The Ballista is a war machine of some limited use, however it requires a high (25+) Attack skill before it starts dealing enough damage to justify its 2500 Gold cost. The Artillery skill can offset this somewhat, but comes with the high opportunity cost of omitting a potentially more useful secondary skill such as Offense or Armorer. The above restrictions generally limit the Ballista to might heroes with high Attack skill. Of the four towns that sell Ballistae, Barbarians from Stronghold are most likely to reach this skill - more defensive heroes such as those from Fortress will not be able to make use of the Ballista as efficiently.
The First Aid tent is nearly useless, even with the (also nearly useless) First Aid skill at its top level. Its main limitation is that it cannot revive creatures that are already downed, so if used on anything less than a level 5 or so creature most of its healing goes to waste (e.g. healing Centaurs with 10 hp each - the Tent can restore a maximum of 9 hp per round, IF a single centaur is hanging on with a single hp left). The only case in which a First Aid Tent is useful is when a player somehow obtains a high-level creature early in the game, such as from a Refugee Camp. Setting a hero up with 1-2 high level creatures and a first-aid tent ensures that the healing is not wasted and allows the player to clear wandering monsters from the map more easily.
The Ammo Cart's unlimited ammunition is usually unnecessary, but is EXTREMELY useful in the few situations when it is needed. Most shooters in the game have enough ammunition to attack 12 times, with many carrying more. The few exceptions are Master Gremlins (8 shots), Medusa Queens (8 shots), and Medusas (only 4 shots!). With good Morale, these creatures run the risk of quickly depleting their ammunition over the course of a battle. This can be the difference between defeat and victory, particularly in a bloody castle siege. If the enemy Catapult can be destroyed and their flying units killed, even a single shooter with an ammunition cart can eventually drive of the enemy if the walls are still intact.
As every hero gets a Catapult free of cost which is only deployed for siege warfare, there is little choice involved in catapult usage other than targeting with the Ballistics skill.
Is it "War machine" or "War Machine? –Kapteeni Ruoska 07:30, 21 March 2014 (CET)
Debate on Ballista
Is the Ballista actually useless as the article states? I know I've had it on a hero with a fairly high Attack skill and it was dealing around 110-120 damage per round (with Archery, but not Artillery) Even if all it did was snipe two of them, it has paid for its own cost. Depending on a couple other factors, it could be conceivably up to ~200 which is enough to put a couple Naga Queens down. That pays for the cost of the Ballista alone.
Also, if the enemy attacks it directly with a creature stack, that's one turn of it not attacking your creatures. If the enemy wastes a spell on taking it out, same deal. Even if it dies to a chain lightning, it halved the damage for another creature down the line. Not bad for a 2500 gold machine that doesn't take a slot in your army.
The dangers of having one against Magogs, Liches, and Dragons is well-known, but this can be mitigated with good army placement and may not be a factor depending on what you're up against.
This all adds up to: the ballista may be useful to a might hero in the lategame, particularly if they have Archery.
- Well, this is of course somewhat matter of opinnion, and the tone of the article is quite strict. However, I would still argue that Ballista is a liability more than advantageous feature. First of all you would have to have control over the Ballista, which means that you would have to "sacrifice" one of the secondary skill slots to Artillery skill. Secondly, in order to do considerable amount of damage (couple of hundred) you would have to have a notable level hero with high level primary skills, in which case the damage of creatures would be measured in thousands (if not tens of thousands!) rather that hundreds. There probably is situations where Ballista would give hero a slight edge, but I would argue that those situations are rare and mariginal. It significantly more likely to benefit from some other secondary skill than Artillery combined with Ballista and Archery. –Kapteeni Ruoska (talk) 14:36, 31 March 2015 (CEST)
- I had intentionally discounted Artillery from my considerations, as I agree that taking Artillery is usually a poor choice in terms of opportunity cost. Armorer or Offense would do more for the army, and I'm sure that more 'utility' skills like Pathfinding will make a bigger difference - letting you pick your fights. There's some possible situations where it could be forced on you, but for the purpose of discussion I'm removing it from the equation. I think the trade-off is between what will do more damage: another 2500 gold of the weakest troops my hero is carrying, or a ballista? Of course, that gold could also buy a secondary or tertiary hero some more troops - but the same question applies: ballista for main hero, or more troops for a lesser hero? In the next day so I'll put an update in that section, and I invite you to review it.
- I am not sure if I follow you, but what I understood was, that you are suggesting that it would in some case be wiser to invest to Ballista than a bunch of low (1st) level creatures? Interesting thought, though my intuition immediately says no. Even if it would be useful to have one 250hp "creature", the damage would never be in comparison to those of the creatures. But will see from your review. :) –Kapteeni Ruoska (talk) 10:29, 2 April 2015 (CEST)