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Author Topic: Bringing all mages on par!  (Read 270323 times)

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #120 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.

Sailor Vulcan

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Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #121 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.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2014, 04:31:44 PM by Imaginator »
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Zuberi

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #122 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.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2014, 04:48:57 PM by Zuberi »

DeckBuilder

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #123 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.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2014, 05:29:30 PM by DeckBuilder »
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ringkichard

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #124 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?
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sIKE

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #125 on: February 28, 2014, 05:12:53 PM »
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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?
« Last Edit: February 28, 2014, 06:11:41 PM by sIKE »
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DeckBuilder

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #126 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.
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Lord0fWinter

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #127 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.
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Zuberi

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #128 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.

Zuberi

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #129 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.

Lord0fWinter

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #130 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. 
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Zuberi

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #131 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.

Sailor Vulcan

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #132 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.
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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #133 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.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2014, 07:49:39 PM by Kitarja »

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #134 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.