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Waywatchers

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  • ZeblaskyZeblasky Registered Users Posts: 543
    It this time of the year again, to defend Waywatchers x) All right, let me just make a huge copy-pasta comment, that I will use here and in the rest of the threads, so I wont have to write it all over again.



    First of all, let's look at the history of WW. I've used them extensively for a very long time, since I've found a way how to beat dwarfs in WH1, so I remember them in any iteration.

    WH1: 180 range, low ammo, very low DPS, but a bit more accurate than Glade Guard. Were very clumsy, hard to use, and were used only vs Dwarfs, and that's mostly because of no other alternative. And even then, not a reliable counter. Bad unit overall, even if I did kinda make it work.

    WH2, ME release: 190 range, extreme accuracy against everything, even against lords on foot, so they had a huge lord sniping potential. Yet not enough ammo(some factions still could just wait and tank the arrows, then win), still clumsy and DPS was still a bit too low(even if improved by accuracy). Cheesy, yet underpowered and regarded as underpowered by almost everyone. I still remember a Youtube video of tourney replay with a comment like this: "So yea, WW can be viable if you pick FIVE OF THEM". Heh, oh how the tables how turned.

    WH2, overbuff: extremely OP, nothing more to say. Everyone started using them because of buffs and Glade Guard kinda nerf.

    WH2, nowadays: well, and here it get's tricky. I will try to compare them to the version we had on Mortal Empires release. WW still retained a very slight projectile speed buff(barely noticeable to be honest), better acceleration(which is actually a big improvement for run-stop-shoot-run playstyle), actually working +15% AP damage if no enemies in 70m radius, +4 ammo(which is again very good), buuut at the same time their accuracy was halved. Now they are pretty much worse at sniping characters(still good vs big single targets though), and their DPS on max range... well, it's a tricky one. On one hand, they have + 15% more AP damage. On the other hand, they are started to miss quite a bit more on a 170-190 range even against infantry units, when before they almost did not miss an arrow. So by my feeling their DPS on a max range... remained pretty much the same as it was with ME release version. Their DPS in the 80-140 range though became a bit better indeed.


    Tl;DR So, when(at ME release) they were considered underpowered, they were the same at long/close range shooting and much better at sniping characters/single model units. Now they have +4 ammo, better acceleration and better DPS at 80-160 range, while being much worse at character sniping(which is of course a good thing). That's pretty much all the buffs they retained yet. Sooo, too much ammo? x)





    Now let's look at the current problems associated with Waywatchers.


    1) WW dominate WE builds?

    Yes, they do. If I take foot archers, 65% of the time I take WW. But hey, it's better than it was in WH1, cos in WH 1 I took Glade Guard with Starfire 90% of the time, and the only other viable archer unit besides them were Deepwood Scouts, but for kite builds only. WW however are viable both for kiting and frontline builds, they are much more flexible, yes. But in general, Wood Elves need AP missiles because WE frontline can't deal with elite melee infantry, armored cav and fast monsters.
    So if anything, WE foot archer variation and viability actually improved by a lot since WH1 x) Ever Swiftshiver Shafts are useful in certain situations. And WW do not have "always picked" status. Yes, they have a lot of mobility and accuracy, but they are still very squishy to ranged and to a lesser extent melee damage. Deepwood Scouts tank cannon balls much better, while Glade Guard does 30% more DPS and total damage cost wise.


    2) WW spamming is cheesy and too powerful?

    Agree on first, strongly disagree of second. WW cannot be freely picked in numbers up to 4, it's a very risky(and kinda cheesy) one sided strat. I pick them in such a quantity only vs Dwarfs and HE. First case is kinda self explanatory(a bad matchup for both, but unique at the same time) , and vs HE you kinda have no other choice(besides surprise rush), because HE archers simply outgun you otherwise. And that build can be punished extremely hard by Dragon Princes. Just why the hell only a few people properly them vs WE, those bastards can pierce and run down anything... In other matchups I personally take only 2 WW, rarely 3. Against good players you can't reliably protect more.


    3) WW are too good against elites and lords?

    Well, WE archers in general are good vs elite units, as they are the only way for WE to deal with them. 5 Glade Guard with Starfire with clear line of sight + glady net will snipe most mounted lords very fast as well, while costing way less than 4 WW. And why would you bring Tyrion vs WE, when you have Teclis or Alariele? Teclis can sit back and heal himself all day, while Alariele on eagle or on foot impossible to hit on long range. I too can complain about how extremely fast Durthu can die against 3 Sisters of Averlon + Teclis net with Kindleflame, but I don't. Because I don't use him vs High Elves. Not every unit is viable in every matchup, but as long as it has at least a few good uses and faction has no glaring holes in any of its matchups, I'm fine with it.


    4) WW + Glady net = huge alfa strike?

    Well, unlike those pool souls that were alfa striked with my ME release Waywatchers, nowadays you 1) can expect WW by just looking at visible army size, 2) Glady net has 100 range, pretty easy to avoid 3) and without net fast units can dodge most of the damage, if you have a micro to spend.



    So. A nerf may be still just to them, as they are the strongest archer unit in WE roster and in the game overall. But it must be very gentle, they are not that far away from the up status from before. -MD or - 2 ammo seems reasonable to me, but I'm still not sure that it is justified.
  • Disposable HeroDisposable Hero Registered Users Posts: 6,977
    edited October 2018

    I've explained the difference between dragons and waywatchers. I'm not sure if you're trolling or not but I'm gonna give it one last shot.

    You can miss all three breaths and still get value out of a dragon, as it is hulking, armoured, high mass, flying, fear and terror causing single entity monster with lots of health, missile resistnce and armour piercing attacks. There is much more to dragons than breaths.

    With Waywatchers, their ranged damage is all they're worth. They can barely beat 300 gold units in melee, and they don't have cost effective melee trade with literally any unit in the game.

    Regarding lords, I already explained that as well but what the heck - if you bring a melee lord, make sure to keep him safe before you know your enemy. If you can't do that, bring ranged lords or support lords that can get their value from being in the back line. If you can't do either of that, if you have to bring a Tyrion type lord, with no special missile resistance, no shield and send him blindly ahead of your army, you deserve to get sniped...

    Now Sarmatian, we are both intelligent guys, we can do better discussions than this. :smile:

    I am not trying to discuss whether waywatchers are better than dragons, I am solely talking about alpha strike. The units are not comparable otherwise, but in terms of what kind of alpha strike is considered OK in an army list, they can be compared. How much grief can they cause? Otherwise sure, dragons have lots of stuff, waywatchers have "24 breaths" if you want to put it like that. Clearly not comparable, but the griefing potential can be compared. In general terms, how big is the alpha strike, how easy is it to apply, at what range can you apply it, how easy is it to defend against or shut down etc. One can discuss that in general terms regarding which game we want to play.

    Now, everyone agrees that dual star dragon was too much. Now I try to question if 4x ww is also too much. I believe so, which I think is a fair point. There are + and -, but at the end of the day they can deliver that alpha.

    I am not really concerned whether WW and dragons are cost effective or not, I think both are. If so, I would have suggested cost changes. It's all about the alpha strike.

    And about lords, this is in no way related to me or how I play or what I play. I have not recently been ganked by ww, this is not what this is about and you shouldn't try to make it about that please. Of course I don't send a melee lord in like that and get ganked. But so did not most players vs dual dragons either. But mistakes happen. At average level it happens all the time. At highest level it happens less frequently, but it does. It's honestly beside the point here. It's about the game mechanics, how big alpha is OK?

    I don't want to attack "normal" usage of WW either. For example, if you would decrease reload by 25% and increase ammo by 33% and adjust damage per volley, I would be perfectly fine with that too. Less alpha, same dps. Also a small nerf because alphas matter in trades, but you catch my drift... it's only about the alpha strike.
    Don't fear the knockdown. Control it. Embrace it. Love it! :smile:
  • SarmatiannsSarmatianns Registered Users Posts: 4,667
    Honestly, you will not see more than 2-3 in most armies at high level. 4 Waywatchers is gimping yourself. They are only brought in that number in matchups where nothing else works (HE, Bret, Dwarfs). Try beating any of those factions without Waywatchers.

    The reason for that is that sniping is harder to pull of, so investing more in sniping potential is not worth it. 3 is max for a kitey build, while 2 work well enough in a more well rounded build. Even against Chaos I wouldn't recommend more than 3.

    Now, I rarely use Waywatchers. My point is, that alpha strike potential you talk about is no longer there, which is why you won't see more than 3 except in those three matchups I mentioned.

    I do agree with Mukip that they are boring (which is subjective, I agree @Lotus_Moon :) ), and I would like to see them not being mandatory in those matchups... I don't mind nerfs, I personally rarely use them, except in those matchups where they are mandatory, but honestly most of the time I just don't pick Wood Elves in them. But, they will not survive much more nerfs. -2 ammo they will. But, it will not really solve the problem, in some time a new thread about Waywatchers will be started, regardless of that nerf. - accuracy or -10m range they won't survive. They don't trade cost effectively with any other ranged unit in the game, and it would be a significant nerf in 3 hardest matchups, as HE, DWF and Bret sport 160-180m range on their missile units.

    -speed I'm not sure, as I've said... I can't make a prediction without seeing it in action extensively
  • ZeblaskyZeblasky Registered Users Posts: 543
    Oh, and I forgot one big point about GG vs WW for a "1) WW dominate WE builds?" - cost wise Glade Guard almost has 2x HP of Waywatchers. And when even Glade Guard can barely trade with different missile units, WW just can't. And I think that they should not be put into a bigger risk of trading with other missile units and that's why I am against reducing their range to 180. I remember how it was pretty hard was it to escape retaliation after a volley with just 180 range. And nowadays, when you are getting chased by ranged units, but have to shoot back, you can still get shot a lot if you mismicro for just a 2-3 seconds(vs HE 180 and 165 range, ugh). Granted, WW nowadays are quite more agile, but still.
  • Disposable HeroDisposable Hero Registered Users Posts: 6,977
    edited October 2018
    Zeblasky said:

    Oh, and I forgot one big point about GG vs WW for a "1) WW dominate WE builds?" - cost wise Glade Guard almost has 2x HP of Waywatchers. And when even Glade Guard can barely trade with different missile units, WW just can't. And I think that they should not be put into a bigger risk of trading with other missile units and that's why I am against reducing their range to 180. I remember how it was pretty hard was it to escape retaliation after a volley with just 180 range. And nowadays, when you are getting chased by ranged units, but have to shoot back, you can still get shot a lot if you mismicro for just a 2-3 seconds(vs HE 180 and 165 range, ugh). Granted, WW nowadays are quite more agile, but still.

    I mostly agree with all you write. The main thing I think, like Xiph wrote in the balance thread, is that WW don't get hit back very much if the WE player is good. Even when trading vs SW they trade pretty well. Not sure if that's because of AP or accuracy or range, but they don't trade badly. I believe it's mostly because of the AP since lots of shots miss from both sides at max range. I mean not super well either, but pretty much on cost I would believe if microed. And right there's part of the problem with balancing these kinds of units. In the right hands they are brutal, in the wrong hands they die to 500 gold archers.

    The comparison to GG:SF I don't know... very difficult to compare parthian shot to regular archers, and the GG has accuracy 20, they don't do anything to single entities in comparison to WW... I did one test now and 5x GG:SF did 800 hp damage to Tyrion on a horse in the same setting that 4x WW did like 3200+ per volley. (Edit: my bad, fire resist. The same test on Teclis 5xGGSF deal some 1600 damage while 4xWW deal 3200 and instakill him) I assume it's a completely different cup of tea vs a unit. (and no I don't bring Tyrion, he's just a benchmark I have used before so it's convenient to use the same when testing vs mounted lords) I don't know, I just think WW are light years ahead of any other foot archer in the game since they have both AP, the highest volley damage, highest range, highest accuracy, parthian and stalk, and 24 ammo. SW and DWS can share the runner-up and then it's nothing and then it's the rest (including SoA which cost the same as WW). :smile:
    Post edited by Disposable Hero on
    Don't fear the knockdown. Control it. Embrace it. Love it! :smile:
  • Loupi_Loupi_ Registered Users Posts: 3,217



    The comparison to GG:SF I don't know... very difficult to compare parthian shot to regular archers, and the GG has accuracy 20, they don't do anything to single entities in comparison to WW... I did one test now and 5x GG:SF did 800 hp damage to Tyrion on a horse in the same setting that 4x WW did like 3200+ per volley. I assume it's a completely different cup of tea vs a unit. (and no I don't bring Tyrion, he's just a benchmark I have used before so it's convenient to use the same when testing vs mounted lords)

    Why are you testing Starfire shafts with Tyrion? He has massive fire resistance.
  • Lotus_MoonLotus_Moon Registered Users Posts: 11,858
    You be better off testing WW and GG SF vs silver helms not vs tyrion or DP, also GG SF are totally not viable vs HE's at all due to fire attacks.

    Also if the HE is good he can win the trade war with shadow warriors vs waywatchers. Its actually easier to dodge waywatchers shots as opposed to SW or DWS or other archers due to high accuracy on them, they become much more predictable and a simple move or change direction order means you dodge the full volley unlike from other missile troops where due to lower accuracy you get hit by the shots that were meant to miss.
  • Disposable HeroDisposable Hero Registered Users Posts: 6,977
    Louis_1 said:



    The comparison to GG:SF I don't know... very difficult to compare parthian shot to regular archers, and the GG has accuracy 20, they don't do anything to single entities in comparison to WW... I did one test now and 5x GG:SF did 800 hp damage to Tyrion on a horse in the same setting that 4x WW did like 3200+ per volley. I assume it's a completely different cup of tea vs a unit. (and no I don't bring Tyrion, he's just a benchmark I have used before so it's convenient to use the same when testing vs mounted lords)

    Why are you testing Starfire shafts with Tyrion? He has massive fire resistance.
    Laughing out loud, oops. Three you see how much I use him. My bad.
    Don't fear the knockdown. Control it. Embrace it. Love it! :smile:
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