April 06, 2020, 01:45:01 PM

Author Topic: Bringing all mages on par!  (Read 275394 times)

ringkichard

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #105 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.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2014, 11:09:41 AM by ringkichard »
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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #106 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.
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ringkichard

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #107 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.
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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #108 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.

ringkichard

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #109 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. 
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Aylin

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #110 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.

webcatcher

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #111 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.

Aylin

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #112 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".

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #113 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.
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Laddinfance

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #114 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.

baronzaltor

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #115 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 costů 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".

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #116 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? :)
« Last Edit: February 28, 2014, 03:11:23 PM by DeckBuilder »
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webcatcher

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #117 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.

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #118 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.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2014, 03:35:36 PM by DeckBuilder »
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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #119 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.

« Last Edit: February 28, 2014, 03:36:32 PM by Alexander West »
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