Balancing strong abilities in the Arcane Item Forge

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Home Forums Age of Wonders 3 Discussions Balance Suggestions Balancing strong abilities in the Arcane Item Forge

This topic contains 5 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Lightform 4 years, 2 months ago.

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    List of abilities that can be acquired through the Arcane Item Forge:

    I actually never built any items through it but I now realize it is actually interesting.
    I am especially worried by 2 facts:
    – it is possible to get key abilities that allow dominance on PBEM, namely:
    * Befriend Animal
    * Charm
    * Control Undead
    * Dominate!!
    * Entangling Touch
    * Freezing Touch
    * Healing
    * Petrifying Touch
    * Seduce
    * Stunning Touch
    * Webbing Touch
    – these abilities are associated to “Use item”, which means you can easily have several of them! You can thus have Charm + Dominate + Seduce!!

    What I propose:
    – remove entirely Dominate from the list as it’s too strong
    – move all these abilities to Melee Weapon so that you can only have 1 and you need to make a choice between attack or ability
    – increase their cost. All the mind control ability can easily help to convert multiple T3 so are worth at least 2 T3 price, that is to say something like 300 gold and 40 mana. The Item Forge mainly uses mana, so let’s say 60 gold and 240 mana for Charm (double its price), 90 gold and 360 mana for Seduce (+3 strength), 40 gold and 160 mana for Befriend Animal.
    For Healing, its current cost may be ok but it would be logical to have it more expensive than Nourishing Meal (currently same price).
    For the immobilizing abilities, I think their prices are ok if they are moved to Weapon item.



    Is this actually a problem? I thought that people don’t generally bother with the arcane item forge in multiplayer.

    The problem with mind control and related abilities in vanilla is that your heroes basically get them for free a couple of turns into the game. Having to build an item forge, and then spend additional resources on items and wait for them to be produced will be much slower.

    My point being, that even though mind control is a dominant strategy now, a slower version of mind control that is accessible to all players regardless of class isn’t a class balance issue.

    I am of the opinion that mind control abilities are generally bad for the game since they homogenise most of the classes’ armies, and so I definitely don’t mind them being taken out of the game from a gameplay or style perspective, but I suspect that that is a lot more subjective than addressing class balance.

    I think your proposed fixes are good though if the community wants to see this option removed further restricted. Preventing a single hero from getting all of the abilities is a good idea.

    I noticed that you didn’t propose increasing the cost of Control Undead? Was that just an oversight, or is that ability less of an issue since it would only be good for necromancers, and even then isn’t usable on all the big targets?



    I would definitely agree that there could be some price improvements to the items in the forge, but I’m not sure that all of your reasoning is accurate ? Since the mod that fixes the exp gain I don’t bother with immobilising skills any more, and would certainly never bother building items for it. If it takes an action to use and your not getting exp, it is likely not worth it.

    I certainly agree that the conversion skills could be increased, oddly I have never built them myself. Maybe I’ve just never really thought of using that strategy.

    I am talking specifically PBEM here, and it depends what class and race you are playing of course, but the skills that I go for are :
    1) Healing.
    2) Swimming. This is powerful and I build it in every game where I lack a flying mount.
    3) Immobilising inflict skills ( i.e frost aura, static shield, the inflict dazzle one etc ) These are very very powerful.
    And possibly the best of the lot… ( although swimming is without equal if you lack flying )
    4) Life drain. On a warlord this skill can wipe out whole armies on it’s own.

    Get a rogue hero, learn total awareness, give him tireless boots and a life drain sword and watch him level battlefields.. the A.I can’t handle it. I have had my warlord leader kill multiple ( human player stacks ) on his own a number of times this way.



    Yeah, Total Awareness + Tireless + Life Drain seems like the killer combo against the AI. Maybe we should remove Tireless or significantly increase its cost?

    Regarding immobilization item, I agree that you don’t get XP from them and they are not as good as before. However, they still allow you to totally control tactical battles and just stall them forever, which we do not want to encourage. That’s why I want to increase their price. Immobilization is the key to most exploits in PBEM (like healing 100% your troops by stalling).

    Also, I think some cost reduction for other abilities may be justified, to make the Forge a bit more useful outside Tireless boots.



    @mauve: yes, it was a mistake, I forgot Control Undead’s price increase.
    I agree that forging items take a longer time, but access to Dominate is clearly an issue. And, even if it takes some time, it does not take that long to get the Forge running and it can give mind control abilities to any heroes, so I think price increases are justified.



    I don’t know Hiliadan… I don’t even bother learning the stunning / entangling skills on my heroes, and I sure wouldn’t bother building items for it. Using entangling just isn’t desirable any more when it doesn’t earn exp. All you really need is a bit of healing.

    The leveling process has changed to this : Fire first volley at target for 9 exp, fire second for 6 exp, kill target with 3rd hero or best unit if no 3rd yet, repeat. Use units / healing to absorb any damage the other enemies dish out in this process. I have a PBEM mod game going right now at turn 20, my leader is lev 14, and my two heroes are 12 and 10 using this process. Most of the time I don’t even bother healing in battle, as it wastes exp gain and heroes heal so fast between turns.

    Tireless is a super good skill, but so is life drain and those inflict stun ones. I don’t know about the charm ones because I have never used them, but I assume they are OP as you say. I would love to fiddle with the forge and make it so that everything was worth building but for a suitable price. Like.. I will use a forge built life drain sword over any mythic pick up, that’s how good it is, and about 80% of the other skills available I just never bother with.

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