the poacher needs balancing

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whatnoth
Posts: 21
Joined: December 11th, 2006, 1:43 pm

the poacher needs balancing

Post by whatnoth »

first off, thanks to the developers for making a great game. goes to show that you dont need a big budget to create a successful product. great job.

im a casual player. i think the race and unit balancing in this game is great, but one unit jumps out at me as needing a boost: the poacher.

the poacher needs some help to make him more useful to a dwarven force. first, ill make the case that he is underpowered compared to other archers and other units of similar cost, then i will discuss balancing ideas, level 2 and level 3 ideas.


poacher
14 cost
32 hp
5 moves
29 exp
3-2 melee blade
4-4 ranged pierce
average resists
above average terrain

Terrain Movement Defense
Castle 1 60%
Village 1 60%
Deep Water 99 20%
Shallow Water 3 20%
Grassland 1 40%
Forest 2 60%
Hills 2 50%
Mountains 3 60%
Swamp 3* 50%
Sand 2 30%
Cave 2 40%
Tundra 3 20%
Mushroom Grove 2 50%
Chasm 99 20%


***http://zapicm.freeshell.org/dev/index.html incorrectly reports swamp movement as 3x. it is 2x in my version***

three things jump out at you when you look at the poacher's stats: his melee attack is terrible, he has good swamp defense, and he has low exp.

other units:

spearman
14 cost
36 hp
5 moves
42 exp
7-3 melee range
6-1 ranged pierce
average resists
average terrain

the spearman has more hp and does much more total damage than the poacher. but, we already know that the spearman is good compared to a lot of units for its cost. it's hard to compete with this guy.

bowman
15 cost
33 hp
5 moves
39 exp
6-2 melee blade
6-3 ranged pierce

for another 1$, the bowman has 1 more hp, twice the melee damage, and more ranged damage. the bowman's total damage is 12+18 = 30, versus the poacher's 6+16 = 22, a big difference.


orc archer
14 cost
32 hp
5 moves
30 exp
3-2 melee blade
5-3 ranged pierce
7-2 ranged fire
average resists
average terrain

the orc archer's damage with any single ranged attack is less than the poacher's attack (5-3 versus 4-4), but he has 2 kinds of ranged damage and 3 kinds of damage including his melee attack, which makes him an amazing swiss army knife. especially when you consider that one of the attacks, fire arrows, is non-physical and therefore good at ghost-busting and killing skeletons, lizards, heavy infantry, wose, etc, the orc archer seems way better than the poacher for the same price.


elvish fighter
14 cost
33 hp
5 moves
40 exp
5-4 melee blade
3-3 ranged pierce
average resists
above average terrain

the fighter's ranged attack is better than the poacher's melee attack, and his melee attack is better than the poacher's ranged attack. on pretty much everything but swamp, a fighter will blow through a poacher for the same price.


elvish archer
cost 17
29 hp
6 moves
44 exp
5-2 melee blade
5-4 ranged pierce
average resists
above average terrain

this isnt really a good comparison because there is such a price disparity, but the archer does a lot more damage than the poacher all around. although it is considerably more frail at 29 hp, the archer also has 6 movement and better movement and defense than the poacher in the forest, the place where the poacher is supposed to be decent in addition to the swamp to make up for dwarven weakness in forests.


skeleton archer
14 cost
30 hp
5 moves
35 exp
3-2 melee impact
6-3 ranged pierce
above average resists
average terrain

skeletons have such varied resistances that the comparison is hard to make in terms of durability. but, they are net positive in resists and no level 1 unit has holy damage, so if you take out the -100% holy, they are +140% (40 blade, 60 pierce, 60 cold, -20 impact). even without taking the resistences into consideration, the skeleton archer can submerge and does more ranged damage than the poacher for the same price.


dwarvish thunderer
17 cost
34 hp
4 moves
40 exp
6-2 melee blade
18-1 ranged pierce
good resists
below average terrain

the thunderer is such a good all-around unit that he really makes the poacher obsolete. part of the balancing argument will be to differentiate the poacher from the thunderer as much as possible to open up not only his cost/application worthiness, but also provide a reason to use him rather than just thunderers. even at night, in the woods, i would bet on a thunderer over a poacher.


*********************************************


possible ways to balance:

1. make the poacher more hybridized by boosting his melee attack. make the melee attack 3-3.

this is my least favorite solution simply because the thunderer is already very hybridized at 6-2 melee and an excellent, but unreliable all-around archer. we want the poacher to be useful by decreasing his overlap with other units, so im not inclined to think that hybridizing him will increase his usefulness. but i think it would begin to make him worth the cost. dwarves are an excellent melee race whom are short on ranged fighters. , so i think hybridizing the poacher is undesireable.

2. cut the cost to 13, reduce HP by 3.

the dwarves need a light ranged unit to complement the very heavy thunderer. the footpad and thief simply arent that great except in niche situations, meaning that the dwarves' cheapest "good unit" is 16$, the fighter. during "off-money" turns where you dont have the money to spend on a fighter, thunderer, or guardsman, you have to save while your opponent buys grunts, trolls, elvish fighters, spearmen, etc, all better units than your poacher for the same or less money. a 4-4 ranged attack on a 13$ unit would give the dwarves something to buy with their loose change.

3. change the shallow water rating from 20% to 30%, the sand from 30% to 40%, and the swamp movement to 1x.

right now, the "selling point" of the poacher is that he has an uncommon 50% defense in swamps, a rating that only aquatic units, lizards, and flying units can compete with. however, why would you make a unit defensively good in an environment in which he only has 2x movement? dwarves are good in hills and mountains and they have 1x movement there. elves are good in forests and they have 1x movement there. aquatic units are good in the water and they have 1x movement there.

why would you devote a poacher to covering a swampy area when you can use a gryphon and have around 5 times the mobility, the same defense rating in swamps (50%), and much better shallow water and sand defense (areas that typically neighbor swamps)? seems absurd to me. the poacher has the same sand and shallow water ratings as a spearman or grunt, even though these terrains are often found near swampy areas. if you really want the poacher to be a "swamp area guy," then increase his swamp mobility, and increase his terrain ratings on terrains that are found near swamps. otherwise, its pointless to use him over a gryphon, assuming you spend an equal amount (roughly 5 poachers for 3 gryphons).

units encountered in swamp/sand/shallow area, poachers vs gryphons:

undead: ghost. the poacher might actually have a small advantage here in raw fighting compared to gryphons, but the ghosts's mobility will allow undead to retreat their wounded to background villages where the poacher cant chase because of his poor mobility.

elves: wose. the wose has a better swamp rating than a grass rating, like the poacher. the poacher is of course terrible against a wose, like most archers, and the gryphon isnt very good either since it has impact vulnerability. its worth noting that the wose has similar mobility compared to a poacher in the swamp: 4 move and 2x, versus 5 move and 2x. given the ease of hitting a wose on sand or shallow water versus the 50% defense of a gryphon, the poor defense of the poacher on sand and shallow water looks unappealing. gryphon wins here since it can actually do good damage to the wose with blades.

merman hunter: the superior mobility of the merman will allow him to pick the time of the fight, meaning he can exploit his lawful attribute and the poacher's chaotic attribute. he can flee and enter a swamp fight at his leisure with 6 moves and 1x swamp, versus the 5 moves and 2x swamp of the poacher. i would favor a poacher over a merman in a dusk/dawn fight, but if you cant finish, whats the point. retreating to a water village would be too far and too dangerous for the poacher to follow. but a grphon could do that job.

orcs: naga. the poacher is probably better at fighting the naga than the gryphon, but the naga's 7 movement and 1x swamp movement means that he can retreat much like the ghosts or merman could to background villages, preventing a clean kill. the naga also has better sand and shallow water defense and movement ratings than the poacher, making the gryphon a better choice for those regions.

loyalists: merman fighter. the poacher can actually match the merman on sand and can possibly win that fight for an equal cost of 14$ (4-4 on turn, 3-2 vs 6-3 off turn). however, the merman's x1 swamp movement allows him to flee from battles like so many of the above units and reach a village where the poacher cant chase.

drakes: skirmisher. the superior mobility in the swamp, and the superior sand and water ratings favor the skirmisher over the poacher. having 6 movement, skirmish, and 1x swamp movement actually allows the skirmisher to take villages behind the poachers to heal,or just to grab territory. the poacher may not even be able to reach the skirmisher for 2 turns. the skirmisher also has pierce resistence, which means the poacher only does 4-4 to him at night, but the skirmisher does 5-4 back in melee. gryphon wins here clearly.

so, the poacher is supposed to be good in the swamp and neighboring areas, but the gryphon is probably better against most opposition because of his superior finishing ability, mobility, and universal 50% defense. it goes without saying that the gryphon is better outside the swamp too against most units. i think changing the swamp mobility, sand and shallow water defense ratings would give the poacher new usefulness in these regions. it goes without saying that the thunderer is better in the field than the poacher at almost anything, but if the gryphon is better in the swamp, whats the point of the poacher?


4. change the forest rating to 70% or change the forest mobility to 1. or, do both and cut the HP by 4.

right now, the poacher is certainly better than other dwarves in the forest, but 2x movement and 60% defense is only 10% better than what a spearman or a grunt would do in the forrest. not very compelling when you are facing a skeleton archer or an elvish archer. the poacher cant beat an elvish fighter on ANY terrain as it is.

5. cut the HP by 3 and increase the ranged damage to 6-3.

this is a pretty simple one: make the poacher a more offensive-minded unit to balance his hearty, unbreakable dwarven counterparts. the thunderer is a great all-around archer but he doesnt do much damage in proportion to his cost. the elvish archer has more frequent attacks and is a better "harrassment" unit, doing damage to those who cant fire back. the loyalist bowman also does a sum of 18 damage like the thunderer, but costs 2$ less. thus, to offset the thunderer, the poacher could have his damage incrased but be made more physically frail.


6. cut the melee damage from 3-2 to 4-1 and increase the ranged damage to 6-3.

this is similar to above, but instead of making the unit more frail, you de-hybridize the unit, making its melee attack fairly worthless, or just eliminating it altogether. the poacher doesnt need to function in melee; the rest of the dwarven units have that covered.


7. give him 10% blade and pierce resistence, and 20% cold resistence.

hes a man of the wilderness, so he should be able to withstand the elements a bit! this isnt one of my favorites simply because i think that the poacher needs more punch, not more tanking ability.

8. increase his movement by 1.

this could give him enough of a mobility advantage over a thunderer that people might actually consider using them at night. higher mobility would allow the poacher to enter and exit the battle more easily in step with the day/night cycle.


**********************************


funny thing is, the trapper is terrible too!

trapper
27 cost
45 hp
5 moves
N/A exp
4-4 melee blade
6-4 ranged pierce
average resists
above average terrain


compare:


javelineer
25 cost
48 hp
5 moves
N/A exp
8-3 melee pierce first-strike
11-2 ranged pierce
above average resists
average terrain

javelineer has 8 more total damage, 3 more hp, and also has excellent piercing resistence.

longbowman
26 cost
45 hp
5 moves
80 exp
8-2 melee blade
10-3 ranged pierce
average resists
average terrain

the longbowman has much higher ranged damage and the same melee damage, yet costs 1$ less. huh?

orc crossbowman
26 cost
43 hp
5 moves
80 exp
4-3 melee blade
8-3 ranged pierce
10-2 ranged fire
average resists
average terrain

the orc's highest damage attack is the same as the poacher's, 24 damage, but the orc has 2 kinds of ranged damage and 3 total kinds of damage. his melee attack is weaker and he has 2 fewer hp, but having 3 kinds of damage more than makes up for it.


elvish captain
32 cost
47 hp
5 moves
90 exp
7-4 melee blade
5-3 ranged pierce
average resists
above average terrain
leadership

the captain is a better pure fighter than the trapper (43 versus 40 total damage, 2 more HP), yet hosts a leadership aura to boot. both the trapper and captain come from a 14$ level 1 unit. holy cow!

elvish hero
32 cost
51 hp
5 moves
90 exp
8-4 melee blade
6-3 ranged pierce
average resists
above average terrain

this guy obviously walks all over a trapper. 50 versus 40 total damage, 6 more hp. this would be a beatdown no matter the terrain or time of day.


elvish ranger
41 cost
42 hp
6 moves
90 exp
7-3 melee blade
7-4 ranged pierce
average resists
above average terrain
ambush

the ranger is a "hybrid" with similar melee and ranged damage, yet his weaker melee attack is almost as strong as the poacher's primary ranged attack, 21 versus 24. the ranger also has more movement and the ambush skill. the ranger is 3 hp weaker but does 9 more total damage.


elvish marksman
41 cost
37 hp
6 moves
80 exp
6-2 melee blade
9-4 ranged pierce marksmanship
average resists
above average terrain

i threw this guy in here even though no one really measures up to the marksman or sharpshooter because of their unique skill. suffice it to say that the marksman does 50% more ranged damage than the poacher, 24 versus 36. slaughter, even at night, in the swamp.

bone shooter
26 cost
40 hp
5 moves
80 exp
6-2 melee blade
10-3 ranged pierce
above average resists
average terrain
submerge

the bone shooter is probably the closest to the poacher in terms of having low total damage, but hes still a lot better. his melee attack is considerably weaker, but since he takes less damage from most melee fighters, his off-turn counterattack is less important than his 30 ranged damage on-turn.


dwarvish thunderguard
30 cost
44 hp
4 moves
95 exp
6-3 melee blade
28-1 ranged pierce
good resists
below average terrain

much like the level 1 thunderer, the thundergaurd is highly hybridized with a big 18 damage melee attack. he does 6 more total damage than the trapper and can take a way bigger beating.


as a level 2 unit, the trapper is much easier to balance. in addition to whatever level 1 balance is implemented, such as terrain or resistence changes, his damage could be tuned up to 7-4 from 6-4. thas all. not too much to ask when the ranger does 8-3 melee and 7-4 ranged and the longbowman does 8-2 melee and 10-3 ranged, compared to the trapper's existing 4-4 melee and 6-4 ranged (terrible).

however, i think a better solution would be to de-hybridize the trapper. his 16 damage melee attack is unnecessary since the thunderguard is already hybridized and the fighter/steelclad obviously does a metric tonne of melee damage.

so, maybe more like 4-3 or 5-2 melee blade and 6-5 ranged pierce. that would actually give him a bit more ranged damage than the thunderer, but more importantly, it would give frequent attacks for the finishing ability that the thunderer lacks. 30 ranged damage is in line with the longbowman, bone shooter, ranger, etc these are changes that can be made without redesigning the unit entirely.


******************************************



besides the swamp rating, the other "selling point" of the poacher is its very low experience. but when you dont have a level 3 to reach it really sours the deal.

here are some possible level 3's:

huntsman
?? cost
53 hp
5 moves
6-3 melee blade, "dagger"
8-2 melee impact slow, "snare"
7-5 ranged pierce
same resistences and terrains

it is possible that having a unit with slow on the same team as the ulfserker could be too powerful. in that case:


huntsman
?? cost
53 hp
5 moves
6-3 melee blade, "dagger"
8-4 melee impact, "snare"
7-5 ranged pierce "bow"

the idea with the first huntsman is simply to carry the "trapper" theme to its logical conclusion: a trap! i think a snare attack with slow would be pretty neat on this unit, but i can understand how some people would find it overpowering with ulfserkers even though it would be a level 3 unit and not immediately available at the beginning of the game by any means.

in the case that slow is considered overpowered, the second version is sort of like an orc slurbow: 2 kinds of ranged damage, but neither one is as high compared to the attacks of other archers, such as soul shooters (13-3), master bowmen (11-4), or sharpshooters (10-5, marksman). the impact damage "snare" could also be a "bear trap" or something with blade damage. doesnt really matter, as long as its a different kind of damage.

"The Huntsman has mastered the art of archery as well as baiting and setting traps, so much so that he can deploy these traps offensively in the heat of battle. Men who survive encounters with him in the forest sing songs of woe, dragging steel traps and nooses all the way back to camp." etc.

pioneer
?? cost
55 hp
6 move
10-3 melee blade firststrike "dagger"
9-4 or 6-6 ranged pierce "bow"
40% resist cold
increase terrain: 40% shallow water, 60% swamp, 40% sand, 50% cave, 30% tundra.
decrease terrain: 50% village, 40% castle
movement 2 in shallow water, mountains, and tundra.
movement 1 in swamp.
regenerate +4

this guy is meant to be a hybrid, good on all terrains especially those that neighbor water, and possessing no clear primary attack. he does not gain an advantage from castles or villages because he is a wild man meant to be deployed beyond the keep where his mild regeneration and terrain mods are most useful. i think the damage is extremely reasonable considering the avenger is 8-4/10-4 and the master bowman is 8-3/11-4.

"having left behind the home and hearth, the pioneer has learned to live off the land and flourish where others dare not tread. laws and customs do not reach him, nor any of the luxuries afforded by civilization. the harshness of these conditions has lead to a natural resistence to the elements, as well as the ability to manage minor wounds in the field without shelter. fending off nightly animal attacks have developed his peerless reflexes. he sleeps with one eye open, dagger at the ready." etc.


the previous 3 heroes are a pretty decent departure from the existing poacher and trapper. the inclusion of a regenerating unit or a unit with slow could have significant impact on the dwarven race overall. thus, a more vanilla version would look something like:

tracker/woodsman/stalker
?? cost
56 hp
5 moves
7-4 melee blade
8-5 ranged pierce

in other words, the melee attack tuned a little higher and the ranged attack tuned a little lower than the loyalist bowman.

or something less hybridized like this, to achieve differentiation from the dragonguard:

5-4 melee
7-6 ranged

it's always important to give the trapper a lot of attacks to help differentiate him from the thunderer as much as possible. the thunderer's massive 40-1 is very volatile and a frequent-attacking archer could balance him out.

anyone else think the poacher is a bit underpowered and lacking in usefulness? if so, any ideas on how to balance him? please share.
Lone_Isle
Posts: 60
Joined: November 2nd, 2006, 2:36 am

Re: the poacher needs balancing

Post by Lone_Isle »

whatnoth wrote:
the spearman has more hp and does much more total damage than the poacher. but, we already know that the spearman is good compared to a lot of units for its cost. it's hard to compete with this guy.
spearmen are not archers. There is no comparison here. Poachers are genuine ranged units used exactly for that kind of purpose. Spearmen are melee units that work amazingly against units not resistant to pierce, and are good for holding villages against cavalry. their ranged attack is not useful at all in most situations.
for another 1$, the bowman has 1 more hp, twice the melee damage, and more ranged damage. the bowman's total damage is 12+18 = 30, versus the poacher's 6+16 = 22, a big difference.
Poachers are chaotic units. Bowmen are lawful. The implications are quite obvious.
the orc archer's damage with any single ranged attack is less than the poacher's attack (5-3 versus 4-4), but he has 2 kinds of ranged damage and 3 kinds of damage including his melee attack, which makes him an amazing swiss army knife. especially when you consider that one of the attacks, fire arrows, is non-physical and therefore good at ghost-busting and killing skeletons, lizards, heavy infantry, wose, etc, the orc archer seems way better than the poacher for the same price.
Orc archers are available to orcs. Poachers are available to knalgans.
Orc archers may be strictly better in this case, but orcs only have one real source of good ranged damage and that's the archer. Knalgans have more to choose from, and the availability of the poacher is what gives them alot of flexibility: the ability to adjust to their opposing faction's day/night advantages by employing all 3 of lawful chaotic and neutral.

the fighter's ranged attack is better than the poacher's melee attack, and his melee attack is better than the poacher's ranged attack. on pretty much everything but swamp, a fighter will blow through a poacher for the same price.
This may be true. However, the effectiveness of a unit is not measured by how able it is when squared off against another unit with the same cost. I would rather be using poachers than fighters when fighting drakes, for example. Nevermind that the two are not available to the same side.


I cannot bother responding to the rest of this ridiculously long post. Suffice to say i think you may have a point. Poachers do look abit shabby when compared to the rest of their archer brethren. However keep in mind that it is available only to knalgans and in that faction serves the unique purpose of being the only ranged piercer that functions well at night. This means they are a solid choice against drakes if used correctly. They do have a use.
Squig
Posts: 65
Joined: May 29th, 2005, 10:05 pm
Location: france

Post by Squig »

First, [censored]:
Quote:
for another 1$, the bowman has 1 more hp, twice the melee damage, and more ranged damage. the bowman's total damage is 12+18 = 30, versus the poacher's 6+16 = 22, a big difference.
Poachers are chaotic units. Bowmen are lawful. The implications are quite obvious.
oh, yeah, the implications are quite obvious. say, what implications?
ridiculously long post.
well, at least it's an argumented post. i agree that comparison to every other unit of the same level is a bit overdoing it, but just discarding arguments by saying 'its too long' 'its too short' 'comparison unit to unit has no sense' is a bit mean, and honestly quite boring on the long term.

/[censored]

you say that poachers are filling the 'kill drake with range at night'. why not. i see poachers as part of the non hills/mountains areas units.

as such they are not particularly efficient compared to thunderer, due to the points cited by whatnoth, even on the grounds where they are supposed to. aside from the unit-to-unit comparison, which can indeed be a bit overdone(even if all units compared are related to the poacher status, so the analysis is not ridiculous), i found the post quite well argumented.

ok, thunderers are 3 gold more. still i find that dawrves could use some punch on 'water' units. that would still fit a niche, since swamps/sand are not overwhelmingly present on maps, while giving them a little quirk the faction is currently somewhat lacking. i m speaking more about the (3) point.

i m curious to see how badly this would affect the game, but the theory seems right.
Lone_Isle
Posts: 60
Joined: November 2nd, 2006, 2:36 am

Post by Lone_Isle »

Bowmen cost one more than poachers. However they are of opposite alignments. This means I'd rather have a poacher shooting say a drake clasher than a bowman at night.

I did concede that he had a point: poachers and their upgrade trappers are not very exciting. However, the point is that poachers have their uses. If they didn't, then some sort of adjustment would be very needed. But they do have a use. Most of the unit comparisons are needless since they are from different factions.
whatnoth
Posts: 21
Joined: December 11th, 2006, 1:43 pm

Re: the poacher needs balancing

Post by whatnoth »

Lone_Isle wrote:
whatnoth wrote:

spearmen are not archers. There is no comparison here. Poachers are genuine ranged units used exactly for that kind of purpose. Spearmen are melee units that work amazingly against units not resistant to pierce, and are good for holding villages against cavalry. their ranged attack is not useful at all in most situations.
spearmen arent archers, but they cost the same amount. i cant think of a unit that a poacher would do better against than a spearman.

Poachers are chaotic units. Bowmen are lawful. The implications are quite obvious.
what are these implications? the bowman is a lot better for only 1$ more. im not saying that the poacher is "way off." its off by about half a dollar in my opinion, but it makes a big difference when you play dwarves and the only useful units for most maps are thunderers, fighters, and occasionally guardsmen and gryphons.
Orc archers are available to orcs. Poachers are available to knalgans.
Orc archers may be strictly better in this case, but orcs only have one real source of good ranged damage and that's the archer. Knalgans have more to choose from, and the availability of the poacher is what gives them alot of flexibility: the ability to adjust to their opposing faction's day/night advantages by employing all 3 of lawful chaotic and neutral.
the assassin is an excellent ranged attacker for the orcs. the orcs only need one strict archer character because he has two kinds of damage. this is an advantage, not a disability. i can get an orc archer and be prepared for both a wose and an elvish scout, both heavy infantry and cavalry.

This may be true. However, the effectiveness of a unit is not measured by how able it is when squared off against another unit with the same cost. I would rather be using poachers than fighters when fighting drakes, for example. Nevermind that the two are not available to the same side.
it is true that effectiveness is not based on head to head confrontations exclusively, but the damage doesnt lie. the poacher is supposed to be good in the forrest since dwarven infantry have 30% there, but he gets run over by elvish fighters. may as well tough out the 30% with a dwarvish fighter.
I cannot bother responding to the rest of this ridiculously long post. Suffice to say i think you may have a point. Poachers do look abit shabby when compared to the rest of their archer brethren. However keep in mind that it is available only to knalgans and in that faction serves the unique purpose of being the only ranged piercer that functions well at night. This means they are a solid choice against drakes if used correctly. They do have a use.
some of my argument centers around the fact that the poacher is pretty weak. but it also deals with how the thunderer and the gryphon can do everything the poacher does, or better. the issue is not just "is this unit's cost balanced," but "will people use this unit." differentiating the poacher from the thunderer will bring out his usefulness. but, he needs a little boost also.
whatnoth
Posts: 21
Joined: December 11th, 2006, 1:43 pm

Post by whatnoth »

Lone_Isle wrote:Bowmen cost one more than poachers. However they are of opposite alignments. This means I'd rather have a poacher shooting say a drake clasher than a bowman at night.

I did concede that he had a point: poachers and their upgrade trappers are not very exciting. However, the point is that poachers have their uses. If they didn't, then some sort of adjustment would be very needed. But they do have a use. Most of the unit comparisons are needless since they are from different factions.
would you rather have a poacher fighting a clasher or a thunderer?
Becephalus
Inactive Developer
Posts: 521
Joined: October 27th, 2005, 5:30 am
Location: St. Paul, Minnesota, USA, Earth

Re: the poacher needs balancing

Post by Becephalus »

whatnoth wrote:first off, thanks to the developers for making a great game. goes to show that you dont need a big budget to create a successful product. great job.

lists 20 random units

anyone else think the poacher is a bit underpowered and lacking in usefulness? if so, any ideas on how to balance him? please share.
Bec puts on his teacher hat :)

A: Units do not need to be balanced in default era vs other units from different factions. Factions are balanced against each other, and units are balanced within a faction to make sure they are all useful.

B: The poacher freaking rules and I recruit them all the time. They are great for killing ghosts/drakes and also are nice ranged support for forests and swamps. Making good use of forests and swamps is important, and the other dwarf units cannot. They have a lot o hp and make good villager holders against ranged assault. Also poachers are very easy to lvl, something that needs to be taken into consideration.

So I agree statwise the poacher is a little unimpressive, and it could probably cost 12 or 13 gold and not be broken, but it also works fine the way it is now.

I will note that at least one of the MP devs doesn't like it.
There are three roads to ruin: by gambling, which is the quickest; through women, which is the most pleasurable; and through taking the advice of experts, which is the most certain. -de Gaulle
whatnoth
Posts: 21
Joined: December 11th, 2006, 1:43 pm

Re: the poacher needs balancing

Post by whatnoth »

Becephalus wrote:
whatnoth wrote:first off, thanks to the developers for making a great game. goes to show that you dont need a big budget to create a successful product. great job.

lists 20 random units

anyone else think the poacher is a bit underpowered and lacking in usefulness? if so, any ideas on how to balance him? please share.
A: Units do not need to be balanced in default era vs other units from different factions. Factions are balanced against each other, and units are balanced within a faction to make sure they are all useful. Also poachers are very easy to lvl, somethign that needs to be taken into consideration.

B: The poacher freaking rules and I recruit them all the time. The are great for killing ghosts/drakes and also are nice ranged supprot for forests and swamps. Making good use of forests and swamps is important, and the other dwarf untis cannot.

So I agree statwise the poacher is a little unimpressive, and it could probably cost 12 or 13 gold and not be broken, but it also works fine the way it is now.

I will note that at least one of the MP devs doesn't like it.
re: ghosts

i find that thunderers are much better for killing ghosts because you only need 2 clean hits to bring them down, no matter the time of day. likewise, if you fail, the ghost doesnt tear you to shreds on his turn since you have passable resistences on the thunderer, which also means the ghost leeches less health back. his dagger attack is 3-2 against a ghost, so you stand a decent chance of offsetting the ghost's leech on his turn to keep the wounded ghost at 9 hp or lower, allowing you to kill in one shot on the following turn.

re: swamps

also, as i said, the gryphon is an excellent swamp/sand/water unit. i have actually tried to use poachers as part of making this post and i found that his mobility of 1 made it impossible for him to deal with saurians, flyers, aquatics, or whoever else can simply retreat to territory that is too far for the poacher to follow or is too disadvantageous in terms of terrain.

re: forest

as i noted in the post, elvish fighters wreck poachers in the forest. this is not a meaningless comparison. poachers are supposed to be good in the forest. they have 60% terrain, but a dwarven fighter would do much better than a poacher if you spent an equal amount on several even with the low 30% terrain mod.

re: leveling

poachers ARE easy to level, but as i noted, the trapper is a terrible level 2, and there is no level 3 waiting. the trapper is 4-4 melee and 6-4 ranged. thats embarrisingly poor damage for a unit with no specials or tank-like HP and resistances.



question for anyone: how many people actually use poachers with success over thunderers?
Lone_Isle
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Post by Lone_Isle »

As much as spearmen are better than poachers, you cannot recruit both from the same faction. If you are loyalists then sure spearmen are great. As knalgans the closest thing you got are guardsmen. These do not slay burners and clashers the way poachers do.

As for the Dwarven thunderer. They are not cheap, and massing them alone won't give you the edge against a competent drake player. Having a mixture of thunderer and poachers will work better.
Now, poachers are already pretty damn good against drakes being essentially like little elven archers that trade power for toughness. Making them cheaper would mean that making swarms of these guys may overwhlem a drake.

The thunderer is not a better choice against ghosts. Good undead players will mostly be using their ghosts at night in which thunderers do less damage overall than poachers.
Becephalus
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Re: the poacher needs balancing

Post by Becephalus »

re: ghosts

i find that thunderers are much better for killing ghosts because you only need 2 clean hits to bring them down, no matter the time of day. likewise, if you fail, the ghost doesnt tear you to shreds on his turn since you have passable resistences on the thunderer, which also means the ghost leeches less health back. his dagger attack is 3-2 against a ghost, so you stand a decent chance of offsetting the ghost's leech on his turn to keep the wounded ghost at 9 hp or lower, allowing you to kill in one shot on the following turn.


I think you are underestimating the effect of trying to kill ghosts with 4 move units. Also underestimating how often a ghost you want to kill has two or three hitpoints. It can be very frustrating to miss with 2 thunderers when one poacher could do the job easily. Poachers ar e much more reliable and there are situations where that si exactly what you want. Keep in mind I am NOT saying poachers are better than thunderers, just that they both have their uses.

re: swamps

also, as i said, the gryphon is an excellent swamp/sand/water unit. i have actually tried to use poachers as part of making this post and i found that his mobility of 1 made it impossible for him to deal with saurians, flyers, aquatics, or whoever else can simply retreat to territory that is too far for the poacher to follow or is too disadvantageous in terms of terrain.


gryphons cost 24 gold...also what maps are you plaing on where there are huge reaches of swamp? Usually the swamp tile you want to get into is just one hex. You dont generally chase untis all over the place in the swamp, you just want a unti who can stand there without getting no defense.

re: forest

as i noted in the post, elvish fighters wreck poachers in the forest. this is not a meaningless comparison. poachers are supposed to be good in the forest. they have 60% terrain, but a dwarven fighter would do much better than a poacher if you spent an equal amount on several even with the low 30% terrain mod.


And poachers are 100 times better vs elvish archers? Citing cases where poachers are inappropriate (front line forest vs multiple elf fighters) is not an argument. You also should not put burners in front line vs multiple elvish fighters are they a bad unit too?

re: leveling

poachers ARE easy to level, but as i noted, the trapper is a terrible level 2, and there is no level 3 waiting. the trapper is 4-4 melee and 6-4 ranged. thats embarrisingly poor damage for a unit with no specials or tank-like HP and resistances.



As for a trapper being a poor lvl 2, thats fine buts its still a lvl 2.

In 18 months in regular MP play lets say (500+ 1v1s 2v2s) I could count the number of lvl 3s I have seen on one hand. Literally.

question for anyone: how many people actually use poachers with success over thunderers


I can say with honesty probably 80% of the top 20 or so players get poachers regularly.

This last comment is what betrays you as a new player. Its not about choosing one unit over another unit to exclusion. Each unit has its uses. Thuderers are not categoricaly better than poachers. If you think so you just don't understand the game. I know that sounds harsh, but it is true. It is really tempting early on to make these sweeping generalizations, but 99% of the time these generalizations just arise from a lack of understanding of the game. From your comments it is pretty clear yours do as well.


Could poacher suse a little somethign extra or be a little cheaper sure. But they are also ok as they are and serve many useful functions.
There are three roads to ruin: by gambling, which is the quickest; through women, which is the most pleasurable; and through taking the advice of experts, which is the most certain. -de Gaulle
Oreb
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Post by Oreb »

To finish what Becephalus saying about seeing a handful of level three's, that is on a map with 2gpv and 70% exp. Since maps with 5gpv and about 50% or less experience would tend to get more level three's.
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whatnoth
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Re: the poacher needs balancing

Post by whatnoth »

Becephalus wrote:
I think you are underestimating the effect of trying to kill ghosts with 4 move units. Also underestimating how often a ghost you want to kill has two or three hitpoints. It can be very frustrating to miss with 2 thunderers when one poacher could do the job easily. Poachers ar e much more reliable and there are situations where that si exactly what you want. Keep in mind I am NOT saying poachers are better than thunderers, just that they both have their uses.
does having 5 moves make a big difference? i agree about finishing ability, at least compared to a thunderer, because of the difference between 4 hits and one. but i dont see how having one fewer movement makes it that much harder for thunderers.

gryphons cost 24 gold...also what maps are you plaing on where there are huge reaches of swamp? Usually the swamp tile you want to get into is just one hex. You dont generally chase untis all over the place in the swamp, you just want a unti who can stand there without getting no defense.
i would take 3 gryphons over 5 poachers to take and hold, or take back, a swamp/sand/water area. maps i am thinking of are blitz, loris river, paths of daggers, hexcake, waterloo sunset. and no, i dont want a unit to stand there, i want to make the kill and not allow a retreat. i assume thats what you were talking about above, withthe 4 move thunderer vs a ghost. i laid out the poacher's problem with poor swamp movement pretty clearly in my first post.
And poachers are 100 times better vs elvish archers? Citing cases where
paochers are inappropriate (front line forest vs multiple elf fighters) is not an argument. You also should not put burners in front line vs multiple elvish fighters are they a bad unit too?
burners arent supposed to be good in the forest. poachers are.
As for a trapper being a poor lvl 2, thats fine buts its still a lvl 2.

In 18 months in regular MP play lets say (500+ 1v1s 2v2s) I could count the number of lvl 3s I have seen on one hand. Literally.
kind of stinks when your level 2 dies and forks over the same exp bounty as a steelclad or slasher.

i guess having level 3's doesnt matter then, or their stats dont matter?
I can say with honesty probably 80% of the top 20 or so players get poachers regularly.
i was looking for people to comment individually, not an estimate.
This last comment is what betrays you as a new player. Its not about choosing one unit over another unit to exclusion. Each unit has its uses. Thuderers are not categorical better than poachers. If you thin so you just don't understand the game. I know that sounds harsh, but it is true. It is really tempting early on to make these sweeping generalizations, but 99% of the time these generalizations just arise from a lack of understanding of the game. From your comments it is pretty clear yours do as well.
ive never pretended to be anything else, but tell me which one of these is wrong:

1. if you are unsure of your opponent's race, units, or exact tactics, thunderers are always a better buy than poachers if an equal amount is spent on both.

2. in swamp/water/sand areas (*these areas often neighbor each other*), gryphons will out-perform poachers. poachers are badly out-manuvered by saurians, mermen, naga, and flyers, units that the poacher might encounter in the swamp from other races.

3. if poachers arent good all round units (if number 1 is true), and they arent even that good at fulfilling their niche function (if number 2 is true), then it becomes somewhat silly to argue that the poacher "has its uses," but only in very specific circumstances.

4. if number 3 is true, we should seek to balance the poacher, whether that means making him more universal or more of a specialist. some sort of improvement is in order.

given the very meager adjustments ive suggested, it should be obvious to everyone that i dont think the unit is unfathomably weak. i just think that for a variety of in-game situations, there is a dwarven unit better equipped. the poacher might be better against unit X, but only at time of day Y and terrain Z, but if any deviation fromthat use spells either domination by enemies or redundancy compared to other dwarves, there is something wrong with the unit.
Could poacher suse a little somethign extra or be a little cheaper sure. But they are also ok as they are and serve many useful functions.
thats all ive ever argued. i havent argued for a complete overhaul of the unit. one suggestion was cut the cost by 1, cut hp by 3. a little cheaper. cut the hp by 3, boost the damage to 6-3. a little something extra. no poison damage, or healing aura, or fire arrows. pretty modest, dont you think?

to anyone:

i am not a "ladder player" and i dont claim to be. i understand that, since this is a turn-based game, some strategies are almost exclusively map-based because of what terrain is placed at chokes and next to villages. thus, i can understand how people might argue that a certain unit "is overpowered" because it allows ladder players to win consistently on popular dueling maps.

i am not ashamed to say that i am a casual player and play mostly on 40% exp. i wouldnt expect counter strike to be patched and the AWP removed just because it unbalanced CAL games, so i cant speculate as to how my lack of playing professionally/ranked speaks at all to my arguments.

just to reiterate my position, i am arguing more *in general* about a unit's overlap with his own race's units and his ineffectiveness in battle against units of similar cost, or units that it might run into in its supposed niche environment.
Lone_Isle
Posts: 60
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Re: the poacher needs balancing

Post by Lone_Isle »

So the crux of your argument is that in the opening stages of the game when you're not sure about the opponent's race, thunderers are "apparently" better. Well, even if that were the case, I guess you will then acknowledge poachers are readily useful once you DO know what your opponents are getting?

I think the thread's over?
Becephalus
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Re: the poacher needs balancing

Post by Becephalus »

whatnoth wrote: i would take 3 gryphons over 5 poachers to take and hold, or take back, a swamp/sand/water area. maps i am thinking of are blitz, loris river, paths of daggers, hexcake, waterloo sunset. and no, i dont want a unit to stand there, i want to make the kill and not allow a retreat. i assume thats what you were talking about above, withthe 4 move thunderer vs a ghost. i laid out the poacher's problem with poor swamp movement pretty clearly in my first post.
You realize I made over half those maps?
whatnoth wrote: burners arent supposed to be good in the forest. poachers are.
burners are generalist untis, they are supposed to be good everywhere
whatnoth wrote: i was looking for people to comment individually, not an estimate.
This is going to sound incredibly pissy, but it is true, most of them wouldn't even dignify this thread with a response.
whatnoth wrote: given the very meager adjustments ive suggested, it should be obvious to everyone that i dont think the unit is unfathomably weak.
and yet you have seemed to say several times that you think the thunderer is clearly better in almost all ways?
whatnoth wrote: i am not ashamed to say that i am a casual player and play mostly on 40% exp. i wouldnt expect counter strike to be patched and the AWP removed just because it unbalanced CAL games, so i cant speculate as to how my lack of playing professionally/ranked speaks at all to my arguments.

just to reiterate my position, i am arguing more *in general* about a unit's overlap with his own race's units and his ineffectiveness in battle against units of similar cost, or units that it might run into in its supposed niche environment.
Well I would speculate 95% of all serious games of wesnoth are played on 70% so that is probably a huge part of the problem right there. Playing on 40% makes you think lvl 3s are common, and that the trapper is somehow bad. At 70% you are happy to get any level 2. The game is just not balanced with 40% in mind period. 40% is generally a bad idea anyway as it is too luck focused. Units level all over the place and so much depends the outcomes of what shoudl be meaningless combats.
There are three roads to ruin: by gambling, which is the quickest; through women, which is the most pleasurable; and through taking the advice of experts, which is the most certain. -de Gaulle
Becephalus
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Location: St. Paul, Minnesota, USA, Earth

Post by Becephalus »

Just to say somethign nice. It is good that you picked out what is in fact a unit that maybe could use a slight tweak. It is a sign you are taking the game seriously and have good instincts considering it. If you would like to improve though you really need to play with better players. I cannot think of a single decent player who even occasionally plays 40% except for specific little silly scenario games.

As such you should attempt to play with some of the more regular players. The community is quite good and there are probably 30 or 40 solid players.

Perhaps try people like:

Gallifax
Tchado
Milamber
Nickname
Truper
Kamnik
IB
Roman_Loyalist
Tonepoet
rytdog
Motrax

these people are all a lot and you should be able to find one fo them on the development server at almost any time.

And of course I would be happy to play you too. I even promise to get a few poachers. :) :) :)
There are three roads to ruin: by gambling, which is the quickest; through women, which is the most pleasurable; and through taking the advice of experts, which is the most certain. -de Gaulle
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