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What should be the primary method of balance for 40k?
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 Unit1126PLL wrote:
Ah, so what you see as problem, I do not. The player isn't there to decide only what the wizard does in combat (Rest v Fight -> Spells), because that is fairly routine. The player is there to role-play. to push the boundaries. To see if they can overcome obstacles given the limited set of stuff they have to work with (i.e. the limited number of verbs they can perform).

Here's a question addressing your second point: what's the difference between "building the rules such that certain tactics work better than others" for a given army, and "arranging the army's entries such that some list-building choices work better than others"? One is done at the table, the other before the table, but they're both the game gently nudging you into playing a certain way with a faction. I fail to see the difference between "if you brute force with Cygnar, you lose" or "if you try to sneak around and use ambush tactics with Pan Oceania you lose" and "if you try to play World Eaters as a gunline, you lose."


Because "if you try to brute-force with Cygnar you lose" requires you to play the models you own differently, where "if you play ranged units with World Eaters you lose" requires you to buy different models. The option to take World Eaters Havocs exists, it's in the book, GW sells you models to build them, so there should be a reason to use them, rather than just saying "Nah, World Eaters are a melee army, Havocs are a trap you shouldn't take".

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 Unit1126PLL wrote:
Ah, so what you see as problem, I do not. The player isn't there to decide only what the wizard does in combat (Rest v Fight -> Spells), because that is fairly routine. The player is there to role-play. to push the boundaries. To see if they can overcome obstacles given the limited set of stuff they have to work with (i.e. the limited number of verbs they can perform).

Here's a question addressing your second point: what's the difference between "building the rules such that certain tactics work better than others" for a given army, and "arranging the army's entries such that some list-building choices work better than others"? One is done at the table, the other before the table, but they're both the game gently nudging you into playing a certain way with a faction. I fail to see the difference between "if you brute force with Cygnar, you lose" or "if you try to sneak around and use ambush tactics with Pan Oceania you lose" and "if you try to play World Eaters as a gunline, you lose."

It’s like tomatoes being fruit. Tomatoes are fruit, and “can” be used as fruits for purposes, but I’d imagine they make a terrible fruit smoothie.

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 Unit1126PLL wrote:
Here's a question addressing your second point: what's the difference between "building the rules such that certain tactics work better than others" for a given army, and "arranging the army's entries such that some list-building choices work better than others"? One is done at the table, the other before the table, but they're both the game gently nudging you into playing a certain way with a faction. I fail to see the difference between "if you brute force with Cygnar, you lose" or "if you try to sneak around and use ambush tactics with Pan Oceania you lose" and "if you try to play World Eaters as a gunline, you lose."

Let me rephrase my former argument.

Going back to your D&D example, imagine that every class can do EVERYTHING because every class needs to do everything. Fighters can cast spells, wizards can wield swords, clerics can sneak. There are two ways to balance this, the first being that you make each class so bad at what they aren't "supposed" to do that they become pretty laughable outside of it. If you pick fighter and try to specialize in fighter "spells" you are just going to get laughed at and destroyed by even a poorly optimized wizard. Is it really even a choice then? Fighter can only REALLY be played one way and trying anything else is basically a trap option. This is what 40k currently does.

OR

You can make the classes perform situationally well at things they aren't "supposed" to do. A wizard can fight decently with a sword in a particular situation or for a short length of time, but will still lose to a melee focused fighter in a prolonged battle or in a generalized situation. Transferring the analogy over to 40k... Ogryn are just one tool in the IG toolkit, they are a melee unit that performs a specific purpose in an army that is otherwise relatively bad at melee. Ogryn should be good at melee, and the "army focus" of guard being generally bad at melee should be maintained by limiting the amount of ogryns you can take, limiting their synergy with IG units, or otherwise not allowing you to take an entire army of ogryns. They are supposed to be a specialist unit not the mainstay of the faction. You don't do this by intentionally overcosting ogryns because that just makes them bad. You don't NEED ogryn to win, and so if they are intentionally overcosted they just don't get taken.

OR

You can just eliminate the trap options, but then every army is reduced to a handful of "actual" units and the game becomes too simple.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/01/02 21:25:44


 
   
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w1zard wrote:
...You can just eliminate the trap options, but then every army is reduced to a handful of "actual" units and the game becomes too simple.


Going this route unfortunately leads into a weird space where something else becomes the trap option until the entire Codex is reduced to "spam this one unit" (see: Codex: Dawneagle Jetbikes and Codex: Nemesis Dreadknights).

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The thing is there is optimisation to the nth degree - and then there is raising units up to a standard that makes them okay to play rather than awful.

This is a game about rolling six sided dice. Luck will have a massive influence on any given game. You don't therefore need things to be mathematically perfect in order for it to be balanced - you just need it to be close enough.

What you want to avoid is situations where on normal dice player 1's army does 50% more damage and takes 50% less damage than player 2's army. If instead its around 10% then its likely moving around the table to optimizing targets/objectives (and just dumb luck) is going to have a greater impact on the result than purely list building.
   
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Tyel wrote:
The thing is there is optimisation to the nth degree - and then there is raising units up to a standard that makes them okay to play rather than awful.

This is a game about rolling six sided dice. Luck will have a massive influence on any given game. You don't therefore need things to be mathematically perfect in order for it to be balanced - you just need it to be close enough.

What you want to avoid is situations where on normal dice player 1's army does 50% more damage and takes 50% less damage than player 2's army. If instead its around 10% then its likely moving around the table to optimizing targets/objectives (and just dumb luck) is going to have a greater impact on the result than purely list building.

That is true too. Balance doesn't necessarily mean "perfect balance" it just means "close enough not to matter".
   
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 Peregrine wrote:

 Charistoph wrote:
But that slow update cycle is GW's design concept. They deliberately choose to release things in that haphazard manner. That they did it because of model availability is irrelevant because they should have begun the design scheme with allowing for those armies not getting flyers to have decent AAA without them, even if it was just a cheap Flakk missile upgrade for their Missile Launchers. They could have also made sure to include all the armies within that design space to release them in short order. They didn't, though. They brought out Flyers for some, allowed some Flakk for others, and ignored the rest until their next codex came out.

And a tabletop game going through it's 6th and 7th iteration is not unfinished or mid-update. This isn't like WoW's PTR where we know we're in testing. We're dealing with the live launches of the patches here, and someone screwed up leaving someone without access to pants till the next patch.

Well yes, it was an example of incompetence by GW. I'm certainly not going to defend their handling of the situation. But defending GW is not my point there, it's that there's a huge difference between "space marines struggle with AA because that's one of their intended weaknesses and it balances out their strengths elsewhere" and "space marines struggle with AA because their new flyer kit doesn't have a release slot for six months". You can't use GW's botched handling of 6th as an example of how designed weaknesses are bad.

Actually I can for GW because their design process exacerbates weaknesses between armies that were not inherently designed in at the time the book was written. The longer an army goes without a codex, the longer it goes without models that are keeping with the new design philosophies. There are armies which have gone 2-3 editions without an update and their designed weaknesses from a decade before became glaring issues because they couldn't compete at all.

As an example, Necrons were forced to deal with Phase Out from their pamphlet codex through all of 3rd, 4th, and only were able to get rid of it at the twilight of 5th, and their army wasn't QUITE ready to handle the mechanics of 6th edition. During that intervening time almost everyone's units got cheaper and easier to use and more able exploit the Necron's designed weaknesses.

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But how can GW fix such a situation? they can play with options of armies that already work. Or play with those armies power, but with a bad army and bad units, GW has to work with material that is bad to begin with, so if they copy past stuff bad armies get bad stuff all over again. It would require a whole model line reset for GW to change rule, and it would still only be a change, nothing can garente that the new stuff will be bad.
   
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Releasing all armies at once has always been how other games do it, and in fact when GW has done it (look at Ravening Hordes 2000 for whfb) it worked very well.

When you do the release model GW does where you put out a book and then wait and put out another book, you inevitably get codex creep to the nth degree.

GW points don't bring balance. They exist purely for structure. You can get more balance from no points than you do from GW points. You however can get no structure in your game without points. 
   
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Karol wrote:
But how can GW fix such a situation? they can play with options of armies that already work. Or play with those armies power, but with a bad army and bad units, GW has to work with material that is bad to begin with, so if they copy past stuff bad armies get bad stuff all over again. It would require a whole model line reset for GW to change rule, and it would still only be a change, nothing can garente that the new stuff will be bad.

Well, copy and pasting usually means not changing anything, so definitely a GIGO situation. Some of the developers also don't seem to waste a lot of brainpower when they go through an army's listing for their next update, either, which can leave some units out in the cold due to simple poor performance ratios before which are repeated again, and not considering other options.

One example is the Pyrovore of the Tyranid line. No one wanted to waste a precious Elite slot for a unit of Heavy Flamers on a mediocre platform, so no one took them. If they bothered to think beyond a step and have it be an upgrade for a unit, such as being allowed to be added to 'gant or 'gaunt squads, they would have seen far more use. No need for a model line reset (unless you are referring to a codex release) to do this, but it would have been a favorable change in effectiveness for both model groups.

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 Charistoph wrote:
Karol wrote:
But how can GW fix such a situation? they can play with options of armies that already work. Or play with those armies power, but with a bad army and bad units, GW has to work with material that is bad to begin with, so if they copy past stuff bad armies get bad stuff all over again. It would require a whole model line reset for GW to change rule, and it would still only be a change, nothing can garente that the new stuff will be bad.

Well, copy and pasting usually means not changing anything, so definitely a GIGO situation. Some of the developers also don't seem to waste a lot of brainpower when they go through an army's listing for their next update, either, which can leave some units out in the cold due to simple poor performance ratios before which are repeated again, and not considering other options.

One example is the Pyrovore of the Tyranid line. No one wanted to waste a precious Elite slot for a unit of Heavy Flamers on a mediocre platform, so no one took them. If they bothered to think beyond a step and have it be an upgrade for a unit, such as being allowed to be added to 'gant or 'gaunt squads, they would have seen far more use. No need for a model line reset (unless you are referring to a codex release) to do this, but it would have been a favorable change in effectiveness for both model groups.


"Not a lot of brainpower" is Putting it mildly.
There are still indexes that have hq's that lack the charachter keyword....

   
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Karol wrote:
But how can GW fix such a situation?
8th edition gave them that opportunity. New rules, clean slate, chance to reorganise and consolidate factions, fundamentally change statlines, and set out structures for army composition and alliances.

Not the safe option though.
   
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But from what I know 7th ed GK were horrible. If 8th was their chance to be fixed, then GW did not do a good job. And if future updates are ment to be for new units and new IP, and GK players were all told they won't get any primaris, then it would mean that GK are never going to be fixed.

   
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 Charistoph wrote:
Actually I can for GW because their design process exacerbates weaknesses between armies that were not inherently designed in at the time the book was written. The longer an army goes without a codex, the longer it goes without models that are keeping with the new design philosophies. There are armies which have gone 2-3 editions without an update and their designed weaknesses from a decade before became glaring issues because they couldn't compete at all.

As an example, Necrons were forced to deal with Phase Out from their pamphlet codex through all of 3rd, 4th, and only were able to get rid of it at the twilight of 5th, and their army wasn't QUITE ready to handle the mechanics of 6th edition. During that intervening time almost everyone's units got cheaper and easier to use and more able exploit the Necron's designed weaknesses.


Again you're missing the point. The question is not whether or not GW's handling of game design and release schedules was good, because it obviously wasn't and nobody is defending it. The question is whether or not the state of the game in that era is useful evidence for or against the idea of deliberately designed weaknesses for factions. And the answer is no, it isn't. Space marines didn't lack AA early in 6th because a competent game designer came up with a faction identity for the space marines that included a weakness against aircraft (balancing out strengths elsewhere), and a faction identity for Necrons that involved being great at AA and aircraft. It's purely a coincidence of the release schedule where Necrons had their flyer kit on the shelf already, and space marines weren't getting theirs until months later. If GW's marketing department had decided to make the space marine flyer an earlier release the space marine AA problem never would have existed.

If you want to talk about the merits of designed weaknesses then you need to look at something like index-only 8th edition, where everything is designed at the same time as part of a coherent system and any strengths or weaknesses are the result of deliberate game design and not just the whims of the release calendar.

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 Peregrine wrote:
Again you're missing the point. The question is not whether or not GW's handling of game design and release schedules was good, because it obviously wasn't and nobody is defending it. The question is whether or not the state of the game in that era is useful evidence for or against the idea of deliberately designed weaknesses for factions. And the answer is no, it isn't. Space marines didn't lack AA early in 6th because a competent game designer came up with a faction identity for the space marines that included a weakness against aircraft (balancing out strengths elsewhere), and a faction identity for Necrons that involved being great at AA and aircraft. It's purely a coincidence of the release schedule where Necrons had their flyer kit on the shelf already, and space marines weren't getting theirs until months later. If GW's marketing department had decided to make the space marine flyer an earlier release the space marine AA problem never would have existed.

No, I got that point. My counter-point is that their design paradigm generates faction weaknesses on their own that are not always inherent at the time of their printing and they have little interest in addressing in an accelerated manner. Furthermore, it takes an existing designed weakness and further expands on it by virtue of delayed releases creating a wider and wider gap. It wasn't coincidence that other Flyers weren't all released at the same time, it was simply piss-poor release strategy and demonstrated the pure lack of desire to do any balancing, either by unit or by faction, on the part of Games Workshop. I think YOU do not realize just what kind of havoc this plays on balancing factions or units.

 Peregrine wrote:
If you want to talk about the merits of designed weaknesses then you need to look at something like index-only 8th edition, where everything is designed at the same time as part of a coherent system and any strengths or weaknesses are the result of deliberate game design and not just the whims of the release calendar.

No, not really. Because GW has chosen this type of release schedule, I can address it as it exists. They don't get a pass simply because they chose a piss-poor release concept. Indeed, the very concept of designed strengths and weaknesses becomes markedly more noticeable in this type of release process. Whether you want to talk about Flyers, Choice Detachments (aka Decurion, Gladius, etc), or Codex Stratagems, their release schedule adds strengths on one army at a time, while immediately adding weakness to an army that hasn't been brought up to date at the same time.

If every faction had their Flyer or AAA released when 7th Edition was released, there wouldn't have been an imbalance. That there wasn't was a deliberate choice on GW's part (for whatever reason behind it). They could have easily set up a "Death From the Skies" release group before 7th Edition launched to specifically address this. They chose not to. This becomes a designed set of weaknesses for the "have-nots" (though, some would argue for some of the "haves", too, right Hell Turkey?) at that point in time. It may not have been the original intention of the game designers, but GW's game designers don't think on those balance levels like PP (used to) or any online game designer has in consideration.

Furthermore, part of your statement was about the game was that it was "not finished" or "mid-update" was pure fantasy that leads to the delusion that "Codex Creep" isn't also setting up a series of designed strengths and weaknesses. Once they release a book, that is a finished update for the game, even if it is only for one small portion of the entire game, and it adds to the strength of that army (most of the time, sorry Sisters), while each codex slowly reduces the effectiveness of every other army and compounds or exposes any weaknesses that they have.

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Even though this is something of a moot discussion, on the principle that we know from people that have worked for them that they have no real interest in balance....

The soup problem is something GW has had going back to the very beginning. These days it manifests itself as weird mixes of allies to create broken combinations, in years past it was broken combinations of magic items or special equipment. They know it's a problem. They've known its a problem for a long time. They're unlikely to ever fix it, but there's your starting point; getting rid of most of the broken combos.

From there you can balance unit to unit, but it's not so much a case of "every unit performs the same" as it is using a reference model (model zero or unit zero) as a starting point and point costing units in relation to unit zero. Then playtest. Then adjust. Then playtest etc. For all the talk of how hard it is to balance these games, GW history is absolutely replete with even the most basic errors, where units that are completely identical in stats (and having no special rules or synergies) end up costing different amounts of points, or the classic of units that cost the same amount of points, even though one unit is markedly better than the other at the same function. Phrases like "internal balance" and "external balance" simply mean nothing to GW. They don't care and they never have.

If you mention second edition 40k I will find you, and I will bore you to tears talking about how "things were better in my day, let me tell ya..." Might even do it if you mention 4th/5th/6th WHFB 
   
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JFC you are building straw man arguments. Please look at the original context of my position, dealing with a hypothetical version of 40k designed according to my principles. Nobody is defending GW's game or release schedule as-is. Nobody is disputing the fact that a slow update cycle and tying rules updates to model releases creates situations where armies are playing with obsolete rules and it hurts balance. The point was that the state of flyers in early 6th was the result of a bad release/update system where you have to wait months/years to get your rules, not a deliberate choice that certain factions should not have flyers. In fact, all of those factions did get flyers eventually, once their release slot came up. So comparing it to a hypothetical version of the game where "space marines are weak against aircraft" is similar to "Tau are weak in melee" is completely inappropriate. There was no consideration to making a weakness against flyers part of faction design and making sure the faction's strengths offset it enough to have a balanced end result, GW just didn't give a about balance or filling that role until they had a new kit to sell.

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Lots of good interesting points being thrown around, very nice to read these comments!

I think one problem with designing defined synergies to armies leads to trap units, unless the synergies are designed in very controlled manner affecting only very specific units. However current 40k 'synergies' are just 'Giff re-roll 1's aura' 'Giff 5++ invulnerable' to units sharing a keyword. These are broad blanket 'synergies' and when priced in they can easily create trap units, because the unit usually isn't in range, unless you make some weird lists.

I think it would be far better to give create auras that are more specific and cheaper, but simultaneously because they are more specific there is kind of drawback for taking them over the other. Currently for example the CSM re-roll 1's to-hit auras apply to both shooting and melee and every unit sharing a <Legion> keyword and thus every unit in existence having <Legion> keyword needs to be considering this aura buff, i.e. these broad auras create spammability issues. If one would create more, but more specific auras, then each aura taken is one other aura not taken. For example one could have some HQ giving aura to bolter weapons or to weapons with rapid fire instead of broad blanket aura buffs and alternatively give only melee buff aura to another HQ option. These more specific auras allow more incremental balancing of every unit, leading to the fact that melee units don't need to be so expensive because they demand specific auras to be available to be extra efficient. Currently for example Berserkers need to be balanced around the assumption of re-roll 1's to hit because it's relatively easy to have either Chaos Lord or Daemon Prince in vicinity of them.

So with more specific auras one could go more for melee style lists with Berserkers and appropriate aura HQs while these synergy choices would make your shooting relatively weaker because the same auras do not buff shooting. Going for more shooting elements and auras would then again make your melee relatively weaker, so the HQ choices with more specific auras would have kind of associated cost of missing out on other aura. For example as CSM going for full melee style list with all the melee specific auras would make your list extremely weak against other more specialised melee factions, and this reason would be your own fault because you maxed out your melee power at the cost of shooting power available. Currently one can augment shooting with same auras that augment melee so there is far more tactical flexibility which IMO enables spam combos and forces the general blanket auras to be accounted for in the cost of other units, and there are many clear indications that GW is considering the Stratagems and other buffs available when it adjusts point costs of specific units.

TL;DR: Factions should have more auras, stratagems and synergies available but these should NOT be all-encompassing, so min-maxing on one aspect effectively would make your factions other available strengths relatively weaker. This IMO would encourage building of more balanced lists, while avoiding formation of trap units because not everyone unit needs to priced based on their maximum buffed state as the maximum buff condition contains elements that make you weaker.

I would point out that AoS does much better with player interaction: The Combo pieces and Auras can be removed as characters can be targeted freely. Stratagems (Command Abilities) are activated with characters and have limited range so they work in far more positional manner than in 40k where stratagems can be just 'invoked' on lone unit away from every friendly unit.
In 40k if your opponent has appropriate unit and CPs available you generally can't do anything to prevent them using that stratagem, i.e. the combos are mostly non-interactive. In AoS enemy has option of denying the combos by targeting the pieces that enable those combos. Of course people cry out about AoS having balance issues, but I would say 40k has far more pressing issues than AoS.
   
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In my experience, aos and 40k have the same level of issues, they are just different issues.

But both revolve around the same thing: imbalance, trap units, false choices, obvious builds.

GW points don't bring balance. They exist purely for structure. You can get more balance from no points than you do from GW points. You however can get no structure in your game without points. 
   
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auticus wrote:
In my experience, aos and 40k have the same level of issues, they are just different issues.

But both revolve around the same thing: imbalance, trap units, false choices, obvious builds.
Yeah, imbalance is something that comes inherently with far too many armies, like GW games currently tend to have. AoS has pretty obvious builds because the general pool of units you choose from tends to be quite small, also there aren't that many Stratagems (Command Abilities) available generally, which further limits the obvious builds. So for more varied playstyles IMO there needs to be more buffs and stratagems that enable more combos than the obvious broken FoM build. With too limited pool of units and stratagems the builds and combos become obvious and then it's difficult to adjust them because every other combo is bad to begin with, i.e. there is basically only 1-2 good builds available.

For example SM and CSM have 'Killshot' stratagem but the design of this stratagem is seriously flawed: Need 3 Predators and the later blanket restriction makes it max. 3 Predators to begin with, so any capable enemy that has targets scared of this 'Killshot' combo can quite easily destroy one of the predators, unless opponent's list is unable to destroy one predator per turn, but then I would say it's the opponents failure if they cannot do this.

There are many kind of fluffy ways to enable certain playstyles without significant point adjustments:
We could create 'Distraction carnifex' rule for Land Raiders: "<Vehicle> units sharing <Legion> keyword with this unit get -1 to hit at in enemy shooting phase when within 6" of Land Raider".
We could create 'Combined Arms' rule for Predators: "<Chaos Rhino> units sharing <Legion> keyword with this unit get -1 to hit at in enemy shooting phase when within 6" of Predator that did not use smoke launchers in previous turn".
If Land Raiders hypothetical 'Distraction carnifex' made CSM players build weird shooty lists the rule could be changed to affect only <Legion> <Chaos Rhino> units, assuming we want to encourage CSM players driving into opponents face with units.
If this stacking of -2 to hit against Rhinos would make Khorne Berserker rushes too powerful there are plenty of avenues to start adjusting: We could make Berserkers and/or Rhinos more expensive. Better control of HQ auras that buff Berserkers. We could make Land Raider more expensive. Rightfully Berserkers themselves could be adjusted if they are given easier options to get to combat. Also still going all-in with vehicles and berserkers would make your list weak against complete anti-vehicle lists which can effectively destroy Land Raiders and Rhinos or have the mobility to kite your berserker rhinos.

Basically add more synergies which are well controlled and not completely multifunctional, like above suggestions would buff rhino durability with the tax of taking Land Raider and Predator, both of which don't really see much play to my understanding.

Land Raider could also be given rules like 'Dispersive Fire' "<Chaos Space Marine> [This is the troop choice] units sharing <Legion> keyword with this unit get +1 to hit when firing enemy units in shooting phase when within 3" of this unit". Allow this to be stacked, powerful yes, but then again CSM units have quite restrictive long range weaponry options, poor melee power and land raiders are actually quite easy to remove, so the rule would only become really functional when Troop CSM reach 24"/12" threshold distance. Low 3" range would force CSM player to pile up his forces for maximum effect which would make him weaker against strong melee opponents and hinder his mobility.
So now Land Raider and Multiples of Land Raiders would increase Firepower of Troop CSM tremendously, providing reason for enemy to destroy Land Raiders and reasons for CSM to take Land Raiders, while still including heavy tax on the ability as Land Raiders are quite expensive.

There, I came up with examples how to create tightly controlled synergies which promote both faction specific and varied playstyles while giving little played units some extra functionality, while still promoting interaction as opponent has options to remove the combo pieces (destroy land raiders, charge the rhinos/land raiders/other units to prevent the combo from moving in dangerous position).

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/01/03 13:34:40


 
   
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The problem is there used to be similar (well, opposite, but example to follow) rules in earlier editions and they got decried as Rules Bloat.

For example, there was a formation back in the day that was a Shadowsword, 0-6 Leman Russes, 0-3 Hydras, 0-3 Sentinels, and 0-3 Chimeras. The only rule the Formation had was that any penetrating or glancing hit done a vehicle could be pawned off on a lesser vehicle - so if you penetrated the Shadowsword, a Sentinel would dive in the way and catch the bullet, then a chimera, then a hydra, then a russ... etc etc.

It made for a cool vehicle fleet army, and the rule was called "Piquets" I believe, which is the French word from which we get pickets and at the time was a naval term meaning smaller ships in a fleet that screened for the larger warships. A pretty cool concept, right?


Well, I bet no one knows the name of the formation. I sure as hell have forgotten. Most people probably don't even remember that it existed.

Some people say they know no fear. What they mean is that they have encountered and conquered it. I, on the other hand, truly know no fear. It is as alien to me as doubt, rage, or mercy.

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 Unit1126PLL wrote:
A pretty cool concept, right?


Not really. Aside from being Apocalypse-only (the reason hardly anyone remembers it) it's pretty poor design. The rule effectively says "you must shoot at targets in the inverse order of what you want", blocking you from shooting at the formation's important units until you've cleared out all of the cannon fodder. Instead of leaving it up to the player to figure out a way to make their Sentinel squadrons a sufficient threat that their opponent chooses them as a target instead of the Shadowsword you just pay your points* and the big guns become immune to attack. It's exactly the sort of CCG-style "LOL I PLAY MY TRAP CARD I WIN" mechanic that is a problem with 8th edition and stratagems, where picking the right rules to abuse in list construction is more important than how you play the game on the table.

*The only thing it does right, assigning a point value to the formation buffs instead of just giving them for free as a reward for buying the limited-edition bundle deal it came in.

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Well, there were positional restrictions, e.g. the Russes had to stay within 6" of the Shadowsword - everyone had to be some discrete distance away from each-other for it to work.

So enemy units "doing things" (being in the way) generally cocked it up, as did terrain... it was hardly as foolproof or uncounterable as you claim. A Flank March (that was always fun) of Dreadnoughts moved onto the board and locked me into a corner; the terrain effectively prevented the Shadowsword from firing, and any attempt to move safely would force the Russes 6" away and allow the Shadowsword to be targeted independently even as it /just/ achieved line of sight on the significant pieces of the enemy force. Incidentally, I spent most of the game using anti-Titan cannons on Dreadnoughts.

EDIT:
Maybe I should've just said "Pretty cool to everyone except Peregrine" instead of writing this convoluted explanatory response...

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/01/03 16:51:40


Some people say they know no fear. What they mean is that they have encountered and conquered it. I, on the other hand, truly know no fear. It is as alien to me as doubt, rage, or mercy.

2nd Concordian Independent Super Heavy Tank Armoured Regiment - 12,376 points
Order of the Luminous Beacon - 2087 points
Nevian Conclave of the Ordo Hereticus - 2002 points 
   
Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut




Honestly the fact you had Dreads of all things pin you down speaks levels of how you actually play.

CaptainStabby wrote:
If Tyberos falls and needs to catch himself it's because the ground needed killing.

 jy2 wrote:
BTW, I can't wait to run Double-D-thirsters! Man, just thinking about it gets me Khorney.

 vipoid wrote:
Indeed - what sort of bastard would want to use their codex?

 MarsNZ wrote:
ITT: SoB players upset that they're receiving the same condescending treatment that they've doled out in every CSM thread ever.
 
   
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Slayer-Fan123 wrote:
Honestly the fact you had Dreads of all things pin you down speaks levels of how you actually play.


16 dreadnoughts in 6th/7th was a lot, buddy. Thanks for the condescension though.

They came in from a flank with the Flank March ability, and each one was more than capable of wrecking a Leman Russ in a single combat.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/01/03 17:40:50


Some people say they know no fear. What they mean is that they have encountered and conquered it. I, on the other hand, truly know no fear. It is as alien to me as doubt, rage, or mercy.

2nd Concordian Independent Super Heavy Tank Armoured Regiment - 12,376 points
Order of the Luminous Beacon - 2087 points
Nevian Conclave of the Ordo Hereticus - 2002 points 
   
Made in us
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Peregrine wrote:

JFC you are building straw man arguments. Please look at the original context of my position, dealing with a hypothetical version of 40k designed according to my principles. Nobody is defending GW's game or release schedule as-is. Nobody is disputing the fact that a slow update cycle and tying rules updates to model releases creates situations where armies are playing with obsolete rules and it hurts balance. The point was that the state of flyers in early 6th was the result of a bad release/update system where you have to wait months/years to get your rules, not a deliberate choice that certain factions should not have flyers. In fact, all of those factions did get flyers eventually, once their release slot came up. So comparing it to a hypothetical version of the game where "space marines are weak against aircraft" is similar to "Tau are weak in melee" is completely inappropriate. There was no consideration to making a weakness against flyers part of faction design and making sure the faction's strengths offset it enough to have a balanced end result, GW just didn't give a about balance or filling that role until they had a new kit to sell.

Get control of yourself and watch the language. I am not building straw man arguments because I am bringing up real world situations and experiences in regards to dealing with Warhammer army strengths and weaknesses, and you dismissed them.

Let's take, for example, the original Dawn of War series. Every army was given a Flyer unit at the same time. This was a deliberate design decision to make sure that the armies were balanced upon its release. Then let's look at GW's decision which was not, "let's hold off on releasing this model set until we can provide every army with an option or an answer", it was, "let's release these models, who cares if an army doesn't have the option which will cause them to be invalidated against this new freshness." This was a deliberate design decision on the part of the company.

When the first Formation was released in 6th Edition, did everyone get a Formation? No. Only a few armies received one at the time, which allowed them to ignore the FOC everyone else was restricted to. When the Decurion was released, did everyone else get a powerful Choice Detachment option? Not even by the advent of 8th Edition did every army have access to them. By choosing not to develop these options and choices for all armies, it becomes a deliberate choice to build in weaknesses to armies by virtue of not allowing them to have an aspect of a new mechanic's strengths.

Is it the same as developing Necrons with Phase Out, Tyranids with short shooting range, or Tau with low melee defense? Not as overtly at the time of the writing of the codex, but just as deliberately when looking at the game's design as a whole. You are only focusing on deci-level of the content, while I'm focusing on the deca-level of the content, and that is part of the question of this thread. Unit level balance focuses on the centi-level of the content (milli being the model level) while the army balance focuses on the deca-level. The whole game's aspect would be the deca-level of balancing.

I'll bring up the aspect of Starcraft again, because there is almost zero unit level balancing in that game, it is all focused on the army level, and it still remains great. Warhammer could be reviewed with such balance elements in mind, but the developers don't care enough, and their release schedule promotes this apathy by always only focusing on one army instead of the game as a whole. This gets worse with the developers often getting more myopic by only focusing on a few models here and there instead of the army as a whole, much less how it may affect balance across the entire game. Flyers just happen to be an effective example of the real world experience in how GW botches up balance because of their overall design scheme.

Unless you're only planning on playing the game a few months before and after an edition change, this will always be the case with Warhammer, Fantasy or 40K. It is important and vital to keep that in mind when considering balancing a game from a developer's point of view, as it is one of GW's greatest and most significant business weaknesses.

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Starcraft does balance at the unit level. In the beta, 2 armor roaches were breaking the game. GW won't fix the armor on roaches effectively by refusing to address drukhari, ynarri and ig.
   
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Martel732 wrote:
Starcraft does balance at the unit level. In the beta, 2 armor roaches were breaking the game. GW won't fix the armor on roaches effectively by refusing to address drukhari, ynarri and ig.

I think you're missing what has been used as the definition of unit level balancing, then. You mentioned Roaches were being over-powered. What were they being compared to in performance with the Protoss or the Terrans? You didn't even think to mention them at all.

When people think of unit-level balancing, there is often a comparison going on. Very few units in Starcraft are easily analagous, often begin parked behind different tiers of construction. Comparing the core Troop of the Factions (SM Tacticals, Guard Infantry Squad, Nid Termagant Brood, etc) would be a case that people would look at when doing unit balancing. The problem being that they are not intended to be balanced 1:1. The Guard Squad is cheap, but has a very low model cap for such a cheap unit. Termagants being both cheap and having a large model cap. SM Tacticals are somewhat more expensive, but are generally tougher, stronger, while having a low model cap. Guardsmen are then geared for providing for either larger detachments at a cheaper cost, or allowing for point room for their far more effective vehicles. Termagants can be used like Guardsmen in that respect, but with their shorter-ranged weapons, need to be taken in larger numbers to have a chance for the unit survive long enough to even consider hurting something. Tacticals aren't really set up to be taken cheaply, but either can more easily survive what the 'gants and Guard cannot, or it takes more resources to do so easily. From their, their weapon loadout is more diverse and effective in its diversity than either 'gant or Guard can provide, but their Vehicles are either mediocre or vastly far more expensive.

It's that consideration of allowing for better vehicles or bigger bugs which translates the consideration of balancing the Troops from a unit balancing exercise to a faction balancing exercise. And we haven't even considered the ramifications of what HQs may do for said Troops which pulls us back from focusing only on the unit, to the faction as a whole.
   
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 Charistoph wrote:

When people think of unit-level balancing, there is often a comparison going on. Very few units in Starcraft are easily analagous, often begin parked behind different tiers of construction. Comparing the core Troop of the Factions (SM Tacticals, Guard Infantry Squad, Nid Termagant Brood, etc) would be a case that people would look at when doing unit balancing. The problem being that they are not intended to be balanced 1:1. The Guard Squad is cheap, but has a very low model cap for such a cheap unit. Termagants being both cheap and having a large model cap. SM Tacticals are somewhat more expensive, but are generally tougher, stronger, while having a low model cap. Guardsmen are then geared for providing for either larger detachments at a cheaper cost, or allowing for point room for their far more effective vehicles. Termagants can be used like Guardsmen in that respect, but with their shorter-ranged weapons, need to be taken in larger numbers to have a chance for the unit survive long enough to even consider hurting something. Tacticals aren't really set up to be taken cheaply, but either can more easily survive what the 'gants and Guard cannot, or it takes more resources to do so easily. From their, their weapon loadout is more diverse and effective in its diversity than either 'gant or Guard can provide, but their Vehicles are either mediocre or vastly far more expensive.

Except Tacticals are not more resilient than guardsmen for their points nor are their weapons more effective.
   
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:too slow:

But considering they aren't more resilient then cheap swarm chaff. Which way should GW go fixing marines. Make them tougher, or make them more killy like eldar are? Maybe a bit of both.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/01/03 19:30:27


 
   
 
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