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JimbonX

X-Wing is broken, FFG balance the ships please.

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Admittedly without being a boardgame savant, I nevertheless struggle to think of a game more brilliantly designed than 1830. And as far as game balance is concerned, few games beat Britannia in terms of opponents with different forces having an equal chance to win.

Diplomacy. Rules are easy, mechanics are strong, everything is player skill.

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At this point we will probably need X-Wing 2.0 for all these problems to be solved, and then would be the right time to hire MJ or someone similar to really make sure to not repeat the same mistakes.

What fundamental mistakes have been made from the start? A couple of points here or there isn't that terrible. Most ships have had their time in winning squadrons over the life of the game. How can that be such a mistake?

In my opinion, the only terrible design mistake was the Outer Rim Smuggler / Millennium Falcon Title situation.

I don't know if even Mathwing 3.0, as good as it might be could solve the problems they are facing at the moment!

What problems is the game facing, at the moment, that is preventing most people from enjoying it?
This is not about enjoying the game or not, i do enjoy it. It's about balancing it as good as possible, if not perfect. That's what this thread is about too.

It's some kind of utopia, but nonetheless FFG should try to balance the game as well as possible. Not only between factions but also in regard of the options each one has. For example the game is not well balanced because a lot of named pilots, generics and options are just never played because they are so bad!

Read my post, i do explain why i think that a much better balance is not possible with the current system. Mainly it's just too imprecise, and the mistakes that were already made are hard to correct.

Edited by ForceM

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In response to the Starvipers supposed inability to fight, I love flying Guri with Predator and Sensor Jammer, comes in at a round 40 points with Autothrusthers. That is expensive, true, but not devastatingly so for a pretty survivable ship who can hold her own(with some support) against some other aces and absolutely slaughter generics. Throw her in a squad with Palob for possibly the most annoying combo you can imagine. 

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As much as it excites me to know you've got it "solved", it can also lead to really boringness if that is truly the case. 

 

 

I think the opposite is true. If most of the pilots are viable, then it opens up the meta to allow more options and tactics that you currently couldn't attempt at a competitive level.

 

 

 

 

FFG actually does OK in this category. Ships generally fundamentally fall into one of four classes:

  • cost efficient filler
  • turrets
  • arc dodgers
  • control

 

What about Support?

 

Eg: all named HWKs, Manaroo, Shuttles, Cracken, Esege, Dutch, Lando and so on

 

 

Ultimately "Support" serves to add value to one or more of the above categories.

 

 

 

 

Sure, it'd stop you getting comparable generics where one is strictly better than the other but this game has so many unquantifiables that the benefit of pumping it full of equations may be minor at best.

 

Furthermore, the tournament data itself isn't a perfect representation of balance because it assumes everyone can and will squadbuild, every reasonable looking list will get a decent distribution for each and therefore you'll get a good level of testing for each configuration. That's not how people work: most copy lists either because they lack time, they don't know how to build themselves or they think it's an easy way to win (I have sympathy for all but the last one). As a result you get PalpAces and U-boats winning tournaments that are mostly PalpAces and U-boats. Those lists wouldn't win if they were bad, but they do create a feedback loop. A perfectly balanced game would still get this happening.

 

That is to say, even if MathWing 3.0 is perfect (and while I believe it's probably an improvement I very much doubt it's perfect either) the human element is still going to screw everything up.

 

 

Nothing is perfect. :)  It is however "good enough" to be a reliable design aid for any pilot in the game, which I can't claim for v1.0 or v2.0. The higher level metagame issues that you describe are largely considered in 3.0, but really analyzing the paper-rock-scissors aspect is actually a different task altogether, and also needs to be considered. There's no free lunch. :)

 

 

If, and that's a big IF, they ever needed over-priced Mathguy, it would have been when the game was initially developed.  We're well and truly past that stage.  The cards have been printed and the points costs have been fixed.

 

All that's required now is tweaking new values for new ships to fit them between existing designs.

 

Enough people, have enough experience with the game, to play test new stuff and compare it to what already exists.  

Feels too strong?  Add a point, then rinse and repeat.

Feels too weak?  Subtract a point, then rinse and repeat.

 

Sufficient play testing iterations, with varied play testing groups will generally hone in on where a ship seems to fit best.  We are not dealing with a perfectly solvable system.

 

The delay from development and testing, to getting real world data is so long (a year+) that it's an unstable feedback loop prone to power curve oscillations. In theory eventually they can get it right, and new designs will stabilize around a known target power curve. However after 4+ years of dedicated development and (easily) thousands of hours of playtesting, they still haven't locked in on it. It's a lot harder than you think, and if they make a mistake it gets written in stone for all eternity, or at least until the next fix comes out. Power creep is the worst, because there's no easy way to fix it without revisiting all the other ships in the game. The curve that they are trying to target is essentially always moving (ironically due to their own designs), and they have no way of predicting the power of their unreleased designs.

 

Nothing is perfect. But a math guy that knows what they are doing will be an order of magnitude more effective at balancing the game than the combined experience of all of the X-wing designers and hundreds of playtesters. Knowledge is power.

 

 

 

You're a FFG executive and you have this choice:

1 - Months of play testing from various designers and wage-free play testing groups say the new ship should be [X points +/- 4 points of error].

2 - Hire Mathguy on a $250,000 retainer to [provide the correct value +/- <1 point of error].

 

Which would you choose and do you really think that it's going to affect sales either way?

 

It's definitely fundamentally a business decision, and not a technical problem.

 

 

A couple of points here or there isn't that terrible.

 

But from a high-level competitive standpoint, it is! A guy like Paul Heaver (or anyone trying to beat him at Worlds) is going to squeeze every last drop of value out of a squad, so being overcosted by a couple of points can be an instant death sentence for a pilot. We actually see this all the time. Competitive X-wing is moneyball.

 

 

 

I don't know if even Mathwing 3.0, as good as it might be could solve the problems they are facing at the moment!

What problems is the game facing, at the moment, that is preventing most people from enjoying it?

 

 

According to several new local players who started in wave 7 and are now dealing with the wave 8 meta, a boring metagame with nothing but Palp Aces flying around. Diversity is more fun, and can only be achieved if the game is balanced.

 

 

 

Well i have always had the highest respect for MJ and his Mathwing, and in a various states of the meta he was probably right about the cost of upgrades and ships in order for the game to be balanced better.

But then again i doubt that there can be a universal formula to quantify everything in the game because the constant influx of new ships and upgrades would make it necessary to reevaluate every other ship and upgrade in existence together with each new and old combo card in the new state of the meta after each release. Can this even be done? If that is what Mathwing 3.0 is, then he might have solved a part of the problem, which is knowing how to cost and balance new stuff to be released.

 

That's part of it. The analysis is meta-dependent, so for each meta there's a different mix of stuff thrown into the mix, that results in a slightly different set of outputs. For example, TLT was everywhere in wave 7, making autothrusters extremely valuable. Now that the meta is much heavier towards Palp aces and U-boats in wave 8, autothrusters is still good, but has less of an impact than before.

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[...]

The problem is that:

  • There are no longer any cost efficient generics pilots outside of Crackswarms (Crackshot is powercreep) and Contracted Scouts (Torpedo boats are power creep). The only thing the old guard (TIE Fighter, Z-95, B-wing) can do that the aces can't is block. Otherwise aces are absolutely better.
  • Turrets generally lose to aces with autothrusters now, and the PS2 turrets in particular are nearly extinct because of the PS3 Contracted Scout alpha strikes.
  • Imperial Aces are the best ships in the game. Period. In addition, Palpatine is the most cost-effective card in the game (even at 8 points) when paired with high AGI, low health aces.
  • Control does a really good job at shutting down aces, but it's basically extinct because of the triple JumpMasters.

 

TL;DR: figuring out the prerequisite math to balance this game is hard and FFG hasn't gotten it right yet. There are other games that are worse, but that doesn't change the fact that X-wing is an imperfectly imbalanced game.

 

Reading this thread really depresses me when I consider how much I've purchased.

 

Maybe I should stop reading stuff on the forum.

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The standard, 100-point competitive game is dead (to me).

[...]

 

I get that there is a cadre of loyal, competitive players who think I'm an idiot whiner.

But I actively discourage people from playing this game now, and I don't even play on Vassal (which is where you can truly see how poor the 'variety' of competitive builds is).

[...]

 

I don't understand your the point of your post.

 

You're not interested in the 100 point competitive game.  Many are not.  I collect for 2 to 4 ship squads and 1 large so I have no real swarms (other than the TIE L/n).  I don't play competitively and when I do play, which is rare, it's for fun and Star Wars.

 

But you go on to say that you actively discourage people from playing.  If you really are doing this this I'm not sure what you wish to accomplish on this forum?

 

I've found this game to be more complex than I might like and getting more complex with each release.  I've even voiced my concerns here because this is a good place to talk about the game and its future.  Also there are plenty of games that I've dropped over time.  But I've never broadcasted on a game's forum that I actively discourage people from playing.

 

If I'm not fond of a game the worst I might do is see what type of game they are looking for.  Then either review the pros and cons as I know them or suggest something that might be better suited to their tastes.  But what you are doing sounds like bitterness and not constructive or even asking for constructive input from others.  So, as I said, I don't understand what you wanted to achieve with what you wrote.  Unless it was venting.  We all vent from time to time and I soap box occasionally too.

 

 

So anyway, just say'in.  No offence and I don't know you well enough to know if you are truly whining but... I don't know why you posted your comments either.

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No, they don't.

 

If, and that's a big IF, they ever needed over-priced Mathguy, it would have been when the game was initially developed.  We're well and truly past that stage.  The cards have been printed and the points costs have been fixed.

 

All that's required now is tweaking new values for new ships to fit them between existing designs.

 

Enough people, have enough experience with the game, to play test new stuff and compare it to what already exists.  

Feels too strong?  Add a point, then rinse and repeat.

Feels too weak?  Subtract a point, then rinse and repeat.

 

Sufficient play testing iterations, with varied play testing groups will generally hone in on where a ship seems to fit best.  We are not dealing with a perfectly solvable system.

Then FFG is unwilling or unable to commit to 'sufficient playtesting iterations':

Take a look at the last 3 waves for example:

Wave 6: both Starviper and Scyk were duds (also acknowledged by Alex Davy)

Wave 7: Kihraxz was a dud, probably Punisher too, YV-666 might be good with the new crew, but was likely also a dud at launch.

Wave 8: only Mist Hunter looks like a true dud so far, although the named guys might find some uses.

FFG does a pretty good job of not releasing overpowered stuff, but they still have some way to go about not releasing underpowered stuff.

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No, they don't.

If, and that's a big IF, they ever needed over-priced Mathguy, it would have been when the game was initially developed. We're well and truly past that stage. The cards have been printed and the points costs have been fixed.

All that's required now is tweaking new values for new ships to fit them between existing designs.

Enough people, have enough experience with the game, to play test new stuff and compare it to what already exists.

Feels too strong? Add a point, then rinse and repeat.

Feels too weak? Subtract a point, then rinse and repeat.

Sufficient play testing iterations, with varied play testing groups will generally hone in on where a ship seems to fit best. We are not dealing with a perfectly solvable system.

Then FFG is unwilling or unable to commit to 'sufficient playtesting iterations':

Take a look at the last 3 waves for example:

Wave 6: both Starviper and Scyk were duds (also acknowledged by Alex Davy)

Wave 7: Kihraxz was a dud, probably Punisher too, YV-666 might be good with the new crew, but was likely also a dud at launch.

Wave 8: only Mist Hunter looks like a true dud so far, although the named guys might find some uses.

FFG does a pretty good job of not releasing overpowered stuff, but they still have some way to go about not releasing underpowered stuff.

None of your duds, are actually duds. In the correct builds they are fine.

I need to stop reading these threads way to many closeinded people that write ships off without ever really using them or playing to there strengths. Not every ship works in all situations some are only good when used in the correct list and flown correctly.

This forum is so toxic to diversity, so much group think.

Edited by Icelom

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No, they don't.

If, and that's a big IF, they ever needed over-priced Mathguy, it would have been when the game was initially developed. We're well and truly past that stage. The cards have been printed and the points costs have been fixed.

All that's required now is tweaking new values for new ships to fit them between existing designs.

Enough people, have enough experience with the game, to play test new stuff and compare it to what already exists.

Feels too strong? Add a point, then rinse and repeat.

Feels too weak? Subtract a point, then rinse and repeat.

Sufficient play testing iterations, with varied play testing groups will generally hone in on where a ship seems to fit best. We are not dealing with a perfectly solvable system.

Then FFG is unwilling or unable to commit to 'sufficient playtesting iterations':

Take a look at the last 3 waves for example:

Wave 6: both Starviper and Scyk were duds (also acknowledged by Alex Davy)

Wave 7: Kihraxz was a dud, probably Punisher too, YV-666 might be good with the new crew, but was likely also a dud at launch.

Wave 8: only Mist Hunter looks like a true dud so far, although the named guys might find some uses.

FFG does a pretty good job of not releasing overpowered stuff, but they still have some way to go about not releasing underpowered stuff.

None of your duds, are actually duds. In the correct builds they are fine.

 

[citation needed]

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Does it really matter? What ship is considered a dud differs from person to person. Sadly, this forum has succumbed to the worship of the Mathwing and the top tier meta. If it doesn't fit that, then it isn't worth their time. Which is a bit sad. The less competitive tiers are doing fine. There is just sooo much I want to try right now. Are they competitive options, not necessarily. And to be frank, the meta still needs a little time to shake out. But, they are options I want to play, and I won't feel like I am hobbling myself. That is a good sign of a healthy, imbalanced game. 

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No, they don't.

If, and that's a big IF, they ever needed over-priced Mathguy, it would have been when the game was initially developed. We're well and truly past that stage. The cards have been printed and the points costs have been fixed.

All that's required now is tweaking new values for new ships to fit them between existing designs.

Enough people, have enough experience with the game, to play test new stuff and compare it to what already exists.

Feels too strong? Add a point, then rinse and repeat.

Feels too weak? Subtract a point, then rinse and repeat.

Sufficient play testing iterations, with varied play testing groups will generally hone in on where a ship seems to fit best. We are not dealing with a perfectly solvable system.

Then FFG is unwilling or unable to commit to 'sufficient playtesting iterations':

Take a look at the last 3 waves for example:

Wave 6: both Starviper and Scyk were duds (also acknowledged by Alex Davy)

Wave 7: Kihraxz was a dud, probably Punisher too, YV-666 might be good with the new crew, but was likely also a dud at launch.

Wave 8: only Mist Hunter looks like a true dud so far, although the named guys might find some uses.

FFG does a pretty good job of not releasing overpowered stuff, but they still have some way to go about not releasing underpowered stuff.

None of your duds, are actually duds. In the correct builds they are fine.

[citation needed]
I literally just took an m3a and a g-1a to my spring kit tournament and won (17 people). And posted it in this thread. So somehow my list that was %50 duds won a tournament, maybe they are not the giant duds people think they are?

Maybe played well in the correct build they are decent.

The game is not perfect but the balance is actually amazingly well done.

Edited by Icelom

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No, they don't.

 

If, and that's a big IF, they ever needed over-priced Mathguy, it would have been when the game was initially developed.  We're well and truly past that stage.  The cards have been printed and the points costs have been fixed.

 

All that's required now is tweaking new values for new ships to fit them between existing designs.

 

Enough people, have enough experience with the game, to play test new stuff and compare it to what already exists.  

Feels too strong?  Add a point, then rinse and repeat.

Feels too weak?  Subtract a point, then rinse and repeat.

 

Sufficient play testing iterations, with varied play testing groups will generally hone in on where a ship seems to fit best.  We are not dealing with a perfectly solvable system.

Then FFG is unwilling or unable to commit to 'sufficient playtesting iterations':

Take a look at the last 3 waves for example:

Wave 6: both Starviper and Scyk were duds (also acknowledged by Alex Davy)

 

Ner, Xizor was and still is the bee's knees. He's so good that it's difficult finding wingmates on his level that aren't more expensive than him

Wave 7: Kihraxz was a dud, probably Punisher too, YV-666 might be good with the new crew, but was likely also a dud at launch.

 

Deathrain shined in Wave 7 after everyone figured palp aces were the second coming and brobots didn't go anywhere after the mov nerf. Won me a store champ, he did!

Wave 8: only Mist Hunter looks like a true dud so far, although the named guys might find some uses.

 

Zuckuss does, in fact! Granted he comes out to torp boat costs with VI + dengar + title, but he hits just as hard for as long as he's around. In addition, t-beams will see use once per game, but against small bases that one shot will basically win you the game by massively ******* your opponent over

FFG does a pretty good job of not releasing overpowered stuff, but they still have some way to go about not releasing underpowered stuff.

 

 

 

FFG has a baffling tendency to just go balls to the way conservative with some things that are just way too safe (ito power scale) to ever see play, ala the generic Punisher, and also releasing **** like palpatine 

 

it's not the worst thing ever (40k, by far, which was not only shittily balanced but intentionally so to push new, expensive models for you to buy) but there is a discrepancy

Edited by ficklegreendice

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Well, the first reactions to Palpatine were underwhelming. That and the addition of more cheaper Aces for the Imperials is what really helped enable that squad type. But, I'm starting to see plenty of people play around with what they include in that build type. 

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No, they don't.

 

If, and that's a big IF, they ever needed over-priced Mathguy, it would have been when the game was initially developed.  We're well and truly past that stage.  The cards have been printed and the points costs have been fixed.

 

All that's required now is tweaking new values for new ships to fit them between existing designs.

 

Enough people, have enough experience with the game, to play test new stuff and compare it to what already exists.  

Feels too strong?  Add a point, then rinse and repeat.

Feels too weak?  Subtract a point, then rinse and repeat.

 

Sufficient play testing iterations, with varied play testing groups will generally hone in on where a ship seems to fit best.  We are not dealing with a perfectly solvable system.

Then FFG is unwilling or unable to commit to 'sufficient playtesting iterations':

Take a look at the last 3 waves for example:

Wave 6: both Starviper and Scyk were duds (also acknowledged by Alex Davy)

 

Ner, Xizor was and still is the bee's knees. He's so good that it's difficult finding wingmates on his level that aren't more expensive than him

Wave 7: Kihraxz was a dud, probably Punisher too, YV-666 might be good with the new crew, but was likely also a dud at launch.

 

Deathrain shined in Wave 7 after everyone figured palp aces were the second coming and brobots didn't go anywhere after the mov nerf. Won me a store champ, he did!

Wave 8: only Mist Hunter looks like a true dud so far, although the named guys might find some uses.

 

Zuckuss does, in fact! Granted he comes out to torp boat costs with VI + dengar + title, but he hits just as hard for as long as he's around. In addition, t-beams will see use once per game, but against small bases that one shot will basically win you the game by massively ******* your opponent over

FFG does a pretty good job of not releasing overpowered stuff, but they still have some way to go about not releasing underpowered stuff.

 

 

 

FFG has a baffling tendency to just go balls to the way conservative with some things that are just way too safe (ito power scale) to ever see play, ala the generic Punisher, and also releasing **** like palpatine 

 

it's not the worst thing ever (40k, by far, which was not only shittily balanced but intentionally so to push new, expensive models for you to buy) but there is a discrepancy

 

 

 

What exactly makes Xizor so good that aces in other factions can't replicate for a cheaper cost ?

 

Deathrain shone so much in Wave 7 that Punisher was (IIRC) one of the couple of ships nobody took to worlds 2015.

 

Zuckus is very cool offensively, but he's also effectively a B-wing from a defense standpoint. 8 HP behind 1 green melt amazingly quick (doubly so in an alpha-dominated meta), and Zuckus doesn't have the dial to arc dodge.

Edited by LordBlades

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1. Segnor's, Xizor's ability; full mods with FCS and general stress resistance thanks to ability + system slot

 

2. Worlds != only the good ships. People took x-wings for cripessake :P

 

3. you don't need to arc-dodge when your opponent arc-dodges for you. Alternatively, flank. Not everyone has to be soontir

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I look at tournament lists and results in my area and must say I am blessed by the local meta. A wave 1 Howlrunner swarm wins a 52-person SC and places second in another. Fat Han and Fat Dash duke it out in top4, with Oicunn/Soontir vs Corran + Awings on the other table. Brobots, Ghosts, 1/2/3 toilet seats, Palp aces, non-Palp aces, Awing swarms... I could go on.

If your meta is only Palp aces I really feel sorry for you, it must be boring. But blame the players for that, not the game.

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Yesterday, I ran a Gand Findsman with Adv. Sensors, Outlaw Tech, and SoT alongside Bossk in my FLGS' regular Monday night 75pt, 2 round evening.

 

The G-1A was great.  Those three upgrades allowed me to counter anything the low PS generics in opposite squads pulled off.  Especially liked the ability to come out of a K-Turn with both a TL and Focus; thanks to Adv. Sensors and Outlaw Tech respectively. 

 

Yes, under concentrated fire, 8 HP with 1 AGI will melt.  But if your opponent is concentrating fire on that, it means the rest of your squadron is getting away with whatever it needs to do unmolested.

 

My point?  Ships are only "broken" if you try to fly them all the same way and try to get them to do the same thing.  Recgonise each ships inherit strengths and adjust your flying style to match.

Edited by Dr Zoidberg

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