Don't focus too much on thanes then
They're good for creeping and harassing but are not the key damage dealers. Magma dragons and, if they're not targeted early on, berserkers.
Lol ... the long-awaited game I was going to play lasted all for 3 turns before me and my opponents decided we had better things to do.
Looks like it'll take a while before we finish, if we finish at all.
Anyway. We played several games using the Random Tactical Arena, and I've got to say the Berserkers are just, eh. They're nice to look at, but they die incredibly fast. 70+ Berserkers go BEEEEERRRRSSEEEERRRKKKK!!
and whomp one enemy unit, but one turn later ~60 of them just plain die. 0 defense ftw. They'd be all dead if the opposing hero didn't think they were too few to warrant spending anymore firepower. That's my conclusion of them: if you don't Berserk, they'll live a while, but in that time they aren't dealing damage. On the other hand, if you do Berserk, you attract aggro the same way honey attracts bees ... and you die.
As for the Magma Dragons ... well first they can't be DragonFormed, then they're pretty slow, and what was even funnier was when Kragh moved first and hit an Excruciating Strike that halved their numbers. Lol! Suddenly there simply aren't any units in the Fortress navy to deal damage with, and how do you win battles without damage?
I did say I wouldn't comment on Fortress until I played a serious game, but the serious game not only being so low on the priority list, it doesn't even include Fortress (right now it's Sylvan vs. Stronghold vs. Dungeon). It looks increasingly unlikely I'll change my mind on Fortress for a while longer. Sorry wimfrits, I can't convince you either without a replay
Anyway to rank the towns now ... in my opinion:
1. Haven - noticably the strongest race, their units are extremely effective. Their heroes are extremely effective as well, and their magic, etc. Just about everything about them is extremely effective.
2. Sylvan - slightly less powerful than Haven, but still really strong. Their creatures are not as well-rounded, but they still have a great arsenal of nifty tricks to play with (e.g. Silver Unicorn Magic Resistance aura), and they have multiple competent damage dealers.
3. Dungeon - the amount of magic damage they can pump out is hideous even if you get magic resistance, although an artifact like the Shield of Crystal Ice can be a real problem. To go with their awesome magic damage they have a fair assortment of creatures as well.
4. Stronghold - lots of damage if / when they get close. Their creatures are decent enough, but rather low on versatility. They are only going to win by closing the distance and bashing the other guy into oblivion, so you know what to expect.
5. Academy - a weaker cousin to Dungeon, they have more finesse but less power, so much less that I usually feel rather weak when I play them. Possibly it might be because I don't really understand how to use Artificier; each time I try to create a strong stack of creatures the creatures just die anyway ...
6,7,8. Fortress, Inferno and Necropolis, in any order. All three are bad. I think which is worse depends on the map. Without some major reinforcements from the map Necropolis has no chance. With sufficient numbers they can stand their ground, although I still doubt they can stand toe-to-toe with a full-fledged Sylvan army for example unless they get huge (as in HUGE
) bonuses from the map. Fortress and Inferno, one is stronger early-game and the other late-game, so depends on the map as well.
Disclaimer: these are just some conclusions I've drawn from my games both against the AI and against my two brothers! Your experiences may differ!
I'm a hypocrite because I suggested that all life is sacred and should not be wasted without good reason.