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Boom Owl

The Poe Principle & Soontir Should be 69 Points

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, SabineKey said:

No hyperbole

Fair enough. I left the discussion because SOTL entered it. Thats legit the only reason.

As for slow and steady point increases, your right they might get us there eventually. Perhaps the answer is different costs across formats so they can test ideas or directions in parallel to see what works? Creates some problems but isnt impossible. I could see that giving them room to experiment in a more accelerated way a bit more.

The hyperbole parts tough for me. I feel like its often raised as a way to dismiss opinions. Since I genuinely think 5-15 pt increases are warranted its hard to qualify everything if that makes sense. I do actively qualify alot of whats stated, or at least I try to not scare folks off from the discussion entirely (though a select few members of the community definitely make meme replies the best approach). These type of increases clearly can be viewed as hyperbole. Not sure how to bridge that gap for every individual other than to say its what I believe is necessary based on two years in largely the same range and the same puzzle?

Im not trying to exaggerate on ace costs I think they are legitimately and seriously out of line with the the rest of the card pool. Not so much that aces need to be deleted, of course they shouldn't be, thats something I have qualified several times. Its similar to but less controversial than the upgrade conversation. I think they need to be made less available for lists to open up archetype options. Not gone, but less. Though that upgrade concept in particular is way more challenging to communicate and probably best reserved for hyperspace only 🙂 

Opinions on CIS Swarm and Beef Archetypes inhabit a similar space for me. I think the community is generally full of hyperbole about swarms in particular and have been for many metas about the quality of those lists, similar to how a few folks seem to view my thoughts on Ace costs as ridiculous.

For my part I think the dialogue and general opinion of the community is biased substantially in favor of ace archetypes. Its clear from some of the responses in this thread and many before it. I dont know that my opinions can all be dismissed as hyperbole. Maybe thats the case but its genuinely not where I think I am starting from.

For whatever its worth I come to the forums for a dialogue not a fight. I expect to get a bit of both. Starting topics and prompting discussion requires asking some difficult questions. I think this concept of pricing Aces in line with Poe or Pricing Poe in line with Aces is one of those topics which is why I made it in the first place. Soontir is a similar question 70 pts or 50 pts....I legitimately do not believe it its hyperbole to suggest he is closer to 70 than to 50. 

Edited by Boom Owl

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Boom Owl said:

Let me break some things down...

[snip]

I have typed words.  

Indeed you have. And I’m personally going to have to reread them some number of times because there’s a lot of them and they’re complicated.

But I think part of the hang up with my personal perspective is just... I don’t see the “why” of it. You say things like, “Once you have two or more i5/i6’s in a list, your third ship shouldn’t ever be higher than i4.” Ok.

But... why?

“Make lists with three “ace” ships able to take no more than one upgrade.”

Why?

And so on. What I’m saying is: I am kind of basically unconvinced that big sweeping changes are needed. Do Vader & Whisper lists have an unacceptable win rate in tournament play? What IS their win rate? What is an unacceptable win rate? Will the proposed changes curb these cards, if they do indeed have unacceptable success rates? Will the proposed changes unacceptably harm non-offensive cards? Is curbing these cards going to allow one or more really oppressive lists to emerge? Is curbing these cards better than (perhaps) coming at things from the other direction, and giving mid-initiative guys a bit of a boost? Would that encourage an unacceptable level of power creep?

I mean, I think the real problem for me is that I look at this game and am totally impressed that so many lists ARE viable. This is not, in comparison to most similar games, a cramped metagame.

Do a few select cards need attention? Maybe. People seem to be sympathetic to Boba Fett getting a cost increase, or Slave 1 title causing stress. And I mean... maybe some other things? I’m just not seeing a great swell of people saying i5/i6 aces are wildly undercosted, and for every person who seems to think they are, there seems to be another who disagrees or is very wishy-washy about it. And other than a bit about Boba Fett, nobody’s come forward and been like, “Here, events, appearances, win rates.”
 

I’m not saying you’re getting nowhere with me. I’m actually compelled to investigate Fett, and I’m definitely wondering if Passives should cost what they do on Vader. 
 

But I’m really skeptical about just crushing any double-repositioners.

I feel like the changes being proposed are too many dials to turn all at once. How do we even track the effects? What’s our “control” if everything changes at once?

 What about linking the cost of Passives to Force charges or initiative, giving Fett a 5-8 point bump, and lowering the cost of a few of the mid-initiative guys, maybe even enough that rather than say, being able to pack four i4’s in a list, many factions would be able to bring five of them?
 

I feel like I’d rather see a boost to the mid-initiatives and a very selective nerf to a couple of key upgrades and the very strongest high-initiative guys, than a big nerf to i5’s and i6’s and swarmers all at once. 
 

And speaking directly to Fel: I really don’t think he’s worth more than about 55 points. He’s just too fragile to justify risking 60 or 70 points on.

I dunno. This response feels a bit disjointed, as I typed it over many hours with distractions in-between. But I think I stand by most of it.

Edited by Cpt ObVus

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7 hours ago, Boom Owl said:

I want ALL Ace lists to be expensive enough to force players to make the following compromises during list building: 

  • Make their 3rd ship an i4 
  • Make their 2nd and 3rd ships more ships.
  • Make their 3 Ship i5/i6 list select 1 or 0 upgrades to fit within 200 pts 

For what it's worth, I 100% agree with this.

As for the why @Cpt ObVus: I genuinely believe it would improve the game and make the meta even more diverse. In a way: why not? They can just roll it back after 6 months if it was a bad idea. And people won't stop playing arc dodgers. They didn't in worst NymMiranda or GhostFenn times during 1.0, so they definitely won't when forced to take a cheaper 3rd ship.

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11 minutes ago, GreenDragoon said:

Using the accidental double post to campaign for using "arcdodger" instead of "ace"

If I could ban any word from discussions of the game it'd probably be ace*. people attach so much emotion, identity, and judgement of skill to this word that I think it would be better to just stop using it entirely.

 

*I've seen words used in this thread and some others lately that should never be used in the context of this game but I'm leaving them out of this

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2 hours ago, SabineKey said:

Which requires clear communication and an alignment of goals. No hyperbole, and saying exactly what you mean to.

I agree that things need to improve in the archetype. But you’ve started with a huge jump and go for applying it with a broad brush. Again, in the subject of game balance, the word of the day is “precision”. You don’t get precision with just marking up all aces by X and see what happens.

Like you said, no one knows what 2.0 without heavy Ace lists look like, which makes me think that the devs don’t want that. As I recall, they mentioned being happy with where Aces were, thus worked on bringing other things up. The kind of large sweeping changes you’ve been advocating runs counter to that.

Slow and steady is the path forward. We start by making some points increase in the single digit range, then we test. If more is needed, we do it again. This preserves the game and allows ideas to prove themselves rather than just break a part of the balancing act and see how well it all stays together. Maybe Fel does reach 69. But instead of a sudden shift that distorts everything, we get there by taking it step by step and seeing “well, he worked at 56. Oh, he’s still good at 60” and so on. And if your calculations are off on his value, it’s easier to wind back down to the better equilibrium point because we already have data of slowing moving him up to rely upon. 
 

There are definitely some things I think will be easy to agree on (because who thought it was a good idea to make the Slave 1 title 1 point?!?), but others will require more discussion and testing. This also requires people to be honest of their biases on BOTH sides of the debate. And it’s not just Aces that need work. 
 

Look, I would like to say thank you for returning to this discussion. I think there are good concerns and things that need to be addressed. I would like to encourage you to continue in this mode of discussion, and not pushing out extreme suggestions that you don’t even want. Much like SOTL’s “heel persona”, it distracts and muddles your message. For the people that really know you, that might not be a problem. But for those of us that just know you by your owl avatar, clear communication of your ideas will save a lot of headaches. 
 

Edit: just saw your edit and would like to say please more of that. More context. More communication.

I think this sums up 90% of what I was trying to say in my last response. Slow, measured, targeted adjustments which aim to make the minimum effective change is really a good policy, because this game already seems to be in a pretty good place. 

No game with this many customizable pieces will ever be *perfectly* balanced. It’s a good ideal for which to strive, but it’s simply not attainable. That doesn’t mean you ought not to keep trying, but when you have a strong starting point (as most of us seem to feel we do, myself included), you really have to be careful about throwing huge shifts in on multiple fronts at once.

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Lots more good points made by several people: I've given out likes so you know who you are 😉 .

I agree with many of them, but the fundamental issue I have with certain aces is that the points are almost irrelevant. It's whether you can outplay them within a game that matters. The key counterplay is blocking, so does a successful block whilst your other ships shoot the blocked ace allow you to win?

Poe becomes 'just a T70'. Regen 7B Anakin will take a bit of damage, but probably lives, flies off to go back above half points and makes you wonder why you bothered. Making him cost more merely allows him to fortress more points. It can mean his partner might have to be slightly weaker than Regen 7B Obi-wan - but Mace in that same role is still very, very good. And pairing Obi-wan with Mace is functionally the same exact problem if Anakin gets priced out of usefulness - especially if the other I6s also get price increases.

In the online tournaments, Vader plus Whisper is also doing very well. Increase points so you can't fly triple ace and you just get double aces instead.

Change the rules: eg blocked ships cannot spend Force charges or use certain pilot abilities, or change the squad building rules (eg for every unique pilot, you must bring a generic), and you can stop the multiple ace syndrome.

But! Is that actually a good thing? I like flying Chiraneau and Whisper. I like Lando and Wedge - my Death Star 2 squad - and I don't want them to be banned. I dislike the passive abilities of many Aces and I'd like to see Errata on lots of things to add 'if you fully execute your manoeuvre'.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Cpt ObVus said:

What is an unacceptable win rate?

In most games having more than a 55% win rate is indicative of cause for concern, and a 60% win rate is extremely concerning (it essentially means that the list is 20% stronger on average than the entire meta). Sadly, it is hard to extrapolate total winrates from Metawing (Which as far as I can tell is the best resource for this) because its evaluating overall tournament preformance. Still, some ships have freakish tournament performance. 

1 hour ago, Cpt ObVus said:

Is curbing these cards going to allow one or more really oppressive lists to emerge?

Most likely. I am about to really slam the current meta hard (which started promising but ended up... not), so I want to be up front that I am not advocating for super radical 'burn it all down' stuff so much as recognizing there is clearly something foul in the game and it seems systemic regardless of rotation and points changes.

And, to top it off, the rotations and points changes seemed to make it worse, not better. This indicates less 'oh god its so broken the archetype can't be fixed' and more 'the methods being used currently are pushing the needle in the other direction than it needs to be.' This actually indicates strongly most aces are healthy for the game (as aces were clearly the target of the points changes and rotations I looked into!).

I think while there are serious costing issues in X-wing, the issue is more the resolution of balance is weird and there is a sharp divide between efficient and non-efficient. The game heavily focuses on guaranteeing as much modification as you can which is probably more choking than aces, as aces are one of the few list archetypes that can nullify that advantage, or at least combat it. Hence why they almost certainly shouldn't go away.

1 hour ago, Cpt ObVus said:

This is not, in comparison to most similar games, a cramped metagame.

Pretty hard disagree. Both compared to TCGs and Wargames I would say X-wing has a very 'choked' meta, to the point where the discussions I have with tournament players isn't if the meta isn't diverse, but if it is on purpose that certain options aren't good (a lot of players seem to still be leery of things outside of direct attacks and positioning games which leaves a LOT of the design space of X-wing unexplored or woefully overcosted). Ship lists, essentially, are either large ship count efficiency based lists, or aces lists that focus on passive modding or getting other free mods. The top 10 list archetypes right now (which over-represents the meta as janky due to being... creeped in on with experimental TTS jank where experimentation has a lower cost because the games require less effort to play and so the metagame is 'looser,' but even then its not a good list. I have checked metawing quite a few times before Corvid and it was even more skewed towards mega aces and swarms) are an Imp Ace variant, the Bobba-Fenn combo which has literally been in the top 3 for almost half a year at this point with a 20% play rate this month and a 10% play rate overall this year, which basically means 1 in 5 lists at a tournament isn't just a list that includes Bobba, it is this EXACT list if you play right now), a weird... resistance swarm-ace hybrid that actually is novel, a double firespray pseudo-aces list, scum swarm, generic 4 tie jousty swarm with a decimator (seems more novel than it actually is), the heyena droid swarm (again, droid swarms have been about for a year, and while that is more understandable I don't exactly enjoy their place in the meta, though they are less NPE than Bobba-Fenn), Seer Swarm, Bobba-Jumpmaster aces, and... an actually janky scum swarm!

Most of these lists don't really run interesting upgrades. Most clearly want to just line up shots and toss dice at each other while denying as many arcs as they can or are trying to mod up with droids, and if they aren't they tend to be a extremely passive mod focused ace list. Faction diversity, which started strong in this hyperspace meta (We had nonsense like Jedi and 5x!) is really low now, with the top 10 including 5 scum, 2 seps, 2 imperial, and one resistance, with republic, FO, and rebels no where to be found and Scum featuring heavily here. And, of course, Bobba is 33% of the top 10, and his ship the firespray makes 4 apperances!

As you go down the ratio seems pretty consistent, like for example 11-20 is (out of order this time), 2 novel synergy lists, then 6 swarms, and 2 ace lists. 

1 hour ago, Cpt ObVus said:

nobody’s come forward and been like, “Here, events, appearances, win rates.”

Well I am doing it well but I am also leading the charge in Bobba Fett hate. But I am also trying to demonstrate other things about the meta. For example, outside of The Fett, upgrades are scarce, and named pilots as well in any of the lists besides the jank one at 10.

But the data shows some things: For example, swarms tend to dominate the number of lists, but in the top 4, 3 are some ace variant. And if you extend the search out to a year it is still a bunch of aces doing well with a big glut of swarms and efficiency lists (This is before rebel beef basically got choked out of the meta, but most joust lists are essentially a swarm without enough ships to call it a swarm).

You can also find some other fun things. For example, in the last year, the MVP pilot of the game is Seer. Makes sense to me, the guy was ridiculous. You can also see the exact point where Bobba meta began, which was November 2019 (surprise surprise), and it wasn't even like a little gradual, he jumped from 18th with an 8% occurance rate on average for all games from then to now, to the 2nd highest preforming pilot in the game.

This is, not coincidentally, when every person who frequented tournaments at my FLGS started practicing Bobba religiously and the casuals were kinda ground out of the game, resulting in my local scene diminishing by half. In that month alone Bobba was in the top 20th percentile and 10% of squads had him. He was in the top 3 in 7 different trials (three of them twice, in second and third) and the only trial logged in metawing during that winter, and the one he wasn't in the top 3... he was 4th. Most of these trials were actually won by a different ace list, but the level of performance there is absurd: he was almost half the top 3 in the Winter Trials of 2019, and every single top list was an ace list.

However, and I can't stress this enough despite sorta low key proving there is indeed a problem with Bobba (He made up around : I don't care diddly how balanced the tournament stats are if the game isn't fun at the level the average player is playing at, or even tournament players are playing at.

It also matters how it feels to play the actual game. I wouldn't care if the meta was mega diverse with 20 different list variations if gameplay was always a miserable slog, and a character who had the ability that read 'roll an attack dice. If you get a hit or a crit you win, otherwise you lose' is balanced but not interesting or fun to play against. So while looking at tournament stats is important, you can't ignore a lot of anecdotes saying a ship sucks to play against because holy crap it isn't fun to auto-lose because Bobba and Fen managed to kill 72 points worth of stuff and now its impossible for you to win because Bobba negates all of your list's damage.

You can, however, ignore what the specific proposed fixes are. After all, casual players aren't good at finding solutions. But they are **** good at finding problems. I think a lot of really hardcore game fans just think 'oh well I know I can get a 50% winrate vs this and it statistically isn't overpowered' without thinking about how it affects casual play. A good example of a card with similar elements to Bobba IMO is Parasite from Netrunner, which was a card that likewise didn't completely dominate the decks of the number 1 spots for runners, but it was super prevalent and, more critically, in 'kitchen table' netrunner its mere existence 'escalated' games to where a casual deck that wasn't prepared for its absurd efficiency capable of creating a lockout state didn't just lose, they lost misserably with the corp player unable to effectively do anything, even though in tournaments every single deck planned for parasite. When parasite was gone, it didn't negatively affect the tournament players at all (in fact, hard nerfs in TCGs and wargames rarely do, because players aren't 'one tricking' these options, as long as the game doesn't get less skill based it really doesn't matter if the top list gets nerfed out of the top spot, people didn't exactly complain Jedi Aces and Imp aces fell by the wayside to make way for Bobba, after all!)

 

1 hour ago, Cpt ObVus said:

But I think part of the hang up with my personal perspective is just... I don’t see the “why” of it. You say things like, “Once you have two or more i5/i6’s in a list, your third ship shouldn’t ever be higher than i4.” Ok.

But... why?

“Make lists with three “ace” ships able to take no more than one upgrade.”

Why?

This is a sentiment I ultimately agree with. It doesn't really help to scattershot what a problem is (Vader, for example, has a really high play rate through the game's history, but he doesn't have a freakish winrate, and as far as I can tell scanning the last year he never utterly took over the top end of the scene. Soontir actually DOES look somewhat under-costed based on historical performance data, but I didn't look into the specifics, its probably a few lists that used him and not Vader that did freakishly well).

Untargeted ace slapping isn't exactly what got us this meta (I would say CIS having a poor core design where the base ships of a faction were printed as the cheapest ship in the game to exist and have the most efficient way to obtain exactly as many calculates as you need on every single ship in the list in the game is a bigger offender, along with Bobba proving there is a core balancing issue with good ships where a limited list doesn't actually automatically reduce how degenerate the game is, it just reduces how much a degenerate list needs to account for), but it was pretty **** close because while Aces DID over-preform before this meta, the top lists weren't so stark and weren't of such a limited selection (You saw more Salads, more not exactly ace big ships, ect).

I don't think a new rotation or limited format would fix the problem. I hate this cliche, but another list would just take over as the new oppressor. Instead I think there needs to be a serious effort to assist underpreforming options and probably a new metric of balance (because if you reduce some stuff that isn't doing good anymore your just going to make it a swarm). 

1 hour ago, Cpt ObVus said:

I feel like I’d rather see a boost to the mid-initiatives and a very selective nerf to a couple of key upgrades and the very strongest high-initiative guys, than a big nerf to i5’s and i6’s and swarmers all at once.

 I think looking at this data month by month and over the year there is really clearly a problem where named pilots who aren't aces just... can't see play because they are paying for their initiative... unless their ability truly breaks your list like Cassian did. I4s being able to fly 5 or 4 heavily upgraded ships seems correct, its pretty clear the difference between 4 I4s and 3 I5+'s is really not as small as their price indicates, especially because the way initiative works means that your not taking I4s specifically to repo because that wont work on a lot of top lists, so you can't always take advantage of your 1 extra ship vs swarms compared to aces, especially when so many aces are so tough.

Upgrades overall look like they are in a bad spot. Most of the lists didn't use them, or only used one, unless they were an ace list. I think, again, that indicates that either more upgrades need initiative (and perhaps force) scaling, or more realistically you start giving out free upgrade points to cruddy ships so they are encouraged to use stuff that doesn't have explicit synergy. I think it would be weird to track upgrades to initiative, because there is a larger correlation to health than initiative for upgrade prevelance from what I looked over, and I don't think scaling all upgrades by size or health makes sense because you WANT large ships to want a ton of upgrades. Nerfing upgrades just pushes them further into non-viability for most ships, and while sometimes upgrade nerfs are warranted, they should probably be way more rare than nerfs to ships that carry specific upgrades very well or else the game will push even harder to un-upgraded swarms.

I would say a stand out nerf target of this year aside from Bobba would be the droid starfighter. It sorta just always was there, even if its place jumped around rapidly. I think it shows in the points changes they made to it, its clear there is something wonky about the cheapest fighter in the game having Networked, which is one of the strongest passive mods in the game, but its also clear the ship has enough weaknesses it isn't actually 'default' good and instead is constantly looking for gimmicks, which is why most balance changes to it are altering its upgrades.

Also, to be clear, I didn't do any deep statistical analysises or dives into the stats. This is just a surface level look over, a red flag (as well as an 'mostly clear' call on the general concept of aces, at least comparing last meta to this one) and mostly just hand counted stuff. I didn't get very stat spreadsheets or anything, so if you spot any errors remember I did this with manic sleep deprived energy for fun in like an hour! 

Edited by dezzmont

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15 hours ago, Gilarius said:

One of my friends likes flying Whisper and was pretty happy to see her go up in points because then she allows him to win on points easier. (This is my biggest peeve about bids, by the way - those points can't be won unless you wipe out the opponent's entire list.)

Just a mathematical nitpick: more expensive ships don't win on points easier.  Whisper at 57 doesn't protect more points than Whisper at 52 (??) + 5 points of bid.

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one thing that's becoming clear to me as a point of misunderstanding is that a lot of these aces can literally just joust their way to victory in a large number of matchups

people talk about Soontir as a glass cannon a lot (which isn't entirely true because his ability to stresslessly or with a reposition stack focus+evade, or focus after being blocked, make him dramatically tankier than his statline implies) but that notion of glass cannon ace gameplay isn't really the reality of the games current aces who can just joust things and win and isn't really what we're talking about

Poe, for example, can do everything but has a trade-off in that he /jousts/ well but /aces/ mediocre. Luke is the same way. The implied but not actually true reversal is that aces like Whisper should ace well, but /joust/ mediocre. In reality: Whisper, Boba, Kylo, Obi-wan, Vader, etc ace /and/ joust well. (Vonreg is kind of an example of an ace who does everything but is mediocre at /all/ of it, but those are rare enough to not warrant attention. Aces that ace well, and joust not just mediocre, but poorly, are basically a myth.) You can take three of those aces who do everything and win worlds. 

So unless you're going to do stuff like remove initiative killing from the game altogether (you'd have my support) the only way to offset those pilots ability to just do literally everything is to make them expensive enough that the /amount/ of everything they need to do is higher than they can achieve in a matched game (or you balance around that breakpoint, anyways.) Kylo is already kind of there, as an example. Kylo just does everything and is good at everything and is an Ace Who Jousts, but he costs enough that the number of turns of engagement he gets aren't enough, when combined with pressure that forces him to dis and re engage or approach from less effective angles, for him to win every game. And even Kylo is still a bit cheap for everything he does, and when he does win games, its not infrequently singlehandedly.

Potentially that makes iconic characters expensive enough that they're not as frequently used as people would like, or they're too expensive to be effective in casual players hands, and those are problems that emerge from do-everything-ace design. The drawbacks of icons balanced by expense is one of the reasons the current implementation of force distorts the game. (Another reason is that it contributes to making those aces able to do everything in the first place; force allowing passive, stacked, /and/ discrete dice mods is a major contributor to Aces Who Joust syndrome.)

The other good solution is to just ban having two or more of these aces in a list.

We tried that with hyperspace, and aside from Maul crew slipping through the cracks and making Boba dumb (again), it basically worked. 

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8 hours ago, dezzmont said:

In most games having more than a 55% win rate is indicative of cause for concern, and a 60% win rate is extremely concerning (it essentially means that the list is 20% stronger on average than the entire meta). Sadly, it is hard to extrapolate total winrates from Metawing (Which as far as I can tell is the best resource for this) because its evaluating overall tournament preformance. Still, some ships have freakish tournament performance. 

Most likely. I am about to really slam the current meta hard (which started promising but ended up... not), so I want to be up front that I am not advocating for super radical 'burn it all down' stuff so much as recognizing there is clearly something foul in the game and it seems systemic regardless of rotation and points changes.

And, to top it off, the rotations and points changes seemed to make it worse, not better. This indicates less 'oh god its so broken the archetype can't be fixed' and more 'the methods being used currently are pushing the needle in the other direction than it needs to be.' This actually indicates strongly most aces are healthy for the game (as aces were clearly the target of the points changes and rotations I looked into!).

I think while there are serious costing issues in X-wing, the issue is more the resolution of balance is weird and there is a sharp divide between efficient and non-efficient. The game heavily focuses on guaranteeing as much modification as you can which is probably more choking than aces, as aces are one of the few list archetypes that can nullify that advantage, or at least combat it. Hence why they almost certainly shouldn't go away.

Pretty hard disagree. Both compared to TCGs and Wargames I would say X-wing has a very 'choked' meta, to the point where the discussions I have with tournament players isn't if the meta isn't diverse, but if it is on purpose that certain options aren't good (a lot of players seem to still be leery of things outside of direct attacks and positioning games which leaves a LOT of the design space of X-wing unexplored or woefully overcosted). Ship lists, essentially, are either large ship count efficiency based lists, or aces lists that focus on passive modding or getting other free mods. The top 10 list archetypes right now (which over-represents the meta as janky due to being... creeped in on with experimental TTS jank where experimentation has a lower cost because the games require less effort to play and so the metagame is 'looser,' but even then its not a good list. I have checked metawing quite a few times before Corvid and it was even more skewed towards mega aces and swarms) are an Imp Ace variant, the Bobba-Fenn combo which has literally been in the top 3 for almost half a year at this point with a 20% play rate this month and a 10% play rate overall this year, which basically means 1 in 5 lists at a tournament isn't just a list that includes Bobba, it is this EXACT list if you play right now), a weird... resistance swarm-ace hybrid that actually is novel, a double firespray pseudo-aces list, scum swarm, generic 4 tie jousty swarm with a decimator (seems more novel than it actually is), the heyena droid swarm (again, droid swarms have been about for a year, and while that is more understandable I don't exactly enjoy their place in the meta, though they are less NPE than Bobba-Fenn), Seer Swarm, Bobba-Jumpmaster aces, and... an actually janky scum swarm!

Most of these lists don't really run interesting upgrades. Most clearly want to just line up shots and toss dice at each other while denying as many arcs as they can or are trying to mod up with droids, and if they aren't they tend to be a extremely passive mod focused ace list. Faction diversity, which started strong in this hyperspace meta (We had nonsense like Jedi and 5x!) is really low now, with the top 10 including 5 scum, 2 seps, 2 imperial, and one resistance, with republic, FO, and rebels no where to be found and Scum featuring heavily here. And, of course, Bobba is 33% of the top 10, and his ship the firespray makes 4 apperances!

As you go down the ratio seems pretty consistent, like for example 11-20 is (out of order this time), 2 novel synergy lists, then 6 swarms, and 2 ace lists. 

Well I am doing it well but I am also leading the charge in Bobba Fett hate. But I am also trying to demonstrate other things about the meta. For example, outside of The Fett, upgrades are scarce, and named pilots as well in any of the lists besides the jank one at 10.

But the data shows some things: For example, swarms tend to dominate the number of lists, but in the top 4, 3 are some ace variant. And if you extend the search out to a year it is still a bunch of aces doing well with a big glut of swarms and efficiency lists (This is before rebel beef basically got choked out of the meta, but most joust lists are essentially a swarm without enough ships to call it a swarm).

You can also find some other fun things. For example, in the last year, the MVP pilot of the game is Seer. Makes sense to me, the guy was ridiculous. You can also see the exact point where Bobba meta began, which was November 2019 (surprise surprise), and it wasn't even like a little gradual, he jumped from 18th with an 8% occurance rate on average for all games from then to now, to the 2nd highest preforming pilot in the game.

This is, not coincidentally, when every person who frequented tournaments at my FLGS started practicing Bobba religiously and the casuals were kinda ground out of the game, resulting in my local scene diminishing by half. In that month alone Bobba was in the top 20th percentile and 10% of squads had him. He was in the top 3 in 7 different trials (three of them twice, in second and third) and the only trial logged in metawing during that winter, and the one he wasn't in the top 3... he was 4th. Most of these trials were actually won by a different ace list, but the level of performance there is absurd: he was almost half the top 3 in the Winter Trials of 2019, and every single top list was an ace list.

However, and I can't stress this enough despite sorta low key proving there is indeed a problem with Bobba (He made up around : I don't care diddly how balanced the tournament stats are if the game isn't fun at the level the average player is playing at, or even tournament players are playing at.

It also matters how it feels to play the actual game. I wouldn't care if the meta was mega diverse with 20 different list variations if gameplay was always a miserable slog, and a character who had the ability that read 'roll an attack dice. If you get a hit or a crit you win, otherwise you lose' is balanced but not interesting or fun to play against. So while looking at tournament stats is important, you can't ignore a lot of anecdotes saying a ship sucks to play against because holy crap it isn't fun to auto-lose because Bobba and Fen managed to kill 72 points worth of stuff and now its impossible for you to win because Bobba negates all of your list's damage.

You can, however, ignore what the specific proposed fixes are. After all, casual players aren't good at finding solutions. But they are **** good at finding problems. I think a lot of really hardcore game fans just think 'oh well I know I can get a 50% winrate vs this and it statistically isn't overpowered' without thinking about how it affects casual play. A good example of a card with similar elements to Bobba IMO is Parasite from Netrunner, which was a card that likewise didn't completely dominate the decks of the number 1 spots for runners, but it was super prevalent and, more critically, in 'kitchen table' netrunner its mere existence 'escalated' games to where a casual deck that wasn't prepared for its absurd efficiency capable of creating a lockout state didn't just lose, they lost misserably with the corp player unable to effectively do anything, even though in tournaments every single deck planned for parasite. When parasite was gone, it didn't negatively affect the tournament players at all (in fact, hard nerfs in TCGs and wargames rarely do, because players aren't 'one tricking' these options, as long as the game doesn't get less skill based it really doesn't matter if the top list gets nerfed out of the top spot, people didn't exactly complain Jedi Aces and Imp aces fell by the wayside to make way for Bobba, after all!)

 

This is a sentiment I ultimately agree with. It doesn't really help to scattershot what a problem is (Vader, for example, has a really high play rate through the game's history, but he doesn't have a freakish winrate, and as far as I can tell scanning the last year he never utterly took over the top end of the scene. Soontir actually DOES look somewhat under-costed based on historical performance data, but I didn't look into the specifics, its probably a few lists that used him and not Vader that did freakishly well).

Untargeted ace slapping isn't exactly what got us this meta (I would say CIS having a poor core design where the base ships of a faction were printed as the cheapest ship in the game to exist and have the most efficient way to obtain exactly as many calculates as you need on every single ship in the list in the game is a bigger offender, along with Bobba proving there is a core balancing issue with good ships where a limited list doesn't actually automatically reduce how degenerate the game is, it just reduces how much a degenerate list needs to account for), but it was pretty **** close because while Aces DID over-preform before this meta, the top lists weren't so stark and weren't of such a limited selection (You saw more Salads, more not exactly ace big ships, ect).

I don't think a new rotation or limited format would fix the problem. I hate this cliche, but another list would just take over as the new oppressor. Instead I think there needs to be a serious effort to assist underpreforming options and probably a new metric of balance (because if you reduce some stuff that isn't doing good anymore your just going to make it a swarm). 

 I think looking at this data month by month and over the year there is really clearly a problem where named pilots who aren't aces just... can't see play because they are paying for their initiative... unless their ability truly breaks your list like Cassian did. I4s being able to fly 5 or 4 heavily upgraded ships seems correct, its pretty clear the difference between 4 I4s and 3 I5+'s is really not as small as their price indicates, especially because the way initiative works means that your not taking I4s specifically to repo because that wont work on a lot of top lists, so you can't always take advantage of your 1 extra ship vs swarms compared to aces, especially when so many aces are so tough.

Upgrades overall look like they are in a bad spot. Most of the lists didn't use them, or only used one, unless they were an ace list. I think, again, that indicates that either more upgrades need initiative (and perhaps force) scaling, or more realistically you start giving out free upgrade points to cruddy ships so they are encouraged to use stuff that doesn't have explicit synergy. I think it would be weird to track upgrades to initiative, because there is a larger correlation to health than initiative for upgrade prevelance from what I looked over, and I don't think scaling all upgrades by size or health makes sense because you WANT large ships to want a ton of upgrades. Nerfing upgrades just pushes them further into non-viability for most ships, and while sometimes upgrade nerfs are warranted, they should probably be way more rare than nerfs to ships that carry specific upgrades very well or else the game will push even harder to un-upgraded swarms.

I would say a stand out nerf target of this year aside from Bobba would be the droid starfighter. It sorta just always was there, even if its place jumped around rapidly. I think it shows in the points changes they made to it, its clear there is something wonky about the cheapest fighter in the game having Networked, which is one of the strongest passive mods in the game, but its also clear the ship has enough weaknesses it isn't actually 'default' good and instead is constantly looking for gimmicks, which is why most balance changes to it are altering its upgrades.

Also, to be clear, I didn't do any deep statistical analysises or dives into the stats. This is just a surface level look over, a red flag (as well as an 'mostly clear' call on the general concept of aces, at least comparing last meta to this one) and mostly just hand counted stuff. I didn't get very stat spreadsheets or anything, so if you spot any errors remember I did this with manic sleep deprived energy for fun in like an hour! 

Now we’re getting somewhere! Thank you for doing this. There’s a lot of good stuff here. It’s still tough, because we’re still a bit lacking in hard numbers, but I at least have an idea, now, for frequency and performance. There is a LOT to respond to. I can’t tackle it all in one post, but I want to address some key points.

If this were a doctor’s visit, I’d say I have some good news, and some bad news. Let’s start with the bad news.

The bad news is that if your metawing top ten is accurately reported, and really indicative of what’s being played out there, the competitive scene actually has a decently diverse meta, at least compared to many other similar competitive games. Four of the seven factions in the game are in attendance. If we accept that there are three major archetypes... swarm, ace, and what I’ll call “midrange...” two of the three are well-represented. There is a piece who appears often enough to indicate that he needs some balancing, and that’s Boba Fett. The Scum faction as a whole is also overrepresented, but I’m guessing that problem mostly gets solved when Fett and whatever toys he’s bringing to the dance that make him so good are fixed. I have to say that I *suspect* that the whole Firespray Frame could use a pretty decent cost tweak. It’s really versatile, highly customizable, armed to the teeth, and tough. I’d hate to see it get nerfed into obscurity, but it’s probably a bit above the curve.

Anyway, I said that was the bad news because I didn’t think you were gonna like it, but it’s actually also the good news. The competitive game is pretty healthy, with decent diversity, and room for improvement. I also feel like we might be getting at the root of where some targeted, mild-to-moderate changes might help.

The Droid Swarms: The core concept of the CIS as a whole was almost guaranteed to be a numbers-based, swarmy mechanic, with a Sithy subtheme. They used the weakest of the dice-mod tokens (Calculate) for Networked Calculations, they made the range short (0-1), and they made the ships kinda suck, individually. To compensate, the Droids were given tools to let them stay in formation despite obstacle interference (struts), and they were priced to move. I actually think they’re pretty close to being fine. A very minor points tweak to swarm ships has an exponential effect, so increasing the Hyena and the Vulture by 1 point each is actually a 5-8 point increase for the list. A 2 point increase to each is now a 10-16 point kick in the nuts and bolts. If they want to approach things from a different angle, the designers could do things like give us low-cost options to more easily deliver Jam tokens (AoE Jamming Devices/Missiles?), reducing the effect of Networked Calculations, or more ways to steal tokens (flavored as some sort of comms intercept?), for the same purpose. I actually really enjoy the droids, though my preferred CIS list is a bunch of droids and Maul’s Scimitar, which is just awesome, and super fun. In any event, I don’t think it would take much adjusting to get them “right.”

If Fett and Droids are this commonly seen, and are still usually getting 2nd and 3rd and Ace lists are getting 1st... maybe thank the Maker for Aces? I mean, this is a Star Wars game about ace starfighter combat. I think we ought to see a ton of Vader, Fel, Vonreg, Ren, Luke, Wedge, etc., and they probably ought to be really strong, and skill based. The key is to maintain the “by inches, not miles” concept that someone else raised earlier. You want them (or whatever the top lists are) to be approachable, not overwhelming. 

All this to say, it looks at first glance like any minor competitive balance problems are solvable. It’s also possible that the iterative process which sometimes solves metagame problems has been severely ****** by the lockdowns, and things need some more time.

You made an excellent point about how the casual play environment must be fun, or the game has a problem. I can’t tell anyone else how much fun they’re having, but my local group is having a blast. I AM familiar with the “tournament players bringing top tier stuff to the game store to smash their friends with ruthless efficiency, crushing casuals under the wheels of progress” problem, and... I dunno what to tell you. Hopefully the tweaks I outlined above would help alleviate that somewhat, but the tournament guys WILL find something else with which to do that. Even if the Fett dilemma is dealt with. Doesn’t mean tweaks and fixes aren’t necessary, it just means that this is the way these games go.

Of course it would be awesome if the top ten lists were (just for example) Kylo Salad, Imperial Triple Aces, Droid Swarm, Jedi Ace & Torrents, Rey & Poe, some funky Scum Tractor Beam combo, a T-65 swarm, and a Scum Han Obstacle Bonanza. But that’s never going to happen. There will always be a few pilots who are more efficient than they probably should be. There will always be pushed upgrades. And the ultra-competitives will find them, and use them. And the day that all seven factions have top ten lists with massive variety, I will be pleasantly shocked. In the meantime, 4/7 with only one major pilot appearing in multiple lists is pretty good.

 

 

 

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Oh, one more note: You talked about a lot of gameplay being ignored for pure efficiency, which I thought might be alluding to things like Tractor Token combos and Ion Control? The designers probably are keeping a bit of a lid on that stuff, because non-core mechanics can get to be problems REAL fast if let off the leash. 

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11 hours ago, Boom Owl said:

Fair enough. I left the discussion because SOTL entered it. Thats legit the only reason.

As for slow and steady point increases, your right they might get us there eventually. Perhaps the answer is different costs across formats so they can test ideas or directions in parallel to see what works? Creates some problems but isnt impossible. I could see that giving them room to experiment in a more accelerated way a bit more.

The hyperbole parts tough for me. I feel like its often raised as a way to dismiss opinions. Since I genuinely think 5-15 pt increases are warranted its hard to qualify everything if that makes sense. I do actively qualify alot of whats stated, or at least I try to not scare folks off from the discussion entirely (though a select few members of the community definitely make meme replies the best approach). These type of increases clearly can be viewed as hyperbole. Not sure how to bridge that gap for every individual other than to say its what I believe is necessary based on two years in largely the same range and the same puzzle?

Im not trying to exaggerate on ace costs I think they are legitimately and seriously out of line with the the rest of the card pool. Not so much that aces need to be deleted, of course they shouldn't be, thats something I have qualified several times. Its similar to but less controversial than the upgrade conversation. I think they need to be made less available for lists to open up archetype options. Not gone, but less. Though that upgrade concept in particular is way more challenging to communicate and probably best reserved for hyperspace only 🙂 

Opinions on CIS Swarm and Beef Archetypes inhabit a similar space for me. I think the community is generally full of hyperbole about swarms in particular and have been for many metas about the quality of those lists, similar to how a few folks seem to view my thoughts on Ace costs as ridiculous.

For my part I think the dialogue and general opinion of the community is biased substantially in favor of ace archetypes. Its clear from some of the responses in this thread and many before it. I dont know that my opinions can all be dismissed as hyperbole. Maybe thats the case but its genuinely not where I think I am starting from.

For whatever its worth I come to the forums for a dialogue not a fight. I expect to get a bit of both. Starting topics and prompting discussion requires asking some difficult questions. I think this concept of pricing Aces in line with Poe or Pricing Poe in line with Aces is one of those topics which is why I made it in the first place. Soontir is a similar question 70 pts or 50 pts....I legitimately do not believe it its hyperbole to suggest he is closer to 70 than to 50. 

Fair.

I understand your desire better now and can respect that. But I still have doubts about some of the recommendations. Take your last line. I don’t really agree that Fel should be closer to 70 than 50 as that doesn’t line up with my perception or experience. Hence why I think the slower method is better. Instead of a large, bitter pill your trying to get people to swallow, you dose it out while also getting better info with which to accurately adjust prices. 
 

I’m mostly against the idea of planting further dividers between Extended and Hyperspace. Separate point costs just makes things messier to keep up with, further enforcing tribal lines. 
I also have concerns about placing too much faith in the new Hyperspace. Yes, you like the current rotation, but what happens next time? Suppose next rotation,  Jedi get 7B back and regen back? Remember, the people making the Hyperspace restrictions are the same people who made the cards you don’t like and let Slave 1 get to a point. Until we see how well they curate the format over the next couple of rotations, I would rather not put all my faith and hope in it. 
 

To get back to the hyperbole conversation, the one you made that really got me was an assertion that Boba was basically a 360 turret. That is factually wrong. Yes, he has a very large amount of options with which to catch people in his firing arcs, but must commit to one option. Once there, he has blind spots that may prove unfortunate for him. An old style 360 turret didn’t have that. It just moved and got shots. Perhaps you see that as a pedantic objection. Perhaps it is. But based on my work and experiences, being exact with the situation and transparent about how it concerns you have with it equals less ways it can be misinterpreted and the situation goes wrong. It’s because of things like the Boba statement that I felt I had to start asking “is Boom being straight with us in this post, or is this just another exaggeration?”. 

I know hyperbole is used all over the place to try to prove a point against something, whether it is Arcdodgers (switching to this terminology out of deference), swarms, or whatever. No matter the subject, arguments that use hyperbole tend to not impress me. If the problems are a big enough that they require discussion, it shouldn’t need to be exaggerated to get the point across. 
 

 

Anyway, with a better description and understanding of where you are coming from, I can say I respect the end goal. Greater list variety is something I support and hope for. But as we’re dealing with so many variables and they all need to mesh to make something balanced, I am holding out for a methodical and precise way forward. 
 

 

PS- Nearly forgot to add this in, but switch the point change and hyperspace rotations to 3 times a year (4 month intervals) might help with the speed of adjustments. But, as with most things, it would need to be tested to see if it actually provided a net positive to the game and community.

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, Cpt ObVus said:

The bad news is that if your metawing top ten is accurately reported, and really indicative of what’s being played out there, the competitive scene actually has a decently diverse meta, at least compared to many other similar competitive games. Four of the seven factions in the game are in attendance. If we accept that there are three major archetypes... swarm, ace, and what I’ll call “midrange...” two of the three are well-represented. There is a piece who appears often enough to indicate that he needs some balancing, and that’s Boba Fett. The Scum faction as a whole is also overrepresented, but I’m guessing that problem mostly gets solved when Fett and whatever toys he’s bringing to the dance that make him so good are fixed. I have to say that I *suspect* that the whole Firespray Frame could use a pretty decent cost tweak. It’s really versatile, highly customizable, armed to the teeth, and tough. I’d hate to see it get nerfed into obscurity, but it’s probably a bit above the curve.

 

This is not the take I have. X-wing has a lot more archetypes than midrange, swarm, and ace. There is synergy (essentially this game's version of comb) and control as well, and so we have only 2 archetypes endlessly repeating out of 5, and worse, these archetypes are the two that have the most similar to each other and almost always have an identical gameplan (Shots shots shots, and scoot around the back or initiative kill).

The top lists are all nearly identical, its just the chosen ship is the same, and this effect is compounded by the lack of upgrades. I would say this is probably THE most samey metagame in X-wing now that they basically gutted out Rebel's synergy-stress tricks or a regen jedi list (though I don't mind jedi being gone).

It is important to note as well that these top 10 lists are preforming extremely well, while once you go under it lists are essentially only on metawing because someone played the list once.

To put it another way, I could probably get into the top 20 lists on Metawing right now by winning one tournament, because the top 10 is so entrenched. This actually indicates a very non-diverse stagnant metagame, not a diverse one, even ignoring that most of these lists are just variants of each other. Remember, metawing lists a list as unique by what ships it takes: Double firespray and Bobba+Fenn are, essentially, the same list in most games, while Metawing lists them as seperate. But its notable that even minor variants on a list are having occurrence rates 10 times as much as lists that fall below the top 10. 

Also, one thing I noticed looking over this? There really is only one swarm being played, not two: Droid swarms. Despite two other swarm lists getting on the top 10 that resulted from a particularly good set of preformances, it was played twice and won both times and may be a fluke, while droid swarms were ran 9 times. Some variant of Bobba+ace was ran 16 times, almost double that of droid swarms. No other list archetype was really run at all, the entire preformance board of this month is mostly singleton ships. This doesn't mean no other lists are being used at all this meta, but its really clear the meta 'stagnated' towards Bobba even in this time of wacky list experimentation.

This makes sense when you consider the fact that the best list in the meta currently seem to have about a 58% win rate, which is... flabbergastingly high. If this was a videogame Bobba would be temporarily disabled in a hotfix tier oppressive. But at the same time, imp aces is only about 2% better than the average performance. This is extremely healthy, and still indicates the list is strong (Right now, if Bobba left it may be different) but not oppressive, which sorta matches what people are saying. Vader got a lot of focus I think not because he was fundementally unfair but because he was just too good in the meta for too long and we weren't seeing any mix ups in aces, so while I think the take away is that rotation can help shake up lists and the tournament scene, Vader is always gunna be around.

There are essentially no named pilots in most of these lists, as well as no upgrades, and while there are a bunch of experimental swarms only one swarm really sees any play. That indicates that outside of aces are in what the 40k refers to as a 'killhammer' meta: Just spam troops with tons of efficiency in dumping out shots, shoot. This may not be the case, but if it is this is a really bad sign and needs to change to actually return listbuilding to the game.

 

17 hours ago, Cpt ObVus said:

very minor points tweak to swarm ships has an exponential effect, so increasing the Hyena and the Vulture by 1 point each is actually a 5-8 point increase for the list.

Agreed, and you can see with how they kept tweaking swarms the effect was titanic. This is why I personally think that points and slot shifts aren't high enough 'resolution' for balancing options, and that another axis should exist of some sort that allows them to buff or nerf a ship without changing how many points it takes on the list or what upgrades it can take.

I think the big problem with droid swarms is that there aren't enough 'tricks' in the game to push past the swarm, more than the droid swarm itself. Like 'tech' options don't make sense in X-wing like they do in other games because even if your already running a ship with a payload slot, 5 points for a bomb in case of droid swarms is just way too huge an ask vs literally every other list in the game. So if a swarm ever gets too efficient, it just devours other things.

There is another issue with swarns. The saying goes that when two people jousting means one person is wrong. I would propose a similar rule: If three different generics swarm archetypes exist, at least one is incorrect. An inherent aspect of swarms even more than other lists is that because swarms are purely intending to fly in a mathy 'overwhelm with numbers' way and some maneuvering games sprinkled in, your basically going to have one joust swarm, and one tricksy swarm, and that is it. So right now we got Droid swarms (with minor variants like if they have bombers vs Sear, but ultimately they are the same list in the same way that swapping which ship is flying alongside Bobba doesn't make it not a Bobba+Friends list) and a few swarms competing to be the 'tricky' swarm, but we should never expect the meta to have more than two swarms so long as the mechanics don't allow swarms to do 'tricky' things like use Deadmans or a control tool or whatever. One of the things I LIKE about droid swarms despite them being boring and mathy are the struts, the weird turns, and how networking (despite being too strong) makes swarms need to do these weird clusters. It would be ideal if more swarms had properties like this but different (ex: A swarm unusually good at crits. A swarm good at sharing damage via selfless, ect). That can't happen right now because swarms and upgrades are almost fundamentally incompatible, but it would be neat for the design to recognize that 'mostly naked 6-8 ships' can't really be an archetype 99% of the ships in the game will try to fill, and I am impressed by how well they did making Droids feel unique even if the end result is less than ideal. If they ever want to make other swarms compete with droids if they overstay their welcome the ideal solution would probably be giving the ability to add a very little somethin somethin to other swarms instead of nerfing their points. Direct points adjustments are too blunt for swarms due to that aforementioned ripple effect.

17 hours ago, Cpt ObVus said:

If Fett and Droids are this commonly seen, and are still usually getting 2nd and 3rd and Ace lists are getting 1st... maybe thank the Maker for Aces?

Modern big tournament data is hard to get, so that is old stuff from right when they launched. Their current stats are much much better, but the quality of the data is worse because its mostly like... non-hyperspace stuff on TTS, wacky tournaments, the like. I strongly suspect if we had another hyperspace tournament right now on TTS that was made up of only regular tournament players, looking at this, that Bobba would occupy the top 3 spots.

This isn't to say aces are bad or this take isn't correct regarding older aces. Again, I cant stress enough its more nuanced than that and aces seem to be a controlling influence that REWARD Jank and punish overly efficient lists, which is why the death of traditional aces really killed stuff like rebel torp lists (That are strong vs aces) and rocketed Bobba up (Because Bobba, while CLEARLY not weak against aces, wasn't as out of control vs an enemy list able to force through his defenses or his friend's and who it was hard to maintain range 1 uptime vs). A big thing seems to be that Bobba, predictably, does really good when your enemy has a lot of ships that can't easily stay away from him.

I think the better question is to very closely look at why old aces needed to exist to stop Bobba because it is true that this one specific ace lists that existed pre-rotation losing some efficiency shouldn't be so critical the entire meta falls apart without them existing identically to how they did. Vader losing afterburners shouldn't cause the meta to essentially detonate.

17 hours ago, Cpt ObVus said:

but the tournament guys WILL find something else with which to do that.

Again, this is a fallacious argument because it posits that all forms of high end buttkicking are equal. It REALLY doesn't have a place in terms of talking about anything besides accepting not every list will have an equal win rate. You can, and should, try to ensure that things that are good at comp aren't crushing the game. This is required for a game to keep existing, it is why Netrunner had a huge resurgence after they reduced how degenerate the best decks could get.

Will a good player win almost every time with an optimized imp-aces list? Absolutely. Again, imp-aces was better than Bobba when it existed. But Bobba is a special beast because his qualities don't just cause him to have extremely high performance, but actively prey upon inefficient lists and play in a fundamentally unhealthy way, and in a way that doesn't require the Bobba player to do much special: Bobba's mere existence stops the fun. That is a problem in casual. Casuals don't care about win-rates! Most casuals don't even know Afterburners were doint a ton of work for Vader! But they notice is they keep on hitting a brick wall at full speed vs Bobba and beating him requiresa lot of highly specific flying more restrained than flying swarms vs a tragedy simulator, and that isn't fun even if your comfortable in X wing, forget if your a newbie who doesn't even have the contextual information to understand points fortressing, forget about realizing it naturally mid game or post game as the reason they lost.

 

17 hours ago, Cpt ObVus said:

Oh, one more note: You talked about a lot of gameplay being ignored for pure efficiency, which I thought might be alluding to things like Tractor Token combos and Ion Control? The designers probably are keeping a bit of a lid on that stuff, because non-core mechanics can get to be problems REAL fast if let off the leash. 

Why are Tractor and Ions bad to be 'out of control' when Bobba is fine because 'a list will be the top list anyway?' Why can't the top list be tractor-ion? Because people don't like losing to something to excessively controlly, which is fair, control should exist as a delicate balance, and in previous metas it did better without going crazy (Torp lists, Norra, VCX with ion, ect). People also don't like losing to something that is too excessively efficient, but something being so OP that you don't really get a game against it is worse than something excessively CCing in a lot of ways because you (and if your both new, your opponent) don't really understand what you are meant to do vs Bobba.

It is also weird to say that the designers are 'keeping a lid on major mechanics.' Ion missiles are the cheapest missile after all. They literally tried to release a ship able to freely tractor whenever as a non-action because its obvious they want control options to exist but aren't sure how to make it work, and while the Nantex was clearly a bad design it fits what control should really be about: Threaten a consequence for flying a specific way, and heavily punish if your opponent fails to respect the threat, even though the Nantex just ended up being too broadly strong an ace which essentially came with absurdly strong free control rather than being a 'real' control ship. And, of course, their most recent card packs came with a bundle of control options such as Snap Shot, Ion bombs, and the EPT, and while the EPT was clearly intended to be a bit of a meme, Snap Shot was hyped as the salvation for Rebel A-wings, a ship that I think it is fair to say literally the entire community hopes is some day actually worth using besides using Jake as a pseudo-coordinate for Fat Han.

If there is a fear of chain-ions and they want to reduce the price of ion torps and missiles more (They aren't terrible, but aren't good either, and it would be neat if you could take more missiles at an afterthought tier price), the ion rules could change so that a ship that just recovered from being ion'd can't be ionized again. This would allow them to be a bit more aggressive allowing control elements into the game. But that isn't really my primary point here, I get why people don't like being 'stunned' in gaming.

The big issue I see with this list isn't the lack of ions or tractors, its that other upgrades and tactics not intended directly for aces to self empower don't work. Synergy ships are bad because why should you pass a focus or whatever spending extra and putting a weak point into your list to make another ship double modded when you can just buy a passively modded ship that always is good on its own?

Why run something cool like a crit fishing marksman list trying to play a long game where it makes your enemies less efficient with each passing turn if you could just kill stuff really fast anyway with your crazy double focused firespray? Torps used to be usable but aren't in a good spot right now which itself is shocking because Bobba is nominally the ship torps should be best at fighting, but because he is so tanky even vs 5 dice attacks you end up just losing too fast if you sacrifice ships for munitions. You don't really have any chance to try to create something cool or make your own unique list with a unique tactic that feels iconic, and that isn't because it isn't tournament viable (People play wacky stuff all the time in other games!) more that it creates a very real risk that merely by going up against a list using the busted stuff your going to not just lose, but have your fun utterly crushed.

I also would say off meta varies in health as well of course. And that is its own issue, some trap options are deeper or worse than others, and that should be looked at as well. Different off meta stuff can do ok but some stuff is deep in a pit and needs to be raised up, and nerfing the current ace of the month won't change that.

You touched upon this with buffing midrange pilots. I think that 5 I4s should, in fact, be the standard, or at the very least 3 I4s and 2 generics. But I lay more of the blame at the resolution of balance as a whole, even though jank has metas where it is better than others. In this specific meta, which is particularly hostile to jank, Bobba is so mathematically efficient he just is the enemy of anything trying to do anything fun: The firespray just has too much going for it to also give it probably the best reposition AND passive modding in the entire game. But in the meta immediately before this one, it was a good time for Jank because everyone was flying Jedi and while Jedi will beat Jank it is, again, really fun to make a few Jedi who seem so immortal pop to something silly like hitting a bunch of rocks. 

I hope it is clear I am not saying 'Slash all points on garbage and pump up those aces and swarms" or "worst meta ever!" because the swarms, aces, and current meta are symptomatic of an issue, not actually the issue. As we saw, the meta got worse when important tools for a extremely dominant long standing list got removed and the list got 'corrected' to a more healthy place. I just don't think 'this is fine' is a great response to this meta. More it is 'clearly it isn't points adjusting the best lists out of the game and removing their tools that will solve Imp Aces crushing everything, because imp aces are controlling less healthy things. Lets try something else to help make the meta more diverse.'

Edited by dezzmont

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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, Stay OT Leader said:

https://tabletop.to/gsp-space-jam-rome-championship/lists
 

Just 3 out of the Top 16 were ‘ace’ lists.  Aside from world champ Oli Pocknell, who narrowly lost the final, 2 of the 3 ace squads lost in first round of the cut.

An ace list won the tournament vs another ace list. Of the top 5, 4 were aces. You seem to not be counting Boba and friends as an aces list which I disagree with, because the game plan for that list is pretty much the same as any other ace list but with more health.

Tthe number of aces in the top 16 goes to 7, or even 9 depending on your purity standards, once you assume Boba is an ace. Of the top 16, 5 were some Bobba ace list, with some more acey than others (Does Dengar with all the fixings so they can barrel roll and focus in the same turn qualify as an Ace? I think so when in a list where the plan is pretty clearly overall to use these capabilities to be an extremely tough arc dodger).

This was also an extended tournament. So it is kinda is indicating some of the problems aren't even 'oh the new meta made Boba go wild.' It may be he just always was that good, one of those secretly good options no one experimented with before and in reality aces weren't the problem for them. Either way, it was part of the metawing dataset as it was reported (Akhter Khan's list is that weird scum swarm list that made it to the top 10 for this month purely on these tournament results!), I just didn't go into detail into its results because, again, lazy and sleep deprived.

But, it is still another indication aces as a concept aren't a problem per-say on a win-rate or occurrence level, which is a point I think most people agree with. It is, however, a nice extra bit of evidence to toss onto the mountain that my 'Boba is a feakin problem' pile has become.

Edited by dezzmont

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On 5/16/2020 at 5:18 AM, Stay OT Leader said:

Sorry everyone.

I am gonna go, though.

 

1 hour ago, Stay OT Leader said:

https://tabletop.to/gsp-space-jam-rome-championship/lists
 

Just 3 out of the Top 16 were ‘ace’ lists.  Aside from world champ Oli Pocknell, who narrowly lost the final, 2 of the 3 ace squads lost in first round of the cut.

You hate to see it

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, dezzmont said:

An ace list won the tournament vs another ace list. Of the top 5, 4 were aces. You seem to not be counting Boba and friends as an aces list which I disagree with, because the game plan for that list is pretty much the same as any other ace list but with more health.

Tthe number of aces in the top 16 goes to 7, or even 9 depending on your purity standards, once you assume Boba is an ace. Of the top 16, 5 were some Bobba ace list, with some more acey than others (Does Dengar with all the fixings so they can barrel roll and focus in the same turn qualify as an Ace? I think so when in a list where the plan is pretty clearly overall to use these capabilities to be an extremely tough arc dodger).

This was also an extended tournament. So it is kinda is indicating some of the problems aren't even 'oh the new meta made Boba go wild.' It may be he just always was that good, one of those secretly good options no one experimented with before and in reality aces weren't the problem for them. Either way, it was part of the metawing dataset as it was reported (Akhter Khan's list is that weird scum swarm list that made it to the top 10 for this month purely on these tournament results!), I just didn't go into detail into its results because, again, lazy and sleep deprived.

But, it is still another indication aces as a concept aren't a problem per-say on a win-rate or occurrence level, which is a point I think most people agree with. It is, however, a nice extra bit of evidence to toss onto the mountain that my 'Boba is a feakin problem' pile has become.

Having looked over the data from that one tournament (not a large sample size, granted), I stand by my assessment that the competitive options for this game (if that tournament is typical) are pretty wide open. 

There is definitely evidence that the Firespray is too efficiently costed. By how much is a matter for debate, but I bet you could kick the Slave 1 title up by 2-4 points AND kick the Firespray pilots up by 5-10, and you’d still see both appearing with decent frequency. 

As for the rest: I mean, all of the factions are being flown, almost all of the ships are being flown, and while not all of them are reaching the top tables... well, the game has lots of options, and very few top table spots. But I literally saw everything I could think of somewhere... there was even one guy flying TIE Aggressors! Maybe I didn’t see any K-Wings or Auzitucks? And a fairly wide variety of pilot options (and initiatives) were present as well. Now, I understand that there’s a divide between, “present somewhere in the 140+ entrants,” and, “did well enough to make the top 50/25/10%.” But the very fact that people are even trying to play everything under the sun is impressive; to me, that indicates that the gap between lowest tier and highest tier options is smaller in X-Wing than it is in other games. That is a good indicator (not conclusive proof, but a good indicator) that the metagame is healthier than people think.

EDIT: A little further analysis... Scum and Empire lists appeared quite often in the top 20% or so... but together, those two factions accounted for almost half the entrants, so it makes sense that they would appear quite often in the top entries. There’s also no question that a good deal of the Imperial lists were “Vader & Two Other Unique ships,” and that those seemed to do pretty well also. It is possible, however (and a more experienced player would have to confirm or refute this) that this indicates that Vader & Friends seem to do pretty well against Fett and Dengar/Fenn/Koshka, allowing those particular Imperial lists to thrive alongside Fett. 

The danger of big sweeping adjustments to Fett or Vader or any other important pieces is that it might be they’re holding each other in check, and that if one goes (or an important part of the lists he anchors goes), the other just dominates. Pricing both of them out of the competitive scene might (and almost certainly will) just cause some other list or archetype to dominate... where as small, measured adjustments might pull these guys in just a little bit, and allow some other list(s) some room to breathe.

BTW, if what I’m looking at is typical, there is absolutely nothing that indicates to me that Soontir Fel is unfairly costed. He’s about where he needs to be to work as one of Vader’s wingmen, which looks like a pretty healthy role in a pretty healthy archetype. And while Vader does appear a number of times, I’m also seeing a few other Imperial lists that seem to revolve around a ship that costs about what Vader does (Rexler Brath, the Dauntless) and two pretty high initiative wingmen like Fel, Duchess, Whisper, etc. It seems to be a pretty important piece of the Empire’s faction identity, and I think it would be unwise to undermine that too recklessly.

Edited by Cpt ObVus

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Cpt ObVus said:

Having looked over the data from that one tournament (not a large sample size, granted), I stand by my assessment that the competitive options for this game (if that tournament is typical) are pretty wide open. 

 

3 hours ago, Cpt ObVus said:

As for the rest: I mean, all of the factions are being flown, almost all of the ships are being flown, and while not all of them are reaching the top tables... well, the game has lots of options, and very few top table spots

Again, this has been a series of very hasty lookovers, but I would say there are a lot of very serious red flags.

Firstly, as you noted, this tournament had 148 entrants. That is going to result in non-meta, sub-viable, and non-viable stuff showing up. The fact that people will bring weird things to a tournament and get lucky doesn't really mean the meta is open if that stuff can't make a real dent in the top end results.

Put another way: Panda won the Tekken world tour once. No one is going to say Panda is a top tier character in Tekken. A major hearthstone tournament was won via a sacrificial pact play to an opponent's face, which is a complete meme. Wacky stuff happens, and things 'showing up' does not mean the metagame is healthy.

Basically, when half your metagame are two factions out of 7, being played almost exclusively as one archetype, there is a problem. It is... hard to look at this data and imagine someone saying 'Oh well a classic rebel beef list made it to top 8 and Dash was there in the bottom half, so its a fine meta!

One of the biggest red flags was the combination of extremely high play rates and performance rates for the top lists: 60 players in this tournament were Empire or Scum. 39 of those players made top 40. That means the overall performance of these two factions combined is 60%, which essentially means simply by playing one of these two factions your chance of winning a given game is about 10% higher. Another way to think of that is between equally skilled players, in one out of five games, you win purely because your playing this faction and your opponent isn't. That is... a crushingly huge advantage, a winrate of 56 is considered unusually high. And extremely unusual winrates are extra suspicious with high play rates because they indicate either that players who know how the game works are gravitating towards those factions because they are aware of their advantages, that the faction is so strong that even a bad player can experience the benefits of that faction or list, or both.

Like look at 40k. While some 'armies' in that game have freakishly low tournament wins (Ex: Renegades and Heretics have a measly... 1 out of 4300 results) those 'armies' are actually niche sub factions due to how 40k lets you mix different armies in different command structures to supplement your forces (Renegades exist as basically a way to let Chaos use guardsmen purely for thematic purposes, when in reality they don't need it, like they literally don't sell minis for this faction except for tanks that have some chaos tech in em) and the 'main' factions of the game have a pretty even spread of wins out of that 4300. More critically, the 'most played' and 'most wins' doesn't perfectly line up. The average winrate for a 'main' faction is around 350, with high performers rocking 400. This is a big gap compared head to head, but in reality it mostly means that the best armies are 2% more likely to win a tournament than any other list, compared to scum which is like some odd 40% more likely right now in X-wing. This is actually freakishly low, and can be explained by, again, the fact that most 40k tournament winners mix 3 different armies together, so unpicking the 'real' increase in performance is a bit harder (you can almost evaluate armies like ships in X-wing) but its still not that much bigger. The 'worst' armies in 40k that are still 'main faction' armies  make up 4% less of the victors of tournaments, which is rough but not freakishly so, and more lists trend higher than average than low. Of course 40k isn't without its problems, one nominally 'main faction' army (The Sisters of Battle) have only 80 tournament wins which is... rough... But they are such an outlier (GW seems to like... actively hate them and they rarely get new prints) that its one of those datapoints you tend to remove because it represents such an unusual situation (Sorta like how you remove the guy who is only working part time at an entry level job in their retirement who earns 100,000 a month due to their pension from studies of the average employee's wage because their situation is so exotic accounting for it in the data actually confuses it more than it helps).

This isn't to say X-wing is a worse game than 40k or it has a worse core design, both those statements are, in my opinion, radically untrue. Its just that the level of dominance these lists are putting out are not, in fact, remotely close to healthy and normal. This is a truly shocking level of over-performance and, again, if this was an online game, upon logging in we would get a mention that Boba and Vader were disabled and will be undergoing emergency hotfixing. Vader, hopefully, less dramatic than Boba.

Still, I don't think the issues people have with Vader are REALLY about Vader, and to a lesser extent that is true about Boba (In that he is in fact clearly overpowered but the way he is overpowered is very... invalidating to a lot of things people would like to have a remote shot at working). Thus, I don't think the solution is nerfing Vader. Boba, as you pointed out, could eat a 12 point increase and still probably be viable or close to it, which speaks to how utterly bonkers he is. Some of the solution might be hitting aspects of aces that are tangential to their identity (ex: The bid rules clearly are not working as intended) that would be a 'nerf' but I don't think aces, as a whole, are unhealthy. More a specific type of aces are (termed earlier in the thread as "aces who joust" which sums up the problem nicely: You never want your ace to be so efficient it can even get close to point for point jousting. Vader isn't an ace who jousts in my opinion though, but it describes the problem with jedi aces and Boba quite well), and the over-saturation of ace only lists indicates a problem elsewhere.

 

3 hours ago, Cpt ObVus said:

But the very fact that people are even trying to play everything under the sun is impressive; to me, that indicates that the gap between lowest tier and highest tier options is smaller in X-Wing than it is in other games.

It more likely indicates this was a TTS tournament where the cost of entry was really low so there were a lot of people entering who were more casual than your average tournament goer.

To be clear, this, in of itself, is still a REALLY GOOD THING, and WAY more strongly indicates the health of X-wing than if the meta is healthy or not! In a competitive game, you know the scene is staying healthy if a lot of people who never played in a tournament, or only play casually in them, decide to say 'screw it lets try it' and go for it! You absolutely want some crazed newbie with a dream to have a blast trying out the competitve scene with their delightfully weird list where Leia has Crew Lando, Norra in an Arc, and Jyn riding along with Kyle list and stealing a win or two! You go with that wacky evade forcing combo! Same Energy really.

Though an unhealthy meta is like unhealthy soil in that if it gets too toxic no matter how healthy the plant it dies, so there is a critical mass of what these players will tolerate.

I really don't think you can read in that the gaps are lower than it is in other games, because, again, most games would consider a 'very strong' character/list/option to have a 55% winrate globally, while obviously individually very good players having higher overall winrates than that. And, also, most games will go very far out of their way to avoid having a single faction/unit/character/deck/whatever having a 50% occurrence rate in the top 10.

3 hours ago, Cpt ObVus said:

The danger of big sweeping adjustments to Fett or Vader or any other important pieces is that it might be they’re holding each other in check, and that if one goes (or an important part of the lists he anchors goes), the other just dominates. Pricing both of them out of the competitive scene might (and almost certainly will) just cause some other list or archetype to dominate... where as small, measured adjustments might pull these guys in just a little bit, and allow some other list(s) some room to breathe.

This is probably true. I can't reiterate enough that I don't think major pricing swings will fix any issues X-wing has because they historically have failed to fix the issue X-wing 2.0 tends to have, which are relatively stagnant metas compared to other wargames or competitive games in general. The dominant lists in the game's history tend to have freakishly high occurrence rates and there usually is a very small number of them. I am not saying 'lets price out these things' (well... maybe Boba can get the Dash treatment of 'we know this is way more than he is actually worth but he basically shouldn't see play because he isn't fun' tier) as much as I am saying 'there is clearly an issue where even when these lists lose important tools or get hit things stay as freaky or get freaker. It is a more nuanced problem than points, so lets look at why no matter what we do some variant of an unkillable ace crowds out the game and more than half the lists in the game, and far more than half the lists in top 20%, end up being this or a swarm resulting in FFG being unable to sell more cardboard packs and thus the game becoming unsustainable.'

Because, again, at the end of the day there is a serious risk to sustainability when the main thing you can sell to people who don't want new ships or play factions who won't get them, that extends the longevity of their plastic and allows you to continually monetize existing ships by promising new combos with them, can't move.

That said, I also don't think hard capping initiative or other solutions that didn't have their ramifications really explored are the solution either. I think considering the wide range of ships and lists that don't see play, it is more that things are lacking fundamental tools in the design of how X-wing is balanced or designed as a whole more than aces being too good (with rare exception such as old Regen Jedi and Bobba) or the points on weaker ships not being low enough. 5X was heralded as this major game changer because it was about as large a buff a points change could create, letting the ship hit the next major break point and getting as low as it could without getting very silly with it approaching TIE costs. It was essentially smacking the cost of the X-wing with a hammer in a last ditch effort to force X-wings to be relevant (A huge promise of 2.0 being that they would always be a key ship in the game). But 5X isn't anywhere in the current meta, and X-wings overall are super scarce, again probably because of the whole "Only two swarms ever" rule: You can't force 5X or X-wing incorporating swarms like 4X-2Z to be a thing without forcing them to be a more efficient swarm option than droids, and doing that would push the game into a truly zany state to say the least.

It is really clear dramatic points shifts that are still in the realm of reasonable aren't really working, so either the points changes need to get silly or something fundamental about how lists are made needs to change.

3 hours ago, Cpt ObVus said:

BTW, if what I’m looking at is typical, there is absolutely nothing that indicates to me that Soontir Fel is unfairly costed

I said this based on overall performance for the past year, because Soontir had a really weird jump in performance compared to his fellow imp aces despite loosing afterburners. Of course, in hindsight, that probably doesn't mean he is overcosted, it probably means the guy who gets to do free boosts didn't suffer as much from his list losing afterburners!

This is the danger of looking purely at data and not looking deeper at why and just saying 'points!' In hindsight it is super obvious why Soontir was doing well post-change but I failed to see it. I was a fool! Hoisted by my own petard! 

Edited by dezzmont

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, dezzmont said:

It is really clear dramatic points shifts that are still in the realm of reasonable aren't really working, so either the points changes need to get silly or something fundamental about how lists are made needs to change.

 

Setting aside tournament results for a moment just think about what Boba does on the table and how that relates to other Aces or Ace Pairs in a 3 ship i5/i6 list. 

  • Boba is a "points bunker" with high mobility, pre-movement dial adjustment, token stacked dice red or green, init kill ability, direct jousting threat, and near 360 AOE coverage moving last.
  • In a 1v1 scenario Boba will win against just about anything in the game that is moving first, in large part but not only due to Slave 1 being Supernatural Reflexes.
  • Going into a game vs Boba your not trying to fully destroy him because its unlikely that you can. It is rarely the goal for the majority of lists (there are a few exceptions). 
  • Whatever deadweight Boba carries next to him (Fenn, Guri, another Firespray, Dengar etc.) is only there to set up the win condition of Boba in the end game vs X# of ships that are unlikely to be able to deal with his available passive mods, supernatural dial changes, and points total via in game counterplay. 

Now compare this to Trip Empire and Trip Republic Aces:

  • Any combination of Vader+Whisper or Whisper+GI or Vader+GI is functionally equivalent to Boba's impact on the game (excluding S1 though Decloaking inhabits a similar space and droping Whisper for Soontir gives Vader Precog for very similar results). 
  • There is not a huge difference between what Boba Fenn is doing and what Vader Whisper GI or other Trip Force Ace lists are doing. These are essentially the same list. 
  • The main thing they are less able to do is hide 15-20+ points behind Bid rules, which absolutely matters but doesnt keep Trip Ace from setting up the desired End Games. Though there are several variants of Empire Trip that can bid that low.
  • They both enjoy mobility, pre-movment dial stuff, token stacked dice, and excellent jousting ability. 
  • 1v1 Vader or Whisper will win against just about anything in the game moving first, besides Boba and Kylo maybe. 
  • GI exists in that list because it is another i5 which is critical, and also to "add" to either Whisper or Vader's points in the end game to re-enforce the points bunker.  
  • You might kill Vader or even Whisper but you wont kill both quickly on average. End result is dealing with Ace+1 in the mid/end game. Soontir or Duchess as 3rd ship filler accomplishes the same thing with less durability and better mobility.
  • The mid/end game pairs function as a Points Bunker much the same as dealing with Boba in various phases
  • These pairs form various iterations of "Boba" across factions, with the most direct equivalents being in Empire/Republic due to Force Charge access there. 
  • Boba takes alot of heat because he is an obvious embodiment of a unnecessary "Do Everything Ship" but he is not the only ship doing this. 

A Trip Ace list is ultimately just Boba+ with a 3rd ship included to help guarantee that you can create the 2 ship ace Mid/End Game you want. Republic Aces even with just 1 Regen Card out of the 3 do the same things Empire can, though I believe they don't see play as much currently mainly because Empire Aces prey on them directly and there are Trip Ace list options with access to more jousting upgrades.

The underlying issue is Passive Mods + High Mobility + i5-i6 still being to cheap! Not all versions of Aces are a problem, which leads to comparisons to Poe being a useful guide on points. 

The data matters, but lets take a step back and look at the past 2 years of how this game has been played. Even after what I think we would all agree were reasonable point decreases to generics and swarms last cycle we are still in a place where Ace lists are obviously the correct archetype. I don't think this is a point of debate. Even CIS Swarm, the very best of the archetype, is the "wrong" choice when you can take Boba+1 or Trip Force Aces with as many jousting/repositioning upgrades as they are currently allowed.  These pilots are still cheap enough to allow you to turn them into Mobile Initiative Killing Ace Jousters. 

If we want more options during list building we need to price the Aces that don't align with the fundamental counterplay available against Poe.

That will allow all kinds of i1-i4 ships to come out of hiding and should also improve the value of Mid-Tier Aces that are less dominate in 1v1 scenarios.

It will make the "Force" Aces intentionally worse by weakening mid/end game "pairs" and denying Jousting or Mobility enhancing upgrades. Making aces worse is the goal. 

In  X-Wing 2.0 Mobile Passive Mod i5+ Ace Costs are the core of everything this game has warped around and its the #1 archetype that leads to players dismissing things during list building across all iterations of formats we have had. If it can't beat "Force" Aces its not something to even consider. That puzzle needs to change. Make those i5-i6 Only lists the underdogs without depending on cost decreases to create the next Quad Phantoms or 2 Point Leia. 

This last point is very important. CIS Swarm (the best Swarm in the game right now) forces players to think about how to beat a Swarm within 75 minutes but the ways to do that are substantially more diverse than the ways to beat current Ace lists. Mainly because 1 of the most reliable answers is to just bring more ships or to bring beef in almost any combination across any faction. Problem is "just bring more ships" is still an absolutely mediocre strategy for dealing with "Force" Aces at current costs. Even with aggressive point increases these pilots wont go away they will just be run in different "archetypes" ideally next to more and different ships as they try to adapt to needing more help on the joust as they lose access to jousting upgrades. If aggressive increases lead to more true 2 Ace lists like Boba+ then I can more or less promise that some Pre-Movement Upgrade probably didnt get the boot when it needed to. 

Edited by Boom Owl

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On 5/16/2020 at 8:34 PM, dezzmont said:

The saying goes that when two people jousting means one person is wrong. I would propose a similar rule: If three different generics swarm archetypes exist, at least one is incorrect.

I disagree with this characterization but I'm too lazy to explain why

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On 5/16/2020 at 7:07 AM, theBitterFig said:

Just a mathematical nitpick: more expensive ships don't win on points easier.  Whisper at 57 doesn't protect more points than Whisper at 52 (??) + 5 points of bid.

If Whisper costs 57 you get 3 points more when you half point the ship than you do if Whisper costs 52 and you half point the ship. Often games going to time come down to just a few points difference for victory and the game has no other ways to score points than doing damage to ships. 

Bids i.e. better-chance-to-move-at-your-choice upgrades are protected points unless the entire list is destroyed. Arcdodgers that need bids are in a majority of games not risking the points spent on bids. If an arcdodger list spent 10 points on a better-chance-to-move-at-your-choice upgrade those ten points are not on the table to be scored except in entire elimination of the list while being an improvement to the list just like a card upgrade. 

On 5/16/2020 at 2:34 AM, Cpt ObVus said:

But I think part of the hang up with my personal perspective is just... I don’t see the “why” of it. You say things like, “Once you have two or more i5/i6’s in a list, your third ship shouldn’t ever be higher than i4.” Ok.

But... why?

Because that isn't how a military makes use of its resources. They don't put all of the best pilots in the same squadron. Doing so is a good way to hamper the improvement of your less skilled and experienced flyers. They put the FNG with the vet and tell him to stay on the vet's wing and do whatever he's told. That is how the FNG gets to be a vet. 

 

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55 minutes ago, Boom Owl said:
 

Setting aside tournament results for a moment just think about what Boba does on the table and how that relates to other Aces or Ace Pairs in a 3 ship i5/i6 list. 

  • Boba is a "points bunker" with high mobility, pre-movement dial adjustment, token stacked dice red or green, init kill ability, direct jousting threat, and near 360 AOE coverage moving last.
  • In a 1v1 scenario Boba will win against just about anything in the game that is moving first, in large part but not only due to Slave 1 being Supernatural Reflexes.
  • Going into a game vs Boba your not trying to fully destroy him because its unlikely that you can. It is rarely the goal for the majority of lists (there are a few exceptions). 
  • Whatever deadweight Boba carries next to him (Fenn, Guri, another Firespray, Dengar etc.) is only there to set up the win condition of Boba in the end game vs X# of ships that are unlikely to be able to deal with his available passive mods, supernatural dial changes, and points total via in game counterplay. 

Now compare this to Trip Empire and Trip Republic Aces:

  • Any combination of Vader+Whisper or Whisper+GI or Vader+GI is functionally equivalent to Boba's impact on the game (excluding S1 though Decloaking inhabits a similar space and droping Whisper for Soontir gives Vader Precog for very similar results). 
  • There is not a huge difference between what Boba Fenn is doing and what Vader Whisper GI or other Trip Force Ace lists are doing. These are essentially the same list. 
  • The main thing they are less able to do is hide 15-20+ points behind Bid rules, which absolutely matters but doesnt keep Trip Ace from setting up the desired End Games. 
  • They both enjoy mobility, pre-movment dial stuff, token stacked dice, and excellent jousting ability. 
  • 1v1 Vader or Whisper will win against just about anything in the game moving first, besides Boba and Kylo maybe. 
  • GI exists in that list because it is another i5 which is critical, and also to "add" to either Whisper or Vader's points in the end game to re-enforce the points bunker.  
  • You might kill Vader or even Whisper but you wont kill both quickly on average. End result is dealing with Ace+1 in the mid/end game. Soontir or Duchess as 3rd ship filler accomplishes the same thing with less durability and better mobility.
  • The mid/end game pairs function as a Points Bunker much the same as dealing with Boba in various phases
  • These pairs form various iterations of "Boba" across factions, with the most direct equivalents being in Empire/Republic due to Force Charge access there. 
  • Boba takes alot of heat because he is an obvious embodiment of a unnecessary "Do Everything Ship" but he is not the only ship doing this. 

A Trip Ace list is ultimately just Boba+ with a 3rd ship included to help guarantee that you can create the 2 ship ace Mid/End Game you want. Republic Aces even with just 1 Regen Card out of the 3 do the same things Empire can, though I believe they don't see play as much currently mainly because Empire Aces prey on them directly and there are Trip Ace list options with access to more jousting upgrades.

The underlying issue is Passive Mods + High Mobility + i5-i6 still being to cheap! Not all versions of Aces are a problem, which leads to comparisons to Poe being a useful guide on points. 

The data matters, but lets take a step back and look at the past 2 years of how this game has been played. Even after what I think we would all agree were reasonable point decreases to generics and swarms last cycle we are still in a place where Ace lists are obviously the correct archetype. I don't think this is a point of debate. Even CIS Swarm, the very best of the archetype, is the "wrong" choice when you can take Boba+1 or Trip Force Aces with as many jousting/repositioning upgrades as they are currently allowed.  These pilots are still cheap enough to allow you to turn them into Mobile Initiative Killing Ace Jousters. 

If we want more options during list building we need to price the Aces that don't align with the fundamental counterplay available against Poe.

That will allow all kinds of i1-i4 ships to come out of hiding and should also improve the value of Mid-Tier Aces that are less dominate in 1v1 scenarios.

It will make the "Force" Aces intentionally worse by weakening mid/end game "pairs" and denying Jousting or Mobility enhancing upgrades. Making aces worse is the goal. 

In  X-Wing 2.0 Mobile Passive Mod i5+ Ace Costs are the core of everything this game has warped around and its the #1 archetype that leads to players dismissing things during list building across all iterations of formats we have had. If it can't beat "Force" Aces its not something to even consider. That puzzle needs to change. Make those i5-i6 Only lists the underdogs without depending on cost decreases to create the next Quad Phantoms or 2 Point Leia. 

This last point is very important. CIS Swarm (the best Swarm in the game right now) forces players to think about how to beat a Swarm within 75 minutes but the ways to do that are substantially more diverse than the ways to beat current Ace lists. Mainly because 1 of the most reliable answers is to just bring more ships or to bring beef in almost any combination across any faction. Problem is "just bring more ships" is still an absolutely mediocre strategy for dealing with "Force" Aces at current costs. Even with aggressive point increases these pilots wont go away they will just be run in different "archetypes" ideally next to more and different ships as they try to adapt to needing more help on the joust as they lose access to jousting upgrades. If aggressive increases lead to more true 2 Ace lists like Boba+ then I can more or less promise that some Pre-Movement Upgrade probably didnt get the boot when it needed to. 

I think I agree with most of what yourself and others are saying in identifying the 'problem' : high Initiative, with Passive Mods, plus Repositioning and particularly Pre-movement Repositioning are relatively too strong. All except the post-movement repositioning work to mitigate or avoid the normal counter to arc-dodgers: blocking.

The bit I disagree on is that simply increasing the point costs just turns the triple Ace list into a double Ace list. The actual problems will still be present. Double Aces (regen Jedi, for example, or Whisper plus Vader) are potentially stronger than triple, since it is feasible to kill the weakest out of a trio and win on points. Double 'should' find beating a swarm or beef harder, but not necessarily.

Some of the things that do work against arc-dodgers include: bombs, mines, area effects and other un-evadeable damage at long range - eg Proton Torpedoes on a double-modded platform if you can get a 2nd action on Wedge Antilles. But, there were a lot of complaints when Redline and PTs were cheap! And Trajectory Simulator! And all the other things in this list!

If you change the rules, you can address the actual problems.

Eg change decloaking so you either don't move at all, or you do so during the end phase, before dials get set, and it becomes a lot weaker. Change the Force so you can't spend it (eg either by restricting its use to attack or defence only, or how many charges you need, or to only when not blocked) whenever you want to. Ban pre-movement repositioning entirely!

There are other options too.

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