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Firespray-32

On Nerfs And The Rationale Behind Them

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Not X-wing, but take a look at what they had to do in Imperial Assault -- modify three units (Royal Guards, Imperial Officers, and Rebel Saboteurs) because without the change there were only two competitive skirmish lists in the game.  This sort of correction is necessary to keep the game viable.

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It seems a large number of nerf topics have cropped up recently targeting a variety of traditionally controversial (in the most literal sense of the word) mechanics. A lot of the same anecdotal and subjective arguments come up again and again and people forget the reason FFG nerfs things.

 

I cannot remember FFG ever nerfing anything for being flat out too powerful. FFG nerfs ships, cards and mechanics that distort the metagame.

 

The first nerf was the TIE phantom: the decloak window was changed.

  • The TIE phantom was a beatable list but it was a diamond-hard counter to anything that didn't tech against it. Falcons could deal with them with little problems and very skilled blockers could take them down with a swarm but anything else it could essentially solo. It wasn't the top list but its existence killed off so many strategies that the game started to devolve into Fat Falcon versus Phantom: few lists could deal with both.
  • To reiterate, the TIE phantom's statistical balance wasn't the issue: Falcons could easily deal with them. The problem was that they single-handedly killed off an enormous number of strategies, namely anything not dedicated to Wave 4 ghostbusting.
  • The TIE phantom wasn't made statistically weaker by the change but its ability to hard counter inferior arced PS was hugely reduced.
The second was Tactician.

  • This was a pre-emptive nerf: Tactician was made limited to stop a triple Tactician stack on the YV-666. This list would have killed off anything action dependent with a huge denial zone: you enter Range 2 of a 180 degree firing arc and you get triple stressed.
The third was Half Points For Huge Ships.

  • The rise of super tanky large based turrets to deal with the TIE phantom led to the discovery of Point Forts: a 60 point ship loses those all in one go. Therefore, if a Falcon started to lose it could just run away: provided it and its escort killed 52 points of the enemy squad it'd get a full win even if it was the last ship left on one hit point surrounded by the enemy. It was even more extreme with the Aggressor: provided neither died, even if they had a single hit point left each they counted as if they were completely undamaged.
  • This also helped with tiebreakers in large tournaments: dropping very little MoV is generally a good thing.
  • This encouraged killing a small part of the enemy list then turtling to time, distorting tournament gameplay by discouraging engaging the opponent and playing the game. While the Point Forts weren't more effective in untimed games their ability to cede none of their points unless completely destroyed made them more effective in Swiss than other lists.
  • The result was that they were changed to drop half their points at half health. This effectively killed point forting.
The fourth was Deadeye.

  • The TorpScout was a similar situation to the TIE phantom: a tailored list could kill it fairly reliably but the vast majority of strategies couldn't cope with its alpha strike. As a result, a huge amount of strategies were killed off and those strategies and builds couldn't keep other builds in check. You chase off all the cats with dogs and you get a mouse infestation.
  • The TorpScout was killed to enable other strategies, not to nerf its power.
 

To conclude, things get nerfed because they distort the metagame: not because they're damaging to balance but because they're damaging to diversity. Things get errata nerfs if they're killing off a large number of strategies and builds that would otherwise be viable. Powerful generalist builds that don't hard counter things out of the meta tend to be dealt with by new releases rather than rule changes.

*Applause* Well posted sir. People seem to forget quite often that just because something is powerful doesn't mean it has to be nerfed. Look at Soontir. Most likely the most powerful pilot in the game but also one of the ones with the most practiced counters. Degaroo is also powerful (won worlds didn't it?). But of the multitude of Dengaroo lists only 1 made it to the top 4. Why? Because it was flown very well. Just because something is powerful and beats you time after time doesn't mean to call for a nerf. It means you need to learn from your mistakes and adapt to the sitiation.

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Right now, there are two major issues with X-Wing.

 

1.  Stress.  Right now players can gain as much stress as they want.  The only drawback is that they cannot perform red maneuvers or actions.  So, combos like R4 Agromech/Zuckuss can allow a player to rack up tons of stress for a lot of advantage.  Right now, there is no downside.  I was at the Omaha Regionals yesterday.  I played against a Dengaroo build.  At the end of the match he had over 20 stress on Dengar.

Possible Fixes

a.  After X amount of stress (say 10), limit movement to 1 speed maneuvers

b.  After X amount of stress (say 10), person receiving stress receives 1 damage

 

2.  Manaroo/Emperor.  Right now they can be anywhere on the table and their abilities still work.  That is what makes them so powerful.  The standard thing that they do is that they skirt the edge of the board while the remainder of the squad deals with the enemy.  They stay out of the fight.

Possible Fixes

1.  Limit the range to 1-3.

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Despite the cries of "NERF".... someone still got the now allegedly "broken" U-Boat list to the top 16.... And as for Dengaroo......

 

Sometimes, changes are necessary to enable people to enjoy the game, if everyone is flying the same thing because it's SO good... where's the enjoyment and competition. You're post illustrates that perfectly.. I can remember back to Wave 4's previews and I distinctly remember people, community people, podcasters and very experienced players all announcing the same thing. "The end is here, Phantoms will be to powerful with Adv Cloak" and, they were, and people worked out how to beat them. The only upside for the original phantom builds was actually the degree of skill needed to get the most out of them, I never flew them beyond "friendlies" because, 1. I fly Rebels mainly and 2. I can't fly a Phantom well enough, consistently.

 

I'm fairly sure FFG don't enjoy making any changes but they do it so people like us will keep playing (and paying them money) rather than walk away after the next Imperial Knight shows up.....

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Right now, there are two major issues with X-Wing.

 

1.  Stress.  Right now players can gain as much stress as they want.  The only drawback is that they cannot perform red maneuvers or actions.  So, combos like R4 Agromech/Zuckuss can allow a player to rack up tons of stress for a lot of advantage.  Right now, there is no downside.  I was at the Omaha Regionals yesterday.  I played against a Dengaroo build.  At the end of the match he had over 20 stress on Dengar.

Possible Fixes

a.  After X amount of stress (say 10), limit movement to 1 speed maneuvers

b.  After X amount of stress (say 10), person receiving stress receives 1 damage

 

2.  Manaroo/Emperor.  Right now they can be anywhere on the table and their abilities still work.  That is what makes them so powerful.  The standard thing that they do is that they skirt the edge of the board while the remainder of the squad deals with the enemy.  They stay out of the fight.

Possible Fixes

1.  Limit the range to 1-3.

 

Stress isn't broken.

 

Let's dissect the so-called problem, which is Dengaroo judging by your post. To gain the ability to 'ignore' piles of stress REQUIRES you to pay for:

 

* Zuckuss (1pt)

* Manaroo (40pts minimum to be effective)

 

Well. You're paying 41 points OR MORE to get... what, exactly? You get 1 ps 9 ship with possible 2 attacks in the front arc, 3 dice, and a powerful anti-defense ability. He will never get to K turn, and he will never reposition. However he will be able to do a lot of damage if you end up in his arc.

 

So, you're saying that one of the basic game mechanics is completely broken because of 1 ability which costs 40pts to be effective...? Really?

 

 

 

Manaroo & the emperor aren't broken either. The Emperor effectively costs 29pts minimum, and manaroo is at least 30pts even without the full Dengaroo loadout. Those are pretty big costs for some long-range abilities.

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Some thoughts:

 

In my opinion, you are right and 'nerf X' threads are absolutely annoying, especially when they are about mechanics (nerf ship X threads are okay, as fix ship Y).

Nerf suggestions are rarely thought out, most of the time it is stupid ideas the OP came up with in the shower 2 minutes prior to posting.

 

What annoys me the most is that everything, that ignores mechanics is considered broken in those threads.

 

'Nerf Defenders and Jumpmasters, they can turn around in one turn without getting stressed.'

'Nerf Palp/Manaroo, they are purely support ships.'

'Nerf Rebel regen, it repairs ships.'

'Nerf Dash. he can ignore obstacles.'

'Nerf PWT, they can shoot 360°'

 

What game do those people want to play? 2 Ships of the same kind with the same pilot against each other on a 2"x1' field?

 

Pls make "Fix X" threads instead, they are more fun and you can actually use the results as house rules.

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Palpatine is fine as is, for 8 points, 2 crew slots and often on a ship that is slow (Palpatine should be special). Manaroo is much harder to catch for most small base/non-turret ships, but she essentially takes up half the list. Neither need nerfed, but they are causing problems with variety among the scum and empire factions in the super competitive scene. They also aren't preventing all other lists from being played or instantly removing ships off the board.

I don't think Zuckuss sucks when you are the other player,especially on Dengar. You always need to question yourself when you attack dengar in arc, but with Zuckuss, I almost never want to take that shot. I don't think it needs nerfed, but I could see FFG adding "once per round" to Zuckuss.

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I dont understand how dengaroos dengar not caring about stress translates into "the entire mechanic of stress must change"

Its like fixing a flat tire by nuking the whole car. Problem solved?

Agreed with the op

 

Its more like changing from a leaded gas engine to unleaded.

 

There was a problems with the mechanics, adjustments were made, and now it runs better.

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Personally what i believe needs "fixing" is Zuckuss. Implementing a limit to his ability is what seems fair to me.

I think the OP has it right, if they nerf Dengaroo then only if it is the list to play or the list to counter.

I do find Zuckuss VERY cheap for his unlimited uses in one turn, especially in a build that ignores stress simply put. But then is it limiting the meta? Is it destroying otherwise powerful lists and kicking them completely out?

We will see it very soon because until now triple scouts mobbed away so much stuff that we can't tell yet if Dengaroo does the same...

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Right now, there are two major issues with X-Wing.

 

1.  Stress.  Right now players can gain as much stress as they want.  The only drawback is that they cannot perform red maneuvers or actions.  So, combos like R4 Agromech/Zuckuss can allow a player to rack up tons of stress for a lot of advantage.  Right now, there is no downside.  I was at the Omaha Regionals yesterday.  I played against a Dengaroo build.  At the end of the match he had over 20 stress on Dengar.

Possible Fixes

a.  After X amount of stress (say 10), limit movement to 1 speed maneuvers

b.  After X amount of stress (say 10), person receiving stress receives 1 damage

 

2.  Manaroo/Emperor.  Right now they can be anywhere on the table and their abilities still work.  That is what makes them so powerful.  The standard thing that they do is that they skirt the edge of the board while the remainder of the squad deals with the enemy.  They stay out of the fight.

Possible Fixes

1.  Limit the range to 1-3.

 

Stress isn't broken.

 

Let's dissect the so-called problem, which is Dengaroo judging by your post. To gain the ability to 'ignore' piles of stress REQUIRES you to pay for:

 

* Zuckuss (1pt)

* Manaroo (40pts minimum to be effective)

 

Well. You're paying 41 points OR MORE to get... what, exactly? You get 1 ps 9 ship with possible 2 attacks in the front arc, 3 dice, and a powerful anti-defense ability. He will never get to K turn, and he will never reposition. However he will be able to do a lot of damage if you end up in his arc.

 

So, you're saying that one of the basic game mechanics is completely broken because of 1 ability which costs 40pts to be effective...? Really?

 

 

 

Manaroo & the emperor aren't broken either. The Emperor effectively costs 29pts minimum, and manaroo is at least 30pts even without the full Dengaroo loadout. Those are pretty big costs for some long-range abilities.

 

Actually he'll do a lot of damage IF you shoot him while being in his arc. If you don't and you hold onto your focus token, he might not do that much damage after all, even with the green dice rerolls. But I guess some people's only answer is "nerf stress OMG OMG Dengaroo won Worlds".

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I'd say that some things may be "too powerful" and do lead to a distortion to the metagame.

 

They do go hand in hand but they aren't one and the same. Nothing's ever been released that had the power the original TIE phantom had against lower pilot skill arced ships against everything.

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To conclude, things get nerfed because they distort the metagame: not because they're damaging to balance but because they're damaging to diversity. Things get errata nerfs if they're killing off a large number of strategies and builds that would otherwise be viable. Powerful generalist builds that don't hard counter things out of the meta tend to be dealt with by new releases rather than rule changes.

But can't you easily argue that something that is damaging to balance is damaging to diversity? Let's look at the lists that had 6 wins or more at worlds. 10 rebel lists, 12 Imperial, and 19 Scum.

 

 

Rebel lists without regen or TLT- 40%

 

Scum lists without Zuckuss or Manaroo- 37%

 

(side note: 2 of these lists were quad TLT, and another had 2 TLT Ys. If TLT is included in the restriction, the % plummets to 21%)

 

 

Imperial list without Palpatine or x7- 0%.

 

 

 

Yes, perhaps balance wise, regen, Manaroo, TLT and Zuckuss are a little overpowered, but they largely have not eliminated faction diversity to the extent FFG needs to nerf them... Yet. If Dengaroo overwhelms this regional season though, I think Manaroo may get a look.

 

Unfortunately, Imperials cannot say the same as its two rival factions. They are being warped by both Palpatine and x7 in a very real way. Even GOOD lists, such as Crack Swarms, are being lost because they can't compete with the efficiency of lists including these upgrades.

 

 

If any cards need to be looked at next, it's Palpatine and x7. Not because they destroy diversity of other factions (as Uboats did to Rebels), but because they destroy diversity of their own.

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X7 is incredibly unlikely to get get errated anytime soon, or ever really. Fixing a "fix" wouldn't look very good. Wouldn't be too surprised to see a range restriction added to Palp, but then again, I think if they were going to do it, they would have done it by now.

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The nonexisting no-Palp no-X7 list show one thing IMO:

 

Imperial ships are "poorly" designed. 

Here is what I mean: Interceptors, Advandceds, Adv- Prototypes (and arguably Omega Leader) are more or less the exact same ship. Phantoms are pretty similar as well.

Bomber and Punisher are the same as well (and Punishers are abysmally bad).

TIE Fighter and FOs are pretty similar too, FOs dont really exist in the meta apart from maybe Omega Leader.

Firesprays and Lambda without Palp are just not viable. And there is the Decimator and Defender.

 

You could say there are only 4 different ships: The Arc-Dodger, the ordnance-jouster, the swarm-jouster and the high-prowess jouster. Swarms are mentally risky and dont work that well (or at all, I did not try) against Dengaroo. Bombers are rather fillers than main ships of a list. Arc-Dodgers were bullied out of the meta (which A LOT of people wished for) so there is not much left.

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Applause is right thank you for posting this! I hope everyone reads it, I'm getting tired of Nerf topics from people who don't get that they just need to learn to fly better and list build better. This game is so diverse there are so many viable tournament lists. If you don't believe me try playing Warhammer 40K for three years. You'll have nothing bad to say about x-wing.

Edited by Showtimebrad

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I think the tide of nerf threads has to do with the Iron hammer of justice just dealt to Jumpmasters.

 

Now that nerfs have a recent precedent in this game it is natural that people would ask for nerf's to their favourite peeves.

Edited by tsuruki

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To conclude, things get nerfed because they distort the metagame: not because they're damaging to balance but because they're damaging to diversity. Things get errata nerfs if they're killing off a large number of strategies and builds that would otherwise be viable. Powerful generalist builds that don't hard counter things out of the meta tend to be dealt with by new releases rather than rule changes.

But can't you easily argue that something that is damaging to balance is damaging to diversity? Let's look at the lists that had 6 wins or more at worlds. 10 rebel lists, 12 Imperial, and 19 Scum.

 

 

Rebel lists without regen or TLT- 40%

 

Scum lists without Zuckuss or Manaroo- 37%

 

(side note: 2 of these lists were quad TLT, and another had 2 TLT Ys. If TLT is included in the restriction, the % plummets to 21%)

 

 

Imperial list without Palpatine or x7- 0%.

 

 

 

Yes, perhaps balance wise, regen, Manaroo, TLT and Zuckuss are a little overpowered, but they largely have not eliminated faction diversity to the extent FFG needs to nerf them... Yet. If Dengaroo overwhelms this regional season though, I think Manaroo may get a look.

 

Unfortunately, Imperials cannot say the same as its two rival factions. They are being warped by both Palpatine and x7 in a very real way. Even GOOD lists, such as Crack Swarms, are being lost because they can't compete with the efficiency of lists including these upgrades.

 

 

If any cards need to be looked at next, it's Palpatine and x7. Not because they destroy diversity of other factions (as Uboats did to Rebels), but because they destroy diversity of their own.

 

If your conditions are set wide enough you can prove just about anything.

For Rebels the "TLT or regen" condition would include lists as varied as Corran+Miranda, Kanan+Ezra+Biggs, Dash+Poe and say, Triple ARCs. What do these list have in common? They play differently, they fly differently, they have massively different preference for certain match ups. I'm honestly surprised 40% of rebel lists do NOT fall in this extremely broad category.

 

Same goes for other factions:

For Scum "Zuckuss or Manaroo" would include Dengaroo, Manny + double fangs and Bossk+Dengar.

For Imperials "x7 or Palp" might include DeciWhisper, Crackglaives, but also Soontir+Inquisitor+Palp Shuttle.

 

So yeah, some upgrade cards are effective and popular. A large percentage of successful lists do use at least one of them. That does not mean the game lacks diversity. In fact, the only list in the Worlds that did repeat itself several times would be Commonwealth Defenders. And yeah, they're popular, they won Canadian Nationals, they're straightforward, effective and fairly easy to fly. But somehow they didn't dominate the top, did they? And apart from that popular netlist everything else was just one huge surprise for me. This year's Worlds were probably more diverse than ever. We even had a Han+Jake in top 4 for christ's sake! I wouldn't believe it if someone told me that list could make it to top 4 at regionals in this day and age.

Edited by Lightrock

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