Default+Dunefolk era balance

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holius
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Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by holius » February 22nd, 2018, 10:32 pm

Now that Dunefolk have new names, and a faction description, what about reopening the hard topic of balancing an era with them ?

As I like to play with them, I wish they keep some of their core gameplay (at least: melee marksman, heal +8 recruitable, rather high mobility, sand strength). What is your list of gameplay elements you find interesting, which ones are you ready to question ?

As they are today, my view of the matchups:

Dunefolk vs Drakes : imbalanced in favor of Dunefolk. Drakes die to pierce, Saurians die to melee marksman blade.

Dunefolk vs Knalgan : balanced. Knalga has enough access to impact abilities to make Dunefolk life difficult, and Dunefolk mobility (and alignments) allow for a dynamic matchup.

Dunefolk vs Loyalists : imbalanced in favor of Loyalists. Spearmen are hard to counter, the Loyalist toolbox contains everything to destroy Dunefolk.

Dunefolk vs Northerners : slightly imbalanced in favor of Northerners. Killing troll whelps is hard for the Dunefolk.

Dunefolk vs Rebels : balanced (rng fiesta of which kills the other fastest between Woses and Burners)

Dunefolk vs Undead : balanced. Nice match-up with varied tools on both sides.


My former proposal :
Increase Impact resist for the Piercer. Compensate for drake and Undead with negative Cold resist on Soldier (and Burner).
Lower XP for Piercer level up. Increase XP for Rider.
Fix Raider and Marauder movetypes per RIPLIB rule.
For water oriented maps, adding Naga guardian would be nice.

new ideas to discuss for the Loyalist pb: allow Soldier and Piercer (and Burner?) to get fearless trait. Increase pierce resist of the Rover.

Last question: what's the problem people have with liminal ? I know it's hard to not have the displayed damage be the average one over a whole cycle, but once understood, is there some gameplay reason to hate it ?

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zookeeper
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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by zookeeper » February 22nd, 2018, 10:45 pm

holius wrote:Last question: what's the problem people have with liminal ? I know it's hard to not have the displayed damage be the average one over a whole cycle, but once understood, is there some gameplay reason to hate it ?
I don't know about gameplay reasons, but the common problem people have with it is that it's exclusively a malus. You never get a bonus, you only get -25% most of the time. Chaotic and lawful both give a malus as well as a bonus, so they feel balanced and fair, whereas a unit being liminal is always a bad thing and never a good thing.

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Eagle_11
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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by Eagle_11 » February 23rd, 2018, 12:00 pm

Maybe their alignments should be neutral for city-dwelling units instead lawful.
Maybe their skirmisher should be the Horse Archer.
Maybe their spear and blade infantry unit line should be seperated so its different than loyalists.
Maybe the Falcon should be lawful.
Maybe they should gain an Athvari unit line.

Whenever you said burner brain automatically associated Drake Burner, no 2 units should have same burner name when there are plethora of alternative names to be used.

Liminal works good for balancing an zerker with growing fury and drain, other than that...

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James_The_Invisible
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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by James_The_Invisible » February 23rd, 2018, 1:13 pm

Maybe their alignments should be neutral for city-dwelling units instead lawful.
City dwellers are usually lawful, just look at Loyalists.
no 2 units should have same burner name when there are plethora of alternative names to be used.
There are names which are used much more often in mainline, like Fighter or Warrior (both 5 times). Also Ranger and Swordsman are used by other races too. Do you want these to renamed as well?

Airatgaljamov
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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by Airatgaljamov » February 23rd, 2018, 3:44 pm

James_The_Invisible wrote: City dwellers are usually lawful, just look at Loyalists.
Thiefs are city dwellers but they are chaotic.

Concerning liminal. Yes, it mostly gives negative bonus, but liminal units have more base damage, so in total they deal no less damage.
I was going to suggest making liminal +25% fn dawn and dusk and 0% at day and night with appropriatly adjusted base damage, but it turns out damage rounding in Wesnoth works in such a way that 8 base -25% is 6, but 6 base +25% is 7.

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James_The_Invisible
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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by James_The_Invisible » February 23rd, 2018, 4:12 pm

Thiefs are city dwellers but they are chaotic.
Of course there are some exceptions, that is why I said usually. We both know why thieves are chaotic and not lawful.

name
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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by name » February 23rd, 2018, 8:30 pm

Pentarctagon suggested moving the discussion regarding dunefolk recruitable units to this thread.
Deciton_Reven wrote:
Cold Steel wrote: Waves... Like... These...

They usually get locked pretty fast. But censoring criticism does not generate a lot of volunteer support for a faction apparently.
Oh man all those waves of "pls change name". Yo, done. There is about two post per thread you linked in which someone said "jinn and/or and elephant would be cool" and some one else said, "yeah that would be okay", to which a bunch of people replied "they don't really need to do that since they already have interesting unit designs" and no further discussion was had.
Looks like I forgot to link to this thread as another example. I do not remember how many other threads there have been or what all the exact criticisms were. All the recent topics on the subject of this faction have made searches using "khalifate" as a keyword somewhat messy (I guess I could do a date restrictive advanced search still).

Your point that the name has been the primary target for explicit criticism is true though.

I just don't know that this alone explains the lack of online matches played with default+khalifate era or the lack of animator interest.
Deciton_Reven wrote:If you can get a mainline quality base frame, either provided from you or someone else inspired by you for any unit, current or new, then any art argument you have starts holding weight for that new art, and by extension, unit.
In the distant past, I used blender (a 3D graphics program) to render sprites for wee hobby games. While all this discussion was going on I attempted doing the same in the style of wesnoth's spritework:
test.gif
test.gif (14.28 KiB) Viewed 2385 times
If it is not obvious, it is supposed to be the beginning of one of those magic carpet things from that horrible fantasy/mythology genre. :P
It does not yet have a shadow or rider.
I have been looking at it too long to tell if it at all fits the wesnoth unit sprite style. :|

The advantage to 3D though, is perspective and orientation are handled automatically. North, North-East, South-East and South facing versions of a sprite require essentially no extra work. Between frames are essentially no extra work (assuming not a lot of raster touch up is required after rendering the frames).

The question is whether people's eyes would accept sprites made with this approach as being the same style as other unit sprites.

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SigurdFireDragon
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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by SigurdFireDragon » February 23rd, 2018, 11:57 pm

zookeeper wrote:
holius wrote:Last question: what's the problem people have with liminal ? I know it's hard to not have the displayed damage be the average one over a whole cycle, but once understood, is there some gameplay reason to hate it ?
I don't know about gameplay reasons, but the common problem people have with it is that it's exclusively a malus. You never get a bonus, you only get -25% most of the time. Chaotic and lawful both give a malus as well as a bonus, so they feel balanced and fair, whereas a unit being liminal is always a bad thing and never a good thing.
Airatgaljamov wrote:Concerning liminal. Yes, it mostly gives negative bonus, but liminal units have more base damage, so in total they deal no less damage.
I was going to suggest making liminal +25% fn dawn and dusk and 0% at day and night with appropriatly adjusted base damage, but it turns out damage rounding in Wesnoth works in such a way that 8 base -25% is 6, but 6 base +25% is 7.
Well, that is what I am suggesting. The difference you cite isn't sufficient reason not to consider it.
I know the reason liminal was done the way it was is because it was easier to code/get it to work, also might include how illuminates works with it as well.
But having the unit attack values listed for the least common time (2 ToD times out of 6) is kind of awkward.

I think it would be easier / more intuitive for players to grasp the +25% at twilight, 0% at day/night.
Which lists the unit by its most common attack values (4 ToD times out of 6)

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MathBrush
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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by MathBrush » February 24th, 2018, 12:17 am

Mathematically, a -25% is countered by a +33%, not a +25%. Could that be coded in?

For instance, in your example, right now an 8-4 at dusk is 6-4 at night. To code it in reverse, the exact value would be +33%.

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Celtic_Minstrel
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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » February 24th, 2018, 3:14 am

holius wrote:My former proposal :
Increase Impact resist for the Piercer. Compensate for drake and Undead with negative Cold resist on Soldier (and Burner).
Lower XP for Piercer level up. Increase XP for Rider.
Fix Raider and Marauder movetypes per RIPLIB rule.
For water oriented maps, adding Naga guardian would be nice.

new ideas to discuss for the Loyalist pb: allow Soldier and Piercer (and Burner?) to get fearless trait. Increase pierce resist of the Rover.
On the flavour side, I have no particular complaints about these suggestions.

It also sounds like my idea of a fire resistance trait might make the drake matchup even worse...
Author of The Black Cross of Aleron campaign and Default++ era.
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name
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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by name » February 25th, 2018, 7:26 am

holius wrote:
February 22nd, 2018, 10:32 pm
Last question: what's the problem people have with liminal ? I know it's hard to not have the displayed damage be the average one over a whole cycle, but once understood, is there some gameplay reason to hate it ?
That's actually kind of a really big problem for liminal. There are already plenty of complicating wrinkles to the game's mechanics that make it hard to assess the effectiveness of even individual units against other individual units of different types in different circumstances.

You have:

Damage resistances.
Terrain defenses, with the strong element of chance they introduce.
Numerous special abilities that can be quite powerful.
Asymmetrical rounding of up versus rounding down of damage by time of day (plus no rounding for neutral units).
Random traits for individual unit instances.
And the exact impact of local support abilities and terrain effects like leadership, healing and illuminates over time.

Liminal having a different average damage than all other alignments is another layer of complexity on top of these. And a messy one used by only a single faction. Deviating from wesnoth's KISS principle for very little gain.

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Celtic_Minstrel
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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » March 14th, 2018, 2:46 am

I've opened pull request #2650 implementing most of the proposals in the opening post.
Author of The Black Cross of Aleron campaign and Default++ era.
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holius
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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by holius » March 14th, 2018, 9:52 am

Thank Celtic_Minstrel for the pull request. I hope the most imbalanced match-ups will be sufficiently improved with them.

My question about liminal seems to have slightly derailed the topic on this specific issue. As balance will need tests with the PR, I suppose it's ok to still discuss liminal, awaiting more experience to reassess balance. I have read carefully the answers here, and I feel there are two possible paths to help liminal being accepted in Wesnoth.

The first option is to keep numbers as they are, but always display three numbers instead of one everywhere.
Chaotic 5 x n would be displayed 4/5/6 x n.
Lawful 4 x n would be displayed 5/4/3 x n.
Liminal 8 x n would be displayed 6/8/6 x n.
Neutral may be displayed as today.

The second option is to still have alignment effect not displayed everywhere, but liminal changed to be able to display the "neutral damage".
Day-liminal would be 0%/+25%/-25%.
Night-liminal would be -25%/+25%/0.
(That would require better names, of course)

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skeptical_troll
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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by skeptical_troll » March 14th, 2018, 11:54 am

Regarding the liminal alignment: I think there are good reasons to keep it + 0 % at dawn/dusk and - 25% during other times. All alignments are a linear function of the lawful bonus with lawful = 0% being the reference for the base damage (of course, liminal is broken linear), I don't think that should be changed. Not just because it would complicate things more, but also because, at least in campaigns, there are cases where the value is different from -25/0/+25, like the deep underground. It would be less intuitive to understand what happens to the damage in a -30% environment if the base is set at -25%/25%.

I actually never found it complicated to understand liminal as is now, after 2-3 games it becomes clear. Getting acquainted to resistances and move type is way harder.

That said, holius's idea of showing damages for all TODs (can be scenario dependent) could work, but maybe it is only necessary at recruiting.

name
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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by name » March 14th, 2018, 3:51 pm

So, let us put liminal alignment into some perspective here.

Of the 7 factions in their era, dunefolk are the 1 faction that partially uses liminal.

Of the 7 dunefolk units, only 3 are liminal.

Of these 3 liminal units, one is a dedicated healer (with almost no fighting utility and healing rate is not affected by alignment), leaving 2 fighting units.

So only 2 unit lines are effectively using liminal.

Just change the alignment for these units to neutral or chaotic. The game and faction do not benefit from introducing a new alignment that is one of a kind in being purely a malus that offers only a single turn at a time to do some kind of damage before the pain begins. Because this imbalanced nature messes up the average damage for the units afflicted by it, you cannot in your head do direct comparisons of damage output. For example, 5-3 damage for neutral, lawful and chaotic units are all basically equal, they average out over the course of a day. But 5-3 damage liminal is totally different and you have to pull off some mental gymnastics to figure out approximately how fair the 'trading' will be in an exchange that involves a liminal unit versus any other kind.

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