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So something that has been very prevalent is how strong focus is and to counter this, the rise of elite crews with very few of the little-to-mid range guys getting a chance to shine unless they're the bees-knees!

Models are just too fragile, that really shouldn't be and I think Focus plays a huge part in this. I'm not talking far flanking models like Crooligans, Wind Gammin or Watchers that will hardly be seen, but models like Performers, Lotus Eaters, Wanyudo, draugr, fire/poison gammin etc that don't have HtK or HtW just becoming glass cannons.

How many first turns have looked like, ok this model walks and focuses, next model walks and focuses, and repeat? How flippin awesome are Tanukis handing out 3 Focus a turn? Especially with so many spike damage tracks, either 3/4/6 or 2/4/5or6.

One of the changes for this edition was meant to be that models lived longer... I'm finding they die faster than ever.

Therefore, my thoughts and ideas are:

  • Focus gets reduced by 1 at the end of the turn (eliminating the walk & focus activations, but still allowing for stacking Focus for future turns)
  • Remove the Stackability (so you can only ever have 1 focus, but you can keep it between turns)
  • Focus ends at the end of the turn like M2E.
  • Focus can add :+flip to any opposed duel OR damage flip (not both), credit to others for this idea

Thoughts?

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I do think it will require way more balance than just that. M3E is quite young, and I haven't seen a general problem with focus (and I've played quite a bit). Actually, the most successful keywords ri

That wasn't quite the point I was trying to make. Everything will profit from having focus. Part of the reason for using elite models is not that they benefit more from focus (often they don't), but i

No, I meant that Shlong and McCabe brought a ton of Focus while Asami brought a ton of Focus plus the Flicker stuff.   It doesn't break the game in the sense that you can still play it but

Removing focus at the end of the turn would break so many crews that rely on blasphemous ritual on turn one. Limiting focus to only one is fine.

But I haven't found focus to be that game-defining (although admittedly I play ressers). But often hitting something twice for 3 damage is just as efficient as hitting it once for 6 damage. The many ways to splash out free focus can be a bit powerful, but if anyone stacks too much focus there are usually ways to remove it somewhat efficiently.

I can't say much about M2E survivability, but in M3E it very much feels like the idea for survivability is "make it costly for opponents to hit your models" rather than just giving models tankiness.

EDIT: Although I admit I'm a dirty resser player and my opinion may not matter. Certainly have to acknowledge focus on Seamus seems crazy.

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Of them all, I think the last option is probably the best one:

 

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Focus can add :+flip to any opposed duel OR damage flip (not both)

Any of the others risk unintended consequences (like Guild Riflemen are good at the moment because they can stack focus and use it to extend range and then get the positive flip on the attack, which is why they would normally spend turn 1 stacking focus.  If you limit it to a single focus, or lose focus at the end of the turn, then you have a model that drops in effectiveness massively, and I'm not sure they'd be particularly good anymore (better players than me may well disagree!)

 

But forcing the choice of positive on hit or damage weakens them slightly, but not excessively.

 

Whether its a change that actually needs to be made, I don't know.  Focus is a Condition, after all, so condition removal can deal with it.

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The game is balanced right now with focused as is. Any changes will require huge rebalancing. 

1. There is a lot of sources of [-] to hit, especially against ranged attacks: concealment, friendly fire, manipulative, serene countenance, distracted condition etc. For most ranged non-master models "walk-concentrate" turn one is the only way to have a chance of at least one successful attack turn two, because most of times you need to reposition (walk) and then try to shoot something in concealment.

2. Almost 16% of models in the game have hard to wound. Without focused chances of a straight damage flip against them will be very low (even with focused it's a single negative most of time). And don't forget a [-] to damage from cover.

3. Focused can be used defensively. It is a good source of survivability for models with average DF and it is a great way to keep your key model alive without good cards in hand.

 

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2 hours ago, Da Git said:

So something that has been very prevalent is how strong focus is and to counter this, the rise of elite crews with very few of the little-to-mid range guys getting a chance to shine unless they're the bees-knees!

This argument doesn't make a lot of sense tbh. 
If focus was so strong then the (kinda) weenie armies would be king as they have more actions and thus can put out more focus. There are enough 5-7 stones models with relevant damage output above their min1 or min2. 

I tried to do the maths for some cases considering my crews (Malifaux statistics are from hell) and came to the conclusion that multiple attacks bring about the same damage output as focused attacks; there even might be a slight advantage with multiple attacks if not too much defensive tech is involved. 
On the other hand statistics are one thing and the feel of the players is another one (like the wish for geting some reliable output from the expensive models). 

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8 minutes ago, Harlekin said:

This argument doesn't make a lot of sense tbh. 
If focus was so strong then the (kinda) weenie armies would be king as they have more actions and thus can put out more focus. There are enough 5-7 stones models with relevant damage output above their min1 or min2. 

I tried to do the maths for some cases considering my crews (Malifaux statistics are from hell) and came to the conclusion that multiple attacks bring about the same damage output as focused attacks; there even might be a slight advantage with multiple attacks if not too much defensive tech is involved. 
On the other hand statistics are one thing and the feel of the players is another one (like the wish for geting some reliable output from the expensive models). 

The argument against weenies is that its much easier for a model to deal 6 damage this edition that it was before. (a combination of charge now being a 1 action and focus lasting across turns). So the lower health models are more likely to die to one hit than they used to be. Because of this, the power of a stronger model has actually held up more so in a focus rich environment (I think) because you are more likely to be able to use it. (even with Focus, it can still be hand intensive to cause signifigant damage, and its harder for a hand to fully support 2 attacks well enough to kill a model than 1 attack)

Also, with the ability to carry focus from turn to turn, models that give other models focus have become a lot more common, both in the game, and hired in the list. Whilst a lot of the time 2 un focused attacks is comparable to 1 focused attack, this gets turned about once a different model is the one giving you the focus. It effectively is extra Actions on the model of your choice, and 4 actions on 1 model is often preferable to 2 actions on 2 different models. (Hence why obey and models giving fast are often popular)

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I do see the point but on an analytical level it still doesn't make sense as weenies still are able to dish out more focus (also including focus-granting auras) compared to elite models. 
Of course do elite models survive longer but still, if focus was so king that wouldn't matter much because you get twice the models and thus twice the focus. 
I am not comparing one, say Rabble Riser to one Archie, but 3 Risers plus a Flesh Construct versus Archie plus Rogue Necromancy plus an Upgrade. 

Focus on a really good beater with a fitting hand can be brutal, no question. But focus always costs you ressources you could have spent somewhere else (be it an action for concentrate, a model you take for handing out focus, your special schtick...) and while it's good it doesn't seem to be dominant or overwhelming. 

I didn't really play Malifaux in M2E though (only a few games) so I don't have to compare nowadays Focus to M2E Focus and thus might have a different perspective than long time players, though. 

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Not all models gain equal benefits from the focus. Its not just a case of the player with the most focus wins, but where you put that focus and what effect you can get from it. Essentially the efficiency of that focus is what matters, the pay off you get for the effort you put in. 

In general, the greatest power of focus has been providing the ability to cheat a damage flip. Now cheating a 1/2/3 damage flip will potentially increase you damage by 300% where as cheating a 3/4/6 damage flip only does so by 200%. You will still find more people will want to cheat the 3/4/6 flip because they feel they get more for that expenditure of a severe card. This is because over the course of a turn the limiting factor is more often cards. So 2 cheaper models with the 1/2/3 damage track will not out damage the single model with the 3/4/6 damage track over the course of the turn, and will probably do less damage. 

In general the second best resource is cards in hand (VPs is the best resource to actually win the game) slightly above actions (although it is close, and without any actions, cards in hand are useless). So if you can use actions to improve your cards in hand then it is often worth it. Focus does so in two different ways. Firstly it makes it so you are more likely to win the duel, so you are less likely to need to cheat those cards to hit, and secondly it makes it so you are more likely to be able to gain the maximum effect of a severe, which is the damage flip (in duels the card value doesn't matter so much, its the difference between your total and the opponents total that matters. And whilst a severe means you are more likely to have a bigger difference, its not automatically true that an 11(severe) is better than a 10 (moderate).  (It will be sometimes, but only about 20-30% of the time (The other times you get the same outcome of the duel with either number) where as if you get it in a straight damage flip its almost always better). 

Lots of cheap models with focus will help reduce drain on your hand for performing those duels, but increases drain on the hand (or decreases usefulness ) by the fact you get more chances to cheat damage.  so over all they end up being less efficient than it might appear, and more vulnerable. 

The game factors on more things than damage (which can be hard to quantify) but from a damage point of view, focus on a big hitter is more efficient than focus on lots of little hitters. 

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Some examples for non-elite models:

Coryphee 2/4/5 - 6 stones, Fire Gaming 1/2/4 - 4 stones, Ice Dancers 1/3/4 - 6 stones, Saboteurs 1/3/4 - 5 stones, Rooster Riders 2/4/5 - 7 stones, Swine-Cursed 2/4/5 - 7 stones, Wild Boar 2/4/5 - 7 stones,...

What I am trying to show is that not every cheap-ish model is 1/2/3 and many in fact do profit from focus. Most of them offer some utilities and you still get more output. Especially as the game factors more things than damage there (imho) is no general advantage of elite crews, being it of the fact alone that you get way more actions out of those which is the most limited and limiting resource in the game. 

If you compare US meta with UK meta (the two biggers metas most relevant and representative from an outsider's perspective), the UK meta seems to be more comfortable with non-elite gameplay while US meta seems to go very elite heavy and I think both ways of playing the game are valid. 

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It's not so much about the hittiness of smaller models, but the ease of being removed. Also the fact that you have to kill a model completely before its effectiveness is removed.

I also agree with Adran about not all AP being equal. Fuhatsu with Tanuki handing him Focus is worth a whole heap more than the sum of its parts.

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1 hour ago, Harlekin said:

Some examples for non-elite models:

Coryphee 2/4/5 - 6 stones, Fire Gaming 1/2/4 - 4 stones, Ice Dancers 1/3/4 - 6 stones, Saboteurs 1/3/4 - 5 stones, Rooster Riders 2/4/5 - 7 stones, Swine-Cursed 2/4/5 - 7 stones, Wild Boar 2/4/5 - 7 stones,...

What I am trying to show is that not every cheap-ish model is 1/2/3 and many in fact do profit from focus. Most of them offer some utilities and you still get more output. Especially as the game factors more things than damage there (imho) is no general advantage of elite crews, being it of the fact alone that you get way more actions out of those which is the most limited and limiting resource in the game. 

If you compare US meta with UK meta (the two biggers metas most relevant and representative from an outsider's perspective), the UK meta seems to be more comfortable with non-elite gameplay while US meta seems to go very elite heavy and I think both ways of playing the game are valid. 

That wasn't quite the point I was trying to make. Everything will profit from having focus. Part of the reason for using elite models is not that they benefit more from focus (often they don't), but it is less of a risk to spend resources on them. You put Focus +2 on a Fire gamin ready for it to charge into a fight, and you will probably find that it won't be alive by the time you are next allowed to activate a model. Do the same with your coryphee and it may well still be alive. Try it with Joss, and the chance of your opponent removing him in 1 activation is so low, they probably won't even try. So the risk of wasting those resources is higher on cheaper models (in general). 

The advantage to an elite crew is that it operates on maximum effect for longer than a swarm crew. Because in most cases models power level doesn't change based on their health, Joss will be an equal threat when he activates when he is on 1 wound as 10. A similar amount of attacks to fire gamin will have fully killed 2 or 3  in the same time, which has reduced their damage output considerably. The swarm will have started off with more actions per turn, but it will lose them faster. 

There isn't 1 right way to play, and I think both have their advantages in  different missions. 

 

As an aside, unless something has changed recently the USA doesn't really have a unified meta. There are several local meta, but there isn't enough cross pollination between them to unify it into a US meta (at least I don't think so). The UK does have enough players mixing that you could probably see a general meta, at least at the tournament level, but there are certainly still regional differences. 

 

 

6 hours ago, Da Git said:

 

Therefore, my thoughts and ideas are:

  • Focus gets reduced by 1 at the end of the turn (eliminating the walk & focus activations, but still allowing for stacking Focus for future turns)

I dislike this option because what it does is say you need to build a focus engine. Focus gets reduced TO 1 at the end of the  turn would be a lot better in my view. But then I'm a much bigger fan of the walk focus activations than the stacking mass focus actions. 

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3 minutes ago, Adran said:

I dislike this option because what it does is say you need to build a focus engine. Focus gets reduced TO 1 at the end of the  turn would be a lot better in my view. But then I'm a much bigger fan of the walk focus activations than the stacking mass focus actions. 

I actually don't mind this all that much, but then again (as much as I love focus stacking) I also love me some swagger.

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3 hours ago, Adran said:

That wasn't quite the point I was trying to make. Everything will profit from having focus. Part of the reason for using elite models is not that they benefit more from focus (often they don't), but it is less of a risk to spend resources on them.

True. But the point pro non-elite/weenie-ish crews is that you start with more resources (aka AP).

As Malifaux is such a complex game with so many options, decisions, factors, aspects, scenarios, interactions etc. involved it is always really hard to call for a general statement about "effectiveness" in general. 

Up to now, I didn't face any real issues with the Focus mechanic as it works at the moment. 

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That would need major changes to a lot of things to balance it all again... we are talking about next to a second beta to get all factions right again, and It might create different problems...

For example: 

  • Models with lots of defensive tech would become even better than they are right now, right now defenses can be¬†bruteforced¬†with Focused. Good luck trying to take on an H2W, armored model with min 2 models and without Focused.
  • The game would become more rock, paper, scissors. If you don't include the right model that counter your adversary, then you are out of options.
  • Crews with lot of healing and good bodyguards would be unkillable for a lot of crews. After 3 attacks you managed to deal 3 damage to that Armor+2 model, look that moderate heal of 2 with a power token undone it all.
  • Control masters and models would become¬†even more opressive.¬†

I'd rather it as it's right now; that's something to consider in an edition change, but it's too big in the middle of one imho.

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One issue with Focus as it currently exists is that it leads to behaviors that makes the defenses on some models actually counterproductive.  Performers are a good example.  They're 5 health and Manipulative.  If you're going to spend time attacking one, Focus and attack is, in most circumstances, the right move whether they have activated or not if removing the model is important.  Because as was mentioned, the true value to Focus is getting the damage flip cheatable.

Manipulative makes it much more obvious that Focus attacking is the right play over two attacks, because often your opponent is looking at how to hit first, and how to kill second.  

---

Other people have mentioned this, so it's in no way my idea, but I think Focus should be changed to a :+flip to pretty much any duel or damage/heal flip, rather than affecting only opposed duels and having the :+flipapply to both the duel and any damage.

Another slight Wyrd may want to consider is having Distracted cancel Focus and vice versa.  They wouldn't even need to change Distracted.  There's no reason why conditions have to be exact mirror opposites to cancel each other.    

 

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Thanks for all your responses. To me, it sounds like the best solution would be to make Focus affect would be the Opposed duel OR Damage flip. That way you can get around whichever defence you need (eg, manipulative or HtW), without getting the positive on the other flip as just gravy. Makes the action useful rather than just a default choice.

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11 hours ago, Da Git said:

Thanks for all your responses. To me, it sounds like the best solution would be to make Focus affect would be the Opposed duel OR Damage flip. That way you can get around whichever defence you need (eg, manipulative or HtW), without getting the positive on the other flip as just gravy. Makes the action useful rather than just a default choice.

Still don't agree with your point of view but thanks for the fruitful and interesting question and discussion.

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21 hours ago, Ogid said:

That would need major changes to a lot of things to balance it all again... we are talking about next to a second beta to get all factions right again, and It might create different problems...

To be fair, that kinda pre-supposes that things are currently balanced. At least in OP's opinion they aren't, thus the suggestion. Now, the question is, is the balance better before or after the change and that's naturally open for debate but the current state of the game isn't very fragile and it would most likely survive a change like that just fine. Some models would become better and some would become worse but the open beta tried to balance hundreds of profiles with intense synergies in a number of weeks - the end result is impossible to get anywhere near perfect.

I must say that one of my biggest peeves with M3e as compared to 2e is the way Conditions are handled. I can see the merit behind limiting them to a certain number but they are also way more common now and additionally we have these not-Conditions-in-name-but-really-Conditions to muddle things up. I've played against TT quite a bit lately and, without any exaggeration, they have :+flipto hit and damage far more often than not due to either Focus or some other thing like taking a Flicker.

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On 9/14/2020 at 6:32 AM, Adran said:

I dislike this option because what it does is say you need to build a focus engine. Focus gets reduced TO 1 at the end of the  turn would be a lot better in my view. But then I'm a much bigger fan of the walk focus activations than the stacking mass focus actions. 

That's an interesting idea and stops crazy Focus stacking. Still makes Focus very good and it's doubtful it would change much. The other option, to make it Attack or Dmg flip, is also decent. I think it was floated during beta, but never tried? If really needed for balance of specific models (Riflemen?) you could give them a new ability that does not reduce Focus between turns. I don't think either of these options would really unbalance any crews or models. They would still get to use Focus and could stack during a turn to make their Activation hurt. 

4 hours ago, Math Mathonwy said:

I've played against TT quite a bit lately and, without any exaggeration, they have :+flipto hit and damage far more often than not due to either Focus or some other thing like taking a Flicker.

This is my problem - there are an abundance of ways to get Focus without using Concentrate. This is what allows all the action-efficient stacking and can cause some un-balanced scenarios imo. TT is a very good example, but there are others. Even in Resurrs with Von Schtook and Blasphemous Ritual it's not difficult to have 3+ Focus on most of your models turn 1. 

 

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3 hours ago, Paddywhack said:

That's an interesting idea and stops crazy Focus stacking. Still makes Focus very good and it's doubtful it would change much. The other option, to make it Attack or Dmg flip, is also decent. I think it was floated during beta, but never tried? If really needed for balance of specific models (Riflemen?) you could give them a new ability that does not reduce Focus between turns. I don't think either of these options would really unbalance any crews or models. They would still get to use Focus and could stack during a turn to make their Activation hurt.

I do think it will require way more balance than just that. M3E is quite young, and I haven't seen a general problem with focus (and I've played quite a bit). Actually, the most successful keywords right now are those that do not have to rely on focus to hit or put damage in a reliable way, but other mechanics.

3 hours ago, Paddywhack said:

This is my problem - there are an abundance of ways to get Focus without using Concentrate. This is what allows all the action-efficient stacking and can cause some un-balanced scenarios imo. TT is a very good example, but there are others. Even in Resurrs with Von Schtook and Blasphemous Ritual it's not difficult to have 3+ Focus on most of your models turn 1. 

 

You got it wrong. @Math Mathonwy was saying that TT have access to pseudofocus, in the form of Flicker or Charge through.

I've played keywords or models that can stack a bunch of focus, and then it's as easy as having some condition removal to drop all that focus and AP invested for no benefit. Once I stacked focus 7 in a Draugr in 2 turns, just to be obliterated while still had focus +3. Or Alphonse with Focus +6 in turn 1 to get a Tanuki Sober Him Up in turn 2.

All the factions have condition removal, and most of the time it can be used offensively to remove the stacked focus (when it's worth it). Also in Neverborn there are 3 models that you can bring to end the focus condition in an enemy model without even give him the chance to resist (Insidious Madness, Carver and Pandora).

There are other models that can do it (with an opposed duel):

  • Dead Doxies
  • Nurses
  • Showgirls
  • Lust

So, if you have access to any of them (sorry Outcasts, but not Guild, you have LJ and Steward), and you're afraid your opponent is going to stack the focus condition, you should bring any of those.

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25 minutes ago, ShinChan said:

You got it wrong. @Math Mathonwy was saying that TT have access to pseudofocus, in the form of Flicker or Charge through.

 

Sure, but that just exacerbates the problem. And they still have ways to add Focus on top of those pseudo-focus. Condition Removal sounds fine, but most is short range and you may have 1-2 models with it vs an entire crew of Focus. And when your condition-removla piece is smashed in one Focused hit, you are kinda out of luck :) 

I'm not saying its a huge problem or ruins the game completely, but I do think it is a problem. It was brought up open Beta I believe, but nothing was ever done to try and correct it. At some point you get so used to seeing so much Focus and almost every model having tons of it, you get used to it. It does seem pretty blah though - if models really need Focus to be good, then doesn't that indicate an issue with the model in the first place.

 I don't think they will make any changes right now or even soon, but its good to have the discussion for future changes.  

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56 minutes ago, Paddywhack said:

Sure, but that just exacerbates the problem. And they still have ways to add Focus on top of those pseudo-focus.

Actually, I think the opposite. Having focus, helps to power up those models that don't have access to abilities like that.

56 minutes ago, Paddywhack said:

Condition Removal sounds fine, but most is short range and you may have 1-2 models with it vs an entire crew of Focus. And when your condition-removla piece is smashed in one Focused hit, you are kinda out of luck :)

Those examples that I put you, most of them are 10" range. And remove all the focus while putting distracted.

56 minutes ago, Paddywhack said:

I'm not saying its a huge problem or ruins the game completely, but I do think it is a problem. It was brought up open Beta I believe, but nothing was ever done to try and correct it. At some point you get so used to seeing so much Focus and almost every model having tons of it, you get used to it.

It does seem pretty blah though - if models really need Focus to be good, then doesn't that indicate an issue with the model in the first place.

It was brought up during the Open Beta, but there wasn't any numbers to support that affirmation, it was more: "Ehh, focus can be stacked and it's going to break the game", which, so far, has not.

Maybe the access to focus is what can make the model excel and the keyword/faction works around getting that focus into that model.

On the other hand, I do agree that abusive focus stacking in a very action-efficient mechanic should be addressed and prevented, like the old good Mah and her hollering. However, I can't see any of those these days, feel free to point me to it (apart from double blasphemous ritual, which I don't think is strong outside of Von Schtook, but the problem there is maybe Transmortis and not the focus).

56 minutes ago, Paddywhack said:

 I don't think they will make any changes right now or even soon, but its good to have the discussion for future changes.  

For a completely new edition, yes, for sure. Even for a 3.5 edition, like the old good M1.5E. But right now, being the edition a bit more than 1 year old, and without any indications that focus-based crews are breaking the game, I don't see how is important for future changes now.

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30 minutes ago, ShinChan said:

I don't see how is important for future changes now.

Hey, if we don't keep looking forward we stagnate. ;) 

We disagree. I find it a bit game bending and less fun overall, you don't. Again, not stopping me from playing, just wish they had explored more options before sticking with this way. I like choice, and currently I don't find much choice - Focus is really needed to make sure your models function effectively in this edition. Especially any damage dealing models. 

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IMO Focus itself has no issue at all. Using an action to enhance another action later, even with turn stacking, sounds like a fair trade to both side of the table. The real issue is all abilities/actions that can stack Focus to a single model, especially those can hand out several Focus in one action, like Mah and BBS.

A reason of the overflowing of Focus imo is the design space. We have 11 conditions in total while only 3 of them is buffing your own models. So when Wyrd is designing, for say, an offensive supporting ability/action, Fast is usually too valuable to hand out easily and Shielded is a defensive condition. Thus Focus being the only choice in this case. 

So Wyrd could fix this issue(if it is an issue at all) by creating a new buffing condition A and replacing it with half of the Focus-giving abilities/actions. Though we are unlikely to see this happen before the next edition.

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11 hours ago, ShinChan said:

You got it wrong. @Math Mathonwy was saying that TT have access to pseudofocus, in the form of Flicker or Charge through.

 

No, I meant that Shlong and McCabe brought a ton of Focus while Asami brought a ton of Focus plus the Flicker stuff.

 

Quote

For a completely new edition, yes, for sure. Even for a 3.5 edition, like the old good M1.5E. But right now, being the edition a bit more than 1 year old, and without any indications that focus-based crews are breaking the game, I don't see how is important for future changes now.

It doesn't break the game in the sense that you can still play it but I think that it is one of the things contributing to the fact that something like well over half of the cheap profiles seemingly never see play in competitive environments. Focus means that they can be one-shotted very reliably by a stronger model and when that Focus is incredibly plentiful, it means that cheaper fighter models are at a massive disadvantage.

Now, it is entirely possible to be happy with the way things are and consider it ideal that crews are small and very elite - nothing wrong with that! But I always liked it better when the small dudes were viable as well.

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