A note about ASAW

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  • A note about ASAW

    I see a bit of discussion about ASAW has been added to the lexicon entry, so in the interests of visibility I'd like to surface it here.

    Personally, I would prefer future discussions around and references to ASAW to be divorced from any mention of the army direction surveys, conducted 15 months ago (and counting).

    Here's the thing with poll results. They only represent the views of a specific group of people, at a specific time, in a specific context. Even if the poll is well thought out and is executed well, and even if the results demonstrate perfect consensus, the results will inevitably become stale as the community grows and changes. Unless there is an appetite for conducting the polls frequently, there is a distinct risk that holding up the results in perpetuity as "the will of the community" will backfire, in that the community or its (extremely diverse) opinions may have changed. That is to say, rather than remaining an acclaimed example of effectively gathering community feedback, the poll results may come to represent a growing gulf between the direction of the project and current community sentiment.

    I enjoyed participating in the polls when they were conducted. I think that defining ASAW as a game design concept and bringing it into the forefront of everyone's mind for discussion is a great thing. I think that defining each army in those terms helped to constrain and direct the early workings of the designers, writers, and artists. I think that the polls have served their purpose.

    But personally, I think that the polls should not be conducted again.

    The direction has been set. The designers have been designing, the artists and writers have been creating. Shaking up the foundations with regular polling on direction will only increase churn and rework, making their lives harder. At the very least, any further polling should wait until after the project has had a proper crack at designing each of the different armies. Which is to say, in a few years time.

    Instead, I think that now we are ready to leave the polls behind and to define ASAW from the background material itself, as found in the core rulebook and in the upcoming (?) Background Compendium.

    Frankly, I think this sets a tone that is more in line with the style of "community driving" that this project maintains. Because when the background replaces the poll in leading ASAW, the answer to all questions on ASAW becomes clear: join the team and make a difference :D

    The post was edited 1 time, last by Ozariig: typo ().

  • The poll results mean a lot of different things to different people and the way they are treated is not consistent.

    They were a superb starting point but I think the questions can now be better phrased as "where do we want to move from here?" For example there are armies that don't list armour as a stand out strength that can field 2+ save cavalry, as good as other armies that have that right towards the top of the list.

    Likewise I has a discussion on the OnG boards. There is a real challenge interpreting the survey results. How should characters be? Some argued weak and cheap others expensive and strong, some said they should match the strength of the core troops others that they should be different. The disparity in "eliteness" between R&F and heroes was never polled for. Likewise you get a very different set of characteristics for orcs compared to goblins. I imagine the same is true for many other armies. We don't want players being told they can't get what they envisaged for their army as people didn't vote for it when there was never an option to vote for the more nuanced vision.

    I agree we need to move on from the polls. They were good. They were useful but they were a starting point not an end point. However I do think polls still have a place in the future of development - just needs LOT of care.
  • Omarcomin wrote:

    Well said. Those polls are an complete abortion and need to be used only as a reference point for a departure point.
    They were. The polls were the initial data point, and then things were adjusted. The army strengths and weaknesses were developed from those polls, but those polls weren't the alpha and omega. Just the starting point.

    If you remember, the HBE polls first indicated that they should be a gunline army. That has been changed in the ASAW due to people pointing out how little sense it made (also elf complaining, but that's expected at this point). Those polls aren't sacrosanct, but they were a good way to gather information.
  • lawgnome wrote:

    Those polls aren't sacrosanct, but they were a good way to gather information.
    that is actually quite arguable. The implementation of those polls were rather poor, and as such the information actually obtained is "contaminated" by the poor poll design.
    “You can never know everything, and part of what you know is always wrong. Perhaps even the most important part. A portion of wisdom lies in knowing that. A portion of courage lies in going on anyways.” -Lan Mandragoran, EotW

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  • lawgnome wrote:

    They were. The polls were the initial data point, and then things were adjusted. The army strengths and weaknesses were developed from those polls, but those polls weren't the alpha and omega. Just the starting point.
    If you remember, the HBE polls first indicated that they should be a gunline army. That has been changed in the ASAW due to people pointing out how little sense it made (also elf complaining, but that's expected at this point). Those polls aren't sacrosanct, but they were a good way to gather information.
    I like this statement a lot. But for something that we have apparently already moved on from, the polls sure seem to be referenced a lot in discussions on the forum. Even the lexicon entry for ASAW makes it sound like the polls are still playing a major role in determining army design.
  • They do, and it's terrible, but the rulemakers invested too much in it to consider anything else (imagine aligning to a new insight). It's really a dead end, with arguments being flown in for all over the place; main argument for DH losing anvil spells was "it breaks other armies immersion/uniqueness". Which is viable if this was some sort of oppressed emo-rainbow-unicorn game. Blèh.
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  • Ozariig wrote:

    I like this statement a lot. But for something that we have apparently already moved on from, the polls sure seem to be referenced a lot in discussions on the forum. Even the lexicon entry for ASAW makes it sound like the polls are still playing a major role in determining army design
    Us lowly forum members haven't heard anything else. The last point of reference we have is the polls and many armies won't have the ASAW released for quite a while, until the team start work on the full books.

    I know that some armies have had their ASAW released which is great because they can throw ideas around based on what was actually decided. The rest of us are still using those polls because that's the best we've got. For example, we don't want to spend ages on our plans for Ambushing and vanguarding KoE armies, when KoE has been marked down as not having lots of special deployment rules.

    I'm not criticising the team for this because I think they are doing this the right way around by waiting to set these for each army when they come to do the books. Otherwise you get to do the book and want to tweak something but can't because you've already set the ASAW.
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  • From what I understand ASAW is being incorporated into the next release. This is based on smallish changes to the existing books to reflect their respective ASAW.

    For example dwarves are not supposed to have any magic damage based on their ASAW and so the anvil has had its direct damage spells removed.
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  • @Omarcomin is right, the 2.0 update will feature aspects of ASAW, but not to the same degree of detail/precision guideline as a Full Army update like WoTDG & DL.

    I hear a lot about ‘poorly designed’ polls, but most of the objections I have read are related to the sample group.

    A rather disturbing trend I have seen of late is ‘general critisim’.

    I.e. X did a bad job with the polls.

    I hope people can understand the intrinsic value of such an incredibly open and imprecise claim as a form of feedback. It’s far better to use concrete examples from the past and explain how exactly the model failed.

    I.e. I believe the polls for ASAW should have been exclusive to players of the army, because their enjoyment matters most - and if they feel it’s fun to play, then others will be attracted to the game, and 2.0 will be received by the community with open arms.

    The above critique example is a far more interesting post, and more likely to generate meaningful dialogue.

    Let’s raise the intellectual bar a little. :)
  • But the polls were poorly designed. :P

    It also ignores the fact that the ASAW aren't being equally applied.

    DH have magic missiles as a weakness and are barred from having ANY of them in their army. SE also have magic missiles as a weakness but are still allowed to take magic missiles via their magic....so which is it? Does magic missiles mean you can't have magic missiles in your army or not?
    “You can never know everything, and part of what you know is always wrong. Perhaps even the most important part. A portion of wisdom lies in knowing that. A portion of courage lies in going on anyways.” -Lan Mandragoran, EotW

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  • Pellegrim wrote:

    They do, and it's terrible, but the rulemakers invested too much in it to consider anything else (imagine aligning to a new insight). It's really a dead end, with arguments being flown in for all over the place; main argument for DH losing anvil spells was "it breaks other armies immersion/uniqueness". Which is viable if this was some sort of oppressed emo-rainbow-unicorn game. Blèh.
    I can't speculate the extent to which Sunk Cost affects the continued mention of the polls. It's possible that the polls are only mentioned in context of ASAW because nothing has been presented as a replacement.

    If Sunk Cost is part of the reasoning, then my point here is that a one-off poll is a temperature reading and is not an "investment", in the sense that the results actually lose a lot of value and relevance over time. A commitment to continuous polling on the subject would continue to bring in value, but I feel that the nature of the subject being polled and its relationship to other aspects of the project makes it unsuitable to frequent polls.

    Sir_Sully wrote:


    Us lowly forum members haven't heard anything else. The last point of reference we have is the polls and many armies won't have the ASAW released for quite a while, until the team start work on the full books.
    I know that some armies have had their ASAW released which is great because they can throw ideas around based on what was actually decided. The rest of us are still using those polls because that's the best we've got. For example, we don't want to spend ages on our plans for Ambushing and vanguarding KoE armies, when KoE has been marked down as not having lots of special deployment rules.

    I'm not criticising the team for this because I think they are doing this the right way around by waiting to set these for each army when they come to do the books. Otherwise you get to do the book and want to tweak something but can't because you've already set the ASAW.
    This is exactly my point, thanks @Sir_Sully. I think that publishing definitive ASAW for each army would be a very positive step in framing these discussions for the community on the whole. When they are published, I'd prefer them to be drawn from the background that is already released or that will soon be released in the Background Compendium, without reference to the polls. At that point (if not sooner), the lexicon entry can be fixed.

    I'm not sure that releasing ASAW has to wait until the full books are in progress. It's pretty clear that ASAW is already being used in the "background-driven" design that is affecting all armies, even for the 2.0 update. I think that ASAW is at a high enough level of design that it could be shared earlier, even if its something that is subject to change, but that's just my opinion.
  • ASAW are used to define the army limits and increase differentiation, and sometimes these limits lead to interesting new design solutions.

    Background driven design gives the army a thematic cohesiveness that feels immersive and fun.

    Both are needed, I feel.
  • As ASAW is a design concept, I feel that it is responsive to (and thus in some sense subordinate to) the background. But I accept that it probably goes a bit both ways. If the background called for an unstoppable unit with no weaknesses, it would probably need to be changed for the good of the game.

    I think that the "Rule of Cool" applies equally to both. I can appreciate creative background, and I can appreciate creative design solutions that respond to the constraints posed by the background.

    For what it's worth @There Is No Spoon, I hope my posts in this thread aren't viewed by team members as "general criticism". I appreciate the fact that the community was polled, and I appreciate the effort that has been taken to conform the design to the wishes of the community. If anything, I'm looking for an opportunity here to appreciate the efforts of the background team and the design team, by seeing how ASAW, background, and the 2.0 updates all come together in a holistic sense :D
  • Sadly a lot of the sneak peaks seems to hint to another round of power creep.

    A lot of the items and some of the units already shown indicate another round of bypassing inteneded army weaknesses.
    Be it a weaknes on defence that is countered by special rules on some things or items. Be it a weaknes of specific charakters that are directly countered with items that are totally tailored to be takern by a single charakter.

    I don´t like the direction this takes. Instead of just doing the bare minimum of necessary changes and just repricing the things that are wrong priced this update seems to be used to do a round of power creep.
    And this will end in another round of necessary nerfs to a lot of things in a few month, getting no useful information about balance due to a lot of OP things introduced with the 2.0 rework of the books.

    Of course I don´t know the pricing of the things, but I doubt, that these counters for intended army or charakter weaknesses, will be priced in the correct way because this high price tag would make them nice items, but there would be a follow up whining in the form because they are useless, to expensive, not able to be combined with other things....
  • @Herminard - Care to elaborate on the dangers/myths of power creep with regard to balance vs. design?

    @Wesser Generally speaking most design changes involve simplification and a heavy focus on weighing thematic design with ASAW. I haven’t seen any proposals for get-around special rules, but then again I’m not omnipresent.
  • There Is No Spoon wrote:

    @Herminard - Care to elaborate on the dangers/myths of power creep with regard to balance vs. design?

    @Wesser Generally speaking most design changes involve simplification and a heavy focus on weighing thematic design with ASAW. I haven’t seen any proposals for get-around special rules, but then again I’m not omnipresent.

    Certainly. Is there any specific post I am addressing?
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