Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

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Cackfiend
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Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

Post by Cackfiend » December 14th, 2010, 6:50 am

After some extensive play and discussion with other high level ladder players I would like to submit these unit balance ideas for consideration in future patches.

Cavalry: Reduce resistance from 40% blud and 30% blade to Horsemen levels of 30% blud and 20% blade.

Reason: Considered to be one of the most unbalanced units in the game currently, Cavalry are too effective as a main attack unit. It is suppose to be a scout unit with melee capability but is actually a Melee unit with scouting capability. Strong cavs at day do a devastating 9-3 dmg and are far too effective especially against Orcs and Dwarves. I have also heard the ideas to lower their hps by 2 or so... either change would be good for the unit IMO.



Dwarves: Make all dwarf units (not outlaws or gryphons) only receive half damage from poison OR bring back the ability from healthy to reduce poison damage to half.

Reason: Orc spamming assassins vs Dwarves is currently OP when played at a high level. Healthy was recently changed to ALWAYS rest heal effectively making it a mini regeneration (10 hps in a village) which is great but for some reason it was thought that its old property of making poison only do half damage was unbalancing with the new buff. I think we have play-tested this long enough to conclude that this is not the case. The healthy trait is still the main reason I personally hate the dwarf faction since it lowers the potential to have Quick dwarf units. I played vs a dwarf the other night and he recruited all NINE dwarf units that were Healthy... it was quite sad.

EDIT:
I forgot to mention the Trapper leader for dwarves needs to be removed from the random pool of leaders for the dwarf faction. It is by far the worst leader that someone going Random can get.


I have other ideas too like lowering loyalist Spearman to 6-3 damage but I will keep that argument for another day :twisted:

Please discuss.
Last edited by Cackfiend on December 14th, 2010, 8:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

Post by Crushmaster » December 14th, 2010, 7:18 am

Thoughts:

Calvary: I like Calvarymen just the way they are, though I guess I can see what you're saying. I'm undoubtedly biased since I'm pretty much a Loyalist-only guy, and I don't like weakening units.

Dwarves: Sounds quite reasonable.

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Re: Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

Post by Mabuse » December 14th, 2010, 8:09 am

Cackfiend wrote:It is suppose to be a scout unit with melee capability but is actually a Melee unit with scouting capability.
who says that scout always need to be weak ?

i always thought that its great for the loys to have a melee cavalry.
really that was one of the big pros of the loyalists, that their scouts werent just scouts, instead battle units.

also, loys are pretty slow(weak movement type), that they have a fast melee unit is a slight compensation for that (though in no way very dodgy or something).


in diff terrain 4 mov dwarves are way faster than 5 mov loys, same goes with orcs with hils, elves with woods - so in the end basically all factions (except undead) are faster than loys, if you make this unit useless the loys will suffer a great loss
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Re: Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

Post by Huumy » December 14th, 2010, 8:25 am

Cackfiend wrote:Cavalry: Reduce resistance from 40% blud and 30% blade to Horsemen levels of 30% blud and 20% blade.

Reason: Considered to be one of the most unbalanced units in the game currently, Cavalry are too effective as a main attack unit. It is suppose to be a scout unit with melee capability but is actually a Melee unit with scouting capability. Strong cavs at day do a devastating 9-3 dmg and are far too effective especially against Orcs and Dwarves. I have also heard the ideas to lower their hps by 2 or so... either change would be good for the unit IMO.
Agreed 100%.
Cackfiend wrote:Dwarves: Make all dwarf units (not outlaws or gryphons) only receive half damage from poison OR bring back the ability from healthy to reduce poison damage to half.

Reason: Orc spamming assassins vs Dwarves is currently OP when played at a high level. Healthy was recently changed to ALWAYS rest heal effectively making it a mini regeneration (10 hps in a village) which is great but for some reason it was thought that its old property of making poison only do half damage was unbalancing with the new buff. I think we have play-tested this long enough to conclude that this is not the case. The healthy trait is still the main reason I personally hate the dwarf faction since it lowers the potential to have Quick dwarf units. I played vs a dwarf the other night and he recruited all NINE dwarf units that were Healthy... it was quite sad.
In general I personally like when I get healthy trait, it's hard to notice but the dwarfs that are already hard to kill on good defense getting extra 1 HP and +2rege every turn don't seem much. But in wesnoth where the HP of units are kinda small that has good chance in longer fight making the difference of 1 or 2 attacks more required to kill the dwarf. Also when you have chance to retreat after even exhange with opponent, healthy trait helps you to heal units.
So in my opinion healthy is good trait atm, not as good as strong or quick for dwarves, but most of the time better than intelligent or resilient. So I'm personally happy with the trait as it is, tho I don't see poison being that big of factor, so making it also reduce poison damage it would just make the trait almost as good as strong or quick. Btw, dwarves are most likely my worst faction (I play random) so I'm not THE expert on this.

Orc spamming assassins vs Dwarves. I never played vs any1 spamming assassins, tho "spamming" is kinda vague word. So maybe you could send replay of this being succesful in balanced map and top players can discuss about the game, was it the assassin spamming or something else cause for orcs victory.
Cackfiend wrote:EDIT:
I forgot to mention the Trapper leader for dwarves needs to be removed from the random pool of leaders for the dwarf faction. It is by far the worst leader that someone going Random can get.
It's the one of 2 ranged dwarf leaders, other one being thunderer. This one is chaotic so it has good ranged damage during night. Also it has good defenses on swamp and forest. So I would say it's bit different. In many situations worse, in some situations as good as, and in few situations way better than rest of the dwarf leaders. So I would say keep it in the random pool.

My 5 cents :)
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Quetzalcoatl
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Re: Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

Post by Quetzalcoatl » December 14th, 2010, 10:01 am

I think thats more faction related problem, both factions are a bit problematic in 1v1 context. While both proposed changes looks good lets not lose big picture, and the big picture is:

Loyalist:
Most universal faction in game + overpowered units (I remember my game with ps7 while he pointed that Heavy Infantry is very OP vs dwarves but there is actually no point in recruting them as cavs are better :)). Basically you can play everything with loyalists as you have units that can do anything. The sad thing is that you dont need to as making cav yours base unit vs orcs, undead and dwarves is a great choice (OP), and they have reasonable usage in other matches (killing saurs and elves), so you can just spam them. Cackfined said: they are units + scout, thats true but actually they are very good units + scouts. Great mobility allows them to be always out of reach of units you want to avoid to fight and heal fast and great resistances allows them to ignore low damage units and hold lines vs high damage units even at unfavorable tod. Seriously I see no reason why heavy cavalry should be after all so fast like glider or bat :). The consequence of so high movement unit is that you can outmaneuver opponent easily (or at least push him into heavy defense) or if you are less skilled player you can fight like an equal player with more experienced one (as you can fix yours mistakes and bad placement of units faster). Both cases are not very fun to deal with in fair match. What I propose for cav then is make it regular unit with scouting capabilities (like footpad):
- lower resistances: blade 10, impact 20, cold 10 or 20
- lower movement points to 7
Seriously even with such changes cav will be my unit of choice when playing loyalist.

Ahhh... thats obviously also true for horsemen. This is a controversial unit for one more reason: while loys have units that do more than average damage this guy is just doom of ranged units that gives many very easy kills especially vs orcs and ud (in both matches loys have advantage even without him). The only reason why he isnt believed to be OP is probably because many ppl use him to charge into melee and thats like trying to rush with orcish archers but using only melee attacks :D. Personally I believe horseman is twice as OP as cav, and only way I see for fixing that is to remove him from default era (he can be good for campaigns or such, but not for competitive gaming).

Knalgans:
Too slow for 1v1 games, easy to outmaneuver have to defend most of the times, and with outlaws (in general) you can win only with not much experienced player. Improving resistance to poison wont make them faction that ppl would like to play in 1v1 matches (while help vs orcs where they have bad times anyway :)). Seriously is there is any top player who enjoys playing knalgans (vs similarly skilled one) in 1v1 ;) :?: While this change looks good to me I would also like to propose increasing knalgan mobility by two tricks that will allow knalgan player to be more offensive vs two most mobile factions (drakes, loys):
- change thief damage type to pierce (needed vs drakes and cavs - no serious impact in matches other than vs rebels (knalgans have probably advantage here anyway) but point 2 fixes that, and after all dagger is a pierce not slashing weapon)
- add dwarvish scout to default era (6-3 melee, 8-2 ranged (usable vs woses) 30 hp, 5 mp, 18 gold - unit cost may need to be lowered) - he improves knalga mobility in general and with his ranged attack ability should also give opportunity to attack melee based lawful factions/units (while they are retreating or to do some damage to units without ranged attacks for free while doing more damage when battling back in melee)

Guess thats all I have to say for now.

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Re: Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

Post by Rya » December 14th, 2010, 10:25 am

Honestly the problem with loyalist cavalry / hosemen are not the units but more the maps. They are only really strong when there is a lot of free land on the map. On maps with many non-free land, they are in fact not very fast.
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Re: Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

Post by The Black Sword » December 14th, 2010, 12:07 pm

I agree that some changes to cavalry would be good but I'd prefer changing something other than resistances which are fairly unique to the unit and give it some flavour. Besides decreasing blade or impact resist wouldn't do much IMO since it would still be a pretty bad idea to try take a cav out with those attacks. I'd be in favour of one of :
1. Reduce hp by a bit (hard for me to know exactly how much)
2. Reduce mp to 7 (heavier armour slows him down compared to horse?)
3. Reduce attacks to 5-3
The last one is a pretty big change but the unit would still be very good as a scout and a defender but without the possibility of getting 9-3 at day you'd need to buy other units to attack.

I don't really like playing dwarves (not for balance reasons, they just don't appeal to me for some reason) so I should stay out of the other debate but I don't remember any big problems in orc-dwarf matches so I don't think its necessary.
Btw, I probably consider dwarves to be the 2nd best faction after loyals. So I don't think they really need much changes but the dwarvish scout might be good as a wose counter, I'd try to price him so he wouldn't have much affect on other match-ups though.

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Re: Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

Post by Velensk » December 14th, 2010, 1:09 pm

I agree with the lowering cavalry resistance to blade idea. This will generally increase the damage they take (this done without making them even more vulnerable to piercing units, making it so that they can no longer function as a scout for default map village placement, or lose their quality. Cavalry are one of the things that makes playing loyalists fun, it is important to keep them that way.

I'm ambivilent about the healthy change as I have seen the massed assassins technique beaten several times but there is a key, I've only ever seen it on large maps. On small maps, done right, I havn't seen it beaten since assassins got marksmanship. On the other hand, I do find that the resting healing can be very useful. I'm inclined to say that maybe the price of assassins should be increased slightly instead.

A couple things that I've been thinking but havn't ever gotten around to proposing

Skeletons archer melee -> peircing attack (shaft), not a major change but just something to increase the retaliation that skeletons inflict on cavalry at day slightly. I don't think that it will be a major enough change to affect much anything else in any way significant.

Skeleton price ->14: Just something to help undead out some. I don't imagine skeletons are going to become incredibly common because of it as they are still fairly easilly countered. For a long time I've never really felt they justified costing more than spearmen or elvish fighters in terms of what they contribute to the faction and how hard they are to deal with.
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Re: Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

Post by Kolbur » December 14th, 2010, 2:53 pm

Mabuse wrote:
Cackfiend wrote:It is suppose to be a scout unit with melee capability but is actually a Melee unit with scouting capability.
who says that scout always need to be weak ?

i always thought that its great for the loys to have a melee cavalry.
really that was one of the big pros of the loyalists, that their scouts werent just scouts, instead battle units.

also, loys are pretty slow(weak movement type), that they have a fast melee unit is a slight compensation for that (though in no way very dodgy or something).


in diff terrain 4 mov dwarves are way faster than 5 mov loys, same goes with orcs with hils, elves with woods - so in the end basically all factions (except undead) are faster than loys, if you make this unit useless the loys will suffer a great loss
I for one would say it.
Of course it's cool that Loyalists have all those nice cavalry units but the topic here is not style but balance. If you have a scout unit (with 8 mp) that has superior fighting ability to a standard fighter unit (spearman) in many occasions why would you need slower melee units at all? Because high mobility is so powerful in it's own right giving scout units good resistances and solid damage makes that unit overpowered. It could be more costly to compensate for it but that would have other undesireable consequences e.g for village grabbing.

I definitely support the suggestion to reduce the cavalry resistances. With 20% blade and 30% impact they would still be pretty good. I would even argue to reduce the cold resistance to 10% too since it is my impression that loyalists have a slight edge over Drakes and Undead but that may be balance overkill.
I am against any ideas to lower the movement points to 7 or make them more expensive. Imo all factions need an affordable 8 mp scout and the horseman definitely doesn't fit this role.

Generally Loyalists are the most powerful faction in my opinion. They have a huge recruit list with powerful and efficient units with lots of nice special abilities, no special weakness other than maybe ToD but lawfulness for all units is more like an advantage. The can easily take a small debuff.


Dwarves: While I believe they could get a little powerup I'm not sure if this is the right way. The faction is pretty low tier BUT they totally own Undead. Giving them better resilience vs poison would make it even worse... I am aware that footpads already get weaker because of this reason but we don't want to steal the thunder from that change right away, do we? ;)

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Re: Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

Post by Cackfiend » December 14th, 2010, 5:18 pm

Mabuse wrote:
Cackfiend wrote:It is suppose to be a scout unit with melee capability but is actually a Melee unit with scouting capability.
in diff terrain 4 mov dwarves are way faster than 5 mov loys, same goes with orcs with hils, elves with woods - so in the end basically all factions (except undead) are faster than loys, if you make this unit useless the loys will suffer a great loss
Really? lowering Cav's resistance to 30/20 instead of 40/30 would make it USELESS? Surely you're overreacting to the slight nerf im suggesting.

Also, I am sorry to say that I completely disagree with you that loyalist is a slow race.
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Re: Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

Post by Doc Paterson » December 14th, 2010, 5:20 pm

So much to respond to, so I'll try to make this brief. Yes, the Cav is a little too good. People should be aware though that if the movement was lowered to 7, I'd have to change all of the maps (unless we want to force them to use Horsemen as scouts, which would be bad). :P Agreed that the 9-3 strong ones are part of the problem...I've started thinking of these guys as "riders with lightsabers."

My fix would be: melee to 5-3, and HP-2.

About dwarves, I think that some people above (not all) really overstated things, *but*- a +1 gold for the assassin might be good. I don't know about this whole tweak to healthy idea. Do we really want the matchup to be so heavily influenced by what is a coin flip every recruit? Like "Oh man, you killed me because you got so many healthies," or, "I had no chance because I got only one healthy." Because they are often slower to reach their own attacking army, they don't really get mass recruited, which keeps sample size down, and makes this sort of coin-toss luck a lot more significant. I don't think a +1g for the assassin would affect the other matchups much. Ulfs don't really do the trick against assassins because of how good Grunt spam is. So easy to guard the assassin, and when the Ulf does get to kill it, at least one of those many Grunts will probably get to him and cause a net gold loss (I'm not saying that the Ulf can't be guarded as well, just that it's harder due to your lower number of units, and that a Grunt will get him sooner or later).
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Re: Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

Post by Cackfiend » December 14th, 2010, 5:22 pm

Huumy wrote: In general I personally like when I get healthy trait, it's hard to notice but the dwarfs that are already hard to kill on good defense getting extra 1 HP and +2rege every turn don't seem much. But in wesnoth where the HP of units are kinda small that has good chance in longer fight making the difference of 1 or 2 attacks more required to kill the dwarf. Also when you have chance to retreat after even exhange with opponent, healthy trait helps you to heal units.
So in my opinion healthy is good trait atm, not as good as strong or quick for dwarves, but most of the time better than intelligent or resilient. So I'm personally happy with the trait as it is, tho I don't see poison being that big of factor, so making it also reduce poison damage it would just make the trait almost as good as strong or quick. Btw, dwarves are most likely my worst faction (I play random) so I'm not THE expert on this.

Orc spamming assassins vs Dwarves. I never played vs any1 spamming assassins, tho "spamming" is kinda vague word. So maybe you could send replay of this being succesful in balanced map and top players can discuss about the game, was it the assassin spamming or something else cause for orcs victory.
I am not trying to get the healthy trait removed (although I would love to honestly) but just trying to either get it buffed or makes all dwarves resistant to poison.

As someone that rarely plays Orcs OR Dwarves I can only think of one recent game I had vs Rigor... maybe i'll post it.
Huumy wrote:
Cackfiend wrote:EDIT:
I forgot to mention the Trapper leader for dwarves needs to be removed from the random pool of leaders for the dwarf faction. It is by far the worst leader that someone going Random can get.
It's the one of 2 ranged dwarf leaders, other one being thunderer. This one is chaotic so it has good ranged damage during night. Also it has good defenses on swamp and forest. So I would say it's bit different. In many situations worse, in some situations as good as, and in few situations way better than rest of the dwarf leaders. So I would say keep it in the random pool.

My 5 cents :)
Consider this... a lv 1 Poacher is very easy to level and is one of the best things about the unit. So when you random a Trapper leader you're getting a cheap lv2 unit that is incredibly mediocre in all that it does.
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Re: Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

Post by Cackfiend » December 14th, 2010, 5:28 pm

Quetzalcoatl wrote: Most universal faction in game + overpowered units
I will surely agree with you that Loyalist is the most powerful faction and I believe other top ladder players would agree. IMO The only real weakness Loyalist have is they have zero units that level in 2 kills. Other than that, no flying units... but that is really only a big factor on Hornshark Island.
Quetzalcoatl wrote: Knalgans:
Seriously is there is any top player who enjoys playing knalgans (vs similarly skilled one) in 1v1 ;)
Enjoys? yes. Is their favorite? Not that I can think of...
Quetzalcoatl wrote: - change thief damage type to pierce (needed vs drakes and cavs - no serious impact in matches other than vs rebels (knalgans have probably advantage here anyway) but point 2 fixes that, and after all dagger is a pierce not slashing weapon)
This is a change I have thought of suggesting in the past but I do believe it is slashing strictly for balance reasons. TBH Thieves are actually very powerful backstabbers vs Drakes even as blade damage (and devastating vs saurians). Simply too many units in the game that a piercing damage thief would destroy.
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Re: Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

Post by Cackfiend » December 14th, 2010, 5:36 pm

The Black Sword wrote:I agree that some changes to cavalry would be good but I'd prefer changing something other than resistances which are fairly unique to the unit and give it some flavour. Besides decreasing blade or impact resist wouldn't do much IMO since it would still be a pretty bad idea to try take a cav out with those attacks. I'd be in favour of one of :
1. Reduce hp by a bit (hard for me to know exactly how much)
2. Reduce mp to 7 (heavier armour slows him down compared to horse?)
3. Reduce attacks to 5-3
The problem with reducing mp or dmg is theres a very small chance of that actually getting changed. I think what I suggested is only a small nerf that most could agree with and therefore has a good chance of happening. Reducing hps 2-4 would be nice if the resistance changes didnt come through. For a comparison lets look at all scout units hps:

Glider: 32hp
Scout: 32hps
Wolf: 32hps
Gryphon: 34 hps (and 24 GP!)
Cavalry: 38 hps

Lowering cav to 34 or 36 would be a nice balance step.
The Black Sword wrote: Btw, I probably consider dwarves to be the 2nd best faction after loyals. So I don't think they really need much changes but the dwarvish scout might be good as a wose counter, I'd try to price him so he wouldn't have much affect on other match-ups though.
Pretty surprised to hear you say that. IMO Dwarves are one of the worst factions if not THE worst faction and it is mostly due to their mobility issues. At a high level of 1v1 play its far too easy to outmaneuver a dwarf heavy army and this game is largely about Divide & Conquer.
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Re: Balance Ideas (Unit Changes)

Post by Velensk » December 14th, 2010, 5:50 pm

For the record, Knalgans are my favorite faction. I'm not a top ladder player (I stopped playing ladder shortly after I started) but if my word is any good I do not believe knalgans to be very strong or very weak (I'd probably rate them 4th). I will say that they are another faction that is especially hard to play against good players, you really do have to think ahead.

EDIT: Since we are talking about mainline balance for the moment, I do not think that the correct way to solve the Ud vs Kn problem is from the knalgan side by weakening the footpad. Solving it from the Ud side makes more sense to me.
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