Faction Preplanning

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Colin_Davis_sux
Posts: 2
Joined: August 9th, 2019, 2:06 am

Faction Preplanning

Post by Colin_Davis_sux » September 18th, 2019, 6:33 pm

Good afternoon.


I'm planning on creating a Wesnoth faction, and as I'm not all that knowledgeable about Wesnoth's balance in general, I'm looking for some input on the design.

I have two goals for the faction's mechanical design.
Firstly, I intend the faction to fit well into Wesnoth's default era. Primarily, I intend to try to balance it against the default factions, but I also intend to avoid making it significantly mechanically distinct from other factions.
Secondly, I'd like to try to have the faction fulfil some mechanical roles - specifically, to be a defensive faction that relies on numbers and can become more powerful as time progresses.


The most intuitive manner of making a defensive faction is to give the units high HP and lower-damage attacks. I'm not immediately a fan of this method, however, for a couple reasons. Firstly, having powerful attacks is useful for a defensive unit to dissuade the foe from attacking it. Secondly, this method would primarily extend battles, and I think there's more to being defensive than having longer battles. Finally, it's a pretty boring way of doing it, and I'd like to make a faction more interesting than 'more hp less damage'. So other qualities of a faction that I think are likely to make them more defensive are:
[*]lesser vulnerability to ToD. The obvious way of doing this is to make the faction neutral, but other ways of doing it are giving many units or just the most important ones Fearless, or making the faction chaotic but making the units most useful (and thus most likely to be recruited) against lawful factions neutral or fearless or even lawful. I'm inclined to do the simplest solution here and make the faction neutral, partially because I'm not all that confident in my ability to design the last option well.
[*]more advantage from beneficial terrain, as one tends to be on beneficial terrain when defending; Rebels are the obvious examples of this, being able to hold forests very well even though their terrain modifiers are not generally much better than humans'. However, in most cases default units have overall good or overall poor terrain modifiers, and having a faction that fights better on [insert thematically appropriate terrain here] both seems sort of like copying the Rebels' gimmick and a bit too map-dependent for my taste.
[*]very swingy attacks? Maybe you'd want to avoid attacking a unit that has a 50% chance of leaving you unharmed or a 50% chance of killing you more than you would one that's more likely to harm you but less likely to kill you outright? I'm less sure about this one.
[*]resistance to fire/cold/arcane, as magical attacks tend to be of those types, and magical attacks also tend to be used to remove entrenched units; as far as I'm aware, there aren't any default units with more than minor resistance to arcane, so I'd be inclined to skip that resist.
[*]both close and ranged attacks, so that each unit has less vulnerability to different tactics; having one weak ranged attack that much of a faction shares could be an interesting way of giving it character, too.
Of course, I wouldn't put all of these at one on the faction, but these are some ways to make it defensive.

The most intuitive manner of making a numbers-heavy faction is to give them cheap units; in this case I think that's the best way to go. Maybe I could give them all plague or something, but that seems a bit gimmicky.

To make a faction more powerful as time progresses compared to the increase in power that other factions have, I'd likely either give it the ability to reduce its upkeep, by giving it access to a level-0 unit or by giving it a way to get level-1 units with no upkeep - probably the former - or by making its units easier to advance by giving them lower XP requirements. I actually like both those ideas, so I may implement them both, but that's something about which I'm unsure.


Of course, this plan so far has problems.
Firstly, as a defensive faction that takes a while to get going, I'm worried about it being vulnerable to first-night attacks and ending up at a disadvantage against Undead. Hopefully having cheaper units can help with that, giving them a numerical advantage, but this would be a benefit to one of the more complex ways of avoiding ToD weakness.
Secondly, as a defensive faction that takes a while to get going, I'm worried about it being overwhelming to other defensive factions. I wouldn't want to force Knalgans or such into being offensive when they are normally defensive, for instance. I'm not entirely sure how to get around this; I'm inclined to give this faction an exploitable vulnerability to some unit in Knalgan and Rebels (maybe an impact weakness?)
Thirdly, as a faction that benefits from a slow game, this faction might have an advantage on larger maps, which I understand to typically have longer games. Hopefully this can be remedied by making this faction less maneuverable, thus giving them a disadvantage on larger maps, but I'm not certain whether this disadvantage will match the advantage well, nor whether they are of equal power.


So my questions are:
[*]What have I got wrong here? Which of these ideas will work, and which won't? What problems would they create? How do I fix them?
[*]Are there any existing factions that have a similar playstyle (and are fairly balanced)?
[*]What does a faction need to have? What can it not have? I understand, for instance, that a faction should have 8-9 unhindered MP scouts or 10 mostly hindered ones, as well as 5-6 MP leaders; is there anything else I need to have?


p.s. Thanks to Velensk for writing a guide on this subject!
p.p.s. Thanks for reading this entire thing. Or maybe you just read the postscripts, I don't know.

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Hejnewar
Posts: 74
Joined: September 17th, 2016, 11:01 am

Re: Faction Preplanning

Post by Hejnewar » September 18th, 2019, 9:21 pm

Hi there.

Your first goal is fine, but second one:
Secondly, I'd like to try to have the faction fulfil some mechanical roles - specifically, to be a defensive faction that relies on numbers and can become more powerful as time progresses.
Will be much harder to fulfill, especially "more powerful as time progresses" part.

But lets go with it step by step. I like that you recognise that having just longer battles is not the right way to go, long games are good and exciting if they are intense, not when they are just camp-fest.
[*]lesser vulnerability to ToD.
Going fully neutral is something not done yet in default era, I think this is good opportunity to try and design something new and remember fearless isn't free, units need to be slightly weaker to have that bonus.
[*]more advantage from beneficial terrain
Then how would you like defences of your faction to look like?
[*]very swingy attacks?
Bad idea, people doesn't like this much rng and this unit will end up weak because people will just be scared of it as you said.
[*]resistance to fire/cold/arcane
That's interesting but there are already factions that can deal with defences without magic. You should think about them too.
The most intuitive manner of making a numbers-heavy faction is to give them cheap units; in this case I think that's the best way to go. Maybe I could give them all plague or something, but that seems a bit gimmicky.
Again remember that nothing is free. And plague is one of stronger abilities.
To make a faction more powerful as time progresses compared to the increase in power that other factions have, I'd likely either give it the ability to reduce its upkeep, by giving it access to a level-0 unit or by giving it a way to get level-1 units with no upkeep - probably the former - or by making its units easier to advance by giving them lower XP requirements. I actually like both those ideas, so I may implement them both, but that's something about which I'm unsure.
Reducing upkeep or even using 0 lvl units is not the perfect way to make faction stronger in latter parts of this game, why? Because every faction can do that with just banking (storing gold and not recruiting anything), that is one of the reasons why Knalga can still win vs half of map goblins filled with goblins. Making units easier to level up might be good thing but usually you need to sacryfice something in order to get level ups if they require more than 2 kills. In other words pretty much only units requiring only two kills can be considered somewhat consistent in leveling up. Question will be how many of them you need to actually start trying to be offensive.
Of course, this plan so far has problems.
You should be not only worried about UD but also about orc, it's really hard to waste enough of orc orders to actually succeed with that game plan.
Knalga can be offensive, it's not perfect or anything but it has means to be. Rebels are actually probably more defensive than Knalgans but wosses are very good late game units this again might be problematic.
Drakes will dominate slow factions on big maps, and not many will stop them there just because how important gaining control over map is, currently lawful factions are more problematic for defensive factions than chaotic factions are. Hindering movement will also make them harder to play no matter how strong they are just because it requires more planning ahead and better unit placement, while for some this will make them weak people who can bring thier true power out will be doing very well with then if they will be balanced according to majority of players.

It's hard to say if this will be ok without numbers and unit concepts honestly.

There are not many requirements about what faction can't have in UMC department, for mainline quality and relative simplicity are the most important aspects I think.

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