[Feedback] The Mighty Hack/Bludgeon Nerf

Discussion in 'Feedback and Suggestions' started by The Final Doorman, Aug 18, 2014.

  1. The Final Doorman

    The Final Doorman Orc Soldier

    (Warning, this is a long read)

    I know there are a lot of changes happening right now, but before the balance patch is finalized I think we need to carefully examine a pair of nerfs that haven't been discussed very much:

    "Mighty Hack: damage reduced from 14 to 13.
    Mighty Bludgeon: damage reduced from 14 to 13."

    These nerfs came out of nowhere and despite inquiries from players, we have never received an official explanation of why the changes were being made. I don't think I've ever witnessed a player complaining about either card being too strong, so I was completely shocked to see that their damage had been lowered. I strongly disagree with the changes as I see zero pros and substantial cons.

    To understand why I think this nerf is such a big problem, it is important that you have an understanding of the item level formula. Item levels aren't determined holistically, there's actually a very rigid formula that is used calculate every item's level. An item's level is determined by taking the sum of the values of each of its constituent cards (in the case of weapons, staves, and divine weapons, you need to divide by 2 and round down). A bronze card is worth 3, a silver card is worth 6, a gold card is worth 9, etc. These values can be altered by hidden modifiers that some cards have. For example, even though Nimble Strike and Dancing Cut are both silver cards, Dancing Cut has a "-" modifier which decreases its value from 6 to 5. This is why it's worse than Nimble Strike.

    Let's analyze the vanilla attacks. When I say vanilla I mean range 1 melee attacks that deal damage and don't have any other advantages or drawbacks. There are 13 vanilla attacks available to players right now. I've ordered them by their card value:

    -3: Weak Strike
    0: Simple Strike, Bludgeon
    1: Able Bludgeon
    2: Trained Bludgeon
    3: Strong Hack, Strong Bludgeon
    6: Powerful Hack, Powerful Bludgeon
    9: Mighty Hack, Mighty Bludgeon
    12: Obliterating Bludgeon
    15: Almighty Hack

    From a balance standpoint, you'd expect all of the vanilla attacks to be equally cost efficient. You'll find that this isn't the case. Right now, most of the attacks deal damage equal to their value + 5, but there are a few exceptions. Bludgeon, Able Bludgeon, and Trained Bludgeon all deal damage equal to their value +4, and Simple Strike only deals damage equal to its value +3.

    Why is this a problem? Well, you need only compare The Strongarm and Beater to see why cost efficiency makes a huge difference in weapon viability. Both of the above items deal 42 damage in total, but The Strongarm is tokenless while Beater costs a minor token. This is because Beater has two Able Bludgeons, which are cost inefficient. Meanwhile, all of The Strongarm's attacks are cost efficient. As a result, one item is almost strictly better than the other. From a balance standpoint, I think everyone would agree that it is optimal to minimize the number of cost inefficient attacks in this game to ensure that as many weapons as possible are competetive.

    The mighty attack nerf accomplishes the precise opposite. If their damage is reduced to 13, Mighty Hack and Mighty Bludgeon will become cost inefficient as they will only deal damage equal to their value +4. As a result of this, any weapon that happens to have one or more mighty attacks will deal less damage than an equivalent weapon of the same level that instead has weak, strong, powerful, obliterating, and/or almighty attacks.

    To make matters worse, the efficiency inequality already favors the rare attacks. Right now, Able Bludgeon is the only inefficient rare attack. The other inefficient attacks (Simple Strike, Bludgeon, Trained Bludgeon) are all common. If the common Mighty Hack and Mighty Bludgeon are nerfed, it will become even more skewed. At this point, the only efficient common attacks would be Weak Strike, Powerful Hack, and Powerful Bludgeon. I thought rarity wasn't supposed to be an indicator of raw power. So why are most rare attacks better than their common counterparts?

    From a competitive multiplayer standpoint, nerfing Mighty Bludgeon and Mighty Hack hurts a lot of items that have never been a problem and don't deserve to be nerfed. Most of the weapons with mighty attacks are fairly weak as is and don't see a lot of play at the highest levels. Personally, when I heard about the Vicious Thrust nerf, I was actually hoping to see a few players switch out their Bejeweled Shortswords for Sword Of The Lion, but now that Mighty Hack is being nerfed, I doubt that will happen. Mighty Hack is a rare enough sight even before the nerf. None of its items are very competitive. After the nerf, I'll be surprised if I see any high ranked players use it. Nerfing already mediocre items results in players having fewer viable build options, potentially lowering build diversity.

    So with all of these downsides why on earth are these attacks being nerfed? Like I said early, we have never received an official explanation. A few players have speculated that the nerf was primarily aimed at Healing Hand Mace, which is easily the strongest item with mighty attacks (though even Healing Hand Mace was never especially dominant at the highest levels of play). While Healing Hand Mace is indeed a great item, this is not a reason to nerf Mighty Bludgeon. The reason Healing Hand Mace feels so strong is because in terms of total card value, it is the best item in the game.

    Let's look at the value of the cards on Healing Hand Mace. It has two Mighty Bludgeons, which are gold and worth 9 points each. It has three Team Heals, which are silver and worth 6 points each. Lastly, it has one Sundering Strike, which is actually a silver+ card so it's worth 7 points. Add that all together and you get a whopping 43 points of total value, the highest of any item in the entire game. Normally, Healing Hand Mace would be a level 21 item. Why is it level 18? Well, for some reason, Mighty Bludgeon is actually valued as a silver card on priest items. This reduces the total value of the item by 6, bringing it down to 37 and yielding a level 18 item. Since Mighty Bludgeon has the same value as Powerful Bludgeon on divine weapons, if you really feel the need to nerf Healing Hand Mace’s damage, why not replace one of the Mighty Bludgeons with a Powerful Bludgeon? This is one way to keep the item in check without causing a bunch of collateral damage to items that don't need any nerfs.

    I know that compared to everything else that's happening, the mighty attack nerf is a just small change, but in my opinion it's a step in the wrong direction and it doesn’t need to happen. I personally don't see any upside to nerfing Mighty Hack and Mighty Bludgeon. It results in two more inefficient common attacks and it nerfs a bunch of items that were already a little weak. I think the change should be reverted. If necessary, the few items with mighty attacks that are on the strong side can easily be dealt with on a case by case basis via targeted nerfs.

    I'd appreciate it if others shared their thoughts. This is a change that hasn't been discussed very much and I am curious about what everyone else thinks of it. I think it is extremely important for the community to examine this change in depth before the devs consider implementing it.

    I would especially appreciate it if any staff chimed in and explained the reasoning behind the nerf. Every other nerf was explained, I think the community deserves an explanation for this one too.
    Magic Elves, Accent, Kalin and 3 others like this.
  2. neoncat

    neoncat Feline Outline

    I'll gladly take this in a completely different direction and complain that oblit. bludgeon should consequently be nerfed to 15 dmg. 1-hit KOs are silly, and high damage attacks simply shouldn't be as cost-efficient as low damage attacks.
  3. Jacques

    Jacques Hydra

    If the nerf is only because of Healing Hand Mace as many have speculated, then it's a very, very bad idea, when the obvious way to go should be changing only one card of that item, like Powerful Bludgeon x Mighty Bludgeon as you have suggested, or even some of the Twin Heals for other worse healing card. I'm also waiting for some official voice explaining this change that affected so many items without any apparent reason.
    The Final Doorman likes this.
  4. Jon

    Jon Blue Manchu Staff Member

    I've always felt that super high damage cards should be costed at a premium and not just as a simple linear extension of lower damage attacks.

    It's possible that Obliterating Bludgeon might get reduced in damage too, but we'd need to find something to change about to justify its rarity then.
    neoncat and The Final Doorman like this.
  5. The Final Doorman

    The Final Doorman Orc Soldier

    Thank you for the quick response Jon! I really do appreciate it.

    If your goal is to have non linear scaling of large attacks, I feel like you can safely reduce the damage of Obliterating Bludgeon and Almighty Hack to 15 and 17 respectively. After all, Able Bludgeon already exists as a damage inefficient rare without anything particularly special to justify its rarity. I think the fact that Obliterating Bludgeon and Almighty Hack would remain the two highest damage attacks in the game would be plenty to justify their rare designation.
    Flaxative, neoncat and Jacques like this.
  6. Jacques

    Jacques Hydra

    And this would also give more value to heal cards without allowing them to become dominant.
    Besides, I feel that with the current changes, the 13 to 17 gap between Mighty Hack/Bludgeon and Obliterating Budgeon is too much. This will make Infused Greatclub and other items with 2 OB to be widely popular among warriors, meaning less variance.
    The Final Doorman likes this.
  7. Stexe

    Stexe #2 in Spring PvP Season

    Reducing OB to 16 damage would be fine. It would mean Elf Wizards could not be 1 hit without buffs. That seems like a fair change to me.
    I'm not sure on the Almighty Hack change. I think it is neat to have a single card that is insane -- it isn't very viable in comparison to Infused Greatclub / Bludgeonator due to putting "all yours eggs in one basket." But OB could definitely stand to lose a damage.
  8. The Final Doorman

    The Final Doorman Orc Soldier

    Sure it's neat, but is it balanced? I personally think The Hackmaster will become the new chase legendary if Obliterating Bludgeon is nerfed and Almighty Hack is left alone. It is composed of entirely efficient attacks and has the highest total damage of any weapon in the game. I know it only has one big attack but it has no weak ones. And the big attack is absolutely huge right now.

    The main reason I suggested the progression that I did is that it is consistent with Jon's desire to cost super high damage cards at a premium. Based on the mighty attack nerf, for big attacks 3 increments in card value is only worth 2 extra damage. I simply applied that same idea to Obliterating Bludgeon and Almighty Hack.

    I want to point out that in isolation, the mighty attack nerf accomplishes the opposite of Jon's intentions for the really big attacks. Right now, Obliterating Bludgeon grants you 4 extra damage for only 3 increments in card quality, making it scale even better than the weaker attacks. This isn't a premium, it's a discount. I think that for Jon's ideas about big attacks to be fully realized, Obliterating Bludgeon and Almighty Hack need to be nerfed.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2014
  9. piotras

    piotras Goblin Champion

    Isn't being the hardest hitting bludgeon available to players already enough to justify it's rarity? Nerf all the way, OB makes using other melee attacks pointless!
  10. Jade303

    Jade303 Thaumaturge

    At this point all I seem to see is players complaining about multiple Oblits killing them in the early game. It happens, but the reality is that Obliterating Bludgeon does so much damage on one card it's ridiculous, it more than makes up for the cost and even having lower-quality Bludgeons.

    The problem with damage is that the slightest change per card makes a big difference which is wholly dependant on things like HP and armor.

    At this point I'd like to see Powerful Hack/Bludgeon dropped down to 10 and Oblit down to 16. Also, Infused Greatclub needs a drawback.
  11. Susano-wo

    Susano-wo Kobold

    I don't know about the exact numbers, but I would have to agree that higher damage attacks should be less card value efficient than lower damage attacks.
    You have to account for the opportunity cost of having to use multiple turns to perform the attacks (as well as it taking up more hand-space--you can draw, say, 2 6pt attacks, or 1 12pt attack, and another card). Yes, this makes your damage more vulnerable to blocks, but it makes it less vulnerable to armor.

    Hmm, just had a thought, and I don't know it it changes my mind or not but...blocks are generally better than equivalent armor, yes? which means that vulnerability to blocks is worse than vulnerability to armor. Also, multiple attacks benefit more from attack buffs. Maybe thats why they feel a linear scale is appropriate?
  12. Lord Feleran

    Lord Feleran Guild Leader

    I don't find big attacks to be OP either. They suffer against blocks and might "get wasted" if target only has 5-6 HP and you only have Bludgeon and OB in hand.
    Also playing Infused Greatclubs leaves you quite helpless agaisnt wizards. It's good against melee teams and armor but bad against wizards and blocks so nothing too bad in having such cards/items.
  13. Jade303

    Jade303 Thaumaturge

    I don't agree. Having super-powerful attacks like Obliterating Bludgeon gives you a small number of situations, mainly where your opponent's don't have any blocks and their armor isn't enough to stop one from doing ~15 damage with one hit. Losing half your health to a single card? Brutal. Having two or more cards left in your opponent's hand which could finish you off? Even more brutal.

    I don't believe that any item like Infused Greatclub (No steps, just range 1 damage attacks) leaves you "helpless against wizards". If anything, wizards are even squishier and can be killed with good positioning and possibly Immovable.
    It's also pretty easy to get around blocks. Statistically speaking, you can do more damage with one weak/one strong attack than two medium attacks.

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