Why are machines Spirit/Blight-immune?: A proposal

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Home Forums Age of Wonders 3 Discussions Why are machines Spirit/Blight-immune?: A proposal

This topic contains 167 replies, has 36 voices, and was last updated by  kwibus 6 years, 7 months ago.

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  • #208215

    Epaminondas
    Member

    This has puzzled me for a long time, and I have yet to find a persuasive rationale. Now, usually, game decisions of this nature rests on one of two things (or both): game balance and/or lore/realism.

    Now, let’s look at game balance first. What does machines being Spirit/Blight-immune really add? Basically, it makes machines over-powered v. classes/races/units that primarily utilize either Spirit or Blight damage. In short, it makes machines over-powered v. Theocrats, certain Rogue units, and Goblins. If so, we now ask: Are Theocrats, Rogues, or Goblins over-powered and in need of such drastic counters? Almost certainly not. Likewise, removing Spirit/Blight Immunity from machines likely will not cause major game imbalance; and, consequently, there is no compelling game balance rationale for machines to have them. Is the game then at least enhanced by machines having these absolute immunities? I don’t see that either. All they do is create unnecessary mismatches or “balance holes” that Zaskow complains about in the now infamous Theocrat v. Dreadnought thread.

    In short, I see no compelling game balance rationale for this double machine immunity. (A less steep resistances, say 60 percent is a different matter.)

    We then look at lore/realism rationale. Now I’ve frequently heard the claim that machines are constructs that have neither feelings nor organic vulnerabilities and hence cannot be vulnerable to Spirit damage (which are like “psychic” attacks) or Blight damage (which overlaps with “poison” attacks). So far I find the argument somewhat plausible in regard to Spirit damage, and less so with Blight (poison can corrode machines) damage ONLY if we are talking about purely self-operating machines. But many machines in AoW 3 are NOT self-operating (Drones and perhaps Golems only?); instead, they are operated by organic, mortal beings with souls (presumptively) and bodies. And they certainly are, as such, vulnerabile to Spirit and Blight Damage. So unless we can conceive units where machines can totally enclose and protect their operators, should not machines at least be partly vulnerable to both Spirit and Blight damage?

    In short, I think the lore/realism argument for machine Spirit/Blight immunities to be even less compelling – and in most cases nonexistent.

    What do I then propose? I think machines should lose these two immunities; I think a reasonable number is to knock these immunities down to 60 percent Resistances. Balance-wise, the 60 percent number is substantial enough to maintain current balance – that is, machines would still retain some, albeit not overwhelming, superiority in match-ups that traditionally favored them: e.g. v. Theocrats, some Rogue units, and Goblins. The problem with knocking the resistances further down is that it may force machines to be buffed elsewhere, which means machine balance v. things other than Theocrats, some Rogue units, and Goblins may be affected. Lore-wise partial resistance, rather than outright immunities, make far more sense, as I have explained.

    What does everyone think?

    #208221

    Epaminondas
    Member

    I can’t edit further. But I want to stress I am looking for a compromise solution that will 1) help correct overwhelming machine advantage in some match-ups while, at the same time, 2) enable machines to retain their advantage in those match-ups.

    I also think what I propose should have been the original set-up in the first place, as it is better both balance and lore-wise.

    #208224

    Well, if you’re in the machine, it’s sealed off against the outside world surely? If you are in a tank, you are safe from gas etc usually…

    That would apply to Golems, Flame/Frost tanks and Juggernauts/Ironclads, but not Trebuchets, Rams or Cannons, or most ships.

    Gameplay wise, it might be interesting.

    #208226

    Epaminondas
    Member

    Well, if you’re in the machine, it’s sealed off against the outside world surely? If you are in a tank, you are safe from gas etc usually…

    Two counter-points. First, I am not sure if we should assume AoW 3 technology can achieve what contemporary technology can achieve. Hermetic interiors in tanks, etc. is a relatively contemporary invention.

    Second, I can buy this with Blight damage; but what if Spirit damage? Spirit effects will be at least “seen” by those inside machines, albeit not “felt”?

    That would apply to Golems, Flame/Frost tanks and Juggernauts/Ironclads, but not Trebuchets, Rams or Cannons, or most ships.

    Having said above, I am not per se opposed to this type of fine distinctions.

    #208230

    Zaskow
    Member

    I think a reasonable number is to knock these immunities down to 60 percent Resistances.

    Great +1 from me. Plain and simple.

    But many machines in AoW 3 are NOT self-operating (Drones and perhaps Golems only?)

    Golems have pilots/drivers definitely, read ingame description.
    Flame tanks fleets controlled by few operators (in-game description), still I think spirit damage could destroy this connection.
    Juggernaut has crew definitely (pic):

    Cannons too (read in-game description).
    So, I think we haven’t any lore problems here at least.

    Drones as exception could preserve their spirit immunity.

    #208231

    Khelle
    Member

    I am against this. Everybody seems to forget that machines are super slow, are limited only to fire/physical damage channels, cannot regenerate, are vulnerable to stuns and dreadnought themself is limited only to his roster since there are nearly no “indepdent”* machines present in the game and also he has limited use of living units in comparison to other classes.
    These are very strong debuffs for them, and proper player has no problem of using this weaknesses against them super effectively.
    It is totally fair, that with these cons, machines should have some strong pros, like TOTAL blight and spirit immunity.

    Rogues have fire resistant succubus and plenty of sabotage effects.
    Goblins have demolisher beetles and volunteer butchers.
    Theocrats have so much buffs and resurgences for their army, they easily can use racial units against machines
    – HE Stormsisters
    – Dwarven Firstborns
    – Draconians in general
    – Tigrans sun guards / sphinxes
    – Frostlings with Demolisher ability
    and probably many other special units from other races and summon units.

    Please, keep in mind, this game resolves around class/race balance, not only class, and lately everyone is forgetting that.
    Your class is being inferior in fight with dreadnoughts and dreadnought is present on the map? So maybe it is a good idea to keep some dwarven, HE, draconians cities around your empire? Nope, it seems its better to cry on the forums…

    #208234

    Epaminondas
    Member

    I am against this. Everybody seems to forget that machines are super slow, are limited only to fire/physical damage channels, cannot regenerate, are vulnerable to stuns and dreadnought themself is limited only to his roster since there are nearly no “indepdent”* machines present in the game and also he has limited use of living units in comparison to other classes.

    These are very strong debuffs for them, and proper player has no problem of using this weaknesses against them super effectively.

    I find your claim beyond ridiculous frankly.

    Please run the numbers first. We are talking about reducing 40 percent resistances from machines. After these “strong debuffs,” machines would STILL have 60 percent Resistances v. both Spirit and Blight damage. Do you know how difficult it is to kill Shadow Stalkers through Physical damage alone? Guess what? Both Spirit and Blight damage would face the same uphill climb. In fact, often it would be worse, simply because many problematic machines have more HPs than Shadow Stalkers.

    #208236

    Zaskow
    Member

    Rogues have fire resistant succubus and plenty of sabotage effects.
    Goblins have demolisher beetles and volunteer butchers.

    All this stuff can be easily fried/shoot from safe distance.

    Theocrats have so much buffs and resurgences

    Reassembly spell.

    they easily can use racial units against machines
    – HE Stormsisters

    2 shots from cannon.

    These are very strong debuffs for them, and proper player has no problem of using this weaknesses against them super effectively.

    Even proper player can’t do anything if machine march begins. Did you even try to beat 3 stacks full of Juggernauts? I don’t think so.

    #208238

    Epaminondas
    Member

    As an aside, having 100 percent immunities is terrible per se for game balance (even if you subscribe to an asymmetric view of balance), and the problem is compounded when you have double immunities. There is a reason why they are so rare. True, I see some cases where lore rationale may dictate it, or where game balance is greatly enhanced through it. In the case of machines, it is neither.

    #208239

    Gameplay-wise AoW’s machines have always been presented without their organic operators which is also the reason why they can’t be seduced or charmed in any of the games.

    It’s not realistic but it was a design decision to make them distinct from organic units. Machines crews are never even shown, they’ve been abstracted to such an extent they might as well not exist.

    The new demolisher ability has become fairly widespread (especially among Goblins who need it the most) and anti-machine spells are better than they used to be (Rot is at least anyway). Machines are in a pretty good place imo, does anyone think Dread is op?

    While associating Blight with corrosion is understandable it’s simply not the case in-game because it would destroy many lore explanations. While it makes sense for many creatures to be immune or resistant to poison, disease or “soul corruption” it wouldn’t stand for most of them to be resistant to corrosive acids and such (trolls being an obvious example).

    #208240

    Khelle
    Member

    Please run the numbers first. We are talking about reducing 40 percent resistances from machines. After these “strong debuffs,” machines would STILL have 60 percent Resistances v. both Spirit and Blight damage. Do you know how difficult it is to kill Shadow Stalkers through Physical damage alone? Guess what? Both Spirit and Blight damage would face the same uphill climb. In fact, often it would be worse, simply because many problematic machines have more HPs than Shadow Stalkers.

    By this logic, we should change all units with 100% resistances to 60%. Because all this chosen-sphere-immune creatures still be hard to kill by this sphere, right? Totally broken logic.

    #208241

    Epaminondas
    Member

    Reassembly spell.

    You can make the case that Reassembly is better than either Resurgence or Rebirth, because it works on every machine, and it works on almost every “dead” machine, when you want it.

    #208245

    ArcaneSeraph
    Member

    You can make the case that Reassembly is better than either Resurgence or Rebirth, because it works on every machine, and it works on almost every “dead” machine, when you want it.

    Reassembly also helps you win the battle. Rebirth only helps you IF you win the battle.

    #208248

    Zaskow
    Member

    By this logic, we should change all units with 100% resistances to 60%

    Units with 2 and more immunities are not very numerous. Dread has them more than anyone.
    Also you must consider that too many classes in game rely on spirit or blight damage.

    #208249

    Epaminondas
    Member

    Thanks for your painstaking, detailed, blow-by-blow counter-arguments. Far more plausible claims than Khelle’s knee-jerk, hysterical over-reaction to what is a rather “modest” proposal.

    Gameplay-wise AoW’s machines have always been presented without their organic operators which is also the reason why they can’t be seduced or charmed in any of the games.

    It’s not realistic but it was a design decision to make them distinct from organic units. Machines crews are never even shown, they’ve been abstracted to such an extent they might as well not exist.

    Two counter-points. First, is this design decision intended to consciously affect the issue we are debating? AoW 3 machines may simply not depict crew, because more unit details would siphon off finite resources. In some cases, it may also be difficult to fit crew and machine into a rather small tactical map hex.

    Second, as Zaskow pointed out, crew is shown in non-tactical map depictions, whether via picture or verbal description.

    The new demolisher ability has become fairly widespread (especially among Goblins who need it the most) and anti-machine spells are better than they used to be (Rot is at least anyway). Machines are in a pretty good place imo, does anyone think Dread is op?

    I agree with these points. But the issue is not that Dreadnought is over-powered, but that they are over-powered in certain match-ups without a balance or lore rationale.

    Moreover, and this is a point that Khelle ignores, I am not asking Dreadnoughts to be massively nerfed. They would still retain 60 percent Resistances v. both Spirit and Blight. That is still a massive advantage against units that primarily use those channels. It’s simply no longer hopeless.

    Further, I am also open to BBB’s suggestion of differential implementation of my proposal.

    Fundamentally, I 1) do not generally make extremist proposals; and 2) I believe in compromises. Khelle’s theatrical response totally derails the thread from this spirit.

    #208252

    Please define the term “overpowered”. Cause the meaning I am familiar with does not coincide with your use in the OP.

    Two counter-points. First, I am not sure if we should assume AoW 3 technology can achieve what contemporary technology can achieve. Hermetic interiors in tanks, etc. is a relatively contemporary invention.

    1. Magic
    2. You are aware that technology in out unmagical world has been capable for thousands of years to supply short-term air supplies (diving) as well as enclosures sealed enough to prevent the intrusion of water (ships), which is about as easy to seal of from as air is?
    Given the skirmish-nature of AoW combats as well as the advanced crafting methods necessary to build especially dreadnought units, the creation of hermetically sealed interiors for combat deployment seems rather feasible.

    #208253

    Epaminondas
    Member

    By this logic, we should change all units with 100% resistances to 60%. Because all this chosen-sphere-immune creatures still be hard to kill by this sphere, right? Totally broken logic.

    You have reading comprehension issues. Either that, you are too emotionally invested in your pet issues to consider opposite views with any objectivity.

    I said 100 percent immunities are warranted only when there are compelling lore rationales or improve game balance overall. Machine double immunities classify as neither.

    Reassembly also helps you win the battle. Rebirth only helps you IF you win the battle.

    Precisely.

    #208254

    Khelle
    Member

    Far more plausible claims than Khelle’s knee-jerk, hysterical over-reaction to what is a rather “modest” proposal.

    I don’t see this as modest at all. And if you think I am being hysterical, then sorry, for having my own opinion that differs from yours.
    I am fed up with Zaskow claims. He is complaining about Rogues, Dreadnought and Necromancers being superior to his beloved Theocrat at the same time. Really?

    All this stuff can be easily fried/shoot from safe distance.

    Only with cannons, nothing else, and everything that lives on will demolish them.

    Reassembly spell.

    One spell that dreadnought can use vs theocrat’s Healing, Prayer for the Hurt, Resurgence Exalted, Resurrection, Rebirth, Divine Justicars, Healing Aura and probably many other traits I now seems to forget.

    Even proper player can’t do anything if machine march begins. Did you even try to beat 3 stacks full of Juggernauts? I don’t think so.

    3 stacks of juggernatus, so you mean the 3 stacks that costs more than 6 stacks of Firstborns? Give me the second ones and will demolish these juggernauts easily… You give me extreme example, I give you one back. Not speaking that even on XL maps focusing that big of an army in one point never happens…

    #208255

    Deus_Mortis
    Member

    Well. I support this idea 100%.
    40-60% resistance is more than enough!
    From the lore point of view…steampunk level of technology cant provide 100% hermetic.
    From the ballance point of view 100% resistances rly hurt the game, they already killed the Disciples serias…and i wish AOW developers will be smart enought to reduce those ridiculous 100% defs…please make it 40-60!

    #208257

    Zaskow
    Member

    Given the skirmish-nature of AoW combats as well as the advanced crafting methods necessary to build especially dreadnought units, the creation of hermetically sealed interiors for combat deployment seems rather feasible.

    This doesn’t justify why spirit abilities of Theo can’t work on machine crew or why aggressive or corrode elements of blight damage don’t work on mechanisms.

    #208259

    Epaminondas
    Member

    Please define the term “overpowered”. Cause the meaning I am familiar with does not coincide with your use in the OP.

    If a class possessing 100 percent immunities to two of six damage channels (and primary damage channels for one class and one race) is not “over-powered” per se, I am not sure what is?

    1. Magic
    2. You are aware that technology in out unmagical world has been capable for thousands of years to supply short-term air supplies (diving) as well as enclosures sealed enough to prevent the intrusion of water (ships), which is about as easy to seal of from as air is?

    Sort of straw man issue, given that 1) I’ve already said I can accept BBB’s proposal for differential treatment of “closed” and “open” machines; and 2) that I would only be reluctant to fully acquiesce when it comes to Spirit damage, as operators inside a machine can still “see” Spirit effects (but even this is negotiable; I am a lawyer, and I am a compromiser in principle, if not in nature).

    #208260

    You have to accept that the current match up is hopeless to support such changes, though. That is a matter of interminable dispute.

    Anyway, such big changes to the game balance would require like a month to work through, especially since most of the machine challenged classes (especially rogue and AD) already have really nice counters. Rogues are very solid at dread fighting now, and AD would just wreck dreads hard if blight and the various inflicts worked.

    The theocrat has already received righteous zeal, which could be added as a hero ability (ala undead slayer for the rogue), or just be put on divine justicars, or something like that. Many possibilities.

    Any who, if I were to change blight, I would make something like holy champion, acid strike, where armored or machine units or undead get five fire damage (like the acid darts combine fire and blight).

    Actually, that would also work for the rogue v necromancer thing.

    #208262

    madmac
    Member

    Theocrats are, probably, the strongest class in the game right now, and their match-up vs Dreadnaught is only moderately tough in my own experience.

    Whereas I’d put Dreadnaught down as a pretty balanced, mid-range class with well defined strengths and weaknesses. You certainly don’t (or I don’t, anyway) see Dreadnaughts running rampant in multiplayer these days, especially with the weakened muskets impacting their early game quite a bit.

    So from that perspective I’m really not seeing any compelling reason that Dreads need to be weakened or Theocrats made even more ascendent.

    This exact debate happened a long time ago before Golden Realms, I was againt it then and I’m still against it now.

    #208263

    Epaminondas
    Member

    I don’t see this as modest at all. And if you think I am being hysterical, then sorry, for having my own opinion that differs from yours.

    If so, then we have a different understanding of the term “modest” – just as Ferrus and I do on the term “over-powered” apparently. But since we know each other’s position well enough, I am not going to go as far as to insist my lexicon is better than yours, unless there is a flagrant, clear error (as in, if you insist that a cow is a fish).

    I am fed up with Zaskow claims. He is complaining about Rogues, Dreadnought and Necromancers being superior to his beloved Theocrat at the same time. Really?

    Not sure how relevant this is to this proposal? You are conflating me and Zaskow as one individual. But the truth of the matter is that I am just as sick as you are of some of his threads; and I have been one of his strongest detractors. The fact that we have some overlaps in view regarding Theocrats and Dreadnoughts is purely co-incidental. And even within this rare area of overlap, there are considerable differences.

    #208264

    Zaskow
    Member

    3 stacks of juggernatus, so you mean the 3 stacks that costs more than 6 stacks of Firstborns?

    You can’t deploy 6 stacks of firstborn on battlefield. Also juggernauts with all upgrades drop their prices dramatically.

    Prayer for the Hurt, Resurgence Exalted, Resurrection, Rebirth, Divine Justicars, Healing Aura

    All these abilities don’t work on tactical. Resurrection is Creation master ability, not Theocrat. Reassemble works on tactical very well instead.

    #208265

    Khelle
    Member

    Any who, if I were to change blight, I would make something like holy champion, acid strike, where armored or machine units or undead get five fire damage (like the acid darts combine fire and blight).

    Acid strike trait that negates 20-40% of blight restisance on machine units for this one attack? I could see this work, especially on goblins, +1 for this idea.

    #208268

    Epaminondas
    Member

    You have to accept that the current match up is hopeless to support such changes, though.

    I am not sure if I agree with this premise. As I’ve said before, I tend to shy away from 100 percent immunities unless 1) there is a compelling lore rationale (of which there is none here, at least when it comes to “open” machines); and/OP 2) the immunities cover units or unit groups that are small enough to not damage overall balance (which isn’t the case here).

    But let’s get to the core of the issue: Why do machines have 100 percent Spirit/Blight immunities across the board? No one, not even JLP, has provided an answer.

    #208270

    Epaminondas
    Member

    Theocrats are, probably, the strongest class in the game right now, and their match-up vs Dreadnaught is only moderately tough in my own experience.

    This is true IF you pick Dwarf and/or Water Adept. And this brings us back to the hackneyed issues discussed in that massive Theocrat v. Dreadnought thread, which we should not revisit here.

    Whereas I’d put Dreadnaught down as a pretty balanced, mid-range class with well defined strengths and weaknesses. You certainly don’t (or I don’t, anyway) see Dreadnaughts running rampant in multiplayer these days, especially with the weakened muskets impacting their early game quite a bit.

    That’s really not the issue. The issue is: Why should machines have 100 percent immunities in 2 of the damage channels?

    So from that perspective I’m really not seeing any compelling reason that Dreads need to be weakened or Theocrats made even more ascendent.

    Do you really think Dreadnoughts losing 40 percent resistances to Spirit/Blight damage and perhaps only for “open” machines would so dramatically alter balance to make Theocrats “ascendent”?!

    #208272

    Zaskow
    Member

    But let’s get to the core of the issue: Why do machines have 100 percent Spirit/Blight immunities across the board? No one, not even JLP, has provided an answer.

    I can answer.
    From gameplay reasons devs wanted to simplify things and considered that machines have no crew and blight damage is poison damage principally.

    #208285

    Chimaira
    Member

    I find it pretty funny that OP who wants to reduce machines resistances is the same person who argued that his beloved Firstborns should get their spirit immunity back, making them 60% blight / 100% fire / 100% spirit.

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