Arcane Wonders Forum

Mage Wars => Mages => Topic started by: zot on October 01, 2019, 09:50:49 PM

Title: flipping the channeling paradigm
Post by: zot on October 01, 2019, 09:50:49 PM
most people generally agree there are certain mages that are top tier compared to other mages. there is disagreement on who is strongest among those top mages, but the list overall is consistent enough. I think it is more than simply a mage that has 10 channel is by definition stronger than all others. some are strong because of their stat card abilities and/or training and the 10 channel is just a huge bonus.

below is the list that are mostly considered to be strong compared to the remaining mages. of course there are considerations such as timed events, or unlimited time, but these are mostly the best mages.

in no particular order:
wizard, necro, priestess, and druid

I propose some testing for inverting the environment. what if the paladin, straywood bm, and the above mages channel 9 (druid perhaps 8 ) instead and all other mages were set to channel 10? would people's opinions about who is stronger change significantly? no question the above mages have strong abilities. would reducing their base channeling balance them out enough with the increase on the rest of the mages help level the competition to be a lot closer than it currently is?

just something to induce some deep discussion (rather than have this devolve into a tier rant of any kind) and provoke some thoughtful comparisons. would this channel change make most of the mages more competitive ly even overall, rather than simply saying all mages channel 10? raising the channel bar for everyone to be equal  such as the next admw event does not change the strong abilities of the top mages. so rather than raising everyone up, consider having them essentially swap places channelwise. does that help the lower strength mages get enough of a competitive boost - generally?

it seems interesting to me. and I know how much the mage channels influences the decision people make when deciding on which mage to play in a serious competition.

Title: Re: flipping the channeling paradigm
Post by: DaveW on October 02, 2019, 04:40:13 PM
I would take issue with this on a thematic basis. Two specifics: I can't see a Wizard having less innate channeling than any other mage, and neither warlord should channel more than any other mage due to their lack of training / affinity / whatever with the arcane arts.

Also, on a comfort level... as for me, a change in channeling or starting mana of any mage that I play would require me to rethink openings and potentially redesign books... something that I don't want to have to do... especially if it "feels" wrong that the mage is being forced to channel something other than what it "should."
Title: Re: flipping the channeling paradigm
Post by: Arkdeniz on October 05, 2019, 07:09:36 PM
I don't think these mages are stronger because of their 10% extra channelling.

If they are stronger (and my experience is that this is not proven at my table at least) it would be down to other factors:

Wizard and its cheap access to the arcane school toolbox.
Necromancer and Druid for their action economy
Priestess for its combo of actions and abilities (especially condition removal)

All up I would rate action generation as more important than mana generation. If I can do 4 actions on my turn and you can do 2, then in more games than not I will beat you. Zot's implicit suggestion that the next best mages are Straywood and Pally - both good action generators - and not the other 10 channel Forcemaster may well back that up.

Yes, that extra 1 mana each turn is useful in getting those action generators out in the first place, but it represents a margin of 10%. It is not decisive in and of itself, given the sheer number of variables in this game.

So, Zot, to answer your question, I would be interested in seeing the results of your testing. I would hypothesise that you won't find much difference in win rates.

Taking away all spawnpoints, on the other hand, may lead to a total inversion of the 'tier this or that' paradigm.
Title: Re: flipping the channeling paradigm
Post by: Knabbmaster on October 06, 2019, 02:19:38 PM
Mages are the last thing that you should ever buff/nerf IMO. Nefring/buffing cards and adding new mages are much better.

If I only play nercomancer and a nerf came I would not be able to run ANY of my old strats which is depressing enough to quit the game. However if a nerf came to brute or idol that would solve the same problem without killing the innocent skeltal or reanimation builds.

Now adding new mages is ofc not something we can do, alhtough I would prefer having a third (good) warlord (BM, warlock,...) introduced rather than messing with the old ones.

Before actually anwsering your question I would like to point out that the league format is not the best for testing since it makes the gaps between mages grow. Normally a FM could beat my wizard but if I cut anti-melee cards but in the league you can't trick anyone the same way and since you can prepp for everything it is about being efficent.

My tier list would change if you increased channeling (no shit). If you do the increase the paladin would be VERY good while the Forcemaster would suffer for the first time. And if you swap chaneling the Necromancer and Siren might be the only mages who keep thier spots. For example a BM + lair would get the same mana than wizard  + gate.

Currently I belive that the Necromancer is too strong and that the best ways of beating him is to play wizard or cheese. But if you nerf the necro he just gets crushed by pillar (instantly kills alomst any necro creature aside form brute). And if necro becomes bad mass eco builds don't really have any good counters left.

So I whish that pillar gets a MASSIVE nerf and Zombie necromancer gets a decent nerf as well.
The following card would also be nice
7 mana, conjuration, dark lvl 2. 'Whenever ANY object gains mana deal 2 damage to it.
But that's not in our controll.

I would also welcome buffs to spawnpoints and familiars of the other mages. (sersyrix, sectarus, barracks, echo...)

Somewhat easier is banning cards, but just like your solution that isn't very fun in my opinion.
Title: Re: flipping the channeling paradigm
Post by: zot on October 06, 2019, 02:33:49 PM
note this was just a suggested format for some playtesting to see if the top mages getting lowered channeling and raising the channel on the others would even the field some or not. not proposing long term changes to the mages, just seeing if in practice this makes games more competitive overall or not no matter what the matchup is.

like mentioned, the high channel combined with great abilities matters. I think that if those top mages had their channel cut from round 1, they suffer enough that games are closer. it could be that the ranking does not change much, but it could. just as an example, with 19 starting mana necro cannot do book/ring. and wizard creatures are pretty expensive for the high level ones. but having less mana may mean that he is forced to use more smaller creatures.

just would like to see if anyone would be interested in playing some games over time to see if the power balance flattens out or not. I believe that the current strong mages may not have been balanced enough from the beginning. so this is a curiousity thing for me.

Title: Re: flipping the channeling paradigm
Post by: DaveW on October 06, 2019, 06:15:25 PM
I believe, as has been pointed out in a number of other threads, that it is more player ability that will determine a winner, rather than the "tier" of the mage used. For example, I know my usual opponent has often thought of a dozen things during our games that never occurred to me, knows how to use spells better, knows how to build better books... such that if I win, usually it is either that I luck into pulling the right spell at the right time, or that he is playing a non-competitive build against the best that I can create.

What you would need to do would be to play the same person(s) with all of the mages without messing with channeling, and then playing all of those same person(s) with the same mages against the same mages with changes in channeling... and then a number of times each to get rid of statistical deviation... it would potentially take years to test these changes.
Title: Re: flipping the channeling paradigm
Post by: zot on October 06, 2019, 06:37:02 PM
challenge accepted!   :D

Title: Re: flipping the channeling paradigm
Post by: Enti on October 25, 2019, 11:31:15 PM
I believe, as has been pointed out in a number of other threads, that it is more player ability that will determine a winner, rather than the "tier" of the mage used.

I think nobody who has played more than a couple of MW games will disagree with that statement. Especially no one who is still active in this forum. Skill is the most important factor but you cannot use it as an argument for not balancing the mages properly. And they are _not_ balanced right now. Not at all.

All up I would rate action generation as more important than mana generation. If I can do 4 actions on my turn and you can do 2, then in more games than not I will beat you.

I'm afraid that is a too simplistic approach since 4 spawnpoints do not benefit you if you don't have the mana to properly use them. Proving that action-advantage of its own isn't worth all that much. And you can expect that there are books that have a 100% winchance if you start a match with the Siren by casting 4 spawnpoints with your first 4-6 actions :D

Knabb's suggestion on the other hand seems quite... carefully thought through imho.
He notes that changing mages themselves should probably be the ultima ratio and I agree. Necro certainly is very strong, but as he said, it mainly is because of the brute (+ graveyard). If we'd nerf the brute it would automatically and directly weaken the necro as well because the "zombie-necro" is far stronger than every other necro.


Before we change anything we should ask ourselves: What is our goal?

Should it not be that in a perfectly balanced game you can play every single mage in a tournament? And even better, shouldn't the balancing be that good, that you can even play those mages in a different way?!
For example if I see a necromancer high up in a tournament, I know exactly what is waiting for me.
I know, many games who have a much higher budget as MW does do not even achieve my second standard because it's so hard to pull of.
Take Magic for example, you can play (constructed and limited) at the top with every color. But often once you see the color, you know more or less what his deck is about and which cards he has in his deck.

How to achieve this 'first balance level' is relatively easy I dare to say. (The one that every mage is playable in a competitive environment)
As long as we have a clear powerlevel difference we can easily adjust the manacost. Either make keycards the current top builds use more expensive or make keycards weaker decks use cheaper. It's not complicated, just a lot of work...  because messing with the card-abilities, general concepts or how the cards interact is far more complex and not needed at that point.
Title: Re: flipping the channeling paradigm
Post by: zot on October 25, 2019, 11:40:34 PM
and this is why I proposed a more simple approach at initial balance with the flip of the channeling for the top mages and raising the lowest mages up. just to see if that was enough to get some data. sure will take a while. I also agree with davew where the wizard having less channeling is not thematic. but just for testing is all I suggested.
Title: Re: flipping the channeling paradigm
Post by: Knabbmaster on October 29, 2019, 05:52:53 PM
I know it is silly but I just wanted to point out that PERFECT balance means that any legal combination of cards would be equally likely to win.

Now I dont think that the meta is in that bad of a spot if you only consider mages. Like we have 3 at the very top and at least 5 that are playable in a competetive setting. Compared to color combinations in magic or classes in hearthstone this seems normal. I don't want all mages to be top tier, it is fun trying to win with terrrible mages when I'm in the right mood. Though you could argue that a game with fewer changes requier an even better meta.

The two problems IMO are:
Certain tools not beign viable or too important. Reffering to movement incantations and incorporeal creatures. This is because of pillar which does not really support any mage or gameplan in general but still makes other cards better/worse.

Mid-game stratergies dominating (what I consider mid-game is basically creature spawnpoints + extra eco). This IS bad because even though you can swap the flavour (school) of you cards you basically do the same thing in each game.

I feel like the bigger problems are due too specific cards and not the mages who are almost fine IMO.