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I've always been a strong proponent for rebalancing the game before release, and now that Kubik seems to be behind the idea and there is community support for it I've decided to start working on my balance proposal. First a little bit about me and whether you can trust me with regard to game balance: I was very active in Battleforge from 2009 to 2011, and I played on and off from 2012 until the shutdown. I've played on all of the (non-beta) balance patches and have watched the game's balance change and improve over the years. I've played over 3000 PvP matches in total. In 2011 I was ranked #1 for several weeks in 1v1 with my shadow/frost deck and a couple months later I held the #1 rank for a couple of weeks with my pure nature deck. This was during a time when Obesity, DeChris, MaranV, and Freemka were active. I achieved a #1 2v2 rank with two partners (IdleAltruism and Tyderianek) using nature/frost, pure nature, and pure fire decks. I owned every card with the exception of a few PvE cards and played every deck extensively except pure frost. My main decks were pure nature, shadow/frost, nature/frost, pure shadow, and pure fire. I've played my share of PvE, as you had to back in the days before battle tokens since that was the only way to upgrade cards. I could consistently beat rPvE level 10. I make strategy games as a hobby and have studied and deconstructed the balance design of Battleforge (as well as with other card games and RTS) to help me balance my own games. Some thoughts on the rebalancing process: Focus on what's being said, not on who's saying it - analyze and criticize ideas, not people. Let's not make this a popularity contest. Being good at the game doesn't necessarily mean you really understand the game. I've seen really good players make some really silly balance suggestions over the years. That said, high level players tend to have a much better understanding of the game's nuances. Being bad at the game doesn't mean your input isn't be valuable. It's possible to have a good understanding of game balance and the math behind it without having the skill or time to play at a high level (case in point, most game developers). This balance proposal will consist of two stages: Stage 1 involves solving major problems that currently exist in the game's balance; specifically bad matchups, overpowered cards, and bandits being weak overall. This stage doesn't involve that many changes, but a lot of reworks are necessary in order to fix these problems which unfortunately means that these changes are more complicated to implement. Stage 2 involves buffing and reworking weak/useless cards in order to increase the pool of useful cards and thereby increase choice and card diversity. This involves a large list of (mostly) simple changes. Note: Orbs will be denoted by color: P = Purple (shadow) R = Red (fire) G = Green (nature) B = Blue (frost) N = Neutral (any element) All changes are relative to a card's U3 stats. Stage 1: Solving Problems Note to the devs: I realize that many of these changes are more involved than just changing a few numbers, but more complicated changes really are necessary to fix the few egregious problems that still remain in the game. With the exception of Amii Monument (which I know is a longshot), I've used only mechanics and abilities that currently exist in the game. My hope is that you can find ways to use certain cards as templates (or perhaps copy/paste data) with which to implement these changes. Please let me know what currently is and isn't possible so that we can find alternative or compromises. Phase Tower The Problem: Phase tower is simply too versatile. It functions very well as a defensive tower, however its ability to be used for offense or to be moved to defend another location removes most of the counterplay against towers, which involves attacking another location while your opponent binds power in the towers. The Solution: There are perhaps some more elegant ways to rework this card, but I think a simple solution will work just fine here. We can simply increase the card's cost in order to increase the amount of power it binds and reduce its overall cost effectiveness. Reducing the range by 5m also eliminates a design oversight that allows it to outrange things like Mark of the Keeper. Decrease attack range by 5m. Increase cost by 10. Treespirit (Green) The Problem: Treespirit is really the last remaining blatantly OP card in PvP. It's stats are simply too high for its cost and the fact that it's an M counter creates massive problems for most T1 colors due to hurricane limiting the usage of S units. The Solution: By reworking the card, we can both bring down its overall power level while also re-purposing it to fill some roles that nature T1 really needs filled. By changing the green affinity to red and giving it siege, we give nature a good counter to towers (especially phase tower) and a way to rush down instant T2 (currently many decks can rush T2 with impunity vs nature). A reduction to the unit's HP brings its stats down to be more in line with its cost. Change affinity to red. Change damage type from M to special. Change ability “Gifted Thorns” to “Infused Thorns”: Every 10 seconds, unit fires thorns in all directions that deal 120 damage to enemies within a 35m radius around it, up to 180 in total. Add ability “Siege”: Deals 100% more damage against structures. Reduce HP from 880 to 670. Increase (melee) damage from 400 to 500. Treespirit (Purple) By increasing the shadow affinity's max AoE damage while decreasing its single target damage (something that would normally be a nerf since it makes it only effective vs spam) and giving it a damage bonus vs humans, we can mitigate its weakness to ice barriers and give nature a good tool to help them deal with frost mage spam. The total damage the unit can deal is reduced, however the amount of damage that will end up hitting frost mages instead of ice barriers is significantly increased (unless the frost player spams ice barriers, in which case the nature player can just retreat and re-engage in another location). The fact that the poison damage doesn't stack also deincentivizes spamming just treespirits. Change damage type from M to special. Change ability “Tainted Thorns”: Every 10 seconds, unit fires thorns in all directions that deal 20 damage to enemies within a 35m radius around it, up to 120 in total (damage, including poison, hits up to 6 targets). The thorns are extremely toxic poisoning every enemy they come in touch with. The affected entity will then take 10 damage every second for 5 seconds. Add ability “Tainted Fury”: Deals 50% more damage against humans. Reduce HP from 880 to 670. Increase (melee) damage from 400 to 500. Nox Trooper The Problem: Nox Trooper is fine as it is, but making purple treespirit do 50% more damage to humans breaks the otherwise good shadow vs nature balance. The Solution: The solution is to change the Nox Trooper's type. Change type from human to undead. Firedancer The Problem: The ability to shoot over cliffs and walls makes Firedancer far too difficult to deal with and gives pure fire an unfair advantage on certain maps. The Solution: While the ideal solution would involve checking whether the firedancer is shooting over a cliff or a wall, I'm pretty sure there's no easy way to implement this check (correct me if I'm wrong). So alternatively, we can use a mechanic that already exists with Mortar Tower and make it so that the firedancer can only do full damage if there is a friendly unit or building near the target. A normal pure fire attack usually has enforcers, scythe fiends, or a rallying banner near the base that's being assaulted, so this change won't affect normal pure fire play very much. Cheesing with cliffs and walls, on the other hand, will become much harder to pull off and can be countered by killing any units near the building that's being attacked. This change makes firedancer about as effective as firestalker when using its regular attack. When using it's new ability, it does a little more damage than the old firedancer. Unit cost has been reduced slightly to compensate for the extra micro that will be needed to use it effectively and the fact that its ability can be interrupted once any nearby enemy forces have been destroyed. Changing the damage type to S and removing the (mostly detrimental) buggy knockback gives pure fire a semi-decent alternative S counter. Reduce cost to 60. Reduce attack damage from 100 to 70. Increase attack speed from once every 4 seconds to once every 3 seconds. Remove siege. Change damage type from special to S. Remove S knockback. Add ability “Bombard”: Activate to target an enemy structure. While attacking the targeted structure, this unit attacks three times as quickly (every second). Lasts until interrupted. Can only be used if there is a friendly unit or building near the target. (No cooldown). Magma Hurler The Problem: Pure fire has no good way to deal with the War Eagle + Skyelf Templar combo and also struggles against other L threats. The Solution: Make Magma Hurler a tier 2 pure fire unit. This gives pure fire a reliable L counter that can also hit air units. Magma Hurler at tier 3 doesn't fulfill its role very well since archers are generally not very useful at tier 3 (siege units and units that can quickly deal with threats are much preferred). Change orb requirements from NNR to RR. Increase cost to 150. Remove M knockback. Bandit Sorceress (Blue) The Problem: Bandits have little to no defensive capabilities, which makes them helpless against most attacks. The Solution: Repurpose Bandit Sorceress to make her a purely defensive unit that can protect or repair power wells and monuments. Increase cost to 80. Increase attack damage from 48 to 60. Increase HP from 520 to 660. Can now enter any friendly building, including power wells and monuments. Change “Blessed Installation”: Activate to send the unit into a friendly building. While inside the building, the unit will reduce all damage done to the building by 75%. Lasts for 30 seconds, after which the unit will exit the building with her life points restored and all buffs and debuffs removed. Costs 15. Bandit Sorceress (Red) Change affinity to green. Increase cost to 80. Increase attack damage from 48 to 60. Increase HP from 520 to 660. Can now enter any friendly building, including power wells and monuments. Change “Infused Installation” to “Gifted Installation”: Activate to send the unit into a friendly building. While inside the building, the unit will cause the building to regenerate 40 life points every second. Lasts for 30 seconds, after which the unit will exit the building with her life points restored and all buffs and debuffs removed. Costs 15. Rioter's Retreat (Blue) The Problem: Same as above, bandits lack defensive options. The Solution: Make Rioter's Retreat a better defensive tower by giving it S and M knockback and allowing it to protect or repair buildings. Reduce attack speed to once every 5 seconds. Add small and medium knockback. Change “Blessed Retreat”: Friendly units and buildings within a 25m radius around the tower take 20% less damage. Rioter's Retreat (Green) Reduce attack speed to once every 5 seconds. Add small and medium knockback. Change “Gifted Retreat”: Friendly units and buildings within a 25m radius around the tower regenerate 15 life points every second. Windhunter (both affinities) The Problem: Windhunter's ability makes it eruption fodder. The Solution: Reduce self-damage. Reduce Gifted/Tainted Sobering self damage from 300 to 250. Icefang Raptor (both affinities) The Problem: While frost's lack of swift units is a deliberate design choice, it can be unfair on certain maps where frost sometimes can't even reach their first power well before the opponent blocks it. The Solution: Give frost a semi-swift unit by making Icefang Raptor tier 1. This should help frost to secure their first power wells and should also help them deal with mortar tower. Change orb requirements from NB to B. Reduce damage from 820 to 650. Reduce HP from 895 to 715. Timeless One The Problem: Timeless One is cheap enough to be very spammable, allowing players to easily lock down any number of locations. The Solution: Increasing the cost of the unit and removing the ability cost forces players to both spend more power immediately for the first freeze (80, up from 65) and also forces them to bind more power into combat-weak units, making spamming Timeless Ones hurt a lot more. This change will reward making fewer Timeless Ones and keeping them alive so that they can use their now free ability many times. Increase cost to 80. Decrease ability cost to 0. Increase damage from 55 to 70. Stormsinger (both affinities) The Problem: Stormsinger's stats are simply too high for a tier 2 splashable ranged M unit. The Solution: Reduce Stormsinger's HP to put it more in line with other T2 ranged M units. Reduce HP from 750 to 690. Spikeroot The Problem: Pure nature lacks good ways to deal with M units - especially Burrower. The Solution: Increase Spikeroot's damage to allow nature to kill M threats more quickly and to increase Spikeroot's usage as an M counter where Deep One is often used instead. Increase spike damage from 100 to 110. Increase (melee) damage from 1200 to 1320. Creeping Paralysis The Problem: Pure nature lacks defensive capabilities and needs ways to extend their CC. The Solution: Decrease the cost of Creeping Paralysis so that it can be more effectively used to lock down attacking units in early T2 where pure nature struggles the most to stay alive. Reduce cost from 60 to 50. Increase charges from 2 to 4. Deep One (both affinities) The Problem: Deep One's stats are too high for its cost, even for a pure unit. This causes Deep One to often be used in place of proper counters (like Spikeroot and Ghostspears) because of its exceptionally high overall power level. The Solution: Reduce Deep One's HP. Damage should be left intact because pure nature needs Deep One's damage to deal with threats quickly enough. Reduce HP from 1650 to 1450. Enlightenment The Problem: Enlightenment was one of the most heavily nerfed cards in the history of the game, having its power cost increased by 90. For PvE, the card is still very useful, and actually single-handedly makes pure decks inferior in PvE, since you can just go double nature and play any cards you want with enlightenment. For PvP, on the other hand, the card is too expensive to be realistically used in most high level matches (even in 2v2). The Solution: Make enlightenment a pure nature card and reduce its cost back down to 150. This means that you actually have to make sacrifices in PvE to use this (extremely powerful) card and this creates a good reason to play pure nature in PvE. For PvP, the card is made viable again and pure nature T3 becomes a serious contender in 2v2. Change orb requirements from NGG to GGG. Reduce cost to 150. Earthshaker The Problem: A single Earthshaker can destroy three monuments. In combination with the above Enlightenment change, that means that pure nature can use this two card combo to destroy an entire base for 250 power, and this can be done every 30 seconds. This can only be countered by frost spells, and the only way all losses can be prevented is through the use of either Ward of the North, or the combination of Shield Building, Glacier Shell, and Kobold trick. Enlightenment + Earthshaker is thus almost twice as efficient as Curse Well and it has the ability to kill orbs. This makes earthshaker unhealthy for the meta because a frost orb is always required to counter it (similar to the old wildfire, though much less egregious as a T3 two card pure combo). The Solution: Reduce earthshaker's damage so that it can no longer kill wells on its own and decrease the card's cost. Reduce quake damage from 605 to 330. Reduce cost from 100 to 40. Increase charges from 2 to 5. Amii Monument The Problem: Amii Monument is basically cheating in PvE. It allows players to outright skip boss fights and other parts of PvE maps that really shouldn't be skippable (at least not via OP cards). The Solution: Change Amii Monument so that it is a tier 1 card that no longer advances the player to the next tier, but still provides access to the selected orb's element. For example, fire T1 could build Amii Monument to give them access to roots and hurricane, which could be combo'd with Mine and other things. Similarly, pure shadow could build this in tier 2 to allow them to play disenchant on their harvester. This opens up a lot of interesting possibilities and combos in both PvE and PvP, but the 100 bound power still represents a significant sacrifice that has to be made in order to build it. A lower activation cost allows players to switch between different orbs without too much cost. If this is not currently feasible to implement, the only other alternative I see is to make Amii Monument tier 4 and reduce its cost. No longer functions as a regular orb, but rather provides access to the selected orb's element without advancing tier. Change orb requirements from NNN to N. Reduce cost to 100. Reduce ability cost to 50. Reduce HP to 800. Stage 2: Buffing Weak Cards WIP
As far as I know the only reason to not do any balance changes before release(wipe) is that it was promised a very long time ago. There is few things I want to point out: every change to cards invalidate all leader-boards every change to cards make it difficult to run replays, EA make it so you can not open them at all From my point of view doing changes now will limit these problems after release. Some changes like changing HP, or cost of something are for me just 1 number, and I may even be able to keep replays compatibility with some background work for these changes, so my suggestion is to start with these changes now. (more complicated thing will not be included for now) Before someone start asking why to do balance changes, if there are crashes, lost cards, etc. I try to explain it this way all these things are impossible to reproduce for me, so only source of information are players that experience them, and based on "https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScpTeA_Lv1b1M0imSel-B8UgYsP9evdmj-DiRQ-x1vAFwLZAw/viewform?usp=pp_url" most of players do not even say us when it happen so they are really hard to track without your help. Balance changes on the other hand mean for us "just" validate community decision and change 1 value. https://discord.gg/GZKKMqH I do not think the results will change significantly without any progress, so here is the link to discord server that will be related to balancing the game. I decided for discord (as first try) because of the advanteges mentioned, mainly rules enforcing.