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SunTsu

Upgrades concept and possible fix

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I like the fact that now we have few effective upgrades, while in m2e we had a lot of unuseful upgrades.

But from the very strat of this game design choice, I had some issues about it.

In my mind, having so few upgrades should mean that most of them should be effective, if not for all models in a faction, at least at the most part.

Formally it works this way. Instead some upgrades are by fact restricted to a minor number of models.

I'll write an example to make my thoughts clearer, using Arcanist's Soulstone Cache upgrade as model:

Quote

Soulstone Cache  -  Cost: 2 SS ver. 3.1.19

 

This model gains the following Abilities:

Attuned: This model may use Soulstones.

Recharge Soulstone: After a model is killed within :aura3 of this model, add one Soulstone to this Crew's Soulstone Pool. 

 

If this model is a Minion, it also gains the following Ability:

Empower: Friendly models within :aura5 that spend one or more Soulstones during a duel receive a:+flipto that duel.

Now, this upgrades have no formal restriction that limit who can buy this. On the other hand, it's a fact that this upgrade will see play only on a small subset of models.

The problem is that the cost of the upgrade is calculated considering all the abilities on it as effective. So if a master/henchman would buy this one it would spend 2ss to get just a single ability: I don't think it would never happen. The same for a model that have some ability that let it using ss. The reason is that these models finally would overpay this upgrade, because for the same cost they get less than other models.

The same concept behind rewarding minions is not completely embraceable in my mind: while in m2e there was largely true that minions were the more fragile models, now in m3e the concept of stations changed completely (even if this transition was not fully completed, imvvvho). Now minions are simply the models whith plentiful, while enforcer/hench/master are those unique models. I don't completely like this change, but that's another discussion...

For the purpose of upgrades disquisition instead, all upgrades tend to reward minions giving them a free ability: I think it's not always fair, because there are same strong heavy minion that benefit from a bonus thought to give an edge to small fragile models, and some enforcers that are really fragile and weak models in game term. For example, there are many totems that are little weak enforcer models, while some minions are very tough big guys.

 

So the problem here, from my perspective, is that we have a rigid upgrade's design, and that some strong models get a bonus that should go only to weaker ones.

 

I have some ideas to how change this, and I will write some examples of them:

1- let's make upgrades cheaper for those models that cannot use one ability the upgrade provides: for example if a model that can use ss by itself would hire "Soulstone Cache", it could pay it only 1ss instead of 2ss. This would increase the number of models that would buy a particular upgrade in practice;

2- another way to make things more flexible and less rigid, could be by don't specify wich ability get minions or non-minions models. Something like: "This upgrade cost 1ss, and the model can choose one of the following 3 abilities. If the model spend +1ss it can choose +1 ability. If the model is a minion it can choose +1 ability." In this way a minion could get 2 ability paying just 1ss, or the full 3 paying all 2ss, while a non-minion model could get 1 ability for 1ss, or 2 abilities for 2ss. This for example would let an henchman/master buy "Soulstone Cache", because it can avoid to pay for the attuned ability it already owns;

3- remove completely 'minion' as a parameter, in favor of a "cost-less-then-X" statement. For example, instead of 'minion' condition, the upgrade could say: "If this model costs 6ss or less, it also gains the following Ability:". This would more effectively reward weaker models than the 'minion' stipulation do, imo.

 

Any ideas???

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11 hours ago, SunTsu said:

3- remove completely 'minion' as a parameter, in favor of a "cost-less-then-X" statement. For example, instead of 'minion' condition, the upgrade could say: "If this model costs 6ss or less, it also gains the following Ability:". This would more effectively reward weaker models than the 'minion' stipulation do, imo.

This idea has been around for some time, and while it looks good on the face of it, I'm not sure it's going to work out in practice.

Firstly, because an arbitrary line on SS is going to have some models inordinately change. A 6+2SS minion being significantly better than a 7+2SS minion.

But mostly because unless the line is fairly high, investing 2SS in a model that just isn't really survivable, is going to make the upgrades incredibly cornercase.

Take the Soulstone Cache as an example. Assuming there's no restriction on station, what 6SS or less model would someone feel comfortable investing another 2SS in?

The reason that the issues with the Minion characteristic are as they are, is BECAUSE it's going on Mature Nephilim/Desolation Engine, and they're relatively robust, and when they do something it, it matters more. Note, I'm not saying that the impact on those models shouldn't be lessened. I'm just pointing out that lessening those models isn't likely to make cheaper models more likely to take them. The most likely outcome is that Upgrades just won't get taken as frequently.

Not sure how it'd work (and would still run afoul of the first issue I stated), would be to remove the "minion" section of the text (and possibly removing one of the three abilities, depending), and having a variable cost assigned. Models up to 6SS pay 1SS. Above that pay 2SS. Masters pay 3SS.

That way the models doing the least with the Upgrade pay less, and those getting the most out of it, pay more.

I mean, in Guild, I don't think I'd not put a 2SS into a LLC for most masters, and would definitely think about it at 3SS. But I'd be hesitant to putting it on nearly anything else, and definitely not on something already significantly resilient. Wouldn't ever consider it for a Death Marshal or a Witchling Stalker at 2SS. At 1SS, it'd maybe be worth thinking about.

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