Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

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naikon
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Re: Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

Post by naikon » September 23rd, 2017, 7:37 am

I think we are underestimating the illuminate ability of mage of light. When playing with mages, most of the time you will face chaotic enemies. And during all the turns except daytime, mage of light will increase the ally's attack by 25% and reduce enemies attack by 25%. This itself is like a slow. And unlike enchantress/druid, he doesnt need to use his attack for this. He can demolish opponents with his strong attack at the same time. Sorceress line need to use their weaker of the 2 ranged attacks to cast slow, that decreases their damaging power during that turn. Illumination can also affect more than one enemies in one turn. So, i think illumination is better skill compared to slow. And also mage of light has healing power and arcane damage. Three awesome abilities ,ie, Illumination(better than slow), healing , arcane damage combined is very impressive for a single unit.
White mages don't have iluumination but they have healing, and good arcane damage. Healing can compensate for their lack of slow when compared with sorceress and their good arcane damage may compensate somewhat for their lack of slow when compared with druids.
As for red mage line, they are the excellent at wreaking havoc. Their fire type damage and huge damage will kill most of the enemies easily.

Mages do require more xp compared to shamans but they have better ability to gain it compared to shaman tree, especially the druid line. Shamans have very low damage and it gets tricky to give him last hits. You need to leave very low hp on enemy using other units, and there is very high chance of other units ending up killing enemy target unit completely. Or dealing too less damage. If they deal too less damage than you would need to attack with one more unit to reduce its hp enough for shaman to kill. In that case, same situation arises and that troop may end up killing enemy again. Moreover, you are wasting lots of your units's attacks in one turn for it. Which may leave too may enemies alive near you, and might be bad for you in their turn. On the other hand, almost all the mages deal good amount of damage and are capable of leveling up on their own.
If you use save/loading especially for feeding up shamans than I agree that leveling up them is a piece of cake.

As for shaman's defenses of 70% compared to mage's 50% is one benefit of them but you wont be fighting always in forests most of the time.Marksman and magical attacks counters them also. Though I agree that this 20% bonus is definitely a plus, but its not enough to compensate for their other lacking qualities. And mages have better damage resistances to compensate for their 20% less defense in forests.
Difference in gold required for recruiting mages and shamans is insignificant over the course of campaign. Recalling them requires same gold anyway.

All in all, I am not saying that shamans are useless. They are definitely very useful and are my favourite troops in elf faction alongside elvish archers. But I do believe mages are better in most situations compared to shamans in campaigns.

PS - My views are meant only for campaigns and not for MP games.

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Re: Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

Post by GreenCelt » May 10th, 2018, 12:41 pm

This is probably more food for thought for new players. I agree with the view that mage and shaman lines of units have some of the same abilities, but I use them mostly in different roles, and so I recruit both.
Some pros for shamans: they are cheaper to buy and to advance, they start with +4 heals, they are the only entry level unit that cures, and only one other unit (Goblin pillager) can slow. Mostly I use them as second line healers/curers to keep my fighting units moving without having to retreat to a village to recuperate. But slowing an enemy is a great way to save more powerful units from major damage when attacking and being counter attacked, e.g. horseman class units using charge attacks.
That being said I do also use mages, which have been well covered above.
If you really want to see an increase in attack abilities, back either type with a level 3 leader. Example: in tVoD in one attack a level 1 mage can only damage a level 1 undead, but with the leader the odds go to 1 chance in 3 of a kill.

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Sadaharu
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Re: Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

Post by Sadaharu » May 11th, 2018, 1:31 am

Given that this is about Heir to the Throne we should also point out that most of the player's troops are elves (especially at the beginning) so you'd better have support units who can follow your elves and heal them; otherwise the elves' advantage in mobility in forests is lost.

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Re: Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

Post by ResExsention » August 17th, 2018, 10:08 pm

In my opinion, I actually kind of think that slow is really nothing more than a secondary ability. It's good against those units that have a ridiculously high damage, but not much else. It also relies on other units for it to be effective; in other words, it's either no squad or a big squad, which can sometimes be a waste, unless you play BfW like a Roman, grouping your units tightly together. As for your "neglect all unit experience" strategy, it's not a very good one. If you persist, the northerners may be a better faction for you, because of their cheap, high damage units. But with elves, you really have to level them in a campaign or else you gain nothing. I used to play like that when I was a newer Wesnoth player, and it HttT (especially Siege of Elensefar) it was practically impossible with only one knight as a level two unit because I got lucky and everybody else being fresh recruits. Also, many campaigns were made in way that relied on the player being able to level up their units effectively as they progress. To summarize, that is one strange playing style you have, but remember that rising upkeep costs are not as bad as defeat. Having a ton of level ones still yields upkeep, whether you like it or not (unless all those units are somehow loyal). Plus, Elvish Shamans, Druids, Shydes, Sorceresses, Enchatresses, Sylphs, Mages, Red Mages, Silver Mages, Arch and Great Mages, White Mages, and Mages of Light are not the only units in Wesnoth.

So IMVHO (In My Very Humble Opinion), though you are right to say that the Shamans are worse than Mages, they are better than them in some aspects, such as they're flight and terrain defence, as well as movement. Try racing a Great Mage against a Shyde or Sylph and see what happens. You play a good point, but brute attack strength doesn't win every battle. Neither does a recall and recruit list of all level one units.

So I hope you figure out a way to work around your no healers or slows policy. This was not meant to be mean to you or to prove you wrong. It was just an opinion in this rather heated discussion.

;)
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Re: Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

Post by drake_416 » April 27th, 2019, 2:42 pm

Everyone in this thread is right because it the answer depends on your playstyle. That's the great thing about Wesnoth and this campaign in general.

My own 2 cents in defense of the druid line.

Damage is only one option for gaining an advantage in Wesnoth. I tend to value increased options compared to raw damage because of all the factors that affect battles:

1) Slows neutralize an enemy for an ENTIRE TURN. If the enemy has reached your wounded line, they are safely able to kill the enemy as well. This an amazing way to rack up xp fast for low level units.

2) The mobility of you healer matters. Your wounded units can stay closer to the action and your healer can support units from a long distance quickly. This is especially important in caves or swamp terrain where Shyde's shine. Straggler units are THE most frustrating thing for me. It's ineffective gold on the map.

3) The illumination benefit of the white mage comes at cost of empowering loyal units. Which is a factor in HttT, albeit rarely.

4) My view point might be strange though. I prioritized Silver Mages, Paladins, Shydes and Marshalls when I last played HttT. I've found that the lower damage unit with more options to gain a strategic advantage is almost always the better bet.

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Re: Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

Post by The_Gnat » May 2nd, 2019, 6:18 am

drake_416 wrote:
April 27th, 2019, 2:42 pm
Everyone in this thread is right because it the answer depends on your playstyle. That's the great thing about Wesnoth and this campaign in general.

My own 2 cents in defense of the druid line.
Hi drake_416,

Very interesting assessment! I definitely concur that the variety of certain units does compensate for damage. In particular I agree about the Paladins which despite lower damage offer major benefits because of their arcane capability and healing. :)

My personal playstyle is more suited to damage dealers but I personally enjoy the addition of specialist units such as the Silver Mage because of their profound capability to over come enemy movement through maneuverability.

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Re: Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

Post by ElvishMystical0 » May 21st, 2019, 12:10 am

I think Elvish Shamen are completely different units to Mages. Elves are essentially terrain dependent and defensive in nature, while Mages are TOD dependent (being Lawful) and offensive units, being essentially ranged attackers.

I think before we compare these two units we need to think about what role they play in their respective factions and how those factions work together. Loyalists are TOD dependent and offensive and as a faction offer versatility at the cost of less movement. Rebels are terrain dependent and defensive, at Level 1 they focus on blade and pierce so are not very versatile, but they make up for that in terms of increased mobility. It's this difference between the two factions which possibly explains why you can choose to rely on Knalgans to a lesser or greater degree in the HttT campaign and why you have offensive Loyalist units within the Rebels in HttT - the Horsemen and Mages.

While Mages are offensive units, Elvish Shamen at lvl1 are supporting units. Their main role is to heal and slow units for the frontline Elvish Fighters, Elvish Archers and also Elvish Scouts. Elvish Shamen are the Rebels version of Footpads. They have high defence, dodge and this is so they can hold terrain and slow the more offensive enemy units and stand by and heal afterwards. Also like the Footpad they have a weak melee impact attack. While a strong Elvish Shaman can whack a Troll Whelp a couple of times, and hold their own against Footpads, they're not great damage dealers.

Mages on the other hand are damage dealers and are closer to Dark Adepts than Elvish Shamen. It's just that when levelling both the Mage and the Elvish Shaman you get the same choice - do you want a healer or a more offensive unit? If you're playing Loyalists, you may need a healer more than another offensive unit (consider the role of Minister Hylas in the South Guard) and and choose the White Mage over the Red Mage. Conversely, when playing Rebels, you may need to expand your damage dealing capabilities, and need the faerie fire of the Elvish Sorceress over an Elvish Druid.

This of course becomes an issue in Scenario 9 - The Valley of Death. There are of course variables which need to be taken into account. Have you managed to level up any Elvish Shamen? Have you managed to level up any Mages? Where did you go after Bay of Pearls? Did you come via Muff Malal's Peninsula and have only your Mages and Elvish Shamen lines, or did you come via Isle of the Damned and acquire a few Outlaws?

I'm not sure about anyone else but personally in the Valley of Death I tend to send my Mages north and south with whatever heavy hitters I can muster and I send my Elvish Shaman type units east to deal with the Wraiths and Walking Corpses where they can rely on a patch of forest.

This is where the differences between Elvish Shamen and Mages comes into play. You cannot be defensive with the Undead units coming at you from the north or south because you have Chocobones, Revenants and Deathblades and they're all trying to engage you on the grassland. Even if you send Kalenz, who has a sword, north or south he needs plenty of support. It's also for this reason I prefer to go through the Isle of the Damned and pick up Moremirmu with the Holy Sword, Delurin and a few Outlaws.

It's also important to remember that much of the engagement takes place at night and if you have your Mages out east they can be easily taken out by Wraiths, they don't do as much damage, and can even be killed by Walking Corpses suiciding themselves against your units. What you need therefore are high defence units which can soak up the melee and deal damage in return without being too adversely affected by the time of day. This is therefore one of the best possible opportunities for you to use your Elvish Shamen lines and even level them up without having to deal with the swamps of Muff Malal's Peninsula or the Swamp of Dread.

It's hard to level up both Elvish Shamen and Mages. However I have once or twice thought about this and played the first scenario The Elves Beseiged recruiting only Elvish Shamen and sending them out west with Konrad. It hasn't always worked but once or twice I've gone into Blackwater Port with a levelled Konrad, a couple of Elvish Druids and an Elvish Sorceress. The idea is to use the Elvish Shamen as you would Footpads, you slow and club Trolls and also club one or two Orcish Assassins to death keeping out of the way of Orcish Warriors.

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Re: Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

Post by josteph » May 22nd, 2019, 11:40 am

ElvishMystical0 wrote:
May 21st, 2019, 12:10 am
I think Elvish Shamen are completely different units to Mages. Elves are essentially terrain dependent and defensive in nature, while Mages are TOD dependent (being Lawful) and offensive units, being essentially ranged attackers.
Note that while Mage and White Mage are lawful, Red Mage and its advancements are neutral alignment.

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Re: Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

Post by Tonepoet » August 12th, 2019, 1:55 pm

The game is mostly balanced for multiplayer at default multiplayer settings on standard sized maps for expert level players. You rarely go above level 2 in those sorts of games, especially with a low damage unit like the shaman. The units' abilities at level one are their most important factors. Outlaws didn't even have level 3 units for the longest of times. Beyond level 2 the differences are mostly thematic, and geared towards allowing a scenario creator the tools to make what they want to make. If one unit is too weak for their puroses, they can assing a side a different advantage to compensate, to an extent. It is possible that in light of these changes that the shaman line may have been comparatively short changed. Now for the purposes of faction vs. faction balance, this isn't too important since rebels have access to both sorts of units anyway and none of the others have this choice to make. However for the purposes of internal balance


One of the things that needs to be considered is that there was a damage type change. The game was retooled to replace Holy damage, which was resisted by every living unit with a flat 20% damage rate, with Arcane damage. Back then the White Mage dealt 8-4 Holy, which usually translated to 6-4 after applied resistances. Most of the undead had a 100% weakness to it though, so you would definitely want a few white mages for those.

Moreover, the Elvish Sorceress line did not originally deal Holy damage, it dealt cold damage. Cold damage dealt neutral damage against most units besides undead, which strongly resisted it, and drakes which are very weak against it but strong against fire. The heavy infantryman line is also vulnerable to temperture based damage, in part to counterbalance against their increased resistances elsewhere but also supposedly because their extra armor provides extra conduction. Cold damage was much better than holy damage back then. Another important difference was how Slow operated. Instead of subtracting a strike, it halved the damage of all strikes, so it was generally a much more powerful weapon special. When you accounted for resistances, the white mage could only deal up to 24 damage against most races, whereas the sorceress could deal up to 28. This often meant that you could justify role reversal: The mages become healers and the shamen could trade in their medicinal skills to become sorceresses to make up for the lost damage

[Edit: I stand corrected. Slows used to subtract 1 strike and now it halves. Thanks for pointing that out Sergy.]

These days the white mage can deal up to 27 damage (9-3) and has the same damage type as the sorceress which still deals up to only 28. Granted, resistances can change that but because they both deal the same damage type now, there is relatively little need to recalculate for the purposes of establishing a distinction. Indeed, more damage across fewer strikes is often advantageous to magic users. In addition to that slow used to be a much more powerful weapons special. It did not only substract a strike. It halved the damage output of each strike. These days the white mage is probably a better unit than the sorceress because it has that same high damage output, heals and can actually manage to deal a decent amount of damage against drakes, unlike every other mage.

So what did the Druid do? It acted as a strictly better version of the shaman for the purposes of honoring the Reduction in Power from Leveling Is Bad policy, so that you wouldn't be placed at a disadvantage over your prior situation simply because you succeeded in accomplishing one of the game's secondary goals. Also a potential damage output of 18 points is closer to 24 damage than 27, and the option to slow was significant, especially since it was a much stronger ability back then. Instead of reducing the total number of strikes by one, it reduced the amount of damage by half.

However, with that having been said, the shaman line still does have its distinct usefulness over the Mage line that the earlier posters have already described: Namely forrest defense, forrest mobility, and the option to slow. If I may add one more thing though, the value of flight should not be underestimated. First of all, it allows you to travel much farther in fewer turns on large maps, it is not just a mobility advantage, but a defensive advantage as well: Sylphs and Shydes have higher defense than equivalently leveled Mages in grassland and water. Granted, it would be preferable if you avoided fighting in those environments if you can help it, but it can be important if you should find yourself in an occasion where you are forced to fight in them.

Moreover, humans are terribly slow units in general because they can't cut through any type of terrain, and while the Silver Mages can teleport to compensate for that, teleportation requires that you capture villages first so you need some faster units to go grab them. A sylph or a shyde will have an easier time keeping up with your initial wave of landbound scouts by cutting through terrain which might obstruct them.

Flight also makes your Shydes more accessible healing stations, and when you are fighting lawful units Illumination can be somewhat of a liability that the Shyde does not have in comparison to the Mage of Light. The other upgrades paths do not heal, so they should not be factored into that sort of comparison since they serve functionally different roles.
Bitron wrote:IMO, it is questionable to compare units at all, even though they fulfill similar roles, because it's not about balancing units against units, but about balancing factions against factions. Due to the ability to slow, which is a pretty powerful ability to prevent damage, the elvish shaman has all right to be the way it is. It may be weaker than the mage, but it isn't supposed to be like the mage anyways, so why change that?
Unit vs. unit balance is somewhat important because factions are comprised of units. Each unit within a faction should be at least good enough to effectively fulfill its given role over the others, and it should be noted that Rebels have both Mages and Shamen and they are both primarily ranged units, so direct unit to unit comparisons are at least somewhat meaningful if we want to encourage diverse recruitment strategies.
Last edited by Tonepoet on August 12th, 2019, 4:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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sergey
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Re: Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

Post by sergey » August 12th, 2019, 3:00 pm

Tonepoet wrote:
August 12th, 2019, 1:55 pm
Another important difference was how Slow operated. Instead of subtracting a strike, it halved the damage of all strikes, so it was generally a much more powerful weapon special.
slows special is still working the same way (halves the damage of all strikes and doubles movement costs). Perhaps you were confused with new specials of Under the Burning Suns campaign.
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Re: Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

Post by Tonepoet » August 12th, 2019, 4:18 pm

sergey wrote:
August 12th, 2019, 3:00 pm
Tonepoet wrote:
August 12th, 2019, 1:55 pm
Another important difference was how Slow operated. Instead of subtracting a strike, it halved the damage of all strikes, so it was generally a much more powerful weapon special.
slows special is still working the same way (halves the damage of all strikes and doubles movement costs). Perhaps you were confused with new specials of Under the Burning Suns campaign.
Oh! My mistake, although no, I am definitely thinking of Slow on the mainline shaman. The problem is that its been such a long time since I played I mixed up which version did what. I just downloaded version 1.0 to verify that there was a change. Here is a screenshot tooltip for the slows special:

Image

It used to subtract 1 strike, then it was changed to reduce by half. Subtracting one strike used to make it so that units that were one strike away from death were more likely to survive, and for enemy units to miss completely. On average the damage output is lower now, so I guess it was not a total loss for the shaman, but still, the game was very different back then, in ways that drastically changed the role of the Shaman line.

As long as I am posting here though, I might as well mention that Heir to the Throne starts in plenty of forrest, and while you do not have much time, it can be easier to level up shamen there than usual, they can traverse the forrest easier, and even if you wanted mages you don't even have them yet, at least in version 1.0 (I shall need to download the latest version to be sure if it is the same). That small head-start could be a good enough reason in itself to get some druids in Heir to the Throne, because once you have a unit, it is usually worth more than the 20 gold it costs to recruit it, although upkeep needs to be taken into consideration too.
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Re: Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

Post by Sadaharu » August 12th, 2019, 10:02 pm

Given that this is about HttT I don't think it happens at all, but in other campaigns there are units which can obscure and thus nullify the illuminate effect, also, if you are fighting against humans you can change things for the worse by giving them light.

Another thing to remember is that, if you play as a Roman (I often do, it's a good tactic in some maps/scenarios) slowing enemy units can create a chokepoint because their frontline does not have enough XP to retreat through their own lines.
Which, as I pointed last year, with an Elven army playing often in forests without ever facing other Elves, is very feasible.

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Re: Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

Post by josteph » August 13th, 2019, 5:35 pm

Excuse me, but what does it mean, "play as a Roman"?

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Re: Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

Post by gnombat » August 14th, 2019, 1:13 am

josteph wrote:
August 13th, 2019, 5:35 pm
Excuse me, but what does it mean, "play as a Roman"?
The term was originally mentioned in this comment:
ResExsention wrote:
August 17th, 2018, 10:08 pm
In my opinion, I actually kind of think that slow is really nothing more than a secondary ability. It's good against those units that have a ridiculously high damage, but not much else. It also relies on other units for it to be effective; in other words, it's either no squad or a big squad, which can sometimes be a waste, unless you play BfW like a Roman, grouping your units tightly together.

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Re: Elvish Shamans vs Mages in HttT

Post by Sadaharu » August 14th, 2019, 11:23 pm

^Yes. Which, in places with restrictive terrain, ends up being the default/easiest option.
E.g. if you're chased in a cave you can mount an effective defence with 8-10 units as long as healers can heal one another and at the same time slow down anybody who comes.

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