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I will create this thread to talk about Vampire Counts and their issues with balancing. This will cover both campaign and multiplayer (in the sense of unit role and effectiveness against other armies and gold cost, not necessarily meta builds).
LORDS & HEROES:
Vampire Lords are better than Necromancer Lords in every way. They are basically just necromancer lords that also get a combat skill tree and better combat stats and have better mounts. The Necromancer character skill tree needs to be more varied and give more unique bonuses because they are the same cost as Vampire Lords and there is no reason to take them.
The banshee in multiplayer custom battles serves no purpose in combat. She is said to be a duelist, but fails at this role and is no more effective than a vampire hero but lacks useful magic. She has the slippery ability to get away, but this is less effective than just having a horse. As is, I see no reason to take her into battles because she doesn't excel at her only role, character assassination, and therefor has no purpose. Giving her a direct damage attack (death shriek) that has a short range and long cooldown will give her a purpose on the battlefield as the slippery character assassin she's meant to be. EDIT: The banshee in the campaign map is fine, as she has access to skill points and magic items that can help her. This concern is only focused on the custom battles where she ironically, cannot be customized.
Kemmler has the same skill tree as regular Necromancer Lords and is extremely boring in that regard because he gains nothing apart from other vampire lords. His uniqueness comes from his magic items. The Chaos tomb blade is very cool and I like it. The other two are largely forgettable. The Cloak of mist and Shadows gives Kemmler the ability to FLY or the BE ETHEREAL in the tabletop. Both of those would be super cool and amazing and make Kemmler fun and unique. Instead we get a super lame 22% damage reduction ability with one of the longest cooldowns in the game. If Kemmler were a vampire his armor would reduce that much damage at all times. In short, nothing makes Kemmler stand out and if his unique magic items don't do it, his skill tree should. Lore Master Vampires: is a completely worthless 10% reduction on cooldowns. How pathetic can an ability be? 1 second off a 10 second cooldown? WHO CARES? This needs to lower the winds of magic cost of his spells or something that makes people excited to be playing the Liche Master!
Skeletons vs spear skeletons: In the tabletop, spear skeletons were good at receiving charging and had more offense while sword and shield skeletons were more resilient in long drawn out fights because they could parry. This gave both sets of skeletons a role. In Total War Warhammer, spear skeletons are the defensive ones and the sword and shield varrient have more melee attack. However since skeletons are so terrible in combat their additional attack is essentially meaningless. This means that spear skeletons have better defense, and VASTLY better attack against large, giving them a role. Regular skeletons have no role. "slightly more offensive skeletons" is not a role because ghouls and grave guard fill this role. I'd like a reason to take regular skeletons over spears.
Ethereal doesn't work. Giving a unit 75% damage resistance and then cutting it's hit points by 60% and then also removing all of its armor so it doesn't reduce that damage as well just means that ethereal does nothing. These units are overpriced for their ability to absorb and deal damage and while it is nice to have slightly faster infantry that causes terror, they are essentially bad grave guard or bad black knights because the former are more resilient even against armor piercing opponents. Increase the hit points to regular levels or increase the damage reduction to 90-95%. This will also help the banshee. Ethereal units should be extremely vulnerable to heroes, flank charge, and magic. Right now they are, but they are also vulnerable to everything that a normal unit would be vulnerable too with no real benefit.
Crypt Horrors vs Vargheists: Design mixed up the role of these units. Vargheists are supposed to be the ultra offensive glass cannons while Crypt Horrors have mediocre damage but are extremely resilient. Crypt horrors should NOT have armor piercing damage and vargheists should have it. Giving armor piercing to crypt horrors makes them too effective "good at everything" monstrous infantry.
Black Knights, barded and lances. There is NO WAY that the extra 30 armor and increase to charge bonus makes black knights with lances over 50% more expensive than those without. There needs to be either drastic re-balancing here or a price decrease.
The Black Coach SUCKS. It's ability to do damage is pathetic, Because it has horrendous melee defense almost every attack thrown at it hits it. Why does this thing have less melee defense than a steam tank!? It has a mediocre 50 armor (on the tabletop it has a 3+ armor save, which translates to around 100 armor in Total War Warhammer!) so it takes a lot of damage. It's leadership is poor at 40. It is a chariot, so it charges into a large block of infantry very deep into their formation (its unit card says anti-infantry). It immediately loses all leadership because it perceives itself as being flanked, taking lots of damage, and outnumbered. The wraith on top does very pathetic damage even with its impressive looking area of effect attacks. The only saving grace for this is that it causes terror, but so do similarly priced units like the varghulf. It loses to everything and has no purpose. Evocation of Death as far as I can tell also does nothing. To fix the black coach, it needs more leadership, more melee defense, more armor, and evocation of death needs to do something. I suggest healing it or increasing its speed/attack the more models that die within a small radius around it. Even making it etheral if it gets enough souls/kills absorbed. In the tabletop, it is the most resilient chariot in the entire game, even giving the steam tank a run for its money in terms of durability. It deserves more.
Grave Guard with shields really deserve more armor than their great weapon wielding counterparts. This is more of game wide problem.
MAGIC & SPELLS:
Putting a second point in any spell is never worth it. -15% cooldown time is horrible and even if it was -99% cooldown time it would not be worth it because cooldowns are so short. Effectiveness or efficiency of the spell needs to be increased in some way.
Invocation of Nehek doesn't seem to scale with unit size. The heal is also very low, at about 600 health per cast. I would like this raised to heal about 25% of a unit's hit points on average, or around 1,500 health on the large setting. Casting it now feels very underwhelming. It should also be more effective on units (zombies, grave guard) than it is on single units such as characters or monsters. This is how it works on the table top and it makes sense balance wise. Double the healing on infantry, normal healing on large-class units, low healing on characters, monsters, and ethereal units.
Gaze of Nagash: Kind of a weak spell for the cost. I can't see every choosing to cast it for 7 winds of magic. If it was multiple missiles instead of one, had a larger explosion area, or did more damage I could see using it. It seems to hit for 300-500 damage at the moment, making it a waste.
Raise Dead: The cap of 2 on this spell is pointless. All magic is capped by the limited winds of magic reserve so why limit this one? While I appreciate the balancing decision to not allow a player to get 5x units of zombies before a battle starts, limiting the spell to a maximum of 2 (or even 1) units AT A TIME would solve this problem. I think the hard cap should be removed and the soft cap left at 1 or 2 units at once.
Curse of Years: This spell is decent and I respect the mirroring of Van Hel's Dance Macabre, but it needs to do damage. Not big damage, probably only maybe 1/10 of a units health, but it needs some oomph. It is a high tier spell, both on the tabletop and in Warhammer. It requires at least 6 points in the Lore of Vampires spell tree and costs 15 magic compared to the 6 of Van Hel's Dance Macabre. Why would I reduce the attack effectiveness of 1 enemy unit when I could increase the attack of TWO of my units and have some winds of magic change left over? This spell should do more or have its cost reduced dramatically. I would prefer if the spell was more effective.
Wind of Death: Incredibly mediocre for its high cost of 15. This spell also should be direct damage, it should ignore armor, and would be amazing if it created an undead unit based on kills.
Spirit Leach: This spell is entirely too effective. Killing lords in 2-4 casts, it is just plain unfair. In the tabletop, the effectiveness of this spell was based on the leadership rating of an opponent. Make this the case in Total War Warhammer. It should do minimal damage to high leadership opponents but should be devestating to those with low or routing leadership. That way, timing and casting it with skill and using it in combination terror and other spells like doom & darkness will be important. As it, it is a no brainer fire and forget spell that is too powerful and very boring.
Regeneration doesn't scale with unit size. It is always 2 HP per second. This makes it very strong on small and very weak on ultra for unit size settings. The regeneration should reflect the maximum HP of the unit.
The Hunger: See regeneration above. Increasing or decreasing maximum HP size should effect the amount healed.
Black Knights and anti-infantry. Grave Guard are anti-infantry and get a +10 damage against infantry units. Black knights also supposedly have this trait, but gain no bonus damage against infantry. Is this intended or a glitch? Black knights use the same wight blades that grave guard do, so it makes sense that they should both get the bonus.
The Curse of Undeath: This ability is pathetically weak. Like, it is so weak it is actaully insulting. The tooltips says, and I quote, "Greatly replenishes HP of combatants" while lore of vampire spells are being cast. I expected this to be a few hundred HP but instead it is literally only about a dozen. That's right, 12 HP give or take a few. This clearly needs a complete re-balance to actually be meaningful.
LoreMaster: Cooldowns are not important. This ability should actually do something cool.
Crumbling: The way undead route doesn't really work with the way morale is calculated in Total War games. Zombies would not care if their flanks were secure or that they are being blown apart by artillery. A new set of positives and penalties need to exist for the undead faction. Positives for characters being nearby needs to be increased while negatives to losing in combat or being flanked need to be increased as well. Negatives for damage sustained and being under enemy fire need to be decreased or even removed. Living things like ghouls and necromancers also should not crumble, but rather route like other living forces, likely vampires too should do this.
Fatigue: It is great and flavorful that the design team changed the name of being tired for undead units, but it is still silly. I can understand I guess that a zombie or skeleton might have the magic used to animate it expended for a time and need to be recharged. There is just flat out no reason that say, a ghost is going to get tired. I'd like to see more variance in how fatigue is applied to the army.
ON THE CAMPAIGN MAP:
Broken Auto resolve: I've had several battles where the balance bar was 75-90% in my opponents favor that made no sense. I'd look at the forces, and they looked rather even, so I played the battle. Sometimes I would win and sometimes I would lose, but the battle would often be very close, far more close than the balance bar would suggest. Also, monster units such as the varghulf, Lords and Heroes, and things with low HP like ethereal units, seem to take disproportionate damage from battles, even battles that have a very high auto resolve favor for the vampire counts.
Unfair Battle Conclusions: If a vampire counts player brings 2000 zombies, 200 wights, a terrorgheist, and a vampire lord to a battle against 500 elite dwarfs and wins with 100 zombies and 150 wights, a terrorgheist, and a vampire lord left, the vampire counts player came out on top. However, not according to the battle results. I constantly get Pyrrhic victories with my elite units unscathed but my fodder decimated. That's what fodder is for. It's right there in the tooltip for bats and zombies, they are expendable! However the victory results (which are tied to character experience gains) unfairly treat the loss of high volume of troops poorly. This needs a rethink with the way the faction is designed.
Raise Dead increased after big battles: I was very excited about the idea that I would have a reason as a vampire counts player in the campaign to go out to large battles fought across the old world for the benefit of scoring cheap troops. This sort of mini-quest oozed with flavor and faction uniqueness. In practice it is cool but seems a bit misguided. First off I have only ever seen these grave markers with battles that I personally have fought. That defeats the purpose of them in my opinion. They appear only where I have already been and already are. They also seem to be infinite. I had a battle in my campaign in my territory at Drakenhof castle on turn 10. It is now past turn 50 and I have recruited multiple full stack armies from this single battle and it has yet to be "used up." I"m not sure if it is infinite or just absurdly high but I don't like the idea that the battle generate an unending resource. It would be far better if the units were finite or smaller. There needs to be some benefit but not an endless one.
Attrition on non-corrupted lands: As vampires I might want to go a place. Maybe I'm at war with a far off faction or I have a quest to reach, or maybe I want to help out an ally somewhere. Well, I can't get there. The only way I can travel is if I'm raiding. I might not want to raid and **** off everyone on the way to my destination. Maybe I want to travel in secret? How can I do this if my army falls apart after 3-4 turns of travel off my lands? In the Warhammer lore, vampires travel under the protection of dark storm clouds. It would be nice if I could go to un-corrupted territory without having to raid, maybe with the use of a character skill point or embedded hero ability. No I am not talking bout that garbage -15% to attrition damage, I mean REAL freedom to go places without having to raid and move at a snails pace. Manfred von Carstein traveled the old world in search of ancient lore and magical artifacts of great power. He did this in secret. Do you think he did it in raiding stance?
That's my list as it sits after 55 turns into a campaign and a few multiplayer battles. Feel free to debate my reasoning or make suggestions of your own. Please do not whine about weaknessess being bad or want all strengths increased. This isn't a thread about making Vampire Counts stronger or weaker. It is in the balance forum and that should be the ultimate goal. Balance within the Vampire Counts faction and in relation to the strengths and weaknesses of other factions.
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