Issue 5 - Communication flow, 2.0 BRB and even more infos!

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    It's time for more memes news about what is happening internally. Fasten your nerd-belts, adjust your gaming codpieces, and prepare to get slippery in the SPOILER Jelly-Wrestling Pool.

    :T9A: A Tribe Called 9th Age :T9A:

    OK, so the ACS are awesome, and the flow of information from the Staff to the Public is more accurate, better controlled, and PR-friendly than it's ever been. But what about the reverse? This is not just about knocking down ivory tower stereotypes, this is about actually understanding our community's voice.

    This is much harder that we might think. What is the community? Some people complain that ETC and tourneys get too much weight in design decision making, but it's also equally valid to say that there has always been a very vocal minority dominating the forum airwaves lobbying for better cavalry, harder deep watch, sharper spears, less AP, etc...Or is it about the amateur hobbies? Sheer democratic majority - informed or uninformed? Perhaps we just need a steady flow of continuous summary tune ups via ACS?

    As many of you know, we have already tested several different forms of channelled community feedback. The most recent one was the survey about the Magic items, prior to this there were the Magic proposals and even before these there were the Magic item brainstorm threads for WDG and DL.

    This is the kind of feedback we have been evaluating and are very keen to see how we can get more accurate feedback in a more concentrated & timely fashion.

    We don't have the answers yet on how best to approach this, but it's a bright blip on the radar we're thinking hard about, so if you have some ideas share them with us please.

    Then there is the question of what has happened with the feedback on those topics. While the Magic Item Survey is now been processed by our Data Team for a proper analysis (poor guys), the DL guys are puzzling over the design ideas provided. However, there is no solid design information to share yet about the DL magic items.

    On the other hand, the WDG team are quite far along in their work and have already implemented the following ideas for WDG 2.0 book playtesting:
    • Magus Blade: A power-dice fuelled weapon designed with Fighter-Sorcerers in mind (idea drawn from Black Sword with Orb of Magic Storage)
    • Orb of Nakuja: Designed to give a sneaky advantage during deployment (idea drawn from Influence of Sloth)
    • Wasteland Torch: Burns a block of terrain to ruins & gives strider (Ruins)
    • Pandemonium Banner: A counter item for Inspire Presence to help with anvils
    • Spike of Storm: A bound-spell weapon that punishes flying models
    • Ring of Envy: An item, which grants close combat boni against the enemy General and his unit
    • Daemonic Eye: An item, which helps against Parry (idea drawn from Pendant of Parry Negation)
    Please do not forget, that the items implemented are not exactly the same as their initial proposals, but the fundamental idea is the same - even though the names will likely undergo a change for Background reasons.

    Also as a heads up to all, we will be doing another Community Brainstorming effort soon, much like we had with the Magic Phase, but less detailed. Basically, we're going to run a brainstorm session about terrain rules and look for some outside the box concepts for the RT to pick and choose from.

    And after that there will probably be even more community involvement with:
    - Deployment
    - Secondary Objectives

    So, the better we can synthesize this information and send it back to the core designers, the better the job we are doing as staff getting the community involved in the project. It's ambitious, but we know we can rely on our battle-hardened, forum-scared staff to help us get the job done!

    :T9A: T9A 2.0 BRB: The Rules Team Strikes Back :T9A:
    While there has been a lot happening since the rules freeze, there is always the question from the community: "What will happen with 2.0?". Welp, while we cannot answer this yet, we can say some different things:

    There is a lot of progress going on, specifically the stats are close to done, they just need some nice new names. Currently the RT is working on the Magic phase, Magic Items (from the survey hold a couple of weeks ago), Mundane Weapons and a boatload of special rules.

    Wait, stats are done?!

    Yes, you read that right. There will be four stat-line changes with the 2.0 update. We will release the first one today, the other three will follow in the next couple of "Behind the Scene" issues.

    The first change to the current stats will be Movement. While it has currently only one Movement Value, in future we will have two, an "Advance Rate" and a "March Rate". Please keep in mind, that those names are just place holder names, the Linguistic Team has not done their magic for them yet

    Either way, as the names already indicate, the first will represent how far you can move while the second will determine how far you can march.

    Obviously this would just mean, that all units get March Rate = 2x Advance Rate. However, are you sure about this?

    There are, surprisingly, a lot of units in this game which do not follow this formula, to be exact 71 units from roughly 400, so roughly 17% of all units. The most obvious examples are Chariots and Dwarfs, Chariots because they cannot March and Dwarfs, because they can March 3x their normal Movement Value.

    This change basically means, that all those special rules become obsolete, we can simply implement them in the stats where you can just check them with a glance - no math, no rules exceptions. :party:

    However, while this might sound rather unimpressive, this change opens a lot of different design tools. Maybe the designers want to give a unit a high Advance Rate but a lower corresponding March Rate (or vice versa). This can be easily done now while before it was nearly impossible to implement it, if you didn't use a straight multiplier.

    An example would be a unit in the WDG book, which has a low Advance Rate (6) while it has a high March Rate (18). While this would work under the current system, implementing a special rule just for one unit is more of an hassle than anything else.

    Other examples for possible design usage for this change are:
    - A unit, with a really high Advance Rate while it has a low March Rate (like 8/8), would allow to be very mobile due to Swift Reforms
    - Magic items and effects, which only affects a single value. A magical banner could for example grant +4 (or even more) March Rate as a one use only effect.
    - Terrain pieces could reduce just the March Rate and not affect the Advance Rate at all (like Water terrain)
    - An offensive magic item, which gives you combat bonus against models with a high March Rate.

    So while this change might not look that impressive at first, it has a lot of potential design applications already which were previously not available. However, please keep in mind that this newly created design space will likely not be used much before the individual ABs are updated, which will happen in iterations after the v2.0 release itself. However, as previously mentioned, both the DL and the WDG team is already using this mechanic to design units, special rules, upgrades and items.

    But what is going on elsewhere? Lets start out with our little friend...

    :warrior: Don't Make Me Angry :warrior:
    Well, the Giant redesign team now has a theme - and it is ANGRY. Basically, the new Giant will be a far more human-like monster that will transform into a truly terrifying tool of destruction when it gets hurt. If you want to kill a Giant, you'd better do the job right on the first hit, because the counterblow will be the stuff of nightmares.

    Another theme will be weapons. Giants, unlike most of their Monster counterparts, are able to wield a variety of weapons. That being said, we're looking into just how special these could be. The reasoning is that a Giant weapon is going to be quite a lot more effective than a puny human one...

    The third and final theme is Giant See, Giant Do. In many ways, Giants are very trusting and sociable creatures, which causes them to imitate many of the cultural traits of their neighbors. A Giant that lives near BH will have different behavior to one that is friends with barbarians.

    :DL: Are...You...Ready? :DL:
    Designing the Daemonic Core has been extremely challenging due to the sheer nature of the book redesign. It is almost certain, that the new Daemonic Legion Full Army Book will be the most ambitious rework ever undertaken for years to come. Truly, the hordes beyond the Veil are beyond mortal comprehension.

    As our Daemon Legion players will recall from earlier reveals, one of the key design guidelines calls for specialized units that excel in their roles, but must not be too versatile. This reflects the background source, where daemons choose their forms as they cross through the Veil. In the case of Core units, neither DL nor WotDG will have Marks available, although the 7 unique effects will be identical between the two books in other categories (a tremendous design challenge for both teams).

    Remember that none of these units have been priced, have limits, or are even fully finalized. This is just a wiff of what's to come from the kitchen - and is of course subject to change. In terms of actual roles to suit playstyles the design team have settled on the following archetypes, which I won't provide complete stat lines for, but I can give some hints:
    • Hammer: Fast infantry, who smash face, but are fragile. Think of them as Elves who hit like Minotaurs - the bigger ones! However, they only come with average initiative.
    • Anvil: Average speed, but clocking in as the beefiest steroid infantry ever seen! Dwarfs only wish they were this tough. Unlike their Hammer cousins though, they do goblin damage. :girlblush:
    • Anti-horde: This one is a very unique design relying on very fast movement, custom rules, and bonuses vs. infantry.
    • Support unit: These are basically ranged specialized chaff destroyers, but come with etheri...exceptional protection.
    There, not a single number in there. That means I've carefully kept to my ambiguous guidelines, right guys? :thumbup:

    :WDG: And Now It is Time for the Punishment Forecast... :WDG:
    After months of hard work, lots of sweat and tears, the WDG book is finally in the Alpha stage and thus designing the book is done! :happy:

    As exciting as this milestone is, now the second part of the journey begins for the book. First, the Balance Team will do their magic to get a rough price assessment down. Afterwards, playtesters will test the book, and will report back on what works and what not. If something doesn't work at all because of design issues, it goes right back to the design team for round 2. If something doesn't work because it is too strong OR too weak, then the BLT have to evaluate if they can balance it with points OR if it needs a redesign.

    After many tests with revised rules and points, the book will be marked as "done", or rather, we are sure to not have screwed up big time balance wise for you guys to actually test it. While we have a lot of dedicated playtesters, we will never be able to substitute the raw amount of testing our community can actually pull off in a rather short time frame.

    While all this talk might make your mouths water, we have two very "minor" spoilers. The spoilers are basically tied with the last issues "Topic of the Week" (if you haven't read it :thumbdown: ), where we talked about the Army Strengths and Weaknesses. Since WDG have "Hard Weakness - No Special Deployment" many WDG players are worrying that the army will lack tools to fight enemy Chaff, especially mobile Vanguarding chaff.

    Hence, we have chosen to release those two rules as the first rules spoilers for the new book, since they are intended to address this exact issue. While they might change in some fashion (remember, the book still has to run through the testing phase), their core theme will remain the same.

    The first one is a special rule which addresses the special deployment issue and how to deal with elements, which can abuse the lack of Vanguard and Scouts in the WDG army..

    No enemy unit can end a Vanguard move or deploy a unit (including Scouts) within 18" of a unit with this Special Rule.

    The Sentry rule acts as the protection against a possible abuse for lacking Vanguarding or Scouting units. While something similar can be done currently with your own Vanguarding units, there are a couple of differences.

    On the one hand you have the current Vanguard block tactic, where you move with your Vanguard unit 12" forward, so that enemy Vanguarding units have to be 6" away from yours (and thus limiting his Vanguard move). At the same time you get the additional pre game move, which allows you to set up possible turn 1 shenanigans with your Warhounds better. However, this requires you to have the first Vanguard move, since otherwise you might be at the receiving end of this strategy. Furthermore, if you do not have the first turn, your Vanguard unit can get charged on Turn 1 and thus you lose a, most of the times, very important chaff unit.

    On the other hand you have the Sentry rule, which doesn't care about who may Vanguard first, the outcome is always the same. Furthermore, they can also deal with some Scout deployment. While Scouts can be deployed 12" away from your units, if they are fully deployed in a non hill terrain, your Watchdogs will prevent this from happening.

    The other rules spoiler is an actually weapon, which is pretty darn good to actually catch and have a "fun time" with their victims:
    Raider Whip:
    A unit with one or more models with this weapon can make a Sweeping Attack when passing within 1" of an unengaged enemy unit. The enemy unit suffers 1 Strength 4 hit for each model with raider Whip in the unit. Any unit that suffers one or more causalities from this weapon must take a Panic Test.

    "But wait, I thought we have no "shooting" in the army anymore?!?"

    While this is not a classic form of shooting, it is still a tool to get rid of chaff and/or supporting elements by non Magic and Combat means. Sure, you need a highly mobile unit (something like M9 or higher and Light Troops) to actually use this weapon efficiently, but this should be given for this design.

    This weapon (or rather unit) will help a lot against enemy chaff and supporting tools. See that pesky lone Sabretooth Tiger which wants to hide behind a wall of Ogres? Guess what, just make a small drive by and he is (hopefully) gone. 5 Dire Wolf look also quite worried, when they receive 7+ S4 hits in a single phase.

    There are many applications for this unit but in the end it will be a great tool to help win the chaff battles by either getting rid of enemy chaff directly or being able to outmanoeuvre them.

    Those are some of the tools the designers developed to fix both the chaff as special deployment issue. They are sure as hell unique for a human army, and also fit the theme of the army very nicely.

    However, please DO NOT FORGET, that we are only just starting in the Playtesting phase. It could happen, that both spoiled rules see some form of change before the actual release.

    That's it for this issue from the "Behind the Scene" blog. The next issue will come sooner than you might expect, there are many things to cover in the next weeks and months before the finial release of the 2.0 BRB, the WDG and the DL book.

    A final check at the to-do list:

    Apparently we have nothing left to do, so see ya next time again,

    Your Behind the Scene Team!

    PS: *rumbling around in the depths of the BGT subforum*, I knew, I forgot something in this issue....

    Display Spoiler

    Lord of Gluttony

    "When four Kings abdicate their thrones, do you really have a Kingdom anymore?"

    I kind have a "blog" now: From Beer and Bretzle vol 2

    [ETC 2016 - ID] [ETC 2017 - WDG] [ETC 2018 - ID] [ETC 2019 - ID]

    5,213 times read

Comments 28

  • Peacemaker -

    Hmm, so are you guys separating strength and ap from each other?
    There have been many posts and suggestions on this and the consensus was its better for the game because it really opens up design space.
    ...and a number of units already tack on extra AP to their stats anyway. So its like we kinda already have this except its convoluted.

    Not separating these two stats is a pretty big waste of a 2.0 release.

    Everything else seems pretty cool. And if you are adding hard counters to scout and vanguard, make sure to greatly reduce the points for scout and vanguard. Otherwise it just leads to everyone taking the counter unit and rarely taking the scout/vanguard

    • Kathal -

      Regarding the first part, if I answer it in any way, I would spoiler and/or imply things, which are either incorrect or not decided yet.

      Regarding the second part you apparently miss the point, that the Sentry rule is a WDG exclusive rule. It is more than unlikely, that other armies will get something along this line, since we want to create unique armies.

    • Peacemaker -

      I think I got the point, I'm just issuing words of caution. T9A is designed for tournament play. Which means all comers lists. The very fact that there is a hard counter unit in any army(assuming that unit is indeed a hard counter and not a 1 off, hard to tell from the details spoiled), means when designing an all comers list that is a huge factor.
      Its the problem of paying points for a 1 time ability and then that ability is shut down. ....not reduced, not shifted out of effectiveness, like say the other guy also has scouts/vanguard. But a hard counter shuts it down entirely.

      Now making it WDG exclusive is a solution, but T9A has only done one book. I could very well see Sylvan elves getting this sentry rule as well. ....and we all know that Ogres will get it(shameless jab, lol).
      So that means at least 3 armies could get it which shifts the general meta to make scouts/vanguards less effective. Not a big deal if scout/vanguard are cheap on the points, but very big deal when you are paying premium points for it.

      Its like cannons and monsters. When only Empire and Dwarfs had cannons people still took monsters. When other armies started getting them then monsters were no longer worth it.

      Anyway, its still in Alpha so still time to make sure it doesn't cause widespread ripple effects.

      I hope the strength thing gets spoiled soon because it would have been prudent to spoil it before people made suggestions for magic items. ...good to know you can make a magic item with +4 strength but only 1 AP.

    • Kathal -

      Than again, why should SE or OK get a WDG specific rule, or rather WDG unique rule? This would be more than a loss of flavour, since this just leads to copying the other books flavour elements. However, this is exactly what the teams do not want, to be able to find unique elements of different books in other army books. Furthermore, both Scouts and Vanguard are still more than usable vs the Sentry rule. Since only Warhounds do have it, the WDG player has to have sufficient units of Doggos with him AND he needs to deploy them correctly (otherwise it will not help at all) AND you actually wanted to move your full distance forward (which you normally do not want when you don't have the first turn).

      So yeah, I do not see this rule as a reason at all for any price decrease for Scouts and Vanguards.

    • Peacemaker -

      Because the concept of a sentry is generic....
      Thats why other armies could thematically get the rule.
      Sylan elves, the guardians of the forest, the watchers in the bushes, doesn't a sentry rule for them make sense?

      And the reason I'm saying vanguard and scout are overpriced for certain units is because it is. DE fleet master paying 2pts/model for a corsair unit to vanguard? ....that's not getting a points reduction? ....the fast cav I've seen seems accurately priced.
      And some units of scouts here and there seem a bit
      Overpriced. Not sure if scout is the main factor in their points but it is there. ....just look at sylvan elves for examples of overpriced scout units. And DE scouting unit is a bit overpriced, but that could be because their xbows are overcosted.

  • blaesus -

    Great summary of things to come. Thanks!

  • Pellegrim -

    Good article, love these releases, hope to read many more. A note for the designers; it seems that WotDG have all their weaknesses mittigated safely. So how does an army actually suffer from their weaknesses? March 18" / block special deployment? Fun fun fun. Will Ogres get an item that negates armour piercing? And Lizzard an item that lowers the initiative of their enemy to their level? This is a stab under water, but you get where I'm coming from right?

  • zulu -

    Really interesting stuff. Looking forward to seeing the full book when it drops. I am still skeptical that the nerf of losing all vanguarding is going to be mitigated by these new rules (I play an army with 2/3 units of dogs and 2 units of hellriders and find vanguarding an essential part of making warriors work!), but I am totally happy to and hope to be proved wrong!

    • Kathal -

      The most important sentence in the WDG paragraph is:

      "Those are some of the tools the designers developed to fix both the chaff as special deployment issue."

      There are more tools to fight that war, but those two are the most interesting and unique ones available in the current 2.0 WIP book.

      My personal opinion about the current 2.0 WIP book is, that the skill ceiling of the army went way up, but if played on this level, it is a force to be reckoned with.

    • zulu -

      Well I look forward to trying it out! I have faith in you guys, thanks for all your work!

  • Wesser -

    About Sentry... How common Will it Be? I Mean Scout is already a bit weak.

    • There Is No Spoon -

      Currently, it's only on war hounds (which have lost vanguard) - and it still needs to be play-tested thoroughly too.

  • Scylla -

    The Lord of Gluttony looks absolutely fantastic, congrats to the artist!

  • Klethormhar -

    Wow sounds good ! I do put a lot of hope in the changes, in particular demons ones !

  • john doc -

    sorry if this isn't the correct place to ask, but wouldn't the two MV values mean that i now have way more numbers to remember (especially considering my opponent's models)? Also, the marching exceptions are currently very few (therefore easy to remember) as they affect many models in the exact same way. i.e. chariots may be a large percent of units that have an exception when marching, but all chariots are under the same exception. So, of this 17%, how much are the dwarfs and chariots = 2 rule exceptions?

    • Kathal -

      No problem to ask here ^^

      I have no idea, how big the Dwarf and Chariot share is, I would need to look it up (I have not done the count myself). However, even after the 2.0 rework of the books I honestly doubt, that that ratio rises to 50% or higher, it would simply be unnecessary to do so. Furthermore, some armies might have a consistent value for a troop type. For example, could the Infantry elements from an army with strength "Speed" have Move 4/10. Than you do not need to remember the specific values between the units again, since they are across the book the same.

      I hope, I could answer this question, otherwise just go ahead ^^

    • Wesser -

      Kinda agree. The various new Fly values still cause confusion even now. I see the point, but yes keep it consistent

    • Kathal -

      That's the plan, as far as I understood it (I'm no longer involved with the rules design, so I have to read a lot to follow the train of thoughts for the designer ^^ ).

    • john doc -

      so how about the fliers? How many values for them?

    • Kathal -

      No idea.

  • Bretboy84 -

    Kind words but i dont put hopes up...

    • Kathal -

      Hopes for what, if I may ask?

    • Bretboy84 -

      I want to see koe knights little cheaper and return of the old 6th/8th edition lance formation. i played full cavalry army and i was last in tournament. Currently spears are too powerful and too much ap weapons to face. Anti cavalry is too cheap. I dont want to play games where my army was shot down in two first turns like what happened against Vermin swarm. Its strange that other factions get lots boosts with no price hike but koe must pay lots if they want something. We cannot get abilities because or we stand feet of the other facitions. Why to use knights because peasants do all better.

    • Kathal -

      And what has it to do with that blog article ?(

      Me confused, especially since not a single point you mentioned got addressed in this issue.

    • Bugman -

      The idea behind most of this will not be to alter levels, we need everything to work as it is first.

      Every army will get its day though and be looked at in the correct light, with these new features there will be a lot more granularity for us to use.

    • There Is No Spoon -

      @'Bugman' Words of wisdom! Remember, the end goal is to have each faction with its own unique Army Strengths & Weaknesses, background-driven indentity, and enviable set of tools to achieve victory.

      New design concepts should not be seen under a zero-sum light, because that limits everyone down the line. The bottom line is armies should be equal in POWER as a whole but not necessarily on a unit by unit basis.

      Last but not least, the BLT, & RT are very vigilant against skew and have a nose for finding abusive rules. Even if they miss it, we still have playtesting (internal and public) to prevent raw army power creep.

  • saint_barbara -

    Ah, my favorite blog on the web has landed. Sweet!