Turin's list of worthwile balance changes

Discussion in 'Feedback and Suggestions' started by turinturamba, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. Jon has said that changing the effects of cards is the easiest way to balance since changing cards on items or ratings can lead to (automatic) changes in power tokens and create unintended consequences.

    The purpose of this list is to improve silver+ cards that get never used in high level mp and reduce the power of the cards that get used no matter which item they are on and therefore dominate play. Once all silver+ cards get used at least some of the time then one should take a look at unused items and buff them by switching out bad black-bronze cards for better versions.

    So here is my list with the silver+ cards that could use some changes:

    Problematic cards:

    Inspiring Presence
    Suggestion: Increase the range of inspiring presence from 3 to 6. This may sound like a buff, but makes it much easier for the opponent to benefit from the presence as well. This should induce the inspiring presence player to attempt to zone out the other player and keep his cleric in the back to get the whole benefit.

    Demonic Feedback
    A bit extreme but fitting: Add a discard your hand effect to it. (Maybe get rid of the damage) This keeps the card powerful, but makes it very hard to use well and you cannot just sit back and draw cards with your whole team. Would make it fitting for paper quality while still keeping it interesting and reduces incentives for turtling gameplay.

    Nimble Strike
    Suggestion: Reduce damage by 1. Boring, but brings it closer in line with vicious thrust (you trade two damage for two steps, which is still a good deal.). It is still an extremely good card, as it essentially is unblockable in all but the rarest situations and can always be used as a dash.

    Resistant Hide
    Suggestion: Increase the die roll threshold to 4 or 5. Immunity to most elements is already very powerful, resistant hide should not double as a regular armor as well, giving players a choice between good armor or immunity to most wizard damage.

    Mass Frenzy
    Suggestion: Unclear if the card presents a balance problem, or is just a very good reason to run a priest apart from carddraw. Reducing the damage bonus from 3 to 2 sounds sensible or reducing the duration to 1, given that the buff is so much better than other melee buffs.

    Underpowered cards:

    Violent Spin
    Suggestion: Increase the slide to 4. This makes it possible to use it as a clumsy team run if your team is huddled together and gets non-elves out of standard movement range as well as getting enough distance from most step attacks. As a gold card it should have a powerful effect.

    Add a: If the movement after slide ends next to blocking terrain: add 5 damage (basically the anvil strike modifier). Gives barging enemies into walls a lot of punch and keeps the funny use of barging your teammates out of lava.

    Penetrating Stab
    Suggestion: Increase damage by 1 from 6 to 7. Brings it closer to the progression to impaling stab and is an easy fix. Might not be enough though.

    Strong Stab
    Suggestion: Same as penetrating, increase damage by 1

    Suggestion: Increase bonus from 2 to 3 to give bash combo decks more power.
    spacedust, PIZZA, karadoc and 4 others like this.
  2. One option for mass frenzy is to make mass frenzy an unholy card rather than holy (since it procs altruism, as does purging). May want to also consider making purge an arcane card rather than holy for the same reasons since you can turtle and proc extra cards from purging nothing on your chars.
  3. Mirkel

    Mirkel Goblin Champion

    I don't think Mass Frenzy needs a nerf. Priests feel a bit underpowered (besides the broken card drawing spam) and they really need Mass Frenzy to bring something useful to the mix. Otherwise you'd be better off just bringing another warrior. At higher levels when warriors tend to hit for 11 and can easily hit for 17, +3 damage isn't huge. It mostly just allows you to ignore one layer of armor. At lower levels the buff is far better, but priests need even more help during those levels and many players have no items with Mass Frenzy as they level up given it is only on rare+ items. Even on those you are mostly restricted to one per Divine Item. So yeah, I agree it's a powerful card but also something that can be class-defining which is a bit problematic for a card that's not easy to get. Maybe if they buffed all the heals priests get or otherwise gave them something useful they could nerf MF but as things stand I just don't see the point.

    I like your Barge idea quite a bit, it is one of the weakest silver cards players can get IMO.

    Problem with buffing Strong Stab is that a lot of low-level enemies use it and those maps don't need to be more difficult for new players. Penetrating Stab on the other hand could be buffed without such problems.
    spacedust and turinturamba like this.
  4. Mirkel

    Mirkel Goblin Champion

    Now that'd be a creative minor nerf that would actually work.
    spacedust and Flaxative like this.
  5. Aiven

    Aiven Orc Soldier

    Good thread, but bah. I think not changing card valuation is a terrible design decision, not least because way too many cards are really hard to nerf or buff in an easy and logical way. It would be much better to change item levels and power token requirement. The current policy will make the game increasingly complex over time, something that I belive will take away from the overall quality of the game.

    If you have made a mistake, it's better to go fix the mistake, than to make more changes that inherently leads to more unforeseen problems. In this case it's not so much a mistake, as the difficulty in seeing how valuable cards would prove in competitive multiplayer environment over time. As it's a good game, the strategies improve over time and so does people's equipment, so noone should expect perfect card valuation to happen from the get go. However it is not too late to fix it.
  6. Martin K

    Martin K Goblin Champion

    When increasing the power of a card, always take the smallest step possible and wait for the fallout. There is always the chance that a sudden new synergy pops up that completely upsets the balance. Even more so if you change several cards at once.


    Make it harder to block/parry, i.e. give the target a -1 to the roll (increase to -2 later if still too weak). This keeps the card as mainly utility, but makes it more effective at what it is supposed to do.

    Stabs in general
    I am missing a martial skill that boosts Stab attacks, something like +1 or +2 to all melee attacks with reach 2. With that alone you'll see more stab builds. Right now, weapon choice is quite limited by what you can boost.

    Bashes in general
    Make sure that "Basher" boosts all Crushing attacks, regardless of whether they are called "Bash" or not. Change the card text accordingly.

    Healing Presence
    Not a silver, I know. However, this card desperately needs the option to cast it on the Priest himself ("may self target"). I often end up with my fighter and wizard badly bruised, but the priest himself at full hp. In that situation, Healing Presence is quite useless as of now and I avoid items with it.

    Boosted Heal
    ... has the same problem, although that one is more of a gotcha. The card is still good enough, it's just counterintuitive because most heals can be used on the Priest himself. (And the secondary effect targets him...)


    Inspiring Presence
    Very questionable suggestion. Nerf a card by making it better? At range 6, there is no incentive to keep the team together. You'd just play it anyway and hope that the enemy getting a draw will not be a disadvantage because you have the better deck overall. In that case, better leave the card alone.
    If you want to nerf it, add a self-stun to it. It's still good, but it will be the last thing the cleric does this turn. This will also prevent card-drawing cascades right there.

    Resistant Hide
    The problem is that since it grants uncapped immunity, it negates the damage even from very powerful spells.
    The easiest solution would be to change the immunity to Acid / Poison / Electricity / Fire into a Resist 5. It still protects completely against a wide range of effects, but a Wizard could get you with a high level spell if you are low on hp, and lava is still dangerous. Anything beyond a silver card should still have an effect.
    In general, good game design should avoid absolutes. There should always be a way to counter things.

    Let's not forget one of the main backbones of card draw decks: Altruism! The problem with the card is that it first triggers a draw when you get it, and a second draw when it's discarded. Even worse, it gives a card draw even when the card you played gives you or someone else a draw.
    Change Altruism into "Heal 4 + discard" or "Heal 1 + Keep" instead of draw a card. It's still very useful but you take the teeth out of most draw strategies.
  7. dmar314

    dmar314 Goblin Champion

    This is a nice list. Some thoughts:
    1. I don't think changing the range of inspiring presence to 6 will do much to nerf the card, especially as current card draw spam usually happens with the opponents on the other side of the map on turn 1. The easiest way I can think to fix this card is to remove the "including yourself" part so that only OTHER characters within range 3 draw the card and are healed, keeping it's draw potential to only 1 additional card instead of two.

    2. Discarding the hand with demonic feedback feels really weird and feels like an arbitrary thing thrown in there purely to prevent priest draw chains on other priests. This change won't really affect the card advantage problem of a priest buffing a warrior or mage though. Maybe change it to "take 2 points of unholy damage for each card in the target's hand. This damage cannot be prevented by armor". That would make it deal a minimum of 4 damage, but more if you are really trying to stack the hand (and it's tough to get your ally with an empty hand and the priest in LOS to only take 4 damage). Oh, and also change nimbus to only prevent damage from enemy cards and terrain attachments so that the damage isn't trivialized (that will also fix firestorm).

    3. Nimble strike is a huge problem card, I'm honestly surprised that more people aren't complaining about it (especially since this is the one best example where the legendary card vibrant pain gives a HUGE competitive advantage, which leans towards pay to win but is more like "be lucky in your loot drops to win" since you can't reliably pay to get a specific legendary). Still might be too good at 5 damage, but hard to say.

    4. Ideally, resistant hide would be removed from pvp entirely and all instances of it would be replaced by thick hide armor (like what happened with fireball). Changing the card itself is a problem because it's a key part of what makes festering zombies threatening in campaign, but the immunity to three different mage damage options really has no place in pvp since it really limits mage diversity. Mages are almost always forced to bring it on their armor because the card is so good, and strongly encouraged to go frost on the staves because fire and lightning are totally invalidated by this armor. Two mages fighting each other with resistant hide have an extremely hard time actually killing one another without discarding the armor. That said, this is a good change suggestion because the additional hardy mail effect makes the armor quite strong even with no enemy mages around.

    5. Mass frenzy makes unholy frenzy and righteous frenzy laughable in terms of power, which is a shame. I think both suggestions are good. The suggestion to make it unholy is also good, but runs the risk of making there be few worthwhile holy cards.

    6. It would be cool if the basher trait (or maybe all bash cards) increased the damage by an additional point if the character is unable to move back a square (due to blocking terrain or another character in the way). A straight increase from 2 to 3 wouldn't hurt though, since almost nobody actually uses bash cards (since they don't have the positional advantage of step cards or the damage advantage of the 11 damage cards).
  8. Mirkel

    Mirkel Goblin Champion

    Righteous Frenzy and Unholy Frenzy are both rated Weak and Mass Frenzy is rated Good, it's the same difference as between Bludgeon (Weak, 4 damage) and Powerful Bludgeon (Good, 11 damage). So it's supposed to be a lot better and that shows on what level items it is on and how expensive those are to equip in terms of tokens. Besides, they all stack. :p
  9. pliers

    pliers Goblin Champion

    If it is changed, it should still only be slide-2 for enemy characters. Moving enemies 4 spaces would be crazy powerful. And perhaps limited to sliding 2 characters, but I'm less certain on that.
  10. I agree with Pliers, as it is, I already kind of cheese it at times to setup people for getting killed, 4 spaces would be hilarious.
  11. kardnel

    kardnel Mushroom Warrior

    Nimble strike isn't an overpowered card except for on one item. In order to add it to a build you normally have to give up serious damage for just a few copies of it. Is Lochaber Axe - the most commonly used one - really OP? I don't think that. There is a real choice between it and Infused Great Club. You get 4 good step attacks but on the other hand you're also cutting your damage in half. In order to fix this card all you really have to do is nerf Vibrant Pain which is just a blatantly overpowered weapon compared to other choices.

    Inspiring presence doesn't really get changed much. This is at best a very slight nerf to one of the best divine spells in the game. If you took off healing from this item completely it would still be a great item that people would want to run often... and that is a big nerf compared to what you're talking about. Once draw skills get nerfed the obvious fall back will be items with this skill. The only reason people don't use them as often right now is demonic charm of the 2nd circle, basically.

    Mass frenzy never stuck out as being a particularly OP card. It might get used a lot but that's just because it happens to fall onto items that have it. It is quite good but not fantastic. Not sure why this card needs a nerf. This is especially true because right now there is a choice between arrogant armor type builds and using buffs instead. Or I should say, there would be a choice if draw decks were nerfed. Why? When you double the number of cards a character has you are effectively doubling the power of this and other attack buffs. So the only thing that takes away the arrogant armor choice is the chain drawing nonsense.

    This list of nerfs doesn't address the draw deck problem enough. Your suggested change to demonic feedback goes a long way to curbing infinite draw decks. But besides that we're still going to see lots of 2 priest warrior teams dominating the top if this is all that changes. There are so many draw cards that didn't get addressed at all. Really this list of changes seems like a go between of not nerfing priest oriented draw teams too much but at least shutting down infinite draw circle jerks. Really, those decks will lose almost none of their power if this is all that is changed - especially if demonic charm of 2nd circle remains as it is.
  12. kardnel

    kardnel Mushroom Warrior

    And as a side note: hard to pin is a block that is clearly super OP and takes away all other choices. I think this is the stand alone, most blatantly OP card in the game right now. It is lousy because there is no real other choice.
    Shalcker and Pilgrim Bailey like this.
  13. I think unholy wellspring may need looking at also. 2 damage that can be mitigated in order to buff 3. That's a really solid buff with no real drawback.

    *Take anything I say in this thread with a grain of salt because its hard to know what will be 'balanced' until drawing is fixed.
    Flaxative likes this.
  14. Flaxative

    Flaxative Party Leader Staff Member

    I think Jon said somewhere that he was considering making Surging Block proc on a 3+ and Hard to Pin Down proc on a 4+ (basically swapping those rolls). Seems like a smart decision.
  15. dmar314

    dmar314 Goblin Champion

    Mass frenzy is a buff 3 on all your characters, while unholy wellspring works for magic attacks as well. I don't think the damage on wellspring is meant to be much of an issue. I'd say that mass frenzy is stronger, especially since it's the only buff that actually works on the priest as well. And a bonus 3 damage to all attacks is pretty signifcant, even with 11+ damage melee attacks flying around. It makes step attacks especially deadly, and synergies very well with card draw. Since it lasts two rounds you can often get 12+ bonus damage from it, which compares favorably to strong melee attacks. Run two warriors and a priest with mass frenzy and it could be even more. (Not sure if it's actually OP or not, one would need to look at some data for that).

    Hard to pin down is super good and makes most other blocks look really silly, but I'd say parry and dodge give it a run for its money. Parry is more reliable, can't be drawn out by elvish insight/dwarven cry, and gives an extra card rather than move 3, which is sometimes more valuable (especially in warrior vs warrior duels). And dodge you can keep, which makes it crazy against melee parties. I don't think changing hard to pin down to 4+ instead of 3+ would change much. Surging block would still be a pretty bad block.
    spacedust likes this.
  16. Aldones

    Aldones Ogre

    From here.
  17. karadoc

    karadoc Hydra

    I like these three. In the past I've suggested adding 'stun' to Demonic Feedback, which would be similar but less harsh than what you've suggested. For Resistant Hide I think a roll of 5+ might be weird; maybe just making it 1 armour with a roll of 3+ would be better (for no reason). In any case, I think reducing the physical armour is a good idea for that card. 2 armour with 4+ would have the nice side benefit of matching Tough Hide, so that's probably a good place to start!

    For the suggestions on the other cards, I don't mind much. I reckon it would be good to get a few of the best changes implemented soon and then it might become easier to work out which other changes would be good.

    For Inspiring Presence, I don't really like the core effect of the card at all.. but your suggestion seems sensible enough.
  18. One thing I've been thinking of, is that I don't really know what can be done to balance these abilities while the draw issues remain.

    The only card I'm certain on (outside of the draw cards) is Nimble Strike. Even without draw deck issues, nimble strike was OP when I started the game, and still remains so, but it scales exponentially in its ability to be abused right now due to massive buffing and draw deck combo. A warrior, with 8-10 cards (very very easy to achieve) buffed, can step 4 all over the map, hitting someone for 12-13 damage per step attack, invulnerable in nimbus, and if the player is smart, the priests have team move cards to push the warrior if he gets encumbered. The only reason I even run three priest is because I don't have lochaber or vibrant pain.
  19. karadoc

    karadoc Hydra

    Exponentially with respect to what? What possible exponent could you have in mind when you say Nimble Strike scales exponentially?

    (It bugs me when 'exponentially' is misused - which is actually very often.)
  20. I was having this discussion earlier in chat; if I had a VP, I would use multiple AOAs. Then, exponentially, it would be even more abusable. One shotting someone with 24 or 48 damage would get ugly, and is entirely possible from my two draw feeding priests.

    Also, please don't actually do this anyone.

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