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gladis

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This Topic is about possible further Dreadnought Hero (see http://aow.triumph.net/forums/topic/boosting-dreadnought-heroes/) and Class balancing in the PBEM and Single Player Balance Mod.

The Heroes got already a nice buff with "Activate Golem" which maybe needs some experience in how the AI handles it in Autocombat. Other changes need to be tested and I feel like we already need to make up our minds about other changes.

The class itself got a price discount for Engineers along with new abilities like building roads and a much needed higher Gold income due to Empire Upgrades.
This leads to a faster production of Engineers which can level up quicker and play a more important role.
For me some issues are still existing though.

I will present you proposals in the following post.
 

gladis

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Heroes:

- Change Weapon Kit (Fire Blunderbass, Throwing Net and Sabotage ability) from a spell to a touch ability (AD has Awaken Spirit which even can be used several times in Combat https://age-of-wonders-3.fandom.com/wiki/Template:Awaken_Spirit). The reason I voted against this proposal was because of the Throw Net ability which could be too strong, I would delete it from the Touch ability then. The problem of the spell is: There are usually more important spells to be cast and I doubt a lot of players ever chose the Weapon Kit spell as a Hero upgrade

- There could be implemented another Combat Spell (Technician Tools) which gives Throwing Net, Sabotage and Emergency Repair to the selected unit

- Rapid Reload shouldn´t cost any Action Point but gets a 1 turn cooldown (like the discussed/approved Cure Disease change)

- Give them an ability similar to "Meditate" (https://age-of-wonders-3.fandom.com/wiki/Template:Meditate): "Invention" etc. gives a special ability/buff for each combat by Chance. Possible stuff is: Fire Blunderbass, Automatic Crossbow (3 shots of a normal Crossbow), Flame Thrower (Fire Breath), Titan Armour ( + 1 Defense, Resistance and immune to Armor Piercing) etc.


Class:

Engineers got buffed and easier to produced but I feel like the community failed to vote for a really big change. So, for me, the main problem still exists: In late game you are heavily relying on a T1 with low defensive and Health stats. On the other hand, Golems are becomming to slow and "boring".

So why don´t solve those problems with one change: Giving Golems a supporting role in later game (Just like the Halfing Party Robot Prototyp already has (https://age-of-wonders-3.fandom.com/wiki/Template:Party_Robot_Prototype). This could work with an Empire Upgrade.

- Golems should get Maintenance and Rapid Reload, making Engineers obsolete in the first front line. They do their work rather on the Strategic Map, building roads and repairing Machines.

- Another ability for Golems could be „Jet Packs“ which give them Lesser Flying in battles or for one battle turn.
 
Last edited:

Hiliadan

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I think more analysis really needs to be put into what is the problem before suggesting solutions.

For Dreadnought heroes (i.e. picking a DN hero when playing Theo or Sorcerer for instance), I think there is not really any issue any more and in any case, the debate ended 1 year 9 months ago: http://aow.triumph.net/forums/topic/boosting-dreadnought-heroes/
There were already 20 proposals, we don't need more.

- Change Weapon Kit (Fire Blunderbass, Throwing Net and Sabotage ability) from a spell to a touch ability (AD has Awaken Spirit which even can be used several times in Combat https://age-of-wonders-3.fandom.com/wiki/Template:Awaken_Spirit). The reason I voted against this proposal was because of the Throw Net ability which could be too strong, I would delete it from the Touch ability then. The problem of the spell is: There are usually more important spells to be cast and I doubt a lot of players ever chose the Weapon Kit spell as a Hero upgrade)
That's "D5. Weapon Kit is available as a Once per battle touch ability for 4 points at level 5 for Dreadnought heroes (unchanged for Leader)." which didn't get support last time.


In late game you are heavily relying on a T1 with low defensive and Health stats.
Not really, late game you do not "really heavily" on them, you rely on T3 and T4 units. Show me games which were lost due to Engineers.
 

gladis

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DR5 (Weapon Kit): 3 votes aren´t representative at all and there was no real against (only my vote but I described why) I just gave quick Brainstorming and you made a proposal without Adjustments, so I voted against this Special proposal.
Show me a game there a DN won a PBEM Late game. I did so but it was a Team game, so I wasn´t on my own ;) The Problem is his T3/T4 Units need Engineers to be repaired and reloaded.
 

Fluksen

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I think there was a proposal once (maybe by Jolly joker?) about changing musketeer and Engineer in the lineup, so that musketeer becomes a T1 and engineer a T2 and gets a bit more HP, res and def. with exactly this problem in mind:
the main problem still exists: In late game you are heavily relying on a T1 with low defensive and Health stats.
. Unfortunately though I think it got voted down I believe :(.
 

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Change Weapon Kit
Spell needs complete remake. There is no need to change ability for hero only. Come up with normal and interesting way to buff Weapon Kit.

So why don´t solve those problems with one change: Giving Golems a supporting role in later game (Just like the Halfing Party Robot Prototyp already has (https://age-of-wonders-3.fandom.com/wiki/Template:Party_Robot_Prototype). This could work with an Empire Upgrade.
Personally, I can't see them in support role. Their main role should be covering machines from melee attackers, imao. Maybe some skill similar to Absorb Pain, but only for machines and Dread heroes.

Another ability for Golems could be „Jet Packs“ which give them Lesser Flying in battles or for one battle turn.
That's really weird idea.

I think there was a proposal once (maybe by Jolly joker?) about changing musketeer and Engineer in the lineup, so that musketeer becomes a T1 and engineer a T2 and gets a bit more HP, res and def. with exactly this problem in mind:
Evolve can do the thing too.
 

Rodmar18

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I am one who always chose Weapon Kit for my DN heroes and leaders:
  1. It is cheap to cast. A hero can be expected to cast it thrice with 25 CP.
  2. It's very useful early (the other one being Flash Bomb), because, I usually don't have machines early.
  3. Having 2 or 3 Infantry with Weapon Kit on the walls can save you a siege against the A.I. This adds value to these non-class units.
  4. Now considering your AD Leader, 16 CP is still cheap enough to be cast in emergency during a distant siege or even openfield battle.
Basically, I'd need to have engineers everywhere to play the same way, if I understand well.
 

Hiliadan

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Could someone please make an analysis of the current issues with Dreadnought? It's really needed, it doesn't make sense to debate proposals if we don't agree on what the issue is, and we clearly don't.

Show me a game there a DN won a PBEM Late game. [...] The Problem is his T3/T4 Units need Engineers to be repaired and reloaded.
Your reasoning is totally flawed. Basically you say: "DN doesn't win games" so "that means Engineers are the issue". But you could make any conclusion like that: "Dreadnought doesn't win games so Destabilized Mana Core is the problem / Machines not healing is the problem / Fire Ball is the problem". That doesn't make sense.
The Flame Tanks (and the Juggernauts?) do not need Engie to reload. And the machines do not need constant healing, they need it only if they're injured, and that happens only after big battles, and it's not that hard to bring Engie to heal the Machines AFTER the big battles. Besides, Dreadnought heroes/Leader and Builders can also heal. But in any case, I doubt that tactical battles are won/lost because of Engineers.

By the way, Dreadnought has a win ratio of 49% on duels: Dreadnought vs all : 49% (30 from 61) https://www.the-battlefield.com/aow3/index.php?page=ladderstats
It also has decent stats in 2vs2 I think.
There aren't many 8 players FFA game (I can think of only 2 and I found 2 more but 1 is without Dreadnought) so it's hard to have conclusions based on them. In this one, the DN ends up 2nd but the report is incomplete: https://www.the-battlefield.com/aow3/index.php?page=resultinfo&gamenumber=538
4vs4 games with Dreadnought in the winning team:
https://www.the-battlefield.com/aow3/index.php?page=resultinfo&gamenumber=736

And very few people have played Dreadnought recently so it might in fact be OK now, with the boosts it got in recent iterations of the mod, including the ones it gets in v1.28 (+5 gold/Magma Forge with Great Blacksmith).

I think there was a proposal once (maybe by Jolly joker?) about changing musketeer and Engineer in the lineup, so that musketeer becomes a T1 and engineer a T2 and gets a bit more HP, res and def.
Yes, it's Dr30 and it has good support but I haven't pushed it yet because there were other proposals that contradicted it and had more support (reducing the cost of Engineers and making them weaker in attack terms). So it'll be pushed again later when people have tested the current changes.
Dr30
Produce Engineer is Tier II and costs 140 RP, Produce Musketeer is Tier I and costs 60 RP (was the opposite).
Engineers are T2, have 45 HP, 11 defense, 9 resistance, costs 80 gold, 10 mana (was T1, 40 HP, 10 def, 8 res, 65 gold and 10 mana).
Musketeers are T1, have 36 HP, 10 defense, 8 resistance, costs 65 gold and 5 mana (was T2, 45 HP, 11 defense, 9 resistance, costs 80 gold and 10 mana).
 

Fluksen

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Could someone please make an analysis of the current issues with Dreadnought? It's really needed, it doesn't make sense to debate proposals if we don't agree on what the issue is, and we clearly don't.
I just feel like giving it a quick go because I actually like Dreadnought (and even won some games with it)
First of all I think the issues are not so current, most of them have been around basically since forever and I believe there are 4 "issues" with the dreadnoguht class that make it a bit challenging, if not to say weaker, than other classes. I feel that the PBEM balance mod has made notable progress nearly in all fields compared to the vanilla game. But here is my breakdown (or at least the attempt of it)
  1. Mobility: It is not a secret that Dreadnought has the lowest overall mobility, just think of the late game units: Juggernaut, Cannon and Flametank - all are strictly land based. Every other class has at least 1 flying/floating/swimming strong and fast lategame unit, most other classes actually have more than just 1 option there. This means that in late game a Dreadnought is nearly forced to either have a race based cavalry army (there is something to be said for knights with pistols and +1 armor), or go for "Advanced logistics" early on - which means pumping quite some research in this direction, research - that the opponent can use for other stuff. The more "Dreadnought way" would of course be to go for machines, but that makes "Advanced logistics" basically a must and this makes this path very research heavy. Dreadnoughts don't have any research bonus, so this is not always easy to pull off in time. The PBEM balance mod already gave engineers the ability to build roads, a very wise choice imho, because that means that a Dreadnought that went through all the hassle of researching Advanced Logistics early actually doesn't need to also bring a builder with him wherever he wants to go - an engineer is sufficient. And with Advanced Logistics and road building engineers a Dreadnought is fast enough to bring his armies where they need be quickly enough. Remember though that the Dreadnought is forced to go through all this, has to pay gold for the roads and good opponents can actually use the map and see where the Dreadnought has just build a road last turn. All other classes can get all that for free simply by having more mobile late game units.
  2. Engineers: If you go for the machine based dreadnought then Engineers are a must, not only can they provide mobility (roads see point 1). They are also the only way to heal your machines outside of combat (and this is a really meager heal unless they are gold level and have repair machine). They also basically double the damage output of cannons and (to a lesser degree) Juggernauts. And in a way this is a somewhat "hidden economic bonus" because you can have an engineer(T1) and a cannon(T3) and together you can get the approx. damage output of two cannons that would cost more money to produce and in upkeep. Of course you don't get the survivability of two T3s, but cannons are ranged so really the damage output is what matters most for cannons. So the engineer unit is crucial, yet it is a rather squishy T1 unit, one could think it doesn't matter that much in PBEM because most fights are fought manually and you can take care of them, but let me tell you that they die like flies in autocombat and it is a problem because it means you very quickly loose army strength in late game stacks, because the engineer is important. This means that even in winning fights your army will very easily loose its mobility, heal potential and gets a strong drop in damage output, just because you lost a T1 (and trust me if you loose anything in a lategame fight, it will be the engineer in 90% of the cases). I don't think any other class has this problem.
  3. Production: Dreadnought is, like Warlord, a production class. So it needs to transport all built units from the towns to your current army position, - this is strongly linked with the mobility issue, but let's just assume you actually managed to build a good highway to the front and have advanced logistics so your units go there reasonably fast, fortunately you can also pump out units rather quickly thanks to the wonderful mana fuel cells - now the only question is how do you get the resources to pump out units? And here Dreadnought is really getting into a bit of trouble. There is a low tier upgrade (steam powered) for a few extra coins from gold mines and a later empire upgrade for a 10% reduction for armored units. Those are two upgrades and even together they are nothing compared to the Warlords "training regimen" which is a T1 empire upgrade and then Warlord also has "inspire loyalty"... Also to pump his units the Dreadnought needs to use mana fuel cells, which costs a lot of mana (20 mana/turn), additionally there is also the Mana and gold needed for the unit itself. The most similar production class, warlord, has training regimen which means that his units cost less gold, mana and thereby also production points. Especially late game units cost easily more than 100 resources, which means that the 20 mana that the dreadnought spends for production points are not even catching up in production speed (because ideally you want to 1-turn you units) with the reduction the Warlord gets from training regimen AND they cost 20 mana/turn AND you pay more resources for the unit to start with. This leads to the slightly worrying case that the dreadnought needs more resources to build units and pays more upkeep than warlord, yet the poor gold and mana depleted dreadnought also has to pay for roads to keep up in mobility and needs to focus research on Advanced logistics. The small gold bonus from steam powered is not enough to balance this.
  4. The Dreadnought Hero late game potential: Basically this is/was a problem. Every other class has some really cool late game abilities that can turn the respective hero (or his stack) into nearly invincible (or at least invisible) super units/stacks. Dreadnought doesn't but the PBEM patch introduced some nice and unique abilities that make late game dreadnoughts actually kinda fun (e.g. inject mana fuel) still it isn't quite at the level of other late game heroes, but it can still be rather decent given the right items and personally I think Dreadnoughts are excellent early game heros with the guardian flame heal ability and the stack buffs "wizard hunter" and "pest control squad" that are available quite early.

Finally the list above is about the issues Dreadnought has. It would feel cheap to just have them standing here giving the impression that Dreadnought is an unplayable shitty class that is just straight out weaker than every other class. This is not the case imho! There are a few strengths that set Dreadnought apart from other classes: 1 The long range Damage output is unrivaled - Also taking and (especially defending) walled cities is easier with Dreadnought than with most other classes - Cannons and Juggernauts shred walls and units alike and flame tanks are also a really strong unit, especially because they are an extremely strong counter to units with physical protection, something that some other classes have to fall back to their racial support units.
Last but not least Dreadnoughts are splendid team players, mostly due to mana fuel cells.

So what can be done, or is there even a need to do more?
Personally I think Dreadnoughts could need some kind of economic buff, but I would advise against shovelling "more gold/mana" in the dreadnoughts direction like "steam powered", but maybe "The Great Blacksmith" empire upgrade can be coupled with a reduced upkeep cost for machines (let's say 25% lower maintenance). Also I really liked this proposal DR30 because it could make the engineer more bulky and as I hope I elaborated in point 2. engineers are important in the late game, not so much in the early game. Also making them T2 could go along with giving them repair machine from the start or at least on bronze level. Currently they are too squishy imho and this is a problem because they can't be as easily replaced since they have to walk all the way to the frontline. Additionally - and I don't know if this is possible - Dreadnought could get a small reduction in research costs for Advanced Logistics. I actually do like that Dreadnought is basically forced to build roads and bridges to proceed quickly and has to face the challenge of keeping the machinery up in health. It gives the class a unique playstyle. I wouldn't like to have this watered down for example by giving "swimming" to the juggernaut or regeneration to machines.

Ok now I'm finally done with this wall of text, I hope it can be the "analysis of the current issues" that hiliadan asked for :)
 

gladis

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Thanks Fluks! 100% same opinion!
I already told Hili months ago that the Great Blacksmith is a Joke compared to Training Regimen (which even got the Buff that Warbreeds are affected, too)
https://age-of-wonders-3.fandom.com/wiki/Template:Great_Blacksmith
https://age-of-wonders-3.fandom.com/wiki/Template:Training_Regimen
And it wouldn´t be AoW if Training Regiments also Costs 50% less Knowledge to Research, so this goes on top of your listed Research Problems for DN!

So after all Great Blacksmith is more expensive, only affects Gold, only 10 % compared to 40 % total cost reduction of Training Regiment and affects less Units (a lot of Racial Units aren´t Armored).

DN got a small econmic buff I think. Villages give +5 Gold if I remember correctly (inherent Empire Upgrade called Dreadnought).
So Fixing Great Blacksmith and concentrating on the class´ strengths could do the trick.

I also don´t like just making it´s Units more similar to other classes Units (Swimming etc. although it would be a nice unit :p)

You haven´t wrote About Golems and Musketeers though :D

Mana Fuel Cells are really expensive. But I think it is ok, you have to think wisely there they make sense. And the face that they only cost 20 CP to be cast, you can switch them "on/off" sometimes without a lot of CP wasting.
 
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Fluksen

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You haven´t wrote About Golems and Musketeers though :D
Yeah I felt the text was long enough and I actually think Golems and Musketeers are alright and especially Golems are neat midgame units. But now that you asked for it I want to mention that another reason why I'd like DR30 is that musketeer could switch place with the engineer and become a T1, that way it could take the place of a really good city watch to defend against enemy scouts. But most of all the Golem would profit from a T2 engineer that has faster access to "repair machine", because Golems are supposed to tank the frontlines which means that they inevitably get damaged and healing them up again is painful (machines don't regenerate) and this means you have to have either a dreadnought hero with repair machine, an engineer that is levelled up enough, or a city with a masters guild. So making it easier for Engineers to stay alive and get repair machines would indirectly help Golems.
 

Zaskow

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First of all I think the issues are not so current, most of them have been around basically since forever and I believe there are 4 "issues" with the dreadnoguht class that make it a bit challenging, if not to say weaker, than other classes. I feel that the PBEM balance mod has made notable progress nearly in all fields compared to the vanilla game. But here is my breakdown (or at least the attempt of it)
Thanks. This is pretty informative post.

Mobility:
Advanced Logistics cheaper for Dread is splendid idea.

Engineers:
The only way to fix this issue I could see is giving tier 2 to engineers with needed buffs and increased price (however, engineer costs a lot already). Personally, I'm against swapping Musketeers and Engineers in skill tree, because exactly tier 2 makes musketeers special. I suggest to look at warlord. It has 1 t1 unit (scout), 3 t2 units (berserker, monster hunter, mount archer), 2 t3s (phalanx, warbreed) and 1 t4 in line up. I think we could do same trick for dread too.

Production:
I think class structures of dread could have additional production bonuses.

The Dreadnought Hero late game potential:
This is up to you, guys. I'm always open to interesting and fun suggestions for new abilities/skills/etc. It would be ideal if you suggest to buff existing stuff in interesting way. And yes, Dr22 suggestion and Inject mana fuel are boring and too simple, imao.

The Great Blacksmith" empire upgrade can be coupled with a reduced upkeep cost for machines (let's say 25% lower maintenance).
This is good suggestion.
 

Hiliadan

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Perfect Fluksen, many thanks. I think you made a good analysis and proposed some good solutions.

Also making them T2 could go along with giving them repair machine from the start or at least on bronze level.
I agree Repair Machine could and should be at Veteran.

Dreadnought could get a small reduction in research costs for Advanced Logistics
Agree and I had also thought about that earlier. @Zaskow : can it be done just like that? Or does it need to be a specific skill?

I suggest to reduce the RP cost and tier of Great Blacksmith to align it with Training Regimen, that would also boost early/mid game Dread: make it 80 RP and tier I like Training Regiment, or maybe 60 RP as it's weaker.
I think it's fine if Warlord has stronger economic bonus, each class has to be different.

For Mana Fuel Cell, the mana upkeep could be very slightly reduced to 18 for instance, not a big deal but can help a bit for mid game.
 

Hiliadan

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Actually now I remember better my initial idea, it was to just remove Advanced Logistics from other classes and give it only to Dreadnought. And remove the +3 MP for Flying units. That way, Dreadnought would be the only one to benefit from fast roads, and that would compensate for their lack of mobility on water. It would also nerf Flying units, which is something we've been working on in another thread.
 

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I'm going to chime in here, just to share a few thoughts.

Of course the Dread has a mobility problem because that's what's keeping them from just blowing everything away. Imo, the change Musketeer, Engineer gives the Engineer, when you produce them, something reliable to do: they can reload the Musketeer. Now, I don't know whether autocombat and reloading is a thing that fits, but it may help keeping them alive, and making them T2 helps as well (whether Musketeer is T1 or T2 is pretty much irrelevant and can be done this or that way, imo). I also gave Engineer with field medicine a very limited healing ability which would also help keeping them alive.
Once you have cannons, like Fluksen says, with their range and their ability to hit more than one target, and then Tanks and Juggernauts, the one thing missing is pace. However, you get pace either via a) road building and b) advanced Logictics or a) Advanced Logistics and b) Road Building - this is not the same thing obviously., because for advanced logs to work you need Roads, basically, meaning, making it available earlier will basically do nothing - you still need to build roads.

So, if you want to change something in mobility you may make Builders/Roads cheaper for Dread, although my opinion is that any change in movement for the better will make Dreadnought OP.

Taking advanced logs away from all other classes is, frankly a ridiculous idea. (I'm not happy with the movement scaling, I might add, because at a basic rate of 4 the room for bonusses gets too small too fast.)

Swimming... tough luck. All those machines are heavy to transport. On water, though, they are as effective as on land. A transported Cannon isn't worse than a ship, and speed, well, that's the problem. What would make sense is the Ironclad adding something for "Transport ships" as well.