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Thoughts on game balance with the 15 stone limit for OOKs & Versatiles?


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For those who don't know, this month's vassal series limits you to only hiring up to 15 stones of Versatiles and OOK models, not counting upgrades or tax.

Well, we're two rounds into February's World Series event, and the 15 stone limit for Versatiles and OOKs feels hugely impactful to me. I thought we could start a thread to discuss the impacts for people who have played in the series (or people who aren't in the series but have opinions too!)

I've done Molly vs Ivan and Molly Vs. Colette.

Against Ivan, I was really hurting not being able to take all my tech picks, but I think it may have disadvantaged him a bit too. Overall I felt it hurt me more than him, but I could be wrong.

Against Colette, I feel like she felt extremely balanced and doesn't deserve a nerf at all if this was the 'official' format. She felt hugely powerful, but I always felt like I had some reasonable options to play against her. That said, it was just one game, so I'm not sure. In this game, my lack of tech choices didn't really matter.

I do notice, however, that Reva's disappointing keyword just feels so off-putting for the format, so that's a bit sad. Seamus, surprisingly, I think is fine in this format if it comes to it, although I'm not sure I'll bother declaring him. Although note that Bete Noire has a huge FAQ buff in this format, so that also changes the calculation for Seamus.

So overall, I feel like the meta definitely shifts, but I'm not sure if it is more or less balanced. What do people think? How have you been finding your games? Less OP combos? Less ability to tech things? I'm keen to hear thoughts!

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I play nearly exclusively in keyword all the time, Zoraida being the only one in my tournament kit who likes to reach for the Versatiles (and the occasional Serena or Wrath/Doll pick for Nekima) so this didn't affect my crewbuilding hardly at all. However, I know some players felt super shackled by it. I know that quite a few Nexus players (Leaving the salt aside for now) really wish they had Emissary+Ngaataro+Cryptologist, but don't have the limits for it. Additionally, I felt far less afraid of what players could bring, knowing they don't play in keyword consistently. Colette in keyword is like, a fair fight, since she doesn't have a bunch of anabolic steroid abusing murderers waiting for you on the other side of that Presto Chango. A lot of masters without Versatile spam is actually pretty fair, balanced as a keyword by the expectation that they wouldn't just spam Versatiles. 

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I like this format. 

Sure a few keywords are disadvantaged - but those struggling are helped more from the ‘power houses’ being brought in line - and it’s not as if the struggling keywords were were better off before.

It provides better games, as the focus is on keywords and their unique playstyle. And you need to make choices, and that’s the fun part -  Should I bring Serena or Hoody...hmmm?

-

All in all it makes for better games, and Wyrd should make it part of GG in some form or another.

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1 minute ago, Regelridderen said:

I like this format. 

Sure a few keywords are disadvantaged - but those struggling are helped more from the ‘power houses’ being brought in line - and it’s not as if the struggling keywords were were better off before.

It provides better games, as the focus is on keywords and their unique playstyle. And you need to make choices, and that’s the fun part -  Should I bring Serena or Hoody...hmmm?

-

All in all it makes for better games, and Wyrd should make it part of GG in some form or another.

Yeah, I'm a big fan. I'm not sure if 15 stones should be the official variant (and also feel versatiles should get some form of consideration).

It is tricky, though, as some models literally can't be played (third bone pile for example). But would be a sweet variant!

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It was fun as a one-time experience, but in general additional hiring restrictions ruin the game.

The game is balanced on faction level considering all ook and versatile options. There is no balance on keyword level and hiring restrictions make bad matchups even worse.

Restrictions kill creativity. Being creative in list building is all about combinations, and less possible tools to combine means less interesting ideas.

Restrictions make the game boring. You see your opponent's leader, and you already know what to expect. Is the game worth playing when you can predict it before you make the first flip?

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42 minutes ago, MrPieChee said:

Do you think that the ook tax is needed if there is a hard limit on the number of ook ss you can take? Is that worth testing in a vassal league?

I think there needs to be something to distinguish between versatiles and OOKs, but there could be lots of systems!

11 minutes ago, Scoffer said:

Restrictions kill creativity. Being creative in list building is all about combinations, and less possible tools to combine means less interesting ideas.

I think the opposite. Typically restrictions necessitate creativity. For example, in GG0, Ressers that wanted a beater just grabbed Archie. Under these restrictions, it makes it a real choice whether you include a generically good model over a tech option.

That said, it does kill off certain types of lists (like Corpse Reva), although that's more from killing off Versatiles which I think is something that would need to be thought through.

13 minutes ago, Scoffer said:

Restrictions make the game boring. You see your opponent's leader, and you already know what to expect. Is the game worth playing when you can predict it before you make the first flip?

This makes a lot of sense. I can imagine if the meta was permanently like this, it would get 'solved' a lot faster and you could tell who won just by master select.

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1 hour ago, Maniacal_cackle said:

Yeah, I'm a big fan. I'm not sure if 15 stones should be the official variant (and also feel versatiles should get some form of consideration).

It is tricky, though, as some models literally can't be played (third bone pile for example). But would be a sweet variant!

There’s definitely some considerations, such as upping the limit to make room for masters, etc.

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@Scoffer you’re right in some aspects, yet when you have prevailing perceptions within the format, making Colette to be primarily played with her ‘all stars’, Shen Long not knowing what a Monk is etc. Then that choice of yours is an illusion - and personally I’d prefer the variety of the game to come from coherent themes, rather than the alternative.

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1 hour ago, MrPieChee said:

Do you think that the ook tax is needed if there is a hard limit on the number of ook ss you can take? Is that worth testing in a vassal league?

The tax encourages choosing elite models, while discouraging tech’ing in minions/mid-range models. Without it, it could easily turn into each faction identifying their optimum cheap models, and then you wouldn’t see any other minions. This happened in M2E.

I’d rather see a master trait, allowing some masters e.g. Lucius to waive the tax on minions, rather than a blanket dismissal of the rule. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
53 minutes ago, ooshawn said:

After playing about 10 games of m3e, I think I might actually really dislike that 15ook/vers. isn't the standard

If you get a chance to play casually, you may find it is the standard in your local scene. Most of our local players play almost entirely in keyword.

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On 2/20/2021 at 7:12 AM, Maniacal_cackle said:

For those who don't know, this month's vassal series limits you to only hiring up to 15 stones of Versatiles and OOK models, not counting upgrades or tax.

Well, we're two rounds into February's World Series event, and the 15 stone limit for Versatiles and OOKs feels hugely impactful to me. I thought we could start a thread to discuss the impacts for people who have played in the series (or people who aren't in the series but have opinions too!)

I've done Molly vs Ivan and Molly Vs. Colette.

Against Ivan, I was really hurting not being able to take all my tech picks, but I think it may have disadvantaged him a bit too. Overall I felt it hurt me more than him, but I could be wrong.

Against Colette, I feel like she felt extremely balanced and doesn't deserve a nerf at all if this was the 'official' format. She felt hugely powerful, but I always felt like I had some reasonable options to play against her. That said, it was just one game, so I'm not sure. In this game, my lack of tech choices didn't really matter.

I do notice, however, that Reva's disappointing keyword just feels so off-putting for the format, so that's a bit sad. Seamus, surprisingly, I think is fine in this format if it comes to it, although I'm not sure I'll bother declaring him. Although note that Bete Noire has a huge FAQ buff in this format, so that also changes the calculation for Seamus.

So overall, I feel like the meta definitely shifts, but I'm not sure if it is more or less balanced. What do people think? How have you been finding your games? Less OP combos? Less ability to tech things? I'm keen to hear thoughts!

it was awful format-as ban for second masters, dont like any strange limitation in the game

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4 hours ago, Plaag said:

it was awful format-as ban for second masters, dont like any strange limitation in the game

Limitations are a way to balance the game after the released of cards/models. It also a way to encourage creative thinking. Most game with a deck/crew building component will get solve after a while. You can : a) introduce new component (models in our case); b) change the rule of the game (that would be new GG/FAQ); c) introduced limitations to how you can build your crew...

The 15ss limits didn't nail it for me.  But it's quite paradoxical from someone shouting really loud about how some keyword/models are broken (nexus being your latest target, probably rightly so) also stating that he dislikes any limitation to the game... Errata should be a last resort,  bringing others way to balance the game are always how (good) designer will work (probably in the order above A > B > C... than errata).

I don't want to be mean or anything but imo your comment highlighted why good players (most often than not) don't make good game designers: you're focus on how to optimally play the game, not on how the games fundamentally work...

BUT it's also why great player should always be your last line of playtesters... You know that they'll push your design to its limit. If it doesn't brake your good to go, If it does... Well back to the drawing board.

 

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I'd say sweeping rules changes are a worse last resort than errata.  As an Outcast player... our versatile models are high degrees of crap, yes, bring this on!   Jack Daw is gonna dominate so friggin often.

As a sensible player, eh.  It effectively bans second masters, and means that if you bring a rider that's your only versatile/OOK choice.  Like does it make sense you can't bring a Peacekeeper and a Guild Stewart?  Seems random and bad. 

I mean I don't mind being able to pull out Jack Daw for free wins sometimes, but I don't think it improves game balance much.

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I personally would like the default to remain the default, but to have an official variant something like:

  • You can use no more than X soulstones for OOKs and cache.
    • Could possibly include versatiles and upgrades in this count.

I like the tension of OOKs competing with other things in the crew like cache. Having some level of requirement of staying in keyword actually diversifies masters a bit, as long as you have enough wiggle room left still. Limiting versatiles seems like it just doesn't work with how 3E implemented it (you buy a grave golem + bone piles together - you should be able to run them all in one crew).

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4 hours ago, SEV said:

Limitations are a way to balance the game after the released of cards/models. It also a way to encourage creative thinking. Most game with a deck/crew building component will get solve after a while. You can : a) introduce new component (models in our case); b) change the rule of the game (that would be new GG/FAQ); c) introduced limitations to how you can build your crew...

The 15ss limits didn't nail it for me.  But it's quite paradoxical from someone shouting really loud about how some keyword/models are broken (nexus being your latest target, probably rightly so) also stating that he dislikes any limitation to the game... Errata should be a last resort,  bringing others way to balance the game are always how (good) designer will work (probably in the order above A > B > C... than errata).

I don't want to be mean or anything but imo your comment highlighted why good players (most often than not) don't make good game designers: you're focus on how to optimally play the game, not on how the games fundamentally work...

BUT it's also why great player should always be your last line of playtesters... You know that they'll push your design to its limit. If it doesn't brake your good to go, If it does... Well back to the drawing board.

 

i like to use models that i need/like and limitations just ruins the game

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All it's pointless, imagine buying 3 samurai and their total cost 27 and now you have restricted only take on 15 soulstones. So you over bought alot miniature and can't use them in game.

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10 hours ago, Plaag said:

i like to use models that i need/like and limitations just ruins the game

Is it any worse than the limitations only playing the most powerful models and so anything not top tier compeative doesn't get used 

 

Is it then and different to what killed off m2e? 

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14 hours ago, Plaag said:

i like to use models that i need/like and limitations just ruins the game

But you already have tons of limitations, such as the factions, soulstone cost, not being allowed to bring a deck of only severes, not being able to hire totems without masters etc. Etc. Etc.

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My thoughts on the broader subject of game formats (because limitation in SS for OOk/ versatiles is just one of the many ways to achieved game balance and to diversify play experience):

 

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2 hours ago, Regelridderen said:

But you already have tons of limitations, such as the factions, soulstone cost, not being allowed to bring a deck of only severes, not being able to hire totems without masters etc. Etc. Etc.

we dont need more-like foreign TO like to ban second master

it is stupid-even in app u can hire it

and it is not op when u just need to hire  second master to win the game-in most situations 2-3 models with combined cost of 16 will do more work than 1 master

and talking abt 15ss limitation for ook and versatiles-what should do keywords of parker, reva, mcmorning, nellie, seamus, perdita, mccabe and some others-that just need to hire those ook and versatiles to play on good, not op, level?

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2 hours ago, Plaag said:

we dont need more-like foreign TO like to ban second master

it is stupid-even in app u can hire it

and it is not op when u just need to hire  second master to win the game-in most situations 2-3 models with combined cost of 16 will do more work than 1 master

and talking abt 15ss limitation for ook and versatiles-what should do keywords of parker, reva, mcmorning, nellie, seamus, perdita, mccabe and some others-that just need to hire those ook and versatiles to play on good, not op, level?

Well, that’s your opinion others have another, no need to get tie your knickers into a knot over that ;)

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I fully support hard limits on ook. It allows for more varied play, and requires you to make non-optimal crews.

I hate list-building. So that's a personal bias. But also every keyword should play with unique strengths and weaknesses, and unique approaches to dealing with in-game situations. For the most part that's actually the case when hiring is limited to in-keyword models. 

I'll take boring list-building and engaging play decisions over the opposite any day. 

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