SE Community requests for Beta 2.04 points cost reasoning from Balance Team

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  • SE Community requests for Beta 2.04 points cost reasoning from Balance Team

    Hello Children of the Woods!

    We've been told we can ask the Balance team to provide reasoning for pricing on up to 6 entries in the 2.04 update. If you post anything you would like an explanation of the pricing on below, at the appropriate time we will pass on the six most popular (through our ACS judgement of likes etc) to the Balance team for them to provide their thoughts behind how they reached those particular price points.

    Please keep your posts constructive and respectful, as I know you will :)

    Thank you for your help and support!
  • Arrahed wrote:

    Very interesting concept.
    I'd be interested in the pricing of Pathfinders.
    Not to discourage the asking of that specifically, but I think I can provide some context that might help with understanding it:

    The couple of big tournaments run during the update discussions (WTC and TEC) as well as a bunch of anecdotal evidence suggested 2x maxxed Pathfinder units were being quite over selected in 2.03 in competitive play. This fed into a general feeling of heavy shooty avoidance (a playstyle that many see as providing unfun and overly skewed play experiences) being seen too often. RT asked the Task Team have a look at this and try to tilt SE a bit more towards other things (which is why some of the combat improvements, as well as the shooting limitations were made / approved).

    Obviously there were some other measures taken with Pathfinder characters. With Pathfinder Units there was a discussion about how to make it so taking some Pathfinders was viable, but taking as many as possible wasn't automatically more viable. Pathfinders are kind of a special problem in this regard because their mobility, damage type and ranged ability combine to make maximum concentration of force with them both very viable and attractive.

    Many options were discussed, including tighter model / unit limits, removing march and shoot, giving Pathfinders shorter ranged bows etc. I suggested splitting them into two units, with the second one being an "elite of the elite" of the Pathfinders, which would be cool and have some rule of cool rules but would be less point efficient than normal Pathfinders in most situations. Thus taking a second unit of Pathfinders would become less point efficient than taking the first, rather than how it was the case in 2.03 where taking the second one in the hands of a good player would be more points effective because of how you could apply concentration of force with them to remove key threats early (and then avoid). It was thought that a simpler and less risky way to achieve a similar result was to make additional models particularly expensive (note the base unit actually got cheaper) so it would be less likely to see 2x10 so often. So the decision was made to address the issue with price, rather than a design change.

    I'm not sure how well that will work, I think we'll have to see in practice. But I hope that explanation will provide some context in that I believe the Balance Team were probably (I don't know for sure) directed to price them with that steep additional model step up in price in mind, though I don't know how they reached the final price point.
  • Making it easy by quoting. ;)

    DJWoodelf wrote:

    ...


    Minor price issues:

    Banner of Deception:
    not needed to make it more expensive. I experienced that in about 50% of the games it's not useful, so the old price IMO was OK.

    Predator Pennant:
    although buffed no price increase needed, especially compared to HE Navigator's Banner being just 15 points more expensive while also working when being charged. So 50pts IMO was totally overpriced for the old version while being OK for the new version.

    Horn of the Wild Hunt:
    same as Predator Pennant, being 10 pts more expensive than EoS Karadon's Courser IMO is not justified. So 50pts IMO was overpriced for the old version while being OK for the new version.

    Glyph of Amryl:
    on first view about 15pts too expensive for e.g. making a shapeshifter a potential monster hunter....while the +3DS only work against character in a Duel.

    Thicket Beasts:
    compared to the old Entwined Roots version, they gain Scoring but lose 1AP, while being +8pts/model more expensive (+13pts/additional model)....hopefully I calculated correctly. :D Taking into account that the min size increased to 4 (which I'm fine with), I would have expected a lower min size price (5-10pts/model) and slightly lower price for additional models (5pts).


    Major price issues:

    Bough of Wyscan:
    Getting +1 to-wound (only in short range) for 55pts?
    S4 +1 to-wound is (much) worse against S3 +2 to-wound against their maybe most important targets (Res6).
    Also taking the loss of any long range effect into account, IMO that's the only "pricing blackout" in the army book. 30pts, maybe 40pts and it's an OPTION...still no auto-include.

    Dryads:
    still 6pts/model for take skirmisher and lose scoring?
    IMO, even for the same price we wouldnt see more skirmishing units than scoring units.

    ...

    Quick Starter Team

    Playtester


  • Hachiman Taro wrote:

    Arrahed wrote:

    Very interesting concept.
    I'd be interested in the pricing of Pathfinders.
    Not to discourage the asking of that specifically, but I think I can provide some context that might help with understanding it:
    The couple of big tournaments run during the update discussions (WTC and TEC) as well as a bunch of anecdotal evidence suggested 2x maxxed Pathfinder units were being quite over selected in 2.03 in competitive play. This fed into a general feeling of heavy shooty avoidance (a playstyle that many see as providing unfun and overly skewed play experiences) being seen too often. RT asked the Task Team have a look at this and try to tilt SE a bit more towards other things (which is why some of the combat improvements, as well as the shooting limitations were made / approved).

    Obviously there were some other measures taken with Pathfinder characters. With Pathfinder Units there was a discussion about how to make it so taking some Pathfinders was viable, but taking as many as possible wasn't automatically more viable. Pathfinders are kind of a special problem in this regard because their mobility, damage type and ranged ability combine to make maximum concentration of force with them both very viable and attractive.

    Many options were discussed, including tighter model / unit limits, removing march and shoot, giving Pathfinders shorter ranged bows etc. I suggested splitting them into two units, with the second one being an "elite of the elite" of the Pathfinders, which would be cool and have some rule of cool rules but would be less point efficient than normal Pathfinders in most situations. Thus taking a second unit of Pathfinders would become less point efficient than taking the first, rather than how it was the case in 2.03 where taking the second one in the hands of a good player would be more points effective because of how you could apply concentration of force with them to remove key threats early (and then avoid). It was thought that a simpler and less risky way to achieve a similar result was to make additional models particularly expensive (note the base unit actually got cheaper) so it would be less likely to see 2x10 so often. So the decision was made to address the issue with price, rather than a design change.

    I'm not sure how well that will work, I think we'll have to see in practice. But I hope that explanation will provide some context in that I believe the Balance Team were probably (I don't know for sure) directed to price them with that steep additional model step up in price in mind, though I don't know how they reached the final price point.
    I know that these things were discussed at lengths already and RT/BLT are probably probably getting annoyed. :)
    That also means that there is a significant risk that we won't learn anything new by submitting the question.

    I will try to explain what information specifically would be interesting to me. (Provided that more detailed questions are allowed.)

    First, I am talking about Pathfinder units, not characters.
    Pathfinders are very potent units. No doubt about it. They will also keep seeing play at their current point cost, because we don't have much else to deal with certain threats at range. Especially after the Cosmology nerf.
    This also implies that the high pick rate of Pathfinders is an internal balance problem: Independent of how efficient Pathfinders are on a global scale, SE lack alternatives for their role. --> High pick rate.
    Unfortunately, this also means that increasing point cost will not address the internal balance issue. If there is no real alternative, there is no real choice. The only way this could happen is if the point cost get so high that Pathfinders become so inefficient that they become externally unbalanced.

    And to be honest, I don't think we are far away from that point. Compare the damage output from 10 Pathfinders to an Organ gun, or a Volley gun. Then look at point cost. Of course Pathfinders have mobility and range on top of their damage, but they are also much more vulnerable against a lot of attacks and lose their damage output after taking wounds. They are also quite vulnerable to panic and require a BSB to babysit them.

    Also, if the goal is to reduce avoidance builds, making them more expensive is not that effective. It is way too risky to put a unit that squishy and that expensive at risk. Therefore, avoidance builds are played.

    My questions would be this: In this context, what is the actual plan for Pathfinders? What specific balance issue was supposed to be solved by the price increase? If it is an internal one, are price changes really a valid strategy considering that there are no internal contesters for that particular role? If it is an external one, which match-ups specifically were considered problematic and is a point increase the best way to address that?
  • would like to know about the price increase for the first 10 archers needing 25 archers to be the same price as before. i know they came out of unseen but we have the bow limit and it is about the same number arrows you could get with special archers when both where in unseen arrows so the unit has not even changed.

    treekin cost seems a little expensive i know they gained str 5 and get to keep the scoring but lost an ap and they keep it even if the character dies but that was only 10 points and and then only 12 points after that for each guy so you basically doubled the cost of the item and we lost an ap i know we had to have a character. i be surprised if a unit is run without a character in it other wise they have there hip joined to a wood.

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

  • @Arrahed you make excellent points I agree with. Bear in mind (outside further limiting model count, which the project is understandably reticent to do) Balance Team only has one tool to solve problems - points. When all you have is a hammer every problem is a nail. The hammer they have is already being used fairly creatively here IMHO.

    Then from a design point of view it's also a difficult problem. Adding more s4 Ap3 shooting somewhere else isn't exactly getting approved easily, and higher strength shooting is out of scope of this update and delicate from an army strength and weakness point of view (maybe for the full book). However some measures have been taken, for example it's not by accident a very similar damage type has been added to Bladedancers - it's not shooting obvs but in lieu of that it does give an option against some similar problems. And let's not lose sight of the fact that the essential problem is that Pathfinders are AWESOME. I'm not sure we want that solved too conclusively ;).

    Right now 2x7 is just slightly more expensive than it used to be. If we saw that a fair bit instead of 2x10 + Pathfinder chief BSB, I think that would make an ok compromise.

    I hope that helps. Not trying to dissuade your questions (rather the opposite) but just to provide the context I Can that I don't think we'd get from a BLT answer, which is likely to be succinct and only address points value I think.
  • Horn of the Wild Hunt:

    While the item did get an improved effect to make it actually useable (at the cost of shorter range) I am curious as to why it was increased in points so dramatically. It was never taken before and with this increase I doubt it will be taken now.

    With it costed at 60 pts, characters will almost never have room to slot it into a normal combat build. If I have 60 pts and a artefact slot available (which is very rare when building a list) I will pretty much always choose some sort of magic phase item such as: Binding Scroll, Crystal ball, Talisman of the Void, etc. Honestly it feels more like a 30 pt item you throw on a build If you have the points, not an item that you build a character for.

    Drums of Cenyrn:
    With no change since 2.01 I am surprised this didn't go down in points. It suffers the same problem as the Horn of the Wild Hunt.

    Banner of Deception:
    An already under selected item that didn't receive any changes that went up in cost. I don't see any new combos from other changes in the book that warrant this.

    Predator Pennant:
    While the reduced restrictions on the effect are greatly appreciated I am still surprised by the cost of the item considering other items in the game and this very book that grant the same effect but more often/easily.

    Treefather Ancient:
    It may have been intended but the 10pt price increase takes away access to the new artefacts availability in certain lists.

    If I want to run a Triple Treefather list + Thicket Shepard BsB. I need to pick between either one of the new aspects of nature or a decent artifact such as the Crystal ball, binding scroll, or void talisman. You can't fit both into the 1800pts of character allowance.

    Wild Huntsmen:

    They received a increase in points from 1.3 to 2.01 that hasn't been addressed yet. Offensively they stayed about the same, losing 1 attack on the mount but gained battle focus and they gained +1 Agi. In return the lost -2 Defensive Skill and became loads more unreliable due to frenzy changes (though it got better in 2.03, they are still not nearly as reliable as their 1.3 incarnation)

    During 1.3 they were a slightly underused option. After many games I have found they are now worse than their 1.3 version (barring vs Elves) and more expensive as well. I have removed them from my lists and I rarely see them taken. I am curious as to why they didn't receive a points decrease.

    Cheers!

    P.S. I think the pathfinder points costs are quite clever!
  • I gotta say I really appreciate how thoughtful and civil our community is in general with any issues they raise. It not only makes having a conversation with you guys much more pleasant, but it also lets good information flow much better in both directions, meaning both the project and the community can more easily listen to each other.

    Few notes:

    Some of the prices may be related to a policy that basically if there was a design change to an entry, it would be deemed to have improved, and therefore get priced with that in mind (i.e., assuming it was likely worth more). There's been a bit of a debate about how appropriate that is internally, but basically i think it's aimed at making the task teams be really sure something needed a design change before they changed it, and also maybe a little of assuming the Task Teams were pretty on the ball about the nuances of changes that would improve their own army, maybe even more so than Balance Team, so for various reasons including those and others it makes sense to price new designs conservatively high (something over priced won't wreck balance, it just won't get used but something powerful under priced could skew things hard with ubiquitous use). I would expect over priced new items to come down incrementally over time with several rounds of points only balance changes, so we have to remember this is a Beta, and things will hopefully settle into place.

    Drums we looked at but the Task Team seemed to think they were OK.

    Wild Huntsmen were actually reasonably well selected at both WTC and TEC (the big tournaments I'm aware of held between 2.03 and 2.04). That's not enough data, but it's the best we had at the time. That may go some way to explaining no price drop. We should keep an eye on it, and if you have any data to suggest they are underused I would like to see it.

    Treefather Ancient - the 10pt rise seems to be related to magic item access and is a bit annoying, especially since I think he didn't get a price drop when he lost it (or when he lost full divination either)

    Banner of Deception (and Predator Pennant) I'd only really be guessing. Though I did note that @DanT used the Banner of Deception in a cool way when he played SE - to put his Druid master in that unit and therefore have his major spellcaster exactly where he wanted him. Perhaps people have been playing similar shenanigans effectively in BLTs metas...

    My biggest concerns are that Briar Maidens didn't get a drop on either the base unit or the conclave, when the former was hardly selected at all at WTC & TEC, and the latter wasn't selected at all in 23 lists. Some things might have helped them slightly in the update, but not that much IMHO.

    Also Thicket Beasts. Yeah they got better. But boy they seemed to pay for it!

    Oh and skirmish dryads. 6pts seems a lot, especially losing scoring!

    The post was edited 2 times, last by Hachiman Taro ().

  • Arrahed wrote:

    My questions would be this: In this context, what is the actual plan for Pathfinders? What specific balance issue was supposed to be solved by the price increase? If it is an internal one, are price changes really a valid strategy considering that there are no internal contesters for that particular role? If it is an external one, which match-ups specifically were considered problematic and is a point increase the best way to address that?
    Just to expand on what @Hachiman Taro already said:

    The idea here was to encourage players to use different configurations rather than the auto-pick 2x10.

    By making smaller units cheaper, and additional models more expensive, smaller units become more cost effective. Add in the additional anti-armour capabilities added to Bladedancers and Princes, and bringing one or two smaller units of Pathfinders should be a viable alternative to simply defaulting to 2x10.
  • Harmonize wrote:

    DJwoodelf. Bot Bough of Wyscan, did the same thing in the last edition ? It just got better now with the S4 and +1 AP.
    No, it was nerfed. It used to function as a normal longbow with +2 to wound at short range and +1 at long range. Now it gets+1S and +1 to wound at short range and nothing at long range. It does get Quick to fire though.

    So at short range:
    Same vs T5 or below, Worse against T6 or above

    At long range:
    same vs T1, worse vs everything else.
  • I think the forced additional model and pts increase on Treekin really restricts the kinds of builds you can do with them. I like Treekin for scoring purposes, where the best scorers we had by a long way imho, and I took 2x3 because it let me skimp on the scoring in core a little. 400pts, easy to fit into a list, boom. Now I can do what I want with the rest of the army.

    Now 2 minimum sized units is almost 700pts. That's 1/5 of my army list. Sure they are good units now, 2x2 is a credible combat threat to a lot of units, but I feel like I've lost a lot of army building options now. I don't see why we had to hit avoidance with pathfinder additional model increases, loss of pathfinder bsb, nerf to pathfinder chiefs, a point increase on Heath Hunters and very tangentially the Unicorn rework (no easy access to Mr 2/3 to prevent salvo) as well as remove the scoring option that several lists relied upon.


    Why not just make the first 3 models more expensive than the rest? I'd still rather pay ~580pts for 2x3 than 690 for 2x4.
  • Part of the idea with the increase to 4 models was, I think, to prevent them being used as just a durable scoring block. Now they can still serve as a scoring unit, but they aren't efficient for only that purpose, meaning they are more likely to be used as an actual combat unit.

    That was my understanding, but that's based on reading between the lines and putting 2 and 2 together between comments in different discussions, so I might be reading more into it than there is. I'll have a look back through the task team discussion on TB and check later.
  • 4 Models was counter proposed to the Task Team by RT as a condition to getting the upgrade on Thickets. It's intended to be a restriction pretty much in the way Alex is complaining about I think. That is, Thickets are good, but they're definitively a solid scoring combat list anchor core that requires a significant investment in an anvilly centre.

    The Task Team did not ask for that, but accepted it, partly in the hope that it would keep the cost down a little, I think.
  • Unicorn - a) The Eagle seem way superior even for a combat oriented wizard, yet its cheaper and b) you’re shoehorned into taking Talisman of Shielding since no other Aegis (Cosmo Master mages aside) are avaiable

    Elk/Eagle King - Fly is a good rule sure, but frankly the Elk is better and much cheaper for a combat character, and for a flying harasser Kestrels are superior. When you consider the lack of synergy items and kindred Eagle heroes are pretty meh. So until FAB hits and Eagle riders might get access to a kindred Im weirded out by their price compared to the Elk
  • New

    Wesser wrote:

    Unicorn - a) The Eagle seem way superior even for a combat oriented wizard, yet its cheaper and b) you’re shoehorned into taking Talisman of Shielding since no other Aegis (Cosmo Master mages aside) are avaiable

    Elk/Eagle King - Fly is a good rule sure, but frankly the Elk is better and much cheaper for a combat character, and for a flying harasser Kestrels are superior. When you consider the lack of synergy items and kindred Eagle heroes are pretty meh. So until FAB hits and Eagle riders might get access to a kindred Im weirded out by their price compared to the Elk
    Would be great to have the hunter kindred on the eagle or some other "eagle/dragon kindred"
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  • New

    Apart from the pricing of some items I am really happy with the update.

    I feel the pricing will get better over time so its good to have what i feel is a more playable book now it is set for a while.

    One change i would make is to bow of wyscan.

    I would have added that the bow always shoots with a minimum of 3 shots. This would make it viable on characters that do not have pathfinder kindred.

    In this way I could have a nice support item on a prince/cheiftain/wizard.

    Its obviously not as good because the pathfinders have higher aim scores and the 2 shooting modes. But this is relfected in the cost of the kindred.
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  • New

    Henrypmiller wrote:

    Apart from the pricing of some items I am really happy with the update.

    I feel the pricing will get better over time so its good to have what i feel is a more playable book now it is set for a while.

    One change i would make is to bow of wyscan.

    I would have added that the bow always shoots with a minimum of 3 shots. This would make it viable on characters that do not have pathfinder kindred.

    In this way I could have a nice support item on a prince/cheiftain/wizard.

    Its obviously not as good because the pathfinders have higher aim scores and the 2 shooting modes. But this is relfected in the cost of the kindred.
    That's a good idea since it's basically priced that way anyway. I think it isn't that big a deal since it is priced for a Pathfinder (with Master Archer) to take it anyway, but you're right it would make sense. I'll keep it in mind if the opportunity comes up at any stage that I can suggest it.