Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

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Re: Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

Post by Caphriel » April 10th, 2011, 1:55 pm

Whoops, I misread that :doh: I'll go back to lurking this thread and leave the continued analysis to the more experienced players.

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Re: Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

Post by The Black Sword » April 10th, 2011, 2:18 pm

Wolves are scout units and nowhere near as cost-effective as grunts etc. Giving them a pierce attack would make them more effective against cavs and I don't think anyone would have a problem with this but they still wouldn't be an effective counter to the cavs and hence this still wouldn't solve the northies problem.

Similarly a pierce attack would make them more powerful against drakes but grunts would still be the go-to unit so the match-up wouldn't be affected greatly IMO.

Essentially, changing the wolf's attack type probably won't overly affect the balance in any of the matchups and is rather beside the point in this discussion.

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Re: Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

Post by tekelili » April 10th, 2011, 5:37 pm

Atz wrote:
tekelili wrote:I never understood why cavs were so cheap, for me increase their cost to 18 becomes very clear when comparing them with 2 units: wolf raider and evish scout. I cant really find any reason from faction or unit balance point of view why scout is more expensive :shock:
Elvish scouts are expensive because they have extremely good movement - not only do they have 9 MP, they can run through forests at full speed. They also have better defence than cavalry in forests and hills.
Resistence is better than defense in most situations:

A unit with 50 def get -16.6% damage vs a unit on 40 def.
A unit with 60 def get -33.3% damage vs a unit on 40 def.
Cavs resistences will even defense damage reductions in lot of situations. In adition elvish scouts wont always enjoy of an hex with defense or wont be used from that hex, reducing army options. In gameplay with experencied players, I think it is easier get profit from resistence than defense because allow you form better lines without take care of terrain.
Magical and marksman attacks also decrease defense value vs resistence value.

Concentrated damage it is better than spare one:

As I explained in other thread, a dark adept army beats an footpad army due to concentrate damage. No matter that footpad damage output even dark adept one (5-2 + 5-2 vs 10-2). Concentrate damage allows easier unit killing when 2 line of units fight and gives better use of "first strike" when attacking.

Cavs can do more damge when attacking and also have more hit points than scouts. That compesate scouts better movetype.

I still think they should have same gold cost.
Be aware English is not my first language and I could have explained bad myself using wrong or just invented words.
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Re: Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

Post by Velensk » April 10th, 2011, 6:02 pm

I wouldn't say that resistances are inherantly better than defense. True, resistances have a more reliable effect and tend to scale better but resistances only work against certain enemies whereas high defenses (barring magic/marksman) work as long as you can pick the right terrain. Fancy lot of good those cavalry resistances do against archers but an elvish scout in a forest isn't all that vulnerable to an archer attack.

That said, I do still think cavalry price increase would be a good thing.
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Re: Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

Post by Horus2 » April 10th, 2011, 7:42 pm

A cav on flat and an elvish scout on forest tile both surrounded by five strong attacking grunts. The expected results are:
4 successful hits on the scout which means 40 damage,
6 hits on the cav equals to 42 damage,

so i think this illustrates well how many times cav resist is better than scout def.

The case when scout can own a forest/castle/mountain tile is very special one, and even in defense he is fixated to 1 or 2 possible points, and behold: the outcome is better only with an insignificant amount (let alone he did less retailation and 40 damage killed him whereas cav might survive the 42). And on the top of at, as tekelili already mentioned it, a marksman or a mage will laugh at him while a resistance can't be get around such easily. You need one (or max. two) mages to break through high defense - against a bunch of cavs you have to change your whole unit composition dramatically.
Cavs with their resistances can strike every time on every place from every angle, and if a cav stands in the middle of the wasteland, that's a well-planned defensive position for him. :P This way he can force classical infantry troops to low ground where the resists can do the work.
Scout attacked on good terrain with pierce attack... well, we can state it's a rare exception.

I wish to warn those who had ideas about buffing northener units that the cav is not only a headache for them, that's only the most spectacular case. Knalga can suffer from cav spam, Undead also helpless when have to deal with cavs on bigger maps, and loys can't go too wrong with some cavalrymen against rebels and drakes either. One of the main problem is exactly this: you can't go wrong with them.
I also suggest a cost increase to 18 because this will punish mindless cav usage and the spamming of them on large map what is crucial in many cases, at a certain point of the game this will result in one less cav, and cost increase will also cause the less change in the gameplay.

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Re: Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

Post by Velensk » April 10th, 2011, 7:57 pm

Alright, lets try this one

6 hits from a goblin spearman to a cavalry in the open (ignoreing traits) 42 damage
4 hits from a goblin spearman to an elvish scout in the forst 28 points

Elvish scout survives, cavalry does not.

I don't disagree that cavalry are a problem but your demonstration does not truely illustrates anything. If you have a vulnerability, the enemy will try to exploit it. The problem here is not just the cavalries resistance but the fact that they are lawful combined with the mobility advantage and the fact that the notherners do not have great piercing units to exploit cavalries vulnerability at the times when they will likely encounter cavalry. Goblins are too fragile to hold the line (especially at day), archers are fragile and do not retaliate much if they die to first strike, and don't even do enough damage to break even the corner of a formation if they are attacking at day. Undead have much the same problem though their archers are not anywhere near as vulnerable and have other units that block cavalry somewhat more effectively. Knalgans suffer mainly from the mobility issue and the fact that their best cavalry killer is somewhat unreliable.
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Re: Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

Post by Rigor » April 10th, 2011, 8:10 pm

i only want to add here how funny i think it is that u point out the cav 's use and then when all arguments are said u propose an increase of the gold needed to buy it from 17 to 18. what about 19? or 20 ? is that too much for a good unit? i think there are units which are way less useful in various situations and they cost 19+ gold. this being said i want to take the debate from a very minor cost change to a higher one if the talk about resistances, hp or mp stops.

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Re: Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

Post by Faello » April 10th, 2011, 8:23 pm

It's almost an essay, but I had to present the heart of the problem precisely:

ANALYSIS:Northeners vs. Loyalists - Have no fear, cavalry is here!

1.Cavalry - facts
Cavalry is a versatile, lawful unit with high hp (up to 44) and good resistances vs most of the damage type with exception of fire (0%) and pierce damage (-20%). It's also a quick (8 to 9 mvp when quick) and deals decent amount of damage (6-3 to 7-3 blade dmg when strong) with average amount of xp needed to lvl up (22 or 28). It's best used in flat, hills, villages and castle type terrain, where it has 40% defence, worse on more difficult terrain types. All of it implies it's a perfect "tank" type unit, that is able to withstand a lot in melee combat and performs well vs magic type of damage (cold, fire, arcane). It has following main weaknesses:
- it has -20% resistance to pierce damage
- it has only 30% in forest and lower in more difficult terrain types
- it can't move into mountain hexes
- it's movetype isn't the best around (for example 3 mvp needed to move through 1 hex of the forest)

2.Why is cavalry considered as a good unit vs. Northeners?
2.1.Northeners lvl 1 melee units vs cavalry
Cavalry is more expansive than Northeners "main battle" melee units (grunts, trolls) BUT it has good resistances vs. the damage type these units deal (30% to blade and 40% to impact) which basically means that even during the day, the odds are highly unfavourable for both grunts and trolls. Strong grunt deals only 5-2 vs strong cavalry 9-3, while strong troll 4-2 vs. 7-3. During the night (Northeners powerphase) on 40% terrain, strong cavalry unit has a greater chance to deal more damage (10 out of 15dmg) to the grunt than grunt will probably do to the cavalry (9 out of 18). It's similar with the troll (6-2 vs. 4-3).

What's important also is the fact, that during the powerphase loyalists units that are not retreating, should be in danger of being destroyed.

Now, everyone can do the math - it would require 5 out of 6 strong grunts hits from 3 hexes during the powerphase to kill strong, res cavalry. 3 trolls will never take down cavalry from 3 hexes in the single powerphase turn. This effectively ends the discussion about grunts and trolls effectiveness vs. cavalry.

Nagas present very limited usefulness vs. cavalry and due to the damage type and spread of the damage naga deals on 4 attacks. On the contrary, cavalry more than once (espescially on the maps like Fallenstar Lake) can show naga that it can perform well in the shallow water, espescially during the day.

Wolves are the excellent example why Northeners as a faction suffer when it comes to dealing with the Loyalists. Loyalists are generally perceived as most flexible faction while Northeners have different task for every unit. Northeners wolves are first and foremost scouts, then auxiliary attackers (3 attacks give some variation to the 2-attack melee spearhead) and they're the easiest to level lvl1 unit Northeners have in the arsenal. Cavalry is much more versatile, being a scout, tank and defensive unit alltogether. When these 2 units meet each other, wolf can be lucky to hold ground for couple turns at most. During the Loyalists powerphase, there's no discussion about holding ground. It's just the cavalry might.

Summa summarum: Northeners arsenal of level 1 melee units is all-together inferior to the cavalry. Top 44hp strong, resilient cavalry can hold ground vs. any lvl1 Northeners melee units during northeners powerphase. Even with 3 hexes to attack the 44hp strong, resilient cavalry, it's less than likely that cavalry will succumb to the attack of these units. Killing strong, resilient cavalry from 2 hexes only is impossible for these units - killing even intelligent, quick cavalry would be highly improbable (would require 4/4 from strong grunts)

During the day (Loyalists powerphase) melee lvl1 units deal minimal damage to the cavalry which greatly affects the balance of whole matchup, which relates to the next matter:

Q:But why are discussing melee units? Shouldn't we use pierce since the beginning?
2.2.Northeners pierce-damage-dealers vs cavalry

Considering that Northeners deal small amount of damage to cavalry during the day, it's the matter "where the dog is buried."

Northeners have 3 units that can be used to some extent vs. cavalry but all of them suffer from the flexibility factor cavalry has. Orcish archers deal 5-3 ranged, pierce damage to cavalry during daytime, 6-3 during 0/0 stages and 7-3 dmg during the powerphase.

It basically means, that full 6/6 ranged damage attack from 2 hexes during the chaotic pp, will do 42dmg points to cavalry unit. As we all know, cavalry hp is often 43 or 44, so there's no possibility for Northeners to kill such a cavalry unit using it's achilles' heel -20% resistance from just 2 hexes. It's impossible.

What's so special about it?

Every other faction can do it. 2 dextrous elvish archer deals up to 54dmg to cavalry from 2 hexes at any ToD. Should be sufficient if cavalry ate some retaliation damage from elvish fighter blades and arrows before. "But elvish archers are 17gp!" you could say. Well, let's take a look on skeleton archers, poachers and loyalists longbowmen. Skeleton archer deals 9-3 during the chaotic pp to the cavalry, so both would deal up to 54dmg - poachers maximal damage output in this situation would be 48dmg (if that wouldn't be enough, there's always a thunderer somewhere on the field able to do a 22dmg with a single shot at any ToD to the cavalryman). Two loyalist bowman have similar damage output to the skeleton archers (54dmg), altough some spearmen would probably make better effect.

We also can't forget that orcish archer doesn't have the defence values or resistances of the elvish archer, poacher, thunderer and skeleton bowman.

Yet, even with elves, I've heard more than couple of times words of discontent when elvish archers were failing to kill the cavalryman. More or less strong, resilient cavalryman will die after 7 arrow shots from the dextrous archer, and 8 if not a single from both archers is dextrous.

Now, we're talking about northeners here. They're not only unable to deal the similar amount of damage other factions can deal to Loyalist cavalry during loyalist powerphase in retaliation, they also have the weakest archer around. Even with 3 hexes to attack the strong, res cavalry, assuming it's holding a village (40%def), it will die only after 7 succesful arrow hit out of 9 possible. So there's a decent chance for this unit to survive even in such "hazardous" conditions, and we're still talking about one of the worst possible situations cavalry can face in this matchup. Other factions can usually pull off a succesful kill vs strong, res cavalry from 3 hexes. For Northeners using 3 archers, it's still matter of luck.

Assasins are the partial remedy vs. cavalry because they deal low amount of damage to it, poison is usually less effective on the high-mvp units than on the infrantry (cavalry can reach village quicker than spearman) and they're relatively frail, usually poisoning cavalry is connected with some amount of risk that assasin will suffer from possible attacks in the opponents turn. Assasin resistances are poor and hp is below average, which makes it often a good target for loyalist units. There's always a possibility that assasin will succumb even from a 2-hex attack, espescially if there's a mage around. If the fencer is around, such risk is automatically risen. Since assasin is a 17gp unit, equal in cost to cavalry, yet much more frail, poisoning a cavalry vs. risking a 17gp unit => using assasin to poison cavalry presents usually slightly to much more greater risk than it's worth it.

Goblins are the single, able unit that can do real damage to the cavalry and open game a bit. If goblin isn't weak, it deals 9-3 during the chaotic powerphase to the cavalry (otherwise it's 7-3 so nothing exceptional). The problem with goblins is that they're slow when compared to the other units (4-5mvp) and their cost is affected by their lack of upkeep (so we could say that 9gp that we put into goblin is actually worth less than 9 gold pieces put into any lvl1 unit), thus it's impossible to use goblins efficiently with grunt rush/early push typical for chaotic factions (it's something they need for the sake of the balance). Dim and slow trait goblins can put up to 54dmg vs. cavalry, which is decent BUT they're simultaneusly also very frail (18hp goblin dies from 2 out of 3 cavalryman hits during the day) and even during the night, if goblins will fail to kill the cavalryman (they would need 5 out of 6 hits on the strong, resilient one assuming they're both doing 9dmg per hit) they can also receive up to 15dmg each, what basically means that with slight bad luck, gaining 17gp advantage over the opponent can turn into losing 18gp to him.

It means that goblins are good for general offensive, because there's no turning back for them. They're just to slow and weak to stand prolonged combat or be able to retreat once the powerphase will be over. Also, recruting them in larger numbers means that game is moving from early stage to the later stages in which Northeners numerical advantage will be negated by the upkeep which is similar for both players and - in the late game - outshined by the combined weapons strategy that Loyalists can outperform raw power of the Northeners with.

3."Perfect" game at current conditions
Now, considering the general characterics of both faction and all their units, perfect Northeners vs Loyalists game between 2 model "perfect" players on "perfect" map would look probably like that:
- Northeners make early push gaining 1 village, Loyalists do the same after that
- Northeners buy some goblins and try their luck a bit (because that's what it is with current Northeners army pierce damage output) in the all-out attack in the third or fourth powerphase (mid & mid-to-late game stage), if they won't do it, only thing that perfect Northeners player can do is to mass goblins and try to defeat Loyalists from the counterattack
- if the game reached late stage and Northeners are massing goblins, Loyalists combined weapons and banking has still better chance than this strategy
- during the whole game Northeners player must be more careful, because Northeners army will gradually loss the flexibility vs. Loyalists

4.Example of the game in the reality:
There's no perfect player, there's no perfectly balanced map, everybody do somemistakes from time to time. Some players watching this game commented that Northeners winning over Loyalists is a game against the "Cav is OP vs Northeners" statement, but actually this game proves this point if we'll look at what both players did carefully and what happened there.

It's 1vs1 game played on Sulla's Ruins between Dauntless (p1, loyalists) and leocrotta (p2, northeners). Analysing game turn after turn, brings the following notices:
- leocrotta does the first push and luckily (3/4 on 60% unit from grunts) takes the first village with minimal retaliation
- Dauntless almost simultaneusly responds with EARLY village harassment using his p1 edge and is succesful to large extent even if it's not the best tactical choice he should decide on
- at some stage of the game, leocrotta controls only 4 out of 16 villages even with +15% luck on his side until turn 12
- crossbowman, excellent defensive play (mix of grunts, assasins, goblins and archers), good xp disposition (levelling up goblin to impaler, grunt to orcish warrior), using 60% terrain and decent RNG allows leocrotta to regain the control over his part of the map and win the game in the end

Someone could say "better player won this time" but with EV closer to 0/0 not even requiring the standard level of Dauntless play (he did good in this game, but he is usually better than that and we know it) we could actually see here a perfect example of cavalry reign. We cannot forget that there's a lot of 60% terrain on this map orcs could use, that leocrotta defensive play level was superb and some of the Dauntless tactical choices were speculative. We cannot forget that crossbowman was a random leader, perfect vs. cavalry - what if it was rocklobber?

In the end they both agreed, that if Dauntless was playing at his standard level, this game would probably end differently.

:eng: THE END of this opus magnus
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Re: Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

Post by Scatha » April 10th, 2011, 8:34 pm

I wanted to point out that from a KISS perspective, reducing the cavalry physical resistances to match those of the horseman is a very obvious change (if a slight nerf is desired). This is just a 10% change to impact and blade resistance, and still leaves them with good resistances against these damage types!

The cavalry description says they wear heavier armour than horsemen, but:
(a) This can be changed
(b) It doesn't entirely make flavour sense at present. They have no better resistance to pierce, but perhaps more to the point, horsemen have the same resistances as grand knights, who clearly wear quite a bit more armour (perhaps this is a flavour reason to reduce the hitpoints of the grand knight in exchange for increased resistances ...?)

It seems that this proposal was forgotten about rather than rejected for any particular reason. Or am I wrong?

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Re: Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

Post by Rigor » April 10th, 2011, 10:51 pm

maybe not as much opus magnus as the game i saw already i present u a game where i riskily defeated a cav reign of terror (after a big mistake), and only because i refused to buy any archers or stuff that explodes instantly when 4 cavs are nearby. ... %3A27%3A04

and the details ... %3A27%3A04

faello, that was a good report. i think i should also mention the fact that if the rare thing happened and a cav got down to 3-7 hp, what happens then? exactely. a NEW cav takes its place (usually dawn or worse), maybe a second and a third, or if all of them are damaged, ONE single cavalry holds the ground so that no units can kill the wounded ones. lol what a joke, really. :lol2:

check ou the rp, its a perfect map for exchanging cavs from the left to the right.

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Re: Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

Post by Moribund » April 11th, 2011, 5:10 am

man faello, not only was that presumably very true (I am not at the level where I can judge this), but it was an extremely well written, entertaining read. As geeky as that sounds.

Please buff archers please buff archers please buff archers...

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Re: Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

Post by Lone_Isle » April 12th, 2011, 7:33 am

I think that at this stage we've reached a consensus on the fact that Cavs are overpowered(whether to a great extent or only alittle bit, we can differ). I think it's time to consider more seriously the kind of changes we should make to it.

I am personally still in favor of its role as a heavily armored unit that can stand its own on the open terrain, but the fundamental problem with balancing cavalry it is that map designers have to drastically alter the terrain to expose its weaknesses(that of weaker movement type to other scouts).

To date people have suggested.

1. Lowering its hp, usually to make it conform with other scouts. This is problematic as it takes away the flavor of whatis meant to be a beefier scouting type unit.I suggest no change

2. Lowering its movement points to 7. Doc has noted that this would deprive loy players of scouting choices, as horsemen are really expensive. i suggest no change to mp or movetype

3. Lowering its resistances to conform with Horsemen. I personally find this kind of nerf more promising. Especially sticking out is its cold resistance. I understand that it would make little sense for it to have 0% cold resist purely since then it would make DAs much better counters(24 dmg at 70%) to cavs than skele archers(21dmg at 60% usually).
I think the blade and impact resists form a pretty important part of the units flavor, so I wouldn't suggest too much tinkering with that. I will suggest, however, that 40% impact is abit much and tilts the balance of power exceedingly in the cavs favor against units like wose and trolls.
I suggest lowering impact resist to 30%, and maybe tinkering with arcane resist. I understand changing arcane resists wouldn't suit flavour, but really we are already in that territory when cavalry have cold resist for no reason. This will change Loy vs UD by making ghosts marginally more useful against Cavs.

One drastic change could be to lower its pierce resist to -30%. This would be equivalent to a controlled hp nerf. Not as bad a hp nerf, and motivates the use of pierce counters alot more

4. Increasing cost. Increasing cost by 1g would kinda be too miniscule, while by 2g would feel too much. As I don't know the rationale behind unit pricing I don't know what would justify a change in cost.

5. defense type
Change defense on anything but open ground to 30%. I think this is the gentlest nerf to start with. Reducing hill def% to 30% makes sense flavorwise and puts it in-line with its forest defense. Reducing village def to 30% is reallly important because currently in many situations cavalry are as good, if not better than, spears as village defenders.

6. damage
9-3 cavs at day can be nasty, sure, and is one of very few cases where a trait makes a difference of 2 rather than 1 damage per strike. However I don't think this should be changed any more than clashers should be.
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Re: Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

Post by Rigor » April 12th, 2011, 8:14 am

i like those ideas!

especially 3, 4 and 5. maybe a combination would work best - such as:
1 gold more, 30% pierce.
1 gold more, and 30% everywhere.
30% pierce and 30% everywhere and on bad terrain 20% or something like that.

feels ok - the cavalry is anyways kind of a drake unit, but with way better resistances. very good suggestions. i dont want to annoy anyone developing the game but COULD WE HAVE THE CHANGE FASTER THAN THE FOOTIE NERF (discovered: 1 yr ago, changed: not yet) PLZ ? :mrgreen: would it be asked too much? we like the game (we even play it several times per week) but it really spoils it when u know that ur running against a wall. 1.8.6 would sound nice.

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Re: Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

Post by Faello » April 12th, 2011, 8:56 am

I think that following change would be sufficient:
- -3 max hp for cavalry (it seems to be a necessary change considering every faction matchup vs. loyalists)
- give Northeners archers dextrous trait so some of them could deal more damage (considering my analysis, this change seems to be necessary, it's also easily fittable into the game lore - some of the orcish archers are just not as clumsy with bows like others)

Changing cavalry resistances and defence values would have hard to predict consequences/could affect balance too much. Mvp change seems to be out of the question, so let's at least make this unit less resilient to the damage (-3hp cut) and let's allow Northeners to have at least some units that can affect it's bold use vs. them (some of the archers that will receive the dextrous trait)

Since only some of the orcish archers will receive the trait, gameplay balance shouldn't be affected vs. other factions much (truth to be told, Northeners are the most undergunned faction around atm, this could even the score a bit) and it would probably balance the Northeners-Loyalists matchup.
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Re: Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

Post by Wintermute » April 12th, 2011, 1:15 pm

Thanks very much for the replays, I'm still going over them but it is helpful! I would like to get some games in personally before commenting about what I think should be done.
Rigor wrote: feels ok - the cavalry is anyways kind of a drake unit, but with way better resistances. very good suggestions. i dont want to annoy anyone developing the game but COULD WE HAVE THE CHANGE FASTER THAN THE FOOTIE NERF (discovered: 1 yr ago, changed: not yet) PLZ ? :mrgreen: would it be asked too much? we like the game (we even play it several times per week) but it really spoils it when u know that ur running against a wall. 1.8.6 would sound nice.
Is this really what you mean to say Rigor, or did you just not think about this post? I'll leave aside my personal reaction to it and just point out that footpads were nerfed in version 1.9.1 (IE a long time ago - see the changelog) and that we can't change unit stats in the 1.8.x version because it breaks compatibility. Any stable releases CANNOT have unit changes or every other player with 1.8.x versions would get OOS errors and we just don't do that. So we make changes in the development versions and eventually they make their way into stable. If you wanted to be helpful then playing the development releases and trying to actually test changes and look for problems or bugs before they become part of the game would be great!
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