The FAQ has Dropped

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MrScotty
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Re: The FAQ has Dropped

Postby MrScotty » Wed Oct 03, 2018 3:12 pm

Indy wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 2:20 pm
MrScotty wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 12:02 pm
Sandtiger wrote:
Mon Oct 01, 2018 5:49 pm
I'm not much of a fan of the way they play whack-a-mole; I think they should have made a better balanced game from the outset even considering that nothing can be 100% balanced all the time even in well done games like StarCraft. Their rules writings leave much to be desired imo even in the baby stages since if they hired me, I am certain I would find a lot of dps centric things to do right off the bat to exploit that they could decide "do we really want to do this?"
I'm of the opinion that "video game style game balancing" is exactly what people are asking for and exactly what they're doing.

For perspective, I play League of Legends relatively competitively. I follow professional play pretty regularly and keep up with the balance patches and while they're certainly not balancing anywhere as frequently as league, they're definitely aiming to do the same style of balance that scratches the same itch.

In League, balance is largely done based on performance at a professional level, with players using the various champions (of which there are about 150) to their maximum potential power. For that reason, you might have a champion who to the rest of the millions of players in the world, has a very low overall win ratio, but who professional players consider the best in class because if you play them absolutely perfectly they're incredibly powerful. The best analog I can think of in 40k is balancing based on super-competitive soup lists and generally ignoring "normal play". Because, to be honest, the same phenomenon of the internet occurs for 40k, where professional players become little mini-celebrities in the community and people both imitate the things those professionals play, and complain about the things they complain about.

Very, very often you have a champion who stats say NOBODY is good enough to play correctly sitting at a sub-45% winrate being one of the most popular picks and one of the most complained about as a "balance problem", purely because people are watching these top level tournament players and seeing them picking and playing well with this champion.

Balance around super-duper-soup in 40k is pretty much identical. The assumption that you are willing to ebay your current competitive list and buy what's new and strong immediately to capitalize on meta changes is pretty much 100% required for top-tables play, and pretty much guaranteed to not be a thing if you're not in that .001% of the playerbase that wants to do that. What you do get is regular players who look at whatever the current meta hotness is when considering what they want to buy and add to their collection, and it's those guys who will be disproportionately affected when the next round of tournament whack-a-mole comes around.

As harsh as it sounds, I think the net effect of that style of balance might be positive. Better than anything anyone can say, balancing like that teaches people not to invest their money heavily in models just to get a particular combo that wins. I just hope that an equivalent effort is put in to reward people for sticking by things that are not currently strong later on down the line.

TL;DR: Balancing around the tippy-top tier of competitive tournament play and whacking whatever is strong in that context is video game style balancing.
I definitely get the video game model. I and some others here play Rainbow Six Siege and--especially with R6's focus on eSports these days--it also has become a case of "what the 'pros' do." That being said, what I like about how the R6 team balances things is the fact that they elaborate on their intentions and how certain game facets are supposed to work. I.e. "this person's gun is supposed to be really powerful b/c their other equipment is not that strong" or vice versa. And they are also quite open about the fact that no single character is supposed to be able to "do it all."

...and I think that's where soup, especially at competitive levels, annoys me. Each Faction is designed with certain strengths and weaknesses. How you play to your strengths and minimize your weaknesses is gaming 101. But soup offers an artificial* way to increase your dudes' effectiveness above and beyond the "fault tested limits" of a single book. There are fluff reasons for going soup, which I have no problem with, but it worries me that GW seems to be encouraging the reliance on soup so much, to the detriment of mono-faction builds. I would have no problem if single-faction armies had some kind of benefit to running that way (a "secondary chapter tactic" or such), but as it stands right now, there is no reason not to go soup.

Things are improving overall, though, since I do have to say that one year into 8th ed and the game overall feels FAR more balanced than 7th ever did, even against a wide variety of opponents and army builds.




*by artificial I mean using more pieces than "come in the box." Kinda like with a Pinewood Derby kit... http://southpark.cc.com/clips/kkzd7a/su ... hat-hollis
That does lead very quickly to a problem in 40k, one I generally like to call "how much is a faction?"

Because very frequently, almost always, the "man I wish allies weren't a thing, people should just pick one faction" opinion tends to come from people who like Space Marines, Eldar, Tau...and very rarely things like Custodes, Harlequins, or Genestealer cultists.

A faction in 40k can have anywhere from one unit (stuff like Sisters of Silence etc), to dozens of units at this point.

Now, one solution to this is to implement allies in a very strictly controlled manner, like in some other games there are dedicated "Mercenary" mini-factions that can be tacked on to a number of different armies. Or, you could include them with special rules ala Genestealer Cultist's "Brood Brothers" rule.

"Daemon buddies. An army with a Thousand Sons detachment that also includes a single detachment of Tzeentch Daemons is still battleforged."

"Imperial Operative. Officio Assassinorum units may be included in any Imperium detachment without removing any detachment benefits, but do not benefit from any detachment benefits or stratagems themselves"

etc.

We are, at this point, in a world where allies exist, and I don't think there's a way out of that without basically eliminating smaller factions. I definitely agree that focusing on what armies are capable of doing with allies does often negatively effect mono-faction armies, though I'm a bit hesitant to say that happened *too* much with this FAQ in particular. Wings of Flame was probably originally conceived as a way to re-deploy a blood angels jump pack unit, and after the Tactical Reserves rule was implemented it became one of the few ways to mount an effective turn 1 deep strike alpha strike. That's a significant shift in power, and I can see why the cost went up. I would be very surprised to see Orks "Da Jump" power remain the same as its current incarnation in the new codex. Imperial Knights stratagems as well I can understand because there's just not that many stratagems that can be applied to big, gigantic, 450+ point models that WONT feel much stronger than something you're using on a normal standard unit.

Honestly I think stratagem hikes are only half the solution needed for knights. You just have to look at how crazy the impact of their relics and their warlord traits can be. "hmmm, for my free relic should I take a bolt pistol that gets AP-1 and 2 shots, or should I take the relic gatling cannon that gets an average of 4 extra 36" range S6 AP-2 D2 shots?" "let's see, for my warlord trait I could either give my 30 point imperial guard commander re-rolls to hit in close combat, or I could give my 600 point knight a 4+ invulnerable save. Tricky choice."
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Re: The FAQ has Dropped

Postby Draaen » Wed Oct 03, 2018 4:48 pm

I'd like to see more active points balances on the game rather then core mechanics changes. The FAQs are good but they have changed a lot of items initially promised as features in 8th like turn 1 deep strike, stacking feel no pains and no limits on unit count to name a few. In order to support more frequent points changes GW would need an army builder which automatically updates points costs on digital codex copies and ideally a cheap digital and physical codex bundle.

There just seems to be a lot of items that were advertised as features of 8th during the run up that were changed. I'd rather see my deep striking units get a bit more expensive then them no longer be able to deep strike turn 1 if the problem could be fixed like that. Look at a guy who started out playing genestealer cults with the deep strike nerf. I could see them getting discouraged that his army can't do what he bought them to do. If he could still do what he wanted to do just less points efficiently that stings less IMO. It would make writing a competitive list a nightmare though as fire warriors going up or down a point is a huge deal. There needs to be some consistency if you expect people to spend the time and money to build armies.
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Re: The FAQ has Dropped

Postby Sandtiger » Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:22 pm

MrScotty wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 12:02 pm
Sandtiger wrote:
Mon Oct 01, 2018 5:49 pm
I'm not much of a fan of the way they play whack-a-mole; I think they should have made a better balanced game from the outset even considering that nothing can be 100% balanced all the time even in well done games like StarCraft. Their rules writings leave much to be desired imo even in the baby stages since if they hired me, I am certain I would find a lot of dps centric things to do right off the bat to exploit that they could decide "do we really want to do this?"
I'm of the opinion that "video game style game balancing" is exactly what people are asking for and exactly what they're doing.

For perspective, I play League of Legends relatively competitively. I follow professional play pretty regularly and keep up with the balance patches and while they're certainly not balancing anywhere as frequently as league, they're definitely aiming to do the same style of balance that scratches the same itch.

In League, balance is largely done based on performance at a professional level, with players using the various champions (of which there are about 150) to their maximum potential power. For that reason, you might have a champion who to the rest of the millions of players in the world, has a very low overall win ratio, but who professional players consider the best in class because if you play them absolutely perfectly they're incredibly powerful. The best analog I can think of in 40k is balancing based on super-competitive soup lists and generally ignoring "normal play". Because, to be honest, the same phenomenon of the internet occurs for 40k, where professional players become little mini-celebrities in the community and people both imitate the things those professionals play, and complain about the things they complain about.

Very, very often you have a champion who stats say NOBODY is good enough to play correctly sitting at a sub-45% winrate being one of the most popular picks and one of the most complained about as a "balance problem", purely because people are watching these top level tournament players and seeing them picking and playing well with this champion.

Balance around super-duper-soup in 40k is pretty much identical. The assumption that you are willing to ebay your current competitive list and buy what's new and strong immediately to capitalize on meta changes is pretty much 100% required for top-tables play, and pretty much guaranteed to not be a thing if you're not in that .001% of the playerbase that wants to do that. What you do get is regular players who look at whatever the current meta hotness is when considering what they want to buy and add to their collection, and it's those guys who will be disproportionately affected when the next round of tournament whack-a-mole comes around.

As harsh as it sounds, I think the net effect of that style of balance might be positive. Better than anything anyone can say, balancing like that teaches people not to invest their money heavily in models just to get a particular combo that wins. I just hope that an equivalent effort is put in to reward people for sticking by things that are not currently strong later on down the line.

TL;DR: Balancing around the tippy-top tier of competitive tournament play and whacking whatever is strong in that context is video game style balancing.
I gave this a lot of thought today and you're right that what they're doing is video game balancing. Having realized this, I think my bigger quarrel with them is that they don't recognize certain things that I think they SHOULD be recognizing if they are trying to balance like that, and maybe that's just me being well versed in a lot of different video games from a lifetime of playing them, I'm not sure. But for example the problem of CP farming that has become so rampantly popular that they were forced to do what they did in the FAQ 2 is something that I think should have been revealed in testing while CREATING 8th, or at the very least while writing the AM book, if their plan was to balance around super-soup lists.

I can't decide still if this (and other things like this) is something that I instinctively recognize as being powerful from a lifetime of video game habits and actively finding good combos to exploit to their best effects and thus is just something that I'm good at, or if they are bad at recognizing that same thing and not doing a good enough job of realizing "hey wait a minute, this shouldn't be happening". Perhaps it's both, and the combination bothers me more than it otherwise would, IDK.

There's other problems as you, JP, and Mark have noted which are annoying little bits of things that overall do not detract from my enjoyment of 8th in general, (this edition has mostly been fantastic) but it always annoys me when I see something that seems like a badly written rule or interaction between 2 or more units that should have been caught immediately and addressed.
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Re: The FAQ has Dropped

Postby Indy » Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:53 pm

@Scott: regarding the Allies thing, I agree that my idea works better for "big" Factions than lonesome Inquisitor Solo who wanders about like a lost puppy. But the solution to that could be something like:

Certain Factions/units that are "meant" to be auxiliary have a rule that says so, kinda sorta like the Index rule that lets Inquisitors play GTA to any ride in the Imperium without penalty.
"Authority of the Inquisition: Including models with this rule in your army does not prevent any other Imperium Factions from gaining it's mono-faction bonus so long as the combined points and/or Power Level of models with this rule is one quarter of the total value or less."

"Secret Mission: If only a single model in your army has the Officio Assassinorum Faction keyword then other Imperium models may still gain mono-faction bonuses."
Other Ideas


-more universal Strategems in the BRB. In hindsight, I think this is one of the biggest missed opportunities of 8th Edition. The new Prepared Positions thing is a step in the right direction, but just like how 7th Ed had lists of common Psyker tables all (unless there was a specifically designed limitation) psykers could access, I think having 8-12 common Strategems any army can use would be helpful and keep the "middle" of the game strong as opposed to the extreme niche builds.

Oh, you have no psychic defense in your army at all, but now you're suddenly facing a Thousand Sons build where every single unit can mind blast you? Then use the "Don't look at it, Marion!" https://youtu.be/ND_yAPJsefM ! Strategem from the BRB that let's any unit in your army resist the effects of an enemy's offensive psychic power on a 4+.

-Hidden Reserves: During the Deployment phase, you may pick a single unit in your army. If it's power level is 5 or under, for 1 CP you may deploy this unit off the board. Beginning at the start of your second game turn, you may bring the unit onto the board so long as it finishes it's normal Movement distance wholly within your Deployment Zone. If the unit has not been Deployed by the end of your Movement phase in the 5th game turn, the unit is automatically destroyed and your opponent receives any VP associated with destroying units (such as Kingslayer or kill ponits). If the unit's power level is more than 5, then this strategem costs 2CP. If greater than 10, then 3CP. If the unit's power level is greater than 15, then this Strategem costs 6CP.

-Decoy: use this Strategem in the first Battle Round when your opponent targets one of your units that has not yet performed an action, including but not limited to moving, casting psychic powers, shooting, of any action in the Fight phase. You may declare that unit was in fact a decoy. Roll 2D6: the unit that was targeted must now redeploy the rolled distance in any direction it is capable of moving. If the unit cannot redeploy in this manner for any reason including friendly models blocking it, the unit instead suffers a number of Mortal Wounds equal to the 2D6 roll.
The cost of this strategem is dependent on the Power Level of the unit it is used on:
PL5 or less: 1CP
PL6-9: 2CP
PL10-14: 3CP
PL15+ : 6CP

-universal Relics in the BRB. Yes, this is an interesting one, but again in hindsight it would have a been a GREAT placeholder to bridge the gap between Index armies and Codex armies while the releases cranked out.

Mysterious Glowing Orb: can be taken by an Infantry Character. Once per game turn, the bearer may do one of the following: fire a shooting weapon one additional time, make 1 additional attack in close combat, move and extra 2D3" in the Movement or Charge phase, or re-roll a single failed psychic casting attempt.

Book of Tactics: whether an heirloom handed down, a secret file looted from an enemy, or a commander's own logs, there exists various tomes throughout the galaxy that provide insight into the finer points of waging wars. May be given to an Infantry Character. So long as this character is alive and on the board, you generate 1 additional Command Point per Battle Round.

-Like the more Relics Strategem that every Faction has, have certain powerful strategems rise in CP cost each time they are used. I'm especially thinking of the Raven Guard/Alpha Legion who got shafted dramatically altered playstyles because of this latest FAQ. I.e. change they Strategem to 1CP for 1 unit, 3CP for 2, 5CP for 3 or such. That way the flavor and spirit of those armies/abilities (the designers specifically mentioned that they specifically designed this ability for a specific reason...whoops....guess not!) stays intact but it becomes a gametime decision about how much the player wants to invest in a particular strategy....just the way it should!

-cap modifiers at "+2/-2". I think it's fair that they made things like Feel No Pain a "once only" effect so that you can't get 3+/5++/5+++/5++++/5+++++ etc... That was obnoxious*. But I think this should apply to things like -1 To Hit modifiers as well. Just like it's obnoxious to have units with infinite after-saves, it's obnoxious to have units that simply CANNOT be hit with all their modifiers. Certain Eldar builds can get a, what, -5 To Hit to enemies? That is somehow acceptable but a (effectively) re-rollable FNP isn't? I don't understand the logic sometimes. Just like invulnerable saves tap out at 3++ currently (except for specific limited-case "one use only" abilities), I think other modifiers should be modifiable yet have a ceiling/basement. Aka if Death Guard have a base 5+++ FNP and there is also a psychic power that grants 5+++ FNP, then Death Guard should get a single 4+++ FNP, but be capped at that 4+++. If Eldar can have a -1 To Hit chapter tactic, and there's a psychic power that's -1 To Hit, and there's a Strategem that's the same, then they could pick any two sources to get a -2 To Hit, but not go any more than that. If my Blood Angels could somehow modify their To Wound ability in CQC, then they should not be able to ever get better than +2 To Wound, so on and so forth...

You can see a theme here where the controlling player is given options that enhance his/her ability to make game-time decisions, especially ones that frontload the ability to survive Turn 1 at the cost of having less CP down the road. Oh, your opponent has 40,000 lascannons and will probably shoot your Castellan off the board Turn 1? You have the option to deploy it off the board instead, but at the tradeoff that you won't be able to use as many powerful Strategems once it does appear on the board, etc...

*I know, one of my silly builds was a BA Cataphractii Captain that--with certain builds--could get 2+/3++/6+++ rerolling 1's/5++++/2+. Yes that was actually possible before that FAQ.

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