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The latest issue of the 9th Scroll is here! You can read all about it in the news.

Our beta phase is finally over. Download The Ninth Age: Fantasy Battles, 2nd Edition now!

Von Bugman,

Hello Community,

Two weeks ago, T9A introduced its final beta, v205 on the road to version 2.0 "Gold Release". This is our last beta release that we asked you, our community, to read through and check over our new wording as well as anything else we may have missed, grammar or spelling wise. (Therefore you could say v205 IS the gold edition bar spelling and grammar!). T9A would like to thank all those who have assisted and debated over these checks and our Layout team is now hard at making the necessary corrections.

One major part was missing from that v205 was the Army books. The later release of the Army Books was intentional, allowing the community to focus on finding those mistakes in the main rulebook without the distraction of the shiny new changes in the army books!

Over the last week, many of you will have seen some of these changes trickling from our esteemed ACS teams, but now the waiting is over! Today, T9A releases the second part of v205, namely the Army books, for which again, T9A asks you, our community, to read through these army books and check over our new wording, as well as anything else we may have missed, grammar or spelling wise.

Before you jump to the Army books links, we wanted to explain our rationales behind changes made for v205 army books which can be broken down to the following:

1. The focus is to keep external balance
Overall in the Army books, what you will see is the intention not to break the external balance we have achieved at this point, while still improving internal balance of armies. v204 is generally regarded as the best balance T9A has experienced with no army considered much above the curve as had previously been seen, and all armies are competitive with most armies having multiple strong builds. This is why, in many places, pricing changes are perceived as small, as T9A prioritised external balance over internal and over improving individual items or units, even the ones that see no or little play in what some would describe as meaningful.

Remember, the v205 Army Book update is meant for 2nd Gold Edition, which means no updates are planned for about a year at least (more on that later). Therefore, because of the very good starting point with the great balance v204 has provided, we are reluctant to make changes that carry risks to make the balance worse (especially external).

2. Have solid ground for price adjustments
What does this "Great balance" look like then? The team consulted many data sources (thanks to our Data Team who has worked tirelessly to consolidate many sets of data) with the following question to be asked, "Is the Army significantly weaker or stronger than average?". Now, we appreciate anyone can find data that doesn't match the analysis made, but only where multiple data sources agree, was an army declared as being stronger or weaker than average.

3. Carry out price adjustments in a clear and concise manner

Price decreases can make armies stronger and break external balance. Price decreases are limited to units where we have lots of data to support them being UP (Under Powered) in all metas, and changes may be seen as conservative. Exception: OK and WDG which where identified as externally being weaker than average. We want to make them externally stronger.

Price increases can make armies weaker and break external balance. Price increases are limited to very OP (Over Powered) units and are often conservative to decrease the risk. Exception: VC, UD, and DL which were identified as externally being stronger than average. We want to make them externally weaker.

4. Make the majority of price adjustments small
Some may consider price adjustments to be small or "meaningless". When looking at the different faction entries, quite often there is no strong consensus that the entry is indeed underpowered (you'd be surprised how different metas are in existence, what is seen as poor performing in one meta can be stable or even excessive in another). Also the entry could be spammable, which makes even small changes stack up into something more meaningful than what was originally intended, and large changes could alter what combos are possible (e.g. category limits, special equipment etc). Additionally if T9A limited itself to large changes only, some armies may never get altered given their balance has no obvious entries needing attention.

We have listened to teams and players from around the world covering as many metas as possible and included the larger community by asking our ACS teams for units which where considered under and over powered. This gave us a great list in which we trimmed out the entries which had little consensus across the groups, which allowed us to prevent buffing army entries which are usable already and thus affecting the external balance. It also meant that there was a high confidence that the entries left for change where indeed marked as internal balance outliers. An argument could be made that many more units deserved price attention but identifying these in a way that ensures they are actually balance outliers everywhere, not just local anomalies or personal biases, is non-trivial.

Changes in pricing was a large collaborative work of many teams fed into 30 people with a further re-examination by 10. Those involved are from various places around the globe, hopefully representing as wide as possible meta exposure.

5. Reduce substantially any nerfs
That's right, indeed there are very few nerfs that have been applied, because as we noted earlier, there is a large satisfaction with the external balance of the game with only a few outliers. Therefore the "nerfs" were only targeted at the most obvious offenders. This is the reason why there are very few points increases outside of the armies marked as stronger than average. We know that top builds in the armies marked as average are balanced against each other. If we had nerfed the top choices in these books we risk nerfing the armies as a whole, and thus we make external balance worse. I.e. screwing up the good balance situation we have going, thus not nerfing things was a conscious decision with regards to the current state of the game.

We appreciate some people will have wanted unit X or Y changed citing it as over or under powered. However, there wasn't enough data to support it being truly one way or the other. The ones that received price attention where the ones marked as true outliers from all of the groups, teams, data and analysists that we talked to.

6. Stop redesigns of units
There are almost no redesigned units outside the Warriors of the Dark Gods book that is currently in Beta itself. This is because redesigns are harder to price correctly, and can thus cause big swings in external balance. Redesigns by their nature are also very much time-consuming processes which at this late stage of "Beta" are not possible. Units redesigns will now be almost exclusively limited to books whom are undergoing full redesigns.

So the takeaway of this is?
External balance of the game is in a great spot and is something we have strived to preserve bar notable exceptions of the absolute top and bottom armies. Internal balance for all armies has been improved which will mean that v205 will be better than v204!

What about the updates to game? I am fed up with the constant changes!
Often we are asked, how often are we intending to update everything or when will we stop changing everything, so to make it super clear, here are a few bullet points:
  • With the publication of the v2 Gold, the main rulebook will be frozen with no further changes applied providing the stability everyone is craving. Over the last year the main rulebook has seen less and less changes as all good betas should do so we are confident of the ability to freeze the main rulebook. It would take a highly extreme and improbably event for a change to be needed post V2 Gold.
  • An Army book that is considered in "Beta Playtest" (for which at present is only Warriors of the Dark Gods) may receive price and entry redesigns as seen fit. Warriors of the Dark Gods has provided many lessons for the teams and we hope to streamline the processes going forward.
  • Army books that only have a slim rulebook, including Undying Dynasty's & Sylvain Elves (which have coloured army books), our auxiliary books and the Arcane Compendium will not have any further price changes until October 2019. What cycle of price changes post October 2019 (e.g. yearly, bi yearly etc) is still being hotly discussed and we will announce our decision for this in the new year.
  • Army books that have received a full rework and have a full colour army book should only ever receive price update along with other Slim books. It would take a highly extreme and improbably event for a change to a unit entry to be needed.
I hope, therefore that you can see that we are sailing towards a period of stability for the game provided by our v2 main rulebook allowing the game to flourish and grow with larger community participation.

We are still on plan to release Gold before the end of this year. Once done, our attention will turn for the years to come to producing the full army books as well as producing more of our increasingly popular auxiliary army books, background book and other features T9A have planned for you.

Here are those links you have been waiting for!

Army books can be found in our BETA Tab

Discussion Thread for v205 Army Book Release

Error reporting thread for v205 Army Book Release

Discussion thread for v205 Rulebook and Arcane Compendium

Error reporting thread for v205 Rulebook and Arcane Compendium

See you on the battlefield!

T9A Team
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