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Every faction need its strenghts and weaknesses


Lokibri
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I just want to share with you some thoughts and opinions we recently had.

So, currently we got into some discussions in our community and had the feeling that something was just changing in the development department at wyrd.

We saw the intentions on every faction and what their strenghts, but also what their general weaknesses were. For example Arcanists got much armor, gremlins cheap models and many AP to work with but pretty weak, neverborn have many casts and evil slaughtery models, etc.

The masters in that specific faction included different playstyles, the option to switch something up and play a bit different. Marcus e.g. just was an outstanding master and didn`t follow the usual rules for arcanists.

And then, all of a sudden this changed in a weird fashion. Suddenly Sandeep appeared, a supporting master, that is also good hitting things, while also being able to summon minions in. He was one of the first masters you had the feeling, is capable of doing everything very well! He was hated among many and feared in tournaments. And there was confusion, where is weakneses are. Whie it just takes some time to find the weakness of a master, it was hard to find one for him.

Then the new upgrades arrived with new models along. While many upgrades opened a different playstyle or made certain masters finally to their job as intended, some others just got the nuts and went crazy. Nowaydays, we were discussing if the kentauroi were changing the ressurs in a way they should not change at all. Ressers in general normally need corpsemarkers to do something very good and that is totally fine, because they did something for it or sacrificed some health. Another weakness on the other hand was mobility. Except for necropunks, ressers are slow! All of a sudden there was a model, that was summonable, and filled multiple holes in the bucket of ressers. They carry guys around, which opens up even more AP for resser, they normally have plenty of, because they got many summons. They have a HUGE charge range and attack range and the option to charge out of engagements and combine that into one minion. Was this inclusion really healthy for the game? I don`t think so, because ressers just had an insanely good minion, that filled thos gaps at once! So, we tried it out and we nearly always experienced the same over and over again. For nearly everything (except lucky Alpha and it HAD to be LUCKY!) Nicodem got the answer just around the corner. That was an interesting observation and we asked ourselves: "Is that the way it`s gonna be? Will all factions just get models that will fill the gaps in every faction?" That would be pretty boring after a while and i think would just flatten out the interesting differences between the factions.

A perfect example for a master that can do alot, but not too much to be all balanced out for example is Zipp. He is fast, he is controlling, but he has no opportunity to interact and that is great! He has a very obvious disadvantage and people use that against him with succes. That is a very good way to balane things out.

 

So, i would like to know from you guys:

- Do you share our concerns to flaten out the anti-symmetric playstyle and make it kind of boring with filling the cracks each faction has?

- Did you observer similar or maybe opposite things like that?

- What do you think should be checked before releasing different new models?

 

Maybe it is possible to fill a gap for a faction with new upgrades/models, but that should COST! It should costs a lot in any imaginable way, however that turns out.

 

I am very interested in your experiences and opinions :).

 

See you in the Bayou!

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Why didn't this get any answers so far? I think this is a very interesting and important topic. 

I haven't been playing Malifaux for that long, but I think that factions having defined strenghts and weaknesses is an important part of good game design. I also think that some of the more recent additions to the game have somehow weakened these distinctive differences. 

I'm not sure how much this does impact the overall game, but I think it may prove to be less than ideal in the long run.

I'd be really interested in what others think, too. 

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1 hour ago, Skylifter-1000 said:

Why didn't this get any answers so far? I think this is a very interesting and important topic. 

Interesting topic but I have a strong sense of déjà vu.

Short version: I don't mind masters adding something to their faction like Hoffman or Lucius making guild actually able to scheme (if we go back to wave 2 models, these days they scheme very well) but I dislike the ones that are so generally strong that there's little reason to ever pick another like what seems to be the case with several wave 4 masters but is also true for certain summoners from wave 1.

I do feel that factions might never have had such strong identities as people make them out to have had (at least since m2e). Examples include: Marcus and Colette play a very different game compared to the M&SU bunch. Guild probably bring just as much armour as arcanists if they want and aren't slow at all in the right list. Neverborn can attack WP but have several themes that really care very little about it and they could bring a pretty much all armour list from wave 1. The identities are often tied to individual models or masters and then generalised onto a faction that doesn't always fit.

That being said I'm not a fan of cheap models adding things that dillute the faction differences that do exist. If some 13-15ss model breaks it I can live with it, that's a quarter of a crew which should limit the rest of the filth.

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1 hour ago, I'm a Teapot! said:

Yesterday on my traindride to work I looked through the window and I saw Zipp flying right next to the train....

 

......

 

........

suddenly a Nicodem appeared, overtaking Zip while riding a Kentauroi... 

 

The End

 

 

I would hardly call seperating Nicodem from his support network a strength. Not that Kentauroi are faster than Zipp anyways, or that ressers as a whole have ever actually had a mobility problem.

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4 hours ago, santaclaws01 said:

I would hardly call seperating Nicodem from his support network a strength. Not that Kentauroi are faster than Zipp anyways, or that ressers as a whole have ever actually had a mobility problem.

If you expect Nico's summons to alphastrike into the enemy deployment zone the same turn they pop up they have a mobility problem and that seems to be the kind of mobility people are expecting these days. :)

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38 minutes ago, Ludvig said:

If you expect Nico's summons to alphastrike into the enemy deployment zone the same turn they pop up they have a mobility problem and that seems to be the kind of mobility people are expecting these days. :)

Honestly with the way I usually play, especially if I see a crew that's almost entirely dedicated to fueling Nicodem's engine, I'd probably already have my own alpha strike already there. No reason to try and wait for a big beater that doesn't exist to activate.

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Yeah it's fun when stuff have strength and weaknesses but pouring out models and powercreep is how you stay in business, so what are you going to do?

I also don't think Zipp have a meaningful weakness, if the Zipp player never planned to interact with Zipp anyway, how are you going punish them for not interacting?

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The master power creep doesn't feel like it would have been necessary and I'm not sure how intentional it was since not all the new masters turned out that way.

Some later models do seem blatantly better than most other choices at the same cost, it would have been interesting to have them slightly more on the curve than above it and hope to sell because the sculpts were amazing.

Not that I run a miniature company so I am fairly clueless o the relation between power/sculpt/sold models. In my local community people seem to value sculpts over rules but I get that tournament players may be the ones driving sales. Not sure if that is the case though.

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Well powercreep may not be strictly necessary to stay in business, but making loads of new models is. You got to have new stuff coming out continuously to keep people excited. Powercreep is then more or less inevitable as some models will be overpowered and the meta will shift with them. Of course some models will be underpowered as well but they'll see less use and not affect the meta as much.

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15 minutes ago, Skylifter-1000 said:

I think the difficulty is in creating models that are exactly the same power level. That would probably create sales, but I think it is pretty hard to achieve. Malifaux has an okay internal balance, I think, much better than some other games, but there are still obvious power level differences. 

Malifaux at least has the advantage of crew building after you know what you need to do, so that you can make models that are Good at one thing, but rubbish at something else. and they will then only be picked when you need that 1 thing. 

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I think that it is good to have factions with general identities, but I also think it is cool to have options to play something different.

When fighting Ressers, for example, it will be common to face sturdy models, that have a strong melee play and tricks by range. Common defences are Hard to Wound and Incorporeal (not so sturdy, I know), those things belong to completely different styles and crews, and I like the option, as a player, to rely on different deffensive tech. Also, every crew has some way to bring more men to the party, so summoning is a thing. Knowing that, the player will not know who will face, but probably will be prepared with condition removal, high min damage, possibly some cast attaks and some way to mitigate enemy casting (for lures and nasty tricks). It is true that the faction tends to be a bit slow (not so much with the Spirit crfews, that tend to teleport, change places, ignore terrain, summon in front of the enemy...) but heavy hitters tend to be slow if not supported correctly. Having the option of getting speed on the faction is a good thing in my oppinion, but it should not be so freely. Maybe Kentauroi are very good taxis, as are Iron Skeeters, maybe even better as they can carry masters. On the design table, during the playtest, I remember that the concept was about letting masters being carried by the model, and the trick costed a card for each walk action. It felt a bit lacking, but maybe, if you were carrying a leader, should you discard a card? Time will tell if it is true, right now we have a model that offers the players an option to navigate the slow factor of resser crews.

I like the fact that, even in the same faction, you can play completely different crews, with styles and weaknesses. The "one crew for one job" would not sell right if all the models in a faction were heavy hitters, right? (looking at you, pre-nellie guild... jut kidding). ALso, do not forget that the value of a model is directly influenced by its role in the faction and its capacity to generate VP. The latter can change a lot as the GG change, making models that were golden (neropunks, silurids, etc) now simply uninteresting options for the current rotation, Fingers is considered for many players a VERY expensive model, but if played correctly, he can score 3 VP and deny 3 to the opponent, so it does not seem so expensive for that, right?. The role in the faction is another important factor: for a long time, watchers were considered a strong option on Guild as scheme runners, but they lost their place as the reporters arrived, because they were particularly designed to fulfill that role, while watchers bringed other utility tricks. I think a model is ballanced when it is an option and not an auto include.

I think the problem is not if a model solves or not a problem of the faction, but if it is too good or not while doing so. For example, in Gremlins there is a powerful debate about Big Brain Bin, a model that has a coktail of good tricks and problem-solving for the faction (reactivating models, cancelling triggers, protecting Wp, remmoving conditions...) but is not liked for the community, as it is a very squishy model with short range for his tricks. On the other hand we have Asura Rotten, another summoner/support henchman for Ressers who, even as she fulfills a common role within the faction, is startin to replace the options as she does the same but better.

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I mostly agree. Model bloat and everyone can do everything and more and more cross hiring...

I understand why Wyrd does it. You need to sell new models. You want to give people what they want by fixing the "issues" in their factions that they complain about.

 

But it feels like identities are lost... I especially dislike the cross faction hiring.

 

Also balance becomes harder with more models. If I just want to play something fun, paint cool models and hang out with buddies I'll play warhammer... because everyone plays it and it's easier to get the social part of playing a game.

 

I love the Malifaux feel, fluff and models (maybe not their assembly). But it had something else... an interesting competitive feel. I'm new... and love GG18, but since wave 5 came out I am feeling like both of those things are weakened... the game "feel" is getting diluted in all the cross hiring and plucking faction weaknesses, and the competitiveness... while the game balance might actually be better at the moment... at least you can argue for it... you can feel that there are too many things interacting. Some models just need to be sidelined because you can't keep up with the balance of such a large pool. And balance is not the only thing that makes competition interesting... differences between factions... strengths and weaknesses need to be there to give us unique challenges. If balance was the goal we'd all play chess.

 

Anyway... not sure how to fix this.

 

But I think we feel similarly about the state of the game.

 

I'd be interested in discussing possible solutions so that the game remains popular and keeps growing and attracting people. And I want us all to have as much fun as possible playing with as many people as possible.

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7 hours ago, Bengt said:

Well powercreep may not be strictly necessary to stay in business, but making loads of new models is. You got to have new stuff coming out continuously to keep people excited. Powercreep is then more or less inevitable as some models will be overpowered and the meta will shift with them. Of course some models will be underpowered as well but they'll see less use and not affect the meta as much.

I feel the trick is to try and change the meta to also make some of those weaker models useful. For instance in Gremlins the whiskey golem has been generally considered a sub par model and has now had 2 buffs to try and make it useful. imo the thing that is really going to enable it to have tabletime though is supply wagons. 

 

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I don't blame Wyrd for having some power creep.   Models are going to need to have "pizzazz" in order to get played.  And I've enjoyed the varieties that the newer waves have had.  The fact is, if all the Waves had been like wave 3, we would not see many new models played, which I don't want.  I want the new sculpts to give up something interesting. 

 

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I think power creep is the unintended slow process that happens naturally when you want models to actually add something, much like Aaron described.

There are super amazing models and less amazing models in each wave, it often takes a while to see which is which as you get game time with models. I still see plenty of things from wave 1 and 2 on tables all the time so it's not like every release invalidates previously taken models. I've played other game systems where it felt more like a power surge than a creep each new release wave.

 

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2 hours ago, Ludvig said:

I think power creep is the unintended slow process that happens naturally when you want models to actually add something, much like Aaron described.

There are super amazing models and less amazing models in each wave, it often takes a while to see which is which as you get game time with models. I still see plenty of things from wave 1 and 2 on tables all the time so it's not like every release invalidates previously taken models. I've played other game systems where it felt more like a power surge than a creep each new release wave.

 

Yeah, I remember that one game, too, where it felt like the newest book was always the best... can't quite recollect the name I'm afraid... something about a tool of some kind... nah. Just cannot put my finger on it. 

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Power creep is inevitable as you need to sell something different from anything the faction has to stay in business. Other option is selling more powerful version of existing models. I think avoiding power creep is noble goal, however, as I said - power creep happens and a company can only try to minimize it's impact on the game, especially when covering faction weaknesses. For instance - as Outcast player I can say, that yellow guys struggle with chain activations (we have effigy, trinket from emissary and upgrade for Sisters) and non-master models that can push or move friendlies (only destined action on Emissary). i think that covering these particular weaknesses by, for instance, giving new models companion/accomplice could cause serious problems (eg. with Viktorias), but releasing a model that would have an aura that stops enemy models within it from chain activating would cover this particular faction weakness without creating broken combination.

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9 hours ago, Skylifter-1000 said:

Yeah, I remember that one game, too, where it felt like the newest book was always the best... can't quite recollect the name I'm afraid... something about a tool of some kind... nah. Just cannot put my finger on it. 

To be fair I don't think it was really intentional in that other game either - they just weren't the best rules writers. There were as many examples of new models being rubbish on the table top as there were them being broken.

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28 minutes ago, still-young said:

To be fair I don't think it was really intentional in that other game either - they just weren't the best rules writers. There were as many examples of new models being rubbish on the table top as there were them being broken.

I believe there were two designers with very different philosophies so every other book was over the top and every other shunned by tournament players.

Also seem to recall the first appearance of cavalry for every faction in another game system where cavalry just had insane special rules without really costing much more than their infantry counterparts. :)

 

This has veered off topic but I think a problem with strong faction identities is that the game premiers that uniqueness to different degrees. Every faction needs to be able to do something worthwhile in every poolanf stand an equal shot at winning. That is complicated to balance with such diverse objectives.

Early guild philosophy was Kill first, scheme later which is very hard when ever scheme requires interaction with opposing models and incremental scoring starting turn 2. It did work i the old book pools because of the Lways and suited schemes being very favourable to that playstyle but that wasn't fun after a while. We needed evolution.

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