Dunefolk Rework - Removed Units & Extra Units

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ghype
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Dunefolk Rework - Removed Units & Extra Units

Post by ghype » March 25th, 2019, 8:25 pm




Update #1

Update #2




This is the part probably most of you were curious about. Some units should have been removed already according to the old thread (i.e. the Falcon). And we removed another one (the Piercer) because of its bad design which is explained in detail. Furthermore, since we removed multiple units and Dunefolk is clearly missing certain unit roles, we decided to combine these two topics into one, and present also the new additional units.




Removed Units


Falcon
  • Scouting:
    This unit's main role obviously is scouting. The way it is designed however make it the weakest/worst scout currently in the game. Not only does Dunefolk already have a much stronger scout, the Rider, but as it is currently the Falcon merely represents an inferior version of the Vampire Bat.
  • Pricing:
    With a 12g cost it is just 1g cheaper than Vampire Bat. Currently the only function Falcon can fulfil is grabbing (enemy) villages. But the Bat is much better in doing that just by being less vulnerable. With its melee drain, it can survive much longer then the DF Falcon against melee attacks and can be a pain to kill at times.
  • Water Control:
    The only reason why we could want to have another scout besides the already strong Rider is the water control. But as we all know, the Falcon’s squishiness and pricing are the reasons why this unit never will be a reliable unit for water control.

more about
Falcon is basically a useless unit that the Dunefolk doesn’t need. With its current stats it’s a poor bat clone that doesn’t have the bat drain nor does it have the strong level up the bat has. Instead it has a very weak charge attack which, even though being better than its pitiful claws attack, is still almost useless in most scenarios.

Ideas to change falcon fall short because of the following reasons:
  • It’s a falcon, and therefore making it as strong as a spearman makes no sense thematically.
  • While it would be possible to substitute it with a roc or some other flying monster those also have their own problems and they would really be new units entirely (so the Falcon is effectively removed anyway).
  • Moreover it is a scout and as such it’s impossible to make it a cost-efficient combat unit without making it overpowered.
If we give it a weapon special like poison or slow, it would make it too strong as a scout, if its stats were made to be very weak then it wouldn’t be a good enough unit and essentially wouldn’t change anything. And now before you postulate that a perfect balance could be achieved, I will remind you that the only reason the Bat is balanced is because of its resilience due to the Drain ability. However, in the Falcon’s current state and design it is impossible to balance. It could perhaps be made into a stronger bird of prey but that just takes us back to the Roc discussion I sighted earlier, and effectively that is also a removal of the falcon. Also worth mentioning is the fact that Dunefolk doesn’t need a flying monster. If we add a giant flying unit instead then we basically create a gryph-like unit. Maybe it could be worked around but there hasn’t yet been suggested a version of gryph or a wyvern that wouldn’t be similar to a Gryphon. Even a less expensive and weaker version of the Gryphon (which it would have to be or it would nullify the Rider’s scouting value in the faction) would directly compete with Dwarves Gryphon and be hard to implement effectively while still be unique.

The only other possibility for the falcon is some powerful ability which allows it to be strengthened (like the bat’s drain ability) but also thematically makes sense for a falcon. This, however, does not exist currently and would be both hard to create and hard to balance. And I don’t believe this is a road anyone wants to go down.

About lvl 0 falcon as a weak scout.

Furthermore, because it’s currently a lvl 0 unit the Falcon has to be weak because of 0 upkeep. Any ideas like giving the beak attack a slow special or poison attack of disengage power not only would create an inevitable imbalance but also they wouldn’t fit a faction that is supposed to be played with default era. And at the same time from the balance side Dunefolk might be better off without such a unit.

I have talked about why lvl 0 falcon can never be anything more than a weak scout but this is not to say a lvl 0 falcon can’t work.
if it was buffed and changed then it could become something similar to a bat, its charge would be hard to balance, any decent charge on such a fast unit could be problematic vs any unit with bad melee. But it could be removed. I don’t think it could be given any of the standard default specials or abilities but it could probably work without any of them, it would be something like a more plain bat with a bit stronger attacks.

But the key thing is that nobody wanted such a unit, all the proposed versions were of a lvl 1 falcon or some wyvern/roc.
Nobody suggested “a weak falcon scout”, and the only ideas that were proposed for such a unit would effectively make it as powerful as a lvl 1.

Ultimately no matter what changes are proposed the current falcon is too broken to be feasible without a complete re-work, theme change, or level upgrade. The lvl 0 falcon is dead.

Piercer
  • Cavalry Tank:
    Since this unit is more bulky then the others, this unit shouldn't function as a scout since DF already has two of them. It obviously functions as a mobile tank. But it doesn't do it properly. Yes, it tanks impact damage which is very important for the 1.14 Dunefolks, but it dies too fast against archers/spears and cold attacks (because unlike other tanks it has weak resistances). That makes this unit not very reliable as a tank vs any match-up.
  • Pricing:
    With 21g cost it makes it almost as expensive as Horsemen, but is nowhere as close as useful as it (lacking both mobility and the effective damage that the Horseman has). Regarding how squishy and how bad it performs as a tank, this is mostly due to defences and resistances, it is not as effective as its price suggests. Its price is also comparable to the Gryphon Rider, Drake Burner, Ghost, Wose, and Mage. These units all have high mobility, powerful defence/resistances, or massive damage. The Piercer has none of these despite being more expensive than multiple of them.
  • Damage:
    We find an impact and a pierce weapon on the Piercer but none of these two feel very useful. Dunefolk already has plenty of melee impact so Piercers ability to fight skeletons falls low (especially if we consider that Skeleton Archers can easy dmg the Piercer and that the DF has the Burner as the most effective anti-skeleton unit for a cheaper price). Now the strong pierce attack is just as unusable since it is a very risky attack. Unlike the Thunderer, upon whom a single strike attack is famous, the Piercer's attack is on melee. This exposes it too massive retaliation damage when attacking melee units and often missing. Effectively this limits the Piercer's lance attack to combating primarily ranged units, thereby severely limiting the lance's functionality.

more about



Horse Rider with only 6MP: 

  • First of all we can’t leave it with 6 MP – it does not fit in default next to all the 8 and 9 MP horse units. It would have to have at least 7 MP, a horse unit 2 or more MP slower than any other horse unit of other factions makes absolutely no sense and no explanation could justify it. It makes no sense that the horse would be so “heavyweight” to be that much slower and it makes no sense for it to have some super heavy equipment. It isn’t heavily armored, as proved by the fact that its resistances are worse than the cavalryman or horseman and both are much faster. Its equipment can’t be so heavy either, the weight of a lance or mace will always be less than the weight of metal armor (which the Piercer clearly isn't wearing as demonstrated by its bad resistances), a real world medieval mace weights on average about 1-2 kg, a lance would be heavier but still much lighter than the suit of armor.
 Even in fantasy setting it would make no sense, to justify such slow movement because of the weight of this equipment.

 


  • Any stamina based explanation is also questionable in Wesnoth. The units’ MP and strikes number doesn’t seem to be dependent on stamina, otherwise orcs should have more, or at least the same stamina as humans or elves, but grunts have much less strikes than elvish fighters. They also don’t have more MP despite the common lore that Orcs have massive stamina and ability to fight without tiring. This leads to the conclusion that stamina appears to be ignored, at least in default era (of course user made eras may have units with very different statistics).
  • Even suggestions that this is an alternate type of horse, either a different breed or differently trainer cannot explain the fact that this horse travels as slowly as foot soldiers. Lastly the only other justification of the 6 MP would be that the horses are poorly feed or weak but that’s not an explanation we can use. There is no logical reason why the Piercer’s horse is so bad.
  • Issues like this are too important to ignore, even if the unit improved balance. If the setting or lore had to be ignored to make an unit work then that would be a good reason to scrap the unit and introduce a new one. The same would be true for a faction.




Thematic issues: 

Although the piercer could have its MP buffed and be fine with it, preferably to 8 mp. The 7 MP would still not be that good for the same reasons as the 6 MP - it doesn’t quite fit.
  • Even if it had 7 MP as its flavor, still, the same questions remain unanswered: Why is it slower? Why is it just as fast as a footpad? Why is it not heavily armored, why can’t it charge despite having a lance like horseman, why does this unit strike only 1 time with its lance (which it doesn’t even charge with). In its inception the piercer was a failed unit balance or lore-wise, and what gives this unit uniqueness is the exact thing that makes it badly designed.
  • Also with 2 horse units this essentially makes another cavalry faction. This not only is questionable thematically, but more importantly it replicates the Loyalist faction who have 2 horse units, making it less unique and less interesting than any other type of unit that could fill this role.

Doesn't fill any useful role: 
It may not be obvious that removing piercer is good or at all needed. Indeed most of the reasons for removing it don’t have much to do with balance. But even if it wasn’t removed and buffed instead it would have little impact on balance.
Given that it has a mace attack it should be good vs undead and undead matchup could in theory suffer the most from removing piercer, but it is not so simple.
  • 

First of all regardless of how it may seem the piercer in its current state is bad vs undead, it’s much worse than burner. It has 6 MP, its mace deals just 6-3 and it costs 21 which means that it can virtually never be more cost effective than burner vs skeletons or soldier vs adepts, even despite its one extra MP. It is just never worth recruiting over the alternatives in any matchup. 


  • It could be buffed but the thing is that it is questionable if it even then it could be more useful than the new burner or soldier. The main problem is that it tries to be versatile with its extra speed and two very different attacks. This means that it inevitably will be either over powered or not as good as a role-specific unit such as the Burner.

Problems with potential buffs: 
  • There was an idea of a 7 MP piercer but ultimately the main problem seems to be the fact that such a unit, even if strong, wouldn’t really help Dunefolk enough since it would have to be expensive. It could help vs undead with its mace attack and a theorized 11-2 melee pierce attack (that was the main idea to change its attack), but it just doesn’t work well, it would be too weak or too costly, else it would be overpowered thanks to its 7 MP.
 
  • 

Another reason is that we can’t really give it a special like charge since horseman has it, so instead we would just have to tweak its statistics essentially making a unit stronger than the cavalryman and more expensive. Unless it was overpowered or extremely expensive, such a unit wouldn’t be able to do much sitting next to all the other already expensive Dunefolk units. It can never become strong enough to fix any of the problems with the faction. 
It’s a failed concept.



Balance Issues: 
  • As for its lance attack, the 20-1 charge is generally disliked by players for being too random, especially for such an expensive and relatively vulnerable unit. A melee attack with a single strike with a lot of damage is rather interesting, but since its melee the unit unlike thunderers will take retal from most units if it doesn’t hit. Also the thunderer is slow, a cavalry unit with such an attack would be much faster which opens a possibility for the rather unfun and random attacks with 2 or more of them, hoping for hitting 2/2 or 1/1 and then finishing enemy scouts or retreating units. In all likelihood such a unit wouldn’t be good for the gameplay even though it probably could be balanced.
 Overall, it wouldn’t be very good because the RNG would play a big role when recruiting such an expensive unit.
  • So the first idea was to split the attack and make it 11-2, 10-2 or 9-2. The 10-2 is not a good option since strong ones would be much stronger at day (it’s a bit like the situation with strong clashers except that clashers are much slower). But splitting this attack also has the issue that it makes the Piercer less unique and forces us to question its value to the faction. The options left are 9-2 and 11-2, it is questionable whether 9-2 would be good considering that its weak and the same damage as the current mace (which was considered being buffed to 7-3 because it was so bad). While it would be good vs enemy scouts, vs loyalists it doesn’t matter much since spears would counter the piercer well. Against elves it could be good but overall the piercer as an unit wouldn’t be that useful since it wouldn’t be good vs woses and soldier would outperform it.
 Against drakes it could potentially find some use but even taking the drake cold vulnerability into account with 9-2 it would deal 11-2 to clashers or 12-2 to all other units, that’s identical to the new damage of soldier, and soldier wouldn’t be vulnerable to pierce of clashers and saurian.
 
  • Essentially it would only be good vs undead because of its mace attack but keeping a unit for the sake of a single matchup is of course not a good choice. At the same time there is also the problem previously mentioned that it likely wouldn’t affect balance itself much because of its high cost making it a rarity on the battlefield. 
It could be a pretty decent support unit but the burner would likely be cheaper and more cost effective vs skeletons, it would be pretty good even against the skeleton archers despite its ranged attack.

    If we compare it to other units with similar use, the cavalry of loyalists would of course be faster. The cavalry also has better cold resistances and more importantly loyalists have mages which are better at dealing damage than burners at day so it can be sometimes harder to engage the attacking cavalry with mages behind than it would be to attack piercer. 
It could work as support but if you recruit piercer you either get less soldiers so you deal less damage to adepts or you or less burners. 

    Such a limited functionality for such an expensive unit nullifies its overall value for the faction. Overall the piercer's design limits its ability to be balanced and because of this it would have to be entirely reworked in order to be properly balanced and not loose uniqueness. Because of this we have decided it would be of far more value to remove the piercer and replace it with another unit that would fill the needs of the DF better.






Extra Units

Finally, we now reach probably the most exciting part of this rework. As we removed a couple of units and DF was lacking even before (in certain unit roles such as water control units), we spent a lot of time thinking what possible unit could fit DF purposefully. The general meaning of this topic was debated on great amount in the old forum thread and we mostly used that for having a starting point and get inspired. We considered all of them: Jinn, Roc (Giant Falcon), Giant Lizard, Lizard Rider, Marine Lizard, all sorts of Naga, Scorpions, Scorpion Riders, Wyverns, Wyvern Riders and a couple more. Considering is maybe the wrong word as there existed unit codes for and sprite (drafts) for all of these units. We heavily test played them until we excluded all the concepts that would not improve DF's balance.

Furthermore, we are going to present the units here isolated from each other. In the playable demo, they however are presented on a setup as we also have new units that fill other roles then water control.

So we mentioned many examples of extra units earlier. The way we play tested them was on certain set ups where you have multiple units in one setup, each of the two unit fill a certain role depending on their concept and unit design. Here is an example how these set ups used to look like. "DF" here stands for all the remaining core untis of Dunefolk.

Examples:
DF + Scorpion + Naga
DF + Lizard Rider + Naga
DF + Jini
DF + Naga
DF + Dust Devil

and a dozen more...

According to the forum, the most popular and elaborated extra unit discussed there were Jini's and Nagas. Even though there have been many many concepts and unit designs discussed for a Jini, no actual version was agreed upon. There was a Naga however, which was fully coded and ready to be test played. We did that, and we found out that the elusive version of a Naga proposed by Pentarctagon was overpowered and not balanced at all. Now we want to recap again why a Jini or such a Naga cannot work balance-wise.
Why Jini Cannot Work
  • Flight is a problem, because this means that it is the most mobile mage out of them all and also it deals magical damage, so even if its damage was low, there is a possibility of eg jinns flying from over water and ganging on lone units in villages. In its current version its much stronger than gryphon, but even if it was about just as strong, some people might mass it and abuse the terrain on some maps like eg water, massed jinns staying over water would be cancer, and due to magic it would inevitably be better at dealing damage and attacking than gryphon to make it balanced, or alternatively tankier.
Either way it would be a very weird flying mage that can abuse terrain, and likely a tanky one (because of resistances). The flight is its real issue because it makes it very mobile and also allows it to abuse terrain, which is very dangerous for a magical unit. In particular it should be noted that the only other magical unit in the default factions (the Mage) is slow, weak, has pathetic melee, worse movement and defenses, and has no resistances.
  • Another thing is that it doesn’t really fit other DF units. It does not complement DF playstyle. A question that needs to be asked is: Why should it be added? And indeed besides controlling water and maybe adding good magic to the DF (which is against the original idea for the faction) it can’t bring any other positives. In actuality it wouldn’t bring good magic. To avoid making it OP the fast moving good defence jinn would need to be heavily nerfed, either making it very costly, giving it weak attacks (despite magic), or making it very easy to kill.
  • If the reason for introducing it would be water control then actually it can’t possibly be made good. It has magic and also flies, so to avoid its potential abuse on certain maps, and also stop it from destroying all the other water units (because it has magic so it ignores the 60% shallow water defense) it would have to be nerfed further to the point that it wouldn’t be very effective at contesting water. It would have to be nerfed to as low hp, resistances, and attacks as the ghost. And all these balancing efforts would be in vain, and in the end, if it didn’t end up as just a very weak or extremely expensive unit – it would still probably be abused in some way on some maps and useless in other matchups. This is not something that would really be desirable.
At this point it becomes obvious that for water control a much better option would be just adding a far less weird and easier to balance unit like a dedicated water merman-like unit, or a non-magical unit with worse water mobility like Dust Spirit.
  • If DF didn’t have other strong units like soldier, it would probably be possible to build the faction around jinn (as some people have suggested). Just make it strong and the core unit of DF, a bit like dark adepts for undead or grunts for orcs, but that is against the original idea of the faction to create a faction of jinns. Abstracting from the fact that it would create an entirely new faction that would require entirely new lore, it doesn’t seem that anybody would want something like that.
Why Penta's Naga Cannot Work
  • Adding poison to the default DF faction causes a general unbalance. On melee it is worse than ranged but both are incredibly dangerous for balance because they can and do shape the entire enemies strategy. Effective poison is not only a powerful defense, perhaps creating an over powered water control unit, but also effective poison allows the DF to gain an advantage in maps with less villages, maps with more water. They also shift the dynamic of matchups such as seen in the use of the Ghoul.
  • Even if the poison attack was as weak as only two strikes it still would be powerful and then particularly luck based which would not improve balance. Furthermore, poison’s fundamental damage dealt is the damage the poison itself and this is the unbalanced point of the suggestions for naga. Also worth noting is that poison would be differently balanced against each of the factions DF fights against. (ex. against the UD the Naga and its poison would be effectively useless) this makes it especially hard to balance, and not particularly effective as a water control unit.
  • One thing to note is that the ideas to give it poison, or some other weapon special, doesn’t work because it would inevitably make Dunefolk too strong on maps with a lot of water since they would be able to poison land units, even if it would lose one on one vs other water units. The poison will be much more harmful against a group of water units than only an individual one.
  • Not matter how elusive a Naga is, 50% hills/forest seems very unlikely - no matter how much mp cost it has. 50% flat on lv1 seems more natural as the Naga Fighter has 50% on lv3 already. In pvp it can be dominate not only water, but can cover also forest and hills out of nowhere. How that Naga perform better on forest then Dunefolks?
All of these are unnecessary complications for a water control unit and harder to balance than we felt were justified for the implementation of naga. Furthermore the idea of how naga injected their poison was a much debated topic with little consensus and overall we believe it is better to have a naga without poison at all.

If you have played or downloaded the playable test era, then you already know what the setup we present look like. At this part, we are discussing the concept, stats and the reasons why these unit fit in DF better than any other unit. Here is our proposed setup:

Dunefolk + Shieldbreaker + Naga


Water Control - Naga

Out of all units, the most established water creatures in Wesnoth are Nagas and Mermen. Hence there has been already a Naga suggested, which however was not something many of us agreed with. It didn't played well and was very unconventional. Probably the most difficult thing for designing a new naga/merman unit for mainline is to not make it similar to any other naga/merman out there. What we decided is a more traditional approach but at the same time a more balanced version than the original proposal on the forum.

But before we show our Naga, we wanted to point out some controversial statements regarding adding a Naga to Dunefolk. Generally, there has been a wide acceptance of a new Naga unit to DF in the old thread, which, however, doesn't mean that all are going to agree as we publish this. The main issue is that it specifically states that the naga are quite unknown race, which can be difficult when trying to add Lore - it can be a curse and a blessing:

"The serpentine nagas are one of the least understood races of the Great Continent. Part of this is due to their xenophobic nature and part is due to their alien environment".


How People Could Argue Against It
  • The naga belong in the faction "notherners" (meaning they are in the north), but if we want them to be able to be in the DF faction they need to be able to be in the south as well. Well, it seems that the merman are able to be in the north coasts and the south mainland and coast. In the merman campaign "dead water" we see that on the map we start in the north a little west to the Heart Mountains and a little south to the death desert. They go north then south again. In the campaign "the south guard" you find the merfolk in the very first scenario in a river, this is even more south than what the map shows in the title screen. So if the merman can be in the north and south that must mean it's possible for the naga to be in the north and south as well, in this case it's also plausible.
    The naga are basically confirmed being in the north but in the campaign "the south guard" one of the campaigns show cases nagas, not a lot of them but they're still there. This is next to a river called the "black river" that leads to a mountain range called the "mountain of pearl." Because of this it's completely possible for the naga to live in a cave or near the mountain of pearl due to it being a river, not in the ocean and somewhat swampy. The naga are not ocean dwelling creatures unlike mermen, but can still travel through water as shown by multiple scenarios in "rise of Wesnoth" and "heir to the throne." Which then would propose that the naga went down south via cost and not a river system, but it is entirely possible that there is a river running through a desert in the south like in "oath of the allegiance." This would also make it possible to unite with the dunefolk people and ally or get captured and forced to fight alongside them.

There might be many more reasons people might come up with to not see a naga in Dunefolk. But we attempt to diminish all these thoughts by providing facts and proofs from the mainline campaigns.

Why Nagas Does Actually Work With DF Lore-Wise
  • First of all, Dunefolk Lore provides a good foundation on how Nagas and Dunefolk could collaborate:
    The Dunefolk’s inclination towards trade and exploration has allowed their cities to amass immense fortunes, a fact regarded both with admiration and envy by other races. Mutual interests have fostered cordial relations with neighboring Naga tribes, but more secretive races such as Drakes and Elves have always considered Dunefolk expeditions to be too intrusive, especially when they venture close to territorial boundaries.
  • Here is short summary on Naga appearances showing that DF + Nagas actually could happen:
    The naga belong in the faction "notherners" (meaning they are in the north), but if we want them to be able to be in the DF faction they need to be able to be in the south as well. Well, it seems that the merman are able to be in the north coasts and the south mainland and coast. In the merman campaign "dead water" we see that on the map we start in the north a little west to the heart mountains and a little south to the death desert. They go north then south again. In the campaign "the south guard" you find the merfolk in the very first scenario in a river, this is even more south than what the map shows in the title screen. So if the merman can be in the north and south that must mean it's possible for the naga to be in the north and south as well, in this case it's also plausible. The naga are basically confirmed being in the north but in the campaign "the south guard" one of the campaigns show cases nagas, not a lot of them but they're still there. This is next to a river called the "black river" that leads to a mountain range called the "mountain of pearl." I recon it's completely possible for the naga to live in a cave or near the mountain of pearl due to it being a river, not in the ocean and somewhat swampy (shown my the map the nagas are found in). The naga are not ocean dwelling creatures unlike mermen, but can still travel through water as shown by multiple scenarios in "rise of Wesnoth" and "heir to the throne." Which then would propose that the naga went down south via cost and not a river system, but it is entirely possible that there is a river running through a desert in the south like in "oath of the allegiance." This would also make it possible to unite with the dunefolk people and ally or get captured and forced to fight alongside them.

Naga Stats

As mentioned, we were trying to go with something more traditional. We scrapped the concept of it having a spear and gave it a blade as their description says they would prefer blades anyway - in this case we wanted something more exotic and gave it a curved blade, but more on that in the art thread. The one thing that makes this Naga stand out is the fact that it is liminal, not neutral or lawful and that it has a weak bow as well.

Note: The playable demo uses the unit names for the naga suggest by Penta on the forum. We suggest to look for new names

Naga Lv1

Code: Select all

	- hp: 32
	- mp: 7
	- cost: 15g
	- xp: 38

	- same move type like Naga

	- melee: 7-2 blade
	-ranged: 4-2 pierce
Naga Lv2

Code: Select all

	- hp: 44
	- mp: 7
	- cost: -
	- xp: 76

	- same move type like Naga

	- melee: 8-3 blade
	-ranged: 6-2 pierce
Naga Lv3

Code: Select all

	- hp: 51
	- mp: 7
	- cost: -
	- xp: 100

	- same move type like Naga

	- melee: 10-4 blade
	-ranged: 9-2 pierce


Dune Shield Breaker


"Shield Breakers move gently throughout sands of deserts and strike mercilessly when enemy is the weakest throwing rocks to weaken them and impaling on spears if they get too close. For those who look from afar they might seem to wave while breaking thru frontlines, killing enemies and subjugating villagers to work for their cause."

In short the DF stilled lacked one unit. It needed variety, maneuverability, and flat control and so we decided to add the Shield Breaker. The Shield Breaker is a skirmisher unit that deals 4-4 first strike and 6-1 ranged. We have tested it thoroughly in the various matchups and have determined that it is well balanced and contributes to the strategy and balance of the DF faction.
”more about”

The Shield Breaker is a valuable addition to the DF faction:
  • Currently the DF faction has no melee pierce attack. The Rover has a strong ranged pierce but melee pierce doesn’t exist (even with the Piercer the single strike lance was not really an effective attack). The addition of the Shield Breaker adds an affordable pierce attack.
  • The Shield Breaker gives the DF faction the ability to control flat ground. The DF faction is not well suited to holding ground. The addition of a unit which can hold flat terrain (due to its 50% defence) is important in allowing the DF to control where they combat enemies and allowing other units in the faction to perform better.
  • The DF faction lacks speed or maneuverability. As has been previously discussed the lack of speed in the faction limits its abilities in many matchups. Because of this we wanted to add a unit whose primary focus is on adding speed to the faction.
  • The DF faction doesn’t have enough variety. Many people (including some of our play testers) view the DF faction as boring. The addition of the Shield Breaker is interesting and generally improves the experience of playing Dunefolk.
  • The DF faction lacks special abilities and specialist units. Compared to the other factions the DF faction has the least weapon specials and abilities. This is an important consideration thematically because having faction variety is a key goal (and is important for future a potential future DF campaign). This is also important balance-wise, because specials and abilities reflect greater strategic possibilities for the DF.

The special thing about this unit is its movement type which could be considered as a semi-elusive. The exact stats for the movetype are presented after the unit stats. This type of movement leaves it similarly vulnerable to physical damage while having stronger defence on terrains. Overall, however, its vulnerabilities and defences are less significant allowing it to be more flexible in its usage.


Matchup Considerations
The most important question in regards to the addition of the Shield Breaker is what its impact will be on the balance of the DF faction. In short it will add mobility and flexibility in the DF deployments. It does not significantly change the DF matchups but does improve the DF’s options for combat and supports areas in which the DF is weak.
  • The addition of another lawful unit will add to the deployments of the DF faction giving more tactical possibilities and allowing them to be more effective at lawful times of day.
  • The specific role of the Shield Breaker will help in a number of areas in which the DF has weaknesses. The pierce damage, skirmishing, speed, and first strike special will fill many holes in the DF’s arsenal.
  • The addition of a skirmisher unit will allow the DF to play more offensively because of this unit’s ability to sneak behind enemy lines. This maneuverability will improve the DF’s ability to attack while also limiting the enemy player’s flexibility because of the Shield Breaker’s range and ability to hit wounded units and overrun enemy lines.
”detailed considerations”


Loyalists
This matchup will see the most improvement from the addition of the Shield Breaker because of the role it plays in improving ever combat situation the DF face. The Loyalist matchup has long been one of the hardest for the DF and the addition of this unit makes a significant difference to the balance of the matchup.
  • The pierce vulnerability of the mounted loyalist units adds to the damage of the Shield Breaker. In particular against the Horseman (who at lawful times will deal 25-2 against the Shield Breaker’s 12-4)
  • The Shield Breaker is further significant because of its first-strike attack against the Horseman (weakening the advantage of the charge attack even further) and the first-strike against the Spearman, neutralizing the Spearman’s ability.
  • The ability to control flat ground is also very important for this matchup because of the loyalist’s effective ability to smashing through enemy lines. The heightened defence allows this unit to fill holes in the formation. Its flat control also helps for controlling large amounts of terrain.
  • Ranged units will also be less effective against the DF because of the Shield Breaker’s ability to attack them at ToD when they don’t want to fight or when they are trying to escape or heal (and, even though small, the Shield Breaker has a ranged retaliation if attacked).
  • The Skirmishing ability also allows the Shield Breaker to undermine one of the advantages of the loyalists, which is the strength of their scouts. Even though it is not a scout itself its ability to steal villages and its effectiveness in attacking the loyalist is significant.

Drake
The Drake matchup is another major one which will be improved by the Shield Breaker.
  • Mobility is the first key advantage the Shield Breaker brings to this matchup. Because the Drake faction is so mobile it is an important ability that allows the DF to play on the same level as the Drakes and to not be so out maneuvered. The Shield Breaker can lessen the effectiveness of the Drake’s attempts to advance and fall backward because of its access to many more locations than most DF units and also its ability to attack units which the Drake’s are protecting.
  • Secondly pierce will add to the effectiveness of the matchup because of the Drake units weakness against it, and this is significant particularly because the Drakes are strong against other physical resistances.
  • Lastly the flexibility of the Shield Breaker allows the DF to combat many actions the Drake’s may try to take. The skirmishing ability makes effective healing formations much harder. The effectiveness of pierce makes it an advantageous matchup against the Drake scouts (Gliders). The high defence is important because Drakes try to force you onto bad terrains.
Northerners
The key factor in the Northerner matchup is the defence and maneuverability of this unit.
  • Because the Northerner’s key units (Troll and Grunt) only have two strikes the defence of the Shield Breaker has a notable effect on the matchup.
  • Secondly the fact that the key units only have two strikes adds to the effectiveness of the first-strike ability the Shield Breaker has.
  • Thirdly the slowness of the Troll Whelp (a key unit in the matchup) against the speed of the Shield Breaker gives the DF the maneuverability to counter offensives.

Undead, Rebels, Knalgans
These matchups are less effected by the Shield Breaker, as we intended them to be because we felt that they were already more balanced. The UD matchup will of course offer less options for the Shield Breaker but it is still a very effective unit if the UD player has many non-skeletal units.
  • The skirmishing ability will offer many strategic opportunities for taking down wounded units who are being protected in all of these matchups.
  • Its ability to penetrate the enemy lines and steal their villages can be significant if used effectively against all of these factions. In particular this is significant against the Knalgans who are very effective at, and reliant on, holding ground.
  • Its ranged attack is minor but it will make the Shield Breaker less vulnerable to attacks from skeleton units and archers.
  • It also is effective in undermining the deployment of the shaman and adept as well as other units who prefers to not engage in melee combat.
  • Against all these factions the neutral stance of this unit, combined with its ability to hold ground, even on flat terrain, allows the SB to be useful in a variety of circumstances.
Statistical Comparison
You will probably notice that the Shield Breaker has similar weapons to that of the other skirmisher units. This was our goal in order to ensure that the unit did not offset the balance of the faction against other matchups. However, two key things need to be remembered. First this unit is not a duplicate of the other skirmishers but has many unique aspects. Secondly single unit comparisons are mostly unhelpful in regards to the balance of the faction as a whole. Considering these two points that we will provide a simple comparison and analysis of what we have done.

The Shield Breaker’s 4-4 melee attack is comparable to the Saurian Skirmisher and the Fencer. Overall it is similarly designed and balanced as compared to both these units, and we expect it to play similarly to other skirmishers. Nevertheless, it has key differences:
  • It is unique in that it is a semi-elusive unit, and has better HP and worse defence than other skirmishers. Thematically this makes sense because it is a desert unit and would not be as elusive in other terrain, but this also adds to its uniqueness.
  • Also note the unique first-strike melee. While one would think it has limited impact, the significance is large in regards to defending, most significantly against units with only a few powerful strikes (horseman, troll, etc.). It also adds to the survivability of this unit, which is important because of its vulnerabilities to physical damage.
  • Another important difference is its unique semi-elusive movement type. As previously mentioned the Shield Breaker is not entirely like other skirmishers because of its worse defences (while still higher than average) and its better resistances than normal skirmishers. This makes it less vulnerable to physical damage and more useful in a variety of matchups.
Note: We agreed on the name Shield Breaker to be good for this unit line. However, we still have to distribute names across all level ups. Dune Shield Breaker seems like a slightly odd name at first but it really grows on you (after writing its name 500 times it seems perfect now). It has both uniqueness (unlike the over used name ‘skirmisher’ which some suggested) and is appropriate for a title or legacy of such a unit.

Shield Breaker Lv1

Code: Select all

	- hp: 32
	- mp: 5
	- cost: 16g
	- xp: 45

	- skirmisher

	- melee: 4-4 blade
	-ranged: 6-1 impact
Shield Breaker Lv2

Code: Select all

	- hp: 40
	- mp: 6
	- cost: -
	- xp: 92

	- skirmisher

	- melee: 7-3 blade
	-ranged: 7-2 impact, slow
Shield Breaker Lv3

Code: Select all

	- hp: 51
	- mp: 7
	- cost: -
	- xp: 100

	- skirmisher

	- melee: 10-3 blade
	-ranged: 7-3 impact, slow
Resistance: Shield Breaker

Code: Select all

	- arcane = 20%
	- blade = -20%
	- cold = 0%
	- fire = 0%
	- impact = -10%
	- pierce = -10%

Defence: Shield Breaker

Code: Select all

            - flat = 50%
            - village = 60%
            - castle = 60%   
            - forest = 60%
            - hills = 60%
            - mountains = 70%
            - sand = 60%
            - cave = 30%
            - frozen = 20%
            - fungus = 50%
            - shallow water = 30%
            - reef = 40%
            - swamp water = 30%


Dunefolk + Shieldbreaker + Dust Sprit


Dust Spirit

"A swirl of dust and desert sand, quick as a wind, impossible to spot when resting and as dangerous as sand storm when riled."

Basically the Dust Spirit is an alternated version of UtbS's Dust Devil. The alteration affect the name and its stats. Before we get into the balance of this units, we want to explain how the Dust Spirit (former Dust Devil) can work with Dunefolk Lore. The fact that the Dust Devil is just as "unknown" as Dunefolk comparing to other Wesnoth faction, make the Dust Devil a viable option to expand upon Dunefolk's lore. This works also vice versa.

Dunefolk & Dust Spirits/Devils - Lore:
  • Dust Devils are entities of the desert lands, just as much the Quenoths and just as much the Dunefolk. So if the Quenoths could encounter Dust Devils on their travels through desert, so could Dunefolk.
  • As Wyverns are a thing in Dunefolk, which of coursed had to be tamed, it is possible that Dunefolk Tamers were able to adapt their taming skills for Dust Devils
  • Dust Devils - chaotic in their nature - once tamed becomes Dust Spirit. Now both names make sense, they can be associated with possessed souls such as a evil demon for the Dust Devil and a good spirit for the Dust Sprit. Luckily that's not the case. The names are purely semantic.
  • One however could debate how much elemental Dust Devils/Spirits really are. Yes, they have elemental like-resistance and even share the elemental trait, but these could be choices for balance as this unit was initially a campaign unit exclusively, the trait was giving to let people inform that this unit is not drainable, poison-able or plague-able. They however have magic/arcane melee attacks, suggestion they might really be magical creatures (which however is questionable as well as it could be just as well non-magical impact instead).
  • If this unit really is a magical creature (despite the current description, which explains the units as more like a natural phoneme), even then there might be an interest for Dunefolk to tame such entities. Dunefolk in particular never spent their resources in practising magics but more technical warfare and they are strictly against necromancy. Magical creatures (if Dust Devil/Spirit would be such) should be ok according to Dunefolk lore. Best example is the Jini which never happened. Lore-wise the Jini (a magical creature) would have been very acceptable.
  • one more thing: people might wonder, why wouldn't we go directly for the Wyvern Rider and make him work for mp factions. Theoretically, both (wyverns and dust creatures) could be rare. Wyverns how ever could be breed. If the dust creatures are natural they can be very rare in one and common in other century/era. Judging by its cost (balance) they are rare, but there is a lot of room for lore to be explored
Balance Details:

Here are the detailed reasons for adopting every feature of the Dust Spirit, also with some notes on why the stats of the original Dust Devil weren’t adopted.
  • Physical resistances – The physical resistances do not differ greatly from the ones used on the Dust Devil. The Dust Devil has 30% blade resistance and 50% impact and pierce, while Dust Spirit has 30% blade and 40% impact and pierce, the 50% impact and pierce are the same as resistances to that damage type on ghost and we didn’t want it to be too similar to a ghost, even if it was just by a similiarity of physical resistances. Also it makes for a unit with more balanced resistances compared to DD, which makes it easier to balance, the same reason also applies to magical weaknesses which are mentioned later.
    About the 30% blade, as for why it is not 40% - it could be desirable in gameplay, it makes elvish fighters better vs it which discourages spamming only trees, and vs Northerners it discourages spamming only trolls and makes rushing with grunts easier – which could be important considering that DF has heal, resistant units and rovers which are good on the defense.
    Even if it could be argued that such varying resistances make less sense than consistent 40% across the board, DS is after all a magical creature and so it could be inherently weak to one damage type for some vague reason – like for example it is afraid of swords by nature.
  • Magical weaknesses – It needs some weaknesses, Dust Devil has -20% fire resistance and -50% cold resistance, its cold weakness is uncalled for and makes it unnecessarily weak against adepts and possibly augurs, so it was changed to -20%. The fire weakness makes mages better against it, which creates interesting dynamic, but more importantly it allows orc archers to deal with it more easily.
    Arcane resistance matters little, DD has -40% but for example -20% makes more sense. leaving it at
    -20% seems fine
    Maybe these resistances could be slightly tweaked in the future, but it shouldn’t make a big difference.
  • Melee twister 5-2 – Dust Devil has melee twister 5-2 arcane attack and it is magical, a magical melee attack doesn’t belong in default, at least for a level 1 unit, and it being arcane makes little sense, so it was changed to impact. Which makes it even more unsuitable for having magical, an arcane melee magical attack while harder to balance and pointless on this unit, would be much better than an impact one because impact magical would be exploitable against elusivefoot.
  • Ranged 4-6 + swarm – Dust Devil has 3-7 ranged attack with swarm, it is weaker than 4-6 though DD had other strengths, 4-6 ranged makes it a pretty good damage dealer, especially since it is lawful. Swarm is a significant weakness for it and it makes the unit exponentially less effective the more damage it takes, so this puts emphasis on healing it and trying to cover it from taking damage. In general DS should be more useful later in the game.
    Impact damage type would be good against trolls and gives it some utility against skeletons.
  • 7 MP and spirit movement type – makes more sense than 8 MP of Dust Devil. Spirit movetype since it is a spirit, and 7 MP gives DF more mobility which gives DF more options. It also makes it a unit that can control water somewhat.
  • Elemental trait – makes sense considering that it is a spirit-like magical creature.
  • No Dust Recuperation – While it is an interesting ability, it was not created for Wesnoth maps. It works only on certain terrain types, and for example won’t work on grass but will on dirt. It could be changed, but considering that DF already has a healer, it makes little sense to do it.
  • 28 HP – 36 HP of Dust Devil is insane, and with its mobility and resistances would require an insanely high price.
  • Lawful and not neutral – DD is neutral, but it is better if DS would be lawful.
    It is lawful for a few reasons. From a balance perspective it is lawful to make it better at dealing damage and thus make it a more offensive unit with high damage output, albeit vulnerable to its damage being reduced if it takes hits.
    An alternative to lawful could be either nautral or liminal (chaotic would give DF an entire range of alignments and make the faction potentially too defensive), but it would hamper its advantage of high ranged damage and doesn’t play into its strengths, which as it turned out made it harder to balance and in general less useful. The swarm and high ranged damage encourages its offensive use and trying to preserve its health, but liminal or neutral alignment would make it better at defense, and giving DF units too many defensive features (of which it already has quite a lot, these would be: liminal rover, healing, improved hills defense and high HP of soldiers, to name a few) wouldn’t be good for balance or gameplay.
    If lawful DS has very high damage bonus at day but it drops just as much during night, as a weakness it has swarm, in principle this makes it a mobile unit with high damage output, but vulnerable to it being reduced if not covered.

    From a lore perspective the reason is quite simple – on hot deserts sandstorms are more frequent during day than during night, and are also stronger, therefore DS being associated with sandstorms gets stronger at day.
  • Unique AMLA:
    Now who remembers the Dust Devil know that it used to have some unique AMLA which we test played and it works just as fine. Basically instead of gaining another lv up (and hence more upkeep), it has the options of 3 very different options to heal and improve the current Dust Devil.

    The Dust Devil had:
    • +1 melee dmg, +2 hp/max. hp, +12max. exp, 4 times usable
    • +1 ranged strike, +8max. exp, 2 times usable
    • +2 max. hp, full heal, 100 times usable
    Our Dust Spirit has:
    • +1 ranged strike, +1 ranged dmg, -1 melee dmg, +2 max. hp, 40% heal, +40% max. exp, 2 times usable
    • +3 melee dmg, -1 ranged dmg, +2 max. hp, +50% heal, +40% max. exp, 3 times usable
    • +8 max. hp, full heal, 100 times usable
    One might see, that the new AMLA options are much stronger then the old ones, but thats a balance choice as the Dust Devil untamed is very strong and chaotic. The Dust Devil once tamed becomes a Dust Spirit and looses its chaotic characteristics and is much weaker then then the wild one. To make it fit for pvp, the Dust Spirit has now more specialised AMLA.


    Should Dust Devil be changed?

    If Dust Spirit was introduced Dust Devil could be changed as well, but it doesn’t have to and in the end it doesn’t really matter too much. Dust Devil is a relatively insignificant unit in Under the Burning Suns campaign, it has almost no lore, but we know that it was friendly towards the desert elves.
    Since it is not very important changing it could be possible, but the differences in it could also be explained. It could be more or less handwaved in a few ways, for example: DD is a different type of DS, DD is an older DS, DD is an ancient version of DS held in a bottle, DD was affected by some foul/dark/light magic, DD is from a different desert that has different magical influence and thus it is different, DD lived in a cold desert and not in a hot desert, DD is a “feral” version of the DS.
    Whichever of these explanations was chosen, or maybe even some other, more elaborated one – it doesn’t matter much, just like DD doesn’t matter much in the campaign.


    Here are the stats of Dunefolk's Dust Spirit:
    Dust Spirit:

    Code: Select all

    	- hp: 28
    	- mp: 7
    	- cost: 22g
    	- xp: 40
    
    	- no abilitiy
    
    	- melee: 5-2 imapct
    	- ranged: 4-6 impact, swarm
    
    Resistance:

    Code: Select all

    	- arcane = -20%
    	- blade = 30%
    	- cold = -20%
    	- fire = -20%
    	- impact = 40%
    	- pierce = 40%
    
    This is Under the Burning Suns Dust Devil for comparison:
    Dust Devil:

    Code: Select all

    	- hp: 36
    	- mp: 8
    	- cost: 20g
    	- xp: 36
    
    	- dust recuperation
    
    	- melee: 5-2 arcane, magical
    	- ranged: 3-7 impact, swarm
    
    Resistance:

    Code: Select all

    	- arcane = -40%
    	- blade = 30%
    	- cold = -50%
    	- fire = -20%
    	- impact = 50%
    	- pierce = 50%
    



You can find the respective sprites for the new units in the Art Thread dedicated for the extra units.


Last edited by ghype on June 27th, 2019, 9:28 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Removed Units & Extra Units

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » March 26th, 2019, 1:08 am

Hmmmm... how does this proposed new naga compare to the existing Naga Hunter? I wonder if it's similar enough to use as a substitute for that unit... and similar enough to make use of the existing Naga Hunter sprite...

That aside, the new naga doesn't seem super-interesting, though the presence of a ranged attack (as well as the liminal alignment) does at least make it different from the other naga line.

I don't really understand the Shield Breaker but I suppose in a way it's a replacement for the Harrier? It's not clear from the stats, but I'm guessing it's a foot unit, not a mounted unit?
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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Removed Units & Extra Units

Post by The_Gnat » March 26th, 2019, 2:37 am

Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
March 26th, 2019, 1:08 am
Hmmmm... how does this proposed new naga compare to the existing Naga Hunter? I wonder if it's similar enough to use as a substitute for that unit... and similar enough to make use of the existing Naga Hunter sprite...

That aside, the new naga doesn't seem super-interesting, though the presence of a ranged attack (as well as the liminal alignment) does at least make it different from the other naga line.
The key points, as you have noted are the liminal alignment (essential for the theme of the DF faction) and the ranged attack which differentiates it from the Naga Fighter. It is, however, not the Naga Hunter. Probably the simplest way to describe it is that the Naga Hunter is an archer and the Naga Blight is a melee fighter with some minor skill with the bow.

I don't really understand the Shield Breaker but I suppose in a way it's a replacement for the Harrier? It's not clear from the stats, but I'm guessing it's a foot unit, not a mounted unit?
It is a replacement for the loss of the Harrier. But even more significant is its role in balancing the faction. We have written much about the role the Shield Breaker plays in the faction and the addition of this unit is an important part of our balancing. And yes it is definitely not a mounted unit.

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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Removed Units & Extra Units

Post by Vendanna » March 26th, 2019, 9:13 am

Yeah, also as stated on one of the other threads, the main problem with the naga hunter line is that it had "Poison" bow, which they didn't want in a water control until. I don't know if backstab on an archer unit would play differently thought, and I efer the "backstab" in the ranged attack that's it.

I tried to write this last day, but somehow it got lost in the limbo.

First was a suggestion of an unit (to keep the falcon) which were going to be a falconeer with a ranged attack where the falcon went from the units arm to the unit and "attacked" it which would probably look awesome, and the unit could use a special like plague where instead of a walking carcass, it left a simple falcon to play with it. Dunno if that would have had any place on the side.

The other thing was if you could elaborate on the gameplay with those removed units and their roles, if just so we can understand why they didn't help the faction matches (example the Scorpion, the lizard rider and dust devil), don't feel obligued thou.

And thank you for all your time. :)
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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Removed Units & Extra Units

Post by Xalzar » March 26th, 2019, 2:04 pm

It does seem strange that the Spearguard doesn't level up from the Shield Breaker, since they have both a spear as their main weapon. I can see how they differ in function and, for now, in visuals...but as I said it's strange to have two indipendent lines of spearbearers.

About the name - Shield Breaker - it's good, but I'd imagine it used for a shock troop, a heavy infantry or cavalry who hits hard and disables the enemy defence. I don't see how weakening enemies with fairly weak bolas fits the name (also fits more the "shock" weapon special than the "slow").

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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Removed Units & Extra Units

Post by The_Gnat » March 26th, 2019, 7:29 pm

Vendanna wrote:
March 26th, 2019, 9:13 am
Yeah, also as stated on one of the other threads, the main problem with the naga hunter line is that it had "Poison" bow, which they didn't want in a water control until. I don't know if backstab on an archer unit would play differently thought, and I efer the "backstab" in the ranged attack that's it.

I tried to write this last day, but somehow it got lost in the limbo.
Yes Poison we found to cause many matchup issues. The reason why we didn't give it another special, though, is because we aimed to create as balanced a unit as possible and specials such as backstab inevitably cause issues in certain matchups and also make tactics with the naga complicated, thereby worsening its role as water control.
The other thing was if you could elaborate on the gameplay with those removed units and their roles, if just so we can understand why they didn't help the faction matches (example the Scorpion, the lizard rider and dust devil), don't feel obligued thou.

And thank you for all your time. :)
Yes that is a very good question and we certainly could elaborate.

Overall it would take too long to explain them each in detail. These units were discussed for months. But here is a few simple reasons:

- Dust Devil swarm makes it major capacity by merely recieving a single damage. Very unbalanced and luck based
- Lizard Rider didn't fit into the faction. Water control was what we were aiming for and a hybrid unit that could also control water was too OP
- Scorpion didn't fit the theme of the faction and poison on lvl 1 was throwing off the balance. Also because of its weakness to fire it was useless it the Drake matchup EDIT: and as ghype added, the scorpion was chaotic which made the faction have 3 alignments.
Xalzar wrote:
March 26th, 2019, 2:04 pm
It does seem strange that the Spearguard doesn't level up from the Shield Breaker, since they have both a spear as their main weapon. I can see how they differ in function and, for now, in visuals...but as I said it's strange to have two indipendent lines of spearbearers.

About the name - Shield Breaker - it's good, but I'd imagine it used for a shock troop, a heavy infantry or cavalry who hits hard and disables the enemy defence. I don't see how weakening enemies with fairly weak bolas fits the name (also fits more the "shock" weapon special than the "slow").
Yes that was a consideration we had actually made. But overall the powerful hard hitting spear of the Spear guard didn't fit with the skirmisher line. And we didn't want to have an upgrade that lost the skirmisher ability.

In regards to the name, yes Breaker does suggest something hard hitting, but I always more envisioned it as a title rather than a literal description. And this unit earned such a title because of its ability to break through any wall or barrier due to its elusive nature and quickness.
Last edited by The_Gnat on March 26th, 2019, 8:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Removed Units & Extra Units

Post by ghype » March 26th, 2019, 7:59 pm

Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
March 26th, 2019, 1:08 am
Hmmmm... how does this proposed new naga compare to the existing Naga Hunter? I wonder if it's similar enough to use as a substitute for that unit... and similar enough to make use of the existing Naga Hunter sprite...
well, the one reason why we didn't consider Naga Hunter was because of its poison. it really breaks the balance just as much as Penta's Naga did. Alternatively, it could be possible to create an alternative version from the Naga Hunter which indeed is balanced in a proper way. Maybe some visual alterations and then the new Naga that comes out of this process could be considered the mainline Naga Hunter where as the UtbS could be considered an alternative version to the new one.

Thoughts?


Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
March 26th, 2019, 1:08 am
That aside, the new naga doesn't seem super-interesting, though the presence of a ranged attack (as well as the liminal alignment) does at least make it different from the other naga line.
does it have to be special thought? we generally tried to not touch abilities/specials which were mostly known for other units. such examples would be how steadfast is only used by dwarf guard, charge by horsemen, backstab is mostly known for thief ...
Liminal as alignment and the bow makes it stand out compared to the Northerner Naga

Xalzar wrote:
March 26th, 2019, 2:04 pm
It does seem strange that the Spearguard doesn't level up from the Shield Breaker
well that would seem as most reasonable at first glance, but then if we want a more appropriate lv1 for the spearguard we would have introduced the lv1 spearfighter. such a unit however would mess with the entire faction balance as it would take the spots of many units. Shield breaker currently has its on niche and the fact it has pierce damage is just a compensation of the piercer unit we removed (which didn't even had useable pierce attacks). The shieldbreaker's weapon might change, currently it most unique feature is its movetype, a semi-elusive one.
Xalzar wrote:
March 26th, 2019, 2:04 pm
It does seem strange that the Spearguard doesn't level up from the Shield Breaker
I agree, the shieldbreaker doesnt look quite like a shield breaker. celtic commented this as well in the art thread and if she persists, she will defitnly get an armour upgrade worthy its name. But mostly the name was thought to work for the lv3 unit, not necessarily for the lv1. Shield Breaker also means more that she is capable of move in between the unit line or "wall of shields" as she has skirmish but is still strong/resilient enough to "break" them and to be persistent in comabt.
The_Gnat wrote:
March 26th, 2019, 7:29 pm
- Scorpion didn't fit the theme of the faction and poison on lvl 1 was throwing off the balance.
the scorpion worked actually quite OK as we weren't using the default movetype but treating it as a new units "desert scrop". the biggest downside of this unit was actually that it was and would have to remain chaotic (as a lv1 recruitable unit) which would mean that we'd introduce a third alignement into the faction

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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Removed Units & Extra Units

Post by Caladbolg » March 26th, 2019, 8:05 pm

I'm in support of Piercer and Falcon's removal, it was about time.

Naga seems a bit lackluster in that it feels a touch too similar to the Naga Fighter. This is partly due to the sprite (and I'll mention it in the appropriate thread when I have a bit more time), but partly due to being melee oriented, with lvl3's 10x4 being just a bit off from Myrmidon's 9x5. I acknowledge that balance-wise those two stats are quite different, but in terms of the impression on the player, they're very similar. One of the reasons why variations on Naga Archer were proposed was that as a ranged specialist it would be different enough from the Naga Fighter and expand Naga diversity in lore.

So I'm wondering if you considered more range-oriented variants. The thread that had Pentarctagon's proposal also had several others that used chakrams as ranged weapons (and there were variations with and without poison on melee). They weren't fully coded, but they had all relevant stats listed. While there's not much wrong to the Naga you came up with, one that is focused on ranged and uses chakrams would make both nagas and dunefolk feel more exotic, and the sprite would also probably end up quite different from Naga Fighter.

I really like the concept of the Shield Breaker. I don't have an issue with it being another spear unit as it's conceptually different, and the artwork makes the unit lines appear distinct. I do think the sprite should be a touch more like other dunefolk units, but that's for another thread.

As has been mentioned, if their ranged doesn't have slow special on lvl 1, you could change it from bolas to a sling there. And I'm not fond of the name. Shield Breaker suggests breaking through shields and armor, whether by huge force, or very precise strikes at the weak points. This unit is more of a harasser/control than anything. Well, in any case, I'd like at least one unit in that line to be called "Harrier", as it's a great name and fits the unit's theme.

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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Removed Units & Extra Units

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » March 27th, 2019, 1:21 am

ghype wrote:
March 26th, 2019, 7:59 pm
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
March 26th, 2019, 1:08 am
Hmmmm... how does this proposed new naga compare to the existing Naga Hunter? I wonder if it's similar enough to use as a substitute for that unit... and similar enough to make use of the existing Naga Hunter sprite...
well, the one reason why we didn't consider Naga Hunter was because of its poison. it really breaks the balance just as much as Penta's Naga did. Alternatively, it could be possible to create an alternative version from the Naga Hunter which indeed is balanced in a proper way. Maybe some visual alterations and then the new Naga that comes out of this process could be considered the mainline Naga Hunter where as the UtbS could be considered an alternative version to the new one.

Thoughts?
I actually hadn't realized that the Naga Hunter had poison. I'd say having two different Naga Hunters, one in mainline and one in UtBS, probably isn't a good idea - especially since the Naga Hunter could at some point be moved to core as an auxiliary (non-faction) unit. It does sound like it might be similar enough to reuse the sprite, but... maybe that's not a good idea for other reasons.
ghype wrote:
March 26th, 2019, 7:59 pm
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
March 26th, 2019, 1:08 am
That aside, the new naga doesn't seem super-interesting, though the presence of a ranged attack (as well as the liminal alignment) does at least make it different from the other naga line.
does it have to be special thought? we generally tried to not touch abilities/specials which were mostly known for other units. such examples would be how steadfast is only used by dwarf guard, charge by horsemen, backstab is mostly known for thief ...
Liminal as alignment and the bow makes it stand out compared to the Northerner Naga
Well, it needs to be different enough to justify not just giving them the Naga Fighter instead. :P But I guess it does satisfy that critera. I'm not trying to say it needs to have a weapon special or ability, either, though I wouldn't mind if it did.

About the shield breaker... it almost sounds like they're a ninja-like unit, in which case I'd recommend using the name "Assassin", probably for the L2 or L3. Other possible names that could fit include Infiltrator, Penetrator, and of course, Harrier.
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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Removed Units & Extra Units

Post by The_Gnat » March 27th, 2019, 5:49 am

I understand the feeling people have that the Naga is not as interesting as it could be. Sometimes though it is good to put extravagant ideas on the side in order to achieve balance.

A Chakram as a ranged weapon seems like something that could be interesting, though, without changing the balance of the unit. This would separate it more from the Naga Hunter, which I think is a good thing to do. It probably would be best to avoid duplicating the Naga Hunter. Even though it is a very awesome unit it fits a very specific role and I also believe everyone who sees the Hunter assumes that it should have poison, which wouldn't fit well for balance.

With the Naga unit we were trying to avoid creating another archer but instead were looking for a melee unit who also had a ranged attack (something in between the current naga's that exist). This is also valuable for balancing against the other water units while not being as over powered as if it had specials on its ranged ability.
Caladbolg wrote:
March 26th, 2019, 8:05 pm
I'm in support of Piercer and Falcon's removal, it was about time.
Thank you Caladbolg! Yes we definitely agree :)
Caladbolg wrote:
March 26th, 2019, 8:05 pm
As has been mentioned, if their ranged doesn't have slow special on lvl 1, you could change it from bolas to a sling there. And I'm not fond of the name. Shield Breaker suggests breaking through shields and armor, whether by huge force, or very precise strikes at the weak points. This unit is more of a harasser/control than anything. Well, in any case, I'd like at least one unit in that line to be called "Harrier", as it's a great name and fits the unit's theme.
Yes I believe it is the general consensus that the name 'Harrier' should be kept. :) As for the sling, we used a bolas primarily because it gains the slow ability as it advances to a higher level. But of course slows is not necessary to be added at higher levels.

Any thoughts about this?

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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Removed Units & Extra Units

Post by sergey » March 27th, 2019, 7:52 am

Xalzar wrote: It does seem strange that the Spearguard doesn't level up from the Shield Breaker, since they have both a spear as their main weapon.
The_Gnat wrote: Yes that was a consideration we had actually made. But overall the powerful hard hitting spear of the Spear guard didn't fit with the skirmisher line. And we didn't want to have an upgrade that lost the skirmisher ability.
What if you change Spearguard to have 3 medium strikes? I think loosing skirmisher ability is ok as long as there is another advancement wich preserves the ability. Explanation - Spearguard uses longer spear and heavier armor, as a result he lost the skirmisher ability.
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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Removed Units & Extra Units

Post by ghype » March 27th, 2019, 12:21 pm

Caladbolg wrote:
March 26th, 2019, 8:05 pm
So I'm wondering if you considered more range-oriented variants.
Actually we didn't but we see there are many thoughts about this. We will present it once we come up with something.
Also, you are right that our current variant is not that much different attack wise. Only 1 less strike then the current lv3 Naga.
If we make a more ranged Naga with liminal - that should be interesting enough. Right now we have 2 melee Nagas (Fighter and Guardian) and with a ranged DF Naga we would have 2 ranged Nagas. Bow would be more traditional and defintly easier for me to animate but Chakrams indeed are interesting too as it would enable ranged blade dmg which is not seen all too much. We will see.
The_Gnat wrote:
March 27th, 2019, 5:49 am
With the Naga unit we were trying to avoid creating another archer
I think a more ranged concept is worth to be considered. Mermans as well have 1 ranged and 1 melee unit (disregarding the mermaid).
sergey wrote:
March 27th, 2019, 7:52 am
I think loosing skirmisher ability is ok as long as there is another advancement wich preserves the ability.
well, from semi-elusive to tank movetype is a pretty big jump for a single advancement. It would be a similar case like spear and fence only with switched dmg types. spearman lv ups to fighter with blade even though it has had no blade on lv1. Yet we have the fencer with blade weapon special...

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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Removed Units & Extra Units

Post by Vendanna » March 27th, 2019, 12:51 pm

ghype wrote:
March 27th, 2019, 12:21 pm

Actually we didn't but we see there are many thoughts about this. We will present it once we come up with something.
Also, you are right that our current variant is not that much different attack wise. Only 1 less strike then the current lv3 Naga.
If we make a more ranged Naga with liminal - that should be interesting enough. Right now we have 2 melee Nagas (Fighter and Guardian) and with a ranged DF Naga we would have 2 ranged Nagas. Bow would be more traditional and defintly easier for me to animate but Chakrams indeed are interesting too as it would enable ranged blade dmg which is not seen all too much. We will see...

...I think a more ranged concept is worth to be considered. Mermans as well have 1 ranged and 1 melee unit (disregarding the mermaid).
Well possible suggestions for the naga could be:

a) Blade/impact possibilities (blade as in throwing knifes or similar instead of pierce) and for impact it could be a blowpipe/parasites? other option could be putting on his arm something like the drake weapons to differenciate it from the sword the normal nagas uses.

b) Electroshock, these nagas are a breed of electric eels, so its not poison, nor its "magic" but the damage could be elemental (dunno how would that fare)

c) less hits something akin to 7-2 Impact or blade, but they could have steadfast, so they "hold" the line and can defend those water cities well, but they ain't covering the normal cities.

d) funky: the naga gets poison attack, but "heals +4" all enemy units when they start turn near the naga.

e) 3-3 physical and 3-3 ranged (blade) which differenciates upon branching on level up:
e1) 6-3 looses ranged but steadfast
e2) 6-3 ranged, looses melee, but gains marksman
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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Removed Units & Extra Units

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » March 27th, 2019, 1:04 pm

Re: chakram idea - that would mean changing the ranged to blade, which is fine by me, but I don't know if it would affect balance.

Re: the bolas - if they have bolas, they should have slow; if they don't have slow, they shouldn't have bolas. That's my opinion on this matter. I wouldn't mind a sling upgrading to a bolas though.
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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Removed Units & Extra Units

Post by Xalzar » March 27th, 2019, 1:44 pm

sergey wrote:
March 27th, 2019, 7:52 am
Xalzar wrote: It does seem strange that the Spearguard doesn't level up from the Shield Breaker, since they have both a spear as their main weapon.
The_Gnat wrote: Yes that was a consideration we had actually made. But overall the powerful hard hitting spear of the Spear guard didn't fit with the skirmisher line. And we didn't want to have an upgrade that lost the skirmisher ability.
What if you change Spearguard to have 3 medium strikes? I think loosing skirmisher ability is ok as long as there is another advancement wich preserves the ability. Explanation - Spearguard uses longer spear and heavier armor, as a result he lost the skirmisher ability.
Another point to the discussion is that there are precedents of units which lose abilities or specials on level up, or change resistance and movement types:
Ability lost: Elvish Shaman (heal+4) -> Elvish Sorceress
Special lost: Spearman (first strike) -> Swordsman
Resistances modified: Mage -> Red Mage (more fire)/ White Mage (more arcane) (and many many others)
Movement type modified: Elvish Druid -> Elvish Shyde (fly)
So I think we shouldn't let that stop considering moving the Spearguard Line to the Shield Breaker advancements. If there are other motivations, expecially balance, of course it's best to keep things as they are. I'm fine either way, but I like to hear opinions about this.

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