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swarmofseals

My experience providing GHB feedback to the design team and my thoughts on GHB2019

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Pretty in-depth insight! Thanks for the deep dive into the whole process.

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Very interesting. a couple of examples here and there  and it would have been perfect .

thank you  for sharing your experience.

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7 minutes ago, pseudonyme said:

Very interesting. a couple of examples here and there  and it would have been perfect .

thank you  for sharing your experience.

Any examples in particular that you are interested in?

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@swarmofseals

Thanks a lot for this, it confirms a lot of what I suspected. 

I'm curious if you have any experience you can share about dual role and escort type units and how they are priced. I think units like the Allopex and gunhauler stand out, units that are just fundamentally not suitable for purpose in game.  While they might have a strong role and place in a faction from a narrative stand point. Do these sorts of units have an relief in the future?

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6 minutes ago, swarmofseals said:

Any examples in particular that you are interested in?

Example on your method to compare new warscroll vs old warscroll. You made me very curious, and as interesting as it is, your post is a little abstract because of lack of concrete examples.

Beyond actual warscroll that you would cut by 50%, was there good examples of changing the warscroll in the gloomspite gits or Skaven battletome?

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Excellent insight and thank you for sharing. 

I do see a lot of knee ****** reactions to things (mostly on fb) and while it is decreasing a toxic attitude to GW just because it's GW so  (again virtually all on fb) so it's nice to see someone with a well thought out and insightful view.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, swarmofseals said:

confidence that GW in on the right track

 

Battletome army changues of idoneths,one of the t1 armys

Idoneths eels tanks 0 nerf

Idoneths eels dps a joke 10 points nerfs(6% increase)

Across the board buff to almost every unit from the tome

Vs non battletome army of dispossesed who are botton tier

Warriors nerfs of 10 points (12% increase)

Buffs to heroes who are a minor % of the points of a list

Buff to hammerers at 140 points when have same stats than white lions or black guard that cost 120

0!!!!! Changues to the other units

It is imposible as dispossesed player see those changues and think gw know what the meaning of balance is

A fast glimpse to actual bt unit as boingrot bounderz vs no battletome army hammerers(dwarf)

Both units have similar stats so i gonna write that differ:

Goblin:

40 less points

Have a 2'5 mortal wounds output free

50% more move(2d6 is a median of 7)

 

Hammerers:

Have 16% better hit

 

So hammerers have 16% better for them and that it is.

How is posible that the goblins for 40 less points have more damage(the mortal wounds extra damage is more than the 16% beter hit from hammerers) and have almost double move,

Both for 120 would be a closer balance but 140 hammerers and 100 goblins are a joke

 

And this is only one example,almost every non battletome unit need a huge boost that this gh hadnt done

Edited by prochuvi
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1 hour ago, whispersofblood said:

I'm curious if you have any experience you can share about dual role and escort type units and how they are priced. I think units like the Allopex and gunhauler stand out, units that are just fundamentally not suitable for purpose in game.  While they might have a strong role and place in a faction from a narrative stand point. Do these sorts of units have an relief in the future?

I think there are two issues at play with this kind of unit. One is an easy fix (at least in theory), while the other is not so easy.

Dual melee/shooting units are generally in a difficult place right now, but I think that is mostly due to shooting in general being in a difficult place. Shooting units tend to be expensive, so it stands to reason that the shooting part of these dual purpose warscrolls is expensive. If shooting in general were more aggressively costed, then these warscrolls would likely look better. Shooting definitely has place waiting for it in the meta, but usually you need to hit a critical mass for it to work. You either need enough shooting to clear screens or pick off support units, or you need enough shooting to deal most of your damage that way. These hybrid units aren't going to hit either threshold by themselves very easily. That said, they can help push other units over the top while still providing useful abilities in other parts of the game. If that's viable, then these kinds of units can be viable if they are pointed at the right level.

The other problem goes way beyond these kinds of units, affecting basically any small combat unit that isn't chaff. So things like combat heroes on foot, smaller monsters, etc. The problem is activation+drop economy. If you have ever played a game like Magic: The Gathering, you are probably familiar with this basic idea. In Magic, the idea of card economy is fundamental to the game, but players didn't really "discover" this for quite a while after the game began. Without getting into too much detail, cards have to have at least a certain amount of impact in order to be worth playing unless they somehow replace themselves. For example, a card that says "deal one damage to target player" is almost never going to be playable, but "deal one damage to target player, draw a card" actually has a chance. 

The same thing is true in Age of Sigmar, albeit for slightly different reasons. In Magic, cards are a limited resource. In AoS, drops/activations are not a limited resource, but each one that you add carries a significant penalty. Choosing the first turn order is very important, so every drop you add to your list better do something worthwhile. This is why certain battalions can be great even if their actual abilities are terrible. In melee combat, the IGOUGO system means that it's almost always better to have your power concentrated in fewer activations. I'll illustrate this with a simple example. Imagine two sides each with 10 "power" worth of combatants. When a unit attacks, it reduces the target's power by an amount equal to its power. One side has a single unit of 10 power. The other side has three units of 3 power and one unit of 1 power. The latter side goes first. It picks one of its 3's to fight, reducing the 10 to a 7. The 7 then fights and kills the other two 3's and the 1. That ends the combat. Now one side has 7 left and the other has only 3 remaining, despite the fact that the 7 went second.

This is a simplification of AoS combat, but it's not all that far off from the way things work. So a unit like a medium sized non-hero monster or a combat hero on foot can be perfectly competitively costed but still not be worth taking simply because its only ever going to be a 3. This is doubly true with a big part of the game being command abilities and other targeted buffs. You want to use your force multiplier on the biggest force you can exert. Using it on a small thing is just inefficient.

This problem is definitely solvable but will require some rules changes. Just like in Magic "deal one damage to target player" can be fixed by adding "draw a card" (a gross oversimplification, I know), these cheap combat units can be fixed in AoS by adding something like this:

SUPPORT: Certain units excel at fighting alongside other units in close combat. Whenever you select a unit with this ability to fight in the combat phase, after you resolve all of its attacks you may immediately pick another unit that doesn't have this ability from your army within 3" and activate that unit as well. The chosen unit cannot be activated again in the combat phase unless an ability allows you to. Furthermore, during deployment whenever you set up a unit with this ability that is not part of a battalion, you may immediately set up one unit from your army that does not have this ability within 1" of this unit.

I'm sure the templating is off, but you get the idea. Basically, you can activate the unit for free in the combat phase and drop it for free in the deployment phase.

Adding this ability would instantly make a bunch of warscrolls viable that aren't currently very useful.

 

1 hour ago, pseudonyme said:

Example on your method to compare new warscroll vs old warscroll. You made me very curious, and as interesting as it is, your post is a little abstract because of lack of concrete examples.

Beyond actual warscroll that you would cut by 50%, was there good examples of changing the warscroll in the gloomspite gits or Skaven battletome?

I don't really have enough time to go into full detail, but I largely compared expected damage dealt and expected damage that the unit can take. I calculated this for every permutation of abilities and equipment on a given warscroll. Other abilities, speed etc. were obviously factored in, but separately from the offense and defense efficiency. I can't speak to the Skaven or Gloomspite tomes because I didn't work on them at all -- I only provided feedback for the GHB2019. 

An example of something that could be reduced in half in order to make it efficient enough to use is the Ironblaster or Scraplauncher. They currently cost 120 points each and have a ranged WDR of .02-.03 and .006-.0194 respectively, a melee WDR of .025-.0289 and .0139-.0176 respectively, and a defensive efficiency of .15.

So halving the points cost would raise the ranged WDR to .04-.06 and .012-.0388 respectively, melee WDR to .05-.0578 and .0278-.0352 respectively and defensive efficiency to .3.

Defensive efficiency of .3 is really good. It's about as good as things get for unbuffed units. Ranged WDR of .04-.06 would be good enough to see play at least in theory, although .012-.0388 would not.  The melee WDRs are still both bad, but these are primarily ranged units, and their score would be fine in that context. 

So the Ironblaster is an example of a warscroll that could be made efficient enough by halving the cost (albeit it still might not be worth a "drop"), whereas the Scraplauncher is an example of a warscroll where improving it enough to make it offensively viable would also make it too good defensively -- it would likely need to be somewhere around 40 points to work offensively.  Now do 40-60 points make "sense" for these warscrolls? Absolutely not. Its a single model kit of a big beast pulling an artillery piece. That doesn't fit with a 40-60 point tag.

 

26 minutes ago, prochuvi said:

And this is only one example,almost every non battletome unit need a huge boost that this gh hadnt done

I really don't mean to be rude or combative, but I don't think you read my post very carefully as I spend a huge part of it addressing this exact point. 

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Any ideas of why Dragonlord and Frost Phoenix went up 40 points each?

Both are not suported and the Dragonlord rarely see table, so what is your guess?

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55 minutes ago, Thiagoma said:

Any ideas of why Dragonlord and Frost Phoenix went up 40 points each?

Both are not suported and the Dragonlord rarely see table, so what is your guess?

Netfing mixed order lists that where popular last year I guess

dragonlord where pretty nasty before doppelgängers cloak was changed

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1 hour ago, Thiagoma said:

Any ideas of why Dragonlord and Frost Phoenix went up 40 points each?

Both are not suported and the Dragonlord rarely see table, so what is your guess?

The price they'll be in the aelf book!

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1 hour ago, Thiagoma said:

Any ideas of why Dragonlord and Frost Phoenix went up 40 points each?

Both are not suported and the Dragonlord rarely see table, so what is your guess?

The frostie was showing up a lot in highly competitive Sylvaneth and mixed Order lists that did very well last year. Personally I don't think the nerf was necessary particularly given that the Sylvaneth list in question is now dead, but I can understand why they did it given the information available at the time. 

Dragonlord Host alpha strike builds were not super popular but they were still quite powerful, particularly before FeC came out. I'd argue this nerf probably wasn't super necessary either, but I can understand wanting to tune down that list slightly given the state of the game at the time. I was always surprised more people weren't running 3 dragon Order Draconis lists. In AOS 2.1 (which covers the period being evaluated for the GHB2019, I think) Order Draconis lists were putting up a 64.1% match win rate, which is high enough to warrant a nerf.

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I rarely come to these parts of the world, but I wanted to drop by to say thank you for taking the time to write this post. It is both well written and very well considered.  The pace the meta is evolving at the moment, and Games Workshops goal to release and update all the different factions means that feedback provided late last year cannot factor in the dramatic changes to the meta since that time.  I think this is an understandable dilemma caused by operational and logistic demands.

As detailed in your article, some of the points changes required to make some old units viable are so drastic that is seems ridiculous.  Most of the perceived problems we have are concerning rules, not points. If you are writing rules that are either so unique or so extreme that accurately pointing units with those rules is seemingly impossible, there is an issue with the rules writing. 

One thing about Games Workshops promotional videos is that they allow you to tell what THEY (games workshop) think is important. According to their own inside the studio video, there is a heavy focus on the new 1000 point system. 

How many Age of Sigmar rules writers do they have? Between the pace of battle tome release's, new GHB, Forbidden Power, promotional events and maintaining a production pace that meets corporate demands. How much time do they have to write well thought out and considered rules? Recently I made a reactive and emotional video regarding my frustrations with both the Games Workshop community articles and the rules writing team.  The sentiments represented in this video have been building up for several months. The last thing I want to do is be hurtful to anyone working at Games Workshop by being overly negative about one aspect of the hobby. The video is the polar opposite of this article. It is reactive, emotional, and done in the spur of the moment. I do, however, suggest that people pay attention to the comments and like to dislike ratio. It seems my frustrations are not mine alone but also felt by the majority of people in the community. 

What I think most people are upset about beneath all the back and forth about points and rules is that people feel a real disconnect between how most people enjoy playing Age of Sigmar and how the rules writers play/write Age of Sigmar. I have put a link to my video below and as I said above don't bother watching it but instead take the time to read the comments.

+++ MOD HAT +++ Sorry, TGA is a family friendly forum - your YouTube video title wasn't!

 
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@Doom & Darkness thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it! 

I have no idea how many people write rules for Age of Sigmar, but I have a feeling that they could use more (GW, you have my email address XD). 

I appreciate your perspective, but I think we fundamentally disagree on a pretty basic point. I think that overall the rules writing has been improving dramatically over time. Overall, my impression of the old warscrolls is that very few of them are interesting. There are so many abilities that are incredibly low impact and effectively just wasted space. As a Gutbusters player I'd imagine you'd feel this quite keenly -- so many of those warscrolls have abilities that are super narrow and don't really do anything. Down to the Ironguts is a fantastic example. It's a once per battle ability that can only be triggered if you've had an Ogor flee from your army... and all it does is give you rr1s. I mean, rr1s to hit and wound and save are nice and all but that ability by itself is in no way shape or form adequate to make the Ironguts an interesting unit at all.

I love that GW is being brave with their rules writing. I disagree that there are loads of abilities that are unique or extreme enough that pointing them is "seemingly impossible." Right now abilities that break combat sequencing are taking a very strong place in the meta but even the much maligned FEC are only winning like 65% of their games. Skaven is only winning 58.4%. A 65% game win rate is too high, clearly, but it's not like this army is impossible to beat. Bumping up the points on a few key things could easily bring it down to a reasonable level. I'd argue that FEC would barely be a problem if there was a bit more shooting in the meta. 

If GW wants to maintain the longevity of the game, then they really do need to be brave like this in their rules writing. They need to open up new design space and innovate even if it means that there are some mistakes along the way.

The problem right now, in my view, is that there are still these old armies out there that just aren't on that level at all -- and the way to address that is to update them, not to reign things in and keep pumping out boring warscrolls that ask you to jump through some hoops so that they can reroll 1's. 

Again, I think your frustration as a Gutbusters player is absolutely justified. But I think the way Gutbusters are designed is the mistake far more than any of the new tomes. That line from warhammer-community was a slap in the face though, I'll give you that. When I read that "Gutbusters are just as deadly as they have always been!" my immediate thought was, "Wow, that is going to make some people really mad." Clearly whomever was writing that was taking a marketing perspective, but I think it would have been much better to be honest and say that balance changes were focused on modern factions and the few overpowered old faction builds that still remain, and that the relatively untouched factions will get more attention when they get updated. 

Also, please do be careful about assuming that the subset of people that interact with your videos is representative of the "majority of the people in the community." The people who take the time to watch an AOS rant on youtube and then comment on it are a very specific subset of the overall playerbase. I don't know your work well enough to know who your viewers are, but I do know that there are still a lot of very vocal people out there who still aren't over the End Times and absolutely hate AOS. There's also a smaller but still vocal community of people who loved early AOS and hate anything with even a whiff of competitiveness to it and won't forgive GW for even introducing Matched Play at all. Neither of these groups is representative of the community as a whole.

If anything, the market seems to be suggesting that GW is moving in a popular direction. GW as a company is doing extremely well of late, and AOS is a part of that. I can't ever remember a time when I had to worry about limited releases selling out on the first day of preorders, which is now a regular thing (and it sucks, I hope GW corrects it -- but still, it does show that the demand is there).  GW has had difficulty keeping many kits in stock. 

GW has provided us with a bunch of different ways to enjoy Age of Sigmar. I know that the matched play content is getting like 90% of the focus online, but there is a ton of great content there for Open and Narrative play. One of the things that frustrates me about the community is the number of people who are dissatisfied with matched play and yet refuse to consider playing the game any other way. There is simply no substitute for talking to your opponents and finding people who want to enjoy the game the way you do. 

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12 minutes ago, swarmofseals said:

GW has provided us with a bunch of different ways to enjoy Age of Sigmar. I know that the matched play content is getting like 90% of the focus online, but there is a ton of great content there for Open and Narrative play. One of the things that frustrates me about the community is the number of people who are dissatisfied with matched play and yet refuse to consider playing the game any other way. There is simply no substitute for talking to your opponents and finding people who want to enjoy the game the way you do. 

Thanks for writing this. It was an incredibly insightful read! I couldn’t agree with this paragraph I quoted more. Sometimes I hear about the competitive scene and I get frustrated and then I remind myself that my group plays more towards the narrative side anyway. 

 

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, prochuvi said:

Idoneths eels tanks 0 nerf

Idoneths eels dps a joke 10 points nerfs(6% increase)

 Across the board buff to almost every unit from the tome

That is because Idoneth are horrendously overcosted. Plus there is only one way to play: Eels, because they‘re not overcosted.

the „buff“ to the rest of the book was simply too little to change that, it‘d need to be three times that „buff“ to make other units playable (even in friendly games...)

i‘ll switch To open play and  meeting engagements, though IDK might be too strong there (Eels) or utterly bad (the rest of the army). 🤷🏼‍♂️

Edited by JackStreicher
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@swarmofsealsThank you a lot for the detailed post and your replies further into the thread. It’s really nice to read someone who has obviously some knowledge, does critical thinking, is also grown up enough to agree and disagree and does all that in a very friendly way. Thanks!

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8 hours ago, prochuvi said:

It is imposible as dispossesed player see those changues and think gw know what the meaning of balance is

 

I think you might manage your expectations a bit better to avoid rage quitting the hobby. There are so many armies with a book and every single one has more options than every single army without. It's just the options a tome brings. 

Sticking with the Dispossessed as the example but this goes for every bookless army. Like the OP says, you either need to point every dispossessed unit like it's a shop's closing sale to compete or you need to increase the points on the book armies. If you bottom price dispossessed you are going to end up with:
a. Dispossessed players buying such amounts of models to fill 2K the moment a tome drops they have bought 3K worth. Which will just be seen as a cashgrab by GW losing them customers. That's in no way good. 
b. They will still be ally option to other armies... it's not possible to point that in a good way. 

If you go the other way by increasing the price for tome armies to compensate, those armies need to double everything in points. So existing players have a huge surplus of units when that change comes (Cashgrab again) and all tome faction players will only be able to bring half their units. That doesn't make for fun games. 

All in all it's not possible for GW to match your expectation until every faction is either culled or given a tome. 

I really enjoy my Dwarfs as well, it was my first army 20 years ago and I still have every single model since then. And when I do want to rock them I play other non tome armies and it's a very fun game. 

My big advise would be to play a few games with Grand alliance rules especially if your opponent has a tome. I'm willing to bet those will be (roughly) balanced games and great fun. That's been my experience anyway. Try it! 

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Posted (edited)

Thoughtful and well considered article. Really enjoyed it. I think a crux of GW reasoning is that they just value abilities slightly differently to players. Perhaps many of us dont place enough value on flexibility in roles for a unit. For example Palladors dont have a great offensive ability but their movement is superb and defense decent. What is the value of snatching an objective early from across the board? I bet we all have different perspectives. 

Its a huge ask @swarmofseals  but I'm sure many of us would be very interested to see your faction evaluations if you were willing to share them? 

Edited by Laststand
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Im interested in whats the WCR of a Troggboss. What points do you think it should be at?

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@swarmofseals thanks for such an insightful and detailed post. It's really interesting to hear from someone balancing the divide between rules writers and players.

I have three questions:

1) How do you think the activation system of aos impacts balance? I k ow you've touched a bit on this but I'd like to know further. For example, thralls seem overcosted even at 130. This seems to be primarily on the basis that a 5 up save means that unless the unit goes first, it will probably die. Doing 30 wounds to a unit with a 5 up save is not that hard. However, if they activate first they probably can do a lot of damage. It seems like there are a few units which work like this and end up falling out of favour. 

2) How are base sizes taken into account? For example, bloodreavers and marauders are both horde units that fill a similar role in a chaos army. However, reavers are on 32mm with marauders on 25mm. As such you can get a lot more marauders into combat. 

3) What is the point of units like Lotann and how do you even fix them with points? Support characters that don't contribute a single powerful and reliable buff seem to have no place in AoS. 

 

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2 hours ago, Laststand said:

Thoughtful and well considered article. Really enjoyed it. I think a crux of GW reasoning is that they just value abilities slightly differently to players. Perhaps many of us dont place enough value on flexibility in roles for a unit. For example Palladors dont have a great offensive ability but their movement is superb and defense decent. What is the value of snatching an objective early from across the board? I bet we all have different perspectives. 

Its a huge ask @swarmofseals  but I'm sure many of us would be very interested to see your faction evaluations if you were willing to share them? 

I think @swarmofseals would be wise to avoid this or if you could more narrowly defined the question?

Faction evaluation is usually about how strong it's best loadouts are. But there are a lot of reasons why say GSG may never fully actualize and with therefore forever look like a weaker 2.0 tome.

So I guess my criticism is maybe what you want evaluated. Competitiveness? Internal consistency? Etc. 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Kramer said:

My big advise would be to play a few games with Grand alliance rules especially if your opponent has a tome. I'm willing to bet those will be (roughly) balanced games and great fun. That's been my experience anyway. Try it! 

Quite honestly, if GW had added Dispossessed to The „Lethisian Defenders“ they‘d given them more fun options while making Dispossessed and the Lethisian Defenders  more useful in general (apart from that I would have loved the lore of it x_X)

Edited by JackStreicher

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14 hours ago, swarmofseals said:

Snip

 

Great writeup - Thank you very much for it. :) I'm curious though, you mention WDR and talk about looking at warscrolls specifically. I'll admit I'm not certain how exactly you calculate WDR, but it sounds like it is purely based on the specific warscroll?

Does this mean that alligiance abilities aren't factored in, in any way, when deeming the value of a specific warscroll? Slaanesh has pretty bonkers alligiance abilities, so comparing a warscroll like Daemonettes to, let's say Gors in BoC really doesn't tell you much and the comparison will be awful compared to reality. This is further complicated by abilities that allows the Daemonettes to fight twice etc.

My question is if WDR is purely based on 1:1 comparions of warscrolls?

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