Arcane Wonders Forum

Mage Wars => Player Feedback and Suggestions => Topic started by: Charmyna on February 26, 2014, 03:15:53 AM

Title: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Charmyna on February 26, 2014, 03:15:53 AM
It's no big secret that many see the Wizard as the strongest of all mages and I guess some if not most of us players would welcome a nerf to him or a buff to all others.

In another thread Laddinfance asked for feedback regarding this topic:

What do you think each non-Wizard mage needs to bring them up to competitive playability?

This sounds like a big enough topic that it should be its own thread. I'm kinda interested in responses.

So, lets gather ideas how to bring all mages on par!
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: MageHorst on February 26, 2014, 04:04:43 AM
Basically, there are two options, I would say:

1. New cards which...
... strengthen weaker schools in general or weaker mages in particular.
... weaken stronger schools in general or stronger mages in particular.

2. Re-editing existing cards.

Both options have their weaknesses, of course.
Bringing out new cards takes time (no insta-nerf) and, depending on the card/school, it might no be a proper nerf (e.g. strengthening Earth school in order to strengthen my beloved Warlord might also boost the Wizard again). And too many cards for a specific mage takes some fun out of the game because it is precisely this possibilitiy to use almost every card in almost every deck that makes Mage Wars so great.
Changing cards already published is, of course, a move a publisher will only make hesitantly. If, say, the Wizard gets some kind of weakness that should go on his stat card (e.g. triple spellbook cost for Nature spells), it needs to be changed literally everywhere (Core Sets already sold, Core Sets already produced, Core Sets to come...)..

Anyway, that's just for starters. May the more detailed discussion begin!
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: DeckBuilder on February 26, 2014, 04:07:26 AM
You beat me to starting my first public thread in ages, Charmyna! :)

Firstly, I'm a bit disconnected with the meta but would I be right in saying we could categorise mages as follows:

Current Meta?
1. Wizards (all flavours)
2. Druid, Necromancer, Straywood, Priestess, Priest
3. Warlock, Forcemaster, Jokhtari
4. Warlord

Is that a fair reflection? We need to diagnose the illness before we can offer a cure!


One thing I notice is that all of my Division 3 mages suffer from unreliability, bad match-ups against Non-living.
We must get round the design restriction that is Immunity and traits triggering against Living opponents only.

When I have time, I will steal from another essay thread I wrote to see what the public think about those issues.
I'm very happy that Laddin now openly encourages using AW's greatest resource, their loyal perceptive fanbase!
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Zuberi on February 26, 2014, 04:13:34 AM
The big things I would like are:

1) A non-arcane alternative to Dispel. This is primarily for the warlord's benefit, but it does not have to be a War school spell. If it was another school, it would benefit the warlord plus any mage's trained in that particular school.

2) A new mechanic that prevents teleportation. This mechanic should be available on all forms of objects (creatures, equipment, enchantments, and conjurations). This will reduce the potency of teleport and make push a viable alternative to it.

3) A counter measure to Wizard's Tower. There are a number of way's this could be handled besides conjuration destruction. Anything that would make the tower more costly to use or less effective would work just fine.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Charmyna on February 26, 2014, 04:15:08 AM
You beat me to starting my first public thread in ages, Charmyna! :)

Sorry ;).

Current Meta?
1. Wizards (all flavours)
2. Druid, Necromancer, Straywood, Priestess, Priest
3. Warlock, Forcemaster, Jokhtari
4. Warlord

Is that a fair reflection? We need to diagnose the illness before we can offer a cure!

My feeling is more like:

1. Wizards (all flavours)
2. Druid, Necromancer, Warlock, Priestess, Forcemaster
3. Straywood, Priest, Jokhtari
4. Warlord
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Zuberi on February 26, 2014, 04:21:26 AM
I forgot about Johktari Beastmaster. She definitely needs some love as well. It was mentioned in another thread previously that they were considering creating a ranged weapon with a quick action attack. Such a weapon would be extremely beneficial to the Johktari Beastmaster and greatly improve her viability.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: DeckBuilder on February 26, 2014, 04:26:57 AM
My feeling is more like:

1. Wizards (all flavours)
2. Druid, Necromancer, Warlock, Priestess, Forcemaster
3. Straywood, Priest, Jokhtari
4. Warlord

Ok, let's work with that as a working assumption
I expect Priest fans sIKE and Zuberi may differ

But the reality is you have played a huge amount on OCTGN (and with great success)
You are probably best placed in evaluating the strength of mages based on skill and the worldwide Meta
Because obviously mage ranks differ within localised metas

So let's discount the Warlord as he is being fixed

Also MageHorst makes a good point on HOW to fix this
I think we should contain ourselves to
(a) new cards that ideally enhance that mage's strengths
(b) new cards that weaken the Wizard's dominance
(c) slight rule tweaks via a Living FAQ

(a) is best then (b) then (c)
I don't think we should change card text
(hence my proposed solution to Teleport was a slight rules tweak)

Are A > B > C good design principles to work from?


(Now, I really must do some work but will be back on this topic!
Typical, a busy project deadline delivery day and there are some awesome hot threads!)
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Charmyna on February 26, 2014, 04:39:34 AM
Also MageHorst makes a good point on HOW to fix this
I think we should contain ourselves to
(a) new cards that ideally enhance that mage's strengths
(b) new cards that weaken the Wizard's dominance
(c) slight rule tweaks via a Living FAQ

(a) is best then (b) then (c)
I don't think we should change card text
(hence my proposed solution to Teleport was a slight rules tweak)

Are A > B > C good design principles to work from?

Sounds good.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: IndyPendant on February 26, 2014, 05:06:34 AM
Let's see.  I think the idea here would be to pull down the Wizard to Tier 2, and boost up the Tier 3 mages.  (Btw, I consider the Straywood a solid Tier 2 mage; it's just when trying to Swarm that he drops to Tier 3.)  I'll set the ball rolling with some card ideas:

Dimensional Vortex (Conjuration)
Arcane 2, Mana 7
Insubstantial, Epic, Legendary
Armor /, Life 11
All Teleport spells and effects must target the Vortex's zone if possible.

Wizard Change:
Training: Trained in the Arcane school, and non-creature spells of an elemental school of his choice: Fire, Earth, Air, or Water.  War spells and spells from the opposing elemental school cost triple during spellbook creation.

Dimensional Anchor (Equipment, Waist)
Arcane 1, Mana 4
The mage gains immunity to Teleport.

Priest: A bit more non-specific here, but a level 2 Holy creature suitable to become a Holy Avenger would do *wonders* for him.  (Similar to the Straywood's Timber Wolf.)  And/or a level 4 suitable creature.

Straywood: He really needs something to make swarm builds more viable; Etherian Lifetree was a nice step in the right direction, but nowhere near enough.  Maybe defensive conjurations:

Scale and Hide (Conjuration)
Nature 2, Mana 7
Totem, Zone Exclusive
All animal creatures gain the Armour +1 trait.

Rajan's Mercy (Conjuration)
Nature 3, Mana 9
Totem, Zone Exclusive, Epic
All animal creatures gain the Aegis 1 trait.

Johktari: Not sure this one's fixable, except by making nonliving less appealing.  Something like the blood-to-acid idea that had been bandied about in another thread might work.  A quick-action ranged weapon is all well and good, but it would really also need to be one-handed (and maybe Cantrip) for me to believe it would truly make a difference for her.  And there would probably be such a premium for all of that in terms of mana cost that it would prove prohibitively expensive to use, unless it's Johktari Only.

Some of the alternative teleports in the Name-That-Teleport thread would probably do wonders as well.  I particularly like Shadow Step.

These are just off-the-cuff ideas, and at the least they would probably need adjusting for balance.  If I come up with some other ones after some thought, I'll post them as well.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: DeckBuilder on February 26, 2014, 05:18:34 AM
(Lazily copying other posts is going to be tricky as I can't divulge design discussions so...)

This is a HUGE topic so let's address 1 of the issues.

MATCH-UP LOTTERY, TOO UNRELIABLE

There are mages with potential 100% Nonliving builds, namely
Necromancer
Earth Wizard
Air Wizard

This creates match-up lottery for several other mages
Why would anyone RELY on any of these abilities now?

Wounded Prey
Bloodthirsty (inc. Bloodreaper)
Bleed
Poison conditions
Psychic
Vampiric
Living Creature Curses

These are all effects that all assume you are facing Living Builds
The reason why I prefer Nonliving Mages because it counters them

As Jokhtari uses the first 3 or 4 (always felt Tegu was Jokhtari slow kill control), she is a lottery
Immunity only encourages vanilla builds of rolling max. dice, not interesting adding conditions
The game need mechanics to undo the damage of defensive silver bullets

Because the existence of these defensive silver bullets turns other cards into situational cards
And we all know from the "Categorising" thread just how overpriced in SPs situational cards are

Here was an example solution to bad match-up from the Categorising thread...

Psychic Sensitivity, Cost 2+2, Enchant Creature, Range 0-2, Mind 1, Curse
This creature loses any Psychic Immunity
Psychic attacks gain +1 attack die against this creature


Now Mind Mage books can have Psychic spells, even Psylok (also helps Harpy)
This does not totally devalue Psychic Immunity, just helps vs. a bad match-up
It costs a premium (1SP, 4-5 mana, quick action) to bypass Psychic Immunity
So you may have paid for that ability but the opponents has paid to cancel it
It also provides a Psychic Only Marked for Death so is useful in any match-up
They need to create cards like this for Siren which then resuscitates old cards

Here was an earlier stab...

NATURE'S RECLAIM
Cost 2+2+X Enchant Nonliving Creature, Nature 1, Curse
X = removal cost of all condition markers on this creature
This creature loses its Nonliving trait

It's best revealed just before Damage Effects or just before Declare Attack to use Bloodthirsty.
Note the indirect mana taxation of subsequent condition markers (as it increases Dispel cost).
Because Dispelling the enchantment would obviously make all those condition markers slip off.
It would make Traditional Jokhtari playable against Nonliving and create some new strategies.

Both of them are possible solutions to addressing this issue.

I know this is just 1 issue but let's deal with this before progressing to other factors.
Does anybody else feel that some mages are weak because of Immunity match-ups?
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: DeckBuilder on February 26, 2014, 05:39:03 AM
@Indy & Zuberi

You addressed great issues there so let's number them for easy reference

1. NERFING WIZARD
(a) Teleport (Zuberi, Indy, jack)
(b) Spell Points (Zuberi, Indy, jack)
(c) Wizard's Tower (Zuberi)
(d) Alternatives to staples (webcatcher, Zuberi, Darth)
(e) Move does not counter if still targetable (jack)

2. IMMUNITY MATCH-UPS
(a) Poison (DB)
(b) Psychic (DB)
(c) only vs. Living (DB)

3. IMPROVING SWARM
(a) Straywood (Indy)

4. CHANGES TO RANGED
(a) Jokhtari Weapon (Zuberi, jack)
(b) More obscured (Darth)

I am trying to place the issues into broad categories with subcategories
Then referencing the solutions provided by posters

Keep them coming in, folks!
Get that great feeling of helping develop this great game.
It's a real buzz when they listen (why I do Playtesting)
It's also a real downer when they don't...

Any more?
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: webcatcher on February 26, 2014, 06:32:00 AM
Quote
I think we should contain ourselves to
(a) new cards that ideally enhance that mage's strengths
(b) new cards that weaken the Wizard's dominance
(c) slight rule tweaks via a Living FAQ

(a) is best then (b) then (c)

I want to add a quick caution to this one. I get that AW doesn't like card erratas and I understand why they don't,  but relying heavily on enhancements to achieve game balance and avoiding nerfs is the path to rapid power creep. I'd much rather see a nerfed Wizard than see everyone else get a boost, because once you're done with that there will inevitably be a new most powerful mage and we'll have to boost everyone again, and so on. I'd be much happier if Teleport was simply made epic and the wizard's training tweaked slightly (remove the elemental school maybe,  and if that doesn't do it add triple war). I know that's unlikely to ever happen, but I think it serves game balance best.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: DarthDadaD20 on February 26, 2014, 06:47:36 AM
I do feel like we are taking the right steps to get there.

Obscure: more obscure should put more pressure on any of the version of the "Spell slinger" wizard

Extinguish ettra: Ok, this one bothers me like no other...the rules book never said anything about targeting...but one little line in the codex did and caused alot of problems...but the point is, its fixed.

More "Little" combos: I was never more pleased with myself in mage wars then when playtesting the Necro Vs. Druid and with a rain cloud in a zone with my druid, and a spiting raptor in the zone next to it, took out a Adramelech just by taking his armor down and going for a "Easy" kill


Now, better card distribution is getting there...one could say I have a ballista for a wizards tower, but one hard part is that the wizard gains so much from any elemental cards that come out, as well as making so many great tricky arcane cards. I think we really could print some more cards that have a close effect but be from a different school- such as

Turn to Rust: Enchantment-Nature
Target equipment is destroyed if hit with a water attack

Or

Turn to Rust (V.2) Incantation- Nature
Target equipment is destroyed at the end of the next round.


Now, that really doesn't take way from the water spell dissolve, and while dissolve is not a problem per say, I think we should be applying this sort of thinking to some new cards. Which, we are. Tunnels for the warlord is a teleport "With a twist" which, is what I think we need to do. Put a twist on some more card effects that are thematic for a different school. Nature can get a ballista- it just needs to be a swarm of elvish archers.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Zuberi on February 26, 2014, 06:51:17 AM
@Indy: I actually think it was a mistake for the Wizard to not be weak in some school of magic. I understand that thematically they wanted him to be a jack of all trades, but mechanically I think it makes him really hard to balance. Still, once a card has been printed, I am loath to change it, especially a mage card. Thus I think we should do as DeckBuilder suggested and try to fix things primarily by introducing new cards and possibly making minor rules tweaks.

@DeckBuilder: I really like your break down of all the things negated by non-living.

I actually don't think I would have a problem with Immunity Traits if the game was more mature. If we had say three or four times the cards currently available. If building a book based around the immunity only caused a bad match up 1 in 30 times, I think it would be acceptable. Such a build wouldn't dominate the meta. However, with the game as it currently stands, I don't think we can handle 100% immune books.

I hesitate to suggest cards such as you did that strip an object of it's immunities. I don't want to make immunity valueless. I believe it is meant to be a hard counter, it just happens to counter too much at this given time in the games life. However I agree that something should be done and I'm not sure what else could be. Perhaps this would be a good place for a rules tweak. If we made Immunities as much of a drawback as it was a benefit, it would improve things, wouldn't it?

For example, in D&D if a creature is immune to fire it takes extra damage from cold and vice versa. If having immune creatures created as many bad matchups for yourself as it created for your opponents, it would balance itself out. Currently the only drawback to being Non-Living is Finite Life. If we tack on extra drawbacks to the Psychic Immune and Poison Immune traits we could turn things around.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Zuberi on February 26, 2014, 07:02:36 AM
Quote from: webcatcher
I want to add a quick caution to this one. I get that AW doesn't like card erratas and I understand why they don't,  but relying heavily on enhancements to achieve game balance and avoiding nerfs is the path to rapid power creep. I'd much rather see a nerfed Wizard than see everyone else get a boost, because once you're done with that there will inevitably be a new most powerful mage and we'll have to boost everyone again, and so on. I'd be much happier if Teleport was simply made epic and the wizard's training tweaked slightly (remove the elemental school maybe,  and if that doesn't do it add triple war). I know that's unlikely to ever happen, but I think it serves game balance best.

Card errata is not the only way to nerf something. Releasing multiple spells that include a mechanic which negates teleport would greatly reduce it's power. I don't really see that as power creep, but maybe I'm wrong. I'm not greatly familiar with the concept. Also creating alternate spells which are equal in power level wouldn't really be power creep, would it? Such as my suggestion for a non-arcane Dispel.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: DarthDadaD20 on February 26, 2014, 07:24:15 AM
No- its not creep. Creep is when new cards are so powerful it makes old sets obsolete. (Essentially)

And I am a big proponent for "Bleeding the color wheel" for mage wars, I always have been.  Its not even really bleeding in mage wars for most effects.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: webcatcher on February 26, 2014, 07:29:11 AM
Creating other-school alternates to teleport is a great idea and I endorse it. In that case we're just creating options that are on parity with existing cards but which are easier for other mages to access. And creating cards to specifically counter currently strong builds is not, in itself, a bad move. The reason I remain cautious is that there's a thin line between a new card that helps Mage X beat Mage Y because it counters one of Mage Y's high-power cards and a new card that helps Mage X beat Mage Y because it increases Mage X's overall power level. In my opinion a good example of this is the Iron Golem. The Forcemaster was coming out and she had tons of board control and psychic enchantments, so they released an unmovable psychic immune creature to combat her. A good move in theory, but the creature also has high armor, a good swift attack, and plenty of health, and it's only disadvantage is that it's slow (barely a disadvantage in an era of teleport dominance). Had the Iron Golem come with a 4 dice attack and 7 health, I'd think it was a nice situational counter to Forcemaster cheese. As it is, it's a very strong creature in its own right in addition to completely negating the FM's advantages. Consequently, it was (and maybe still is) one of the dominant creatures in the game and will arguably grant an auto-win to a competent player against certain builds. That's the sort of thing I think we need to avoid, and balancing conjurations and enchantments is probably even more difficult than balancing creatures.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: jacksmack on February 26, 2014, 07:30:31 AM
Various thoughts on my mind:

1)
I do not see a problem with divine intervention when using it to teleport enemy mages into a pit trap with creatures or escaping your own mage or just moving a creature.

However, I agree one on of Deckbuilders point from another thread:
Spells fail if the target or caster is teleported - this is related to DI and Enchantment transfusion.
Imo the spell / attack should only fail if the target and cast is out of range of each other.
If the caster is casting a creature spell and the caster gets teleported, he then targets the zone he is teleported into - and the creature will be summoned there.

Enchantment transfusion simply becomes too strong if you can waste an enemys action and mana so easily.
This is imo not transfusions trademark. Rather its banking up actions while out of range and unleashing simoultaniously. Or transfering that vampirism, bearstrength and rhino hide from a dying grizzly - this seems like tranfusion to me.
Definately Not out of control very cheap Counterspell.

2)
Teleport Incantation:
When targetting an enemy creature, it can only be teleported up to 1 zone away.

(leaving the teleport trap as it is.)

3)
Some sort of crossbow for Johktari.
Ranged Full attack 1-2 zones. 4 dice with X push chance.
As a quick action the mage may pay 1 mana to put a load counter on the crossbow.
If there is a load counter on crossbow the attack is a Quick ranged attack with range 0-2 zones.
When this weapon is used to attack remove any load tokens.

4)
Nerf the wizard. He will never be balanced otherwise.
War, nature and opposite elemental school should costs 3 spellpoints per level.
(Opposite = fire and water    &   Air and earth).
It will still be easy to make very strong viable builds with him.
Now he just has to somewhat specialize when deck building like all other mages has to.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: DeckBuilder on February 26, 2014, 08:05:50 AM
@Darth
You are referencing cards they don't know, mate. Dangers of early morning posts...

Subject Point 2: Immunity

For example, in D&D if a creature is immune to fire it takes extra damage from cold and vice versa. If having immune creatures created as many bad matchups for yourself as it created for your opponents, it would balance itself out. Currently the only drawback to being Non-Living is Finite Life. If we tack on extra drawbacks to the Psychic Immune and Poison Immune traits we could turn things around.

This is a great idea and I've already gone down this route already but ended up rejecting it: I'll explain why...

We already has special Immunity rules with Hydro and its exception rule so best make it official in the Codex?
Rules tweak: every Immunity has its own entry in the Codex which are supplemental to base Immunity rules.

Hydro Immunity. Because it is always twinned with Flame +2, its exception is for Hydro to douse all burn on it.

Poison Immunity. A trait of Nonliving but not always (Malacoda) so associated with Light vulnerability. Acid vulnerability is an obvious choice but Jelly has Acid Immunity and Acid is niche while Golem has Lightning vulnerability. I think I'd just like each poison condition rolled become "change 2 normal damage to critical damage" as this compensates but to a lesser extent. Any better ideas?

Psychic Immunity. A trait associated with Nonliving (but not if an Elemental) and Insects. This hurts Mind School so I think maybe "push effects are applied twice against these creatures"? Mind Mages will have both Psychic and Force and know that if one doesn't work, the other works alot better. This is annoying as Psychic attacks are quite often Sonic damage really. Is improving Push against them too engineered?

Flame Immunity. Well it has to be Frost +2 doesn't it? (So no vullnerability really but heigh ho, we live in hope)

Burnproof. This is a sub-benefit of Flame Immunity, Incorporeal and a few objects (e.g. Golem). Maybe make them more ponderous so worse affected by Daze, Escape, Defense so "gets -2 on all d12 rolls except damage rolls"?

Acid Immunity. I think Hydro+3 is the obvious counter vulnerability for Water trained mages. Hydro washes away the Jelly. Has it got it already?

Lightning Immunity. Again following the same principle, Wind +2 for the Air trained mages?

Light Immunity. I hate to nerf her but, lacking Necrotic damage, maybe "attacks gain +2 on effect die roll to deliver poison conditions on this creature"? That's the closest the game has to Necrotic damage really.

One problem is these are all highly engineered for game balances.
In many cases (like Plants or Golems), they have already have an in-built weakness.
The big problem iscreatures have already been costed to include current Immunities without these vulnerabilities.

So, no in the end, after exploring where this leads too, Mage Wars sadly can't go down this route with a rules tweak.

Mage Wars is a game of silver bullets.

I see you play old Temple of Light so I play Samandriel (she appeared in my Fire Wizard book with Lord of Fire then).
I don't have to go down that route but I chose it as a silver bullet.

So the solution has got to be "provide in-school silver bullets to defeat your silver bullets" like those curses listed.
I play rock. You play paper. I need to be abe to play scissors.
This was the essence of Mage duels in Arabian Nights Tales when shapechanging is used (Mouse beats Elephant).

Zuberi, do you understand why applying new vulnerabilities (requiring referencing) may not be the best approach?
As we have a partly developed game already.
Great idea though.

Sorry for going into detail down a promising false path but I had to explain why I ended up with curses (not buffs).

Still, I will put it down as a possible solution...

I am editing my prior thread with solutions as and when they are mentioned and I notice them!
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: DeckBuilder on February 26, 2014, 08:30:44 AM
Folks, this involvement is awesome. Thanks for the interest.
Problem is there are so many great ideas coming all at once.
See Message 10 where I have collated everyone's thought so far (and will continue to do so).
Feel free to contribute new ideas as and when you have them please!

However, if you look at Message 10, alot of people have mentioned more choice.
This was my post on this topic of greater choice...

Trying to not re-invent the wheel, I think this Utility school is called Novice

Novice Dispel - range 1
Novice Dissolve - range 0
Novice Teleport - range 1 friendly only
Novice Nullify - optional reveal vs. incant only (not enchants due to dupe, transfusion silver bullet anyway)
Novice Block 1 - optional reveal vs. ranged attack
Novice Block 2 - optional reveal vs. melee attack
Novice Jinx 1 -  optional reveal when casting enchant to full counter

The better versions would be in their schools

The best thing about having a mini-set of utility expansions is it gives CHOICE!
I hate the fact there is so little choice for staples

"But there's no theme in such an expansion" is no doubt the excuse bleated
And there lies the nub: 2 different philosophies
Those who see it as a roleplaying simulation with thematic pre-constructed decks
And those who see it as a blank canvas for customising and micro resource-management
Both philosophies have their strengths and should be respected but there's an imbalance

It's supposed to be a customisable game
There should be choice when choosing composition of staple mechanics

What do the forum think about such an approach?
Or would you prefer specific schools getting alternative solutions?
E.g. old one of mine "Sundering Strike, War Command, next attack dissolves equipment cost up to damage rolled"

Whilst I have in the past gone down the alternative schools path, I'm now leaning more towards weaker Novice.

Thoughts?
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: webcatcher on February 26, 2014, 08:55:06 AM
I think having more novice spells would be great. In hindsight I think they should've initially decided that either all mages or no mages were trained in arcane to maintain parity, but since that ship has sailed more novice spells will restore the balance some. I think non mandatory Nullify and block are too powerful, though.  I'd revise them so optional Nullify could only affect level 1 spells and block reduced attack dice by 4. That way books that depend on a big few creatures or spells aren't completely hobbled.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: DeckBuilder on February 26, 2014, 09:04:33 AM
I think having more novice spells would be great. In hindsight I think they should've initially decided that either all mages or no mages were trained in arcane to maintain parity, but since that ship has sailed more novice spells will restore the balance some. I think non mandatory Nullify and block are too powerful, though.  I'd revise them so optional Nullify could only affect level 1 spells and block reduced attack dice by 4. That way books that depend on a big few creatures or spells aren't completely hobbled.

Nice, well thought-out and explained feedback. I concur. It was just a rant brain dump at the time. Thank you.

So is more Novice the way forward? But would that homogenise the game too much? Remove what makes schools special?

I think not because it's still in that school, just novice - the full fat version is available for those lucky enough to be trained.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Zuberi on February 26, 2014, 09:29:55 AM
I agree with you, DeckBuilder, that it is too late to introduce built-in counterbalance to the immunity traits. I was just thinking off the top of my head without giving it too much consideration. You are absolutely right that said ship has sailed.

I like the distinctness of the different schools, but agree that they can, and should, be blurred some. The biggest one I believe is Dispel, but counterspells like nullify, block, and jinx should have altneratives as wells. I think that teleport already has a viable alternative with push effects, and there are some alternatives to dissolve with explode and steal equipment (though they are not as viable and other options might should still be provided). I do not believe that any of these spells need to be altered to be made novice. Not everyone needs to have them at face value, but nobody should have a monopoly on them and nobody should be completely screwed for being weak in their school.

@webcatcher: I think teleport needs to be nerfed rather than handed out like candy. To do so would require multiple cards, a single one would not be enough, which have a new mechanic that prevents or otherwise counteracts teleportation. Having such a mechanic in the game would have the same impact that unmovable has on push effects and bring the two effects on par with one another. That would have the impact of both reducing the power of teleport and creating a viable alternative to teleport in the way of pushes.

@jacksmack: I could see the reasoning behind changing the rules so that forced movement only cancels an action in progress if it moves you out of range, however if you do that then moving a mage to a new zone should still counter a creature spell. You select your target during Step 1: Cast Spell. If afterwards you are then moved outside of the range of that target, you shouldn't be allowed to backpedal back to Step 1. The spell should simply be countered. I apologize if that means your rule change does not have the intended effect, but it is coherent.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Wildhorn on February 26, 2014, 09:49:49 AM
I dont know if it is only me, but I think most cheesy stuff come from Enchantment Transfusion being able to transfuse facedown enchantment. These enchantment that you normally have to set up just before needed to not waste them suddently become counters on demand. I think this card should be errated or add in the rules that enchantment with mandatory reveal cant be transfused/moved. It would reduce the power of the wizard by the sameway.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: webcatcher on February 26, 2014, 10:02:07 AM
Zuberi, let's use push as an example since there are obvious  similarities to teleport. Eagleclaw boots are a great counter to push and I'm glad they exist. Iron golem is a bad counter because it negates push, also negates the other major advantage of the mage most likely to use pushes, and would be a good creature even without push negation. The task with Teleport is to release multiple cards of Eagleclaw boots power level without straying into Iron Golem territory. I think it's a fine idea,  but let's be careful.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: sIKE on February 26, 2014, 10:27:49 AM
I think that the main thing that is out of balance is that no matter what spells we add they only have a 2x cost for the Wizard. I already have seen we can't do anything that helps the Wizard with new spells. The problem is any new will help the Wizard unless they are Mage or School Only cards. This doesn't sound very appetizing to me.

So the first thing that needs to be done, is an errata on the Wizard, and some re-working of the Minor Schools so that the some of the Elements are in opposition to each other. Thus a Fire Wizard can't cheaply stack in 6 Dissolves for 12 Spell Points instead it is now 18.

Wizards Tower - No comment yet

The other major? issue seems to be non-living, though as far as I can tell the Druid is stronger than the Necromancer. That then leaves the non-living non-dark twins of destruction Jelly and Golem to be the focus here. Lightning, Acid, and Piercing are IG weaknesses, so more piercing will help here greatly or as others have said more dmg dice. As for the Jelly, in the movie (its Origin Story) it doesn't like Cold.....

I think I have covered most of this, the other suggestion is to create a combat effect that affects both living and non-living. I suggested sever as a mechanic (a successful roll convert normal dmg into critical dmg (the anti-veterans belt). I am sure someone can come up with something else or something better
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: DeckBuilder on February 26, 2014, 11:04:47 AM
I dont know if it is only me, but I think most cheesy stuff come from Enchantment Transfusion being able to transfuse facedown enchantment. These enchantment that you normally have to set up just before needed to not waste them suddently become counters on demand. I think this card should be errated or add in the rules that enchantment with mandatory reveal cant be transfused/moved. It would reduce the power of the wizard by the sameway.

Transfusion Cheese. I'm horribly biased here as I'm a control freak (you'd never guess...).
I think the card is fine as it is because of...

However, let's not forget these facts: using Enchantment Transfusion means you have additionally paid...
+1 spell point (assuming Wizard)
+1-2 to cast it
+1 mana per enchantment moved (Arcane Ring discount on Nullify)
most importantly, +1 quick action

It's fine to spenad all those extra resources above on a timed Nullify (often too pressured as Tarkin said)
That's a fair price to pay surely?

This is where both me and jacksmack have an issue

Quote
Enchantment Transfusion says "target" so it should target, not bypass Nullify.
Bypassing Nullify, we get double Nullify situations and make Transfusion free action guaranteed delivery.
We also make Transfusion mean "counter any spell targeting an enchantment on this creature".
Is "Counter" what "Transfusion" means? I never realised this when I last donated at the Blood Bank.

There is nothing intuitive about moving is a counter unless you move target so it's out of range.
What should happen is if I move an enchantment out of range of your Dispel, then it is countered.
Not just because I moved it from my mage to the creature I just summoned next to it or even you.

A creature spell targets the mage's current zone.
A mage is moved while summoning - why does it not simply target the new current zone?
Why MAKE UP a rule that seems grossly counter-intuitive - and knowingly keep it quiet for so long?

Enchantment Transfusion used to be "counter by moving to itself" in the prior FAQ.
But now it has its own rules and it has to be to another target, even in the same zone.
What is the intuitiveness of the first rule or even the second rule? Why does it counter?
The target is still in range and still has line of sight and line of effect (D&D 4E term). Why counter?

Zuberi (Judge Dredd) points out that it's in the rules, the laws are coherent.
But the rules were written for Divine Intervention, not Transfusion.
All it takes is a rules tweak that nobody (except Zuberi of course) would even notice!

By all means counter the spell if in its new location it's now an illegal target
So Dispel and Seeking Dispel has a range of 2, move it so it's out of range or out of LOS
As for Divine Intervention when I summoned Adramelech/Sardonyx, I summoned it in MY zone
That's what range 0-0 means: MY zone, wherever I am! Move me and I summon it there instead!
How much more intuitive can you get than that?

It's an awful rule and the cheese of it ("I can still target it so why is Dispel countered?") is why Transfusion is hated!

Enchantment Transfusion single handedly creates Combo (action burst) in a game of pick your cards (iawesome).
You pay a premium so it's best done in multiples but can be done for optional Nullify style effects at a steep price).
Change the stupid unintuitive rule about moving, not the spell which is great (may not be to your taste, Wildhorn).
Don't throw the baby with the bathwater!

[Returns to calm, unbiased Facilitator mode]

Wildhorn, you make an interesting point about Transfusion which does indeed deserve hate for its "cheese".
I am unsure if totally nerfing is necesary as a fair price has been paid but i do agree its "move to counter" is cheesy.
Despite my strong views on this, your viewpoint is just as valid so I will make a note of it Message 10 of this thread.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Zuberi on February 26, 2014, 11:39:46 AM
Hehe, +1 cool points for the Judge Dredd reference. However, I am not supporting the counter via movement rule strictly because it IS a rule. I support it because
A: It makes sense to me.
B: I do not believe it is over powered.

Quote from: DeckBuilder
I am unsure if totally nerfing is necesary as a fair price has been paid but i do agree its "move to counter" is cheesy.

This is my sentiment exactly regarding both Divine Intervention and Enchantment Transfusion. I agree they are powerful, quote "cheesy", but I believe a fair price has been paid on both of them.

Quote from: DeckBuilder
That's what range 0-0 means: MY zone, wherever I am! Move me and I summon it there instead!

I'm afraid that that is not what it means. It means you pick a zone within range of your feet. If you then get moved to a different location, the zone you picked is no longer within range of your feet. Perhaps summoning a creature involves drawing a circle on the ground and you have now been moved away from that circle. However you want to justify it thematically is up to you, but mechanically what range 0-0 means is you pick a target within your zone during Step 1: Cast Spell. Once you move past that step, you can not change your target and if you move out of range of that target it becomes illegal and the spell is countered. If you allow them to change their target after the move for creature summons, there's absolutely no justification for why they can't change their target on any other spell. Meaning you're changing the rule so that movement doesn't counter anything. And I find that unintuitive.

Quote from: DeckBuilder
Move me and I summon it there instead!

This logic would then be open for any spell to use. "I'll just cast it there instead."
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: DeckBuilder on February 26, 2014, 11:43:17 AM
I think I have covered most of this, the other suggestion is to create a combat effect that affects both living and non-living. I suggested sever as a mechanic (a successful roll convert normal dmg into critical dmg (the anti-veterans belt). I am sure someone can come up with something else or something better

Your idea to giove Jokhtari some bite against Nonliving was an excellent idea, sIKE. I hope they will use it soon.

I don't think an errata on the Wizard is an option. There must be other ways to nerf him.
My feeling is that they should make him into an Archivist, enevr to receive another Wizard Only or Arcane Only card.
Over time, this lack of "real goodies" compared to other mages will compensate for his generalist 2 schools training.
In addition, if there were lots of weaker Novice versions of Arcane staples, his training there will become devalued.
That would surely be the way to weaken his advantage and give more choice (in staples) when building your book.

I will note your comments in the Message 10 Summary.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Charmyna on February 26, 2014, 12:19:56 PM
Wow many great posts so far!
I am afraid though that we need to better focus or otherwise we will have a couple of subdiscussions in here soon which will make it difficult to follow this thread as a whole. Therefore I would suggest to not go too much into detail when talking about spells like Teleport and Transfusion.

IMO one of the first questions we need to answer is the following:
Do we think its possible to balance the Wizard without changing his stat cards? And if its possible, are we sure that the side effects dont breed new and bigger imbalances?
Or do we think changing the Wizards Stats (e.g. triple cost for some schools) is the way to go?

I tend towards changing his stats. I know its a hard decision to change a printed card, but I believe its for the healthiness of the game. If we dont change the Wizards stats and try to solve the problem with adding new cards, im afraid at some point he will become too dominant again, since he will always profit the most from an increasing card pool in general.
To me it seems like every mage should have one triple cost school at least and if he is trained in two schools he should have two triple cost schools.

@Adding more novice spells and more spells that mimic Dissolve/Dispel:
Im not too sure about this. Adding new spells to remove enchants/equip might have VERY big side effects - especially if they are novice. Anyway what keeps the Wizard from using them as well? When I play the Wizard I often go to the limit for Dispel and Dissolve and add 2-4 Seeking Dispel and maybe an Explode on top of that! I dont think there should be more level one or even novice spells that remove enchants/equip or otherwise they will be devalued alot. Who would play a level two out of school enchant/equip if he can almost be sure the opponent has enough spells to remove it?
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: lettucemode on February 26, 2014, 12:24:29 PM
There are two ways to balance a gameplay element judged to be too strong. The first is you nerf it down to the power level of everything else. The second is you raise the power level of everything else up to it.

Would Mage Wars be better if all mages were adjusted to the strength of the Wizard as he is right now? Or would it better if all mages were adjusted to where the Druid/Necromancer are?

In other words, where do we want the target power level to be?
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Charmyna on February 26, 2014, 12:29:35 PM
There are two ways to balance a gameplay element judged to be too strong. The first is you nerf it down to the power level of everything else. The second is you raise the power level of everything else up to it.

Would Mage Wars be better if all mages were adjusted to the strength of the Wizard as he is right now? Or would it better if all mages were adjusted to where the Druid/Necromancer are?

In other words, where do we want the target power level to be?

I prefer the power level of Druid/Necro ;).
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: webcatcher on February 26, 2014, 12:33:04 PM
I've said it before,  but I vote for changing the wizard's stat card.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Bluebaron on February 26, 2014, 12:50:04 PM
Change the wizard. The other path is too risky.

I also agree with charmyna. More dissolves and more dispels will be the death for many cards / strategies.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Alexander West on February 26, 2014, 01:07:42 PM
Thanks to Charmyna for starting this thread, and Deckbuilder for his organizational efforts.  My first contribution is on the subject of Dissolve/Dispel:

Bleeding the Color Wheel
I come from a Magic: the Gathering background, so I'm going to talk in language that is familiar with me.  Mark Rosewater (Magic's lead designer) has written some pretty good articles (https://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtgcom/daily/mr85) about the value of color identity.  The idea of an identity is pretty important to the schools of Mage Wars as well.  I think it is important to be cautious about bleeding an effect in to too many schools, lest all the schools become too similar.  (I think the folks who are angry about Damnation being color shifted into black are right to be, in changed the color balance forever.)

That said, I think part of the reason the Wizard is so good is that there is a lot of pressure to place many copies of Dissolve and Dispel in their books, as well as probably a few Teleport and a Nullify.   In particular Dissolve and Dispel are needed because there are so many cool equipment and enchantments in the game.  They are sort of so good that everyone needs to destroy them.  Right now in every book I build I place at least 3 of each of these, even if I must pay an out of school cost.  The Wizard (especially a water wizard) gets a huge savings on spell points by being able to buy both in school.  Likewise, part of the great weakness of the Warlord is that he must pay enemy school costs for Dispel!

At the very least I would like to see one non-Arcane Dispel to help the Warlord.  As I suspect some Mage in the future will have Water as an enemy school, I think by that time there should also be a non-Water Dissolve.  I don't mean some version with a twist, I want a bread and butter boring card for card equivalent.  I have made Nature mages and Fire mages, and though I often have a copy of Corrosive Orchid or Explode, I still have multiple copies of Dissolve because often I don't have the extra mana to pay for the flower or the fire.

If our goal is to specifically bring the other mages up to the Wizard's level, a novice version of Dispel and Dissolve would be an effective step.  I think these are good candidates because they represent a universal magic effect that everyone uses, and therefore it feels okay from a flavor perspective.  The functional effect is that now everyone else gets an effective +4-8 SB points because they are no longer paying double for their pile of Dissolve and Dispel effects.  This *is* power creep, in the sense that we are making access to these effects forever cheaper in terms of book points.  It would be less power creep if only one of these spells were made Novice.  I'd choose Dispel, since it could be easily powered down to range 0-1, and wouldn't help the Wizard while helping everyone else, and gives the Warlord 2x help.

I wonder if there are more flavorful ways of giving non-Water or non-Arcane tools to destroy equipment or enchantments?
* War creatures/ equipment/ command/ attack with a new Shatter effect, which destroys equipment?  (rough for expensive equipment, though Forcemaster has lots of Defense effects to counteract it)
* An Unholy Curse/conjuration that deals damage to target/radius/entire arena for each equipment or enchantment active on it.  (Two different spells, one for enchants, one for equipment.)
* A holy enchantment (Mage only?) that gives mage armor = enemy mage's armor.  ("Share Strength")

Of all the approaches, I find these last most interesting.  I want the spell schools to each have their own distinct flavor, but they *all* need ways to deal with equipment and enchantments.  Until they have effective ones, they are going to have to keep having a SP deficit relative to the Wizard by buying the same old stuff out of school.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: IndyPendant on February 26, 2014, 01:11:44 PM
Change the Wizard.  Another problem with trying to balance the wizard through other cards is that that will take -at least- a full year, even assuming it succeeds.  Wizard dominance is already getting old.

Just as a bit of a rant: the Druid gets Nature and Level 1 only in an elemental school not of her choice, and she has triple cost in two full schools.  Compare her abilities with the Wizard's, and they're roughly on par.  Compare the Druid-themed cards with the Wizard-themed cards, and the Wizard easily wins.  Yet the Druid is a perfectly viable mage.

The Wizard needs changing.  Sure, AW doesn't like Erratas, but they've already done it with three other cards.  Do it again.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Wildhorn on February 26, 2014, 01:20:27 PM
Just make Nature triple cost to Wizard and you bring him on par with the rest. No need to add more cards, this simple stats change would fix him.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Alexander West on February 26, 2014, 01:31:53 PM
Tools for Other Mages

Part of the problem with many existing mages is that they don't have the right cards to support their stats.

Warlord:  Seems set up to play a ranged combat game, but lacks sufficient ways to keep enemy creatures close/far from his shooters/archers.  Solution: A one-handed equipment that pushes.  More Creatures with push.  A new guard variant for creatures that allow them to "passage blocks" like a wall.  An area-effect stuck spell or creature ability.  A command that gives a ranged attack indirect fire.  Timberwolf was a better stat line than Orc Butcher.  Skeletal Sentry as a soldier.

Forcemaster:  Needs a Mindspore replacement that isn't hobbled by slow casting and poor defenses.  Something more like a Dancing Wand, so they can get a second quick cast per round.  Wizard's have a tower, Forcemaster needs an equivalent that is playable.

Priest/Priestess:  Still need a solid level 2 creature.  Knight of Westlock is amazing, but sometimes you need something *now* rather than waiting a turn for the mana.  A better holy attack spell (less daze/stun, more damage) would also be great.  Hopefully this could help with the nonliving metagame issue.  Maybe also some creatures that used a light attack with a +vs nonliving?

Johkarti: A quick attack ranged weapon seems like the thing to do.  Wizard already has Arcane Zap, which is very good, but I think illustrates that move + shoot isn't fundamentally broken.  I think with this she's pretty solid, Nature is a powerful school.

Warlock:   I feel like they want to play a game like Charmyna's Blasting Banker, but don't seem to have access to the tools to do it.  The more a blood reaper was like Invisible Stalker, the better it seems like it would be.  I love the Druid for the resilience her tree gives her, and I'd like to see the Warlock have a Blood Reaper that put him on similar footing.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: tarkin84 on February 26, 2014, 01:56:41 PM
I agree with you, Wildhorn: I'd make nature the Wizard's opposing school. Not only it would balance the game as there are many cool nature cards that Wizards use (Regrowth, Rhino hide, Steelclaw) but it also makes sense thematically: arcane creations are monstrous insults to natural creatures. Maybe another minor school nerf maybe is needed (damned tower toolbox), though.

Regarding the Dispel/Dissolve discussion, I wouldn't release those novice spells you are talking about. Instead, I'd release cards that punish mages for abusing those type of cards: a curse deal damage each time an equipment/enchantment card is casted (also by forge, which is one of the main issues), a war conjuration which blanks equipments/enchantments in an area (similar to how Gravikor works), etc. This way you don't have to fear an automatic destruction and you only have to pay a tax or play around your opponent's conjurations.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: ACG on February 26, 2014, 02:46:20 PM
I prefer new cards as a solution rather than erratas. Also, I feel that each card should have a distinct method of accomplishing a goal; having two cards that do essentially the same thing is not interesting. For instance, Corrosive Orchid, Dissolve, and Explode are all different ways of eliminating equipment, and each has its advantages and disadvantages; none is strictly better than another (I guess I am disagreeing with Alexander West in that I do not believe there should be more "bread and butter" versions of dispel, dissolve, etc.)

Regarding specific solutions to problems, here are some of my previous proposals:

Re: The Teleport Problem (1a):
(http://media.use.com/images/s_1/dc7f171f29729a88b46d_95.jpg) (http://www.use.com/dc7f171f29729a88b46d?p=95)

Re: Anti-Enchantment Options for the Warlord
(http://media.use.com/images/s_1/dc7f171f29729a88b46d_50.jpg) (http://www.use.com/dc7f171f29729a88b46d?p=50)(http://media.use.com/images/s_1/dc7f171f29729a88b46d_51.jpg) (http://www.use.com/dc7f171f29729a88b46d?p=51)(http://media.use.com/images/s_1/dc7f171f29729a88b46d_57.jpg) (http://www.use.com/dc7f171f29729a88b46d?p=57)(http://media.use.com/images/s_1/dc7f171f29729a88b46d_79.jpg) (http://www.use.com/dc7f171f29729a88b46d?p=79)

Re: Options vs. Poison Immune (2a)
(http://media.use.com/images/s_1/dc7f171f29729a88b46d_17.jpg) (http://www.use.com/dc7f171f29729a88b46d?p=17)

Re: Johktari Weapon (4a)
(http://media.use.com/images/s_1/dc7f171f29729a88b46d_38.jpg) (http://www.use.com/dc7f171f29729a88b46d?p=38)

I have some other ideas, but sadly no time to post them right now...

In general, I think things can be solved with new (by which I mean also novel) cards, without the risk of power creep.

Regarding immunity, I think negating a creature's immunity is a very bad idea (as I have stated elsewhere), not for balance reasons, but for theme. Different creatures are immune to things for very different reasons, and it is impossible to make a card that makes sense thematically for all the reasons. For instance, incorporeal creatures are poison immune for the simple reason that they have no corporeal body through which the poison may flow, whereas a golem is poison immune because it's basically a magic robot. A spider is psychic immune (presumably) because its brain is too foreign for a mammalian to comprehend, whereas zombies are psychic immune because they are mindless, and a golem is psychic immune because it is controlled directly by the mind of its master (at least, this is how I thematically interpret these creatures). Any spell that removes immunity will generate complaints along the same lines as "why can't I water my plants". While strategy is important in Mage Wars, we can't lose sight of one of the game's greater assets - its theme.

Edit: Also, in making cards to address problems it is always important to remember the rule of twos. A card that only operates as a counter to a specific card is boring and doesn't enhance the game much, aside from correcting an imbalance. All counter cards should be useful even in the absence of the card they were designed to counter.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Zuberi on February 26, 2014, 02:56:55 PM
I would not completely oppose a change to the Wizard to give him a weakness in a magical school. I think he should have been designed with one. I just hate card errata. I agree that such errata would be the simplest solution though and probably the best one in the long term. However I don't believe it is impossible to balance him without errata either if Arcane Wonders wants that headache.

I do not like the idea of making Novice versions of "bread and butter spells" but do think there should be multiple viable options for such spells. Not everyone needs to be able to get them at face value, but you should never have to pay triple cost for something that fills a necessary niche.

Also, alternatives do not necessarily have to do the exact same thing. They just have to fill the same niche. For instance, teleport and push work differently but both accomplish control of board position. We need a non-arcane alternative for Dispel, filling the function of enchantment removal. However it doesn't necessarily have to function like Dispel. How about some kind of anti-magic field that prevents enchantments from functioning? It doesn't destroy them, but simply suppresses their effects. Or maybe a spell that bounces enchantments back to it's owners spellbook. Not nearly as powerful as destroying it, but not as expensive as destroying it either. They come out behind you in mana whether or not they reapply it.

We might also look into alternatives for the various counterspells (nullify, block, jinx, etc) and *better* alternatives for Dissolve. I think the current options for Dissolve alternatives are okay, and if a mage was weak in water magic they would be able to compensate adequately, so it's not a pressing concern but it could be improved I think.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Zuberi on February 26, 2014, 03:04:27 PM
Once again I admire your card suggestions, ACG. Does your creativity know no bounds? I especially appreciate your anti-enchantment suggestions, and the racial restriction as opposed to class or training restriction is a neat concept.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: baronzaltor on February 26, 2014, 03:33:26 PM
The Wizard has always bugged me since I first began to really understand the game. He is just fundamentally better, in a way that cannot be danced around without changing how certain core things work or changing his actual ability card. 

-He is trained in Arcane.  That alone is enough to make a strong mage, also its worth noting Arcane contains all of its own counters.  Its magic AND metamagic.  Its mana AND mana denial.  As such, he monopolizes his own counter measures.  A good chunk of this schools themes should have been distributed over other schools.   So its very hard to build against an Arcane mage without being an Arcane mage (this issue isn't just an Arcane one, but is relevant here)

-Add to that, he not only gets a second elemental training.. he gets to choose that training.  This enables Wizard to grow with each set in a way that no other mage can.  He can cherry pick the meta whenever it changes.   This is demonstrated when we see the most powerful mage to come from Forcemaster vs Warlord was the Earth Wizard.   The Warlock is benefitting form all the fire vulnerability out there… So the Wizard can choose to as well.  But when that phases out to something else and if the Siren brings all kinds of new Water spells or anti-fire spells, the Wizard can just migrate over and favor that instead.  The Wizard is unique in that flexibility and is in no way given a trade off for that flexibility.

-He has no triple cost school.  I have no idea why… he should be paying triple cost for Nature (Voltari Magic vs Nature is supported in the setting) or SOMEthing.  Heck, Arcane training and selective secondary realistically warrants having multiple triple cost schools like the Druid or global card type triple cost like Forcemaster.   

What will the Siren have to be in order to not have the same issue Warlord had?  If she is Water +(insert school) with a 3x school,  Wizard will be a better Siren, because he is Arcane+Water with no penalized training.  Any elementally trained mage has to be filled with "Siren only" cards to artificially separate themselves because he is designed without a penalty for having the best school and no worst school.

At that point you don't have to even go into voltaic shield being such a great ability, or how Arcane Zap means he always effectively has a prepared Attack spell/Etherial option.  Those are secondary to the main point.   Just his trainings (and lack of x3 school) make him outright better, and enable him to always be able to build a more efficient spell book.

So, was the trade off that the Wizard has low channel?  Nope, 10.
So, was he given a lower Health?  nope!  32, same as a Forcemaster, Necromancer or Priestess… all of whom only have 1 school training and a triple cost School/spell type.  Heck, the Druid only has 30 health and 9 channel without her Treebond and she has two triple cost schools.

So, he is just so overloaded with advantages, and has no identifiable tradeoff.  I feel like making cards to adjust the situation at the moment only goes so far when the real issue is that the Wizard is designed at the core to be better and has too much spell book flexibility.   
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: webcatcher on February 26, 2014, 03:33:35 PM
While we're on the subject of changing or not changing the wizard's stat card, there's another angle I think we should look at. The folks at AW want their game to stay accessible to new players, and with good reason. They rightly conclude that having a bunch of card erratas running around makes the game less accessible for new players who can become frustrated when they learn that the cards in their new game don't do what they say they do. However, the wizard is broken and needs fixing. Right now it looks like there are two options for fixing it.

1) Errata a mage card
2) Release cards in future expansions (hopefully beginning with FiF) to bring the wizard into check.

So what's easier for a new player to swallow? In scenario 1, the new player gets the frustration of having a major modification to their base game. In scenario 2, the base game works as advertised (except for the 3 erratas already in place, but they're minor). However, when they start buying expansions the power level of the different mages gets all out of whack until they've collected them all (and until all the major wizard fixes get implemented, which I expect to take 2 expansions, it just won't get fixed).

So which of these options will serve the game better by being the most accessible to new players?
For new players who just want the base game and aren't going to make a hobby out of it, option 2 is better, but I honestly don't think it matters because I don't think that sort of player will pay any attention to the errata (just as there are base-game only players out there somewhere right now applying Bear Strength to both attacks after casting Battle Fury). Option 1 is much better for players who are going to make a hobby out of the game, not only because it allows them to maintain approximate parity with their friend who already owns all of the expansions while they take 6 months to a year to get caught up, but also because most people who are used to hobby games take a little errata in stride (and at this point MW has a very minimal amount of errata).

For this out-of-game reason, as well as for in-game reasons (which I also think favor an errata to the wizard, although I know others disagree) I think an errata to the wizard card would be a vast improvement over the alternative.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Zuberi on February 26, 2014, 04:29:42 PM
I agree with all of baronzaltor's points. As much as I hate errata, I think I'm going to have to change my position from being okay with a Wizard errata, to actively requesting it. The more I think about it the less viable any alternative option seems.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: DeckBuilder on February 26, 2014, 07:09:54 PM
Wow, I disappear for my RPG session and this thread has grown immensely!
I think I'm going to give up my plan of collecting/listing ideas here and go with the lively flow


Ok, firstly I like the Triple for Nature suggestion as an amendment because it feels right
Especially as we have no mage with Triple Nature weakness - but how much will it really hurt the Wizard?
1 Regrowth, 1 Rhino Hide, is he really that hurt by it? I don't think so.

Now let me explain the Novice idea better

Novice Dispel is called Dispel, exactly the same (Arcane 1) except range 1 and Novice
Novice Teleport is called Teleport, exactly the same (Arcane 2) except range 1, Friendly Creature and Novice
Novice Dissolve is called Dissolve, exactly the same (Water 1) except range 0 and Novice
And so on

You are only allowed to have 6 copies of a level 1 spell of the same name (like Dispel)
You are only allowed to have 4 copies of a level 2 spell of the same name (like Teleport)

Obviously Water Wizards will not have Novice spells of any of the above 3, they are experts at them
But the rest of us can choose how many of their 6 or 4 maximum are

Novice is just a variant of the same spell name, just weaker and available to all mages at x1 cost
This is not a new concept
Game of Thrones has many same name variants, you can only have 3 of them, no matter which variants
Magic Legendary rule applies to every version of variant Planeswalkers of the same name

We are creating a cheap Utility school (everyone trained) by using the Novice mechanic
But mainly we hit Arcane hard with slightly weaker versions of the staples (Dispel, Teleport, Nullify, Jinx)
So that we actually remove what makes Wizards special - their access to Arcane

They are still masters of Arcane: they will have no Novice Arcane spells, only full fat versions for same SPs.
There is no blurring of colours, just an acceptance that other mages get slightly weaker versions at x1 cost

Let's look at it another way.
Currently a minor reason why War is so weak is many of its Commands are Novice, available to all
But what if there were non-Novice versions?
Piercing Strike, War 1, same cost, gain +4 Piercing
Power Strike, War 1, same cost, gain +3 Melee
Suddenly War Mages get a slightly improved ability for the same mana and SPs because of their training.
(Just like the Wizard will always use current improved versions of Dispel and Teleport for the same costs)

This approach with Wizard is to
(a) remove what makes him special by giving lesser versions to everyone at the same cost
(b) create CHOICE when you build books - go with 4 Dispels or 2 Dispels + 4 Novice Dispels? (Both 8SPs)
We win on 2 levels here because choice is good in customisable games
And the best thing is we have no "blurring of colours" - those Novice spells are still Arcane.

Similarly, we ensure absolutely no more "Wizard Only" cards - whilst other mages gain exclusive toys
Exclusive toys are simply extensions of the Mage card (Galvitar is a classic example)


I am not against suggesting nerfing the Wizard card - but it does feel quite drastic.
What I am suggesting instead is a far more subtle route to eroding his power base.
Also frees spellpoints in our books, much needed because the budget stays 120 yet we have a bigger pool.


Finally, I would like to remind everyone of an undeniable fact.
When it was just a pool of Core Set cards, the Wizard was not overpowered.

It was Wizard's Tower that pushed him over the edge.
Ever since Wizard's Tower came out, it has been "Wizard wins again."
If we are to suggest anything drastic (option D - errata), I suggest we concentrate on:

(a) Wizard's Tower - just nerf it like Temple of Light
(b) Teleport - I have suggested a rules tweak like the Stun Exception to avoid altering cards here

Those are the real culprits of Wizard's dominance.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: webcatcher on February 26, 2014, 08:37:10 PM
Quote
This approach with Wizard is to
(a) remove what makes him special by giving lesser versions to everyone at the same cost
(b) create CHOICE when you build books - go with 4 Dispels or 2 Dispels + 4 Novice Dispels? (Both 8SPs)

One of the things that makes the wizard special is his school flexibility combined with two trained schools and no restricted schools. I think that's one of the most important things to fix, and it'll take an errata. Otherwise you maintain the problem of the wizard benefiting as much from another mage's new cards as the other mage does.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on February 26, 2014, 08:38:04 PM
Yes, the wizard wasn't overpowered when it was just the core set. However, every expansion so far has released cards that greatly benefit the wizard.

Forcemaster vs Warlord released earth spells, including Iron Golem

Conquest of Kumanjaro released arcane spells, including Wizard's Tower

Druid vs Necromancer released Devouring Jelly and more water spells, including acid ball.

Any good cards that are added to the arcane school or an elemental school are going to be usable by the wizard unless they are mageclass only. While the wizard didn't become overpowered until Wizard's Tower was released, let's not forget that Wizard's tower on its own is not that overpowered. If another future arcane mage used the wizard's tower, I doubt it would make them as broken as the wizard currently is.

As I've stressed many times before, the power level of cards does not exist in a vacuum. They exist in the context of their interactions with other cards. I suspect that when a new card(s) gets released it causes a web of chain reactions in the metagame, and if we want to fix an overpowered card, we only need find the card(s) that started the chain reactions that led to the overpoweredness of the card we're trying to fix.

Would nerfing wizard's tower sufficiently lower the wizard's power level until he was on par with the other mages? What nerfs do you propose to wizard's tower that could do this?

Several people have made very well-reasoned cases for the wizard himself being the start of the chain reaction that led to his own overpoweredness. I think the main problem here is the wizard's serious spellbook point advantages, which allow him to have so many more options than any other mage.

Perhaps the wizard's tower might not be so overpowered if the wizard was more limited in how many different attack spells he had room for in his spellbook. As far as I've seen, if a wizard is using a wizard's tower, their spellbook probably includes multiple copies of every useful utility attack spell, not to mention replacement towers. Chances are they'll never run out of towers, and if they do, they're not the ones losing. And the Wizard's tower is usually a must-destroy card. I might be wrong though since I haven't played the wizard that much to know about such a trend in his spellbook composition.

What I do know is that whenever I try to build any non-wizard spellbook, I consistently have to make an effort to squeeze my spellbook into 120 points. I really like that because it challenges me to really think and strategize about my card choices.

When I've tried to build a wizard spellbook, I actually find it quite difficult to even REACH 120 spellbook points. In fact I've felt like I actually have twice as much spellbook points to use when building a wizard book than a non-wizard book.

I think it's pretty clear that the wizard's overpoweredness is a result of his own abilities and the lack of non-wizard trained staple spells, and NOT just the Wizard's tower. All of the spells that are universally needed for a build to be viable or competitive are spells wizards are trained in.

Right now I think the most sensible, least risky and possibly only long-term effective solution is to make the wizard pay triple in nature and an opposing elemental school, and release more non-wizard trained equivalents of staple cards.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Alexander West on February 26, 2014, 09:12:28 PM
Going back to Laddinface's original request, I think we should be focusing on trying to invent cards that would bring all of the other classes up, rather than errataing/nerfing the Wizard.  Certainly Arcane Wonders can errata the stat card if they chose, but it's a pretty extreme response.

Beyond that, I don't even think that adding an "enemy" school to the Wizard would be significant.  Most Wizard books I have seen have around 3-5 SP of spells from either the War or Nature School.  Sure, 5 SP aren't trivial, but is it worth card errata to only achieve that?

No, I think as everyone has pointed out here, the Wizard became excellent due to the printing of Wizard's Tower and strong Arcane and Elemental creatures.  He used to bumble along with the rest of the base set mages.  I think the trick is to make the other mages excellent through similar means.  (And I would argue that the Druid is already on par with the Wizard.)  Let the presses print more excellent War, Light, Unholy, Fire, Water, and Air spells.  (I leave out Nature, since it's already really buff.)  Sure, elemental spells also benefit the Wizard, but he already has a bunch of plum choices.  It's diminishing returns for him to get access to more things that are already of equivalent power.

I think that's where we the players come in.  What do the other mages need to do to wow us?
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: sIKE on February 26, 2014, 11:44:52 PM
Beyond that, I don't even think that adding an "enemy" school to the Wizard would be significant.  Most Wizard books I have seen have around 3-5 SP of spells from either the War or Nature School.  Sure, 5 SP aren't trivial, but is it worth card errata to only achieve that?
So a Fire Wizard gets 6 Dissolves for 12 SP's vs. 18 SP's (a natural opposing school). A Bear Strength, Rhino Hide, Hawkeye, Regrowth, and a Cheetah Speed for 12SP's vs. 18 SP's. So just the typical Charmyna toolbox set. That's a total of 24 SP's vs. 36 SP's. I haven't even added in the (still Fire Wizard) Surging Wave, Geyser, or Acid Ball.

Not that big of a difference? This is the crux of the problem. The Wizard can build a very responsive toolbox vs. any other mage as a result.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Bluebaron on February 27, 2014, 12:38:04 AM
There is also another possibility. Unstead of making nature triple and one opposite elemental school, you could make nature and all elemental schools cost triple. Thematical it would still fit. The only question is, if this is too harsh. The options for attack spells for the wizard tower will probably decrease significantly, making it a less versatile attack tool.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: tarkin84 on February 27, 2014, 12:43:59 AM
Alexander, bringing other mages' levels up means releasing a ton of '<school/mage> only' cards, limiting deckbuilding options for every mage. If you don't do it this way, the Wizard, with his excess spellbook points, can simply buy any new awesome card that gets printed.

Deckbuilder, the problem with those novice spells is that a Wizard can stack dissolves AND novice dissolves. A dissolve wand is something you don't want to see across the board, but with this hypothetical cards this wand is no longer needed: a Water Wizard could pack 12 'dissolve' for just 12 spellbook points, rendering every piece of equipment almost useless.

However, if these new cards are named EXACTLY the same as their counterparts (dissolve, dispel), the 6-card limit would still kick in and this 12 dissolve nonsense would be avoided (I don't have my rulebook here, but I guess the limit is for card's name). This could be a solution, but I cannot imagine how would newcomers feel about it, as I guess more than one would wrongly include more than 6 cards between old dissolve and new novice dissolve without noticing they share the name and, thus, their limit.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: DeckBuilder on February 27, 2014, 01:05:45 AM
That is what I said, Tarkin. The Novice spells have the same name.
So you can't have 6 Dispel and 6 Novice Dispel. You can have 6 Dispel of any combination.

Game of Thrones has 5 different versions of Jamie Lannister. You can only play 3 copies in total.
Mage Wars won't go that far, just the option of having weaker Novice variants.

It gives greater deckbuilding choice and erodes his power base without. blurring the colours.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: MageHorst on February 27, 2014, 03:03:35 AM
First of all: great thread! I really like this discussion.

As for bringing everyone on par, I think I have to agree with those who would go for a nerf of the Wizard stat card (thanks to baronzaltor, he summed it up perfectly). The root of the problem in my opinion is the Wizard himself, not a specific spell or combination of a handful of spells. (Side note: looking at a promo card such as "Mordok's Tome" as another powerful arcane only card is making me cringe) "Forged in Fire" is coming, and certainly the Warlord will profit. Certainly the Warlock will profit. And who will also profit greatly from all those fire spells? Same thing, as others have mentioned, with the Siren and so on.

Triple cost for Nature, as many have pointed, seems logical and goes well with the overall theme. I doubt that it will be enough, though. I feel like leaning towards an additional triple cost for opposing elements.

However, I find the idea of an "Average Joe Dispel" quite appealing. Maybe in addition to some kind of Wizard stat card nerf?
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Charmyna on February 27, 2014, 03:14:27 AM
That is what I said, Tarkin. The Novice spells have the same name.
So you can't have 6 Dispel and 6 Novice Dispel. You can have 6 Dispel of any combination.

Game of Thrones has 5 different versions of Jamie Lannister. You can only play 3 copies in total.
Mage Wars won't go that far, just the option of having weaker Novice variants.

It gives greater deckbuilding choice and erodes his power base without. blurring the colours.

I have to say I like the idea of Novice versions with the same name. Still the availability of Dissolve/Dispel would increase a bit (mostly every spellbook will have 4-6 of each) and the value of equips/enchants would decrease somehow. I cant tell which I prefer now (Wizard Errata or DeckBuilders suggestion). Tough call ;).

Btw instead of lower range the novice spells could have limitations on the level of the removed spell ( e.g. only work on level 1 spells in the same way as Dispel Wand). That might help against devalueing enchants/equips.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: ACG on February 27, 2014, 03:20:23 AM
Novice Dispel is called Dispel, exactly the same (Arcane 1) except range 1 and Novice
Novice Teleport is called Teleport, exactly the same (Arcane 2) except range 1, Friendly Creature and Novice
Novice Dissolve is called Dissolve, exactly the same (Water 1) except range 0 and Novice
And so on

You are only allowed to have 6 copies of a level 1 spell of the same name (like Dispel)
You are only allowed to have 4 copies of a level 2 spell of the same name (like Teleport)

Okay, now that I understand this proposal a little better, I have revised my opinion - I think weaker, same level novice versions of existing cards as proposed are both a good idea and highly thematic.

Good idea: They fix the problem with level 1 utility spells.
Highly thematic: Mages have more powerful versions of their own schools' spells, which makes sense.

The fact that the novice spells count as the advanced counterparts is what convinces me; I think that making two different spells to do the same thing is lazy design, but it doesn't seem so bad if they are just different versions of the same spell.

Novice Teleport doesn't work, because Teleport is a Level 2 spell and the novice trait means you always pay 1 spellpoint (another example of poor rule construction to add to my list; there are many traits that could be worded much more efficiently to allow for greater scope...)

Nerfing range alone might not be enough (the parameters could be tweaked, of course).
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: tarkin84 on February 27, 2014, 03:41:26 AM
I have to say I like the idea of Novice versions with the same name. Still the availability of Dissolve/Dispel would increase a bit (mostly every spellbook will have 4-6 of each) and the value of equips/enchants would decrease somehow. I cant tell which I prefer now (Wizard Errata or DeckBuilders suggestion). Tough call ;).

I'm fine with reducing the value of equipment. In the present meta, equipment is just too good. In a Battle forge build I'm packing 12-18 cards so only a mage with dissolve wand can deal with everything. Enchantments are somewhat different IMO as there are no enchantment spawnpoint you can abuse of. But I wouldn't mind bringing a novice dispel into the game if that means that there will also be a novice dissolve. Those voltron builds are very strong to deal with (without a purge equipment spell): I've seen your BB in action with all the armor/vet's belt you pile on yourself, and I can tell you that my tank druid plays very similar to your BB trading Voltaric shield for Treebond (after some more playtesting I'll post the list I've been using for a month).

Sorry, Deckbuilder, I just read your idea too quickly to notice you were actually suggesting what I thought of. I didn't remember that we also share GoT :P In that case, I guess the novice dissolve/dispel could be a nice idea to boost other mages (but there's always the curse/blanking way). Nonetheless, the Wizard still needs a burden for the game to be balanced. I would choose errata to give him two opposing schools (nature for major, another one for minor) just to make every mage's spellbook size even. But I understand that errata is the last of options.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Kitarja on February 27, 2014, 04:11:22 AM
I have to say I like the idea of Novice versions with the same name. Still the availability of Dissolve/Dispel would increase a bit (mostly every spellbook will have 4-6 of each) and the value of equips/enchants would decrease somehow. I cant tell which I prefer now (Wizard Errata or DeckBuilders suggestion). Tough call ;).

Why choose between those two suggestions? For me a combination of nerfing the Wizard by giving him one opposing school and adding 3-4 novice arcane spells as DeckBuilder suggested would be perfect. I think this would balance the game really well.

So who ever has an influence on the decisions AW makes please persuade them to do both! ;)
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: lettucemode on February 27, 2014, 09:10:56 AM
I like the idea of extra costs for the elements the Wizard didn't train in. That limits the flexibility of Wizard's Tower without any direct errata to that card.

I think I like triple Nature as well but I wonder if we are crippling the Wizard beyond repair here. He is supposed to be a flexible mage. Ideally we also still want him to be a competitive choice. We want the Wizard brought down but not gutted and we can't say for sure what effect these proposed changes will have without extensive playtesting. For that reason I am hesitant to put my support behind this errata.

Perhaps some new FiF cards will be targeted at some of the tactics the Wizard abuses. I recall kich said in a post in the BB thread that there are at least 2 new cards that will give that build trouble...
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: webcatcher on February 27, 2014, 09:59:18 AM
I seriously doubt two restricted schools would cripple the Wizard.  Heck,  I'm not convinced it would go far enough. A wizard can make a perfectly terrifying book using just arcane if he wants to.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: DeckBuilder on February 27, 2014, 10:25:26 AM
Warning! Warning! Another long post from DeckBuilder

I am immensely enjoying this thread - so thanks, everyone, for both its friendly positive tone and great content.

Variant cards are not original (why Tarkin also thought of it), just an elegant way of obtaining 2 benefits
1. eroding the Universal school that is Arcane but also
2. creating more choice for all mages (except Water Wizards) when building books.

I have been pushing for some time to have a "Utility Cards mini-expansion" (Magic deck box size, 55 cards)
Initially it was to give more copies of existing cards we all want (Dragonscale, Teleport, Enchanter's Ring etc)
However, this upgrade (very different to other expansions) is also an opportunity to explore Variant spells
Because I really dislike the fact I can't choose different spells, compromising spell functionality to pay just 1SP
The main resistance seems to be that Mage Wars is driven by Theme, not by expanding deck building options
Hopefully, by including Novice spells that weaken Wizard's monopoly of Arcane, this idea may be reconsidered

Novice Teleport doesn't work, because Teleport is a Level 2 spell and the novice trait means you always pay 1 spellpoint (another example of poor rule construction to add to my list; there are many traits that could be worded much more efficiently to allow for greater scope...)

Nerfing range alone might not be enough (the parameters could be tweaked, of course).

Good points, ACG. I think changing other parameters is also the way forward.
So I am going to expand on your suggestion, ACG.

WHAT IS NOVICE?

The advantages of treating Novice as a same name variant spell is
(a) same maximum allocation
(b) must adhere to the no friendly duplicates attached rule (only 1 of Nullify or Novice Nullify on target)

Let's establish a basic principle of the Novice spell which I propose should be the following:

"In some situations, using a Novice spell is just as good as the Trained version
But in all other situations, the Novice spell must be worse than its Trained version"


What you are getting for buying cheap is simply a more situational version of the trained card

DISPEL

Let's look at an obvious Novice Dispel (because it already exists as a cantrip with upfront + opportunity cost)

Dispel, Cost X, Incant, quick. range 0-1, targets a level 1 revealed enchantment, metamagic, Arcane 1 Novice
Destroy target level 1 revealed enchantmemt of casting cost X


If you pay 4SPs, a quick action, 4 mana and your shield slot opportunity cost, you get a cantrip version.
Which can then be Dissolved so the opponent is up on spell points (why Dispel Wand is a Wizard toy).
How many times have you just Dispelled a Mongoose Agility or Agony (or Marked for Death if Swarm ever works)?
This Novice spell gives the Wizard no advantage but gives all other mages more options, especially the Warlord.

Just existence of this would mean the mage who used to have 4 Dispels [8] may choose 2 + 4 Novice.
Which not only erodes the Wizard but also provides greater skill when building your book

DISSOLVE

Now imagine if this applied to Dissolve...

Dissolve, Cost X, Incant, quick, range 0-0, targets Mage, Water 1 Novice
Destroy a level 1 equipment of casting cost X attached to target


This is ok for a melee mage or when being attacked by a melee mage
It would still be used in a mix with full fat Dissolves in non-Water mage books
Yes, it will devalue equipment so reduce Battle Forges out there, a good thing

Suddenly paying 4SPs for a level 2 out of school equipment may not be that much of a risk anymore!
Both Novice spells make out-of-school 4SPs investments (Vampirism, Mage Wand) less of a risk, increasing diversity

TELEPORT

Now what about Teleport?
Good point, ACG, about design restrictions like Novice wording (there are so many, it gets me so annoyed)
There is nothing to say you can't have a level 2 Novice spell!
Yes, it costs 1SP to everyone but you can only have 4 Teleport spells maximum
Novice Teleport must be very weak compared to normal (as here, even a Wizard gains, though gains less)

Teleport, Cost 6 Incant, quick, Range 0-0, Targets Friendly Mage, teleport, Arcane 2 Novice
Target teleports to a target zone up to 2 zones away


This is a range 0 push 2 for yourself only with targeting zone restrictions intact
It is incredibly less verastile than Teleport, in reality just an Escape spell mostly
Yes, it will devalue Tanglevine but it's too good anyway (I don't like Stranglevine or Quicksand)
But it will also help reduce the fear of cheesy Teleport kills as escaping will be more affordable
While Teleport still grants the ability to extract a Fortress Mage 4 zones away from its Corner

I know Teleport is a polarised subject so this is just a tentative proposal
If this existed, I know some of my opponents wouldn't insist on playing with our House Rule

NULLIFY

So what about Nullify, another Wizard cornerstone?
Here, although I hate mandatory reveal, we are stuck down this route
Because any optional reveal would be better, so it may have to be as weak as...

Nullify, cost 2+2, enchant, quick, range 0-2, targets non-Mage creature, metamagic, Arcane 1 Novice
You must reveal if this creature is targeted by an incantation or enchantment
You may pay its reveal cost to cancel that spell. Then destroy this enchantment when it is revealed


Again vastly inferior to a trained version (doesn't protect/disrupt Mages), in some cases it's just as good
It still triggers on the same spells as Nullify and this is important (anything less and it could be better)
I would use this spell to protect a Buffed Elite from control spells, Purge Magic etc, adds unknown mystery
Maybe it is too weak but it is very difficult to create a lesser version with the same mandatory triggers

JINX

Another cornerstone of the Arcane repertoire, this needs a Novice version to give to Aggro mages

Jinx, Cost 2+1, enchant, quick, range 0-2, targets creature, metamagic, Arcane 1 Novice
You must reveal when this creature casts a level 1 quick non-enchantment spell
Cancel that spell, return it to its spellbook and rebate its mana then destroy this enchantment


Again, I hate mandatory reveal cards but in this case, the no duplicates rule prevents stacking
Jinx is such a tempo card, a brutal trade at mana disadvantage, it really suits aggro builds more
It can delay a key Dissolve, Dispel or Force Push though it it does not help against Novice Teleport
Again the distinction between level 1 (6 copies) and level 2+ (4 copies or epic) becomes relevant

SEEKING DISPEL

Continuing the opening of Arcane School to other mages, this is another staple as control becomes stronger

Seeking Dispel, Cost 2, Incant, quick range 0-1, targets Hidden Enchantment, metamagic, Arcane 1 Novice
Controller must reveal target enchantment, paying whatever cost necessary, else destroy this enchantment


This may be nerfing control a bit too much, just the first idea that came to my head. I dunno.

HARMONIZE

Another staple of Arcane exclusivity is this spell and I feel a Novice version should be offered

Harmonize, Cost 2+2, Enchant Epic or Legendary Object, quick, range 0-2, mana, Arcane 1 Novice
If this object has a Channeling attribute, increase it by 1


This is just to make spawnpoints and familiars more appealing to all Mages, less of an investment to buff.
I can't raise its cost (because Novice must be able to replicate in some situations rule) but can limit targets
Here I chose to exclude the Mage, Battle Forge, Thoughtspore etc

ENCHANTMENT TRANSFUSION

Finally, the last cornerstone of what makes Arcane special - but without giving other mages its tricksiness

Enchant Transfusion, Cost 2+X, quick range 0-2, enchant creature, metamagic, Arcane 1 Novice
Same tiny text but only any number of controlled revealed enchantments and only range 1 transfusion


Here we try to emulate what the picture on spell shows a beastmaster is doing, saving enchantments
I think its important that the Novice does not have half the tricksiness of the original
But it can identically replicate its use in some situations
This was inspired by Wildhorn's comments about "Transfusion cheese" which this tries yto minimise


Anyway, these are just rough draft ideas of course, open to debate - I'm sure others can do better
But the point is that, apart from Dissolve, they are all Arcane staples
By giving lesser versions at 1SP price for all Mages, it weakens Wizard considerably in a far better way
Without blurring the colours of Arcane's flavour by giving it to other schools
Whilst also more choice to our strategising when we build our books - a win-win!

Obviously the inverse occurs as well, rewarding War with better versions of Novice Commands etc
There would be slightly more powerful versions of existing Novice spells for those trained mages
But the priority is to weaken Wizard which is why I've stuck to these spells (and not included Block)
I've also avoided the entire mandatory reveal issue and gone for lesser clones that can replicate

WIZARD'S TOWER

You could extend this concept to Elemental spells but I'd rather not
Instead I'd nerf Wizards' Tower so that it cannot change its spell (like a Thoughtspore)
It's because of Wizard's Tower that all Wizards field the same toolbox of Attack spells
By removing its ability to change spells, you still allow ballsy builds like Blasting Banker
You remove the samey-ness of Wizards, who will now have more spells of their element
That's just my opinion on how to nerf Wizard's Tower without destroying BB Nuke builds


Sorry about the length of this - it's long even by my standards!
But I felt it was important to paint a "what if" world where these spells existed so that we could all envisage it

I know Charmyna is in contact with Aaron and I hope I have managed to convince him about this approach.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: baronzaltor on February 27, 2014, 10:31:45 AM
Triple for Nature also taxes Equipment like Eagleclaw Boots, Regrowth Belt, and Sunfire amulet.

It also makes each Wall of Thorns a bigger investment, as well as each Tanglevine for locking someone in place.  And of course Grizzly Bears become 12 spell points each instead of 8.

Id try out "Pays triple for Nature and War spells".   Neither school on its own hits him so hard that its crippling, but together they help enforce an more Wizardly theme.  And, it simply takes away the fact that he has no represented weakness.  It also makes a stronger distinction against the Warlord, making it harder for an Earth Wizard to just run a better Warlord-themed book because they each pay triple for each others primary school.

War school is still filled with novice spells that he can take advantage of.  (the Armors, Evade, and so on).  But Vetern's Belt, Grimson, and more specialized War spells become a bit harder to run.  It puts more incentive on the Wizard to focus on Arcane and Elemental school equipment, it also puts a small tax on Battleforge except for Fire Wizards.

So, I think while it wouldn't hit the Wizard too hard it still limits how rounded his books can be and puts a tradeoff in place for the flexible nature of his training.   It also leaves a little bit of wiggle room for designing other mages with elemental trainings when compared to the Wizard down the road.

that is more or less off the top of my head though… I'd have to try to build a few spell books with different point costs in mind to see if it makes a meaningful difference.  At the end of the day, it might not have much of an impact or might have too much impact.  Id encourage folks to build a few spell books treating different schools as adjusted costs and seeing if the results feel too handcuffed or on par with other mages, or if it has any effect at all. 
Thats something everyone can test and toss out some results on. 

As for Wizards Tower itself, if that were to be changed up, I think the easiest change to it is just to remove its Channeling.  It provides an extra action, but if that mana has to come 100% out of the Wizards own pocket its harder to budget and use as often.  It becomes a flexibility tool moreso than a spam-you-with-spells-tool.  Id also consider giving it some kind of cost or action expenditure to change the spell in it, like most other spellbind items do. 

Again, thats all just me thinking out loud.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: ringkichard on February 27, 2014, 01:00:47 PM
Increasing spellbook costs for Wizard would make Wizard's power curve narrower, but not shorter.

By that, I mean that 3x cost for Nature and War could be helpful (I haven't tested it), but that just nerfs Grizzly Wizard; it doesn't weaken Wizard in general. Wizard doesn't need Grizzly. He doesn't need more than one element, either, for Wizard's Tower or for Golems.

Wizard is completely capable of filling a 120 point book with only Arcane and one element and never choosing a sub-par card. 

If our goal is to encourage players to play many different spellbooks, making all Wizard spellbooks the same by restricting splashing might be a step backwards, not forwards.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: ringkichard on February 27, 2014, 01:08:14 PM
Also, I'm not a fan of silver-bullet style solutions to complicated problems. I think Druid v Necro took a bite out of the problem, the upcoming Forged in Flame expansion takes another, and I'm sure that the next will continue even further.

Swallowing a spider to catch a fly is fine, until you have to catch the spider.

I do totally understand the wish that we'd hurry up a bit on addressing Teleport and Wizard's Tower. But a Priest book won at Bashcon, didn't it?
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Alexander West on February 27, 2014, 01:37:02 PM
Warlord Wishlist

When I sit down to build a book, I have in mind a reason that it will be better than whatever is currently popular.  When I want to build a Warlord, I look at his VET tokens, battle standard, his command ability, the command ring, and melee training.  Each of these abilities tells me something:
VET tokens: make lots of soliders, make sure they are durable enough to make use of being a VET
standard: make at least one soldier with a horde of guys getting buffed by him
Command: get a mass of melee or archers in the same place
ring: better rates on command incantations, or command ability can be free every turn
melee: fight on the front line

To me this says I should have one very resilient soldier to put a battle standard on (and try to engineer getting a VET token), a couple medium soldiers to get pumped by the standard (tough enough to live with a VET token), and then a horde of weaker soldiers to maximize the standard and command buffs.  The metagame punishes swarming, so instead maybe I want just a handful of pretty elite soldiers.

If my warlord is going to be fighting on the front line, it means I'm probably going to want a spawnpoint to do my summoning for me.  This will free up my actions to do damage.  Whether I'm trying to use archers or melee guys, the command ability says I want my enemy to be one space away (so I can either have archery range, or leverage charge).  This means I might want to use my quick action to cast a spell that controls enemy location (force push, teleport, tanglevine).  Basically, I'm looking for more standard and quick actions so I can line up all my synergies.

The new generation of spawnpoints (Druid and Necromancer) have been great because they allow the spawnpoint to summon *at the mages location*.  This allows them to get in the action 1-3 turns earlier, depending on where the action is at.  This is huge!  Following this logic, this is what I want as a Warlord:

Command Post - Conjuration (Outpost) - Unique - Some Stats (Incl. Channeling 1).
May not be placed in a zone adjacent to another friendly outpost.
Like Wizard's Tower for command Incantations (and War conjurations?)
Like Garrison Post except Spawnpoint may also summon here.

I understand if a Spawnpoint/Tower is too much text for one card, and obviously the Tower functionality is more important to me.  (Maybe Garrison Post could be erratad then?)

I also really need an in-school method for moving enemy units.  I can not pay triple for teleport, and even paying double for force push seems wrong.  The Warlord cares a lot about board position and needs his own spell for it.

Marching Orders - Incantation - War - 3 mana
The casting player may immediately make one move of their choice for the target.  The casting player may pay an additional 2 mana to target each unit in the zone.

With just these two spells, I feel like a Warlord gets a lot better at their core competencies.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Alexander West on February 27, 2014, 01:38:26 PM
Swallowing a spider to catch a fly is fine, until you have to catch the spider.

I do totally understand the wish that we'd hurry up a bit on addressing Teleport and Wizard's Tower. But a Priest book won at Bashcon, didn't it?

Not only did a Priest win at Bashcon, but they played a Warlock in the finals.  I don't even think a Wizard was in the top 4.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: sIKE on February 27, 2014, 01:51:45 PM
Wizard is completely capable of filling a 120 point book with only Arcane and one element and never choosing a sub-par card. 
I disagree completely with this statement. You are saying a Fire Wizard can build a winning book without Dissolve, Geyser, Surging Wave, and no Nature or War spells either? Purely using Arcane and Fire (sticking with my Fire Wizard example in this thread). I don't think so.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: ringkichard on February 27, 2014, 02:03:45 PM
I disagree completely with this statement. You are saying a Fire Wizard can build a winning book without Dissolve, Geyser, Surging Wave, and no Nature or War spells either? Purely using Arcane and Fire (sticking with my Fire Wizard example in this thread). I don't think so.

Actually no, that's not what I meant. Not Fire; only Water and Earth. Maybe only Water if you also make nature 3x so that Wizard needs to pay 3x for both Dissolve and Orchid.

Fire Wizard would be more balanced, but it wouldn't matter. It would not be played. Water Wizard would be the only Wizard.

That's what I meant by making Wizard narrower, but not shorter.

And, unfortunately, Wizards Tower, because of spellbind, makes Wizard the most resiliant to spellbook restriction. You only need to include 1 Hurl Boulder in your book, and thereafter you can cast it turn, after turn, after turn. Even if you made that Boulder cost 3x, Wizard is still paying the same for an opposing school Hurl Boulder and a Wizard's Tower as my Warlord pays for 4x Hurl Boulder.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: DeckBuilder on February 27, 2014, 02:19:36 PM
But a Priest book won at Bashcon, didn't it?

Indeed. And there was a pretty unusual Earth Wizard build as the sole Wizard...
I am not taking anything away from the worthy winner (who in my opinion was brave to enter with a Priest).
But I think OCTGN is a much better indicator of what's a strong mage out there (and the global meta).
I would be interested if sIKE or Lettucemode could print out the win/loss resulte of mages on OCTGN...

What we may be seeing is a difference in books because of tournament timings and win on damage/health rules.

We have to assume that there are two different metagames in MW: one for timed games and one for untimed games.

I can see why most people would think this way. I will tell you from experience that you can play anything from the most aggressive builds to the most control heavy and win in about 45 minutes. Just keep in mind the goal is to kill the other mage. The only time I see games take 2 hours plus is when you have 2 turtle builds and nobody wants to commit to attacking.

The OCTGN meta and most local metas I expect, all play an unlimited time limit game.
Because frankly I consider it the most skillful way to play the game (but sadly impossible in tournaments).
And yes, just like in Chess, you resign when you know your chance of victory is lost (when Aggro stalls vs. Control).

You yourself Kich, playing Air Wizard, came 2nd in Tom's convention and said...

My big takeaway from my games tonight? Cloak of Shadows is the real deal, and my Wizard Teleport Ambush book had a miserable time trying to go off against Necro under tournament timing. I couldn't be more pleased!

Your game report and others gave quite crucial insights for me in 2 ways because it confirmed:
1. Obscured hurts Wizard (why I focused on Necro in the later "How to Beat the Wiz" thread)
2. There is indeed 2 different metas, the tournament game and the unlimited time limit game.

I know how erudite you are, Kich. So I hope you refering BashCon's Priest win was not deliberately disingenous. :)

As for your fave phrase, between "spiders catching flies" and Aaron's "turn on a dime", we may have a long wait...
Meantime I wonder how many disenchanted players may leave the Mage Wars hobby because of this imbalance.
I mean how long have they known that Wizard's Tower, coming out with Temple of Light's nerf, was overpowered?
From the way I've lost local players, I weep at the damage that ostriche conservatism may have done to the game.

You have also claimed...

I can think of two cards off the top of my head in the new set that will disrupt the meta enough to require adaptation from BB.

Wizard is still very strong, of course, but the metagame is always a moving target.

As you know from PMs, I don't think a War Mage Only card and another War 1 Earth 1 card will dethrone the Wizard.
They just give a Warlord a good game against a Wizard (I admit the latter will have impact as everyone can play it).
I fear you are feeding false hope like...

I recall kich said in a post in the BB thread that there are at least 2 new cards that will give that build trouble...

But I sincerely hope I am proved wrong, that all my anti-Wizard proposals that never saw fruition were not needed.
However assuming the final cut is still true, I sadly do not see Wizard being dethroned in the unlimited time format.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: sIKE on February 27, 2014, 02:35:38 PM
Water Wizard would probably be the least affected by these changes, the end result would still result in a smaller toolbox and decreased flexibility. With the Druid out there, the Water Wizard would probably want to carry one or two Fire Spells...

The Wizard Tower nerf should be Epic. The problem with it now is that it isn't worth taking down as it will just be replaced by another. Epic would resolve that dilemma, placement and protecting would be a much higher priority which means that a Wizard will not move one down/up round 1 and cast it into the FC zone and start blasting.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: ringkichard on February 27, 2014, 02:42:22 PM
We'll know more after Gencon, but I suspect that Wizard will overall do very well, but not be the exclusive one to do so. I think Burn Condition strategies, from a number of different mages, will generally do well, also.

I think you're right that Wizard does worse in a strictly timed environment. I'm not sure that's a problem, except that it distorts our playtester perception of Wizard's power if we're only playing tournament timing.

I lost a couple of arguments about the power-level of some spells that could have hurt Wizard more, so I understand your frustration, but I really do think this problem is getting better, not worse.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: ringkichard on February 27, 2014, 02:44:00 PM
I could get behind making Wizard's Tower Epic. I don't know that it would have a whole lot of effect (compared to making Hand of Bim-Shalla Epic) but that seems like a reasonable idea. I'd want to see exactly how FiF effects the meta, first, though.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: webcatcher on February 27, 2014, 02:47:11 PM
I agree that Epic is the simplest and best fix for the tower. Here's an alternative to the Wizard nerf off the top of my head. What if this sentence was added to the Training section of the rulebook: "Because they are critical for any mage and are among the first spells learned in any magic curriculum, all mages are considered trained in level 1 arcane spells regardless of their other training restrictions."
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: sIKE on February 27, 2014, 02:54:10 PM
I could get behind making Wizard's Tower Epic. I don't know that it would have a whole lot of effect (compared to making Hand of Bim-Shalla Epic) but that seems like a reasonable idea. I'd want to see exactly how FiF effects the meta, first, though.
HoB was made Unique, so you can run multiples still, but only have one on the board at a time.
Title: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on February 27, 2014, 03:11:54 PM
Now that I think of it, paying triple for nature and having more non-arcane equivalents of staple spells probably will be exactly enough. The warlock is trained in fire but does not pay triple for water spells, after all.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: DeckBuilder on February 27, 2014, 05:26:30 PM
I agree that Epic is the simplest and best fix for the tower. Here's an alternative to the Wizard nerf off the top of my head. What if this sentence was added to the Training section of the rulebook: "Because they are critical for any mage and are among the first spells learned in any magic curriculum, all mages are considered trained in level 1 arcane spells regardless of their other training restrictions."

I like elegant solutions. And this is elegant.
A rules change that applies to all mages hence why it is not mentioned on cards because it's universal.
I like the elegance of the solution.

However, it changes the game hugely.
I'm still working out what this does. to the game...

Very interesting...
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: ringkichard on February 27, 2014, 05:39:50 PM
Very interesting! Nullify and Dispel and Seeking Dispell and .... I'm at work, would we need to exempt any creatures?

Doesn't solve Teleport, but hits a lot of the other problem areas.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: baronzaltor on February 27, 2014, 06:09:10 PM
Global Level 1 Arcane Spells would effectively make all the following spells novice:

Dispel
Elemental Cloak
Enchanters Wardstone
Enchantment Transfusion
Harmonize
Jinx
Mage Staff
Mana Crystal
Moonglow Amulet
Nullify
Seeking Dispel
Teleport Trap
Shift Enchantment (already novice)

and, a promo card: Mana Vampirism

Arcane actually doesn't have any level 1 creatures at this point that I can come up with.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Charmyna on February 27, 2014, 07:03:48 PM
I agree that Epic is the simplest and best fix for the tower. Here's an alternative to the Wizard nerf off the top of my head. What if this sentence was added to the Training section of the rulebook: "Because they are critical for any mage and are among the first spells learned in any magic curriculum, all mages are considered trained in level 1 arcane spells regardless of their other training restrictions."

I like elegant solutions. And this is elegant.
A rules change that applies to all mages hence why it is not mentioned on cards because it's universal.
I like the elegance of the solution.

However, it changes the game hugely.
I'm still working out what this does. to the game...

Very interesting...

I like the elegance of this solution as well! But there is a huge BUT:
What will this do to the meta? I am quite sure the majority of builds will include 5-6 Dispels and 2-4 Seeking Dispels. In such a meta how many builds will include enchantments which cost more than two spellpoints? I might take some enchants for three spellpoints in my books (e.g. triple cost lvl one), but I would really hesitate to include level two out of school enchants into any book or level four enchants like Forcefield.
So in the end such a change might hurt deckbuilding flexibility and the game in general. Therefore I prefer to go with a Novice Dispel+Dissolve version which only work on level one targets and with lower range. The risk of hurting the game is lower as compared to the big elegant solution and if we feel those two spells are not enough more novice versions like Nullify can be added later. I prefer going the way to balance step by step instead of rushing forward.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: webcatcher on February 27, 2014, 07:05:14 PM
I think we could exempt creatures for the sake of flavor. The enchantments, incantations, conjurations and equipment would solve a lot of arcane-school-utility-concentration issues and would retain the fluff (because why wouldn't a master mage in any discipline be trained in basic arcane spells?)
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: webcatcher on February 27, 2014, 07:12:59 PM
Quote
What will this do to the meta? I am quite sure the majority of builds will include 5-6 Dispels and 2-4 Seeking Dispels. In such a meta how many builds will include enchantments which cost more than two spellpoints? I might take some enchants for three spellpoints in my books (e.g. triple cost lvl one), but I would really hesitate to include level two out of school enchants into any book or level four enchants like Forcefield.

It'll definitely change the meta, but I'm not sure it'll be for the worse. I think one of two things is likely to happen.

1) People will begin saving their large enchantments for the endgame after they've already drawn dispels with lesser enchantments. If I'm playing a forcemaster and I want to use my forcefield(s) late game I might drop a magebane or two early game so my opponent has to choose between leaving the magebanes in place and saving his dispels for the big stuff or he can suffer the effects of the curse the entire game. And since I'm getting my own dispels and nullifies cheaper I'll have the extra book points to add the extra magebanes.

2) People will cluster their enchantments more (BB style). My forcemaster might not jump into the fray until she's got a facedown bear strength, mongoose agility, forcefield, nullify, decoy, regrowth on her. Then I reveal all at once and let my opponent either try to dispel them one at a time (very time and mana intensive) or go for the purge magic (and let him hope he guesses right on his seeking dispel lest he target the decoy).

A change? Sure. A change for the worse? I don't think so.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Zuberi on February 27, 2014, 10:30:09 PM
Warning: Long post to follow. We're talking DeckBuilder size in length, lol

This thread really took off. I had to read 3 new pages before I could post, lol. I'm going to start my post by restating the goal of the thread. We want to make all mages equally viable. Currently we are working with the list provided by Charmyna as follows:

Power Level in the current Meta
1. Wizards (all flavours)
2. Druid, Necromancer, Warlock, Priestess, Forcemaster
3. Straywood, Priest, Jokhtari
4. Warlord

Since half of all mages are already on level 2, I think that is where we should aim for all of them ending up. This means nerfing the Wizard and improving the Priest, both Beastmasters, and the Warlord.

Knocking the Wizard down a peg
So far, people have proposed the following strengths that make the wizard more powerful than we want him.

#1 Cheap Arcane Spells
This is a problem because not only is Arcane very versatile, but a lot of it's spells are considered necessary. I like having versatile schools and believe a lack of versatility in other schools is actually more of a problem than the abundance in Arcane. However the necessitation of spells is a huge issue.

So why are these spells considered necessary? It's not because they are overpowered. It's because they have unique functionality. They do things that nothing else can.

Solution: There should be multiple options, in multiple schools of magic, to achieve any particular function in the game. I like having unique spells that do unique things. I am not proposing that we simply make copies of every spell. However, any card you look at could be categorized according to a fairly small list of functions which are performed within the game. It might perform this function differently than any other card, but there should be other cards that are capable of performing said function.

Example of a function:
Enchantment Removal. Defined as any card which eliminates the effect an enchantment has on the game. Now, there are several cards that can perform this function in a limited capacity, however the list of cards that can perform it in a general sense with any enchantment would be: Dispel, Destroy Magic, Seeking Dispel, Purge Magic, and Steal Enchantment.

The big problem with this list, is that it is entirely Arcane. We need non-arcane solutions. These solutions also need to be viable enough to compete with the Arcane ones. If you can find a card function that is performed entirely by one school of magic, then I believe you have an issue. Currently, this issue plagues the Enchantment Removal I mentioned, as well as Counter Spells (Nullify, Reverse Magic, Jinx).

A lot of people also will cite Repositioning Spells as a problem area (teleport). I think this category may be unbalanced in teleports favor, but I do not think it lacks alternatives. Any spell with a push effect would also fit in this category in a general sense, and there are other spells that could be included in a more limited sense (Charge). I think here we just need to balance the options. A similar case might exist with Equipment Removal (Dissolve, Explode, Steal Equipment, Corrossive Orchid) where there needs to be balance.

Alternate Solution: Whereas my solution is to release cards that perform the same function but exist in different schools from Arcane, DeckBuilder suggests we release Novice versions of the cards. This has the advantage thematically of keeping the flavor of the schools. It also has the advantage of not needing to worry about someone overloading on spells. It has the disadvantage of homogenizing the game.

I don't believe everyone NEEDS to be able to get a function at face value. I just don't think anyone should have the monopoly on it. Being the only one to get it at face value is bad, especially if anyone has to pay triple your price for it. However, the game has room to allow some people to get it at face value and some to get it at double value. Again, nobody should have to pay triple though.

Take healing for example. Currently ways to heal your creatures can be found in the Holy, Nature, and Dark schools. Nobody is screaming foul that Arcane, Mind, and War mages have to pay twice as much to receive this functionality. However, if all of the healing spells were Holy, we would have a major problem.

Worrying about people overloading on the different options is not an unfounded concern. However, I seriously doubt anyone will dedicate more than 1/10 of their spellbook to a single functionality. Currently most people spend around 10 to 12 spell points on Enchantment Removal (Dispel + Seeking Dispel) for example, including Charmyna's Blasting Banker build, and I doubt that will increase much if any. Thus a non-arcane alternative to Dispel would not be a problem. With a non-water alternative to Dissolve, water mages might carry around 8 or 9 equipment removal spells, but they can do that currently anyways with Corrossive Orchid. Granted the new option might be better than Corrossive Orchid, but I don't think it would change the game that much.

The main effect of releasing alternate school options, would be doubling the number of mages capable of fielding so many spells of that functionality. If we made a Holy Dispel, for example, now you have to worry about Priests having tons of enchantment removal. Everyone else would have the same amount, and Wizards would still have more due to having both Dispel and Seeking Dispel. This would definitely impact the meta, but I don't think it would actually impact game balance or the balance of different card types. We would not see Enchantment use plummet, nor would an alternate Dissolve cause Equipment use to plummet.

The Novice spell idea is actually what would flood the market. Yes, it guarantees no single book overloads on said spells, but as I've just stated I don't think that would happen anyways. However, what it does do, is guarantee everyone will be wielding the same number of these cards that Wizards currently do. That's nearly double the number of Dispels and Dissolves and Nullifies, etc, entering the meta. That will cause a big ripple effect.

Alternate Solution #2: Someone (too lazy to look up who right now, sorry) mentioned giving every mage training in level 1 Arcane. This is a horrible idea. It again homogenizes the game, would flood the market with such spells (like the Novice idea would), and have such a huge impact on the game on whole that nobody could possibly predict the consequences. I do like that it wouldn't require any card errata or even any new cards. It could be implemented over night. So I applaud you on elegance, but it is an elegant nightmare.

#2 Wizards Tower is overpowered
Why is it overpowered? It's not any more useful than other familiars. In fact, being stationary, it could be considered a lot less useful. However it is easier to get out. It is the cheapest familiar to get out (other than goblin builder) and only requires a quick action to do so. It is also tougher to bring down. Every other familiar currently can be gotten rid of with either a single attack spell or a dissolve, while the 3 armor and 7 hitpoints of the tower typically requires at least two actions to take out. Thus, the spell is harder to deal with and easier to replace.

Solution: Making the card Epic would definitely solve the issue. I support this solution.

#3 No weak school
I've stated before that the lack of a weak school for the Wizard has always flummoxed me, as it has others. It seems intuitively unbalanced. Earlier in this thread I even jumped on the bandwagon to grab up our pitchforks and demand such an errata. I would like to jump off that bandwagon now. As I just finished saying above, no school should have a monopoly on any sort of game functionality. If there are alternate solutions to every problem, then nobody should be forced to take their weak school. Thus, giving a mage a weak school should not inherently make them weaker. They should be just as viable with it as without it. Sure, it limits their options and makes them more predictable, but it does not actually make them weaker. Ringkichard made a similar statement somewhere in this thread himself.

Let's say we do make them weak in Nature. Well, they might not use Regrowth, but they could use Heal or Vampirism. They might not use Rhino Hide, but perhaps Fortified Position. No Tanglevine but still Force Hold.

Solution: None needed. It does not actually contribute to the Wizards power, just their versatility.

Conclusion
I think Wizard's Tower needs to be brought in line with other familiars. I'm not positive that making it Epic is the only, or even the best, way to do this, but it is the best solution I have heard. I also think there needs to be non-arcane alternatives to spells with unique functionality. Once those things have been accomplished, I can't think of any reason the Wizard should be out of alignment with the other mages.

I had planned to do a write up on the 4 sub par mages as well, but I didn't realize how long this was going to be, so I shall do those at a later time.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: sIKE on February 27, 2014, 11:46:55 PM
@Zuberi

Very nice write up, the only thing I didn't see covered was nerfing the very superior Spell Cost efficiency of the Wizard. The efficiency allows for both depth and breadth in spell selection that no other mage can match.  We can talk around everything else, but nothing you wrote up will prevent a Water (or choose any element) Wizard for carrying the best spells that Air, Fire, and Earth have to offer, and the same for spellbook construction costs with the Dark, Nature, Mind, and Holy schools.

It only gets worse with each release, just a wider selection to choose from....
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on February 28, 2014, 12:13:34 AM
Many really good arguments! I've changed my mind lots of times now.

A few things I noticed:

Do all mages really need an opposing school(s)?

If there's ever a Holy/Dark mage what would its opposing school(s) be?

Also, the beastmaster pays triple for fire but not war or arcane. How would it be thematic for arcane and nature to be enemies? What would it be like to have an arcane/nature mage? I imagine it to be something like blue counter wizards in MtG. Summon a swarm of creatures and the more you have, the more spells you can counter. Or build up armor/health/defenses etc on one really controlling and long lasting creature to control the opponent as their life depletes.

Just reminded myself that the scope of the solution does not necessarily need to equal the scope of the problem.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Zuberi on February 28, 2014, 12:58:59 AM
@sIKE

I thought about listing the fact that the Wizard can choose training in a minor school, but towards the end of the post I was kinda wanting to wrap it up, lol. Plus it kind of is subject to the same arguments under point #3 regarding not having a weakness in any school. It increases their versatility but not actually their potency. And potency is the topic at hand.

So they can cherry pick a minor school and don't suffer any weak schools. This means any new cards that come out can most definitely be beneficial to the Wizard, especially any elemental spells. However, they won't benefit the wizard any MORE than any other mage with similar training.

Earth spells do not benefit an Earth Wizard more than they benefit the Warlord. That is not why the Wizard is strong and the Warlord is weak. The primary thing at fault there is the monopoly that Arcane has on certain functionality and the overall weakness of the War school. There are other issues as well, but the fact that Wizards can dip into Earth is not one of them.

A great example here would be to compare the Wizard to the Warlock. Before Wizard's Tower was released, most people considered these mages equal (both top tier). That's what we want to get back to, an equal playing field. Nobody would argue that the Wizard is and was more versatile than the Warlock, but the point is he was not more powerful. A fire wizard didn't out-warlock the warlock. They actually played quite different from one another. But they were both viable.

To be honest I think nerfing the tower is all that is actually needed to knock the wizard back down to tier 2. Breaking his monopoly on Arcane spells doesn't actually hurt him. It will however benefit the other mages and is a good philosophy for the game in general. None of the schools of magic should have that kind of power. Some people seem to think the Wizard needs more of a nerf than this, but I think that is more of an emotional back lash than anything that's been well thought out. Plus, we don't have to change everything at once. Nerf the tower and then reassess the situation. If he needs further tweaking, we can do so. But we don't want to slam him into uselessness. Baby steps.

I would like to add that I forgot to include one of the big reasons that the Wizard's tower is overpowered. It get's to act out of turn. Most of the other familiars require a creature action to act. The only other one that does not is Sectarus, and it is limited by only being able to act after your mage has performed a specific action (melee attack). Meanwhile, the Wizard's Tower can act before or after any friendly creature. This allows for powerful combos and even more versatility.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: silverclawgrizzly on February 28, 2014, 01:11:46 AM
Being able to cast out of turn is easily the Wizard Towers greatest strength in my view. Very good point Zuberi.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Zuberi on February 28, 2014, 01:22:29 AM
Indeed. I have no clue how I forgot it in my assessment. It doesn't change the fact that I think making the tower Epic is the best solution thus far suggested though.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Zuberi on February 28, 2014, 02:51:27 AM
Zuberi's Assessment Part 2: Tier 3 Mages
The following mages have been deemed sub-par by my esteemed colleagues: Straywood Beastmaster, Johktari Beastmaster, and Priest. Thus, I shall be taking a look at why that is the case and what can be done to improve them.

Priest
I'm starting with the Priest because, well, he is my favorite mage. This makes me more familiar with him than the others. It might surprise you to hear me say this about my favorite mage, but I agree with the assessment that he is handicapped. I don't think he is anywhere near unplayable. He can compete quite nicely. He even won a tournament here recently. But overall, he does have a harder time of it than his fellows. Why is that?

Lack of Options
The main problem with the Priest is options. The Holy school he is trained in includes 7 enchantments, an equal number of incantations, and even fewer conjurations and equipment. Most of it's incantations are healing spells, and one third of it's creatures are level 5 legendary creatures. It has no level 2 creatures at all. And the vast majority of these spells are defensive in nature, while the Priest screams to be an aggressive mage.

Now, sure he can dip into other schools. However, like most mages, he would like to get as many in school options as he can before looking elsewhere. Being trained in a school with a very limited card pool which doesn't even support your style of play is a big hinderance.

The solution is simple. Release more Holy spells. Across the board. More conjurations, enchantments, equipment, incantations, and creatures are all needed. New attack spells would also be nice, but many schools don't have them at all, so I'm not going to complain about those. Preferably release holy spells that support aggressive play. I expect these are already planned for Paladin vs Siren and eagerly await that expansion in probably another 8 months.

Johktari Beastmaster
The other mage from Kumanjaro, the Johktari is also considered sub-par. Unlike the Priest, she has many options available to her. What are her issues then? Her inherent mage abilities. She has one ability that is useless in way too many matches, and her other abilities do not play nice together.

Wounded Prey
Her first issue is Wounded Prey. This ability looks pretty nice to start with. It is a free, reusable, Marked for Death. Unlike that card, however, it only works against Living Creatures, and can not be used on the enemy Mage. In a meta flooded with non-living creatures, this makes the ability completely useless in too many matches for comfort.

Obviously, we need to make this ability useful against people who don't run any living creatures. I don't think we need to do an errata to the ability itself though. Perhaps create a Beastmaster only conjuration that only provides a benefit if they don't have any mage specific markers (Wounded Prey and Pet) currently in play. In a normal match up, they would then have options, and in a match up where wounded prey was useless she would have an alternative (note this would help against Solo Mages as well). It might be possible to make such a card useful to mages other than beastmasters. I don't want a card with too narrow a market, but this is an issue unique to the Johktari. Perhaps our creative expert, ACG, can come up with something more elegant. Maybe he already has and I'm just not thinking of it.

Hit and Run
The second problem with the Johktari Beastmaster is that she is screaming for freedom. She cries out to be our number one skirmisher mage, conducting hit and run attacks and kiting her opponents in circles. She has both the Fast trait and the Ranged +1 trait (for non-spell attacks). Unfortunately these two can not currently be used together.

The solution would be to make a ranged weapon with a quick action attack. This would allow the Johktari to come into her own and do what she was born to do. This does need to be playtested thoroughly for balance, as it could easily be over powered, but she is just begging for it.

Straywood Beastmaster
The only core mage that is considered sub-par. Honestly, I'm not certain why. He would love to have more swarm support, but I think he should be perfectly capable of a few big strategy. I'm failing to think of any actual weaknesses that are keeping him from being Tier 2 where we want him to be. Perhaps the problem is that too many people are trying to play him with Swarm, since that is what he clearly wants to do, and he just doesn't have the support necessary for it?

Therefore, my proposed solution to bring him up to the appropriate level is to release cards to support a swarm strategy. Nothing specific comes to mind, whatever more creative people than I can think of will work.

Conclusion
All three of these mages are on the cusp of being where they need to be. The Johktari is the only one with specific weaknesses, while the other two just need more card support.

Up Next: The Warlord.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: silverclawgrizzly on February 28, 2014, 03:09:59 AM
*stops reading his newspaper* The Stray Wood is sub par? I'd like to test that theory.  8)

Note I only partially swarm with the Straywood. I use large creatures to keep my opponent bust while I build a decent sized army/power base.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Zuberi on February 28, 2014, 04:00:42 AM
Zuberi's Assessment Part 3: War. What is it good for?
I'm hoping this assessment is actually the least useful to Arcane Wonders. With Forged in Fire on the horizon, they have hopefully already analyzed the Warlord with a fine toothed comb and are getting ready to fix him at any moment. Still, we're looking at everyone, and you never know if they might have missed something. So let's dive in to why this guy is considered the worst of the bunch.

Allergic to the Arcane
No other mage is stifled as much by their weakness in magic as the Warlord is. This relates to what I posted in my previous write up on the Wizard. Currently the Arcane school of magic has a monopoly on certain functions within the game. This requires any mage who wants those functions to buy into Arcane. For a mage who pays triple cost on Arcane, this tax is unbearable.

This tax applies to Enchantment Removal and Counterspells. It can also be felt with Repositioning spells, as push effects can be easily defended against unlike teleports. This means the Warlord will be completely ineffectual at these functions of the game.

The Solution, as I posted in my Wizard section, is to make viable non-arcane alternatives for these functions. They don't have to be War spells, I'm perfectly fine with the Warlord paying double cost to get them. But he should not have to pay triple to get some form of Dispel and Nullify. You should also nerf teleports by introducing a mechanic that defends against them. That way push effects would be a viable option for the Warlord, and anybody else.}

In War, nobody wins.
War is without a doubt the weakest school of magic currently. It's most useful cards are Novice, conferring no special benefit to the Warlord, or level 1, confering a very small benefit to the Warlord. His creature pool is actually really nice, but otherwise he just doesn't have any strong or distinctive spells that make War worthwhile.

The solution is to release some level 2+ War spells that are worth caring about. Something to make the other mages jealous and just maybe think about dishing out the points for.

Mage Abilities
I'm not certain if his Veterans and Battle Orders ability are fine with a few big strategy or not. They don't seem too weak. However, they both would definitely benefit from increased swarm activity. Battle Orders gets better with the more creatures the Warlord has, while Veterans gets better when your opponent has multiple small creatures instead of a few large ones.

Solution: Make swarms a more viable strategy. This will diversify the game as well as helping the Warlord.

Leading from the Front
With his Battle Skill, the Warlord would make a perfectly capable front line leader. However, his equipment is a hinderance. The weapon made for him requires 2-hands and is not significantly better than other mages 1-handed weapons. This limits his options without an adequate pay off. You could provide him with a new weapon (there's 2 promo ones to choose from) or you could make the War Sledge a more attractive option. Perhaps release an enchantment that gives +1 Melee to 1-handed weapons and +2 melee to 2-handed ones.

Outposts
Do these really need to be spaced so far apart? Really? I'm sure you guys have a reason for this limitation, but I would really like to see it actually put into the game. Regardless, he could use some more outposts since his spawnpoint runs off them and he would really like to use his spawnpoint. Garrison Post is nearly useless and Archer's Tower is only good for a ranged strategy.

Conclusion
What the Warlord needs is a massive amount of card support. He needs non-arcane options for certain functionality within the game, and he needs worthwhile War spells. He would like to have more outposts, equipment, and swarm support but I'm not sure those are absolutely necessary to bring him on par. Addressing the disparity between the Arcane and War schools may be enough to fix this mage. However, if you're releasing cards to fix these two schools of magic, you could go ahead and throw him a bone in those other areas.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Zuberi on February 28, 2014, 04:08:22 AM
Quote from: silverclawgrizzly
The Stray Wood is sub par?

I was surprised by this as well. I trust Charmyna's judgement as he undoubtedly has more expertise on the subject than I, but I have a hard time justifying this sentiment. The only reason I can think of, as I stated, is that people are misplaying him. They may be trying to play him to his apparent strengths rather than his actual strengths.

Perhaps Charmyna could shed some light on his judgement, so we know what need be addressed.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Charmyna on February 28, 2014, 04:18:59 AM
Straywood Beastmaster
The only core mage that is considered sub-par. Honestly, I'm not certain why. He would love to have more swarm support, but I think he should be perfectly capable of a few big strategy. I'm failing to think of any actual weaknesses that are keeping him from being Tier 2 where we want him to be. Perhaps the problem is that too many people are trying to play him with Swarm, since that is what he clearly wants to do, and he just doesn't have the support necessary for it?

Therefore, my proposed solution to bring him up to the appropriate level is to release cards to support a swarm strategy. Nothing specific comes to mind, whatever more creative people than I can think of will work.


Im not sure if he is Tier 3. I guess most of my opponents would place him tier 2 (many play him these days). Its just that in 90% of my games with Druid against Beastmaster the BM did not see any light at all. Well maybe I overrate this ;). Maybe an awesome Beastmaster just has to show me how he needs to be played. His abilities look really good for sure. He has one of the best spawnpoints as well.
Maybe its just that I really prefer mages with 10 channeling (counting druid as 10 channeling).
Well, I havent played Beastmaster for long so maybe I should build one and test him in the actual meta.

@Wizards Tower:
Im not sure how much this card is responsible for the mages success. Sure it is really nice that the tower is tough, a quick cast and it can be used in the same round he was cast. Still, I only include one Tower in the Blasting Banker because it costs too much if used constantly. It helps for sure to increase the focused damage after banking mana. So I wouldnt mind an errata to the tower.
I disagree though that the tower is the only or biggest issue with the wizard! Even without Wizards Tower I think the BB will crush most builds because of his big spellbook and voltaric shield.
Big spellbook is power! Many might not agree with me if I say "Its all about spellpoints" but I really think its almost all about them! If you play against an equally skilled opponent the game wont be a quick one. Sooner or later you will get to a point where you are out of essential spells/options. This point is reached far later for the wizard!  Therefore I believe we do either need one or two triple schools for him and/or novice versions of Dispel/Dissolves.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Zuberi on February 28, 2014, 04:38:52 AM
Having a weak school though should not shrink his spellbook. He shouldn't have to choose any spells from his weak school, meaning his spell book will be just as large and functional as it is now. Some wizards may choose to dip into their weak school, but they wouldn't be required to. If you believe his spellbook size is the problem, then the solution would be to reduce his spellpoints.

And I would still prefer alternate school options for Dissolve and Dispel rather than Novice ones. The Novice idea would flood the game with those spells. Not everyone needs 6 copies of Dissolve and Dispel. Not to mention the inelegant rules change needed for it to work as intended.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Charmyna on February 28, 2014, 04:41:13 AM
Having a weak school though should not shrink his spellbook. He shouldn't have to choose any spells from his weak school, meaning his spell book will be just as large and functional as it is now. Some wizards may choose to dip into their weak school, but they wouldn't be required to. If you believe his spellbook size is the problem, then the solution would be to reduce his spellpoints.

And I would still prefer alternate school options for Dissolve and Dispel rather than Novice ones. The Novice idea would flood the game with those spells. Not everyone needs 6 copies of Dissolve and Dispel. Not to mention the inelegant rules change needed for it to work as intended.

Well I believe its really hard to work around nature school. And the veterans belt is too good to not include one or two. Even if some Wizards do not invest into the opposing schools at all (especially nature) that will still weaken them! Sure, it might not matter for their spellbook size, but then a Wizard without nature enchantments is quite weakened compared to one with nature access!
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Zuberi on February 28, 2014, 05:43:45 AM
You got me to jump on the card errata band wagon once before Charmyna, and it might be possible to bring me back aboard. You are far more versed in the current state of the game than I am. I don't see nearly as much play time as I would like. However, I'm going to delve into the theoretical a little.

If we are thinking long term about an idea state of the game that Arcane Wonders should be striving towards, then:
A) All the schools should be equal in power.
B) None of the schools should have cards that you are required to take.

In this idea state, having a Weak school would not impede the Wizard at all. He would be able to ignore his weak school and take equally potent spells from the other schools. It's only in an imperfect state of the game that having a weakness hampers the Wizard. Only when that weak school of magic preclude the Wizard from taking over powered or unique spells does the Wizard suffer. I'm going to argue that such overpowered and unique spells should not exist, and therefore the Wizard should not suffer.

Granted, it is probably impossible to reach such a state in the game. There will always be powerful spells and there will always be a difference between the schools, and things will shift from expansion to expansion. However, unless they actually want to construct an imbalance between the schools, giving the Wizard a weak school is not the solution. If we gave the Wizard a weakness in Nature, it only remains a handicap as long as there exist overpowered or unique spells in Nature that the Wizard wants. Arcane Wonders would then have to make sure this stayed the case to prevent the Wizard from resurfacing. This would in turn make sure Nature mages had an advantage which would have to be addressed. We would have a snowball effect in design principal.

If the veterans belt is "too good" then I think that is a problem on it's own that needs to be addressed. If a lack of nature enchants quite weakens you, then I think that is another problem that needs to be addressed. Ideally you should have viable options and not be required to take any specific thing. That is what we should strive for. And with that in mind, a weak school does not do the trick.

I took another look at your Blasting Banker build. The latest iteration contains 75 cards, which is roughly 33% more than my spellbooks. However, I have built spellbooks that haven't included anything from my weak school before, and NEVER reached above 65 spells in them. Therefore, the reason you have so many spells has to be because you are including more IN SCHOOL spells than me. Taking another look, and I see that indeed 46 of your spells are in school!!! That is insane!!!

Thus, I think you are correct that the main problem is that you have a bigger book than me. A 33% increase in available spells is HUGE. However, I think the root of this problem is your in school spells, not your out of school ones. The solution then is to eliminate the power discrepancy between Arcane and the other schools of magic, not to change the Wizard himself.

Unfortunately, this means the problem will be much more difficult to solve. We can't reduce the options available to Arcane, so we have to increase ALL of the other major schools. We need to provide enough power and versatility in each school so that the typical spellbook contains 40-some in school spells for every mage. This is a daunting task.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: DeckBuilder on February 28, 2014, 06:03:56 AM
I was a bit surprised with Straywood being Tier 3 in Charmyna's poll
I think the issue here may be "how experienced the player is"
I'd expect the Straywood is the natural starting mage for most players
So I would say you are more likely to encounter newer players on OCTGN playing Straywood, still learning
Could that preference for less experienced players be clouding the issue?
As you can see, I believe Straywood Beastmaster is tier 2

My personal feeling is the Forcemaster is tier 3
Her creatures are so fragile/useless that she has to pay triple for Elites to stay near-par on actions
So she is already stuffed in the long attrition game - win or die
Then we have Psychic Immunity so she avoids half her spells
Yes, the 2 Grizzlies build is very strong, leveraging untype Force Pull and her Defenses - but that's it
There is only one way to play her - she is incredibly one-dimensional
And that does not make for a good mage design (but this cool Jedi superhero idea can be saved)
She is tier 2 for just 1 build (Import) and the other options (Spores, Solo) just don't work
To be tier 2 for using the type of spells you are not supposed to use is horrible design

As for why I rated Warlock below Priest, this may be because my local meta plays a lot of Nonliving
Earth wizard, Air wizard, Zombies, Skeletons
Warlock suffers all the issues of Jokhtari here in a far subtler way (Bloodthirsty Reaper, Vampirism, Death Link etc)
As a result, the Warlock is very unreliable - awesome against Living, rubbish against Nonliving
An unreliable mage is tier 3 in my books

I was not surprised by Priests appearing in tournament games with its most life left as a tie-breaker
Who else has as much damage potential as well as healing potential?
Well, the Warlock has with all his drain life style abilities but he is match-up lotteries
Perhaps again the Priest being stronger here is a reflection of the local Nonliving meta.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: BoomFrog on February 28, 2014, 06:10:15 AM
I wanted to read this whole thread before replying but it's moving too fast for me.  However skimming I believe this critical point has not been talked about enough:

Quote from: baronzaltor
-He is trained in Arcane.  That alone is enough to make a strong mage, also its worth noting Arcane contains all of its own counters.  Its magic AND metamagic.  Its mana AND mana denial.  As such, he monopolizes his own counter measures.  A good chunk of this schools themes should have been distributed over other schools.   So its very hard to build against an Arcane mage without being an Arcane mage (this issue isn't just an Arcane one, but is relevant here)
For thematic reasons Arcane has it's own counters.  It doesn't matter if Wizard is strong, what matters is that the counter to a wizard is another wizard.  Teleport is countered only really by more teleports, Dispell is countered by enchanter's wardstone or transfusion.  Transfusion is countered by seeking dispell and destroy magic.  Mana denial is countered by mana generators and mana prism.  Whirling spirit is countered by ethereal, most of which are arcane.

That's what destroys the lizard-dynimite-spock balance of the metagame.  If the druid was the only teir 1 then fire wizard and warlock would rise in power just by their metaposition.  If Warlock was Teir 1 then necro and earth wizard would rise in power.  But if Wizard is the only teir 1 then only wizard rises in power in the meta.  That's what caused the meta feedback loop.  Every mage needs his counter to be in the hands of another mage, so let's put them there.  That's my main point but here's some specific ideas for Warlord spells that counter arcane problems:

Teleport is a strong flexible card but the reason it is essential is that it is the cornerstone of pit assassination strategies.  It is also the best counter to a pit assassination aside from having piles and piles of personal defenses.  My proposed counter is: Fall Back!

Fall Back! - War 1 - Enchantment, Command - Friendly Corporeal Creature - Mana 2/1 - When Fall Back! is revealed move attacked creature one zone.  You cannot reveal Fall Back during a spell cast step or an attack step.  This has no effect on restrained creatures.

The idea is that you could use this after being teleported but before the pit death.  But what about forcehold I hear you say?

Force of Will - Mind 1 - Enchantment, Psychic - Target Self - Mana - 2/0 - [Basically mind shield but works on any enchantment revealed on your mage]

Wizard's Tower Wizards tower is strong but it is immobile.  This would be a much greater weakness if walls and blocking LoS in general were much more viable.  So the solution is to make cheap LoS walls available that cost less to cast then they do to destroy with an attack spell.

Wall of Dirt - Earth 1 - Wall, Extendable, Extendable - Mana 3 - Health 6 Armor 0 - And you thought the stones were dull.

I think putting extendable twice works within the rules, allowing you to place 3 walls at once for a total cost of 11 if the middle wall is in range.  This would help save actions vs wizard tower.  The main advantage of the other familiars is they can run away, wizard tower is much more comparable to battleforge and I don't personally think it is a broken card.  Just too strong in the current meta of no walls.

That's all I have time for today, hope this helps.  :)
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Charmyna on February 28, 2014, 07:42:49 AM
After thinking and playing around with the Beastmaster I realized what I dont like about him:
His quick summoning ability, the Ring of Beasts and his Spawnpoint play against each other. What I mean is: If you want to profit from the quick summoning and the ring you want to cast a level one creature as often as possible. If you want to gain an advantage from the Lair you want to use it as often as possible as well. So in the end you want like 1-2 small creatures every round. That is too much! You will have only very few mana left for other projects and as we all know animal swarm builds dont work that well. Maybe we should give them a try but I doubt much has changed for them.
So what to do? I try to cast as many creatures as possible (without going for too many small creatures) from the lair: some small, some Timber Wolfes, some Grizzlies. This way I save actions while using my mages actions for other stuff. Therefore, I will use the quick summoning only very few times during the game - actually I will use it so seldomly that I might not even consider casting the Ring of Beasts.
Lets compare this to the druid: He gains a benefit from his inherent abilities every round! The vine markers are great as is the treebond ability. Sure you might not use the vine tree every round to gain an action but you payed less for the tree compared to the lair and the tree has other uses as well. In addition the vine tree is much more flexible compared to the lair: Using it to cast Tanglevine can be quite important to lower the opponents damage output and you can use the tree to summon creatures at the front.
So atm I feel like the Beastmaster might be on par with Priestess and the Warlock. But the druid seems stronger for me and maybe the necro as well.

Edit: After thinking about it, maybe a mix of foxes/falcons and timber wolfes might work quite well with an Etherian Lifetree. Worth a try at least.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: DeckBuilder on February 28, 2014, 08:33:43 AM
I totally agree about Swarm - Obelisk/Orb is a huge big Sword of Damocles hanging over it
The Beastmaster Swarm build I posted (which uses Lifetree) does work and is fun but has too many weaknesses

I think you are being greedy about the anti-synergy between Lair and Ring of Beasts and Quick Summoning!
You are saying he has too many good options! Hardly a bad thing. :)

My usual Beastmaster does not use Lair, mainly 2 Grizzlies, 1 Galador, 1 Cervere + 4 Quick Summons and is brutal
The synergy is simply Forge -> Ring of Beasts -> Enchanter's Ring -> equip while buffing
No Lair, just straight at the opponent (you can even attack his start corner with a Falcon Pet in turn 2)
It's especially brital against players without Purge Magic (which is a weakness)

On the other hand, I know sdouglas2 posted some excellent Mid Range Straywood posts based on Lair and Flowers
It's not how I play him but I can see the greater long term resilience to my aggro-tempo build.

Yes, Swarm is fun but flawed currently
But the Straywood's other strategies are perfectly competitive against non-Wizards.

I started a thread among playtesters on "How to Improve Swarm and Ranged Control"
Which focused on 2 strategies that I felt were not fully realised with the Warlord (for FIF)
I will cull the less sensitive bits and re-post some of it

But I think we may have stumbled on an important distinction here
Certain strategies that are meant to be suited for certain mages are currently unplayable

Beastmaster Swarm
Warlord Ranged Control
Warlord Aggro Melee
Forcemaster Solo
Forcemaster Spores Control

Maybe, when looking at the non-Wizard mages, we need to identify what associated strategies don't work?
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: DeckBuilder on February 28, 2014, 08:36:26 AM
Wall of Dirt - Earth 1 - Wall, Extendable, Extendable - Mana 3 - Health 6 Armor 0 - And you thought the stones were dull.

I like this because it's such a simple unsexy card that promotes tactical play - isolates Forge too
There could be so much more tactical play skill in Mage Wars
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Wildhorn on February 28, 2014, 08:42:17 AM
About Zuberi's posts (very interestig and bring a different way to see things):

I agree, giving Wizard an opposite school would not hurt them that bad since most of their spellbook is made of Arcane. Opposite school would maybe hurt them by 5-6 SP (opposite school would just increase by 1 spells they already pay 2 for). Nothing to fix them.

Maybe Wizard should instead be nerfed by reducing its spellbook points from 120 to 110 or 100? Would be a more effective errata.

To boost War school, give swarm build more love and reduce power of teleport, here some card idea:

- Magnet boots: Prevent the mage to be teleported. (flavor text: "How do they work?"). This would be a level 2 War equipment. Being boots it would force to choose between them and Eagleclaw Boots and prevent a mage to be totally unmovable.

- Mana Dismentling: Destroye target conjuration that you own and control. Gain mana equal to half of the mana on that conjuration. Would be a level 2 War incantation. This would help with swarm deck for two reason. First, allow to get back some mana once Spawnpoints are done and only uselessly stack mana and also would help if you lay down a Mana Prism to counter some of the Obelisk upkeep.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: webcatcher on February 28, 2014, 08:49:48 AM
Quote
Alternate Solution #2: Someone (too lazy to look up who right now, sorry) mentioned giving every mage training in level 1 Arcane. This is a horrible idea. It again homogenizes the game, would flood the market with such spells (like the Novice idea would), and have such a huge impact on the game on whole that nobody could possibly predict the consequences. I do like that it wouldn't require any card errata or even any new cards. It could be implemented over night. So I applaud you on elegance, but it is an elegant nightmare.

That was me. I'm not going to try too hard to sell this idea since I think it's one of a number of viable options, but I don't think it would have nearly the impact you think it would. Remember, anyone who wants to can already load up on level 1 arcane spells just by playing a wizard. All this solution would do would be to let people do the same thing without recourse to the wizard. In my opinion, this is the opposite of homogenizing the game, because you get more viable builds vs the Wizard. As BoomFrog pointed out, Arcane is very strong and is the only thing that can counter Arcane. As we've seen, this is not healthy for the game. Releasing cards in muliple other schools that can counter arcane or releasing multiple novice spells are both valid solutions, but they're slow and carry their own potential balance pitfalls. At the end of the day, any of these solutions will change the game balance, but that's what we want, right? The game balance right now is Wizard on top with privileged access to most of the game's best spells, and everyone else playing at a disadvantage.

Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: ACG on February 28, 2014, 09:41:02 AM
Obviously, we need to make this ability useful against people who don't run any living creatures. I don't think we need to do an errata to the ability itself though. Perhaps create a Beastmaster only conjuration that only provides a benefit if they don't have any mage specific markers (Wounded Prey and Pet) currently in play. In a normal match up, they would then have options, and in a match up where wounded prey was useless she would have an alternative (note this would help against Solo Mages as well). It might be possible to make such a card useful to mages other than beastmasters. I don't want a card with too narrow a market, but this is an issue unique to the Johktari. Perhaps our creative expert, ACG, can come up with something more elegant. Maybe he already has and I'm just not thinking of it.

I literally can't resist a challenge. Here's a possible way to make Wounded Prey more useful by adding a card (the specific parameters may need to be tweaked a bit). I'm still trying to think of a more elegant solution.

(http://media.use.com/images/s_1/59e67a2ecccf77ec84a0.jpg) (http://www.use.com/59e67a2ecccf77ec84a0)

The idea is you attach it to a mage and then use wounded prey on it. Not particularly elegant, but effective. Note it has the "creature" subtype, so can be affected by things that affect creatures. Also effective against zombies, though at a high price (in spell points and mana). Can be used to make undead creatures vulnerable to poison, etc. since it is alive. Limited among the nonliving to undead creatures, since there are several nonliving creatures for which it would make absolutely no sense (how can a fungus infect a golem?)
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: sIKE on February 28, 2014, 10:03:34 AM
Quote
In this idea state, having a Weak school would not impede the Wizard at all. He would be able to ignore his weak school and take equally potent spells from the other schools. It's only in an imperfect state of the game that having a weakness hampers the Wizard. Only when that weak school of magic preclude the Wizard from taking over powered or unique spells does the Wizard suffer. I'm going to argue that such overpowered and unique spells should not exist, and therefore the Wizard should not suffer.
This is backwards thinking, once again Fire Wizard with an opposing elemental school would loose at least 6-10 spell points on "required" water spells. As Charmyna and I keep saying about the Wizard his strength in play is ability to carry a lot of cards (i.e. spells to cast) in his spellbook and a lot of the same card (i.e. Dissolve) of the most important ones due to no opposing school costs.

Look at Blasting Banker is carries 72(!) cards in it. Go count the number of spells in a non-Wizard book, my guess is they average about 60 + or -  a few in either direction. This number of cards in a spellbook means flexibility to respond to all of the other mages out there, so a couple to counter the Warlocks, a couple for Holy, etc.

As long as the Wizard can stock up on practically (Mage and School only cards) any card he wants and can carry more in his spell tome than any other mage he will be  the "Winner".
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: webcatcher on February 28, 2014, 10:14:35 AM
+1 to sIKE. Wizard has too many options.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: ringkichard on February 28, 2014, 11:03:15 AM
Quote
In this idea state, having a Weak school would not impede the Wizard at all. He would be able to ignore his weak school and take equally potent spells from the other schools. It's only in an imperfect state of the game that having a weakness hampers the Wizard. Only when that weak school of magic preclude the Wizard from taking over powered or unique spells does the Wizard suffer. I'm going to argue that such overpowered and unique spells should not exist, and therefore the Wizard should not suffer.
This is backwards thinking, once again Fire Wizard with an opposing elemental school would loose at least 6-10 spell points on "required" water spells. As Charmyna and I keep saying about the Wizard his strength in play is ability to carry a lot of cards (i.e. spells to cast) in his spellbook and a lot of the same card (i.e. Dissolve) of the most important ones due to no opposing school costs.

Look at Blasting Banker is carries 72(!) cards in it. Go count the number of spells in a non-Wizard book, my guess is they average about 60 + or -  a few in either direction. This number of cards in a spellbook means flexibility to respond to all of the other mages out there, so a couple to counter the Warlocks, a couple for Holy, etc.

As long as the Wizard can stock up on practically (Mage and School only cards) any card he wants and can carry more in his spell tome than any other mage he will be  the "Winner".

Ok, here:
Blasting Banker restricted
worst case
Wizard (Fire)
Attack3 x  Fireball = 6
2 x  Flameblast =2
1 x  Acid Ball = 3
1 x  Surging Wave = 3
Jet Stream = 3
17 pt.

Conjuration1 x  Wizard's Tower = 2
1 x  Hand of Bim-Shalla = 2
2 x  Mana Crystal = 2
1 x  Battle Forge = 4
1 x  Mordok's Obelisk = 2
12 pt

Enchantment4 x  Nullify = 4
2 x  Poisoned Blood = 4
3 x  Enchantment Transfusion = 3
1 x  Essence Drain = 2
1 x  Agony = 2
1 x  Divine Protection = 2
1 x  Magebane = 2
1 x  Force Orb = 2
1 x  Regrowth = 3
1 x  Hawkeye = 3
2 x  Rhino Hide = 6
33 pt

Equipment2 x  Mage Wand = 4
3 x  Dragonscale Hauberk = 3
1 x  Leather Boots = 1
1 x  Leather Gloves = 1
1 x  Fireshaper Ring = 1
1 x  Moonglow Amulet = 1
1 x  Wand of Healing = 2
1 x  Suppression Cloak = 2
1 x  Arcane Ring = 1
1 x  Elemental Wand = 2
1 x  Eagleclaw Boots = 3
2 x  Veteran's Belt = 6
27 pt

Incantation2 x  Teleport = 4
6 x  Dispel = 6
3 x  Seeking Dispel =3
6 x  Dissolve = 18
31 pt

Total cost: 120 pts

This is Blasting Banker with worst case triple cost (all elements except fire x3, Nature and War x3).
You'll notice that almost nothing has changed. I cut the Scimitar, Armor Ward, Wardstone, one of the two Battle Forges, a surplus piece of leather armor, a Seeking Dispel, and Geyser. Others might cut other cards, but this is what I'd try first. It's a little less resilient, but if you want resiliency, you play Water Wizard. This BB still does everything it ever did, and just as well. It still has Veteran Belt, Regrowth, 6x Dissolve, etc.

And if it turns out that it's even slightly weaker, Charmyna can go right back to playing Watergate, but this time with mana denial, too. Or he can wait till there are Holy equivalents for Rhino Hide and Regrowth and then use those instead.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: sIKE on February 28, 2014, 11:29:20 AM
Yes that is huge! I can now wall off Forge and separate it from the Wizard to prevent the stacking of armor and other equipment. Removing a Ward Stone makes it easier for me to Dispel his Enchantments or I can just destroy it and not fear another one will come out. I can counter both with a reasonable mana + action cost and negate some of the advantages the current Wizard has. Loss of the Scimitar (I think already dropped any ways) prevents the Defensive stacking done by this build.

Now you see choices (just like all of the other mages) have to be made when you build out a Wizard's spellbook and they result in compromises. The opposing school changes in the example high light what I have been trying to say. By nerf I am meaning bring the Wizard down to more of a equal with the tier 2/3 mages as defined in this thread. The resulting changes are subtle and don't shatter the Wizard (like the ToL+HoB nerf). They just drop flexibility down a notch which brings everyone else up a notch.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: ringkichard on February 28, 2014, 11:50:31 AM
I'm skeptical. I don't think any of those tactical footholds (except possibly the Battle Forge reduction) really hurts the strategic gameplan much. BB can still play semi-turtle (you've got to separate me to wall me out, and I still have Teleport). I also think Wizard books can be designed to largely ignore expensive things. If it turns out that losing the 2nd Battle Forge really hurts, it can be reincluded by going to 5 Dissolve and 3 Nullify. Or whatever. I haven't played with BB much so I don't know exactly what should be cut, but the book almost certainly doesn't actually need the 70 something cards it has.

Attacking the strengths of Wizard Books (their flexibility and deep card pool) doesn't really weaken them. Wizard flexibility and depth are already overkill anyway. Reducing those to merely outstanding doesn't solve the problem.

Attacking their weaknesses (dependance on ranged spells and attacks, toolbox mentality) and shoring up other mages's weaknesses (Teleport dependance, Obelisk problem) seems more efficient.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: webcatcher on February 28, 2014, 11:59:25 AM
As a general rule I think it's always going to be better to fix the Wizard than to fix everyone else, just because that involves fewer moving parts.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: ringkichard on February 28, 2014, 12:16:21 PM
And as a general rule, I think it's going to be better to fix everyone else than to fix the Wizard, just because Wizard is already published while everyone else can be adjusted gradually each expansion. No one wants a series of gradual adjustments to the Wizard: every time there's an erratum people get upset.

Power-creep is like inflation in an economy. A little bit, in the right areas, can be a good thing, and it's often a side effect of real growth. It's distasteful because it reduces the value of pre-existing assets, but the overall gains to the system stabilize volatility and help correct imbalance, which is good for the asset class anyway. 
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Aylin on February 28, 2014, 12:37:03 PM
I've grown to really hate the balance of this game. It's why I don't really post here much anymore. My last few books have really only considered what-ifs for fighting Wizards, Druids, Necromancers, and Priestesses.

I'm a tad worried that making the opposed elemental school cost triple for the Wizard would hurt Fire Wizards too much with Triple-cost Dissolves and Acid Balls. Explode is, imo, a situational substitute that isn't as valuable simply due to the higher mana cost of casting it especially if the target has Armor Ward. How much it would actually hurt I'm unsure (3-6 extra spellpoints isn't that bad), but it is something to consider. As far as I know, not many Earth spells are used by Air Wizards or vice versa, so there shouldn't be an issue there.

I do like that it would reduce the toolbox potential of Wizard's Tower, even if only a little bit. I think overall I'd prefer Triple-cost Nature and War though.

The biggest issue I see with the Wizard is that almost every spell in the "most mages take this spell" group is either an Arcane or Elemental spell (Dispel, Teleport, Dissolve, Nullify, Acid Ball, Mage Wand, Dragonscale Hauberk, Storm Drake Hide, Teleport Trap, Surging Wave, and Jet Stream), with only a few being neither (Eagleclaw Boots, Wand of Healing, Regrowth Belt/Regrowth, Healing Charm, Veteran's Belt, Battleforge, assorted curses) [Note: I probably missed several spells in both groups]. In addition, all of the "required" spells are either Arcane or Water (Teleport, Dispel, Dissolve). Giving the Wizard an opposed school (or three) wouldn't really solve the core issue here; that so many of the staple cards are already in-school for the Wizard.

Having Novice versions of the staple spells would help to solve this problem, but as others have pointed out it may cause a different problem; lowering the value of enchantments, especially those out of school. I'm not sure ubiquitous 1-spellpoint Dispels would be a good idea either. I think that there might be another alternative however; making dispel/teleport be part of more than one school. Destroying magic doesn't seem to me as though it should be entirely within the realm of the Arcane; wouldn't Nature or Holy mages have their own in-school ways of dealing with unnatural or unholy spells? Making Dispel 1 Arcane OR 1 Holy OR 1 Nature would give easier access to Dispel to more mages, but without letting everyone take 6 of them for 6. Likewise, Teleport could be 2 Arcane OR 2 Mind. In both cases, the exact methods would differ slightly (say the Mind version forcibly shoves you out of this domain through sheer force of will), but the effects would be the same. It would break up Arcane's monopoly on powerful staple spells without overly hurting enchantments or requiring a rules change for Novice. In the same vein, Destroy Magic could be 4 Arcane OR 4 War (DB did suggest it should be a War spell in some other thread). Essentially Arcane would still be the school of magic and meta-magic gathered into one place, but it wouldn't have a monopoly on them anymore.

Either way, future Arcane spells should be very carefully scrutinized before release until a balance in staples is reached (no more Jellies, Wizard's Tower, or Gargoyles while Wizard is already on top, please).


Moving away from the Wizard, I think one thing we do need to see is more spells that give benefits against Non-living. Right now the only penalties to it are no Nature buffs and slightly increased damage from Light spells, and in return they get a ton of immunities. Having a few more things that either hurt non-living more or hurt nonliving as a side effect of doing something else across more schools would help out the J. Beastmaster and psychic-focused Forcemaster builds a lot. It would also make builds that don't use non-living creatures better like demon-Warlock, since they wouldn't have to worry about non-living vulnerabilities.

Speaking of the JBM, the thing I hate most about her abilities is that they seem so...non-synergetic with each other. She's Fast, yet she can't use her Archery Training and her Fast in the same round. She can alternate their use which is okish I suppose, but I don't think any other mage has abilities that flat-out oppose each other on their character cards (Warlord is closest with Battle Skill and Battle Orders). Having a quick-action ranged attack on a piece of equipment would help a lot.I'm really sad that Heart of Gravikor (the promo card) is War-mage Only, since even at 6 spellpoints I would throw two into her book.

Of greater concern is the bloody mess that is Wounded Prey. There are three things wrong with it:
1. It doesn't give an extra die, it gives an extra melee die. JBM gains no benefit from this herself if she's focusing on her ranged abilities. It also gives no help if she chooses to focus on having ranged creatures instead! Doesn't Marked for Death give the extra the first time a creature makes an attack (either melee or ranged) each round? Why doesn't Wounded Prey work like that? It makes no sense!
2. It only works on living non-mage creatures. In the very next expansion from JBM the Necromancer is released. Did they intend for the first ability on her character card to be absolutely worthless in certain matchups? This feels like a horrendous design error to me. One of the restrictions needs to be dropped; either it can go on Living creatures, or on non-Mage creatures. Having both just makes the ability too situational to plan on having unless you know none of your opponents is doing a non-living or solo-mage build.
3. Insects aren't considered animals for some asinine reason. I think this hurts both Beastmasters needlessly as they can't benefit from existing Beastmaster cards (Ring of Beats, Rajan's Fury, Tooth and Nail, etc), and further reinforces Wounded Prey's utter uselessness. It is the most minor issue for making the ability worthwhile, but as someone who knows even a bit of biology this bugs the crap out of me.


Another thing I would like to see would be some more Animal Totems (for durability this time), and Outposts that are essentially Animal totems, but for soldiers.

One thing I do think would be kinda cool; having the Warlord trained in War, Earth, and creature spells with the solider subtype.

Suppose I should stop rambling for now.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: webcatcher on February 28, 2014, 01:02:12 PM
I'm not quite that pessimistic about the game balance. Around here we just don't play the Wizard and that solves most problems. It's an unsatisfying solution, but I'm used to the idea (from Warhammer) that some armies you just don't play unless you're going to or prepping for a tournament.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Aylin on February 28, 2014, 01:33:29 PM
I'm not quite that pessimistic about the game balance. Around here we just don't play the Wizard and that solves most problems. It's an unsatisfying solution, but I'm used to the idea (from Warhammer) that some armies you just don't play unless you're going to or prepping for a tournament.

Not playing Wizard in a local meta doesn't solve the balance issues with Warlord or JBM. Priest has a lot of issues too, with the Holy school only offering mediocre support for an aggressive mage. On top of that, the best way to play Forcemaster is to take level 4 out of school creatures.

Out of the 10 released mages so far, 1 is devestatingly overpowered, 2 are stupidly underpowered, 1 doesn't have the support from his own school to work as intended, and 1 has to go out of school paying 3x cost just to compete. Only 4-5 of them are where they should be.

I have no other words to describe that balance other than "absolutely terrible".
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: wtcannonjr on February 28, 2014, 01:35:26 PM
One approach I don't see much discussion around is to handle the Teleport or Wizard Tower concerns with Walls or similar spells that block or limit LOS. "Obscured" was already mentioned as one 'fix'. Both of the these Arcane spells require LOS for maximum impact so arranging the arena to reduce their effectiveness is available using Walls in the current meta.

Almost any tactical combat situation has to contend with an opponent who has a specific machine gun placement or superior firepower being delivered to a part of the battlefield. Many tactics are available for dealing with these. For example, the rate of fire of a Wizard Tower is still just one attack per round. Use of multiple threats is a standard tactic in military training to deal with this. Also screening the opponent from your forces using smoke/walls that block or limit LOS feel like viable solutions in the current meta. We are likely to have more options with future expansions as walls are created/expanded across the schools.

I am inclined to revisit this issue after another year of expansions rather than push for errata now.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Laddinfance on February 28, 2014, 02:00:52 PM
So, it's only been a couple days and already there is quite a spirited discussion here. I'm very excited to see that. I have been watching this post very closely. Please continue your discussions. I just want to provide a couple notes.

Many of you are right, I would rather see us print new cards to help fix things, than issue errata. That being said, if it's necessary then we will do it. I will say there are several mages who can be greatly improved, just by increasing the depth in their trained school, and I'm looking at options for just that.

As for the Wizard, I've seen several proposals on how to "tone them down". Right now it seems there is a consensus that they are overpowered, but after that there is much dispute on what really pushes them over vs what makes them feel like wizards.

Now, looking at games I've played in the past even if we take the most pessimistic estimate, we still have ~5 viable mages for a tournament scene. This diversity is much better than most of the games I've played, either Miniatures or Cards. However, I want you all to know, that is not where I want it. I realize it's an ideal, but I would like for each mage to at least be viable in a tournament scene. I know this is often my "catchphrase" for balance, but no game can turn on a dime. I'm going to be working to move these guys forward. I want these underdogs to have a chance. That's why I'm so glad that Charmyna posted this up.

In the end, unfortunately everything takes time. But I do want to know what you're concerned about so that I can watch for that in future. Well, I've rambled long enough, please get back to your intelligent conversation.

We value the passion you have found for this game. Thank you everyone.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: baronzaltor on February 28, 2014, 02:23:42 PM
As I mentioned before, I think a secondary issue with the Wizard's set up isn't so much raw "overpowered-ness" but how he roadblocks future mages.

The simple layout of  Arcane+Elemental of Choice+No triple cost and no penalized stats just puts future elemental trained mages in a hard place. It marginalized the Warlord as an Earth mage, and threatens to marginalize the Siren as a Water mage unless she is made at the same level.    Siren is going to have to be able to stand out against Water+Arcane with no back-costs.   

The Warlock manages to stand out against him because Holy as a school does not have many must have global spells, and because Dark magic and Warlocks both have the most "_____ only" spells, which forces a specialized identity against fire Wizards.   If not for those two factors a Fire Wizard splashing curses and subbing his own creatures for demons would likely be a better Warlock.

With the Wizards as is, heavy use of "_____ only" is really the only way for an elementally trained mage to keep from being overshadowed by him, and thats just such an a counter intuitive way to build mages in a customized game (essentially prescribing the spell books)

Thats one of the reasons I think Wizards needed a triple cost… what you aren't trained in defines you as much as what you are trained in.   And giving the Wizards a decent sampling of everything AND the best school makes them lack any real identity other than "the best book building mage".
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: DeckBuilder on February 28, 2014, 02:46:45 PM
I've grown to really hate the balance of this game.

Yes, this is also the same with my friends. The lack of balance is killing the game.
And the cheesiness of some moves when the game pretends to be a tactical game.

Yes, the design decisions have been baffling. Not just the Jokhtari / Necromancer example.
With Druid and Resilience making Fire already very strong, what shall we release next...?
I wish it was Forcemaster vs. Warlord, alternates that fixes them (or makes FM less one-dimensional).

However, let's not be too negative about it.
I don't think they've made irrepairable mistakes.
Just that correcting them could be very messy.

Really valuable and valid points, Aylin. Welcome back. I've missed your acerbity.
Who needs Acid Ball when you're spitting it naturally? :)

Now let's be positive, folks.

Ok, obviously I'm a fan of Novice but I actually think a rule change is the most elegant solution.
So here is an off-the-wall idea. See what you think, folks.

BASE SPELLS NEW RULE

(The rules in this section are "Pro" rules, played in tournaments, as they beg the question: why 3 Teleports in Core?)

All Mages gain the following 12 "base spells" for free (on top of their 120 spell ponts)
2x Dispel
2x Dissolve
2x Teleport
2x Seeking Dispel
2x Nullify
2x Block

No Mage may have more than 80 cards that fit in their spellbook (this includes the 2 Mage cards)
That means you have 120 points to spend on maximum 66 cards (adhering to a max. 6/4 rule too)

RATIONALE

I think every book devised by an experienced player automatically lists 2+ of Dispel, Dissove and Teleport.
So if it is such a "hygiene" purchase, not in the least bit customisable, why not give it to everyone for free?
It's this spell points tax that helps Wizards so much (especially Water Wizards) who buy essentials cheap.
By giving 10 levels of Arcane for free (I'm a shareware fan), you immediately devalue the Wizard's Training!

What about the other 3 spells, you say?
The bluffing game of hidden enchants is frankly enchanting
However, we are stuck with mandatory reveal.
Quite often, non-Wizards can't afford Nullify or Seeking Dispel
So the "could it be a Nullify?" bluffing game is lost as chances are it's not
But now every mage has a couple of them!
It hugely spices up a game when you look at all hidden enchantments suspiciously!
Even when playing against the guileless Warlord.
Of course you also need to arm players with the means to remove hidden enchants.
Blocks added purely because their possibility tactically restricts attack sequencing.
You also need another triggered enchantment to bluff if your build doesn't use them.
And because nobody except Forcemaster plays it surely? Now they are a possibility.
Anything that adds exciting uncertainty to the game is benefiting the game greatly.

But this would devalue equipment and enchantments, you say?
Devaluing equipment is a good thing, they are far too good hence Forges everywhere.
As for enchantments, you can always get one use from any persistent enchantment.
You'll have to time it so it's not hit by the opponent's base 2 Seeking Dispels though...

What other benefits does this spell points inflation that helps non-Wizards far more grant?
I don't know about you but I find culling my book to 120 far more painful with non-Wizards.
Now you can attempt the ambitious spellpoints intensive ideas, increasing game diversity!

I really hate that at least 6 spells (usually 10 = 4 Dispels, 4 Dissolves. 2 Teleports) are pre-chosen in all books.
This is just a tax that benefits the Wizard - so let's remove the tax and the Wizard simply loses his advantage.
It also has the beneficial effect of spicing up the game's uncertainty and allowing for points-costly build ideas.
Whilst solutions so far have been about the coefficients (cost multipliers), I'm suggesting a constant bonus to all.
It seems to me this nerfs a Wizard's advantage, remove these spell point taxes and also helps increase diversity.

Have I finally cracked? :)
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: webcatcher on February 28, 2014, 03:10:51 PM
I think Baronzaltor is right. With major access to 5 spell schools and 1 of them the best school in the game, it will be very difficult (without an errata) to make other mages good at a faster rate than you're making the wizard better.

@ Deckbuilder

I think your idea will work, with one tweak. Make the mages pay for those spells out of their 120, but all paid as if they were in-school (note that this is similar to my everyone-trained-in-level-1-arcane idea). That way you don't have to deal with trying to restrict bloated spellbooks.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: DeckBuilder on February 28, 2014, 03:20:27 PM
@ Deckbuilder
I think your idea will work, with one tweak. Make the mages pay for those spells out of their 120, but all paid as if they were in-school (note that this is similar to my everyone-trained-in-level-1-arcane idea). That way you don't have to deal with trying to restrict bloated spellbooks.

I know. I was the first to highlight your idea when it came up as interesting. It is based on yours. Props.
But I was just looking at everyone talking about multipliers (even you with your great Arcane level 1 idea).
When what is really needed is a constant adjustment.

What I'm trying to do here is remove the FACADE of customisation. For 6 of those spells, there is no choice.
I added the other 6 because I believe the bluffing game (that not all can afford) will greatly enhance the game.

It's not customisable when you have to include those first 6 spells is it?
Even trained, you're effectively saying your customisable budget is 112.

I see no problem with inflation as it allows for interesting ambitious builds, not the dull efficient ones that work.
I only see benefit from it. As for the current efficient builds, there is a diminishing returns of greater efficiency.

Thank you, webcatcher for your idea (was linked to Novice in a way). We were both undermining Arcane access.
But the epiphany I had was to break free from the shackes of changing multipliers and just give a constant to all.
Unfortunately, this free bonus is worth far less to the Wizard. What a shame.

There is also a limitation to not be too spell points efficient - you've only got 66 slots to spend 120 points on.
This creates interesting builds of different toolbox cards and/or ambitious combos using out-of-school spells.
None of this is possible under the current model.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Alexander West on February 28, 2014, 03:23:11 PM
A big +1 for Zuberi's 3 big font posts about balance and the four "weak" mages.

+1 to RingKichard's persepctive on Wizard power.

+1 to Aylin's suggestion about making more OR spells, and possibly going back and reprinting new OR versions of staples.  (Which I think is not remotely as upsetting as errata.)  OR versions of Dispel is my favorite suggestion so far on curbing Wizard power/uniqueness.

+1 to Boomfrog's perspective on walls, and metagame positioning


I've been thinking a lot about the Warlord, and I think they've been poorly pigeonholed as brutes.  I'd like to see more of the brilliant and sometimes unconventional tactical manuvers of great generals.  I want them to be cunning, like heroes from Romance of the Three Kingdoms.  I also want them to be better at moving their troops than anyone else, masters of logistics.

Card Ideas:

Forced March - 3 Mana - Incantation(Command) - Control target unit for 1 move.  If the target is not Slow, you may pay 3 additional mana to control this unit for a second move.  (This does not count as a unit activation.)

 (I like the pun on the name, since you're either moving your own unit a lot, or literally forcing an enemy unit to move!)  This seems like a nice alternative to Teleport.  It doesn't help with Tanglevine type stuff, but it does work with Iron Golems in a way Force Push doesn't.

False Orders - 2X Mana - Non-Mage Target - Incantation (Command) - X = Creatue's Level.  You may activate this unit and make all choices for its action.

Smoke - Conjuration - ? Mana - All creatures in this zone gain the Obscured trait.  Line of Sight ends at this zone.

I think the idea of totem equivalents for soldiers is really compelling.  I was thinking about it yesterday, and Aylin reminded me in her post:

Doctrine of Mobility - Conjuration (School) - ? Mana - Friendly soldier creatures may make a move before or after their activation.

Doctrine of Defense - Conjuration (School) - ? Mana - Friendly soldier creatures may gain a guard token after their activation.

Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: webcatcher on February 28, 2014, 04:15:03 PM
Quote
I know. I was the first to highlight your idea when it came up as interesting. It is based on yours. Props.
But I was just looking at everyone talking about multipliers (even you with your great Arcane level 1 idea).
When what is really needed is a constant adjustment.

I did notice that, and I wasn't particularly surprised since you and I seem to agree a lot. I think the main objection to your standard-core-spells idea will be that it cuts down on choice for those who don't necessarily want those spells. I might suggest 2 or 3 core spellbooks that mages could choose from to add a little more variety in case someone doesn't want the blocks or they'd rather pay for decoys than seeking dispel or something.
Title: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on February 28, 2014, 04:28:49 PM
@Deckbuilder

Just because our customization is limited does not make it a facade. I think it would be a lot more interesting and far less cheesy to make out of school equivalents of staple cards, rather than making an optional errata to staples that already exist. Furthermore, how do you get every playgroup to agree on whether to implement said errata or not, especially when there are other solutions that could be just as good if not more so. I imagine that there would be a LOT of arguments.

I think if we want to improve this game, we should be aiming for more customization, not less.

Although you did make a good point that the order that expansions are released in does matter for balance.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Zuberi on February 28, 2014, 04:41:52 PM
One Solution Fixes All Mages
Okay, that might be a bit of an overestimation, but after thinking about things harder, looking back over my own arguments and everyone elses, and most importantly taking a harder look at the Wizard in general and the Blasting Banker in particular, I am now convinced I have discovered the heart of the problem which will solve the vast majority of the imbalance in the Mages. The issue, for the most part, is not the Mages themselves. There is nothing inherently wrong with the Wizard that makes him overpowered. There is nothing inherently wrong with the Warlord either that makes him weak. The Priest and the Straywood Beastmaster are both fine as well. The Johktari has an inherent weakness with Wounded Prey, but we will set her aside for right now.

The issue with all the others is not a design flaw with the Mages. It is the imbalance in the Schools of Magic. Arcane is too good and War is too weak.

A lot of people have stated that the problem with the Wizard is that he is able to wield a much larger and more versatile spellbook. Looking over Charmyna's Blasting banker build, I agree with this assessment 100%. It is much more impressive than anything I have built or could imagine building with any other mage. However, these people have come to the wrong conclusion as to why this is. You guys keep saying that it is because the Wizard has no Weak School of magic and is thus able to include more out of school options than anyone else. I urge you to look at the Blasting Banker and compare him to the spellbooks you've made for other mages. You will see that this is NOT the case.

Charmyna's build does not have more out of school cards than any of my non-wizard books. What it has is more in school cards. He has posted several versions of the build, but all of them include over 40 in school cards (Fire or Arcane) which comprise roughly half of his spellpoints.

I challenge everyone to look at their non-wizard spellbooks and see how they stack up. How many in school spells do they include? Anywhere near 40? How many spellpoints exactly have you spent in school? Anywhere near half?

Thus, the problem is that the Arcane school of magic is more self reliant and versatile than any other school, and conversely the War school is less so than the other schools. We need to bring the actual schools of magic into balance if we wish to balance the mages. Every mage should be able to rely on their training just as much as any of their brethren.

Perhaps we don't need to make the schools completely self reliant. No need for mono-colored decks, so to speak. However, if any mage can make a viable build by spending half of their points in school, then every other mage needs to have the same capability to remain balanced. If they can not, and they have to go further out of school to make a viable build, then they will inherently have a smaller toolkit then their peers. And nobody should ever HAVE to dip into their weak school.

The solution is simple in theory, but will be slow and difficult to execute. We need a massive influx of non-arcane cards to bring all of the other schools up to the level of self reliance currently enjoyed by Arcane. All of our issues can be fixed by this influx of cards. No errata or rules change is needed. The only mage with an inherent weakness is the Johktari and even that can be fixed with a new card.

Now, the Novice spell idea would be a quicker solution than what I propose. It would be making certain spells universal and thus in school for everyone. If people want a quick solution, then that is most assuredly a great way to do it. However, I do not feel it is the right solution. It does make the game more homogeneous. Everybody, except maybe the Wizard, will max out these Novice spells and thus have the exact same toolkit. This may balance the current "card tax" but it also solidifies the tax. You might not have to spend more points than anyone else on required spells, but they are still required. Currently with non-wizards I don't know how many Dispels they have. I tend to figure around 3. With the Novice rule, I will know that everybody probably has 6 Dispels. There's no longer any variance.

This also greatly increases the prevalence of such spells. Yes, the wizard can already field this number, but he is only one out of many. With 10 mages to choose from, ideally only 1 in 10 opponents will be using the Wizard, but for arguments sake, lets assume that as many as half of your opponents are wizards. The other half are currently fielding fewer copies of these spells. Let's estimate that they tend to run half the number of copies as the Wizard does currently. If we make these Novice spells, suddenly the non wizards will all double their copies of these spells, increasing the total prevalence of these spells within the meta by 33%. If your current meta has fewer than 50% of people playing wizards, the affect will be even more drastic. This will have an impact on the use of Enchantments, Equipment, and the entire balance of the game.

My solution is slower, but I believe is better for the game.

Quote from: DeckBuilder
What I'm trying to do here is remove the FACADE of customisation. For 6 of those spells, there is no choice.

Then give us choice. Don't set the requirements in stone.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: DeckBuilder on February 28, 2014, 04:52:25 PM
I did notice that, and I wasn't particularly surprised since you and I seem to agree a lot. I think the main objection to your standard-core-spells idea will be that it cuts down on choice for those who don't necessarily want those spells. I might suggest 2 or 3 core spellbooks that mages could choose from to add a little more variety in case someone doesn't want the blocks or they'd rather pay for decoys than seeking dispel or something.

We do think so similar! Because I thought the same as well. But then I ended up with what i came up with.
(Your "elegant interesting solution" that I said I would think about provoked my thought processes on this.)

My thought process developing this idea:

In custom card games, there are various models.
Some, like Game of Thrones, allow for a single "Restricted" card that you may have legal copies of.
Some, like Netrunner, encourage a certain size deck and limit you to c.15 influence (out of school).

Well, you can immediately see the 66 cards to fit 120 points comes from Netrunner.
Because Netrunner melds opportunity cost (takes up limited space) and points buy (our spell points).

I then translated Restricted as "what if every mage had 12 spell levels of Arcane for free?"
But I felt this gave too much flexibility in the end, too much unrestricted budget inflation.
In the end, the reality is 2 Dispel + 2 Dissolve + 2 Teleport is a compulsory minimum buy.
And it was this ability to buy essentials on the cheap which gives Wizard his power base.
So I felt give them to all. Wizards gains the least and is nerfed because 66 spell slots only.

Part of the fun of this "Pro" rule is you KNOW I have 2 Nullify, 2 Block and 2 Seeking Dispel.
Believe me because I love playing tricksy builds, this gives you amazing bluffing opportunity.
You don't need Decoy (that Retaliate could be first thought as Nullify then Block) to bluff.
If you do want Decoy (and you know how much a fan I am of its style), it's a Novice spell.

Then I thought about the expanding card pool collection, ever growing competition for inclusion.
The game is actually nerfing itself in its diversity so here was a chance to also expand diversity.
As well as weaken equipment (enchantments are great anyway, you always get a 1 use benefit).

I know MW has a lot of "y = mx + c" linear relationships hidden with it (all good games are maths).

spell's lifetime benefit = (average lifetime x per round benefit) - constants (spell points, action, mana)

Actually that's the simplest relationship model but we'll go with it
Everyone was talking about altering the multipliers but it's the spell point tax that hurts

Anyway, that's the reasoning why I decided against a flexible Arcane budget
I just felt that KNOWING these spells exist in the opponent's book adds so much awesome mind games.

And of course it stuffs the Wizard (because Wizard may think it's a Nullify and Fireball to find it's a Block).

Anyway, I'm not against the idea of more free flexibility.
But thematically, every Mage apprenticing with the same base spells also feels better.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: ringkichard on February 28, 2014, 05:00:06 PM
Thinking about Arcane, it often feels like it has the same problem Blue had (has?) in MtG. It's the faction that gets all the cool abilities, the tricky abilities, and the powerful abilities.

WotC handled this with a combined arms approach that included yanking evergreen counterspells from new sets, making creatures better by making removal worse, and just making better creatures.

Mage Wars is a different enough game that solutions can't be copied and pasted, but it's interesting to see how similar problems have been handled.

Did other games ever have similar problems? There's a lot of games I've never played; did L5R or Clix ever have to deal with a Blue?
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: sIKE on February 28, 2014, 05:12:53 PM
Quote
I challenge everyone to look at their non-wizard spellbooks and see how they stack up. How many in school spells do they include? Anywhere near 40? How many spellpoints exactly have you spent in school? Anywhere near half?
While this is true, the problem is that its has 32 (almost an equal amount of out of school cards). When I can carry almost 50% of my spellbook out of school and my opponent can only carry 33 percent (40+20=60) in out of school cards as the quote goes bigger (or, more in this case) is better. Period the end.

Look at the last 3 expansions, other than Wizard's Tower, Enchantment Transfusion, Acid Ball, Iron Golem, and Devouring Jelly five cards, there has been very little direct love for the Wizard, but since we are talking 150 expansion cards (67+ 61 + 26) with (37 "only" cards to exclude the Wizard) in other schools. Lets look at what we are talking about: Veterans Belt, Ward Stone, Wand of Healing, Dancing Scimitar, Eagleclaw Boots and so on so far, are very integral to why the Wizard wins. Put it this way, if it is a "good" expansion card for any other mage it is good for him too. Most other mages only have "out of school" costs for arcane so the goodies in arcane are for the most part accessible though most mages as pointed out have to keep their out of school pool to around 20 cards. Only one mage has Arcane as their opposing school, but not the other way around, and he is considered the worst mage around.

Forged in Fire, though I can't say much at all about it, other than the title includes the word Fire which is also a minor elemental school in the game as well as an elemental choice as in-school for a Wizard. Do you think the spells from FiF will help or harm the Wizard?
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: DeckBuilder on February 28, 2014, 05:18:05 PM
Thank you for the dig, Zuberi.
Unfortunately, using larger font size does not mean you are necessarily correct, Zuberi.

So far, you have written extremely well-written but bleeding obvious appraisals of 4 mages.
I think every contributor in this thread knew the problems, though it did serve purpose to have consensus.

Now you trump it with the bleeding obvious "Arcane School is unbalanced, stronger than the rest".
Wow. What an insight. We never could have worked that one out ourselves.

Please, Zuberi, use your undoubted eloquence to come up with CREATIVE SOLUTIONS here? If possible?

What you suggest is what Arcane Wonders is already doing!
But I can tell you that Forged in Fire does NOTHING to diminish Arcane, despite my blatant attempts
(I even suggested "Immunity from Arcane" in exasperation!)

What you suggest is the super-conservative "won't turn on a dime" slow change that will take 3 more sets.
Because next set is about Holy + mish mash.
We haven't even had the Alternate Wizard vs. alternate Forcemaster yet!!!
We almost had a Warlock vs. Wizard set if Aaron hadn't saved the day there (or so I'm told).
We still get so much Arcane love card ideas and new playtesters like me, Kich, sIKE confer and are appalled

Meantime, I know plenty of players quitting Mage Wars in exasperation due to imbalance and cheese.
And yours DEFINITELY is the better approach? Said with so much certainty too!

At least other posters here have the good grace to show they are uncertain what is the best approach.
But not Zuberi. Zuberi knows.
It must be great to be so all-knowing.

Everybody, except maybe the Wizard, will max out these Novice spells

No maybe about it. With the exception of Novice Teleport (which can easily be adjusted by a more future proofed Novice rule), the Wizard will NEVER choose a Novice Arcane spell because normal costs the same.

The fact this hasn't been appreciated but you proclaim in large font with such certainty makes me shudder.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Lord0fWinter on February 28, 2014, 05:37:57 PM
Can we all avoid the personal attacks as much as possible?

This thread was great and insightful... At first. People put forth ideas, some good, some bad, some in between.

Now I feel like it has run its course a bit and people are simply going to be arguing over whose idea is better.

Civilized discussion about the ideas is fine but I feel like we are on the verge of starting to flame one another.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Zuberi on February 28, 2014, 05:49:19 PM
To shorten my previous post and give a more specific plan of attack, I propose the following solution to fix all of the mages.

1) Nerf teleport by introducing something that defends against it.
2) Create viable alternatives for every spell so that nothing enjoys a monopoly on certain functionality within the game. These alternatives need to be in different schools of magic than the original. Specific spells that currently need to be addressed include: Dispel, Dissolve, and Nullify.
3) In general, just release more STUFF for all of the other schools of magic so that they don't have to go out of school as often.

I kind of think we need to shift away from the Magic the Gathering mind set where people tend to think of the different types of magic by what they are capable of. Instead, maybe we should think about the different schools by their weaknesses. Each school should be MOSTLY self sufficient but with a few glaring weaknesses that force them to delve out of school. When they do venture out of school there should be multiple viable options to choose from so that nobody has to take specific cards or ever delve into their weak school.

For example, Arcane currently has no way to heal it's creatures. It also has no way to buff it's creatures. It can neither increase it's creature's damage or increase it's creature's survivability. Perhaps that is how we should think of Arcane, it lacks creature support and has to venture out of school to acquire it.

The other major schools should have a similar crux, but otherwise be self sufficient.

Quote from: DeckBuilder
What you suggest is what Arcane Wonders is already doing! ... What you suggest is the super-conservative "won't turn on a dime" slow change that will take 3 more sets.

You posted this while I was typing. I am glad to hear that this is what Arcane Wonders is already doing, and I admit it won't turn on a dime. Nerfing teleport and breaking the monopoly on certain spell functions could actually all be done in a single set and will greatly help the problem, but until all of the schools have been brought into balance, it will be an issue. And that will take awhile.

I do however believe this is a much better solution in the long term than what you propose. I do not think that your idea is necessarily bad. It certainly has merit. However, I think it's cons trump it. Currently we have two viable paths to choose from if you ask me:

Long Term: Release enough new cards to where every school of magic is equally as strong as Arcane and none of them have a monopoly on game functions.
Pros: Increases variation and doesn't strongly sway the overall balance within the game. Gradually stabilizes all of the schools of magic.
Cons: Takes a really long time.

Short Term: Release Novice versions of spells. This would effectively make these spells in school for everyone.
Pros: Quickly and effectively helps to stabilize the various schools by giving a boost to all mages who were not previously trained in these spells School of magic.
Cons: Reduces variation by solidifying the necessity of these spells and makes such spells much more common causing a backlash of game balance. Also, some schools of magic will still need tweaking (War) to bring them up to par.

I apologize if my use of larger font was out of line or annoying. This thread just seems to go by so fast, I kind of wanted to call attention to myself.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Zuberi on February 28, 2014, 05:54:55 PM
Quote from: Lord0fWinter
Can we all avoid the personal attacks as much as possible?
I don't think anyone has made personal attacks. DeckBuilder has made some friendly jabs at me in this thread and others, but I'm sure he doesn't mean any malice in them. We seem to be of opposite minds quite often which creates a natural rivalry, but that doesn't mean we actually have ill will towards one another.

However, I can see how it may look to others and agree we should all keep things civil.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Lord0fWinter on February 28, 2014, 06:34:31 PM
Quote from: Lord0fWinter
Can we all avoid the personal attacks as much as possible?
I don't think anyone has made personal attacks. DeckBuilder has made some friendly jabs at me in this thread and others, but I'm sure he doesn't mean any malice in them. We seem to be of opposite minds quite often which creates a natural rivalry, but that doesn't mean we actually have ill will towards one another.

However, I can see how it may look to others and agree we should all keep things civil.

Perhaps it just seemed that way from an outside perspective. It just sounded like it was going down a path that would lead to it getting out of hand so I said something.

My apologies if they were simply friendly jabs at one another. 
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Zuberi on February 28, 2014, 06:44:31 PM
No need to apologize. If you saw something that way, it simply illustrates that it could easily be misconstrued as offensive and get out of hand. If the person it was aimed at happened to read them the same way as you, we very well could have a flame war and that benefits nobody. This should be kept civil.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on February 28, 2014, 07:06:38 PM
Zuberi wasn't JUST saying what we already know. He was pointing out how and why what we already know, that there's imbalance between the schools of magic, could actually mostly if not completely explain the imbalances between the mages. He also gave several specific reasons for his argument.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Kitarja on February 28, 2014, 07:38:25 PM
I think Zuberi made the right point, do we want that those problems are fixed now or at some time in the future? And I also think he is right when he says: "The issue with all the others is not a design flaw with the Mages. It is the imbalance in the Schools of Magic. Arcane is too good and War is too weak."

And I know I am not this experienced with the game than most of you and maybe don't see some problems which could occur, but in my opinion the problem should be fixed now, at least some parts of it.

And while I read through the last pages I was wondering why nobody until now suggested to errata Dispel, Seeking Dispel and Nullify to be Novice spells. As I think this would be better than adding new Novice spells with the same name, which may lead to confusions and needs rule adjustments. I also don't like the idea of every mage having arcane lvl 1 training, this would be too much arcane for me for everyone. Ok one can say no lvl 1 creatures, maybe also no lvl 1 equipment, but this is not my understanding of elegant. Also adding 12 fixed spells to the spellbooks doesn't seem right to me. I like the system as it is now with 120 points and put in what you want.

So my suggestion would be to errata 2-4 basic arcane spells to be novice. For me the three above mentioned spells would be the right ones, but as I said I'm not this experienced, maybe some others are better in your opinion. This would reduce the power of the arcane school and improve the options for all other mages than the wizard, which I think is what most of us want. At least as far as I read the thread.

In addition to this fast change I think we also need long term changes with the aim that most mages find what they need in their own school, as Zuberi mentioned. And I would also like to see new and different versions of some basic arcane spells in other magic schools, but I think we won't see those spells before 1-2 years and this is too long if it would be the only change. In my opinion something has to be done now or people may get too frustrated about wizard being the undisputed number one.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: webcatcher on February 28, 2014, 08:28:13 PM
So we've got two opposing schools of thought running. One says fix arcane/wizard by slowly (by necessity) releasing cards that make other schools better. The second says errata the wizard and/or the rulebook. And some folks fall in between the two, sure, I'm generalizing. I think we've established that there are two schools of thought. Is there any way to reconcile them and, if not, is there any way to decide which is the best solution? I personally think they're both necessary to bring the wizard under control, so I'm not going to be too upset whatever we decide, I just want us to decide something.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: sIKE on February 28, 2014, 08:40:11 PM
There is only one, and he is not the Highlander....
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: sdougla2 on February 28, 2014, 09:34:04 PM
As I see things, there are a number of problems with the current state of the game. I like a number of solutions that I have seen proposed in this thread.

-Adding card(s) that prevent teleportation would put Teleport more on par with push effects, make it less mandatory, and weaken Slow creatures overall.

-A totem that gives an Armor boost to all animals would strengthen swarm play. One of the three Straywood Beastmaster builds I'm working on is based on Deckbuilder's swarm build, and while Lifetree and Fortified Position help make the swarm more resilient, a totem would help a great deal without restricting my positioning the way that Fortified Position does. It would also be helpful if there was a non-arcane method for fighting mana denial.

-An extremely cheap wall would be a nice addition to the game, and allow more tactical plays with blocking line of sight. Many of the current walls are just too expensive to justify playing for a momentary tactical advantage (particularly if you want to extend them), and are hard to get rid of if they become a liability.

-I like the idea of giving war a command that makes a creature take a move action. That would allow the Warlord to compete for position control, which he is currently terrible at.

-The war school needs enchantments and conjurations that support his creatures, and we need alternatives to Dispel. Personally, I think holy should get a Dispel equivalent.

-The Priest needs a level 2 holy creature. A holy Timber Wolf would greatly improve the Priest's opening options. He needs more in school support, and the holy school needs to be fleshed out in general, but this would be a good first step in supporting the Priest. It still seems odd to me that we got Guardian Angel but no creature that the Priest could use as a cheap, efficient Holy Avenger.

-The Warlock doesn't feel like he has enough options for different builds. There are some variations on Warlock plays, but all of them involve fast pressure with 1-2 big creatures (although some of them transition into curses at that point), there is only 1 worthwhile option for Blood Reaper, and many of the Warlock's abilities are shut down against Nonliving. Hopefully this will be addressed in Forged in Flame.

-As for the Wizard, I think weakening Teleport and giving non-arcane solutions to enchantments will be a nice start.

-The war, holy, and mind schools need to be fleshed out in general, and given more utility.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Zuberi on February 28, 2014, 10:33:50 PM
Quote from: sdougla2
-As for the Wizard, I think weakening Teleport and giving non-arcane solutions to enchantments will be a nice start.

-The war, holy, and mind schools need to be fleshed out in general, and given more utility.

This could all be accomplished with the Paladin vs Siren expansion, actually. I don't know if it's been officially announced anywhere, but there is a lot of speculation that the Paladin will be a combination of War and Holy, while the Siren will include a Mind component. They could thus be used for fleshing out those schools, and there's no reason why Teleport's power and the monopoly that certain cards have on functionality couldn't be addressed by it as well.

I know a lot of people are hoping for a quick solution. What I am hoping for though is:
1) Forged in Fire provides a good boost to the War school, brings the old Warlord up to tier 3, and puts both new mages on tier 2.
2) Paladin vs Siren brings all of the tier 3 mages up to tier 2, breaks the monopoly that certain cards have, weakens teleport, and fleshes out the Mind, Holy, and War schools. The two new mages are already tier 2 again. It is possible that this could push some mages up to tier 1 with the Wizard. However, at this point I wouldn't be surprised if the Wizard was still alone at tier 1. Still, all the other mages should be equal in power and the gap between them and the Wizard should be considerably smaller.
3) A new expansion finally breaks the reign of the Wizard by pushing several (not all) mages up to tier 1.

This does mean we're looking at probably another year under the thumb of the Wizard. It might take another two expansions after that to bring all of the mages up to tier 1, which means possibly 2 years from now before we achieve the equality desired for everyone. Is this too long? Opinions are going to differ on that.

I doubt Forged in Fire includes any radical solutions given the hints seen by Playtesters and Administrators. So any plan to speed up this process wouldn't see implementation until at least Paladin vs Siren. If they threw the Novice spells into that expansion, we would see most mages jump up a tier. They could combine that with still fleshing out three of the schools of magic, helping to bring more mages up a tier. We would actually end up with most mages being tier 1 within maybe 8 months from now, rather than just a few within a year from now. We could probably bring the rest of them up there within just a single expansion after that. We've thus shaved 2 expansions off the necessary time table to reach equality and saved ourselves around 10 months of time.

The cost of that 10 months? Less varied spellbooks and an unpredictable weakening of enchantments and equipment. I'm not going to say that this breaks the game. Less variance isn't a deathblow, and an unpredictable result is just that, unpredictable. The game might actually be better and more fun with a nerf to equipment and enchantments. Plus they might be able to counteract it somehow.

So, 8 months before we start seeing other tier 1 mages by introducing a major change that could significantly alter the game? Or one year before we see competition for the wizard by using gradual changes within the current framework? I vote for the latter. I don't think we will lose too many players by waiting an extra 4 or 5 months and I fear radical change.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Aylin on February 28, 2014, 11:32:19 PM

Yes, the design decisions have been baffling. Not just the Jokhtari / Necromancer example.
With Druid and Resilience making Fire already very strong, what shall we release next...?
Of course, we need MOAR FIRE!

Being serious though, I hope the extra Fire won't be as bad as the JBM/Necro BS.

Quote
However, let's not be too negative about it.
I don't think they've made irrepairable mistakes.
Just that correcting them could be very messy.

I don't think the mistakes are irreparable either, I just have serious doubts that they'll get fixed in a timely manner. I'm already drifting away from the game, in large part due the lack of balance (the other major reason isn't relevant to this thread, though I suspect everyone already knows). As it stands right now the game is dying in my play group, so I probably won't spend the money to buy FiF or Siren v. Paladin after that unless they address the problem (though you did mention FiF doesn't quite in another post). By the time the problem is solved, I might not even be playing anymore. I really don't want that to happen since I've enjoyed playing Mage Wars a lot. I suppose you could summarize by calling it "helpless frustration".

Quote
Really valuable and valid points, Aylin. Welcome back. I've missed your acerbity.
Who needs Acid Ball when you're spitting it naturally? :)

The main problem is when I accidentally melt through my car's windshield with it.

Quote
Now let's be positive, folks.

Ok, obviously I'm a fan of Novice but I actually think a rule change is the most elegant solution.
So here is an off-the-wall idea. See what you think, folks.

BASE SPELLS NEW RULE

(The rules in this section are "Pro" rules, played in tournaments, as they beg the question: why 3 Teleports in Core?)

All Mages gain the following 12 "base spells" for free (on top of their 120 spell ponts)
2x Dispel
2x Dissolve
2x Teleport
2x Seeking Dispel
2x Nullify
2x Block

No Mage may have more than 80 cards that fit in their spellbook (this includes the 2 Mage cards)
That means you have 120 points to spend on maximum 66 cards (adhering to a max. 6/4 rule too)

RATIONALE

I think every book devised by an experienced player automatically lists 2+ of Dispel, Dissove and Teleport.
So if it is such a "hygiene" purchase, not in the least bit customisable, why not give it to everyone for free?
It's this spell points tax that helps Wizards so much (especially Water Wizards) who buy essentials cheap.
By giving 10 levels of Arcane for free (I'm a shareware fan), you immediately devalue the Wizard's Training!

What about the other 3 spells, you say?
The bluffing game of hidden enchants is frankly enchanting
However, we are stuck with mandatory reveal.
Quite often, non-Wizards can't afford Nullify or Seeking Dispel
So the "could it be a Nullify?" bluffing game is lost as chances are it's not
But now every mage has a couple of them!
It hugely spices up a game when you look at all hidden enchantments suspiciously!
Even when playing against the guileless Warlord.
Of course you also need to arm players with the means to remove hidden enchants.
Blocks added purely because their possibility tactically restricts attack sequencing.
You also need another triggered enchantment to bluff if your build doesn't use them.
And because nobody except Forcemaster plays it surely? Now they are a possibility.
Anything that adds exciting uncertainty to the game is benefiting the game greatly.

But this would devalue equipment and enchantments, you say?
Devaluing equipment is a good thing, they are far too good hence Forges everywhere.
As for enchantments, you can always get one use from any persistent enchantment.
You'll have to time it so it's not hit by the opponent's base 2 Seeking Dispels though...

What other benefits does this spell points inflation that helps non-Wizards far more grant?
I don't know about you but I find culling my book to 120 far more painful with non-Wizards.
Now you can attempt the ambitious spellpoints intensive ideas, increasing game diversity!

I really hate that at least 6 spells (usually 10 = 4 Dispels, 4 Dissolves. 2 Teleports) are pre-chosen in all books.
This is just a tax that benefits the Wizard - so let's remove the tax and the Wizard simply loses his advantage.
It also has the beneficial effect of spicing up the game's uncertainty and allowing for points-costly build ideas.
Whilst solutions so far have been about the coefficients (cost multipliers), I'm suggesting a constant bonus to all.
It seems to me this nerfs a Wizard's advantage, remove these spell point taxes and also helps increase diversity.

Have I finally cracked? :)

I could get behind this change. Immediate, doesn't require editing spells (I still think the Wizard's Training should be nerfed somewhat, though that only changes a single card), and it has a significant positive impact.

I agree on Dispel, Dissolve, and Teleport. I'm not sure on the others though, but I also like the knowledge advantage given by enchantments. I certainly wouldn't mind getting them for free (I prefer a tactical game where these would be very helpful), I'm just not sure they're needed for free.

@Zuberi (quotes taken from several different posts out of order, too tired to go through and quote each one properly)

Quote
This does mean we're looking at probably another year under the thumb of the Wizard. It might take another two expansions after that to bring all of the mages up to tier 1, which means possibly 2 years from now before we achieve the equality desired for everyone. Is this too long? Opinions are going to differ on that.

Eight months to two years is certainly too long for me, as it is for many of the players I know in real life. And even then there isn't a guarantee that it'd go as predicted. Many of the problems aren't realised until after the set is released, so waiting an extra 4-8 months for that new problem to be fixed on top of the original problem is just too much.


Quote
Thus, the problem is that the Arcane school of magic is more self reliant and versatile than any other school, and conversely the War school is less so than the other schools. We need to bring the actual schools of magic into balance if we wish to balance the mages. Every mage should be able to rely on their training just as much as any of their brethren.

Quote
Long Term: Release enough new cards to where every school of magic is equally as strong as Arcane and none of them have a monopoly on game functions.
Pros: Increases variation and doesn't strongly sway the overall balance within the game. Gradually stabilizes all of the schools of magic.
Cons: Takes a really long time.

Short Term: Release Novice versions of spells. This would effectively make these spells in school for everyone.
Pros: Quickly and effectively helps to stabilize the various schools by giving a boost to all mages who were not previously trained in these spells School of magic.
Cons: Reduces variation by solidifying the necessity of these spells and makes such spells much more common causing a backlash of game balance. Also, some schools of magic will still need tweaking (War) to bring them up to par.

In an ideal world I would prefer the long term solution. However, we're already in a situation where many players are incredibly frustrated by the lack of balance that many (like me) will likely leave soon unless something's done about in the short term.Waiting for an unknown length of time for some unknown solution that may or may not work as intended isn't something that I personally care to wait around a year for.

And even when/if the other schools are at the same level as Arcane is, I still think the Wizard should have a restricted school. Nature and/or War seems thematic enough for that. The reason would be to make the weaknesses of the Arcane school actually mean something if it is no longer trivial to take the solution from another school in every scenario.


@Laddinfance

Please, no matter which way AW decides to go to fix this issue, please let us know what's going on (at least in general terms). Even if the solution you choose would take 1 year to implement, letting us know the approximate timetable would help a lot I think.



Non-response:
Possible answer to Teleport: Dimensional Anchor as a trait.
"This creature is immune to spells with the Teleport subtype"
Could go on various pieces of non-arcane[/u] equipment or enchantments, OR be used as an arena-wide effect like Idol of Pestilence.
Something that powerful would likely require some Upkeep, say Upkeep +X where X= the # of Anchor tokens on the card (add one Anchor to the card, then pay). Ideally I'd love to see it as an enchantment, but that's mostly because I like to counter spells with enchantments.

I'm pretty sure both Teleport and Teleport Trap have the Teleport subtype. Divine Intervention only has the Protection subtype. I suppose nothing can stop the will of Asyra?

-Aylin

EDIT: Fixed a typo
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: baronzaltor on February 28, 2014, 11:59:49 PM

Non-response:
Possible answer to Teleport: Dimensional Anchor as a trait.
"This creature is immune to spells with the Teleport subtype"
Could go on various pieces of non-arcane[/u] equipment or enchantments, OR be used as an arena-wide effect like Idol of Pestilence.
Something that powerful would likely require some Upkeep, say Upkeep +X where X= the # of Anchor tokens on the card (add one Anchor to the card, then pay). Ideally I'd love to see it as an enchantment, but that's mostly because I like to counter spells with enchantments.

I'm pretty sure both Teleport and Teleport Trap have the Teleport subtype. Divine Intervention only has the Protection subtype. I suppose nothing can stop the will of Asyra?

-Aylin

Actually, since Teleport is a subtype, there doesn't even have to be a new trait.. just a spell that says "Creature gains Teleportat Immunity".   No new codex entry or anything… current Immunity rules would already cover it.  It would also protect a creature from Banish as it also has that subtype.

Divine Intervention would still effect a creature with Teleport Immunity, but that is also an Epic 12 mana spell restricted to one school so I think it can slide. 

If it HAD to be covered, it'd be a pretty minor and easy to swallow errata to add the "teleport" subtype to DI just to make Teleport Immunity airtight. 
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Zuberi on March 01, 2014, 12:14:29 AM
I agree it is quite a long time. I anticipate we will lose some players and many more will make house rules in the mean time (banning the Wizard in your casual games seems simple enough). I do not think we will see any other tier 1 mages until at least Paladin vs Siren though, no matter what we come up with. I am just guessing that it will require 8 months from now for that expansion to come out, but it seems like a reasonable estimate given their history last year.

So, the question isn't how many people are willing to wait until Paladin vs Siren. There seems no way around that. The question is, how many people will be willing to wait one addition expansion thereafter? A gradual solution like I propose will hopefully put all the mages on tier 2 by PvS, and greatly narrow the gap between them and the Wizard, but there will probably remain a gap. It would take another expansion to cross the line. A more radical approach though could bump them up to tier 1 by PvS with the possibility of drastically altering the game we love.

Waiting an extra expansion could cause us to lose more players than have already left. However, the drastic changes caused by a more radical solution to this problem could also cause players to leave. I'm not going to say I'm in love with either solution. I think the long term answer is the best choice out of bad options.

I agree 100% that Arcane Wonders should keep communication open and let us know what to expect. That will keep morale up.

I think you're on the right path with the Dimensional Anchor trait to help with teleport, but I don't think it needs to be tied to any subtype. Tie it directly to the effect. For example:

Quote from: Codex
Unmovable (Object Trait) Object cannot be Pushed. All conjurations are Unmovable.

Unmovable is not tied to spells with the Push subtype. It is tied to the Push effect itself. Any trait that affects teleport should work the same way. The cool thing is, if you have an enchantment that confers this benefit to a creature, preventing that creature from being teleported, you could actually put it on a Blue Gremlin or Gray Wraith to cancel out their teleport capabilities. It would also ensure that it works against Divine Intervention as well as Teleport and Teleport Trap.

Thus:

Dimensional Anchor (Object Trait): Object can not be teleported.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Aylin on March 01, 2014, 12:26:28 AM
Tying it to the effect was what I originally had in mind, though I don't think it should hose Divine Intervention. That would be pretty brutal. Would "Immune to Non-epic Teleport Effects" be clear enough? I probably should have gone with that instead



The reason I don't think it should stop DI is because it is Epic and is thematically the Will of Asyra coming down and doing something on the battlefield. It would seem really odd to me that it could be stopped so easily. Also I think one of the signature Holy cards being canceled in such a way would be devastating in a match, making them worse by comparison.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Zuberi on March 01, 2014, 01:02:50 AM
Divine Intervention was not made with an Anchored trait existing, and introducing such a trait could hurt DI an undue amount. However, thinking ahead, do we want to make all epic teleports immune to this Anchored trait? Currently any epic push effects that get released would still be stopped by unmovable UNLESS they state otherwise.

I think first and foremost it should be play tested as affecting Divine Intervention just like every other teleport effect. If the play testing shows that DI is getting nerfed too hard, then Arcane Wonders can either make an exception for it in the rule or make an errata for it. I don't really like the errata option, but it does exist. There's no reason to make an exception for it at all though until after play testing.

I don't personally think it will kill Divine Intervention. Especially not with people currently saying DI is overpowered. I don't think DI is overpowered, but I do think it could survive being knocked down a peg. Only actual game play will tell though.

Lay on Hands is also epic and can be countered by the Finite Life trait. I've had somebody reveal Poisoned Blood  during the cast before. I was not happy. Not to mention both epic spells can be Nullified. Lay on Hands was designed with these in mind though.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: webcatcher on March 01, 2014, 06:45:23 AM
Quote
Eight months to two years is certainly too long for me, as it is for many of the players I know in real life. And even then there isn't a guarantee that it'd go as predicted. Many of the problems aren't realised until after the set is released, so waiting an extra 4-8 months ll go well. for that problem to be fixed on top of the original problem is just too much.


I agree with this. If we're faced with two solutions, one of which is fast and requires few changes (even if one is an errata), one of which is slow and requires many changes, and both of which will have an uncertain effect on game balance, I think the first solution is the obvious winner.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: wtcannonjr on March 01, 2014, 09:07:01 AM

I kind of think we need to shift away from the Magic the Gathering mind set where people tend to think of the different types of magic by what they are capable of. Instead, maybe we should think about the different schools by their weaknesses. Each school should be MOSTLY self sufficient but with a few glaring weaknesses that force them to delve out of school. When they do venture out of school there should be multiple viable options to choose from so that nobody has to take specific cards or ever delve into their weak school.


I would echo the idea of a different mind set although if your experience is based on the competitive MtG tournament world it may be difficult to see board game / miniature metas that attract some of us to Mage Wars.

When I read all the ideas here the common point in agreement is that the 'competitive tournament/online meta' is threatened by having unequal mages. this is not a show stopper in the board game tournament world that I am familiar with. For example, a competitive tournament environment can be maintained by designing tournaments in such a way to reflect the different strength and weaknesses of specific matchups. i.e. Designed matchups or scenarios are used for two sides to compete against and this information is known going into the tournament.

This is very different than the CCG tournament meta which is driven by the idea of players competing with a specific 'deck' of their design throughout a tournament. I don't hold with this assumption and I actually enjoy the different strength and weaknesses of each mage. As others have mentioned here, the schools will continue to evolve and existing mages will have new options for their toolkit as new mages are added to the game. This is something I look forward to and expect to change over time. I don't see an actual need to have all the mages on par. Most conflicts will have an underdog and certainly this is the case in the board game world of conflict simulations. The trick is to create competitive tournaments or player options using unique Mage Wars elements rather than adopt a CCG mind set that requires 'decks' be on par to make a competitive tournament. 

After all, the fact that a Wizard is the most flexible mage in a world of magical spells/battles doesn't seem unrealistic to me. While it may not be seen as competitive to some, it certainly seems intuitive.   :)
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on March 01, 2014, 10:13:41 AM


I kind of think we need to shift away from the Magic the Gathering mind set where people tend to think of the different types of magic by what they are capable of. Instead, maybe we should think about the different schools by their weaknesses. Each school should be MOSTLY self sufficient but with a few glaring weaknesses that force them to delve out of school. When they do venture out of school there should be multiple viable options to choose from so that nobody has to take specific cards or ever delve into their weak school.


I would echo the idea of a different mind set although if your experience is based on the competitive MtG tournament world it may be difficult to see board game / miniature metas that attract some of us to Mage Wars.

When I read all the ideas here the common point in agreement is that the 'competitive tournament/online meta' is threatened by having unequal mages. this is not a show stopper in the board game tournament world that I am familiar with. For example, a competitive tournament environment can be maintained by designing tournaments in such a way to reflect the different strength and weaknesses of specific matchups. i.e. Designed matchups or scenarios are used for two sides to compete against and this information is known going into the tournament.

This is very different than the CCG tournament meta which is driven by the idea of players competing with a specific 'deck' of their design throughout a tournament. I don't hold with this assumption and I actually enjoy the different strength and weaknesses of each mage. As others have mentioned here, the schools will continue to evolve and existing mages will have new options for their toolkit as new mages are added to the game. This is something I look forward to and expect to change over time. I don't see an actual need to have all the mages on par. Most conflicts will have an underdog and certainly this is the case in the board game world of conflict simulations. The trick is to create competitive tournaments or player options using unique Mage Wars elements rather than adopt a CCG mind set that requires 'decks' be on par to make a competitive tournament. 

After all, the fact that a Wizard is the most flexible mage in a world of magical spells/battles doesn't seem unrealistic to me. While it may not be seen as competitive to some, it certainly seems intuitive.   :)

The problem with that is that it would require either that people bring multiple spellbooks to every tournament they go to (one in each tier) in order to prevent unfair matchups, or limit customization for tournaments, like say, the following spells gain unique/epic/legendary/forbidden for this event.

That might actually be a good idea. If we have multiple tournament metas then a mage that's weak in one meta might be stronger in another.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: webcatcher on March 01, 2014, 10:48:59 AM
I think tournament scenarios could work to disrupt things a bit and add variety.

The labyrinth - organizers provide 12 walls of stone at the beginning of the match. Before rolling initiative players take turns placing the walls until all are placed. No fair walking in parts of the arena.

King of the hill - one of the two center squares of the arena (randomly determine which) lies on a magical leyline. Any mage in this zone during the upkeep phase generates 3 extra mana.

Etc
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: wtcannonjr on March 01, 2014, 02:52:41 PM
I think tournament scenarios could work to disrupt things a bit and add variety.

The labyrinth - organizers provide 12 walls of stone at the beginning of the match. Before rolling initiative players take turns placing the walls until all are placed. No fair walking in parts of the arena.

King of the hill - one of the two center squares of the arena (randomly determine which) lies on a magical leyline. Any mage in this zone during the upkeep phase generates 3 extra mana.

Etc

another tournament format option -

Iron Man - AW or organizers create tournament specific books for X mages. Each player plays X heats selecting a different mage each time. At the end of a round of X heats each player will have played each mage once and tournament points could be scored in each game to rank the players for advancement into the next round or award tournament victory. So the result is ranking players across different mage types rather than as a specific mage.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Zuberi on March 01, 2014, 03:06:06 PM
Quote from: webcatcher
If we're faced with two solutions, one of which is fast and requires few changes (even if one is an errata), one of which is slow and requires many changes, and both of which will have an uncertain effect on game balance

That is not an unfair assessment. However, I think attaching actual numbers to it paints a better picture than the connotation laden words of fast and slow.

Option 1: a few very major changes to the game implemented in a single expansion.
Option 2: several minor changes to the game which requires two expansions to see results.

Both will require additional tweaking with more expansions afterwards, but the game will hopefully never stop growing and evolving anyways.

@wtcannonjr
I am not very familiar with the games of which you speak, but I find the idea intriguing. I don't think we should stop trying to balance the different schools of magic, but being able to balance the tournament environment with the current card pool by using specific tournament rules does sound like a good way to calm people down until parity has been reached.

I think that tournaments should continue to allow players to bring their own spell books though. Customization is a big draw of the game, and taking that away would be a cure worse than the disease I think. I know this makes your suggestion more difficult as then you can't really judge who has the upper hand before the match begins. Just because I'm running a Wizard doesn't mean I've built him very well. Still, perhaps an inherent handicap for Wizard players at tournaments would be acceptable.

I personally think taking away between 10 and 20 spell points from the Wizard would be a good solution for both casual and tournament play until the card pool has been balanced. Perhaps doing the opposite for the Warlord, but Forged in Fire is fast approaching and will hopefully eliminate the need to assist Warlords.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on March 01, 2014, 03:14:36 PM
Quote
Iron Man - AW or organizers create tournament specific books for X mages. Each player plays X heats selecting a different mage each time. At the end of a round of X heats each player will have played each mage once and tournament points could be scored in each game to rank the players for advancement into the next round or award tournament victory. So the result is ranking players across different mage types rather than as a specific mage.

Why not just have people bring their own spellbooks and then rotate them? So then you can try using your opponents' spellbooks too? And I just thought of a really good tournament format that would incorporate that and I need to post it ASAP.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: webcatcher on March 01, 2014, 04:39:44 PM
Quote
Option 1: a few very major changes to the game implemented in a single expansion.
Option 2: several minor changes to the game which requires two expansions to see results.

But you're still only considering new cards. An errata could go into effect as soon as they playtested it enough to see if they thought it was balanced. Now we're talking about a month vs a year.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Zuberi on March 01, 2014, 05:14:20 PM
Truth. I honestly just don't like Errata, but it is an option. However, I think I've demonstrated, it's not the mages that are unbalanced. It is the card pool. Make sure you remember the root of the problem when you are considering possible errata. No changes should be made to the mages themselves.

We could release an errata to make all of the current versions of the cards that DeckBuilder mentioned into Novice spells. This wouldn't have a much greater effect than his alternate versions of the same name plan. I still fear the repercussions this may have on the game at large, but we could certainly test it to see how viable it is.

We could also try banning cards to reduce the in school options of the Wizard. I'm not sure if anyone would like that idea though.

I'm having trouble thinking of other possible errata or rules changes that could be implemented. It is certainly an avenue to consider though. Even though I don't particularly like it, I must admit it would be the quickest option and therefore might be the best.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: sIKE on March 01, 2014, 05:26:59 PM
Truth. I honestly just don't like Errata, but it is an option. However, I think I've demonstrated, it's not the mages that are unbalanced.
I disagree, I think I have beyond a reasonable doubt proved that the Wizard stats are far superior than any other non-Wizardy mage. You can add all of the cards you want, but unless you make them all School or Mage Only you are only helping the Wizard.

Sure the Holy school needs more cards, but the best of those will be used by the Wizard too, for only an out of school cost (*2) and more Dark will help the Necro's and Warlock's but once again the Wizard will only pay out of school cost (*2) where as the Dark and Light mages will pay *3 for the great opposing school spells.

Just saying more cards are needed is not a solution.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: DeckBuilder on March 01, 2014, 05:58:10 PM
Don't bother, Webcatcher
I think the paradigm shift of a "new rule", defacing the Tablets of Stone (gasp!), is too much for some
That's why I've given up on this thread

It doesn't even need to be a new rule per se.
When Magic first started, it didn't have the 4 copies rule
4 copies was the "tournament rules" that then became standard

The same would apply with "Pro Rules" added to the Living FAQ
Though I personally feel they should grab opportunity for a rewrite rules as a download
So traits could to be adjusted to be more relevant to the game (like Rage or Mana Drain)

Magic has changed its rules so many times
Game of Thrones and Netrunner both had worse absolutely broken rules when they were CCGs

I recall how difficult it was getting a Living FAQ to be the norm here (still no version control)
But it happened, we got a Living FAQ, something which is normal in Customised Card Games
So maybe rules changes may happen too - but I won't hold my breath

Options for Wizard (in order proposed)

1. Errata Wizard Training (various options)
2. Novice spells + other essential copies in Utility Pack
3. All Arcane Level 1 trained
4. "Pro Rules" auto-includes (details still TBC, just concept)
5. Wait for expansions to improve other mages but not Wizard (maybe a new "Non-Wizards Only" criteria? :) )

EDIT: 6. Errata Wizard's Tower - this is surely a given but alone won't solve it

I really like the elegance of option 3 but the only options which
(a) Get changes FAST and
(b) Cover Dispel, Dissolve and Teleport
are sadly either Options 1, 2 or 4
And people seem undecided on whether Option 1 would really hurt and remove Wizard's concept as a generalist

"Ooh, it will hurt enchantments too much"
No it won't, they have 6 Dispels and 6 Seeking Dispels maximum
Builds will have to decide on 12 Persistent Enchantments or 12 Triggered Enchantments or both!
Jeez, every book we see has so many more enchantments, it's why Wizards play with Dispel Wands!
And the very nature of you being able to QC cast reveal attack with benefit means you are always up.
Yes, level 2+ enchantments become SP disadvantage, but you only bring them out later or to attract Dispels
Essence Drain, Vampirism, Ghoul Rot, Eagleclaw Wings, Force Hold, they are all great as 1 use forcing a Dispel
They become even better if opponent runs out of Dispels or for attracting them so as to protect Mongoose Agility!
I don't buy the argument that more Dispels and Seeking Dispels will be bad for the game
I think it will be good as we will then spend more on CREATURES which we avoid purely because of Obelisk/Orb!

"Ooh it will hurt equipment too much"
I should hope so too, turn 1 Forge (which should have range 1, not 10 out of 12 zones) is so dull
Mages carry so much equipment that it's a wonder they don't qualify for the Lightning +2 Bad Science penalty!


The design flaw is a lack of a Universal school (Neutral in Game of Thrones, No Faction in Netrunner)
Magic went down the let's give 2-3 colours out of 5 their own flavour spells with the same function
Destroying Enchantments: Green, White (Blue can bounce/counter)
Destroying Artifacts: Red, Green, White (Blue can bounce/counter)
Destroying Creatures: Black, Red, White (Blue can bounce/counter)
Mage Wars could go down the same path of similar function spells in different schools
But the problem is this would take a long time to implement
In the meantime, there are a lot of Disenchanted (pun intended) players like Aylin and my meta out there
Gamers are fickle, they have plenty of disposable and they rarely go back
All my ex-Mage Wars friends (hence me) are playing Serpent's Tongue (spells from spellbooks), their latest fad
The woods are burning, gentlemen, while we stick with the most conservative "rules are sacrosanct" approach?


Dammit, I've posted again on this thread after promising myself I will never bother again...
I don't need my blood pressure rising everytime I bang my head against the same wall of resistance in every thread
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Zuberi on March 01, 2014, 06:23:47 PM
@sIKE
Let me summarize why that is incorrect again.

1) If there are equally viable options in other schools besides the one you make him weak in, he will be able to maintain his power level without sacrificing any spell points. Thus, the weak school only weakens him as long as that school has cards that have no viable alternative. This again indicates an imbalance in the schools of magic and the card pool, not the mage.

2) If you look at the current "overpowered" wizard builds such as Blasting Banker and Watergate, you will notice that they do not take more out of school spells than non-wizards do, which is what your argument seems to be implying they are capable of doing. Instead, the issue is that they take more in-school spells than their counterparts. This again implies an imbalance in the schools of magic and the card pool by Arcane being more self-reliant than any other school.

An errata to the Wizard is treating a symptom, not the disease. If other mages could rely on their schools of training as much as the Wizard does, then they would have spellbooks that are just as large and versatile as he does. In such an environment though, a weak school does not weaken the Wizard. Of course, at that time, the wizard wouldn't need to be weakened...

Hmm, thinking about it along those lines, it might not be a bad idea. It is still slapping a band aid on, rather than actually addressing the problem. However, it might serve to curtail the Wizard until the schools can be aligned.

This argument could convince me to jump on the Wizard Errata bandwagon...again. However I'm going to hesitate because:
1) I don't like errata. This is kind of me just being stubborn rather than an actual statement of it being bad.
2) We should be planning for this errata to be irrelevant. Do we really want to make a change to a Core Mage that shouldn't matter after a couple of expansions?
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: sIKE on March 01, 2014, 06:36:44 PM
@Deckbuilder

Dissolve is not Arcane though a Wizard may be trained in Water which is what school it is in

@Zuberi
1) The problem with equally viable spells in other schools is two fold, now instead of one Dissolve/Dispel/Teleport (6 count), I have two different Dissolve/Dispel/Teleport (12 count) that Wizard can carry cheaply. This is treating the symptom, changing training on the Wizard solves the issue.

2) As I previously pointed out, though BB has 40 spell points as in-school, remember we are talking Arcane + Fire being in school, we also are talking about 32 spell points as being out of school, with none in an opposing school (56% in school and 44% out of school). Resulting in a wicked good book with a huge toolbox of spells across the spectrum to deal with whatever comes its way.

Any card additions to other schools can benefit the Wizard, with the best of them going in to the toolbox. No doubt, adding more in school cards will help lift these other mages, but not to tier 1. What we should be looking at is for tier 1 to come down to tier 2's level and not visa versa as the design of the Wizard prevents that from ever happening. Then raising all of the 3 and 4 tiers up to tier 2 1 also.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Zuberi on March 01, 2014, 06:57:11 PM
1) The Wizard would obviously want to continue carrying the in school options he has. He could carry out of school options as well, but to max out both would cost him 18 spellpoints. The current trend is to carry around 12 spellpoints worth, and I don't anyone wants to spend much more than 10% of their total budget. Most likely we'd be looking at Wizards (and another mage type now) carrying around 9 cards with such useful functionality. Which is a little more than currently. Everyone else would be carrying the same as currently. Overall though this results in a smaller increase in those spells within the overall meta than giving them to everyone at face value would.

That is not really the topic I was discussing though. I was saying that the Wizard should never HAVE to take spells from his weak school of magic. If you build a Beastmaster who never takes any fire spells, or a Warlock who never takes any holy spells, or you get the pattern, they SHOULD be equal to a Wizard who never takes spells from a weak school because they have no weak school. If such builds are not equally viable, it is because there are spells in their weak school that are either overpowered or unique with no viable alternative in other schools. This is a problem with the balance of the schools of magic and the card pool, clearly.

2) Depending on which version of BB you count, I come to around 60 spell points spent in school, not 40. I challenge you to build any other mage with half their spellpoints spent in school and see if they don't also end up with over 70 cards total. The problem is it won't be as well balanced and powerful. This is clearly because their in school training is not as versatile and powerful as Arcane, not because they have a weakness in another school.

If every card has a viable alternative, then any mage can get it for double cost. Nobody is truly hampered by their weak school. The weakness will serve for flavor instead of power balance. If every school is just as versatile and powerful as every other, then everyone should be able to spend just as many points in school. Thus, everyone will have the same amount of spell points spent in school AND the same amount spent out of school. They will have equally large, varied, and powerful spellbooks.

I'm not saying to make all schools the same mind you. I don't want mono-colored decks. However, I don't think that giving them something special that nobody else has is the way of making them different from each other. I think we should instead give them holes that they need to fill by dipping outside of their school. They might not have healing spells (War, Arcane, and Mind) for instance, but they have multiple choices for getting them (Nature, Dark, and Holy).
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: sIKE on March 01, 2014, 07:16:29 PM
Oy vey! This will take for ever and not solve the issue. Sorry, more cards will make the other mages better, but net effect is it will just make the Wizard even that much better.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: DeckBuilder on March 01, 2014, 07:36:02 PM
@Deckbuilder
Dissolve is not Arcane though a Wizard may be trained in Water which is what school it is in

I know, that is why I discounted Option 3 in my list (Arcane level 1 is Universal)
The argument for Option 1 (more opposed) is it would impact on the Wizard's ability to buy the essentials
Which is why I included it in the shortlist
Option 2 (Novice) and Option 4 ("Pro Rules" auto-inclusion) already covers the staples
Option 5 is obviously not Fast so has been discounted

Oy vey! This will take for ever and not solve the issue. Sorry, more cards will make the other mages better, but net effect is it will just make the Wizard even that much better.

I totally agree with you.
Some people are incredibly resistant to change, anything outside their comfort zone.
This sort of demagoguery, based on strict adherence to rules, is very damaging, even if well-intentioned.

Which is why I advise you to not bother with this thread anymore and just talk to Aaron direct.
Which is what he invited me to do and no doubt will be happy to have a OCTGN meta expert like you too.

In Netrunner, FFG actually pay strict attention to results on OCTGN
I wonder if Arcane Wonders bothers or if it's based on local metas?
Because I know my remnants of a local meta is very Nonliving
I wonder if other key decision makers are playing different local metas?
May explain why some wrote "LOL" at some of my comments, want Range Strategy even more stuffed etc

In the end, the biggest meta is OCTGN (certainly not BashCon timed tournament)
And that's where input from you, Charmyna, Lettucemode, jacksmack and the rest of the regulars is vital

So just go to Aaron direct because I'm just so tired of these pointless debates with The Unbending One
Time and time again, everywhere I turn, the same Wall of Resistance to Change
After a while, you just snap and I'm now past caring

It's Aaron and other decision makers we have to convince so why bother trying to convince others?
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Laddinfance on March 01, 2014, 07:55:42 PM
Up until today, I'd rather enjoyed this thread. There are many good ideas out there and many good arguments. Though today it seems that we've landed into a circle. We have two broad schools of thought on how to deal with the Wizard. For other mages, many of the options are easy, we want more demon options for the warlock, we need a quick ranged weapon for JBM, we want a fuller holy school more capable of aggression for the Priest, we want a fuller mind school with broader options for the Forcemaster, and there are more. However, on those mages bringing them up in value is very straightforward. The crux is how to stop the wizard. Right now the only way I can see to be sure they will have tougher choices in spellbook building would be to lower their total spellpoints. Obviously, I'm not advocating this right now.

What I am saying is, I have found this thread very beneficial. And honestly anyone who would like to speak about this to me is free to message me in the forums or email me.

Progress is tough work. Thank you all for your help so far.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: aquestrion on March 01, 2014, 08:24:42 PM
How about restricted school cards...like non arcane mage cards? Non mind mage cards
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: webcatcher on March 01, 2014, 08:26:20 PM
Laddin, I believe you're right. We've debated the pros and cons of various wizard fixes pretty exhaustively. Some people think the game might be ruined if the wizard isn't fixed quickly, others think the game might be ruined if we do change the wizard quickly. At this point I think we're spinning our wheels. I believe the design team has all of the input they're going to get from the community (anything else will likely just repetition), so I'm going to bow out of this particular conversation unless the design team needs some additional input from us on the issue.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Zuberi on March 01, 2014, 08:44:01 PM
If all the mages can spend the same amount of points in school and the same amount out of school on equally powerful and viable spells, and they are not sacrificing anything by not dipping into their weak school, then they should all have equally large, varied, and powerful spellbooks. What is wrong with that assessment? That is a situation that is entirely achievable through a balanced card pool without any changes to any mages.

However, I will concede that giving the Wizard a weak school immediately will weaken him right now. That is because we currently do not have a balanced card pool. My main problem with this plan is that we should be striving for a balanced card pool which would make this errata irrelevant. I don't like errata to begin with, much less one that won't matter once the actual problem is solved. I must admit it has benefits though.

1. It nerfs him immediately. No need to wait.
2. It does not nerf him once the actual problem is resolved, thus we don't have to compensate for him being inherently weaker than other mages.

There may be other benefits as well, but those are all I can think of right now. Those may definitely be worth the change. I don't like it, but I find no actual negative other than it *should* be made irrelevant with good product design in the future. Irrelevant is not really much of a flaw though for something that fixes a current flaw.

Lowered spell points is an idea I like much better but only if it is temporary. Lowered spell points can be made a house rule and a temporary tournament rule, however if it is an actual errata it will make the Wizard inherently weaker than the other mages once the card pool becomes as balanced as it should be made.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on March 01, 2014, 09:51:24 PM
You don't need to keep trying to explain yourself Zuberi. No one is addressing the specific supporting arguments you have made, only your main point. You have already shown that you are willing to change your mind when the evidence proves you wrong, at least when it comes to this game that we love.

I think a lot of people are understandably very upset because a lot of their friends stopped playing Mage Wars with them because of the current imbalances. That's not trivial, because many of us have invested a lot of time , energy and feeling into this game. I'm sure it's extremely frustrating and disheartening when most or all of the friends you play the game IRL with stop playing.

However, I think people are forgetting that Mage Wars is still very young. I'm sure Arcane Wonders will most likely learn from this experience and start making even better design decisions. And IF your solution is the optimal one and Arcane Wonder decides to use it, then everyone will be changing their tunes once the wizard is balanced again.

And I'll say the same thing to everyone else. IF your solution is the optimal one and Arcane Wonder decides to use it, then Zuberi and I will also be changing our minds once the wizard is balanced again, and the quality of the metagame has not deteriorated as a result of the changes.

A real, honest debate is a conflict between ideas, not people. Our job is to watch the ideas fight it out, not to fight it out ourselves on their behalf. People forget that when ideas seem threatening. But they are only ideas, and it is ultimately Arcane Wonders decision, not ours. There is no reason to attack Zuberi for the ideas he has presented if it is the ideas that you take issue with rather than Zuberi.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Zuberi on March 01, 2014, 10:21:24 PM
Thank you for your support Imaginator. I really appreciate it. I like to think the best of people, so I'm not going to accuse anyone of actually attacking me, however using monikers like "the unbending one" which I have no doubt was directed at me, does confuse me a bit. I believe I have shown a willingness to bend and adapt. I've changed my position a few times in this thread.

Perhaps it is because of the cycle that I have been driving. A lot of people seem to be giving a very similar argument that I find flawed, but when I state why I find it flawed, they seem to simply repeat themselves rather than addressing my point. I then end up repeating myself. I'm sure we're suffering from miscommunication, but it has created a cycle with very little new being introduced.

Currently, my preferred plans are:
1) Tournament rule that lowers the Wizard's Spell Points without actually doing so with an errata. Casual players are welcome to mimic this. This rule will remain in effect until the card pool is balanced, which should be something they plan to do.

2) Wizard Errata to give them a weak school. I don't like it, but it is the quickest solution with the fewest repercussions other than the one stated above.

3) Balance the different Schools of Magic. I want Arcane Wonders to do this no matter what their other decisions are. This includes making every school as self-reliant as all the others so that every mage can depend on the same level of support from their training in their spellbooks. It also means keeping any school from having a monopoly on important cards or effects. In the end, everyone should be able to spend the same amount of points in school as any other mage, nobody should have to spend points in their weak school, and they should all result in an equally viable spellbook.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: BoomFrog on March 02, 2014, 12:45:59 AM
Why not both!  Issue temporary errata for tournament play that balances the game as is, and continue to work on releasing cards to balance the potency of every school.  For example, when an expansion is released that has sufficient counters to teleport dominance than the errata nerfing teleport is repealed.  Everyone is happy:

Casual players will either not notice the balance issues or if they do they will be happy to use the "suggested house rules" to keep the current game fun.

Tournaments can be balanced and pro players are happy.

Long term the game stays healthy by not crippling itself with hasty short sighted errata.

I think at this point we should start two new threads:  "What errata would fix the game right now? (http://forum.arcanewonders.com/index.php?topic=13795.0)", and "What cards would you suggest to bring all the mages to the same power level? (http://forum.arcanewonders.com/index.php?topic=13796.0)"
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: lettucemode on March 03, 2014, 10:17:53 AM
I think one issue worth discussing is that the game we are playing and the game the playtesters are balancing for are not the same game. A few of the playtesters have mentioned that before every release, there is a vote to pare down the set of balanced, playtested cards to the number of cards they can print in one expansion. Which means that we are effectively playing with a subset of the complete game.

This has a huge impact on our discussion of what should and should not be changed because all the issues we bring up may have already been fixed at the playtester level. It's just that due to unavoidable limitations in distribution and release schedule we have only been given pieces of the real game. And because we only have part of the game, there are balance issues.

What if all other mages have been given powerful, exciting new tools such that the Wizard doesn't seem like a big deal? That would certainly explain why Wizard's Tower was released into the current card pool.

This would basically render all of our discussions obsolete because we are attempting to balance an incomplete game, which, to the playtesters, may as well not exist.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Laddinfance on March 03, 2014, 11:52:06 AM
I think one issue worth discussing is that the game we are playing and the game the playtesters are balancing for are not the same game. A few of the playtesters have mentioned that before every release, there is a vote to pare down the set of balanced, playtested cards to the number of cards they can print in one expansion. Which means that we are effectively playing with a subset of the complete game.

This has a huge impact on our discussion of what should and should not be changed because all the issues we bring up may have already been fixed at the playtester level. It's just that due to unavoidable limitations in distribution and release schedule we have only been given pieces of the real game. And because we only have part of the game, there are balance issues.

What if all other mages have been given powerful, exciting new tools such that the Wizard doesn't seem like a big deal? That would certainly explain why Wizard's Tower was released into the current card pool.

This would basically render all of our discussions obsolete because we are attempting to balance an incomplete game, which, to the playtesters, may as well not exist.

I would not say that these discussions are useless. Yes, the playtesters often have access to a different game than is currently out. However, it is just as important to see how cards are actually affecting the game "in the wild". Yes, it's possible that we have a solution for many of the concerns listed, but seeing these threads let us know that we should work them in sooner or in some cases push cards back.

I guess what I'm getting at here is that the perspective of our community as a whole is important in knowing how to go forward. Design is full of difficult decisions and the more information we have the better a decision we can make. I want to see both perspectives, the ones from my playtesters who get to see the game further in the future, and the players who are working with what is out right now.

If you tell me you need "X" and I know we have it in a set, then that makes me feel good that we anticipated your need. But if it's not then I get to look at the need and see how to best address it.

Long story short, These conversations are not obsolete.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: lettucemode on March 03, 2014, 11:59:57 AM
That is an excellent reply Laddinfance. Thank you for the write-up.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Wildhorn on March 04, 2014, 10:03:00 AM
I was thinking about this today and I think Dissolve and Dispel should have been level 3 spell instead of level 1.

Now I can hear people screaming "Are you crazy?!?". But here is my thought.

Typical water wizard has 6 dispel and 6 dissolve while most mages has 3 of each. Mages have their spellbook made and are at 120 spellpoints. Now make these 2 spells level 3. Wizards get to 144  SP while other mages (except druid, she is the exception) get to 132 SP. So, non-wizard has to lose 12 SP (or 2 Dissolve and 2 Dispell) while wizard has to lose 24 SP (or 4 Dissolve and 4 Dispel).

Now instead to have 3 more Dissolve and 3 more Dispel than other mages, Wizard only has an advantage of 1 of each over other mages.

Of course you could remove other spells than Dissolve and Dispel, but while other mages only have to remove 12 SP, water wizard get to remove 24 SP. So if he wants to keep his "control" over equipment/enchantment he has to lose alot of options/tools.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: baronzaltor on March 04, 2014, 02:13:09 PM
I was thinking about this today and I think Dissolve and Dispel should have been level 3 spell instead of level 1.

Now I can hear people screaming "Are you crazy?!?". But here is my thought.

Typical water wizard has 6 dispel and 6 dissolve while most mages has 3 of each. Mages have their spellbook made and are at 120 spellpoints. Now make these 2 spells level 3. Wizards get to 144  SP while other mages (except druid, she is the exception) get to 132 SP. So, non-wizard has to lose 12 SP (or 2 Dissolve and 2 Dispell) while wizard has to lose 24 SP (or 4 Dissolve and 4 Dispel).

Now instead to have 3 more Dissolve and 3 more Dispel than other mages, Wizard only has an advantage of 1 of each over other mages.

Of course you could remove other spells than Dissolve and Dispel, but while other mages only have to remove 12 SP, water wizard get to remove 24 SP. So if he wants to keep his "control" over equipment/enchantment he has to lose alot of options/tools.

Another thought along similar lines would be to make them novice, but also level 2-3.
As novice spells they would only cost 1 spell point, but as level 2+ spells no one could have more than 4 copies.
This makes them more affordable but keeps there from being upwards of 6 in a spellbook.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Wildhorn on March 04, 2014, 02:34:38 PM
I am against "mandatory" spells being Novice. It remove flavor from the school, reduce diversity between mages and it creates a spellbook tax. Make Dissovle or Dispel Novice and you are sure everybody will run the maximum just like water wizard does.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Aylin on March 04, 2014, 03:05:21 PM
I was thinking about this today and I think Dissolve and Dispel should have been level 3 spell instead of level 1.

Now I can hear people screaming "Are you crazy?!?". But here is my thought.

Typical water wizard has 6 dispel and 6 dissolve while most mages has 3 of each. Mages have their spellbook made and are at 120 spellpoints. Now make these 2 spells level 3. Wizards get to 144  SP while other mages (except druid, she is the exception) get to 132 SP. So, non-wizard has to lose 12 SP (or 2 Dissolve and 2 Dispell) while wizard has to lose 24 SP (or 4 Dissolve and 4 Dispel).

Now instead to have 3 more Dissolve and 3 more Dispel than other mages, Wizard only has an advantage of 1 of each over other mages.

Of course you could remove other spells than Dissolve and Dispel, but while other mages only have to remove 12 SP, water wizard get to remove 24 SP. So if he wants to keep his "control" over equipment/enchantment he has to lose alot of options/tools.

I can only see this making the problem worse than it already is. Making the spells higher level won't make them less mandatory, it'll just make it harder for anyone who isn't a Wizard (Druid for example goes from paying 1 per Dissolve to 6!), especially the Warlord who would then pay 9 for a Dispel. Most of the Wizard books I've built have had extra spell points left over that I could devote to unlikely problems, but non of my other books ever had extra. With that change I would simply spend those extra points in Wizard books on the mandatory Dissolve and Dispels, and my other mages would cry.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Bjorne on March 04, 2014, 03:35:24 PM
I would just like to add that I don't think card erratas are problematic, at all. This is competitive play we are discussing. I don't think casual players will run into the problems we are discussing. All hobby/competitive gamers can keep a large number of erratas in their heads. If a slight chance of wizard stats would be efficient, just do it.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: lettucemode on March 05, 2014, 09:27:19 AM
I would be interested if sIKE or Lettucemode could print out the win/loss resulte of mages on OCTGN...

Currently the OCTGN module does not store or report this data.
Currently.
<.<     >.>
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: sIKE on March 05, 2014, 09:33:29 AM
Currently a stats server does not exist, it is a thought though.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: wtcannonjr on March 05, 2014, 05:37:39 PM
I would be interested if sIKE or Lettucemode could print out the win/loss resulte of mages on OCTGN...

Currently the OCTGN module does not store or report this data.
Currently.
<.<     >.>

So what actual data is everyone using to assess that indeed the Wizard is too powerful?

I assumed this was data driven, but now I wonder. How are we controlling for other variables like player skill?

Perhaps there is an abundance of Wizard vs Wizard match ups on OCTGN which would suggest that players are using the perceived strongest mage when they play?
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Alexander West on March 05, 2014, 08:50:09 PM
This conversation has not been data driven.  Instead, it has been driven by some people feeling that the Wizard is imbalanced, some people feeling like people were leaving the game because the Wizard is imbalanced, and one of the consensus best players saying the Wizard is imbalanced.

Having no stats is unfortunate, since in other hobbies it has been the case sometimes that the thing the crowd complains about is just okay.  Also, the crowd will always be complaining about something, regardless of whether there is something significantly problematic.

All I know is that the four varieties of Wizard are very good, but I don't know if that means they're broken or not.  (There are several other mages that seem very good in the post DvN meta.)
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: ringkichard on March 06, 2014, 12:48:04 AM
The more I think about it the more I'm inclined to agree that Arcane and other Wizard problems may just be undercosted.

Iron Golem would have been fine at level 4, 17 manna, same stats.

Teleport would have been fine at level 4, 4 mana per zone.

 Wizard's Tower at level 4, etc etc.
Title: Re: Bringing all mages on par!
Post by: Aschab on April 05, 2014, 01:17:08 AM
I'm pretty new to the game. Yet I've been reading a lot, and I have plenty of experience with mtg and similar ccg games.

For the games of MW i've played (not much, less than 30 probably) and what i've read, I understand the power of wizard and his versatility, yet I think that he's only overpowered on the "pro" game, the casual player, specially offline, doesn't get really hurt by this. I mean specially offline because a lot of people have not all the expansions, so not access to 6 dispels, 6 dissolve, and 6 teleports. Also when they have it a lot of people rather have a few balanced books than 1 overpowered.

So the issue comes to balance the mages at tournament level. And here is where I will start my line of thought.

Dispel, teleport, and dissolve are powerful because they have not inherent counter (as it have been told many times on this post). If the future expansion have enchantments that can't be dispelled, or obscure, conjurations that penalty teleport, equipment that can't be dissolve, or conjurations that penalty dissolve, or any way to make this 3 specific cards less appealing, everyone including wizards will start playing this cards, but this will cause an extra effect, when a card is less effective people also stop playing it, if a wizard see he's finishing most of his games with only 1 or 2 dispel useds and lost because of it he will take out of his spellbook this cards to fill it with counter measures for the new enchantments, conjurations and equipment. New cards if done in the good way can bring balance to the game in the sense that: If everything can be countered, you have to be really careful with how much of each you counter. As people stop playing so much dispels and so much dissolve people will also stop playing their counters, and with enough time the game will achieve (or get close to) balance. But to achieve this balance the future expansions have to address this issue with precaution. As it have been said here too, it would be a shame if the new cards get so powerful that anyone with a brand new game have just obsolete options.

So as I see it, the game can be balanced with expansions that nulify the current power of current cards, without the need of errata. And errata can be used for the purpose of pro gaming, I don't see how the community would get hurt if the next year of tournaments have a wizard with *3 nature, or novice arcane level 1 spells, making teleport epic, or any temporary measure that would not affect new players and would only be an incentive for pro players to explore and re-explore tactics.