A unit's Scouting level can be either II or III (2 or 3) - denoting the exact extent of the Sight Range given by this ability. This wiki refers to "Scouting II" simply as "Scouting", and "Scouting III" is rendered as "Scouting 3".
Five Normal Units and three Heroes possess the Scouting ability. Two of these (Greyfairer the Druid and Rakir the Beastmaster) have Scouting 3. There is no known spell or effect that can add Scouting to a unit or improve its existing Scouting level.
It seems that Scouting may have been intended to extend a unit's Sight Range by the given number of tiles, but in practice it sets the unit's Sight Range to the given value instead. Since Flying gives a Sight Range of 2 tiles already, five of the units possessing Scouting get no benefit at all from this ability. Only the three Heroes with Scouting actually get a benefit to their Sight Range.
Scouting refers to a creature's ability to learn information about its surroundings. Creatures have various means of achieving this, but the most prominent one seems to simply be the ability to fly high up into the sky and take a look around. By Scouting its area, a creature can determine the layout of the surrounding lands, spot various points of interest, and track the movement of enemy armies and creatures.
A unit's Sight Range attribute determines the extent to which this unit can see its surrounding area on the overland map. Whenever a unit is created or whenever a unit moves to a new location, the game will reveal information about the tiles surrounding the unit's new position. Within those tiles, the game reveals Terrain type and Terrain Specials, as well as any Towns and enemy/neutral units.
The vast majority of units possess a Sight Range of exactly 1 tile. When the game processes that unit's sight, it will reveal the contents of all tiles within a 3x3 square area centered on the unit.
A unit with basic Scouting ("Scouting II" in the game) has a sight area identical to that of a Flying unit: a 5x5 square area centered on the unit. As a result, units with both Flying and basic Scouting do not benefit from Scouting at all (more on this below).
A unit with Scouting 3 has a sight area of no less than 7x7 tiles, centered on the unit. Only one unit in the game possesses this ability: Greyfairer the Druid. He can, therefore, spot any Terrain, Terrain Special, Town and enemy unit within 3 tiles of himself, allowing him to explore very efficiently and monitor enemy movement from a safe location.
Units with Scouting Edit
Units with Scouting are split into three primary groups:
- Units with redundant basic Scouting.
- Units with useful basic Scouting.
- Units with Scouting 3.
Units with almost Redundant Basic Scouting Edit
The units listed below have the basic Scouting ability, but also possess Flying. These two abilities give the same Sight Range bonus - but do not stack. As a result, Scouting will not increase these units' Sight Range beyond the bonus given automatically to all Flying units - it is always exactly 2 tiles in each direction. There's one exception where Scouting 2 becomes useful though: If you set the unit to Patrol, it can spot enemies 3 tiles away, provided the tile's terrain is already uncovered and you move any other unit afterwards.
All five are Normal Units. Supposedly, the original intention was for these units to receive a much-larger Sight Range than they do in-game, thanks to bonuses from Scouting and Flying combined. Again, the bonuses do not stack, and so all five units gain no benefit from this ability unless you set them to Patrol.
Units with Useful Basic Scouting Edit
A unit needs a Sight Range of 1 tile in order to gain any benefit from the Scouting II ability. Only one unit with Scouting II fulfills this condition.
Note that if Marcus gains Flight for any reason, the Scouting ability becomes redundant (see above) as long as that Flying ability remains active. Flying and Scouting sight ranges will not stack.
Units with Scouting 3 Edit
Two units in the game possess Scouting III:
Even if they acquire the ability to Fly, Scouting III still gives them a better Sight Range than they would have simply by being a Flying unit. As above, Flying and Scouting sight ranges will not stack.
Acquiring Scouting Edit
Similarly, no known effect can upgrade a unit's Scouting ability to Scouting 3.
Note that additional Sight Range can be acquired by granting Flight to a previously non-Flying unit, which is essentially the same as giving it Scouting. Units that are already Flying cannot extend their Sight Range further by any means.