Quo vadis 9th age? Part 2

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  • Quo vadis 9th age? Part 2

    Quo vadis 2


    The complexity of the game.



    To keep this game going it is absolutely mandatory to get new people interested in the hobby. I suggest to have some sort of campaign going to recruit new players. However, despite claims to the contrary, I think 9th age is even more difficult and not appealing to newbies than Warhammer ever was. I hope the community can come up with some solutions to the following problems:


    Making lists:
    making lists with the army book and pen and paper was always a bit annoying in Warhammer. In 9th age it’s a head wrecking catastrophe.
    Especially the different costs for starting size and additional miniatures cost (but same cost for additional equipment) is super annoying. Adding the large amount of points, the numerous restrictions (max number of miniatures per unit, max number of units per army, min in this category, some other category, max for this category…. you all know what I am talking about.


    Bases/base size:
    Many miniatures, even those recommended in the miniatures section here, won’t fit (won’t fit properly) to the bases size attributed. I know there are real problems like the number of miniatures that can be in base contact and the simple fact that nobody wants to rebase miniatures but the problem should be acknowledged and tackled. Maybe some flexibility can be introduced. The abandoning of templates made a good start there.


    Movement bases,
    especially for skirmishers, are a disaster. You can’t buy them and 12.5 cm gaps are not easy to make. And just assume you need some for 20mm some for 25mm and sometimes you need two ranks.


    Unit description/distinction:
    It is very hard to guess what a unit is and what it should look like.
    Just try to match all the GW monsters for SA to the appropriate entries in the 9th age list. If you are new to the army it is actually a challenge.


    Alternative miniatures
    this problem has been mentioned before by others. Getting the units you like to play can be close to impossible for newbies. Lets say you want twenty militia men with pistols. The big gnashers (if you have any idea what they should look like (see above)). And I am not even talking about the cost here.


    Keeping track of rule changes
    I know the reasons for this and I don’t have a solution either- however, we should really be aware that this already adds a HUGE barrier to possible new players


    Magic,
    we have new magical spells now and I will keep my personal opinion out of this. One hundred spells really is a lot. Sure it is less than there were in Warhammer but the new expectation seems to be that people are supposed to know them all. Cosmology is maybe the nicest lore but having two effects per spell really doesn’t make it easier.
    An easy approach to magic would have been two sets, one for damage spells and one for augmentation.

    The post was edited 1 time, last by Ulricpriest ().

  • Calisson wrote:

    Candidate for HAT?
    That reminds me of one more thing that is quite important: F*** abbreviations.
    Seriously. I know it's faster to use them (not free of blame myself) but you can easily make your post in the forum incomprehensible for non-experts. Especially with all the new terms and names, abbreviations are a sign that says: "insiders only, sorry".
    What you can do is writing the full name the first time and add the abbreviation in brackets and then use the shorter version in the rest of the text.
    "In my opinion the Warriors of the dark gods (WotdG) are the most powerful damage dealers. Wotdg are also the..."

    So, actually, I have no idea what 'HAT' refers to.
  • Ulricpriest wrote:

    Calisson wrote:

    Candidate for HAT?
    That reminds me of one more thing that is quite important: F*** abbreviations.Seriously. I know it's faster to use them (not free of blame myself) but you can easily make your post in the forum incomprehensible for non-experts. Especially with all the new terms and names, abbreviations are a sign that says: "insiders only, sorry".
    What you can do is writing the full name the first time and add the abbreviation in brackets and then use the shorter version in the rest of the text.
    "In my opinion the Warriors of the dark gods (WotdG) are the most powerful damage dealers. Wotdg are also the..."

    So, actually, I have no idea what 'HAT' refers to.
    Good point. Maybe we should just add all the abbreviations to the Lexicon so they get a hover-over definition?
  • Ulricpriest wrote:

    Movement bases,
    especially for skirmishers, are a disaster. You can’t buy them and 12.5 cm gaps are not easy to make. And just assume you need some for 20mm some for 25mm and sometimes you need two ranks.
    I have just posted a proposed solution for that point here and then found your post. Suggestions forum feels best for discussion on the subject.

    Ulricpriest wrote:

    Making lists:
    making lists with the army book and pen and paper was always a bit annoying in Warhammer. In 9th age it’s a head wrecking catastrophe.
    Free mobile 'T9A own' application is needed. Maybe there are even some plans for it. It would give also Data Team (or whatever it is called) access to much more detailed data... However I am not sure if creating one before 2.0 is worth the effort. Maybe rules freeze changed it?
  • JimMorr wrote:

    Free mobile 'T9A own' application is needed. Maybe there are even some plans for it. It would give also Data Team (or whatever it is called) access to much more detailed data... However I am not sure if creating one before 2.0 is worth the effort. Maybe rules freeze changed it?
    That's an interesting thought. If a T9A-branded app ends up being a re-skinned version of Battlescribe that can only be used for one game system, I wouldn't see the need. But if its loaded with analytics for the Data Team, then I can start to see how it might be much more useful. Also some cool things could be done with it, like running (and measuring statistics from) worldwide campaigns, keeping track of leaderboards, integrating with the website, and so on.

    However I wouldn't underestimate the amount of work needed to make such a thing. Freezing the rules for 8 months sounds like a long time, but it's really not that much in the software development world if you have to build something like that from scratch, even if you have a guy working on it full-time.

    Then again I've never built an app with cloud-deployed analytics services and data. Maybe there's a bunch of stuff available for re-use to make it quicker than I think?
  • Ulricpriest wrote:

    Movement bases,
    especially for skirmishers, are a disaster. You can’t buy them and 12.5 cm gaps are not easy to make. And just assume you need some for 20mm some for 25mm and sometimes you need two ranks.

    Err... There are several persons/companies producing movement trays in every possible configuration, also for skirmishers. They send their products internationally. They use MDF or resin, which are relatively lightweight. Several trays will fit into an ordinary envelope. Even international orders are cheaper than the GW movement trays from the shop used to be. And they come readily sized for your needs.

    Go to eBay, type 'Warhammer movement tray'. Add 'skirmish', 'mdf' and 'resin' as you see fit. Hundreds of hits for the more general search, more than a dozen for the narrow searchers. :)
  • Ozariig wrote:

    Ulricpriest wrote:

    Calisson wrote:

    Candidate for HAT?
    That reminds me of one more thing that is quite important: F*** abbreviations.Seriously. I know it's faster to use them (not free of blame myself) but you can easily make your post in the forum incomprehensible for non-experts. Especially with all the new terms and names, abbreviations are a sign that says: "insiders only, sorry".What you can do is writing the full name the first time and add the abbreviation in brackets and then use the shorter version in the rest of the text.
    "In my opinion the Warriors of the dark gods (WotdG) are the most powerful damage dealers. Wotdg are also the..."

    So, actually, I have no idea what 'HAT' refers to.
    Good point. Maybe we should just add all the abbreviations to the Lexicon so they get a hover-over definition?
    For the sake of everything that is sacred to you, don't do that.← This sentence could have had hovers for 'for', 'the', 'of', 'that', 'is', 'to', 'you', 'do' if they would represent abbreviations in the Ninth Age. Do you want every sentence to be filled with dozens of hovers, usually not being relevant in any way?

    Do you want every 'Ok' to link to Ogres, even though you are usually not talking about them? Every "He" to be linked to Highborn Elves? Everybody abbreviating "RC" because it's hover linked (and then can already mean three different units of of two elvish army books: Reaver Chariot, Raven Cloaks, Raptor Chariot)?
    My blog with battle reports and painting gallery: bleaklegion.wordpress.com/

    #freekillerinstinct
  • @DarkSky Sounds to me like a technical problem. I don't want to make a promise on behalf of the software guys, but the "easy" fix is to make the Lexicon case sensitive and allow it to display multiple definitions if an abbreviation can refer to multiple things. That would get rid of spurious definitions for "might" and "general", too.

    Unless you think it's a better idea to ask everyone to kindly include the definition every time they use an abbreviation in their post?
  • Ozariig wrote:

    Unless you think it's a better idea to ask everyone to kindly include the definition every time they use an abbreviation in their post?
    You are right, making those case sensitive would be an enourmous help and possibly remove a lot of the definitions showing up, when they are not supposed to.

    For the question above: Why am I now in charge of producing a better idea? I merely stated, that the abbreviations will not help, I never claimed to know a better process. Anyway, abbreviations are only one thing, just try to follow any army forum on an army you did not play yourself and you are swamped with terms for units that refer to WHFB counterparts or nicknames you would not understand. I don't have a solution for that either, and don't think you can remedy that by something technical anyway.

    I appealed to my fellow Dread Elf gamers to always use the current official names, as it will help newbies, outsiders and veterans alike. Got some likes for it, too, maybe it even helps :)
    My blog with battle reports and painting gallery: bleaklegion.wordpress.com/

    #freekillerinstinct
  • I like to nudge people towards thinking of alternatives when they challenge a suggestion. Helps to keep the discussion constructive :D

    I'm a software guy myself, so I tend to think of technical solutions to otherwise tedious problems. It's easier to teach a computer something than it is to teach a large, ever-changing body of people. Not to say that teaching people isn't a worthy goal; anyone who takes on that responsibility deserves much respect :thumbup:
  • I think 9th Age has some serious flaws that the developers aren't acknowledging at all, the "Another Rules Update? Seriously??"-post is a perfect example of how casual players look at the 9th Age development.

    Games Workshop analyzed why WFB wasn't drawing in enough new players and decided the game was to complex and required to many miniatures. Their solution to this problem was retarded, but their analysis was quite likely correct. What 9th Age should have done was what GW should have done: take 8th edition and make it easier to get into for new players. Bring down the complexity and the number of miniatures needed for a decent sized battle. Or they should have created a game format that introduces the core rules to new players with low amounts of mini's, a skirmish version of the rules.

    But what they did was pretty much the opposite, the rules are far more complex and further more: they change a lot. You can scream all you want about them being frozen for the next 7 months, but after that? Another 4-5 months of changes. And for casual players that is just waaay to much, my friends (and myself) are casual players, we are happy if we play once a month. We attend a tournament once or maybe twice a year. At that rate it is really hard to keep up with all the changes. And it isn't just the basic rules and your armybook but if you go to a tournament you have to reacquaint yourself with all 16 factions.
    So my friends just stick to 8th and we don't go to tournaments anymore...

    And the problem is that when people get into the hobby they don't start out as hardcore tournament players, they start out casual and even worse they start out with no knowledge of wargaming. 9th Age at that point is near impossible to get into...

    Solutions are:
    - Reduce complexity: all the different percentage groups for armies? Make them a tournament rulespack. The magic phase is overly complex, return it to 8th edition rules and put advanced rules in the tournament rulespack.
    - Create a skirmish version of the game for players to learn the basics and get playing with 20-40 models per side.
    - Reduce the number of factions: do we really need 3 different Elf Factions, 4 different Chaos Factions, 2 different human factions? I think you can combine some factions and reduce it to 12 or maybe even 10 without losing variety in gameplay styles. One of the problems GW had was releasing models and armybooks for all the armies, 9th Age just inherited that problem by blindly copying the existing armies and to make things worse, 9th Age cares about balance which is just impossible to achieve with 16 factions. It also helps new/casual players prepare for tournaments because they have to learn fewer armies.
    - Fewer updates: it isn't enough to freeze the rules for 7-8 months a year and have the rest of the year be complete chaos. By the time ETC comes around casual players will just be done learning the last rules and then everything changes again. Make small changes once a year, 8th edition had flaws but really didn't need this many changes to make it a tournament game...

    But, none of this will be taken seriously because there will come one guy that says "I'm a casual and I think it is fine!" and another says "play 8th edition if you don't like change!". And so nothing will change and 9th Age will die slowly but surely because it will not draw in new players...
  • Seriously, you are wrong on so many levels.
    1. Obviously you don't understand what T9A tries to be: You claim that T9A should be doing things and go directly against what it set out to be. It's like telling Ferrari, that their cars are missing a tow-coupling.
    2. If GWs analysis was correct (what I seriously doubt), than the players move on to games that fulfill their analysis. There are many Skirmish games out there that have compelling and good rules. Those players are probably satisfied with those, why should T9A target those?
    3. How on earth was the magic phase in 8th edition less complex? You must be playing some trans-dimensional version of WHFB 8th with different magic rules than I did. In addition to that, the WHFB 8th magic phase is probably the low point of the whole system creating unwanted game situations, and you want that?
    4. Reduce number of faction: As said, T9A was created with the intent to create a game which supports all miniatures that were made for WHFB. If you reduce the factions and the models, T9A would have broken one of their founding principles for no reason. → You also make the false assumption that more factions increase the complexity. If you play only one faction casually and your group has three more players, who also play one faction, you only need to know four factions, no matter if there are four or 400 in the game. Quite differently: The number of factions is only relevant for players who regularly play against all of them.

    5. Updates: Again your basic assumption is false, you treat T9A as it is already finished. Instead it is in development, until 2.0 comes out. If this were a GW product, nothing would have been released at all. Also the whining about releases is quite hypocritical, as most players want imbalances (real and perceived) fixed, as you can see in thousands of postings. Just look at the DE forum when the rule freeze and delay of the army book re-design were anounced. Not many players wrote "Thank god, more stability".
    6. If you and your friends are casual and play against each other, why don't you just stick with version 1.1? Who forces you to apply rule updates 1.2 and 1.3 in your group? If you all agree that the rule updates are too many, just decide on a manageable update cycle (e.g. one year) and play whichever version was current on the first of January. It seems you create pressure on you and your group for no reason at all.

    My blog with battle reports and painting gallery: bleaklegion.wordpress.com/

    #freekillerinstinct
  • DarkSky wrote:

    If GWs analysis was correct (what I seriously doubt), than the players move on to games that fulfill their analysis. There are many Skirmish games out there that have compelling and good rules. Those players are probably satisfied with those, why should T9A target those?
    Actually at this point I have to agree to some extend with @Kholdaimon: the game became a monster with little chance of attracting new players. I am pretty sure GW noticed it somewhere around Edition 7 as 8th has been designed exactly to exploit existing player base before killing the game. And GW analysis has nothing to do with making the game better for old players: their analysis has been aimed at making it salable to new customers as old fan base was rapidly becoming... old? They introduced AoS not caring about your (I've paused for 7th & 8th) expectations. They introduced it because their analysis said them that WFB cannot be repaired.

    And while T9A do great job addressing a lot of issues of 'tournament community' had with 8th it did little to 'reform' the game opening it for newcomers. I am not sure skirmish is best approach - it would be a different game completely. I would use rather warband level games which are heavily neglected. They could serve as gate for new players or those who can't afford 4-hour long games (really old player base...). That way T9A could easily become 2 games in 1.
  • Let us not even joke about the "GW analisys" as the term did not exist till a year or so ago when they fired Kirby from CEO position.

    That man openly proclaimed that GW does NOT do marketing research as they do not need it.

    Now ask anyone who works in marketing what it means for any company not to do marketing research.

    GW detected problems -> sales not as great as they would have liked and then DID NOT DO ANY RESEARCH AS TO WHY THAT WAS SO.

    And proceeded to do the AoS blunder, which the new CEO is trying to salvage by any and all means possible, including reintroducing point system into AoS after the old management proclaimed that the points are obsolete and unnecessary.

    GW is finaly moving into the right direction with their policy and stance toward customers, their models are better than ever but the WHFB is dead. Killed off by the GW. And there is no reviving it.
    Used to be a Vampire ABC member... then an Elf lass bit me... nowadays I have this insatiable craving for cheese, whine and fancy dresses... 8| The Dawn Host of ArchangelusM

    Army Design Team

    Draecarion, may the Lord grant eternal peace to your soul, my Friend!
  • I will give my perspective as a 6ed WFB player who is returning to wargames now and is learning T9A ruleset.
    Edit: There is a Tl;dr at the end since the post became long... ^^U

    Some background:
    I played WFB 6th Edition and I loved it (even though the HE book had some questionable design principles ^^).
    When 7ed came around, we started to see the Army Book power creep (seriously it was absurd) and decided that we didn't like it, and because of real life commitments we stopped playing 6ed often and eventually we stopped playing WFB at all.

    Fast forward 10 years, I decided last Christmas to dust off my miniature boxes and finish painting my miniatures for fun, but at the same time I started thinking about playing again, which is the side of the hobby that I liked the most.
    I checked how WFB was doing these days and...well it's dead.
    So I decide to look for alternatives.
    In my country (Spain) there are some groups who play 6ed after GW decided to no longer support WFB, but I live abroad so if I want to play regularly I have to go to Kings of War or to The 9th Age (besides my on-and-off 6ed games whenever I go back to my country).

    I started to gather information about T9A and I am rather impressed at the level of effort put by volunteers. I think it is seriously amazing that so much has been achieved already (if only because consensus among wargamers is HARD), and this is why I want to play some T9A games and perhaps go to tournaments whenever I am done painting (besides the fact that I like the rules, even though I disliked what I read about WFB 8ed).
    Particularly the fact that a design principle is to support every army so no old player feels neglected (like GW did with Chaos Dwarfs, Bretonnia and Tomb Kings) is awesome, and I don't think it should be changed (both to support old armies and because good luck rebalancing Undead as a mixture of Vampire and UD, or Chaos as a mix of WotDG and Daemons, or the 3 Elven races...it would be a gigantic time investment for a tiny benefit and the potential to piss off a large amount of players).

    Another very strong point is updating speed. Yes, it might be annoying for casual players, but as it was mentioned, nothing holds you back in a casual environment from playing whatever version of the rules your group feels comfortable with.
    If you want to balance a game with so many possibilities as T9A, you can't release one update every year in the beginning. You need to watch out tournaments and collect data and take action before the metagame becomes stale, until you have some semblance of balance (and as my personal view, balance means that every army book is roughly even with every other army book and several army lists are competitive within each army book).
    For people who complain, it takes quite the effort to analyze data from wargames because sample sizes are small.
    Compare to videogames, where millions of games are played every month and developers have access to huge amounts of data to work with (I am talking for example of LoL or Dota, who have very regular patch updates in between large updates).

    On the other side of the coin, I think that a wargame is not only a ruleset. You can have the best ruleset in the history of wargaming, but if players don't find it attractive to play, you'll get very few players.And this is why initiatives such as a Beginner's Guide and Background releases such as Campaigns are extremely important.
    The game can be supported by veterans alone as it has happened with other games (see Blood Bowl), but making it attractive to new players would be good for the game's health.

    For a person familiar with wargames, it is easy for me to learn new rules, check miniature websites if I want to start collecting a new army, and in general I have enough experience so I can more or less quickly get into the hobby.But if I want to teach a friend, the process becomes quite laborious, and I depend on my own marketing skills to get him attracted (not a bad exercise to improve those skills I guess).
    In particular, I think the rules are quite good for 3000-6000 points, but let's say for 1000 or 2000 points nobody seems to care, and this games with small points are especially good for beginners so they can play with their just-started armies (also, in tables of small dimensions).

    I am fully aware that probably the T9A Development Team has already thought about Campaigns once the Background is released, and perhaps about Newbie-friendly documents, but I wanted to highlight their importance.

    I think I typed a bit too much and strayed from my main points so:
    Tl;dr

    - Balance in a wargame is tough since collecting data requires quite some time, so in the beginning is is normal and expected that several updates happen in a year.

    - Perfect balance is only important to the top level of competition, and for casual games a more relaxed cycle can be agreed in each gaming group (the only issue is tournaments but anybody wanting to attend tournaments has months to prepare with the freeze).

    - Newbie-friendly content is really important to get players attracted to the game and to keep it fresh.
    Also, Background content such as Campaigns and Special Rules is important to satisfy the non-competitive part of the hobby.

    Sorry for the brickwall and cheers!
    "They thought the Library was a dangerous place because of all the magical books, which was true enough, but what made it really one of the most dangerous places there could ever be was the simple fact that it was a library."
    Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!
  • JimMorr wrote:

    it did little to 'reform' the game opening it for newcomers
    Question would be: Under the given circumstances, which are:

    * Not a skirmish game
    * Should support all miniatures of WHFB 8th
    * Big armies should be important
    * Is a suitable complex game for players spending several hundred euros and hours in painting

    How to develop a beginner friendly game? The beginner edition of T9A is certainly a good idea, but this is a herculean task. All in all, I don't think a game of this magnitude will ever be "beginner friendly", the whole market of tabletops surely isn't. Even the 4-pages-of-rules AoS is still a rule beast compared to "normal" board games.
    My blog with battle reports and painting gallery: bleaklegion.wordpress.com/

    #freekillerinstinct
  • Ulricpriest wrote:

    1 The complexity of the game.


    2 Making lists:


    3 Bases/base size:


    4 Movement bases,


    5 Unit description/distinction:


    6 Alternative miniatures

    7 Keeping track of rule changes


    8 Magic,
    Some thought reflection and as to why I think you have some really solid points.

    1 First of I'll say Ninth Age is complex but this is also the key to succes for it. It's on the same page as DnD in terms of construction and possible complexity. What I think would be an eventual great help is a Tactical handbook made by the community for the community. For this I'd like to have many champions of the game discussing aspects. Ninth Age also really needs a Youtube page that explains the game step by step in video :D

    2 List making can be done relatively quick with a possible eventual app or even just excell, again something that is very good to implement after Ninth Age is actually in books.

    3 You mean like unit fillers? I believe they are allowed.

    4 They are produced and available and made by the some compagnies on the page (link can be added upon request).

    5 Agreed I hope the army books will contain some example models aswell. Like GW really.

    6 Getting the models you like to play are impossible to get models? I dont understand.

    7 Keep it a yearly thing and people shouldnt be upset. ETC did this aswell, Wyrd does this also. It works out.

    8 Agreed Id like the option to have Magic be part of army building :)