December 05, 2020, 08:18:38 am

Author Topic: The Wizard discussion  (Read 32974 times)

SharkBait

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Re: The Wizard discussion
« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2015, 08:41:30 am »
I guess I should have clarified in the beginning that I didn't feel the wizard needed changed either. The suggestions I had were more "just to see what happens" kind of tests instead of "fixing" the wizard. From my (admittedly dark mage heavy) experience, Wizard's Tower isn't really all that scary unless you let it be scary.

Ultimately, I figured I'd open this up for discussion since I got the impression that there were large (vocal?) groups calling for changes/nerfs to the wizard because they're so broken (a statement that I personally disagree with.)
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ringkichard

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Re: The Wizard discussion
« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2015, 08:47:54 am »
So here's the thing: suppose (just for this example) playing Wizard gives you a 55% to 45% matchup against other spellbooks. That's only a small advantage, and it would still be true that "it's the player, not the class". Individual players can have *way* more than 10% win chance variation.

Even then, with that very good level of balance, it would be wrong to play anything else at a tournament, unless you thought you had a very specific matchup advantage over Wizard.

Let me over-simplify things just to demonstrate the effect a small win rate change can have on tournament play.

Lets say you play Beast Master giving up a 10% edge over 6 games (assuming 50% base win rate) changes your mean expected wins from 3 to 2.4. If your need to win 5 out of 6 games, your chances with a 50% win rate are 7/64=.10 With a 45% win rate, your chances are aprox .05.

This is obviously an oversimplified model, because your last game is more important than your middle one, but it demonstrates how a small reduction in your chances per game can mean a drastic compounded change over the course of a tournament.
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Re: The Wizard discussion
« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2015, 09:19:30 am »

In my old World of Warcraft times, there was a saying:

It's the player, not the class.

Same in Mage Wars. With a good deck building skill you can always prevail against wizard whatsoever.

Yes. But the problem with the wizard isn't that he's unbeatable, it's that he somewhat overcentralizes the metagame. Or at least it seems that he does. It could also be a case of insufficient card support in other schools.

That being said, Mage wars is SIGNIFICANTLY more balanced than most other customizable strategy games, so I suppose we should be grateful. Then again, maybe we shouldn't be comparing Mage wars to ccg's, since those often don't even try to be balanced.
Since Mage wars is sold as sets rather than individual cards like ccg's are, it actually might cost them more to ban individual cards than to errata them, since banning a single card makes the whole set it comes in look deficient, but for an errata they can just say the old card text is from an outdated edition.

I don't get to spend nearly enough time with this game as I would like and thus I can theoretically agree with Schwenkgott but I more accurately agree with Vulcan here.

I'm the player who has a very tough time dealing with wizards.  If I specifically build a book to destroy gates and towers and pierce 1 armor all the time (Since EVERY Arcane creature has at least 1 point of armor?!), sure I can take out a wizard, but then I lose to a Druid or a Necromancer because I spent all of my precious spellbook points countering stuff that they don't have.

The point is, sure, you CAN beat a Wizard if you really want to, but I don't like a game environment wherein the benchmark for a book is being able to hold your own against a Wizard and then you have to use your "tools for wizard beating" less optimally to fight other mages.

Like I said before, I don't get to play as often as I would like and it takes me a little while to wrap my (puddn)head around various synergies and strategies.  I find that I often just get murdered without even having a chance against a well played Wizard because I'm trying something 'fun' or 'new'.  I also tend to root for the underdog and my ultimate dream is to wipe the floor with a Wizard that my Bloodwave Warlord just owned...so I guess I set myself up for failure more often than not.

As Kich said, small win percentages definitely add up and I can see a generation of Mage Wars players disappear into the void of a never-future if we don't either pool our knowledge on how to beat a Wizard to make the win rate more 50% or institute some buffs or nerfs.  I personally agree that going the hard route of collective knowledge and new card releases is ultimately better for the game.  Of course, I can dream about making that ultimate Wizard-death book, but I lack the experience and the time required to do so at the moment and implore the "Awesome Ones" to give us(or at least me) some trickle-down experiential knowledge so that we can start a little closer to even instead of just nebulously saying "learn to play, noob".
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Halewijn

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Re: The Wizard discussion
« Reply #18 on: August 10, 2015, 12:08:45 pm »
Like I said before, I don't get to play as often as I would like and it takes me a little while to wrap my (puddn)head around various synergies and strategies.  I find that I often just get murdered without even having a chance against a well played Wizard because I'm trying something 'fun' or 'new'.  I also tend to root for the underdog and my ultimate dream is to wipe the floor with a Wizard that my Bloodwave Warlord just owned...so I guess I set myself up for failure more often than not.

All hail the supreme warlord!  8)

It's not like they need to errata the entire arcane school. It's very easy to fix it with a few changes.

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SharkBait

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Re: The Wizard discussion
« Reply #19 on: August 10, 2015, 01:15:30 pm »
Quote
As Kich said, small win percentages definitely add up and I can see a generation of Mage Wars players disappear into the void of a never-future if we don't either pool our knowledge on how to beat a Wizard to make the win rate more 50% or institute some buffs or nerfs.  I personally agree that going the hard route of collective knowledge and new card releases is ultimately better for the game.  Of course, I can dream about making that ultimate Wizard-death book, but I lack the experience and the time required to do so at the moment and implore the "Awesome Ones" to give us(or at least me) some trickle-down experiential knowledge so that we can start a little closer to even instead of just nebulously saying "learn to play, noob".

Knowledge collection:

Tip # 1: Kill it with fire (you had to see that one coming :P)
Tip # 2: The wizard's tower isn't all that good if it can't see you (obscured, walls, etc). Most of those will be temporary measures, but should still give enough time to lay some pain on a wizard should he choose to deal with the cloak/walls, etc instead of dealing with the Fire/animal/zombies in his face. Not saying this is a 100% strategy either, it varies match to match, but it's a good starting point.



aaaaaand I just realized I almost derailed my own thread. I'll create another one for pooling knowledge later and include the above.
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andy

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Re: The Wizard discussion
« Reply #20 on: August 10, 2015, 02:02:14 pm »
* All of the current cards which are only playable by certain mages either say a particular mage or a particular school that is allowed to play them.  Why not instead say a particular mage/school who is not allowed to play the card?
Though the logic here is very solid, it would subtract greatly from one of the great strengths and appeal of the game itself. That other than a very specific and reasonable few cards, all cards are available to all mages, some at a greater cost than others, but none the less available. Would the exclude be Arcane Mages only or Wizards only? Not a fan of the idea even though logic says, this might be a good idea.
I would say two things in response:
1) I wasn't proposing printing tons of new cards restricted to (or excluding) a particular mage or school of training.  I think it would only take a few cards to give other mages the tools they would need.  Currently, roughly 1/6 of the cards are restricted to a particular mage or school.  It sounds like you're saying you're against any restricted-use cards, but these are clearly going to continue to be printed.  One of the common arguments for the strength of the Wizard is that he doesn't pay triple for any school.  Therefore, some cards printed in order to be used against the Wizard will have to be restricted-use, otherwise they would just give the Wizard a new tool.

2) In the particular comment that you quoted, I was just explaining the phrase "Arcane mages excluded" on one of the hypothetical cards I suggested.  It would, as the phrase implies, exclude Arcane mages.  That happens to be just the Wizard so far, but there could be others printed in the future.  The description of the Arcane school is that mages trained in it understand the flow of mana and magic so that they can control spellcasting.  The particular hypothetical spell I was suggesting would be thematically like throwing a rock against the wall to make noise while a mage is trying to concentrate.  I think it's at least somewhat thematic to exclude the Arcane school for this spell, since that is not the way an Arcane-trained mage would disrupt a spell being cast.  Also, I can imagine other spells which thematically exclude (rather than include) particular mages or schools.  Since I expect restricted-use spells to continue to be printed, I wouldn't mind if they branched out with their restrictions.

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Re: The Wizard discussion
« Reply #21 on: August 10, 2015, 06:02:51 pm »
So here's the thing: suppose (just for this example) playing Wizard gives you a 55% to 45% matchup against other spellbooks. That's only a small advantage, and it would still be true that "it's the player, not the class". Individual players can have *way* more than 10% win chance variation.

Even then, with that very good level of balance, it would be wrong to play anything else at a tournament, unless you thought you had a very specific matchup advantage over Wizard.

Let me over-simplify things just to demonstrate the effect a small win rate change can have on tournament play.

Lets say you play Beast Master giving up a 10% edge over 6 games (assuming 50% base win rate) changes your mean expected wins from 3 to 2.4. If your need to win 5 out of 6 games, your chances with a 50% win rate are 7/64=.10 With a 45% win rate, your chances are aprox .05.

This is obviously an oversimplified model, because your last game is more important than your middle one, but it demonstrates how a small reduction in your chances per game can mean a drastic compounded change over the course of a tournament.

So if the real concern here is to balance tournament play then wouldn't it be easier to just change tournament rules that impact only a few dozen players at a time rather than change the game itself which impacts all players at all levels?
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Re: The Wizard discussion
« Reply #22 on: August 10, 2015, 07:42:56 pm »

So here's the thing: suppose (just for this example) playing Wizard gives you a 55% to 45% matchup against other spellbooks. That's only a small advantage, and it would still be true that "it's the player, not the class". Individual players can have *way* more than 10% win chance variation.

Even then, with that very good level of balance, it would be wrong to play anything else at a tournament, unless you thought you had a very specific matchup advantage over Wizard.

Let me over-simplify things just to demonstrate the effect a small win rate change can have on tournament play.

Lets say you play Beast Master giving up a 10% edge over 6 games (assuming 50% base win rate) changes your mean expected wins from 3 to 2.4. If your need to win 5 out of 6 games, your chances with a 50% win rate are 7/64=.10 With a 45% win rate, your chances are aprox .05.

This is obviously an oversimplified model, because your last game is more important than your middle one, but it demonstrates how a small reduction in your chances per game can mean a drastic compounded change over the course of a tournament.

So if the real concern here is to balance tournament play then wouldn't it be easier to just change tournament rules that impact only a few dozen players at a time rather than change the game itself which impacts all players at all levels?

Um...what specifically are you recommending?
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ringkichard

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Re: The Wizard discussion
« Reply #23 on: August 10, 2015, 08:43:22 pm »

So if the real concern here is to balance tournament play then wouldn't it be easier to just change tournament rules that impact only a few dozen players at a time rather than change the game itself which impacts all players at all levels?

AW is always changing the game by adding new cards, and those changes affect everyone who buys the new product, or plays against someone who did. On that level, they're not interested in only doing the easier thing.

Now, my tournament example doesn't suggest any particular solution at all. It's really about how two conditions that seem contradictory can co-exist easily. It can simultaneously be true that Wizard is best and should dominate the meta, and also that Wizard only provides a relatively small bonus which is substantially smaller than the advantage gained through play skill.

Depending on how you define "op", Wizard can be both OP and much less of a factor than player skill.

So you're right, if we define OP as "disruptive to tournament play" we'll have a lower threshold than if we use "unfair in repeaded matches of serious play" which is lower than, "unbalanced in single casual games."

The complicating issue is that while tactics occur in the context of individual games and matchups, strategies can be taught and researched online, and tend to flow down from tournament play to serious play to casual play. So disruptions to the tournament metagame get adopted by even casual players. So even though casual players are far more likely to play less reliable tactics, they often end up copying highly optimized tournament strategies that are built for environments that magnify even the smallest incremental advantage.

--

Now, to be clear, I'm not totally convinced that Wizard's edge is only 55/45. I've pretty reliably beaten players who I suspect would be +100 to +200 elo points above me; and I did it by playing a carefully designed Wizard against Druid or Necromancer books they were working on. Maybe Wizard fits my strengths and weaknesses better, or maybe it's just got more power.

Hard to say with certainty, ya know?
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vlad3theimpaler

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Re: The Wizard discussion
« Reply #24 on: August 11, 2015, 01:28:17 am »
In my old World of Warcraft times, there was a saying:

It's the player, not the class.

Same in Mage Wars. With a good deck building skill you can always prevail against wizard whatsoever.
That's a terrible saying.
It's BOTH.

If we take a large sample of players of roughly equal skill and find that those playing wizards win sginificantly more often than any other mages, then we can conclude that the wizard is overpowered.  (Not necessarily broken, but overpowered.)
If we find that the wizard's win percentage is so high that the metagame becomes "how do I beat a wizard," then I would be willing to call it broken.

I don't think we're at the point of brokenness, but I do think the evidence supports the claim that the wizard IS overpowered.
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Re: The Wizard discussion
« Reply #25 on: August 11, 2015, 06:47:07 am »
If we take a large sample of players of roughly equal skill and find that those playing wizards win sginificantly more often than any other mages, then we can conclude that the wizard is overpowered.  (Not necessarily broken, but overpowered.)
If we find that the wizard's win percentage is so high that the metagame becomes "how do I beat a wizard," then I would be willing to call it broken.

I don't think we're at the point of brokenness, but I do think the evidence supports the claim that the wizard IS overpowered.

Is the sample size players or tournaments? It seems to me we would need solid tournament-level data over multiple tournaments and geographies to really understand this using statistical methods. I don't think we have this type of data but perhaps some of the community have seen it. If it exists then let's publish it for review by all.

I find it interesting when last year's GEN CON winner was a Beastmaster. There wasn't a large discussion on the forum about the Beastmaster being overpowered. Credit was given to the player for designing a spellbook that no one was able to counter effectively IN THAT specific tournament. This year with the wizard dominating player choices for spellbook designs and winning overall we don't seem to be having the same conversation with credit given to the player.

Perhaps public discussion of an overpowered Wizard is creating group think in the tournament community so that more Wizard's enter tournament play and therefore are more likely to win tournament play. Is there any data available to test this idea?
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wtcannonjr

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Re: The Wizard discussion
« Reply #26 on: August 11, 2015, 07:06:36 am »


So if the real concern here is to balance tournament play then wouldn't it be easier to just change tournament rules that impact only a few dozen players at a time rather than change the game itself which impacts all players at all levels?

Um...what specifically are you recommending?
Well I don't believe the Wizard to be over powered.  However, if I did believe say Wizard Tower gave an unfair advantage to a player, then tournament rules would simply not allow that spell to be used. I see this similar to poker tournaments where you might have a Texas Hold - em or 5 - card stud style of playing. Since cards are rules in this game we adjust them for the type of tournament we want to foster.

The discussion so far has assumed that tournament rules are fixed and the game design must change. I am offering another way to look at the issue. Keep the game design the same and modify tournament rules to meet desired outcomes. For example, why not try a no wizard's allowed tournament and see who competes? There are many avenues available to us that are easier to implement than a wholesale change to game rules.

When we change the game system by rewriting previous rules or rules on cards it adds barriers to new players learning and enjoying this magical game.
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Halewijn

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Re: The Wizard discussion
« Reply #27 on: August 11, 2015, 07:34:45 am »
The discussion so far has assumed that tournament rules are fixed and the game design must change. I am offering another way to look at the issue. Keep the game design the same and modify tournament rules to meet desired outcomes. For example, why not try a no wizard's allowed tournament and see who competes? There are many avenues available to us that are easier to implement than a wholesale change to game rules.

So you would rather rule out an entire mage out of the tournament then simply change a few things about the wizard? Seems much more extreme to me.

Like stated before by many people: The wizard isn't broken. He just feels a bit stronger then the other ones. With a few minor changes you can fix it.

Making him pay more for nature buffing enchantments and the non-chosen elements would make him less "I have an answer to everything you do" and I believe that's probably enough to make it even.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2015, 07:38:48 am by Halewijn »
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Re: The Wizard discussion
« Reply #28 on: August 11, 2015, 09:03:16 am »



So if the real concern here is to balance tournament play then wouldn't it be easier to just change tournament rules that impact only a few dozen players at a time rather than change the game itself which impacts all players at all levels?

Um...what specifically are you recommending?
Well I don't believe the Wizard to be over powered.  However, if I did believe say Wizard Tower gave an unfair advantage to a player, then tournament rules would simply not allow that spell to be used. I see this similar to poker tournaments where you might have a Texas Hold - em or 5 - card stud style of playing. Since cards are rules in this game we adjust them for the type of tournament we want to foster.

The discussion so far has assumed that tournament rules are fixed and the game design must change. I am offering another way to look at the issue. Keep the game design the same and modify tournament rules to meet desired outcomes. For example, why not try a no wizard's allowed tournament and see who competes? There are many avenues available to us that are easier to implement than a wholesale change to game rules.

When we change the game system by rewriting previous rules or rules on cards it adds barriers to new players learning and enjoying this magical game.

Hmm...and what if the wizard loses his spot as #1 Mage at some pout in the future due to new cards? Then what? Do we just temporarily ban mages left and right?

But you might kind of be on the right track. We could use block formats, which only mages in the block would be allowed to participate in. Problem is that we just don't have enough sets yet to make a block format that doesn't include the core set. And I doubt there will be an arena core set 2 with different mages anytime soon, probably not until we're a decade in if at all.

Tbh, I really want to love the wizard, and there are some things about him that I really like. On the surface he looks like he should be my favorite Mage. A smart trickster researcher Mage that benefits from knowledge and counters spells? Yes please! Unfortunately he seems to be somewhat of a two-trick pony nowadays. The combination of wizard tower and his superior training means that he will ALWAYS want to run an attack spell toolbox supplemented by maximum metamagic. Mana denial and big arcane creatures don't see as much use nowadays. From what I hear, wizard wasn't at all OP in the early days, though that could just be because of a lack of player experience. The problem is not necessarily the number of elemental spells available over time, since the wizard only pays less than every other Mage for one element at a time. There could have been an advantage gained by earth wizards after forcemaster vs warlord, and for fire wizards with forged in fire, but the overall advantage of wizards over other mages in general would not have increased more due to forged in fire. I could easily see the increase in the number of elemental spells over time becoming a big problem in the future though.

Making him pay triple for non trained elements would help lower the power of wizards who use attack spell toolbox though. If they have to pay triple for non-trained elemental spells, that means that including the same amount of non trained elemental spells will leave less room for other spells. This might actually give the water wizard more of a unique flavor than just being "the most spell-point efficient wizard". The water wizard is already pretty powerful with easy access to dissolves, rusts, and acid balls, on top of all the other arcane staples, EVEN THOUGH there are very few water spells currently existing in the game.

While I don't like the idea of having to change the wizard, it seems like it might be the only viable long term solution. He is literally the ONLY Mage who does not pay triple for anything. All the other mages are faced with difficult decisions about what to include and what not to include in their spellbooks. When was the last time you went over on spellbooks points and had to trim down a wizard spellbook? Because on at least some if not most of the wizard books I've tried to make, I actually had to put a little effort to even REACH 120 points. Versatility of playstyle in a Mage is okay, especially for a more controlling Mage, but there's a difference between strategic versatility and having a relatively bottomless spellbook. If you have answers to everything, you should not also have maximum answers to every individual thing. The wizard isn't just extremely versatile, he's also got a LOT of synergy, and he doesn't seem to have to make much if any trade offs between synergy and versatility during spellbook building like the other mages do. He gets a large amount of both at the same time.

Changing wizard tower would only be a temporary solution. Even if we change the tower, we'll be at this same problem again in a couple years after more elemental spells have been released.

Sometimes it's better to rip the bandage off right away and get it over with. Otherwise you'll just have to do it later, and it will hurt more than if you had ripped it off right away.
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Re: The Wizard discussion
« Reply #29 on: August 11, 2015, 10:00:13 am »
This was my response to a similar discussion we are having in the playtester forum.

What pushes Wizard over the edge is that his class specific cards are just better than every other class in combination with the training. For example, if Warlord had good conquer(No some control, no stupid soldier required) and the awful rule of outposts not being able to be put to next to each other was gone, I think he would be a high tier mage. Also most mages don't have much access to meta spells. Basically, other specialized cards don't answer meta spells well enough to let you forgo them, this then forces you to answer them with other meta spells. Which training then gets in the way of. Akiro's Hammer(minus the flaw of no indirect on the 8 dice) is a PERFECT example of this. Every mage needs something like this. Thematic, unique, and bumps them up to or at least near wizard tier. Honestly, I would say release a whole spell tome of cards specifically designed to balance the game and give each mage that already exists an even better and more distinct playstyle