Dwarvish guardsmen (in 1 vs 1)

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Haart
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Dwarvish guardsmen (in 1 vs 1)

Post by Haart » December 13th, 2011, 11:39 am

There is something that bothers me for some time: what is the point of dwarvish guardsmen?
Sure, steadfast ability is interesting and unique to them (if we don't count mermain hoplite that is both almost never seen and arguably even more useless) but just having unique ability does not make them worthwile. If we compare guardwarf to fighter, what do we see? While guardwarves have steadfast (and four more hitpoints but that's very small difference), fighters have better defences on hills and mountains — preferred terrain of dwarves; if we do the math, we'll see that on mountain, guardwarf and fighter are expected to receive equal physical damage in defence (guardwarf has a 40% probability to be hit by any given strike and if hit, only 60% of damage go through resistance, so he's statistocally expected to take 24% of incoming damage; meanwhile, fighter has only 30% chance to be hit and even through he takes 80% of damage of succesful hit, 30%*80% equals the same 24%) and on hills difference is abysmall (going by same math, guardwarf is expected to take 30% of incoming damage and for fighter it's 32%). Fighter is also able to counterattack on his turn without losing his defensive advantages while guardwarf's stalwart does not work on offence.
On other hand, they have equal defences on villages so guards are better as village-holders. In FFA, i myself had a good time occupying strategically important (borderline and/or stolen) villages and letting enemy know that he'd have better time attacking my other enemy than trying to take out guardsman; however, in 1 vs 1 looking too well-protected to attack is not a viable strategy. Having good village-holder is good, but with guardwarf it comes at cost at tactical flexibility (and you need to pay more gold for it); i wonder if it really is worth it (especially considering that footpads are wonderful village-holders for their gold). Guardsmen are also able to live longer on flat/in forest, but if dwarf stands on flat he's dead and i like 16 gold dead dwarf more than 19 gold one. Offense-wise guards are… no, let's face it, they are not. Even their pierce damage is useless as knalgans already have poachers and thunderers. And if needing more experience to level up isn't enough, stalwart is inferior to steelclad in so many ways it isn't even funny.

So to sum my rant up: i consider dwarvish guardsman to be weaker version of fighter that is better good only at surviving on village and i, being noob as i am, fail to see how it is worth its 19 gold. So in order to break free from this misunderstanding i ask for replays (preferably from trunk version) of 1 vs 1 games where guardwarves are used in effective way in which fighters could not be used.
I'm not native english speaker so, please, excuse me for using comma at random.

soul_steven
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Re: Dwarvish guardsmen (in 1 vs 1)

Post by soul_steven » December 13th, 2011, 12:29 pm

Hey Haart just wanted to try to explain this as well as I can in such a way that explains your question while also posting my feelings on the situation (glad to see you so enthused over the game also its awesome). The guardsman to me is what is known as a specialty unit much like the HI or fencer. These are special units who you don't get a large amount of however you still get at certain times for a certain task. For the fencer its to zoc/trap units or hold a line with 70 defense... Hi is for impact damage namely against dwarfs and UD and for the Guard its for a melee pierce attack (the only of dwarfs kind) as well as to hold a very important hex whether its a lone village or to hold a two hex line. This unit is not in the same class as the dwarfish fighter, spear men, or elvish fighter since those are what I call tank units which are NECESSARY and the majority of your front line army. I hope I answered your question correctly, in comparison guard does not match up to fighter in power however as a specialty unit he has a very dominate place. Also note im making a generalized statement in certain situations you need the pierce attack more (say vs a drake who doesn't get any saurian s) in wesnoth your unit composition always is dependent on what your enemy gets its never a "this is how you always play against this faction. Hope I helped

lesy
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Re: Dwarvish guardsmen (in 1 vs 1)

Post by lesy » December 13th, 2011, 2:27 pm

yes, i would say guard is best used facing horse or drake heavy recruits. also you compared the defense of fighter on hills and villages but obviously the stalwart ability has strongest effect on flat, where most strikes hit you, allowing the guard to survive for - often key - few hits longer.

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taptap
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Re: Dwarvish guardsmen (in 1 vs 1)

Post by taptap » December 13th, 2011, 2:42 pm

The guardsmen has ranged retaliation. + Higher resistances (= more effective healing). + More HP. Isn't that enough?

(The merman hoplite is a great unit, if not in MP where you don't see L3 but in campaigns. I never fail to get some. Normal merfolk hasn't much resistances, but the hoplite has plenty of it, so much that he is still great despite his lower base HP as compared to the triton. I mean, 50% defensive cold resistance, 40% defensive fire resistance, which other unit can offer this? Also, campaigns with merfolk usually feature one or more storm tridents (HttT has 2/3 afair) giving it to a hoplite is a good idea. The more effective healing makes itself felt in campaigns too.)
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perseo
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Re: Dwarvish guardsmen (in 1 vs 1)

Post by perseo » December 13th, 2011, 7:16 pm

soul_steven wrote: (say vs a drake who doesn't get any saurian s) in wesnoth your unit composition always is dependent on what your...
I'M THIS DRAKE! XD No, I was here to talk about dwarvish guard. I think they aren't so bad, well, in fact, you don't have to recruit 5 dwarvish guard. You see what enemy are you facing, and you say: allright, I think that I will enjoy a lot putting ( :lol2: ) putting a line of guards tosee what happens... (Damm! That's not what I want to say) When you play with loyalist for example, and you face elves, for example: Do you recruit many heavy infantry? This is the same, every unit can used in certain situations and of course, in campaigns dwarvish guards are very useful: How can we think in winning HttT last scenario without recruiting a line of guards supported by marshals?
And of course, you won't be able to choose always make a line in mountains, if you have to fight on ice or flat the guards are BETTER than the thunderers or fighters that will receive a massive damage with their 70% chances to hit.
To short, my opinions of strategie never add up to anything but what I want to say is that you can't say that a unit is completily useless.
"I was pulling a barrow, when I saw a stalking horse
what a beautiful day!- he said- for visiting a red herring
and getting hoarse."
Working on this campaign: The septentrional tower

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Superking
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Re: Dwarvish guardsmen (in 1 vs 1)

Post by Superking » December 15th, 2011, 5:37 am

VS northeners the gaurdsman comes into its own.. killing it one turn requires 5+ hexsides on bad terrain, and on a village it needs to be be surrounded and hammered down over a number of turns, during which it deals massive detaliation. greatest concentration of survivability into a single hex = nightmare for faction with lowest damage/hex and weak ranged attacks
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zaimoni
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Re: Dwarvish guardsmen (in 1 vs 1)

Post by zaimoni » December 15th, 2011, 8:27 am

Haart wrote:So to sum my rant up: i consider dwarvish guardsman to be weaker version of fighter that is better good only at surviving on village and i, being noob as i am, fail to see how it is worth its 19 gold. So in order to break free from this misunderstanding i ask for replays (preferably from trunk version) of 1 vs 1 games where guardwarves are used in effective way in which fighters could not be used.
Weaker at everything except surviving to get the promotion to L2. In the early game, after recruiting fast-move units I end up recruiting in triples: fighter, guardsman, other. Long-term average is 2 guardmen promotions to stalwarts for each promotion of a fighter to steelclad.

Also, guardsmen have no business head-on assaulting melee-only enemies that aren't almost-dead. Plinking with the javelin is the blindingly obvious typically correct tactic. [Mentioning because not doing this trivial calculation, is the only way I can justify the rant.]

Max
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Re: Dwarvish guardsmen (in 1 vs 1)

Post by Max » December 15th, 2011, 11:45 am

have a look at the "how to play" series...
http://wiki.wesnoth.org/How_to_play_Knalgans

there's a couple more of them in the forum, some maybe outdated...

blurrr2
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Re: Dwarvish guardsmen (in 1 vs 1)

Post by blurrr2 » December 26th, 2011, 9:59 pm

On the last level of HttT, I went all out. I made a line of about 12 guardsmen and 4 druids/white mages, with each shaman supporting 3 guardsmen. Because the guardsmen took a small percentage of the incoming damage, the healers netegated more offensive firepower with each heal. They were able to hold the line long enough for a massive knight force to be built up behind. When the line broke, the knights flooded out, crushing all resistance.

HomerJ
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Re: Dwarvish guardsmen (in 1 vs 1)

Post by HomerJ » December 27th, 2011, 7:29 pm

blurrr2 wrote:On the last level of HttT, I went all out. I made a line of about 12 guardsmen and 4 druids/white mages, with each shaman supporting 3 guardsmen.
Try the same with 12 assassins and poison 12 units each turn. really fun to watch...

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perseo
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Re: Dwarvish guardsmen (in 1 vs 1)

Post by perseo » December 27th, 2011, 8:22 pm

The main problem is that you need only 12 assasins level 3 which, by the way, was not my way of playing httt.
¡Salud!
"I was pulling a barrow, when I saw a stalking horse
what a beautiful day!- he said- for visiting a red herring
and getting hoarse."
Working on this campaign: The septentrional tower

HomerJ
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Re: Dwarvish guardsmen (in 1 vs 1)

Post by HomerJ » December 27th, 2011, 9:41 pm

perseo wrote:The main problem is that you need only 12 assasins level 3 which, by the way, was not my way of playing httt.
¡Salud!
I know. Do thieves only (all recalls allowed) from SoE on. It's fun.


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Shatner
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Re: Dwarvish guardsmen (in 1 vs 1)

Post by Shatner » February 1st, 2012, 8:19 pm

The guardsman, in theory, is meant to fill a valid role as mobile wall but he fails to live up to similar units: the troll, ghoul, ghost, footpad, heavy infantry, and wose. This is because he is expensive (unlike the troll and footpad), slow (unlike the ghost and footpad), does poor damage (unlike the heavy infantry and wose), lacks nasty status effects (unlike the ghoul), and does a poor job preserving/recovering his hp (unlike the troll, ghost and wose).

I would like to elaborate on this last point a bit more. Let's look at the ghost. It has high mobility, 50% resistance to most attacks and good defense, which allow it to survive much longer than its pitiful HP would indicate. In fact, having all of those damage-deferring abilities instead of lots of HP is actually a good thing; a ghost can go from heavily wounded to mostly-healed with just one turn spent in a village. And given the aforementioned high-mobility, a ghost should have no trouble getting to that village, healing and then being back to screen for his allies immediately thereafter. Finally, the ghost discourages melee attack (the most common form of attack) because its drain attack can often negate as much or more of the damage it would receive. All of this serves to make permanently taking out the mobile wall that is the ghost a difficult proposition... which is exactly what we want it to be.

Now let’s look at the troll. It has decent resistances, a low price and high hp but poor defense, poor mobility and low damage output. It does invite ranged attacks (low defense, no retaliation) and, to a lesser extent, melee attacks (low damage on retaliation, low number of attacks) but it's a unit of such low cost and worth that you are economically disincentivized from attacking the troll (your attacks are doing less damage hitting a troll, due to regeneration and resistances, and the troll is cheaper to replace than most other Northerner units). Furthermore, the troll never has to stay out of the action long because it is always regenerating its health. It isn't as efficient as the ghost in going from "nearly dead" to "fully healed" but that's okay because it is far cheaper.

In contrast, the guardsman is too slow to run back to villages and then back to the front line. The guardsman invites attack because of its low damage output (both melee and ranged) and low defense. It has impressive resistances while defending but, unlike the ghost or the troll, it has a much harder time recovering from those injuries. If a guardsmen gets beaten half to death, you are looking at 2-3 turns of it being out of action while it heals followed by potentially 2-3 turns of movement for it to rejoin the front line. It can't threaten enemies on the offensive because of its low damage output AND because it'll be trading away its hp even more cheaply since steadfast doesn't work on offense. All of that would be fine, having a unit which takes too long to heal, too slow to advance/retreat, too weak to be a threat and thus draw fire, if it had something else going for it, such as a good level-2 form and low XP requirement or a very low cost to recruit. However, the guardsman doesn't have either of those (in fact, levelling a guardsman is harder than a dwarven fighter and simultaneously much less rewarding). It fails to measure up to its mobile-wall peers along any axis.

People love to counter with how effective guardsmen are when defending a village. It's true that that's where they shine brightest but that is not an important enough nor common enough use case that it justifies the unit. Given how long it takes a guardsman to recover from its defense, and given how little retaliatory damage it did to the enemy, I usually would prefer to have saved the 2-3gp and defended that village with a dwarven fighter or thunderer instead. Even if the unit dies, my enemies should be much more weakened by its retaliations, allowing me to counter-attack to better effect.


Now, there are many things we could do to make a guardsman worth recruiting but much of it (higher mobility, regeneration, higher defense) wouldn't really fit the theme of the dwarven units. Instead let’s focus on those changes that stay thematic while fixing the unit's mechanical short-comings:
We could:
1) Make it cheaper (say 15gp or 16gp) and/or
2) Make it deal slightly more melee damage (7-3, same as a spearman but without the first-strike) and/or
3) Make it attack more/harder in ranged combat (give it at least 5-2 ranged attack so it can do more than annoy those around it during its turn) and/or
4) Make it have 30% resistance to blade, pierce and impact damage (so it’s like an offensively anaemic, defensively resilient heavy infantry) and/or
5) Give it even more HP (this isn't very exciting but there is some number of hp where I'd be fine paying 19gp for a slow, weak mobile-wall which will take FOREVER to heal back to full... though it'd have to be a lot more than +4 what the dwarven fighter gets)

Those changes are easy to implement and one or more of them would help prop up this under-achieving unit.

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Raket
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Re: Dwarvish guardsmen (in 1 vs 1)

Post by Raket » February 9th, 2012, 6:38 pm

Shatner wrote:he fails to live up to similar units: the troll, ghoul, ghost, footpad, heavy infantry, and wose.
All of these units have their particular uses, but to say that the Guardsman is inferior is wrong.

The ghost for example, costs 20g! And has very low HP which cancels out his resistance bonuses.
He can not get higher defense than 50%. Although a big annoyance to melee fighters because of drain,
he is very prone to ranged and magical attacks which can kill it very fast.
It is an unreliable unit to take damage with, the ghost is basically a more expensive vampire bat.

Now put the guardsman in the same situation, and he would survive the multiple ranged attacks because of his bulky HP.
You can put the guardsman in any position and you could rely on him based on his HP, instead of hoping your enemy will miss.

The guardsman is basically the heavy infantry of the Knalgans, a specialty unit, afcourse it's more wise to get fighters but in some cases
you should get a guardsman out, for example against Drakes or to hold a very important area. same reason a Loyalist player will send out heavy infantry against Undead or to hold an important fortification.

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PeterPorty
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Re: Dwarvish guardsmen (in 1 vs 1)

Post by PeterPorty » February 9th, 2012, 6:58 pm

To be honest, I do indeed believe the guardsman could use a little buff... Either -1 gold, a couple of less XP or some few points of HP added to it. Just my 2 cents.

Personally, I think the first one would be the most effective, since the reason for this is that generally some other knalga can do the guardsman's job better at a lower cost, but then again, maybe this would make him overpowered... The other two seem plausible, although maybe a mixture? -1XP and +2HP?
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