Too early access to Ghoul Curse via Deathbringer too powerful – for all Classes!

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Home Forums Age of Wonders 3 Discussions Balance Suggestions Too early access to Ghoul Curse via Deathbringer too powerful – for all Classes!

This topic contains 159 replies, has 20 voices, and was last updated by  Jolly Joker 7 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #219834

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    I don’t have anything against a nice Metagame with Heroes differing from my Class. It can be interesting and fun, for example, playing Rogue to buy a Dreadnought a couple of War Machines, maybe even Charm an Engineer in a Magma Forge, get him levels and let him fight. This can be simply fun in SP or give you an edge in MP.
    Of course this takes time and some grooming (and getting a supportive Engineer to Elite isn’t all that easy).
    The same is true for a Necro, especially with an Archon Dwelling, and this may also be fun for every class; if you have an opportunity to hire a Necro, well, the hero is living and regenerates (and stays so, as far as I know, even when drinking from a Well of Souls).

    Anyway, Inflict Ghoul Curse is different from other abilities that gain units insofar, that there is no limit on the units that can be “converted” in one battle.

    When playing Necro, the Necro heroes aren’t that much of a problem. You need the hero to become Level 7 and you need him to melee attack which is always a risk – and Necro heroes are living, and for a Necro gaining access to Healer is readily possible only via another hero (which has been made improbable by the last patch, and while someone protested against precisely because of this, it’s a trade-off that is fine). So with Necro, while getting access to Ghoul Curse eventually, it’s not without risk, and when you have researched Deathbringers things are expected ro get really rolling in the Ghouling department and you are somewhat limited by upkeep and the fact that you don’t want to fill your ranks with rabble if you can’t immediately all-out attack with them.
    In any case that would be part of Necro Class balancing.

    However, there is of course a different and faster way to get access, and that is Controlling a Death Bringer. Whether you play Necro Class or any other, simply hiring a Ncero, makes no difference here. I don’t know all locations where it is possible to face Deathbringers as guardians, but I know it’s possible in Tombs with Strong Defenders.
    For Necro Control Undead is a Level 3 ability (and for Theocrat Level 7, mind you, and I have no problem with that at all).
    Gaining two levels isn’t difficult, not when you start with Necro (either as Class or being offered one as a different Class; for different classes if yoo wouldn’t get one offered at Turn 1, 2 or 3 you can get one 10 turns later, who wil be level 2 already – gaining that level isn’t difficult then).
    In any case, once you do have a Level 3 (or better) Necro and a stack allowing to explore something with a Deathbringer as Defender, you can try to Control the guy, and if that works – and it seems to work often enough – you get rolling extremely early – too early.
    Note, that this is true for ALL classes! A recent PBEM game of mine involves a(n evil) Theocrat with such a monstrosity. 🙂 A battle involving 6 rabble units of his plus Deathbringer against 5 good opposing units (me) ended with the AI managing to let the Deathbringer survive as the only unit – and Ghoul 4 of the 5 opposing units, a Dire Bear, Mature Serpent and good Hero among them.

    So clearly there is a lot wrong here. While there may be voices who’d say, well, if the Necro CLASS gets early access to a Deathbringer, fine, but I don’t think you should be able to play Necro in THAT way as a different class. I mean, it can’t be right, if you can have more Ghouls than living armies (Well of Souls can convert enough units, and Controling one or 2 Reanimators isn’t a problem, since there are enough sites, for example Necro Circles and Lost Libraries).

    Imo, the problem is either with Inflict Ghoul Curse (this could be a once-per-battle ability like convert), which would solve the problem, but also nerf the Necro Class as a whole, but it would be possible.
    Or it is with Deathbringer and its availability to be Controlled. IN this case, Deathbringers simply might get Control-Immunity. This would also be a buff for Necro versus Theo and a nerf vice versa (currently I would favor this solution) or Deathbringers could be removed from the Defender Stacks and replaced with, say, any T3 Ghouled undead unit. This would also be a possibility.

    When changing something about the Deathbringer, other Classes may STILL play a better Necro than Necro class itself. That is, because of better availability of HEALING (even Necro heroes are alive, so they regenerate and can be healed, something more difficult and awkward for Necro than for the rest of the lot except Dread). Which means, IF a Necro mercenary hero reaches level 7, they can try and Inflict Ghoul Curse with much more abandon than a Necro, because you can heal the hero. (Necro will acquire means, but at too late a stage to make it imba in this regard).
    So there is the paradox situation that at this stage most other classes can play a too strong Necromancer Metagame.

    One possible option would be to handle Ghoul Curse same way as Reanimate Dead: Have a Lesser and a Greater version, Lesser allowing Inflict Ghoul Curse ONCE per battle (which would also be the Deathbringer ability) while Greater would be available via tech ONLY. This would exclude other classes from a Ghoul Cursing frenzy, albeit not of the fun of a nice Nercro Metagame. Deathbringers might be able to get Greater version as well, but obviously not via medal, but only via Tech.

    Lastly, you can combine these options. Get rid of Deathbringers in sites and make Inflict Ghoul Curse available via Tech for Heroes (might be part of Harbingers of Death technology).

    That’s it from my pov. Please, discuss.
    I’d like to hear the experience of others with Necro metagame. Current SP sees me playing a Dwarven AD on a MEDIUM continent UG map with EIGHT players (which is rather tight). I got a Necro offered, hired him, and controlled a Deathbringer alright. A Reanimator followed (and an Arcon Archer as well). Necro hero is Level 6. If I find a Well, I’ll Ghoul the Elder that accompanies the Necro hero who is currently level 6. The Necro/Deathbringer combo will produce its own army and as AD I can always support them with a Summons, if necessary.

    #219838

    Or just remove them as early defenders?

    #219844

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    Is that possible? I mean, to set everything involving Deathbringers to, say turn 30+?
    But even so, keep in mind that Deathbringers are only part of the problem (even though a big one, because that can happen quite early). You can play the Ghoul Curse game pretty fine with a lone Necro hero as well with every Class – and better than Necro himself, when you have ready Healing access.
    I don’t think it makes sense to give classes a chance on playing such a strong metagame with a different-class hero. The Metagame is WAY better than those of others. I mean, can ADs or Sorcerers learn to Summon stuff? NOPE.

    #219847

    Ericridge
    Member

    Single Player using manual combat in tomb is not a worry for multiplayer using autocombat against tomb. I believe it is perfectly fine.

    #219852

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    It’s NOT perfectly fine. Not In PBEM MP – you can play live Multi manual as well -, and also you can play too good Necro game with all Classes, even in Live MP.
    It’s on the contrary totally and utterly broken.

    #219853

    Hatmage
    Member

    What if the empire upgrade that allowed Death bringers to be produced was also added the ability to any the player researching it controlled, with death bringers owned by a player who couldn’t produce them not having the ability? Not an elegant solution, perhaps, but a solution that preserves the intended balance.

    EDIT: regarding necromancer heroes, they could get a one use, convert style ghoul curse from leveling, and an inflict from a tech. Still keeps ghouls open to the living, but the dead get far more.

    #219855

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    Not elegant? I beg to differ. 🙂

    Simple and neat, solving all problems. Brilliant, I’m inclined to say. Nice one.

    #219856

    Control undead is quite cheap to forge. As such the tactic is available to everyone, the time a bit dependent on hero luck. As you can see Deathbringer defenders before engaging them, you don’t even run the risk of killing all in your area before you get it.

    As multiplayer hasn’t been overrun by undead hordes in the last months, I don’t think it is unbalanced, just one strategy that can pay off.

    #219858

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    Whether it’s “balanced” or not isn’t decided by whether it was a prevalent strategy. In MP the first hurdle is the initial hero. If it’s no Necro, that is offered, but a different one that fits into a useful general strategy – that was that. You won’t reject a perfectly fine hero in the hopes of getting a Necro.
    Secondly, even IF you get a Necro hero offered, you have to have the plan to build a Ghoul army, and how to do it, if you are NOT playing Necro – and lastly, you have to be WILLING to do it.

    So I would call it an option that may randomly present itself, and if it does and is grabbed, then it will clearly be OP.

    Also, you cannot balance the game only around MP OR with a view on balance. It doesn’t feel RIGHT, if a class like Warlord or Dreadnought can employ Necro mercenary heroes that will build their own army – and in snowballing manner from some point on.

    It MIGHT feel right, if mercenary Arch Druids could learn their Summon Techs, and start summoning Wild Animals Level 7, eldritchs Level 9, and Gargantuans level 11 or(and Sorcerers as well) if Shamans could do that and you could Charm them into service and start Summoning stuff – but even then it would feel probably wrong for all of them (which probably is the reason why they just can’t do that).

    So it’s not ONLY a balance issue.

    #219918

    Zaskow
    Member

    Giving them MCI is the simplest and most logical variant.

    #219922

    quo
    Member

    Giving them MCI is the simplest and most logical variant.

    Agreed. Matches the pattern of similar “forced recruitment” units.

    Evangelist – MCI
    Succubi – MCI
    Nymph – MCI
    Siren – MCI
    Mermaid – MCI
    Horror – MCI
    Horned God – Strong Will
    Shaman – MCI

    The main exception I can think of is Bards, but those have Charm, which is much weaker than Dominate/Seduce/Convert.

    #219925

    Zepheyr
    Member

    The current system is fine. I don’t know of anyone who does this.

    #219935

    Bob5
    Member

    I’ve used it once in the first campaign mission, but it’s fairly unreliable. It’s just very good when you do manage to pull it off AND manage to use the raised Ghouls for a rush, which involves knowing where your opponent is already. Knowing your enemy early is not given for Necro, it doesn’t have terrific scouting. Control Undead has 49% odds of hitting most Deathbringers, a bit higher against Orc ones, a bit lower against Dwarf, High Elf, Halfling (lucky), and Tigran ones, so even if you find one it’s still very much a roll of the dice whether or not you can actually control it (assuming ironman mode prevents savescumming in PBEM)

    #219947

    ExNihil
    Member

    It seems to me that the problem is control undead, which rolls against the spirit channel, against units with spirit weakness. Perhaps it should be rebalnced or changed?

    #219948

    Ericridge
    Member

    It’s NOT perfectly fine. Not In PBEM MP – you can play live Multi manual as well -, and also you can play too good Necro game with all Classes, even in Live MP.
    It’s on the contrary totally and utterly broken.

    For PBEM MP, enter settings and set autocombat against independents only. Problem resolved again.

    MP rules permit Manual Combat? You have superior economy to necromancer poor economy go run over to where he is and break his teeth in with your hordes of living units. And that also means you should be having superior outcome against independents too. And you still cannot leverage your advantage? Welp. Probably got outplayed.

    Controlling an deathbringer is not guaranteed. It’s not a 100% chance.

    All those ghouls that deathbringer brought? They’re not embalmed. 🙂

    #219949

    Bob5
    Member

    It seems to me that the problem is control undead, which rolls against the spirit channel, against units with spirit weakness. Perhaps it should be rebalnced or changed?

    I’m pretty sure it’s already balanced with that in mind, it rolls against 8 spirit resistance. Compare that to Convert or Seduce (11 spirit resistance), or Dominate (13 spirit resistance). Let’s take the Deathbringer, which usually has 11 spirit resistance. 35% base chance of succeeding against 8 resist channel, and 40% spirit weakness bumps that up to 49%, pretty much 50-50. Same as Convert would have against an 11 resistance target without spirit resistance or weakness.

    #219954

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    There is nothing to discuss anymore. Hatmage has presented the perfect solution. That solution doest cost:
    1) Deathbringers are not weaker for Necro;
    2) Deathbringers are not weaker as AI opponents; Ghoul curse has a mening only if the cursing unit is on the winnig side;
    3) Necro mercenary hero is more like Theocrat and doesn’t allow too good Metagame.

    @ Ericridge

    You have obviously no idea about Necro Class and Necromancer hero.

    You didn’t even read the initial post, because you don’t seem to grasp that the main problem here is the fact that ANY class can play Necro, and pretty well. So do me a favor and read the OP.

    #219969

    Ericridge
    Member

    What? I’ve had 20+ Ghouled units because of a deathbringer I acquired in a tomb by controlling it with my theocrat leader. Didn’t see a problem with it for it required manual combat to pull off. And then I kept them well healed by taking over a archon dwelling.

    Edit: Then there was a game where half of my army was undead becaue of all the archon dwellings on the map while playing a theocrat as well! And that happened in golden realms, well before necromancer even came out.

    #219977

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    Ah. And you are ok with that. You don’t think that sucks, in a manner of speaking.

    #219992

    quo
    Member

    Control Undead existed before Necromancers/Death Bringers existed and IIRC was usually considered a crappy power. There weren’t many undead units running around, just the one dwelling, and a few you’d run into from boneyards and dungeons.

    Every one of the recruiting-capable units (except Bards) has MCI to prevent it from too easily falling into the hands of an off-class build. I don’t see a reason the Deathbringer should be different.

    I am fine with Necro heroes having Ghoul Curse, for the same reason I’m ok with Theo heroes having Convert. It’s fine on heroes due to opportunity cost (you only ever get so many heroes).

    #219993

    Ericridge
    Member

    Ah. And you are ok with that. You don’t think that sucks, in a manner of speaking.

    It’s an really interesting option. In Vanilla release I once had several stacks of archon titans supporting my dreadnought’s advance as I spammed choking smog. 😛

    Only catch is that it’s even more intensive process to go through than the usual route. And slower.

    #219996

    Taykor
    Member

    ANY class can play Necro, and pretty well

    This is wrong, of course. Yes, this game values quantity, but still you need much luck and you would have healing problems, ghouls aren’t embalmed, you won’t have archlich aura, vampiric hunger and other necro stuff. That’s not playing necro.

    #220001

    NINJEW
    Member

    also if your deathbringer ever dies you’re kinda fucked, since you can’t make more of them. also means you only have the ghoul production of whatever deathbrings you can convert, not actual mass production of death bringers.

    #220009

    Yeah, I think it is fine. The necro hero otherwise has a bunch of useless spells and abilities, so a little undead horde for it doesn’t really unbalance things anymore than control animal or convert does. Use a necro hero and theocrat for giant snatching fun. Pbem has everyone with neat tricks.

    #220015

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    Look, I said in my initial post, that I’m ok with the fact that Theo has Control Undead at level 7. A Theo controling a Deathbringer may start Ghouling – but there is no ready/general option to heal those. He needs a Necro hero or a Controlled Reanimator or Archon Caster (or 2) as well, and at the time that can happen, it is – would be – perfectly ok, the only problem being the Meta being quite good (and in that case I wouldn’t see why AD heroes shouldn’t be able to get Summon Wild Animal as a spell at Level whatever).

    No, the problem is this simple sequence:

    Any Class -> hire Necro hero -> Reach Lvl 3 (may happen within the first couple turns) -> Explore Tomb (if there is a well of souls, ghouling units helps minimizing damage; the undead are pretty resistant to undead and the leading Necro hero can help them fine) -> Control Deathbringer -> (Control Archon Caster or Reanimator) -> Play Necro.

    OF COURSE, Necro CLASS can (and would/will) play this way, too. Now THINK: If we would consider a Necro getting a Deathbringer at turn 12 (no problem) as too early (since the Deathbringer will immediately start Ghouling and if you don’t want to pay the upkeep, you can always dismiss rabble you on’t want) – wouldn’t it be WAY WAY too early for everyone else? Because that’s the thing: If you get a Necro hero offered on turn 1 (or even at turn 10, since he will be level 2 then), you can start a second class you don’t have to tech for since Necro heroes can get so many abilities by themselves. They can get Ghoul Curse, Inflict Despair, the spell that gives all your units 2 Physical damage and Inflict Curse – whatever you want to play Necro.

    This is different for every other Class. You may try for a supportive Dread hero, leading machines, for example – but there is no acquisition of machines. You can hire Arch Druids – but there is no Summoning of units without the tech. You can hire Sorcerers – but you won’t summon Phantoms. All Charming Seducing and Converting is strictly limited, and I think the Evangelists can’t be Charmed or Seduced or Converted. And so on.

    Necro, though – everyone can play Necro IN ADDITION and between Control Undead and Ghoul Curse this makes every Class basically a Summoning Class.

    Which means there are TWO ISSUES here:

    1) Is it OP when a Necro gains Control over a Deathbringer EARLY (like, turn 12)
    2) Can you call it balanced/fun if other classes can play the Necro game and field Ghoul armies in masses.

    HATMAGE provided the perfect solution.
    “Common” Deathbringers don’t have the Inflict Ghoul Curse ability, but get them only with the Produce Deathbringer Tech (if that’s not possible, you could add it to the Harbingers of Death Tech); likewise, Necro heroes can get only Inflict Lesser Ghoul Curse which would be a once-per-battle ability and become a full ability only via that tech.

    It would also be possible to leave Deathbringers with Inflict Lesser Ghoul Curse (once per combat) and have the Tech give them the unlimited ability.

    Bottom line is, it is perfectly possible to keep this to reasonable limits without actually nerfing or buffing something – and in various degrees depending on how Necro in general is perceived, and I’m quite sure that the devs will see sense and make it so, that you have to play the darn Necro CLASS when you want to play a real Necro, instead of being able to by simply hire a hero and go ahead and play two classes at the same time.

    #220018

    ExNihil
    Member

    I think you are exhaggerating how effective this is. Anyhow MCI on deathbringer will solve this very simply.

    #220032

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    No, I don’t exaggerate at all. Ask Gilfaron, if you meet him anywhere – he’s just pulling it off with a lot of success, and I could show you my current game as AD on an 8-player M map, where my mixed army of Necro and AD stacks is currently beating the crap out of a Tigran Sorcerer, ghouling the army to immediate size gain.

    Necromancer Class is Snowball, and once the ball rolls, there’s no stopping. You must not forget that A Necro hero and a Deathbringer are a perfect pair in any stack. The Deathbringer hops around and tries to get a hit on as many units as possible. As a recent fight has proven, that’s a tactic even the AI is good at, whether it’s because everyone goes attacking the DB or the DB does the attacking, the result is the same: first time the Deathbringer hits something there is a Ghoul Curse chance, and in this case the law of big numbers is on your side, since the Deathbringer will hit a lot of units. The Necro hero can heal it and MUST do so (until he has Greater Reanimate Dead which takes some time) – but the good thing is, he can also try and control Reanimators and Archon Casters (there are enough chances to go for the former).
    Of course there is always a chance to control another Deathbringer…
    While, for the Necro Class, this is an issue of balancing, the problem is – every class can play for the same thing in addition to everything else, because it doesn’t cost anything. It’s an option that is offered, when a Necromancer offers themselves for hire early. In that case, as Non-Necro Class you have an option to reject the hero (for example, because you want a hero whose abilities you can use for your actual army) – but you also can accept, and in that case the current situation cries for playing as much for raising a Ghoul army for him.
    I don’t think that should be impossible – on the contrary, as I wrote, I like a nice metagame with a second class, since it’s fun – it just shouldn’t be as good as the real thing, and it actually is, because the Necro hero can get so much “Necro Tech” via abilities. That’s fine and all – except the easy option to raise an early ghoul army from nothing, and if you read the posts, you’ll notice that some write, yes, I did that, fun, or, yes I did that, but it’s only good when you can rush. But why should ONE Class hero should give ALL OTHER classes a rush chance?

    Now – YOUR suggestion is rather in contradiction to your claim in the balance thread, that Necro is UP, because MCI (I think you mean a once-per-combat use of Ghoul Curse for Deathbringer will obviously nerf the Necro CLASS massively, without actually nerfing Necro HEROES, which will still allow every Class to use the perfect pair.

    Hatmage’s suggestion has the advantage that it actually allows to tweak everything every way, therefore it’s not a specific cure that determines a new balance, but is totally flexible and therefore it’s superior.

    #220036

    NINJEW
    Member

    You may try for a supportive Dread hero, leading machines, for example – but there is no acquisition of machines.

    you say this as if a rush involving a single dreadnought hero and 5 trebuchets tacked onto a starting theo army wasn’t the most terrifying thing i have ever had to fight in mp

    #220040

    ExNihil
    Member

    MCI will just remove these easy to get t3 units out of the conversion game. Will this nerf Necro? Sure, slightly, but it will also prevent what you define as a serious IMBA. What you wish is for Necro to keep the advantages as a class, but remove it from Necro heroes, how is this fair to players who chance up on a Necro her??

    #220041

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    And now imagine you didn’t have to build/hurry the Builders Hall and the Siege Workshop and then 5 Trebuchets, but could “loot” them simply out of combat.

    The case you describe is “legal”, because it’s an INSTEAD OF – the player can’t do anything else than doing what is described above, but nothing else, except Summon units according to spec or Cherubs. Also, the difference between a Dread hero leading machines and ANY hero leading them isn’t that great, except for the repairing of 20 HP (that might not even be used, if the machines was spared any fighting prior to the attack on you.
    Everyone can build/hurry the Builders Hall and the Siege Workshop and then 5 Trebuchets and reinforce his army, that works with a Sorcerer as well, although it works BETTER with a Dread.

    But a Ghoul army raised for free?

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