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  1. #1
    Junior Member Esth's Avatar
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    Promoting Build Diversity

    There are a couple of points I think should be considered for balancing Factions in the future to achieve a more interesting meta-game (overall power-level has been handled quite well). The introduction of new classes offer many opportunities to make a very diverse game.

    1. Varl number should be an actual decision. Currently 2 varl (the maximum) is very standard. It would be nice for the inclusion of varl in a team to be a meaningful choice that one weighs against the possibility of running against varl counters. What counters? The previous incarnation of the Siege Archer is a good example. It was overpowered and needed to be nerfed, but was one of the few abilities so detrimental to varl to possibly impact teams in this way. Hopefully, new abilities will fill this role.

    2. Desirability of classes at different ranks. Basically, leveling up some classes does very little while for others it makes them far better. This may be a more difficult problem to solve with the limitations to how abilities can be incremented.

    3. Diversity of stat builds within a subclass. Some classes are basically limited to a very specific stat build to be effective.

    I wanted to discuss reverting the max strength change to Backbiters and instead reducing run-through range by one. I think this might improve 2+3 for that subclass, but I don't want to derail this thread with the specifics of that discussion.

  2. #2
    Hey, build diversity is a current issue atm but that is only due to the game not having any balance changes. With each balance change comes a new meta. That keeps diversity going.

    To your questions.

    1. If you have an ability to counter a varl the ability is also powerful vs raiders as well. So your new ability/unit becomes a "bring this or lose" character.

    2. Stoic said they know classes will be more effective at higher levels than others. I feel something should maybe be done with levels/ranks in the distance future to not allow this.

    3. This would be a bad change, what would need to be changed is the runthrough AB if this was to happen. 12 str attack with 2 ab is just too strong no matter the range.

  3. #3
    Junior Member Esth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tirean View Post
    Hey, build diversity is a current issue atm but that is only due to the game not having any balance changes. With each balance change comes a new meta. That keeps diversity going.
    Of course that is true, but we should try to make each change as good as it can be.
    1. If you have an ability to counter a varl the ability is also powerful vs raiders as well. So your new ability/unit becomes a "bring this or lose" character.
    Yes and that was the problem with siege archer. Can you not imagine an ability for which that would not be the case? Do you think 2 varl being best is ok?
    3. This would be a bad change, what would need to be changed is the runthrough AB if this was to happen. 12 str attack with 2 ab is just too strong no matter the range.
    As I said, I don't want to get too focused on this, but I will probably pm you some sort of retort

  4. #4
    I don't mind 2 varl being a standard, once you have extra varl classes you might be wishing you could have more than 2 varl. The reason 2 varl is effective is due to the stat advantage it gives you. You also can't give a raider the stats of a varl since they don't have the same weaknesses a varl have.

    As for abilities I don't think I have the imagination to come up with someone fun and effective vs the varl which don't make them useless.

  5. #5
    Superbacker netnazgul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Esth View Post
    Can you not imagine an ability for which that would not be the case? Do you think 2 varl being best is ok?
    I think trying to tweak Varls so that they can be vulnerable to something to make you think whether you bring 2 of them or not can quickly escalate to a 0 varl situation, so if I'm to judge - it's better be 2 varl than 0 varl
    Current thing with Varls is that they are quite polarized in terms of their use - the only real exception of that probably being rank2-3 14/14 Strongarm who can both break and damage. Other than that you can't have a Varl fulfilling two roles at the same time. Raiders and archers are however generally more versatile.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Wordplay's Avatar
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    Well, the new classes might make us rethink this. The hunter, for example, might make all human teams viable. (though not necessarily competitive).

    I think an all human team would have a chance against a 2 Shieldbanger side... I think I remember beating 3 Varl sides with 4 thrasher, 2 Siege archer teams in the beta - back before limits were introduced, and before the Siege Archer was nerfed.

  7.   This is the last staff post in this thread.   #7
    Art Director Arnie's Avatar
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    This thread just makes me want to get back into Factions development again. We're going to be doing some rebalancing and adding new classes in once the Saga is in your hands. Can't wait!
    On a side note we hope to never take this much time away from Factions again.

  8. #8
    Superbacker netnazgul's Avatar
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    We are waiting [patiently], Arnie
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  9. #9
    Factions veteran stoicmom's Avatar
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    Thanks, Arnie! Look forward to your return to Strand

  10. #10
    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Esth View Post
    1. Varl number should be an actual decision.
    2. Desirability of classes at different ranks.
    3. Diversity of stat builds within a subclass.
    Very good points, Esth.

    • 1. Varl number: I don't see a direct solution to this, i.e. a=something that would equalize all-human and mixed builds. I've never tried an all-human (3R/3A) build, and I've had some moderate success with one-varl builds. I don't believe they are viable though, so I agree that Varl number is not under discussion for the competitive level. Assuming that Varl having higher stats (ARM+STR) is lore-wise correct, the only things that could possibly be touched to amend this issue are [a] the abilities, [b] the movement ranges, [c] WP+EX. Toying with [a] means that Varl abilities should be made generally "weaker" that human abilities; this does seem a little counter-intuitive, no? Furthermore, [b] adjusting movement ranges, in a game where positioning is of critical importance, could severely outbalance the whole; so, not advisable either. In the light of the above, perhaps [c] giving a boost to WP and/or EX of human units could mitigate their stat disadvantage. We can lore-wise justify this by seeing humans as willful and surprising creatures, whereas Varl are more robust, bulky and... uneventful.

    • 2. Desirability of different ranks: Indeed. That would be really interesting to have, but --as you say-- making all classes/abilities desirable (i.e. effective) for all ranks is quite difficult. I don't see a way around this, except by imposing potentially unfun rules for competitive play, e.g. abilities are fixed (to a designated rank, say rank-1 or rank-3, and cost 1 or 3WP, respectively) and you just get X stat-points (e.g. X=12, for power-12) to distribute among your freshly promoted units, however you want or with a min/max of 0/3 stat-points per unit.

    • 3.Diversity of stattings: I agree. Actually, very few units (and no archers) have viable & meaningful alternate stattings. I have repeatedly expressed my opinion that min/max limits should be the same for all the sub-classes of the same base-class, even allowing point re-allocation for rank-0 units. Then, you'd balance the units by tweaking only their abilities, passive and active. That's too hard to do now and --as it has been pointed out to me (Tirean, raven, KD?)-- it would generally restrict the ability spectrum, meaning that some trademark stat-dependent abilities (e.g Tempest or puncture-assisted Bird-of-Prey) would not be allowed.


    To conclude, I think that for the time being the best way to promote build diversity --at least for competitive play-- is to impose harsher class restrictions: (1) No duplicate units, (2) 1xSB, 1xW, 2xR, 2xA builds only. Of course, you could tone those down a bit, e.g. allow (1) duplicate units but no triple-copies and (2) 2xSB or 2xW or 1W+1SB Varl combinations.
    Last edited by Aleonymous; 10-30-2013 at 07:40 AM.

  11. #11
    Junior Member Esth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aleonymous View Post
    Very good points, Esth.

    1. Varl number: I don't see a direct solution to this, i.e. a=something that would equalize all-human and mixed builds. I've never tried an all-human (3R/3A) build, and I've had some moderate success with one-varl builds. I don't believe they are viable though, so I agree that Varl number is not under discussion for the competitive level. Assuming that Varl having higher stats (ARM+STR) is lore-wise correct, the only things that could possibly be touched to amend this issue are [a] the abilities, [b] the movement ranges, [c] WP+EX. Toying with [a] means that Varl abilities should be made generally "weaker" that human abilities; this does seem a little counter-intuitive, no? Furthermore, [b] adjusting movement ranges, in a game where positioning is of critical importance, could severely outbalance the whole; so, not advisable either. In the light of the above, perhaps [c] giving a boost to WP and/or EX of human units could mitigate their stat disadvantage. We can lore-wise justify this by seeing humans as willful and surprising creatures, whereas Varl are more robust, bulky and... uneventful.

    To conclude, I think that for the time being the best way to promote build diversity --at least for competitive play-- is to impose harsher class restrictions: (1) No duplicate units, (2) 1xSB, 1xW, 2xR, 2xA builds only. Of course, you could tone those down a bit, e.g. allow (1) duplicate units but no triple-copies and (2) 2xSB or 2xW or 1W+1SB Varl combinations.
    No, I would not add such restictions. Diversity should be vastly improved when new classes are added and until then it should be left as is. Varl are meant to have higher stat totals and that's ok, it would be more appropriate to balance them with abilities and/or maps that punish their 4-tile footprint. We already have some of these and there are likely others already in development, it's just about tuning them right.

  12. #12
    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Esth View Post
    ...maps that punish their 4-tile footprint. We already have some of these...
    The thing is that, depending on multiple parameters (e.g. relative compositions, deployment, varl roles etc), these maps can be good or bad for Varl units. For instance, in the Great-Hall map, planting a SB in the "choke-point" is good; having a Warrior blocked in the back and unable to engage is bad. Same thing holds for the Beach map...

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