Author Topic: High Elves  (Read 2143 times)

Fingolfin

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High Elves
« on: June 12, 2016, 09:28:09 PM »
There has been some complaint on the forum that the High Elves are over costed by around 3% due to an unjustified "unsexy target" modifier. I have not found this to be a problem, but, if people feel strongly about it, then it could be solved by giving all non-Cygnet High Elf units immunity to fear and terror checks. This makes sense from a theme perspective (if Longbeards have it, why don't High Elves), and it solves the costing issue. That way High Elf Swordsmen versus Dark Elf Duskblades is a completely even fight which it should be since they are exactly the same cost. What do you all think?
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RushAss

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Re: High Elves
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2016, 10:35:53 PM »
It's not a bad idea and I like the flavor of it, but it would be of absolutely zero help when facing factions that lack Fearsome/Terrifying units.  That would be Hawkshold, Dwarves, Rome, Carthage, Alexander, and other High Elves (Civil Wars).  So that's a lot of factions where it does absolutely nothing for you.  And then you have the factions that have only a single scary unit available to them - Ravenwood, Orcs, Umenzi, and Persia.  If your opponent is playing one of those factions and fails to bring the big guy, it also does nothing.  So you'll have cool faction flavor, but it will only help you less than 10% of the time.  In my mind, just removing 3% from the unit cost is a reasonable house rule.  

Brook (gornhorror) and I have worked out an idea that we feel would balance out that surcharge and it consists of 2 things:
1 - Make Precision not count as playing a command card.
2 - Buff up the Oathbound High Elven Command card.  
While Brook and I are at variance as to how good that buff to Oathbound should be, we feel that those two things would balance the High Elven faction nicely.  The fact of the matter is that in competitive play, High Elves have a steep learning curve.  A beginner will commonly get their ass handed to them.  But a pro level player can be dangerous.  The deciding factor here is Maneuver Mastery.  This seemingly harmless ability can be a totally game changer once you know how to use it well.  It's even more dangerous when your opponent underestimates Maneuver Mastery's potential.

And by the way, Longbeards got charged for the same silly unsexy target surcharge.  As did Dwarven Axemen + Spearmen.  As did both Half-Orc units from Monsters & Mercs.  So it's not just a problem unique to the High Elves.  However, it hits them hardest because it was applied to so many of their units.  Our dear resident Hannibal can give you a pretty palpable reason as to why he thinks the surcharge was slapped onto these units.  I don't think I'd be able to do his explanation justice, so I won't attempt it.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2016, 11:18:44 PM by RushAss »
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Kevin

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Re: High Elves
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2016, 10:48:55 PM »
I'll be a very brief broken record:  What makes High Elves tricky is that some units (High Elf Swordsmen & Spearmen, Elder Blade Swordsmen, Celestial Guard) got the surcharge but the others did not.  IMHO any one-size-fits-all fix will fail, and the least bad thing to do is just to adjust the prices on the ones that got the surcharge.  (The immunity to fear is clever, but it would start to get really weird explaining why these high elves get it and these others don't.)_
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gornhorror

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Re: High Elves
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2016, 12:04:09 AM »
I still vote for the changes in Marcus' post  I would want both, but if I had to choose one, I'll take the Precision change so no command cards would need errata. 
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Fingolfin

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Re: High Elves
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2016, 08:17:48 AM »
Just to be clear, I don't actually feel that the High Elves need a buff; I was just throwing the suggestion out to see if people liked it. That said, I like the change to Precision.  I could actually see myself using it then. As it is, it is a truly useless ability.
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RushAss

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Re: High Elves
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2016, 10:07:20 AM »
As it is, it is a truly useless ability.
For the most part yes, though it can still be a mean ability when used on the Knights as long as they are not barreling into something with a high defensive toughness.  It's decent on Chariots and Elder Blade units as well, but only against opponents with low defensive toughness.  More like a semi-useless ability though I smell what you're cooking  :)
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Hannibal

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Re: High Elves
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2016, 11:15:03 AM »
I'll split the difference:  it's not truly useless because (as Marcus said) there are times where you might use it.  But yeah, it's pretty much a shiiiite ability.  That's an errata I could get behind.

As for the semi-annual Oathbound debate, I agree that it's something of a weak card but I haven't seen a fix I like.  Mainly because, as Marcus said, the High Elves are a top tier faction in the right hands.  Maneuver Mastery + Sprint (i.e. 5" teleport) in a game that hands out bonuses for outmaneuvering your enemy?  That's really good.

And I sympathize with those who say it leaves the HEs with bad choices:  1)  accept that 1 in 4 game plans will just be ruined because of luck or 2) having to put a reserve behind your lines and play down points to contain the damage of when you blow a Yellow check.  The thing is that when we play, an experienced player can still win (often quite handily) despite this issue.  And I'd rather have a faction that has a steep learning curve and sometimes you getting boned by the dice than have a faction that is overpowered & people hate to play against.


I'm inclined to leave alone the surcharge that most HE units got.  Chad once made a very good point that while it was intentional and he's definitely open to it having been the wrong choice to give it to them, but a 3% difference is well within the margin of error.  And I agree with that.  We tend to be lulled by the formula into thinking that costing units is more precise than it really is.  It's as much an art as anything else, because it assumes a standard pattern of dice results that only happens in large sample sizes.  Simply put, a (5)5/5 unit attacking a D:2/2 unit does not roll 1.25 damage.  it rolls somewhere between 0-5 damage and that over time those result should average 1.25 damage.

The tl;dr is that 3% really is probably close enough that other things start to have greater impact on the game.  Thing such as the weighting of the dice (someone once did an analysis that showed that your average set of dice is significantly off when it comes to balance).  Or the individual vagaries of the player:  their skill level, their preference, their sobriety (coughMarcuscough).

If HEs ever got reprinted, that surcharge is definitely something I'd look at.  But it doesn't rise to the level of an errata.  As much as anything else because many units are probably off by around 3%.  For example, Rome Principes and Vet Principes are off by about 3% due to an out-and-out typo.  That bothers me and it's definitely something I'd like to fix if Punic Wars was ever released, but like the HE's I don't think it is worth the "annoyance cost" to new players of an errata.  By contrast, if I was going to explore an errata to costs it would be to fix Rome Vet. Equites , Carthage Spanish Cavalry, and Carthage Gallic Cavalry (13%, 11%, and 9% overcosted, respectively).  

BubblePig

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Re: High Elves
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2016, 04:00:19 PM »
Thing such as the weighting of the dice (someone once did an analysis that showed that your average set of dice is significantly off when it comes to balance).
Which analysis are you talking about? I know that dakkadakka or others which cite the same source get dragged up a lot in online discussions and and I have serious issues with the method in which the data was taken. The dice were never rolled; they were shaken then flipped. It is certainly interesting that the method of 'randomizing' which face of the die is facing upward would have such a significant impact. But it is sort of like when somebody born before the invention of transistors gets frustrated with their dvd player: the problem is with the operator, not the equipment.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2016, 04:09:03 PM by BubblePig »

Hannibal

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Re: High Elves
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2016, 04:29:41 PM »
That might be the same article, but I seem to remember that the issue (which the author disclosed) was the small sample size of only like 1000 rolls rather than how it was rolled.  I also remember reading of some guys at the Las Vegas Open (I think that's the name) having access to the machines they used in the casinos to determine whether dice were correctly weighted(?).  And they found that your standard set of chessex dice are off (they'd be considered way off by casino standards too, but that's more rigorous).

Either way, even if you have perfect dice the simple act of rolling them also produces (IMO) a larger effect on the game than if the units are 3% off.  If you smash together 7 units, I think you're pretty unlikely to see 1.25 damage down the line.    :D

Kevin

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Re: High Elves
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2016, 07:09:02 PM »
3% of 2000 = 60 points.  That's upgrading two Orc Swordsmen to Orc Spearmen, or (almost) upgrading one to Orc Axemen.  Or you can upgrade two Sworsdmen of most other factions and still have points left over.  The Romans could upgrade Principes to Veteran Principes.

Doesn't make the game unwinnable [1], but in high-level competition between even players that should turn an even fight into at least a 60-40 and maybe a 2-1.  On the other hand, there aren't that many of us, so perhaps it's easiest to home rule it where it matters.

[1] I routinely spot Blakely 100 points and win a bit over 50% of the time.
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RushAss

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Re: High Elves
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2016, 07:42:28 PM »
3% of 2000 = 60 points. 

True, but in my experience with High Elves only half of my builds consist of units that got slapped with the surcharge so it's closer to ~30 points.  YMMV.  Remember, Battle Squads didn't get the surcharge and they are the most commonly used High Elven unit from what I've seen.
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Hannibal

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Re: High Elves
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2016, 01:39:24 AM »
What Marcus said.  I tend to think that 30pts is essentially the value of adding +1 die to a (5)5/5 unit.  IMO, over the course of the game the fact that you're rolling dice in the first place (i.e. randomness) will have a greater impact on the outcome than if you're rolling 35 dice a turn instead of 36.

Again, if I was reprinting the faction, these are issues I'd definitely discuss (and in the case of Roman infantry, outright fix).  But absent that, I don't think they rise to the level of justifying an errata.