Balance of the Engineer in the balance mod

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Home Forums Age of Wonders 3 Discussions Balance of the Engineer in the balance mod

This topic contains 40 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by  phirpo 1 year, 12 months ago.

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    Engineers already received several changes in the balance mod, as you can see on its changelog:
    – Flash bang – Launches a mana-infused flash bang that bursts apart into a mixture of light, scraps, and flames. Deals 4 fire and 4 physical damage to target enemy unit and attempt to Blind (with strength 7) all units in 1 hex radius (was Single target) for 2 turns. If Blind was unsuccessful, affected units lose 25% of their movement points. Blinded units have a maximum attack range of 1 hex.
    – Engineers gain +8 HP.
    – Engineers can build Roads.
    – Maintenance ability heals 5 HP per Machine unit in stack now (was 3).

    Still, they feel out of place.

    Engineers should be 1-turned to be interesting.
    With a Village, base production = 25, with a Builder’s Hall, that’s 45. Then let’s say you’re Very Happy, +30%, that’s 58. So, it’s far from 1-turning Engineers costing 80.
    Let’s be a bit more optimistic and consider a Town with a Magma Forge. Base = 30+20+10=60. +30% = 78. If Cheerful, 90.

    As a Dreadnought, you get a 10% discount on Armored unit like Engineers, so their real cost is rather 72 than 80. And you have the option to cast Mana Fuel Cell for +20 production (+26 in a Very Happy city), however that’s very mana intensive and it’s probably better not to count the MFC when talking about Engineers.
    So Engineers should cost 78 or less in my opinion.

    But several Engineers get additional abilities and cost more, like Dwarf +5 gold for Projectile Resistance (and then their +10% racial cost), etc.

    Engineer should also have comparable stats and abilities to other units with similar costs.

    Engineer vs Monster Hunter.
    HP: 40/50
    MP: 28/32 (Swimming)
    Def: 10 (11 with Empire Upgrade)/12
    Res: 8/10
    Melee: 8/12
    Ranged: 4-4 and 8-8 / 12

    ==> Engineers definitely weaker, despite being only 10 mana cheaper.

    Dwarf Engineer vs Dwarf Prospector:
    HP: 40/33
    MP: 28/28
    Def: 11 (12 with Empire Upgrade)/9
    Res: 9/9
    Melee: 8/8
    Ranged: 4-4 and 8-8 / 11
    Cost: 83-11/44

    ==> So the Engineer is a bit stronger than a Prospector but more than double its cost. It has nice abilities but still, that’s very expensive.

    Dwarf Deepguards and Axemen have the same defense, and 46 HP but cost only 55 gold.

    Engineers are probably overpriced by about 10 resource (and more gold than mana, because their abilities justify mana).

    After reducing their cost by 10, racial engineers might need to be nerfed (e.g. -1 def) so that they don’t get above 78 gold+mana and prevent their 1-turn production.
    Actually, the good threshold might be different. Let’s consider a starting Village, without Magma Forge, Mana Fuel Cell and Happy (not Very Happy), that’s (25+20+20)*1.15=74 So it still works for base Engineers at 80 with the 10% discount, but a better threshold than 78 might be 74.

    Then there are all the ideas to boost Engineers’ stats or make them Evolve, etc. Maybe good ideas, but I think a first step is to correct the price of Engineers, to make it more in line with the value they bring, and to make them buildable without wasting production turns.



    Engineers already received several changes in the balance mod

    All these changes were done to make them more useful on strategic map, but players tend to hire more units which are useful in combat.

    Engineer vs Monster Hunter.

    T1 vs. T2.

    Give them pistols with no cooldown.
    Give them Fire Blunderbuss with no cooldown.
    Make them T2 with according buffs to stats.



    Alright so we moved the discussion here… My thoughts:
    Early game engineers are useless because, as Hili pointed out they are too expensive and and other T1 units are cheaper while giving you the same (or even better) possibilities to clear mines and such early on.
    Engineers however become somewhat necessary in mid/late game when you go towards machines, for healing and rapid reload. The healing is a big problem and dreadnought has by far the biggest problem with healing his units on top of also being the slowest class (when going for machines). Engineers “maintenance” ability is too weak and they get repair machine only at gold lvl.
    Rapid reload is necessary to increase the fire rate of cannons. A cannon that can shoot each turn is very good! A cannon that shoots only every 2nd turn much less so (still pretty ok dmg output, but remember it doesn’t retaliate, it doesn’t heal on its own between turns and it is slow).
    There are some arguments that you don’t need engineers late game because you can repair machines and rapid reload with your hero. That’s true, but then you lose your heroes turn. I don’t think that is a good argument.
    Since stack size is limited to 6, whenever you have a cannon you could count it as occupying 2 slots in your stack due to the accompanying engineer which hurts especially end-game when stack slots become more valuable because you could fill them with T3s instead.
    So I think the best solutions would be:
    1.) Make Engineers cheaper and maybe take away “build roads” so they become viable early game units as Hiliadan proposed, though I would go further and make them even cheaper (more like the pricing of martyrs or scoundrels)
    2.) Change them to T2: Make them less squishy and with repair machine. Or even increase their cost but give them all the build options of the builder unit as extra, thematically it would fit that dreadnought has access to a better builder then other classes.

    This could be linked by letting 1.) evolve into 2.) maybe with adding this evolution option to the “Advanced warfare” tech.

    Decreasing the cost a bit as hiliadan proposed to something like 74 gold will still make them considerable more expensive then e.g. martyrs but they won’t be more useful early and they also lack the transition into powerful T3 flying units late game martyrs have. So Imho that won’t be enough.

    I left out synergies with engineers and juggernauts and muskets because those two units rarely play a role in most games and everything that I said about cannons and engineers is valid just as much in those cases.

    I don’t quite get the comparison with monster hunters. If I had to compare them to a T2 it would be to Reanimators. And Reanimators would win by a big margin (heal undead, inflict despair, true sight, black bolts, raise cadaver and later even reanimate undead, against maintenance, reload, build road, flash bang and blunderbuss)



    I don’t quite get the comparison with monster hunters.

    That’s because Monster Hunters are Irregulars, like Engineers, and have a very similar price (only +10 mana) so that’s a good comparison: it shows that Engineers have the price of a T2 but stats of a T1.

    And yes I’m starting to think that something like what you proposed for 1/ and 2/ is a good idea. But maybe it doesn’t have to be an Evolve. It could be a tech that upgrades PRODUCED (and not already built) Engineers to Master Engineers, who are T2 and have better stats and additional abilities, like for instance the Personal Force Field (giving Force Field to 1 allied unit, or building a tactical combat structure that gives Force Field to allied units 2 hexes around it for instance) that was imagined for Dreadnought hero at some points.



    I think Engineers are slightly overpriced, even with the upgrades stats:

    – Engineers gain +8 HP.
    – Engineers can build Roads.
    – Maintenance ability heals 5 HP per Machine unit in stack now (was 3).

    I feel like they should be more expensive than a basic Scoundrel or Martyr, if we use them as an example because they have a higher survavability. The question is if they justify a base cost of 80 production, and then the answer is clearly no.

    I would agree with Hiliadan, decrease the base cost with 10-15g and maybe have a look at the abilities, if they justify an increase in cost, and if the increase should really be 10g.
    Dwarfs are 18.5% more expensive than the base cost (normally +10) and have the racial difference of Projectile Resistance, basically adding a cost of 13g (instead of 7g) to the cost.
    Other examples, Humans get throw net, adding a cost of 10g, Tigrans have Sprint, also adding 10g. It feels like those are slightly overpriced.



    I’m not exactly sure what I’d do, but Dreadnought (my least played and least favorite class for a reason..) feels SO incredibly flat early game. And I think it’s for this reason – you might want a couple of their early units, but nowhere near the extent the other classes do. When I play Dread it feels like I’m just racing through their crappy early game, breezing over a good amount of stuff to just focus on economy and mid-late game. I build almost no class units, stick to all racials and the odd summon until ridiculously late in the game. It doesn’t feel like I’m really playing an Engineer, a Dreadnought… more like a Warlord, gold/production based mid-late game powerhouse, except I make steampunk Tanks and Cannons instead of Manticore Riders.

    Seems like There is NO option of diversity of tactic in early, mid, or late game. Thus, a very bland/predictable class IMO.

    You have the right idea to fix this class though, I think. Focus on buffing up the Engis and Musketeers to where they really have a place early, and open up some options in early-mid game for different tactics.



    I’m in favor of reducing the price by 10-15 gold. If players still aren’t building them, reduce the price even more in the next version of the balance mod.


    Jolly Joker

    I would like to make a suggestion. The Engineer is one, if not the main reason, why I don’t like playing Dread the way that class is. The unit is extremely vulnerable – and it somehow stabs into empty air (and no price change will change that).

    It would immediately be a better unit, if:

    a) Dreadnought would start with a percentage of machine units and/or

    b) Dread would have something like a Balliste in addition to the Ram as a racial Builder’s Hall unit and/or

    c) The Engineer had Triage instead of maintenenance giving the same thing as maintenance, just for the LIVING and/or

    d) would get Emergency Repair in Bronze and Maintenance on Silver (if c))

    POSSIBLE is everything. I have no idea whether a) is moddable. the others are.



    That would be cool. Engi incorporating some kind of medic abilities as well. If most of the Dreadnoughts class identity comes from machines, and they’re a little to strong to start with or reach early on, then the earlier class units need more of a punch.


    Why not give them the ability to change the battlefield itself, e.g. build obstructions, deploy bombs etc.

    This doesn’t exist in the game outside of certain spells.

    Imagine if engineers could lay mines, and as they got more experienced the mines grew in power, upto a destabilised mana core at gold.

    One of those would make a big difference.



    I like the idea in theory, but I’d caution against it. I’ve tried a lot of mods that do similar things / add units with similar abilities and they tend to break autocombat.

    It’s one the main reasons I find Necro (And Archdruid secondary heroes with Call Ancestral Spirit) so insanely powerful in autocombat – the ability to lure/kite enemies into chokepoints with stuff like Throw Curse, kill one unit, and raise a Cadaver (Or summon a AS) in the spot to block off/draw aggro, thus gaining an extra turn or two worth of actions. It’s so strong!

    Mods that add abilities like this can trivialize autocombat. Then again, if necro is already capable of this trick, why not some other classes?


    Jolly Joker

    Would make flyers yet more powerful/important.

    The flaw with Engineer is, that it’s mainly a “Dreadnought Healer” – like the Reanimator for Necro – but that you will NEVER have a complete machine ermy (as opposed to the all-undead-except hero army of Necro). Sure, it has a powerful area attack, but it’s very short range and the unit is vulnerable – and then you get the Musketeer as an Archer – with a powerful ranged attack.

    Giving this some more thought, I’ll (personally) mod the Engineer this way:

    They will get:
    a) A new ability calld Triage, right from the beginning (instead of maintenance). This will basically work like VICTORY RUSH, except with less Healing. 3 points per unit, probably. So this will kick in after each BATTLE.

    b) Emergency Repair at Bronze (instead of gold);

    c) Maintenance at Gold (instead of right from the start).

    Will make it pretty unique. And damn useful.



    I only play single player, and almost always as dreadnought so take my ideas only as food for thought and with a grain of salt. I completely agree that vanilla or even balance mod engineers are a problem. On top of being a weak tier 1, they are not really built for front lines but the blunderbuss is a temptation for putting them in harms way (both for players and AI). Add to that they are the “Healer” needed throughout the game means they end up in fights above their weight class looking like the easy target to kill. Engineer frustrations drove me to make my own mod, I and tried a few iterations with Engineers.

    1) Made Tier 2 support and increased stats – I usually keep this in my mod as it provides much needed survivability. I keep the cost ~90 which is difficult to 1 turn quickly.

    2) Remove Blunderbuss – I usually keep this change just to keep them alive, ( I also modded “Side arms” to give blunderbuss to Calvary instead of pistols)

    2) Gave them Pistols without cooldown, 3 shots per turn, does 7 damage, can fire when engaged. For the Balance mod I would expect this would just be the regular pistol, though maybe with additional damage per rank up else it might not scale well without

    3) Gave them “Fire bomb” instead of Flashbang. This was useful for getting the fire damage without the suicide of the blunderbuss. I liked this but eventually rolled it back as it was too much when trying other things.

    4) “Give Weapon kit” a once per battle ability to give a weapon kit to an Infantry, Pikeman, or irregular. This was kind of interesting but can also be hard to use unless the other side stays put a turn for you to buff everyone.

    5) Analyze Weakpoints – once per battle ability, extreme range – target gains physical weakness. I liked this because it scaled better for dreadnought units than a -def and helped with a difficulty which was physical resistance. I tried both 20% – 40% looking for right balance, settled on unresistable 20%.

    6) The last idea I was thinking was Rapid Reload changing to Rapid Reset – restores 100% of action points to a machine, musketeer or maybe even archer types. I was still working on modding this in, but I figured it would allow better transition/usage with Golems which I moved in front of Musketeers. It probably needs a once per round per unit limitation.

    A couple notes in general about Engineers from how I play/view things:

    Even when I tried “Build roads”, “Build fortress” etc, I generally found it was easy enough or easier to build a dedicated laborer. I personally wouldn’t miss the “Build roads” ability in balance mode.

    Engineers are the first buildable unit but lack value till machines come much later. This is the problem that I feel drives Dreadnoughts to other research and less immersive flavor early game.

    I disagree with Fluks on Rapid reload
    “Rapid reload is necessary to increase the fire rate of cannons. A cannon that can shoot each turn is very good! A cannon that shoots only every 2nd turn much less so (still pretty ok dmg output, but remember it doesn’t retaliate, it doesn’t heal on its own between turns and it is slow).” – 2 Cannons will fire faster than 1 Cannon 1 Engineer. The engineer brings repairs, and cost efficiency but not more fire rate.

    On Dreadnought in general, I noticed I tended to play Racial units switching to class units till mid/late game if at all. I often did feel like a Warlord as someone else mentioned. My personal solution was to work in dreadnought skills to racial units like pistols for infantry, blunderbuss for cavalry and flash bombs for support. Then make dreadnought units focused on being expense centerpieces. I gave each machine a non-stacking moral bonus (took it off the hero) and focused on things the machine could do to boost other units. Golems have a personal shield which puts them in Defense and grants fire/lightning/frost resistance to adjacent units. I lowered the Flame tanks damage and added inflict scorched. I gave the cannon ranged guard breaker, and the juggernaut gives a ride it’s stack (free movement) as well as has maintance and medical bays (healing for machines and units).



    Interesting ideas from Domino. Cavarly should really get Blunderbuss instead of pistols. They are too weak, but the AI likes to use them in autocombat. Once I had some elite Wark Riders, firing for 6 damage vs a Shadow Stalker and getting slaughtered in the next turn (I know this was a bad match anyway, bit the results were really frustrating). Since this experience I normally never ever build cavalry because you usually need this empire upgrade for researching better ones.

    But I’m gioing Offtopic 😉

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 6 months ago by  gladis.

    Jolly Joker

    I’ve been testing Engineers with the (above described) Triage ability, and while that is actually not bad, the trouble is that the ability stacks (and that can’t be changed), so let’s say that this isn’t really the way to go.

    Now, obviously you can slap a ton of fitting abilities onto the Engineer. Domino25 has listed a couple, and I’d add something like Sabotage Wall or Weaken Wall, which would be a special attack on walls – but I don’t think that’s the point.

    The thing is (still) that the Engineer is a LIVING unit tending MACHINES – but who tends the Engineer, a T1 Irregular that has 27 HPs in the goblin version and still costs an arm and a leg. If you want to get the most out of the unit, you must get it to gold, and if it was difficult to keep the Scoundrels alive, keeping Engineers alive is even more difficult. Would Sprint be a good addition?
    I’d give it a no. Sprint for an Engineer looks wrong.

    So how about making the unit a T2? The main advantage will be a gain of 4 HPs per medal. I’ll probably try to add +5 HPs +1 Def, +1 Res, change the gold medal ranged attack gain to +1 Fire instead of +1 Physical, add SOME healing ability (maybe something like Maintenance, only for the living, maybe simply a weak form of Healing, say Field Medicine for +9 Healing), increase the price accordingly, say +15 Gold and +5 Mana, simply increasing the overall value and durability of the unit. The net effect would be +15 HP for a gold medal Engineer.



    I think you could get away with +5 HP and +1/2 Def. It’s supposed to be armored and such. Take down it’s melee attack even more if you think it needs it.


    Jolly Joker

    “Armored” comes with its own stat increase and doesn’t justify additional HPs.

    I mean, there rests so much on this unit – you can’t really mass produce machines without throwing in the odd Engineer to keep them alive.

    The way it is, it would make more sense if Musketeer and Engineer were exchanged. Musketeer might indeed be a beefier T1 with a massive but clumsy weapon – an Archer upgrade, a Dwarven Crossbowman, except with more oomph, but also a weakness, needing a reload for the weapon – either waste a turn or have an Engineer around, which would be the next, a T2, as beefy as the Musketeer, but able to do everything they do, collecting the XP necessary along the line to later repair the machines by giving the Musketeers a helping hand and finishing guys off and so on.

    So that would make sense.

    Keeping the line the way it is, starting with the Engineer, it needs something making them useful FOR WHAT IS THERE early in the game. For me that means – it’s an Irregular, and as such everything they do they do at a limited level. What I currently try is equipping them with a Healing variant called Field Medicine. Works like Healing, but only with 10 HP (once per battle).
    I also try the unit as T2. +1 Def/Res, 39 HPs. Comes with a higher price – but the unit is meant to STAY.

    That’s the two options I see, but in BOTH options the Engineer ends up as a T2. This increases the costs, sure, but cheap will get you cheap, as they say.

    For option 1 speaks that there is nothing wrong with making the Musketeer a T1; the crossbowman is one as well, and those guys are pretty ok the way they are.


    Jolly Joker

    The more I think about it, the more it seems to me that an exchange of Musketeer and Engineer would make a lot of sense.
    Making the Musketeer a T1 instead of a T2 is no problem. It’s a straightforward unit with a straightforward purpose and you might see it indeed as a Crossbowman with more power, which should make it unproblematic to cut down on stats. -1 Def/Res and, say, -9 HPs should drop the price. (As I did with the Crossbowman, the medal progression for damage could be upped to 1-2-1-2 instead of 1-1-1-1.)

    This would give the Dread an Archer option as its first producable class unit. Considering that at least ONE Dread (Leader) is available who can pick Rapid Reload at level 3, a cheaper T1 Musketeer seems like a good unit to produce early on to gain firepower.

    Then the Engineer would switch to a T2, available for research after Musketeer. This would make the unit immediately more durable, due to better stats, while every stack they would become part of had already collected medals and strength to better keep them alive.
    In that position they might also get additional abilities like “Sabotage Wall”, “Field Medic” “Weapon Kit” and so on to increase their utility, justifying a higher price.

    Seems somewhat better, well, scaled that way.


    Jolly Joker

    So I’ve been playing with Musketeer/Engineer reversed, that is:
    Musketeer T1 -9 HP, -1 Def/Res, -15/5 cost and Tech repositioned to former Engineer and
    Engineer T2, +9 HP, +1 Def/Res, additional Tech “Field Magic” (10 HP Healing) + 15/5 cost
    and this seems to work fine for exactly the reasons named above. You get Musketeer early, making them a very serious building option due to the damage they can deal to strong units as well; while your Dread heroes do get the option to learn rapid reload, there is no shortage of possible hero actions which means if you DO produce Musketeers, an Engineer is indeed the logical step; they can act as support by reloading or as a field medic, while learning the ability to repair the machines (to come). The additional HPs do help as well as the Field Medic ability.

    Bottom line is, for me, at least, Dread feels more “organic” that way.

    Maybe you should test this.


    That actually sounds like a good idea.


    Jolly Joker

    I think, the Dread specialists (which I’m definitely not) should test that. It certainly feels good and it makes a lot of sense.



    I like the idea of switching musketeer and engineer as well, along with beefing up the engineer to make it T2. The field healing is a good idea.



    The Repair Machine ability could be given to Engineers by the Master Guild (just like it gives the ability to Builders). Would make sense for me. Maybe delete th ability at Elite Level then and give another ability instead.



    The Repair Machine ability could be given to Engineers by the Master Guild (just like it gives the ability to Builders). Would make sense for me. Maybe delete th ability at Elite Level then and give another ability instead.

    How would that make Engineers better? The Repair Machine is one key ability for them and I basically never build Master Guild in my games, except rarely on Large maps.
    I would instead move Emergency Repair to Veteran, to make it more accessible.



    You should think about buffing engineers to be better combat unit.


    Jolly Joker

    Actually, I think switching works fine. The problem with the unit is – you NEED it on Elite later, but you also must be very careful with what you do. When you have Musketeers already, the Engineers are quite cool – Musketeers are not as good as Cannons, obviously, but you have something to do for them: they can reload the Musketeer in your stack. For Musketeers themselves, being a T1 Archer is actually making them something like one hell of a Crossbowman, especially when you factor in Support via Engineer.

    And if the Situation is right, Engineer can use Flash Bang or Blunderbuss.

    I also gave them a 10 point once per combat healing ability.

    Works well.



    Ok so proposals coming from this thread with some supports from at least 2 players:
    E1. Engineers cost 60 gold and 10 mana (was 70 gold and 10 mana)

    E2. Engineers do 5 melee damage and 7/8 physical/fire Fire Blunderbuss damage and costs 65 gold and 10 mana (was 70 gold and 10 mana)

    E3. The extra cost due to extra abilities for Engineers is now 5 gold for Projectile Resistance for Dwarves (was 11), 5 gold for Sprint for Tigrans (was 10), 5 gold for Inflict Immolation for Draconians (was 10).

    E4. Produce Engineer is Tier II and costs 140 RP, Produce Musketeer is Tier I and costs 60 RP (was the opposite).
    Engineers are T2, have 45 HP, 11 defense, 9 resistance, costs 80 gold, 10 mana (was T1, 40 HP, 10 def, 8 res, 70 gold and 10 mana).
    Musketeers are T1, have 36 HP, 10 defense, 8 resistance, costs 65 gold and 5 mana (was T2, 45 HP, 11 defense, 9 resistance, costs 80 gold and 10 mana).

    Please let me know if you support the proposal of SOMEONE ELSE (not your own) that I didn’t list.








    E4. Early musketeers sounds interesting.

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