Warbands lack of difference

Share your thoughts and ideas about Mordheim: City of the Damned

Warbands lack of difference

Postby Dragzal » 07 December 2015, 16:12

First, i'm French native, so, sorry for my English. I will try my best.
Be ready for a potential long topic. I'm going for the shortest. But I want to argue as much as possible. Yes, f*ck logic.

Summary (for guys who want to reply but don't want read long topic) :
I feel that all the warbands are too similar. And want more diversity and specificity.
I'm alone with this feeling ? Did you have some suggestion for fix it ?

I start Mordheim with Gameworkshop product as miniature player long time ago (and I played many other similar games). I was really enthusiastic when I heard about the video game and even more when I heard that you can change some rules. Yes, cause some rules are not adapted for the video game design or just too old.

I think you did a great job. You create healthy foundation with stats, attributes and abilities. So I was really disappointed when I discovered the poor design on each warband. Yes, this game is balanced, cause all warbands are so similar. Similar warband give you balanced, but poorly designed game. I hope a better path to balanced game.
I spent much of my week on it. To do some math and go deep into the design. Like I said, I'm going to the shortest, so here I focus on one thing only.
I cut all part about change who may create important programming / balancing work or major game change.
I set theses constraint :
Don't change the abilities system. Because it seems well designed.
Don't change game mechanics. Because... it's another topic.
Final attributes need to be worth. Because i don't want harm on balance work on abilities.
- Henchman need to have 95 attributes point at level 10.
- Don't change max for each attribute.

A specificity about "original" game is : you need to adapt your playstyle to your wardband. In the video game you can easily do the reverse : adapt your warband to your playstyle. For several reasons.
  • Original game has random upgrade.
So, if you want to play range, many as possible, but you don't have luck and don't have ballistic upgrade, you can't. I can guess any reasons and it is another subject. For the rest, i will assume this choice.
No random in warband progress.
  • Original game has more specific initial attributes
Initial attributes are 3 (+/-1). It's true in the original game, and it's true in the computer game. Except that a different point haven't the same impact. In the original game, it changes on D6, a differential about 15%. In the video game, it change 3-5%. To simplify, I will set to 5%. I get a ratio of 1:3.
Initial attributes are 3 times more impactful, in the original game, for a rookie.
  • Original game shares more in favor of inital stat
I'll spare you math part, but :
Original game, for level 10 leader has 65% initial attributes, 35% progress attributes. For level 10 henchman it's 50% initial, 50% progress.
Computer version, level 10 leader has 50% initial attributes, 50% progress attributes. For level 10 henchman it's 40% initial, 60% progress.
Initial attributes are 1.5 more impactful, in the original game, for a veteran.

Yes, because a problem without solution is not a problem, is just a fact.
Obviously, or not : give more impact to initial attributes.
Change total initial attributes to 40 from 30 for henchman.
Change total initial attributes to 50 from 40 for hero.
Change total initial attributes to 60 from 50 for leader.
Change total initial attributes to 90 from 80 for impressive
Change total progress attributes to 35 from 45.
The units cost change :
Rookie henchman cost change to 20 from 15.

Progress path :
1 Physical + 1 Mental + 1 Martial at each level.
5 bonus attribute points at level 10 (3 options) :
- This attribute is defined as a function of class/race.
- 5 free points. You can upgrade all stat with this point
- 5 random attributes point.

With good analysis, that can give better strengths and weaknesses to each warband. It is an (the most ?) important part. If inital attributes remain similar, it was an useless change.

Maybe the main problem. What about current campaign / game / warband ?
Matchmaking is based on value warband, so change hasn't huge impact. The problem can be on the player's perception. "WTF, i played full level 4 warband vs full level 7".
Campaign may need some balance change (on boss or demon).
Did we have to change current warband ? What about rookie in old warband ? Etc.
More obvious solution :
- Don't try to adjust for compatibility. Warband and the games started on current patch keep playing with same rule. And you can't play pre-patch warband with post-patch warband.
- Create conversion possibility (here again, many options for this) with a beautiful role play warning "A warpexplosion appear and create an obscur effect ! Your warband seems slightly affected."

Thanks for reading.

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Re: Warbands lack of difference

Postby Evan_ » 07 December 2015, 16:58

I feel some of your reasoning got lost in translation... But I see your point. Had a similar feeling when I started the game. Skaven felt too tough, while Possessed felt very agile.. compared to what was I expecting from my very little TT experience. I suspected that this feeling came from the design choice of abandoning the dice as RNG and using a % system.

I miss the dice. It's a cruel mechanic, and a few bad rolls could mean the death of heroes who only tried to hop down from an inch tall ledge. It also leads to awesome feats sometimes, like a puny goblin with a dagger taking out a champion. I loved the PC iteration of Blood Bowl for keeping this mechanic intact: trying to pick up a ball, not to mention a pass was always a tense moment with a less agile team. That tension is what I miss the most in M:CotD. Here, 40% climb chance only means I waste 1-2 SP and get a very small wound on average if I try to climb something in a heavy armor. Big deal.

To be fair, I miss the dice less in combat. RNG usually ensures to not take any hit granted, while stuns and crits are unexpected enough to make the fights hectic. And about the warbands feeling too similar... it mainly passed for me. Yes, the freedom we get in developing a warband allows us to adapt our guys for sub-ideal strategies, but our locked unit and equipment choices kinda determine the best course for a race. Of course, once getting familiar with the game mechanics, one doesn't need to exploit the strengths of his team to get far. I don't think that's a bad thing.

Sadly I'm not -that- familiar with M:CotD mechanics and numbers to comment on your suggested solution. I'm sure people with more insight and experience will do so.

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Joined: 08 December 2015, 11:49

Re: Warbands lack of difference

Postby Dragzal » 10 January 2016, 23:06

For Skaven, it's because of Warpguard and Dodge. Warpguard is one of the best physical henchman and can wear heavy armor. Dodge mechanic is really powerfull in duels (dodge ability is for shoot, not for fight in original game). Warpguard is an exemple about "too similary warband".

Dice is just a specifique % system. A D6 (use dice with 6 face) is % system with an increments of 16.5%. I start roll dice with D&D. Lot of different dice, (4, 6, 8, 10, 12 ,20). On the last rulebook they used D100 system (same system for Mordheim here), easier to balance. Not same feeling, but same effect.

One thing that struck me is descritpion on "race" when you start new warband. Just some roleplay description, Nothing about strengths and weaknesses. Start new ligue on blood bowl and when you choose your race you will see about what i mean.
Maybe I go in the wrong way when i post number. It is to show "I feel some difference, and it's not only feeling, I can prove it mathematically".

The two main thing who create similar warband :
- no real strengths and weaknesses.
- no personal history (injury sometimes, but no enough for me).

Last bumped by Anonymous on 10 January 2016, 23:06.

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