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Thread: Spell balance thread

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by zdsdead View Post
    Raze zombie spells for example that allow you bring up raised creatures, behind enemy units. They should have a short range, maybe a few squares from your board edge, but not the enemies.
    Note that some of what I will say is based on playing before neutrals became so passive. But once they (And the enemy AI become more aggressive again, this will be more meaningful:

    Summoning spells, in general are kind of a cross between must-have and overly powerful. The fact that ranged units can be so powerful early in the game means that if you don't have even a rudimentary summoning spell (such as Summon Zombie), you can have units march into your cities before you get a chance to put up a palisade, and wipe out the only kinds of defenses that you can actually afford to have that early in the game. Let's say you are High Human and it's early in the game. 2 or 3 Grey Elven archers are going to be able to take your capital with you having very little to say about it. I know because it happened to me frequently when I was first learning the game. Sure, if you expand fast enough, you might be able to put up some resistance. But it's really the summoned units that make the most difference in that.

    That said, what you say is correct (Although I chuckled a bit when I saw you calling it 'Raze Zombie', as I pictured a bunch of zombies being set on fire). If you neuter them a bit, by making them spawn at your front lines, then it might be a little bit better, but it won't prevent your actual units from being wiped out so easily.

  2. #22
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    Holy Smite: this is a tier5 spell that can only damage undead, and has a chance to blind living units. The first problem is that the living get a saving throw even though they take no damage, the second problem is that the blind only lasts for 1 round. I think this makes it weak as a tier5 spell. Possible changes:

    Holy smite: Deals damage to undead and blinds the living. Deals 4d6 damage to undead with a reflex save for half damage. Living units are blinded for one round (no saving throw). 3x3 square.

    Hypnotic flame: Conversely, this Tier2 spell seems a bit OP. It's a 5x5 will save that can immobilise an army for 3 rounds, with extra rounds when infused. Perhaps:

    Hypnotic Flame: 3x3 square, enemies make Will save throw or are dazed for 1 round. +1 round per infusion.

    Drought has a typo: 'Reduces the moister level'. Should be 'Reduces the moisture level'.

    Inspirations: IMHO this spell should favour +50% gold or +50 production, not give them both equal benefit (it's a tier4 spell). Perhaps:

    Inspirations: +50% production, +25% gold.

    Iron skin: Seems to offer both insane damage reduction (30 mundage) and a major AC bonus (+5). I realise this is a tier6 spell, but the fact that it lasts the whole battle is a balancing factor too. How about:

    Iron skin: Target unit gains a +3 bonus to armor class and a mundane damage resistance of 30.

    Lethargy: The wiki says this affects friendly armies. http://wastelands-interactive.com/me...title=Lethargy

    I think it should target the enemy?

    Life ward and Death ward don't seem very balanced.
    1. LW is T2, DW is T3
    2. LW gives +1 AC and saves in general, on top of 15 positive resistance
    3. DW gives +4 AC and saves but only against death / undead.

    DW gives a strong bonus against death but no bonus against anything else. LW gives a bonus against all units, plus straight energy resistance, despite it being in a lower tier. I'd suggest the following:
    1. Both spells are T3
    2. LW gives 20 positive energy resistance
    3. DW gives 20 negative energy resistance
    Last edited by Yco; 01-20-2015 at 09:28 PM.

  3. #23
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    Personally, I don't like symmetry in 4X games -- I think it's ok for imbalance to exist, and in fact, it's the meat of what makes a game replayable. Instead, maybe we should be balancing spell circle to spell circle, instead of spell to spell.

    I'm not saying that I disagree that some of these spells are unbalanced, and should be changed. What I'm saying is that if a spell circle is currently relatively weak, maybe it SHOULD have a few unbalanced spells thrown in to even things out. After all, it's not about spell vs. spell, it's about wizard vs. Wizard. And some of the premade wizards are going to have a hard time simply because their circles suck compared with other circles.. And they would still suck whether or not you balanced the spells in them. I know, for example that life magic is relatively weak, and the issue isn't so much the balance of the spells, but the balance of the circle itself -- it needs more flexibility.
    Last edited by Haldurson; 01-20-2015 at 04:07 PM.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haldurson View Post
    Personally, I don't like symmetry in 4X games -- I think it's ok for imbalance to exist, and in fact, it's the meat of what makes a game replayable. Instead, maybe we should be balancing spell circle to spell circle, instead of spell to spell.

    I'm not saying that I disagree that some of these spells are unbalanced, and should be changed. What I'm saying is that if a spell circle is currently relatively weak, maybe it SHOULD have a few unbalanced spells thrown in to even things out. After all, it's not about spell vs. spell, it's about wizard vs. Wizard. And some of the premade wizards are going to have a hard time simply because their circles suck compared with other circles.. And they would still suck whether or not you balanced the spells in them. I know, for example that life magic is relatively weak, and the issue isn't so much the balance of the spells, but the balance of the circle itself -- it needs more flexibility.
    I don't know the spells enough to comment on specifics, but I do agree with this approach.

  5. #25
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    I just want to add my 2c to the above couple posts and say that in order to comment on balance you kinda need to be completely aware of the specifics imho.

    However, what has been raised are thoughts that the spell circles should not be mirror copies of each other. My suggestion is that this is already the case as each one has been designed thematically and therefore is different to each other.

    The way that spell circles play out against each other does indeed come down to the spells contained in each circle. And this is why its important to get facts and data about the spells in order to evaluate their balance.

    I'm not claiming to have a perfect idea about how it should be balanced, lol; and please forgive my assertions. But I will say that I happen to be combing through every spell and every circle at the moment and the spells I'm mentioning here are the ones that jump out at me. I would like to do another pass in future if I get the time to. I'm literally at about 30 hours in to this analysis currently lol.
    Last edited by Yco; 01-20-2015 at 09:44 PM.

  6. #26
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    Balance in this game is going to be a prickly pear, I think. Saying one circle is dominant against another may not be that big of a deal if the dominant circle in that comparison comes out weaker against another circle. I also love asymmetric balance (Chaos in the Old World, anyone?), so I wouldn't want any one circle to have too similar of a complete toolset to another.

    I would say a spell is a problem if *all* other circles have an issue with it, or if there's *no* viable "counter", while it heavily influences the outcome of fights/etc. Even this can be difficult to evaluate, because racial martial diversity can come into play when synergizing with the race.

    I'll take two examples above: Iron Skin and Hypnotic Flame. Yes, Hypnotic Flame at a 5x5 area is pretty wide, and maybe it should be reduced. However, the battle board is what, about 20 squares across? Even if you bring 16 units and only have 2 full rows to work with, you can reduce the number of potential units hit to just 5. If you smartly spread out your higher will units in the mix, you can further hedge your bets. Maybe it SHOULD be reduced in area/duration, but maybe it's designed to punish clumping playstyles.

    For Iron Skin, 30 Mundane and +5 AC seems like a lot, but depending on the unit it is applied to, you can potentially take advantage of a weak Will or Fort. Additionally, if you have other destruction/unit buff/etc. options to get non-mundane damage out, it might not even be that big of a deal. I know the recommended change is to simply bring the AC down 2 points, which is fairly small and still keeps a whole lot of the strength. But is +5 AC TOO much? Maybe it also depends on the spell cost, so they throw a lot of eggs in the basket of buffing 1 unit while leaving the rest exposed.

    In short, I think they're going to need a *lot* of data to start making balance decisions, because I'm not sure theorycrafted balance will be enough unless hours and hours are spent categorizing all of the spells *and* units available in the game, looking for potential synergies between just circles as well as circles and factions.

    My only feedback at the moment is this: I dropped a Death Spell earlier on my army of Draconians against a city's Draconian defenders. The defenders were basically all Trackers, and all but 1 died instantly. I had a mix of Elders, Elementalists, Doom Drakes, etc., and I was left with two groups of Elders and a set of Spellswords. All of my Doom Drakes (I think there were 4) bit the dust, and though I was amused because it was the last city and I was about to win anyway, I was also taken aback by the effectiveness. It *could* have just been ridiculous RNG, and it's a high-tier spell with a high cost so it should be strong. However, if something like Regeneration on Trolls works how it did in MoM, and having just 1 unit alive after a battle makes the rest pop back up, you could potentially spike the daylights out of your own non-Unhallowed army and not worry too much about it, without having the drawbacks of being an entirelly Undead army. Could get iffy, but that's extrapolating based on a race that hasn't been released.

    Anyway, just thought I'd shed some food for thought out there on the idea of balance and some things that came to mind. Even I was thinking for a while "Man, Fireball is super strong, this is a bit silly", but it was only against densely packed weaker units that it truly shined, and I think packing your cheap Archers into a cube should be punished. Heavily.

  7. #27
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    Majestic uplifting: The terraforming advantages are clear, but this spell doesn't seem to have much effect on the other Sorceror Lords; and it pales a bit compared to the other tier9 spells. How about adding a small chance for minerals and resources to appear on tiles raised up? E.g. a plains might get 'fertile soil' and a mountain 'iron'. What happens when you cast this on cities?

    Mana burn: Typo, 'causes the target Sorcerer Lord to loose' should be 'lose'.

    Mana Leak: Typo, 'every caster involved in the battle (including Sorcerer Lords) looses' should be 'loses'.

    This spell seems correctly balanced in terms of how it drains mana from the other sorc lords. However I dont think its correctly balanced for units on the battlefield. Currently, if a unit loses 5 mana it can't cast its high level abilities. They also use mana to use their ranged attacks, meaning that this tier2 spell will rapidly shut down a high level magic-using army. I like it in principle but it makes some fights too easy. All this combined seems too strong for T2. Possible solution:

    Mana leak: Every Sorceror Lord in the battle loses 5 mana per round as long as the spell is in effect. Enemy units on the battlefield make a Will saving throw per round as long as the spell is in effect. If they fail, they also lose 5 mana.

    Mana shield: I don't understand how it'll work. (description = ' Spell against the Sorcerer Lord are harder to cast (dc modifier)').
    The caster doesn't make any saving throws so how will our saves be affected? Does it affect just Lords, or their units also? Are our units affected? If its a typo, perhaps the following might suffice?:

    Mana shield: All spells cast by other Sorceror Lords and their units against you and your units are easier to resist. Enemy casters receive -X Spell DC modifier on all rolls made when they cast spells against you that result in a saving throw.

    Mass Healing: This spell should also harm undead in the same way that 'heal' should.

    Mass healing: All friendly units within the area of effect receive 2d6 positive energy healing. Enemy undead units in the area take 2d6 positive energy damage with a reflex saving throw for half damage.

    Mind Rot: Typo, 'loses' again.

    Mind wrack: -5 will save is a big number for a tier1 spell - it also does it without a saving throw. Compare this to 'mind storm' which only reduces saves by 3 but has to get past a saving throw, and its a tier2 spell. I'd suggest you reduce the penalty as there's no saving throw. E.g.:

    Mind wrack: Target gets -2 to its will saves while the spell is in effect.

    (I'd also like to see this spell becoming more expensive; it's cheap at 5 mana for its potential power).

    Petrify: This is a T7 earth spell that can potentially petrify all figures in a unit. That means that a typical unit will get many saving throw opportunities to resist the effect. This actually makes its destructive power fall somewhat behind other spells in T7 which can rely on large damage amounts to overcome units' HP.

    I'd suggest a -1 to each figures' fortitude save against Petrify. (This will improve it slightly against units with multiple figures, but will also make almost no difference to the stronger, single figure units in the game - which usually have very good Fort saving throws anyway).

    Planar Shift: Think there's a typo? 'Transports target army from one (previously explored) plane to another (of the caster's choice) instantly'

    Should perhaps be, 'Transports target army from one plane to any other plane that you've previously explored'.
    Last edited by Yco; 01-23-2015 at 04:56 PM.

  8. #28
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    Reflect Damage: Perhaps consider knocking this down to 3 rounds? You can add extra round via infusion. Four rounds just feels a touch too long for this T4 spell.

  9. #29
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    I'm a little concerned that the discussion has been to weaken spells. I'm concerned that spells will be weakened to the point where the dominant strategy is to not spend resources on them.

    Also, yes, the balance has to be made circle-to-circle, and life did seem underpowered when I played it.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by karat View Post
    I'm a little concerned that the discussion has been to weaken spells. I'm concerned that spells will be weakened to the point where the dominant strategy is to not spend resources on them.
    I think you're focusing on the negative? For every suggested nerf there's another buff suggestion listed.

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