Balance improvement ideas

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Balance improvement ideas

Postby MSG-1 » Jul 27 2012, 10:39

Mod note: I created a separate topic from this discussion in "Economy" topic. So that you understand all the following "offtopic!" references. Dalai.


Hello warriors!

First of all I'd like to point out a thing that I've seen a lot around the forums.
There are two clearly different groups of people who post on the messageboards and also seen on this threads:

1. People who play singleplayer who really have no clue whats wrong with the game or what needs tuning.

2. People whove played hundreds of games who know a bit more about the game, and who play the game totally different than casual players.

Since equilbris is a mod actually made for multiplayer many of the things said on this thread sound extremely funny and silly.

I think a very week point in economy for H4 is the nobility skill family, more precisely the estates and mining skills. They can just completely unbalance the game in my opinion.


Perfect example...
Completely the opposite. Nobility skill tree isnt considered a "skill" its more of a secondary skill tree that are primarly used for 3 purposes: prizes from prisons for freeing lord, getting lord commander or warlord with your heroes, and for some maps diplomacy. There is no other use for them. If you are order and you start with lord youre already in small pond of ****.

Monster players like Pacobac knows this :)

But anyway some problems that I see in the game that I think need changing::

Barbarian is still too weak and boring. Its nice that ogres have magic but theyre not good enough. When the opposite is cyclops that are quite the hero killers and only ranged that barb has. I would want to add some spell for them to make more creature control and make them more interesting. Like small fireball spell, dispel confusion for example. That would make them interesting and good.

Barbarians have problem with spells. Heroes and spells mean control in final battle. Map makers always have to make scripts for scroll spells and magic altars etc to get small balance. How about we take wrestling pits away and give them own magic guild that gives random 2 level 1 spells from every magic guild, 2 level 2 from each and 1 level 3 spell from each.
These would be seen on day 1 so player could start building hero right away after day 1.

I would also balance city halls. Nobody buys them in multiplayer. I would make them 1000 gold and some ore to build each. Its already a waste to build them to use 1 day building time. Much other things to build already.

Other thing I would do in equilibris is make most of the hero classes better.

Things like beastmaster, ninja etc are a waste and a discrace.
If one can have demonologist and other can have crusader, why does some have to be so ****?
Its easy to change just make more choices interesting.

example: combat + chaos = Fireguard with fireshield. 80% people take this because combat is must.

What if nature magic+chaos = tarzan who ate tabasco. +20 to your melee and ranged defence...+ 2 per level of hero.

Would make you think what to take right?

Still some artifact inbalances... Tynar is not worth minor for example.
Some good suggestions in forum: Cost of ressurrection could be 1000g because I think killing heroes in adv map dwellings and moving them dead to other places shouldnt be free.

Cheers :)))

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Re: about balance

Postby jeff » Jul 27 2012, 15:03

MSG-1 wrote:Hello warriors!
Since equilbris is a mod actually made for multiplayer many of the things said on this thread sound extremely funny and silly.


Really Dalai, it is for multiplayer, if that is true then I've waited all this time for the new version for nothing. I probably should go back to my Lamentia's Story campaign and remove the equilibris items and make it WoW required campaign, and like a few other mapmakers put the check script at the beginning of each map that checks to see if the player is using equilibris and cause a loss if they are (GhostWriter's the City is an example). I then guess I should junk the equilibris editor as well since I don't make multiplayer maps. 8|

Obviously I'm joking; I'm not going to do that, but I would be relunctant to make equilibris maps if multiplayer is what it is for.
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Re: about balance

Postby Dalai » Jul 29 2012, 22:15

jeff wrote:I would be relunctant to make equilibris maps if multiplayer is what it is for.

There is a very deep issue here. And very debatable.

First of all Equilibris is about balance, and only then - about content, micromanagement, AI, etc. Balance is the first thing multiplayer needs.

It is widely accepted that singleplayer does not need balance. That lack of balance is what makes singleplayer interesting. I do not think it's true. I am sure that balance is very useful in singleplayer and can even compensate other issues.

For example, if AI is stupid, but all spells are equally useful - any choice of spell will be interesting. If both creatures on the same level in town are equally viable choice - there is less chance that AI will make a mistake. I think you get the idea.

If you need to create unbalanced situation in singleplayer - you can do it easily in map editor. And you will be sure that you get exactly the imbalance you planned.
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Re: about balance

Postby jeff » Jul 29 2012, 22:42

Dalai wrote: First of all Equilibris is about balance, and only then - about content, micromanagement, AI, etc. Balance is the first thing multiplayer needs.


Agreed!

Dalai wrote:It is widely accepted that singleplayer does not need balance. That lack of balance is what makes singleplayer interesting. I do not think it's true. I am sure that balance is very useful in singleplayer and can even compensate other issues.


I guess this is where the deeper issue lies. To me it would be the other way around. If all of the races are about equal in strength then the multiplayer needs little else to be playable. However in single player the AI has to make reasonable decisions and present a reasonable opponent. A mapmaker can compensate for an underperforming AI but can’t completely fix it. For me the new version of Equilibris would be a success if it increases the number of items and objects i.e. create the second orientation for creature huts and portals so you have NW to SE and NE to SW views like we have with city and mines. Of course new artifacts, map decorations and so on would be welcome. Facetool was a great addition and any type of increased function that could be added there (opening and closing screen graphics) would be great. Balancing of the AI is difficult so any tweaking there would be welcome. The problem for me with H-IV is the number of possible quests or things you can task a player to accomplish needs to be increased. I have done every type of quest I can think of in several different ways and have run out of ideas. This is probably beyond the programming skills your team possesses. Without some new variety it would be difficult for me to continue making maps beyond my current project.

Sorry I do not mean to take this thread off topic.
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Economy in H4

Postby TheUnknown » Jul 30 2012, 1:19

After a very long time I too decided to scribe a "bit" here.

I wonder how this topic went from the lord talks to buildings in town and the city and town halls. I think that the city and town hall buildings price and the income they give are very well balanced, even though the city hall may be expensive on the outside, it is a most valuable building for the non Lord-Nobility strategies and the Nature and Chaos towns. About the other buildings I will say that they are balanced very good in their pricing, so only a minor change may be needed in the resource cost.

About balancing the effects of the town buildings I will agree with Paco that the Might town may need a small boost for the starting players, so why not use the dampener (like giving bonus creatures per day like expert summoning skill, or make it like creature portal but with might creatures like the sea monster or the mermaids and a small growth).

About the lords:
If you rush 6-7 hero strategy with no lords or nobility, you will most likely HAVE to build city hall in order to fill the income gap. If you go and buy a lord that you plan to level up you will most likely only end up with town hall because you will find a better use for the resources needed for the city hall.

About the scouts:
Now here also come the scouts with the dreaded stealth ability. Their bonus to the economy depends on the map they play so if you give them a lot of low level creatures they will gain GM Stealth and will make better income by just stealing important items, resources and snatching dwellings behind the most powerful defenders.

In fact I would say that both this two types of heroes and their main skills are the most map dependent ones and they both define how economy takes place. While the scout need to conquer territory, the lord will be happy in his little town as long as he can make experience from time to time. The key is combining these two so that you can be good in taking territories and keeping towns under your banner.

If a map is unbalanced you can see a scout that has no territory to explore or conquer after day 2-3 to the final battle and a lord that would only serve to give money even when you have over 100.000 gold.

So to counter unbalanced maps I suggest we alter some of the skills from their trees. About Scout I will immediately say we need to alter Seamanship, but about the Lord we can have a longer discussion.

Seamanship:
I was thinking that seamanship may be used for periodic gaining of items or creatures. If random items or weak artifacts or potions or vials cannot be gained on a 1, 4 or 7 day period, then maybe the scout can gain creatures like the summoners do. If not even that is possible or agreeable then maybe the scout may gain abilities like flying, strike all around, unlimited retaliation, mana leech and/or similar. This is all debatable and may help improve the economic balance by not making scouts force themselves on the scouting/pathfinding/stealth combo.

Nobility:
I here see two ways of development ...
- one is uniting estates and mining but making them weaker thus using the free skill slot to add something that will make the lord more versatile
- two is changing diplomacy to something not so much map dependent, note that diplomacy may be swapped with charm so that the charm will be lost, not the diplomacy. That is, in case you believe diplomacy is very important and charm ... not so much.

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@ unknown

Postby MSG-1 » Jul 30 2012, 15:08

Im not sure where you've been playing the game but of the 300+ games I've played online I've never ever bought a scout hero with stealth. I've never bought a lord hero exept in very long games where there are free xp shrines to take.

As of seamanship let it be its fine as it is.
Barb doesn't have problem with creatues. Creatures are just numbers and spells are control. Barb needs spells.

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Postby GreatEmerald » Jul 30 2012, 19:54

Well, I like having things balanced even in SP, as that allows for more variety. When you have two buildings you can choose from, one being superior makes the creatures from the other dwelling rare and irrelevant. Same with spells, if there are mostly useless spells, the number of spells actually used in the game goes down, leaving less variety.

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Postby Dalai » Jul 30 2012, 20:10

MSG-1 wrote:As of seamanship let it be its fine as it is.

You know it removes boarding penalty, right? ;|

Just recently one of frequent online players was shocked to find it out from me, even though it's in the changelog :D

GreatEmerald wrote:Well, I like having things balanced even in SP, as that allows for more variety. When you have two buildings you can choose from, one being superior makes the creatures from the other dwelling rare and irrelevant. Same with spells, if there are mostly useless spells, the number of spells actually used in the game goes down, leaving less variety.

Yes, exactly! :creative:
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balance

Postby MSG-1 » Jul 30 2012, 21:19

When you have two buildings you can choose from, one being superior makes the creatures from the other dwelling rare and irrelevant. Same with spells, if there are mostly useless spells, the number of spells actually used in the game goes down, leaving less variety.


Actually last time when I was talking to a friend about what could be in future patches these were the ones that were on the top of the to do list. All or nearly all of the creature choices (level3 and level4) are nobrainers.
life: monks suck and champions suck
nature: unicorns suck and faeries are seldomly bought because phoenix awesome speed.
death: vamps suck and bones suck (no morale)
chaos: nightmares too slow hydras ok but not even close to blacks.
barb: ogres suck even after patch behemoths slow.
order: genies or nagas both good, usually nagas though. Titans usually because no morale for dragon golems.

ps @ dalai:

of course :) After advanced it gets 33% down every level if I remember :)

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Re: balance

Postby Dalai » Jul 31 2012, 20:59

MSG-1 wrote:Actually last time when I was talking to a friend about what could be in future patches these were the ones that were on the top of the to do list. All or nearly all of the creature choices (level3 and level4) are nobrainers.
life: monks suck and champions suck
nature: unicorns suck and faeries are seldomly bought because phoenix awesome speed.
death: vamps suck and bones suck (no morale)
chaos: nightmares too slow hydras ok but not even close to blacks.
barb: ogres suck even after patch behemoths slow.
order: genies or nagas both good, usually nagas though. Titans usually because no morale for dragon golems.

I agree with most of these choices (unicorns are being built very often), but it's really offtopic here, in economy topic.
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balance

Postby MSG-1 » Aug 1 2012, 10:17

Yeah sorry about that, got overly exited :)

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Re: @ unknown

Postby TheUnknown » Aug 1 2012, 22:13

MSG-1 wrote:Im not sure where you've been playing the game but of the 300+ games I've played online I've never ever bought a scout hero with stealth. I've never bought a lord hero exept in very long games where there are free xp shrines to take.

As of seamanship let it be its fine as it is.
Barb doesn't have problem with creatues. Creatures are just numbers and spells are control. Barb needs spells.


I've overplayed all but mostly the Tawni campaign and I love scouts ... I've tried army with 7 scouts on a map with many creatures and on the long run they do have the highest level and the biggest potential both in power and economy if you manage to keep them alive and can afford the immortality potions ... it all depends on the map.

In the many maps I've seen and played that were meant for tournament play you only have neutral creatures placed on 10 or so places and some creature banks (that destroy the scout and lord value) and garrisons (scouts value ruined again) and "voila" you end up fighting with your opponent on week 2-3 or 5-6. That is not enough time for the stolen mines and the (grand master) estates, mining and even the nobility skills to pay off.

Lack of neutral creatures on maps unbalances the lords and scouts, but if there are more strong creatures and opponents are forced to wait a couple of days or must fight them with "hit and run", our guys do pay off, and if the necromancers in the long run don't fight creatures their Necromancy skill won't do much so even having many creatures on map then wont be a problem for map balancing.

A bit offtopic here:
But we can't give spells to barbarians, its not their style. I would suggest we give them more potions ... in fact lets give them all the potions and vials that aren't unique to other towns. We may even give them some weak artifacts. But if you still push to give them spells I would make a suggestion we give them all the first level spell schools because they do get one random spell if they chose a spell skill... why be random? make their dampener be also the first level spell school that teaches every 1st level spell.

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Re: balance

Postby TheUnknown » Aug 1 2012, 23:08

Dalai wrote:
MSG-1 wrote:Actually last time when I was talking to a friend about what could be in future patches these were the ones that were on the top of the to do list. All or nearly all of the creature choices (level3 and level4) are nobrainers.
life: monks suck and champions suck
nature: unicorns suck and faeries are seldomly bought because phoenix awesome speed.
death: vamps suck and bones suck (no morale)
chaos: nightmares too slow hydras ok but not even close to blacks.
barb: ogres suck even after patch behemoths slow.
order: genies or nagas both good, usually nagas though. Titans usually because no morale for dragon golems.

I agree with most of these choices (unicorns are being built very often), but it's really offtopic here, in economy topic.


I think that the unicorn stuff is an economical issue. Do people chose them only to get faster to level 4 creatures or because they are also usable for the main army or both?
Because the griffins were made a lot cheaper with the citadel cost reduction I fear the unicorns may need a cost reduction too to become equally viable.

Correct me guys if I am wrong but I think that MSG-1 plays maps that are mostly on snow, swamp and other terrains and with many creature banks that enable gaining morale artifacts and easy cash and resources.

Champions are a bit cheaper than Angels because it's easier to obtain wood and ore (at least on normal maps) and they are even better at dealing heavy damage, but cannot fly, that's the balance stuff.
Hydras are better in enough situations when compared to the blackies so I think they are a viable choice.
Behemots are slow but super strong and they go well with cyclopes if you fight strong neutral creatures like the dragons at the dragon utopia. Thunderbirds move fast but also die fast. Ogre mages may need a minor upgrade, even though that magic resistance spell can be a life saver.

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balance

Postby MSG-1 » Aug 2 2012, 5:57

I'd love to play against you on a map of your choosing just to make a point unknown.

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Re: balance

Postby TheUnknown » Aug 2 2012, 19:05

MSG-1 wrote:I'd love to play against you on a map of your choosing just to make a point unknown.


Are you sure? What would that prove? That Angels are better than Champions? If you have something to say around here and you have your reasons, say it.

I am saying these stuff out of my huge single and small multi-player experience, I don't claim I am 100% right but I state my reasons why I'm thinking that way ... you may agree or disagree as you see fit and I would love to read your reasons for thinking like that, I may learn some new tricks too. In fact I think we need almost every top player and mapmaker to come here and say what they think should be balanced in the game.

You said you've never bought a scout with stealth, but why? Just saying you didn't buy it in your 300 games means what? Stealth is unbalanced? Stealth is useless? You just don't like stealth? If you think it's bad why don't you say what the team should do to make it viable?

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Postby jeff » Aug 2 2012, 20:35

Ok I won’t say I am one of the best mapmakers, but I am a mapmaker. From my viewpoint, in a multiplayer map why care if all the factions are equally balanced? For example say Life and Nature are equal, Chaos and Order equal and Death in there somewhere and Might the weakest faction; my view is so what. That is how you can handicap a multiplayer game allowing players of various skill levels compete with each other. Best player gets the weakest faction and so on; then game on. In multiplayer the AI is unimportant unless you have an AI city, but why would you; it makes no sense to me. Again I am not a multiplayer player and have no interest in making maps for them. This is why I was so stunned by the earlier comments about equilibris being primarily a multiplayer mod; multiplayer needs a mod the least of all. Consequently while I am not going back and strip off the equilibris items from the campaigns I have released, I am not going to use them in the one I am finishing. At least until 3.6 is released and the benefit to single player maps has been assessed. Single player games seem to play better with the mod and I use the facetool, so I will use it and test the maps with equilibris for balance.

Again this is not the topic of this thread and probably should be discussed elsewhere.
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okay..

Postby MSG-1 » Aug 2 2012, 21:17

Well I dont want to sound disrespectful or a "know-all" guy but you really don't understand the game until you have experience online. It's like playing football. You'll never get good playing against the kindergarden team.

The fact is that the changes that are made, the ones you read in equilibris page are most of them made for multiplayer games. Since AI sucks it doesn't matter what you change in the game, its still easy and changing some things doesn't really impact your playing experience. Don't get me wrong you can have fun and play your campaigns and im sure mapmakers make good maps for you to play on but that's not much to do with what equilibris = which means balance is all about.

@ unknown: The reason why I dont buy thiefs or stealth is for a couple of reasons:
1) You have a limited amount of heroes to start with. Wasting one on stealth that doesn't help you at all in battles is a waste of time.
2) You dont want to waste your precious xp you get to something that you cannot use to other purposes than to take resources.
3) A smarter players uses your heroes from day 1 thinking about the end battles and develops them to kick ass right away and to win those battles fast that would be picked up by stealth.
4) Most multi maps built in a manner that stealth is not used efficiently.

uknown you are correct I might be wrong since I've never tried your strategy thats why I asked if you want to try your theory on any map of your liking :)))

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Re: okay..

Postby TheUnknown » Aug 2 2012, 22:22

MSG-1 wrote:@ unknown: The reason why I dont buy thiefs or stealth is for a couple of reasons:
1) You have a limited amount of heroes to start with. Wasting one on stealth that doesn't help you at all in battles is a waste of time.
2) You dont want to waste your precious xp you get to something that you cannot use to other purposes than to take resources.
3) A smarter players uses your heroes from day 1 thinking about the end battles and develops them to kick ass right away and to win those battles fast that would be picked up by stealth.
4) Most multi maps built in a manner that stealth is not used efficiently.


I agree with you because I've seen those maps and I've played them single player. I am not mad to try a stealth only strategy on most of those maps.

Mapmaking is ontopic because it effects the economy. Do you guys like objects like the trading post on your map? (maybe for me) Do you place them? Do want all the mines (wood, ore, gems ... gold) to be on map per every town? (yes for me) Is that good for multiplayer? (I think it's not bad) Do you want the mines to be capturable by thieves or you just block all the ways except the high way :) (I'd go capturable) Do you like many creatures on map that guard treasures or no? (even with no treasures I go yes) Treasure banks ruin economy balance or no? (depends on the banks but I think yes)

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Re: balance

Postby Dalai » Aug 2 2012, 22:23

TheUnknown wrote:I think that the unicorn stuff is an economical issue. Do people chose them only to get faster to level 4 creatures or because they are also usable for the main army or both?

"only to get faster to level 4 creatures" - this.

Champions are a bit cheaper than Angels because it's easier to obtain wood and ore (at least on normal maps) and they are even better at dealing heavy damage, but cannot fly, that's the balance stuff.

Angel's ability to resurrect important hero in finale battle is almost impossible to overrate. Angels are preferred in most cases.

Hydras are better in enough situations when compared to the blackies so I think they are a viable choice.

Alas they are not. But if we add them regeneration feature they will be a bit better and even comparable to blackies during map cleaning.

Behemots are slow but super strong and they go well with cyclopes if you fight strong neutral creatures like the dragons at the dragon utopia. Thunderbirds move fast but also die fast.

Thunderbirds are fast to get to heroes and have second lightning bolt extremely useful to kill heroes with immo potion. That alone makes them valuable. Their flying ability is also very useful when you can reasonably expect quicksand in opponent's army's spellbooks.

Ogre mages may need a minor upgrade, even though that magic resistance spell can be a life saver.

Again, Cyclops are welcome to barb's army for their multiple target strikes, which are extremely useful against - you guessed it! - several close standing heroes.

It's all about killing heroes in final battle.

MSG-1 wrote:I'd love to play against you on a map of your choosing just to make a point unknown.

Come on, discussing a game can be fun too. It's been so long since we did it last time ;)
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Re: okay..

Postby jeff » Aug 2 2012, 22:33

MSG-1 wrote:Well I dont want to sound disrespectful or a "know-all" guy but you really don't understand the game until you have experience online.


Well you did, but that's ok however I am not a 'know-all' and I never have or will claim to be. If you have been on this forum for very long you would see that is true though I do have strong opinions. That said I don't, won't play online games. Internet connections are iffy at best. Though I do see the attraction many people have for them. TheUnknown asked that mapmakers to make comments and I was making a statement about my belief that human players need less help. I was not attacking anyone or being disrespectful, but trying to spur discussion. Oh I did play football at several levels.:D

MSG-1 wrote:Since AI sucks it doesn't matter what you change in the game, its still easy and changing some things doesn't really impact your playing experience.


As you said the AI sucks and that is why it needs the mod; it needs the help not the poor human player. Which is why I said if all factions are played by humans the AI is not a factor as well as the need to balance the factions any further than they are. A strong faction played by a moron regardless of balance will still lose to a good player.

Again this is off topic, my apologies Dalai, MSG-1 if wish to continue this line let’s do so in a different thread.
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