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Eevika

What should GW do to balance AoS?

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38 minutes ago, XReN said:

I had no intention of twisting his words and anyone can go read what he said.
Yes, painting is great, personally I enjoy it. 

BUT After something like 7 years in this hobby I can't see any ****** reason to put painting on a pedestal, yes it is important to play with painted minies because that's the point and that makes the hobby more enjoyable, but it's just an activity like any other, Warhammer is not going to die even if all the people will start to pay others to paint their models nor the painting awards will. 
 

Well I suggest that without all those people who do like painting there wouldn’t be anyone to pay to paint ones army. 

The reason so much emphasis is placed upon it is that it helps show the miniatures in the best light and that’s what GW wants as that sells miniatures and that what it’s all about, selling miniatures. It’s the first thing that catches a potential customer’s attention, before rules, win/loss ratios or balance.  Don’t get me wrong the game itself has a large role to play but I wouldn’t downplay how important the artistic side of the hobby is to the whole.  It is the reason we’ve got the miniatures we have. 

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A bit more on topic. Balance is easily achieved both players could use the same forces or the same Battletome. It probably wouldn’t be that hard to simply choose one battletome with a counts as index so that players can use models from other factions with that battletome in a standardised way. 

That would be static and a bit dull I’d think. The inherent imbalance that can be achieved is part of the attraction of the game where be it finding the best combination or being the underdog and still winning. I don’t think it’s a mistake it’s a feature. Of course for many faction and Grand Alliance selection is more than just about power levels and is much more partisan.  There’s also other factors that restrict the some armies, realising the top DoK list onto the table top for tournaments is no joke. 

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Truthfully, if you want a truly balanced game of Age of Sigmar, paint your miniatures and use them in chess.

By its very nature, warhammer in all its guises is too big to be balanced by the mechanics alone. Unlike other popular gaming systems which achieve "balance" to a certain extent, (even Warmahordes and Infinity that pride themselves for being designed as a gaming system first and models second have their unbalanced elements) warhammer was not designed to be.

Besides, "balance" is subjective to each individual player, their community and the events that community attends.

You would have better luck teaching your fellow players self-restraint then you would balancing a warhammer system.

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3 minutes ago, Malios said:

Truthfully, if you want a truly balanced game of Age of Sigmar, paint your miniatures and use them in chess.

By its very nature, warhammer in all its guises is too big to be balanced by the mechanics alone. Unlike other popular gaming systems which achieve "balance" to a certain extent, (even Warmahordes and Infinity that pride themselves for being designed as a gaming system first and models second have their unbalanced elements) warhammer was not designed to be.

Besides, "balance" is subjective to each individual player, their community and the events that community attends.

You would have better luck teaching your fellow players self-restraint then you would balancing a warhammer system.

Total cop out saying its too large to be balanced. MtG modern format has around 10 000 cards and they can be played in endless combinations. Its still balanced so that best deck are around 55% win rate.  

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But MtG has banlist, so when some cards are getting out of control they can ban them. That's not possible in Warhammer. And, to be honest, even in MtG we sometimes have Standard with broken decks (not to mention Modern or other non-rotating formats).

Edited by michu

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1 minute ago, Eevika said:

Total cop out saying its too large to be balanced. MtG modern format has around 10 000 cards and they can be played in endless combinations. Its still balanced so that best deck are around 55% win rate.  

MTG is a closed controlled system though.

Every  variable that enters play in MTG is 100% repeatable and controlled and is basically just cards interacting with each other. If a powerful combo or card is found the developers/testers can repeat the exact same reported move over and over again and in the reporting itself the combo can be specifically laid out as to how it too place.

 

In warhammer you've got terrain, table design, placement of terrain and physical size of the models. These things are all exceptionally variable game to game before we've even touched on player skill in deployment, movement, targeting, ability choice and equipment options. 

Even if you report a specific issue its harder to work out if its a balance issue or a player playing poorly and the developers can't perfectly test it every time (although in general they can).

 

These things muddy the water significantly over magic when it comes to balance. It's also harder to measure player skill even when looking at reports of win/loss rates. There are a lot more grey choices in the game than there are in magic. 

 

Finally there's scale. Magic has a vast number of players, each of which can have dozens of games in the time that a single warhammer match takes place. The body of data and player experience and ability for players to adapt to new situations (and thus advance player skill rather than blaming the game system itself) is very different.

 

 

 

Note I'm not saying its impossible, nor that it shouldn't be a target to balance the game; just that its more difficult than for Magic. That and Magic has been doing this for years and has a rules team dedicated to it with experience - GW has a rules team that is sort of more casual than strict side (you can see this even in how they lay out and word their rules

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As the others have mentioned before me, comparing a card game to tabletop wargaming isn't a fair comparison, but I value Eevika's point that the size of the gaming system does not make balance impossible, only challenging.

I'd rather invest my efforts into enjoying the holistic aspect of the hobby and utilise self-restraint though, then pull my hair out over such a feat. The more I'd try to balance the game, the more I'd come to loathe it I think.

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My vision on this is the same as it was when AoS1's problems showed.

1. They have to be more consistent with their design, we know there are different designers working on different books, but ideally when a book is released a final side by side comparison is done, at least within their Grand Allegiance and if not within then next to others (in the case of LoN).

2. Point costs fix a lot too, ideal balance isn't what GW should aim for but consistancy is. It's simply said and quite honestly simply done if GW would look back.

My issue and gut feeling remains however is that due to GW's sales rising they're falling in the old habit of making the newer armies the better armies. This isn't always the case but now has happened on occossion. Next to that, like 40K when a rebalance/errata is done, ideally go through all armies or none at all.
Latest example I still don't get is that Bloodletters have been reduced in effectiveness, cost remained the same, while several newer units have been increased in effectiveness while their cost remained the same. This should lead to an indication that things arn't as they should be from the getgo. Which often shows.

At the same time though I clearly remember how upset Death players used to be, still thought Death sucked when Legions of Nagash came out and because of that I also believe that GW might have unbalanced them for the simple reason that the Grand Allegiance didn't matter for about 6 months. However for an Order army I can't really find that excuse. 

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I think one big issue is that GW releases things in bits to us; but they see the full picture. Take the changes to Khorne demons as a good example. They've changed with the new box which is clearly made to work with an updated Battletome that isn't out yet. Therefore the changes made feel odd because we've only got part of the picture to work with. 

I know GW doesn't like to overpromise on what is coming and they are very good in generally not leading us on too far with most things "coming someday" however I do feel that with AoS they would have benefitted greatly giving gamers at least a full 1 year update on what is to come and roughly when (or at least in what general order of releases). I'd hate for them to get like Spartan Games once were - hinting and showing loads of design phase ideas and talking up new games and new models and then missing their own deadlines with no mention (some things they hinted on coming never ever came even after years whilst others clearly went through huge changes in the background that were never communicated so the early hints and release info were totally wrong by the time the product made it to gamers); but I do think they could give us a longer AoS forecast. 

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Don' forget that now bloodletters can activate their decapitating blow without worrying about -1 to hit (and Gloomspite Gitz have plenty of such abilities).

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This still seems to be going round and round but I'll throw in something to see what happens...

Firstly, I think Age of Sigmar is very well balanced. I have been playing since 4th edition Fantasy and 2nd edition 40K and seen many, many changes in GW and the games they produce. And I think they have hit things pretty much spot on at the moment! They seem to spend a lot more effort into writing the rules and thinking about the army themes and the different styles of play (speak to any of the Design team or watch that Stormcast episode with Sam Pearson). GW also seem to be spending a lot more effort in listening to the community and taking on feedback (and in return, large parts of the community seem to be responding with actual feedback rather than just moaning about something).

The issue I see here is one person's view point of balance is very different to another's. For example, I remember playing in a local doubles event years ago and me and a mate took a Dwarf and Lizardman mix (this was Fantasy). We knew we had a very strong force but we both didn't think it was overpowered (this was during the End Times where all the Elves could fight together). Out of all the players at the event, only a few of us had any actual experience playing at what you guys would see as 'proper' tournaments and as such during one of our games we had somebody rage quit. We were facing a very tough Ogre Kingdoms and Lizardman army which would have steamrollered us if we weren't careful. Our opponents had their first turn and positioned everything up as we would expect and then we took our turn and as the Lizardman general, I used my Skinks to do lots of skinky things (set up to block charges and shoot stuff). After rolling a few dice and killing off a couple of Sabertusks, one of our opponents moaned and complained that the game was over and he could see we were going to win and it wasn't fair. He promptly stomped off and left his partner to carry on with the game. We all wanted to play, so carried on and in the end it was really, really close (we got a win).

This ramble is basically me saying, there will never be anything like true balance in a game which has so many moving parts and moving goal posts. Yes it's a product that GW want to sell but in the end, what we have now is really really good. We have three ways of playing the game and GW actively encourage players to play the game how they want to. So I think for me it's a massive thumbs up for GW but also to you guys who have been providing constructive feedback to them. This is something we are all very passionate about but I think that passion can sometimes cloud our vision and make us blinkered to some aspects of the game and hobby. 

So for those of you who feel that some factions are too strong or something isn't quite right - tweak it. In your gaming group or for your games, try tweaking the points or for some of the older warscrolls try playing abilities using the similar wording that GW are introducing (so wholly within for buffs for example). ;) 

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@Gaz Taylor I would go further and say that there is a huge weak point in wargaming in general with regard to actually playing the game and passing on skills in that area. 

Assembling, converting, basing, painting and even army composition you can get masses of easy information on and some of it very high quality. There's loads out there in the internet to help a gamer get as far as arriving at the store with their models in a bag.

However from that point on there's a sudden drop off - terrain setup, deployment, battle plans, target prioritizing, movement tricks, tactics - etc... It's all missing. Some go as far as to say that any GW game has none of these elements and that its purely a list building game; others see that there are strategies but have no idea what they are; whilst those in the know I think have no formal structure to their thinking so its very hard for them to pass on what they know to others. 

 

I think this in itself can produce a lot of gamers who have a very low level of self confidence in actually playing the game. This leads to a lot more cries of "overpowered" and "broken". Of course the game being alternate turns also feeds this very directly. A player having a very good turn can seriously decimate an opponent at times; leaving their opponent feeling like they've already lost. Fantasy has often had less of an edge here than 40K - I think rank and file helped a lot in this because you could only do so much in a turn. Loose skirmish movement seems to work a little worse; but that might just be that 40K spent a lot more years with a lot more of an overpowered power curve issue - things are alot better today certainly in that regard. 

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I think @Dead Scribe and I represent polar opposites of the narrative-ompetitive spectrum, but I'm with them on pretty much everything they've said on this thread.

List building is a great part of this hobby whether youre doing it for competitive advantage or to build a characterful army. Rather than taking competitive list building away from tournament players, there's no reason that the tournament community can't put in place it's own restrictions to alter the challenge rather than removing an aspect of the hobby. We all did this before the first GHB came out and it worked just fine.

AOS has hundreds of different components with millions of different possible combinations. Balancing all that, especially when there is a very active community looking hard for ways to unbalance it, is ultimately a thankless task that would involve a lot of work for very little return for GW. The tournament scene is alive and thriving as is, and GW sell plenty of the minis for other ranges to casual and narrative players who like the style and the fluff. People who want to chase the meta can do so but it's not GW's responsibility to shape the hobby around them. You can have balance at the expense of variety. Restricting everyone at a tournament to the same list would give you perfect balance, but it would become very dull. It's also worth noting that one of the biggest factors in balance is what your opponent is bringing. A Gaunt Summoner is way more valuable against a horde army than an elite multi wound army for example. If you dictate points by which three builds are popular on the tournament scene you unbalance the game further for those playing in different settings.

It's worth remembering that a) hard-core tournament players make up  a small, albeit very active and vocal proportion of the community and b) to change the game for one part of the community affects all the others. A once a year shake up is a fair compromise.

tl;dr - If the tournament community wants more balance they're free to impose it on their own events, but it shouldn't dictate the game as a whole.

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2 hours ago, Ollie Grimwood said:

Well I suggest that without all those people who do like painting there wouldn’t be anyone to pay to paint ones army. 

The reason so much emphasis is placed upon it is that it helps show the miniatures in the best light and that’s what GW wants as that sells miniatures and that what it’s all about, selling miniatures. It’s the first thing that catches a potential customer’s attention, before rules, win/loss ratios or balance.  Don’t get me wrong the game itself has a large role to play but I wouldn’t downplay how important the artistic side of the hobby is to the whole.  It is the reason we’ve got the miniatures we have. 

Painting is the difference between playing Warhammer and playing Starcraft. Remove the hobbie side and there is no reason to play this instead of some video game

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35 minutes ago, AGPO said:

List building is a great part of this hobby whether youre doing it for competitive advantage or to build a characterful army. Rather than taking competitive list building away from tournament players, there's no reason that the tournament community can't put in place it's own restrictions to alter the challenge rather than removing an aspect of the hobby. We all did this before the first GHB came out and it worked just fine.

We dont want list building to matter less we want there to be more possibilities for competitive lists, I believe that actually makes list building matter more when you have more things to choose from and you have to tailor your list to deal with different things

Edited by Eevika
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If a game with a army as dok have 76% win rate and people think that aos is balanced then we have a big problem

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1 minute ago, prochuvi said:

If a game with a army as dok have 76% win rate and people think that aos is balanced then we have a big problem

Exactly

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3 hours ago, Eevika said:

I dont disagree that he shouldnt play the way he does. I disagree with the fact that he doesnt want balance in the game just becouse he wants easy wins 

If you think utilizing a power netlist is easy wins then I challenge you to take one to the next grand tournament and experience for yourself how easy competitive play is.

If a game with a army as dok have 76% win rate and people think that aos is balanced then we have a big problem

I also agree with this statement.  Though I don't see it as a problem, I just know that the game is far and away not close to being balanced, but I'm ok with that.  

Edited by Dead Scribe

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I personally consider that randomly rolling on the open war battle generator helps much more to balance than using previously decided matched battleplans.

When you know your objectives, you make the army based on that (amd that is where some armies outperform others) 

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19 minutes ago, prochuvi said:

If a game with a army as dok have 76% win rate and people think that aos is balanced then we have a big problem

Yes it is very disturbing.

but if the same thing happen to them as it did with the sky-dwarfs, I wouldn’t be sure if the people are happy then.

than again, Even if there where some mistakes made and some factions are right now overpowered, Gw has proven that they can fix things, and in time (may it be a few months or years) this could be somewhat made interesting for many too all factions (even if it means that some armies will stay at the top).

also as a reminder. When the factions would have equal changes of building list and fighting against other, just remember, that there probably will be a next problem people will complain about. (I’m guessing, it will be shooting)

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12 minutes ago, Dead Scribe said:

If you think utilizing a power netlist is easy wins then I challenge you to take one to the next grand tournament and experience for yourself how easy competitive play is.

Maybe not the easiest way, but definitely easier than when you have to invent your army from the scratch.

Edited by michu

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No one really cares about how you came up with your army list.  They care about your final standings.  

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5 minutes ago, Skreech Verminking said:

Yes it is very disturbing.

but if the same thing happen to them as it did with the sky-dwarfs, I wouldn’t be sure if the people are happy then.

than again, Even if there where some mistakes made and some factions are right now overpowered, Gw has proven that they can fix things, and in time (may it be a few months or years) this could be somewhat made interesting for many too all factions (even if it means that some armies will stay at the top).

 also as a reminder. When the factions would have equal changes of building list and fighting against other, just remember, that there probably will be a next problem people will complain about. (I’m guessing, it will be shooting)

No one wants something to get nerfed to the ground like skydrawfs and remove them from play all together. Like I have been saying I just want everything to fit in the margin of having a 45-55% winrate. GW does seem to not understand smaller changes and they nerf things way too hard.  

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1 minute ago, Dead Scribe said:

No one really cares about how you came up with your army list.  They care about your final standings.  

Thats your opinion. I appreciate someone playing a unique army with a custom theme much more than a netlister. People with real connections to their armies are much more fun to play against as well. 

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