Theo Vs. Dread

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This topic contains 365 replies, has 30 voices, and was last updated by  ExNihil 6 years, 10 months ago.

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  • #212597

    ExNihil
    Member

    Hi Guys,

    The issue of the Theocrat matchup with Dread is almost as old as this forum and it returns time after time. Obviously some don’t see this at all, but since this issue keeps creeping up, and since there are many players that feel it is there, I see no point about arguing about the existence of an issue to begin with (which seems to be what the huge Theo Endgame thread devolved into, or started out at).

    Now in short the problem is the immunity of machines to spirit damage and the extreme reliance of Theo units on this damage type. Although there is a t6 spell that can change things, this is a very late-game solution that is not useful in any MP situation and also in most SP ones at that. I have argued repeatedly for the nerfing of machine immunities but I don’t think the devs are going for that one. So here are a bunch of solutions, some mine others I collected here from others. Please give in your input!

    Please note: No personal attacks, keep it cordial, if you have something to argue to this civily pls. Also, no generalizations about the other participants. Finally if your entire point is to shout that there is no issue and that the other participants are idiots, please leave us be and find some other part of the forum to discuss stuff.

    —–

    The following solutions will give Theo an edge vs. Dread without homogenizing the game in my opinion:

    How about a city enchantment called “Inquisition” that works like the alignment city buffs: Units produced or summoned to that city will receive the Inquisitor trait which gives them some extra elemental damage (fire for sure and perhaps also shock) channels and the demolisher tait? This could alternately be a new building unlocked through research but I favor this less. Also the sabotage ability could be introduced on some racial units on medals, this will diversify things a bit.

    Another option, aside from the obvious rebalancing of Dreads (which is my personal favorite) is the addition of a spirit vulnerability debuff on the mark of the heretic / mark as heretic ability of Missionaries which will open up machines to spirit damage. That is, inflict spirit vulnerability even on machines.

    There is the possibility of a battlefield enchantment (which is a bit awkward but can work) that renders all enemy units susceptible to spirit damage. This last one can work also by giving all Devout units on the battlefield shock or fire damage and the demolisher trait.

    One more option is something along the lines of the WL’s unit buffing spells (Lion’s courage / last stand) that gives a specific unit the demolisher ability, sabotage and inflict spirit vulnerability. This though won’t help with the amassed cannons vs. theo matchup much since it could be casted only once per round.

    Also, another option is to give Shrines a new trait called “Deus ex Machina” or something along these lines which gives them extra shock damage against machines – perhaps 8 base shock damage + inflict overloaded (scaling with the addition of devout units.) Or to give Theo Heroes a trait equivalent to the Dread’s “Wizard Hunters,” which gives all units in the army the demolisher and sabotage traits + extra morale for every destroyed enemy unit.

    Finally, there could also be a city enchantment that gives Theocrat extra range and reduced penalties on ranged attacks while reducing that of their adversaries when defending walls, this will definitely help against cannons and allow some powerful synergies for Theo vs. Dread (storm sisters for instance, and of course shrines). It could be called something like “Holy Mist.”

    None of these solutions is perfect, all will require some rebalancing, but I think all are also viable. What do you guys say?

    #212605

    Gloweye
    Member

    My personal opinion is that it’s largely fine – some classes are going to be better against some than against others, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    That said, if there’s really a disparity I’m not aware of(which isn’t impossible), then I’d prefer something like Inflict Haywire(Checking against 15 Physical?) on the Shrine, all attacks. You could use the Smiting Prayer Bolts when your’re having the advantage in the specific battle anyway, or do the AoE for a mass inflicts.

    #212610

    Dr_K
    Member

    I agree with Gloweye on this one. Nothing really needs to be changed,but some minor tweaks like the Haywire on shrine could work without upsetting balance of the rest of the game, if it seems that people absolutely need something.

    More or less I strongly dislike all of these suggestions. Most of them will affect the balance of the Theocrat versus non-Dreadnoughts significantly and seem like a direct buff for the Theocrat class as a whole, is unnecessary.

    How about a city enchantment called “Inquisition” that works like the alignment city buffs: Units produced or summoned to that city will receive the Inquisitor trait which gives them some extra elemental damage (fire for sure and perhaps also shock) channels and the demolisher tait? This could alternately be a new building unlocked through research but I favor this less. Also the sabotage ability could be introduced on some racial units on medals, this will diversify things a bit.

    I find this one very clunky. It also affects other match ups too much. Except the demolisher only variant. The new building version would probably just be what you rush to build in a production city depending on the bonus.

    Another option, aside from the obvious rebalancing of Dreads (which is my personal favorite) is the addition of a spirit vulnerability debuff on the mark of the heretic / mark as heretic ability of Missionaries which will open up machines to spirit damage. That is, inflict spirit vulnerability even on machines.

    This seems to surface again and again, and I think it is more or less linked to whether or not people like the immunities machines are given. I don’t think an inflict spirit vulnerability ability is necessary. Also, will affect other match ups with the Theocrat.

    There is the possibility of a battlefield enchantment (which is a bit awkward but can work) that renders all enemy units susceptible to spirit damage. This last one can work also by giving all Devout units on the battlefield shock or fire damage and the demolisher trait.

    Once again affects balance too much with other classes for the Theocrat to be able to choose the type of damage buff to give it’s troops in battle. As for Demolisher, adding it to the Great Purge was an option that was suggested early in the other thread, if the theocrat absolutely needed something.

    Finally, there could also be a city enchantment that gives Theocrat extra range and reduced penalties on ranged attacks while reducing that of their adversaries when defending walls, this will definitely help against cannons and allow some powerful synergies for Theo vs. Dread (storm sisters for instance, and of course shrines). It could be called something like “Holy Mist.”

    You mean something like a Wind Ward + Seeker combo? Way too powerful, Affects more match-ups and seems to overlap with a specialization directly.

    #212619

    Bouh
    Member

    Here we are again, but this time, as a disclaimer, anyone who disagree on the “fact” that there is a problem is cordialy asked to shut up and go away.

    Nice debating technique.

    So I will simply repeat my position, because apparently we needed another thread for this.

    There is no problem of theocrat vs dreadnought matchup for the following reasons :
    – theocrat has a better early game ;
    – specialization and race can bypass this dreadnought advantage ;
    – theocrat scouting and mobility advantage in late mid game can offset dreadnought machines’ spirit immunity.

    Sentences like the following are completely wrong and yet the premice of this reccuring discussion :

    extreme reliance of Theo units on this damage type

    This debate though ask the question for a far more interesting debate : should ALL classes have ALL the tools to deal with ANY threat at ALL phases of the game ?

    Yes, it’s extreme, yet it is the direction such debates push the game in. And it is a recuring question that happen for many classes.

    On one hand you have the symetric balance fanatics who think that nothing should ever hard counter anything and who rely on finely set up and extreme scenarios to show that imbalances happen when you stack all the odds against you ; and on the other hand you have the asymetric balance fanatics who understand that although you have some rock/paper/scissors elements in the game there is much more to go around that so the game is never ever determined by your starting choices.

    I hope we don’t need to show how asymetric balance is better for a diverse and rich game than symetric balance.

    #212622

    ExNihil
    Member

    My personal opinion is that it’s largely fine – some classes are going to be better against some than against others, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    I agree it’s largely fine, all the issues with this class have been addressed except the problem of machine immunity to spirit damage and the helplessness of Theos to deal with this using the tools inherent to their own class. While there are possible solutions using racial units and specializations, this dictates a narrow range of choices here. The point is to expand rather than limit the possible strategies and race/class/specializations combinations.

    That said, if there’s really a disparity I’m not aware of(which isn’t impossible), then I’d prefer something like Inflict Haywire(Checking against 15 Physical?) on the Shrine, all attacks. You could use the Smiting Prayer Bolts when your’re having the advantage in the specific battle anyway, or do the AoE for a mass inflicts.

    The problem with the Shrine is that it is a t4 unit, whereby the matchup issue appears when t3 machines are being fielded. This is probably more of an issue in MP games, which rarely get to be as long as SP games on the same map size and in which certain optimal class strategies dominate (e.g. mass cannon spamming + seeker enchantment.) Haywire on Shrines will not solve this although it will help with the issue (I prefer the deus ex machina trait I proposed, and it sounds cooler.)

    More or less I strongly dislike all of these suggestions. Most of them will affect the balance of the Theocrat versus non-Dreadnoughts significantly and seem like a direct buff for the Theocrat class as a whole, is unnecessary.

    Fair enough, thanks for the input. I disagree that most will seriously upset the balance, but some would certainly do so (and some more then others). Buffing the shrine is a limited solution as I wrote earlier but it is viable.

    You mean something like a Wind Ward + Seeker combo? Way too powerful, Affects more match-ups and seems to overlap with a specialization directly.

    Fair enough, then I would limit it to windward and city defense only – not a minus 8 hex but rather a -4hex range on attacks outside the wall due to mist and increased range penalty.

    One other solution is to add the inflict haywire on exalted at silver or gold medal, this will not make this extremely common but will give the Theo a possible answer to machines that stacks with its ability to level units.

    Nice debating technique.

    You are mistaken in thinking I am looking to debate. This is what you do, or rather looking for an argument (there is a difference). I am interested in a discussion, and am not interested at all to absorb all of the frustration and misplaced aggression you and a few others vent in this forum. Unless you have something of value to conribute – that is, something of substance that is meant to discuss and not rebuke the ppl you address, please leave this thread be.

    This debate though ask the question for a far more interesting debate : should ALL classes have ALL the tools to deal with ANY threat at ALL phases of the game ?

    This isn’t the topic of this thread. You are capable of making your own thread and there discuss this point to your liking. Please don’t try to hijack the discussion here as you often do, and please don’t try to derail the discussion and turn it into a 30 page pissing contest.

    @sorax,
    Can you please keep an eye that this thread remains on topic? Thanks!

    #212623

    Draxynnic
    Member

    The hard part, apart from the question of whether it’s really necessary at all, is finding a justification for why theocrats would have all this anti-machine stuff.

    At the risk of being politically incorrect, one could potentially link it to the tendency of religion to be anti-progress, and thus a theocrat might extol extra hatred of the signs of progress. This could translate into an upgrade that grants Demolisher to some appropriate units.

    The possibility of the Shrine of Smiting inflicting Haywire is also an interesting one – if a banshee’s wail can do that to a machine, it stands to reason that the Shrine of Smiting could cause a similar effect. I could possibly go as far as having Smiting Prayer Bolts get shock damage against machines to substitute for the spirit damage.

    However, this is as far as I’d be inclined to go. Sabotage, to me, implies a certain level of technical know-how that I wouldn’t expect to be a theocrat trait, and most of the other options have the issue that they’d work out as flat buffs rather than targeted to the theocrat-dread matchup.

    #212628

    ExNihil
    Member

    Fair points all. I was actually thinking exactly about this “anti-progressive” tendency, and all i came up with was “Rage against the Machine” lol. Hence the demolisher proposal. As for Haywire, since we are talking about divinity here I think this is very easy to explain conceptually. Also the same goes for shock damage. The problem with the shrines is that they appear too late and are much harder to amass – compare this with Banshee, which is t2 and costs 90 mana to summon, and you can see how limited this solution will be.

    #212629

    Gloweye
    Member

    Well, Theo is much more able to set up a nice rush, and very late they got Armageddon to enable spirit damage again. There’s gotta be some point for the Dread to get the advantage, and right now that starts with cannons and ends with Armageddon. (you can argue that Dread still has some advantage, but that’s a discussion for another thread I believe.)

    The Musket nerf was a direct early game nerf to the Dread, and while the Engineer’s Flash Bang is nice, they die to fast to replace muskets.

    The elegance of Demolisher is that it doesn’t affect other classes, and therefore it’s just against the Dread(and trebuchet stacks…). Most above proposals by you, Exnihil, are buffs of Theocrat against any opponent, which they don’t need.

    #212630

    Bouh
    Member

    You are mistaken in thinking I am looking to debate. This is what you do, or rather looking for an argument (there is a difference). I am interested in a discussion, and am not interested at all to absorb all of the frustration and misplaced aggression you and a few others vent in this forum. Unless you have something of value to conribute – that is, something of substance that is meant to discuss and not rebuke the ppl you address, please leave this thread be.

    @Sorax,
    Can you please keep an eye that this thread remains on topic? Thanks!

    Are you serious ?! Who is agressing whom here ?

    This isn’t the topic of this thread. You are capable of making your own thread and there discuss this point to your liking. Please don’t try to hijack the discussion here as you often do, and please don’t try to derail the discussion and turn it into a 30 page pissing contest.

    This is the subject of this thread. You can’t discuss modifications on the game without discussing the legitimacy of them. Because without the second, the first is pointless. Even worse, discussing the first without the second implicitely enforce the idea that these changes are required or good to the game to the readers when they may not be.

    Discussing changes without discussing their legitimacy is a danger. That’s why you won’t see me open a new thread or leave this one.

    Bolded are the insults, because I guess I will be accused then of ad hominem and rudeness and stuff, because I am such evil.

    You are mistaken in thinking I am looking to debate.

    This is interesting. You are not interested in opposing views. Only in confirmation and agreement. Unfortunately this wont happen on a public forum. And this is fortunate because without oposing views ideas tend to degenerate into abominations. Unfortunately those who don’t seek for discussion tend to be impervious to other ideas.

    PS : I guess we are good for another 30 pages of déjà vu.

    #212632

    NINJEW
    Member

    Theocrats can just use Racial Supports against machines like everyone else does

    #212637

    Nodor
    Member

    Now in short the problem is the immunity of machines to spirit damage and the extreme reliance of Theo units on this damage type.

    This appears to me to be a false premise. None of the racial troops have an “extreme reliance” on spirit damage. Spirit damage is mostly splash option for Theo troops.

    The power of the Theocrat is to be able to heal their troops and keep them in fighting shape. I am of the opinion that your premise is not supported.

    #212638

    Prodigal Sun
    Member

    Not to enhance the point of Theocrats being worse than Dreadnoughts, but many racial supports deal half their damage or less. Goblin, Orc, Human, Halfling and Tigran supports may be less effective.

    Dreadnought is however slow so you can play with that and IMO it is what makes Dread balanced enough.

    #212644

    ExNihil
    Member

    @nodor,

    Well, my “premise” is supported by experience and that of many others as well, also the game data supports it factually. It is also something that can be tested quite easily in game itself – find someone willing to play a long game with you and test it, I have on several occasions and also saw others undergo this experience. Theocrat healing is a basis for its strategy, but it is only half the story, the other half is devout units with or without base spirit damage channels that get buffed up through spells and hero perks to become devastating troops, except when encountering machines, at which point all of that added divine fury is nullified by spirit immunity and the physical damage is also toned down by the reinforced trait. These are game facts.

    The dread mobility is its primary negative, which requires the construction of roads and the (optional) research of advanced logistics. This malus though is less significant if there is water around in sufficient quantity or if the map includes average and above roads (also starting position makes a huge difference here) or when exploiting the UG terrain limitations. The only issue is the matchup, you have a great army that is suddenly made useless by a bunch of machines, against which you have no real answer or even the start of one. Racial units don’t really solve the problem – they are either forced to use physical melee attacks, which do less damage due to reinforced (and anyhow roll against the defense modifier which is quite high for machines and can be further buffed by Dread tech) or use elemental damage that is often also severly reduced or completely removed (blight). Also racial units have much less range then cannons and so reaching the Dread army can usually be a very sad affair for the Theo who tries it. In class the Theo can’t deal with it, racial units usually don’t offer a very good option either and also require some sort of buff (they can already receive devout with the right tech, they just need some edge to be competitive). Elementals are nice but they also require close quarters (usually) and cannot be amassed at a rate that makes a difference in comparison to dread production. Finally, when thinking about class balance in my view the important thing is the versatility of the class in its matchups and using the class specific abilities and techs (even when these buff standard racial units). No-one guarantees the player will play optimally or chose a smart strategy or use his/her units with skill, but the classes should be competitive at all levels, even if through very different play styles and strategies. The fact is that the theocrat has no way to deal with machines, whereby all other classes have at least some options. With the exception of the Necromancer/Theo matchup, there isn’t any other matchup imbalance that comes even close.

    Now, you might disagree – fair enough. If you have actual data to disprove me (some videos would be best really), bring it forth. If the point is to tell me I am wrong – I have noted it and lets move forward. I hate to rehash conversations that already took place and for no apparent reason to do so. I would rather discuss solutions and innovative ideas.

    #212646

    Dr_K
    Member

    Well, my “premise” is supported by experience and that of many others as well, also the game data supports it factually. It is also something that can be tested quite easily in game itself – find someone willing to play a long game with you and test it, I have on several occasions and also saw others undergo this experience. Theocrat healing is a basis for its strategy, but it is only half the story, the other half is devout units with or without base spirit damage channels that get buffed up through spells and hero perks to become devastating troops, except when encountering machines, at which point all of that added divine fury is nullified by spirit immunity and the physical damage is also toned down by the reinforced trait. These are game facts.

    You really need to get your “game facts” straight before lecturing others.

    First, Reinforced has nothing to do with ALL physical damage, only ranged physical damage. It is useless in melee.

    Second, the vast majority of the damage that a Theocrat can put forth with only class units is mostly non-spirit, even more so if you considering the Devout/Heretic mechanic. And the unit that has the largest spirit to non-spirit damage ratio is your class support unit.

    Third, the only combat buff that the Theocrat has that is completely useless against Machines but can be devastating versus other classes is the Holy War spell. And that is a very late game buff. All other Theocrat buffs still work against machines with varying degrees of success.

    The only other buffs that are unused versus machines are the spirit protection buffs and slayer abilities from the Great Purge (late game again though), but they also vary in usefulness versus other unit types/classes as well.

    The actual “issue” with the Theocrat class that I believe causes the most problems people have with it is that all offensive (target enemy) combat spells are useless against machines because they all check against spirit res.

    You also write off (incorrectly) the answer to machines in your other paragraph. Racial units, specifically cavalry and flying units are a very good answer to machines.

    I would rather discuss solutions and innovative ideas.

    Solutions imply a problem, which many think is not actually a problem in the first place. It is unlikely then that you will be able to discuss solutions and “innovative ideas” without periodically coming back to the crux of the ‘issue’.

    #212649

    Nodor
    Member

    Generally, I find the counter to cannons to be Exalted.

    Let me rephrase. I find exalted the counter to just about everything. Re-surging tier 3 flying units with either fear strike or killing momentum (or really luckily both) have won many a battle for me. Usually you can get city production up to the point where you are building them at one per turn.

    Having crushed AI dreadnaughts with a theocrat, repeatedly, I do not understand or have experienced the basis for your complaint.

    #212651

    CrazyElf
    Member

    Is there any way to request to the mods that this thread be merged with the other one (the one with 30+ pages now)?

    I think that would be the most productive thing to do at this point.

    Otherwise:
    1. Theocrat as has been noted does have a stronger early game.

    2. Armageddon largely negates the Spirit Immunity, and while the Dreadnought does also have The Great Mobilization, the effect is not as strong by comparison.

    3. There are racial units and specializations to counter the Dreadnought (Dwarf works very well for example).

    4. The Theocrat is not without advantages (Superior mobility for one and good for harassing).

    I would agree with the others that starting yet another thread on this was probably counterproductive.

    #212654

    The Mentat
    Member

    In my experience I have the most problems when the AI starts to spam masses of high tier units (not as many as in Ericridges pictures but still a lot). Of course I can burn down some cities of the AI through harassment but I would lose my own cities with the same speed if I wouldn’t defend them. This however usually never happens before around turn 70 so it’s definitely lategame.
    The problem is not that I can’t defeat them – it’s just much harder than against any other class.

    That’s why I support the idea to add a small buff to the shrine that works only against machines – and that is effective against all machines (including Juggernauts).

    I prefer a change of Devine Vengeance compared to the Demolisher ability because you need some tactical skills to use it effectively whereas Demolisher is quite simple and uninteresting.

    2. Armageddon largely negates the Spirit Immunity, and while the Dreadnought does also have The Great Mobilization, the effect is not as strong by comparison.

    In general yes, but against Dreadnought I don’t think Armageddon is more effective. “No Regeneration” doesn’t affect machines and spells like Power of the Word are still not useful if the Dreadnought has 20% spirit resistance and +2 Res by The Great Mobilization.

    #212661

    LordTyrael
    Member

    There’s gotta be some point for the Dread to get the advantage, and right now that starts with cannons and ends with Armageddon. (you can argue that Dread still has some advantage, but that’s a discussion for another thread I believe.)

    Reliable cannon production is doable by turn 30ish, Armageddon that’s without a doubt late endgame tech, a considerable amount of time in between. And assuming Armageddon, The Great Mobilization must be taken into account.

    I agree with Gloweye on this one. Nothing really needs to be changed,but some minor tweaks like the Haywire on shrine could work without upsetting balance of the rest of the game, if it seems that people absolutely need something.

    What you describe as minor tweaks and i agree with was prevented by Bouh singel handely, IIRC referred to as ”destroying” balance. Tombles was ready to implement, that or hybrid 7/7/7 prayer bolts were the most voted options.

    Not to enhance the point of Theocrats being worse than Dreadnoughts, but many racial supports deal half their damage or less. Goblin, Orc, Human, Halfling and Tigran supports may be less effective.

    Dreadnought is however slow so you can play with that and IMO it is what makes Dread balanced enough.

    Theocrat stacks with support are not faster. Hence why i think The Great Mobilization destroys Armageddon in this matchup, if it comes to that.

    #212667

    Dr_K
    Member

    What you describe as minor tweaks and i agree with was prevented by Bouh singel handely, IIRC referred to as ”destroying” balance. Tombles was ready to implement, that or hybrid 7/7/7 prayer bolts were the most voted options.

    I am aware of what was going on in the other thread, and I am glad it did not get changed at the end of a patch cycle, even though I reluctantly voted for Haywire as I thought a change was inevitable.

    Haywire is a minor tweak in my view, the split damage for SPB is not for the same reason I strongly dislike a number of ExNihil’s initial suggestions. It affects balance outside of the Dread/Theo match up, and that is unnecessary.

    Theocrat stacks with support are not faster. Hence why i think The Great Mobilization destroys Armageddon in this matchup, if it comes to that.

    Contrary to your belief, Theocrats can have very effective stacks without support units, especially when Prayer for the Hurt is in play.

    #212668

    ExNihil
    Member

    Is there any way to request to the mods that this thread be merged with the other one (the one with 30+ pages now)?

    Why? The other thread seems to be full of people fighting for fightings sake, hence this one (which is also the 3rd or 4th such thread I’m aware of). If you don’t like it or not interested in what is written here you are welcome to ignore its existence, I promise not to be offended :).

    1. Theocrat as has been noted does have a stronger early game.

    This is marginally so if at all, and it depends on the circumstances as well – I have seen and been beaten by able players who use Dread upgrades on racial units to devastating results early on, it is a very versatile class at that and synergizes with quite a few races well. Also I think this is besides the point – the issue is not whether one class has a stronger gameplay vs. the other but rather that one class is largely negated by the attributes of the others, which is a balance issue I’d say. If the issue was how powerful each gameplay stage for a respective class was then we won’t be having this discussion at all.

    2. Armageddon largely negates the Spirit Immunity, and while the Dreadnought does also have The Great Mobilization, the effect is not as strong by comparison.

    This is a t6 spell and it appears at a very late stage of the game in SP and I have seen it used once (by myself) in an MP match. It is not a viable solution to the issue that does exist (on this much lower).

    3. There are racial units and specializations to counter the Dreadnought (Dwarf works very well for example).

    As Dr_K so amicably noted the only units that do serious damage to machines are melee based, and here you have the problem of range – Dwarven units are especially slow, although they have that extra bit of armor. With the right numbers you could win battles, but multiple stacks of t3 machines will pretty much reduce you to cinder in most circumstances. Also the wall defense situation with melee based units and cavalry, and here note @dr_k as well, is ridiculous – cannons can pretty much pulverize you from afar and you can’t do anything about it even with Shrines cause your damage is so dramatically nerfed.

    4. The Theocrat is not without advantages (Superior mobility for one and good for harassing).

    Again that is not the issue, the issue appears when you are engaging in battle, which happens one way or another and vs. skilled players is inevitable.

    Let me rephrase. I find exalted the counter to just about everything. Re-surging tier 3 flying units with either fear strike or killing momentum (or really luckily both) have won many a battle for me. Usually you can get city production up to the point where you are building them at one per turn.

    Exalted are excellent units, but not against machines (on this see below).

    Having crushed AI dreadnaughts with a theocrat, repeatedly, I do not understand or have experienced the basis for your complaint.

    And here lies the dog as we say in my mother tongue. The AI is limited, I am now playing SP for the first time in my life (usually in PBEM) and I am astounded by how limited and predictable it is. Don’t get me wrong, it is a beautiful piece of programming, but this is an extremely complex game and there is a limit to what can and was done. In a pvp situation where you have skilled players there appear some more or less drastic IMBA in the game. The Dread vs. Theo has been an issue since I began playing this game on version 1.09. I am not saying that the game should be balanced as par the MP or SP community, this is an idle discussion – it should be balanced with both in view, but it should also be considered that no matter what changes are made the AI will still be limited in its use of possible strategies.

    You really need to get your “game facts” straight before lecturing others.

    Many apologies, I did not use your wiki because I was using my phone (believe it or not) and we also had this exact argument ten month ago (search my thread on Theo from September or August 2014). Aside from that I would ask that you keep the discussion civil and a discussion – I don’t “Lecture” and so forth, I discuss and I respect you enough not to label your speech in any derogatory fashion. Now to the points your raised:

    Second, the vast majority of the damage that a Theocrat can put forth with only class units is mostly non-spirit, even more so if you considering the Devout/Heretic mechanic. And the unit that has the largest spirit to non-spirit damage ratio is your class support unit.

    This is a null point IMO – the vast damage that all classes output is physical, it is almost always the primary damage channel of units, racial or class based. As for the actual theo, and let me take data from your wiki here, the following units have spirit damage channels that are completely negated vs. machines:

    [the following are baseline values only]
    Cherubs (6 physical / 2 spirit)
    Evangelists (6 physical / 8 spirit)
    Exalted (13 physical / 4 spirit)
    Shrine of Smiting (10 fire / 10 spirit [ranged attack]; 20 shock / 10 fire [1xAoE attack])

    To this add all the battle spells (combat and battlefield) that check vs. spirit, do spirit damage or buff units with spirit damage, and which are completely negated by the Dread machines. There are some racial variants that have better matchups, esp. frostlings with some frost damage, which is also reduced but not nullified and draconians with fire damage. Also the Goblin crusader has demolisher, which makes it a good counter machine unit with its high def and shield.

    Here I will return to the wall defense situation in which even shrines of smiting on the wall can do very little vs. t3 cannons and exalted get gutted by fire tanks unless they are Draconian.

    As for support units, which are the strongest base of racial units the Theo uses (as it can buff these units especially), here there is a serious racial disparity: Humans, Goblins and Orcs are useless as ranged units vs. machines. Elves are the best of the bunch with their shock dmg and frostlings / draconians also have dual channel dmg that albeit the reductions can at least still roll vs. the machines. All support units are significantly hindered by reinforced and also don’t really get to apply debuffs due to the machine status (why can’t machines be immolated? I see no reason for this really). As for archer units all deal reduced damage: goblins are skrewed, frostlings and draconians can do better damage than others but marginally so. This leaves cavalry, which is useful in some situations (not wall defense for once and when amassed in large numbers), which remarkably (or not) is really not the Theocrats strong suit (unless using humans at the cost of having support units that can’t shot machines) and racial t3 units, which means you have to adjust your entire strategy for this purpose without the extra buffs the WL gets which makes racial units very powerful. The result is mediocre at best I’d say, and if this is the reason why there shouldn’t be any balancing of the Dread vs. Theo matchup than I remain unconvinced.

    One last point – the theo hero/leader army buffs that give units such traits as holy champions, extra spirit damage and so forth are also useless vs. Dread.

    As I wrote in the OP, the best solution in my view is to re-balance the Dread and reduce the Immunities to high resistances (80-60% depending on the element). This will help goblins and orcs who use blight and especially the Theocrat. Given that this solution doesn’t seem to be in the pipeline there is a need for some alternative solution.

    In my opinion giving buffs to the shrine is a good point of departure but it isn’t a real solution as this is too high a tier. I think the best solution would be demolisher on crusader and haywire on shrine + the introduction of some shock damage on smite (holy fire and so forth).

    Finally, if you don’t see the issue and have never played pvp matchups there is no point of arguing with me about it – I can’t convince you by saying that in my experience there is a problem here and you can’t convince me that there isn’t based on yours. I can only suggest that you give MP a try and see how this plays out vs human beings on multiple occasions, but I can’t “prove” the point by describing a battle situation you can’t replicate vs. AI due to the limitations of it’s programming.

    #212670

    LordTyrael
    Member

    I hope we don’t need to show how asymetric balance is better for a diverse and rich game than symetric balance.

    Do you only consider one versus one tiny map multiplayer matches? As discussed with BBB the asymetric class balance is a problem in singleplayer. When AI and player do not have the same conditions. AI against AI, resulting in Dreadnought and Warlord AI crushing the rest.

    Apart from that, since you advocate specializations. There is not much there to reduce machine spirit immunity, not even there. Rot is almost useless to a Theocrat, good for blight damage dealers, goblins. Wreck is another option for the blight user.

    Degenerate is a fairly expensive single target cast viable to all channels, i think there should be more options added to address this unfairly treatment regardless of other buffs(Also spirit damage races to consider) a specific tool that reduced machine spirit protection. And then the new addition, Shield of light is not worth casting vs immunity unless thogeter with Armageddon for a complete protection removal.

    #212671

    ExNihil
    Member

    Degenerate is a fairly expensive single target cast viable to all channels, i think there should be more options added to address this unfairly treatment regardless of other buffs(Also spirit damage races to consider) a specific tool that reduced machine spirit protection. And then the new addition, Shield of light is not worth casting vs immunity unless thogeter with Armageddon for a complete protection removal.

    Well put! Let’s leave the argument with @bouh outside of this thread and I invite @bouh to do the same (that is, drop the old arguments and simply discuss).

    #212678

    LordTyrael
    Member

    Contrary to your belief, Theocrats can have very effective stacks without support units, especially when Prayer for the Hurt is in play.

    An unnecessary strawman. I never said anything else.

    #212681

    Ericridge
    Member

    There’s also a destruction mastery spell named Wreck that applies 100% physical weakness to machine/undead targets. Is single target.

    And then there is a option of theocrat adopting Grey Guard and gaining access to Cardinal Cutting.

    And finally, there is the solution that no one dares to speak about.

    In PVP you can reach out to other player to create an alliance together to pick a fight with a mean old dreadnought player. By creating an alliance, you can summon the summons upon each other city and then assistance each other with spells in battle. And opens up other flank for the dreadnought to worry about and thereby diluting the amount of machines that dreadnought was planning to swarm you with unless he thinks he can rush you with everything he has before your allies invade and create huge problems for him.

    Rot spell is available in water adept and shouldn’t be ignored too easily. It does bunch of good physical damage, and then inflicts -1/-1 def/res plus -200 morale and +60% blight weakness up on three or four machine targets. I hate being hit by that spell on my golems. It makes them significantly easier to kill. All that for 20 CP. And in long battle, if the dreadnought player forgets about rot spell and bunches damaged machines together, you can get lucky and kill alot of machines this way.

    Then there is water Freeze spell, it lets you bypass the ironclads. Ironclads only can stare at you in impotent rage. Effective for rivers but not so effective for large oceans.

    #212682

    LordTyrael
    Member

    Well put! Let’s leave the argument with @bouh outside of this thread and I invite @bouh to do the same (that is, drop the old arguments and simply discuss).

    Very well, i’ll try.

    #212684

    Nodor
    Member

    I raise the “I don’t think Dread is strong” argument and people tell me (especially in this thread) I am crazy.

    Can someone tell me why dreads are strong?

    #212688

    quo
    Member

    I’m scared of getting heavily involved in this topic again. It’s close to my heart so I’ll provide a summary of what I said in the other thread but I don’t want to get into a drag out like before.

    Q: Is Theo/Dread matchup uneven?
    A: Yes.

    Q: Does the Theo have an early game advantage that justifies the Dread having a stronger late game?
    A: Maybe in PVP, I can’t speak to that. In SP, no.

    Q: Why do some people think the Dread has a poor early game?
    A: A lot of people do not seem to play this class, or play it in a way that doesn’t match up to my experience.

    Q: Is playing a Theo against a Dread AI fun?
    A: IMO, no. There is no balance discussion to be had here, this is about feelings after dozens of games. As a Theo I hate running into a Dread AI because most of the reasons I chose to play a Theocrat become void, and there are no fun abilities or options that come to the fore.

    Q: Is playing a Dread against a Theo AI fun?
    A: IMO, no. The Theo is too hamstrung and not really playing as a Theo. Most classes have tradeoffs–the Necromancer and haywire for example. Nothing like that with a Theocrat. It feels like there’s a big gap where something interesting should be.

    Q: What about Rot?
    A: Rot is a spell for Blight users, not Spirit. Blight used to have the issues Spirit does.

    Q: But can’t a Theocrat pick sphere spells?
    A: Sure, but so can the Dreadnought. Did you pick a class just to be able to cast sphere spells?

    Q: But you still have stuff like Blessing of Health don’t you?
    A: <said in Aubrey Plaza’s voice> Yeah, it’s so much fun.

    Q: Don’t all classes have a bad matchup?
    A: Yes, but not nearly to this degree.

    Q: Why aren’t you using strategy/Why are you using so much strategy?
    A: These are both flips of the same question and basically irrelevant. The Theocrat is very limited versus a Dreadnought. That is my observation, accounting for strategy, spheres selected (by both parties), auto/manual battle, or whatever other objections someone may raise. It is not speculation based on things pulled from the Wiki. It’s a report based on direct observation.

    Q: Doesn’t this promote homogenization?
    A: Only if the implemenation is done in an uninteresting way.

    Q: Won’t fixing the AI make it better?
    A: Better AI would benefit the Dread more than the Theo unless it was done in a very particular way.

    Q: Can’t you just take all the Dread’s satellite cities and bleed his economy so he can’t turtle?
    A: See related questions from players. Short answer: this doesn’t work. The AI can afford a big army even with only a handful of a cities.

    #212689

    LordTyrael
    Member

    There’s also a destruction mastery spell named Wreck that applies 100% physical weakness to machine/undead targets. Is single target.

    Whether you think it’s balanced or not. There are several options for physical and blight, not spirit. Moreover, it’s healthy for specizalisation diversity, meant to assist class and race selection. There are more spirit channel sources than just Theocrat units and spells.

    Rot spell is available in water adept and shouldn’t be ignored too easily. It does bunch of good physical damage, and then inflicts -1/-1 def/res plus -200 morale and +60% blight weakness up on three or four machine targets. I hate being hit by that spell on my golems. It makes them significantly easier to kill. All that for 20 CP. And in long battle, if the dreadnought player forgets about rot spell and bunches damaged machines together, you can get lucky and kill alot of machines this way.

    I think Rot physical damage is negligible when i need it the most, 3-7 damage against 80-90hp golems is nothing i’d waste casting opportunity on. This spell was meant for blight dealers and that’s where it shines.

    #212709

    ExNihil
    Member

    I’m scared of getting heavily involved in this topic again. It’s close to my heart so I’ll provide a summary of what I said in the other thread but I don’t want to get into a drag out like before.

    Excellent post! I found it very convincing and salient – especially the bits about fun to which I completely relate.

    Whether you think it’s balanced or not. There are several options for physical and blight, not spirit. Moreover, it’s healthy for specizalisation diversity, meant to assist class and race selection. There are more spirit channel sources than just Theocrat units and spells.

    Very true. Also, to add spells that assist spirit users to specializations would certainly help but it can’t solve the issue without forcing certain “must have” specializations.

    I think Rot physical damage is negligible when i need it the most, 3-7 damage against 80-90hp golems is nothing i’d waste casting opportunity on. This spell was meant for blight dealers and that’s where it shines.

    Although rot is an excellent spell it was introduced and balanced based on a game balance that hugely favored trebuchets, which were the most IMBA unit in the early phase after launch. Dread machine units are much more mobile with the exception of cannons and can spread out of range very quickly.

    #212715

    Smaug3
    Member

    Really? Just fight each other using the points you’ve given, that should solve your issue. It is not by speeches and majority vote that the great questions of our time will be decided- but rather by iron and blood -Otto von Bismarck. Seriously, just test this. We’re here debating this like we’re a bunch of diplomats discussing the possibility of war. It’s a game about fighting, is it that hard to just arrange a game and prove your point through that? Anyway,

    I apologize if I come off as irritable, I’m just sick of this whole argument.

    The hard part, apart from the question of whether it’s really necessary at all, is finding a justification for why theocrats would have all this anti-machine stuff.

    At the risk of being politically incorrect, one could potentially link it to the tendency of religion to be anti-progress, and thus a theocrat might extol extra hatred of the signs of progress. This could translate into an upgrade that grants Demolisher to some appropriate units.

    I don’t think it’s so much anti-progress as it is not attempting to mimic higher powers. If you look into religious/mythological texts, please don’t turn this into a religious debate, I suck at those, a few have examples of mortals being punished for trying to become like the gods. The Tower of Babel, Prometheus and Fire, and so on. They get punished for trying to make mortals on the same level as the gods. Of course, I could be wrong, but that’s just my two cents.

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