[Feedback] Comments on Balance Changes AFTER Playtesting

Discussion in 'Feedback and Suggestions' started by neoncat, Jul 31, 2014.

  1. Flaxative

    Flaxative Party Leader Staff Member

    Interesting. Melvelous is also now only 1 damage less than Wuuna's/Flax's. It's probably strictly better now, with three stabs. Shuddering Relic was never a go-to on vampires for me, more of a support priest item... interested to hear more feedback on the vamp stuff :)
  2. As an aside, I prefer vampires to host their own mass frenzies so that they can stay effective if the support priest dies. Maybe there's a way to build a more survivable support priest now, though.
  3. Hock Faraday

    Hock Faraday Orc Soldier

    I don't think Vamps are viable anymore. The card draw limit really hurts them. Focused Healing and Vampire's Blade amount to too many traits as is (5 for one blade, 7 for two), let alone whatever racial traits you may be running on them. The days of putting Martyr's Blessing on a Vamp and saying "COME AT ME BRO" (i.e. the only thing that allowed Vamps to go toe-to-toe vs. Warriors) are over too.

    Bynzer's Black Spear seems to be the ideal "I need Mass Frenzy on my Vamp" item.

    Getting a vamp in range to start doing damage is going to be a serious challenge without Hard To Pin Down being able to close the distance on a successful block. And even once they get "in", Vamps don't have any way of getting through Harness spam. The slight buffs in damage to Vamp attacks hardly matter when someone can just have three Enchanted Harnesses in hand to soak up that damage.


    I can safely say this update has made the competitive landscape nigh unplayable. That is, unless you enjoy matches where three wizards face off against three wizards and nobody gets within three squares of an opposing character at any point during the entire match.
    rowspower likes this.
  4. Jacques

    Jacques Hydra

    Yeah, Htpd nerf is going to be huge in the next meta, not only for vampires but for any melee team against wizards.
    About vampires, I guess that putting some weapon with Sundering Strike on the priests would reduce way too much the amount of the drain attacks, but maybe you can use a warrior for that, right? Or even one wizard packed with armor removal. Of course this would be useful against other melee teams, but useless against 3 wizards.

    One question about traits: I'm trying to establish what is going to be a proper number of them with the limit draw. I was using 6 with my 2 warriors and 9 with my wizard... I understand that quantity will be impossible to keep now, but how much would be apropiate? Let's say I don't include any card that allows me to draw more cards, like Parry, Martyr's Blessing, etc. Are 4 traits per character ok? How about 5? I would have to be very unlucky to draw more than 5 of 15 traits among 108 cards I think... of course this is if Idon't include card drawing at all.
  5. Hock Faraday

    Hock Faraday Orc Soldier

    The fact that now there is "too much" card draw within the bounds of a normal, non-"draw deck" build should be proof enough that a draw limit is a terrible idea that fundamentally breaks the game.

    The vamp build I have now runs a Warrior with a lot of Penetrating attacks to get around armor spam, but as you said, warriors getting "in" on wizards is going to be a very tall order without HtP or step attacks.
  6. Scarponi

    Scarponi Moderator

    So what follows are my thoughts and "findings" after play testing quite a bit the last few days on the test server (about 35 games). There are a lot of new game mechanics I'd like to mess around with, but I wanted to focus on just a few at a time so this is my response after running a 3DC build for 3-4 days. There's still plenty of aspects of the new changes to explore! Obviously these are just my thoughts based on my experiences, I'm not trying to make universal claims but I'm also going to call things as I saw them.

    First an overall sentiment about 3DC - the build has not gotten stronger, it merely no longer has any significant competition that can compete against what it does other than opposing wizard based builds.

    Since balance is about cards and items I'm going to organize my thoughts in that mold.

    Short Perplexing Ray - I didn't even bother. SPR has always been a close encounter back up defense. Its a good one, but with the nerf it's much weaker unless the opponent has hit the draw limit. And frankly, because its so much harder for the opponent to close the gap between you and them, I didn't see the value in a range 3 item. No regrets.

    Toughness - Also didn't use, though I've considered trying to work it into my build. It was a token cost thing more than anything, but because again the enemy has trouble getting next to my guys it didn't matter much.

    Flash Flood - I started using this in volume, but then removed it after a few games. It could be devastating on certain maps but on these wide open ones it played out as more of a hindrance to my opponent than a game changer I decided there were other cards I wanted more.

    So what did I use?

    Encumber - Still as good as ever, pre-changes it was rare to have enough variety in encumber cards to stack these anyway so they continue to play about the same.

    Winds Of War, Gusts Of War and Force Cone - Move my opponent around? Yes please! These were the most "powerful" cards in my deck. They weren't the damage dealers, but they controlled the board all game long. Personally I don't think they're over-powered in themselves where they're at, but I think overall reduced movement has greatly undercut their counters. Out of the three, WoW and GoW are about even for most useful, the longer range on one and extra movement of slide on the other being about an even trade off. Force Cone is the hardest of the three to use, but is still extremely useful against Smoke Bomb wizard hate. The range 4 has actually made the card playable now.

    Armor removal - I didn't have a lot, but a little was helpful in certain situations.

    Punishing Bolt and Deadly Spark - Harness armor is meaningless. This is where most of my damage dealing came from, and I could do quite a bit. In general I think I like the harness change (it makes armor viable) but it just doesn't do anything against these attacks (though everything needs a counter, so maybe that's okay?).

    Arcane Shell - Also much more playable, didn't make a big difference most of the time, but helped to chip away at the opponents HP.

    Lava - The remainder of my damage was provided by putting lava under the feet of those who had exhausted their moves trying to kill my wizards or trying to get to victory squares.

    Traits - I did intentionally drop my trait count to deal with the draw limits. However I still had 21 traits total (average 7 per Wiz) with no other draw/self-replacing cards in the deck. In 35 games I reached the draw limit only 3 times and lost a card to it only once. It was not a significant issue for this build, hard to say for other builds.

    Vulnerable This trait actually gave me pause a few times. I'd often move my own characters around with WoW/GoW, but when I drew Vulnerable I had to slow down and consider the results. 3 HP isn't a big deal, but with multiple hits it can add up, and because I often had the Shell on my wiz at that point it could be 4 damage. It didn't ever cause me to lose, but it made the draw back legitimate.

    Opponents - The only teams I lost to were wizard based builds; other 3DC, and once, to a 2 wiz, 1 priest build that buffed the heck out of the wizards and Fireballed me to death in a hurry. Melee teams I took apart with ease, 1/1/1's same thing. They just couldn't overcome the control cards to close to melee range. Obviously Cause Fumble teams just are packed with dead cards against 3DC and therefore pose no threat. It also means IMO currently Cause Fumble is just fine, because if things went live as it stands the team would quickly be abandoned as it regularly would be taken apart by 3DC. Once 3DC is re-balanced Cause Fumble can be properly considered.

    Cardotron - Even with added testers on the server I played Cardo a lot. There was only one thing I had to do to beat Cardo, kill the wizard. Once the wizard was dead I would breeze to victory with ease. The biggest worry with the wizard was Punishing Beam - The AI version of Punishing Bolt is devastating in the new meta, too much so in my opinion. Because harnesses and arcane shell now regularly increase hand size doing three damage per a card in larger hands is overwhelming. If any of my wizards were hit by the beam they went from full HP to serious trouble in a single ranged blow. Usually 2 beams were enough to kill from full health. A little extreme in my opinion, but its only the AI that gets it so not the end of the world.

    The point here is only wizards can threaten 3DC in the current test meta, which means (as far as I have seen) there no longer is a viable zero-wizard team that can compete as it currently stands.
    Keyser, PaladinGP, Sir Veza and 2 others like this.
  7. Lord Feleran

    Lord Feleran Guild Leader

    I remember, back in January, when I had just discovered CH, SLG was still playing and she was playing 3DWC. I, ofc, didn't have any NS back then and the 3 times we met in ranked play, I failed to damage any of her characters (was running 2war, 1priest myself). Your post, Scarponi, made me recall that memory :) Sounds like that again. And she didn't use WWs I think, only encumber and WoW too.
  8. Soltis

    Soltis Goblin Champion

    That is the thing that I was most concerned about in all of this as 3DC are already the least fun of any team to play against to the point that when I see three dwarf wizards on the other team my first inclination is "This isn't even worth it" before the round ever starts.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2014
  9. UiA

    UiA Ogre

    Wouldn't removing most of the the competition mean the build has in fact gotten stronger? Semantics I suppose, I get what you're saying.
  10. Jacques

    Jacques Hydra

    Yes, I agree with this. If all the counters become nerfed. it means that 3DC becomes stronger. 3DC may not be the proper name anymore though, because wizards deal the main damage directly now with Punishinb Bolts and sparks.

    I also remember what Feleran is saying, it was pretty frustrating. I was also playing with a 2 war 1 priest back then, and I switched to FS to be able to counter 3DC, with amazing results (got to 1700) due to the 3DC overpopulation back then. Now, with all the counters nerfed the meta would be pretty boring. I will try to make a no wizard team that can try to counter 3DC in the test server, but I don't have much expectations about it.
    Flaxative likes this.
  11. Scarponi

    Scarponi Moderator

    All I was really noting was in itself 3DC is about the same, in relation to the rest of the meta it is much stronger! As you said really just a point of semantics.

    Yes I hate 3DC, it is no fun to play against! I had a 2 priest 1 warrior vamp team that floated around the mid-1600s for about 2 months (actually cracked the top 15 at one point and beat multiple top 15 players with it - though not consistently). It was exactly what "balance" strives for - a non-typical team surviving at the upper levels. However once we hit the current map rotation I couldn't compete against 3DC. Even switched out a bunch of items to maximize team movement. Still just slowly died every time. After dropping 15o points I had to abandon the build because of the large maps and 3DC builds. And all that is in the current pre-balance meta!
    Hock Faraday likes this.
  12. Hock Faraday

    Hock Faraday Orc Soldier

    I had the same experience as Scarponi with 2-priest 1-warrior Vamps. 3DC currently beats face in this current map rotation, and Vamps aren't viable in a format where 3DC is the dominant deck. Before the map rotation I was 1680-ish. Now I'm 1500s and I can't get by 3DC unless it's in the tiny little icebox map.

    The irony is that the draw limit that was supposed to hinder 3DC has actually made it stronger by completely neutering other decks that might have a fighting chance by out-gaining 3DC with card advantage (I was thinking a deck like "Bless-cano", 1 Priest 2 Wizard semi-control using Volcano to get around 3DC's dominance of Line of Sight, and cards like Bless, Cleansing Ray and Inspiring Presence to generate the advantage the deck would need to survive a battle of attrition, could be competitive. Sadly, the draw cap makes such a deck impossible to run as the cards I listed would push you to the draw cap far too early for the card advantage difference to really show.)
    Flaxative likes this.
  13. Jacques

    Jacques Hydra

    I have posted a possible pure melee counter against 3DC, but I put it in the deck building section, where I thought it fitted better. Feedback is welcomed!

    I would really like to test my build against yours, as you had so great results with your 3DC. It would be an acid test for it, so let me know if you're available! Any 3DC team would be fine for testing though.
  14. Squidy

    Squidy Hydra

    If it's to play a warrior with penetrating attacks, what about a third priest instead with some Touch Of Death?
  15. Scarponi

    Scarponi Moderator

    Interesting, I think you may actually have a team that would give my 3DC build problems. That's great! Not because I want to lose, but because it means we're developing an actual meta on the test server which is what's needed for real testing. I'd be happy to play at some point and I'm sure you can get plenty of more games against 3DC with those already on test. I'll try to check in to the test server multiple times over the next 5-6 hours to see if you're on. I need to get some real world stuff done today, but I could definitely get in a game or two if I see you online.
    Jacques likes this.
  16. Hock Faraday

    Hock Faraday Orc Soldier

    You can only have 8 Touch of Death on one character, it doesn't get buffed by Mass Frenzy and it only has a range of 1 (a big part of my build was being able to pull a Flanking Move into Impaling Stab for 12 damage).

    There are probably other ways for a Vamp build to get around armor spam, but they are a lot less effective. And now that armor is on the whole stronger thanks to the changes to Harnesses, many builds will simply start loading up on it.
  17. Flaxative

    Flaxative Party Leader Staff Member

    Armor has always been one of the big weaknesses of vampires. Interested to see if and how vampires can deal with more traditional melee teams on test.
  18. Hock Faraday

    Hock Faraday Orc Soldier

    In the past, I've just buffed the Vamps to the point where they get through the armor. My old build ran Blind Rage and Frenzy Aura to get around them before my Warrior discovered the joys of Impaling Stab. (I love that card so much!)

    The small damage buffs aren't really going to amount to much, I reckon. You would still need tools to get by heavy armor.

    I could put together my current Vamp build on the Test server, but I've been hesitant to do that because 1) I already know mobility is going to be a huge issue without Nimble Strike and Dancing Cut giving my Warrior an easier way "in" against control, and 2) all of my second Priest's tools have been severely nerfed thanks to the Draw Cap (Two Shuddering Relics plus Focused Piety and Sacrificial Axe means seven Traits, and that's in addition to the Martyr's Blessings. I might as well not bother - he'd hit the draw cap by himself on turn 1.)

    And the Vamp himself would likely reach that draw cap if the Support Priest didn't hit it already. Vampire's Blade plus Focused Healer is five Traits, and if I go back to running Perfect Ferocity as anti-armor that would make six - not to mention a card that would be useless after I hit the cap in Dwarven War Cry.


    I don't think the answer to making Vamps more appealing to play is buffing the damage. I still contend that Vamps is a difficult build to put together because it requires a lot of support and has a lot of glaring weaknesses (it still loses badly to Purge or anything that can cycle those necessary traits off of the Vamp).

    Truth be told (and I don't want to sound like a "Vamp Snob"), I don't know if the solution really is to make Vamps more of a deck in the metagame. Part of why I continue to play Vamps is because it's rare to see a Vamp build at the higher end of the rankings. I was definitely proud when I took my build up to 1680-ish (top-20). It took me a while to figure out how to make the deck work the way I wanted it to without the benefit of primo items like Bleneth's Skull or Bynzer's Black Spear but just being able to beat "the usual suspects" in the metagame with 3-dwarf Vamps made every victory worth it.

    Maybe I just have a different approach to playing in MP than a lot of other folks do, but part of me doesn't want the aim of balance changes to be to make "oddball" decks more ubiquitous. Making them more viable? Sure. But encouraging players to play them? Meh... I like having my weirdo decks staying as weirdo decks.

    That's a big reason I'm so strongly opposed to the Draw Cap. So many of those weirdo decks that I run simply don't work because of it. And it's not because I'm trying to assemble "Superhero" or one of those horrible 3-dwarf-priest Draw Decks that spent 15 turns in a round just drawing cards while the opponent sat on his or her hands and waited. It's because I enjoy finding new ways to squeeze card advantage out of existing tools and putting them to good use.

    I know I'm getting off on a tangent here.

    Bless-Cano dies with the Draw Cap, and at least my build of Vamps dies too. A lot of the other weirdo decks I was fiddling around with also die. The cap would pretty much force me into having to play a "conventional" build - which would bore me to the point of not wanting to play MP. Why run what everyone else is running?
  19. Scarponi

    Scarponi Moderator

    I think the mobility issue probably would indeed be a problem against 3DC, but as far as draw limits go I encourage you to actually try your build on test. As I said above, my 3DC build averaged 7 traits per a wiz and in 35 games I only missed out on 1 single card total. So there's no way that you're hitting the draw cap on traits alone. I could see Dwarven War Cry being an issue and maybe Martyr's Blessing, but the point of the test server is to show that it is. You may find that you don't have as much of a problem as you'd think. And if nothing else, you can figure out what an appropriate cap number would be.
  20. Flaxative

    Flaxative Party Leader Staff Member

    Yeah, we definitely need to see people hitting the draw limits... otherwise we can't increase them!

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