Archers and Range

General feedback and discussion of the game.

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Byron
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Joined: May 23rd, 2013, 7:41 am
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Re: Archers and Range

Post by Byron » June 1st, 2019, 2:07 am

Why are you here, CrySiS? Why aren't you playing Fire Emblem? You've been playing for what? 2 days & now you know Wesnoth's "main problem".

Some of these people are very patient. I would have told you to go away, right away.

Velensk
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Re: Archers and Range

Post by Velensk » June 1st, 2019, 2:17 am

This thing is very important to understand, tactics and playing tactically is not about the preservation of resources (though tactical play will almost certainly require that you do). It is about planning and adapting to accomplish an objective, particularly short term planning and adapting to circumstances as they require. In this respect, I would say that Wesnoth is a game with far greater depth of tactics than Fire Emblem or similar games. Note, that this does not mean more challenging (challenge being highly relative to which Wesnoth campaign or Fire Emblem game anyway). I would actually say however, that Fire Emblems emphasis on the preservation and advancement of characters actually compromises it's tactical depth to a great degree. Allow me to explain.

In both Fire Emblem and Wesnoth, you are not so much concerned about beating any one level so much as you are an entire campaign of them. It doesn't matter how throughly you thrashed any one level if you get stuck later. To this end, you must always ensure that as you move forward your forces are prepared for what is to come. In both games you have persistent resources throughout the campaign but there are some major differences in how this plays out.
--In Fire Emblem, experience is far and away the most significant resource. This is in large part because Fire Emblem's combat system has a massive emphasis on troop quality relative to troop quantity to the point where troops of a certain threshold of power above a rival become effectively immune to them. At a difference of 6 or so levels, the weaker troop will unlikely to land a blow and (barring special weaknesses, abilities, or crits) will probably not do that much damage. To further compound the issue, barring truly tedious grinding techniques, experience is a highly finite resource. There simply isn't enough experience in the game for your whole army to keep pace so you have to pick which characters you'll cultivate and concentrate as much experience in those characters as possible. This effect is so severe that you simply cannot afford to lose anyone you've chosen to cultivate except possibly in the last fight or two. The games do try to alleviate this somewhat by continually giving you new high level characters but in every game I've seen these characters who start at high levels are very rarely as good as the ones you cultivate from the ground up.
--Wesnoth by contrast makes gold the most significant resource. It also links gold to completing missions quickly. Granted, for any of the harder campaigns you will still need experience but in harder campaigns, experience is in plentiful supply. There is also a rather fixed limit to progression as such, units never really get to the point where they're immune to attrition from lower level enemies (with the exception of some campaign characters and ancient liches but these are really isolated exceptions). As a result, the rank and file of your army can always be replaced but only if you can keep winning quickly and efficiently.

These dynamics lead to some very direct consequences.
--In Fire Emblem, it must always be possible to play in a way that keeps all your characters alive, and the player must always play in a way that keeps their characters alive even on the hardest difficulty (or rather, especially on the hardest difficulty). The margin between a stable and failure state is so narrow that there is no room for anything else. This generally involves moving in a very tightly packed formation taking advantage of choke points and other tactics that are both very conservative and also fairly basic or routine once you're used to it. I have beaten a number of Fire Emblem games on their hardest difficulty but after the first hand full of scenarios (which are generally my favorite part of the game) I spend far less time thinking about plans for how to approach the battle and far more time considering the minute of how to get experience to the characters I want without exposing myself. Occasionally a map has a setup that is sufficiently interesting to shake things up (frequently involving ways to exploit fliers) but these are exceptions and even then, these tactics are only worthwhile if you can do them without risk as even if you can do some kind of clever maneuver, it's probably safer to take it slow and you generally aren't in much of a hurry. In most Fire Emblem games (until the last few levels of the hardest games on hardest difficulty) you have to lean so heavily on the fact that your troops are higher quality that the focus of your play becomes centered around simply making sure that your troops stay higher quality than your ever improving opponents that outthinking the current challenge stops being that much of a consideration. Now on the hardest games on the hardest difficulty levels, they will start sending enemies at you that are sufficiently powerful that you can't have all of your troops be higher quality than them in which case the game changes to one where rather than being conservative you must find a way to destroy each one that can reach you before they take a turn or force them to only fight one of your extra elite troops. This is indeed more interesting but it only really works because these last few levels tend to be rather intently designed so that it is possible but even then you can't sustain this setup as dynamic for anything longer than a climax and even then, this tends to be even more susceptible to unavoidable misfortune than the typical arrangement.

As a side note: to add to the frustration, even with the most conservative tactics available, the margin between being only scratched in a way that can be easily/quickly restored to full health and dying instantly is frequently one crit or ability trigger with not a lot you can do about it other than restart.

--In wesnoth by contrast, you're encouraged to try to find ways to attack despite the fact that frequently speaking, tactical advantage still goes to slower more conservative play (so long as that conservative play respects the day/night cycle). In it's harder missions, you're still up against overwhelming numbers and if your plan isn't up to snuff you'll lose your whole army and be just as dead as a Fire Emblem player who lost their best character but there's a ton more potential for flexibility in how you approach things. This in large part comes because you're simply not punished as hard for taking risks. Because you have more freedom to break your own army apart there are far more options for how to to break your opponents army apart and marginalize their advantages. I find that in Wesnoth if I am struggling, it's far more likely because I need to come up with a different approach of how to employ my army than it is that I need to execute the same plan better or with better luck (in contrast to most Fire Emblems after the first few levels). Because you have far more room to make plans that don't break down at first failure, more plans are available and there are different risks and advantages to each style of plan. You have to adapt more because there are far more ways things can turn out between 'you're fine' and 'you're dead'. The experience of having things falling apart but finding a way to restructure them and turn them around is one which I don't recall ever experiencing in any Fire Emblem at any point but is not that uncommon for me in Wesnoth (particularly multiplayer but also in campaigns).
--You also have more freedom in what resources you choose to conserve and how you choose to conserve them. If you can pull it off, it's great to play aggressively, finish the mission quickly, and have more resources to work with in the next one but doing so might mean fighting on terrain or a time of day that doesn't favor you. Playing conservatively will maximize your odds of winning the current mission but you'll have a little less to work with in the future. Recalling veterans is a similar balance. For the initial gold cost, veterans blow rookies out of the water and their power will enable you to fight more efficiently and quickly, but that extra upkeep adds up surprisingly quickly so although you an get them into a mission cheaply they'll cost more over the long term. There's also the fact, that although they are much stronger and can really sure up your battles line, having them on the front line does not make your line immune to the strength of lower level units and there's a limit to how quickly their health can be recovered so even if your army is higher quality you have to be careful (and on the flip side, there are a much wider array of ways to deal with enemies with higher quality troops than just trying to kill them before they attack).

For all my praise of it, I must admit that in their later portions many Wesnoth campaigns fall into the same trap as Fire Emblem even though it manifests differently. The issue is that the campaign becomes an exercise in repeating the same (often conservative) tactic over and over again against ever increasing hordes of enemies simply because there is no other available tactic as effective that efficiently conserves your resources. This most frequently manifests in the use of hedge hog formations around healers/leaders with a healthy smattering of cannon fodder half of which will die and the other half will go to feed your ever growing number of unused veterans (the effectiveness of this tactic is often amplified by the fact that by this point in the campaign your story characters/loyals will be fully leveled giving you free line holders/breakers preventing you from needing to spend resources on these roles). This is unfortunate but actually rather difficult to avoid in campaign design. This is actually a large part of the reason why I frequently feel that campaigns where the player cannot get healers end up being funner than the ones where they do, though a lack of healers alone doesn't fix the issue. Really what is needed is challenges built into the scenario design that render whatever go-to tactic of the lategame version of whatever army you're playing suboptimal but it's often harder for a designer to think up ways of doing that than it is for players to come up with new ways to deal with whatever the new situation is.

The final point I'd make is that the presence or lack of presence of any mechanic will not make a game more or less 'tactical' or evolved as a tactical game. Different mechanics create different dynamics but it's what ultimately the -player- and not the pieces on the field must do that makes the game tactical or not. Wesnoth is not less tactical for not including multi-hex range attacks or for having a system which makes it so that they must conserve the life of each soldier because (if you take instances of each at the same relative level of difficulty) Wesnoth often asks for greater planning and flexibility than a Fire Emblem game typically does. This discussion reminds me of an disagreement I was once in where someone argued that Starcraft was lacking tactics because units didn't have to worry about LoS so you could just send globs of units at your opponent and have them be effective instead of having to manage Firing arcs and LoS for each individual unit (though in that case, I'd actually agree with him that Starcraft is less tactical than the games he was comparing it to but that's a far cry from saying that Starcraft has unsophisticated tactics simply because it is lacking that one element).

As a final note: If it sounds like I was pretty down on Fire Emblem it's worth noting that I still actually like the Fire Emblem games I've played (or at least, liked them when they weren't being overly anime). I don't consider Fire Emblem games to be all that interesting tactically but they're still a good challenge and give an rpglike experience while still having more interesting combat than most strait rpgs.
"There are two kinds of old men in the world. The kind who didn't go to war and who say that they should have lived fast died young and left a handsome corpse and the old men who did go to war and who say that there is no such thing as a handsome corpse."

otzenpunk
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Location: Hamburg / Germany

Re: Archers and Range

Post by otzenpunk » June 2nd, 2019, 4:45 am

Ok, there is a person, who hasn't played a single campaign, just the tutorial, and wants to tell us, that all the basic concepts of the game are wrong, because they are different from his favourite game. Also he tells us, that chess, for example, is obviously not a tactical game, because it's part of chess to lose units and trade them against your opponent's, and that's not how his favourite game works.

Everything in this thread screams TROLL.

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Pentarctagon
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Re: Archers and Range

Post by Pentarctagon » June 2nd, 2019, 6:38 am

otzenpunk wrote:
June 2nd, 2019, 4:45 am
Ok, there is a person, who hasn't played a single campaign, just the tutorial, and wants to tell us, that all the basic concepts of the game are wrong, because they are different from his favourite game. Also he tells us, that chess, for example, is obviously not a tactical game, because it's part of chess to lose units and trade them against your opponent's, and that's not how his favourite game works.

Everything in this thread screams TROLL.
I mean, even if they were actually a troll instead of someone with a different opinion and incorrect expectations, responding to them like that wouldn't help anything either.
99 little bugs in the code, 99 little bugs
take one down, patch it around
-2,147,483,648 little bugs in the code

Mawmoocn
Posts: 98
Joined: March 16th, 2019, 3:54 pm

Re: Archers and Range

Post by Mawmoocn » June 2nd, 2019, 3:22 pm

I assume it isn’t a troll post.

When I was a beginner for this game, part of my strategies include long range combat superiority. I thought, I could apply any long range strategies, well not really.

I thought it wouldn’t change the difficulty that much, so I decided to play this game and see how it turns out.

I played the tutorial to pick up special mechanisms that is unique or changes flow of battles. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to understand how to apply it in real time. Eventually learned after a year or so has passed.

After I played aggressively, there are some apparent and unneeded loss. These are due to preconceived assumptions and lack of understanding the game.

Apparently, keeping a long range unit alive, would be tough once they’re exposed to strong melee combatants, and conversely similar can be said for melee, if they also have low hit points or terrain evasion.

Exposing a unit means that, you needed to initiate first kill or incur high damage. Most of the time, failure to do so would mean, they would be "useless" on aggressive gameplay, because you would need to wait for an opportune moment to use them. Common for beginner mistakes.

Defending exposed units, is naturally hard to do once your strategy relies on certainty of killing units to defend exposed units.

If you can use real long range, you can possibly mitigate this problem. Though by doing so, would make new problems :lol:.

The current maximum "attacks" per hex/tile, is limited to 1 per unit, total of 6 grouped unit attacks, if surrounded by all units on current hex/tile design.

Hypothetically speaking, changing it to real long range, would allow you to use more than 6 units, to kill one unit, and would be unfair for melee units that are slow to move on certain terrains and would be useless against real long range units.

Anyways, balancing for units would be required if this was ever implemented.

User made campaigns have higher chance of seeing this change rather than mainline content.

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