Are humans overfeatured?

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Are humans overfeatured?

Postby Marcgal » April 4th, 2017, 4:23 pm

I know it’s a little bit late to mention this… Though I’m not sure if mainlining Khalifate was such a good idea.

Gameplay wise they might be OK. My objections arise from a slightly different POV…

I have a feeling that humans are overrepresented.

They actually were even before Khalifate: The whole Kingdom of Wesnoth had more unit types than any other race.

Plus, we had human outlaws in the Knalgan (dwarvish) faction, and rogue human mages are prominent (plot-wise and gameplay-wise) in Undead. And also human mages are featured in Rebels.

This would be fine if this applied to other factions as well. Wesnoth could have dwarvish mercs, for example. Elves could divide between wood-elves and high elves, the former being less isolationistic and more open to being featured in other factions. But this was not the case.

And now humans are given one more faction. Exaggerating this a little bit, it will soon seem as if other races are just an addition for humans.

• Humans get two whole factions (Loyalists & Khalifate), plus half of Knalgan, and are featured in Undead and Rebels.
• Elves get one faction.
• Dwarves get half of a faction.
• Orcs get one faction.
• Drakes and Saurians share a faction.
• Undead get a faction.

Do others feel the same that this creates some plot-wise imbalancement, or is it just me?
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Re: Are humans overfeatured?

Postby Gyra_Solune » April 4th, 2017, 6:44 pm

I wouldn't quite count Khalifate just yet - their place in the lore is ambiguous and they're not yet featured in any official story content. They're just a glimpse at what might be 'outside' the normal realms of Wesnoth, and possibly a secondary nexus of the story. As humans ourselves, we are biased towards humans - the game itself is named after the Kingdom of Wesnoth and the story revolves around the Kingdom and its interactions with the other races over the course of its history. I imagine the Khalifate serves a similar role in its sphere - maybe a band similar to UtBS's Quenoth Elves lives there, maybe they could put that neat Minotaur-focused faction there, among other things.

Part of the problem is simply a lack of good, immediately obvious and distinct fantasy races to place! But it's also the role humans serve in the setting - unlike the other races, who are relatively set in their ways, humans are adaptable migrants who are willing to work with anyone or anything depending on the individual. They don't have the inherent strengths of the other races that lead them to be dominant in their climes, but they don't have the inherent weaknesses that prevent those races from being successful outside of them. They're also fractured by nature and don't share a uniform culture. Orcs are bickering warlords but they're all in it to raid and conquer, elves and dwarves have internal conflict but it's never between groups that live in fundamentally different ways. But the Kingdom of Wesnoth lives differently than the outlaws who unified with the Knalgan Alliance, and they're also in conflict with humans who decided to harness the power of the undead, while there's also free mages who decided to throw their lot in with the elves instead, and that doesn't keep in mind the totally different and distant Khalifate who just as well have a totally different culture.

tl;dr unlike every other race who has specific innate qualities, humans in Wesnoth are defined explicitly by adaptability and flexibility and can manage to thrive modestly in just about any environment, which is why you see so many different groups aligned with so many different sides.
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Re: Are humans overfeatured?

Postby zookeeper » April 4th, 2017, 7:32 pm

Sure, humans are overrepresented. Although I'd argue it's not the simple number of units and factions which is the "problem"; it's more (or at least equally much) the fact that most campaigns have humans or elves (which can to a large degree be characterized as "idealized humans") as the protagonists, and that the world history is pretty much driven by humans. What sort of significant impact have other races had on the world of Wesnoth that isn't a reaction to human action? Not much.
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Re: Are humans overfeatured?

Postby The_Gnat » April 4th, 2017, 10:35 pm

You have a very convincing argument however I believe you are looking at it from the wrong point of view. Humans clearly are the dominant race in wesnoth which is why they feature in the most campaigns and elves are in fact closely related to humans as zookeeper said. Overall humans should be the most occurring.

Ultimately, though, you have brought up a valid point: the human race in wesnoth is repersented by nomads (khalifate), loyalists, outlaws, sorcerers, and necromancers. All other races are reperesented as a single stereotype (with only minor exceptions). All elves in wesnoth are wood elves. All dwarves are metal workers in the mountains. All drakes are lawful. All orcs are barbarians.

What I believe should be done is not remove khalifate but add more variety of other races. As mentioned dwarvish mercenaries and high elves would be good additions. Similarily, orcish miners, elves and dwarves who have grown up in human cities, Lawful saurians (who have been cast out), elvish mages, merman bounty hunters, intelligent trolls (maybe more shamans similar to those in era of magic), goblin servants (for humans), good ghosts that help people, elvish outlaws, and also halfbreeds (between the human like races).
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Re: Are humans overfeatured?

Postby Gyra_Solune » April 4th, 2017, 11:13 pm

There's provisions for different kinds of elves - they're listed as wood-elves in image files. I'm in support of the Under the Burning Suns elves being somehow integrated into the regular timeline.

I think halfbreeds are right out though. These are different species we're talking about, attempts at interbreeding would work as well as they would in real life I imagine.
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Re: Are humans overfeatured?

Postby taptap » April 4th, 2017, 11:33 pm

All this can be done and is done in user made content. Different units, different races, completely different eras, sometimes even proper mercenary companies ... and single-player content hardly matches multiplayer factions even in mainline. Just don't obsess over content shipped with the game and you are fine. Plenty user made campaigns to discover are available and while some will disappoint (depending on your preferences), some are not quite finished, others are more fun than most mainline has to offer and are almost as polished as well.
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Re: Are humans overfeatured?

Postby The_Gnat » April 5th, 2017, 12:45 am

@ gyra - You are right interbreeding is not a very good idea ;) However, i think because UtBS occurs quite a while after the rest of the wesnoth campaigns it shouldn't be integrated. But i do think that other varients of elves would be a good addition.

@ taptap - You are also right, much of what i suggested has already been done in UMC add-ons. However, i believe the point of this thread was discussing the mainline game. (though i have somewhat migrated the discussion away from humans)

In conclusion, i believe the mainline game does not have to be changed but it would be an improvement if minor changes to make the other races (beside humans) more unique were made. What exactly needs to be changed should be considered before anything is implemented. But i strongly believe some changes should be made to further represent other races.

For example the Orcish shamans in SoBE are a valuable (and in my opinion) important part in showing that the orcs are not merely barbarians. Another example is the masked Dwarves of THoT.
Similar units should be mainlined for the other races.
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Re: Are humans overfeatured?

Postby Gyra_Solune » April 5th, 2017, 4:39 am

There aren't /that/ many of such unit variations really, and their not being mainlined is more about their art and stats not yet being up to snuff. When it comes to non-human units, there's the Merman King, which is IMO good enough to be placed as a generic merfolk lord unit, and the Merman Brawler, who needs some better spritework and probably a level 2.

The Wose Shaman's a decent contender for being mained, it does need some further balancing though since as a possible alt-path Wose promotion, it's pretty bad.

I'm still not sure why the Elvish Horse Archer exists.

Orcish Shamans are weird gimmicky escort units whose art isn't finished and whose design/concept is subject to change.

And the masked dwarves you mentioned are more of a graphical option for the dwarves than a separate unit - keeping them fully animated with the rest will be somewhat difficult to ensure.

And that's just about all there is really. Like honestly? The first step to making a unit is to make a solid reason for their existence and some kind of story, one that fits in with the setting and wouldn't be out of place if they just randomly showed up in some campaigns alongside other units. Then you have to make their sprites. That's the biggest impediment to these units, the art most of all, doing a lot of work for that is a good way to have say in their presence in the main game. Now, if you want them to be in a multiplayer faction? That's a whole other thing - don't count on that moving particularly fast unless you're willing to push other people into doing a lot of rigorous testing.
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Re: Are humans overfeatured?

Postby Bitron » April 5th, 2017, 8:13 am

In addition, I want to mention that it is kind of humans nature to spread everywhere and beeing overpresent.
We are like what seven billion in the world, and how many elves you have met yet? SImply not their nature to interfere in everything. ^^
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Re: Are humans overfeatured?

Postby Dixie » April 5th, 2017, 9:42 pm

Well, sure, humans are represented a lot, which makes sense since it is the Battle for Wesnoth, aka a human kingdom. It's kinda like arguing that Harry Potter features too many magic users or too many British people. Sure, BfW features stories about event going on around Wesnoth, but if Wesnothian (i.e. humans) were not somehow featured in most of mainline, why should it be the Battle for Wesnoth and not, I don't know, the Battle for Iridia or something?

And then there's the gameplay argument. While I do agree that more variety within other races would be nice, you can only add in so many different factions and so many different unit types per faction before it turns into a balancing nightmare. Such units would have to be solely featured in campaigns and not integrated in mainline. But once again each mainline campaign has to be a certain quality and needs people maintaining them, which somewhat puts a limit on the amount of campaigns you can have.

A simple and elegant solution, provided someone supplies the art of course, could be keeping the same unit lines but mixing in some racial variety. I mean, who says a dark adept couldn't be an elf, dwarf or even an orc? Same goes with outlaws. Kinda like they've done for the zombie line. That being said, it could lead to balancing issues with the various movetypes and totally change some unit lines. I mean, what good would be a 4mp dwarven footpad, really, and wouldn't a high evasion, forest walking elven DA be a bit too much?

So, yeah, both the storyline's focus and balancing imperatives of the game more or less force it to focus heavily on humans...
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Re: Are humans overfeatured?

Postby Gyra_Solune » April 6th, 2017, 2:13 am

The very nature of the kind of magic the various races use possibly prohibits their use of dark magic. Elves and mermen utilize a fae magic heavily entwined with the forces of nature around them, dwarves only use magic via runic enchantments, which are lost to their kind, and drakes are explicitly extremely weak to dark magic. Saurians more or less use dark magic already - that's their augurs, though it's more of an occult hexing sort of affair over the blasts of life-draining energy. The magic of orcs is vaguely similar, but clearly a lot weaker - their shamans don't even have magic to speak of, it's simply a very weak animist curse sort of thing that does the life-draining but isn't as potent. I don't know anything about the troll shaman magic, but I imagine it's similar in nature to the magic forces the Drakes sustain themselves with, just more carefully manipulated, and I don't know anything about the magical capacities of woses, but it's likely akin to that of elves and mermen. Nagas are open to addition of some magic to their ranks since we haven't seen them use any despite them seeming fairly intelligent - I like the idea of them using shadowy magic of some kind, and I doubt ogres can use magic but hey maybe they can do something!
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Re: Are humans overfeatured?

Postby SigurdFireDragon » April 6th, 2017, 3:40 am

I'm happy with Battle for Wesnoth being Wesnoth-centric and human-centric.
It seems reasonable for the game to be human-centric given what it was inspired by & when everyone who plays it is a human.
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Re: Are humans overfeatured?

Postby doofus-01 » April 8th, 2017, 2:33 am

SigurdFireDragon wrote:It seems reasonable for the game to be human-centric given what it was inspired by & when everyone who plays it is a human.
Yeah. And really, elves, dwarves, and even orcs are basically humans. Would it help if the Kalifate were given pointy ears?
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Re: Are humans overfeatured?

Postby Temuchin Khan » April 8th, 2017, 3:44 pm

In my opinion, the best way to resolve any concerns about humans being too dominant in Wesnoth would be to revive, complete, and mainline the factions from the old Battle for Meridia project:

viewtopic.php?f=19&t=30754

I don't think I've seen a Wesnoth project, other than the Imperial Era, that did a better job of creating alternative Elf, Dwarf, and Orc cultures. The original creator, thespaceinvader, always intended to balance these factions with the Khalifate and have them represent the Khalifate's southern neighbors, so I think they would fit perfectly with Wesnoth lore.

But does anyone know what happened to thespaceinvader? If so, do you think he would give someone else permission to finish it?
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Re: Are humans overfeatured?

Postby SigurdFireDragon » April 8th, 2017, 5:03 pm

doofus-01 wrote:
SigurdFireDragon wrote:Would it help if the Kalifate were given pointy ears?


That's silly, the elves already have pointy ears. Though if one were so inclined, a mod could be made to add them.

There could even be two flavors of pointy ears:
Code: Select all
{TRAIT_POINTY_EARS_ELVEN} # +5 to archery and forest living

{TRAIT_POINTY_EARS_VULCAN} # +5 to logic & quoting starfleet regulations at the captain
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