Discussion on overarching vision of HbE

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  • Discussion on overarching vision of HbE

    Hello, all. I came back to playing to a SPECTACULAR loss on my part against a friend of mine in a casual game (Ogres vs. HbE at 4500). This was mainly my fault to due poor play and lack of practice (and I got some good feedback on what to work on). The game included MANY moments (I think 1 per turn) that included some variation of:
    - "But Highborn Elves get 'x', and that's very powerful"
    - Actually, no. It's x minus y.
    - "Oh, wow. That's a lot worse than I thought it was"

    It got me to thinking about what were some of the problems of the army and why it had reached the point where it's considered the worst of the bunch by a large enough margin to get its own tier of badness. This was less in a "How can this actually happen, we should fix it" and more in a "how are high elves viewed design wise that could have lead to this?" The idea being to evaluate what the guidelines in the FAB redesign for HbE would be to see what pitfalls could happen, and thus determine how they could be avoided. To help with readability, I will separate the post into sections. To help productive discussion, I will avoid mention of specific strengths and weaknesses, as these have yet to be nailed down by a design team. No point in discussing something that is not done.


    The first section is on the general design principle that has been mentioned: "High Elves will be an army of specialist units".
    - This was mentioned with the goal of essentially "getting around" strength/weakness decisions (Oh, the army doesn't have a STRENGTH in XYZ. It only has one unit that does it exceptionally well. That's not a strength.!). This is bad design for a number of reasons, but I will go into why I think it would be negative for the army alone:
    1) It pushes the skill curve even more steeply. Highborn are already an army that is extremely unforgiving. It is often described as having a learning cliff where others have a learning curve. This change would make it even MORE so, as you now have to contend with every single unit needing its specific matchup met. This makes the army even MORE unfriendly to new players and creates a situation where players may be turned off the army (potentially the game) because of the steep learning curve. An army that is only designed for elite players is badly designed.
    2) It makes the army nearly impossible to balance. If every unit has its own unique niche, then you run into one of the following situations (if not both) for balancing the army. Eithe there will be times when you may as well just concede because you didn't pack in the right specialist into the unit. Or if there is overlap in niches for units, then people will eventually "solve" the army book and lead to cookie cutter builds that are strictly better with regards to that niche. The name of the game is "points efficiency" after all ( ). Either way, the army could either have terrible external balance (if someone takes XYZ, why bother rolling?!) or terrible internal balance (if you take XYZ, you get much better bang for your buck, so why even have any options?), or both.
    3) Specialized units lead to "feels bad" moments of hard counters. It certainly feels bad for a newbie playing Highborn Elves to have his block of swordmasters wiped out in 1 turn by a lucky 6 from a Stone Thrower. It feels bad for the opponent to feel like you have nothing that can help against a battlecruiser unit that you left your hard counter for. The project has been leaning away from hard counters for a while and limiting their application. Thus, it is especially confusing that an army based around "hard counters" is thought to be a good idea.

    tl,dr: Designing an army as specialists has huge risks in that it can worsen skill curve issues (which are rampant in the army), risks poor internal and external balance due to overspecialization, and leans into hard counters which are bad for the game in large quantities.



    The second section regards the design of highborn elf characters. These are supposed to "pull their own weight" and lack unit synergies to justify their points cost. There are a series of problems with this approach:
    1) Characters lacking unit synergy can only make points back 2 ways, damage or magic. This is especially true when the army will have a choice of Ld9/10 supplemented by BSB or Divination Attribute. The difference in leadership is minimal between Ld9 and 10 once a re-roll or Cold Blooded come into play. Since magic has a finite limit on how much it can be applied, that means that our characters have a strict limit to how much "mage" can be put into a list.
    2) 9th Age is background driven, which creates significant limitations to what can be pulled off. Specifically, elven combat characters have STRICT limits on what they can do (See, High Warden nerfs). This is unfortunate because Highborn Elf characters start with a poor chassis defensively (Res3) and mediocre offensively (S4, 4A for princes). Limits to how it can be upgraded with kit essentially create hard limits to what can be utilized by them because you need to reach a happy medium of defense and offense, but both categories start fairly poorly. As combat characters can have no unit synergy and provide little inherent leadership benefit compared to mages, the logical conclusion is that combat characters will be a poor investment in most cases because they cannot make their points back and don't provide significant benefits in leadership or synergy. This is kind of where we are now, where every combat character either packs the Sliver (the most whined about thing BY FAR in the army book, in my experience) or mounts a dragon (which likely wouldn't be the case if we could just get the dragon on its own).3) Specialized characters will rarely, if ever, be worthwhile because taking the specialized UNIT will lead to better output and survivability in the majority of cases (see, RH character vs. Lion Guard). This falls into the problem that HbE have specialized units, meaning that the character would need to be taken to an extreme the project has shown repeatedly to want to avoid to present a genuine choice compared to units.

    tl,dr: Characters lacking any unit synergy combined with design limitations driven by background lead to a situation where combat characters are unlikely to see play beyond one or two "solved" builds (as seems to currently be the case). Specialized characters would not change this because having specialized units means the unit will ALWAYS be a superior buy compared to a character.



    Finally, on overall design: high elves have too many "moving parts". Everything is conditional or specific (aka, specialized). This . . . is bad. It's the reason that SO MANY of our items and honors do not see play. Best example is "Daemon's Bane", which is the epitome of "Badly designed specialist" that I spoke of warily in the first section. Many of the incidents that I alluded to in the introduction were basically "Hey, this does "x", followed by "no, it does x with these restriction", which led to my opponent saying "that's much worse than I thought it was". The only item that, in perusing lists, sees play in any significant fashion is the sliver of the blazing dawn. This is unsurprising because it works unconditionally and is actually strong/viable. Every other item is either conditional or weaker than a BRB effect. Here we see the "specialist" approach that is spoken of in the future for units applied to the army book in Honors and Items. It creates an environment where, for Honors, only 1 sees play regularly, while another sees play semi regularly (MoCT and Queen's Companion). Having variety is useless if most of the variety is useless.


    So to summarize:
    My opinion of the design ethos that is spoken of for Highborn Elves for FAB is flawed because:
    1) It approaches units and entries with the goal of specialization, which leads to a high risk of poor internal and external balance while making the army less approachable to newer players.
    2) Character design is stacked against combat characters, which many people want, because of the intrinsic design limitations of background driven design, the basic elf chassis, and highborn elves having specialized units.
    3) Entry (unit/item/honor) designs are often conditional as a point of "specialization" which leads to underpowered units and entries which makes the army unpalatable to many players while also decreasing variety in lists and creating large amounts of wasted efforts.

    Thoughts? Opinions? What are ways in which things could be adjusted to create a better design identity for Highborn Elves?
  • I am personally waiting to see the new design for the Dread Elves book. This will reveal very useful information about the (new) process followed, what the designers wanted to achieve, how they thought they could achieve it, and so on.
    Then we (as players) can probably have a more productive discussion about design guidelines for HE.
    'He opened the battered book. Bits of paper and string indicated his many bookmarks.
    "In fact, men, the general has this to say about ensuring against defeat when outnumbered, out–weaponed and outpositioned. It is..." he turned the page, "Don't Have a Battle."
    "Sounds like a clever man," said Jenkins.'
    Terry Pratchett, Jingo!
  • Aenarion43 wrote:

    - This was mentioned with the goal of essentially "getting around" strength/weakness decisions (Oh, the army doesn't have a STRENGTH in XYZ. It only has one unit that does it exceptionally well. That's not a strength.!). This is bad design for a number of reasons, but I will go into why I think it would be negative for the army alone:
    Interesting proposition.

    My general impression is that most HbE units are actually generalist, and the "specialist" idea has not been yet implemented.
    There are really few units in the book that seem to be used to counter a specific type of unit and most of them tend to be good at many things, which means they are not good at anything.

    The most commonly stated complain I have seen in this section is that HbE are Jack of all Trades and not good at anything specific.


    My impression is that the main problem with HbE are the elven stats, which pushes the army toward being a glass-cannon (high movement, high initiative), while the theme of the army is more defensive.
  • Imho if the guidelines are that:
    • army has to be low on defense
    • cannot be too glass cannon since it leads to bad in game experience
    • elite
    • characters can have no unit synergies and have to be mediocre fighters
    They are internally contradictory and nothing can be done to fix the army. In general elite low defense units are already somewhat stupid since they die in droves to any light shooting, this in turn leads to drops in prices pushing eliteness down hard (already elf spearmen are similarly priced to skeletons), then comes the final cherry on top - HBE characters are worst fighters of all three elven races, can have no synergies and really good defense - so what is exactly their forte then?

    Either you are elite and do not die when someone looks at you sideways or you are not elite - so in my eyes the only way to fix the core issues with the army would be significant increase in defense so that the army actually feels elite and increase of character offense to surpass or at least match other elves (as a tradeoff to lack of synergies granted by characters)
    My gallery: Adam painting stuff (HbE, VC and lots of terrain)
    My battle reports: Adam Battle reports
    Sea Guard homebrew: Sea Guard
  • Aenarion43 wrote:

    Hello, all. I came back to playing to a SPECTACULAR loss on my part against a friend of mine in a casual game (Ogres vs. HbE at 4500). This was mainly my fault to due poor play and lack of practice (and I got some good feedback on what to work on). The game included MANY moments (I think 1 per turn) that included some variation of:
    - "But Highborn Elves get 'x', and that's very powerful"
    - Actually, no. It's x minus y.
    - "Oh, wow. That's a lot worse than I thought it was"

    It got me to thinking about what were some of the problems of the army and why it had reached the point where it's considered the worst of the bunch by a large enough margin to get its own tier of badness. This was less in a "How can this actually happen, we should fix it" and more in a "how are high elves viewed design wise that could have lead to this?" The idea being to evaluate what the guidelines in the FAB redesign for HbE would be to see what pitfalls could happen, and thus determine how they could be avoided. To help with readability, I will separate the post into sections. To help productive discussion, I will avoid mention of specific strengths and weaknesses, as these have yet to be nailed down by a design team. No point in discussing something that is not done.


    The first section is on the general design principle that has been mentioned: "High Elves will be an army of specialist units".
    - This was mentioned with the goal of essentially "getting around" strength/weakness decisions (Oh, the army doesn't have a STRENGTH in XYZ. It only has one unit that does it exceptionally well. That's not a strength.!). This is bad design for a number of reasons, but I will go into why I think it would be negative for the army alone:
    Why is this bad design in your opinion?

    HE are actually an army of "Jack of all Trades", that doesn't mean all the units should be like that. The army should be to externally. Internally you have "specialist" units. I am not sure if that is good or bad design, I think it's a design.
    1) It pushes the skill curve even more steeply. Highborn are already an army that is extremely unforgiving. It is often described as having a learning cliff where others have a learning curve. This change would make it even MORE so, as you now have to contend with every single unit needing its specific matchup met. This makes the army even MORE unfriendly to new players and creates a situation where players may be turned off the army (potentially the game) because of the steep learning curve. An army that is only designed for elite players is badly designed.
    If you take League of Legends as an example, some Champions are really good low elo and some are really good high elo because of skill differentiations. Some are very unforgiving when making a mistake, but can make immense impact if wielded correctly. It could be that HE are less user friendly for new players.

    2) It makes the army nearly impossible to balance. If every unit has its own unique niche, then you run into one of the following situations (if not both) for balancing the army. Eithe there will be times when you may as well just concede because you didn't pack in the right specialist into the unit. Or if there is overlap in niches for units, then people will eventually "solve" the army book and lead to cookie cutter builds that are strictly better with regards to that niche. The name of the game is "points efficiency" after all ( ). Either way, the army could either have terrible external balance (if someone takes XYZ, why bother rolling?!) or terrible internal balance (if you take XYZ, you get much better bang for your buck, so why even have any options?), or both.
    If you differentiate the units more so they don't have an overlap they will be chosen based on their traits and not their points efficiency. When you choose a certain type of list while having another matchup your matchup is just bad for you or you didn't built your list the right way. It's all about meta in this case. Terrible internal and external balance are not related too each other whatsoever.

    3) Specialized units lead to "feels bad" moments of hard counters. It certainly feels bad for a newbie playing Highborn Elves to have his block of swordmasters wiped out in 1 turn by a lucky 6 from a Stone Thrower. It feels bad for the opponent to feel like you have nothing that can help against a battlecruiser unit that you left your hard counter for. The project has been leaning away from hard counters for a while and limiting their application. Thus, it is especially confusing that an army based around "hard counters" is thought to be a good idea.
    From my understanding it's quite the opposite and we are bringing back "hard counters", internally. In the passed there were too much hard counters externally where army X couldn't win from army Y. That has nothing to do with internal balance and differentiation.

    tl,dr: Designing an army as specialists has huge risks in that it can worsen skill curve issues (which are rampant in the army), risks poor internal and external balance due to overspecialization, and leans into hard counters which are bad for the game in large quantities.
    So I don't agree on this at all.




    The second section regards the design of highborn elf characters. These are supposed to "pull their own weight" and lack unit synergies to justify their points cost. There are a series of problems with this approach:
    1) Characters lacking unit synergy can only make points back 2 ways, damage or magic. This is especially true when the army will have a choice of Ld9/10 supplemented by BSB or Divination Attribute. The difference in leadership is minimal between Ld9 and 10 once a re-roll or Cold Blooded come into play. Since magic has a finite limit on how much it can be applied, that means that our characters have a strict limit to how much "mage" can be put into a list.
    2) 9th Age is background driven, which creates significant limitations to what can be pulled off. Whut? Specifically, elven combat characters have STRICT limits on what they can do (See, High Warden nerfs). *based on current situation This is unfortunate because Highborn Elf characters start with a poor chassis defensively (Res3) and mediocre offensively (S4, 4A for princes). Limits to how it can be upgraded with kit essentially create hard limits to what can be utilized by them because you need to reach a happy medium of defense and offense. Are you? but both categories start fairly poorly. As combat characters can have no unit synergy and provide little inherent leadership benefit compared to mages, the logical conclusion is that combat characters will be a poor investment in most cases because they cannot make their points back and don't provide significant benefits in leadership or synergy. This is kind of where we are now, where every combat character either packs the Sliver (the most whined about thing BY FAR in the army book, in my experience) or mounts a dragon (which likely wouldn't be the case if we could just get the dragon on its own).3) You actually refer to two specialized characters; a dragon and a unit blender that have no synergy Specialized characters will rarely, if ever, be worthwhile because taking the specialized UNIT will lead to better output and survivability in the majority of cases (see, RH character vs. Lion Guard). RH Character is specialized? This falls into the problem that HbE have specialized units, meaning that the character would need to be taken to an extreme the project has shown repeatedly to want to avoid to present a genuine choice compared to units.

    tl,dr: Characters lacking any unit synergy combined with design limitations driven by background lead to a situation where combat characters are unlikely to see play beyond one or two "solved" builds (as seems to currently be the case). Specialized characters would not change this because having specialized units means the unit will ALWAYS be a superior buy compared to a character.
    If a specialized unit would be superior why would people take the spear blender and/or the dragon builds?



    Finally, on overall design: high elves have too many "moving parts". *Highborn Elves are the most mobile army there is, is that a bad thing? Everything is conditional or specific (aka, specialized). This . . . is bad. It's the reason that SO MANY of our items and honors do not see play. Ah! Our items and honours ARE really specific, but not specific in role, but specific in situations it can be used which is bad design. Best example is "Daemon's Bane" which is a valuable item on griffon builds against magic, which is the epitome of "Badly designed specialist" that I spoke of warily in the first section. Many of the incidents that I alluded to in the introduction were basically "Hey, this does "x", followed by "no, it does x with these restriction", which led to my opponent saying "that's much worse than I thought it was". The only item that, in perusing lists, sees play in any significant fashion is the sliver of the blazing dawn. This is unsurprising because it works unconditionally and is actually strong/viable. Unconditionally is something very very very different than specialization? Every other item is either conditional or weaker than a BRB effect. Conditional items are not great from design perspective. Here we see the "specialist *conditional" approach that is spoken of in the future for units applied to the army book in Honors and Items. It creates an environment where, for Honors, only 1 sees play regularly, while another sees play semi regularly (MoCT and Queen's Companion). Having variety is useless if most of the variety is useless.


    So to summarize:
    My opinion of the design ethos that is spoken of for Highborn Elves for FAB is flawed because:
    1) It approaches units and entries with the goal of specialization, which leads to a high risk of poor internal and external balance while making the army less approachable to newer players.
    2) Character design is stacked against combat characters, which many people want, because of the intrinsic design limitations of background driven design, the basic elf chassis, and highborn elves having specialized units.
    3) Entry (unit/item/honor) designs are often conditional as a point of "specialization" which leads to underpowered units and entries which makes the army unpalatable to many players while also decreasing variety in lists and creating large amounts of wasted efforts.

    Thoughts? Opinions? What are ways in which things could be adjusted to create a better design identity for Highborn Elves?
    That's my opinion.

    Folomo wrote:

    My general impression is that most HbE units are actually generalist, and the "specialist" idea has not been yet implemented.
    Exactly.


    Folomo wrote:

    There are really few units in the book that seem to be used to counter a specific type of unit and most of them tend to be good at many things, which means they are not good at anything.
    That's the result of your comment above

    elendor_f wrote:

    I am personally waiting to see the new design for the Dread Elves book. This will reveal very useful information about the (new) process followed, what the designers wanted to achieve, how they thought they could achieve it, and so on.
    Then we (as players) can probably have a more productive discussion about design guidelines for HE.
    Already a lot is revealed; For more information look at the-ninth-age.com/community/in…feedback-thread/&pageNo=1


    Adam wrote:

    Imho if the guidelines are that:
    But they aren't as there are no guidelines released yet for HE the same way as DE and ID.


    TLDR;
    How did you find things like:
    • Sliver
    • OotFH + Dragon combo
    • Asfad
    • Favour of Meladys
    As I have a feeling the direction is more in line with these examples. Having specialist units that are really good in fighting, combat magic, ranged magic, magic defence.

    Assistant Head of Army Design

    ID Legendary Army Book Team

    "Restructuring boi" - DanT


    "Great things in business are never done by one person.
    They're done by a team of people."

    – Steve Jobs

    The post was edited 3 times, last by Emgies ().

  • This was surprisingly more constructive than I thought it would be!

    I think it conflates a few different problems.

    I think the "what could be" is way too wide to start with, so lets start with the status quo:




    - HbE is a JoaT army, with arguably some extra focus on infantry and magic
    - Almost the entire book's combat units hit well (high OS and LR) while also outputting a high volume of attacks (through either FieR or multiple attacks) as high agility. The only exception to both is Lion Guard (who are still OS and Agi 5).
    - 5 out of the 10 lores have a spell which is a wounding bonus. HbE have access to 4 of those, covering their weakness.


    The natural outcome of this basic-level synergy isn't delivering specialist units at all - its utilising a battleline of indiscriminate shredders, and buffing them where necessary. The high-mobility utilisation and delivery comes further up the learning curve, or to control who is charging and therefore buffing (and managing things like chariots, which cause devastation to elf lines by ignoring Agi).

    The magic accessibility is there (admittedly heavily on the shoulders of the MoCT atm).
    What isn't there is the incentive to create the big enough blocks to synergise with buffs better.
    This is where I feel the big chasm in the learning curve is - cheaper additional models will let newer players build armies that are easier to handle, reap the benefit on magic synergy efficiently, and still leave room for a couple support mobile pieces.



    Conceptually, there is a LOT to build on from that chasis.
    The Sliver sees use, as it feats neatly into these archetypes.
    Other combat characters are either redundant (what is a HWotF actually supposed to do and be, compared to a vanilla prince?) or not actively good enough in their role to justify their cost (RH could be a can opener joining a unit which has issues with certain enemies, but just isnt worthwhile in that function at the moment) or are not supported properly (RH again - no GW enchant that helps him do his thing better).
  • Hi @Fnarrr, can I ask you a couple of questions here? I don't want to hijack the thread from the OP though, I hope this is a relevant discussion.

    a) I think the Magic Path selection is currently skewed towards Divination for HE. Is this a meta effect or a result of people favouring LG (who more or less need Div) over SM and FW? (Or both)
    What do you think could make HE players to select other Paths more frequently (in re-design)?

    b) I think that an area where a lot of creativity will be needed is in Monsters. All HE monsters Fly, which makes them step on each other toes. Do you have any ideas on how to make them reasonably different?

    Thanks!
    'He opened the battered book. Bits of paper and string indicated his many bookmarks.
    "In fact, men, the general has this to say about ensuring against defeat when outnumbered, out–weaponed and outpositioned. It is..." he turned the page, "Don't Have a Battle."
    "Sounds like a clever man," said Jenkins.'
    Terry Pratchett, Jingo!
  • Folomo wrote:

    Aenarion43 wrote:

    - This was mentioned with the goal of essentially "getting around" strength/weakness decisions (Oh, the army doesn't have a STRENGTH in XYZ. It only has one unit that does it exceptionally well. That's not a strength.!). This is bad design for a number of reasons, but I will go into why I think it would be negative for the army alone:
    Interesting proposition.
    My general impression is that most HbE units are actually generalist, and the "specialist" idea has not been yet implemented.
    There are really few units in the book that seem to be used to counter a specific type of unit and most of them tend to be good at many things, which means they are not good at anything.

    The most commonly stated complain I have seen in this section is that HbE are Jack of all Trades and not good at anything specific.


    My impression is that the main problem with HbE are the elven stats, which pushes the army toward being a glass-cannon (high movement, high initiative), while the theme of the army is more defensive.
    It might depend on your definition of specialist. In my experience, most HBE units have some things they're really good at and at least one thing they're bad at. In the good cases they're really good because high Agility means there usually isn't much to swing back. In the bad cases, their limited numbers come back to bit you. For instance, Core combat units aren't good against tougher (Res 5+, Res 4 with good saves...) combat units because S3 (HLs don't count because they aren't a viable combat unit). SMs are a glass cannon blender and can vary from exceedingly strong to really weak depending on enemy ranged damage output and whether they can catch something juicy to munch through. FWs are a good anvil provided they don't get stuck on something which can outgrind/outank them or something which can get round their wards via Divine attacks, special rules or sheer number of wounds. LG are the best rounded HBE combat unit in most cases, but they do a number on anything they get multiwounds against and have trouble with truly elite or buffed infantry (WotDGs, Elven infantry, Forlorn Knight Deathstar, Buffed Succubi...) without magic support. KoR are good on the charge if they can kill/break their target and hopeless otherwise...


    Fnarrr wrote:

    This was surprisingly more constructive than I thought it would be!

    I think it conflates a few different problems.

    I think the "what could be" is way too wide to start with, so lets start with the status quo:




    - HbE is a JoaT army, with arguably some extra focus on infantry and magic
    - Almost the entire book's combat units hit well (high OS and LR) while also outputting a high volume of attacks (through either FieR or multiple attacks) as high agility. The only exception to both is Lion Guard (who are still OS and Agi 5).
    - 5 out of the 10 lores have a spell which is a wounding bonus. HbE have access to 4 of those, covering their weakness.


    The natural outcome of this basic-level synergy isn't delivering specialist units at all - its utilising a battleline of indiscriminate shredders, and buffing them where necessary. The high-mobility utilisation and delivery comes further up the learning curve, or to control who is charging and therefore buffing (and managing things like chariots, which cause devastation to elf lines by ignoring Agi).

    The magic accessibility is there (admittedly heavily on the shoulders of the MoCT atm).
    What isn't there is the incentive to create the big enough blocks to synergise with buffs better.
    This is where I feel the big chasm in the learning curve is - cheaper additional models will let newer players build armies that are easier to handle, reap the benefit on magic synergy efficiently, and still leave room for a couple support mobile pieces.



    Conceptually, there is a LOT to build on from that chasis.
    The Sliver sees use, as it feats neatly into these archetypes.
    Other combat characters are either redundant (what is a HWotF actually supposed to do and be, compared to a vanilla prince?) or not actively good enough in their role to justify their cost (RH could be a can opener joining a unit which has issues with certain enemies, but just isnt worthwhile in that function at the moment) or are not supported properly (RH again - no GW enchant that helps him do his thing better).
    I'd agree with this with a few additions:
    • With the exception of the Dragon (and possibly Griffon), none of the fast units (KoR, HL, Phoenixes, Mounted characters) can take a charge or grind against a decent combat unit.
    • Many of the support units (Phoenixes, KoR, Chariots and so on) are more expensive than their equivalents in other armies because they have elite stats + LR or extra bells and whistles.
    • As a result wining the chaff/supporting unit war can get interesting. Against some armies such as OnG or WotDGs which can field lots of cheap but capable small units (chariots, OnG Random Movers, Warrior Knights, MSU Iron Orcs or Chosen...) it can be a real struggle to maintain board control and not get swarmed.
    I'd personally like to see Highborn Lancers, KoR and the Frost Phoenix get reevaluated at some point. The Frost Phoenix is IMO vastly overpriced in matches where it's debuffs can't make a difference and the 2 cav units just feel overpriced for their toughness and damage output off the charge.
  • I see a general HE problem as having not enough bodies. Of the three elven factions imho HE should be the lowest glass cannony (despite still being rather glasscannony when compared to all 15 factions). If any overall conceptual change is desired for HE, I think they should get lower point costs in average, the lowest point costs of all three elven factions, and this should not be achieved by reduction of defensive capabilities (if anything, the offense should be reduced when necessary to justify lower points). Thus would make HE the elven army which ist most durable, especially against shooting. I think HE have higher population than SE and DE, therefore more bodies seem logic.
  • elendor_f wrote:

    a) I think the Magic Path selection is currently skewed towards Divination for HE. Is this a meta effect or a result of people favouring LG (who more or less need Div) over SM and FW? (Or both)
    What do you think could make HE players to select other Paths more frequently (in re-design)?

    b) I think that an area where a lot of creativity will be needed is in Monsters. All HE monsters Fly, which makes them step on each other toes. Do you have any ideas on how to make them reasonably different?
    A) I think the Div popularity is due to the monster mash meta. I don't think the buffs in the Div arsenal have a lot of synergy with an elven profile at all - except with Lion Guard, who are again popular for the same reason. Its not a HbE specific problem, so I wouldn't worry about it - it should be addressed with Arcane Compendium changes, and generally with metagame repricing.

    B) Dragons have grinding capacity, Griffons are good on the charge, and Phoenixes being support pieces I think is a good rule of thumb.
    Then within those categories specializations and pricing tweaks have to be designed and priced out properly - not saying I have those answers now, but here's an example:

    Dragons: Grinding speciality
    - young dragon: specializes in defence / pinning (since its Large and can stack defences)
    - dragon: vanilla dragon piece, good damage output. Still a "support" piece
    - ancient dragon: expensive an powerful enough to move from support into "solo"
    Feathered: Charging specialty
    - Griffon: more or less as is - contrasts the YD in that its focussed on offence over defence
    - Eagle: cheap flying cowboy. Nothing exciting, but its closer in price to fast cav than to a Ryma unit
    Phoenixes: support pieces
    - Flame phoenix: design concept is fine (sweeping attacks)
    - Frost phoenix: ???? this needs some work. I'd look into another version of sweeping attacks with a different effect. Depends on what feels useful in the context of the army


    Phoenix wrote:

    As a result wining the chaff/supporting unit war can get interesting. Against some armies such as OnG or WotDGs which can field lots of cheap but capable small units (chariots, OnG Random Movers, Warrior Knights, MSU Iron Orcs or Chosen...) it can be a real struggle to maintain board control and not get swarmed.
    I would think this is mostly pricing rather than design issues though?
  • Fnarrr wrote:

    I would think this is mostly pricing rather than design issues though?
    I think you can argue it either way with HLs or KoR; are they too expensive for their current performance or are they under stated for their designed role? I'm not in a position to know what the design for HL or KoR is meant to be. It would be nice from a possible builds point of view if at least one of them was better off the charge because this would give more options for list building and help differentiate the units. As for the Frost Phoenix I'd argue that a design which makes it valuable vs elites only and much less useful vs others is less then ideal in the current pricing system because it doesn't seem to deal well with units which are situationally good.
  • Fnarrr wrote:

    The natural outcome of this basic-level synergy isn't delivering specialist units at all - its utilising a battleline of indiscriminate shredders, and buffing them where necessary. The high-mobility utilisation and delivery comes further up the learning curve, or to control who is charging and therefore buffing (and managing things like chariots, which cause devastation to elf lines by ignoring Agi).
    This is a perfect description of the DE. Wrong forum dude :)
  • arwaker wrote:

    I see a general HE problem as having not enough bodies. Of the three elven factions imho HE should be the lowest glass cannony (despite still being rather glasscannony when compared to all 15 factions). If any overall conceptual change is desired for HE, I think they should get lower point costs in average, the lowest point costs of all three elven factions, and this should not be achieved by reduction of defensive capabilities (if anything, the offense should be reduced when necessary to justify lower points). Thus would make HE the elven army which ist most durable, especially against shooting. I think HE have higher population than SE and DE, therefore more bodies seem logic.
    Saying HBE should be most durable elf faction goes right out the window since SE have tree-demons.

    I have always seen it as:
    DE are full-on reckless glass cannons. HBE are balanced glass cannons (as in they have some defense).
    SE without trees would be the most glass cannon, until recent editions with the introduction to Forest cloaks.

    With DE being combat specialists and Close range shooters, I can only assume SE would be shooting specialists and HBE magic specialists. If SE then become medium range shooters and hbe long range shooters, then I can only imagine hbe will be stuck in the EoS category... especially now that HBE are apparently the most populated elf race and therefore the least elite...

    Point being, its better if the elf armies overlap more than hbe completely super-imposing EoS, which it seems like the direction people are going.
    The change in font size of this post is purely accidental: my phone is stupid, and I am too stupid to fix it.
  • jaith1 wrote:

    arwaker wrote:

    I see a general HE problem as having not enough bodies. Of the three elven factions imho HE should be the lowest glass cannony (despite still being rather glasscannony when compared to all 15 factions). If any overall conceptual change is desired for HE, I think they should get lower point costs in average, the lowest point costs of all three elven factions, and this should not be achieved by reduction of defensive capabilities (if anything, the offense should be reduced when necessary to justify lower points). Thus would make HE the elven army which ist most durable, especially against shooting. I think HE have higher population than SE and DE, therefore more bodies seem logic.
    Saying HBE should be most durable elf faction goes right out the window since SE have tree-demons.
    I have always seen it as:
    DE are full-on reckless glass cannons. HBE are balanced glass cannons (as in they have some defense).
    SE without trees would be the most glass cannon, until recent editions with the introduction to Forest cloaks.

    With DE being combat specialists and Close range shooters, I can only assume SE would be shooting specialists and HBE magic specialists. If SE then become medium range shooters and hbe long range shooters, then I can only imagine hbe will be stuck in the EoS category... especially now that HBE are apparently the most populated elf race and therefore the least elite...

    Point being, its better if the elf armies overlap more than hbe completely super-imposing EoS, which it seems like the direction people are going.
    Not sure what you are pointing at. Even with some more bodies on the battlefield, HE will still be more similar to DE than to EoS. I think any fear of HE overlapping with EoS is unnecessary.
    But the general principle of moving HE a bit away from DE and into the rough direction of EoS is not bad imho. Sure not too far, HE units should still out-elite any EoS counterparts, but until this happens, the way is very long.

    Just a rough example of what I am speaking about: HE citizen spears are specialised in having a lot of S3 attacks to clean up enemy tarpits. They excel at this, but they crumble very fast when they must fight anything with RES5+. If they had more bodies, they could at least stand longer against the RES5 opponent. If they lost their FieR rule, significantly lower point costs could be justified. They could withstand shooting better with their more bodies, and they could withstand fighting monsters for longer (until a monster killer arrives), but they would be aless effective anti-infantry tool.
    Lower specialization, but higher utility with more bodies.
  • @arwaker
    I can't imagine spears getting even cheaper without totally compromising internal balance of the book, especially in regards to core choices. 12 ppm for a unit of 20 already means they are the ideal mage bunker and scoring unit to fill out core. I would have guessed the spears would go up to 260-270 starting with slightly cheaper extra troops (14-15 ppm).

    But let's entertain the idea of cheaper spears, to give something the HE army has purposefully lacked historically.

    For starters, where does that leave CA, Sea guard, and lancers?

    We also have an example of an army that spammed spears with an end score of 50-50, which is actually pretty good, not sure what other army could literally spam 1 type of unit for >50% of its army. Dryads, KotRealm, Orc Boyz? Those would be my guesses, SE spears should also work i guess.
    The change in font size of this post is purely accidental: my phone is stupid, and I am too stupid to fix it.
  • Aenarion43 wrote:

    The second section regards the design of highborn elf characters. These are supposed to "pull their own weight" and lack unit synergies to justify their points cost. There are a series of problems with this approach:
    1) Characters lacking unit synergy can only make points back 2 ways, damage or magic. This is especially true when the army will have a choice of Ld9/10 supplemented by BSB or Divination Attribute. The difference in leadership is minimal between Ld9 and 10 once a re-roll or Cold Blooded come into play. Since magic has a finite limit on how much it can be applied, that means that our characters have a strict limit to how much "mage" can be put into a list.

    this is not a problem per se, because it will work IF the unit actually delivers as much performance as you pay in points for it.

    my favorite exampe, the vanilla commander, a model worth ~100 points in terms of performance costs 150. this is then inherited by the honors, of which not all are good or worth the total amount of points, leaving like two commander builds that are worth taking.

    the whole book is like that, there are some choices that hold the army together, they basically carry the HBE army book on their shoulders at the bottom tier. then there are units that cost like they could "pull their own weight" but they cant.