Author Topic: From the leather armchair - The +1 Body Design discussion  (Read 5250 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Blake Mizzi

  • League of Geeks | Director
  • Administrator
  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 103
    • View Profile
From the leather armchair - The +1 Body Design discussion
« on: February 18, 2016, 11:47:55 AM »
Hello everyone,

I wanted to take a moment to talk about our recent +1 body change in the V1.2 update.

Two things to remember before we dive into the reasons behind increasing all Heroes Body by +1; Firstly we started playing and designing Armello in physical form as a paper boardgame - always with the intention of it being a digital game - and those sessions, formed our playstyles and shaped our perspective on Armello’s core gameplay. That processed hugely helped make Armello different from other games. As a physical boardgame Armello was deliciously dangerous, Heroes wouldn’t dream of clashing unless they’d finished a Quest or two and found and equipped some good kit. Wandering armour-less in Armello meant death, and that felt good. Armello has always been a game of consequence, and the harsh roll of fate and nature’s brutality. That brutality felt very, very good in a slow form boardgame, where players take much more time to plan, and care not to die. Secondly we’ve been playing Armello for a very long time, that has clouded our view of the game compared to a brand new gamer coming for the first time into the windy plains, dark creaking forests and bustling Armellian Settlements full of farmers and thieves.

In digital form Armello is a faster game and better for it. We see the flow of negative comments from players who report frequent deaths, extreme randomness and often with very little play time – that’s ok, but we need to ask, why is this happening? Not everyone wants to play through the long Armello prologue tutorial, and again that’s ok, but we’re concerned that these players aren’t being given enough rope and room to learn Armello’s systems through experimental play. Throwing new players into a game of Armello, without giving them enough room to fail and try again is harsh. The tedious march back into the game after being respawned hurts, and quickly isn't fun for a new player whose learning to play Armello.

We also have another niggle in the late game of Armello, where the best made plans and multi-turn schemes can be quickly undone but a opportunistic Spirit Strike or similar attack. Though we accept these occurrences will happen, they take more away from the game, more than the give.

So we started playing Armello with +1 Body and it changed the game. We had played Armello in the past with +1 Body in the past and it stalemated the game, but with the constant updates and the way the community has helped us shape the game, Armello has matured. With all Heroes now starting with one more Body, early game Heroes have a little more room to survive, that one Body is usually all there is between death and hanging in by your last thread. And that feels good. Now if you hit a bad Peril, fail your first battle there’s a good chance instead of assured death, that you’ll escape, broken, bleeding but alive. It gives players a chance to heal, flee, strike back, but importantly it gives players a choice. Late game Armello Heroes are harder now, but that feels good too. Where previous battles were decided on a dash of instinct, an assessment of Cards in your Hand and a quick begging for favour by the dice spirits, we now demand players plan their attacks and post battle Action Points to ensure victory. Late game Heroes now have the survivability to live through an ill-conceived opportunistic attack, which previously would have likely resulted in a mutual death. This requires late game players to more so combine card play, card buffs and card attacks with battles to achieve victory. The added survivability also means there’s more opportunities to heal and return to the fight from the field and that feels good too.

In short form giving all Heroes +1 Body, gives players room to make “some” mistakes, lessons the impact of random and opportunistic occurrences and as payment we demand players make more use of playing cards to ensure their late game conquests.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2016, 01:58:48 PM by Lisy Kane »

Kletian999

  • Backer
  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 2529
    • View Profile
Re: From the leather armchair - The +1 Body Design discussion
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2016, 04:23:39 PM »
I certainly agree that this change feels right.  Glad you could share the story with us.

melkathi

  • Backer
  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 105
    • View Profile
Re: From the leather armchair - The +1 Body Design discussion
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2016, 08:19:34 PM »
From the little I had time to see, the early game definitely is better for it.
AI Zosha had a King's Guard camping her quest site. Before the change that would have left her so far behind the rest, she could only hope to grab some spirit stones. Now she killed the Guard, live to tell the tale, and even survive the next few turns and become prestige leader.

CravingForCookie

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 8
    • View Profile
Re: From the leather armchair - The +1 Body Design discussion
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2016, 12:21:48 AM »
I am really looking forward to how the game will change with the +1 Body adjustment.

Whenever I play a hero with 3/4 Body I always pick the +1 Body amulet. During the early game I am always afraid somebody will snipe me with Immolation, Spell Strike or attack me while I am on my way to a quest. It happened many times I was attacked and both my assaillant and myself killed each other, which didn't help any of us to say the least.

Now that I have a bigger change to survive I can finally mix up my game with other amulets.

Vryl

  • Backer
  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 176
    • View Profile
Re: From the leather armchair - The +1 Body Design discussion
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2016, 12:17:52 PM »
I have one minor problem with the +1 Body decision.  Sana kind of gets hit hard here.

It's not just that her +1 to Body over most heroes is getting weaker and weaker proportionately.  A much larger component of my concern is magic - while Thane or Mercurio can string together a few wylds and still slice and dice someone, there is no random component to damage via magic or trickery.

An example:  before this change, Sana could toast Zosha with Immolation if she got right up close first.  Most anyone else could still get cooked if they had taken one damage, because relatively few heroes got that bonus to Body over the average, and selecting a quest based on Body used to be (in my experience) an unpopular choice compared to Fight or Wits.  Now everyone has to be injured for a point blank Immolation to kill them, most by at least two points of damage... and with Body being a little higher at the start, quests based on Body are easier and more likely to be chosen. 

Sana's low Fight makes her something of a target, and since Immolation is one of the stronger spells, Sana is seriously hurting for damage dealing capabilities now.  The only way she can pose a real threat to an uninjured, non-corrupted rival is Spirit Strike.  Or lots of fancy gear that she isn't likely to have.

Desdinova

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 35
    • View Profile
Re: From the leather armchair - The +1 Body Design discussion
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2016, 02:51:27 PM »
I was wondering...why not just make the +1 body adjustment an optional rule or a house rule in some future update? Gives more flexibility and somewhat faster games for those players that find the body boost unneeded and wish to play Armello with the original values.

Kletian999

  • Backer
  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 2529
    • View Profile
Re: From the leather armchair - The +1 Body Design discussion
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2016, 03:04:49 PM »
Houserules disable progression, complicate public matching, and thus for intents and purposes won't exist in most game played.  In a private game I believe you can houserule player body down 1 to set things back to normal.  That said, the game is "slower" when people die more often, because travel progress is more likely to be lost.  I just had a game where Amber had 4 stones in the palace and 1 HP left after my lightning strike.  If the Body rule wasn't in effect, the game would have gone a whole round longer at least.

I don't see questing for Body being a giant priority now that most heroes "have enough".  Yes if the reward was good, the elevated chance is a nice perk, but there's a relative cap of effectiveness on Body that Fight, Wits, or Spirit doesn't have.

Having played casters nuking 2+ players into the stone age, I don't think it's a bad thing that Sana isn't getting so many one shots post patch.  Sometimes it's so effective it's mean.

Desdinova

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 35
    • View Profile
Re: From the leather armchair - The +1 Body Design discussion
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2016, 03:29:19 PM »
Unless Armello evolves enough over time and we get formats of play which sounds ok to me. But you're right for the most part, caster based characters and spells are op. Though I don't mind occasionally nuking multiple players with apprentice and/or warlock spell spam - quite mean but quite satisfying too >:D

Vryl

  • Backer
  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 176
    • View Profile
Re: From the leather armchair - The +1 Body Design discussion
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2016, 04:16:14 AM »
Unless Armello evolves enough over time and we get formats of play which sounds ok to me. But you're right for the most part, caster based characters and spells are op. Though I don't mind occasionally nuking multiple players with apprentice and/or warlock spell spam - quite mean but quite satisfying too >:D

Funny, in every single game I've played that had Sana, she wound up getting mercilessly slaughtered and never amounted to anything... aside from the time I played her, charged the castle and killed the king early.  That was fun.

melkathi

  • Backer
  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 105
    • View Profile
Re: From the leather armchair - The +1 Body Design discussion
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2016, 06:30:59 AM »
I have one minor problem with the +1 Body decision.  Sana kind of gets hit hard here.

It's not just that her +1 to Body over most heroes is getting weaker and weaker proportionately.  A much larger component of my concern is magic - while Thane or Mercurio can string together a few wylds and still slice and dice someone, there is no random component to damage via magic or trickery.

An example:  before this change, Sana could toast Zosha with Immolation if she got right up close first.  Most anyone else could still get cooked if they had taken one damage, because relatively few heroes got that bonus to Body over the average, and selecting a quest based on Body used to be (in my experience) an unpopular choice compared to Fight or Wits.  Now everyone has to be injured for a point blank Immolation to kill them, most by at least two points of damage... and with Body being a little higher at the start, quests based on Body are easier and more likely to be chosen. 

Sana's low Fight makes her something of a target, and since Immolation is one of the stronger spells, Sana is seriously hurting for damage dealing capabilities now.  The only way she can pose a real threat to an uninjured, non-corrupted rival is Spirit Strike.  Or lots of fancy gear that she isn't likely to have.

Having played a few games now I tend to agree.
The +1 took a weakness away from low body characters, but the bears, who had other weaknesses and body as a strength, got their strength diminished in comparison, while their weakness stays the same. Now they have the crutch, while everyone else can merrily play to their respective playstyle right off the bat.
Sana and Brun both got shafted. Because Wits or mediocre Spirit for someone who's ability depends on casting spells is just as limiting in choosing starting amulets, as was the low body.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2016, 06:36:03 AM by melkathi »

Kletian999

  • Backer
  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 2529
    • View Profile
Re: From the leather armchair - The +1 Body Design discussion
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2016, 01:30:07 PM »
I suppose I haven't played Sana in a while, but there's nothing wrong with Brun in 1.2.   The extra life still saves me many a time and when I want to quest body for a Treasure or Follower the 60% base is great.

Desdinova

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 35
    • View Profile
Re: From the leather armchair - The +1 Body Design discussion
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2016, 02:00:39 PM »
I think it is also important to note that the +1 body for already natural spellcasters (Brun & Sana) quite heavily sinergizes with Warlock; in the games I've played since update I had ~50% chance of running into him in the first 2 quests and by prioritizing him the benefit can be quite great overtime (especially with Brun). To quote Nick Frost from the movie "Paul":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_y_Ipy4R0E

BEAR fat in this case :D
« Last Edit: February 21, 2016, 02:06:34 PM by Desdinova »

melkathi

  • Backer
  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 105
    • View Profile
Re: From the leather armchair - The +1 Body Design discussion
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2016, 07:33:54 PM »
I haven't seen warlock in 4 games. So forgive me if I do not see one, Rot no less, card as making stats worthwhile.

Desdinova

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 35
    • View Profile
Re: From the leather armchair - The +1 Body Design discussion
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2016, 01:52:34 AM »
It does make the game harder yes, but in the end it just means you need to adapt your strategy. Spells are still pretty much op and there are a lot of quest related rewards other than warlock (and rings and cards) that can help you circumvent the +1 body disadvantage. I tend not to care about minimum rot that much, with wits of 4-5 or more you can just cycle through spells and items and either moss it or cleanse it. And I do like challenges :D

Other than that, maybe if the devs too find Sana and Brun underpowered as of 1.2, a small stat tweak in some of the future patches (maybe even 1.3) can fix that.  Maybe instead of +1 body that stat point could go to spirit or wits respectively? Is that too unbalanced? A gold coin for your thoughts :)

melkathi

  • Backer
  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 105
    • View Profile
Re: From the leather armchair - The +1 Body Design discussion
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2016, 06:41:04 AM »
I was thinking on the same lines as you, Desdinova.