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JackOfBlades

Amending Forced Subfaction Command Traits

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Posted (edited)

While I appreciate the addition of subfactions in of themselves, and I'm not against forced command traits per se, I think it's bad that they 100% lock you out of using the other command traits that could be interesting. Want Dark Acolyte on your Varghulf courtier? the only way to get it is if you penalize yourself by not choosing a subfaction. This is a waste in my opinion, why should players in practice be railroaded into only using a fraction of the available traits?

So how about leaving subfactions with forced command traits as they are, but:

1) Your army has 1 command trait per points 1000 point bracket (1-1000 = 1, 1001 - 2000 = 2, 2001 - 3000 = 3 and so on)
And/or
2) You can buy additional command traits for X points, like you can with command points
And/or
3) A combination of 1 and 2: for each 1000 point bracket, you gain the option of buying an additional command trait

What do you guys think?

Edited by JackOfBlades

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I just don't think command traits and relics should be forced upon the player at all - it makes no sense narratively, and is limiting competitively.

Stormhosts were the first time it annoyed me - not EVERY General of the Anvils of Heldenhammer are going to have a scary aura and weapon that steals your soul.

 

They're experimenting having more than one Command Trait in 40k with the Psychic Awakening series, so it could filter through - but not until AoS has a more complex army building structure I wouldn't imagine.

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, Ahriman said:

I just don't think command traits and relics should be forced upon the player at all - it makes no sense narratively, and is limiting competitively.

Stormhosts were the first time it annoyed me - not EVERY General of the Anvils of Heldenhammer are going to have a scary aura and weapon that steals your soul.

 

They're experimenting having more than one Command Trait in 40k with the Psychic Awakening series, so it could filter through - but not until AoS has a more complex army building structure I wouldn't imagine.

I agree that forced traits and artefacts are restrictive and unnecessary.

Thinking about it, this is how I would solve it:

- Subfactions are eliminated rules wise, only remaining narratively.
- The battle traits, command traits, command abilities and artefacts from subfactions are put into common pools of those things.
- Your army gets to pick 1 command trait, 1 battle trait and 1 command ability for free. Then either 1) You can then buy more of any one of them for X/Y/Z points, like you can with command points, or 2) You can buy more command traits but not more battle traits or command abilities.

Imo it should be structured like the custom Drukhari obsessions/Tyranid hive fleets.

Edited by JackOfBlades

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The limited command trait is the current cost of gaining a better battle trait, currently barring a select few factions (feast day FEC) there would be no reason not to take a unique subfaction if you also gained free choice of Command Trait, you gain a bonus but have to have a restriction in order to get it. That is the balance of the extra abilities gained, otherwise every Stormhost will be Anvils of Heldenhammer abilities, with Staunch defender command trait and instead of seeing more variety you end up with the same option chosen as people cherry pick the best of the best.

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, Melcavuk said:

The limited command trait is the current cost of gaining a better battle trait, currently barring a select few factions (feast day FEC) there would be no reason not to take a unique subfaction if you also gained free choice of Command Trait, you gain a bonus but have to have a restriction in order to get it. That is the balance of the extra abilities gained, otherwise every Stormhost will be Anvils of Heldenhammer abilities, with Staunch defender command trait and instead of seeing more variety you end up with the same option chosen as people cherry pick the best of the best.

But this is bad design from a narrative point of view, even if it works "competitively". It basically means you are allowed to power creep in exchange for eliminating choice and others have to do it too to keep up, or if it's not power creep then it's just clunky restriction (because the game can't be balanced otherwise or something?). What good does that do anyone? You could just make all the traits equally good and let players make their own combinations. It already works like that to a larger extent in 40k.

Edited by JackOfBlades

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, JackOfBlades said:

But this is bad design from a narrative point of view, even if it works "competitively". It basically means you are allowed to power creep in exchange for eliminating choice and others have to do it too to keep up, or if it's not power creep then it's just clunky restriction (because the game can't be balanced otherwise or something?). What good does that do anyone? You could just make all the traits equally good and let players make their own combinations. It already works like that to a larger extent in 40k.

Are you though? You can either take subfaction bonus A which is good, or command trait B which is good but cant do an A+B combo, and infact by the current limitation it means relic X which might not be as good sees more play when you want to take command trait B. By your way of reducing limitation what you're actually cultivating is an even more limited list pool because something will always be "better" in its catagory, advocating free choice all the way across means that you simply take the best from all columns. And 40k is a hot mess right now I'd hate to see traits of that pulled over to "improve" Age of Sigmar.

In a perfect world everything would be balanced or atleast equal, which is how AoS was before the implementation of GHB and Points, however players felt that restrictions, pointing, balancing, guides and limitations were needed to make the game enjoyable. Because people want a game to be "competitive" you are forced to bring in barriers and limitations to prevent certain combinations, the other option is to have a far more reduced pool of choices from the outside.

Edited by Melcavuk
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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, Melcavuk said:

Are you though? You can either take subfaction bonus A which is good, or command trait B which is good but cant do an A+B combo, and infact by the current limitation it means relic X which might not be as good sees more play when you want to take command trait B. By your way of reducing limitation what you're actually cultivating is an even more limited list pool because something will always be "better" in its catagory, advocating free choice all the way across means that you simply take the best from all columns. And 40k is a hot mess right now I'd hate to see traits of that pulled over to "improve" Age of Sigmar.

In a perfect world everything would be balanced or atleast equal, which is how AoS was before the implementation of GHB and Points, however players felt that restrictions, pointing, balancing, guides and limitations were needed to make the game enjoyable. Because people want a game to be "competitive" you are forced to bring in barriers and limitations to prevent certain combinations, the other option is to have a far more reduced pool of choices from the outside.

Indeed, min-maxers will min-max in any system, but eliminating choices to "prevent" that is a scorched earth strategy. And just because you open up choices doesn't mean you have to remove the whole gameplay rules.

Flesh Eater Courts right now for example effectively only have 4 choices for what package of battle trait + command ability + artefact + command trait they will take, so although you've made "bad" things used, it's because you've removed all but a few choices anyway. You wouldn't even need to completely remove subfactions necessarily, as I outlined in my OP all you would have to do is let players take additional command traits from the generic lists (which with subfactions in play now, you might as well eliminate).

I agree that the old days of 4+ ward save items and such being auto includes, with items like the Frostblade and such never taken, weren't good design either. But that's because the selections were obviously unbalanced and were also left that way for years and years, it doesn't have to be designed that way. You just have to tone all the custom abilities down to the point that no army and no character "needs" to take any one of them (like the above example with the 4+ always taken ward saves for example).

Edited by JackOfBlades

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Additional command traits opens up a whole world of new issues, it means you can end up stacking things that are designed to never be in the same list, from CP farming whilst boosting damage output to multiple massive combat monstrocities. If you want to play narratively there's nothing to stop you using the rule to generate a new general when yours is slain and randomly generating a new command trait for them to reflect the in game promotion, but opening it up to further combinations would just cause more issues (again Staunch defender in every Anvils list as you havent made anything more desirable, you've just let them take more of the already desirable options)

 

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, Melcavuk said:

Additional command traits opens up a whole world of new issues, it means you can end up stacking things that are designed to never be in the same list, from CP farming whilst boosting damage output to multiple massive combat monstrocities. If you want to play narratively there's nothing to stop you using the rule to generate a new general when yours is slain and randomly generating a new command trait for them to reflect the in game promotion, but opening it up to further combinations would just cause more issues (again Staunch defender in every Anvils list as you havent made anything more desirable, you've just let them take more of the already desirable options)

 

So basically, poorly balanced generic traits in the first place were left there technically but swept under the rug/patched over with the new system of subfactions?

Edited by JackOfBlades

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I actually prefer to play my FEC without a sub-faction.  I don't want to do Monster Mash (aka Gristlegore), and would rather roll with the Feast Day delusion than take any of the other sub-factions.

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I like it. 

It means going subfactionless is an option to consider. And even interfaction balance is more prevalent because of it. 

List building should about choices and not just getting everything you want imo.

Same goes for Battleline If options. It's not bad if getting better things as battleline comes with a bit of a disadvantage. 

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1 hour ago, Ahriman said:

I just don't think command traits and relics should be forced upon the player at all - it makes no sense narratively, and is limiting competitively.

Stormhosts were the first time it annoyed me - not EVERY General of the Anvils of Heldenhammer are going to have a scary aura and weapon that steals your soul.

I think to a certain degree it makes sense that some sub factions have a forced artefact. Like if you're playing the "Sons of X", it makes sense the leader might have some relic that is related to these "Sons of X". 

I do think many tomes are written in a bad way, but looking at Ironjawz in Orruk Warclans as an example - You have 3 subfactions with forced command traits and artefacts. There are stronger things from the generic tables within the tome, but also from Malign Sorcery. This creates a situation where you technically have 4 choices - Sacrifice the good stuff for unique bonuses/abilities through subfactions, or sacrifice these goodies in order to pick superior traits/artefacts. Imo this is a good way of doing it.

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1 minute ago, JackOfBlades said:

So basically, poorly balanced generic traits were patched over by the new system of subfactions?

In an ideal world all command traits would be equal, and we wouldnt need points because people would be able to have a discussion pregame to create a cool balanced game, and there would be no unit limitations because players would be responsible adults able to pick a cool themed list without gaming the system. This was AoS 1

Ultimately it was found people were unable to do that, so we have post GHB AoS, where restrictions are key.

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I would be for opening it up. I doubt it would make balancing worse than it is at the moment. (Where several pages of command traits could as well blank because things like Petrifex Elite exists)

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10 minutes ago, Melcavuk said:

In an ideal world all command traits would be equal, and we wouldnt need points because people would be able to have a discussion pregame to create a cool balanced game, and there would be no unit limitations because players would be responsible adults able to pick a cool themed list without gaming the system. This was AoS 1

Ultimately it was found people were unable to do that, so we have post GHB AoS, where restrictions are key.

You're making up a fallacy of the excluded middle.

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2 minutes ago, JackOfBlades said:

You're making up a fallacy of the excluded middle.

And your entire premise is based on a list of perfectly balanced units, command traits and subfactions that dont currently exist. As I have tried to explain multiple times citing examples of what we have now, the restrictions currently prevent cherry picking best of best from every catagory.

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, Melcavuk said:

And your entire premise is based on a list of perfectly balanced units, command traits and subfactions that dont currently exist. As I have tried to explain multiple times citing examples of what we have now, the restrictions currently prevent cherry picking best of best from every catagory.

What they really prevent wouldn't be cherry picking but "picking" at all. By your own logic as soon as the subfactions are ever expanded to include a significant number, or if there are few of them (like in Beasts of Chaos for example) but they are poorly balanced (not saying BoC are or aren't), there will be cherry picking.

Although it's certainly not a doomsday scenario with the current subfactions either so I don't want to exaggerate. I just don't like how they lock you out of flavor choices like Dark Acolyte.

Edited by JackOfBlades

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You gain bonus, by gaining limitation. If you remove limitation, remove bonus.

If you can run Stormhost A and still take best command trait, to end up at Stormhost A + command trait A then there will be no reason NOT to pick a Stormhost, as you will only get Command Trait A. By this example event attendance will result in a net reduction in list variation:

Currently lists are either HOST A shootcast, or Command Trait A staunch cast.

New lists would always be HOST A COMMAND A staunchshootcast.

Essentially excerbating existing imbalance by removing limitations, whilst in an ideal world this would promote choice and diversity in a competitive environment you're simply removing limitation to create a single "master" list. As i said if you're narrative gaming its entirely your perogative but in terms of competitive gaming it wouldnt promote the diversity you're aiming for.

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Limitations breed creativity. I think the current system is fine. 

As a counterpoint, obr petrifex elite have basically the best subfaction ability and command ability already and it actually decreases choice. Literally nothing else is ever taken. Making it totally free to pick would likely just enable that across the board. 

You are advocating for the supermarket bread isle approach endless choice but not really providing any more value.

The game is in a remarkably good spot right now I think, with a very small number of disable exceptuons. Let's not mess it up with something horribly annoying like psychic awakening and it's rules bloat.

 

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Just to add my opinion -

I'm firmly against allowing people to pick the subfaction with the best rules while also allowing them to pick the traits and magic items that are they best.

If you want the "best" subfaction rules (that cost zero points) then it's right that the balancing of the "best" zero-points rules us handled by a restriction in another area.

I really don't want to allow the horrors people would come up with for matched play if players could take all the best free stuff.

 

Just as an example, I really want the sword you get from Null Myriad, the bonuses of Petrifex, and a trait of my choosing.

It's very good that I cannot have that.

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Posted (edited)

I made a poll about this here before, and a lot of the community was unhappy with the sub-faction rules and restrictions. There are other ways to balance subfactions without them taking customization away from you. Personally I have found building lists in this edition to be less inspiring, between the locked subfaction traits/artefacts and the general culling of unit options and customization.

Basically I feel like GW is doing the micro customization FOR us these days, which is anti-hype for a player like me. I don’t just want to play out one of their pre-designed lists for THEM on the table.

As far as “just don’t take a subfaction” goes, the books generally punish you for not doing so, with some exceptions.

Edited by Zanzou

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1 minute ago, Zanzou said:

Basically I feel like GW is doing the micro customization FOR us these days,

We lost micro customization when WFB went away and took points-per-model with it.

It -kills- me that I have to field models in threes, fives, or tens, especially since that can mean adding up to ten more models to a unit just to maintain certain model-count based bonuses that cut out at, say, 19 models. It's my least liked part of AoS, but it does allow for more balanced design so I accept it, just as I accept trading off choice of these other things to get access to a subfaction's rules.

 

In other words, AoS (after 1.0) traded choices for a more fair Matched Play experience, and that's fine.

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I think the intent is to minimize the power level of certain warlord trait/artefact combos, especially when combined with subfaction abilities.

On paper this is a good thing and seems like good game design. It limits the amount of combos that have to be reviewed. Also, many of the subfaction buffs are very strong, so the forced traits/artefacts can be viewed as another balancing mechanism to particularly powerful subfactions. It  also adds variety to duplicates of the same army. A Sylvaneth Wintlerleaf list is very different from a Sylvaneth Dreadwood list.  

In practice, it doesn't work. GW hasn't quite mastered properly balancing subfactions so 1-2 outliers end up dominating the rest and 90% of the subfactions get ignored altogether. So we see the same artefacts/traits in every list.

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Kasper said:

I do think many tomes are written in a bad way, but looking at Ironjawz in Orruk Warclans as an example - You have 3 subfactions with forced command traits and artefacts. There are stronger things from the generic tables within the tome, but also from Malign Sorcery. This creates a situation where you technically have 4 choices - Sacrifice the good stuff for unique bonuses/abilities through subfactions, or sacrifice these goodies in order to pick superior traits/artefacts. Imo this is a good way of doing it.

I enjoy all of my Orruk Warclans armies (I play all 3 allegiances) and it is a good example of where the subfactions all came out fairly well balanced - both for Ironjawz and for Bonesplitterz.  They all add something interesting, useful, and unique, but they come at the cost of some very good core command abilities.  But this book is very much in the minority.  I think the subfactions are a good concept but poorly implemented most of the time.  There is a tendency to make some of them absurdly good and with hardly any downside, and to make the majority of them just plain bad for the most part. 

I also think GW currently has an issue with trying to make too many choices for things like subfactions, command abilities, artifacts, mount traits, spells, etc.  They often seem to feel the need to have to stuff 6-12 choices into a chart (occasionally they go with just 3) because that means you could roll a dice to randomly pick (what a stupid metric to feel constrained to) despite almost nobody ever using random generation.  The end result is that they only have a couple truly good choices, a couple more decent ones, and then a ton of forgettable garbage that almost never gets used by anyone.  Malign Sorcery has over 80 items and I bet that only about 8-10 get any serious use - with probably about 4-5 of them being the majority chosen options.  They would do better trying to use more controlled design and stick to the more interesting & good choices.  I would be perfectly fine if most tables only had about 3-4 options in them, but those options were well thought out and synergized with the army.

Honestly, I am hoping that GW is starting a trend with how they are handling allegiance abilities with the Slaves to Darkness & Seraphon books having layered allegiances and if they continue with that trend then I really hope that the recent Seraphon book is the new template for how many armies are designed in regards to how allegiances & subfactions work together.  I think they struck an excellent balance in designing interesting abilities & bonuses that chain in such a way that you don't have to balance out getting access to stuff that is not useful for how your army is generally built.  Everything in the Seraphon book flows down from the slimmed down core faction allegiance, to the 2 specific sub-allegiances, and then to the subfactions which require you to have chosen a specific sub-allegiance in order to gain access.  And then those subfactions sometimes warp the army construction rules - such as making Stegadons battleline.  They worked the battalions in a similar manner and so what you get with just about any of your choices is a set of rules that does not have much dead-weight in it most of the time and feels very focused.

I thought it was very well designed and I feel like a lot of armies could benefit both in terms of rules-effectiveness but also with expanded character & theme by moving towards a similar format whenever their books are reworked.  For example, I think Gloomspite Gitz, Beasts of Chaos, Legions of Nagash, and Skaven would all end up improved if they used the allegiance-ability design from the Seraphon whenever they update those books.  It lets the designers make a big-tent type of book while also making the specific niche build ideas have effective and characterful rules associated with them.

Edited by Skabnoze
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Um.. from a narrative PoV it is good design, when you are looking at the narrative you are taking those traits, and those relics/commands are linked to those traits for literally a narrative reason. 

If you are playing open or narrative, they just don't take those artefacts/commands.

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