[PBEM Etiquette] Am I a dick for playing necro?

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Home Forums Age of Wonders 3 Discussions [PBEM Etiquette] Am I a dick for playing necro?

This topic contains 14 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Hiliadan 6 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #243179

    ehall20
    Member

    Hey all,

    I don’t think I’m saying anything too radical when I say that the consensus among the PBEM playerbase is that Necro is Overpowered (I capitalize that intentionally, because it’s much worse than the things people often legitimately claim are overpowered).

    I’ve seen the thread here about Necro being OP, and I’ve had a good run of PBEM games over the past month or two where I played Necro almost exclusively. From learning the class, figuring out the most efficient way to play tactical combat to maximize ghoul cursing and hero-level-farming, to a short stint where – and I’m not proud of this – I continued playing because it made me all warm and fuzzy inside that I was actually consistently winning at an online game. For a while, I even circled back around to where playing Necro was actually challenging for a bit, because I would ghoul curse such a large army, so early in the game (like turn 15-20), that I pretty much bankrupt myself trying to sustain an income of -800 to -1,200 gold every turn just to pay upkeep. The funny part about that last one is that I was able to do it for quite a long time, but after about 20 turns, there just weren’t enough treasure sites left on the map that I could get to in time to make my money.

    Strangely, in the 30 or so PBEM matches I’ve played so far (and not all of them being duels, some with 4 or 8 players), I have not once had to play against someone else playing Necromancer. It’s pretty widely known how OP Necro is, but out of the 50+ players I’ve been up against in PBEM, not one of them has played it. Not enough to be statistically significant, sure, but pretty coincidental otherwise.

    Is there some unwritten norm that you shouldn’t play a class when it’s that OP? Should there be?

    EDITS 1-2: GRAMMAR AND STUFF

    • This topic was modified 6 years, 1 month ago by  ehall20.
    • This topic was modified 6 years, 1 month ago by  ehall20.
    • This topic was modified 6 years, 1 month ago by  ehall20.
    #243190

    I think it depends on what you want to get out of your game. In our recent FFA game in which you just eliminated me I made a few mistakes and suffered a very slow start as a result, so balance aside I think you are a better player and would have won anyway.

    I’m not sure how the more competitive PBEM players feel about this, but more casual players have ways around it. For instance, there is a no mind control game on the battlefield site that I’m looking forward to. All players have to select warlord, sorcerer, or dreadnought as their leader, and other heroes were reduced to zero. We will also be testing the PBEM balance mod. The hope of this game is that we will be forced to build or summon our own armies, which is something that doesn’t seem to be important in PBEM currently.

    For testing purposes, it is actually good if you continue to abuse the necromancer, so that the mod makers have more insight into what they need to do to balance the class.

    The point is that you aren’t being a dick unless the game specifically states no necromancers. In fact, for competitive play, if necromancer is your best bet then that should be what you play. In the current PBEM tournament I would expect you to play necromancer every second match (since you can’t play the same class twice in a row.)

    Also, congrats on that centurion achievement. Turn 21, was it? I was impressed, despite knowing how hopeless my position was.

    edit: I just wanted to add that I do play against the occasional necromancer, but in my experience theocrat and sorcerer are more common. Rarely see the other classes myself.

    #243192

    EverydayJoe
    Member

    I think there should be, and in most cases is, an unwritten norm to not be a dick in general. It’s just easier to ignore this on the internet.

    Usually people play games for fun. Getting beaten because off an OP gamemechanic usually ruins their fun. Picking such a gamemechanic because it is OP, knowing it will ruin their fun, usually does qualify as a dickish move.

    Of course, it’s not always black or white.
    For example, i too did overall enjoy the duell we had, ehall, even if it felt like my chances to win were set to almost impossible from the beginning. Being forced to come up with new, unsual strategies to have any chance at all, was quite interesting.
    And if that wouldn’t have been the case, i just could have left at any point. No big deal.

    The 4vs4 we are in right now, which i’m hosting, is another matter tho.

    @mauvebutterfly
    I feel like the really casual players are actually those you don’t find on the battlefield site, nor here for the matter. They just join some random open game, finding out days or weeks later what they are up against.

    #243193

    Hiliadan
    Member

    You were just unlucky (or rather lucky) not to face Necromancers in your game. Check the global stats at the Battlefield: http://www.the-battlefield.com/aow3/index.php?page=ladderstats: 12% of Necro (and rising I think).
    In the tournament: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1z28mJy6bHfYKgHgwu8RbwpuldHqaF-CRj6pp0xJ7Kx8/pubhtml?gid=768678073&single=true Necro was well represented too and will get more so as rounds advance.

    Necro is going to be nerfed by the PBEM balance mod. And I think further nerf will be needed because the issue is not just Greater Reanimate Undead and Inflict Ghoul Curse (and Stiffen Limb). You can level up way faster with a Necro and it’s much much safer than other classes for tactical (manual) battles.

    So no, you’re not a dick and there is no unwritten rules, but Necro deserves a serious rebalancing for PBEM and will have it quickly through the PBEM balance mod the community is putting together.

    #243200

    Hiliadan
    Member

    because I would ghoul curse such a large army, so early in the game (like turn 15-20), that I pretty much bankrupt myself trying to sustain an income of -800 to -1,200 gold every turn just to pay upkeep. The funny part about that last one is that I was able to do it for quite a long time, but after about 20 turns, there just weren’t enough treasure sites left on the map that I could get to in time to make my money.

    Yes, this would not be possible if the rewards of sites were lower or if there were fewer sites.
    This topic in the Balance forum was exactly about this issue (for non-Necro converted units too):

    Fixing the "no city" economy

    #243202

    ehall20
    Member

    @everydayjoe: I enjoyed our 1v1 as well, probably one of my favorite PBEM games I’ve played so far. I’ll be the first to admit that you deserved the win though, it was pretty clear to me from turn 15 or so that you were the better player. The tactics you used (e.g., blocking my leader stack in when we had an alliance early game, that surprise cadaver army you attacked my throne with, getting the AI to declare war on me every other turn) were certainly frustrating at the time, but very clever, and they worked well.

    With respect to the 4v4 we’re playing now, what’s wrong? I know a couple people on the opposing team left early in the game, but I’m just playing aggressively so as not to make the match drag out unnecessarily.

    @hiliadan: Yeah, I’ve been following the thread you posted on the no-city economy, and agree with you completely. I hope the community can come up with a good balance fix; let me know if there’s anything I can do to help. Most of what I would say is broken has already been said elsewhere in the community, but here’s my 2 cents on what needs fixed:

    When I describe how I play, what turn I get X, Y, or Z on; etc, I’m not bragging. I’m far from being one of the strongest players on here, just describing for the sake of showing what someone reasonably competent can do once they understand the mechanics.

    (1) Necromancer gets a guaranteed Necro hero on turn 1 – compounds the balance issues already present in the Necro class. Keep your leader and the hero in the same stack, and by time you hit level 9 (usually around turn 5-7), you’ve got units that can ghoul curse, and bring any dead unit (including each other, once harbingers is researched) back to life. By level 11 they both get undying, which makes the problem even worse – your leader/hero can die twice in the same battle with no consequence.

    (2) The Treasure Site/No City Economy you already mentioned. I think that cutting the gold rewards in half for everything but very early-game sites (e.g., gold mines, magma forge) is a good starting point.

    (3) Greater Reanimate Undead is an issue, but I don’t think even completely getting rid of that skill would fix the bigger problem. Sure, GRU might let me start ghoul cursing 1 or 2 turns earlier if I’m lucky enough to be near a tomb when I hit level 7, but it only takes a turn or two to get from level 7 to 9, and by then a deathbringer would be nice, but far from necessary. Plenty of games I’m nowhere near a tomb with a deathbringer, and end up doing fine just using my hero and leader for ghoul cursing. Even in games where I do get an early deathbringer, I often end up sending it off with a secondary stack, because the benefit it provides isn’t worth slowing down my leader stack (I try to keep 36 move point units in the leader stack).

    (4) The synergy between energy drain, inflict despair/curse, and ghoul curse. If I had to pick one thing that was wrong with necro, this would be it. With your leader and Necro hero in the stack, you can essentially lock down any 2 enemies (that aren’t spirit immune) indefinitely. The ability to do this is way too good in tactical combat against AI. So you have 2 Necro’s spamming their 3-hit ranged attack on any enemy, sapping all their move points, and debuffing their spirit resist even further in the process (assuming you have inflict despair, which you should). The kicker here is that inflict despair, energy drain, and ghoul curse ALL check against spirit resist, and inflict despair debuffs spirit resist. After the first few volleys of ranged attacks, all your skills are usually 100% guaranteed to land. From level 9 onwards, a player that knows what they’re doing can go into just about any mythical site with no more than 2 Necro’s and 4 leveled-up racial cavalry and walk away with 6 new ghoul cursed units. Playing on strong defenders, the only site that consistently gives me problems is the wizard tower with 1 king shock serpent, 1 eldritch horror, and 4 apprentices. Even then, I don’t usually come close to losing any units, but I have to kill all the apprentices right off the bat (and thus can’t cheese the ghoul-cursing system) to avoid them dispelling inflict despair from the king shock serpent and eldritch horror. Even then, I still typically walk away from the battle with 500 gold and 1 or 2 newly converted T4’s.

    @mauvebutterfly: Thanks! That no conversion game sounds like fun; I’d love to join if you guys decide to do another one. I’m honestly pretty bored of playing the conversion game – I miss actually having to build up an economy in this game, lol.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 1 month ago by  ehall20.
    #243204

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    The economy is actually no problem.

    The root of the problem is the speed with which you can level-up heroes, because the game is simply not geared for heroes gaining 1-2 levels per turn.

    Obviously, the intention of the developers was to have level 15 as some kind of crucial threshold, allowing players to end hero development at any stage in the setting, from level 15 to level 30.

    Having this kind of range makes sense when you consider the vast difference in scope you can play the game with, from normal to very strong defenders, from Small to XL size, not to mention the different amounts of sites, and all this on an all land map.

    Whoever thinks, it would make sense to make level gains rare LATER in the game overlooks the fact that turns will take longer the longer the game lasts, while initially turns go faster, somply because you have less to do and less to manage.

    I think, that getting 1-2 levels per day is an abberation – for any given hero, if they would get ONE level every THREE days it would still mean that you hit level 30 after 90 turns or so (and level 15 after between 40 and 50).

    The point here is, that if your heroes level a lot slower, your stacks will also have less power earlier on, which will make creeping that more difficult (and slower) as well.

    Practically spoken, if you can get 1-2 levels per day, it’s more or less meaningless, on which level you offer abilities – in other words, it doesn’t matter whether you put IGC to level 9, 11 or 13 if you reach level 9 on day 7, level 11 on day 8 and level 13 on day 10.

    However, if you gain a level every 3 or maybe even 4 days, it DOES make a difference, and things have a different balance.

    By the way, this would not be that different from being able for some reason to develop TOWNS in a few turns from outpost to Metropolis and be able to rush every build. Would neither be fun – nor would it make sense to fight or look for much, except swarming everything with your accelerated production.

    #243212

    kwibus
    Member

    Well you are not a dick, but I certainly try to avoid playing Necromancers.
    The game allows Necros to play like this so you are not doing anything wrong.

    Necros are so broken that it’s far from funny though. I don’t enjoy abusing mechanics that are broken. I’ve never enjoyed that in my entire gaming career(20 year career ;)) and Necromancers are just that.
    I know that because of this I will never be the best, but that’s fine with me. I don’t mind losing( I certainly do prefer winning) if it was due to a good game.
    Losing vs a Necromancer ‘abuser’ is never a good game in my book though.

    Since we are in a game together were you just beat Mauve and you had Centurion on turn 20 I hope you come and kill me soon, but I might as well just surrender as it’s gg anyways.

    #243218

    EverydayJoe
    Member

    With respect to the 4v4 we’re playing now, what’s wrong? I know a couple people on the opposing team left early in the game, but I’m just playing aggressively so as not to make the match drag out unnecessarily.

    If someone brings a tank to a knife fight, then that person isn’t looking for a challenge, and the outcome is very predictable.

    In the 4vs4 we have/had Mr. Tankdriver, 4 people who either run or being run over, and 3 people on the sidelines watching the carnage. The match is playing out as it was to be expected, from the moment you chose to get your keys.
    A match involving 8 people, spanning over several month, with an outcome most likley decided before turn 1… As said in the other thread, it’s a farce.

    Of course leaving isn’t the same as in a 1vs1. More people to consider, plus being part of a team. In my case also the host, which makes me kinda responsible.

    So yeah, at this point, i don’t mind your aggressive play at all. You keep doing what you’re doing, and i’m gonna mop up and turn off the lights after it’s done.

    #243228

    Hiliadan
    Member

    The synergy between energy drain, inflict despair/curse, and ghoul curse.

    Yes, we haven’t mentionned that in recent balance discussions but I think this + raise cadaver + eat corpse ability of cadavers is broken in PBEM, it’s just too easy to level up as a Necro. Way easier than any other class.

    (1) Necromancer gets a guaranteed Necro hero on turn 1

    Fully agree with that too, it is totally unnecessary I think. Ok Undead do not heal, but you can deal with them with 1 Necro and going for Reanimator. Two Necros is totally unbalanced as, as you said, you can just combo Inflict Exhausting Fatigue and Inflict Despair with your 2 heroes (not even talking about the 3*2 reanimating abilities…).

    I think we need more of your feedback (and of other Necro players of course) to balance it. The current fixes made in the PBEM balance mod are insufficient. http://aow.triumph.net/forums/topic/pbem-balance-mod/

    The kicker here is that inflict despair, energy drain, and ghoul curse ALL check against spirit resist, and inflict despair debuffs spirit resist. After the first few volleys of ranged attacks, all your skills are usually 100% guaranteed to land. From level 9 onwards, a player that knows what they’re doing can go into just about any mythical site with no more than 2 Necro’s and 4 leveled-up racial cavalry and walk away with 6 new ghoul cursed units. Playing on strong defenders, the only site that consistently gives me problems is the wizard tower with 1 king shock serpent, 1 eldritch horror, and 4 apprentices. Even then, I don’t usually come close to losing any units, but I have to kill all the apprentices right off the bat (and thus can’t cheese the ghoul-cursing system) to avoid them dispelling inflict despair from the king shock serpent and eldritch horror. Even then, I still typically walk away from the battle with 500 gold and 1 or 2 newly converted T4’s.

    Very, very interesting (that’s what I assumed but I hadn’t got that far in Necro play yet). It shows that we need to fix Inflict Despair further. The current fix in the PBEM balance mod is not enough, it should not be stackable.

    #243231

    ehall20
    Member

    @everydayjoe: I get what you’re saying, but my intentions aren’t as nefarious as you appear to believe. You said a 4v4 match like that tends to span months, and I agree. I don’t remember the exact date the match began, but I do remember that it was the second PBEM game I joined. Ever. It was also, at the beginning, one of my first times playing necro; in the first 10 turns or so I was still in the process of learning the class. Even if this wasn’t the case, we both know that you’re going in blind when selecting your race/class for any multiplayer match. Even if I was experienced with Necro when the match began, the fact that I selected that class doesn’t prove I was trying to ‘bring a tank to a knife fight’ – for all I knew at the time of character selection, I would be playing against a team of 4 other Necromancers.

    @hiliadan: No problem, I’ll go read through that thread and give my 2 cents when I get some time later. One quick point though: while I agree that inflict despair is a huge part of the problem, I think that making it not stack at all may have unintended effects on other, non-exploitative Necro strategies (e.g., a stack composed of 1 banshee, 2 reanimators, and 3 lost souls is a lot stouter than you might expect, thanks to inflict despair on the banshee & reanimators and exploit despair on the lost souls).

    In my opinion, that point really illustrates what’s so challenging about fixing the problem with Necromancer. As far as I can tell, any changes you can make to fix the problem also carry collateral consequences – dismantling the non-exploitative strategies, tactics, and synergies that make Necro fun/interesting to play

    @kwibus: I’m fine just calling the game a draw if you’d like. Maybe You, Mauve ,and I could start a rematch with the no convert rules Mauve mentioned earlier in this thread?

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 1 month ago by  ehall20.
    #243239

    EverydayJoe
    Member

    Hm… Let’s take my post as a possible perspective of a somewhat theoretical situation then, regarding an asked question about purposely picking the OP choice, and the moral implications thereof. And of course as a great example of hilarious analogies no one asked for.

    #243276

    Starfleck
    Member

    As simply as I can put it: You’re not a dick for being a good player.

    As a strategy game, AoW3 is good, but it’s simply not on par with the level of balance of many other games (shouldn’t take much convincing on that point). But on the other hand, that is in the context of PBEM matches and single player random maps. I’d be willing to bet that the necro class wasn’t tested at all in PBEM by a high skill player before release. That’s not your fault.

    If the game is giving you an option that is way better than previous options, it is defined these days by the term power creep. That’s, well, normal. In a multiplayer-populous game, that would be something sort of expected, and sometimes you can’t even compensate against it except for joining the new metagame trend. (Edit: Power Creep, by the way, is not a good thing. It’s expected in smaller degrees than this, and it’s always bad regardless. Good, experience players, can usually compensate and compete with only a small handicap if not using the new meta. In this game it took it too a whole new level of being able to sustain such a huge advantage as illustrated)

    Anyways, I can tell that while there are a lot of fanatical players here for AoW3, there aren’t nearly enough for the devs to have realized this mistake before launch. Our best bet now is to mod the game and undo the damage to what was otherwise a pretty well balanced vanilla game. I personally like the fact you’re willing to play as well as you possibly can and then speak up about it after. That’s something that actually helps other players to play better… in the end. Better players enjoy the game more, from my experience.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 1 month ago by  Starfleck. Reason: power creep comment
    #243431

    zealot83
    Member

    Is it really that bad in PBEM I play with a friend I have never had problems with OPed necro abilities.Are the necromancers really ruling PBEM?

    #243490

    Hiliadan
    Member

    Yes they are. To give you the most recent examples: in round 5 of the PBEM Duel tournament currently ongoing, Eskild and I are playing mirror Necromancer Draconian (with almost the same spec). cbower beat AlXStormrage with Draconian in the same round. The 2 other players cannot play Necro this round because they played it last round…
    Basically, the tournament is already over because everyone needs to play Necro to win.

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