When are Javelineers useful?

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Zrevnur
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Re: When are Javelineers useful?

Post by Zrevnur »

revolting_peasant wrote:
April 24th, 2020, 7:13 pm
holius wrote:
April 24th, 2020, 12:53 pm
Javelineer, Elvish Ranger, Ranger, Dune Rover and Dune Raider share the same unit design : same retaliation power against ranged and melee attacks.
I haven't played Dunefolk, but:
  • The Elvish Ranger is more beefy than its "single-attack-type-focused" alternative advancement, the Elvish Marksman - 13% more HP.
  • The Elvish Ranger gains the ability to ambush; the Javelineer doesn't gain any special ability.
  • The Elvish Ranger can advance to an Avenger; the Javelineer cannot.
Additionally, Human units, unlike Elves, exhibit more imbalance in melee vs ranged capabilities. We're playing humans under such an "imbalance paradigm"; and the Javlineer is kind of the odd man out. If it had something special about him, or even the capacity to level, then it might make more sense.
I dont think anybody is denying the "advance" part. Usually it makes Javelineer the weakest upgrade. The pro-Javelineer argumentation is about cases in which this doesnt matter too much or not at all.

Comparing the Elvish Ranger vs Elvish Marksman: Sum of damage is 49 for Ranger and 48 (+marksman) for the Marksman. Due to marksman the mixed unit (Ranger) has less summary damage. For Javelineer vs Pikeman its the other way round. The mixed unit (Javelineer) has far more summary damage. So it makes sense that the HP is also reversed. So comparison with the other available upgrades: Ranger (more HP, less damage than Marksman) vs Javelineer (less HP, more damage than Pikeman).

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revolting_peasant
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Re: When are Javelineers useful?

Post by revolting_peasant »

Zrevnur wrote:
April 24th, 2020, 5:43 pm
With "stat wise" I did not mean to include the ability to level up further. I think that was clear from the context but based on your post I am unsure if you even read the rest of my post...
I did, but since I disagreed with the premise, I commented on that.
Zrevnur wrote:
April 24th, 2020, 5:43 pm
playing Wesnoth campaigns units like Pikeman are sort of gimped due to their lack of ranged attack and are only viable because they have particular strengths.
But the whole Spearman line is like that (and the 1x7 ranged pierce is close to having no ranged attack). If that bothers you - don't get Spearmen. Humans are more unbalanced that way than Elves. The thing is, what you should be comparing is not even so much the PIkeman and the Javelineer, but the Halbardier and the Javelineer. And that one has not only 50% more HP, but another attack type, as opposed to the Javelineer's pierce.

Also...
Zrevnur wrote:
April 24th, 2020, 5:43 pm
There is also that in campaigns enemies are often mostly melee.
This mostly strengthens my point, since the two branches of the Spearman line we're talking about are defensive units, and used for attack only when there's not much to defend against.
Zrevnur wrote:
April 24th, 2020, 5:43 pm
And the most dangerous units are often melee units. In such situations I cant attack with a Pikeman but I can attack with a Javelineer.
It's true that, even in a defensive context, you can make an opportunistic attack with a Javelineer against a melee-only unit, while with a Pikeman or Halbardier that's usually not useful. That's a valid point. However, the Halbardier, during its turn, can choose a different melee attack type, instead of being stuck with pierce. Also, Javelineers don't have any advantageous attack against balanced ranged/melee assailants, and you have less of a chance to attack back. Finally, like you saidP:
Zrevnur wrote:
April 24th, 2020, 5:43 pm
Gameplay vs AI is very asymmetric. And the AI doesnt heal-rotate units or anything of the sort.
Not heal-rotate, but it will usually have ranged-focused units prefer no-ranged-attack defenders like the Pikeman/Halbardier. And then, on relatiation, the PIkeman/Halbardier has a nice advantage in melee which the Javelineer doesn't, or has less of.
Zrevnur wrote:
April 24th, 2020, 5:43 pm
This means the Javelineer does far more damage than the Pikeman.
Sometimes, sometimes not. The Pikemen or Halbardier will cause more damage during its melee engagement, balancing that out somewhat. Not to mention the fact that the Javelineer is more likely to die in an earlier round, due to having taken damage, than the Pikeman and much more likely than the Halbardier.

Zrevnur wrote:
April 24th, 2020, 5:43 pm
In the often occurring human line vs AI blob situation the Javelineer is apart from the somewhat lower survivability due to lower HP much better than the Pikeman.
If you mean that the PIkeman and the Halbardier have lower survivability than the Javelineer - you haven't established a basis for this claim, especially w.r.t. the Halbardier.

By the way - the tendency of Pikemen/Halbardiers to attract strong-ranged, weak-melee attackers has another use, of shaping your enemy's expected unit layout, which lets you make your own unit positioning more advantageous for the next turn.

Zrevnur
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Re: When are Javelineers useful?

Post by Zrevnur »

revolting_peasant wrote:
April 24th, 2020, 7:52 pm
Zrevnur wrote:
April 24th, 2020, 5:43 pm
playing Wesnoth campaigns units like Pikeman are sort of gimped due to their lack of ranged attack and are only viable because they have particular strengths.
But the whole Spearman line is like that (and the 1x7 ranged pierce is close to having no ranged attack).
No, the 1x6 is not "close to no ranged attack". Ignoring ToD and 'strong' its ~29% summary damage upgrade. In addition to that I get the same amount of XP out of it. For maximizing XP in campaign Spearman is very good due to having this low damage ranged attack.
revolting_peasant wrote:
April 24th, 2020, 7:52 pm
If that bothers you - don't get Spearmen.
This is an efficiency thing and not a psychological one...
revolting_peasant wrote:
April 24th, 2020, 7:52 pm
The thing is, what you should be comparing is not even so much the PIkeman and the Javelineer, but the Halbardier and the Javelineer.
I already implied that the Halberdier is a better unit than the Javelineer. Again: The pro-Javelineer argumentation is about Javelineer vs Pikeman/Swordsman in a context in which the further possibility of upgrade doesnt matter much or not at all.
revolting_peasant wrote:
April 24th, 2020, 7:52 pm
Also, Javelineers don't have any advantageous attack against balanced ranged/melee assailants, and you have less of a chance to attack back.
In a duel situation (one unit vs one unit) Javelineer is obviously much better than a Pikeman. Otherwise it depends. If you need to defend vs mixed units then Pikeman is much worse.
revolting_peasant wrote:
April 24th, 2020, 7:52 pm
Finally, like you saidP:
Zrevnur wrote:
April 24th, 2020, 5:43 pm
Gameplay vs AI is very asymmetric. And the AI doesnt heal-rotate units or anything of the sort.
Not heal-rotate, but it will usually have ranged-focused units prefer no-ranged-attack defenders like the Pikeman/Halbardier. And then, on relatiation, the PIkeman/Halbardier has a nice advantage in melee which the Javelineer doesn't, or has less of.
Even if you counterattack the unit which the AI attacked you with - the summary damage of the Javelineer is much better than the summary damage of the Pikeman.
revolting_peasant wrote:
April 24th, 2020, 7:52 pm
Zrevnur wrote:
April 24th, 2020, 5:43 pm
In the often occurring human line vs AI blob situation the Javelineer is apart from the somewhat lower survivability due to lower HP much better than the Pikeman.
If you mean that the PIkeman and the Halbardier have lower survivability than the Javelineer - you haven't established a basis for this claim, especially w.r.t. the Halbardier.
You are misreading my quote. The Javelineer has lower HP/"survivability" than the Pikeman.
revolting_peasant wrote:
April 24th, 2020, 7:52 pm
By the way - the tendency of Pikemen/Halbardiers to attract strong-ranged, weak-melee attackers has another use, of shaping your enemy's expected unit layout, which lets you make your own unit positioning more advantageous for the next turn.
Of course there are situations in which Pikeman is better than Javelineer.

jamesparkhurst
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Re: When are Javelineers useful?

Post by jamesparkhurst »

Im new to this game. I have used Javelineers on several occasions and I actually like using them. Ive been watching videos on youtube trying to improve my gameplay and obviously I need to play more games. Its an awesome game btw.

KinglerMew
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Re: When are Javelineers useful?

Post by KinglerMew »

If I was rebalancing the game, I'd give Javelineers skirmisher and ranged marksmen to give them a role in hunting down low-health enemies.

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patience_reloaded
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Re: When are Javelineers useful?

Post by patience_reloaded »

KinglerMew wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 7:28 pm
If I was rebalancing the game, I'd give Javelineers skirmisher and ranged marksmen to give them a role in hunting down low-health enemies.
Not a bad idea. I like the part with the skirmisher, since spearthrowers were historically often used as skirmishers IIRC.
A different idea to make the Javelineer more appealing would be if they had one more move. Better mobility can be a huge plus when deciding what unit you want to promote into. However the combination of skirmisher and one additional move would probably be overpowered.
Another approach would be if they got some blade and impact resistance, to strengthen their role as defenders against various kinds of enemies.

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Tom_Of_Wesnoth
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Re: When are Javelineers useful?

Post by Tom_Of_Wesnoth »

KinglerMew wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 7:28 pm
If I was rebalancing the game, I'd give Javelineers skirmisher and ranged marksmen to give them a role in hunting down low-health enemies.
In multiplayer, the Fencer usually fills this role for loyalists, as it can skirmish. I also think its attack, with four strikes, is well suited to hunting down low-health enemies, as it allows for a bit more bad luck when attacking.
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otzenpunk
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Re: When are Javelineers useful?

Post by otzenpunk »

patience_reloaded wrote:
May 4th, 2020, 6:48 am
KinglerMew wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 7:28 pm
If I was rebalancing the game, I'd give Javelineers skirmisher and ranged marksmen to give them a role in hunting down low-health enemies.
Not a bad idea. I like the part with the skirmisher, since spearthrowers were historically often used as skirmishers IIRC.
A different idea to make the Javelineer more appealing would be if they had one more move.
I'm not convinced. When I think of the Loyalist lore, I think about large armies in tight formations, not small skirmish units on suicide missions. And, as Tom of Wesnoth already pointed out, there is already a skirmisher unit in the Loyalist faction, although it's seldom available in single player campaigns. (Probably exactly because it doesn't fit 100% into the picture of medieval feudalist armies.)

I think, just taking the javelineer as is, as the "natural" upgrade of spearmen not sacrificing any abilities to specialize on others, could definitely work, if it wasn't a dead end on the upgrade path. So if anybody wants to change anything, I would prefer to simply see a proper lvl3 upgrade without any special weapons or fancy abilities, just more hitpoints, more attacks, more damage. I think this might improve the usefulness of javelineers drastically without having to rebalance a lot of [censored] afterwards.

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revolting_peasant
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Re: When are Javelineers useful?

Post by revolting_peasant »

KinglerMew wrote:
May 3rd, 2020, 7:28 pm
If I was rebalancing the game, I'd give Javelineers skirmisher and ranged marksmen to give them a role in hunting down low-health enemies.
Javelineers wear armor, wield a large weapon, and carry additional large weapons (the javelins/extra spears). They can't be skirmishers. Also, you don't get to be a marksman with a Javelin - it's not that much of a precision weapon. I also wonder if an L2 Marksman with a significant amount of damage, medium HP and a good melee attack isn't perhaps an overly strong L2 unit.

Finally, The Loyalists already have two marksman(ish) L2 units at their disposal - the Red Mage and the White Mage.
otzenpunk wrote:
May 4th, 2020, 6:18 pm
So if anybody wants to change anything, I would prefer to simply see a proper lvl3 upgrade without any special weapons or fancy abilities, just more hitpoints, more attacks, more damage. I think this might improve the usefulness of javelineers drastically without having to rebalance.
Agreed. You'd have symmetry between the Pikeman-Halbardier line and the Javelineer-"Master Javelineer" lines. Although... I might skimp on the Master Javelineer's melee capability (as the Pikeman loses its ranged attack).

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MoonyDragon
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Re: When are Javelineers useful?

Post by MoonyDragon »

Afaik, the reason why the javelineer exists at all is to give the Spearman an advancement where he retains his ranged attack.

However, this alone is a rather misplaced gimmick for anyone to chose him over the Pikeman, since nobody recruits Spearmen for their ranged capabilites. The Pikeman may have no ranged attack, but he is unmatched in his niche (melee pierce damage with the first strike weapon special), which is the reason why one recruits Spearmen at all. If one wanted ranged pierce damage, why not recruit Bowmen instead?

On his own, the Javelineer is a quite powerful unit (40% pierce resistance, 8-3 melee, 11-2 ranged), it's just that the niche of a melee/ranged Spearman is confined to hybrid defense or duels. And those situations are often overshadowed by the need for specialists like Longbowmen or Pikemen...

I do not see the solution in a rework of the current Javelineer, since changing any mainline unit at all is rather risky. However, a L3 advancement may give additional incentives to choose him over the Pikeman, and may even fix the current niche problem by adding some other desirable gimmick. For example, this L3 unit may be phalanx/testudo inspired and have the steadfast ability, but any other possible idea might work just as well.

Just my 2c.
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patience_reloaded
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Re: When are Javelineers useful?

Post by patience_reloaded »

MoonyDragon wrote:
May 8th, 2020, 10:53 pm
On his own, the Javelineer is a quite powerful unit (40% pierce resistance, 8-3 melee, 11-2 ranged), it's just that the niche of a melee/ranged Spearman is confined to hybrid defense or duels.
...
However, a L3 advancement may give additional incentives to choose him over the Pikeman, and may even fix the current niche problem by adding some other desirable gimmick. For example, this L3 unit may be phalanx/testudo inspired and have the steadfast ability...
I see... Redesigning the current Javelineer doesn't seem to be an option (or at least not a good one).
If however a new lv3 advancement could be very nice. I would suggest for some added resistances in addition to/in replacement of the steadfast ability.

When looking at the numbers, the steadfast ability doesn't do much on a current Javelineer: +10% pierce, +20% arcane resistance.
That's why I suggest giving the hypothetical lv3 Javelineer +10% or +20% blade and impact resistances, maybe +10% and steadfast, to strengthen the role in hybrid defense.

A different approach could be to add 1 MP (like the royal guard), but I don't think that would be quite as useful: The role of the royal guard is an attacking/damage dealing one, which means he has to move forward in the battle. In this role, an additional move can help him reach the frontline quicklier, or retreat for healing.
For the role of hybrid defense and duels however, having more moves doesn't help quite as much imho, since as defender the lv3 Javelineer usually is where he's supposed to be, which is probably often on or in vincinity of a village.

otzenpunk
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Re: When are Javelineers useful?

Post by otzenpunk »

MoonyDragon wrote:
May 8th, 2020, 10:53 pm
For example, this L3 unit may be phalanx/testudo inspired and have the steadfast ability,
Hmm, storywise I like the idea, but unfortunately the way steadfast works doesn't make it that easy. Steadfast doubles resistances, but javelineers don't have any against impact, blade, fire and cold, and double 0% is still 0%. Steadfast resistance is also capped at 50%, so the 40% pierce resistance is just raised to 50% on defence. Not really that much. In contrast, steadfast would work full scale against arcane damage, doubling from 20% to 40%, but I don't think this is what people would particularly expect from a phalanx type unit. So to get any real effect from steadfast, resistances would have to be adjusted, too, probably for javelineers as well, and as you said… ;)
changing any mainline unit at all is rather risky
So I would still think, a 'normal' upgrade would be the easiest and least balance-influencing change. Just let him level up into a 'master javelineer' or maybe 'athlete' with 10-3 or 11-3 melee damage, something like 16-2 or 11-3 ranged, about 62–65 hitpoints, and maybe even an additional moving point, like royal guards get as well. This probably still won't make javelineers the top choice for leveling spearmen, but I don't think that's what's necessary anyway, and at least they won't suck as much any longer as they do now.

Oh, I see that patience_reloaded had pretty much the same ideas. I think I still like the option with additional movement better, though. Think about those guys as agile athletes with less sturdiness (e.g. less hitpoints even than leveled bowmen) but more elasticity than other fighters. Tactically they would be able to better reach important defensive positions, either to fill gaps created by unexpected losses somewhere else in the frontline, or to advance in front of the army to occupy villages or important mountain or forest tiles, and defend them until the arrival of the main force.

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patience_reloaded
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Re: When are Javelineers useful?

Post by patience_reloaded »

otzenpunk wrote:
May 10th, 2020, 9:22 am
Just let him level up into a 'master javelineer' or maybe 'athlete' with 10-3 or 11-3 melee damage, something like 16-2 or 11-3 ranged, about 62–65 hitpoints, and maybe even an additional moving point, like royal guards get as well.
Your "Athlete"-Idea gives me another idea: The lv3 Javelineer could maybe have 10% better defences in some terrains. I don't know what that would include, it's simply another (possibly useless ;)) idea. On the other hand, this might make him overpowered.

A rather similar unit to the hypotetical lv3 Javelineer is the Ranger (lv3 poacher):
7-4 (28) melee, 7-4 (28) ranged, 60 hp, 6 moves, improved defences in swamp, forest, hills, improved movement in forest, hills.
In comparison to this your suggestion for the lv3 Javelineer:
(30-33) melee, (32-33) ranged, 62-65 hp, 5-6 moves, resistance vs pierce.
I think these two units should be roughly comparable, since they both have balanced melee and ranged attack strengths. The difference is of course the excellent mobility and defence that the Ranger enjoys, but comparing a high-end of your suggestion to the current Ranger, then the lv3 Javelineer is distinctively superior. (EDIT: The low end seems pretty close though.)
Clarification: I don't mean they should be compared in 1vs1, since they serve a similar purpose, but not the same. They should be compared by their usefulness.

otzenpunk
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Re: When are Javelineers useful?

Post by otzenpunk »

patience_reloaded wrote:
May 10th, 2020, 2:59 pm
A rather similar unit to the hypotetical lv3 Javelineer is the Ranger (lv3 poacher):

I think these two units should be roughly comparable, since they both have balanced melee and ranged attack strengths. The difference is of course the excellent mobility and defence that the Ranger enjoys, but comparing a high-end of your suggestion to the current Ranger, then the lv3 Javelineer is distinctively superior. (EDIT: The low end seems pretty close though.)
Well, I must admit, that until now I didn't take Rangers into account here. Of course it makes sense to do that. But I don't think you'd have to match them 1 vs. 1 against each other to keep the game balanced, because…

1) I think you might underestimate that the huge mobility advantages of the Ranger, the better defense on hills and forest tiles and the unique ability to use swamp as defensive positions really makes the Ranger the superior unit in rough terrain, in my opinion, compared to a lvl3 javelineer. Of course, in more open terrain it would be the other way round.

2) The units in general aren't necessarily balanced one against each other, but the factions have to be. A ranger might be slightly inferior to certain units of other factions, but it's more important which value he has to offer for Knalgan. In contrary, a Dwarven Lord for example might certainly be better overall than a Halberdier. In single player campaigns, it doesn't matter anyway, because they're specially designed to match the available units, be it knights or goblins. It's more important, that you don't create situations now, where you give the player huge new options and abilities that weren't available at the creation of the campaign, and therefore couldn't be taken into account. In this case, every campaign using this unit would have to be revised, what we probably don't want.^^ (This is what in my opinion strictly rules out giving them fancy skills like skirmisher.)

3) Rangers are slightly easier to develop, because poachers need way less XP to level than spearmen.

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patience_reloaded
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Re: When are Javelineers useful?

Post by patience_reloaded »

otzenpunk, you made some excellent points there.

I searched the unit tree, and found several more lv3 units with (more or less) balanced melee and ranged attacks:
- Hurricane Drake
- Drake Flameheart
- Dwarvish Sentinel
- Dwarvish Explorer
- Fugitive
- Elvish Outrider
- Elvish High Lord
- Elvish Avenger
- Orcish Nightblade
- Merman Entangler
- Ranger
(I added the Ranger to have all I found listed in the same place.)

Some of these units have weapon specialities that greatly increase the weapon's usability, meaning for comparison the weapon's damage should be increased. The slow special is one of these, poison is another one. This means that Merman Entangler and Orcish Nightblade might better be removed from the collection.

Now, all these units have vastly differing stats (Damages varying between things like 24m/24r and 40m/35r, other stats varying too) and serve vastly differing roles: Hurrican Drake and Elvish Outrider are scout units, Elvish Avenger and Elvish High Lord are damage dealers, Drake Flameheart is a leader, Dwarvish Sentinel a defender and Dwarvish explorer, Fugitive and Ranger are mobility units.

This results in the question: What kind of unit would a lv3 Javelineer be? What would be his job on the battlefield?
otzenpunk wrote:
May 11th, 2020, 8:21 am
It's more important, that you don't create situations now, where you give the player huge new options and abilities that weren't available at the creation of the campaign, and therefore couldn't be taken into account. In this case, every campaign using this unit would have to be revised, what we probably don't want.^^ (This is what in my opinion strictly rules out giving them fancy skills like skirmisher.)
I understand and agree. No fancy skills for the hypothetical lv3 Javelineer. Not-so-fancy skills like steadfast with low blade and impact resistances or an additional move shouldn't break a campaign too much though.
About the attack damages: It turns out that we have quite a big window for discussions here, depending on the targeted role of the lv3 Javelineer. Once the role has been figured out precisely, we can compare him to other balanced units with similar or same role(s).

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