Banedon wrote:Two things: one, you can't block ranged creatures with one stack, you needed two. Two, there are plenty of creatures in H3 and H4 that can cross the battlefield in one turn, more with Tactics. Try doing a head count. Let's see: Archangels / Angels, Phoenixes / Firebirds, Dragon Flies, Efreet Sultans, Thunderbirds ...
Other than Dragon Flies and Silver Pegasuses, those other creatures are high level. You're not going to get a lot of Efreet Sultans or Archangels by the end of the first month. In Heroes 5, there are a lot of low and mid level creatures that can cross the battlefield in one turn like Cerberi, Blood Witches, Vampire Counts, Imperial Griffins, even more with Tactics or the easy to acquire winged boots. Also, Thunderbirds in Heroes 3 have a speed of 11.
As for blocking off ranged creatures. In previous games, slow creatures actually got a chance to hit enemy creatures sent to attack the ranged units they're supposed to protect. In previous games, if you sent in a fast unit to attack a ranged unit guarded by a tank then on the next turn, you have a choice to make, you can either flee and allow the ranged unit to fire again or you can stay and risk having the tank attack you, use up your retaliation and open the way for more attacks. In Heroes 5, the risk of staying to continue pummeling the ranged unit is much smaller since even if the tank gets its turn to attack your fast unit, it won't be vulnerable for a very long time, it'll be able to flee before the enemy can attack you after their tank soaked up your retaliation.
Also, Crusaders aren't slow they are average (speed 6, if I remember right). You'll never cast Haste on Crusaders; you will cast Mass Haste. Still even if you Haste them you can't cross the map in a turn; you need two (unless you have Tactics, and are applying an all-out-charge strategy). Same applies in H5. You still need two turns to cross the map. Actually it's possible you need rather less than that since you can have high speed low initiative creatures that can hit some targets in a turn.
It's not about crossing the map, its about preventing fast creatures from kiting you. In Heroes 5, Blood Witches can still kite a hasted Squire but in Heroes 3, Harpy Hags can't even kite a Crusader with basic Haste.
So you can't Teleport a stack of Hydras and attack immediately (you can still do that actually - Teleporting Assault). So what? You can't Armagaddeon-Black Dragons anymore either. How is that bad? It's just different. Also there's a good chance that you can teleport Hydras and have them move before some of the enemy moves, or you can simply Teleport Hydras to get at ranged creatures that your enemy can't move away. And since Hydras move fairly far (high speed), you can easily teleport them to a place where they can hit their targets no matter where they run.
Hydras were just an example. Teleport worked well with all slow creatures in previous games, it doesn't work well with slow creatures in Heroes 5.
Also, how can you compare Teleport with Dracogeddon? Dracogeddon allowed you to kill entire armies. Teleporting Hydras lets them attack three enemy stacks at the most.
You can still have slow units soak up retaliation for your other units. It's just a little harder. There aren't many creatures that have double the initiative of another, keep that in mind. There's also literally no way you'll get a stack of Zombies next to a stack of Elves in H3 unless something extraordinary has happened. It can't be done. If you use Teleport, you really should teleport something more durable than Zombies such as Dread Knights. You won't have the time to walk across the map, the battle will either resolve itself first or all the Elves will die first. Even if you get adjacent to the Elves, you will not block them for four turns - if the Elves are worth unblocking (not likely since they somehow managed to get blocked by Zombies) the rest of the Rampart army will hurl their weight into dislodging the Zombies, and since the Zombies are level 2 units they'll all be dead in a flash. Zombies have never been of much use. In H5, stacks of Zombies are free food for Sylvan's Sprites; he won't / shouldn't deploy Hunters.
A creature doesn't need to have twice the initiative of another to get two moves in a row. A creature with an initiative of 12 or 13 will get to move twice about 1/3rd of the time when facing a creature with an initiative of 8 or 9.
As for getting Zombies next to Elves in Heroes 3, you have Tactics and Advanced/Expert Haste. Tactics puts you 6 tiles into of the battlefield. Advanced Haste adds 6 to your speed. Zombies have a speed of 4. 6 + 6 + 4 = next to enemy shooters.
As for stealing the Zombies' retaliation, there's no practical difference. In H5, you hit them once with the most disposable stack / a stack that can take their retaliation / gated stacks / whatever and pounce on them. They are not likely to live one round. In H3, you wait, then hit the Zombies with the most disposable stack / slowest stack / a stack that can take their retaliation / whatever, then pounce on them, then use the next turn to run away. Rinse and repeat. No practical difference.
No practical difference? Really? Not only is it harder for slower units to soak up retaliations, they soak up fewer retaliations. The big difference is that in Heroes 5, you get to hit slow creatures more times after you've soaked up their retaliation while at the same time you get to hit faster creatures fewer times after you've used up their retaliation.
Let's say that an Archangel decided to fly over and kill off all your Liches in the beginning of the round. You can have all your creatures wait and have your Zombies attack the Archangels to soak up its retaliation, then your Skeletons, Wraiths, Dread Knights, and Ghost Dragons all get no retaliation attacks on the Archangel. Let's say something similar happens in Heroes 5, an enemy Archangel decided to fly over and kill off all your Liches, if you have all your creatures wait until the Zombies' turn to attack the Archangels, then the Archangels' initiative will be full again soon and you'll only get to attack with one or two creatures before the Archangels get their move and runs.
Zombies are weak creatures, always have been and probably will always continue to be. They're bad in H2, they're still bad in H3, and they continue to be bad in H5 - although H5 did actually made them a bit (but only a bit) better because you can raise them with Eternal Servitude or with Raise Dead.
Zombies were just an example. Other slow units in previous games like Pikemen, Skeletons, Ogres, Golems, etc., were quite effective.
I'm not convinced that the initiative system biases against slow creatures. Certainly the high-speed-but-low-initiative creatures aren't something H2/H3 could offer. It's my experience that even if there are theoretical differences, practically there's no major change. I like the initiative system in general; the only major problem with it is that major battles can be decided by which hero moves first.
The initiative system doesn't have to be biased against slow creatures but in its current form, it is.
Practically, slow creatures simply can't do their job which is to soak up damage and retaliations. In previous games, if you have all your other creatures wait for the slow creature then they all get their chance to attack the enemy after the slow creature has soaked up its retaliation. In Heroes 5, if you have all your other creatures wait for the slow creature then by your slow creature's turn, the enemy will be able to move again soon and only a few of the creatures that waited get their chance to attack.