Default+Dunefolk era balance

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Pentarctagon
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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by Pentarctagon » April 15th, 2018, 9:59 pm

Another replay here. Also another loss for me, but I think I'm getting better, at least.
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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by Computer_Player » May 10th, 2018, 3:04 pm

Ah so this is the official Dunefolk balance thread :D

I know I haven't been as active lately as I would have liked, but I would like to commend everyone for you guy's efforts in how far the Dunefolk have come.

I see there's been some stat changes for the Dunefolk (and made in time for the 1.14 release to boot! wow.) I'll try to get some replays here.

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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by Computer_Player » May 11th, 2018, 7:12 am

As promised here are some replays. Unfortunately, not too good quality, except perhaps the Clearing Gushes which is decent. They did let me have some preliminary feel on the new stats (and refresher from the wesbreak)

The fearless improvement is a game changer and I feel more confident in the loyal match up (but still not enough by a long shot IMO, the cost is prohibitive and what if you don't get fearless on your first recruit?). Potential problem in the knalgan play (does it restrict them to only the guardsman strat?). Rebels would have to fear the night even more now, but not so much that its too lopsided IMO.

I like the cold damage modification which puts more flavor in the undead match up. However I don't feel it helps balance the drake match better compared to a fire vulnerability but we will see (since augurs are very killable, even more now); I need more data to state anything more definitely.

Piercer has been buffed, however the core issue hasn't been addressed; that is, of there being no niche for it in the army as there are better and cheaper units for its role in any match up (even more now that Arif / Soldier has been buffed). Perhaps have it use Glaciers of Ice as its lance for Cold damage? Does that make sense for Dunefolk? Or maybe give them skirmisher + 1 g cost (in that they plow through enemy lines with brute force instead of nimbly dodging through lines of defense)

Rider nerf is good (could have also removed the hill 60%, but that's neither here or there)

Finally Falcon line still needs buff.

Thats it for now until I have more and better data

P.S. Just as I wouldn't trust some AI* with the military, I don't trust Wesnoth AI** to provide reliable data / replays for balancin
* Unless its the Wargames AI
** Unless it gains sentience, travels back in time to before the robot apocalypse in order to battle humans; cleverly masquerading as a dunefolk loving, genuine homo sapiens yet sardonically using the Wesnoth AI name to point to its true nature.
Attachments
2p — Clearing Gushes replay Dunefolk vs Rebels.gz
(21.35 KiB) Downloaded 32 times
2p — The Freelands replay Dunefollk vs Loyalists.gz
(11.67 KiB) Downloaded 32 times
2p — Weldyn Channel replay Dunefolk mirror.gz
(13.08 KiB) Downloaded 30 times

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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by Computer_Player » May 11th, 2018, 9:47 am

Sorry for triple posting but here's a new replay:

Knalgan vs Dunefolk.

I think in this match up, Dunefolk have great advantage in the mid game with soldier spam and healer. It remains to be seen if its imba (need more data, EoZ says you could use guardsman to guard vils but then it would always be a +30 turn campfest). I'm leaning on a 20% impact vulnerability for Soldier if it is proven imbalanced.

Speaking of which, I thought of a lore for the reason why Dunefolk live in the dunes, don't weild magic, and are vulnerable to impact and resistant to pierce!

It is because their armor is made of an alloy from a metal unique to their homeland. Khalcium sand (hehe see what I did there?) can be mined underneath the dunes of their homes and the deposits are one of the primary reasons why the various Dunefolk tribes war with each other. Khalcium has the peculiar property of being able to efficiently distribute localized force inside itself (hence pierce resist). However should the force be simultaneously applied in a wide area (i.e. impact) the redistribution causes the build up of force in the center of the area sometimes creating splinters / shrapnel. But what makes armor / clothes / buildings laced with it so ubiquitous with the Dunefolk is its ability to dissipate the desert heat extremely well (but making wearers vulnerable to cold based attacks); it is also a key metal used in the creation of naptha by the secretive Naptha Guilds, and the science of the Alchemy guilds.

What makes Khalcium truly precious though and why it is the one of the major trade exports of the Sandy Wastes (?) is its effect on the magical, capable of disrupting all manner of ethereal energies. This anti-magic effect of the metal is why it is very rare that a mage emerges from the Dunefolk; not for lack of skill, but rather their culture and technology is so permeated with it that the talent is seldom even discovered, much less cultivated. Eventually this evolved in the Dunefolk an active disdain and avoidance of magic, something they don't have much use for in their lives anyway.

So why is this relevant in the balance thread you ask? Well:

This combination of point force redistribution and anti-magic is harnessed by the elite cavalry of the Dunefolk people. Forging powerful alloy lances from the metal, those called Dune Pierces ravage the enemy lines with their famed Khalcified lances.

20-1 Arcane damage. (we adjust this based on Rebel and Undead balance, perhaps increase cold vulnerability to 30%, but at its cost I doubt its needed.)

We can nerf Naptha melee by 1 or 2 points to help balance the Rebel match up.

BOOM! Niche made!

P.P.P.S. This also has the nice effect of justifying liminal -> its the optimum temprature for khalcium thread woven clothing (i.e. the clothing expends its energies dissipating heat at day making it less flexible perhaps, and late at night the wearer is negatively afffected by the cold desert; the culture then revolved around this similar to the Spanish siesta) . Speaking of which, I quite like liminal in the Dunefolk, precisely because they play very differently than the other factions in terms of operational level gamestyle. Its not just another pseudo-loyals with gimmicks, but is closer to Drake in how radical its gamestyle is compared to the other factions (Drakes were misunderstood too when they first came out). It's just a matter of getting used to and making the gamestyle balanced and fun.
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2p — The Freelands replay Dunefolk vs Knalgan.gz
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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by Computer_Player » May 16th, 2018, 5:14 pm

Ok. Here's new replays, incomparable in quality to the ones before. I've been lucky in my games so far in that by this point I've managed to cover a faction / map per replay.

Dunefolk vs Northerners (the best one yet) ends predictably but key points of discussion
- This is one map where water control gives advantage (Krogen didn't capitalize on this too much, but a glimmer of it in the later part of replay)
- Krogen could have finished this faster by recruiting more trolls earlier. Trolls are just damned hard to kill (at day, with level 2 Marauder + 2 naffat, didn't manage to kill troll on hill with good RNG)
-Krogen consistently played better, but I had some good moments I think.

Balance suggestions: without touching mainline (14 g troll was suggested), an expansion:

Burner - 17 - 18 g (Melee : 5 - 2 Fire, Range 7 - 3 Fire)
Piercer - 19 - 20 g (Melee: 20 - 1 Arcane, 6 - 3 Impact)

This is to help damage per hex vs trolls ; balance Rebels so that you don't have to risk suicide everytime you Wose a Burner at day; give Piercer niche / playability ; stop UD match from being a Burner spam (now you have to get Piercer to help deal with archers more efficiently), stronger burner range = better guardsman killer (I feel we don't need to buff Dunefolk vs Knalgan tho) ?
Attachments
2p — Fallenstar Lake replay Dunefolk vs Northerners.gz
(49.47 KiB) Downloaded 31 times
Clearing Gushes replay Dunefolk vs orcs.gz
(15.69 KiB) Downloaded 35 times

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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by Krogen » May 16th, 2018, 10:57 pm

I support the suggestions above.
To anyone who thinks the arcane spear is too extreme and hard to explain in the lore: People talked about how they want the Dunefolk to become part of the main Default when it's finally balanced enough. If you want any chance for that to ever happen, well, then balance has to be the first concern all the time, above everything else. Otherwise that has zero chance.
These changes might fix the Northerner matchup, which is clearly imbalanced at moment. It should be tested to see.
But there is still that Loyalist matchup. We should play that too someday to see how bad it is.

Also idk if CP forgot it or just didn't think it's important, but here is a Drakes vs Dunefolk match we played a few days ago. I think it shows that there is no big problem with that matchup.
Dunefolk test game.gz
Drakes vs Dunefolk on Sablestone Delta
(39.67 KiB) Downloaded 32 times
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holius
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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by holius » May 22nd, 2018, 7:53 pm

The suggestions are very interesting, indeed. I spent some time crushing the AI with Dunefolk modified as proposed, and uploaded a modification addon on the 1.14 server for anyone interested. It's called Experimental Dunefolk Balance Mod.

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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by Computer_Player » May 23rd, 2018, 4:28 pm

OK! Thanks holius!

Here's some replays, including those of Experimental Dunefolk (XDunefolk)

The small Dunefolk vs Undead file shows dunefolk problem with water areas (again :P), but otherwise, its a non-standard map.

With regards to XDunefolk, it does indeed give better incentive to get piercer, and it can be a useful entrenched troll killer, but not efficient enough perhaps, need more testing, but its better than the current state. One problem tho, as expected its too powerful in the undead match up; so a nerf of 2 pts. in its arcane damage might be reasonable. Another is to increase troll arcane vulnerability to 20% / increase its cost to 14 g.

Ofcourse these changes don't really affect loyalist match up much.

It was proposed to turn Dune Soldier into a neutral unit (for more reliable night dmg); and reduce its cost by 1. (check Rebel and Knalgan match up)
Another is to increase Rover pierce resist to 20% whilst reducing its blade resist to 0%. (check Northerner and Rebel match up)

Its hoped that together might be enough to balance the spearman problem. What do you guys think?
Attachments
2p — Sablestone Delta replay XDunfolk vs Undead.gz
(25.34 KiB) Downloaded 20 times
2p — Ruphus Isle replay XDunefolk vs Orcs .gz
(14.92 KiB) Downloaded 22 times
Uživatelská mapa replay Dunefolk vs Undead .gz
(22.42 KiB) Downloaded 18 times
2p — Fallenstar Lake replay Dunefolk vs Northerners.gz
(49.47 KiB) Downloaded 19 times

gamerkhang
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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by gamerkhang » June 2nd, 2018, 1:43 am

Forgive my ignorance if this has been explained previously, but from the games I have played, I don't understand what the real weaknesses of Dunefolk are supposed to be. From my perspective:

Pros
-high mobility
-resists for most relevant weapons (including magic damage)- this is the biggest offender since not many races have impact weapons on good bodies
-average terrain defenses (compared to something like dwarves)
-high hp
-variety of strong weapons (marksman blade with high attack, bow/blade with high attack count and decent damage)
-two (short) bonus attack phases
-magic (note that this is basically nonexistent for dwarves/northerners)

Cons
-Are they actually expensive??

I don't want to come off as salty, I really just don't have the knowledge of how they are yet. But they still seem like they have above average stats for everything right now.

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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » June 2nd, 2018, 3:03 am

Just for the record, although I am more or less following this thread, it would be great if someone could at some point gather any balance proposals into one place so that the dev team doesn't have to search through the whole latter half of the thread whenever they get around to implementing the changes on master.
Author of The Black Cross of Aleron campaign and Default++ era.
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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by Pentarctagon » June 2nd, 2018, 5:21 am

gamerkhang wrote:
June 2nd, 2018, 1:43 am
Forgive my ignorance if this has been explained previously, but from the games I have played, I don't understand what the real weaknesses of Dunefolk are supposed to be. From my perspective:

Pros
-high mobility
-resists for most relevant weapons (including magic damage)- this is the biggest offender since not many races have impact weapons on good bodies
-average terrain defenses (compared to something like dwarves)
-high hp
-variety of strong weapons (marksman blade with high attack, bow/blade with high attack count and decent damage)
-two (short) bonus attack phases
-magic (note that this is basically nonexistent for dwarves/northerners)

Cons
-Are they actually expensive??

I don't want to come off as salty, I really just don't have the knowledge of how they are yet. But they still seem like they have above average stats for everything right now.
My understanding, at least, is that they have higher than normal stats due to some units having the liminal alignment.
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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by Computer_Player » June 3rd, 2018, 12:47 am

Here are the proposed balance changes in this thread as of last edit. I will be editing this sporadically as the discussion continues. Italics are implemented in experimental mod (units are named X[unit])

Change Liminal to Chaotic
Poison on Herbalist
Split Liminal to Dawn Liminal (+25% for Second Watch, Dawn, Morning; -25% for Afternoon, Dusk, First Watch) and Dusk Liminal (-25% for Second Watch, Dawn, Morning; +25% for Afternoon, Dusk, First Watch)
Reduce unit stats and change Liminal to Bonus instead of Malus
Make all units Liminal
Cold damage for Piercer Lance
Skirmisher for Piercer + 1 g cost
Falcon buff
20% impact vulnerability to Soldier
XPiercer is 20 g (Melee: 20 - 1 Arcane, 6 - 3 Impact)
XBurner is 18 g (Melee : 5 - 2 Fire, Range 7 - 3 Fire)
Soldier to neutral and -1 g cost
Rover pierce resist to 20% and blade resist to 0%
Rider +1 mp and only 50% on hills
Falcon marksman on charge attack and +10% pierce resist.
+10% on Dune Skirmisher terrain defense (capping on 60%, hence its not elusive foot level)
Last edited by Computer_Player on June 3rd, 2018, 2:09 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by Computer_Player » June 3rd, 2018, 1:17 am

gamerkhang wrote:
June 2nd, 2018, 1:43 am
Forgive my ignorance if this has been explained previously, but from the games I have played, I don't understand what the real weaknesses of Dunefolk are supposed to be. From my perspective:

Pros
-high mobility
-resists for most relevant weapons (including magic damage)- this is the biggest offender since not many races have impact weapons on good bodies
-average terrain defenses (compared to something like dwarves)
-high hp
-variety of strong weapons (marksman blade with high attack, bow/blade with high attack count and decent damage)
-two (short) bonus attack phases
-magic (note that this is basically nonexistent for dwarves/northerners)

Cons
-Are they actually expensive??

I don't want to come off as salty, I really just don't have the knowledge of how they are yet. But they still seem like they have above average stats for everything right now.
I think the recent mainline changes don't change dunefolk gameplay much in the relevant areas, so aside from playing games (hit me up anytime you see me in the lobby if you want a dunefolk test game), I'm going to link you to these threads for some analysis on them:
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=45930&p=612184&hili ... te#p612184
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=43612&hilit=Khalifate

Of the proposed changes and based on my games/ replays I propose the following:

XFalcon charge attack have marksman (this is to make it actually useful in combat (its 12 g afterall) / increase water control somewhat)
XSoldier have neutral alignment and -1 g, (this is towards loyal match up)
XPiercer have -2 pts arcane damage so it can't just one hit skels at day (HI can 2 hit at day tho, so I need more opinions on this)
XHerbalist have 4 - 2 ranged poison damage to test poison.
Attachments
The Freelands replay Dunefolk vs Knalga.gz
(28.05 KiB) Downloaded 22 times

Meeky
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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by Meeky » June 3rd, 2018, 1:43 pm

One thing I'd like to say is that it feels to me that the Dunefolk, despite having a generally mobile force, may actually have problems on larger maps.

Consider the following: the fastest Dunefolk scout units are the Falcon (which loses vs. any other faction's scouts) and the Rider. The Rider has 7 MP, the Falcon 8. The Falcon looks like it ought to be a solid village taker, but if it encounters another village grabber will probably die a horrible death.

Moreover, the cavalry of other factions move faster than Dunefolk cavalry. Elvish Scouts have 9 MP. Gryphon Riders have 8 MP. The Horseman and Cavalryman both have 8 MP. Wolf Riders have 8 MP. Gliders have 8 MP. Bats? 8 MP. All these units will scout just as well as the Falcons while being more cost-effective. They'll grab hold the villages they grab with more ease.

I noticed this after idly playing on a random map - versus the AI, mind you, who don't generally give me trouble - to test out if Drakes fare any better against the Dunefolk on a desert map. Besides revealing to me how dangerous Saurians of all kinds can be vs. the Dunefolk, this also showed me how quickly the Saurian Skirmishers and Drake Gliders were able to take roughly 60%-65% of the villages on the map before I could even start fighting them. That gold advantage wound up being very dangerous.

The above incident also really drove home the flimsiness of the Falcons. Since it was a larger 1v1 random map (a desert, at that), I'd created a couple falcons to grab villages early. They never got a chance to put up a fight. Saurian Skirmishers and Drake Gliders ate them alive. For their price, they really are not cost-effective even for use finishing off enemies, especially since other Dunefolk units benefit so much more from level ups (such as Rovers > Explorers). Falcons need a buff. Badly.

On that note, I can't help but feel like the Explorer is the far better upgrade for the Rovers. Their skirmisher alternative is interesting, but I found it a little surprising that unlike other skirmishers theirs did NOT have good baseline defense. I could see a few situations where I'd take that upgrade, but really, I feel like the Explorer is just so much better. Perhaps a 10% increase in base defense for the Skirmisher upgrade line, capping at 60% defense (its defense value for village/castle/mountains)?

Finally, I definitely agree with all the cries of getting rid of the liminal alignment. Either make the Liminal units Neutral or make them Chaotic. Adjust their stats accordingly.

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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by Computer_Player » June 3rd, 2018, 2:03 pm

I feel that could easily be solved by giving Riders +1 mp (maybe make hill defense 50% to compensate a bit).

Ofcourse then there would be even less incentive to get falcons, perhaps you could also give them a +10% pierce resist as well (aside from marksman on charge).

I think liminal is integral to the faction and is the primary reason why it plays differently than all the other factions (even ageless stuff). It's part of what makes it The Dunefolk faction. If we're going to change their alignment, might as well put something like Aragwraithi there. At anyrate, I have not lost hope in balancing liminal. We have made tremendous progress people! Don't forget that, especially taking into account the literal years of no progress with the faction. :)

P.S. Meeky can you post a replay / save file of that game? if you still have it that is.
Last edited by Computer_Player on June 3rd, 2018, 2:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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