Factional balance - thematic and desirable?

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Rhuvaen
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Factional balance - thematic and desirable?

Post by Rhuvaen » August 27th, 2004, 11:44 am

Having tried all the factions in multiplayer and in scenarios where easily available, I have to say I'm impressed with the overall level of balance and subtleties involved in recruiting and teaming up different units. Each seems to have their purpose even it's just to create a cheap ZOC when backing up and delaying advancing units.

I see some issues with factional (or racial?) balance which of course mostly concerns multiplayer. Other people have commented on this already, but I hope to point out an angle that hasn't been discussed so far...

There are several factions in the game that have common weaknesses or uniform strengths to (practically) all their unit types. This reduces the level of strategy in picking units to recruit and will make the outcome of multiplayer games mostly dependent on the rock-paper-scissors matching of factions. I think such elements should be reduced to a minimum, and only applied where they have a specific thematic purpose. The uniform weaknesses give a faction a special flavour after all. Currently though, I think we see this in three factions and this is too much...

1. Undead: I think this is a faction where the uniform weakness works very well with the theme and feel of the undead. After all, they are so unnatural that they should have very peculiar strengths and very dire weaknesses. I would like to see negative impact resistance applied mostly to skeletons and the dark adepts however, and not to all units.

2. Dwarves: I'm not saying Knalgans here because I mean the dwarvish units, not the outlaws (which help to offset some of the dwarvish weaknesses). What do I mean by dwarvish weaknesses? Of course they are highly resistant to most attacks. But all their units are terribly slow. That would be okay, but their advantages don't really weigh this up. They defend worse than most in villages and some common terrains, and nobody in their right mind is going to fight them in the mountains - so I'm not sure if this is a very interesting advantage to have. Almost all other units in the game move so slowly in mountains that it's better for them to walk around those, limiting the number of battles that take place in mountains. Consequently, if you force Elves to move into the mountains where they can be forced into battle by the dwarves, it's not an interesting situation either. This extreme terrain-basedness isn't really interesting, but rather limits the available strategies. (what IS interesting is their special units etc)

3. Drakes: they all share their common weaknesses AND fire ability (well for most units). The fighting units also aren't that distinctive. There is really very little a player can do to change his strategy by choosing different unit types. This practically leads to one-sided unit tactics from to the opposition, and those factions that can recruit units utilising cold will be much more effective. Worst of all, this is coupled with a versatility in attacks that is unmatched in any other faction. All fighting units have ranged capability of the extremely useful fire type, in addition to their melee strenghts. I know that Drakes lack defense and that this outweighs these advantages in terms of power, but these uniform benefits just make the faction boring to play and eliminate careful choice of unit types (besides the somewhat less attractive animations and sounds than other races).

I read that Drakes are still in development, but maybe they needn't be included in multiplayer, or at least players be given a possibility to exclude factions from random choice.

I think a race of fire-worshipping, sand-dwelling dervishes/nomads would suit the game better and could have some similar tactical abilities as the drakes have now.

Rhuvaen

p.s. note that while I use the word factions what I really mean is racial unit groups that are the logical base for factions.

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Post by miyo » August 27th, 2004, 12:08 pm

mountainfoot (Dwarves, Giant Spider) movements costs has been changed (this will be in next version):

http://savannah.gnu.org/cgi-bin/viewcvs ... xt&r2=text

- Miyo

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Post by turin » August 27th, 2004, 12:34 pm

1) dark adept is not undead, so i think it would be wierd if it was weak to impact... give it normal human resistances. Other than that, i agree with what you said about impact resistance.

2) ^ Miyo ^

3) Neoriceisgood is drastically changing the drakes, getting rid of the fighter and mage, and redrawing them all. Hopefully it will be more balanced later. Until then... why not get them out of MP? All they do is cause problems because they make people want to balance them when it is not near their final version.

I think anything that has references to religion wouldn't fit the game well, and since the game WAS mostly european until the drakes and lizards came in, i don't think something that exotic would work well.
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Post by Boucman » August 27th, 2004, 4:39 pm

About the drakes...

I think one of the problem is that the fire type of damage is too powerful...

originally, fire was a very rare damage type (on the top of my head, I think only kalenz had it) so having units very weak to fire was not a big deal....

with the introduction of drakes, fire has to be considered on par with slash, pierce etc... blancewise, and this has not been done...

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Post by Invisible Philosopher » August 27th, 2004, 5:16 pm

Boucman wrote:About the drakes...

I think one of the problem is that the fire type of damage is too powerful...

originally, fire was a very rare damage type (on the top of my head, I think only kalenz had it) so having units very weak to fire was not a big deal....
Mages have fire, too, and they've been there a long time.
Boucman wrote:with the introduction of drakes, fire has to be considered on par with slash, pierce etc... blancewise, and this has not been done...
In campaigns, the campaign designer chooses everything and balances it appropriately, so there's no problem.

In multiplayer, what has fire weakness?
Woses (-50%). Rebels have plenty of alternatives, though, especially Elvish Archers, which use pierce, which drakes are weak to. Elvish Fighters and Elvish Scouts also have bows that do pierce damage, and Mermen have piercing tridents.
Undead (-20%). But undead have cold, which drakes are weak to, so drakes and undead are balanced against each other, no problem there. Undead also in multiplayer have Dark Adepts, which aren't weak to fire and use cold damage.
(EDIT) Heavy Infantry, Generals, and Saurians (-10%). There are plenty of other recruitment choices, and that's a really small weakness, not very significant.

Nothing else. I don't see a problem.
Last edited by Invisible Philosopher on August 27th, 2004, 7:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Elvish_Pillager » August 27th, 2004, 6:55 pm

Invisible Philosopher wrote:Nothing else.
Well, theoretically Arch Mages, Great Mages, and Silver Mages, but no.
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Post by Invisible Philosopher » August 27th, 2004, 6:58 pm

Elvish Pillager wrote:
Invisible Philosopher wrote:Nothing else.
Well, theoretically Arch Mages, Great Mages, and Silver Mages, but no.
They don't have weakness to fire!
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Post by Neoriceisgood » August 27th, 2004, 6:59 pm

Heavy infantry-line has weaknesses, and the mudcrawlers.

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Post by Elvish_Pillager » August 27th, 2004, 7:00 pm

Neoriceisgood wrote:mudcrawlers.
Those aren't in multiplayer!
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Post by Neoriceisgood » August 27th, 2004, 7:48 pm

Oh right =), skirmisher.

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Post by Dacyn » August 27th, 2004, 9:29 pm

Invisible Philosopher wrote:Heavy Infantry, Generals, and Saurians (-10%). There are plenty of other recruitment choices, and that's a really small weakness, not very significant.
Well, it actually is rather significant when compared to their other high resistances... but as you said there are other recruitment choices.

However I still don't think fire should be a standard damage type... it's supposed to be "magical" right?

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Post by turin » August 27th, 2004, 9:33 pm

Why should drakes breath fire at all? I think maybe only the Burners should breath fire. Its too powerful having a mostly melee based unit have a ranged attack too. Elves get worse damage and worse resistances (comp. to drakes) to make up for it, and the elvish fighter's ranged is not as good as the drake fighter.
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Post by Elvish_Pillager » August 27th, 2004, 9:34 pm

turin wrote:Elves get worse damage and worse resistances (comp. to drakes) to make up for it, and the elvish fighter's ranged is not as good as the drake fighter.
And cost about half as much.
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Post by turin » August 27th, 2004, 9:39 pm

Elvish Pillager wrote:
turin wrote:Elves get worse damage and worse resistances (comp. to drakes) to make up for it, and the elvish fighter's ranged is not as good as the drake fighter.
And cost about half as much.
doesn't matter when you give the AI more gold to compensate, which is what senario designers do. ;)
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Post by Invisible Philosopher » August 27th, 2004, 9:49 pm

turin wrote:Why should drakes breath fire at all? I think maybe only the Burners should breath fire. Its too powerful having a mostly melee based unit have a ranged attack too. Elves get worse damage and worse resistances (comp. to drakes) to make up for it, and the elvish fighter's ranged is not as good as the drake fighter.
Drakes are costly too - drakes can be balanced. Consider it a mixed melee/ranged unit anyway, since both attacks are significant, if you think a "mostly melee based unit" shouldn't have such a powerful ranged attack. To find out the power of a unit compared to another, I add up the maximum damage all its attacks can do (of course, all the other stats matter too, but I'm talking about attacks here). So the Drake Fighter would get 40, and the Elvish Fighter 29 (although it might get the strong trait, and drakes don't have traits). Then divide:
Drake Fighter: 40 / 21 = 1.9 damage per gold
Elvish Fighter: 29 / 14 = 2.07 damage per gold

Anyway, the drakes are being reworked, so we'll see how they are afterwards.

turin wrote:
Elvish Pillager wrote:And cost about half as much.
doesn't matter when you give the AI more gold to compensate, which is what senario designers do. ;)
I wrote:In campaigns, the campaign designer chooses everything and balances it appropriately, so there's no problem.
Well, hopefully they balance it appropriately :D ( :roll: if they don't )
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