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Ideas on Over-performing spells

WojmirVonCarsteinWojmirVonCarstein Posts: 519Registered Users
edited July 23 in Balancing Discussions
Inspired by @2twoto's "Under-performing spells" thread, I decided to start this one.

I agreed with most of his observations from that thread.

For me, under-performing spells are an unfortunate missed opportunity but over-performing spells are having a bad impact on the game for several reasons. For one, they accentuate the weakness of the under-performing spells. Secondly, they mask true problems with faction strength/balance. For example, if a faction has to rely on one or more spells to be "mid-tier", it probably needs to be looked at as there should be a choice in which spells to bring, it should not be mandatory. Thirdly (and this is more opinion than fact), I think certain spells impact the ways battles are fought in a negative way.

I don't play all factions extensively, so in the following list I may have missed some over-performing spells, but here is at least what I believe a good starting point.

Note that I am fully aware that nerfing certain spells that a faction relies on heavily means that the faction will get weaker as a whole to some degree. However, if you think about it, IF it is true that a slight nerf to one spell makes a faction weaker overall, it probably means that the faction is poorly balanced, and the faction should be re-evaluated as a whole to see where the real reason for their under-performance lies. Perhaps one can argue than an exception to this rule is IoN for VC, as this is literally a spell that they are supposed to rely on both from faction design perspective and lore. However, even here I think the above applies.

1) Spirit Leech - 8 WoM - 554 averge damage to single entity. (previously said 936, mistake spotted by yst)
For sure we know it's the best spell in the lore of death. How do we know this? I have never, ever seen someone bring a death caster without spirit leech. Often a death caster will ONLY have spirit leech. Perhaps that says more about the lore of death. However, other spells from this lore are used, even in high level play, so it's not like the lore outside of spirit leech is useless.

Furthermore, a death caster is sometimes brought as a second caster with spirit leech only. This says a lot about the value of the spell. As players are willing to pay the tax for the caster, just to have this spell.

The spell itself is super easy to use and there is very little counter play available, other than keeping the target of the spell away from the death caster. Frequently though, this is not possible as the high value target it needed in the fight and death casters typically are very mobile.

One way to realize how good the spell is to consider the Greenskins. I think most people would agree that Azhag on his Wyvern is the best GS lord. But if you really think about it, this is not because he is such a great melee character or because of his abilities or because of his speed or survivability. The actual reason is that he has spirit leech! The way to prove this is to note that an Orc Warboss on a Wyvern has nearly identical stats to Azhag, just without being a death caster! In fact, as a pure melee character, the Orc Warboss might even be slightly better as he is a bit more tanky (he has +7 MD and can use the opal amulet to give 22% ward save). But, the orc warboss on wyvern is NEVER used and is probably considered the weakest GS lord.

One way to bring spirit leech in line with other spells would be to reduce it's damage or increase it's WoM. However, this would be a rather bland nerf. I think a more interesting mechanic might involve some way to be able to mitigate the damage by the target of the spell. Here are a few creative proposals:

a) the target of the spirit leech gains a percent damage reduction from the effects of the spell equal to the current WoM level of his side. Given that during the battle, you rarely keep your WoM topped up at 30, the practical reduction in damage would not be very significant. But what it would do is make spirit leeching less viable tactic at the beginning of the battle when WoM is at 30 or close to it.

b) make the target of the spirit leech gain a percent damage reduction that is equal to their current leadership / 3 (or maybe something other than 3). This way, units with high leadership are somehow protected from the spell. A funny consequence would be if a unit is routing, they would actually be more susceptible to the spell!

c) the damage the spirit leech does is increased (reduced) by the percent difference in leadership values between caster and target (or some proportion of the difference). So a beat-up death caster is not as good at spirit leeching.


2) Healing spells (including IoN):
These spells in a way are the reverse of spirit leech. Easy to use, not at a lot of counter play. Often, life wizards are brought just for the healing. I don't want to write a lot about this as I have already written a lot about spirit leech. Similar issues arise. In some ways, Allarielle is similar to Azhag in the lore she plays based around spirit leech / healing.

I wouldn't really propose an outright nerf to the spells by reducing total healing or increasing WoM (maybe a little?). What I would say instead is to change the role of the spell a bit so that the healing is also viable on weak units. I would propose some mechanic where the stronger the unit is, the less it gets healed. I am not sure what the best mechanic for this would be. Base it on model count? (more models in unit = more healing). In a way, make it like a Fate of Bjuna spell but in reverse. Or perhaps base the amount healing on unit cost (cheaper units heal more). Maybe some combination of the 2? This idea would I believe be great for VC, as it would allow for different builds and different uses of IoN (ie. supporting front-line/Chaff).

I have a few other ideas about why summons (in general) and net type spells are a bit OP, but I don't want to make this write up too long, so will leave at the this for now.

What are your thoughts
Post edited by WojmirVonCarstein on

Comments

  • ystyst Posts: 5,486Registered Users
    edited July 23
    Leech is def not 936 dmg. Its a chance spell, used them countless times, 936 is like perfect roll lol. 1 ouf of prolly 1000s

    Just tested it 528 dmg a lord, 396 dmg on a witch hag. 132 dmg per tick, dunno how u get 936, thats 7 perfect ticks. Its pretty much something like 60% chance to do dmg per tick. Anything beyond 528 is a small bonus, anything below is underperforming. I just casted it 3 times, twice it does just 396
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  • WojmirVonCarsteinWojmirVonCarstein Posts: 519Registered Users
    yst said:

    Leech is def not 936 dmg. Its a chance spell, used them countless times, 936 is like perfect roll lol. 1 ouf of prolly 1000s

    Just tested it 528 dmg a lord, 396 dmg on a witch hag. 132 dmg per tick, dunno how u get 936, thats 7 perfect ticks, if they even do 7

    Very rarely would I say this but in this case you are correct @yst. I forgot to multiply the max damage of 936 by 0.6. I also used 144 as damage per tick. Perhaps I had old info. If it is true that it is now at 132 damage per tick, with 7 ticks and 0.6 chance, the average damage is 554.

    Which makes sense with your test damage of 528.

    Made the change and credited you with the comment.

    Luckily for me, none of my argument was based on the actual raw damage, so the argument still stands.

  • Lotus_MoonLotus_Moon Posts: 6,954Registered Users
    buff's/debuffs are stronger than heals but a massive making in combat, i think heals are balanced now but if you compare them to buffs/debufs they are very UP.

    Difference is heals are less situational so its a fair trade off.

    I bet you did 0 testing on this, am i correct?
  • WojmirVonCarsteinWojmirVonCarstein Posts: 519Registered Users

    buff's/debuffs are stronger than heals but a massive making in combat, i think heals are balanced now but if you compare them to buffs/debufs they are very UP.

    Difference is heals are less situational so its a fair trade off.

    I bet you did 0 testing on this, am i correct?

    You are correct. I did zero testing.

    But I don't think you can test and compare the impact of spirit leech vs buff spell on the way a battle develops, how players react, strategies used etc. How could you possibly test this?

    What is your opinion of spirit leech?

    If it is not an OP spell, how would you for example explain why Azhag is considered a powerful lord (and best GS lord) and the orc Warboss on wyvern is considered a very bad choice, despite the fact that the only real difference between the 2 is that one has spirit leech and the other does not? Keeping in mind that in some ways the Orc Warboss on Wyvern is more tanky?

    Or how would you explain why even good players bring death casters with just spirit leech?
  • another505another505 Posts: 847Registered Users
    I think healing beside star is fine

  • ReymReym Posts: 423Registered Users
    Honestly even the fact that spirit leech have constant results vs non SE units killing 7 models of cav with 8 wom is still rather ok when you compare this to other damages spells.

    To me if there is a damage spell to be look at it's windblast. An almost free kill vs a skirmisher like an handgunner unit. And once overcast it's a mid life vs like a phoenix guard unit. The damages and WoM cost can remain the same, if we at least have like a 3 sec windup allowing the player to dodge.

    There is over performing spells but healing and spirit leech aren't among those ones imo.
  • Lotus_MoonLotus_Moon Posts: 6,954Registered Users

    buff's/debuffs are stronger than heals but a massive making in combat, i think heals are balanced now but if you compare them to buffs/debufs they are very UP.

    Difference is heals are less situational so its a fair trade off.

    I bet you did 0 testing on this, am i correct?

    You are correct. I did zero testing.

    But I don't think you can test and compare the impact of spirit leech vs buff spell on the way a battle develops, how players react, strategies used etc. How could you possibly test this?

    What is your opinion of spirit leech?

    If it is not an OP spell, how would you for example explain why Azhag is considered a powerful lord (and best GS lord) and the orc Warboss on wyvern is considered a very bad choice, despite the fact that the only real difference between the 2 is that one has spirit leech and the other does not? Keeping in mind that in some ways the Orc Warboss on Wyvern is more tanky?

    Or how would you explain why even good players bring death casters with just spirit leech?
    I was referring to earth blood and other healing in particular, i did massive ammounts of testing on those.

    On SL, thats hard to say tho i agree but i don't at same time, while it is strong for what its cost its ok , what people dislike is the fact that it offers low counter-play, i would like the OC version removed that way at least you need to put your caster at risk to cast it.

    And how can i explain why everyone takes it...hmm i think is mainly due to its utility, you know no matter what your opponent will bring there will always be a target for it.

    Im on the fence on SL while i dislike it i think its necessary to have.
  • WojmirVonCarsteinWojmirVonCarstein Posts: 519Registered Users
    I think for healing my real main gripe was with the star of avelorn and then I lumped in all healing spells together. Though it would be cool if healing spells worked better on lower value units. Specially for IoN where for me, it should be healing basic zombies and skeletons like crazy. Heck it should probably be able to top off zombies on one cast.

    For SL I agree with you that it has high utility. But perhaps there should be a bigger cost paid for this utility?

    I did not go into summons specifically, but I do think those are a bit OP as well. They have been toned down, but just compared to other ways you can spend WoM, they just seem better in many situations.

  • Lotus_MoonLotus_Moon Posts: 6,954Registered Users
    well 8000HP zombies are hard to get through btu 14000HP ones for low WOM is not fun in my view, i think with recent changes to healing i find it fine, i would however reduce regrowth wom and remove vigour reduction since that vigour reduction is so strong and star needs another 10% nerf.

    Well SL damage is not amazing by any means compared to many other spells, for me really its the 300m cast range on OC is what makes it a top pick, since you can have your caster stand way back and still be impactful on the game with no chance of death, remove the OC version and it can be denied.
  • Ephraim_DaltonEphraim_Dalton Senior Member Posts: 19,069Registered Users

    I think for healing my real main gripe was with the star of avelorn and then I lumped in all healing spells together. Though it would be cool if healing spells worked better on lower value units. Specially for IoN where for me, it should be healing basic zombies and skeletons like crazy. Heck it should probably be able to top off zombies on one cast.

    For SL I agree with you that it has high utility. But perhaps there should be a bigger cost paid for this utility?

    I did not go into summons specifically, but I do think those are a bit OP as well. They have been toned down, but just compared to other ways you can spend WoM, they just seem better in many situations.

    I think they should give SEM a passive trait that automatically reduces the HP gained by healing spells, say every tick x 0.75 or even 0.5.

  • rymeintrinsecarymeintrinseca Posts: 460Registered Users
  • WojmirVonCarsteinWojmirVonCarstein Posts: 519Registered Users
    One way to help with lord sniping with fireball is to use a large SEM to block the shot. I've used a Hellpit to shield Skrolk from Fireballs many times. The spell is slow enough that it is not super hard to react.
  • ThibixMagnusThibixMagnus Posts: 407Registered Users
    Reym said:

    Honestly even the fact that spirit leech have constant results vs non SE units killing 7 models of cav with 8 wom is still rather ok when you compare this to other damages spells.

    To me if there is a damage spell to be look at it's windblast. An almost free kill vs a skirmisher like an handgunner unit. And once overcast it's a mid life vs like a phoenix guard unit. The damages and WoM cost can remain the same, if we at least have like a 3 sec windup allowing the player to dodge.

    There is over performing spells but healing and spirit leech aren't among those ones imo.

    it could also trigger some rework of the heavens lore, its is one of the most aggressive lores with 4 damage spells, all AoE. Not sure it totally fits the heavens theme, which is more about divination and fate rather than killing power (although midnight and convergence are commonly used spells that also really fit the lore).

    Maybe 1 of the 4 damage spells could be changed into control or debuff, and windblast would be a natural candidate as it dealt no damage on tt. Windblast could be tweaked in a knock-back+debuff thing, while the other 3 get buffed. Uranon could track like doombolt, so there is more anti-SEM and less overlapping AoE.
  • Ephraim_DaltonEphraim_Dalton Senior Member Posts: 19,069Registered Users
    edited July 25

    One way to help with lord sniping with fireball is to use a large SEM to block the shot. I've used a Hellpit to shield Skrolk from Fireballs many times. The spell is slow enough that it is not super hard to react.

    The HPA costs 1800.

    A Bright Wizard on a Pegasus with nothing but Fireball equipped costs...730. So if you plan to use your HPA as nothing but a meatshield (which means you have to greatly restrict where it goes during the fight, hampering its normal battlefield utility), you're overspending by a huge margin. Let's also not forget the HPA takes extra damage from the fireball due to its regeneration ability.

  • WojmirVonCarsteinWojmirVonCarstein Posts: 519Registered Users

    One way to help with lord sniping with fireball is to use a large SEM to block the shot. I've used a Hellpit to shield Skrolk from Fireballs many times. The spell is slow enough that it is not super hard to react.

    The HPA costs 1800.

    A Bright Wizard on a Pegasus with nothing but Fireball equipped costs...730. So if you plan to use your HPA as nothing but a meatshield (which means you have to greatly restrict where it goes during the fight, hampering its normal battlefield utility), you're overspending by a huge margin. Let's also not forget the HPA takes extra damage from the fireball due to its regeneration ability.
    I did not say to plan to use the HPA this way. I just said that it's "One way to help with lord sniping with fireball".

    Yes HPA costs 1800 and takes extra damage from fire. But you can block 1 or 2 fireballs of opponent who uses it before the main battle has begun, as at this point your HPA has full health, is probably not actively fighting at the moment and will regenerate most of the damage dealt before it engages anyways.
  • Ephraim_DaltonEphraim_Dalton Senior Member Posts: 19,069Registered Users
    edited July 25

    One way to help with lord sniping with fireball is to use a large SEM to block the shot. I've used a Hellpit to shield Skrolk from Fireballs many times. The spell is slow enough that it is not super hard to react.

    The HPA costs 1800.

    A Bright Wizard on a Pegasus with nothing but Fireball equipped costs...730. So if you plan to use your HPA as nothing but a meatshield (which means you have to greatly restrict where it goes during the fight, hampering its normal battlefield utility), you're overspending by a huge margin. Let's also not forget the HPA takes extra damage from the fireball due to its regeneration ability.
    I did not say to plan to use the HPA this way. I just said that it's "One way to help with lord sniping with fireball".

    Yes HPA costs 1800 and takes extra damage from fire. But you can block 1 or 2 fireballs of opponent who uses it before the main battle has begun, as at this point your HPA has full health, is probably not actively fighting at the moment and will regenerate most of the damage dealt before it engages anyways.
    1800 vs 730 is simply not a good trade and it's total luck then if the HPA is close enough and standing in the right spot to block the fireball. So this is more of a last ditch effort than something you can reasonably calculate with.

    Also, fireballs are more often than not hurled at Skaven artillery thanks to a stupid quirk that has them target the pieces instead of the crew (so detaching the crew does nothing) and they kill a piece with every hit.

  • Green0Green0 Posts: 4,342Registered Users


    1800 vs 730 is simply not a good trade and it's total luck then if the HPA is close enough and standing in the right spot to block the fireball. So this is more of a last ditch effort than something you can reasonably calculate with.

    Fireballing a Hellpit is not a good trade for the Fire caster user. It takes time, if you OC you risk damaging yourself, and you waste mana that could be used on stuff like Burning Head.

    HPA also regenerates, has some 9000 HP and has a chance to burst heal.
  • Ephraim_DaltonEphraim_Dalton Senior Member Posts: 19,069Registered Users
    edited July 25
    Green0 said:


    1800 vs 730 is simply not a good trade and it's total luck then if the HPA is close enough and standing in the right spot to block the fireball. So this is more of a last ditch effort than something you can reasonably calculate with.

    Fireballing a Hellpit is not a good trade for the Fire caster user. It takes time, if you OC you risk damaging yourself, and you waste mana that could be used on stuff like Burning Head.

    HPA also regenerates, has some 9000 HP and has a chance to burst heal.
    Totally besides the point which was that you can't rely on the HPA to catch any fireballs aimed at your lord and having to field a 1800 monster to counter a 730 flying caster is not cost-effective no matter what.

  • WojmirVonCarsteinWojmirVonCarstein Posts: 519Registered Users

    Green0 said:


    1800 vs 730 is simply not a good trade and it's total luck then if the HPA is close enough and standing in the right spot to block the fireball. So this is more of a last ditch effort than something you can reasonably calculate with.

    Fireballing a Hellpit is not a good trade for the Fire caster user. It takes time, if you OC you risk damaging yourself, and you waste mana that could be used on stuff like Burning Head.

    HPA also regenerates, has some 9000 HP and has a chance to burst heal.
    Totally besides the point which was that you can't rely on the HPA to catch any fireballs aimed at your lord and having to field a 1800 monster to counter a 730 flying caster is not cost-effective no matter what.
    @Ephraim_Dalton you keep twisting what I said. I never said you can rely on the HPA for this. You keep talking as if I did. I just pointed out that it is helpful. That's all. Never said it's THE solution or something you can plan. It's just something to note.

    BTW, I did not know that you can kill skaven arty with fireballs like that. I rarely play using skaven and I mostly use Lzd and GS so don't have access to Fireball. But you just taught me something very useful!
  • WitchbladeWitchblade Posts: 182Registered Users
    While perhaps not OP, I do think spirit leech is very bad for the game. That spell alone often makes low HP lord choices unusable against armies with it.

    For example, TK are almost forced to take a sphinx as their lord against VC or focus their whole army on anti-air just because the opponent can spend 70 gold on this spell.

    It's one thing in tournament with attacking rules, but on ladder players like Arkhan the Black are known to mercilessly spirit leech kite the enemy lord to death. There's often very little you can do about this against a flying caster.

    I recommend at a minimum increasing the gold cost to 150. Alternatively, reduce the cast range to 50 m.
  • FerrousTarkusFerrousTarkus Posts: 452Registered Users
    edited July 29
    The whole problem come down to "target" spells that can't be dodged or countered in any ways.

    Every spells should target the ground if its a buff/debuff so units can actually get away or be lured away.

    Damaging spells should be able to dodged some way or countered with original mechanics such as only taking damage when moving for instance and others gimmicks.

    Click and win is not a mechanic.
    Post edited by FerrousTarkus on
  • TeozamaitTeozamait Posts: 58Registered Users

    The whole problem come down to "target" spells that can't be dodged or countered in any ways.

    Every spells should target the ground if its a buff/debuff so units can actually get away or be lured away.

    Damaging spells should be able to dodged some way or countered with original mechanics such as only taking damage when moving for instance and others gimmicks.

    Click and win is not a mechanic.

    It is a mechanic - just a bad one:P

    I hate to say this but they could take a lesson in spell mechanics from MOBAs - in general, abilities implemented in such games allow for a high skill celling and a lot of counterplay. Not saying they need to go full on hard to land bouncing skillshots but a few steps in that direction.

    But that requires a full revamp from the ground up. Perhaps in game 3...


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