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Before the last patch, we prepared a ‘consensus’ set of balance recommendations, many of which CA implemented and that greatly improved MP balance in WH 3. As Immortal Empires Beta looks to wrap up soon, CA has a great opportunity to build on that in your next patch by finishing development of the Domination game mode and advancing the work of fixing bugs and balancing factions and many under-used units.
Working with both Domination and Land Battle players at the Total Tavern Discord, the RTK Discord, and via insights from Loupi’s thoughtful “Battle Balance and Bugfix Mod” we developed and then posted for peer review a large set of unit and spell balance recommendations.
What survived this process are suggestions with a broad consensus, and I hope CA will find these helpful as you consider MP balance and game design for the next patch. In the following, I present and make a case for each item briefly to keep it concise, with recommendations sorted by Faction.
Depending on how much time and energy CA developers have, you could focus mostly on the most egregious points here (indicated by a ‘!’) or consider the full set of recommendations wherever possible. Where single player balance is a concern, multiplayer price adjustments are a feasible option in most cases that doesn’t affect that.
Except where specifically noted, our suggestions are for SMALL changes, which are usually all that are needed to avoid overshooting the mark when applying buffs or nerfs.
When you balance this game well, it's like giving us a ton of newly playable content and that is much appreciated. Thanks for your efforts to continue to improve the MP experience, and we hope this will make your work easier.
TLDR Summary: (!) = especially egregious or impactful balancing issue
Key Domination Game Fixes: (!!) Integration of the available high quality community-made maps into Domination multiplayer is key (more Land Battle maps are also needed); (!) Higher capture weight for Tier II/III units; (!) Resummoning panel should not block the army; (!) Resummoned units should not retain bonuses (i.e. Rage, Soul Hunter); (!) Teleporting units should take longer to unsummon.
Key Balancing Changes (most small) (!) Nerfs to: Hellstriders with spears and/or Devoted marauders of Slaanesh; Pit of Shades (slight); Cylostra summons; Dark Elf Masters price; Animated Hulks, Cathay Shugengan Lord price, Thorek anvil price, Corpse Cart Unholy Lodestone, Malekith’s Dragon mount price.
(!) Buffs/bug fixes for: War Lions of Chrace, Forsaken of Khorne; Stormvermin, Death Globe Bombadiers, Flame Cannon, Runesmiths, Streltsi (bug), Kislev Horse Archers, Ice Guard, Bestigors, Fimir, Rot Flies & Plague Drones, Plague Toads of Nurgle, Pox Riders, Nurglings, Executioners, Kroxigors (both types), Bastilodon Solar Engines, Troglodons/Skink Oracle, Fimir, Doomfire warlocks, Tzeentch War Shrines and Marauders of Tzeentch, Wild Riders, Flagellants (bug), Gorgers (bug), Demons of Chaos Lords; Several melee chariots and single entity monsters were weakened by the move to WH3/Ultra unit sizes and need help (see below throughout); many under-utilized spells are in need of help (see below at the end).
Domination Game Mechanics: • (!!) The current Domination Quick Battle map options are VERY BAD for the game. Please add community-made maps (The Total Tavern mod has great maps thoroughly tested) and eliminate Silver Spire, Eye of the North, and Galleons Cove from the rotation as well. Note that Land Battles also badly need more maps ported over from WH 2. • (!) Unit cap weights are artificially making spamming cheap melee units a dominant build type, and elite units rarer. A modest fix to this would be to make Tier I units -1 lower cap weight, Tier II get +1 higher cap weight, and Units with Tier III get +3 higher cap weight across the board. • (!) The recruitment panel blocks you from seeing your most important units. Please move it or make it movable by the player! • (!) Units that are resummoned retain certain buffs (like norscan Rage, Soul Hunter, etc..) they gained in prior lives. This is a problem for unit balance and should be changed if possible. • (!) Teleporting units out of combat/danger is too easy, it should take bit longer (e.g. 5-10 seconds rather than 3 seconds) • The “refund” players receive in funds when teleporting a unit out rewards players for using ranged units to deal damage and then disappear, which can get toxic with mobile ranged units and certain artillery. Refunds should be discounted for ammo use if possible. • Generals in dom don’t make sense right now. One fix would be if generals are always your Lord and one is required in your starting army (you can always unsummon them later). • There is a bug where unbreakable units with frenzy (e.g. flagellants) DO NOT get their frenzy ability bonus if they are not taken in the starting army. Please fix! • There is a bug where summoned ranged units are sometimes put in skirmish mode even when it is not your default stance. Please fix!
Unit Balancing, By Faction: Wood Elves • (!) Wild Riders are too weak for their price relative to many other light shock cavalry in the game right now, meriting buffs of some kind. • Sisters of Thorn are a bit over-priced; could be better if their spells got buffed (see at bottom) • Wardancers asrai spears are a little underpowered in general, and (!) Loec’s tricksters are one of the most overpriced units in the game; • Zoats could use a slight boost, even considering the faction they are in they are too weak relative to WH 3 faction anti-large monstrous units (e.g. War Bears). • The regular Treeman (not the lord) is a little overpriced right now.
Warriors of Chaos • (!) Hellstriders (spears) continue to be too cheap for their many abilities especially for the Warriors of Chaos roster. • (!) Alternately, the WoC roster might be more balanced if they simply lost access to all of the partially demonic units on their roster in multiplayer: Hellstriders, Skullcrushers, Doom knights, and Demonic lords. • Chaos Knights (all versions) perform worse than their stats would suggest because of their large model size. Testing indicates that decreasing the number of models and boosting their stats to compensate would help them perform better (e.g. like Cold Ones). • Dragon Ogre Shaggoths need a slight boost with the move to Ultra unit sizes • Dragon Ogres could use a slight boost, even considering the faction they are in they are too weak relative to WH 3 faction anti-large monstrous units (e.g. War Bears). • Gorebeast chariots are UP on Ultra for the price and need a slight boost to damage output (e.g. WS/mass), and Chaos chariots also need that slight boost. • While pricey, Belakor brings too much to the table and could use a nerf/price increase to allow other lords to compete. Could also/alternately be restricted to just Demons of Chaos.
Demons of Chaos • (!) Aside from Belakor, all of the Demons of Chaos Lords are significantly overpriced with the possible exception of the Feathered Lord, particularly those that are not spellcasters. • (!) The Demons of Chaos roster should be allowed in ranked multiplayer. They are reasonably balanced and no more likely to be unbalanced than the Warriors of Chaos roster. • Furies on this roster do not count against any unit caps, which should be fixed. • [See individual chaos factions for additional suggestions.]
Slaanesh • (!) Either a blanket nerf to Mark of Slaanesh (it gives a ton of bonuses for its price right now) or small targeted nerfs of Hellstriders (spears) and Devoted Mauraders of Slaanesh are needed to help balance this faction. • Seeker, Hellflayer, and Exalted Seeker chariots, like many other melee-oriented chariots, need small buffs to WS or mass to increase their damage output • Fiends of slaanesh need a small buff or price decrease • Keeper of Secrets needs a small buff or price decrease • N’Kari and the Exalted Keeper of Secrets Lord are a bit overpriced • [See Warriors of Chaos for Chaos Knights feedback; Fixing respawn units coming back with abilities will also help balance Slaanesh in Domination ]
Khorne • (!) Forsaken of Khorne are worse than generic Forsaken; the minimum price for this unit should be 750 (even then they trade -5MD for 15% spell resist). • Minotaurs (especially GW) are a bit OP (even for Khorne roster) and could use a slight cost increase • Flesh Hounds are slightly OP (even for Khorne roster) and could use a slight cost increase • Dual axe marauders, Dual axe chaos warriors, and both Chosen of Khorne variants are slightly overpriced (for a khorne roster). • Bloodcrushers of Khorne need a slight buff (e.g. lower cost or higher LD) to be viable • Skarbrand and Exalted Bloodletter Lord are slightly overpriced • Chaos Lord of Khorne and Exalted Hero of Khorne gorebeast chariot mounts are bugged and do not get collision attacks, making them useless mounts. • [See Gorebeast chariots and Chaos Knights in Warriors of Chaos list; Fixing respawn units coming back with abilities will also help balance Khorne minotaurs]
Nurgle • (!) Rot flies and Plague Drones of both types do not deliver sufficient damage output for their price, hurting a roster that needs stronger mobile units. • (!) Both Plague Toads of Nurgle and Pox Riders – require a boost to damage output and mass given their low model count (Compare to ice wolves). ROR pox riders are strong though. • (!) Nurglings currently do splash attacks, making them ineffective in combat. Please fix! • Nurgle’s exalted hero is slightly too strong for the price with cloud of flies, majority AP, etc.. • Great Unclean Ones could use a small price decrease or more casts on their bound spells • [See Warriors of Chaos for Chaos Knights feedback]
Tzeentch • (!) Tzeentch war shrine has a really weak buff making it underperforming. • (!) Marauders of Tzeentch don’t benefit much from barrier and so are slightly overpriced • Exalted Pink Horrors of Tzeentch are a bit overpriced for what they bring to the table • Exalted Flamers of Tzeentch are a bit overcosted relative to their damage output • Doom knights could use a small mass boost to avoid getting trapped in units so much • Lord of Change/ Kairos hit boxes and animations make them unreasonably hard to shoot at. • [See Warriors of Chaos for Chaos Knights feedback]
Vampire Counts: • (!) Corpse carts and particularly the Unholy Lodestone version are a bit too strong for the price now and could use a small cost increase. • Crypt horrors remain a bit overperforming with the combination of very high HP and regeneration. Could use a slight nerf. • Vargheists are a bit overperforming with Hunger given their mobility and could use a slight nerf to cost or stats (compare to Rot flies which are so much worse).
Vampire Coast • (!) Cylostra's damned knight errants summon is too cheap for a summoned unit that is now very strong in lance formation; could be pricier and/or have a charge condition • (!) Vampire Coast’s Animated Hulks are very strong AP damage dealers overall significantly stronger than Ogre bulls for the same price; they should cost a bit more. • Mournguls are too weak and could use a small buff. Mourngul Haunters are also a bit too weak on Ultra unit size. • Explosive damage from, gunnery mob bombers and deck dropper bombers is a bit too strong and should be toned down slightly
Tomb Kings: • (!) Necrosphinx, War Sphinxes, Bone Giants, and Heirotitans are weaker in Ultra unit size and could use small buffs. • Skeleton chariots in ultra unit size are weaker, and could use a small WS and/or mass boost. • Necropolis Knights (both versions) could use a slight buff, as they struggle a bit with the Ultra unit size and are a bit weak relative to comparative WH3 units (e.g. War Bears).
Skaven • (!) Stormvermin (both variants) are too weak/cowardly for the price even for a faction that is supposed to have weaker heavy infantry. Buffs or reduced price are needed. • (!) Doom Flayers still need a boost to their mass/WS to fulfill their roles as semi-chariots • (!) Death Globe Bombadiers are redundant, but also suck for the high price • Warp Lightning cannons are slightly overpriced given their vulnerabilities. • Plague monks and Plague Monk Censer Bearers are slightly underwhelming relative to the power creep of other factions' melee infantry. • Doomwheels are still a bit too weak for the price right now since the move to WH3 / Ultra. • Mutant rat ogres have a combat animation bug that causes them to miss alot. Please fix! • Explosive damage from Poisoned Wind Globadiers is (still) a bit too strong and should be toned down slightly
Ogre Kingdoms • (!) Gorgers continue to be a little too weak for their price point right AND they have the bug where unbreakable units with frenzy don’t get their frenzy unless used in the starting army. • Maneater pistols need better ranged damage output to play their important role in the roster • Ironguts are a little under-performing for their price point • While better than they look, Crushers (both variants) are still a little too costly for what they bring to the table • Ironblasters are a little too pricey for their current utility • Greasus is still underpowered in terms of his value added in battle
Norsca • (!) Fimir (both versions) cost much more than comparison units (like Trolls) of various kinds that have better stats and speed. They need a modest buff or cost decrease. • Mammoths, but especially Feral mammoths and the Soulcrusher ROR are struggling on ultra size for their price right now; need a slight buff. • Icewolf chariots could use a slight buff to WS/mass, and so could Marauder chariots • Frost-Wyrms are slightly over-priced for what they bring to the table, as a low LD dragon • Marauder champions (regular) should be strong but are a little too strong right now for cost
Lizardmen • (!) Sacred Kroxigors andregular Kroxigors) for the price are worse than armoured trolls or other comparable units. They could use a slight buff or cost decrease. • (!) Bastilodons Solar Engines ranged damage output is too low right now. • (!) Feral Troglodons and the Skink Oracle are significantly underpowered right now and could use moderate buffs or price reductions. • Carnosaurs, All Stegadons, and the Coatl are a little underpowered right now and could use small buffs or price reductions. • Chameleon stalkers are slightly overcosted and also should not count against the 360 shooting unit cap given how weak their precursor shot is now. • The Engine of the Gods ability (Ancient Stegadon) is too weak/inneffective in practice with long cooldown. Compare to ark of sotek which at least has infinite charges.
Kislev • (!) Streltsi are currently doing splash damage (2), which makes them highly ineffective in melee. This needs to be changed. • (!) Iceguard (both versions) cost too much and are very fragile units. Relative to other hybrid archers such as Lothern Sea Guard or Sisters of Avelorn they are clearly underperforming. Better armor or more AP damage ratio would help. • (!) Kislev horse archers are overpriced for their stats (compare to Ellyrian Reavers which have same AP ratio) • Tzar Guard Great Weapons are slightly underperfoming (though they are better than their stats would suggest), even as other elite infantry have been buffed. • Gryphon legion and winged lancers have lower mass than other cav (and Legion has lower speed);’ they need more mass or something else to compensate. • Armoured Kossars GW struggle with an awkward mix of high charge bonus and ranged attack. Giving them (and maybe other armoured kossars) fire-while-moving would be a nice buff • Dahv's Brazier and Syllak's lullaby should hit a maximum of 4 targets, like most other healing spells
High Elves • (!) War Lions of Chrace are very pricey and fragile relative to all other hound units and need a modest buff or price decrease to be useful. • (!) Ithilmar Chariots are grossly overpriced, paying for useless stats. Like many melee chariots, they could also use some boost to damage output (WS/mass). • Lion Chariots have a bug causing missed rider attack animations; likely also need a small boost to damage output like other melee chariots. • Lothern Sea Guard (both variants) should not have received a -50 buff in Patch 2.2 and this should be partially reversed. At 600 gold and with martial prowess they clearly outclass comparative units like Kislev Kossar Spears (500) and Ice Guard Glaives (1150). • Noble pays too much (600 gold) to ride a chariot that no longer does majority AP damage (it used to). Could make it majority AP again. • Eltharion has two bugs: Mistwalkers barrage simply does no damage; and ‘entities cannot die" effect from helm of yvresse it applies only to a single soldier/entity.
Greenskins • (!) Arachnarok spiders need a small buff or price reduction • River trolls are a little too weak and need a slight buff • Savage Orc Boar Boy Bigguns are still not quite viable for their price, need small buff (maybe magic damage) • Savage Orcs are a little weak right now, having missed the melee infantry upgrades most other factions have received. • Boar chariots are slightly UP on ultra size and could use a slight buff to damage output. • [Azhag the Slaughterer’s missing item bug is already being worked on so that’s good.]
Grand Cathay • (!) Dragon-blooded Shugengan lords are underpriced relative to similar hybrid Lords, while on the other hand the actual Dragon siblings are a little too weak in multiplayer. • Jade Warrior Crossbows (both versions) are a bit overpriced relative to comparison units like empire crossbows, even accounting for harmony. • Jade Warriors with shields are a little too strong while Jade warriors Halbards are a little too weak for the price; consider a rebalance. • Lord Magistrate is very weak and serves no purpose right now.
Dwarfs • (!) Dwarf Runesmiths cost at least 100 gold too much relative to comparison units like chaos sorcerers • (!) At 1300, Flame Cannons cost far too much (compare to fire rain rockets at 1100) with far too short a range to be used in competitive play. • (!) Thorek’s Anvil should cost slightly more to reflect the value of the Rune of Doom (also cap it to 3 uses). The generic Runelord's Anvil should cost slightly less than it does now. • Dwarf Lords Ungrim Ironfist, Belegar, and Generic Lord have overpriced and/or bad items. They either need good dueling items or area of effect utility items (e.g. Ungrim’s could make neighbors anti-large; Belegar’s could sunder armour) or they will never be used. • Miners' explosive damage is a bit too strong and should be toned down slightly. • Rangers GW have high damage potential but are so fragile in melee they are rarely viable
Dark Elves • (!) The Master has a base price of 400 gold, which is clearly inconsistent with the High Elf Noble (600 gold) or the much weaker Brettonian paladin (400 gold). • (!) Executioners ar under-performing relative relative to other factions' elite infantry • (!) Doomfire warlocks are underperforming relative to other factions' glass cannon cavalry • (!) Malekith’s dragon mount Seraphon should be more expensive - it is cheaper and far more useful in practice that Lokhir’s or Rakarth’s dragon mounts. • Scourgerunner chariots are a little too strong at range for the price. • Bleakswords are slightly too strong right now for the price. • Cold One Chariots are bugged to not be able to attack forwards against small targets • Shades with Great Weapons were supposed to get -100 gold in a recent CA patch note but this was never applied so they still cost 1150. • Chrone Hellebron on a Manticore does not get 80 armour like other Lords do, making her cost too much (and she is already weak as a lord). • The Kharibdys was hurt a bit by move to Ultra. For a slow defensive anti-large it’s LD is low.
Empire • (!) Flagellants (and all unbreakable frenzied units) have a bug where if they are not placed in the starting army in domination they never get their frenzy. Fix this bug. • (!) The Witch Hunter is significantly worse than the same-priced dwarf engineer and needs a buff, perhaps to speed. • War Wagons have a bit too much ammo/ upside potential for factions that can’t counter them • Demigryph knights (both versions) are slightly underperforming right now and could use a minor buff or cost decrease.
Brettonia • Grail Knights and Grail Guardians are a bit weak for a cav-focused roster. • Battle Pilgrims should not be a GOOD infantry unit, but they still need a slight buff right now
Beastmen • (!) Bestigors are a poor performing elite, even accounting for speed. The faction would benefit from a slightly better armored infantry to mix up their playstyles. • Gors dual weapons are a little weak right now, other similar units have gotten stronger in Wh3. • Razorgor chariots are underperforming and could use a boost to damage output (WS/mass). • Cygors are slightly overpriced since the move to Ultra unit size.
Spell Balancing: • Recommended Spell Nerfs: (!) Lore of Shadows Pit of Shades still is a little too strong with its long range, difficulty to dodge, and damage for Winds of Magic (WoM) cost and is available to lots of factions; Lore of Ruin Flensing Ruin and Lore of Wild Traitor Kin should both do slightly less damage or more WoM cost; The Skaven Grey Seer Dreaded 13th spell, is also a little too strong for it's range, damage, summon; small nerfs welcome. • Recommended Spell Buffs: There is a lot of opportunity to provide modest boosts to spells that currently see little use. The following could either have larger/longer effects, or cost less WoM:
Lore of Tempest’s Swiftwing; Lore of Light’s Light of Battle; Lore of Heaven’s, Curse of the Midnight Wind, Chain Lightning, and Wind Blast; Lore of the Great Maw’s Toothcracker; Lore of Death’s Soulblight and Purple Sun of Xereus; Lore of Nehekhara’s Usirians’ Incantation of Vengeance and Sakhmet’s Incantation of the Skullstorm; Lore of Life's Shield of Thorns; Lore of Nurgle's Curse of the Leper; Lore of Dark's Doombolt; Lore of Metal’s Final Transmutation; Lore of High Magic’s Tempest and Fiery Convocation; Lore of Yang’s Constellation of the Dragon; Lore of Ice’s Death Frost, and Lore of Stealth’s Black Whirlwhind.