|Basic Artillery: gives control of the ballista and defense towers to the hero. The ballista has 50% chance to inflict double damage.
HotA: + control of the cannon, which inflicts additional damage to fortifications.
|Advanced Artillery: gives control of the ballista and defense towers to the hero. The ballista has shoots twice with a 75% chance to inflict double damage.
HotA: + control of the cannon, which inflicts double damage and additional damage to fortifications.
|Expert Artillery: gives control of the ballista and defense towers to the hero. The ballista inflicts double damage and shoots twice.
HotA: + control of the cannon, which inflicts triple damage and maximum damage to fortifications.
Artillery is a secondary skill that gives the hero manual control over war machine Ballista (or Cannon ) during combat and control over the arrow towers when defending a town during siege. Artillery provides control over the arrow towers also in the original game, even though it is not mentioned in the in-game description of the skill. It is interesting that Ballista is controlled by Artillery secondary skill rather than Ballistics, which is responsible for Catapult.
"Double damage" in the skill description does not mean that the final damage is necessarily duplicated, as it might also be increased by other factors, such as high Attack skill - compare damage formula.
Heroes with Basic Artillery as a starting skill:
Heroes with Ballista as a specialty:
Heroes with Ballista as a specialty and Artillery as a starting skill:
- Arlach the Overlord
- Christian the Knight
- Gerwulf the Beastmaster
- Gurnisson the Barbarian
- Pyre the Demoniac
- Ranloo the Death Knight
- Morton the Mercenary
Heroes with Cannon as a specialty and Artillery as a starting skill:
Effects on cannon:
With Basic Artillery or Advanced Artillery the cannon does randomly 1 or 2 points of damage to fortifications. With Expert Artillery the cannon always does 2 points of damage to fortifications. With Advanced Artillery the cannon does double damage and with Expert Artillery triple damage to enemies. As opposed to ballistas, cannons always shoot once.
Chance to get
|Chance to learn
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Artillery is useful if you have access to Ballista, and even better choice would be selecting a hero with this speciality as your "number one", especially on small maps. If the Blacksmith of your home town doesn't produce Ballistas, but you have an opportunity to get it (by capturing a town with Ballista, on the map, or building a Ballista Yard in a Stronghold), Artillery is a good choice. Moreover, it allows you to fully control the town's defense (as sometimes arrow towers kill enemy's least valuable troops, i.e. neither ranged nor flying). High price of a Ballista is "the other side of the medal". A secondary hero may learn Artillery so as to shoot wandering creatures and weak enemy troops, avoiding melee attack and thus decreasing losses. Always learn Artillery if you rely much on Blind spell, as otherwise Ballista may shoot blinded creatures, making them able to fight.
The only redeeming feature of Artillery skill is that while defending a siege, it gives the defending hero control over the arrow tower(s). Sometimes more valuable than the damage of the towers is the chance of defending hero to cast the first spell in each round. Additionally, heroes with Artillery specialty start with a ballista, which can be useful in the combat as the AI sometimes attacks it wasting an otherwise possibly harmful attack on the "free" ballista. However, purchasing a ballista for this purpose is typically purposeless unless the kingdom has plenty of gold to spare.
The problem with Artillery skill is the ballista, which is not only ineffective but also expensive, weak and possible risk factor during combat. An example of the ineffectiveness is that even if the hero has Expert Artillery, Expert Archery, Attack skill value of 20 and the target is within range, the ballista only deals approximately 200 damage against a neutral stack of Archangel. Moreover, the ballista has only 250 health and acts last during the combat round, which means it may be destroyed in battles even before it can inflict any damage at all. Another major disadvantage of ballista is, that in a combat it may provide creatures with breath attack an opportunity to attack troops behind ballista without fear of retaliation. Not to mention the fact, that ballista is not deployed when attacking creature banks or defending against a siege.
When playing on 200% difficulty (eg., the setting usually reserved for competitive games), players start with minimal resources. In this instance, heroes that start with Artillery can be a godsend, especially if your town lacks ranged units by default and you cannot afford to upgrade units during the first few turns. Because of their large pool of hitpoints, you can kite a single flying stack around, out of danger, while the artillery softens the enemy stacks to the point where your stack can one-shot them.
Also, Ballista/Cannon specialty can be very strong on campaign heroes as they start with a ballista and good stats on subsequent scenarios and can usually start clearing the map with no additional troops