I used vampires a lot in games, both match ups for fun as well as scenarios, survival and others. So far i've seen them be very effective in orocia and even more so in deep shrine (where lvl 0 sacrifice units are amazingly useful) but i feel overall that they are underpowered, especially in comparison to all the neat tricks and gimmicks that many of the other eom factions have at their disposal. I think they're either lacking a unit or need a couple of their units to be just that little bit more effective.
Gargoyles - very limited attack and not actually that useful in defense. Yes it has high resistances but it can get shot to pieces and is easy to hit and even in combat it takes damage thus making it quite easy to kill. It also isn't quite fast enough to run away either. Overall, i don't see a point for it. It's best defense is in castles - understandable given its background but apart from the defense of a keep... what is it actually really good at? It can't kill anything, it can't really scout well, it cannot really defend all that well. Perhaps give it some more staying power, or more damage or even more res... something. I honestly only recruit these now out of amusement because i liked the gargoyle of the yoshidas and enjoy recruiting one to rename it "gar-kun"... seriously - if you gave them laser eyes then they'd be set! It's level 2 form is slightly more useful but it still quite weak for a level 2 unit i think. Perhaps steadfast would be good for it considering its defensive purpose?
Blood Hulk - right, first query - sometimes when this unit gets a kill that also sets it above xp for next level, it doesn't get +1 hp and resets all hp to max like it should AMLA but instead it just gains the 1hp bonus it gets from feeding - this has gotten my blood hulks killed in the long run as they slowly get whittled down in hp. Are they coded properly or does feeding stop their AMLA bonus of regaining all hp from working? Right, moving on, these units are very useful but making them a one trick pony, by that i mean a lvl 2 - somewhat ogre like unit - that doesn't get any stronger is kind of a shame. Also, their damage type is blade which means that their actual melee ability can be kind of limited as many enemies have blade resistance. So with an average of one attack hitting and this being limited by resistance... they aren't actually that damaging vs other melee units and of course they have no ranged. Finally, though their resistances are praise worthy, their defense is not and i've seen them mobbed and taken down too many times due to lacking ranged and being easily hit and at daytime doing hardly any damage in return, especially against other melee units. This is a little steep considering their cost and level 2 status and how their AMLA bonus doesn't seem to work (at least for me) and lack of a 3rd level. As with gargoyles, their best use is still in just defending a castle. Admittedly, this could be argued for many units but i feel they are lacking a little and part of the reason i think vampires are a little underpowered compared to other eom factions at present. Perhaps give them a 10-3 attack like lvl 2 ogres or up their hp an inch and of course please do see if there is something preventing them replenishing all their hp on lvl?
Bloodborn - these work fine. If anything, having a lvl 0 you can create from a noble that can become up to 4 different units is awesome. These are brilliant little suckers... well, they can't suck blood yet but they're good. Defiantely a highlight of playing vampires and i see them as useful against real opponents too. I've used them as cannon fodder or turned enemy troops into them quite nicely before which has ticked off my enemy. I think these are well balanced.
Fledglings - Very useful unit, sets out to be exactly as you describe it in the eom faction descriptions. Reasonably good hitting with backstab drain melee unit. Very proper - nice and cheap too and with their resistances and other limitations this seems reasonable. Their noble and duelist offshots are also very interesting. I think duelists can be very useful but nobles shine with their plague ability and eventual ranged attack (arcane no less) making them little powerhouses and gems. Perhaps duelist side needs to be more... appealing? By this i mean that they are a melee primary class aimed mostly at doing damaging with their perk being increased ability to hit and very good damage. However, there is already an abundance of melee units for the vampires so nobles, with their lvl 4 limit rather than lvl 3 for peak, seem more preferable. They also have leadership abilities which are always a plus. So perhaps this class could use something else? Skirmishing maybe? An inspire ability? A level 4 version? Old blood? Perhaps with a ranged or maybe even a teleport ability? Something to make them a little more desireous in a melee heavy force. One think i was thinking off a lot - why not nightstalk?
Bats - these are fine ^-^
Thin bloods - archer class and first non melee to be looked at - its half blood and then two lvl 3 choices, one lawful, one not was very interesting. I thought that was quite characterful. I think, from what i've seen, it performs it's support role very well and it fairly priced. I actually like to have at least one of these if not more as they are a cheaper alternative to the vamp mages and more flexible in some ways as a result.
Vamp mages - apprentices right? I enjoy using these as well, although again it can become another more melee focussed class on lvl 2. However their ranged magic tree is impressive and they always prove a useful support class. I also think that even though their melee class doesn't really complement the faction as a whole as its flexibility isn't needed really, it does add a nice bit of flavour. I think they are balanced for their cost but maybe a little fragile?
I think this faction is really enjoyable to play and i praise you for that. I also like their background - reasonably original for vampires without straying too far away from established stereotypes that they wouldn't be recogniseable. However, we've heard how they prey on people in their bio and use creatures as expendables but... what really obvious expendables do they have from a social perspective? Bloodborn are vampires. Bats are expendable i guess. Gargoygles are, according to their bio, defensive. The others are all vampires and thin bloods too. So no real expendable thrall like troops who serve the vampires or stupid servants or others who are paid well or who fight for them out of fear. Why not introduce such a unit? I think it'd really complete the whole faction and round it up nicely and it'd still have no more units than some other factions - it'd be equivalent to loyalists i believe? You could base it on the outlaw classes but keep it unique? So high resistance in terrain and give it a spear - a guard's weapon. Then give it a bow and similar box attack to elf fighter. However, it'd have defenses and hp more like that of a foodpad albeit 5 move? So a spearman/fighter hybrid? Make it neutral. Let it be able to . Explain the lack of hp that it doesn't get the same level of luxury the vampires enjoy. Make it a little cheap too. Perhaps 14 gold like spearmen or elf fighters in fact. However it should have a norm of say 30 hp? As for what it becomes with experience... only one direction perhaps? Keep them a little in like with therian guards/ defenders. Let it become a level two that is just a little more deadly with more hp. Or perhaps give it two directions. One where it slowly becomes a fanatic for its masters - perhaps with a +4 hp healing effect as it knows how to repair gargoyles and can give blood to vampires but in return it loses its spear and gets a dagger and bow. It'd be a kind of vampire worshipper. The other could be the guards who are veterans and get paid well for their services, slowly getting more armour and learning to use a crossbow and acting as a kind of standing army for the vampires who guard their estates during the day and have a dreaded reputation of bloodthirstiness in battle like that of the vampires they serve - but they do it out of greed for the wealth of the vampires that pays them and they don't betray them as over the years their standing company/ national army has garnered respect. It'd be a bit like the history of swiss pikemen or spanish conquistadors.
What do you think? Anyhow, cheers for eom and this faction. I'll happily help with any playtesting you're up to also. Drop me a bell. Oh - last note - love the avatars for vampires too. very cute. The duelists remind me of an anime called black blood brothers...