Welcome

Please register for Total War Access to use the forums. If you're an existing user, your forum details will be merged with Total War Access if you register with the same email or username. For more information please read our FAQ’s here.

Categories

The Problem of Buffstacking

Ephraim_DaltonEphraim_Dalton Senior MemberRegistered Users Posts: 25,186
edited June 25 in General Discussion
In 40k 9th ed, GW will apparently cap hit roll modifiers at +1/-1, which prevents units from stacking too many hit roll modifiers up at once.

Which got me thinking that this game really needs a helping of that too. Right now you can stack buffs nearly endlessly on top of each other and thanks to the lightning quick pacing of this game, this gets out of hand really fast. Units can become completely unrecognizable, like Grom's infamous Chosen-level Goblins who nonetheless retain their cheap price or even get cheaper since upkeep reductions exist a plenty as well and income explodes only a few dozen turns into the campaign. Mechanics quickly cease mattering entirely, like PO or growth. Losing units or entire armies becomes irrelevant thanks to replenishment and recruitment buffs and that all together just turns the campaign into a flashy MOBA where you just push against the AI's endless stream of armies with your own unlimited soldiers. Strategy is no longer required because it's just a frontal grind. As a result the lategame becomes very boring and tedious.

So why not reduce the effectiveness of all the myriad buffs you receive over the course of the campaign?
Caps can be applied in different way:

1.a strict numeric or procentual cap, like "stat X cannot be raised beyond Y (or at all) or only be buffed by Z% of its starting value"
2.only the strongest buff applies. If you have a +5 and a +2 buff, only the former applies and the latter is discarded. Buffs of equal strength are only applied once
3.diminishing returns. Only the strongest cap is applied in full, any of the following buffs are reduced in effectiveness down to a minimum

When it comes to unit buffs for example, I would simply go with the first. A goblin unit should always be a goblin unit. It should not become a tiny, green unit of long-nosed Chaos Warriors. At the same time, I'd also lower the percentage cap the higher the base stat is, so higher tiered units would not receive buffs of the same strength simply because they already have higher stats.

For campaign related buffs, economic buffs for example coming from lord skills or traits should not be cumulative, especially global ones and if there are two or more heroes standing in the same province, only the strongest bonus should be applied.

Replenishment and recruitment should be stronger related to the race you are playing with elder races having lower caps to recruitment and replenishment than swarm races.

----

As an alternative to caps (or complimenting them), certain processes like research and character levelling could simply be slowed down. Research does barely anything else but unlock plain buffs and levelling is completely linear and wholly dependent on the kind of victory you earn or hero action you do, not on what enemies you fight (hence why sacking the same minor settlement over and over is so effective). So, like this:

-research should be slowed down. Somewhere between 50-100% at least
-XP requirements for levelling should not only increase every level, XP rewards should be dependent on what kind of army you fight. A battered T1 garrison should not net the same XP as a doomstack. I would even make it so that fighting more than one army at once nets a bonus and using lightning strike or ambush reduces the gain. Simply because taking higher risks should be rewarded and chickening out punished

Ideally, I would like if CA added a pacing slider at the start of the campaign that influenced the average speed of levelling, research, trait gain, replenishment and the like.

But I don't think the game should stay as it is, no matter what CA chooses to do.

Post edited by Ephraim_Dalton on
Tagged:
«1

Comments

  • lucibuislucibuis Registered Users Posts: 3,458
    I agree with you here. Campaign is not really a strategy game anymore, just a senseless whack a mole. Every dlc broke the campaign more and more with crazy buffs and abilities.
  • TennisgolfbollTennisgolfboll Registered Users Posts: 9,070
    edited June 25
    Well said. Buff stacking also leads to absurd increases in power. For example 30% ward save. When added to a character that has no ward save allready his hp of 10k just increases to 14280. But when added to a char that has 60% ward and thus 25000 health that charcter now has 100 000 health. So firsr 30% gave 4k hp. Last 30% gave 75000!!
    It needs to be pointed out that what people call "cheese" is just playing the game the way it actually exists not in some fictional way they think it is supposed to work.
  • joproulx99joproulx99 Junior Member Registered Users Posts: 648
    I agree, even the chevrons somehow irritate me. I just want to fight battles on cool maps with the campaign providing a narrative so battles feel meaningful, I dont like turning goblins into chaos warriors, I want instead to swarm the world in a sea of goblins with goblin stats. Or defend against that.

    But I think we are a minority here, because most people seem to actually like power creeping, Its called rpg elements, lol.

    Reducing all passive stat buffs considerably would be a good move IMO, since they get to stack way to high when you know what you are doing.

    "Fear me mortals, for I am the Anointed, the favored Son of Chaos, the Scourge of the World. The armies of the gods rally behind me, and it is by my will and by my sword that your weakling nations shall fall."

    ~ Archaon, Lord of the End Times
  • Ephraim_DaltonEphraim_Dalton Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 25,186
    Well, with a few exceptions most buffs are actually fairly small, it's more that they're almost all fully cumulative and so add up quickly. That's also why losing individual characters or settlements that provide buffs doesn't matter so much in the long run.

  • RomeoRejectRomeoReject Registered Users Posts: 785
    Slowing down Chevron gain (And completely removing bonus Chevrons from Campaign buildings/technologies/Lords) could help ameliorate a lot of this. Goblins getting stacked bonuses wont matter so badly when they're so much worse than Chaos Warriors to begin with.
  • EthorinEthorin Registered Users Posts: 283
    ...I think there's mods out there that already address some of this


    I could have sworn I saw one that outright deleted Red Line skills just yesterday somewhere in the workshop.

    My suggestion would just be "mod out unit buffs, see how the game plays without them"

    At least, assuming you want to actually convince anyone who doesn't already agree with you.

    Personally, I have a ton of fun making wacky and wild stuff work or just turning Depth Guard into murder blenders who can take on entire stacks.
  • Nitros14Nitros14 Junior Member Registered Users Posts: 1,864
    edited June 25
    The game rapidly becomes stupid, battles no longer resemble total war, with the absurd amounts of wildly overpowered campaign buffs in the game. Most of which the AI makes very poor use of.

    Related: there really is absolutely no reason every unit in your army should have leadership +40 (Other) at all times.
  • IchonIchon Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 5,065
    edited June 25
    I saw someone earlier make the comparison of the current system in Warhammer approaching card game levels where drawing the right cards that synergize and give 3x damage or defence is more important than the order you play the cards drawn or for a game that sells itself as mix of RTS/wargame actually moving the units around on the battlefield doesn't matter as much as the buffs you have stacked on those units as they will win, either way, moving them around just reduces the casualties a bit from the inevitable win.

    To be clear- Warhammer is not quite there yet but it is close enough you can clearly see how it might end up there.

    Any single buff by itself is probably not that bad- it is the combination of buffs and the way CA has added series of buffs that disproportionally affect some units and not others.

    Personally I think the only buffs that should exist are redline buffs and scrap buffs that once selected gray out other options so a Lord can only specialize in 1 type of unit BUT heroes gain the ability to add redline buffs as well but only effective within their radius, not applied to the whole army like a Lord's buffs. Have an Empire Captain that buffs infantry? The buff only applies if the Captain is fighting near the infantry- not flying around on a pegasus chasing enemy heroes.

    Get rid of technology buffs and XP at least for Warhammer. Having scrap upgrades a unit gains through fighting in the campaign that can change their specialization a bit but not hugely affect their base stats makes the most sense. I don't think XP really makes as much sense in a Warhammer setting- a Black Orc is already big, scary and dangerous by virtue of being a Black Orc, same for Dragons, Vampires, etc.

    If XP is retained it should be more like the XP system in Rome 2 that is tied to an army/banner rather than individual units.

    Equipment for Lords and Heroes should only give temporary buffs- nothing that stacks permanently.
    YouTube, it takes over your mind and guides you to strange places like tutorials on how to talk to a giraffe.
  • Nitros14Nitros14 Junior Member Registered Users Posts: 1,864
    Bonuses to melee attack/defence ward save/resistance reload speed/damage should really only count the highest and not stack at all.

    That would be a good start.
  • TyphenirwolfTyphenirwolf Registered Users Posts: 47
    The easiest solution is to break the map up into different regions and create a serialized campaign mode. As your Legendary Lord grows, each serial campaign can be adjusted accordingly to keep the challenge going... without getting rid of buff stacking.

    I don't think it is practical to imagine that CA will discover a solution to a problem that apparently exists in all their other games for campaign mode if they haven't discovered it yet. The only thing left to do is break the game up so you can stagger the experience out and calculate the changes that need to be made to keep things lively.

    I think it would be pretty solid only having your Legendary Lord follow you with a few select units each new chapter, negating the long game advantage that multiple heroes and lords can provide. Research can be reset each Chapter as well, which eliminates fully half the problem as described.

    I think for the regular/Long Campaign mode, it's possible CA prefers the model of players having access to wildly overpowered set ups (which the A.I. makes poor use of) because that's been the case in each of it's games. Rather than compromising what they might consider to be functional, the Serialized Campaign sidesteps hours of coding and game balancing that might be necessary when buffs either don't stack or are limited in stacking.

    The other option is to create a "Highlander" mode which prevents you from hiring more than one Lord and/or Hero with the same base trait. Stacking will still occur with abilities that are accrued from leveling up, but you won't be able to easily Doomstack using Pompous if you only have one Lord and one Hero with that trait.... and likewise down the line.

    It also occurs to me that Hero starter traits could be altered so they only function against races that character has earned it's "Hates" trait with. This would allow for Doomstacking, but make it more time consuming with less payoff. Maybe it's not possible for them to implement that or that's too much work for something that might not fully address an issue that is also compounded by level up skills, gear, and spells. At a certain point though, it seems like lining up your gear, spells, and skills should be rewarded, not punished.

    On the topic of punishment, you could always force trying playstyle variety onto the player by creating a system that doesn't equally limit Doomstacks. The system could be entirely secret, the player only discovering which Doomstacks are unlimited by lots of testing each game, or it could be fully transparent being listed as a specific boon from the various Gods of the Race they are playing. This might generate better discussion on which Doomstacks are too weak, which I personally think is a bigger balance issue that which Doomstacks are too strong.

    If they do choose to cap Doomstacking, I hope it would be an OPTION, rather than a flat out change to the whole game. After all, Doomstacking is really only an issue if you choose to exploit it, and I'm not fully convinced CA didn't intend players to have that option if they want it.

  • Ephraim_DaltonEphraim_Dalton Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 25,186

    The easiest solution is to break the map up into different regions and create a serialized campaign mode. As your Legendary Lord grows, each serial campaign can be adjusted accordingly to keep the challenge going... without getting rid of buff stacking.

    Inacceptable. That would only kill all replayability fast, just like it did in the older WH RTSs that had only linear campaign progression. Played them once, maybe twice because they had some branching paths, but then never bothered with them again because there was no point.

    So no, that's exactly what CA shouldn't do under any circumstances.

    Buffstacking exists because CA deliberately put it in, it's not a consequence of any basic mechanic, just of the way those mechanics are tuned. If levelling, research and expansion were slowed down, that would already do wonders about the problem since those are the main sources of buffs.

  • TyphenirwolfTyphenirwolf Registered Users Posts: 47
    edited June 26
    Serialized Campaigns don't have to follow the same path. Between each Region, you'd have access to a larger map that includes all the areas in the serial, (which might a world map, or could be more focused.. that doesn't matter) Beyond the FIRST one, you'd basically choose which region you tackle from all the options. The Mission or Goal for each region could be unique or even change based on what you accomplished in prior Chapters.

    Maybe Serial is the wrong word. Perhaps Parallel would make more sense? Your actions in any given Chapter would affect your diplomatic standing with the factions in following chapters, making it increasingly difficult to gain/maintain allies.... so the game has a lot of flexibility in how it will pan out based on your choices.

    There is no reason it has to be linear. It's probably less linear if you break it up into chapters because you will interact with more factions that way... many of them you never get to see because they are eliminated on the world map long before you explore where they are.


    However, it occurs to me... For the current World Campaign Research being slowed down, it might be best if they don't change the ACTUAL speed, since that's about right in terms of the timing of reward, but they should make it so most research has multiple levels. After the first level, you unlock the ability to move up to the next item on the tree, but, similar to skill investments, most research items would only unlock a minor boost at the first level. You'd have to commit more research and time to each item if you wanted the full buff. The Rate would stay the same, but the benefits could be divided up into portions so you could still unlock all the branches at the same speed as before, but to FULLY research every item it would take at least 3 times as long... (Or longer if each level of research takes more time.)

    The one faction that you'd need to be careful with would be Tomb Kings, since their research slows down each time they unlock a new branch. Researching for them could turn into a total slog... any way you slice it.
    Post edited by Typhenirwolf on
  • Mogwai_ManMogwai_Man Registered Users Posts: 3,833
    Buffs from the same source should never stack and buff values could be halved at this point to curb the current power creep.
  • Artjuh90Artjuh90 Registered Users Posts: 881
    easy solution: if you dont like buffstacking don't use it


    WOW that was so hard to grasp!
  • Nitros14Nitros14 Junior Member Registered Users Posts: 1,864
    Artjuh90 said:

    easy solution: if you dont like buffstacking don't use it


    WOW that was so hard to grasp!

    Deliberately crippling yourself isn't fun, fix the game instead.
  • Artjuh90Artjuh90 Registered Users Posts: 881
    Nitros14 said:

    Artjuh90 said:

    easy solution: if you dont like buffstacking don't use it


    WOW that was so hard to grasp!

    Deliberately crippling yourself isn't fun, fix the game instead.
    crippling you say? i disagree exploiding the game isn't the normal way to play the game. if you use exploids in this game which are enough in the game as it is already makes the game boring and easy. not sure were people find the plesure in making the game so easy there is no challenge at all.
    there is a difference between easy but still can challenge and braindead 1 click win.
    same for difficult there is a difference between headsmashing hard and hard. one is forcing you to min max and play perfect (which is no were near in warhammer 2) and hard just fighting with balanced teams and have fair fights were you can actually get the occasional lose in a fight.
  • Wtfah114Wtfah114 Registered Users Posts: 172
    Have to agree here, ridiculous campaign buffs makes the game less interesting, one of the selling point of warhammer is varied unit rosters each with their own strength and weaknesses, these campaign buffs really just makes every army chosen but with different model.
  • IchonIchon Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 5,065
    edited June 26
    Artjuh90 said:

    easy solution: if you dont like buffstacking don't use it


    WOW that was so hard to grasp!

    I would be for that most of the time except the increase in buff stacking has led to complaints of the campaign being too easy (it was in most ways) so CA simply gave the AI more buffs which was making the campaign a bit grindy until the last round where the AI got enough buffs now I actually feel like I am pushed into stacking ranged buffs (that was already the most 'efficient' way to play but VH/L could be won without that) just to get past the grind of battles vs higher numbers of higher quality units the AI gets.

    This is only WH2... I don't want CA to continue down this path for WH3 as the grind will simply make that game boring rather than the culmination of the best TW title so far.

    The AI has to have buffs to be even semi-competitive or threatening to players but this is still a game, it is not only about winning but having fun. When the AI buffs get to a certain point you feel channelled into a playstyle that narrows the game options down, that lowers the fun immensely.

    I just want the AI to have enough buffs they can have a chance to defeat my armies (even more important is to capture cities not just minor settlements) but also that most categories of units in any army roster are useful- they don't have to be equally useful, we still want asymmetric balance but consistently nerfing melee units for the player and adding multiple stacking buffs for ranged units lowers asymmetric balance- not increases it or even leaves it alone.
    YouTube, it takes over your mind and guides you to strange places like tutorials on how to talk to a giraffe.
  • goremandgoremand Registered Users Posts: 107
    Generic red line buffs are the worst offender imo, It's been known a long time they are too strong. I expect them to be toned down in WH3.
  • lucibuislucibuis Registered Users Posts: 3,458
    Not all buffs are random or overpowered though, some are necessary for a unit to function, fir example, the buffs to treekin from ancient treemen and the buff to eternal guard from technology.
  • TheLowKingTheLowKing Registered Users Posts: 162
    Just remove Lord redline buffs, they are the biggest offender and discourage varied armies. Technology is ok, so as long as CA can slow down the power creep it should be ok.
  • Ephraim_DaltonEphraim_Dalton Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 25,186
    edited June 26
    Artjuh90 said:

    easy solution: if you dont like buffstacking don't use it


    WOW that was so hard to grasp!

    So, not spend skillpoints, not research stuff, don't conquer territory, don't equip any followers or items... you're suggesting to avoid this issue I should more or less skip most of the gameplay loop. That means it's not a solution at all, much less an "easy" one.

    Buffs stack by just playing the game normally, you don't have to go out of your way to do it, it's not using exploits.




  • Ares354Ares354 Registered Users Posts: 3,231

    Just remove Lord redline buffs, they are the biggest offender and discourage varied armies. Technology is ok, so as long as CA can slow down the power creep it should be ok.

    And how this will stop doom stack or chees gameplay, oh yea, it wont.
  • KlausTheKatKlausTheKat Registered Users Posts: 480
    I agree with the sentiment here however it does not make the game unplayable, just different to the usual TW style of play.

    As such, I think this is something best remedied through an overhaul mod.

    Someone above mentioned that there is a mod that outright removes the redline from skills. Not a bad idea but that surely just results in herohammer? Maybe the best solution would be to instead remove the redline but blanket provide those buffs as standard. At least then everyone is one the same page. (and with the rank7+ buffs active it still gives additional agency to veterans)
  • Ephraim_DaltonEphraim_Dalton Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 25,186

    I agree with the sentiment here however it does not make the game unplayable, just different to the usual TW style of play.

    As such, I think this is something best remedied through an overhaul mod.

    Someone above mentioned that there is a mod that outright removes the redline from skills. Not a bad idea but that surely just results in herohammer? Maybe the best solution would be to instead remove the redline but blanket provide those buffs as standard. At least then everyone is one the same page. (and with the rank7+ buffs active it still gives additional agency to veterans)

    The point is not that it makes the game unplayable, just reduces it to a very stale tug-of-war where unlimited armies from both sides continously grind into each other until one side loses all settlements with no need for any sort of plan or strategy. Battles become boring because your troops have stats stretching further than the UI allows and so there's not much need for maneuvering either, especially not when you go for ranged firepower which is frankly way too prominent in this game.

    I'm actually already avoiding red skills like the plague, but it doesn't matter, because buffs from other sources stack up anyway, research being one of the worst offenders here since half of any research tree is campaign buffs and the other unit buffs, so trivialization will happen unless I'm deliberately not researching anything and that's frankly pretty dumb.

  • KlausTheKatKlausTheKat Registered Users Posts: 480

    The point is not that it makes the game unplayable, just reduces it to a very stale tug-of-war where unlimited armies from both sides continously grind into each other until one side loses all settlements with no need for any sort of plan or strategy. Battles become boring because your troops have stats stretching further than the UI allows and so there's not much need for maneuvering either, especially not when you go for ranged firepower which is frankly way too prominent in this game.

    I'm actually already avoiding red skills like the plague, but it doesn't matter, because buffs from other sources stack up anyway, research being one of the worst offenders here since half of any research tree is campaign buffs and the other unit buffs, so trivialization will happen unless I'm deliberately not researching anything and that's frankly pretty dumb.

    The unplayable comment was more to point out that this is not necessarily something in dire need of "fixing" but a fundamental change in the way the game is played, hence why I pointed to mods as the solution.

    Supposing we were to go the route of removing redline/tech/trait buffs, how then would you mark progression for a player other than via unit availability?
  • EthorinEthorin Registered Users Posts: 283
    Wtfah114 said:

    Have to agree here, ridiculous campaign buffs makes the game less interesting, one of the selling point of warhammer is varied unit rosters each with their own strength and weaknesses, these campaign buffs really just makes every army chosen but with different model.

    Either you are massively over exaggerating or we are playing entirely seperate games, I play with a mod that doubles tech bonuses and a unit of rank 9 Spearmen with full Red Line support will still lose to unbuffed no redline skills Chosen.

    If this is hyperbole it's still silly.
  • Ephraim_DaltonEphraim_Dalton Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 25,186

    The point is not that it makes the game unplayable, just reduces it to a very stale tug-of-war where unlimited armies from both sides continously grind into each other until one side loses all settlements with no need for any sort of plan or strategy. Battles become boring because your troops have stats stretching further than the UI allows and so there's not much need for maneuvering either, especially not when you go for ranged firepower which is frankly way too prominent in this game.

    I'm actually already avoiding red skills like the plague, but it doesn't matter, because buffs from other sources stack up anyway, research being one of the worst offenders here since half of any research tree is campaign buffs and the other unit buffs, so trivialization will happen unless I'm deliberately not researching anything and that's frankly pretty dumb.

    The unplayable comment was more to point out that this is not necessarily something in dire need of "fixing" but a fundamental change in the way the game is played, hence why I pointed to mods as the solution.

    Supposing we were to go the route of removing redline/tech/trait buffs, how then would you mark progression for a player other than via unit availability?
    A boring game is a game in need of fixes. Even CA noticed this, hence the PG beta adressing it in part.

    As for removing red line skills being necessary to mark progression, that's a false premise because buffing troops to have
    200+% of their starting stats is not a necessary part of the gameplay loop nor is it a particularly fun one since it removes a big portion of strategy out of what purports to be a strategy game. What this game does wrong is getting simpler and simpler the more you progress with less and less mechanics mattering. As I said, PO, growth and money become non-factors and so does preserving troops and army deployment eventually. There's simply not much to do other than grinding in long strings of meaningless battles, expansion, settlement development and army building becomes rote.

    Why settle for a gameplay loop that becomes this stale? Wouldn't it be better if the game became more instead of less complex over time? Making buffs rarer and more conditional would mean those you actually get are more meaningful.

  • KlausTheKatKlausTheKat Registered Users Posts: 480

    A boring game is a game in need of fixes. Even CA noticed this, hence the PG beta adressing it in part.

    As for removing red line skills being necessary to mark progression, that's a false premise because buffing troops to have
    200+% of their starting stats is not a necessary part of the gameplay loop nor is it a particularly fun one since it removes a big portion of strategy out of what purports to be a strategy game. What this game does wrong is getting simpler and simpler the more you progress with less and less mechanics mattering. As I said, PO, growth and money become non-factors and so does preserving troops and army deployment eventually. There's simply not much to do other than grinding in long strings of meaningless battles, expansion, settlement development and army building becomes rote.

    Why settle for a gameplay loop that becomes this stale? Wouldn't it be better if the game became more instead of less complex over time? Making buffs rarer and more conditional would mean those you actually get are more meaningful.


    You misunderstand, I was not saying "How do you mark progression" as a "AHA GOTCHA!" I was genuinely asking what you would suggest as an alternative to differentiate a seasoned level 40 Commander from a newly founded level 1 newbie?

    As for it being a boring game, well, that is obviously an opinion. I loved the PG Beta but I didn't notice it toning down any buffs, it slowed down growth and increased costs, which i believe to be a good idea, to try and put more onus and value on individual armies and troops in your service rather than just have instant, cheap, throwaway assets. But the powercreep was still just as prevalent as it is in Vanilla.

    Also, and i admit I am kinda into devils advocate territory here, Surely the streamlining that occurs as one transitions into lategame is exactly there to facilitate the management of a larger lategame empire. Otherwise lategame turntimes would number in the hours rather than minutes?
  • VandicusVandicus Junior Member Registered Users Posts: 41
    This is a problem in 3k total war(or shogun 2 or rome 2) much more so than here. And the effectiveness of Melee attack and melee defense is capped since there is a max and minimum hit chance, not to mention MA and MD offset each other(two enemies with 9 chevrons are basically the same as two enemies with 0 chevrons except leadership). It's not like early game units, with the exception of AP ranged units, are all that effective against late game units. If anything, late game units, particularly monsters, are difficult to deal with using early game units. At the same time you're complaining about cheap units being too effective everyone else is complaining about elite stacks.

    Unlimited armies is also a function of the economy of each race, there are some stacking cheese a player can do but with unique buildings and modifiers from many capitols income tends to get pretty high.

    If you want to reduce the replenishment of some races, high elves being a good example, you'd have to reduce their casualties somehow. Fundamentally Total War is a 20 stack vs 20 stack sort of game and hitting a faction too hard in replenishment can't easily be balanced by making their units stronger. This would require a massive overhaul of the balancing between races.
Sign In or Register to comment.