Author Topic: Single Player Character Balance  (Read 2184 times)

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Fenrir

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Single Player Character Balance
« on: November 23, 2014, 03:17:41 AM »
Thus far I have only played single player, so this will be purely from that perspective.

Characters
Sana: Magic, unfortunately, just doesn't seem to have much power behind it right now.  Sana is, interestingly, the best equipped to actually pass the spirit trial to confront the king, but then has her meager fight stat preventing her from assassinating the king.  She could, theoretically, be best equipped for a stone win, but that does generally imply killing off other players with stones, which again she isn't really well built to do.  Luck can always be in her favor, but as it is the odds are not.  Without an AP boosting ring she will have a harder time maneuvering to a prestige win, though if starting with +2 prestige her more "peaceful" build can help her eke out a win.

Rings- Sana has the worst ring set up so far.  Additional spirit can be helpful, but (as previously noted) spells feel pretty underpowered right now.  Bonus stealth can be useful, and she can sneak in some wins against opponents needing to run for the heal (I assume more useful in multiplayer), but again very situational.  Spell kills are hard to pull off with the current mediocre spell list, making +Prestige per spell kill similarly unhelpful.  Amber's ability to gain magic per spell card burned is a cool way to cycle through what should be her most commonly drawn resource.  Make her primary resource better, and she will be more of a contender.

Amber: Currently the "best" character.   Balanced stats allow her to played as luck of the draw allows, which at the moment pushes equipment and some trickery, with precious little in the way of spells.  Amber is extremely flexible, her ring and amulet allotment genuinely allowing for a change in her play-style, moreso than the other characters.  She is the best built for a prestige win at the moment, with any combination of +Prestige starting bonuses or increased daytime maneuverability, if anyone maintains a prestige lead with amber, and the computer has bad luck with trials, she is more or less guaranteed the prestige win.  Thus far I've always gotten the lead on prestige with her and have never felt any need to go any other route, but her balanced build does imply she can go just about any route to victory.  I'm not sure balanced should mean "better," but at the moment it feels that way.  Also worth noting: the computer playing Amber has the highest win rate in my games so far, usually by getting ahead in prestige while the other computers durdle and I have awful luck at the trials.

Rings- Bonus prestige lets Amber come out the gate with the long-game win, and usually has little trouble maintaining the long con.  Increased gold income is helpful, though she starts out the game with the highest gold to begin with, usually helping her maintain an early equipment advantage... and then usually keeping it. (There is definitely a pattern of early advantage here.)  Evade hasn't been useful to me, again, probably more helpful in multi.  Lastly, of course, action point bonuses are huge, and she has the benefit of being the only daytime speed running, usually allowing her to jump out the gate, and not having to worry about extra AP from the opposition during her run time.

Mercurio:  Like Sana, has failed to inspire me.  Trickery doesn't have much in the way of power cards (though bonuses to prestige from them have allowed him to sneak in some prestige wins), much less anything really aggressive.  His general package is acceptable, though having an auto-loss to anything spirit related can actually be a fairly hefty negative.  His wits and other well rounded stats make up for it, but unfortunately having bonus wits has proven only helpful in assassination attempts.  Bonus hand size is nice, but the number of times I've gotten a handful of useless cards, with nothing good to burn them on (or gold to spend on them) feels much more common with Mercurio.  With some reliable gold income, and some better trickery cards, Mercurio could be excellent.  As he is, he sits soundly in the middle of the pack.

Rings- As said before, bonus AP is a big deal (and is unfortunately the "auto" pick for Mercurio I believe, a phrase I don't feel should exist in Armello), making this more than solid. Worth noting that if Thane picks the AP boost too they are fairly likely to run into each other during their nighttime jaunts.   Card kills are hard, so +Prestige per trickery kill is about as useful at the moment as Sana's spell kill.  So... not at all useful.  Two gold per hero kill is pretty good, helping with the problem of burning through Mercurio's massive hands, and he has a solid enough Fight and Body stat to put him into the fray.  At the moment, if both Hero's kill each you do not get the bonus gold, not sure if working as intended but it was a pretty big disappointment not to be rewarded for going full aggro with a build designed to do just that.

Thane:  The fighting man of the starting four, and can very easily maintain a combat advantage against the other players.  So far, the best equipped to actually assassinate the king (assuming he can pass the perils, with lower wit and spirit this can be troublesome), and also able to efficiently hunt down players with spirit stones.  This character thrives with conflict, and can eke out prestige wins by gunning down combinations of players and banes, in concert with his quests.  Being the best at combat also means he is most likely to spend the least time getting shot back to the clan grounds, theoretically allowing him to have run of the map.  All too often Thane ends up playing like a fire brigade, hunting down the leading computer to knock them back a few pegs, before going for a (hopefully mid-game) king killer/stone win.  Though, as noted, luck must be a bit more in Thane's favor to pass the tests themselves.  The number of games I've played just stalled out at the trials with Thane is depressing.

Rings- Stealth on mountains can be helpful, though even with the defensive bonus I'm not really happy burning the extra AP for the climb.  Bonus action points continue to be the "best" option available, and Thane does some truly excellent hunting at night.  Two gold per hero kill can be helpful, though even an aggressive Thane has to actually catch and kill (without getting killed himself) to get the bonus.  Not enough of a payout to be worth the extra trouble.  Finally, Thane's magic is negligible, so bonus magic from card burns isn't helpful (and magic cards remain underwhelming).

Leftcross

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Re: Single Player Character Balance
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2014, 05:31:10 AM »
Good observations all-around. Yeah, if you cannot win with prestige almost every single time with Amber at the moment, you are doing something wrong.

Strongly agree on the AP issue. Those rings are typically insta-picks (with my only exception being the hero-killing ring for the below build).

Rot-monster Mercurio is amazing, though. There are not a lot of Plagues or Poisoned Gifts in the deck, but if you play him aggressive and keep burning through cards, you have a fair chance of at least getting a couple. With a Warlock, he is the complete package and utterly terrifying, and unlike Thane, he can actually get into the palace without serious luck.

Will say it time and time and time again, balance hinges on how talents are implemented, whether a single innate or multiple trainable talents, they will be what defines the viability of any build. About to post more of my own brainvomit in the general design thread.

Snacuum

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Re: Single Player Character Balance
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2014, 11:47:32 AM »
Wow I don't think I've seen AP mentioned so much until the Beta. I haven't had any trouble with AP allotment (except for traversing mountains). I suppose I just haven't seen it exploited yet. Having extra AP is always good, but at the same time affords the player to become greedy and make mistakes. Moving yourself further also means moving yourself into range of your enemies.

8BitProxy

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Re: Single Player Character Balance
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2014, 01:03:19 PM »
Good observations all-around. Yeah, if you cannot win with prestige almost every single time with Amber at the moment, you are doing something wrong.

Strongly agree on the AP issue. Those rings are typically insta-picks (with my only exception being the hero-killing ring for the below build).

Rot-monster Mercurio is amazing, though. There are not a lot of Plagues or Poisoned Gifts in the deck, but if you play him aggressive and keep burning through cards, you have a fair chance of at least getting a couple. With a Warlock, he is the complete package and utterly terrifying, and unlike Thane, he can actually get into the palace without serious luck.

Will say it time and time and time again, balance hinges on how talents are implemented, whether a single innate or multiple trainable talents, they will be what defines the viability of any build. About to post more of my own brainvomit in the general design thread.

SHHHHH That's the build i've figured out myself haha, Dont make it public!

Well since it is, I agree, Rot on mercurio can be devastating and while if you have awesome gear the king is yours, it can be really hard to build the rot and often you take a huge risk in combat.  Warlock is great especially once your equipped because you can start drawing spells with your newfound magic and suddenly may more options open up.  As for the ring I agree that the hero ring is the best option for this build because with extra rot rolls and armour you stand little chance of being taken out.  The one issue is that heavy armour tends to be the most viable and with -1 AP, when you die to a item or trickery it is quite a pain to get back to where you were.

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Georgesquares

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Re: Single Player Character Balance
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2014, 02:05:57 PM »
Battle-oriented prestige building Mercurio and Thane don't need to get into the castle to win though. They can control the board and kill everybody until the king is dead. Thane happens to be better at this when he equips weapons and burns through non-item cards.

8BitProxy

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Re: Single Player Character Balance
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2014, 02:14:07 PM »
Battle-oriented prestige building Mercurio and Thane don't need to get into the castle to win though. They can control the board and kill everybody until the king is dead. Thane happens to be better at this when he equips weapons and burns through non-item cards.

Mercurio can actually be a lot more brutal with his extra wit he has more influence in battle allowing him to obtain solid sword/wyld rolls as Thane is still randomized.  Add some great gear like Helm of heroes or Royal shield and he can tank just as well if not better then thane :)

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Georgesquares

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Re: Single Player Character Balance
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2014, 02:52:27 PM »

Mercurio can actually be a lot more brutal with his extra wit he has more influence in battle allowing him to obtain solid sword/wyld rolls as Thane is still randomized.  Add some great gear like Helm of heroes or Royal shield and he can tank just as well if not better then thane :)

Thane can get lucky with early equips though, which only fuel his strong starting momentum, especially if he goes for a corruption build. Thane doesn't need a plethora of cards to prey on amber and sana and also chase off mercurio.

Xiander

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Re: Single Player Character Balance
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2014, 12:33:19 AM »
Hi Fenrir, nice of you to take the time to write your assesment.

I do have some comments about Mercurio.
I don't think he is weak at all. In fact it think he is at least as strong as Thane. He has way better wits, and only one lower fight. This means that in a fight without any items on either, mercurio will roll one dice less, but have two more cards to burn. In my experience burning strategicly, can lead to overcomming a far better dicepool. And when Items come into play everything is up in the air.
This also means that Mercurio is perhaps better suited to assaulting the king than thane, seeing as he rolls more dice on wit peril, and has an easier time just assembling the right cards to burn his way through it. Again, when actually fighting the king, the difference is one die in Thanes favour, which is not that big of an advantage.

However, my main problem with your assesment of mercurio, is that you seem to base it on the lacking power of the trickery deck. But there is nothing enforcing that Mercurio has to pick trickery cards.
I agree that the most powerful cards are found in the item pile, with trickery and magic having only a few really strong cards. However, mercurios high wits means that even if you have to ignore the two other piles and just draw items consistently, he has a better chance of getting useable items, simply because he draws more. (Note,: I do think there are reasons to draw from every pile, and I hope the piles will be even more balanced in later builds.)

Please don't take this as an attack, I just wanted to share my perspective :)
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Fenrir

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Re: Single Player Character Balance
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2014, 02:52:41 PM »
Some solid thoughts on Mercurio as a whole here, I've tried more aggressive and rot builds and had more success, I must preface that my initial "review" was playing the characters with each set of rings etc., and Mercurio's extra hand size and +Prestige kill ring does point him the direction of Trickery first, which as noted wasn't all that helpful.  Similarly he is "flavored" most for trickery, so I played him as most would likely initially aim to.  Which sadly, isn't a working playstyle right now.

Trying other builds made him perfectly effective, and he is so far the best character to take to a rot victory, and the only one I have been able to consistently get a stone-victory with (since he is mobile enough to get stones, combat capable enough to gank them from the opposition, and witty enough to pass the trials).

However, Thane still ousts him if the goal is to be purely aggressive and gain the prestige win by killing combinations of banes and players.  Mercurio is comparatively more "fun," however Thane continues to be more streamlined for this playstyle.  Sadly rot is still a little too luck dependent, but I imagine that will change soon enough.

Please don't take this as an attack, I just wanted to share my perspective :)

Precisely zero offense taken, your points are perfectly notable and I hope I responded with some satisfaction.  The note of having extra cards to burn is also interesting, though the difference between rolling with luck and drawing into cards with the right symbol is pretty negligible: both mean you lucked out, I'll take my odds with a higher dice pool for the moment.

Georgesquares

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Re: Single Player Character Balance
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2014, 06:59:08 PM »
Totally agree, Fenrir. I made an entire post on character balance (which is now missing somehow) and noted that fight-oriented combat Mercurio is the balanced version of Thane. He doesn't get to use the more useful 3 spirit spells like banish unless he gets lucky with a magic boost (or warlock), and rot is something Thane can get just as easily if he disposes of PC's and then sacrifices himself to Banes for rot boosts.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2014, 07:03:32 PM by Georgesquares »