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ArmyC
30-09-2011, 13:40
If you think that every army is balanced and that good players can use any army to create a build that can defeat any other army's power build.....

then stop reading. This thread is not for you.

If you think that some armies are better than other armies, then keep reading.

Ok, first I know what I am going to propose is impossible to execute, but I wonder if anyone else thinks like I do on this issue.

Here it is....

Point costs are what balances our game, then it would seem to me that between editions and army books, a handicap system could be developed.

If an army is underpowered, why not allow a 5% increase of points on the list as a handicap.

IcedCrow
30-09-2011, 13:45
Because what is and is not underpowered is largely in the eye of the beholder. If GW was going to develop a handicap system they would be out and out saying that their design is inferior, and that's not going to happen. They'd be more apt to releasing a new army book someday (which is what they do now).

Denny
30-09-2011, 13:54
Because what is and is not underpowered is largely in the eye of the beholder.

Ditto. Balance is a subjective thing. Sure, we can clearly see that some books are stronger than others, but this isn't something you can quantify, and it isn't like there is a perfect consensus over tiers anyway.

If you gave a 5% handicap the complaints would simply shift to why wasn't it 6%, or 3%, or 11.7% . . .

arthurfallz
30-09-2011, 13:58
I totally see where you're going on it, but I think the best handicaps to implement is by gentleman's agreement between players.

Like "Gee, my Wood Elf army gets cut to ribbons by your vampires all the time, could you consider varying your army a bit to give me a sporting chance?"

Snowflake
30-09-2011, 14:16
Because what is and is not underpowered is largely in the eye of the beholder. If GW was going to develop a handicap system they would be out and out saying that their design is inferior, and that's not going to happen. They'd be more apt to releasing a new army book someday (which is what they do now).

This is very very true. There are only a few things that everyone agrees on (e.g. hydras being undercosted). For the rest, everyone has their own vision of what is OP, and it's always colored by what they have trouble with.

High Elves are actually a great example. There are a large, large number of people that think that their ASF is OP, despite the fact that the data shows that High Elves just don't do that well in the current environment. Middle of the road at best.

There are other examples like that, HE are by far not the only one.

SkawtheFalconer
30-09-2011, 14:51
In the European Team Championship tourney rules pack, Beastmen and (6th ed) Ogre players were given bonus VPs of about 200 points simply for taking those armies, as they were perceived to be weak. This effectively was a head start.

Malorian
30-09-2011, 14:58
To really be fair you would have to add a handicap based on the army book, another handicap based on the list that was taken from the army book, then another handicap based on what list it was up against, and then finally another handicap to equal out the experience level...

In the end you yourself are the one that seems to be handicapped, and meanwhile everyone else is just playing and having fun with the rules as they were provided.

ArmyC
30-09-2011, 15:52
I understand the difficulty.

Golf seems to work well with a handicap system.

If a website was able to collect enough data, I think a reasonable system could be implemented.

To the 200 VP bonus for Ogres, I just played in a 40k tourney of 76 players but only 3 Eldar players, but lots of Grey Knight players.

I did very well, but I used the one list that the Eldar still have that is strong.

My post is just for conversation and I see that some people have had the same idea.

Tarliyn
30-09-2011, 16:36
If the new army books keep getting releases like the last few balance issues will be a thing of the past.

I will add that I don't think the balance issues are as bad as some people claim. Obviously Wood Elfs need work and the onset of 8th messed with some books internal balance (looking at you VC). But with the exception of a few OP army lists, it really isn't that bad. I am more looking forward to books getting released to fix internal balance issues rather than external.

Having said all that though, I also do not think that warhammer has perfect balance and ever really will. That is true with all fanasty wargames I have played though, there is always a top dog.

Malorian
30-09-2011, 16:38
I can say one thing for myself: I've never seen a tournament comp system that I couldn't abuse.

m1s1n
30-09-2011, 17:23
Call me naive, and I'm sure there is an entire population that disagrees with me, but I think that GW does work hard to try and evaluate game balance, and adjust for it as they release new editions.

Sure, this is part of their business model, but it's pretty hard to evaluate all the nuances in a game and have a definitive answer on how it will ultimately play out in a larger market. You can playtest the hell out of something and not see an issue, but when it's released to a bigger audience--where the volume of games increases dramatically, and the style of play becomes more varied--certain issues become highlighted.

I don't think there will ever be the possibility of a fully balanced Warhammer world, simply due to the fact that there are fifteen-plus armies each with a unique set of rules. All you can do is try to mesh everything together as closely as possible, and hope that the time and work you've put into trying to make things even generally pays off.

Misfratz
30-09-2011, 18:19
I like the idea of people doing something about a perceived problem - like working to create a handicap system - then just moaning about their perception of a lack of balance.

However, I think there's a lot to be said for playing asymmetric battles in the context of narrative gameplay anyway, and essentially playing more diverse games so that the issue of balance is less important. I guess the important thing about a handicap system is whether you are prepared to offer extra points to your opponent.

Snake1311
30-09-2011, 18:31
Call me naive, and I'm sure there is an entire population that disagrees with me, but I think that GW does work hard to try and evaluate game balance, and adjust for it as they release new editions.


They do, and are currently doing an increasingly better job, as evidenced by the 8th ed books - I've heard virtually no complains from either players or their opponents.

Thing is, it takes one small slip up, and one armybook suddenly ruins everything - like mr Ward did with DoC.

Hopefully that won't happen again, at least not on that scale. Considering their production schedules are pretty long they have a long time to playtest their ideas. I've heard some rumors that they involve top players in the playtesting stage, which is priobably the best step to take - they need 'betatesters', just like any other game. From what I've seen, official GW tacticas and battle report don't seem to shine with strategic brilliance, so the sooner they get the WAAC crowd invovled, the better*.


*getting players involved in testing does not include reading Whineseer threads for pointers :p

The Low King
30-09-2011, 18:32
the issue is also that many armies have weaknesses in fields that are strengths in other armies.

For example, hellheart.

As a dwarf player and someone who has never taken a level 4 despite also playing woodelves and lizardmen i would be fine with hellheart being 10 points, it would just never make back its points. On the other hand, a VC or TK player would probably still feel its too strong at 75 points.....

Another example, Marauders.

I hate the fact that my opponant can take a unit that can go toe to toe (but not head to head :D) with my GW dwarf warriors for half the price, i would love them to be a few points more. On the other hand some of my chaos opponants dont really like them.

Armies are not all alike.


On a similar note, balance is not just about having everything the same points cost; different armies should pay more for units that fill certain weaknesses.

For example, cavalry;

If you give dwarfs knights it would be silly to have them the same price as brett knights, no matter how balanced it seems. Similarly, VC archers would be way more expensive than empire archers of the same statline. You cannot just base balance between armies on their points cost.

yabbadabba
30-09-2011, 18:38
I think you should email GW with this. It would be a perfect way for them to increase sales of less popular armies while they update other army books.

Snake1311
30-09-2011, 18:43
Love the Low King's post!

To add my 2c:

- The idea of paying a 'premium' is exactly right, otherwise you lose variation.

- However, to expand on the example of the hellheart. There are a number of items which are much more valuable against certain armies - another example is the dwarven rune of challenge, which does nothing against 3-4 armies and is absolutely amazing for cost agsint the rest - even going as far as some items which only affect a SPECIFIC opponent (HE are a big offender here). Those items have to be very carefully designed, and their purpose has to be to even out discrepancies in the metagame, i.e. weed out rock-paper-scissors scenarios.

Lets look at the rune of challenge, since I play dwarves and am therefore the most familair with it. It does nothing against VC, TK and DoC, but is a massive pain for HE opponents. VC is one of our toughest matchups, whereas playing vs HE is relatively easy; instead of addressing that, the rune of challenge makes it worse. So in terms of metagame design, its not a brilliant item. What should happen is that it should go up in cost, maybe even double, and have an alternative effect on units immune to psychology - D6 S4 hits for example.

Another example - dwarven hatred vs Greenskins. Putting fluff aside, this is there to address the issues a dwarf army has against cheap horde armies - since they lack muti-attack models, and their shooting is generally based on downing elite units. Hatred evens out our matchup against O&G, so this is an example of successful design. Of course, since then Beastmen have become a separate army, and anyone who has played in that matchup knows that Beasts pose a serious threat to Dwarves, even though theya re considered one of the weakest books out there.

m1s1n
30-09-2011, 19:29
Love the Low King's post!

To add my 2c:

- The idea of paying a 'premium' is exactly right, otherwise you lose variation.

- However, to expand on the example of the hellheart. There are a number of items which are much more valuable against certain armies - another example is the dwarven rune of challenge, which does nothing against 3-4 armies and is absolutely amazing for cost agsint the rest - even going as far as some items which only affect a SPECIFIC opponent (HE are a big offender here). Those items have to be very carefully designed, and their purpose has to be to even out discrepancies in the metagame, i.e. weed out rock-paper-scissors scenarios.

Lets look at the rune of challenge, since I play dwarves and am therefore the most familair with it. It does nothing against VC, TK and DoC, but is a massive pain for HE opponents. VC is one of our toughest matchups, whereas playing vs HE is relatively easy; instead of addressing that, the rune of challenge makes it worse. So in terms of metagame design, its not a brilliant item. What should happen is that it should go up in cost, maybe even double, and have an alternative effect on units immune to psychology - D6 S4 hits for example.

Another example - dwarven hatred vs Greenskins. Putting fluff aside, this is there to address the issues a dwarf army has against cheap horde armies - since they lack muti-attack models, and their shooting is generally based on downing elite units. Hatred evens out our matchup against O&G, so this is an example of successful design. Of course, since then Beastmen have become a separate army, and anyone who has played in that matchup knows that Beasts pose a serious threat to Dwarves, even though theya re considered one of the weakest books out there.

This doesn't seem to be an issue of game balance to me, it sounds more like an issue of wanting your army to just be stronger in all instances. Why is it a problem that certain items don't have the same effect on different armies, or that mechanics operate differently between two similar forces? I've always thought that was the purpose of multiple armies in this game, to force people to adapt their play style in response to a new scenario. I feel like what's being demanded in "balance" is actually the transformation of the game into some strange version of Harrison Bergeron, where everything is either muted to the lowest common denominator, or perpetually elevated in order to keep up.

When people discuss balance, I'm okay with the idea of looking at real statistics and trying to address issues. If we were to collect data on, say, a thousand games of Dwarfs versus Empire, for example, I think we'd be able to start extracting some real information about game balance between those two forces. Even then, this really only gives us an understanding of the two armies together, not the system as a whole. However, most players seem only interested in their own gaming experience, which is far too often painfully biased.

One of the things that initially interested me in Warhammer was the idea of a dynamic game that required you to consider both your strengths and weaknesses when playing. There are going to be scenarios where things don't always run clockwork, but I think the challenge should be on the player to find a solution, not perpetually upon the shoulders of the game-maker. This doesn't mean coming up with new rules, it means approaching things from a new position in order to find answers. With some player's tendency to handcuff their style of play, it often times becomes easier for them to blame the system instead of their own method. I feel like this is the heart of a lot of the "balance" discussions.

I also think that realistically, we're talking about armies that have been released over a significant length of time, with some significant changes in gameplay along the way. I think it's a pretty strange standard to expect an army from an edition ago to stand on equal footing with a force from the latest ruleset.

So, I propose this--
In a perfect world, all matches between all possible forces would result in a 50-50 record. This is simply improbable. However, is it possible that where an army has a lower win percentage against one army, they have a higher percentage against another?

Snake1311
30-09-2011, 19:59
How did you get me wanting to increase my army's power? I suggested a cost increase on rune of challenge, which is a downgrade against 12 of the current armies.



In a perfect world, all matches between all possible forces would result in a 50-50 record. This is simply improbable. However, is it possible that where an army has a lower win percentage against one army, they have a higher percentage against another?

This is where those army-specific items come in. Lets say:

A vs B = 60/40
A vs C = 40/60

yes, A has a 50/50 win chance average. However to even out the matchups, they should be given an item which is very good against army B specifically (e.g. if army B is caster-dependant like VC, so something like the hellheart), and isn't worth its points VS army C (e.g. dwarfs - no wizards!). That will even out the results to resemble:

A vs B = 50/50
A vs C = 50/50

Which is much better.

This kind of thing will happen as you said - after many playtested games in matchups; and these sort of items will be the very last finishing touch to ensure a balanced metagame.

OldMaster
30-09-2011, 20:54
The only way for all armies to be equally balanced is to have one army.

Jind_Singh
30-09-2011, 22:04
While I agree 100% that some armies need a lot of help to make them pass today's Warhammer grade, I'm going with the wait and see approach:

1) The three new 8th ed army books are stupidly in line with each other! It's zen! They all play differently, they have their own quirks, but they all posses great things - so if the trend continues any fixes we do for older books is short term - as books get replaced.

2) ANY system implemented is going to be really hard to judge - as it's all going to be opinion based. For e.g. in another thread there is a lot of hate for my beloved Giant. I think he's PERFECT at 200pts for what he does, but there is an equally amount of players who judge it to be on of the worst monsters out there.

But there a few books out there that need help big time - like Wood Elves - but even with hefty discounts the entire book itself needs an overhaul - so not sure what it would accomplish.

Credit for trying, but beware the beast that you're about to set out to slay - lest it destroy you!

the_slosh
30-09-2011, 22:22
The only way for all armies to be equally balanced is to have one army.

Almost how it was at the end of 7th!

It is very hard to balance so many different factions without making any slip-ups anywhere and as it has been mentioned they are doing a very good job at the moment with the last three books (and the beastman book compared to these three).

Doommasters
30-09-2011, 22:24
Because what is and is not underpowered is largely in the eye of the beholder. If GW was going to develop a handicap system they would be out and out saying that their design is inferior, and that's not going to happen. They'd be more apt to releasing a new army book someday (which is what they do now).

Sums it up,

There will always be a degree of inbalance, however if this can be minimised through new books which seems to be happening then you cant ask for much more. Often Amry A vs Army B has an advantage but then Army A is at a slight disadvantage versus Army C.

m1s1n
30-09-2011, 23:17
How did you get me wanting to increase my army's power? I suggested a cost increase on rune of challenge, which is a downgrade against 12 of the current armies.



Sorry, I misread the intent of your post.

I guess I just feel that part of the reason why I don't venture into these "balance" discussions has a lot to do with the fact that there's very little objectivity in the debate. Right now there's a thread about "ridiculous items", which seems to contain a pretty long list of overpowered and under-costed items in the game. I don't know if the solution is to get rid of all of them, or cap their strength, but I do think it's a generally unproductive conversation to have, since there's no real metric to measure these claims. There are powerful things in most armies, and weak things in them as well. Do they break the game in one direction or the other? Probably not as much as people think they do. We know that GW isn't perfect (the Dark Elf errata a few years ago and every subsequent errata since shows that), but we also know they're constantly trying to evaluate what's best for the game environment, and ultimately people will be dissatisfied because they feel they have a right to be.

Snake1311
01-10-2011, 01:33
If you look at the OP items thread, you'll see that actually very few of them have accumulated a large amount of votes. The votes themselves are some kind of metric, albeit a very imperfect and biased one.

The people who can provide the most objective insight are veteran players who have a) played with and against many different armies, and b) are aware of the metagame. They are the ones who can provide realistic solutions to the items in that list - and I think very few will have to be outright scrapped; most just need some tweaks, and with many its as simple as a cost increase.

People will always whine, but its better if they have less to whine about. Note the small amount of complaints directed at the 3 new army books - people recognize progress in the right direction.

To be completely honest, I think near-perfect (i.e. no army to have more than 55% win chance against another army) balance between the 15 factions is achievable. There are a lot of different units, items, etc; but the parameters of the game aren't that large that these aspects cannot be designed and playtested to be equal to the extent where player skill and some element of luck decide the outcome in over 95% of matches.

m1acca1551
01-10-2011, 01:56
I'm afraid it wouldn't work, what happens in the event of a person who gets tabled, by sheer bad luck, screaming that his enemy is OP or he took a broken item combo on his hero?? even though he stuffed his deployment?? made the wrong decision at the critical time and the dice gods deserted them??

I see what your trying to get at, but as "broken" and "OP" are personal views its very hard to get it right.

8th ED will provide the balance we all seek after the glaring OP of some 7th ed army books

unless you had a referee system in place i can see people abusing it

GraveGuard
01-10-2011, 02:40
To the response of using handicaps - these only work true when the only variation is the skill of the people playing or where every other difference is minor or out of any persons control) therefore everyone would have to have the same army with the same comp and dice couldn't be used.

To the response/argument about costing items, cleary this is a case of situational use where the high cost is due to soething being only very good in a specific situation against a certain other armiy and or build in which case if you have such a problem with it don't take the item. Or even just take the item when facing just that specific army.

If all this is a case of just about the tourney viability of armies then tough. Warhammer is also a social and casual game aswell. It shouldn't cater to just the tourney crowd.

sholcomb
01-10-2011, 07:26
I think that the biggest reason that there have always been balance issues in Warhammer, is that they create all the books a different times, over about a four or five year time span. How could anyone possibly account for balance when they are measuring it up against books from so long ago, and books yet to be written for half a decade!

I think that the best solution for balance would be for GW to do minor updates for every army (and the basic rules) simultaneously, a couple times a year. Call it the Summer and Winter expansions or updates. This would give GW the opportunity to correct things they didn't see when designing and individual book, and update old armies to maintain their competitiveness. It would also give them an opportunity to try out new things, without having to live with the consequences for five years if things go bad.

If GW could do this, things would not be perfectly balanced, but I bet that the price of Hydras and A-Bombs would go up, Cygors and Wood Elves would come down, and the rules for cavalry and combat characters riding monsters would be changed to make they usable again.

Thruster
01-10-2011, 08:06
Sholcomb speaks the truth!! The best way to balance the game is to update armybooks!!

Also, many if you are talking about rock-paper-sciccors list. The thing about imbalance and OP in my opinion is when you can have everything all at once in the same army. Take skaven for example, you can have hordes of 2 points LD 10 slaves, speed equal to all elves on foot, a big ass elite A-bomb monster, a tons of warmachine shooting, AND a great magic lore. While some army have to pick and choose their strengths, some get to do it all and excel in every situation. This is the reason why we only see 3 armies in 7th tournament, because they were the only ones who can take on all comers(or most of them).

That said, I like the trend of 8th army book so far. I'm a little annoyed of how important magic has become, but it's a big BIG improvement nonetheless.

T10
01-10-2011, 09:32
Because what is and is not underpowered is largely in the eye of the beholder. If GW was going to develop a handicap system they would be out and out saying that their design is inferior, and that's not going to happen. They'd be more apt to releasing a new army book someday (which is what they do now).

A player that doesn't use flaming attacks in his army will probably consider the regenerating grave guard horde overpowered. The player that uses flaming attack probably wil not.

The player that uses skeletons with spears is arguably at a disadvantage compared to the player using ghouls. Yet these are in the same army book.

I can't see how a handicap system based on the army books themselves will work. As long as the player can make choices, the power level will vary within the same section. You can probably make a ball-park estimate, but the fact of the matter is that unless you compare fixed army lists it's damned hard to create a universal handicap constant for the army.