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Author Topic: Bringing all mages on par!  (Read 200444 times)

Charmyna

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Bringing all mages on par!
« 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!
« Last Edit: February 26, 2014, 03:44:31 AM by Charmyna »

MageHorst

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #1 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!
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DeckBuilder

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #2 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!
« Last Edit: February 26, 2014, 04:16:09 AM by DeckBuilder »
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Zuberi

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #3 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.

Charmyna

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #4 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

Zuberi

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #5 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.

DeckBuilder

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #6 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!)
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Charmyna

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #7 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.

IndyPendant

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #8 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.

DeckBuilder

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #9 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?
« Last Edit: February 26, 2014, 05:30:04 AM by DeckBuilder »
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DeckBuilder

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #10 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?
« Last Edit: February 26, 2014, 08:21:22 AM by DeckBuilder »
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webcatcher

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #11 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.

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #12 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.
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Zuberi

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #13 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.

Zuberi

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #14 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.