I've been reading a lot of the posts on M3E masters balancing requests lately and I find it really interesting to try and analyze the issue from a design standpoint.
I wanted to share with you what I think about the whole Von Schill Load Up action change.
I think we could safely compare the action with Obey style abilities and Chimerancy from Marcus and try to understand if Load Up is balanced in it's current iteration.
The foundation of my reasoning is this: Malifaux, as most wargames, is based on the allocation and use of the different resources available to the players, in no particular order :
all of these are obviously tied to the units available to the player on the board after the hiring phase and most importantly are available only in a limited number.
Obey-style abilities, Load up and Chimerancy use one of the respective master's action for the current activation to benefit other crew members.
Then we have the need for the appropriate card to hit the required TN and that may come from the deck or hand depending on the situation.
In both cases we could say these abilities consume pretty much the same amount of these resources.
Where the real differences lie is in what a player get out of them.
-Obey-likes trade a Master's action for a non master's one (with different additional limitations depending on the master) it basically doesn't consume an action, it starts off downgrading one (a non-master's action is worth less in a vacuum) but it picks up value by allowing another model to do more that what it can normally do and by the difference of space (it allows to apply an additionl action in a specific place, different each time, than where the master is) if used properly is often just a sidegrade without resource or value loss.
-Chimerancy uses a Master's action to upgrade a non-master. The upgrade gives passive abilities to the target and/or triggers to the target's actions. It consumes a unit of the corresponding resources to generate value over the course of the rest of the game.It consumes a unit of the corresponding resources over time and through the use of the upgraded models and their actions.
-Load UP uses a Master's action to upgrade a non-master. The upgrades give new actions to the target and sometimes a passive ability. It consumes a unit of the corresponding resources and, here's the catch, it needs the use of a target's action to start generating value. And it's (most of the time) one use only, when it isn't it costs another resource in the form of a freikorpsman wound. It consumes a unit of the corresponding resources that generates value only once most of the time or costs even more resources. Another really important thing, imo, is that these are additional actions, not improvements to the existing ones, choosing them over the basic ones generates a virtual loss of resources in the opportunity cost of doing it (rocket boots being the outlier).
So, to recap my analysis: Obey-style: costs 1 master's action, generates instant value, doesn't cost additional resources, the immediate gain helps in avoid waste of resources, often yealds a net gain (not taking into account how the generated action actually goes, this applies to Chimerancy and Load up too)
Chimerancy: costs 1 master's action, generates value over time, enhances it's target abilities/survivability.
Load up: costs 1 master's action, generates value ONCE, to stick around it costs wounds, gives additional choices without enhancing the existing actions available to the target.
All of the above are signature abilities that strongly influence how the master plays on the table and what they bring for their crew even if they obviously do other things.
To the above points we should add the fact that in most cases these abilities have restrictions that force the hand of the player when hiring, and while that's good, since M3E is all about thematic crews, one of the point of versatile and OoK hiring is having a little wiggle room. In this insance Von Schill seems to get the short end of the stick again.
All in all, from my analysis it seems that Von Schill ability is now sub par.
I understand the concerns regarding his effectiveness as a secondary master but I think the nerf went a little too far.
Changing Load up limitations to: Friendly non-Beast or Freikorps models only could really solve the issue. (the Freikorps part is still there to allow him loading up himself)
These Upgrades are all about versatility and careful application (being one-use only) restricting too much their targets really hurts Von Schill's playability imho.
Most of all I'd like to know what you think of my analysis and if I missed something obvious.
I have more to say on his use as a secondary master and on what he brings for his cost in those situations but it's a really long post as is already.
I hope I managed to get my idead across, English is not my first language