View Full Version : "Evolving" Warhammer

09-04-2009, 18:00
Having read a couple of discussions on army composition/ comp scores etc and not really liking the results reached in any of them, I present my idea on how to balance warhammer. First off, I'd like to state that I like the 7th ed. rules. With the possible exceptions of the S7 chariot rule and no marching through terrain (for an effective 1/4" move speed) they are pretty finely balanced and well thought out for what is a very complex system. What I'm proposing messing with is the army lists.

The idea is, the top army lists at GTs, big store tournaments are compiled and examined. Units, magic items, characters are put into three broad categories: underused, average, overused. Underused units then receive a small points cut and/ or boost, average units are left alone, and overused units are increased in points and/ or mildly nerfed. The win ratio of armies is also taken into effect. A winning army will receive more nerfs than buffs, while a losing one will get almost only buffs.

Since having one person setting the restrictions on an army seems to annoy everyone (in the case of army books and comp rules) let the aggregate of people determine what is most cost-effective, and then balance that. The new points costs /errata is posted on a tournament .pdf somewhere. The changes are mandatory for tournaments using the system and hopefully become the norm for house games as they will be better balanced. The end result is that not only are the armies internally balanced, but balanced against each other.

For example:

Round of tournaments one (say, a 6 month period). The army lists are compiled and the organizers see that flamers are being taken much more than other demon rare and no one is taking bloodcrushers, dwarf warriors are being taken about proportionally, and no one is taking Orc big'uns to tournaments.

For the next errata thing, dwarf warriors are not touched, flamers either go up in price +5 points or so or get nerfed (-1 S or M). The big'un upgrade is reduced in cost by one point. Bloodcrushers are underused, but being part of a winning army, they get no buff or points break. This continues until no one unit is over or under represented on the field, meaning that the player base as a whole thinks that each unit is roughly as valuable as the other.

Potential problems:

1) Quite a bit of overhead. This has to be done on a player base of at least 100 or so, and someone has to organize the data, mete out nerfs and buffs and create a .pdf.

2) Deciding what qualifies as under/overused. Something like 40% of competitive O&G core will be orc boyz with shield, while arrer boyz will be almost nonexistent. Does this mean that boyz are overpowered, or is it just how the army is "meant to be played"?. This seems like the main issue, as it injects someone's personal preference where the intent was to avoid it.

A potential fix would be to assign each unit type a function. For example, you could have "support", "mainstay" and "specialized". Going with O&G core as an example:

Mainstay: Boyz, Savage orc boyz, Goblins, Night Goblins
Support: Wolf riders, Spider riders, arrer boyz
Specialized: Snotlings

Mainstay would be expected more than support, and support more often than specialized.

Using this system, normal goblins, arrer boyz and savage orcs would probably quickly get a little cheaper, and boyz would probably go up in cost by one.

3) This doesn't take into account the money cost of models. Some are fairly rare on the battlefield becuase they only come in expensive metal, not because of any game stats. Savage orcs would be more common if they came in plastic.

While I really only touched on units, the same theory would apply to magic items, upgrades and heroes.

So what do you think? Am I on to something, or is it just a confusing, hard to balance mess.

Gazak Blacktoof
09-04-2009, 18:12
That's pretty much how balancing should be done in playtesting once you're happy that units can be used in the manner for which they were intended. It would be a great way to rebalance the game if somebody could pull it off.

The Red Scourge
09-04-2009, 18:23
You're speaking as if GW cared for game balance :D

The GW design philosophy isn't about making a balanced game. Just take a look at the army books, and you'll see that even the way they're organized is rather random and individual. VC has their lore hidden among the characters and unit descriptions, while WE have theirs in the back for easy reference. They aren't interested in change, just take a look at the fluff that never advances, other than for the sake of change itself, this keeps the fans in the illusion that WFB is a dynamic game.

What you're proposing is a rational way of developing the game into something that might end up "perfect", but really noone is interested in this perfection. GW needs the illusion of development to keep interest. Warseer needs shoddy rules for people to whine about. Powergamers needs the super armies to boost their egos. And the casual gamers will find a way a way around the problems no matter what, and just balance their armies themselves.

09-04-2009, 18:31
Well, to clarify a bit, my idea was a way for players to create a balanced system on their own. I specifically avoided the .pdf having any GW IP (only points and stats changed) and this takes no work on GW's part. They still make their money (as companies are supposed to) and the player base creates a "mod" (to use video game terms) that is fairly balanced due to the statistical nature of making changes.

09-04-2009, 19:03
i think this si a good idea, kudos to you if you go through with it :)

10-04-2009, 01:06
I think it is a good idea, but pretty tough to do, as you have already recognised. Prepare for loads of people to shout at you rudely and without constructive criticism, like they did when I proposed the same thing!

10-04-2009, 03:57
Like everyone is saying, it will be a large and difficult task. However, I highly encourage anyone to undertake this endeavor. I have been incredibly frustrated at the lack of balance present in Warhammer recently and would gladly offer my help if needed.

Out of curiosity, do you plan on tackling problems on a armybook to armybook basis? Or will you take them as them come?

10-04-2009, 04:04
Out of curiosity, do you plan on tackling problems on a armybook to armybook basis? Or will you take them as them come?

What kind of problems do you mean, specifically?

10-04-2009, 04:37
Okay, here's a stab at O&G, my current army. Under each category there will be several clumps- each clump roughly has the same function and should therefore been seen with about equal frequency.


Light Infantry: Orc Boyz, Savage Orc Boyz, Goblins, Night Goblins
Support: Arrer boyz, Wolf riders, Spider riders
Where should snotlings go?

Hammers: Orc & Savage Orc boar boyz, Orc Chariot, Goblin Chariot, Squig hoppers.
Artillery: Rock Lobber, Spear chukka
Elites: Black orcs, Squig herds

Hammers: Giant, Trolls
Artillery: Pump wagon, Doom diver.

Maybe for weird units, some assumptions should be made, like no unit should be used in fewer than 25% of competitive armies (meaning it's useless), and no unit should be used in more than 75% of armies (Meaning it's a must-take)? That would be a baseline for units which have nothing to directly compare to, as is the case for a lot of armies with less variety than O&G.

Where options of equipping troops are given, maybe the aim should be each is equally viable (taken about the same as the others) and balance from there?

Lord 0
10-04-2009, 05:46
Of curiosity, what will be your victory condition? By which I mean at what point will the evolving stop, or will it constantly be in a state of flux?

10-04-2009, 06:46
Some units will be "must takes" just because they're central to the playstyle of the army.

Orc Boyz for example. They're "must takes," but that doesn't mean that they're anywhere near overpowered.

Really comp needs to be dealt with simply by placing armies on tiers.

10-04-2009, 15:40
Placing armies on tiers doesn't work. Only placing specific builds on tiers works. For all intents and purposes, there are 6 or so Tier 1 builds. Every other build comes in at a Tier 2 or Tier 3. You can't claim Empire is a tier two army, because the Karl on Dragon 2 Steams Tanks, or Super Priest on Altar and 2 STanks variant is a tier 1 build. A daemon list isn't necessarily a tier 1 build just because its Daemons. A VC list isn't necessarily tier 1, but the 17+ power dice death star list is a tier 1 build. A dark elf army on its own is not tier one, but a Shades deathstar, minimum core, 2 hydra list is a tier 1 build. etc.

11-04-2009, 01:15
Of curiosity, what will be your victory condition? By which I mean at what point will the evolving stop, or will it constantly be in a state of flux?

The idea was to have it stop when a) each army has roughly a 50% win ratio in a competitive setting (meaning that each army is equally viable, and the determining factor is player skill) and b) No unit/magic item/hero type is over or underrepresented, meaning that each unit in an army is cost effective, and hopefully meaning several viable builds for each army.