind down the initial rush at a favourable location, I wouldn't have time to finish the scenario). While wolves are weak and expensive, at least they can move faster than a snail on that ground (I didn't use a lot of them before, they seemed to be somewhat useful here). Grunts also have no ranged attack, combined with no defences, no healing without a village and being slow in the forest... Well, I didn't try that path, but it didn't feel like it would bring salvation (while the archers / crossbowmen are very much necessary to cope with woses).

In retrospect maybe it would worth a try, since in my game I have 209 gold, I could swap 2 wolves to 3 grunts or even troll whelps in my initial recruits (while keeping one wolf for a northern "excursion" to distract some elves). I found the goblin knight and the pillager very useful to have, fast enough to act on remote opportunities and the pillager's slowing capability often very handy (although not something to be relied upon with only 2 hits against those high defence elves).

I wonder how you will get across it with that gold! (If you succeed, post a replay, please! :) )

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Re: Son of the Black Eye

Post by mattsc » March 17th, 2017, 11:41 pm

Hey CannonFodder,

I was just pointed toward your question. I don't have time to look into your replay right now, but there are three replays on nightmare in the feedback thread that were done during or after the rebalancing. They might or might not be helpful. I don't know for sure that nothing has changed since then, but I don't recall anything significant.

And yes, everybody agrees that this is a very hard scenario. :) or :( , depending on how you look at that.

Hope this helps at least a little ...

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CannonFodder
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Re: Son of the Black Eye

Post by CannonFodder » March 26th, 2017, 7:40 pm

Huh, sorry for being late, I visit the forums rarely.

I continued playing it, after a couple of tries I managed to push through Civil War. Then :shock: . What the bloody hell?! I will give that some time to figure out. That's The Coward, a tiny keep and a meagre amount of gold. Am I supposed to somehow miraculously carry over from that nightmare before, it feels simply impossible. When I got through finishing (I succeed before, but just didn't have enough time to get rid of the leaders), I ended up leveling several units, which hit my income hard in the end. I couldn't even use a few of them for mopping up the leaders, being so distant and injured (it feels like the winning strategy with carry-over would involve purposely letting a couple of lv3 units die instead of moving them out to safety where they wouldn't be able to take part in the battle any more - I have plenty in my recall list anyway). There is some luck involved there, high level orcs and trolls hit hard, it is possible to lose even healthy high hp units on 60% defence, then an attacker of course moves onto the advantageous spot, bring in an assassin...

Isn't it possible by the way that the AI improved making this all more challenging?

I checked the replay in the thread, the last one which applies to my version of Wesnoth. That's some epic play with some luck involved... It never occurred to me that trolls can have so much influence on the AIs behaviour (and it seems like the player knows how the AI actually behaves, sometimes even leaving the shamans on locations I simply wouldn't dare, likely knowing where the invisible elvish forces are). At first I even thought what? Did the south-western just disappear? Upon next watch I realized he just hurled himself against one of the lv3 trolls with his bow. The south-eastern leader also practically committed suicide in the last turn, saving him the game (he wouldn't even reach her otherwise).

By the way I always get a bit lost on where to look regarding a campaign. Thanks for mentioning that area! Maybe I will post stuff there if by some miracle I ever finish this :)

EDIT: Finished! :) The last two scenarios taking place in Dorest were almost disappointingly easy compared to that nightmare before :D , sort of a chill-out hurling all those hard-earned high level troops on the battlefield steamrolling through any opposition. (I think I did Civil War three times to completion, lastly I could get some 90 gold carry over and several high level trolls for The Coward, which made it possible).

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Re: Son of the Black Eye

Post by mattsc » April 2nd, 2017, 1:19 am

Hi CannonFodder — congrats on finishing! That's great to hear.

Do you have any specific suggestions for changes? Unfortunately, I don't think we currently have anybody on the dev team with the right combination of available time, interest and playing skill to playtest an expert campaign on nightmare level. I certainly won't be in a position to do so anytime soon (or not so soon). These are supposed to be formidable challenges, but of course, with the appropriate skill one should be able to win without having to rely on luck or having to exploit shortcomings of the AI. On the other hand, a general knowledge of how the AI works and reacts is expected, but most people tackling this type of campaign probably have that anyway. In any case, the distinction between those is a bit fuzzy and it's sometimes hard to find the right balance.

So ... if you have any specific suggestions, let us know. I can't promise that they will be adopted, but we do appreciate all feedback and take it seriously.
CannonFodder wrote:Isn't it possible by the way that the AI improved making this all more challenging?
I don't think so. While a lot of additions have been made to AI capabilities, I am not aware of anything that would change the default AI or any of the custom AIs used in SotBE.

Thanks again for all the feedback!

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CannonFodder
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Re: Son of the Black Eye

Post by CannonFodder » April 8th, 2017, 7:07 am

Suggestions... For me it felt like this was "nightmare", I simply can't imagine Silent Forest and The Coward possible if it was made significantly more difficult (of course assuming you played scenarios before these proper to get the right amount of money & recallable troops available). I mean "possible" here without exploiting AI behaviour and maybe some luck. I am usually not aware of AI preferences, so mostly I deploy my formations anticipating worst case for the troops I want to preserve. Sometimes of course I use baits without expecting the strategy to work reliably.

Otherwise I think the campaign is good, a nice difficult campaign for those who like this where you have to plan forward for several scenarios. I think it is impossible as a first continuous run (since the player wouldn't know how to balance recalls, planned losses and advancements, carry-overs for the most critical scenarios), but this is a game, it can be played again to devise a more appropriate strategy (knowing the "future"). So a difficult campaign tailored for the nature of this being a game, that you can't just win by exploiting a knowledge of the future as it anticipates this knowledge (or great luck and foresight to arrive to those key scenarios with the appropriate resources for them).

In this campaign I particularly recognized that you might have two major extreme possibilities in coping with a problem (particularly on Civil War). One is hurling experienced troops at it and losing several of them (along with low level losses) during the tight of the battle, but by a faster advancement through the battlefield allowing for maximizing carry-over, ending with few powerful recalls. The other is using only the necessary amount of high levels, planning for a slower push where you can plan for advancing troops. The end result is poor carry-over (you end with surviving expensive to maintain high levels), but a better selection of recallables for later scenarios. You can't know which of these would be the more appropriate without some information on what to expect. Maybe the storyline could be revised a bit, doing some adjustments to provide hints for selecting the right approach.

Trolls versus grunts is also an interesting and sometimes critical decision here. Using trolls is advantageous where there are few opportunities to heal (you can only have saurian healers, which are crippled on snow), while the grunts may work better where there are plenty of villages and mobility for your healers (such as the last two scenarios): they do higher damage, and at level 3, they may be intimidating enough with their bow to prevent them porcupined like it happens with trolls (or at least the archers will also suffer some damage in the process). Silent Forest and The Coward I think is impossible unless you arrived to these with an appropriate roster of high level trolls. Maybe some foretelling could help in this (if the player knew about the healing possibilities, then he could prepare for keeping high level trolls available for the scenarios where they become essential).

Of course just opinions. It is I think good as it is, so just what I experienced, and how I perceive it might work better for preparing the player for the coming challenges.

The story itself was nice, I liked the characters, the harsh warlike nature of the orcs (of course some inconsistencies included, such as for the dialogue when killing the first elf in Silent Forest if it was done by a troll, but I am not the first mentioning that), the overall style of battles, the reliance on "fodder" units, planning with losing several troops during an orcish advancement I think fit very well. This is an unique scenario, portraying the race nicely of course with some good, honourable cause, showing that orcs (and trolls), despite their ruggedness, are "people" with lives and traditions just like the rest of the Wesnothian world.

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Re: Son of the Black Eye

Post by mattsc » April 25th, 2017, 2:25 pm

Hello again, CannonFodder. Thanks for the informative and thoughtful post, and sorry for the slow answer. I didn't reply earlier partly because I am busy with other things, but also because I don't really have a lot to add.

I think in principle a campaign should not rely on having to arrive at any specific scenario with an unusually large fraction of one kind of units over the other (such as trolls vs. orcs), and I have already said that I agree that it should not depend on luck or exploiting AI shortcomings. On the other hand, I do think that a player should expect to build a "balanced" (whatever that means) mix of veterans of different unit types. So if one only built up orc (or troll) veterans, that might be expected to be a problem later (not saying that you did, just as a hypothetical example). From what I remember, I used a mix of trolls and orcs in Silent Forest without feeling that I should have recruited differently earlier. Of course, that's with knowing exactly what to expect and also on medium difficulty, so it's not worth much as a statement.

In any case, the point I am trying to make is that I (and I know others on the dev team agree) would rather make the scenario(s) a bit easier than requiring the player to come in with a very specific mix of trolls and orcs. As for Silent Forest, I think what we could do is change the turns, player and enemy gold for the nightmare level to those of the medium difficulty (they're already pretty close, but in particular the 2 extra turns might help). In turn, I'd also change the medium difficulty values down a bit (to about half way between nightmare and "easy"). It might also make sense to reduce the enemy income from 12 to 10 or 8. That'd still make the scenario plenty hard and not change the character of the campaign, but maybe make it slightly more reasonable on nightmare.

How does that sound?

BTW, in a campaign like this I expect that there are some scenarios in which I will lose several high-level units. I think I've lost up to a half dozen Warlords/Slurbows in Civil War. So yeah, I agree that that's one strategy and I think it's okay that way.

Thanks again and let us know if you have addition comments or suggestions.

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CannonFodder
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Re: Son of the Black Eye

Post by CannonFodder » May 1st, 2017, 6:56 am

No problem :)

Balancing unit types... Well, good point, here it needs some reasonable battle experience, to know the advantages of trolls and grunts well, that there are cases where one fares better than the other due to the environment. Possibly this is the campaign where one would really notice this particular distinction, how the healing possibilities become primary priorities on certain scenarios. I found Toward Mountains of Haag particularly useful to build up the backbone of troll recruits, and Clash of Armies the scenario where you could end up with all the warriors you ever needed (the bridge there is such a position which just calls for levelling up grunts). My playthrough as far as I recall saw quite a rotation of archers, crossbowmen and occasional slurbows, it felt such a staple unit which came easily without much effort (I always had more than enough of them in my recall list). On Civil War in the end I notably traded a Warlord (already serving well his purpose) hurling him to his demise for increasing my carry-over. Well, the ultimate goal is to win the campaign after all :)

Silent Forest I think could have those modifications you mention. I watched some replays of it, and it very much seems almost impossible without luck (and-or knowledge on AI behaviour) on the hardest level. Related, I think the early finish bonus of The Desert of Death could be increased with one gold. When I purposely aimed for carry-over, I could do it so it didn't matter when I finished it (starting with 5 fresh archers and a wolf one kill short of becoming a Pillager, which then could be used to swiftly collect the villages around the oasis, maybe two archers died, one or maybe two levelled up, I believe with more care, it might be possible to do it with 4 archers or it could have been easy to lose one more "green" archer after the tight of the battle).

The Coward is very difficult, but I think after all it is fine as it is. Civil War provides a good battleground for preparing to it, allowing to train troops or get the necessary funds once figuring out how to play that scenario proper.

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Re: Son of the Black Eye

Post by zookeeper » May 6th, 2017, 2:48 pm

Ok, I've applied what are basically mattsc's suggestions. Two more turns, and some changes to gold and income. Nothing too drastic, but hopefully will make a difference.

Also I added one village to Desert of Death, so you get a bit more bonus gold. Of course then the enemy also gets more income, but probably not enough to matter.

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