PBEM and Single Player Balance Mod v1.27: rework of the item reward system, Engineers, Mind Control and more (Community)

v1.27 brings two very impactful changes to the game: item rewards when you clear sites are now more tightly linked to item rarity and Floating units no longer have Cave Crawling. These changes may seem minor on paper, but they have big consequences in game! Besides, this new update of the balance mod boosts Engineers, starts to deal with mind-controlled Regrowth units and continues to improve user experience with better descriptions and bug fixing.

An Article by Hiliadan

v1.26 was a small update with a couple of changes and a handful of bug fixing. Its successor has a broader scope, which can be categorized as follow:

  • Items (priority #11 or "Decrease rewards or increase risks for high-level sites" based on the poll on the opinion of the community on balance): in the vanilla game, each site giving items was associated to only two "reward sets" (see the Wikia for more explanations), which means you could get Mythical items in low level sites or, vice-versa, Common items in high level sites. Getting crappy items after a tough fight could be quite frustrating, and conversely, getting very good items during early clearing could unbalance the game. v1.27 changes that by linking rewards to the site difficulty: now Mythical sites will always yield Mythical or Legendary items, while "common" sites (like Brigand Hideouts) will only yield Common items. This change was associated to a requalification of the rarity of 60+ items.

Sites are now linked to their own level and the one just: a Mythical Lost City will give Mythical and Legendary items

  • Floating / Flying: several discussions indicated Floating and Flying units benefited too much from their extra mobility, without significant weaknesses and were clearly superior to non-Floating/Flying units. Debate is still ongoing on how best to deal with that but two options got enough support to be implemented: Floating units no longer have Cave Crawling automatically, so they need 4 MP underground instead of 3 MP. And Pillar of the Stylite gives additional bonus vs Flying units.

  • Mind control and independent Regrowth units: the balance mod has introduced many changes to limit snowball through mind control, but works remain to be done. One area still needing work is independent Regrowth units, which can give a very significant advantage to players getting access to them early through mind control. v1.27 thus introduces an extra +25% upkeep for such units. This feeds into priority #4 " "Further balance 'leveling and mind-control' vs 'production'".

  • Engineers: another long-standing work of the balance mod, Engineers have been boosted with more HP, better Flash Bomb, the ability to Build Roads... but they're still expensive to build (and thus usually require more than 1 turn to produce): v1.27 weakens them slightly in terms of damage output but makes them cheaper.

  • Bug fixing: as usual now, this new update fixes bugs! 5 from the official game and 2 from the balance mod.

  • Description updates: 18 imprecise or incorrect descriptions were updated, to make players' life easier, and a full relocalization for French has been included in the balance mod! Thanks to Rodmar18 for that!

v1.27 comes a bit less than 3 months after v1.26 (first released on the Tournament branch of the balance mod). The goal is to keep a pace of a release every 3.5 months.

Around the end of June, v1.28 should make the tactical AI a bit smarter, consolidate previous changes (e.g. related to Regrowth independent units), and bring small balance touches, like delaying the learning of Call Ancestral Spirits by AD heroes.
Later, v1.29 (which should be renamed directly v1.3 if we manage to achieve its ambitious plans!!) should go much further in the AI smartening direction, make Racial Governance much more balanced and interesting, and make strategic spell casting and disjuncting much more active.

Full changelog of v1.27 (also available on the official changelog of the balance mod)
Bug corrections
- Beacon of Faith can not longer be cast on allied Ghoul cities (could be cast but had no effect so was a waste of mana)
- Produce Shadow Stalker no longer gives the ability to Lesser Shadow Stalkers of your allies to evolve in Shadow Stalkers
- Nightshade Fairy can no longer be obtained as reward from Fey’s Easy Quests (Nightshade Recruit cost is increased from 240 to 330, i.e. a buy cost of 0.9*330/2=148.5 and the unit reward multiplier was decreased from 0.4 to 0.3; the Easy Quest’s Reward value = 450 and multiplier = 0.3 i.e. 135 gold value)
- Ziggurat on Strong Defenders can no longer have 3 Phoenixes to defend them (Amount of Boss Unit reduced from 3 to 2 for the Ziggurat Beholder and Henchmen set, Recruit cost Tigran Warbreed raised to 400)
- Falling Clouds now correctly gives -2 vision range to Armored units (was giving -4)

Issues/bugs of the balance mod corrected:
- "Dwarf Protector Economic" is now correctly displayed next to the +3 gold in the city panel when hovering over gold in the balance mod
- Various small description updates (icons added in Inflict Despair, Inject Mana Fuel, Pandemonium, Berserk, “damage” added in Domain of the Sun, “Exhausted” added to list of units not affected by Death March, +20% replaced by +15% for Hafling entry in ToW and in unit panel)

- Floating does not give Cave Crawling any more (need 4 MP to move on Subterranean climate).
- Trolls, Naga Slither, Naga Guardian and Naga Matriarch get "Greedy": The unit costs +25% upkeep. Naga Slithers, Guardians and Matriarches produced in a Naga Dwelling get “Hatched” and gets -25% upkeep, which means they cost 8 gold/turn (as before).

(Untamed) Trolls and Nagas now get Greedy (+25% upkeep). The Hatchling Pool at Naga Dwellings cancels out this with Hatched (-25% upkeep) for Nagas.

- Shrine to the Skull Lord and Well of Souls are no longer "Treasure site" for the sake of Sanctified Sites, Animistic Knowledge and Magical Structures strategic spells (were Visit Structures but giving bonuses through these spells)
- Pillar of the Stylite gives an additional +1 spirit damage against Flying units.Solar Spire gives +1 fire melee damage against Flying units.
- Replenishing Bucket of Monkey Filth (use item, throw filth) is Strong (was Epic)
- Dire Bear (mount +5 HP, devastating charge, bloodthirsty, inflict bleeding wounds) is Epic (was Legendary)
- Silver Aegis Ring (jewel, 40% physical protection) is Mythical (was Legendary)
- The rarity of these items is changed as follow (before -> after):
Accursed Helm of the Tower : legendary -> mythical | head dragon slayer, giant slayer, 20% blight weakness, +2 def, +1 res, +1 vision range
Arm Cuff of the Spirit Slayer : strong -> common | jewel +1 physical melee str, elemental slayer
Betrayer's Gift : mythical -> legendary | weapon backstab(2x), +1 physical melee str
Blessed Totem of Health : epic -> strong | usable +5hp, +12 hp recovery
Bone Wyvern : legendary -> mythical | mount flying, inflict brain rot
Boots of the Shocking Snake Slayer : epic -> legendary | leg 40% shock protection, +2 def
Buckler of the King's Guard : strong -> epic | shield shield, +1 def, +1 res
Choker of the Great Matriarch : legendary -> mythical | jewel 40% fire protection, 40% blight protection, +1 res, vision range upgrade
Cult of Storms Insignia : epic -> legendary | jewel 80% shock protection, cave concealment, +1 res
Darkbringer Gemstone : strong -> common | jewel urban concealment
Dragor's Swordcatcher : legendary -> epic | shield shield, +2 def
Eternal Fire Cape : mythical -> legendary | torso fire aura, +1 def
Fire Wyvern : legendary -> mythical | mount 40% fire protection, flying
Flametongue Sword : mythical -> legendary | weapon overwhelm, +3 fire melee str
Friendly Beggar's Shoes : strong -> epic | leg bringer of goodwill
Frost Wyvern : legendary -> mythical | mount 40% frost protection, flying
Grar's Plate Greaves : legendary -> mythical | leg +4 def
Halfling Trick Bauble : legendary -> epic | jewel invisibility
Horned Helmet of the Verbose Dragonslayer : epic -> strong | head dragon slayer, +2 def
Jack's Gift : common -> strong | jewel +10 hp
Jewel of Forgotten Revival : strong -> common | jewel +12 hp recovery
Lizard on a Stick : epic -> strong | usable poison spit
Locket of Lost Love : common -> strong | jewel strong will
Mana Powered Heavy Drill : epic -> strong | usable tunneling
Mesmerizing Necklace : common -> strong | jewel inflict dazzled
Mundane Traveler's Cloak of Divine Joy : strong -> legendary | torso 40% fire 40 frost 40 shock protection
Old Orcish Tower Shield : epic -> strong | shield projectile resist, shield
Pendant of the Lightworker : epic -> legendary | jewel true sight, +1 res, vision range upgrade
Pyromancer's Tinderbox : epic -> strong | usable immolating touch
Rod of Lightning Charge : legendary -> common | usable shocking bolts
Rusty Disk of Defense : epic -> strong | shield shield, +1 def
Serious Shield of Austerity : legendary -> epic | shield +1 def, +1 res
Shimmering Orb of Aldor : legendary -> epic | jewel +2 res
Smooth Shield of the Wayward Clans : legendary -> epic | shield shield, +2 def
Spear of the Jungle Dweller : strong -> epic | weapon inflict severely poisoned, +1 physical melee strength, +1 blight melee strength
Trinket of the Moongate : legendary -> epic | jewel phase
Wand of the Naga Mage : legendary -> epic | usable naga fire
Armor of Divine Regeneration : epic -> mythical | torso regrowth
Box of Blades : strong -> common | usable throw blades
Cape of Rot : mythical -> legendary | torso free movement, path of decay
Deathbringer's Medallion : legendary -> epic | jewel shadow step
Fallen Gurock's Warpants : strong -> common | leg +2 def, 20% blight weakness
Forged Frostling Shield : common -> strong | shield +1 def, 20% frost protection
Frost Witch Staff : legendary -> mythical | weapon castigate, grant frozen flame, 60% fire protection, 60% frost protection
Helmet of Primal Instinct : epic -> common | head predator
Ice Scaper Gloves : common -> strong | usable throw ice ball
Reaper's Hood : legendary -> epic | head gas breath
Ritual Knife of the Unholy Gutter : epic -> strong | weapon devour corpse
Shield of the Frosted Ark Raider : epic -> legendary | shield +2 def, 80% frost protection
Shield of the Unfazed Mercenary : strong -> common | shield shield
Sickle : strong -> common | weapon bloodthirsty
Slacks of Sorcery : legendary -> strong | leg +1 resistance, 20% shock protection
Spear of Justice : strong -> epic | weapon +1 physical melee str, first strike, polearm
Sun Spear : common -> strong | usable throw sun spear
Tigran Sandals of Speed : common -> legendary | leg +4 MP
Stick of the Frost Witch (usable, frost bolts) is Strong (was Legendary)
Wand of Fiery Doom (usable, fire bolts) is Strong (was Legendary)
- Summon Earth Elemental cannot be obtained as a reward in Sunken Cities any more
- A new “Tournament” game flow is available and automatically sets up the Advanced Settings of maps (number of treasure sites, etc. and geography) based on PBEM tournament rules.

Finally, players will stop making mistakes in the settings for tournament games!!   Beware: this does not (cannot) modify settings which are edited in the last screen where players are displayed (Beacons, hero level, starting skill, etc.)

- 18 descriptions and Tome of Wonders pages are updated to correct imprecise or incorrect descriptions. Full list:
- The French localization (translation) of the game is entirely updated, thanks Rodmar

- Engineers have 5 melee damage and Fire Blunderbuss for 7/8 physical/fire damage and cost 65 gold and 10 mana (was 6 melee damage, 8/8 ranged damage and 70 gold and 10 mana)
- The extra cost due to extra abilities for Engineers is now 5 gold for Projectile Resistance for Dwarves (was 11), 5 gold for Sprint for Tigrans (was 10), 5 gold for Inflict Immolation for Draconians (was 10).

Finally, you can one-turn your Engineers and they're not over-priced any more! The end of the road for Engi balancing?

- Rot gives Weakened to Machine and Undead it affects (was Deteriorated in the balance mod and Weakened in vanilla).

Created on: 27.02.2019 at 23:38:17

Related Links

» Official forum thread of the PBEM balance mod (for announcements)
» Beta branch of the PBEM balance mod on Steam Workshop
» Main branch of the PBEM balance mod on Steam Workshop
» Dropbox folders with latest balance mod files (for non Steam users)