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How would an overpowered faction be handled?

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So to preface this, I think Uthuk are overpowered, but that isn't what I want to discuss.

Rather, how do people think Fantasy Flight would deal with an entire faction that is imbalanced? Would they try and bring up the other factions via fix upgrades that are more powerful for their points? That would take a while, and may lead to power creep invalidating old options. They could nerf powerful upgrades, although if part of what is powerful is the units themselves, changing dials or unit cards seems harder.

Anyways, I'm curious how Fantasy Flight has handled this sort of the thing in the past and what people think they would do if a faction was acknowledged to be significantly better then the other options.

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I was just discussing this with my brother tonight. I think they will release new, more powerful units for other factions. Yes, it will be power creep, and yes, people who have already amassed a large army will be forced to buy even more stuff. But it makes FFG money, so I think that's what they'll do. I could be wrong, though.

I hope I'm wrong, because I would hate to see all of my Reanimates go to waste!

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I was impressed when I heard (on this forum from other members) that one ffg minis game has the unit costing in an app, thus making it exceptionally easy to change the cost, i.e. balance. Anything too weak? Decrease the cost! Too strong? Increase the cost! I would guess it would also decrease development time in some cases as you can perheps keep more ideas and just accomodate them (avoiding breaking the game) by small cost changes on depending/comboing units. The important thing would just to have a fixed schedule when updates are made, like twice a year. 

I was surprised that they did not go this rout with Runewars when the method at least was in the making for the other game (i.e. they must have been aware).

Because this seems to be the ultimate solution, I believe they will adopt it.

Edit: 

The first thing I would do is to increase Ravos, Spined threshers and Berserkers by 10% and reduce Ankaur and Ardus by -15%. 

Edited by Maktorius

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X wing at least introduced a couple of upgrade categories that didn't require a slot, so they could retroactively tweak costs and stats without invalidating other upgrade cards. We could easily see some titles:

Undying bowmen, unique title upgrade, reanimate archers only. Gain regenerate (natural) and reduce the cost of this unit by 2.

Deathborn tactician, unique title upgrade, ardus ix'erebus only. Skill: another friendly unit at range 1-3 performs a speed 2 shift, reform, or rally. Reduce the cost of this unit by 4.

Eternal earth, unique title upgrade, rune golems only. Before each end phase, if this unit does not have any vitality tokens, it gains one vitality token. 

I'm not sure how they would package such specific upgrades, but it's an easy Band-Aid to apply. 

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I think an app is the most likely, but that depends on the success of X-Wing 2.0. I don't anticipate that we'l see a Runewars app for at least a year after X-Wing. Even then, that may be quicker than waiting for new units to counter the old, powerful ones.

Honestly, I'm super frustrated by what has happened to this game and I'm really disappointed with the development team for allowing a whole new faction be released that appears to be a cut above the others. Not that I would ever win a tournament with them, because I'm not that good of a player, but there certainly seem to be problem units. In a game like X-Wing 1.0, it didn't matter as much because 1) people bought all factions for upgrade cards so they could play the most powerful ships in their lists, and 2) lists were smaller and ships were pre-painted, making it easier to switch back and forth between factions. While power creep is always bad for players, I wish they could have at least saved the power creep for later units in each faction instead of creepong a whole faction. We'll see, though. Maybe it will turn out that everything is balanced after all and many of us are just crying that the sky is falling.

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Historically, FFG releases faction or unit specific “fixes.” Typically (but not always) in absurdly expensive epic formats releases. Now with an app, we could see quarterly tweaks until they are satisfied. 

 

Releasing cards to fix something has benefits that you can add/remove text from a unit. The downside is distributing the fix. 

Apps make distribution easier, but if the unit is too fundamentally flawed, no points adjustment will ever be effective. They will stay useless until so cheap that spam works or they stay too effective until the cost increase makes them unplayable.

 

Off topic (per OP request)

7 hours ago, Maktorius said:

The first thing I would do is to increase Ravos, Spined threshers and Berserkers by 10% 

I can’t agree with with that. Ravos’ problem (if he does have one) is not him in any way shape or form. It’s with Insatiable Hunger. I’m serious, have your Uthuk locals play him without that and suddenly he is relentlessly okay.  

 

Berserkers are not overpowered. Run them without upgrades and then tell me with a straight face that they are too good. Now, you can have issues with Warsprinter, but that isn’t the Berserkers. 

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35 minutes ago, Church14 said:

Historically, FFG releases faction or unit specific “fixes.” Typically (but not always) in absurdly expensive epic formats releases. Now with an app, we could see quarterly tweaks until they are satisfied. 

 

Releasing cards to fix something has benefits that you can add/remove text from a unit. The downside is distributing the fix. 

Apps make distribution easier, but if the unit is too fundamentally flawed, no points adjustment will ever be effective. They will stay useless until so cheap that spam works or they stay too effective until the cost increase makes them unplayable.

 

Off topic (per OP request)

I can’t agree with with that. Ravos’ problem (if he does have one) is not him in any way shape or form. It’s with Insatiable Hunger. I’m serious, have your Uthuk locals play him without that and suddenly he is relentlessly okay.  

 

Berserkers are not overpowered. Run them without upgrades and then tell me with a straight face that they are too good. Now, you can have issues with Warsprinter, but that isn’t the Berserkers. 

I don't think that any unit so far is so fundamentally broken that it couldn't be "fixed" with a small points tweak. Even units that are commonly thought to be "bad" like reanimates have synergies and upgrades that can make them viable.  A small cost tweak could go a long way.

I completely agree about Ravos and berserkers.  Insatiable hunger should be march/turn 1, not 2, and even then probably needs to be more expensive.

Berserkers feel like they are about right where they should be until they charge you from outside range 5. Though I get a little bitter that they cost the same as reanimates but get a better ability and better dial. I think that reanimates need to be 1 point cheaper at 2 trays and 2-4 points cheaper as they scale up in size.

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1 hour ago, Church14 said:

I can’t agree with with that. Ravos’ problem (if he does have one) is not him in any way shape or form. It’s with Insatiable Hunger. I’m serious, have your Uthuk locals play him without that and suddenly he is relentlessly okay.  

Berserkers are not overpowered. Run them without upgrades and then tell me with a straight face that they are too good. Now, you can have issues with Warsprinter, but that isn’t the Berserkers. 

I do agree that it is the upgrades that are the problem in the case of Ravos and perhaps even berserkers, and adjusting them would be better. Though the Berserkers are REALLY good due to the Reanimate level costing, dial in hit and the Equipment slot. But it might be Reanimates and Spearmen that are costed a little bit to high.

Edited by Maktorius

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An app to adjust points costs is the best answer, though I am not sure what FFG will do for games like RW where point cost printed cards already exist. 

Since the thread has already been derailed a bit with Uthuk talk: 

-Ban or heavily restrict Insatiable Hunger. I wouldn't mind the upgrade as much if Ravos couldn't use it to bank (make it linear). It is probably three points undercosted as it stands. 

-Spined Threshers should probably be closer to 32 points base for the two tray. That would represent a roughly 10% discount, which is in line with the two tray Carrion Lancers and Scions (let's leave Rune Golems out of this for the time being). Scuttling Horror probably shouldn't exist, but it wouldn't be out of line to cost it around 5/6. Going from 31 for a two tray with Scuttling Horror to 37/38 ish seems about right. 

Those changes alone would probably bring Uthuk to around the power level of Latari, which is totally fine. They aren't unbeatable now or anything, but the efficiency of a few of the standouts like Ravos and Threshers makes them feel oppressive at times. 

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2 minutes ago, Glucose98 said:

I haven't fought Uthuk enough to know -- are they really considered too strong?

 

There are some people here who are absolutely positive that they are. There are others who don't fully agree. Nobody thinks they're weak, though.

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Thematically, I like Insatiable Hunger. It reminds me of how the Obcenes move in BattleLore. What I don't like is his speed-4 march. He should be much slower than he is. Insatiable Hunger should be an optional fix for his slow speed, not a card that gives him a speed of 6 in one round. That's just my opinion.

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This is a similar to armada, the demolisher problem. Raves is strong, sure, but he's not ridiculous OP. What makes him gross is insatiable hunger, which you could increase by 10 points and it would still be a choice upgrade.  If it were sequenced to during the end phase and not before, it would be less powerful, and if it could only bank on a 1 it would be very well balanced.

If our release dates had not been interrupted we would have only had the current meta for 2 months. Uthuk would have had a short time in the spotlight, but the next units coming out seem mostly designed to throw a wrench in uthuks playstyle.

Sorry for more uthuk derailing.

If they were to update some of the lackluster units, I'd like an 'essentials' style kit for waiqar, and daqan. This would include updated cards and dials.

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2 hours ago, Jukey said:

If they were to update some of the lackluster units, I'd like an 'essentials' style kit for waiqar, and daqan. This would include updated cards and dials.

I like this idea. Add 6 or so unit cards of the base siege units and have unique upgrades for each one.

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I think Ravos being a little strong is just due to his "stat line".  He's the first hero they made that has brutal 1, precise 1, and 3 dice all at once with no real drawbacks. My brother and I make custom stuff for this game (and others) every now and then, so we analyze these patterns quite a bit.  My brother made a hero with this statline and lo and behold, it was way too strong at 40 points.  I pointed out his mistake to him and then FFG went ahead and printed Ravos with the same statline and he turned out over-tuned as well.

I haven't found the Uthuk to be totally dominating.  Berserkers and Flesh Rippers are both good, but I don't see them as overpowered.  Spined Threshers probably aren't overpowered, but I've found certain situations where they are surprisingly strong.  The only truly scary force Uthuk seem to have is a well-positioned Ravos, but obviously all of these findings are warped by our extremely localized "meta".

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3 hours ago, Jukey said:

If they were to update some of the lackluster units, I'd like an 'essentials' style kit for waiqar, and daqan. This would include updated cards and dials.

You could also do Latari's upgrade cards to bring us all the option to have matching upgrade card formats moving forward.

 

15 hours ago, Bhelliom said:

X wing at least introduced a couple of upgrade categories that didn't require a slot, so they could retroactively tweak costs and stats without invalidating other upgrade cards. We could easily see some titles:

Undying bowmen, unique title upgrade, reanimate archers only. Gain regenerate (natural) and reduce the cost of this unit by 2.

Deathborn tactician, unique title upgrade, ardus ix'erebus only. Skill: another friendly unit at range 1-3 performs a speed 2 shift, reform, or rally. Reduce the cost of this unit by 4.

Eternal earth, unique title upgrade, rune golems only. Before each end phase, if this unit does not have any vitality tokens, it gains one vitality token. 

I'm not sure how they would package such specific upgrades, but it's an easy Band-Aid to apply. 

The problem with these is distribution. X-Wing took all kinds of (deserved) criticism for the way they'd package these cards with new expansions, and often ones that weren't all that desireable otherwise. The app for 2.0 is, in part, a response to that criticism -- I don't see FFG rushing out to make the same mistake and open themselves up to the same criticism in a new game, especially after using Rune Wars to fix the "buy all factions" complaints. On a completely unrelated aside, you'd reduce Ardus by 4 AND give him a pretty huge utility boost?

 

10 hours ago, Budgernaut said:

I think an app is the most likely, but that depends on the success of X-Wing 2.0. I don't anticipate that we'l see a Runewars app for at least a year after X-Wing. Even then, that may be quicker than waiting for new units to counter the old, powerful ones.

Honestly, I'm super frustrated by what has happened to this game and I'm really disappointed with the development team for allowing a whole new faction be released that appears to be a cut above the others. Not that I would ever win a tournament with them, because I'm not that good of a player, but there certainly seem to be problem units. In a game like X-Wing 1.0, it didn't matter as much because 1) people bought all factions for upgrade cards so they could play the most powerful ships in their lists, and 2) lists were smaller and ships were pre-painted, making it easier to switch back and forth between factions. While power creep is always bad for players, I wish they could have at least saved the power creep for later units in each faction instead of creepong a whole faction. We'll see, though. Maybe it will turn out that everything is balanced after all and many of us are just crying that the sky is falling.

Bingo. X-Wing 2.0 is testing the waters (admittedly with a really good idea). If it's well received, I can't see how they'd justify not following it up with Rune Wars and Armada versions. I don't think either game is fundamentally broken enough to need a new edition the way X-Wing does (we don't have enough early units to be outshone mechanically by new stuff and invalidated, and AFAICT from the mostly sidelines, Armada could be fixed by points adjustments still, too, and neither has the intrinsic problem X-Wing did where turret gameplay simply replaced, on the competitive scene, the arc-based core gameplay the game was ostensibly designed around), but there's no real reason to relaunch the game just to get rid of printed points costs on old product.

 

9 hours ago, Church14 said:

Historically, FFG releases faction or unit specific “fixes.” Typically (but not always) in absurdly expensive epic formats releases. Now with an app, we could see quarterly tweaks until they are satisfied. 

I can’t agree with with that. Ravos’ problem (if he does have one) is not him in any way shape or form. It’s with Insatiable Hunger. I’m serious, have your Uthuk locals play him without that and suddenly he is relentlessly okay.  

Again, given the amount of criticism the epic-packaged upgrades generated, I don't see FFG being foolish enough to blindly repeat it.

I totally agree about Insatiable Hunger. It's too cheap, and letting Ravos re-engage at a 2 march (with turns!) is way too good even at a significant point cost. I'd remove the option for 2 and bump it to 5-6 points, and many (but not all!) people would still take it, and Ravos would spend a turn or two less in combat and be a more normalized return on invested points.

 

7 minutes ago, TallGiraffe said:

I feel like if the dial of a unit is bad fixing it can be hard. 

Harder, sure. But there's a cost at which anything would be balanced. It might be so absurdly high that people avoid it purely because it's too restrictive to have fun with, but I don't think even Insatiable Hunger Ravos is actually there.

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26 minutes ago, TallGiraffe said:

I feel like if the dial of a unit is bad fixing it can be hard. 

If they do a version 2, I expect that a few stickers for problematic units could help the issue. Though to be honest, I don't think there are that many bad units. Well, bad in the sense of their dials not fitting their theme. Reanimates suck, but I would fix them by improving their regenerate, not by changing their dials. Far more thematic that way: they're supposed to be lumbering, slow, and clumsy. 

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23 minutes ago, kaffis said:

On a completely unrelated aside, you'd reduce Ardus by 4 AND give him a pretty huge utility boost?

I mean I haven't playtested it or anything, but yes, yes I would. It's hard to overstate how helpless Ardus is on the field, especially compared to other heroes. I want him to feel good to use, and since his dial largely forbids that for him personally, enabling the rest of your army at least works with the general theme.

So what expansions could FFG put out to address individual units? I guess they would need to be either faction-specific or neutral. For neutral, a campaign system would be pretty cool, as would a siege pack - just use punch board for fortifications, battering rams, etc. Could certainly include things in there.

As for faction-specific, let's assume they want to continue to sell a model with each expansion as has been their way. I've been wondering about a more customizable hero for each faction: something that starts pretty weak, and you can take a handful of upgrades to specialize its combat role. I know there are people that are narratively more engaged by their own unique(ish) hero than named characters, and you could pack it with a few different arms and decoration bits. Something like:

Daqan Lieutenant, 20 points
Boring dial, similar to Spearmen
RB melee, no ranged attack, 3 Defense 3 Health, Brutal (1)
Artifact, 3 Unique slots

Experimental Crossbow, 7 points, Unique, Daqan Lietenant only
Special action: make a ranged attack with 1 red and 1 blue die.

Inspiring Presence, 3 points, Unique, Daqan Lietenant only
When you reveal your command dial, you may give a friendly unit at range 1-3 1 Inspiration token.

Blade Master, 6 points, Unique, Daqan Lietenant only
Melee attack: add 1 red die

Outrider, 9 points, Unique, Daqan Lietenant only
Gain Scout.

Frontline Commander, 12 points, Unique, Daqan Lietenant only
When a friendly unit makes a melee attack targeting an enemy unit engaged with you, they gain Precise (1)

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3 hours ago, backupsidekick said:

One option for to balance the army is to price the units higher than the other teams... like Th'Uk Tar that's currently priced at $35...

I mean, I don't think that's the best way to balance, but hey.  It's a start.

So it will be like the little league World Series.  All the rich kids with the best equipment and coaches get a pretty sweet leg up.

I think a point shifting free app would be the way to go.  I haven’t actually seen too many dials that need changing.  

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An app with the points would be great, Tabletop Admiral has managed to put together a super useful app to the point where me and my regular opponent rarely pull out the cards. Enabling game tuning would be a pretty great perk about it.

So have many people played Warmachine? One odd side effect of being easily being able to push out rules updates with their app has been a patch cycle.  Where the community waits for the next big patch to make their particular faction better/get attention. Fortunately Runewars isn't such a large game, so I don't think that would occur, as designers could still act holistically. The other aspect about that is the heavy community feedback approach to Warmachine's CID, which is neat that they allow so much insight, but I wonder if it doesn't create a difficult environment to design in, as rules feel fluid when you see under the hood of how it is all balanced.

Edited by Rattt

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17 hours ago, Willange said:

I think Ravos being a little strong is just due to his "stat line".  He's the first hero they made that has brutal 1, precise 1, and 3 dice all at once with no real drawbacks. My brother and I make custom stuff for this game (and others) every now and then, so we analyze these patterns quite a bit.  My brother made a hero with this statline and lo and behold, it was way too strong at 40 points.  I pointed out his mistake to him and then FFG went ahead and printed Ravos with the same statline and he turned out over-tuned as well.

I haven't found the Uthuk to be totally dominating.  Berserkers and Flesh Rippers are both good, but I don't see them as overpowered.  Spined Threshers probably aren't overpowered, but I've found certain situations where they are surprisingly strong.  The only truly scary force Uthuk seem to have is a well-positioned Ravos, but obviously all of these findings are warped by our extremely localized "meta".

Ravos' stat line isn't really a problem.  It's his flexibility and his mobility.  The few times I got to play against Ravos before my opponents started using insatiable hunger, he was inconsequential.  The most relevant thing he did was give my whole army panic at the beginning of the game (which is admittedly not nothing).  If he can't get where he wants to go, he is not that hard to gun down, and he can potentially be forced into an engagement with infantry, where he does not want to be.

Think of it this way:  Would Ardus be considerably better if he had precise and one more die? 

I would argue not.  He still is going to have trouble choosing engagements.  He still has to act early in the round and can't respond to late charges.  He still won't be able to out charge much of anything. 

Also consider that your custom hero did not have the drawback of having to eat, which is something that is a draw back for Ravos if he does not have the mobility that insatiable hunger gives him.  

Honestly, I think that Heroes should be overpowered to some extent.   I don't think Ravos needs a nerf, but I know that insatiable hunger does.  That said some heroes, Ardus being the obvious one, do need a buff to be closer in line with him.

17 hours ago, kaffis said:

On a completely unrelated aside, you'd reduce Ardus by 4 AND give him a pretty huge utility boost?

I don't know that Ardus would need to be reduced in cost given a large enough utility boost.  He can skill at initiative 2.  The ability to give any unit within a reasonable range some type of free action or initiative bonus with his skill would be extremely useful and could justify his cost.  I really like the idea of him just giving his activation to another unit with his skill.  The ability to have a unit suddenly take a longer charge at initiative 2, or strike before the unit they are engaged with, would be pretty powerful, forcing your opponent to play around it.

As it is, I'm coming around on the value of Host of Crows.  I didn't find it that useful for a while and was finding that the army would be better off building the units one size up and dumping Ardus.  However, the wraiths have turned me around on this.  The 3x1 wraiths with raven tabards is really good and doesn't exist without Ardus.  As new Waiqar units and upgrades become available, Host of Crows is only going to get better.

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