Posted by: L1H | March 24, 2009

WAR’s AoE Conundrum

WAR is currently experiencing some growing pains (read: balancing issues) with respect to area of effect (AoE) damage spells since the last patch.  I would argue that the problem is more of a line of sight (LoS) issue and extends to both AoE damage and healing spells.

A better blog post than I can manage was clearly written by Werit at his blog and describes the particulars of WAR’s AoE conundrum wonderfully.

Read it and come back.  Go ahead, I’ll wait here.

. . .

AoE owes its origin to tabletop war-games where artillery would strike a point on the map and any units within an “area of effect” would suffer damage.  D&D expanded on the concept of line of sight (LoS), “splash damage”, cone, burst, etc … which adds variety and interesting choices to AoE spells and effects.

AoE works well in tabletop miniature games because it helps emphasize the importance of unit positioning in your game.

In a fast moving RvR game like WAR, you don’t have the luxury of a turn based encounter, rulers, and flat terrain to resolve AoE issues.  The battle is dynamic: what is a great position to deploy an AoE spell might be devoid of enemies a second later.  Even worse, tactical positioning is rendered an afterthought because of abilities like Terrible Embrace and indirect LoS stacking of AoE, both of which blur the definition of a “back line” and “front line”.

Mythic should look at these abilities and revisit tier 1-2.5 for inspiration: the turn based tactical roots of a skirmish were more clearly felt then.  Taking a keep in tier 3 felt like trying to break through a wall instead of a magical Bar-B-Que.  The physicality of the lower tiers doesn’t survive into tier 4: AoE is a major reason why.

I have no envy for the developers at Mythic.  Combat balancing is no easy task.  Should persistent AoE spells stack?  Should resists be looked at again?  Is LoS being exploited via the 3rd person camera view?

It all has to balance, somehow . . . 

 

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