Insider 12-18-2017

Last week, William Hungerford discussed what we learned though our first year of Community Integrated Development, and boy, was it a lot! We’ve made many modifications to the process as time has gone on, and I’m sure we’ll make more as feedback about the process continues to pour in.

Today, I’m going to talk about what excellent feedback looks like using real-life examples from the CID forums. I’ll also explain why these are the types of posts we are looking for, what information we get out of them, and how these users have shown excellent understanding of the process.

Our first post is by Aaron_D:

The battle report starts off with army lists being clearly presented without nicknames or slang terms being used. The report highlights the units being tested and gives the scenario being played. If you note, Aaron_D could not remember the last 3 points of his opponent’s list; this is not a big deal because of how descriptive the turn-to-turn breakdown is. It’s important to get the key components of each list down even if you’re missing a support solo or model that was not hugely important to the game/test.

Aaron_D continues to go over each turn, giving a play-by-play and explaining each major event from each turn. Please note that Aaron_D still does not use nicknames or excessive slang when describing what happened in the game. Very clearly stating what happens in each turn, how your units interacted with each other and your opponent’s is very key to us being able to draw meaningful conclusions from your battle report. Here is an example where Aaron_D does this well:

The Templar alone isn’t enough to finish the Brawler even with help from the Choir and a Vassal and so the Reckoner has to come in and puts him down with a single attack. My ret strike does nothing to the ARM 23 hull of the Templar. KE charge my Champions and the Long Riders managing to kill 2 long Riders and 2 Champions while losing 3 of their own number to Retaliatory Strikes.

This section of the battle report shows us a lot. It shows how much of an opponent’s resources had to be committed to removing the Trollblood models, it shows the interaction of Sanguine Bond and Retaliatory Strike is functioning, and it shows the limitations of that interaction.

Aaron_D’s feedback is properly color-coded in his report. Note that only the unit’s name is colored, not the entire section of feedback. Reading colored text can be quite difficult, and it does make it much easier for us if you code your feedback in this way.

Red feedback is for actual broken interactions that cause the game to stop functioning, such as two rules that will create an infinite loop. Orange feedback is for things that are far out of power curve, whether they are too high or too low. Yellow feedback is for things you feel are in a pretty good place, but might be a little too strong or too weak. For yellow models, more testing is required and they could go either to green or orange based on that testing. Green is for things that are “good to go,” or in your mind are in the perfect place. They are interesting, compelling, and powerful and are in the correct spot on the power curve as to not cause negative experiences, lock players out of the game, or create abusive situations. Aaron_D here listed most of the tested models in green, meaning they believed the majority of their test was good to go and suggested no further changes.

Madrak 1 was listed in yellow with some excellent feedback provided:

Madrak1: I don’t know what to think about Even Ground. Objectively, this is an undercosted spell. I can’t think of a more influential ability for this cost. Access to Blood Boon on Rathrok would help mitigate this, however the requirement of killing a living model. In this build, Even Ground and his feat is kind of his everything. I perhaps could have popped my feat to prevent the Exemplar and Protectorate Heavies from charging me, instead forcing them to waddle and give me a turn at scenario. Instead I used it after taking a charge to have my Champions at full steam after the Knights Exemplar had expended their charge + minifeat. Both had merit. Even Ground is definitely what makes this caster, its his signature ability and is very very strong. Everything else about Madrak1 is super good. It could stay 2pts tempered by the fact that its almost balanced against the otherwise flat toolbox of the caster or it could go to 3.

This is excellent feedback! Aaron_D puts up his findings, forms an opinion about them, and then explains the opinion. Talking through the various options that came up in the game, the tactics used during the game, and how the rules offered a multi-faceted approach shows that Aaron_D understood what was happening in the game. He also ran through various changes they would consider when looking to modify Madrak1. Very well done, Aaron_D!

Next up, I’ve got a post from one of our Development Talks during the Gravediggers CID Cycle. This Dev Talk focused on Jeremiah Kraye. This post is by SageofLodoss:

Bear in mind that when we put up a Dev Talk, we always have a goal in mind and will direct users to keep feedback relevant to that goal. Sometimes we’re not sure the direction the community wants to progress in, or we’re not sure exactly how to get the effect we’re looking for without it being a complicated jumble of rules. We use the Dev Talks to solidify direction and simplify rules. (One excellent example of this is Siege 2’s Jetpack rules. They were very confusing, but after a few days in a Dev Talk we ended up with a simple pair of rules that hit the key points we wanted and remained easy to understand.)

This post regarding Kraye has many important aspects to it. First, the information given in the post shows that Sage of Lodoss is familiar with the model in question and has a lot of table time with it. This can be seen in the levelheaded assessment of the rules on the card and a fair assessment of the current state of Kraye:

* His spell list is extremely limited. Bullet Dodger is probably his best spell, but more than half the time it will be his own personal stat line modifier rather than it getting work done in the middle of the table. Easy Rider can be good from time to time, but its a spell he's hoping to not cast. Pursuit is a fluffy spell for him but hard to utilize properly, and then he has his nuke. I think too much of his involvement in the game is just upkeeping Bullet Dodger on himself and shooting a few carbine shots.

* Reduction of the feat abilities and loss of Full Tilt has rendered the feat unimpressive, and his threat ranges much more plain. Based on other adjustments in Mk3, the writing on the wall seems to be that ridiculous melee threat ranges were intended to be curbed somewhat, and that may have played a role in Full Tilt's loss. Still, the fact that he could send one jack that far across the table was one of his big things after Iron Horse, and without that he ends up in competition with too many other Cygnar casters. He must currently feat just to match threat ranges that casters like Haley2, Nemo2, Jakes2, and Stryker3 can match with spells. So the ultimate niche of his current feat is free charges/power attacks.

* His lost the ranged elements of his spell lists to seemingly focus more on melee jack use, but not enough was given in return for what was taken away.

* Between Iron Horse and his feat, list building is always going to heavily focus on Jacks and not the trenchers and rangers he is usually associated with, since he doesn't have any real synergy with any of them.

This feedback highlights the issues with Kraye’s (at the time) current rules. It is clear what Sage thinks the issues are, and the feedback goes on to suggest ways to remedy these issues:

Defensive Tech to Support his Forward Advance Scout/Hit and Run theme: A Spell like Fog of War or Countermeasures might be a good replacement for Bullet Dodger. It gives him some method of protecting his army from shooting while he sets up the feat turn. Fog of War would work well with Rangers, giving them their Prowl trigger, and Countermeasures would be good on Trenchers with UA who use the order to set clouds and then charge up field, denying shooting in two ways.

Modified Full Tilt: If the original Full Tilt is a little much, perhaps a toned down variation could be given. A spell that gives +2 or +3 speed on the jack it is upkept on, and maybe allows it to ignore the crippled movement penalties.

Return feat abilities, perhaps increase movement: Alternatively, if he gets no spell to increase melee threat ranges of his jacks, perhaps build it into the feat. Instead of just +2" of movement, increase to 3 or 4, making up for a bit of the loss from Full Tilt. The built-in Jump start and boosted melee attack rolls of the mk2 feat could also be considered to return; just something to give his feat more oomph, something to make your opponent feel like they need to play around rather than just remember that you can threaten 2 extra inches.

Ranged Support for Troops: If he is more focused on melee jacks, leading to the loss of Guided Fire and Mage Sight, perhaps give him a spell that works better on ranged units, further expanding his use with units like Rangers and Trenchers. Something like Deadeye or Hand of Fate (or maybe something like Hand of Fate but only for damage rolls).

While we did not end up going with all of these suggestions, it is certainly clear that the Development Team shared some of these opinions. We ended up adding a defensive-style spell that exemplifies hit-and-run play (Admonition), a modified version of Full Tilt now renamed to Horse Power (Kraye’s original feat name), and ranged support for all model types can be found in Kraye’s new feat, Light ’Em Up, which applies Flare to anything that is hit by an attack.

When participating in CID, it is important to remember that we’re all working together. Some of these posts generated some rather heated debates about how people feel the game should function, how players should play, and the direction some characters should be taken. These debates, as long as they can remain civil, are among the best sources of information we have in the CID forums. When people speak passionately about something they care about, we know they are giving everything they have to this process, and that is really where the gems of CID come from.

So, get into the CID forums and show your expertise with the models being discussed, not only in the Theory and List Building section, but also in the Battle Reports and Dev Talk sections. We’ve been developing via CID for almost a year now, and I for one believe it is one of the best things that has ever happened to WARMACHINE and HORDES, and based on the hustle and bustle of the forums, I’d be inclined to say the community agrees!