Further thought on balance
Okay so I know the Shaolin are hot, and that we are waiting for a patch to rebalance the existing/new team. But I wanted to share some further thoughts on tha matter since I know that Robots are reviewing balance now in the next weeks. Here is my full-dump on all the teams. I'm not the best player by any means, but I do play a lot and currently ranked at 1340-ish in the league. I design, balance and make games for a living.
Many people have said that the old Witch was an unreliable but strong AOE puppet (pre current patch). But that isn't really true, before she was the engine that made the Tribe be able to play agressively. Before, if your opponent was a turteling Dwarf, you could toss in your expendable guys. Which used to be anything except your Shamans and buffed-witches, and grind at your opponent. The idea was to start a ***-for-tat game, and to dome some AOE with a Chieftan or two to wittle down their ability to heal and re-buff all their guys. It could cost you a guy or two but eventually you will get opportunities to explode guys. Or you can even explode your own guys. The witches stayed behind, it wasn't unreliable AOE, it was an agressive suicidal AOE power-game play, something that really set the Tribe appart. Anyone who thinks that the witch wasn't the most important unit in the team before the patch never tried to play them super-agressive and force explosions on the opponent. It was a very effective playstyle and how I used to run them in the league. Now I never play them in the league because they, well, suck. :-)
The other issue, specifically vs. Dwarves, is that your anger is used up on the engineer bubble. If they have an Anahilator on the field, with armor buffs, upgraded to the max and an engineer bubble, you just can't break into it and actually stomp/explode it in one turn (unless they make a mistake, but waiting for a mistake is not really very strategic). The anger shouldn't be waisted on an engineer bubble. If you attack a bubble and thats the only thing you damage, your anger should stay. In other words: the Tribe has to actually do at least 5 points of damage (taste some blood) to release its anger.
On the TF2 map, this problem is further compunded for the Tribe because the Train doesn't trigger Anger. This means that the Annahilator can push your guys around, then run in an expendable dwarf, and sweep-kill your guys and you won't get any anger for it to get in some retaliation.
Tribe is extremly dependant on Anger to get high damage output, if it can't get angry, and if I can't use that anger on anything, they suffer quite heavily because the meat only gives %275 instead of %300 that the scroll gives. Thats 550/771 damage vs. 600/900. So if your witch has a sword upgrade and meat, it does only 770 which won't KO in one shot anything, let alone a fully buffed unit. The axe thrower can get more damage, 970 because of the +200 base, but the axe thrower also only hits at range 2 instead of 3. It's the only way you can possibly one-shot with meat when not-angry, and it requires an upgrade.
Making the Train create anger if you didn't Train yourself (so only triggers if durring the opponents turn a train kills you) and also letting Tribe's anger not get waisted on an engineer bubble will already make the Dwarf battle quite a bit more feasible. I feel the TF2-Train map is currently the worst matchup for the Tribe imaginable, maybe the stats confirm this.
If the witch can't be restored to previous AOE damage, which I understand may not be open for debate, then they need a way to again be better at being hyper-agressive and doing major AOE damage / KOs. The witch at 66% would be a simple fix, or making the AOE splash from a corpse-explosion be a FIXED amount (say 250) that can't be increased.
The other way to get more AOE power would be to give the Chieftan more power, I don't think he should get more life, after thinking about it more, because it wouldn't stimulate their agressive nature, instead I think the Chieftan should get more attack-strength. There are two interesting ways to do this:
- Make his "charge" attack do +50% damage, also make it break Engineer shields for free. This would let him become more of a threat from range and allow him to help generate some more counters to turtleling factions.
- Give him a base of 250 attack instead of 200. The difference is small but it means that with meat and weapon-upgrade he can KO adjacent units when he whirl winds; making him an actual threat when sword-upgraded. As it is now, upgrading him is generally not really very viable.
Over to the TF2. The problem sitll exists that the TF2 can turtle just as well as the Dwarves, and that the longer you don't break into them, the stronger they get (vast upgrades, medics can (double) power-up a guy on an attack tile into a titantic, etc.).
I believe that the TF2 is just overall too strong. The stats would have to support me, but if they do, they need some reductions in a number of areas. Their damage output can get too high with the medic boostings, limiting its range to 2 instead of 3 would help. The medics shouldn't be able to heal themselves, because it makes it impossible to break into the pile. They have so many guys they can expend them and thus are crazy strong at Crystal hunting, some of their damage output vs. crystals could be reduced, and the Heavy shouldn't be 1200 but 1000 like most other factions. Maybe not all of these changes are required, but I listed all the possible ones that I see as issues because I feel that in all these areas they are doing too well. Just making the medics not self heal would immediatly change the game and stop them from being amazing at turteling, leaving them strong at attrition and crystal hunting; but not strong at "anything".
The one faction TF2 has trouble with, Dwarves, could be addressed by a very small change, allow the Snipper to bypass the Engineer shield "for free" and to do damage ignoring (breaking) the Engineer bubble as it damages the target.
Some small changes are already mentioned above, but to recap:
- Make the engineer bubble pop "without blocking damage" when hit by a TF2 snipper's shot.
- Engineer bubbles don't waist a Tribe's anger if all the Tribe does is pop a bubble.
Other possible changes include: lower Paladin's base-health by 100 and/or ability to self-heal. Reduce range of Engineers back to 2 instead of 3 squares, or make the engineer's bubble only work if the target REAMINS within 3 spaces of the engineer. Lower the splash damage of the grenadier. Lower the base damage of the annahalator to 250 instead of 300. (it's kinda insane right now, best unit in the game by-far and it can lead to "un-fun pinned-games where you can't do anything but get hammered for 10 turns into a corner)
Dark Elves I think are doing nearly just fine, I would just make the Wraith start at 800 life and scale-back its life upgrades per "consumption" to be less, as others have suggested. That small change is probably all that is needed.
No changes needed! Perfect as is.
Too early to tell! So far no glaring issues. They will be a tutlr-power because they need combos and you have to move in groups. But you do also have some hit-and-run options with the debuffs... so hard to say for certain yet what type of faction they are and who they loose/win against consistently. I do wish that the Poison was actually Poison, and not just -armor. What I would have made Posion to be instead was:
- Poisoned: Target takes 100 damage at the start of each turn, until healed by a healer or potion.
So the idea would be similar, you around and poison all their guys, and thus forcing them to loose APs to heal their own guys or suffer gradual health loss. However, the current effect is certainly usable and effective.