Welcome, to the first Designers Patchnotes of WDG .205. Today, we'll be visiting three entities - Path of the Exiled, Doomlord and Forsworn, as well as the favored equipment of the Forsworn, Spiked Shield.
Because time is money, I won't bother rambling on much further about this so lets get into the meat of things, the Exiles. The focus of updating the Path of Exile lay on the Forsworn, as a very inefficient and unpopular unit that didn't quite manage to perform in the role they were intended for. However, in the work on updating them, we went quite deep into the mechanics behind the in-world system of the Path of Exile and found the current system in use wanting.
Path of Exile
By background, the Exiles are those who have failed the Gods in one way or another, a curse bestowed on those who had once turned the eye of their patron deity and received their favor. Though this is not the end of the line for their Ascension, it does certainly make it all the more difficult, for there are no second chance - What has been lost can never be regained. All the Exiles can hope for is to prove their worth in the eyes of the primordial kaos, and thus they begin their advance upon another path, a much harsher and unforgiving one than that of the Favored, for they now live on borrowed time, their minds and bodies slowly breaking around them as the powers granted to them by the Gods run out of control.
And the eventual price of this is as horrible, as the boon of possible success is grand. Those Exiles who fail, will find their eventual fate in the form of the Wretched Ones, and all too often does an Exile find themselves reminded of that horrid price, as their brethren slowly devolve around them, and in both the lumbering Wretches staggering after warbands, and those pitiful creatures that cunning sorcerers and merciless Lords have herded into service.
It is thus no surprise that the Exiles are the most bitterly, doggedly driven of those that fight in the name of the Gods - They race against the clock. Each battle, their worth is tested, and just as each success brings them closer to salvation, each disappointment brings their end closer.
In this update to the Exiles, we delved more into the background side of things. In the past, we chose to represent the nature of the Exiles by making them more difficult to run off - In their desperation, they know that they cannot afford to flee and thus fight to the bitter end. And, in most regards, it worked fairly well, though it wasn't as background compliant as possible - Only keeping their nerve for a single turn? Running off without repercussion? Having the clarity of mind to even do that much, in some cases, depending on how a player wishes to represent their Exiles. We weren't too happy with it, in the end.
So, we sought to change it. The rule went through quite a few changes during the process, from pure Stubborn, which didn't work out due to the design principle of Stubborn being a very rare special rule and being mostly seen in the form of conditional Stubborn rules like Bodyguard. From there, we inspected many ideas based on the idea of Exiles being aware of their blight and their possible fate, notably the possibility of turning into Wretched Ones mid-battle as well as making attacks upon dying similarly to certain units in other armies, and one of the main themes that we ultimately agreed on was that for the Exiles, it's all or nothing. Even death would be preferable to the misery of Wretchedness - A theme already seen in the Exiles having higher offensive skill than defensive skill. In the end, this was the theme we chose to represent in the Path of Exile. Mechanically, the end result of this theme was quite clear to us -
The Exiles will not run. When the tide turns and the enemy surges upon them, they choose to stand their ground or throw themselves at the enemy. Whether by instinct, mindlessness or determination, they choose to mitigate the cost of their failure by fighting to the bitter end.
The Forsworn were the main focus of this update to the Exiles, as an unit that felt largely unloved, and failed to perform in the role that was mechanically assigned to it. The role of an Anvil was seen as an important one to have in the army, and we wished to keep them in that role. While this was easy enough, one prevalent worry was that the Forsworn lacked a lot of feeling as an unit. One of the main things we chose to do, was to make the units characteristics more in line with their origins.
Now, players may note that the Forsworn are more akin to scaled up Warriors, and this is intentionally so - By background, the main difference between a Warrior and a Chosen lies in the amount of power their pact with the Gods grants them. This power is internalized and fuels their skills to inhuman heights. In the Forsworn, this same power has run amok and now empowers their physical form over their abilities.
However, the decision to drop the Forsworn attacks to 2 was largely mechanical. With the new stats and monstrous infantry generally being plain better than their equivalent infantry units, worries were raised that Forsworn would overshadow Chosen, and become yet another Hammer in the army (and some odd worries about Path of Exile "bombs" with Great Weapons). We wanted to keep the focus of the Forsworn in their tankiness, and thus decided to curtail their damage by some. The end result was quite the worry, but the pricing came through this time, and the Forsworn are quite affordable, as an anvil unit should be.
In addition to a large-scale characteristics change, the tankiness of the Forsworn is further emphasized by the addition of a rule commonly found in other armies, but which hasn't been a part of WDG thus far - Bodyguard. A sort of joint operation between finding the Doomlord a role and figuring out how to allow the Forsworn to truly pull Anvil duty despite the loss of first-turn Stubborn. The background was quite open to such an addition, and the Exiles were seen as the best units to find a place for such a rule - Due to the desperation of their existence, the Doomlords are a true inspiration: The living, walking proof that even those who have been Exiled can climb back to the favor of the Gods...Or rather, Father Chaos.
And on the flip side...One of the things that came up very early into the design process, was that it's a great shame that the eventuality of Wretchedness is not shown in the game, and one of the first rules that came up when rebuilding the Forsworn was just that - What if the Forsworn could turn into Wretched Ones mid-game? What if that single instant when the accumulated failures of the Exiles becomes unbearable and they collapse under their own powers, could be shown on the table? The entire team fell in love with the idea, it was perfect for bringing the idea of failure and damnation to life. Even if it wouldn't be effective in-game, it fit the theme we had been seeking for the Exiles.
Curiously enough, unlike most other rules, this one stayed almost completely the same the entire time of the design process.
Now, here you can see the entirety of the Forsworn unit card (Note that Doomlord has been raised to an equal Movement/March value, and has had its Agility raised to 5. He also keeps his 5 attacks, thus still being quite the threat. The new special rule is named "Damnation", this unit card used the WIP name so I blocked it out)
Finally, though the Spiked Shield isn't quite related to the Exiles, it's still perhaps the most important piece of equipment for the Forsworn and Doomlord, and thus it felt important to include it here. The Shield has gone through a small but impactful revamp, which our Cavalry units will most notably feel...Namely that it now only works on foot.
After seeing that the Shield is almost never used on either the Knights or Chosen Knights, and was unpopular on mounted characters as well, we sought to buff the Shields effectiveness, but quickly ran into numerous issues based on other similar rules as well as the fears of mobile lords using the shield to decimate units by themselves. After quite a bit of back and forth between numerous teams, a compromise was reached - The shield would be for on-foot models only, enchantable and no longer works on a fixed strength. Perhaps the shield still isn't quite where it should be, but the current version feels quite a bit more user friendly than before.
And, that's all for tonight. Next week, we shall delve into the other two larger changes - The Exalted Herald and the Battleshrine.
Now - About said prices. A few days ago, I mentioned that many Bodyguard units are costed so that the cost on Bodyguard is taxed out on the character expected to be in the unit, and then de-taxed from their mounts. The Doomlord is now one such character, due to the expectation that when a Doomlord is played, he would be found from a brick of Forsworn, or riding a Behemoth.
Notably, the new pricing is made by first pricing the .204 version again, and then pricing the .205 changes on top of that - This lead to an overall more fair pricing process than before, and notably large price drops on many units.
Another point that should have been brought forward in a clearer manner, is the apparent assumption that Path of Exile is a positive rule that you pay for...It's not. By and far, it's a negative rule that more likely than anything adds a discount to the units that have it, and should be treated as something to play around, instead of with...Unless one likes Fallen Bombs, that is. This is most apparent in the price of the Doomlord.
Doomlord: 360p (+10p)
Wasteland Behemoth: 260p (-90p)
Additional Limbs: 50p (-20p)
The Fallen are something of a point of contention, as notably their price on additional models dropped greatly due to the PoE change, but their original price has stayed the same for the time being, leading to a large disrepancy in the 5 starting models and 5 latter models. Perhaps far too large.
Additional models 23p (-5p)
And finally, the Forsworn, which were quite a difficult unit to price due to their many changes in both statline and rules, but with the system of pricing Bodyguard on the Doomlord, a quite fair price overall was found...However, as someone already managed to successfully guess on the forums (I hate the fact that your pessimistic thinking was correct, @Laurfelt), the price on Damnation was indeed priced very conservatively and is quite close to the WO model price. However, by the looks of it at least the latter part of his guess, at low price drops in the future, is at least incorrect and Damnation effectiveness and popularity is under scrutiny, as something new to the game.
Forsworn: 180p (-20p)
Additional models: 60p (-10p)
Spiked shield 12p (+1p)
Paired weapons 3p (+1p)
Great weapon 4p (-1p)
Halberd 5p (-3p)
Life is hard when you're a skeleton
The post was edited 1 time, last by Palmu ().