Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Kaptin Krunch

Card games, player skill, and balance- Season 2.

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

I know normally all I do is **** post here, but the following is a serious discussion. 

As we approach another time interval where the meta has had no new content or adjustments in some time, the meta (particularly Hyperspace) is once again in a similar state to what it was before the January changes-

Once again there are very few low- Initiative pilots, and virtually all lists consist of getting the highest-initiative named pilots as possible with the strongest abilities,  and these lists are used for jousting eachother. 

generic pilots are nowhere to be seen, except as filler (in the sense of "I have 24 points left, I guess I take an Acad") or as slightly sub-optimal guns, and when they are the second case, only ships that have a large health pool are taken with any amount of success- IE- Generic Arcs with 9 health. 

Once again, I must go back to the developer AMA prior to the release of 2.0- in it, the following question was asked:

Quote

Pilot abilities in first edition are effectively free (after paying for pilot skill increase) and because of this generics are pretty rare. Why would I bring a dagger squadron pilot for 24 or a red squadron veteran for 26 when I could have Jess Pava for 25? There's almost always a better named pilot that's roughly the price of any open space in a list, just because of how many ships each faction has now.

Is getting more named ships (even the cheap ones) on the table a design goal, or would you like to see more generics on the table in second edition? What does a fun squad look like for you? Half generics? 75% Generics? 25% Generics? Or is not a design concern at all?

Basically, is variety in lists for generics/named pilots something that you go out of your way to influence and design, or just let the community figure out as we go? And if you do have goals for seeing generics in competitive play, how often do you like seeing them appear?

And the developer response:

Quote

FB: With our ability to adjust point costs, at different times in the game's life, generic pilots and named pilots will fill different roles. Different game modes will encourage different builds. Some game modes will have a limited card pool and will force players to try builds they would not have played before.

MB: Keep in mind that the ability to alter upgrade slots available also gives us a lot of flexibility in adjusting generics up or down, compared to named pilots. Some generics in first edition would have benefited from a talent slot or an extra mod slot, and we can make these sorts of changes to incentivize or balance generics as necessary. And we can take away slots if certain generics or named pilots prove too powerful with them. ;)

The only generics that see use as of now are those that meet at least one of the following categories

- Have the steep point scaling of wave 3 factions (IE- the i3 Unique Vulture droid costs 7 points over a trade fed, or Oddball costing 13 over the Gold Trooper, and at least with resistance 

- Literal filler 

- sub-optimal  list building mistakes

In terms of viability, the most usable and most used pilots now are all named, as they do not pay a significant increase in cost for their higher initiative and their powerful abilities. 

Here is the collected Hperspace data since the first point adjustment, which I will be referring to throughout this rambling rant. 

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1pZmi_QJEJ939Pi6QaaRhjQOu_RSoGUhz3pLYJ1Ffxxo/edit#gid=2042480759

The current meta boogeyman is "Rebel Beef" - The list operates by utilizing the large amount of offensive power it can carry, jousting, and then attempting to Leia-kturn to get as much

When we first saw REbel Beef, it was typically UXXYY- As many ships with 3 or pseudo-3 dice guns that could abuse leia's underpriced new cost, and "The cheapest thing that can carry Leia". 

The list is now typically "Cassian, Braylen, Wedge, and a Friend "(Biggs, Jake, Ten, Who cares)- 4 higher initiative pilots who are taken for their powerful pilot abilities (Either Braylen's 24/7 Double Mods, Cassian's abilitiy to completely mitigate Stress for his squad, Biggs's Damage spreading, etc) and initiative killing (Wedge) to not allow lists with lower initiatve values to retaiate effectively. 

While the UXXYY version was viable, it loses and loses comically to the new 

The reason is that pilot abilities are still not properly priced. 

Like, Braylen- he's just 6 points (3% of your list) over an initiative 2 B-wing. The move from an i2 generic to an i3 generic is 2 points. We all know that initiative scaling shouldn't be linear (Each point of initiative is worth more than the last), but even if it is, that means they value Braylen's ability at 2 points. (Effectively it's priced at 0-1 points) . It gives you double mods every turn, and passive ones at that. 

Cassian allows you to un-stress anyone in your list every single turn, and gives an EPT slot, and an extra initiative, for 4 points. Look at other 4 point upgrades. Is a Blue Squadron U-wing with a Novice Technician really supposed to be a fair comparison to Cassian? ****, even in FO, Muse is the exact same ability but range 0-1, and she pays 4 points for it and 1 init (From 1 to 2, the jump that matters the least)- Range 0-3 is a massively larger area than range 0-1, and the timing on her ability is worse. 

The list of successful pilots accross the factions all follows this trend. Further, the most successfulyl used generic pilots are those with large health pools. The reason that these pilots have the best of the limited success for Generics is that their large health pool allows them to be more resistant to alpha strikes. 

The mechanic of destroyed ships being removed at each initiative allos higher inititive lists to suffer minimal consequences with trading shots with enemy lists at lowe I values, and is not priced properly either. 

The faction that this is most noticable in is the CIS. The CIS's thematic builds should be those with a large amount of Vulture droids, but their most viable list is double infiltrator. This is because while the best use of a Vulture droid is an ESC carrier that tries to unload 7x 3 dice shots into the opposing list to allow them to remove major threats before they shoot back, they are unable to do so because simply trading shots will result in 1-3 vulture droids dying before they shoot (Depending on the opposing list), and their limited dial (The removal of the ability to 3-bank+Barrel roll is major, as that move is effectively a 5-forward+45 degree rotation, and is majorly needed to outmaneuver people on the approach) doesn't allow them to reliably position themselves to take uncontested shots. Further this is assuming that the other list is simply OK with trading shots with the 6 Vulture+B22 list, as it's highly likely that the other list will take uncontested shots on the vultures before the real engage. The only viable ship in CIS is Dooku and Maul due to their passive mods, high initiative, health pool, and plenty of ability text to allow them to try to win the game in listbuilding. 

There are other ships that suffer immensely for their combination of low-initiative and low-health as well. As an example

- Strikers have linear initiaitve scaling from 1-5 and a free ability on duchess, and are more frail than a Z-95: The generics are entirely unusable, and the community knows this- none of them have seen use. Are you really teling me 3/2/4/0 is only worth 4 points less than a 3/1/6/3 statline with a rear arc? (38 Black Squadron Scout to 42 104th Squad ARC) Would anyone pay 34 points for a 3 dice Z-95 that has even more vulnerability to critical hits? 

- TIE Interceptors are entirely "Soontir Fel- The Ship" - Alphas and Sabers pay massive amounts for each point of initiative, but lacking passive mods and perfect information given by Soontir, the are entirely non-viable. 

- For TIE Fighters, the only successful list as of now involves 5 named pilots- Howlrunner and Iden allow for the list to not be alpha striked. Why would you run Black Squadron Aces when all of the passsive-mods AOE TIE Fighters are only a few points more? 

- For Vulture droids, they are all entirely non-viable- They simply die when trading shots, and they lack the maneuverability to not trade shots.

- For B-22's, the one with the closest to anything resembling "Success" is Grievous for his Init 4 and passive mod ability, and the rest of them flop around aimlessly. In particular, the named pilots are actually CHEAPER than the generics- Captain Sear isn't great, but for some unknown reason, he costs 2 points LESS than the generic-with-focus. Are they tring to say his ability, which is basically a Tac Relay and a better one than TV-94, is somehow worth negative 2 points? 

- For The Fang Fighters, the point jump to access Old Teroch is miniscule - Skull Squadron Pilots somehow cost a quarter of the list, before upgrades. At least the Recruit is an OK blocker. 

- Z-95's are TIE Fighters but without the massive amounts of ability text that the named TIE pilots have to prop them up. 

- TIE/FO pilots are priced very similarly to RZ-2 A-wings, but RZ-2 A-wings have better upgrade bars, dials, a rear arc, access to linked actions, improved health distribution, and cheaper abilities and initiative. Why on earth is Lulo just 3 points more than Scorch? And unlike TIE/LN fighters, they don't have access to cheap ability text to allow them to try to win the game in listbuilding. 

- There are other ships, like the TIE/SF, the TIE Silencer, the Delta 7, TIE Advanced, and T-65,  where the pilot abilities and initiative are incredibly cheap, but their increased health allows for them to not immediately die- These generic pilots are simply sub-par, as opposed to the "******* atrocious" that the other ships on this list are. 

 

in short, FFG needs to re-adjust prices in those ships heavily, or accross the board for higher initiatve named pilots. 

I mentioned this exact same thing prior to the January adjustments, and here we are where we started- The meta is high-initiative ships jousting eachother, and generics can't compete. 

 

There has been minor improvement (ARCs at least seem farily priced for their ability text), but we are still dangerously close to "the game is decided in listbuilding by whomever brought the most underpriced ability text". Positioning is still comically easier to do with more perfect information, and one does not typically pay enough for that information, especially as it also lowers consequences for just trading shots aimlessly as well. 

Will FFG correct this in the next points Adjustment? 

me and some other people (Ryan from OCX, Biophysical, the guy who placed 2nd at Denver with 2 First order Test Pilots) recorded a discussion on this a couple weeks ago, if you want to hear more in-depth discussion on this. 

https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/thesaltminesxwingpodcast/episodes/2019-05-09T13_13_23-07_00

 

Edited by Kaptin Krunch
Big Chungus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Jesus Christ wall of text

 

But I do agree with central point of high initiative + "best" (re: action-indepent die modification abilities) abilities being a problem, and a holdover from first Ed.

Mixing the highest initiative pilot with the best pilot ability across the shop type is a recipe for disaster that FFG seems to have utterly ignored until the prequel factions (oddball is a joke, Anakin is situationally great but doesn't mod dice contrst with Snips; maul is super situational whole Dooku is nutty)

So yeah, time to jack up the points on high initiative OT pilots with clearly cream of the crop abilities! 

 

 

Basically, follow the Republic model (other than the baffling, unnecessary 4/5 point jump from I 2 generic to I 3) and then add extra to high I with the CLEARLY best abilities.

Then fix the Republic model, and lower the cost on named pilots with clearly BLEH abilities (hi, Torrents!) especially on ships with crap/fodder chassis (hi, Torrents...again!)

Edited by ficklegreendice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seeing the developer response does make me sort of wonder if generic aren't meant to be good in standard play... 

Frank talked about them as being  forced to be good in special game modes where the named pilots are illegal, and Max sort of talked about removing broken combos, such as juke on Phantoms. 

I guess the ultimate question we needed answered was the "what does a fun squad look like to you".  Technically all pilots do have a name, so generics vs. named becomes less relevant once you add more pilots...

I think there was a thread back in 2017 about "why do generics even need to exist". My own answer was talking about how I really like getting to craft my own story for them and not be annoyed by the theme of the battle not making sense, but I think a lot more things are (and should be) dictated by balance than theme. 

There's always a question of is the game is healthy when generic spam is good, and I wonder if the answer we're getting from the devs is "no". 

I still continue to play generics and enjoy them, I don't think they're really all that horribly below the power curve, but yeah, I do think pretty much anything generics can do named pilots can do better. #justiceforthetieocho

I leave you with a picture.

image0.jpg

doesn't this look fun? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Generics HAVE to exist in the game purely for list composition, even devs have to see that!

There aren't a lotta ships blessed with as many pilots as Xwings or TIE fighters

If I couldn't run generic arcs, I'd only have sinker and Jag to run at similar intiative!

Also fluff and all that. You don't get TOO MANY! tie pilots when they're all named in game 

Edited by ficklegreendice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally I'd like to see more stuff that encourages you to fly generics and named pilots together. It's a good way to make generics viable without getting into a situation where people only fly generics because they're the most efficient. The "Squad leader / ace +  wingmen" setup is also nice thematically. More pilots like Kath and Drea, and more upgrades like Dedicated, basically.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I have accepted that at any given time at least one (sometimes more) legitimately good Ace + 3-4 generics lists will exist in the entire game. Its my favorite archetype by far but not a deverse one outside of casual games.

Right now competitively its Vader + Imdaars in extended and Obi + Arcs or Fenn + Zealous in Hyperspace.

If you seek good generic focused lists you generally just need to let go of faction attachment and buy more things as they are allowed to become “good”.

Edited by Boom Owl

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are certain generics that I don't really care if they're bad. Dark Couriers or Bounty Hunters or generic Hawks being bad is whatever.

But many of the ships in the game are, like, thematically generics. Bad TIE Striker generics is a travesty, nobody remembers Redline from the movies, Vultures should be a flood, there's a lot of random A-Wings in the Rebel fleet. Many, many lists don't look right if the generics in those ships aren't good - that's how we wound up with CIS being a faction about flying double Infiltrators.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, svelok said:

But many of the ships in the game are, like, thematically generics. Bad TIE Striker generics is a travesty, nobody remembers Redline from the movies, Vultures should be a flood, there's a lot of random A-Wings in the Rebel fleet. Many, many lists don't look right if the generics in those ships aren't good - that's how we wound up with CIS being a faction about flying double Infiltrators.

Is it?

TIE Strikers took an inordinate amount of time to take down less than a dozen X wings + a few UWings while they had the home field advantage and the rebels had no reinforcements.

Likewise we saw a lot of clamoring to make TIE bombers better bombers when A) all the source material mention it's a POS and B) The only on screen bombing we see of it is to bomb an asteroid field when nobody was shooting them.

Keep in mind the current 200 points is also at the flight - sub squadron scale engagement. The only battles that really reflect that scale on screen, particularly on the movies, are the Falcon chase scenes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Said it before, and I'll say it again: point adjustments will NOT solve this problem.  

IMO the answer is akin to 40K's FOC: there MUST be a minimum number of points spent on generics.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Firebird TMK said:

Said it before, and I'll say it again: point adjustments will NOT solve this problem.  

IMO the answer is akin to 40K's FOC: there MUST be a minimum number of points spent on generics.

 

This isn't an optimal solution, because this allows/encourages for the disparity in effectiveness per-point to continue, or even expand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Firebird TMK said:

Said it before, and I'll say it again: point adjustments will NOT solve this problem.  

IMO the answer is akin to 40K's FOC: there MUST be a minimum number of points spent on generics.

 

This doesn't really seem to solve anything and it wouldn't let you play interesting but not OP two or three ship lists like Guri/friend, Anakin/Obi-Wan, Imperial Aces etc. Also some factions have much better access to great buffs for generics (Howlrunner, Drea, Sinker) while other factions would be pretty much unplayable (Resistance comes to mind). 

But it could be interesting as a sort-of side format I guess. Although with the controversy generated by Hyperspace I don't think we'll see such novelties from FFG in the foreseeable future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 5/26/2019 at 9:27 AM, kraedin said:

At this point, I think it's pretty clear the devs don't consider generic pilots to be an important part of the game.

Because at this point, all we have is Standard.

On 5/26/2019 at 10:49 AM, Octarine-08 said:

Keep in mind the current 200 points is also at the flight - sub squadron scale engagement. The only battles that really reflect that scale on screen, particularly on the movies, are the Falcon chase scenes.

This.  By default, 200 point battles are essentially Ace Wing.  You have a handful of pilots (who are likely to be Aces) duking it out. 

On 5/26/2019 at 12:06 AM, Ysenhal said:

Personally I'd like to see more stuff that encourages you to fly generics and named pilots together. It's a good way to make generics viable without getting into a situation where people only fly generics because they're the most efficient. The "Squad leader / ace +  wingmen" setup is also nice thematically.

This is Epic.

I would not be surprised if the movement tray obliges an ace plus generic wingmen.

Epic needs generics because keeping track of 10 ace abilities is as taxing as flying swarm lists.

For large battles, you want flights of 3-4 similarly kitted generics, so that you are essentially flying a dozen ships but only of a few archetypes.

Want to love generics?  Epic Is Coming.

Edited by Darth Meanie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the problems of 2.0 like this are simply a symptom of hard transferring the skeleton of 1.0 into 2.0. It was great because it made the transition for us veteran players easy, but it also means we are playing a beta version of this game still 

Generics are one of the things that will take time to find a proper roll simply because it was an old concept 

i think a roll for generics will be found, and I believe the designers have all intention to see a game where generics matter, it will just take time experimenting with points and upgrades across the board...they are already doing a good job of making lower I pilots with abilities matter, which is a stepping stone for generics to come into the fold. 

I think it’s not such a bad thing that they might rely on other game modes for generics to shine, we are in the middle of a competitive season for an alternative game mode, epic is on its way, and hyperspace can look very different in the future since it is a rotating format(they do have the power to block out specific named pilots)

ultimately this game is still kind of in a beta mode, which is good and bad, mostly not great right now, but I think should mean we could be having a far greater experience next year once we see all of their plans and ideas better laid out and fleshed out with testing and feedback

also in another note, the reason why other formats shouldn’t be frowned upon as an answer for generics is that extended is always going to be the hardest format to balance and therefore in many ways shouldn’t be the lead competitive format going forward in my opinion... it will always show the growing pains of the transfer from first edition, it was the format to make the “masses” happy, because we can play with all of our favorite toys, but is for sure the hardest to balance, is love to see it balanced, but there are just so many moving parts I would not hold my breath because it will be awhile 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 
 
1
On 5/25/2019 at 12:42 PM, Kieransi said:

Seeing the developer response does make me sort of wonder if generic aren't meant to be good in standard play... 

Just took 8x vultures to a small tournament...

Holy **** are they good...

As someone who often runs generics, I just don't see it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Icelom I too have played Vultures and done well with them on local level. They tend to perform well on this level, especially against other jousty low-agi lists like Beef or Dreadloks, which is what a lot of people run now. Also a lot of people don't know how to play against swarms and deny them the joust. Problem is that they are very prone to variance swings (look at TIE swarms, their strongest abilities are all about variance mitigation) and have some really bad matchups (Reinforce makes them sad).

Because of that they aren't doing well in the larger meta.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, Pink_Viking said:

@Icelom I too have played Vultures and done well with them on local level. They tend to perform well on this level, especially against other jousty low-agi lists like Beef or Dreadloks, which is what a lot of people run now. Also a lot of people don't know how to play against swarms and deny them the joust. Problem is that they are very prone to variance swings (look at TIE swarms, their strongest abilities are all about variance mitigation) and have some really bad matchups (Reinforce makes them sad).

Because of that they aren't doing well in the larger meta.

Energy shell +munitions failsafe remove a bunch of the issues faced by swarms of low attack ships... and the network calculations ship ability utterly decimates variance.

my issue taking these to a large event would be fatigue... you hit game 6,7,8 in a day and keeping 8 ships flying well becomes extremely hard this has nothing to do with the ship itself and more to do with the bag of meat setting the dials. (this is the real problem with all swarm lists in large competitive play) only having to coordinate 3 or 4 ships is much simpler and less prone to mistakes than 8 when you are exhausted. That is the single most limiting factor to swarms in large scale competitive play.

4x rounds of swiss i dominated with them... i won't be taking them to a hyperspace because i know i will loose in the later games when i bump my own ships and try to have intimate relations with every asteroid on the board.

Edited by Icelom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem with the ace/generic balance issue, is in order to make generics viable you have to have weak pilot abilities or price them out of the market. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, NukeWash said:

As others have said, I'd like a steeper pricing curve (like with the Republic) applied to pilots. 

Wedge costs 11pts more than an I2 generic. Does that make sense to you?

Wedge's ability is an always on Outmaneuver. OM is costed at 6 points. So Wedge's +4 initiative only costs him 4 points (with the last 1 of the 11 going towards the talent). That's laughable

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, Orcdruid said:

The problem with the ace/generic balance issue, is in order to make generics viable you have to have weak pilot abilities or price them out of the market. 

You really don't

Just see republic Arcs

(Torrents are a joke, though, but I'm sure that's just part of FFG testing.

Soon they'll figure out the Initiative, pilot ability, and chassis should factor into point scaling) 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...