Insider 10-13-2016

Last week, I gave some further insight on how errata would work in the new edition and provided a general overview of what and when to expect them.

Today I’m going to answer some of the biggest questions you asked of us in the official forum thread on last week's Insider.

You said you were planning to potentially rebalance the top 5% of overperforming and underperforming models. Did you mean the top and bottom 5% overall, or the top and bottom 5% for each Faction?

For this round we identified the top and bottom 5% for each Faction based on our aggregated community feedback, and then we examined that set for potential adjustment.

As I mentioned previously, we want to take a measured and mindful approach to any and all errata we do. By focusing our attention in this way and subsequently testing potential changes and their impact across the whole game, we can avoid the pitfall of making too many changes too quickly, or even worse, simply tinkering with game elements that don’t need to be fixed. Also, I think it’s important to note that 5% isn’t a hard and fast rule. That’s simply the figure we came to this time around. This number may increase or decrease as needed in future errata, based on our examination and discussion.

How was the 5% determined?

Through thoughtful and intense scrutiny and debate over forum comments (both on our official forums and elsewhere); conversations with our Infernals and Judges ; review of tournament lists and results; our personal play experiences; and exchanges with players at the many conventions we attend, as well as our own continuous internal playtesting and new testing of future releases alongside released models.

Do you plan to do more “Patch Notes”-style announcements like you did at Gen Con?

Yep, we want to make that the standard operating procedure for errata drops in the future. You can look forward to seeing an Insider (or possibly two) from Jason Soles that will shed some light on the overall process.

What is and isn't on the table for balancing? Are you considering just point costs? Abilities? Stat lines? Is anything off limits, and if so, what?

Everything and anything is on the table when it comes to balancing. Often the easiest and most effective change is to adjust a model’s PC. But there are certainly times where that simply won’t do enough to address the issue.

Again, we go to great lengths to create the best, most enjoyable game experience possible, and in order to achieve that goal we need to have all the tools available to use when and where we might apply them. You wouldn’t ask a carpenter to build your house with only a hammer, after all.

How does casual player feedback weigh in when you are considering changes?

It absolutely matters. As I’ve said a few times now, we’re not only trying to make the game as balanced as possible; it’s just as important that the game be as fun as possible, too. We want WARMACHINE and HORDES to be enjoyable and fulfilling at all levels, with plenty of options and experiences for everyone. Can we please everyone all the time? Of course not. But it doesn’t mean we’d ever stop trying to make a game that all players can appreciate in their own way.

Do you plan to make adjustments to have models fill more unique roles in this errata pass?

This is certainly one of the many aspects we are considering in the process. We always intend for every model to offer interesting choices to players to one degree or another. I won’t claim we can make every single model in a Faction a unique snowflake, nor that we’d even try to. There will always be some overlap between models in terms of role. Ideally, though, those models will still bring their own specific flavor. To illustrate my point, think of a Crusader versus a Templar. Both have the exact same basic stats and fulfill a similar role (ultimately they just want to smash things), but each offers its own twist on that larger function.

However, this issue often reflects larger systemic problems, such as the model itself being slightly under the curve or other models around it being slightly over the curve. In the end, we want every model to offer a meaningful choice when constructing your army and some variety in how it will perform on the table .

Are you looking at balancing for individual models or model interactions?

You really can’t do one without the other, and it’s part of why we are selecting every change we consider so carefully in regard to these errata. Every dial we turn will always turn other dials, too, whether we’re addressing a group of model interactions or simply trying to resolve issues with a single model. In the end, we have to take a holistic approach, or we will end up with unintended consequences that may require further balance errata down the road.

Do the errata take effect immediately, or will they have a "start date”?

This is always a tough decision, especially since there are so many great WARMACHINE and HORDES events happening throughout the year all around the world. There really isn’t ever a “dead” time for events (which is awesome, when you really stop to think about it).

We are sticking with our previous policy that the errata become official immediately upon posting. While we want to be as mindful as possible about the impact errata can have on larger events, we also want to ensure that the errata process is as simple and straightforward as possible. We hope to head off player confusion and frustration by establishing a very clear launch date.