[Following] ROGUE Balance Discussion

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Home Forums Age of Wonders 3 Discussions Balance Suggestions [Following] ROGUE Balance Discussion

This topic contains 176 replies, has 39 voices, and was last updated by  Revelation_777 7 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #114216

    ExNihil
    Member

    Hi Guys,

    I’ll be making a thread for each of the classes to continue the discussions in the race balance threads. The post I am going to make here is based on the discussion that were held in the now defunct Re-balance of Existing Element in Next Patch thread.

    While there is new content in the post for some of you this will be repetitive and it might also look like i’m raising points that have already been discussed at length. Because that thread was so big and contentious I feel that a more focused discussion of each class will be beneficial, and I hope it will also make things easier for anyone (including you Dev Team folks!) who is interested in reading and participating.

    Race Threads:

    ORC Balance Discussion: http://ageofwonders.com/forums/topic/orc-balance-discussion/

    GOBLIN Balance Discussion: http://ageofwonders.com/forums/topic/goblin-balance-discussion/

    HUMAN Balance Discussion: http://ageofwonders.com/forums/topic/human-balance-discussion/

    HIGH-ELF Balance Discussion: http://ageofwonders.com/forums/topic/high-elf-balance-discussion/

    DRACONIAN Balance Discussion: http://ageofwonders.com/forums/topic/draconian-balance-discussion/

    DWARF Balance Discussion: http://ageofwonders.com/forums/topic/dwarf-balance-discussion/

    Class Threads:

    ROGUE Balance Discussion: http://ageofwonders.com/forums/topic/rogue-balance-discussion/

    SORCERER Balance Discussion: http://ageofwonders.com/forums/topic/sorcerer-balance-discussion/

    THEOCRAT Balance Discussion: http://ageofwonders.com/forums/topic/theocrat-balance-discussion/

    DREADNOUGHT Balance Discussion: http://ageofwonders.com/forums/topic/dreadnought-balance-discussion/

    ARCHDRUID Balance Discussion: http://ageofwonders.com/forums/topic/archdruid-balance-discussion/

    WARLORD Balance Discussion: http://ageofwonders.com/forums/topic/warlord-balance-discussion/

    Topical Threads:

    Random Map Generator, Underground and Map Elements Balance Discussion: http://ageofwonders.com/forums/topic/rmg-ug-and-map-elements-balance-discussion/

    Blight, Spirit, Machines and Theocrat: Some Community Questions: http://ageofwonders.com/forums/topic/blight-spirit-machines-and-theo-some-community-questions/

    Dwellings, Taverns and Bandits!: http://ageofwonders.com/forums/topic/dwellings-taverns-and-bandits/

    AI and Auto-Combat Balance Discussion (SP and MP): http://ageofwonders.com/forums/topic/auto-combat-balance-discussion/

    Support Units Balance Discussion: http://ageofwonders.com/forums/topic/support-units-balance-discussion/

    Leader/Heroes Balance Discussion: http://ageofwonders.com/forums/topic/leaderheroes-balance-discussion/

    Heal and Sustain Balance Discussion: http://ageofwonders.com/forums/topic/the-heal-or-sustain-issue/

    Assorted Topics Balance Discussion: http://ageofwonders.com/forums/topic/asorted-topics-balance-discussion/

    Misc. Threads:
    Ballista!: http://ageofwonders.com/forums/topic/ballista/ (<– This is a unit suggestion rather than a balance discussion)

    And of course the original monster:

    http://ageofwonders.com/forums/topic/rebalance-of-existing-elements-in-next-patch/

    #114218

    ExNihil
    Member

    The Rogue’s Concept

    “Rogue Lords are masters of stealth, manipulation and theft. Any foolish citizen who makes trouble, disappears without a whisper in the middle of the night. Rogues employ charm, poison, assassinations, and the magic of the shadows to appease their subjects and manipulate rival leaders.”

    Class Specific Technologies:

    Unit Summoning and Production: Summon Grim-Beak Crows (60RP) -> Produce Scoundrel (60RP) -> Produce Bard (120RP) -> Produce Assassin (200RP) -> Produce Succubus (400RP) -> Produce Shadow Stalker (800RP)

    Unit Upgrade Techs: Poison Mastery (80RP / Spell), Irregular Training (120RP / Passive Upgrade), Trained Killers (120RP / Passive Upgrade), Cruel Backstab (180RP / Passive Upgrade), Urban Cover (350RP / Passive Upgrade), Age of Deception (3000RP / Spell)

    Empire Upgrades: Courtesan Ambassadors (70RP / Passive Upgrade), Treasure Raiding (120RP / Spell), Corpse Looting (180RP / Spell)

    City Upgrades: Iron Grip (140RP / Spell) / Night Wish (700RP / Spell)

    Combat Spells: Quick Dash (60RP), Rain of Poison Blades (70RP), Blind (120RP), Panic Attack (140RP), Cunning Escape (200RP), Moving Target (220RP), Sadism (300RP), Shadow Form (400RP), Smoke Screen (750RP), Mass Battlefield Panic (1400RP)

    Offensive Strategic Enchantments: Incite Revolt (220RP), Guild of Shadow Thieves (350RP), Plague of Brigands (400RP), Network of Scrying Eyes (800RP)

    Core Strategy:

    The key to a successful Rogue strategy is intelligence – knowing where your opponents are, what they have and what they are doing and of course being able to cast offensive strategic enchantments, for which one requires visibility. Rogue technologies and units are geared towards asymmetrical warfare. The Rogue cannot compete with the WL and Dreadnought in brute force, or with the AD and Sorcerer in research and magic use. Rather it is meant to out-maneuver its opponents on both the strategic and tactical level using a combination of unit abilities and spells, while weakening his opponents through the use of strategic enchantments.

    Current Issues:

    1. The Rogue has three technologies that give a production bonus: Iron Grip (tier 2, 140RP) – 40CP, 20mana/turn per city effected, gives a +300 morale bonus to a city; Treasure Raiding (tier 2, 120RP) – 60cp, 10mana/turn global effect, increases rewards from treasure sites and pickup by 20%; Corpse Looting (tier 3, 180RP) – 60cp, 15mana/turn global effect, units killed in combat (including the player’s own) drop gold if the player wins the battle as par their tier/type – Tier 1: 3g, Tier 2: 6g, Tier 3: 12g, Tier 4: 24g, Heroes: 50g. There are several issues arising from these techs:

    A. Although the rogue relays on production almost exclusively (he summons his scouts), all of the rogue’s production buffs are spells that require significant amounts of mana to maintain. This is significant considering the fact that the Rogue relays heavily on summoned scout units and at least in principal also on the casting of offensive strategic enchantments (see below).
    B. In comparison to the Warlord and Dreadnought who receive both a tech that directly increases the gold input (steam-powered/war-effort) and a tech that gives a discount in the price of units, the Rogue produces his units at full cost and receives extra gold by increasing the happiness of cities using Iron Grip, which thus rather ineffectively exchange 20mana for some extra gold, research and production – often with marginal to no benefits. Treasure Raiding effects only the straight gold rewards dropped in treasure sites and pickups and not the net worth of the reward (i.e. the items, units, spells and so forth). Corpse Looting, while a very beneficial buff, is dependent on combat with Rogue units being rather fragile in comparison with other. Furthermore, it starts generating high income only when the tiers of enemies defeated increases and especially when the size of battles grows – as such it evolves with the game nicely but in the early phases of the game when the economic boost is most critical, it nets a rather low income.
    C. The Rogue play-style requires a significant use of magic, yet the Rogue receives no unit maintenance discount (for either gold or mana) or a boost to his/her mana economy through a tech. The intense use of magic also necessitates increased CP research, yet the Rogue doesn’t receive a research boost like the Sorcerer and AD from any tech.

    2. The Rogue relays to a great extant on the Grim-Beak Crows, which while being the best t1 scouts (36mp and 5 hex vision) are the weakest combat-wise (Drones can suicide and take their opponents in most circumstances). Although the advantage in mobility allows Rogues to out-maneuver the others, when scouts are stacked together Crows become disproportionally weaker than other scouts. As @garresh explains this is especially true in relation to Cherubs (Wisps have -8 less MP):

    The rogue theocrat matchup is a joke atm. [….] The combination of better scouts, who are almost as fast and significantly stronger in fights larger than 1v1 due to dual channel flanking, extremely durable armies, and a high damage nuke in early game combines to create a frustrating experience for a rogue player. We have no answers. Our crows get hunted down, and the cherubs run circles around our empire while we cannot expand or scout. If we try to creep cherubs take our cities and forts. If rogue needs help anywhere, its early game [….] any class that wins the scout war vs us has effectively won the game, because our armies are not cost effective and take too long to build, while losing equal fights. The losing equal fights is fine though. We are rogues after all. But I feel robbed every time I get “outplayed” because my opponent massed air scouts and shut me down. I have no response.

    3. The greatest weakness of the Rogue in comparison to the other classes is its lack of a tier 4 unit, This means that in late game (average setting MP, turn 50-60 usually) when the other classes field tier 4 units the Rogue quickly loses his capacity to compete. In fact, unless the Rogue is able to eliminate most of his opponents in the earlier phases of the game or achieve a strategic supremacy by late-mid game, it has no viable late-game that is his own, to quote @garresh again:

    At the moment, I have basically proven that rogues only have one viable lategame strategy, which is to spam Hellfire from Fire Mastery with Succubi. Basically suicide bombers. Send 1-2 in from over water, blow up, then try to run. However, this is limited against many strategies and compositions, and actually fails hard against any fire immune t4, and is utterly destroyed by firstborn as well. That said, I don’t think they actually need a t4. What they need is for their lategame enchantments to be useful. As is, incite revolt is useless because it costs the caster more than the opponent loses, and the revolt will never happen if the enemy has mana and disjuncts.

    As @garresh correctly asserts the problem here is not the lack of a t4 – this is intentional and part of the concept of asymmetrical warfare, but rather the ineffectiveness and dismal price/performance ratio of the current Rogue spells.

    4. Although the Rogue has a unit research branch that is shorter than the other classes because there is no t4 unit, his costs of unit research are actually not lower in comparison with the other classes and in the higher tier are on the expansive side:

    Research Tier 1 units: 60RP – Wisp / Wild Animal / Crow / Cherub / Raise Militia. 80RP – Drone

    Research Tier 2 units: 60RP – Apprentice / Hunter / Scoundrel / Berserker / Engineer / Martyr

    Research Tier 3 units: 120RP – Eldritch Animal / Bard / Monster Hunter / Crusader. 140RP – Phantasm Warrior / Musketeer.

    Research Tier 4 units: 200RP – Fantastic Creature / Assassin / Mounted Archer. 220RP – Evangelist (T3 UNIT!). 400RP – Flame-Tank (T3 UNIT!).

    Research Tier 5 units: 350RP – Shaman. 400RP – Node Serpent / Succubus / Phalanx / Cannon.

    Research Tier 6 Units: 750RP – Gargantuan Animal / Golem / Exalted. 800RP – Shadowstalker / Warbreed.

    Research Tier 7 Units: 1200RP – Manticore-Rider. 1400RP – Shrine of Smiting. 1500RP – Juggernaut. 1600RP – Eldritch Horror / Horned God.

    This means that the Rogue cannot field his tier 3 units faster than the other classes, and in fact in most circumstances he does so slower than them, thus canceling a possible viable strategy for contending with the late-game limitation.

    5. While the concept of the Rogue is that of the class which utilizes concealment to the greatest extant, this is in fact not so. The only Rogue unit that has intrinsic concealment capabilities is the Assassin, which has Urban and Forest Concealment. The Rogue can then acquire Urban Concealment for all units, which while a nice trait as cities’ garrisons cannot be easily scouts without True Sight capable scouts, is ineffectual elsewhere on the strategic map. Only in very late-game, with the tier 7 spell Age of Deception do all Rogue units receive true invisibility, and at the point it is rather easily countered with True Sight capable units. In comparison, the Arch-Druid has forest concealment on the hunter and Wetland/Mountain/Forest concealment on the shaman. The sorcerer has Wetland Concealment on the Obsidian Wyvern, stack invisibility as a level 7 leader trait and invisibility as a gold-medal trait on apprentices – he further has true sight on no less than 3 units (wisp, watcher and horror) as well as leader (optional trait).

    6. Albeit the Rogue’s concept, which de-emphasizes brute-force, the rogue units have a strong emphasis on melee capabilities and backstab with the only two class specific units to possess a ranged attack are the Scoundrel and Bard, both of which are rather poor ranged with the exception of racial variants (Goblin Scoundrel and High-Elf Bard). IMO backstab should be complemented by a rogue specific range capability.

    7. The Scoundrel is a weak unit that is in most respects similar to racial irregular units. Its utility is highly circumscribed by its very low survivability and it is dumped the minute bards are available. Furthermore, the Rogue tech Trained Killers (120RP, passive upgrade) that allows Scoundrels to evolve into Assassins on gold medal is almost completely useless as Scoundrels do not survive creeping. Since this has been a much contested subject in the now defunct Rebalance of Existing Elements thread I will quote @madmac here:

    All the reasons for ignoring Scoundrels come back to them being a black hole of combat prowess. They sound nice on paper with crossbows and crippling wounds and all but then you try it a few times and you get a guy that’s made of paper and does less damage then basically any other Tier 1 unit you could have brought and you stop using them altogether. (And come on, even if you don’t play Rogue you know as well as do that a creeping fight with Scoundrels is “Yay, free win!”) Technically, they get considerably, massively better with research. With Explorer/Rogue upgrades eventually you can get them out with + medals, 36 MV, Backstab, terrain bonuses etc etc but by then you’ve at least got access to Assassins and are about ready to jump to Tier 3 and all those upgrades also apply to more useful units so they still get ignored. In particular Trained Killers is a useless research built on the assumption that you’ve been using Scoundrels as your go-to guys on the way to unlocking Assassins. Which is how it should be arguably, but…

    One may argue (as was indeed argued) that both the Engineer and Martyr have the same shortcoming but that these are compensated by giving them very good traits – Reload and Absorb Pain. The question then is whether this trait is sufficient, to which @garresh gave a complete answer that I will quote:

    Sabotage is not enough. I mean consider Martyrs for a moment. They’re useful *every* fight. Engineers are useful as long as something can be reloaded, and have a moderately useful attack as well. Scoundrels are only really significant if you’re countering rams, or if you’re rushing the enemy structures to siege early. Given the rogue’s lack of early game strength, being able to destroy walls won’t do much for you, especially given how many units we have that can ignore walls once midgame rolls around. Rushing as a rogue is *very* bad idea in most cases. Even if you DO rush, a rush army will probably be less than 8 units. Just grab an early Infiltration Squad on your leader and you can do much better with literally *any* other unit than scoundrels. [.…] Even still, if you’re focusing on wall destruction, you need only 1-2 scoundrels to make use of that. You can easily run an 18 unit army and only bring 2 scoundrels, and after that any more actively weakens that army. So to sum up: Martyrs and Engineers are useful in every battle. Scoundrels are not useful outside of a few special cases. They’re essentially civic guards with sabotage and sprint. That’s all well and good, but you’re still better served just getting some infantry. No matter how much utility you have, if your units die easily and do no damage, they’re not cost effective.

    Thus there is a need to rebalance this unit in a way that will make it significantly better and more useful – this is especially acute considering the fact that the Rogue has no t4 and as such must rely on lower tier units more than other classes.

    Rebalance Suggestions:

    1a. Treasure Raiding and Corpse looting should be changed from spells into passive empire upgrades. I further suggest Treasure Raiding will be moved from tier 2 to tier 1 and adjusted from 120RP to 80RP (10 more than Steam Powered for instance and the same as Training Regimen,) and Corpse Looting will be moved from tier 3 to tier 2 and adjusted from 180RP to 120RP (same as Great Blacksmith and 20 less the War Effort). This will make these technologies available earlier and thus accelerate the Rogue’s early game. Furthermore by changing them from spells to passive upgrades 25 mana will be saved, which in early to early-mid game is a substantial sum.

    1b. The maintenance cost of Iron Grip should be reduced from 20m/turn to 15m/turn to make the exchange of mana into gold/research/production more beneficial on a wider spectrum of city sizes. I also suggest that Iron Grip will reduce the morale penalty of hurrying production by 25 points from -100 to -75. This will allow the Rogue to better utilize the morale increase as ‘bank’ on top of which it can accelerate production, thus compensating somewhat for the lack of either a production buff or unit production cost discount.

    1c. Treasure Raiding should be calculated on the total monetary value of the loot rather than simply on the gold. This should be calculated as a 20% increase in the probability of favorable loot when this is rolled. It should also be widened to operate on mana and research as well, giving 20% more mana from magical nodes and dungeons and 20% research from dungeons and vaults of knowledge. Corpse Looting should have a statistical chance of also giving mana and research, this can be adjusted to the tier of enemies killed. Thus killing t1 units will almost never give off mana and research while killing heroes and t4 units will almost always will. Other factors are the nature of the enemies killed, whereby creatures of Magical Origin will have an increased chance of dropping mana, Machines will have an increased chance of dropping research and so forth. Alternatively the amount of gold dropped per tier can be reduced and mana and research introduced as set quantities thus: Tier 1: 3g, Tier 2: 5g, 3m, 1rp Tier 3: 10g, 8m, 4rp Tier 4: 20g, 16m, 8rp Heroes: 40g, 32m, 16rp.

    2. I suggest giving Crows +2 blight damage on their attack. Due to first strike they should be able to win against cherubs in most situations but this will not be guaranteed due to cherub’s higher resistance score. The English name Murder of Crows fits here well :).

    3. I have the following suggestions which draw from input given by @gloweye and @garresh:

    Guild of Shadow Thieves 350rp, 60cp, 20m/turn, Enemy city generates -40% gold per turn. Will be changed to 100cp, 30m/turn and the effect will be enemy city’s income in all resource categories (mana/research/gold) is reduced by 50%, half of which are transferred to the caster’s coffers (25% of the city’s total income).
    Nightwish 700rp, 100cp, 20m/turn, the Domain of target City owned by the caster is shrouded in darkness and becomes unexplored for other Empires. All enemy units suffer a -2 vision range penalty within the enchanted City’s Domain. Will be change to 650rp, 100cp, 25m/turn, the Domain of target City owned by the caster is shrouded in darkness and becomes unexplored for other Empires. All enemy units suffer a -2 vision range penalty within the enchanted City’s Domain. All of the casters units within the area influenced by the spell are invisible.
    Incite Revolt 220rp, 60cp, 40m/turn, Incites the population to revolt against its Empire. Target enemy city suffers a -600 Happiness penalty. Will be changed to 30m/turn.

    4. To give the Rogue a more competitive edge the research cost of the t3 units will be reduced. Succubus will be adjusted from 400RP to 350RP and Shadow Stalker will be reduced from 800RP to 700RP.

    5. I suggest a unit enchantment – I know they don’t exist atm except Mark of the Heretic and spells that damage stacks, but the Rogue needs a way to make units invisible for a few turns using magic. This spell can be a tier 4 research (450RP) and cost 80-100CP with a duration of 4-5 turns. Alternatively I suggest giving Assassins more concealment options on medals, and also give the Shadow-Stalker and Succubus some concealment abilities (volcanic concealment for succubus and invisibility on gold for shadow-stalker).

    6. I would like to see a tech that gives assassins Blow-Pipes. I also think the Succubus could get a fire based ranged attack – Fire Bomb will be a good option, or alternatively fire-bolts.

    7. There has been a lot of discussions surrounding how to buff the Scoundrel with several proposals. My suggestion is to give it a reduced version of taunt – rolled against 7 resistance – that can be used once per combat, while givng it +1 def, +1 res and +5hp. Thus it will look like this:

    Current stats:
    45 gold – 4 gold/turn maint. 35hp, 28mp, 8def, 8res. Fire Light Crossbow – 11 physical damage x 1, Melee – 9 physical damage x 3, Sabotage, Sprint, Inflict Crippling Wounds, Wall Climbing, Irregular, Fast Healing.

    Trooper: +1 melee +2hp
    Veteran: +1 ranged +1def +2hp
    Expert: +1 melee +1res +2hp
    Elite: +1 ranged +1 def +4hp

    Human scoundrel costs +10 gold and +10 mana and has Throw Net
    Goblin scoundrel costs +10 gold and has +4 blight damage on ranged attack

    Proposed Stats:
    60 gold – 4 gold/turn maint. 40hp, 28mp, 9def, 9res. Fire Light Crossbow – 11 physical damage x 1, Melee – 9 physical damage x 3, Sabotage, Sprint, Taunt [rolled at 7red], Inflict Crippling Wounds, Wall Climbing, Irregular, Fast Healing.

    Trooper: +1 melee +2hp
    Veteran: +1 ranged +1def +2hp
    Expert: +1 melee +1res +2hp Armor Piercing
    Elite: +1 ranged +1 def +4hp

    Human scoundrel costs +10 gold and +10 mana and has Throw Net
    Goblin scoundrel costs +10 gold and has +4 blight damage on ranged attack

    #114239

    vota dc
    Member

    Lorewise scoundrels are guys that fake surrender in their description, last kind of people that would taunt for attract enemy. Also with the new suggested stats they would be better brawler than Civic Guard…why join the civic guard if you can become a scoundrel learning some tricks and being stronger in the same time? I would give some other support skill instead. Something like “spot weakness” a ranged skill that allow for 2 turns to deal double flanking damage to the marked unit (so 4 physical instead of 2….12 elemental instead of 6 if you use fairies) or just for 1 turns but it doesn’t consume a turn but just movement points.

    #114249

    ExNihil
    Member

    lso with the new suggested stats they would be better brawler than Civic Guard

    Well, that is indeed the point of these stats.

    why join the civic guard if you can become a scoundrel learning some tricks and being stronger in the same time?

    Am I supposed to answer this? Why not become a Knight instead? must be better pay and the horse attracts chicks.

    Lorewise scoundrels are guys that fake surrender in their description, last kind of people that would taunt for attract enemy.

    The idea of Taunt is to make an enemy unit mad – it doesn’t attack the scoundrel but the nearest enemy unit. As for the lore part. Well, I’d say that histrionics are therefore exactly fitting scoundrels and that this point actually works in favor of giving them taunt. Also, this trait fits perfectly the concept of Rogue and the idea of scoundrels – units of anti-social guys who wrack things and mock well disciplined military types until those lose control 🙂

    #114258

    Dohlenmann
    Member

    In my last run with rouge against the AI on highest level, it’s absolutely hard. AI has some heavy bonusses and develops too fast. But what’s really frustrating is the permanent dispel they’re casting.

    But that’s also a problem of Rogue in general: So much of the stuff is based on probabilites. Often you should be able to use some stuff more often, because some barriers are just to high to overcome. Basically succubus is useless with seduction when you’re playing against the AI.

    #114261

    ExNihil
    Member

    Well, the new disjunct and dispel mechanics will buff the Rogue indirectly – probably more then any other class. Saying that, yes, these are indeed vulnerabilities.

    #114262

    Snezak
    Member

    About the scoundrels, I feel they get too MUCH utility from the get go, maybe giving them taunt at veteran? Taunt is a powerful tool, and with scoundrels mass producing, it might be kinda abused. With higher stats, they get the survivabilty they require to advance in ranks.
    Other than, yeah I agree on everything, still I think that Rogues do need a T4 unit, perhaps some support T4 that will aid other Rogue units?

    #114264

    ExNihil
    Member

    With upgraded stats (hp/def/res), scoundrel’s would be able to level properly, thus taunt on veteran sounds like a good amendment! As for t4 – I wish, but @tombles from the dev team told us that there will be no t4 unit.

    #114271

    Snezak
    Member

    Also with the new suggested stats they would be better brawler than Civic Guard…why join the civic guard if you can become a scoundrel learning some tricks and being stronger in the same time?

    Well, scoundrels do require more to be produced than Civic guards, they need to be researched and build the Rogue tower.
    Racial units are there where you cant build a more powerful unit, if your town has 60 labor, would you rather build a civic guard or a swordsman (both take 1 turn to build)? Also, if you compare the Scoundrel (the current one) to other tier 1 class units, it’s… well it’s kinda does sound like a civic guard (with just more utility, which is useless if the scoundrel is dead, and currently its VERY easy to kill).

    #114286

    Garresh
    Member

    Since I’m being quoted, I’d like to drop in and add a little addendum to the rogue lategame problems.

    While we do suffer lategame, I have come to the conclusion that at this point, no major buffs are necessary. This if for 2 reasons: First, we have a great deal of synergy with certain Mastery effects. Secondly, we’re only weak due to the lack of reliability of our enchantments, which is going to be fixed with the coming disjunction changes.

    When the disjunct changes drop we are going to become a lot stronger. AnemoneMeer hit the nail on the head with her description of Earth Mastery. City Quake is a good spell. When combined with our global vision effects and enchants, it becomes even stronger. That said, earthquake is garbage vs tier 4s so YMMV. Once enchantments are more reliable, I think Earth Master rogues will be a thing quite often. On the other end of the spectrum, Fire Mastery rogues have access to Hellfire, which is somewhat terrifying when used with aggressive succubi strike teams or lone suicide bombers.

    Continuing along, Water Mastery also synergizes with us well for 2 reasons. First, Hailstorm does almost no damage to Shadow Stalkers, and inflicts a great deal of damage. Second, Healing Rains heals a large AoE, and Shadow Stalkers can actually scale in power exponentially with heal spells due to their natural mitigation. Which route you go depends on your enemy(Healing for physical heavy opponents, hailstorm for magic heavy), but the power is there. Lastly and weakest is Air Mastery. Atm this is pretty bad comparatively, but when the disjunct changes drop we’ll be able to drop wind wards and smokescreens, forcing our foes into a melee engagement where we can outmaneuver and shine. Furthermore, a hasted Shadow Stalker can be massively damaging to the enemy ranks. He can do a run around the flanks, easily draining a dozen action points if not more before finishing off with a highly boosted backstab. It involves a sacrifice play, but the combination can effectively negate a large portion of an enemy’s turn.

    Regardless of all this though, in the midgame our enchantments can be extremely powerful. I tend to find Iron Grips and Incite Revolts do more harm than good early on, but once you have time to start specializing some mana production, you can wage a spymaster style war on your enemies. All we need to become viable is disjunct getting fixed.

    Beyond that though, I would like to see 2 spells get reworked or redone. Guild of Shadow Thieves and Nightwish are kind of wonky right now.

    #114287

    Garresh
    Member

    With upgraded stats (hp/def/res), scoundrel’s would be able to level properly, thus taunt on veteran sounds like a good amendment! As for t4 – I wish, but @tombles from the dev team told us that there will be no t4 unit.

    I used to be bothered by this, but I think it’s good as is. It will definitely be fine once our enchantments don’t go down instantly. I mean if it counts for anything, I don’t think I’ve lost a single game as rogue that made it past turn 70. I’ve managed to pull off wins lategame against Warlords, and even against my hated foe, the Theocrat. Lategame on big maps, troop movements play a big part, and stealth becomes a lot stronger just because there’s so much land to hide in once the cities start burning.

    I had a game against a warlord that went to like turn 140. It ended with every city on the map burned to the ground except for his capital and 1 other city, both of which were under my control. He had stacks upon stacks of manticores, but when they started deserting my invisible shadow stalkers just came up and took out his leader. More than that though, I won that game through revolts and aggressive enchants, since his economy didn’t have the mana to contest it. The disjunct changes that are coming are going to be a *Huge* buff to us.

    And if that fails, there’s always Hellfire Succubus strat. I’ve pissed off a lot of players lategame with that one. 😉

    #114311

    Garresh
    Member

    I just had an idea on scoundrels. Theyre too squishy for melee. They dont do enough damage for ranged. Theyre oddballs. Skirmishers. Why dont we play to that strength? So heres my crazy idea. Change their ranged attack so that it fires twice, for 5 physical and 1 poison on each shot. But heres the kicker: It always fires twice, even if they move their full movement. Better damage on flanks due to dual channel. Higher application of crippling wounds for more utility. Its still not really overpowered as it hits for very little vs defensive stance enemies, but can be devastating if theyre in the right place at the right time.

    I really dislike the idea of making scoundrels just another fighter. Tanking them up seems odd to me, and while they need help I dont like ExNihils proposal. This alternative means youd be seeing roughly the same damage vs front line engagements, but around a 75% chance to cripple most tier 1s on range, which rapidly falls off against high tier units. Regardless, it makes them good on flanks, crap in a straight fight still, and high utility in mixed unit tactics without going overboard. If anything it probably equates to less damage on the front, which may call for bumping by 1 point on either channel. Either way, I think its a rather novel idea which stays true to the rogue ideal without simply giving us a brawler.

    Thoughts?

    #114333

    Gloweye
    Member

    I appreaciate the idea of the dual-shot scoundrels. this short burst of damage/disable sounds much like rogue. I would propose Inflict Bleeding wounds on Veteran as well, to slightly boost damage output for experienced ones. Also, when you got the option for T3 racials, this will let you build Scoundrels with both inflict abilities.

    Furthermore, I want to quote myself on some brigand options. after all, the currently available amount of subterfuge is a bit underwhelming.

    T3, Bribe Brigands 220 RP, 100 Gold, 15 Gold/Turn
    Brigands from target Brigand hideout will not attack you. They will attack any player/independent city you are at war with, whenever it is in their sight radius, unless enemy is a well-defended city where a battle would result in a very likely defeat. You share line of sight with these Brigands, but cannot establish diplomatic contact through them (As this would give your influence away…)
    Required for: Support Brigands, Incite Brigands

    T4, Support Brigands 300 RP, some Scoundrels/Assassins, 15 Gold/Turn,
    Found a Brigand Camp at target location occupied by a stack of Scoundrels you own.(duh) These brigands start out bribed by you. The starting Scoundrels will defend the camp. (The gold per turn is just like the Bribe Brigands gold per turn.)
    Construction might function slightly like the Spelljammer construction?

    T5, Incite Brigands 500 RP, 200 Gold, 30 Gold/Turn
    Bribed Brigands will go out of their way to patrol an area of 5 hexes around target hex.

    The first will transform a nearby brigand camp to a roaming defense+scouts, but at the start of a game, the price may be high, especially because you are not reaping rewards of the battles yourself(Corpse Looting?). Also, they will never help you clear resource/treasure sites, and neither will they join battle when on adjacent hexes. Note that they will defend you from other camps of raiders, as these are technically at war with you.

    The second one keeps it usefull. Did your opponent clear the camps? Feel free to make some new ones. However, founded camps might contain evidence of your meddling, so watch out or your relations will get damaged!

    The third one offers some options to harrass the other players, or weaken the defenses of an independent city so you can take it over. This will also get more effective the more camps you bribed, but the travel time might get intense…

    This will enable some actions even people in MP wont always able to track to you, where he will know exactly where the revolts come from. furthermore, you can initiate the offensive even before you make first contact on the map, and if you’re a bit lucky, you first squad of assassins might find a lone leader somewhere…who doesn’t even know you’re there yet.

    While digging for my above quoted part, i also found this spell proposal i made:

    T4, Authority of the Knife 350 RP, 80 CP, 15 Mana/Turn
    Unseen dangers roam the lands around target enemy city, causing it to lose control of surrounding lands and shrink the cities domain radius by 1.

    Name is of course a stab at WL’s Autority of the sword, doing the exact opposite. used in the right circumstances, this spell can lessen your opponents resources and vision.

    While I think applying all buffs at the same time might bring rogue to slight OP-ness, there’s one more proposal I wanted to bring up. Enable Nightwish to be cast on enemy cities. Combine this with some enhanced concealment options, and our opponents are never going to know where we will strike. ATM, it is purely a defensive spell, unless you borders touching the enemy’s. and even than, it is still mostly defensive.

    #114335

    ExNihil
    Member

    While we do suffer lategame, I have come to the conclusion that at this point, no major buffs are necessary. This if for 2 reasons: First, we have a great deal of synergy with certain Mastery effects. Secondly, we’re only weak due to the lack of reliability of our enchantments, which is going to be fixed with the coming disjunction changes.

    Well, the synergy with the mastery effects is limited to the fire resistance of the Succubus and partial physical resistance of the Shadow-stalker, hence hell-fire and earthquake. This is good but hardly unique – Sorcerer got same physical resistance on a t2 unit, everybody can get 100% fire resistance on hellhound. Yet both are slower then the Succubus, but that is hardly a huge problem. The thing is Garresh – a situation in which the most viable strategy a class has is to use mastery level elemental magic is a very bad situation. It will work against players who do not expect it and who cannot counter using fire resistant supports or flying units. As for mastery sphere level spells being able to buff units – ofc, but what you write about the shadow stalker is doubly correct about manticore-rider with haste and this has nothing to do with Rogue. The fact that you can survive and win games using this strategy doesn’t make it into a specifically rogue thing, and the fact that you – who specializes in the rogue almost exclusively cannot think up a more roguish strategy is the basis for the entire discussion in this thread. As you will note I am not asking or expecting a t4 unit – one will not be coming. What I have suggested is a series of improvements and buffs that will allow the Rogue (not just you, but all players) to develop faster and earlier, as well as improve the spells which should form the basis of late-game rogue play.

    Now for disjunct/dispel and spells:
    Even with a new disjunct system spells could be disjuncted, furthermore, a successful disjunct will actually be an offensive activity as the Dev Blog suggest. While this will defintly help the Rogue there is need to stream line the spells and change their effects, which you yourself write in your first post here. I have thus made suggestions to do this as well as streamline the research process.

    As for Scoundrel:
    Well, you have gone and made a new thread to focus on your suggestion. I frankly think its not a good suggestion because it does not address the key problems with this unit – it cannot creep and thus cannot level properly. It has a very limited shelf life (your suggestion, while gr8 against t1 units will become ineffectual very quickly) and the Rogue needs all the units it can get. It basically will only make the rogue more effective in some niche situations and actually nerf it in some others (e.g. wall defense or against units with blight resistance).

    #114374

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    About the Scoundrel:

    Improvement for the Scoundrel is DIFFICULT because it has to be seen in connection with Trained Killers.

    What would happen, if Scoundrels would evolve into Assassins via Trained Killers – but kept Scoundrel upkeep? (As opposed to simply produced Assassins.)

    Wouldn’t this be ENCOURAGEMENT to produce the Scoundrel, since you would eventually get a T1 economically, but a T2 in worth.
    It would also not inhibit Assassin production, since evolving Scoundrels isn’t that easy and takes time, so if the economy was fine – no need NOT to go directly for Assassins. But obviously, there would be a time span, in which the production of Scoundrels would pay: EARLY, because then it would give you cheap, but classy units after Trained Killers in a stage you might actually need them.

    #114503

    Smaug3
    Member

    Few thoughts. First, I don’t personally agree with this. Here are my reasons. For starters, you say rogues units are lacking. However, very early game they gain poison mastery, which gives your units +2 blight damage. Second. Rogue’s courtesan ambassadors. Forget the research, they will have every city you meet with crowd fawning over you. Each one you can buy allows for more labs and observatories, letting you research faster than anyone else. As a bonus, more cities means more grand palaces, which leads to more spell points. Also, network of scrying eyes allows you to see every city on the map. You may not be able to go up against a warlord, bu he wont abandon his city to rebels and bandits. Iron grip may be expensive, but as long as you can find mama nodes and build temples you’re fine Lastly, age of deception. It also lowers morale of everything else by 400. If your foe is unhappy enough, you can just force him to desert. Well, that’s my two cents, anyway.

    #114516

    Garresh
    Member

    I was not thinking the ability should have a cool down, because it does not create a significant damage boost. Consider a thought experiment. Typical engagement vs a prospector at 9/9 def/res. Crossbow before averages 12 damage. New one averages around 14 damage(6+1 times 2). A modest increase. How about someone with 13 def and 12 red? Before they hit for 8 damage on average. Now they hit for like 6 damage due to much lower attack. But they have a higher chance to cripple. If anything it should probably be 6 physical + 1, not 5, but I’m erring on the side of caution. If the ability had a cool down it would be useless, since only the first shot flanks anyways. Like I said, if you check the numbers the damage effects are modest. Even if you bump damage by 1 on physical its still not a huge bump, and its effects would 0 out on tier 3 units. The flank bonus damage from second channel and higher crippling wounds chance stick around though, which is nice.

    #114524

    ExNihil
    Member

    Few thoughts. First, I don’t personally agree with this. Here are my reasons. For starters, you say rogues units are lacking. However, very early game they gain poison mastery, which gives your units +2 blight damage. Second. Rogue’s courtesan ambassadors. Forget the research, they will have every city you meet with crowd fawning over you. Each one you can buy allows for more labs and observatories, letting you research faster than anyone else. As a bonus, more cities means more grand palaces, which leads to more spell points. Also, network of scrying eyes allows you to see every city on the map. You may not be able to go up against a warlord, bu he wont abandon his city to rebels and bandits. Iron grip may be expensive, but as long as you can find mama nodes and build temples you’re fine Lastly, age of deception. It also lowers morale of everything else by 400. If your foe is unhappy enough, you can just force him to desert. Well, that’s my two cents, anyway.

    Well, welcome aboard! Let me see… Courtesan Ambassadors is great but it doesn’t solve anything, it gives an advantage to rogue on maps with cities – which is great – but it is much less dramatic then you portray it: often it is simpler to conquer cities and certainly is cheaper.

    Poison Mastery is excellent. Now compare this pls to the Theocrat’s heal. The Dreadnought +1 armor and unit discount in 1 tech. The AD Cause Bleeding Wounds on archer units. It is a great buff, but it is hardly game changing.

    Grand Palaces are very late game stuff, and require tremendous resources. They are irrelevant earlier on and if you will redirect your resources to grand palaces rather then building armies you will not get that far into the game.

    Network of scrying eyes is tier 5 magic and costs a lot. Its a great spell, when you have it, which is again pretty late in the game. Age of Deception is even later – this is tier 7 magic and the most expansive research rogue has in its tree.

    Incite Revolt is great, but it costs a lot to maintain – 4 mana nodes or 2 mana tress per city to be precise. With a reworked disjunct it will work better no doubt, but that doesnt mean it can be sustained for long periods of time when you have scouts and other spells runnning.

    #114527

    Garresh
    Member

    …what? First you tell me that I’m offensive for quoting in context to tour thread. Now I offend you for trying to direct conversation back to the rogue balance thread you created and advertised in my thread…? Wut?

    #114528

    ExNihil
    Member

    Refresh the page, and yes – your are offensive, intentionally, and you know it. and as for redirecting etc.. I’ll manage, thanks. If you want to contribute to the contents of this thread you are welcome to do so. If not, keep that discussion out of here.

    #114537

    ExNihil
    Member

    What would happen, if Scoundrels would evolve into Assassins via Trained Killers – but kept Scoundrel upkeep? (As opposed to simply produced Assassins.)

    That would be nice but it would hardly be an effective change. The problem is that Scoundrels are quite useless units that have almost no survivability ATM. Building these units and trying to level them to save 4g maint. per unit will really not be a very good think IMO – it will just be more frustration.

    #114562

    Smaug3
    Member

    @exnihil
    Excellent points. Although courtesan ambassadors is really that good. It raises relation bonuses by 300, which prevents you from going to war with most dwellings. The higher your relation the cheaper they are to buy. As a rogue I once purchased a town for fifty-nine gold.
    I play as rogue the most, followed by warlord. The coolest things about rogue, however, is maneuver-ability. Crows are flying, and can outrun angry troops. In underground islands, they can switch between land, water and lava in one turn, preventing enemies from following you. I agree that in combat the rogue is dead meat, but if you can get the right spells and positioning up it won’t be necessary. Also, one thing. You said that if they disjunct revolt it’s bad and if they fight, it’s bad. However, most people will try to rush for the best units, preventing them from getting disjunction early game. Rogue can get incite revolt extremely early game, allowing for massive trouble. Plus, if used on a dwelling, your enemy is dead. Oh, and if I’m rambling, let me know. I tend to ramble.

    #114571

    Garresh
    Member

    Refresh the page, and yes – your are offensive, intentionally, and you know it. and as for redirecting etc.. I’ll manage, thanks. If you want to contribute to the contents of this thread you are welcome to do so. If not, keep that discussion out of here.

    I’m not intentionally offensive. I had an idea that might help fix the rogue problems so I posted it. You got all butthurt because I didn’t bother to coddle you and candy coat my disagreement with you. Your idea isn’t even bad. I just have a personal opinion that differs. That’s not offensive. Its called free speech. As for me removing myself from your thread, no. This is a topic about rogues. I have just as much say here as you do, and I’ve made it clear that by and large I like your write up in the original post. Stop being petty.

    #114634

    ExNihil
    Member

    @garresh,
    As I said, you are welcome to discuss stuff here. If you wanna discuss the stuff of the thread you started – do it there.

    Now, you said you “dont like” my proposal, and now you say “your idea isn’t even bad”. First thanks for the high praise. Second, wanna explain why you didn’t or don’t like my proposal?

    @smaug3,

    You are not rumbling at all, speak you mind.

    Also, one thing. You said that if they disjunct revolt it’s bad and if they fight, it’s bad. However, most people will try to rush for the best units, preventing them from getting disjunction early game. Rogue can get incite revolt extremely early game, allowing for massive trouble. Plus, if used on a dwelling, your enemy is dead. Oh, and if I’m rambling, let me know. I tend to ramble.

    Well, disjunct costs 120RP and is an avatar spell available at start 90% of the time. Incite revolt costs 220RP and is tier 3. You can get Incite revolt on normal settings within 15 turns if you hurry it and have luck, if not its at least 20. Then you will be able to cast it once or twice before your opponent got disjunct :). This is early mid-game, which is the point at which rogue comes to real power. With the new mechanics all will have disjunct at start – but it will be harder to disjunct a spell and this will definitely make Rogue substantially more powerful – exactly because it creates massive trouble, as you say. Its also very effective psychologically – it really irritates the shit out of players, me included :).

    #114650

    Garresh
    Member

    Your scoundrel idea is sound. It would be a little OP but not too bad. I just disagree with it because of thematic elements. What I’m trying to say is I do not like the idea but it isn’t bad. I can think an idea would work while still preferring not to for playstyle reasons. I never said your ideas were bad. They’re not perfect but they’re better than most everything else I’ve seen posted on the subject. Do not assume that just because I disagree that I mean disrespect. I don’t. Ideas are pretty sound but I’d prefer to go in a different direction.

    #114659

    ExNihil
    Member

    NP, well care to explain what i the thematic problem? I am interested i input and discussion – and criticism is great, if its constructive (you know what I mean from past threads). Also, what about the rest of the proposals? What will you add or change? And why?

    #114672

    Garresh
    Member

    For scoundels is mostly that your change bumps their cost and defense, but offer little else til they level. It makes them prospectors, or tanky irregulars. Tanky is not fitting of a rogue, and they still do poor damage. Also the crow idea is awesome but drop the damage to 1 blight instead of 2 for balance reasons. First strike is a strong ability. We don’t want to over do it. Your other proposals are pretty good although I really want shadow thieves reworked instead of just buffed. If anything Id make it something funny like a flat gold steal spell that just lasts 5 turns, but scales with how many of your units are in their domain. It would also count independents in that number. So guild of Shadow Thieves is a 3-5 round duration spell that steals more depending on the number of units you can get to stay in the enemy’s domain, and calculates it at the start of each turn. Maybe even have the amount stolen scale with city size, and target the enemy’s coffers directly. Would be more interesting instead of “Incite Revolt 2: Incite Harder”. On that note, your incite revolt changes are good, as are the succubi and stalker changes. My only real point of contention, which I realized only on my second pass is that you bump up the cost of nightwish. Even if that’s good, most of the time you can cross from outside of domain to right outside a city in a single turn. I still cannot think of s goood use of nightwish. If the enemy is at the gates, invisibility and fog won’t matter. They’ll be triad stacked to prevent hits and runs, and intelligence denial won’t do much. Basically, there’s no point denying the enemy intelligence if he’s outside your front door, because by then you’re already screwed. On top of that, cities on the front lines will generally have smaller domains, and 20-25 mana a turn is still no small amount for something like that. It either needs to affect all your cities, have a much bigger static radius that ignores domain(think 15-20 hexes), or be allowed to be cast aggressively, or even just targeted on spots on the map. As is, the idea of blocking enemy intel after they’ve already reached your cities is not particularly useful.

    #114714

    ExNihil
    Member

    It tells me there was a post here by Garresh, but I cant c it. Mind reposting it?

    #114723

    Garresh
    Member

    ER…where did it go? Ugh I did a massive write up but I don’t have time to redo it til I finish work. Will repost later sorry. To sum up ij the mean time: succubi, shadow stalkers, and incite revolt changes were good. Shadow thieves okay. Nightwish bad. Will clarify further but the night wish change is only bad because the oeiginalnis so awful. Lol. Anyways I’ll repost later tonight.

    #115047

    ExNihil
    Member

    Well, I’m waiting 🙂

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