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Heroes Community > Heroes 7 - Falcon's Last Flight > Thread: MMH7 Creature Abilities (Quantity, Balancing, Individuality)
Thread: MMH7 Creature Abilities (Quantity, Balancing, Individuality)
TDL
TDL


Honorable
Supreme Hero
The weak suffer. I endure.
posted October 10, 2014 05:44 PM

Poll Question:
MMH7 Creature Abilities (Quantity, Balancing, Individuality)


Good day everyone,

I took the liberty to start up a thread meant specifically for discussing creature abilities in the upcoming game, as a means to find out what the best way to balance about the creature ability tree would be. The discussion we have been partaking in (Haven Lineup and Unit Abilities thread) has already branched out into a full-fledged discussion in relation to the dev's choices as to how many abilities they should give per unit, especially given the past examples.

Albeit I find this a moot attempt to analyze how the community feels about the subject, as pretty much we have already seen from the lineup that this feature is determined already, it peaks my interest and I am pretty sure that there could be potential repercussions with effects to balancing in the later stages of the game's development, provided enough input is received.

The analysis below will largely be subjected to my opinion

So far in the series, we have seen 4 different approaches in regards to quantifying creature abilities: H1-H3, H4, H5, H6. The analysis below only regards creatures that are in towns (non-neutrals) for comparison purposes.



Chronologically, the original approach was the humble H1-H3 method of giving creatures on average a 0-2 abilities. Since the game incarnations were progressively becoming more elaborate, I decided to go through with the quantification process of H3 abilities. Albeit the most favourite incarnation of the game, it had the simplest version of the ability system compared to its sequels. At the time, creature abilities such as ranged attack or flyer were a part of the ability tree, and most of the abilities were passive:

Creatures with 0 abilities: 18 - Tower (1), Inferno (5), Fortress (3), Dungeon (0), Rampart (2), Stronghold (4), Necropolis (0), Castle (3), Conflux (0)

Creatures with 1 ability: 45 -  Tower (7), Inferno (3), Fortress (6), Dungeon (7), Rampart (7), Stronghold (7), Necropolis (3), Castle (5), Conflux (0)

Creatures with 2 or more abilities: 63 -  Tower (6), Inferno (6), Fortress (5), Dungeon (7), Rampart (5), Stronghold (3), Necropolis (11), Castle (6), Conflux (14)

Out of 126 creatures you could recruit in towns (upgrades included), a staggering 15% had no abilities whatsoever. Arguably, if you closely inspected the creatures, a decent percentage of creatures with one ability were creatures who either had a ranged attack, were undead/non-living or could fly were creatures with no special ability, increasing the overall quantity by another 20 units at the very least.



By the time H4 was released, the creature ability system had been overhauled. Default abilities such as ranged attack, flyer or undead were accompanied by an additional passive or attack/chance-based ability, making the average 1-3 abilities a standard. Additionally, in comparison to H3, the amount of unique special abilities was increased in spades. No creature was left without an ability and close to 75% of total creatures that could be recruited in towns had more than a single ability.

Creatures with 1 ability: 13 - Academy (3), Haven (1), Necropolis (0), Asylum (3), Preserve (3), Stronghold (3)

Creatures with 2 abilities: 19 - Academy (3), Haven (6), Necropolis (4), Asylum (1), Preserve (2), Stronghold (3)

Creatures with 3 or more abilities: 16 - Academy (2), Haven (1), Necropolis (4), Asylum (4), Preserve (3), Stronghold (2)



Nival took a step backwards in H5 by giving us no images for creature abilities. On the other hand, despite trying to stick as much as possible to H3 in most regards, it did learn from the scarcity of creature abilities and gave us a truckload of them, mostly in the form of duplicate passive faction traits (undead, living, demonic, etc. ) and newly activated abilities (which were present in H4 as spellcasting abilities). Essentially, it made sense to have those aspects tied to their specific state of being, but the quantity of accompanying abilities could border ridiculous. We saw the advent of creatures with 5-6 abilities (gargoyles with lots of immunities), which while being logical was also a little bit over the top.



Black hole followed where H5 left off, giving multiple abilities to creatures and even expanding the quantity. Only difference was that being a shooter wasn't a quantifiable ability (same applied for movement types), which could have righteously been based on former iterations, and that the quantity of activated abilities rose up. However, the implementation of the system was met with quite the uproar.


Now we have already seen that they decided to go with a 0-3 approach for the upcoming H7 game. Albeit we haven't got any info if the state of being counts as an ability any longer, but the system is much closer to H3, than the previous incarnations whatsoever.



In my humble opinion, the best approach in the whole series would be a mixture of what H4 intended, coupled with a spice of H5. There should be no fewer than a single ability for a creature and no more than 3 abilities on average (some units could have 4-5 if that made sense, ie. specific immunities). What would be even more reasonable would be distinguishing certain traits of creatures.

In such a scenario, every creature would have a state of being (as an icon on the creature description page), distinct from the abilities (living, undead, demonic, elemental, mechanical etc.). This would allocate the erroneously given spot to an ability. Same could be done for movement type (walker, flyer, teleporter etc.) and main type of attack and damage. Likely, coding this much would be troublesome, but I'd think more info is better than none and I'd probably have this thing modded the first thing in the morning.

Likely I would also like to distinguish between activated and passive abilities. They should appear under the same banner, but given how unlikely the aforementioned system is, I'd rather have a single/double passive + 1 potential activated ability.


What is your opinion on the matter?

____________


Responses:
0-2 Abilities (H1-H3)
1-3 Abilities (H4)
No limits on abilities (H5-H6)
Another system, please expand
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jackson
jackson


Known Hero
Random Spirit Lover
posted October 11, 2014 08:06 AM

I decided to vote for "1-3 Abilities (H4)", though I was tempted to vote for "No limits on abilities (H5-H6)."

I made my decision because I believe a unit having two or three abilities is often a good number, though I do believe that more or less, even none, can be acceptable.

Ultimately I think that the range should be wide and flexible and that the number of abilities a unit has should be decided because those abilities are what's best for that particular unit - not because it fits into an overarching pattern.

I do like the idea of separating state of being (living, undead, mechanical, etc.) entirely. Since all units inevitably have a state of being, I could see it possibly being nice to just keep that separate from the special abilities.

As a side note, I still think losing the overarching upgrade scheme isn't a bad idea. Have some units that have no upgrades. Have some that have one, or two, or three upgrades. Have some that even have alternative upgrades while others don't. Maybe for some of the alternative upgrades, have a choice between more than two possibilities, if that makes sense for that particular unit.

Ultimately do what's best for the individual unit: that's the simple core of what my opinion boils down to.

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JollyJoker
JollyJoker


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
posted October 11, 2014 09:44 AM

Voted 0-2.

Imo, the game suffers from too many creature abilities, because the game doesn't gain from it: if every ranged attack is coupled with some passive effct for the hit unit, the ability as such becomes run-of-the-mill while the effects on units heap.
Likewise, if every unit has an active ability, the game is more or less playing you since it drowns you in unnecessary decision making, which should be focusīsing on the hero.

Even if NO creature had ANY ability AT ALL, you'd simply had different unit types, and your hero had the task to support them with spells and skills.
Special abilities are a bonus - and each one should have a meaning. Example: Unicorn's Blind chance 50%.
Unicorns are a strong unit, therefore, in reality, without the Blind ability it will still do a lot of damage and kill low tier stacks.
The Blind Chance, however, somehow shifts the focus: if you kill a stack, you waste the chance, so the ability encourages you to attack stacks that you cannot kill, equally strong or stronger stacks

No compare this with an ability that decreases Moral or initiative with every hit by a fraction. I would regard this as fluff, obscuring the view.

There is nothing wrong with a unit having no special ability.

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Storm-Giant
Storm-Giant


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
On the Other Side!
posted October 11, 2014 11:58 AM

Voted 0-2 (although some (namely champion units) could have 3-5 abilities).

IMO not every creature must have an ability or two. Creatures can be make special through stats too.

Of course, it's important to remark that ranged, flier, mechanic, undead, etc... aren't abilities for me - they can be listed in the creature sure, but I don't consider them 'true' abilities to say.

I's also very important that abilities are significant. Lots of weak abilities will just make the game boring in a way, difficult to remember what each creature does and make creatures feel less special. Elves double shot, Efreet fire shield, Archangel ressurrection or Dragon Flies dispel + weakness - just remarkable
____________

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Dave_Jame
Dave_Jame


Promising
Legendary Hero
I'm Faceless, not Brainless.
posted October 11, 2014 12:49 PM

I'm on the same ship as JJ. Units should not have to many abilities. It makes the game a bit confusing and easier to end in an overwhelming combo.

One thing that should be noted. Is an addition to Storms note, that things like Flyer or Shooter should not be considered abilities Similar to this "abilities" that just describe the nature of a unit should not be considered. Lets call them "Attributes".
Abilities like "Undead", "Living", "Mechanic", "Elemental" basically just tell us how the game treats the unit. It is not a unicorn's blind or wraiths mana leech. These attributes just adjust the rules for the unit. not make it unique. Especially if most creatures in the same faction share these attributes.

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TDL
TDL


Honorable
Supreme Hero
The weak suffer. I endure.
posted October 11, 2014 01:31 PM

IMHO, abilities shift the game from purely statistical (which I hate) to thinking about new potential choices. You need not have a lot of them, 1 ability would suffice, but just having it is better than having none.
____________

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Elvin
Elvin


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted October 11, 2014 01:41 PM

I do not consider H5 and H6 to be on the same boat. I liked the H5 ability implementation but H6 kinda overdid it Anyways I have been thinking for some time that the system would work better with 0-2 passive abilities and 0-1 active ones. The cores should have minor and fewer abilities while the higher tiers would increase in strength and number.
____________
DON'T BE A NOOB, JOIN A.D.V.E.N.T.U.R.E.

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RMZ1989
RMZ1989


Supreme Hero
posted October 11, 2014 01:52 PM

Elvin said:
I do not consider H5 and H6 to be on the same boat. I liked the H5 ability implementation but H6 kinda overdid it Anyways I have been thinking for some time that the system would work better with 0-2 passive abilities and 0-1 active ones. The cores should have minor and fewer abilities while the higher tiers would increase in strength and number.

My thoughts exactly.

I like H5 the most, while H6 had too many of them. And I was always considering H5 to fall into "1-3 abilities" group, so I would vote for that(even though you are saying that is H4). And 0-2 group still isn't bad if abilities are done well, but my final vote goes for 1-3.
____________
Give a man a mask, and he'll
become his true self.

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Storm-Giant
Storm-Giant


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
On the Other Side!
posted October 11, 2014 01:58 PM

Dave_Jame said:
I'm on the same ship as JJ. Units should not have to many abilities. It makes the game a bit confusing and easier to end in an overwhelming combo.

One thing that should be noted. Is an addition to Storms note, that things like Flyer or Shooter should not be considered abilities Similar to this "abilities" that just describe the nature of a unit should not be considered. Lets call them "Attributes".
Abilities like "Undead", "Living", "Mechanic", "Elemental" basically just tell us how the game treats the unit. It is not a unicorn's blind or wraiths mana leech. These attributes just adjust the rules for the unit. not make it unique. Especially if most creatures in the same faction share these attributes.

Yes, exactly. That division would set the picture more clear.

I'm glad H7 doesn't have too many abilities
____________

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frostymuaddib
frostymuaddib


Promising
Supreme Hero
育碧是白痴
posted October 11, 2014 02:02 PM

I liked h5 abilities, but h6 was a different story, so these two should not be in the same category.

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JollyJoker
JollyJoker


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
posted October 11, 2014 02:18 PM

Not all creatures in HoMM 5 have an ability. Blade Dancers, Skeletons, Gremlins ...
Actually, there are a couple more. "Enraged", is a good example for an ability that is utterly useless and wasted: very complex math is used to more or less end up with a meaningless increase in attack in a special situation. Crap. Compare Enraged with the Agility ability of the alternative Blade Dancer upgrade (basically the counterpart of the Charge ability).

Meaning, there is a lot of stuff floating around that is just ... redundant. You can easily strip HoMM 5 creatures of a lot of useless abilities and end up with the real deal.

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CanWakhan
CanWakhan


Hired Hero
posted October 11, 2014 02:35 PM

I voted 1-3.
While I'm not after 3 abilities that much, I like to think about abilities as very interesting way of giving an unit more character and somehow indicating it's lore with something you can actually see in game not only read about it.

I really like the way the settled it in Heroes Online. You have simple bowman and his ability is in fact another way of shooting. So he can move and shoot or make more "precise" shoot losing his moving action. Then his upgrade gets an area attack with lower damage. It does not sounds like overpowered thing.

There are also passive abilities which makes sense. Maybe some tattoos protection for blade dancer giving him a bit of damage reduction or kind of rotting aura Lammasu had.

I picked 3 due to one reason. Right now chaplain have one ability and Abbot upgrade 2. Both are passive. What makes me wonder is no information about their spell abilities. They after all spellcaster in army... or not? Are there going to be any spell casting abilities for units or not? If not, game is going to has less diversity. We will then have only melee attackers and shooters with different way of moving(flying or on foot) and magical/non-magical amunition.

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Stevie
Stevie


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
posted October 11, 2014 02:48 PM

I have no problem with passives at all, as long as they're relevant. Restricting the number on a "just because" basis is ridiculous. As long as you achieve the targeted quality, I don't care about quantity, at least not in this department.

What I do have a problem with is actives. This is another story entirely, because it involves a currency, a turn. Those should be reserved for 1-2 max 3 creatures in the whole lineup of a faction, like the spellcaster, support, utility.

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TDL
TDL


Honorable
Supreme Hero
The weak suffer. I endure.
posted October 11, 2014 03:12 PM
Edited by TDL at 15:14, 11 Oct 2014.

CanWakhan said:

I picked 3 due to one reason. Right now chaplain have one ability and Abbot upgrade 2. Both are passive. What makes me wonder is no information about their spell abilities. They after all spellcaster in army... or not? Are there going to be any spell casting abilities for units or not? If not, game is going to has less diversity. We will then have only melee attackers and shooters with different way of moving(flying or on foot) and magical/non-magical amunition.


This is what I am talking about basically. Not having any abilities combined with two auras of uber passiveness will restrict the usability of the unit. I am all for 0-1 activated abilities, with only around 20% of units to have it, but I would very mcuh prefer most units to have a passive-aggressive one (such as no retal, poison, etc. etc.)

EDIT: I also do not want to be bogged down by defensive play which I loathe. It should be there as a choice but not forced unto me.
____________

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War-overlord
War-overlord


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
Presidente of Isla del Tropico
posted October 11, 2014 10:11 PM

I'm gonna vote 1-3. Cause I can take basic lowlevels/Cores having nothing, but upgrades having nothing still is bland. Gimme some utility to upgrade into other then better stats.
And I further agree with those who've said that things like shooter, flyer & undead should not be considered abilities.
____________
Iron from Ice.

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