Factions Balance

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Titanus
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Factions Balance

Postby Titanus » Dec 21 2007, 2:55

Almost 2 years ago, before the game was launched, I proposed extensive changes to creature stats, after they were published, as I felt there were many features that made certain factions lacking in power and balance, compared to others. Now, after ToTE's launch, I still use these changes of mine, along with the appropriate modifications to the new alternatives… My objectives for proceeding to the following changes revolve around 7 axes:

1) Not a single creature should be worthless (having the role of canon fodder or using it at a sacrificial pit, because it rarely participates in a battle) or just because 'sometimes it has its uses'.

2) Unupgraded creatures should be adequately powerful, in order to be able to develop properly, without needing to resort desperately to their upgraded counterparts.

3) When we say alternatives, we mean alternatives, not a 90% choice between the 2, in certain cases.

4) When we say alternatives, we mean alternatives, not a slightly different choice between the 2, in other cases.

5) Every change is evaluated in relation to every single creature of each faction.

6) There is diversity of creature stats, especially of the same level.

7) I've been playing HOMMV almost every day since its launch, so believe me, the changes have been tested and re-tested and, in my opinion, are perfectly balanced.

I'll begin with a very fun to play and one of my favourite factions, INFERNO. Especially early game, Inferno is one of the weakest factions; they love to die have said many players in the past and I totally agree! Right now it has a weak and fragile lvl 1 creature, an almost worthless lvl 2 and an average, very fragile and without specials lvl 3 (all unupgraded). The situation improves after that, but its lvl 7 is maybe the second worst. In parenthesis are the old stats.

Imp
Attack: 2
Defence:2 (1)
Damage: 1-3 (1-2)
HP: 5 (4)
Initiative: 11 (13)
Speed: 6 (5)

Familiar
Attack: 3
Defence: 2
Damage: 2-3
HP: 7 (6)
Initiative: 11 (13)
Speed: 6 (5)

Vermin
Attack: 3
Defence: 3
Damage: 1-4
HP: 7 (6)
Initiative: 11 (13)
Speed: 6

Mana Destroyer / Mana Stealer: 3 (instead of 4) for every 16 creatures
Siphon Mana: 1,5 (instead of 2) for every 16 creatures


Comments: The change in initiative, along with the mana destroy/steal/siphon ability is imperative. I consider its ability plain and simple crippling (depriving, when in large numbers, even the most powerful heroes of almost all their mana). Nowadays, I play 'THE SCHOOL' a custom made map, further modified by me, Inferno vs Academy. With my Sovereign I have gathered, after 4 months play, almost 1600 Familiars and still counting and my Jhora’s knowledge has reached 41, maximised by regular artifacts. She will probably get +1 knowledge after I visit a couple of Sylanna's Trees, but that's just about it. When they finally battle do you know how much mana Jhora will have, if Familiars' initiative remains at 13 (which would potentially make them play before any other academy creature) and their ability at 4? ZIPPO! NADA! Of course someone would argue 'and what do you have initiative mini arties for? decoration?' But that's not the point. If a wizard is in danger of losing all his mana before he or his creatures can act, what may possibly happen to the other factions? 11 Initiative still makes Imps a fast unit and its ability is still powerful enough, but not crippling. If enemy creatures or heroes act first and one or more attacks incur an adequate reduction in Familiars’ numbers, enemy hero would still be able to cast a few carefully selected spells.
To make up for the initiative reduction on one hand and the fact that Inferno is all about attacking effectively on the other, Imps gain +1 maximum damage, +1 defence +1 HP (due to less weekly population than most lvl 1 creatures) and +1 speed (after all, they are nimble little ‘devils’, they ought to be faster than a demon for example). Familiars and Vermins are better balanced, so I‘ve added +1 speed to the former and +1 HP to both of them.

Horned Demon
Attack: 2 (1)
Defence: 4 (3)
Damage: 1-4 (1-2)
HP: 13
Initiative: 10 (7)
Speed: 5

Horned Overseer
Attack: 3
Defence: 4
Damage: 2-4 (1-4)
HP: 15 (13)
Initiative: 12 (8)
Speed: 5

Horned Grunt
Attack: 4 (3)
Defence: 2 (1)
Damage: 2-4 (1-4)
HP: 13
Initiative: 11 (9)
Speed: 5

Weekly growth: 13 (instead of 15)


Comments: Where half of the factions have shooters as lvl 2 creatures or flyers or extremely fast walkers, Inferno has Horned Demons and Horned Overseers…
Hurrah…! As they are, they certainly deserve to be sacrificed for experience. What’s the purpose of a creature that acts once in a blue moon, and when it acts it deals such a measly damage (Horned Demon), even failing to serve the role of a tank troop, because it certainly is not such with 13 HP. On top of that it’s generally weaker than Imps/Familiars… Unacceptable! First of all, from day 1 I’ve had 3 ‘principles’, the third one being explained in the next entry.
1) No aces (1) in attack and defence ratings or 1-1 damage for any lvl 2 creature and above. Aces are for lvl 1 creatures and only!
2) Only one creature should have initiative 7 and that is the Earth Elemental. Creatures are in the battlefield to act, not just standing there waiting to be slaughtered. Every creature with initiative 7 gets an increase to 8.
However, Horned Demons needed something more than +1 initiative. They needed to be fast ground units with at least good stats, partially making up for the lack of a shooter up to lvl 4. Thus, +3 initiative, +2 maximum damage and +1 attack and defence. Reducing its weekly growth by 2 is justifiable, but now they are much more efficient creatures.
For me Horned Overseers should clearly be the defensive units and Horned Grunts the offensive. So, we have +2 HP, +4 initiative with a speed of 5 for Horned Overseers and +1 attack, +1 defence and +2 initiative, with a leap ability of 8 tiles maximum for Horned Grunts; this way, Horned Grunts don’t become the 100% pick between the 2 alternate upgrades. Finally, both of them have +1 minimum damage to make them better offensively than Horned Demons, as it was the case initially.
As a side note, I would like to mention that in most cases I have also changed the xp and power values of almost every creature to reflect the changes I’ve made. For example Horned Demons’ xp rised from 10 to 13 and its power value rised from 101 to 131.

Hell Hound
Attack: 6 (4)
Defence: 4 (3)
Damage: 4-8 (3-5)
HP: 15
Initiative: 13
Speed: 7

Cerberus
Attack: 6 (4)
Defence: 4 (2)
Damage: 4-6
HP: 17 (15)
Initiative: 13
Speed: 8

Firehound
Attack: 5 (4)
Defence: 3
Damage: 3-5
HP: 15
Initiative: 13
Speed: 8


Comments: The lack of specials demands the radical improvement of Hell Hound. It’s an exclusively offensive unit, but having the same damage and less attack than Iron Golem for example is at least awkward. In HOMM III Hell Hounds had 2-7 damage and Cerberus 2-5, being the only creature back then that had more damage than its upgraded counterpart. The logic was that one head makes a full scale attack, whereas 3 heads divide their damage. I followed this logic with the current Hell Hound, taking as base damage that of the Cerberus and adding +2 to maximum damage, 1 for each extra head Hell Hound doesn’t have, compared to Cerberus.
For the changes in attack and defence ratings I’ll have to bring into my third ‘principle’; particularly attack and defence should be bound to certain limits for each lvl, unless absolutely necessary, This is the case especially with lvl 1, lvl 2 and lvl 3 creatures that are very close one to the other. Considering this factor, on one hand I’ve added +1 to defence and along with the fact that Hell Hound’s attack rating should further reflect this creature’s offensive orientation, I’ve added +2 to its attack
Firehound was a clearly better creature than Cerberus, that’s a fact that nobody can deny. Consequently, certain minor modifications that wouldn’t spoil the nature of both creatures should be implemented. +1 attack for Firehound only and +2 attack, +2 defence, +2 HP for Cerberus that would make it slightly more durable, but dealing less total damage than Firehound, considering the latter’s special.

Succubus
Attack: 8 (6)
Defence: 6
Damage: 6-13
HP: 25 (20)
Initiative: 10
Speed: 4
Shots: 9 (6)

Succubus Mistress
Attack: 8 (6)
Defence: 6
Damage: 6-13
HP: 30
Initiative: 10
Speed: 4
Shots: 9 (6)

Succubus Seducer
Attack: 8 (6)
Defence: 6
Damage: 6-13
HP: 33 (32)
Initiative: 9
Speed: 4
Shots: 9 (6)


Comments: There are shooters with 16 shots (Master Hunters) and shooters with 2 (Spearwielders). I agree there should be a variety in the number of ammo, but certain shooters are rendered effectively… half shooters; they fail to serve their role. One would argue ‘buy an ammo cart’, but in my opinion, shooters should be more self-reliant. That’s why I’ve implemented a personal ‘rule’ saying that every shooter with less than 9 shots gains 50% more, rounded down, the only exception being the Titan. Taking this rule into consideration, Succubus and its upgrades have now 9 shots (6+50%*6=9).
All of them have also +2 attack to boost their attack-oriented nature and be closer to their lvl. Furthermore, I’ve increased Succubus HP by 5 because I deemed it quite low for a lvl 4 creature, whereas Succubus Seducer gained +1 HP in order to be marginally better than my version of Archmage.

Hell Charger
Attack: 14 (13)
Defence: 14 (13)
Damage: 8-16
HP: 50
Initiative: 16
Speed: 7

Searing Aura: 5 damage for each Hell Stallion (instead of 10)


Comments: Apart from +1 attack and defence for Hell Charger, in order to keep the difference from my version of Unicorn, everything else is ok. I only reduced Searing Aura damage by half (from RPG Stats folder), because I consider it to be quite high extra damage for each adjacent enemy creature every time it acts.

Pit Fiend
Attack: 21
Defence: 21
Damage: 13-26
HP: 110
Initiative: 9 (8)
Speed: 4
Mana: 25 (10)

Pit Lord
Attack: 22
Defence: 21
Damage: 14-31 (13-31)
HP: 120
Initiative: 9 (8)
Speed: 4
Mana: 38 (20)

Pit Spawn
Attack: 27
Defence: 23
Damage: 14-31 (13-31)
HP: 140
Initiative: 10 (9)
Speed: 6
Mana: 0


Comments: If certain shooters had been rendered half shooters, all casters are…a quarter casters! In my opinion, casters shouldn’t cast twice at most as is the case now but at least three times and believe me it’s not overpowered at all. There has never been a single battle with an enemy hero since the launch of the game that I felt I was beaten due to his casters, despite what the Beta test of the game proved 2 years ago (for the record, casters back than had almost the same amount of spellpoints as my casters; however I don’t know how powerful spells were at that time and what mathematical equation they used to calculate spell damage for casters). Only when I was experimenting with Shadow Matriarch for several games, adding to her spell book Circle of Winter at expert level, did I feel that I had my butt handed to me, when a Warlock attacked me once… total slaughter! Having this on mind, a general rule of mine for casters is the following: Take the spell with the most mana cost, double it and add the spell costs of all other spells in the caster's spellbook. In Pit Fiend’s case, Fireball costs 10 spellpoints * 2 = 20 + 5 (the cost of Vulnerability) = 25. On top of that, I’ve changed the level at which Fireball is cast (advanced level, since Pit Fiend is a high level creature and should be a high level caster for a middle level destructive spell, while Vulnerability remains at advanced level). Consequently, Pit Fiends may now cast Fireball twice and Vulnerability once or Fireball once and vulnerability 3 times etc. It’s obvious that they become much more versatile now and eventually, much more… casters.
Before I comment on Pit Lords, I would like to add as a side note that part of my modifications comprise of the enhancement of all destructive spells. I won’t go into particulars, I’ll only mention that my version of Meteor Shower costs 14 spellpoints and is 50% more powerful at expert level. Thus, according to my rule, Pit Lord’s spellpoints are 14*2=28+10=38. Meteor Shower is cast now at advanced level and Fireball and Vulnerability at expert level
Both Pit Lords and Pit Spawns have +1 to the minimum damage, because I wanted to avoid greater damage range than the result of Succubus’ maximum damage (13) divided by Succubus’ minimum damage (6), which I used as reference for this particular reason. It’s not that important but I wanted to add an element of proportion. Finally, all three of them have +1 initiative, since, as I’ve mentioned in Horned Demon’s entry, all creatures with initiative 7 moved up to initiative 8 and I wanted to retain the difference between creatures with initiative 7 and 8 before my changes. The changes in initiative serve very well the nature of a very strong and resilient, but still relatively slow ground unit (Pit Spawn) or the nature of 2 great casters of destructive magic, without becoming game-breaking to the least.

Devil
Attack: 30 (27)
Defence: 24 (25)
Damage: 31-66 (36-66)
HP: 166
Initiative: 13 (11)
Speed: 15 (7)
Mana: 17 (0)

Arch Devil
Attack: 34 (32)
Defence: 29
Damage: 31-66 (36-66)
HP: 219 (199)
Initiative: 13 (11)
Speed: 20 (7)
Mana: 17 (0)

Arch Demon
Attack: 34 (32)
Defence: 32 (31)
Damage: 26-66 (36-66)
HP: 231 (211)
Initiative: 11 (10)
Speed: 6
Mana: 17 (0)

All of them: Summon Elementals
Arch Demon: No Retaliation


Comments: The first spark that brought about the flow of changes was… the Gargoyle! The flame that made me persistent in the task though was lvl 7 creatures. I don’t know about you, but for me lvl 7 creatures should be the absolute dominants of the battlefield, a category of their own in every respect and most of all… hard to kill. This domination was better expressed in HOMM III and (God forbid) HOMM IV. Back then, creatures up to lvl 6 were, with a few exceptions, weaker, and lacking specials (especially in HOMM III), whereas lvl 7 creatures were very powerful and extremely fast. In HOMMV most creatures up to lvl 6 have plethora of specials and much better stats (particularly lvl 5 and 6), whereas lvl 7 creatures are much closer in stats to the previous lvl and generally slower, compared to their HOMM III counterparts.
As I’ve mentioned before, I deem Devils the second worst lvl 7 creature, generally better only by Bone Dragon. They have just good initiative, average defence, attack equal to almost any other unupgraded lvl 7 creature (totally unexplained lack of variety by the way), below average HP and the only category they shine is damage; their sole special they possess (Teleport) is actually very limited. In my mind, Devils should be the epitome of their faction (exceptional attack, average defence, below average HP and lightning-fast (both in initiative and particularly in speed). +3 attack (the best between all unupgraded lvl 7 creatures), -1 defence (the worst), -5 minimum damage (proportionate to Succubus’ damage range, as I’ve mentioned in Pit Fiend’s entry), +2 initiative and a special that permits them to move everywhere in a normal battlefield (but not in a siege). Furthermore, I’ve added a second special, typical to HOMM IV Devils, ‘Summon Elementals’ spell, cast on Advanced level. Thus, apart from Fly, (which in fact 75% of lvl 7 creatures, unupgraded and upgraded, have), Devils have a singular and fitting to their nature special.
Arch Devils retain the above logic and take it a step farther in a couple of areas; +2 attack (surpassed only by Seraph), -5 minimum damage, +2 initiative (second only to Emerald/Crystal Dragon), however now they are able to teleport really everywhere, even in a siege and they gain +20 HP (by the way, all upgraded lvl 7 creatures have increased HP by 10-20%, depending on the case); for the record my version of Black Dragon has of course…300 HP. Finally, ‘Summon Elementals’ spell is boosted to expert level.
Arch Demons on the other hand, should be a totally different approach. Initially they were more defence-oriented, so I enhanced this aspect and brought another element in their offence, the No Retaliation special (what Arch Devils had in HOMM III). So, we have +2 attack, +1 defence, +20 HP, +1 initiative (being even slower than Arch Devil) and -10 minimum damage to make the non-retaliated damage more random. ‘Summon Elemental’ spell is also present here on expert level again.

So that’ it! Needless to say I am very interested in your feedback. Furthermore, I don’t know how to make a mod out of these changes, so any help will be appreciated. Next time I’ll deal with FORTRESS.

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parcaleste
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Postby parcaleste » Dec 21 2007, 7:33

I think that the Devils with speed of 20 is WAY too much :S + 1 or MAXIMUM 2 is pretty enough - in HoMM III they were NOT able to teleport at every corner of the map either. Also remember, that with the Gating ability they have now (in TotE), they will become an INSANE force to deal with with this kind of speed + Summon Elements, oooh mamma :S Otherwise I liked the other improvements, if Caster in other armies spells levels and spell points are doubled as well I think it's ok :)

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Tensho
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Postby Tensho » Dec 21 2007, 8:14

You really want to change the inferno balance dont you? :-D
Everyone is okey as it is(well pit lord coud use some buffs)
You add lots of attack(and dmg)
and lots of speed(and initiative)

So what do you get?An amazing high-dmg dealing army,which can gate :-D
Dont angry the banana!

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okrane
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Postby okrane » Dec 21 2007, 8:15

make a mod and we'll try out out - it's really easy, just go over basic mod FAQ's here and on heroescomunity.
Modding creatures' abilities is the easiest thing to do.

otherwise is this from your multiplayer experience or just single player fun?
because the only place balance has a purpose is multiplayer...
Last edited by okrane on Dec 21 2007, 10:43, edited 1 time in total.

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Nelgirith
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Postby Nelgirith » Dec 21 2007, 8:35

Widening even more Devil's damage range is the thing NOT to do :| The main drawback about them is already their wide damage range and you want to make it even worse. I already very rarely upgraded my devils with your "mod" I would simply never do it.

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tb5841
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Postby tb5841 » Dec 21 2007, 8:57

With my Sovereign I have gathered, after 4 months play, almost 1600 Familiars and still counting


I may play quite differently, but I found this map took far less than 4 months. I think if you let armies grow to this size, the game becomes really unbalanced. And I'm not sure destructive spells really needed a boost...

Lots of these changes seem very useful though. Devils having Summon Elemental would be fun :devil: [/b]

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aaelgr
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Postby aaelgr » Dec 21 2007, 11:43

I agree with making Inferno stronger (especially pre-Lvl 4), but I feel that the Devils are a little too strong now. It's not the No Enemy Retaliation (it was the only thing that really helped them in H3) but the ability to teleport anywhere at all. That forces people to turtle their shooters, making them vulnerable to the Firehound's special.
What if Summon Elementals always gave Fire Elementals? (c.f. Fire Warriors ability) Not only does it fit in with the theme, but it gives Inferno a much-needed second shooter.
Parcaleste wrote:Also remember, that with the Gating ability they (Devils) have now (in TotE),

I thought that Devils could only gate with Ultimate Gating?

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Postby Grumpy Old Wizard » Dec 21 2007, 13:37

okrane wrote:
because the only place balance has a purpose is multiplayer...


As a player and a mapmaker I disagree. Balance in important in single player too. Statistics have shown that in every game that can be played single player and multiplayer there are more single players by far. So don't blow off the majority of HOMM players.

Are you planning on making changes to other factions too? If not the inferno would be much too strong.

GOW
Frodo: "I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened."
Gandalf: "So do all who live to see such times but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."

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Postby Mlai » Dec 21 2007, 14:31

I've made my private mod for personal use as well, and my philosophy is different from yours. My motto is to stick closely to the intentions of the retail game, so tweaks only, and not to make drastic changes unless you're absolutely sure there's something wonky (useless alternate for instance).

Inferno

1. Making tier 1 less of a 1-trick pony and more of a generalist battle unit with the mana sucking as the icing is a good idea. No debate here.

2. There is a strange trend... you upped the power of ALL of the units. Which means either you just made Inferno overpowered, or you proceeded to go and up the power of all factions. But if you do that, then isn't that the same as before you did anything??? :|

3. Tier 2 may be slow, but did you put Gating into consideration?

4. Tier 3 may be weak, but did you put Gating into consideration?

5. 9 Shots for Succubus? Gating... Retaliation... CHAIN SHOT. With 9 shots for everybody, the ammo cart becomes irrelevant, and targeting it in battle becomes irrelevant.

6. If Hell Charger gets a piss poor searing aura, who'd pick it over Nightmare?

7. I upped the mana for the Pits too, but your up is ridiculous. 38 for Pit Lord? The reason Ubival kept some ridiculous numbers for mana count is because of the mana-increasing artifacts and abilities. Once a player has those, a normal caster becomes a great caster. In your case it becomes an overpowered caster. Higher init, double the base mana, AND fireball gains a mastery level? Holy F.

8. I don't think making tier 7's overpowered is a great idea. They're not supposed to dominate, they're supposed to work in synergy with the army. Nothing should ever dominate. The only change I made to Inferno tier 7 is increase ADemon's Summon Other range by 2, and I still think it may be too much. +1 is prolly good enough.

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Titanus
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Faction Balance

Postby Titanus » Dec 21 2007, 16:11

parcaleste wrote:I think that the Devils with speed of 20 is WAY too much :S + 1 or MAXIMUM 2 is pretty enough - in HoMM III they were NOT able to teleport at every corner of the map either. Also remember, that with the Gating ability they have now (in TotE), they will become an INSANE force to deal with with this kind of speed + Summon Elements, oooh mamma :S Otherwise I liked the other improvements, if Caster in other armies spells levels and spell points are doubled as well I think it's ok :)


In HOMM III their speed was 17; Archangel with speed 18 was able to cross the battlefield from one corner to the other. In HOMM IV Arch Devil's speed was... 25 and he could teleport everywhere. Arch Devils can't gate in ToTE either, unless Demon Lord has the Pendant of Mastery artifact, big difference!


Tensho wrote:You really want to change the inferno balance dont you? :-D
Everyone is okey as it is(well pit lord coud use some buffs)
You add lots of attack(and dmg)
and lots of speed(and initiative)

So what do you get?An amazing high-dmg dealing army,which can gate :-D


I've made the changes to Inferno because I feel exactly the opposite, that everyone is not ok! Where have I added lots (as you say) of attack, damage, speed and initiative? Only the Devil family got a dramatic (but not unbalanced) modification, because I wanted more variety and balance between alternatives and between other creatures, mostly of the same level. And if you noticed, there are plenty of reductions too... Inferno still has weaknesses. I hope you see the whole picture as my analysis proceeds.


Nelgirith wrote:Widening even more Devil's damage range is the thing NOT to do :| The main drawback about them is already their wide damage range and you want to make it even worse. I already very rarely upgraded my devils with your "mod" I would simply never do it.


And why Colossus' or Titan's damage range isn't a drawback, whereas Devil's and Arch Devil's is? Because they have exactly the same range, that is 30. Anyway, I decreased it because of my version of Teleport, increased initiative, a new special and lastly, because Devils are not the only creatures in Inferno army with wide damage range. On the contrary, it's the theme of the faction!


tb5841 wrote:
With my Sovereign I have gathered, after 4 months play, almost 1600 Familiars and still counting


I may play quite differently, but I found this map took far less than 4 months. I think if you let armies grow to this size, the game becomes really unbalanced. And I'm not sure destructive spells really needed a boost...

Lots of these changes seem very useful though. Devils having Summon Elemental would be fun :devil: [/b]


As I've mentioned, I made many radical changes to the map. First of all, I removed most of standard creatures that were scattered all over the place and replaced them with random creatures. This permitted me to bring into play all the alternatives and all Stronghold creatures. Secondly, all resource generators were guarded not by lvl 3 creatures, but by lvl 4. Keymaster tents were guarded by specific unupgraded lvl 7 creatures, with a starting number of 12. All prime stats enhancers were guarded by lvl 5 creatures. I added most new buildings introduced to ToTE, heavily guarded. In general, everything on the map was excellently protected and most importantly... I changed neutrals weekly growth from 10% to 20%, from RPG Stats folder. Do you start to get the picture? Believe me, you wouldn't have finished it earlier.
For the record, I managed to gather so many Familiars, because there are 2 Inferno castles and 2 extra Imp Crucibles in the Underground.

Destructive spells need a real boost for the infinitely discussed reason of the unbalanced way Light and Dark Magic works

...and Devils having Summon Elementals spell is really fun :D


aaelgr wrote:I agree with making Inferno stronger (especially pre-Lvl 4), but I feel that the Devils are a little too strong now. It's not the No Enemy Retaliation (it was the only thing that really helped them in H3) but the ability to teleport anywhere at all. That forces people to turtle their shooters, making them vulnerable to the Firehound's special.
What if Summon Elementals always gave Fire Elementals? (c.f. Fire Warriors ability) Not only does it fit in with the theme, but it gives Inferno a much-needed second shooter.


Shooters should always be turtled in big battles, no matter what. Please, bear in mind that my changes interact with the modifications I've made to every single faction; you shouldn't manage them autonomously. To give you only a clue, I've mentioned that my version of Black Dragon has 300 HP, +81 than my version of Arch Devil... This HP difference was initially +41... Add the fact that Arch Devil's minimum damage is -5, along with Black Dragon's other specials and you will gradually discover that speed 20 for Arch Devil is not that overpowering.


Grumpy Old Wizard wrote:
okrane wrote:
because the only place balance has a purpose is multiplayer...


As a player and a mapmaker I disagree. Balance in important in single player too. Statistics have shown that in every game that can be played single player and multiplayer there are more single players by far. So don't blow off the majority of HOMM players.

Are you planning on making changes to other factions too? If not the inferno would be much too strong.

GOW


Totally agree in the first part and yes... every faction has received changes.

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Wulfstan8182
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Postby Wulfstan8182 » Dec 21 2007, 21:11

umm... that's not really a "balance" your inferno is waaaaaaaaaaaaaay overpowered. it's necro who needs higher stats. and dwarfs who need lower.
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Mlai
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Postby Mlai » Dec 21 2007, 23:04

He's saying that every faction received his treatment. But IMO the net effect of that, is nobody except the heroes got weaker.

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Dacarnix_
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Postby Dacarnix_ » Dec 22 2007, 0:01

That makes it kind of tough to discuss, though, as a group. We see "more powerful Inferno" and react without any real understanding of the bigger picture.

I think that it might be more constructive to have a thread for each Tier instead of a thread for each faction. Just a thought...

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Alamar
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Postby Alamar » Dec 22 2007, 0:15

I'm not sure that I care for how some of the testing and balancing was done.

That number of imps along with that army size doesn't sound "right" at least with the vast majority of H5 games that I've played so the fundamental basis on which the balance mods were made is highly suspicious.

For most of the trials that I've done I prefer to play through some of the standard maps until heroes reach the L15 to L20 range. At that point I'd look at armies / combats / etc. and see how the balance is at that point.

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Factions Balnce

Postby Titanus » Dec 22 2007, 5:43

Mlai wrote:I've made my private mod for personal use as well, and my philosophy is different from yours. My motto is to stick closely to the intentions of the retail game, so tweaks only, and not to make drastic changes unless you're absolutely sure there's something wonky (useless alternate for instance).


Mine isn't... As I'mentioned at the begining of my analysis, I wanted diversification and sensibility in stats, specials, overall power, synergy or correlation of one creature with the other...you name it! Since Ubival wanted to introduce 7 levels of creatures, multiplied by 3 for unupgraded, upgraded and alternatives, times 8 factions, that is 180 in total (and mind you I congratulate them on the concept), they were bound to fallacies, ommissions and similarities.


Mlai wrote:2. There is a strange trend... you upped the power of ALL of the units. Which means either you just made Inferno overpowered, or you proceeded to go and up the power of all factions. But if you do that, then isn't that the same as before you did anything??? :|


I raised what I felt that needed to be raised but I also decreased other elements. And based on this erroneous assumption of yours you make simplistic and childish conclusions.


Mlai wrote:3. Tier 2 may be slow, but did you put Gating into consideration?


Is a gated tier 2 going to act faster than the original creature?


Mlai wrote:4. Tier 3 may be weak, but did you put Gating into consideration?


To end this gating excuse, gating is a racial skill, as is necromancy, artificer etc. One way or the other, the result of each racial is the same, that is the enhancement of the army. What I'm talking about is the characteristics of the creature itself, how essential or useless it becomes in relation to the rest of the army.
Let me ask you something... How long do you keep your Hell Hounds in your army, before you upgraded them to Cerberi or Firehounds? Wouldn't you have a better way to spend 15 wood and especially 5 sulphur, plus the cost in gold for the upgrade, if Hell Hounds hadn't been that weak? My version of Hell Hound doesn't need any specials now, because they can adequately hold their own, with relatively minimum losses. My personal feeling is that an army should be competent enough even with 6 out of 7 creatures unupgraded, at least for the first 1 to 1.5 month.


Mlai wrote: With 9 shots for everybody .


First of all I’m leaning towards the belief that you read my post very superficially. I didn’t say every shooter is going to have 9 shots. I just said that each shooter that had 2-8 shots initially get a 50% increase.

Mlai wrote:5. 9 Shots for Succubus? Gating... Retaliation... CHAIN SHOT. With 9 shots for everybody, the ammo cart becomes irrelevant, and targeting it in battle becomes irrelevant.


Is that so? Then why in certain factions targeting an ammo cart is redundant because the number of shots of their shooters is 10, 12 or 15 (Haven Sylvan), whereas other struggle to shoot 3 or 4 times (Dungeon or part of Academy)? Why don’t you protest about Master Hunter’s 16 shots? After all, I didn’t add an unlimited ammo ability; I just wanted the bulk of shooters to be more self-reliant and I believe that this independency can be achieved by giving certain shooters 2 or 3 extra shots.



Mlai wrote:6. If Hell Charger gets a piss poor searing aura, who'd pick it over Nightmare?


How many times have you seen Nightmare’s Frightful Aura (-3 morale) kick in? Shouldn’t normally -3 morale make most creatures lose a turn at least half the times they act? Yes! Does this happen? No!! Have you ever wondered why? Because even if a hero has 0 morale, his army has 2 (provided of course that the army belongs to the same faction with the hero). Given the fact that in ToTE, creatures’ morale and luck may now easily exceed a value of 3 (topping it at 10), with the addition of the appropriate artifacts, do you realise how easily this special can be neutralised?
But is my version of searing aura poor? Actually, have you seen searing aura in action? Let me elaborate with numbers; take for example 50 Hell Stallions, which is quite a common number after 2 months of play with 2 castles. Do you tell me that 500 damage each time an adjacent creature acts is low? That’s 2 Black Dragons for God’s sake. And bear in mind that Hell Stallions do nothing but stand. Coupled with the high damage they inflict when they attack, plus the Fear Attack special…you realise they don’t need so much extra damage.


Mlai wrote:7. I upped the mana for the Pits too, but your up is ridiculous. 38 for Pit Lord? The reason Ubival kept some ridiculous numbers for mana count is because of the mana-increasing artifacts and abilities. Once a player has those, a normal caster becomes a great caster. In your case it becomes an overpowered caster. Higher init, double the base mana, AND fireball gains a mastery level? Holy F.


My idea for a caster is that they should be able to cast their most powerful spell twice and the second most powerful once. If a caster wants to manage his spells differently, that’s ok! But the ideal for me is what I’ve mentioned above.
Please refresh my memory, what singular artifacts increase casters’ mana? Because what you say occurs only with the help of a set of 2 out of 4 Relic artifacts (the Sar-Issus family); needless to say how difficult they are to acquire. If, however, you run into them, then be my guest and cast for ever!
The one and only ability that I’m aware of is Refined Mana. Personally, I wouldn’t sacrifice mass spells to pick it.
Yes Fireball gains a mastery level, along with the general Destructive magic improvement, because of the damned unlinear and very low spell damage casters inflict, compared to their physical damage.


Mlai wrote:8. I don't think making tier 7's overpowered is a great idea. They're not supposed to dominate, they're supposed to work in synergy with the army. Nothing should ever dominate. The only change I made to Inferno tier 7 is increase ADemon's Summon Other range by 2, and I still think it may be too much. +1 is prolly good enough.


Let me rephrase then… Tier 7 creatures have fallen back in power whereas all other tiers have moved forward considerably! I just don’t like it!
Summon Other (or 8 speed) for Arch Demon would be fine, as long as they don’t have the No Retaliation special in my version of course.

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Postby parcaleste » Dec 22 2007, 5:54

aaelgr wrote:I thought that Devils could only gate with Ultimate Gating?


Hm, than I'll have to check on this one again, may be my mistake :|

Wulfstan8182 wrote:... it's necro who needs higher stats. and dwarfs who need lower.


Errr... pardon me, but I am just playing an map here (Necro vs Warlord) and I must say that if I don't stop buying creatures from Mercenary Camp or whatever and turn them into bones :D (I have 3 of those around the castle and use them since week one :S ) + the improved Necromancy and + Ultimate... I can't imagine what the Warlock should have (to do) to defeat me :baby:

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Re: Factions Balnce

Postby Grumpy Old Wizard » Dec 22 2007, 12:32

Titanus wrote:

Mlai wrote:2. There is a strange trend... you upped the power of ALL of the units. Which means either you just made Inferno overpowered, or you proceeded to go and up the power of all factions. But if you do that, then isn't that the same as before you did anything??? :|


I raised what I felt that needed to be raised but I also decreased other elements. And based on this erroneous assumption of yours you make simplistic and childish conclusions.


Do you want this thread to be a thread where everybody just tells you how awesome your ideas are or do you want this to be a thread where your ideas are discussed? Part of being a modmaker or mapmaker is to take critisism of your work without becoming personally offended. Be thankful for whatever feedback someone offers you even if you disagree with it because most people don't offer feedback at all.

If you disagree with feedback after **thoughtfully** (their ideas may improve on your concepts or you could be flat out wrong) considering what was said rather than saying someone's conclusions are childish offer more explaination about why you made the changes or point out this or that that they failed to consider. Saying someone's conclusions are childish just makes people not want to give you any feedback and then you are just left with "yes men" or nobody at all to help you refine your work.

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Frodo: "I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened."

Gandalf: "So do all who live to see such times but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."

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Re: Factions Balnce

Postby Mlai » Dec 22 2007, 13:17

Mine isn't... As I'mentioned at the begining of my analysis, I wanted diversification and sensibility in stats, specials, overall power, synergy or correlation of one creature with the other...

In the past, I worked with a guy who talks like you on another balance mod.

And based on this erroneous assumption of yours you make simplistic and childish conclusions.

Except he's a lot more mature than you.

Is a gated tier 2 going to act faster than the original creature?

They don't have to act. They just have to stand there. I could see giving it Unlim Retal.

To end this gating excuse, gating is a racial skill, as is necromancy, artificer etc.

Which has to be taken into account as part of the army that you will encounter. They're not gonna come at you without it. If a creature can fly, you're not gonna say "Let's assume it can't fly, and balance it that way."

It's tough to judge when all you show us is the entire army buffed, and only that army. We have no basis for comparison. Why don't you just start posting the other armies too.

Wouldn't you have a better way to spend 15 wood and especially 5 sulphur, plus the cost in gold for the upgrade, if Hell Hounds hadn't been that weak? My version of Hell Hound doesn't need any specials now, because they can adequately hold their own, with relatively minimum losses.

A player will always want upgrades over normals, unless these factors kick in:
1. He doesn't have the $$$.
2. He can get a lot more normals than upgrades.
3. He doesn't have the required building yet.
4. The normal can do something better than the upgrade (this never happens).

So if all you want is for normals to be used, this is what you need:
1. Hellhound a lot cheaper.
2. Hellhounds grow faster than its upgrades (this would've been a cool feature in H5 but unfortunately can't be done).
3. Make the upgrade building more expensive, or come later (require higher level, require other buildings).

First of all I’m leaning towards the belief that you read my post very superficially. I didn’t say every shooter is going to have 9 shots. I just said that each shooter that had 2-8 shots initially get a 50% increase.

Really doesn't change the spirit of what I said.

Is that so? Then why in certain factions targeting an ammo cart is redundant because the number of shots of their shooters is 10, 12 or 15 (Haven Sylvan), whereas other struggle to shoot 3 or 4 times (Dungeon or part of Academy)?

So everyone should shoot as well as the elves? I didn't comment on Masters because he has double shot. I simply disagree with that philosophy of buffing ranged in H5 even more.

How many times have you seen Nightmare’s Frightful Aura (-3 morale) kick in?

If I could find where you could buff the ability, that's what I'd tell you. But since I can't, I can see why you'd nerf Searing.

The point is that Searing depends on the stack, while Frightful doesn't. That's assuming Frightful works, which it doesn't. (If you know where Frightful is hiding in data.pak, let us know).

My idea for a caster is that they should be able to cast their most powerful spell twice and the second most powerful once.

So Pit Lord can cast 2 (buffed) fireballs and 1 meteor shower? Whoa nelly.

Please refresh my memory, what singular artifacts increase casters’ mana? Because what you say occurs only with the help of a set of 2 out of 4 Relic artifacts (the Sar-Issus family); needless to say how difficult they are to acquire. If, however, you run into them, then be my guest and cast for ever!

Did you consider that with your Pit Lord, it's basically like they start out having their own Issus? Unlike some other casters, these guys can fight too (you buffed that part too, of course).

because of the damned unlinear and very low spell damage casters inflict, compared to their physical damage.

With 19 Pit Lords, the stack has spell power of 20. How's that low? Pit Lords cast the most powerful non-hero destructive spells in the entire game.

Like the previous poster said, balance is skewed when playing a game where you have 1000 familiars.

Let me rephrase then… Tier 7 creatures have fallen back in power whereas all other tiers have moved forward considerably! I just don’t like it!

OK, then did you make them more expensive like in past patches?

Summon Other (or 8 speed) for Arch Demon would be fine, as long as they don’t have the No Retaliation special in my version of course.

Arch Devils with No Retal... 8|

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Postby Alamar » Dec 22 2007, 15:26

I don't mind H5's move where the L7s are not the end-all-and-be-all of the army. Having the L7s being effectively uber L6s with fewer growth isn't necessarily a bad move.

Honestly I like the idea that the game isn't all about:
1. Who gets their Level 7s in which week
2. Who gets Town Gate / Town Portal / Dim Door / Fly first ...

Devil's Advocate: I do miss the sense that I don't really have to rush things any more. In H1-H3 I got the sense that it would solidly benefit me to rush through a map on a razor's edge. With H5 I don't get that same feeling .... actually sometimes it's the opposite where I feel that I'm better off fully exploiting my home territory / preserving my numbers / etc. before really exploring the map.

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Faction Balance

Postby Titanus » Dec 22 2007, 15:46

FORTRESS is the faction that has the worst problems developing with their current tier 1 to tier 5 unupgraded creatures and only after the addition of Thanes and careful use of runes does it begin to become competitive. However, when it is fully developed, Dwarves are extremely powerfull, especially due to their ability to use runes twice. That's why my changes are much less and most fitting to a couple of tiers.

Defender
Attack: 1
Defence: 4
Damage: 1-1
HP: 8 (7)
Initiative: 9
Speed: 4

Shieldguard
Attack: 1
Defence: 5
Damage: 1-2
HP: 10 (12)
Initiative: 9
Speed: 4

Mountain Guard
Attack: 2
Defence:5 (6)
Damage: 1-2
HP: 11 (12)
Initiative: 8
Speed: 4

Comments: Defenders are quite well thought and the only thing I've changed is +1 to their HP, mostly because I wanted to retain the difference between Familiars/Vermins.
On the other hand, Shieldguards lost 2 HP points because for an already sturdy lvl 1 creature their HP was a bit too much, especially considering their weekly growth.
Mountain guards are more defence-oriented, so their HP dropped only by 1, but so was dropped their defence, which in my opinion, should be capped at 5 for any lvl 1 creature.


Spearwielder
Attack: 4
Defence:4
Damage: 2-3 (1-2)
HP: 9
Initiative:9
Speed: 4
Shots: 3 (2)

Skirmisher
Attack: 4
Defence:4
Damage: 2-4 (2-3)
HP: 12
Initiative:9
Speed: 4
Shots: 6 (4)

Harpooner
Attack: 5
Defence:3
Damage: 3-5 (2-5)
HP: 10
Initiative:9
Speed: 6 (4)

Comments: Spearwielders are the perfect specimen of a half shooter; minimal damage for a level 2 creature and the least shots between all shooters. Thus, adding +1 minimum and maximum damage would be beneficial for an effective development in the early stages of the game. Right now Fortress suffers maybe the most losses between any other faction during the first 2 weeks. Of course, number of shots gained +1, based on my +50% 'rule'.
To make a difference between Spearwielders' and Skirmishers' damage, the latter have +1 maximum damage now, whereas to make a difference between Skirmishers' and Harpooners', the latter gained +1 to their minimum damage. Number of shots is also +2.


Bear Rider
Attack: 5
Defence:10
Damage: 5-6 (4-5)
HP: 25
Initiative:11 (10)
Speed: 6

Comments: To further augment the early stages of Fortress development I've added +1 minimum and maximum damage to Bear Riders and +1 to their initiative. The lack of a serious special for Bear Riders, along with their upgraded counterparts' stats and their superb specials render the former extremely underpowered comparatively. Furthermore, I reversed Bear Pens and Blackbear Pens resource requirements (5wood/5ore and 10wood/10ore respectively), because the cost as initially was, coupled with the inefficiency of Fortress army is crippling for the development of their town; and in the end, I can't see why a normal dwelling has to be costlier than its upgrade, since in most dwellings of other towns the other way around applies.


Brawler
Attack: 8 (6)
Defence:8 (6)
Damage: 2-6
HP:24 (20)
Initiative:13 (12)
Speed: 5

Berseker
Attack: 9 (7)
Defence:9 (7)
Damage: 3-8
HP:27 (25)
Initiative:14 (12)
Speed: 5

Battlerager
Attack: 9 (7)
Defence:9 (7)
Damage: 3-7
HP:30
Initiative:11
Speed: 5

Brawler: Bash

Comments: When I play Fortress I find it quite difficult to keep the number of Brawlers losses under control. Ok they are numerous but still they're not abetted by their lousy stats in general, whereas their special doesn't help them in battle either. Consequently, I gave to them stats closer to their level; +2 attack and defence, +4 HP, +1 initiative and a fitting but random special that their alternative upgrade already has, Bash. This way their survivability has improved considerably and although losses are far from over, they are acceptable and in check now. I also reversed Fighting Ring and Fighting Square resource requirements (5 wood/5 mercury/5 gems and 5wood/5ore/10mercury/5gems respectively), because if one (playing in Heroic of course) chooses to build Runic Chapel, as long as 5 mercury is available, Fighting Ring may probably delay 2 weeks or even more.
Berserkers received the same treatment regarding attack and defence ratings (+2), but their initiative raised +2; the reason is that their special is awesome on one hand, but on the other hand they have dwindling chances to avoid heavy losses if engaged. Another reason for having 14 initiative is that their alternative's initiative gets even better than theirs when hit, along with more in absolute numbers and more helpful specials. Finally, I gave them +2 HP to retain a certain distance from Brawlers' HP.
Battleragers are better balanced and they have followed the +2 increase in attack and defence of the other 2.


Rune Priest
Attack: 11 (10)
Defence:8 (6)
Damage: 12-15
HP:60
Initiative:9 (8)
Speed:3
Shots: 7 (5)
Mana: 18 (15)

Rune Patriarch
Attack: 10 (9)
Defence:10 (9)
Damage: 14-17
HP:65 (60)
Initiative:10
Speed:3
Shots: 7 (5)
Mana: 38 (25)

Rune Keeper
Attack: 11 (10)
Defence:10 (9)
Damage: 17-20
HP:70 (65)
Initiative:9
Speed: 3
Shots: 7 (5)
Mana: 36 (25)

Comments: Rune Priests gain +1 attack to keep a distance from my version of Berserkers'/Battleragers' attack rating and +2 defence, because on top of the previous reason, it's quite low for their tier. Initiative goes to 9, shots rise up 50% and 'Deflect Missile' may be cast 3 times (18 mana), but on advanced level (at least make this relatively weak spell worth it).
For Rune Patriarchs we have +1 in attack/defence and +5 HP, since their defence is still way below average for their tier. Same shots as the Rune Priests, but their mana should be adjusted in order to be able to cast Firewall twice and Deflect Missile once (both on advanced level).
Rune Keepers also gain +1 attack/defence and +5 HP, in order to retain the difference with Rune Patriarchs. Again same shots, while their mana should also be adjusted to cast Fireball 3 times and Deflect Missile once (both on advanced level again).


Thane
Attack: 15
Defence:25 (24)
Damage: 8-12
HP:100
Initiative:11
Speed:8

Flamelord
Attack: 15
Defence:25 (24)
Damage: 21-26
HP:120
Initiative:11
Speed:8

Comments: Just +1 defence for Thanes and Flamelords, because I found no reason why it was changed in ToTE.


Fire Dragon
Attack: 22 (25)
Defence:33 (32)
Damage: 40-50
HP:230
Initiative:9
Speed:5

Magma Dragon
Attack: 25 (30)
Defence:40
Damage: 40-50
HP:320 (280)
Initiative:9
Speed:5

Lava Dragon
Attack: 27 (30)
Defence:35
Damage: 44-55
HP:310 (275)
Initiative:9
Speed:5

Magma Shield: -10% (the attacker suffers 30% of the damage dealt, instead of 40%)
Liquid Flame Breath: The firewall deals 20 damage per Lava Dragon (instead of 10)

Comments: First of all, I’ve reversed Lava Fissure’s and Magma Rift’s resource requirements (10ore/10sulphur and 15ore/10crystal/10sulphur respectively), because due to excessive demand of crystals by Clan Halls (20), building of Lava Fissure will delay excessively. The other reason is what I've mentioned Bear Riders entry about the cost of a normal dwelling and its upgrade.
Fire shield is a great substitute for inflicting constant damage to any creature that attacks Fire Dragons. That's why they don't need to have just average attack rating, but below average (-3). I've also added 1 to defence in order to retain the difference with the best lvl 7 upgraded creatures (save Fire Dragons' upgrades of course and my version of Archangels).
However, magma shield is really irritating. Its value (40%), coupled with Magma Dragons' very good attack rating and insane defence and HP comparatively, rendered Magma Dragons excellent damage dealers; that's why I lowered their attack by 5 and damage returned to the attackers by 10%. They retained their superiority in HP (+40), but now the difference from other tier 7 creatures has either remained the same or decreased.
In my opinion Lava Dragons constituted an alternative that ware in almost all respects worse than Magma Dragons. They were supposedly the more attack-oriented between the 2 creatures, but they failed to show it clearly. A little treatment here and there was needed (+2 attack compared to Magma Dragons, but lower than what it used to be, because Lava Dragons are still very tough creatures and a boost in their special). Actually their special is mostly situational (meaning that it can be easily avoided) and dealt quite low damage. To elaborate with an example, weekly damage produced by Hell Stallions' searing aura, before my modification of Inferno, was 7*10=70, whereas the same damage produced by Lava Dragons' liquid flame breath was 2*10=20. Keeping into consideration the nature of searing aura (damage dealt to all adjacent enemy creatures) and liquid flame breath (damage dealt to enemy creatures that remain or pass through the spot where the flames burn) and you'll realise how powerful was the former and how weak was the latter. Finally, Lava Dragons gained +35 HP, a tad below Magma Dragons' HP.


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