Thoughts and Opinions on HbE Identity and Design

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  • Giladis wrote:

    It it also important to understand the armies in T9A are not designed just to fit the expectations of players that at this given point in time identify with a particular army but to fit the expectations of all T9A players. :)
    This is a dangerous way of thinking. Not all players flit back and forth between armies, many only play one army and many more mainly play only one or two armies. The expectations of everyone else have to be taken into consideration, but if the people who play an army don't like it, many will stop playing it, and some will stop playing T9A altogether.

    DanT wrote:

    Adam wrote:

    @Aenarion43 First of all great job. I really agree with most points brought (apart from weakness in dealing damage, as I believe that we are dialed so far up that even a significant drop from there wouldn't bring us into weakness territory. I think that even dropping LR would be sufficient in nerfing HBE damage to reasonable levels)
    Question(s):What would be the wider community reaction to this?
    The removal of LR seems to me like something that would cause a riot if a staff member suggested it.

    What level of compensation would be required to prevent a riot?
    Would every (combat) unit need some compensation or would some just drop in price? How would the latter affect the elite feel of the army?

    Do you not think such a thing loses a level of immersion in the world (that elves all have LR)?
    This is an idea I have been toying with for a while. Remove LR from most HE and SE, maybe some DE too, and replace it with a rule which grants -1 to hit, stackable with Distracting, or a hefty DS buff in the statline. Or replace it with Distracting and change items like Hunter's Honour, Predator Pennant and Navigators Banner to a DS buff or OS debuff.

    All Elves having LR is less immersive than Elves actually knowing how to dodge or Parry a blow. Beserkers who use their superhuman grace to land hits instead of avoiding them would never survive enough battles to develop the incredible martial skill Elves are supposed to have. Not to mention that if they are a slow-breeding race, they'd drive themselves to extinction in their first civil war!

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

  • Giladis wrote:

    Adam wrote:

    Couple of points: There have been some suggestions about armor or other forms of defense and the main problem that is seen with that is that we are stepping on some other army toes. This could be solved quite neatly using our jack of all trades idea by layering multiple forms of protection (each of them moderate). As an example armies with armor as strength get 3+ infantry with parry on their anvil type of troops - HBE anvil could be AS 4+, Aegis 6+, +1 DS than usual. That way we get a mix of special saves, armor and avoiding hits which in effect offers similar protection but in a different fashion than others.
    Interesting take applicable to HE Core under the current direction but not really to non-Core stuff because while the Army is meant to be JOAT specific units are meant to be heavily specialised.

    I would certainly be willing to explore such a potential shift to all HE units, making them more generalists rather than specialists leaving specialisations to other two elves. But everyone should be aware that more generalist HE units become greater the likelihood of concept merges as there would be too much overlap in order to open space for completely new designs.
    I would probably expect merge of SM and LG at this point (or translating LG to something like light troops with swift stride max size 15 to really hunt monsters) and SM to line troops with GW. It would also help cavalry since they are least dependent on LR (and they + chariots would be the only units with burst damage allowing to swing fights for people stuck in our infantry)

    I am also really happy that changes like that are considered by RT.
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  • Adam wrote:

    I am also really happy that changes like that are considered by RT.
    If the community only knew all the things RT consider I think they would be far less annoyed by the team. A big problem is that there is only so many hours in a day and just reporting everything we pondered on would be a full time job.


    Which reminds me I need to poke the ACS team (the whole team not just HE) that the community suggestion folder has been quite silent for months now. :)

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  • Adam wrote:

    @DanT well we are talking about trading being berserkers for being more resilient. Later on in the post there are even have some proposals for that. So we are trading RPS design which has first turn offense dialed to 10 and resilience to swing back at minimal levels to something more balanced.

    I think that after seeing countless of posts that HBE are not fun to face because SM/LG wipe out your whole unit before it can strike, and being HBE player who thinks that facing a catapult/mortar/archers/pyro is not fun because your super expensive unit doesn't get chance to swing I think that such change would be welcome not only by HBE community but by others as well (of course if the trade was real so improved defences for LR)
    Let me pick up on this in a far more general fashion.

    The project is currently being accused of
    (A) Blandifying/removing all interesting things in the name of balance
    (B) Making things too rock-paper-scissors

    Personally, I think there is a tension (perhaps not an absolute one) between these two things.
    Surely if we shift every unit towards being less RPS, then we are further blandifying everything in the name of balance?

    I am not saying that this means we shouldn't do this for elves, just that I try to worry about everyone's complaints, and that causes headaches :/


    To give some an explicit recent example:
    There are people moaning that their armour does nothing.
    But then when we introduce things with mid-high str and AP0, we get a load of complaints that such design is too RPS.


    I don't know what the answer is here, but I would personally have reservations about such a shift to elves until I am more sure that the majority of players would welcome it.
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  • @DanT I think that blandifying accusations come from not that evocative rules and their limited scope of application (like WoTG with their marks in initial release) while RPS come from polarized rules.

    For example the design I proposed for let's call it future SM would be OS6 DS7 S3 R3 A1 AS4+, Aegis 6+ Great weapon, no LR. They are harder to hit than they are now in CC, they are more resilient to shooting and in CC in a meaningful way but they no longer evaporate everything they touch in CC. Also design is quite evocative - masters of sword (no unit matches their skill), magical protection (aegis), good craftsmen (decent armor but not stepping on toes of armies that get 3+AS parry infantry) while at the same time they are definitely not RPS but elite rather generalists.

    The current SM design on the other hand depicts absolutely crazy berserkers who just bathe in blood of chopped enemies while caring very little for personal protection. They just run ASAP towards enemy to blend them. Quite weird for most HBE players and depending on matchup unfunny for either HBE player or their opponent.

    So all in all I think that you can have less bland designs and less RPS at the same time.
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  • For me you could loose LR and significantly boost OWS and DWS. This would make elven units hit probably on 3s and only sometimes 2s (lets say swordmasters are an 8, LG a 7 and spears a 6 in current rules). This would also make them more durable vs elite troops and much more fitting vs grunt units.

    I.e elites hitting on 3s vs most things (rather than 2s) but getting a better defensive skill so being hit on 5s by most things.
    Spears the same but only hitting on 2s vs ws 2 troops and having good defense vs ws 2.

    You could also cap it at say “elves can only be hit at best on a 4+.
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  • Adam wrote:

    @DanT I think that blandifying accusations come from not that evocative rules and their limited scope of application (like WoTG with their marks in initial release) while RPS come from polarized rules.
    I am not sure how many people share the same way of thinking about this as you.
    I don't think the blandification is the opposite of evocative in this context, but more about removal of power and power peaks.

    You might be right about swordmasters specifically of course, but I was trying to point at a general consideration.
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  • CariadocThorne wrote:

    and replace it with a rule which grants -1 to hit, stackable with Distracting, or a hefty DS buff in the statline. Or replace it with Distracting and change items like Hunter's Honour, Predator Pennant and Navigators Banner to a DS buff or OS debuff.
    Yeah this discussion made me think of that for SE, considering "Avoid hits" and how that works best in combat (since hard targety things are a bit more avoidancy), and then it got suggested for HBE here too. Elves having the grace to avoid the clumsy swings of their enemies seems to be a good fit on a number of levels. Maybe LR could be -1 to be hit OR +1 to hit, depending on the unit - with HBE having more of the -1 to be hit, SE having a balance, and De having more of the +1 to hit. That would be an interesting variance I think.
  • @Giladis

    One important thing to consider is whether some similarities with NON-elven factions should be allowed because other differences exist. If design space can only exist that hasn't been touched on at all, then the army will never be something that its players like. I am curious on your opinion on the following:

    Would it not be better to DESIGN the army for the players who use it and BALANCE it for the players who fight it? Essentially give the people who play the army what they want for it (in this case a more balanced/defensive army that focuses on "Survive to kill you" as opposed to the dread/sylvan "Kill You To Survive"), then balance it with points and adjustments to design so that those playing against it enjoy the game as well.

    In this way, you would be pleasing the community who uses the army by giving them something they will enjoy and feel cool using, but at the same time give their opponents a balanced experience that will be unique and engaging.

    Thoughts on this?

    On the topic of deI don't think that Highborn Elves should be about any one specific defense (e.g. armor). Flame Wardens have their 4++, Navigator's Banner and Protection of Dorac are about avoiding hits. Lion Guard and Knights are about armor. This is why I think that an overall "strong defenses" is better than picking any one thing as a thematic element for the army. It gives greater design freedom, and allows the army to combine different attributes as needed to achieve unique units. This way the overarching element of the army is defensiveness, but no one specific choice can be an overarching theme of the army in general.

    Highborn Elves are slated to have a defensive playstyle (Protect the Castle) as one of their available styles if I am understanding the current vision correctly. What we desire is that that defensive aspect be brought to the fore of the army's identity. It will provide a unique take on Highborn compared to other elves, and still provides differentiation from other armies because of the elven statline and design guidelines.

    The two big goals for designing the army should be to make it unique/flavorful but also to make it fun to play with/against. As it currently stands, there are a LARGE number of complaints that many HbE units (and elven units in general, but for some reason HbE tend to draw more ire) are too RPS. Sword Masters are a great example. If no counters exist, then they will shred pretty much anything they touch in combat. If enough counters are there, then it stinks for the HbE player because your unit can get wiped out in 1 shot before you've even had a chance to play.

    In my opinion, this should be changed so that the game is more interactive and list building plays a lesser role in deciding the game before it starts. Achieving this would be VERY difficult to do while keeping the army unique and flavorful, but it is doable. I think that our goal should be that.


    As to the ASAW,
    Once you replace Small Arms Fire (which is directly counteracted by Strength In Numbers, and will never be a viable Strength for the army) with some defensive strength (as I mentioned, I am in favor of an overall "strong defenses" that allows the army to dip into Special Saves, Avoid Hits, or Armor as needed without having an overarching thematic element):
    How different are the ones we posted?


    Say you kept Leadership (Independence) and Weakness Buff Wagons. Then the two Asaw would share:
    Strengths:
    1) Leadership (Bubble and Independence)
    2) Magic - Casting
    3) Medium Arms FIre
    4) Defensive Strength
    5) Speed

    And all the weaknesses. Then the only difference is that I think that the magic of HbE should be specialized as defensive spellcasting (They are White Wizards) compared to Sylvan Elves' debuffing/hexing magic (Red Wizards) or Dread Elves offensive spells (Black Wizards). There appears to be quite a bit of support for that, and it's something that no other faction truly explores (as no army is specialized in "Defensive magic"). So there we have a unique point of specialization that the community wants and opens up design space for the army through the use of unique spells (Behind paywalls) and bound spells.


    @DanT
    The issue with "making thing bland" comes more from "making everything highly conditional" and "removing options". If the way to work on HbE were to merge all 3 elite infantries into one entry with weapon options and archers, spears, and sea guard were merged into a generic "soldier" option, then you'd see disappointment and frustration no matter how you made the change.

    However, opening up design space in an army, as @lawgnome suggested, to create differentiation between armies shouldn't do it. The big thing to keep in mind is that the idea of "if everyone is special nobody is special" is wrong. Saying "we'll limit XYZ to one entry because making multiples is hard and limiting it heavily makes it more special" is the wrong attitude to take (unfortunately, it's one that was frequently bandied about in the past).

    To give an example with Sword Masters, the current iteration brings to mind berserkers with little regard for their survival. It's more like Slayers in Elf Form than true "Sword Masters".

    Here's one design that I really like for them, that I believe represents them far better as "masters of the sword":
    Global:
    Adv 5
    Mar 5
    Di 9
    Defensive
    DS6
    T3
    1W
    Distracting, Plate Armor
    Offensive
    OS6
    S3
    I5
    A1
    Great Weapon, Lightning Reflexes, Riposte: Whenever an enemy attacking this unit rolls a natural "1" To Hit, this unit may make an Out Of Sequence attack with all applicable special rules and modifiers. This attack must still roll To Hit and To Wound normally, and can be saved as normal.

    Discipline is increased because they are the Highborn equivalent of a professional soldier (who should have high discipline than a regular grunt). The standard elf is 8, so a professional soldier for elves would go to 9. OS6/DS6 and Distracting + Plate shows their martial skill. Even with plate armor, they are still capable of having incredible martial skill and being hard to hit. LR lets them move at speed, which again showcases their martial skill. Riposte is the final piece of "martial skill" and "masters of the sword" because they take advantage of all your mistakes AS YOU MAKE THEM. This is the something that any true martial arts master is able to do, and Sword Masters can showcase perfectly.


    I want to end the post by saying that I appreciate both you and Giladis taking the time to read through the thread and respond as well as the openness that you have demonstrated to look into changing the vision and direction of the army to be one that is more supported by the community who plays the army. It shows a willingness to change, and a strong desire to create a wonderful game. This drive and desire will see us all reach a great point for the army as long as all of us, both community and the various design teams, show patience and respect for one another. Thank you for the time you dedicate to this community and the game.

    :)
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  • Giladis wrote:

    El_Dallosi wrote:

    Certainly true. Can you share any of the info the team currently has for the direction for HE?
    Apart from the background that is written and used in the designs created in the last 8 months the designer have this to go by:
    Display Spoiler

    Strengths
    leadership bubble
    LD independence
    speed
    medium arms fire
    small arms fire

    offensive magic (ability to cast spells or not have them dispelled)
    defensive magic (ability to stop spells)

    Weaknesses
    strength in numbers
    toughness
    ignore morale
    special deployment
    heavy arms fire
    support wagons/characters

    Jack of all trades army.
    Some units (core and characters) are universal jack-off-all-trades multi-purpose units.
    Non-core are highly specialized, very good at one specific task, but lack-luster at all other things. They have rocks, have papers and have scissors, but need to match them correctly to win. A superior general (which the HE believes themselves to be) will be able to get the right unit into the right place, and thus victory will be easy.


    The two green strengths as per the request of the ACS team based on wider community feedback are potentially open to debate. With the actions already taken (Grey Watchers ability) it is more likely than not the designers are going to replace one of the two with a defensive feature and most likely "avoiding hits" as that is the only one that is both available to be assigned and fitting the expectations of the army.

    It it also important to understand the armies in T9A are not designed just to fit the expectations of players that at this given point in time identify with a particular army but to fit the expectations of all T9A players. :)
    That 'jack of all trades army' part is along the lines of what I was mentioning before. Glad the team has the same view on HBE.

    I also agree with what @Aenarion43 (I think) mentioned earlier about the small arms fire being slightly counter to the whole elite troops thing. So good to see those are the ones in question. Thanks for sharing that insight Giladis!

    Adam wrote:

    @DanT I think that blandifying accusations come from not that evocative rules and their limited scope of application (like WoTG with their marks in initial release) while RPS come from polarized rules.

    For example the design I proposed for let's call it future SM would be OS6 DS7 S3 R3 A1 AS4+, Aegis 6+ Great weapon, no LR. They are harder to hit than they are now in CC, they are more resilient to shooting and in CC in a meaningful way but they no longer evaporate everything they touch in CC. Also design is quite evocative - masters of sword (no unit matches their skill), magical protection (aegis), good craftsmen (decent armor but not stepping on toes of armies that get 3+AS parry infantry) while at the same time they are definitely not RPS but elite rather generalists.

    The current SM design on the other hand depicts absolutely crazy berserkers who just bathe in blood of chopped enemies while caring very little for personal protection. They just run ASAP towards enemy to blend them. Quite weird for most HBE players and depending on matchup unfunny for either HBE player or their opponent.

    So all in all I think that you can have less bland designs and less RPS at the same time.
    That seems like a solid suggestion for them. I haven't played with swordmasters in T9A tbh, but if they are as everyone is saying - crazy bezerkers - that just doesn't fit the lore for them IMO. Much better suggestion Adam.


    EDIT:

    Aenarion43 wrote:



    Would it not be better to DESIGN the army for the players who use it and BALANCE it for the players who fight it? Essentially give the people who play the army what they want for it (in this case a more balanced/defensive army that focuses on "Survive to kill you" as opposed to the dread/sylvan "Kill You To Survive"), then balance it with points and adjustments to design so that those playing against it enjoy the game as well.
    Love this paragraph. Agree totally.
  • Aenarion43 wrote:

    Would it not be better to DESIGN the army for the players who use it and BALANCE it for the players who fight it? Essentially give the people who play the army what they want for it (in this case a more balanced/defensive army that focuses on "Survive to kill you" as opposed to the dread/sylvan "Kill You To Survive"), then balance it with points and adjustments to design so that those playing against it enjoy the game as well.
    Very good quote. I think this is the primary reason the original books of T9A were so well received. There were some problems, sure, but overall the books were loved because passionate army specific players designed the books, which were then tasked to be balanced by others.

    Again, this process had it's own problems, but the output was cool.

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  • DanT wrote:

    I agree.
    I believe that opinions deep within the project differ.

    I am hoping to put the topic of faction differentiation back on the agenda internally over the next few months.
    I would also suggest that the team might consider writing all three elf books simultaneously. This might help focus the team to any potential problems that might arise from one book to the next. "Year of the Elves" three books done over a years time. Might be able to promote this to the community even.
  • Interesting from a perspective point of view because that was seen as the problem of that period by people in charge of design as the many lists created were seen as wish list fulfilment rather than attempts to make the game better for everyone.

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  • Randdogs wrote:

    DanT wrote:

    I agree.
    I believe that opinions deep within the project differ.

    I am hoping to put the topic of faction differentiation back on the agenda internally over the next few months.
    I would also suggest that the team might consider writing all three elf books simultaneously. This might help focus the team to any potential problems that might arise from one book to the next. "Year of the Elves" three books done over a years time. Might be able to promote this to the community even.
    Will bounce it internally.

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  • That's not a bad idea, though there are some armies that I think need work purely from a "this doesn't work right" perspective that would probably need to take priority.

    Specifically, I think that the KoE book needs a little work to make sure that it is fully functional and better matching what players want it to be.

    I definitely like doing all the elves together. They are all similar and it would be good to bounce ideas back and forth among all of them at the same time.
  • LR is a permanent cc boost created due to the inadequate "to hit" table. Some might call it a bandaid rule.

    To quote @DanT I would "riot" if the rule is removed without fixing the bandaid issue or giving some permanent benefit instead.

    I don't really see any other unit than SM that might be accused of berserker. And to me having a berserker unit makes fluff sense, after all DE were HBE before. So acting like DE is not something too far away from HBE characteristics. Maybe HBE continously keep those urges/instincts suppressed through their culture and training, but in the case of SM they're encouraged to "let loose"...

    I don't know but I like my misfit SM despite the fact that they lost me way too many games :D
  • Marcos24 wrote:

    i feel like berserker is the wrong word, if Def Weapon skill was reduced to 1 while maintaining the rest of the stats the same then definitely “berserker”
    Well to me any unit that takes hits exactly like skeleton or goblin with a shield while costing premium definitely doesn't care nowhere enough for personal defenses to be called otherwise.
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  • I think glass cannon already covers that, berserker means totally out of control. High defensive weapon skill already implies a application skills towards defending against attacks and therefore no dismissal of self preservation, not what anyone would interpret as going berserk. I understand you guys are just exaggerating to emphasize a point but it seems like some people are actually taking that term seriously and ignoring the high defensive weapon skill. This is just bringing that term back into perspective.

    Just stick with "too much of a glass cannon for the 'defensive elves'" and i think i can agree with that
  • Marcos24 wrote:

    I think glass cannon already covers that, berserker means totally out of control. High defensive weapon skill already implies a application skills towards defending against attacks and therefore no dismissal of self preservation, not what anyone would interpret as going berserk. I understand you guys are just exaggerating to emphasize a point but it seems like some people are actually taking that term seriously and ignoring the high defensive weapon skill. This is just bringing that term back into perspective.

    Just stick with "too much of a glass cannon for the 'defensive elves'" and i think i can agree with that
    Don't pass up the criticism of the OS/DS to-hit table here. He's got a point - they are just as good at defending themselves as a goblin with a shield.
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