PBEM and Single Player Balance Mod v1.25: further consolidation and SDNR(Community)v1.25 was made available about 3 months after the release of v1.24, maintaining the good pace of the last two updates. It comes together with a new mod that is part of the balance mod but had to released separately for technical reasons: the Strong Defenders Normal Rewards or SNDR mod. This new version builds on the changes brought by previous versions, polishing the balance of Dreadnoughts, Necromancers and Tigrans, fixing 1 bug from the official game and improving the user experience (a few new icons).
v1.25 brings about 19 changes and 8 issue fixes (1 from the base game and 7 from the mod itself). It cannot be considered as a major update of the balance mod, but it nonetheless is an important milestone, bringing much needed rebalancing to how easily secret spells can be obtained and tweaking some classes or race.
The main issues covered by this update are:
- "Decrease rewards or increase risks for high-level sites" (priority #11 based on the poll on the opinion of the community on balance) by adding direct damage spells to the two sites yielding secret spells that didn't have any yet: Sunken Cities and Forbidden Sanctums (Wizard Tower Ruins already had Prismatic Spire);
- Rework the nerf to the Theocrat's Exalted Martyr rush strategy to make it easier to understand: Awakened Martyrs are removed but the same amount of XP is still needed to Evolve the Martyrs to Exalted. This is likely to get further rework in future versions as the current implementation is still unsatisfactory;
- Preparation of round 1 of the 2018 PBEM 2vs2 Tourney: new square map sizes so that the distance east-west and north-south is the same and "Far Starting Position" really means players start far from each other (in the past, for north-south starts, players ended up closer to each other than for east-west starts), changes to rapids (blocked rivers) to avoid situations where players are severaly hampered by unlucky rapids cutting them from the rest of the map, and some balancing of the still relatively weak Dreadnought class and relatively strong Necro and Tigrans.
v1.25 also fixes one "bug" from the official version. Bug fixing is now one priority of the balance mod (as could already be seen in the article about v1.24), since Triumph now lacks time to fix some bugs, as patches for AoW3 are rarer and lighter than before.
v1.25 comes together with a new mod, the Strong Defenders Normal Rewards (SDNR) mod.
This very important mod implements one change planned that couldn't be implemented directly in the main mod: "A new setting is available for “Defenders Strength”: “Strong with Normal rewards”: Treasure sites do not give +50% reward value any more" (change GC52 for those following closely the balance mod's proposals ).
It is advised to always use it when you play with Strong Defenders (in the settings of your games), but only then. If you use it with Normal Defenders, you would get -33% gold compared to what devs planned so that would seriously increase difficulty.
Looking at the future, v1.26 should be released on the beta branch of the balance in October. It will be a minor update with only 2 changes but a lot of updates to the imprecise or incorrect descriptions of abilities in the official game, improving user experience.
The work regarding racial governance (priority #3 expressed in the poll about the directions the balance mod should take) is still under way on Triumph's old official forum.
Full changelog of v1.25 (also available on the official changelog of the balance mod)
Bugs of the official game corrected:
- The Eternal Lords’ Beholder (Watcher) defender set for the Ziggurath now contains a Phoenix as all the other Beholder’s defender set (was contains only Watcher and Sphinx, in addition to Tigran units, so no T4)
Issues/bugs of the balance mod corrected:
- The Tome of Wonder’s entry for the Necromancer class no longer lists Raise Corpse as a starting ability for the heroes of that class
- Quick Dash’s healing does not work on units with Cannot Heal (from Death March) any more
- Befriend Animal’s description correctly displays the value of movement and morale penalties
- Dominate cannot be added through the Arcane Item Forge any more
- Stiffen Limbs’ description is updated
- Build Watchtower appears only once in the Tome of Wonders (was 9 times)
- [SDNR] Magma Forge, Gold Mine and Mana Node’s rewards are brought back to vanilla levels (was reduced by 33%)
New icons, courtesy of IIaanor, are added for the following abilities modified or added by the mod:
- Lesser Mighty Meek
- Lesser Charm
- Lesser Control Undead
- Combat Healing
- Reanimate Undead
- Tournament size 65 x 73 becomes Tournament square 73 x 73
- A new “Square Medium” map size is available: 89 x 89 (by comparison, Medium is 73 x 97).
- Kwapa, Nashac and, Falenas get Awaken Spirit and 2 free points (was nothing in the balance mod and Befriend Animal in the official version)
- Forbidden Sanctum's battle enchantment is Mass Bless / Mass Curse and Shock Missile (starting with 1 turn cooldown) cast every turn on a random enemy unit
- Sunken City's battle enchantment is Frost Missile (cast every turn on an enemy unit, starting with 1 turn cooldown)
- The True Resurrect skill unlocks two spells : True Resurrect (50 CP) which can affect any unit and Greater Resurrect (25 CP) which can affect only allied units (was True Resurrect costs 25 CP and can affect any unit).
- A new Avatar spell, “Clear River” (rapids) is available as a starting spell. It allows to terraform blocked rivers into (unblocked) rivers (when in domain) for 12 mana per hex.
- Blocked Rivers (rapids) are now generated only as small sections of rivers (about 5 hexes long), and not as long rivers
- Path of xx (Frost, Decay, Life, …) abilities become strategic activable abilities giving the Path for 1 turn
- Poison Domain can be cast on cities owned by the caster's allies (was only caster’s cities)
- Inject Mana Fuel has cooldown 3 and can be dispelled (was Once per battle and cannot be dispelled).
- Dreadnoughts get +5 gold/Village
- Stiffen Limb has a strength 13 Spirit check and cost 7 CP. If it fails, its target gets -12 MP for one turn (was no attack check).
- Lesser Reanimate Undead is removed for heroes and Leaders and Greater Reanimate Undead is renamed Reanimate Undead
- Ghouling Strike does not give any damage bonus (was +5 physical, +5 blight)
- Whispers of the Fallen is Tier 2 and costs 120 RP (was Tier 1 and 60 RP)
- Martyr have a specific tier parameter: they reach Expert at 70 XP instead of 35 XP and reach Elite at 140 XP instead of 70 XP. Regeneration is available at Expert (was Elite). Awakened Martyrs are removed.
- Tigran cities get +3 gold bonus (was 5)
- Unicorns get Healing on Elite