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Vulcan7200
29-01-2014, 19:42
I'm just curious what people's opinions are about this. Balance has always been pretty here and there with Fantasy and 40k, and have often gotten lots of complaints. One thing I've noticed is when people compare unit costs, people always argue that the models are costed within their own armies. So here's my question:

Would the game be better if points weren't based off of what the author thinks they should be for that book, but instead weighted by the stats/special rules of the models? If each stat/equipment piece/special rule had a value attached to it, would it lead to a better game? I know some will argue that it would make the game too standard and make everything too similar, and I can see the logic behind that. Basic light infantry with human stats and equipment would be the same across the board, and even slight differences would barely register a point difference. I can't think of too many units who are so similar in stat/equipment/rules that it would end up matching another army. Armies would still play the way they're supposed to play. Of course, I could be completely wrong and there might be something I'm completely missing about why it wouldn't work.

IcedCrow
29-01-2014, 19:59
Sure itd be more balanced. It would be a lot like chess where you get to pick the pieces.

Archon of Death
29-01-2014, 20:06
It would be more balanced and a win would be a combination of luck and unit placement. There wouldn't really be any "easy win combos" where people invest half their army into a unit of death and use that to completely break the game, then whine when they lose because of luck/better generals.

Vulcan7200
29-01-2014, 20:43
Sure itd be more balanced. It would be a lot like chess where you get to pick the pieces.

May I ask why you believe that? Armies would still be vastly different to one another. Undead would still play completely differently to Dwarves. Warriors of Chaos completely different to Empire. There might be a few armies that play similarly. Skaven and Goblin only armies immediately spring to mind, along with High Elves/Dark Elves and VC/Tomb Kings. But those armies are fairly similar anyways, and they have different enough special rules that they wouldn't completely mirror each other. The game would still also have a very Rock/Paper/Scissor sort of feel to it, as certain unit types are still better counters to other unit types. The only difference I can see is that the game would have an overall more coherent pricing structure than what it seems like they have now.

SpanielBear
29-01-2014, 20:56
A problem I can see is that special rules often have different values depending on what other stats or rules the model has. For example, frenzy, if one prices it at 5 points (say), is that worth 5 points if it is given to a goblin, who will suffer the negative effects more, than to a skull-crusher? Pricing the rules isn't clear across the board. A unit with a high toughness and armour save may find a ward save on top of that less valuable than a unit for whom the ward save was its only defence. Should a ward save cost the same for both units?

underscore
29-01-2014, 21:00
Yeah, I think there's just too many factors involved to make points balance in WH (as it stands) so easy to calculate.

Archon of Death
29-01-2014, 21:00
Nope. Which is why you'd need a statistician and mathematician to actually balance the series of equations necessary to adequately value a unit

underscore
29-01-2014, 21:09
Sure, and a ton of playtesting to feed them the required data. Then they'll go and change the core ruleset and the calculations will have to begin again.

Besides, if the equations are that complex then all the moaners will still insist things are wrong through sheer ignorance.

Sexiest_hero
29-01-2014, 21:16
Meh, something would do 0.0000001 more damage and people would play that unit and that army. You can't balance player behavior.

Scammel
29-01-2014, 21:21
Nope. Which is why you'd need a statistician and mathematician to actually balance the series of equations necessary to adequately value a unit

The problem with trying to work them out on a purely mathematical basis is that certain units are more valuable to certain armies. Warriors would kill for a Helblaster, it doesn't do too much for Dwarfs though.

Archon of Death
29-01-2014, 21:44
The problem with trying to work them out on a purely mathematical basis is that certain units are more valuable to certain armies. Warriors would kill for a Helblaster, it doesn't do too much for Dwarfs though.

Which would be something else to be considered. The question isn't if anyone COULD do it (because they can, oh boy can you do a lot of things with the right mathematicians behind them), but if it would be more balanced

Verm1s
29-01-2014, 21:45
It would be more balanced and a win would be a combination of luck and unit placement. There wouldn't really be any "easy win combos" where people invest half their army into a unit of death and use that to completely break the game, then whine when they lose because of luck/better generals.

:cool:


There might be a few armies that play similarly. Skaven and Goblin only armies immediately spring to mind, along with High Elves/Dark Elves and VC/Tomb Kings. But those armies are fairly similar anyways, and they have different enough special rules that they wouldn't completely mirror each other.

There's two problems facing improved balance: people dismissing armies (or rather, other, more balanced games) because they don't have scads of individual special rules, rather than letting models, background, scenarios and story have more of a say.

Also, scads of individual special rules.


The game would still also have a very Rock/Paper/Scissor sort of feel to it, as certain unit types are still better counters to other unit types.

Getting your scissors into the enemy scissors' face while you run your rock round to just the right point to clobber the enemy scissors and their friends is, IMHO, more stimulating than watching the enemy uberscissor hero with special 3++ antirock armour run up and let loose his magic incendiary blade-blunting tungsten-carbide-drilling bazookas over a quarter of the table.


Yeah, I think there's just too many factors involved to make points balance in WH (as it stands) so easy to calculate.


Nope. Which is why you'd need a statistician and mathematician to actually balance the series of equations necessary to adequately value a unit

:rolleyes:

Or maybe, just playtesting. Other people manage to put out decent rules without making an appointment for an audience with Stephen Hawking; or points...


based off of what the author thinks they should be for that book

WhispersofBlood
29-01-2014, 21:48
Nope. Which is why you'd need a statistician and mathematician to actually balance the series of equations necessary to adequately value a unit

My friends and I played a board game called Terramystica. After a few games we started looking at the races we hadn't played yet, some look for lack of a better word OP. It wasn't until we played them that we noticed that they we're pretty meh as their individual rules had no synergistic affects leaving them behind other more "fair" races.

Other races one in particular that the board game forums said was terrible (giants) we found to be extremely powerful. Eventually we came to a conflusion. Player strength is the number one factor when anything is done at a high level. The better the players the less "percieved" strength matters, as better players are better able to leverage strengths and cover weakness. Which leads into warhammer, a unit of Skullcrushers is likely worth more in my hands than it is in a different players hands, and ultimately point costs aren't always about the strength of the unit but also about intangibles. One of the things I hear a lot when watching a group of friends write lists together is "this list would be perfect its just 3 points over, but I get EVERYTHING I want!" Suddenly that random unit being 1 point extra per model has made the entire combination not playable, or weaker by subtraction.

Then there are things like opportunity costs, units you don't want to take but have to take so you can bunker a character, etc etc. Personally I think GW are doing a solid job with pointing, a few units after probably hundreds of thousands of games could use a tweak here or there. But, I haven't found any unit to be more than +/-10% or so.

theunwantedbeing
29-01-2014, 22:00
Depends how things would be balanced really.
If all special rules/stats were priced like magical items are now, then no the game would be far less balanced because everything needs to be costed according to everything else.

The current system of just guessing works well enough, where it really falls flat is on magical item combinations or where you can have a unit be effected by the rules of another unit as this is where the really abusive power combos appear and screw with the balance.

logan054
29-01-2014, 22:08
Depends how things would be balanced really.
If all special rules/stats were priced like magical items are now, then no the game would be far less balanced because everything needs to be costed according to everything else.

Wouldn't that be then they are not priced more correctly/strictly ;)

My answer is yes, of course it would be. I think they had a working formula originally but it's been ignored with the constant demand for more models on the table.

N1AK
29-01-2014, 22:12
I'm just curious what people's opinions are about this. Balance has always been pretty here and there with Fantasy and 40k, and have often gotten lots of complaints. One thing I've noticed is when people compare unit costs, people always argue that the models are costed within their own armies. So here's my question:

Would the game be better if points weren't based off of what the author thinks they should be for that book, but instead weighted by the stats/special rules of the models? If each stat/equipment piece/special rule had a value attached to it, would it lead to a better game? Of course, I could be completely wrong and there might be something I'm completely missing about why it wouldn't work.

In short: No. Because it isn't like some table of 'correct' costings would just appear from nowhere, it would need to be created and would therefore be a matter of judgement in itself. What is armour piercing worth? 0.5pts maybe but would it be worth that much on a skaven slave? Wouldn't it be worth more on a Chaos Lord? Higher leadership is even more useful in an army with access to death magic and shadow magic, but how much more useful? LD4 on a unit is a big issue if getting good leadership from characters is hard but not if LD10 heroes are being thrown about like confetti. How does strength in numbers compare to normal leadership when costing models?

Here's a challenge for you: What is the formula to calculate the points value of initiative that will work for every model in the game?

N1AK
29-01-2014, 22:20
The problem with trying to work them out on a purely mathematical basis is that certain units are more valuable to certain armies. Warriors would kill for a Helblaster, it doesn't do too much for Dwarfs though.

I've never been overly persuaded by this argument. Personally I don't think many armies would 'kill' for, or even desire, a Hellblaster including Warriors of Chaos where it doesn't fit with the play style of the more competitive builds. On the other hand, every single army in the game would benefit from access to Skillcannons. Army synergy is important but it's not the be all and end all that some people make it out to be by some. Usually where it is most relevant is the interaction with magic spells etc. Dark Elf spearmen would have been pretty poor in the old book if it didn't have the dagger and mindrazor for example.

underscore
29-01-2014, 22:46
:rolleyes:

Or maybe, just playtesting.
That would be what I was getting it, yes. :D

Scammel
29-01-2014, 23:31
I need to check my temperature as I agree pretty whole-heartedly with Verm1s - extensive playtesting is without a doubt the best way to achieve an ideal standard of balance.


On the other hand, every single army in the game would benefit from access to Skillcannons.

A: I'm not sure that's true, as armies which can get their cannon out of special are probably less inclined to splurge rare points on them and B: The Skillcannon is universally regarded as being badly under-priced anyway.

BattleofLund
29-01-2014, 23:42
Dark Elf spearmen would have been pretty poor in the old book if it didn't have the dagger and mindrazor for example.

I could agree with 'They would have been worse if [...]', but DE Warriors were most certainly not poor without Sacrificial Dagger and Mindrazor. :)

On the original question. With the abundance of 'more-or-less-accurately-priced' army lists, I'm frankly surprised by the things that slip in. Or out. Would the game be more balanced if units were pointed more strictly? Yes. Would it be better (ie, is more balanced = better)? I think so. Could it be pointed more strictly? Obviously, but I'm not sure anyone is willing to put in the money and effort. The effort would have to come from GW, and the money would have to come from us.

Spiney Norman
29-01-2014, 23:57
I'm just curious what people's opinions are about this. Balance has always been pretty here and there with Fantasy and 40k, and have often gotten lots of complaints. One thing I've noticed is when people compare unit costs, people always argue that the models are costed within their own armies. So here's my question:

Would the game be better if points weren't based off of what the author thinks they should be for that book, but instead weighted by the stats/special rules of the models? If each stat/equipment piece/special rule had a value attached to it, would it lead to a better game? I know some will argue that it would make the game too standard and make everything too similar, and I can see the logic behind that. Basic light infantry with human stats and equipment would be the same across the board, and even slight differences would barely register a point difference. I can't think of too many units who are so similar in stat/equipment/rules that it would end up matching another army. Armies would still play the way they're supposed to play. Of course, I could be completely wrong and there might be something I'm completely missing about why it wouldn't work.

This question is not unlike being asked "if you were a ripe banana, would you be yellow", of course the answer is yes, if points values accurately represented what a unit was capable of on the field in the context of its army then they game would, by definition, be very well balanced.

And while some people might deride balanced points values as being homogenous and "chess like", nothing could be further from the truth. We're not talking about giving everything the same profile or movement rate, we're just talking about accurately valuing the differences between units.

Heaven forbid we should seek to undermine the inherent tactical advantage in choosing army x over army y.

Vipoid
30-01-2014, 12:16
I'm just curious what people's opinions are about this. Balance has always been pretty here and there with Fantasy and 40k, and have often gotten lots of complaints. One thing I've noticed is when people compare unit costs, people always argue that the models are costed within their own armies. So here's my question:

Would the game be better if points weren't based off of what the author thinks they should be for that book, but instead weighted by the stats/special rules of the models? If each stat/equipment piece/special rule had a value attached to it, would it lead to a better game? I know some will argue that it would make the game too standard and make everything too similar, and I can see the logic behind that.

Well, I'd be worried if it made the game less balanced. :p

Also, unless I've missed something, I'm not really sure how it could make everything too similar. I mean, we're not talking about removing rules or variety - just using costs that better reflect those abilities.

I imagine the problem would lie in actually achieving that level of balance. You could probably create some equations, based on a basic statline, to determine the value of increasing and/or decreasing one or more stats. However, calculating the value of abilities like ASF, martial prowess, poison, frenzy etc. seems much more difficult. At the very least, it seems like you'd have to go through each individual unit and calculate the value of their special rules based on that unit's statline. You also have problems when a special rule isn't going to be active all the time - such as with Hatred (only works in the first round of combat) or Frenzy (can be lost permanently). It seems like pricing either of those will require assumptions of some kind or another (in terms of how often the unit is likely to benefit from that rule).

Furthermore, you then have complications with regard to interactions. If a unit has multiple special rules, then they may be synergistic (e.g. ASF and poison) - so you might have to price that unit higher than if you were looking at its rules individually. Likewise, you'd need to price all weapons relative to each individual unit's capabilities and special rules.

It's not necessarily impossible, and might actually be in interesting task. But, I just can't imagine GW ever putting the necessary effort into such a project. After all, people still buy their product with the current balance issues, so why should they spend more to improve them?


Also, God help anyone who tries to cost wizards and magic fairly. :rolleyes:

Scammel
30-01-2014, 13:16
I think it's worth pointing out that GW actually has made an extremely well-balanced (if also somewhat limited) system using exactly this sort of formula - LotR. On infantry a pip of stat in either direction is worth one point, on stuff like characters and monsters it's worth 5.

Bloodknight
30-01-2014, 13:38
but instead weighted by the stats/special rules of the models? If each stat/equipment piece/special rule had a value attached to it,

They used to use some kind of formula in older days. The problem is that a skill isn't worth the same on different units, and adding more and more equipment and special rules to a model leads to something like the Black Guard from the old Dark Elf book. Expensive dudes with nice models that die like flies and thus aren't played. A formula only works if there is a "defensive factor" in it. Hatred, Frenzy, special rule from hell are just not very effective if you're a guy on foot with a 6+ armor and a weapon that makes you strike last so you die in droves before you get to use those skills (not aimed at a unit in general, just as an example).

IcedCrow
30-01-2014, 13:44
It would be interesting to see wizards point costed appropriately. ;) With things like mind razor and the purple sun - wizards are definitely far too cheap today for what they do.

Vipoid
30-01-2014, 13:47
It would be interesting to see wizards point costed appropriately. ;) With things like mind razor and the purple sun - wizards are definitely far too cheap today for what they do.

Well, it's not just that (though I do agree), it's also trying to somehow account for all the layers of randomness in the magic phase.

IcedCrow
30-01-2014, 13:51
Well, it's not just that (though I do agree), it's also trying to somehow account for all the layers of randomness in the magic phase.

There is a lot of randomness but a level 4 and a level 2 will guarantee that the spells you want will be had. In going back through all of last year's battle accounts from our campaign, I noted that pretty much in every game barring a couple that the wizards were responsible for gunning down or mindrazor supporting at least double their points value and often 3-4x their points value. Its not a surprise why in today's game everyone goes so magic heavy... its like putting a dollar in a machine and getting a $5 bill back every time.

Vipoid
30-01-2014, 14:01
There is a lot of randomness but a level 4 and a level 2 will guarantee that the spells you want will be had.

That's true, but then you're assuming that people will always take a Lv4 and a Lv2 to get the spells they want. Not the most unreasonable assumption, but it is an assumption.

Then you've got Winds of Magic (which is very hard to influence, but can dictate the entire magic phase), then you have how well you roll when casting your spells, then you have the rolls of an opponent's dispel attempt(s), then you have the chance of IF/Miscast, then you have the results of miscasts.

Again, I'm in agreement with you - as it stands wizards (and Lv4s in particular) are much too cheap.

All I'm saying is that there are so many variables in the magic phase that it seems near impossible to put an accurate value on wizards (in contrast with other units - where you can more reasonably cost them in relation to their statlines and abilities).

I guess the other thing is what you'd do in terms of costing the wizard statline. They're worse than most combat lords, but then they're never meant to see combat. So, should you ignore a wizard's statline for the most part and just focus on his spellcasting? But then, you also have wizards like Vampires, Slaughtermasters and Chaos Sorcerers who are reasonable in combat. So, how should their statline be costed relative to a non-wizard? *brain melts*

IcedCrow
30-01-2014, 14:06
It is an assumption yes. Its the "trend" that I'm noting. That seems to be the common configuration.

You do center on a great point - how do you cost the wizards? It can't just be on statline - there are all kinds of intangibles that would be most impossible to nail a mathematical formula down onto 100% of the time.

That's where the "it feels right" formula comes into play. From what I recall, there is a formula in place that gives them an approximate value and then they tweak from there.

I'd have had a basic level 4 wizards costing at least 400 points after a month or two of playtesting based on the uber spells alone. They easily get that in return most games, if not more. But then what happens if they don't want a lore that has an uber spell? What if they don't roll the uber spell? Then you have a 400 point or so wizard that doesn't have the uber game-breaking spell and he's now overcosted for that game (downside to rolling spells randomly)

Being able to put an accurate value on wizards isn't the only thing either. A special rule X may have more benefit to one troop type over the other and would not be right costing the same value in points. An example was last edition's FEAR. FEAR was definitely more valuable on cheaper models because of the autobreak rule and being able to outnumber your opponent than it was on a smaller unit.

logan054
30-01-2014, 14:08
All I'm saying is that there are so many variables in the magic phase that it seems near impossible to put an accurate value on wizards (in contrast with other units - where you can more reasonably cost them in relation to their statlines and abilities).

I guess the other thing is what you'd do in terms of costing the wizard statline. They're worse than most combat lords, but then they're never meant to see combat. So, should you ignore a wizard's statline for the most part and just focus on his spellcasting? But then, you also have wizards like Vampires, Slaughtermasters and Chaos Sorcerers who are reasonable in combat. So, how should their statline be costed relative to a non-wizard? *brain melts*

They would be easier to balance if you either paid points for spells and picked up to your level or paid points to have access to lore (the first being the better option).

SpanielBear
30-01-2014, 14:11
The more I read this thread, the more I feel GW's "eh, just wing it" approach might be the best of a bad set of options. Lets face it, even if we sat a team of maths experts (who would also have to be Warhammer fans, to know the fluff of what they were costing, AND who also were happy to take the demands of GW's marketing lobby into account- "we want to sell more Carnosaurs, make them über!!!") and if they spent a year re-tooling the entire hobby, every unit, every army book...

...There'd still be some **** on the Internet who'd say they'd got the maths wrong.

Vipoid
30-01-2014, 14:13
Being able to put an accurate value on wizards isn't the only thing either. A special rule X may have more benefit to one troop type over the other and would not be right costing the same value in points.

Indeed - you'd almost certainly have to evaluate special abilities for each unit on an individual basis.

It also reminded me of something else I wanted to bring up concerning wizards - that spells aren't equally useful against all enemies. Purple Sun against an army of Ogres can be a death sentence, Purple Sun against Elves is more likely to be a mild inconvenience at best.

IcedCrow
30-01-2014, 14:16
That's also very true.

In my perfect world, where I have created my own fantasy battle system for my own entertainment - I created spell lists that you pay for. Buying spells is not something I like because you still only see the same handful of spells taken (and I don't care who says "then make all spells viable", there will always be some spells easier to use than others and thus taken more often than not). However, a list of 3-4 spells that you buy where you always get those spells would see more spells come into play, and you'd be able to somewhat cost them (though again not perfect because as you pointed out - some spells are not universally awesome, they require the right opponent to be awesome against like purple sun)

Fear Ghoul
30-01-2014, 15:58
I don't see why people are going on about complicated equations. It's pretty simple actually, and only gets complicated for wizards.

underscore
30-01-2014, 16:01
I think the example of Frenzy is a good one, where it's worth is strongly correlated with Leadership.

Vipoid
30-01-2014, 16:02
I don't see why people are going on about complicated equations. It's pretty simple actually, and only gets complicated for wizards.

Well, would you care to share these simple processes for accurately costing non-wizards?

baransiege
30-01-2014, 16:20
The thing is that you can't cost a unit based purely on it's stat line and abilities. You have to cost it based on it's role within that army which places dependencies on every other unit within that army. And there is no way to statistically codify the hardline correlation between different phases of the game. For example:

A cavalry unit in the Dwarf army is worth immeasurably more to them than the same cavalry unit in an Elf army because it would have a far huger impact on the army composition and behaviour.
And while a difference in WS can easily worked out in terms of how it affects a variety of common combat setups how do you codify the net gain of adding a cavalry unit to an army consisting of M3 infantry. Any value metric placed on such a thing is inherently going to be subjective as it isn't simply a case of statistics crunching.
Therefore if it's not possible for an entirely equation based model to be adopted and if some elements require human input then you're not gaining much by trying to build a mathmatical model for other elements.
You also have the fact that any subjective element will be based on certain assumptions regarding player behaviour, that's why it's impossible to put a hard numerical value on manouverability - players will always change their behaviour to break the assumption that was the basis of such a value judgment.

It's the same reason why computers can't play the game Go at anything more than a real novice level. And it's like the Turing machine - that it is a physical impossibility for computers, no matter how powerful, to be able to solve every problem.

underscore
30-01-2014, 16:35
It's the same reason why computers can't play the game Go at anything more than a real novice level.
Zen19 says hello. :)

zoodog
30-01-2014, 16:53
I imagine the problem would lie in actually achieving that level of balance. You could probably create some equations, based on a basic statline, to determine the value of increasing and/or decreasing one or more stats. However, calculating the value of abilities like ASF, martial prowess, poison, frenzy etc. seems much more difficult. At the very least, it seems like you'd have to go through each individual unit and calculate the value of their special rules based on that unit's statline. You also have problems when a special rule isn't going to be active all the time - such as with Hatred (only works in the first round of combat) or Frenzy (can be lost permanently). It seems like pricing either of those will require assumptions of some kind or another (in terms of how often the unit is likely to benefit from that rule).

Furthermore, you then have complications with regard to interactions. If a unit has multiple special rules, then they may be synergistic (e.g. ASF and poison) - so you might have to price that unit higher than if you were looking at its rules individually. Likewise, you'd need to price all weapons relative to each individual unit's capabilities and special rules.



This tends to be where the Infinity system, which otherwise seem to use a formula for pointing (though not a public one) are perceived to break down.

In reality you would also have to take into account appreciating and depreciation unit costs dependent on size if you really wanted to try and balance things. The first 5-10 models in most units are seemingly worth more with a somewhat sliding scale until adding more is no longer likely to actually add anything. On the opposite side having units escalate in price as you repeat them is a good way to combat spam/point synergy.

Snake1311
30-01-2014, 17:07
Would the game be better if points weren't based off of what the author thinks they should be for that book, but instead weighted by the stats/special rules of the models? If each stat/equipment piece/special rule had a value attached to it, would it lead to a better game? I know some will argue that it would make the game too standard and make everything too similar, and I can see the logic behind that. Basic light infantry with human stats and equipment would be the same across the board, and even slight differences would barely register a point difference. I can't think of too many units who are so similar in stat/equipment/rules that it would end up matching another army. Armies would still play the way they're supposed to play. Of course, I could be completely wrong and there might be something I'm completely missing about why it wouldn't work.


Short answer, no. Unit X within army A can be much more worthile than within army B; synnergies have to be taken into account. As an example, an army consisiting of a largely homogenous-fucntion units, WoC, has their combat components priced relatively cheaper than other armies, who can use those combat elements together with heavy shooting or magic.

The slightly longer answer is a bit dodgier. Yes, an 'army neutral' point value should be assigned to unit entries, before it is adjusted accordingly depending on its function within the given army book. In some instances, GW clearly doesn't really do this very well (lol, beasts of nurgle, good stats, ton of special rules, cheap).

leopard
30-01-2014, 17:39
You certainly can balance things, you start talking sliding cost scales and the same thing being different points in different armies though.

As for more balanced overall.. to a level yes, but as the saying goes its not what you have its what you do with it that counts (for some reason my better half is now laughing), and its very hard to put a value on what you can do. You will also always have some odd ball matchups, but actually I feel the game is better for that (otherwise all forces can do everything and its getting dull, you need the ability to be good at something countered by being bad at something else - for the army as a whole).

Its unlikely to happen, though it could be better balanced (e.g. have the magic items in the main rulebook, but have the price list in the army book, and not all armies having all the toys either - easier to balance the rules in one place and adjust the costs depending on the army. e.g. is +1 attack when its at WS:4 S:4 really worth the same as when its at WS:6 S:5 for example?)

T:;DR, yes you can, no they won't

baransiege
30-01-2014, 18:12
Zen19 says hello. :)

Wow, I was clearly out of date on that front :)! Though the point regarding unsolvable computational problems still stands :P.

WhispersofBlood
30-01-2014, 19:10
Wow, I was clearly out of date on that front :)! Though the point regarding unsolvable computational problems still stands :P.

I'm failry certain its the one that works off an experience based model. But Warhammer is more than a series of moves or combats it be hard to see how it translates. I'm normally an logic based person but points costs need a human factor no mathmatical expression is going to get you the appropriate cost. It may establish a baseline in an army like Empire, or Orcs where they function as an all-rounder but one you get out of that little town it will get wonky. Not to mention it fails to account for intangible reasons people take certain units like cool models, or theme.

snottlebocket
30-01-2014, 20:53
GW stated ad nauseum over the years that the game has never been balanced, was never meant to balanced and they will never try to make it balanced.

Warhammer has always been written as a game system for creating cinematic game experiences, it was never meant to be a competitive and balanced game. And they want to keep it that way. Rule of cool will always trump boring but balanced.

Vipoid
30-01-2014, 23:35
GW stated ad nauseum over the years that the game has never been balanced, was never meant to balanced and they will never try to make it balanced.

I'm sure they have.


Warhammer has always been written as a game system for creating cinematic game experiences, it was never meant to be a competitive and balanced game. And they want to keep it that way. Rule of cool will always trump boring but balanced.

Wow. If that excuse were any weaker, I think it would qualify as pure water (or possibly pure ************). Does 'it was never meant to be competitive and balanced' translate to 'we don't understand our own game' or 'we just can't be bothered'?

Firstly, what do you consider 'cinematic' to actually mean with regard to 40k? The closest definition I can find would be filming your games... though I'm not sure what that has to do with anything. In fact, I don't think I've seen anyone define what they mean by cinematic - it's just a word GW likes to throw around as if it has some relevance (it doesn't). If I want something "cinematic" I'll go to the cinema, or put a DVD on. If, on the other hand, I want to play a game, then why on Earth would I care whether or not it 'relates to cinema'?

Second, where exactly does the 'rule of cool' fit in? Are badly-balanced games 'cool' now? Or, is it considered 'uncool' to put thought and effort into making your game well-balanced? :wtf:

Finally, where did this notion come from that balance = boring? Was it 4E D&D? I really don't get why accurately costing units and abilities would suddenly make the game boring.
"Oh no, my army book no longer has bad units."
"AAAARGH - I can actually use the models I like, without hampering my army. The Horror!"
:eyebrows:

Myster2
31-01-2014, 00:00
The game is balanced not by unit by but by army. I'm not saying they do a good job of it but that is the concept.

If the game was balanced on a scale by unit that represented points value not only would the game "feel" like chess it would be chess as what is the point of having multiple armies if everything is essentially the same?

theunwantedbeing
31-01-2014, 00:15
If the game was balanced on a scale by unit that represented points value not only would the game "feel" like chess it would be chess as what is the point of having multiple armies if everything is essentially the same?

A couple of questions here seeing as you've just voiced a seemingly popular opinion that I'm struggling to understand...
1. Why does balance mean everything has to be the same?
2. What's wrong with chess?

SuperHappyTime
31-01-2014, 01:46
1. Why does balance mean everything has to be the same?
I dunno. Maybe they want that fluffy Bretonnian Peasant army and an easy shot at winning? Maybe because from their twisted view they believe in a "balanced outcome" and not a "balanced set of choices"


2. What's wrong with chess?
Besides being an outdated game I'm pretty terribad at, nothing.

Spiney Norman
31-01-2014, 07:40
GW stated ad nauseum over the years that the game has never been balanced, was never meant to balanced and they will never try to make it balanced.

Warhammer has always been written as a game system for creating cinematic game experiences, it was never meant to be a competitive and balanced game. And they want to keep it that way. Rule of cool will always trump boring but balanced.

Sorry for being dim, but I'm not clear on how/why accurate points values and clearly written rules work against a cinematic gaming experience.

In my experience FAQs that run to 9 pages (Skaven) actively work against this because the game becomes very clunky and stop-starts as you try and find out what the rules actually mean. Is it some unwritten rule of a "cinematic" war game that one randomly selected army every edition must be substantially more powerful at the same points value than all others?

CauCaSus
31-01-2014, 08:55
Of course they would. Almost all of the time, something is good or not solely depending on what you pay for it. Skavenslaves are good. For 1 pt they woukd be amazing. For 10 pts they would be horrible. The same is true for almost any other unit (with possible exception for the dwarf flame cannon, but even that would be taken if it cost 5 pts)

Edit: I'm speaking now of internal balance in the army of course.

N1AK
31-01-2014, 11:29
A: I'm not sure that's true, as armies which can get their cannon out of special are probably less inclined to splurge rare points on them and B: The Skillcannon is universally regarded as being badly under-priced anyway.

Your point B actually counters your own point. Obviously the fact that the Skullcannon is under-pointed is one of the reasons that EVERY book would benefit from having it. I never referred to 'a fairly pointed Skullcannon'. Even the armies with least need for Skullcannons (Empire and Dwarves) would still be stronger with them, though obviously the boost would be more limited than in armies with weaker choices and less attractive rare options.

Scammel
31-01-2014, 11:46
The fact that the Skillcannon is so woefully underpriced for its capabilities that almost every army would want one is a separate point, really. If we operate on a hypothetical basis that it was assigned a much more appropriate price (say, 180pts) based on the capabilities alone, that would then have to be adjusted from armybook to armybook to account for the existing strengths and weaknesses of the faction. For VC I'd guess we'd be looking at 200, for Empire perhaps 165.

Myster2
31-01-2014, 21:18
A couple of questions here seeing as you've just voiced a seemingly popular opinion that I'm struggling to understand...
1. Why does balance mean everything has to be the same?
2. What's wrong with chess?

1) I guess this depends on what we mean by balance. I understand balance in the context the poster is stating to say that each unit in it's given point cost should have an exactly equal chance of beating any other unit of the same point cost. The only way to do this is to make the units exactly the same.

2) Nothing is wrong with chess, but if i wanted to play chess i would :).

HurrDurr
31-01-2014, 23:58
Some magical super equation will never account for terrain that can be placed dynamically. There will never be a standard cost for the same stat line across multiple armies (some may be the same out of sheer coincidence.) Special rules(all characteristics even) do change in value based on who wields them.

I believe the only way to balance the game is for large samples of of play testing.

Heres an example, well work under the idea that wizards are overpowered or under costed.

Earlier in the thread it was said "how could you balance a wizard with how powerful they can be, but also how random they are?"

This question was answered already, they are currently viewed as overpowered. And all those variables are in motion as we speak, horrible miscasts are already happening. Mindrazor and dwellers are already real things and have made units disappear. Everyone interested in competitive play takes a wizard. We don't need a super computer to calculate that out. We have strong enough empirical evidence to act on it right now.

Finding the sweet spot where a unit's cost and power are perfect is difficult, but you can get much closer than we are seeing currently. If everyone felt like they never had more than a 10% advantage or disadvantage in a match up we probably wouldn't be seeing threads like this.

Muad'Dib
02-02-2014, 02:09
It is a dark and sad day indeed to see that "Is balance good?" is even up for discussion...:S Or that people need convincing that it's possible.

Though balancing to a fine degree is more problematic with Warhammer - because of terrain and unit hard-counters (AP2 vs Terminators etc.)...nevertheless, with enough work/playtesting it could be at least roughly balanced. I think 6th edition WFB was the closest to being balanced - at least externally; you actually had a proper nice spread of many armies in Polish tournament ranking. http://ranking.wfb-pol.org/rank_arch.php


I know some will argue that it would make the game too standard and make everything too similar, and I can see the logic behind that.

Sure itd be more balanced. It would be a lot like chess where you get to pick the pieces.
...What is the logic that 'balance = both sides are the same'? Have those people saying this only ever played GW games and chess? There's a whole subset of asymmetrical games, and many are balanced.

http://davidgagnon.wordpress.com/2009/08/16/symmetrical-vs-asymmetrical-balance-in-game-design/ "The bottom line, is that the only real way to find balance is to playtest the heck out it and see what players do. As soon as one character shows a clear domination, we change the attributes."
The problem with GW is that they don't want it's games to be balanced - because an unbalanced one sells better. (PM me for possible explanation on this) Long story short, it's kind of like in professional wrestling - the favorites are set up to win the match. (for example note how Vampire Counts have been a top tier, robust book since 6th edition...same with Space Marines in 40k)

Also google "Cthulhu Wars video" for example of excellently balanced, totally asymmetrical game; that also has randomness as factor.



If everyone felt like they never had more than a 10% advantage or disadvantage in a match up we probably wouldn't be seeing threads like this.
10 % is what I always thought/felt that most games should be able to be balanced to after proper playtesting.

Lord Solar Plexus
02-02-2014, 08:14
Wow. If that excuse were any weaker, I think it would qualify as pure water (or possibly pure ************). Does 'it was never meant to be competitive and balanced' translate to 'we don't understand our own game' or 'we just can't be bothered'?

Firstly, what do you consider 'cinematic' to actually mean with regard to 40k?


"As in the movies". I have to ask you, was that a trick question? I haven't yet met someone above the age of 5 who didn't know the meaning of that. Hello, Michael Bay? Terminator? Explosions? :angel:

It's no excuse. They make rules because they have to; the game is of no import.

Vipoid
02-02-2014, 10:21
The problem with GW is that they don't want it's games to be balanced - because an unbalanced one sells better. (PM me for possible explanation on this) Long story short, it's kind of like in professional wrestling - the favorites are set up to win the match. (for example note how Vampire Counts have been a top tier, robust book since 6th edition...same with Space Marines in 40k)

I was under the impression that VCs were mid-tier in 8th edition?


"As in the movies". I have to ask you, was that a trick question? I haven't yet met someone above the age of 5 who didn't know the meaning of that. Hello, Michael Bay? Terminator? Explosions?

Ok, and how do those relate to a game of 40k?

- Oddly enough, I've yet to play Michael Bay and haven't seen anything resembling him on the tabletop either.
- With regard to Terminator, I assume you're referring to Necrons - in which case is the only condition that it 'looks a bit like something that was in a movie'? If so, surely you could apply cinematic to virtually everything that exists? By the same logic, my toaster, lamp, vacuum cleaner and blanket must also be cinematic because this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSC7PZ2jCic)exists.
-I suppose there are indeed explosions... but not ones I would regard as being particularly cinematic, no matter how many times GW prints that word. Oddly enough, with cinema being a primarily visual media, I tend to imagine that a 'cinematic explosion' would be visual as well. In contrast, an explosion in 40k tends to be along the lines of 'roll a few dice then move a vehicle from the tabletop to a carrying case'. Somehow I doubt that Hollywood will be asking to borrow our special effects any time soon...

Muad'Dib
02-02-2014, 11:50
I was under the impression that VCs were mid-tier in 8th edition?
Weren't they are least tier 2 at release ? Also, I think they can at least compete at highest level because of Crypt Horrors, Blender Lord and Terrorgheists? (the latter being the most pushed GW rules I've ever seen)
What I also meant by 'top tier' is that they never got a widely derided book like Beastmen, Tomb Kings, Daemon Hunters or Tyranids.




Ok, and how do those relate to a game of 40k?

In GW's case, I'd wager that 'Cinematic' is an..euphemism* for "made so because teenagers enjoy it" or "dumbed down for teenagers".

*Need a better word to describe this; is there a word for "an 'empty' phrase that is used (constantly) to disguise the true quality of something" ?

Vipoid
02-02-2014, 12:03
Weren't they are least tier 2 at release ?

Oh, indeed - and I believe they still are. But, by 'top-tier', I assumed that you specifically meant tier 1. :p


Also, I think they can at least compete at highest level because of Crypt Horrors, Blender Lord and Terrorgheists? (the latter being the most pushed GW rules I've ever seen)

Somewhat, but the problem is that they tend to be too reliant on those things - especially since a lot of other units (especially core) can't function well without considerable support. But then, I've never used VCs in a tournament or other really competitive event, so this comes more from reading what others have written on the subject.


What I also meant by 'top tier' is that they never got a widely derided book like Beastmen, Tomb Kings, Daemon Hunters or Tyranids.

Ah, I see. Yes, whilst it isn't tier 1, it's a pretty 'solid' book with decent internal and external balance.


In GW's case, I'd wager that 'Cinematic' is an..euphemism for "made so because teenagers enjoy it" or "dumbed down for teenagers".

Hmm, sounds about right. ;)

Spiney Norman
02-02-2014, 17:28
'Cinematic' is an..euphemism* for "made so because teenagers enjoy it" or "dumbed down for teenagers".


The best definition I have seen of a word that has become heavily overused on warseer. Sigged

Avian
02-02-2014, 18:29
GW stated ad nauseum over the years that the game has never been balanced, was never meant to balanced and they will never try to make it balanced.
Given that they keep changing points values in the army books when they redo them, we can be pretty confident that's just an excuse they wave around when they fail.


"Perfect balance" is an absurd concept that nobody has asked for and is something that, given the amount of randomness in this game, nobody would recognize if they got it anyway. Still, armies tend to get a fair number of units / items that are so unbalanced that it should have been picked up on with rudimentary playtesting. And fixing that wouldn't hurt anyone.

Lord Solar Plexus
02-02-2014, 18:32
Ok, and how do those relate to a game of 40k?


The game is supposed to feel like a film (most likely an action or war film) at its best. The concept is also known as immersion, although I bet there are some minor differences.

To be frank, and I honestly mean no disrespect, judging from your other comments you appear to be purposefully obtuse. I think you're a smart guy and the concept is easy enough to understand. You must know pretty well that it doesn't mean particular things need to have appeared in movies previously - it's about the flow of the game which is supposed to resemble a film or battle sequence.

Sir_Turalyon
02-02-2014, 20:46
Would the game be better if points weren't based off of what the author thinks they should be for that book, but instead weighted by the stats/special rules of the models?

No. This was original approach in WFB (you took a "basic" human, or orc, or elf, and upgraded him with equipment and stats upgrades, either by fixed point cost or formula) - it didn't really work and was changed for a reason. Turns out you can't give extra WS and additional hand weapon to naked elf and chaos warrior in chaos armour at the same price, without one being overpriced, other being underpriced or, more likely, both. Or to expect basic human man-at-arms in army that has access to good shooting and in army that has close combat monsters to perform the same - with fixed price, you pay for role he can't perform in this army. That way lies mini-maxing, finding most points efficient combos and spamming them, except the prices and combos are almost the same for all armies.

Vipoid
02-02-2014, 21:14
The game is supposed to feel like a film (most likely an action or war film) at its best. The concept is also known as immersion, although I bet there are some minor differences.

To be frank, and I honestly mean no disrespect, judging from your other comments you appear to be purposefully obtuse. I think you're a smart guy and the concept is easy enough to understand. You must know pretty well that it doesn't mean particular things need to have appeared in movies previously - it's about the flow of the game which is supposed to resemble a film or battle sequence.

You're right - I am being somewhat obtuse. Mainly it's because I just don't think cinematic is a good description of Warhammer - nor should it be.

Immersion is fine, and if they'd used that word instead of cinematic I'd probably have fewer issues.

Although, even then, why does the game need to tell me that it's immersive or cinematic? Surely I'll know if it's immersive because it will be de facto immersive. Same with cinematic - how I imagine the game will remain the same, regardless of how many times they print that word.

Torga_DW
02-02-2014, 22:05
The game is supposed to feel like a film (most likely an action or war film) at its best. The concept is also known as immersion, although I bet there are some minor differences.

Just a minor nitpick on this, but from my perspective cinematic is at odds from immersion. Good example being that robin hood movie (the non-costner version) - the movie was fine (for its time) right until the cinematic moment where robin hood swung off the balcony, grabbed maid marian and swung then both to the balcony on the other side. Cinematic yes. But such a break in immersion that thats pretty much what i remember of the movie. Saving private ryan was an immersive movie. The expendables 2 was a cinematic movie.

Just my 2 cents.

underscore
02-02-2014, 22:31
Seems that your definition of cinematic is just a bad film attempting to be immersive. Being a semantic argument this is going to rage on for a long time, but here goes it: cinematic is just a subset of immersion that is populist, grandiose and visually impressive.

Either way saying that Saving Private Ryan doesn't count as cinematic seems like madness to me. It's as cinematic as it gets.

N1AK
02-02-2014, 22:36
Saving private ryan was an immersive movie.

There isn't some right or wrong definition for cinematic in this context. Personally I would list various moments from Saving Private Ryan as cinematic with the first scene being one obvious example. Personally I'm not sure they should be quite so focused on it, after all it's not like many other games aren't 'cinematic' as well and a war-game shouldn't, in my opinion, just be a couple of actions scenes tacked together.

Sephillion
02-02-2014, 22:50
While it could help, the way such games are made, some abilities interact in a particular way that may be positive or not. For instance, Fleet on shooty units is much less useful than on a melee unit. FnP on T3 models is OK, but on a T5 model it's much better since it avoids most ID attacks. A particular combination of stats/abilities may end up better, so even if abilities are given a basic points cost to establish a unit's actual cost, it can still easily lead to unbalance. I think a better way would be to favor a lot of play test. It really feels some units aren't tested properly (like that Tzeentch chariot, the Vengeance, the Heldrake, etc.)

Torga_DW
03-02-2014, 04:19
I think i worded myself a bit poorly, i think the problem being the word cinematic itself (i'm assuming it to mean action, since anything can be shown in a cinema), 'cinematic' and immersive can go together but its not something that happens without effort. As for my examples the key point for saving private ryan was that it was well written enough to be believable which is were the 'immersive' part came in. It had action scenes of course, but if tom hanks had jumped 20 feet to land on a german tank to rip off the hatch and drop a grenade down it, that would have killed the immersion for me. Likewise for the expendables 2, sure all the action (skill and luck of the characters) was possible in theory but since the whole movie had that stuff going on constantly and they were supposed to be humans in a human setting there was zero immersion for me. The former had me thinking: 'are they going to make it?' and drew me in. The latter had me thinking of rule 16: law of inverse accuracy; the outcome was pretty predictable. Just my 2 cents.

Lord Solar Plexus
03-02-2014, 13:38
Although, even then, why does the game need to tell me that it's immersive or cinematic?


Hah! Why does Mars have to tell you its products are delicious and why does VW have to point out Fahrvergnuegen? ;)

Anyways, we might have drifted a bit off topic. Whether one thinks the game is or should be cinematic or not has no bearing on whether it could be a bit tighter, rules- and points-wise. Nobody can explain to me why Executioners and Flagellants both cost 12 points, a Skillcannon only a pittance more than a supposedly Great Cannon and so on and so on.

Vipoid
03-02-2014, 13:44
Hah! Why does Mars have to tell you its products are delicious and why does VW have to point out Fahrvergnuegen? ;)

Thing is though, if you're reading all the rules it's generally because you've already bought the book.

it would be like Mars advertising their product's deliciousness inside the wrapper. :p


Whether one thinks the game is or should be cinematic or not has no bearing on whether it could be a bit tighter, rules- and points-wise. Nobody can explain to me why Executioners and Flagellants both cost 12 points, a Skillcannon only a pittance more than a supposedly Great Cannon and so on and so on.

I agree. Even with some of the randomness, I believe that a lot of units and abilities could still be costed to better reflect their value.

Lord Solar Plexus
03-02-2014, 13:46
Thing is though, if you're reading all the rules it's generally because you've already bought the book.

it would be like Mars advertising their product's deliciousness inside the wrapper. :p

Haha, so true! :)