Dunefolk Rework - Design Flaws & Match-Ups

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ghype
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Dunefolk Rework - Design Flaws & Match-Ups

Post by ghype » March 25th, 2019, 8:31 pm

Here we combined the topics of Dunefolk's general design flaws and their problems on certain match-ups which are the key causes of the Dunefolk currently being unbalanced. The important topic here is Dunefolk's design flaw, but you are welcome to also comments on the problems regarding their match ups.


Design Flaws

Alignment:
  • The combination of liminal units and lawful units, coupled with the design choices in the faction essentially means that no matter the changes that could be introduced, except creating a new faction from the start that would be more similar to one of the default factions, the DF cannot be as balanced as the other default factions. In short the reason is lack of counter play against mainly the Loyalists, but the difference is not that big. This means that DF can be close, but it will never be as well balanced as the other default factions.

Low Damage:
  • It appears impossible to balance Dunefolk as well as the other 6 default factions without significantly changing its faction concept and making it similar to one of the original 6 factions.
    We have tried to avoid making the faction similar to the others in mainline and so much of its design has had to be changed. A key issue is the Dunefolk unit's generally have low damage output, especially for how much they cost. For example the unit that deals the most damage with an attack – Soldier, costs 18 and deals the most damage only because of marksman, which is useless when fighting units on low defense. The result is that killing units becomes harder, especially when defending and fighting units on low defense.


Marksman:
  • Marksman is both thematically wrong for melee and imbalanced and inappropriate for the DF Soldier. The detailed explanation is quite long but in short - it is very situational and it is useless when fighting units on low defense, unlike magic. This renders it overall unreliable in many matchups causing an issue for DF balancing.

  • Units with marksman sacrifice strength of their attack for ability to hit more often leaving them vulnerable Vs units with low defence, and high resistances or hp, and also vulnerable fighting units on flat and bad terrain. Core unit should be able to perform well in every circumstances but instead marksman makes this unit more of a specialist (this is part of the reason DF is so unbalanced against Trolls and Woses).
    more about


    Elusive Foot:
    There are no level 1 units with physical damage (blade,pierce,impact) and marksman in default and that is because of the fact that it counters all elusivefoot units.
    There is a glider with marksman but it deals weak fire damage not physical damage (blade, pierce, impact) which affects elusive units most. Level 2 units with marksman are not an issue alright since you can’t recruit them. Melee marksman would be worse than ranged marksman but neither is a very good idea for a level 1 unit. Therefore, the questions arise: Should any unit have physical damage melee marksman in the default faction? How could such a unit be balanced? And would it not be better to have such a key DF unit without marksman?


    Lack Of Consistency:
    There are inherent problems with marksman and they aren’t that obvious. The thing is that it’s a weird special compared to the other ones as it breaks more rules than them.


    Compared to magical, magical has 70% hit chance which means that in practice in vast majority of cases it will have a higher chance to hit than an attack without any specials, and it’s the only rule it follows, 70%, all the time, while marksman:
    • 60% chance to hit only vs units with good defence (50% +)
    • No effect vs. units with bad defences
    • No effect when the marksman unit is defending
    So these are the 3 rules it follows, it becomes clear that it is significantly weaker than magical and also much less consistent. So why does it matter? The strength of magical is pretty consistent, a unit with magical will deal a lot of damage compared to a unit without it, almost always more and it deals more damage the higher the defense of the attacked unit. And it is consistent, it’s a special meant to deal damage, it’s easy to just give it to a squishy mage, make the attack deal a lot of damage and you have a strong attacking unit. Meanwhile marksman will be effective or not depending on the units it is used against and to a lesser extent on which side is attacking, but even vs units with high defense it will be less effective than magical. So there are way more units and cases where it does nothing, and when it does something it does comparatively little, and it hard counters a certain class of units. It becomes very hard to create a damage dealing unit with marksman and balance it, pretty much if the opponent choses to he can render it useless by just choosing to fight on 40% or lower. It seems to be the most situational out of all the specials.




    Low Damage:
    The problem is aggravated by low damage attack like in the case of Dunefolk Soldier and by melee attack.
    First let’s imagine a lvl 1 recruitable unit with ranged marksman, and it’s supposed to be a damage dealer and not a scout like glider. How would you price it? It will have to cost more for the same stats as the unit without marksman, but by how much? Sometimes it will be as strong as a unit without the special, after all, all it takes is for the enemy to choose to fight on flat. Sometimes vs 60% village units it will be worth say 1g more, vs. elusivefoot say 2 g more, and will it still deal enough damage vs 60% to be a good damage dealer? Soldier with 9-2 doesn’t deal enough in many cases, it’s not reliable.

    Alright, so say the unit will have say 11-2 melee marksman, that should be enough, but still you can’t reliably price it, there are too many variables and it literally requires a form of cooperation from the enemy to be effective. And also it depends a lot on the matchup, especially since we assume the damage has to be physical, dwarves or trolls will perform better vs it. Such a damage dealer will be alright verses some factions and overpowered verses other, or alright and underpowered, very hard or impossible to balance.

    So at this point it becomes clear that just giving the unit magical would be much better, so what is the point of marksman then?

    We said that making the attack melee makes it worse and the reason for that is the fact that melee is the dominant attack range in the era.
It means that the unit would have to be stronger since it would take retaliation attacking most units, so say a hypothetical unit with 11-2 melee marksman (that was one of the ideas to change Soldier) becomes even harder to balance, if it has high HP then it will cost a lot which doesn’t work next to other DF expensive units, and it still will take retaliation and it will be a good unit only rarely when it can use marksman.
If it has little hp and costs less than it takes huge retal and has questionable cost-effectiveness all the same.
If it instead has lower damage, i.e. It has the stats of the current Soldier then it can’t kill units, deals too little damage.




    Overall Weakness:
    It should be stressed how weak marksman is even if it does work. On average a unit with 9-2 marksman vs 60% defense will deal only 1 more damage per attack than a unit with 11-2 attack and no marksman, which is another reason why Soldier got its marksman removed besides it being impossible to balance.



    Since marksman is so weak if we introduced another unit with a better melee damage but no marksman to Dunefolk, then the higher damage unit would be simply better than the marksman one due to it being way more consistent. And the Dunefolk needs such a unit to be able to fight units on flat so we chose to turn Soldier into an “advanced grunt”.

    There are good reasons why nobody decided to create a marksman damage dealing lvl 1 unit in default. It’s too finicky and inconsistent to work.

Armour:
  • The 10% blade -10% impact resistances on some of the DF units essentially make the faction counter all the units dealing blade damage, and make it vulnerable to all the units dealing impact damage, eg like trolls. All this does is cause many matchup issues, with such resistances across the entire faction. This makes the DF units stronger in some matchups and weaker in others, essentially making balancing impossible.
    more about

    Overall, the 10% blade (and in some versions 10% pierce) and -10% impact Dunefolk armor concept doesn’t make any sense. It is not a useful concept or one that makes the units more fun – all it does is making a lot of units in the faction weaker to impact, which basically counters the entire faction and makes Dunefolk counter units using blade damage like grunts and Elf fighters for no reason whatsoever. Moreover, the Loyalists powerful pierce damage types mean that the resistances are mostly ineffective in the matchup in which the DF struggle most. Note, however, that the Soldier’s resistances are acceptable because of their thematic portrayal of armor and balance against other factions.
  • Furthermore, this armour set up sometimes creates confusing interpretations regarding the visual appearance of some units. Some units look unarmored but still have some positive resistances.
    This problem has been discussed numerous times already and there is no need to explain this further. We however decided to find a solution without changing the core idea (though it would have been much easier if we would have normalised them). We changed some aspects regarding the armour more, some less - these will be elaborated in later sections.

Liminal:
  • This is a complex problem but in short – the alignment could be replaced with neutral and the liminal units would work just as well or better, it is essentially a pointless alignment. Having units with 4 out 6 times in a turn -25% was just counter-intuitive. With the coming 1.15 release this will be changed for the better. Liminal units will now be +25% 2 times a turn and the remaining 4 times they remain neutral. Most of our initial discussions where mostly about whether we want to keep liminal or remove it completely. Since most players prefer having a fully balanced mainline faction over a non-balanced mainline faction - removing liminal would have made the most sense. We have, however, decided to approach the balancing with the new alignment and are with our results. The key point to note is that the new unit stats have ALL been reduced to compensate for the now 25% higher damage at all times of day. Please note this does not reflect an actual change in stats and all the DF units hit the same despite the reduction.

    more about
    Note this passage was written regarding Liminal 1.14 (ToD: -25/-25/0/-25/-25/0) and not the coming 1.15 (0/0/+25/0/0/+25) which the rest of our suggestions will be based on. The core ideas of the more detailed comment apply to both versions.


    Liminal in all its forms has been conceptually very similar to neutral. Liminal units get two turns of weak bonus and all the other turns they can be fighting they are effectively neutral, and in practice even the turn of bonus they get is usually barely useful.
    • The bonus (whether a true bonus or a lack of negative penalty) is small compared to the bonus lawful or chaotic units get, even if it does become +25%. In the liminal alignment units get a bonus on dawn and evening. Because it goes from malus to bonus in a single turn the bonus is in fact smaller than chaotic/lawful, despite looking the same. The difference between turns with bonus and without the bonus for Liminal is only 25%, while the Lawful/Chaotic ToD bonus shifts 50% from good ToD to bad ToD.
    • Furthermore, because it is not 2 consecutive turns of bonus, as Lawful or Chaotic units receive, the bonus is even weaker because of the lack of time to effectively act during your bonus. In comparison liminal gets more bonus in a time of day cycle than a normal alignment. But the problem is that the bonus is not in consecutive turns so using the bonus to attack is not practical since you get only 1 turn of bonus and it’s weaker than the lawful/chaotic bonus. Even if the liminal was something crazy like +25% evening/dawn and -25% all the other turns (which would actually give an incentive to act), it still wouldn’t be possible to effectively attack with a liminal unit because of the turns required to get off your good defence terrain and attack the enemy and then the time required to fall back. Such a unit would, in fact, be even harder to balance.
    Because of this the liminal units will always be support units, they are condemned to support lawful/chaotic units since they can’t attack on their own and deal enough damage, at best they will be able to attack at dawn/dusk before the unit that they support gets a bonus and poke at units all the other turns.
    However, in practice liminal is actually even less effective because of the way it works with and against other faction’s alignments.
    • Liminal units damage output is inevitably small because more often than not will be attacking entrenched units on good defense in the turn before their bonus (since it doesn’t make sense to expose units putting them on low defense in the turn before the enemy bonus). Moreover, when fighting against Lawful or Chaotic units they will only be able to effectively utilize one of their two bonus ToD’s (Dawn or Dusk) because the other time will be right before the enemy’s bonus (for example: fighting in Dusk against Chaotic units ensures that you will receive massive damage as soon the first watch comes). This effectively means that you must retreat your liminal units during their bonus turn and really only have 1 bonus ToD.
    • Liminal’s bonus is also very hard to coordinate with Lawful units in their faction. Because of their supporting role previously mentioned, Liminal units frequently find themselves forced to fight alongside the Lawful units of the faction. Because the Liminal unit’s bonus only coincides with one turn of the Lawful units (during Dawn) the DF faction is forced to continually fight with half their units in non-bonus ToD.
    But we cannot forget that the unit stats are even more important than the alignment. The three Dunefolk units that are liminal are rider, rover, herbalist are all support units. The rider is now a full scout unit, rover is a hybrid, and the herbalist is a healer, they aren’t meant to deal damage in any circumstance anyway.
    • Overall if the DF faction was designed with non-support Liminal units (such as a fighter or archer) or it was an all Liminal faction then there could be strategy and value gained from the Liminal alignment. These units then could work together and the bonus would actually be useful because the units goal would be to attack the enemy.
    • However, even if these units were neutral they would still be used in the same way – rider would be a scout, rover would be a meatshield/village holder, and herbalist would still be a healer that doesn’t attack. And as neutral they would fulfil their roles better. They would be slightly better at defending because there stats would be compensated for the lack of a bonus and they would be much easier to coordinate with and against opposing factions.
    • But even if changing these units to neutral didn’t change anything in balance, at the very least it would make using them more intuitive and less of a noob trap for the new players.


Match-Ups

Note: Following match-ups discusses situations before the rework

Overall Issues:
Previously we discussed the problems in design of the faction. This section considers the fundamental issues in matchups which make it currently very unbalanced. Only the current issues are mentioned for the general information and to help you understand the primary issues which we have had to solve in our rebalancing of the faction. No changes in DF are considered in this section but can be found in the next post.

Note: Here is a thread Computer_Player giving even more details to the problems of the current DF in case you interested to read more. He also created an overview of many recourses regarding the development and balancing of former Khalifat in the past.

more about:
  • Low Damage:
    In particular the DF are unbalanced because of a lack of damage for the cost of their units. 


    Now, we could give them units with high damage and lower their hp, or otherwise their survivability. But that doesn’t solve the inherent problem and increasing the damage coupled with lack of weapon specials and lack of mobility wouldn’t work very well. (Such units would also have to be fairly expensive despite lowered hp, which coupled with their average mobility would make them not good enough in most matchups. Furthermore, it is impossible to balance high damage low HP units in some matchups).
    Lastly, giving DF units high mobility and high damage to make them work would make the faction essentially play like drakes, except they would lack the advantage of the combination of lawful and chaotic units and so still would be weak in some matchups.


    Also if somebody is wondering, if we turned DF units into tanks and gave them high damage then they would need to be very costly to avoid making them OP beyond early game, and thus wouldn’t be very cost effective.
  • Lawful Matchup:
    While low damage is an issue, the main problem concerning the matchups with lawful factions is more fundamental. 


    The thing is that DF works as a mostly lawful faction with a minor neutral part – the 3 liminal units (liminal for all intents and purposes works very similarly to neutral on these units, not only because of liminal itself but also the inherently weak damage. We will talk about it more later when the time comes for the “why liminal is redundant” rant).
    No other faction from default works that way, loyal is major lawful, undead is major chaotic, orc is major chaotic, drake major lawful minor chaotic (drake is a bit special), Elf is major neutral minor lawful and Dwarf is major neutral and minor chaotic. So, why is this a problem?

    The thing is that it’s impossible to balance such a faction against a lawful faction without making it OP or essentially making it into another full lawful faction like Loyalists. A faction with such a concept just has no counter play against a lawful faction (because there is no ToD where it is majorly superior, at night all are weak, at day the Loyalists are superior, and the liminal alignment units are just too weak to be an effective strategy). So the only way to make it compete would be making its lawful part as strong as Loyalists (Loyalists are the better example of the two so I will be using them as an example) and thus making it overpowered in all the other matchups against non-lawful factions (and funnily enough even only matching Loyalists seems impossible without making the units themselves OP compared to Loyalist units since the Loyalists will have more units and therefore more options so this virtue alone would make it stronger)
  • Another way of looking at this is by comparing DF with Elves and Drakes.
    Elves have mostly neutral units and 2 specialist lawful units, the way they can deal with a faction like Loyalists is by having a Wose – a unit that counters majority of the Loyalist army and deals a lot of damage, and having a mage which deals even more damage than the Wose.
 These units work with neutral Elf units which still have significantly better damage than the 2 liminal units of the Dunefolk and it is easier to use them offensively. 
So Elves deal more damage and have better counter units which make it possible to deal with Loyalists (even if the Loyalists are more likely to win). They can also sort of deal with drakes thanks to the high damage archers and the abundance of pierce, even if the matchup is not easy.
We cannot turn DF into Elves.
 Now, the drakes can deal with humans by using chaotic units, giving DF chaotic units is not really an option if we want to keep lawful and liminal units and make the faction playable. It just doesn’t work because having units from 3 alignments that are also decent would make the faction VERY strong at defending. We don’t want to turn DF into a campy faction with units of mixed alignments that would be hard to attack but also one that can hardly attack itself (and if the Loyalists camped and built a strong army then they would be able to attack and kill DF anyway). If it also had units that deal a lot of damage it would make the faction overpowered in some matchups.
So in conclusion – this is how it works, We think we have managed to make DF relatively decent vs Loyalists and drakes but We think that with a right strategy these factions could cheese DF (basically by camping and building a strong army) with little counter play from the DF side. It is impossible to avoid and the matchups will likely be campy. But of course it also depends on the skill of the players. DF’s faction concept is inherently rather campy because of the tank units and hybrid liminal units but we did what we could to make the camping less severe without massively altering the faction's concept.

Loyalists:
This is the hardest matchup for DF. The DF has very little counter play against basically all the Loyalist units. Fundamentally the Loyalists lawful units are stronger, deal more damage and can easily out preform DF units on low defense.
more about:
  • On top of the above mentioned points, the main reason why DF is failing against Loy is the spearman, which is the Loyalist’s main unit.
    Dunefolks main unit would be the Soldier but at the current meta it just doesn't work out nicely. At the price of four Soldiers you can get five spearmen which makes them a lot more cost efficient then the Soldiers. Even with their physical res the spearman will still deal more dmg to the Soldier. Soldiers’ marksman is only good at gaining villages but even then the counter dmg is too high. You could use some rovers too but that won’t over through a spearman spam. At the end, Soldier's marksman is only helpful against fencers, which you clearly would not want to recruit in this match up.
    Overall the two matchups main units (Soldier vs. spearman) are notably unbalanced.
  • This thread brings up some more points why this matchup is not balanced, no matter if you are an experienced player or a beginner.

    It states that as the Khalifate player, you
    • cannot attack.
      Dunefolk has a very hard time tearing a village from the clutches of a Loyalist player. Dunefolk has two units with breaking power, namely the Soldier and the piercer. The piercer is a pretty horrible buy against Loyalists for obvious reasons, so you wouldn't want to recruit any piercer vs. Loyalists. Both of those units are lawful and have no ranged attack, so they have to attack at day and will suffer spectacular retaliation damage from Spearmen in melee (which on top of all have first strike), or attack at twilight (with the other liminal units) and deal far too little damage to effectively gain ground.
    • cannot hold ground against an attack.
      Loyalists are the kings of breaking power. Not many factions will hold a frontline village when a Loyalist army is approaching and it is especially bad if you are playing the Dunefolk.
      You have only two options for units to stick into a village or in a defensive line that is under attack. A Rover or a Soldier. Any other unit will perform worse for obvious reasons.
      The Rover has slightly less HP than an Elvish Fighter and will dish out minimal retaliation at day, the Soldier will (in most cases) enjoy only 50% defense in a village, so pick your poison. At day, any Loyalist player with a healthy amount of Spearmen and a Horseman or Mage sprinkled into the army won't have any trouble breaking either.
    • cannot capture back villages in time.
      Once you have a Spearman or a HI in one of your villages you have very little chances of coming back due to 1) and 2). Your rover (hopefully you don't have many rider) and your lawful troops need to be very lucky to do sufficient damage to the camping Loyalist army until night falls. Once it is night, neither of you do any damage so the Loyalist player can heal up while enjoying a higher income. At this point the only thing the Loyalist player has to do is buy Spearmen (which are 1 gold cheaper than your bread and butter unit), send them to the frontline, and rotate units. You will suffocate under Spearman spam backed by a superior income.
    • cannot fall back to the outrunning and village grabbing game.
      Rovers, while fast, are not powerful enough in offense to get the odd spearman out of a remote village until help arrives (unless you dedicate a considerable amount of units to grab a remote village, which means the Loyalist player will simply roll over your frontlines the next day)
    • cannot camp/play passive.
      If you play passive you lose. Once it goes into the late game, i.e. where supply numbers and gold penalty from unit supply start to matter, the Loyalist player can begin to buy supply efficient power units (Horsemen, Mages, HI) to eventually roll over the Dunefolk army - while the Dunefolk has no useful power unit in this matchup.


Drakes:
The lack of damage again is the problem, and drakes are more mobile than the Dunefolk. Their low defense make marksman useless against any drake and the lack of pierce damage of the Dunefolk units makes killing drakes even harder, the units just don’t deal enough damage. A liminal rush or lucky attack during liminal bonus can work but it heavily depends on the skill of the drake player.
more about:
  • Now with drakes it’s a more head to head matchup, as it seems at first glance. This is how the hypothetical idea looks like:
    • Rover and/or Rami can trap easily and then range kill Gliders, Trashers or Fighters.
    • Soldiers and Burners can easily kill lizards.
    • Piercer has impact against Lizards and terrifying pierce vs Gliders and Burners.
    • Herbalists +8 heal only improves DF performance

    Now this sounds very promising but remember this is only hypothetical construct. An experienced player will be able to avoid getting trapped and as long as the drakes won’t get trapped by Riders and/ Rovers there really is nothing to be worried about.
    • Marksman is useless against drakes and the low dmg of Soldiers is harmless against too.
    • Burner’s fire is useless against drakes as well.



    • Piercers lance indeed has a strong dmg output vs drakes, but it’s one strike doesn't make it very reliable and easy killable by clashers and burners. Furthermore the Piercer's high price makes it unaffordable as the primary force of the DF army forcing the DF to rely on their other units.
    • Herbalists technically still is ok other than its low dmg and hp, but drakes have a cheaper and more useful healer.
  • All in all, the general domination of drakes hp, dmg output and dmg distribution conclude in the fact that an experienced player will always win with drake of another experienced player with the current Dunefolk. Drake's strongest dmg dealers have either four or three strikes whereas Dunefolk’s strongest dmg dealer in this matchup is the Piercer who only deals one strike. This combined with the DF reliance on their lawful units means that no effective DF offensives can be orchestrated without either receiving massive retaliation (during the day) or dealing limited amount of damage (during twilight/night).



Northeners :
Trolls. If the northerners spam trolls there is little you can do. If they don’t DF has a chance but the possibility makes the matchup hard. Burners can deal ok damage vs trolls but they are quite expensive and too vulnerable to impact. The entire faction deals little damage and is vulnerable to impact – a dream matchup for the enthusiasts of building walls of trolls.
more about
  • In case people are not yet aware why troll spam works so well, is because most DF infantry have impact vulnerability. This thread does discuss possibilities on how to deal with troll spam, a very campy but also very viable strategy to win with Dunefolk. However, other Northerner units are also good against DF, especially used by experienced player. Furthermore, we believe the fact that the game narrows down to single unit spam demonstrates the bad balance in PvP games, that’s not what Wesnoth was designed for.

    • piercer works as tank but is however almost twice as expensive as a troll, it's dmg is not that great and has no heal as troll have
    • herbalist could potentially heal many units at once. This unit however is not cheap, has weak hp, and deals trivial dmg. It's mostly a late game support unit and suffers from negative impact resistance.
    • burner can deal decent dmg but again are not cheap and suffers from negative impact resistance.
    • rovers are said to be the only useful unit against troll spam, which makes no sense. Yes, they are cheap and can outrun trolls, but that would not matter on small maps. Their ranged pierce attacks only tickle trolls since they are mostly liminal and they’re suffering from negative impact resistance too.
    • Riders are said to be viable against troll spam but they are an inferior scout to the wolf rider and they struggle against pierce.
  • There are few more strategies mentioned (such as this or this) but all of them are very specific and is nothing what would emerge from a balanced matchup. The overall weakness of the DF units in almost every tactical situation against trolls makes the Northerner matchup very unbalanced and forces a variety of changes to the DF faction to allow any sort of balance against the trolls. This combined with the precarious balance against the other effective units in the Northerner faction makes balancing against them not a simple matter of changing a single unit.


Rebels :
This is probably the best matchup for the Dunefolk out of them all, but still, they don’t do very well. Soldiers will beat fighters but Woses will beat Soldiers. Burners do pretty well vs. Woses but they are expensive, and if the Elf player plays well he can win with Woses against burners having some fighter support.
more about
  • At first glance DF seems to be more promising against Elves. This is because of Soldiers marksman against Elves and burners fire attacks against Woses. Elves also struggle with Soldiers blade/pierce resistance. So yeah, Dunefolk can have some nice offensive turns. However, a coordinated banking of gold and late game spam of Woses is something not even Dunefolks burner can stop.
    • Wose counter Soldier.
      The sheer hp Woses and dmg against Soldier (due to neg. impact res.) outplay any amount Soldiers. Especially dangerous on small maps and the forest ambush makes them even trickier to fight. Marksman becomes useless and the dmg against Woses are just not enough. Note that Soldier has bad performance on forest tiles too. The high resistances to almost all DF units (because of its pierce and impact res) combined with the weakness of the Soldier's marksman ability against the Wose allows the Wose to deal terrifically more damage against all DF units, particularly during lawful ToD.
    • Burners are not enough against Wose spam.
      In the current meta you might have chances with some luck. This, however, is very close battle (because of the Woses regenerates ability) rendering the burner strategy already unreliable at best. But considering that burner no longer has melee fire and you will realize that Dunefolk loses against Wose spam.
      Now you might wonder why the melee fire was removed, but it will be explained at the second post since it is related to a more general balance issue.
      This Wose imbalance was initially intended to be solved by the Burner but due to its high cost all attempts to counter Wose spam with burner spam end in stalemates which the Elves win because of their higher mobility, more cohesive unit deployments, and more effective cheap fighter.


Undead:
It could even be the second worst matchup for the Dunefolk, or maybe even the worst following the recent cold resistance nerfs. It is definitely not true that Dunefolk has ever done well against undead. The low damage makes it extremely hard to kill adepts that will kill all of your units, if supported by skeleton archers it’s even worse, they do pretty well against burners because of the burner’s cost. Zombies also do well because of the impact weakness. The undead army is way stronger than what the Dunefolk can field.

more about
Generally speaking, Dunefolk will have no problem fighting skeletons. But we have the ghouls which will counter herbalists healing, something this faction relies on. This combined with the devastating attacks of the Adepts and the usefulness of corpse spam (because of impact weakness) makes this matchup really unbalanced.
  • Adepts
    Dunefolks Soldier and Burner naturally have cold vulnerability. At night two adepts can finish one full hp resilient/strong Soldier with 3 strikes since one strike deals 14 dmg. Same goes for the Burner. It is not as extreme as the dmg the adepts deal against drakes but still very deadly and unlike the Drakes, the DF have only 1 unit that deals fire damage.
  • Corpses
    Now they seem harmless at first but once you get a couple of them by recruiting them or plague, they can be very harmful to Dunefolk. Not because of the corpses themselves, but Dunefolks lack in damage . Burner is a better choice but will lack in melee retaliation Rover becomes a viable unit in this situation since it can deal dmg to both, corpses and adepts, but become useless once encountering skeletons.
  • Also note that while many people argue that the faction’s impact weapons make this matchup balanced this is not in fact true. The Piercer is too expensive to be very effective, and the Rider and Herbalist only inflict minor damage. Meanwhile the effectiveness of the other units means that the UD player does not even need to rely on Skeletons in this matchup and the impact is mostly un-used.


Knalgan:
The guards and thunderers work pretty well. Dunefolk can win, but in a long game the Dwarf should have the advantage due to the difficulty for the DF to kill guards. The dwarves don’t deal with Soldiers that well either, which is a redeeming factor, but in a longer engagement thunderers still do pretty well.
more about:
  • Dwarfs and Dunefolk fight for the same terrain.
    As easy as it is, not only do they have outlaws which can fill in the tiles on other terrain but Dwarfs are in every way much better defending on hills then Dunefolk is. The DF units also have no effective water control (vs. gryphon) or even comparable terrain manoeuvrability to the Knalgan chaotic units.
  • Dwarfs armour will stop any Dunefolk unit.
    The reason why Dwarfs are better at defending hills/mountains is because they are really well armoured. Only units which can deal some dmg are Soldiers and Burners. On large maps you can trap Dwarfs with Rovers and Riders, but on small maps Dunefolk has no other option then relying on Soldier and Burner. For instance, even with Soldiers Marksman and Burners fire Dunefolk will have a hard time to kill a single Dwarf guard camping on a village.
  • The Dwarfs have superior deployments
    The Dwarvish unit deployments are most similar to the DF in design. (Their neutral/chaotic is a close parallel to the DF liminal/lawful requiring similar strategies, both lack magic, and one would assume they have similar balance.) However, unlike the DF, the Dwarvish units work much more cohesively together. Their neutral units are tanks with high resistance and good mountain defence allowing them to hold ground, and their chaotic units are fast and have good defences on all other terrains. This combination gives the Dwarfs both flexibility and the capability to battle in all situations.

    In stark contrast the DF alignments lack cohesion and their matchups have a much more limited window of effectiveness because of liminal. The lack of high damage, high maneuverability, or high defense gives them no particular edge against the Dwarfs and they have no strong range units to counter the dwarves with. Furthermore the neutral vs. lawful matchup means that the DF will always receive high counter damage, and because of the high movement of the chaotic units they are often able to outrun DF during the lawful ToD and deal high damage during chaotic ToD.
  • Thief and Footpad become useless.
    Since we mostly rely on Soldiers and Burners, it would unwise to generally recruit thieves or footpad. Yes, a thief can always be lethal, and yes, footpad can deal some good dmg to Soldiers, but at day, they would be easily killable if Soldier are in reach of them. Marksman especially unbalances this matchup since Knalgan is the only faction with two ellusive units. This limits the DF vs Knalgan matchup to a much more uninteresting combat but nonetheless an unbalanced matchup with the Dwarves superior resistance.

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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Design Flaws & Match-Ups

Post by name » March 29th, 2019, 6:06 pm

The proposal I am about to make mostly relates to what is posted above, but also the added/removed units thread and the changed units thread. So I will post it here where it is definitely most relevant, just keep in mind it comes from a broader look at the state of your dunefolk proposal.

Also, I want to say that in a general sense, I do appreciate how much work went into trying to balance this faction against the default ones. The fundamental flaws detailed above were likely never recognized by this faction's original creator. Thus, the months it took you to get to this point could easily have been twice as long for such a project as this.

There are two big problems with the end result though. One is that, as detailed above, the dunefolk can never be fully balanced with default for reasons fundamental to their design. The other problem is that, in the attempt to get as close to default balance as possible, the few stand out features that kept the faction from being fully bland had to be sacrificed. Gone is the one flyer (falcon), the super heavy calvarly (piercer), the supreme healer (herbalist), the melee marksman (soldier) and the dual fire attack wielder (burner). In return there is only a naga equivalent of the merman hunter and a strangely slow moving but otherwise basic skirmisher. The recruitable units are all (with the exception of another naga unit) just basic medieval human soldiers with basic abilities and weaknesses; the selling points of the faction have been erased.

To overcome these problems, the following is proposed:


After The Fall Era

A new era, set in the canonical timeline, with the goal of achieving mainline quality balance between its own factions, yet freed of the requirement for balance compatibility with the already crowded-with-factions default era. This era would fully replace default+dunefolk era and include:
  • Desert themed maps specifically balanced for After The Fall era factions.
    -
  • Dunefolk faction. The spiritual successors (or direct successors) of the medieval-human-themed loyalist faction from the previous era. (Also dunefolk might rightly blame use of magic for the catastrophe of "The Fall" that has reshaped the face of the world). Could include some wilder unit designs and concepts, as this era will have its own balancing to be built around them.
    -
  • Quenoth faction. The direct successors of the rebels faction from previous era (elves). They can include any of the units from UtBS plus any new ones that serve to fill out the quenoth elves as a multiplayer-balanced faction of this era.
    -
  • Steelbeast Dwarves. Sheltered beneath the surface of Irdya for all these thousands of years, the dwarves of this era have reached an early industrial revolution with some primitive steampunk flavored unit designs. The basic default era dwarvish units can also be carried over from default era (to whatever extent such is desired) as existing dwarvish units have no terrain penalties for desert terrain versus flat.
    -
  • Drake and/or Saurian faction. Direct successors of the reptilian faction from default era, but with any amount of added, removed or modified units to fit the new balance and maps better. Both races do quite well on desert terrains so the drake faction could even be dropped into the After the Fall era "as is".
    -
  • Heavily Evolved Undead (or Jinn) faction.
    -
  • Any completely new faction, if desired. Perhaps one pulled from UMC that is or can be made compatible with the desert themed maps and the factional balance of After the Fall era.
    -
  • A whole new era of the canonical timeline with comparatively unlimited room for new stories, new heros and villains, new mysteries to set in new campaigns that expand the world of the far future UtBS time period. No canonical conflict regarding the origins of human dunefolk or their lack of interaction with the kingdom of wesnoth. All such issues are resolved by the future placement of this era on the canonical timeline.
The task of fully balancing dunefolk while allowing them an interesting and unique theme and unit designs becomes possible and comparatively easy when you have the power to fully modify the factions they are to be balanced against (something that cannot be done with default era) as well as the map design. At the same time, many of the new factions of this era can carry over as many units (and the corresponding sprite work) from default era as is desired to reduce workload and create a sense of continuity. And you could have fewer than six factions, initially or permanently, so as to reduce the balance complexity further.

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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Design Flaws & Match-Ups

Post by ghype » March 29th, 2019, 7:15 pm

name wrote:
March 29th, 2019, 6:06 pm
The dunefolk can never be fully balanced with default for reasons fundamental to their design.
There is one thing you you did not consider how ever. The creation process of the very very initial Khalifate which ended up being todays Dunefolk over years of Sleepwalker's and thespaceinvader's work. That being said, Sleepwalker and thespaceinvaders based the faction's balance on their sprite. That means they didn't created sprites based on a balanced concept of hypothetical unit, but rather forced balancing decisions on their sprites. Short said: first was the sprites and then the balance. Which is not good.

As demonstrated in the art thread for the base untis, in the timeline, the creation progress of Khalifat's sprites was rather messy with on/off sessions of Sleepwalker which at some times took years. Those were no good conditions to make a "fully balanced faction" as you would say it.

Thanks to my research and studying the entire thread of Sleepwalkers worth 26 pages of comments, thoughts and ideas - combined with the art skills of my team and me - we were able to finish Sleepwalker's vision in a very balanced fashion.

name wrote:
March 29th, 2019, 6:06 pm
Gone is the one flyer (falcon),
Its not, it will remain mainline.
name wrote:
March 29th, 2019, 6:06 pm
the super heavy calvarly (piercer)
Neither is this gone as cataphract will be introduced back.
name wrote:
March 29th, 2019, 6:06 pm
the supreme healer (herbalist),
The current herbalist is still "supreme", but in a different way.
name wrote:
March 29th, 2019, 6:06 pm
the melee marksman (soldier)
This too will be introduced back (not on lv1 though)
name wrote:
March 29th, 2019, 6:06 pm
and the dual fire attack wielder (burner).
If you want a cool unit yes. But if you want to actually play this unit mp, then dual fire would render this unit useless against drakes. Not a big bummer though, really not.
name wrote:
March 29th, 2019, 6:06 pm
In return there is only a naga equivalent of the merman hunter and a strangely slow moving but otherwise basic skirmisher.
The naga yet is not comparable to any other naga/mermain in mp wesnoth and once we decided upon a final concept for the naga, it certainly will be even more unique. And I also doubt you can call the new skirmisher "basic" with a semi-elusive movetype with a coupled with some abilities.

name wrote:
March 29th, 2019, 6:06 pm
After The Fall Era
About that i really don't know what to say. I think it would defeat the purpose of what we worked for the last few months would only complicated the situation. but thats just my thought.

Thank you anyway @name, your feedback is much appreciated.

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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Design Flaws & Match-Ups

Post by Hejnewar » March 29th, 2019, 7:52 pm

Firstly there is unreleased unit actually. I wasn't in charge of doing posts but somehow this slipped thru.

Secondly it's not proposal but advertisement. Let's call things by name.

Lastly, then how its even possible that content creators have unbalanced eras, even if they try and have few factions? I could say that they may not have talent or expireince needed for that. So what makes you think that you have that? I will ask you a simple (for me) question: Why cavalry unit with only 6 mp and of cost over lets say 21 would never be accepted by players in default environment and by extension why unit like that could never be balanced without using special abilities? What is behind this?

Could you also specify your method of balancing? And showcase some of current balance?
Last edited by Hejnewar on March 29th, 2019, 8:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Design Flaws & Match-Ups

Post by Krogen » March 29th, 2019, 7:59 pm

name wrote:
March 29th, 2019, 6:06 pm
The proposal I am about to make mostly relates to what is posted above, but also the added/removed units thread and the changed units thread. So I will post it here where it is definitely most relevant, just keep in mind it comes from a broader look at the state of your dunefolk proposal.

Also, I want to say that in a general sense, I do appreciate how much work went into trying to balance this faction against the default ones. The fundamental flaws detailed above were likely never recognized by this faction's original creator. Thus, the months it took you to get to this point could easily have been twice as long for such a project as this.

There are two big problems with the end result though. One is that, as detailed above, the dunefolk can never be fully balanced with default for reasons fundamental to their design. The other problem is that, in the attempt to get as close to default balance as possible, the few stand out features that kept the faction from being fully bland had to be sacrificed. Gone is the one flyer (falcon), the super heavy calvarly (piercer), the supreme healer (herbalist), the melee marksman (soldier) and the dual fire attack wielder (burner). In return there is only a naga equivalent of the merman hunter and a strangely slow moving but otherwise basic skirmisher. The recruitable units are all (with the exception of another naga unit) just basic medieval human soldiers with basic abilities and weaknesses; the selling points of the faction have been erased.

To overcome these problems, the following is proposed:


After The Fall Era

A new era, set in the canonical timeline, with the goal of achieving mainline quality balance between its own factions, yet freed of the requirement for balance compatibility with the already crowded-with-factions default era. This era would fully replace default+dunefolk era and include:
  • Desert themed maps specifically balanced for After The Fall era factions.
    -
  • Dunefolk faction. The spiritual successors (or direct successors) of the medieval-human-themed loyalist faction from the previous era. (Also dunefolk might rightly blame use of magic for the catastrophe of "The Fall" that has reshaped the face of the world). Could include some wilder unit designs and concepts, as this era will have its own balancing to be built around them.
    -
  • Quenoth faction. The direct successors of the rebels faction from previous era (elves). They can include any of the units from UtBS plus any new ones that serve to fill out the quenoth elves as a multiplayer-balanced faction of this era.
    -
  • Steelbeast Dwarves. Sheltered beneath the surface of Irdya for all these thousands of years, the dwarves of this era have reached an early industrial revolution with some primitive steampunk flavored unit designs. The basic default era dwarvish units can also be carried over from default era (to whatever extent such is desired) as existing dwarvish units have no terrain penalties for desert terrain versus flat.
    -
  • Drake and/or Saurian faction. Direct successors of the reptilian faction from default era, but with any amount of added, removed or modified units to fit the new balance and maps better. Both races do quite well on desert terrains so the drake faction could even be dropped into the After the Fall era "as is".
    -
  • Heavily Evolved Undead (or Jinn) faction.
    -
  • Any completely new faction, if desired. Perhaps one pulled from UMC that is or can be made compatible with the desert themed maps and the factional balance of After the Fall era.
    -
  • A whole new era of the canonical timeline with comparatively unlimited room for new stories, new heros and villains, new mysteries to set in new campaigns that expand the world of the far future UtBS time period. No canonical conflict regarding the origins of human dunefolk or their lack of interaction with the kingdom of wesnoth. All such issues are resolved by the future placement of this era on the canonical timeline.
The task of fully balancing dunefolk while allowing them an interesting and unique theme and unit designs becomes possible and comparatively easy when you have the power to fully modify the factions they are to be balanced against (something that cannot be done with default era) as well as the map design. At the same time, many of the new factions of this era can carry over as many units (and the corresponding sprite work) from default era as is desired to reduce workload and create a sense of continuity. And you could have fewer than six factions, initially or permanently, so as to reduce the balance complexity further.
First of all I want to say that your idea is very interesting, in fact in the very beginning of the project there were thoughts that creating a completely new era was the only way to have Dunefolk even remotely balanced, the other alternative was conceding that its too flawed and scrapping the faction. As it turned out it was not really the case, and after some major changes DF could be made rather balanced.

However creating a new era doesn't seem very practical, new sprites are needed and somebody needs to come up with balanced statistics for units, in general it requires really a lot of work. But maybe even more importantly it didn't seem that this was what people and the devs would want.

In the end, Dunefolk could probably be made to fit better in a custom made era than in default+dunefolk era, default era with its 6 factions is complete. Maybe in the end it is the best solution, it it doesn't seem practical.



"The other problem is that, in the attempt to get as close to default balance as possible, the few stand out features that kept the faction from being fully bland had to be sacrificed."

Yes, but there is actually an idea to add a new interesting unit - Dust Spirit, a version with it would be an alternative to the DF+Naga version and it was supposed to be added on release, but for various reasons it didn't happen. But it will be added in an update soon.
"A lion doesn't concern himself with the opinions of the sheep." - Tywin Lannister

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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Design Flaws & Match-Ups

Post by josteph » March 30th, 2019, 5:18 pm

Krogen wrote:
March 29th, 2019, 7:59 pm
However creating a new era doesn't seem very practical, new sprites are needed and somebody needs to come up with balanced statistics for units, in general it requires really a lot of work. But maybe even more importantly it didn't seem that this was what people and the devs would want.
Yes, it requires a lot of work, but that's not a reason to dismiss it out of hand. If you look at wesnoth 0.x, it's a far cry from modern wesnoth, but the work has been done to get from that game to the current one. And work is being done right now on reimplementing wesnoth in godot, which may put us in an even better place.

If someone wants to work on an ATF era, I say they should go right ahead and work on it. They can use placeholder sprites while they figure out the lore and balance, and publish their work to the addon server. This way we'll have much better data on whether the effort is popular with players.

name, the proposal for an ATF era is interesting, but I think it should be discussed in a new thread, not here.

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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Design Flaws & Match-Ups

Post by name » March 30th, 2019, 7:11 pm

ghype wrote:
March 29th, 2019, 7:15 pm
Short said: first was the sprites and then the balance. Which is not good.
Agreed.
ghype wrote:
March 29th, 2019, 7:15 pm
Its not, it will remain mainline.

Neither is this gone as cataphract will be introduced back.

The current herbalist is still "supreme", but in a different way.

This too will be introduced back (not on lv1 though)

If you want a cool unit yes. But if you want to actually play this unit mp, then dual fire would render this unit useless against drakes. Not a big bummer though, really not.
I was only referring to the dunefolk multiplayer faction and specifically your modification thereof. For a multiplayer faction, the recruitable units (level 1 units sometimes with some level 0 mixed in) are far and away what matters. The level 2 units on average occur only in very small numbers outside of survival scenarios and a level 3 unit almost never plays a role in a multiplayer match.

So what is concerning is that, while you almost certainly have improved the balance with this mod, to do so you stripped away the only interesting aspects of the faction in the multiplayer environment it is intended to occupy without replacing these with equally or more interesting aspects.

It is like if, in the earlier days of wesnoth balance, you improved the balance of the undead by removing the undead trait and extreme resistances from most of the units and made the dark adept as expensive as a mage. Or balanced the drakes by removing the flight move type from all but the glider and lowering the gold costs.

Put another way, you can always make a faction more balanced by removing its differences from others. Chess is so balanced as it is because both sides are identical.


Also, liminal is as lousy for balance as it is unfun to play (as you thoroughly detailed yourself) and neutral would be better, so why keep liminal then? You made such a strong cause for dropping the liminal alignment gimmick in your original post, so why is it still not dropped?
ghype wrote:
March 29th, 2019, 7:15 pm
The naga yet is not comparable to any other naga/mermain in mp wesnoth and once we decided upon a final concept for the naga, it certainly will be even more unique.
This naga currently, seems to combine the naga movetype with the merman hunter, only with a bit more melee and less range. It is not a clone, but it is not very interesting either.
ghype wrote:
March 29th, 2019, 7:15 pm
And I also doubt you can call the new skirmisher "basic" with a semi-elusive movetype with a coupled with some abilities.
I do not know what better name to call this than 'basic':

Code: Select all

Shield Breaker Lv1 
	- hp: 32
	- mp: 5
	- cost: 16g
	- xp: 45

	- skirmisher

	- melee: 4-4 blade
	-ranged: 6-1 impact
ghype wrote:
March 29th, 2019, 7:15 pm
I think it would defeat the purpose of what we worked for the last few months would only complicated the situation. but thats just my thought.
Well I am sorry about that, but in truth you did go private with your work for those last few months. There was no opportunity to alter the general direction you were headed in before this much was committed.

As for the proposal of a new era, a big part of the reason I included suggestions of reusing many units from default era is because that helps you preserve an amount of the work you already did. Dunefolk vs Drakes, for example, might play exactly the same. Yet you have the options to modify the drake faction if there is something about it that fundamentally cannot be balanced with your dunefolk mod, since these are future drakes that might have evolved in so much time.

Krogen wrote:
March 29th, 2019, 7:59 pm
In the end, Dunefolk could probably be made to fit better in a custom made era than in default+dunefolk era, default era with its 6 factions is complete. Maybe in the end it is the best solution, it it doesn't seem practical.
There was already an attempt to replace default with default+dunefolk and make the former default a selectable "minus-dunefolk" era that would later be deprecated. And that was before all of this recent balancing, which certainly was not balanced at all. So given the politics involved, I believe either the dunefolk end up in their own era or they will be forced into default at some future point, regardless of whether or not it is actually a good idea.

I hope I am wrong. But it does seem very much like dunefolk act as a kind of "blank check" 7th faction predestined to be inserted into default era at a latter date, only because they were so prematurely mainlined over a dozen years ago.
Krogen wrote:
March 29th, 2019, 7:59 pm
Yes, but there is actually an idea to add a new interesting unit - Dust Spirit, a version with it would be an alternative to the DF+Naga version and it was supposed to be added on release, but for various reasons it didn't happen. But it will be added in an update soon.
I will check that out when it is available then.

josteph wrote:
March 30th, 2019, 5:18 pm
Yes, it requires a lot of work, but that's not a reason to dismiss it out of hand. If you look at wesnoth 0.x,
That was the idea. People will continue to want to develop new mainline things for the game. But default era is full. A new mainline era will give new balancers, designers, sprite artists, etc., something to work on for the next decade of wesnoth's development.
josteph wrote:
March 30th, 2019, 5:18 pm
name, the proposal for an ATF era is interesting, but I think it should be discussed in a new thread, not here.
Agreed.

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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Design Flaws & Match-Ups

Post by Pentarctagon » March 31st, 2019, 4:09 pm

name wrote:
March 30th, 2019, 7:11 pm
they were so prematurely mainlined over a dozen years ago.
The Dunefolk were not mainlined that long ago. They were first added in 1.9.6, which was released just under 8 years ago. They were then removed in 1.9.10. Then they were re-added in 1.11.8, which was released a little over 5 years ago. Therefore they also would not have been in a stable release of Wesnoth until 1.12.0, which was about 4.5 years ago.
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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Design Flaws & Match-Ups

Post by Krogen » April 1st, 2019, 12:23 pm

name wrote:
March 30th, 2019, 7:11 pm
I hope I am wrong. But it does seem very much like dunefolk act as a kind of "blank check" 7th faction predestined to be inserted into default era at a latter date, only because they were so prematurely mainlined over a dozen years ago.
Personally I think you are free to develop your era, first of all it could be an interesting UMC era. This doesn't have much to do with what we have done in this project. Im interested what could come out of it. Of course since its your era, you can use any version of the Dunefolk you want and I think it would be also alright if you used our version (if so then it would be nice if you gave us credit for that).
"A lion doesn't concern himself with the opinions of the sheep." - Tywin Lannister

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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Design Flaws & Match-Ups

Post by name » April 1st, 2019, 7:27 pm

Pentarctagon wrote:
March 31st, 2019, 4:09 pm
The Dunefolk were not mainlined that long ago. They were first added in 1.9.6, which was released just under 8 years ago. They were then removed in 1.9.10. Then they were re-added in 1.11.8, which was released a little over 5 years ago. Therefore they also would not have been in a stable release of Wesnoth until 1.12.0, which was about 4.5 years ago.
My mistake. I guess after everything it seemed more time had passed.
Krogen wrote:
April 1st, 2019, 12:23 pm
Personally I think you are free to develop your era, first of all it could be an interesting UMC era. This doesn't have much to do with what we have done in this project. Im interested what could come out of it. Of course since its your era, you can use any version of the Dunefolk you want and I think it would be also alright if you used our version (if so then it would be nice if you gave us credit for that).
Thank you, I appreciate your interest and offer.

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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Design Flaws & Match-Ups

Post by Jfree » May 9th, 2019, 7:28 am

Hmm I like what you doing but have some thoughts if you dont mind from me read the key problems with the dune people are

<<1.>> lawful + liminal
<<2.>> low damage
<<3.>> dumb marksman
<<4.>> weird armor

from what I see your key changes to fix these problems are

<<1.>> same
<<2.>> give more damage
<<3.>> remove marksman
<<4.>> change armor

but this will lead to new 'design flaw and matchup issue'

<<1.>> ...
<<2.>> still bad against units who have resistances
<<2.>> now too good against some factions
<<3.>> elusive-s and elf gets OP buff
<<3.>> soldier OP
<<4.>> new armor is totally random and hard to remember

also other problems

<<a>> bad against horseman with pierce weakness
<<b>> no archer units in still


thanks for listening and nice talking to you

-John


P.S. >> yaey for removing falcon

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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Design Flaws & Match-Ups

Post by The_Gnat » May 9th, 2019, 9:18 am

Jfree wrote:
May 9th, 2019, 7:28 am
...
Hello John,

Thank you for your comments! :D It is always great to hear feedback from other perspectives.

In regards to your post I probably will start by saying I do agree with your conclusions but the more nuanced aspects of the balance changes are somewhat lost by the simplification you have presented.

In particular it is important to note that "<<1.>> lawful + liminal" is not really an accurate presentation of the issue. The issue the we postulated would be more properly summarized in saying that the old DF faction had less effective counter-measures and tactical approaches against the loyalist faction due to its composition of part lawful, part liminal.

The key sentence there is "A faction with such a concept just has no counter play against a lawful faction". It was not solely the Lawful + liminal point that caused this issue but instead the application of such units and there designed which offered no counter to full lawful factions. The changes in and the addition of new units has given the DF now a counter to such factions, (though it is arguable that if played properly the loyalists still have an advantage through cohesion, but that was also discussed when we talked about the learning curve in order to deploy the DF mixed alignments effectively).

I don't know how much of the posts you have read but it might help if you looked at the other threads about the changes to see the explanation and reasoning behind the solutions. We have indeed considered the many aspects you describe. One thing worth noting is that the issues are also very interconnected so it is best to look at the interaction of changes rather than them individually. For example "<<3.>> elusive-s and elf gets OP buff" needs to be considered in light of the other changes to the balance. Now rather than being a Soldier spam the entire DF faction contributes to the matchup because of their buffs. :)

Also in regards to your comment "<<4.>> new armor is totally random and hard to remember" for example consider the loyalist faction which has HI, Spearman, Cavalry, Horseman, Merman all with different armour types.

Lastly "<<b>> no archer units in still". That is a very good point but we decided that was actually a positive. We believed it was important to stay with the theme of the original DF faction and so kept the no-archer design. This makes the faction unique but at the same time doesn't take away from the balance because of: the Rover (a hybrid with archer focus), the Burner (ranged fire), the Rider (a scout archer).

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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Design Flaws & Match-Ups

Post by ghype » May 9th, 2019, 10:57 am

Hello, thanks for your thoughts.
I too think that it is just not that easy as you would like to portrait it.
Jfree wrote:
May 9th, 2019, 7:28 am
<<1.>> lawful + liminal
Jfree wrote:
May 9th, 2019, 7:28 am
<<1.>> same
That is not true as the liminal mechanism was changed to work as a buff and not a debuff. Which results into an entire rebalancing of the liminal units. The lawful units always have been part of this, we just added removed some units and added new ones.
Jfree wrote:
May 9th, 2019, 7:28 am
<<2.>> low damage
Jfree wrote:
May 9th, 2019, 7:28 am
<<2.>> give more damage
Jfree wrote:
May 9th, 2019, 7:28 am
<<2.>> still bad against units who have resistances
<<2.>> now too good against some factions
The only unit that was really buffed as you describe it it the Soldier which can reach 15-2 at day with strong trait which yet is not as strong as the 16-2 Wose. That was for the compensation of marksman. You also pay 18g for this unit. You can hardly claim that this unit is weak against armoured unit and neither is it too good against other faction. It has penalties and marksman if more dangerous for elves then higher dmg (if that the faction you refer to).
Jfree wrote:
May 9th, 2019, 7:28 am
<<3.>> dumb marksman
Jfree wrote:
May 9th, 2019, 7:28 am
<<3.>> remove marksman
Jfree wrote:
May 9th, 2019, 7:28 am
<<3.>> elusive-s and elf gets OP buff
<<3.>> soldier OP
This is not quiet clear to me. Why would the Soldier be OP and ellusive/elusive gets OP buff. They are contradictory, the statements.
Also marksman wasn't removed entirely, only on lv1.

Jfree wrote:
May 9th, 2019, 7:28 am
<<4.>> weird armor
Jfree wrote:
May 9th, 2019, 7:28 am
<<4.>> change armor
Jfree wrote:
May 9th, 2019, 7:28 am
<<4.>> new armor is totally random and hard to remember
stating that the new stats are totally random means that you either have not read the according paragraphs properly or that you don't understand them. They were adjusted to make them balanced. If you introduce a new faction then you will get also new armour types. The old armour set up didn't do Dunefolk any favour. Once they implemented you will remember them as well at some point.
Jfree wrote:
May 9th, 2019, 7:28 am
<<a>> bad against horseman with pierce weakness
<<b>> no archer units in still
You have the Rover which now acts as archer as much as does as a fighter. It's cost efficacy and movability makes it a capable fighter in close and ranged combat. Against mounted units , besides of the Rover or Soldier (which not only deals a lot of dmg but also tanks), you also have the new skirmisher unit which wields a spear.

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