UndeadHalfOrc & Darmani's Heroes 2 balance patch

The old Heroes games developed by New World Computing. Please specify which game you are referring to in your post.

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UndeadHalfOrc
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Postby UndeadHalfOrc » Mar 28 2009, 4:57

Kristo wrote:Nice table. Just out of curiosity, can you add total cost for each faction, before and after? It'd be nice to see what you pay for the total HP output.



CREATURE GOLD PER WEEK
BEFORE
Knight----------11865
Barbarian------13450 + 4 crystals
Sorceress------13200 + 3 mercury
Necromancer---16100
Wizard----------24000 + 6 gems
Warlock---------22180 + 6 sulfur

AFTER
Knight------------12295
Barbarian--------13400 + 4 crystals
Sorceress--------13240 + 3 mercury
Necromancer----15630
Wizard------------18130 + 4 gems
Warlock-----------18080 + 4 sulfur

Notice how Barbarian and Sorceress remained pretty much the same despite the numerous changes.
Also, wizard is on par with warlock now.

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Postby UndeadHalfOrc » Apr 4 2009, 17:53

Here is the HP output per week of each unit, in descending order, with my patch applied.
Upgraded and non-upgraded are both included. Ties are next to each other.

Black Dragon, Titan = 560
Red Dragon = 480
Bone Dragon = 420
Green Dragon = 400
Cyclops = 340
Ogre Lord = 330
Giant = 310
Hydra, Crusader, Phoenix = 300
Ogre, Paladin = 240
Minotaur King, Champion = 225
Steel Golem = 210
Roc, Vampire Lord, Troll, War Troll = 200
Master Swordsman = 186
Iron Golem, Royal Mummy, Unicorn = 180
Minotaur, Cavalry = 175
Dwarf, Battle Dwarf, Mutant Zombie = 160
Swordsman = 156
Orc Chieftain, Griffin, Mummy, Vampire = 150
Veteran Pikeman = 147
Wolf, Archmage, Power Lich = 140
Greater Druid = 130
Druid = 125
Boar, Gargoyle, Zombie, Mage, Lich = 120
Pikeman = 112
Archer, Ranger, Orc = 110
Elf, Grand Elf = 96
Centaur = 90
Skeleton = 72
Goblin = 66
Halfling = 54
Sprite = 40
Peasant = 36

Didn't make the neutral units because their growth per week is .... strange, to say the least, in H2. It varies, and it's biggest the first time you visit their dwelling.

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Postby UndeadHalfOrc » Apr 4 2009, 18:42

Here is the raw Damage output per week of town creatures.
Unmodified by Attack skill.
Far from a perfect table, because the area of effect attack of units (Hydra, Cyclops, Dragon, Phoenix, Lich) is not calculated, and 2x attacking creatures get full credit here but are actually penalized when THEY get attacked first. And non-retaliation attacking units don't get credit. So that means Hydras don't get credit twice.

Paladin, Crusader = 120 (Halved when retaliating. 240 vs Undead)
Bone Dragon = 105
Phoenix = 90 (area of effect)
Green Dragon, Red Dragon, Black Dragon = 75 (area of effect)
Cyclops = 72 (area of effect)
Wolf = 56 (Halved when retaliating)
Giant, Titan = 50
Ranger = 50 (quartered when attacking at melee range)
Skeleton = 45
Unicorn = 42
War Troll = 40
Minotaur, Minotaur King, Cavalry, Champion = 37.5
Lich, Power Lich, Hydra = 36 (area of effect)
Peasant, Halfling, Ogre Lord = 36
Orc Chieftain = 35
Goblin, Swordsman, Master Swordsman = 33
Druid, Greater Druid = 32.5
Mage, Archmage = 32
Sprite, Ogre, Roc, Vampire, Vampire Lord, Troll = 30
Elf, Grand Elf = 30 (quartered when attacking at melee range)
Pikeman, Veteran Pikeman = 28
Centaur, Iron Golem, Steel Golem = 27
Archer, Orc = 25
Boar, Dwarf, Battle Dwarf, Griffin = 24
Mummy, Royal Mummy = 21
Gargoyle, Zombie, Mutant Zombie = 20

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Kristo
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Postby Kristo » Apr 5 2009, 3:41

I think ultimately what we need to mathematically balance the different factions (of any of the Heroes games really) is the ability to run Monte Carlo simulations of battles. One week's worth of creatures on each side, no heroes or spells. After each battle, record the winner and the total amount of HP remaining. There are 30 possible battles (6 choose 2 = 15, times 2 if you swap attackers and defenders). Run each battle type, say, 50-100 times. The results would give you a rough understanding of the relative strength of each town.

Of course, without access to source code, a project of this sort is nearly impossible.
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Postby UndeadHalfOrc » Apr 5 2009, 4:38

Well I kinda did a test map with 6 heroes, each with identical stats and no spells, loaded with a week's worth of units, and did a few battles....

Unsurprisingly, even with my patch Knight still does relatively poorly and Warlock does great, but in real games, Knights and Barbs get their top unit much faster now with the lower wood/ore requirements.

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Postby Kristo » Apr 5 2009, 14:34

Yeah, it all depends on what you mean by "balance." In the base game as Knight or Barbarian, you have an X week window to defeat one of the stronger towns in order to have a chance at winning the map. You have the same problem as Sorceress, but X is a little larger assuming you can amass enough Mercury. If you let the game go much longer than X, Dragons and Titans come online in numbers, and then you need a pretty contrived set of circumstances to still win. Your patch effectively makes X larger. I've seen this empirically with Conscript Lake, where the Barbarian is still dangerous well into month 3.

So we still need to define what balance means. Heroes 2 was designed primarily as a single player game. There's a different power curve for each faction, thus giving you a unique experience depending on which one you play. It's not a bad thing for single player; in fact it enhances replayability. But things change when you go to competitive multiplayer. Nobody in their right mind would pick Knight versus a Warlock unless he knew something about the map that would make winning easier. It's not good for the replay value if the factions don't get equal playtime.
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Postby UndeadHalfOrc » Apr 5 2009, 16:44

To me, balance means: you have an equal chance of winning regardless of the faction you choose (although I accept that the map itself will always have a large role in this)

Kristo wrote:Your patch effectively makes X larger. I've seen this empirically with Conscript Lake, where the Barbarian is still dangerous well into month 3.


Precisely, and so have I.

Kristo wrote:So we still need to define what balance means. Heroes 2 was designed primarily as a single player game.


Correct... and sadly, I already had dozens of Heroes 1 hotseat games played with my roommate when Heroes 2 came out, so when they made Warlock EVEN stronger, I sighed... it's too bad I didn't have those hex-editing skills back then.

Kristo wrote: Nobody in their right mind would pick Knight versus a Warlock unless he knew something about the map that would make winning easier.


There are quite a few maps that can fit that criteria easily: maps with 1 or 2 neutral towns of the same alignment of your starting town. (Conscript Lake is like this, obviously) A Knight or Barb doesn't necessarily require taking out the Warlock early to win, because he WILL have conquered and built up that second Cathedral/Pyramid earlier, and thus his total army strength will keep up.... suddenly those huge combined stacks of Cyclops can become scary enough to oppose Black Dragons for a while.

Those maps will still need a decent amount of wood/ore mines and freebies lying around, though.

I have found that the Knight Castle has an unique playstyle. Get those high morale boosts and rush over to the opponent's side. Flyers die quickly. If the opponent doesn't have enough area of effect units (Dragons, Cyclops, Hydras, Phoenixes), or powerful attack spells, then he dies.

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Postby Heroes_Veteran » Apr 18 2009, 15:39

I don't believe the factions were intended to be balanced in that way. Why do you think Knight\Barbarian get so much A\D skill points? Knight's naturally higher morale? Granted, the Barb's creatures are slow, but magic can cure that..

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Postby UndeadHalfOrc » Apr 18 2009, 16:09

Heroes_Veteran wrote:I don't believe the factions were intended to be balanced in that way. Why do you think Knight\Barbarian get so much A\D skill points? Knight's naturally higher morale? Granted, the Barb's creatures are slow, but magic can cure that..


You obviously haven't played enough multiplayer games, no offense.

Any faction can hire Barb and Knight heroes at the start of the game and groom him into their super hero.

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Postby Heroes_Veteran » Apr 18 2009, 16:17

UndeadHalfOrc wrote:You obviously haven't played enough multiplayer games, no offense.


No, I haven't played MP. Yes, there are some game-breaking issues in H2. Fix them. Magic spells need some tweaking, yes. But stop messing with the faction balance. I know, I seem to be a lone voice here, but nevermind.

UndeadHalfOrc wrote:Any faction can hire Barb and Knight heroes at the start of the game and groom him into their super hero.


Yes. Other heroes still have their uses though. Isn't that the point of the game? That you use different heroes for different tasks? Why eliminate the differences between their skillsets? They may as well be clones of each other.

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Postby Darmani » Apr 18 2009, 20:37

Different uses of different heroes:

If you need a scout over water, take a Sorceress.

If you need to get a really good artifact that requires Leadership, take a Knight.

If you need a scout over normal terrain and don't want to buy Very Fast troops to give him, take a Wizard or Warlock.

If you're faced with ginormous throngs of peasants, or you're playing the Necromancer faction, take a Necromancer.

But, if you're not Necro and you want a main hero, take a Barbarian.

Granted, that is a bit of a simplification (Warlocks are also great for hit-and-run, and Barbs are good scouts over rough terrain), but that largely sums it up for me. However, this patch has made magic heroes much more viable, as the Mage Guild is much more affordable.

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Postby Heroes_Veteran » Apr 18 2009, 20:48

Darmani wrote:Different uses of different heroes:

If you need a scout over water, take a Sorceress.

If you need to get a really good artifact that requires Leadership, take a Knight.

If you need a scout over normal terrain and don't want to buy Very Fast troops to give him, take a Wizard or Warlock.

If you're faced with ginormous throngs of peasants, or you're playing the Necromancer faction, take a Necromancer.

But, if you're not Necro and you want a main hero, take a Barbarian.

Granted, that is a bit of a simplification (Warlocks are also great for hit-and-run, and Barbs are good scouts over rough terrain), but that largely sums it up for me. However, this patch has made magic heroes much more viable, as the Mage Guild is much more affordable.


I was referring to the heroes only there. As for the mage guild, is that change not good enough on its own to balance out the heroes without altering their skills?

As for the troops...

The peasant is still Necro fodder, I'm still not going to bother with Zombies when Skeletons are cheaper, don't need an upgrade, come in larger numbers and have Necromancy improving the numerical advantage even further. In fact, right now I'm stomping around Lost Continent with 20,000 skeletons razing all :p

The Sorceress troops are faster to make up for their lack of raw strength, having two "Very Fast" shooters and the Phoenix is a huge advantage. If an enemy unit survives for the lightning bolt\flee tactic to work and be of consequence, you've likely attacked too early without sufficient numbers.

I could go on but you get my point by now.

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Postby Darmani » Apr 18 2009, 22:39

Oh sure, every faction has its unique strengths and weaknesses in H2. But, except for heavily-naval maps, if you're playing the Sorceress faction, then it'll usually be best to use Sorceress troops and a Barbarian hero.

Nevertheless, it's very wishful thinking to consider the factions balanced. For example, though the Warlock is a late-game domination faction, it's still very strong in the early game -- it's even the best faction at defeating neutral stacks of shooters.

And by the way, you'll find that, especially against the computer, attacking too late is a much worse problem than attacking too early. The AI cheats and gets extra resources -- you have to expand before they can translate those resources into troops.

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Postby Heroes_Veteran » Apr 18 2009, 22:54

Darmani wrote:Oh sure, every faction has its unique strengths and weaknesses in H2. But, except for heavily-naval maps, if you're playing the Sorceress faction, then it'll usually be best to use Sorceress troops and a Barbarian hero.

Nevertheless, it's very wishful thinking to consider the factions balanced. For example, though the Warlock is a late-game domination faction, it's still very strong in the early game -- it's even the best faction at defeating neutral stacks of shooters.

And by the way, you'll find that, especially against the computer, attacking too late is a much worse problem than attacking too early. The AI cheats and gets extra resources -- you have to expand before they can translate those resources into troops.


The patch doesn't address that advantage at all (namely, cheap and effective flyers).

As for the sorceress troops, buffing the HP by tiny increments will do what exactly? Sure, giving the Grand Elf better attack skill gives a 20% damage boost, but thats about it. At the end of the day they're still weaker in comparison, and still have the lowest HP sum (weekly). Speed and getting level 6 first is what the Sorceress faction is about.

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Postby Kristo » Apr 20 2009, 13:35

I think it's far more useful to know *how* UndeadHalfOrc made his changes than why. See this thread for a reference. Lots of people have debated why this mod or that mod isn't good, but AFAIK nobody besides UHO has actually posted a mod for public consumption.
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Postby UndeadHalfOrc » Apr 20 2009, 17:12

Yeah, BTW Heroes_veteran, that's the same thread I linked to you yesterday when we talked on MSN. It's a shame most of the people who post there no longer seem to visit the boards. My thanks again to everybody who found offsets.

With a simple Hex editor, and the correct offsets, you can do everything you want to units/heroes/buildings/spell costs just like I did.

Modding Heroes 3 secondary skills, however requires a bit more work, but I digress. I wish I could mod Heroes 2 secondary skills...

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Postby Storm-giant » Apr 21 2009, 17:26

UndeadHalfOrc wrote:Yeah, BTW Heroes_veteran, that's the same thread I linked to you yesterday when we talked on MSN. It's a shame most of the people who post there no longer seem to visit the boards. My thanks again to everybody who found offsets.

With a simple Hex editor, and the correct offsets, you can do everything you want to units/heroes/buildings/spell costs just like I did.

Modding Heroes 3 secondary skills, however requires a bit more work, but I digress. I wish I could mod Heroes 2 secondary skills...

A good quality tutorial of how to change them in HII would be welcome this summer:P
Seriously, if you have time, I'd like to have a tutorial(if it isn't dificult). Just like BAD ones of HIV.

Obviously I'm not trying to force you, just suggesting ;)
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Postby Kristo » Apr 21 2009, 17:51

The thread detailing our findings is now sticky for the Heroes I-IV forum.
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Postby dudejo » Jul 23 2010, 22:18

not sure if this thread is still relevant with the sticky modding topic but here goes anyway.

you know how the Peasant needed a speed change? i was thinking that other units could use something similar.

units like the no-upgrade Dwarf and Ogre to name a couple. while i agree that Zombies need the speed to compensate for their lacking defense skill, it's not like 15 HP for the Dwarf will make him last particularly longer.

and even if the Ogre can actually take a beating, any decent ranged creature can just run away from them every turn and fire away while the Ogres fail to catch up.

although i can agree that creatures like the Hydra shouldn't be faster since they can hit several creatures at once.

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Postby UndeadHalfOrc » Jul 24 2010, 0:10

dudejo wrote:units like the no-upgrade Dwarf and Ogre to name a couple. while i agree that Zombies need the speed to compensate for their lacking defense skill, it's not like 15 HP for the Dwarf will make him last particularly longer.

Basic Dwarves have 20 HP. And the same magic resistance percentage as the battle dwarves. The upgrade really only offers the speed increase.

dudejo wrote:and even if the Ogre can actually take a beating, any decent ranged creature can just run away from them every turn and fire away while the Ogres fail to catch up.

But they are also extremely cheap considering their strength, compared to swordsmen and minotaurs. Until you get the upgraded Ogre Lords, their sole job is to protect the orcs and trolls, and they do that job well enough.

Thanks for your feedback.


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