Thursday, August 17, 2006

Idiot's Guide to Footmen Frenzy 5.0/5.1

From meral.bark:

Tiers/Teching in 4.2

We'd made some pretty drastic changes to the experience system in hopes of balancing hero levels for teams with tech.

To illustrate, in a pre-4.2 game, a team with tech would have 1-2 heroes, but would level MUCH faster than teams without them. As we all know, 2 level 10 heroes are a lot more useful than 3 lvl 4 heroes.

In 4.2, this levelling difference was pretty much fixed, but games still favored the teching team in terms of income. This was especially evident in games where pooling (or simply huge income) allowed "double teching" to tier 2, or simply getting to tier 2 very quickly. Low level heroes stood no chance vs Tier2 tech for obvious reasons.

Also, though courtesy usually won over, pooling all gold to one player to instantly tech to Tier3 was essentially an automatic win.

Glaives were considered a really bad investment for tier 4 because of their big collision size & slow movement speed (and how they basically seemed inferior to Dryads for hero killing).

Tauren were considered really strong due to high damage Pulverize.

Tiers/Teching in 5.1

To alleviate the tech jumping, timers were introduced. Players have to wait 3 minutes in order to get to Tier 1. This small delay was mostly so that in the time period before teams fought, the techer would have less time to amass units. (For example, in 3 minutes, a player could have gotten ~15 Riflemen).. This simply meant it took a bit longer for tech units to "kick in."

Subsequent tiers had delays of 7 minutes before being available, which simply scaled techs more to fit along what levels heroes on the board would be, and forcefully eliminated the ability to bypass it.

Tauren were weakened slightly. Dryads were moved to tier 4 (and improved), and a new NE tier 3 was introduced in Druids of the Talon.

Tier 5 was added, though mostly just as a "fun" game ending option seeing as how implementing it normally would have taken too much work.

Creeps in 4.2

Weakened significantly compared to 3.8, they were relegated to pretty much a pure support role. It became fairly challenging to get good value out of using them (since the costs were fairly high)

Certain creeps (Demolisher, Priest of Protection, Jamie, to a lesser extent Pocky) were far more useful than others, which caused us to want to reallocate the skills around so that all creeps would be equally useful.

Creeps in 5.1

While trying to move the skills around to make all creeps more useful, we came to the realization that ladder creeps already had a good distribution.

We also weakened Demolisher significantly, given that the old one was far too effective for it's cost (2 attacks to kill a footman, and 15 kills would recoup it's cost.. so minimum 30 direct hits, and not even taking into account the huge splash damage).

Rather than make the creeps similar to how they were in the past, we decided to make them have a low cost and low bounty. This would mean that they are easy to acquire for pretty much any player.

A food limit was added, mostly to account for the fact that creeps were easy to mass, and we saw a lot of potential for abuse with certain hero combinations.

Items in 4.2

Scepter of Shockwave, Wand of Negation, Town Portals, Health/Mana potions, and Potions of Restoration were BY FAR the most used and most cost effective consumables.

Randomed heroes were awarded two very good items, and long story short, imbalanced the game.

Items in 5.1

Random items were removed.

Scepter was removed entirely due to how insane it was. No team in their right mind would EVER pass up using this item. It often single-handedly dictated who would win the game.

Wand of Negation was similarly extremely cost effective. It was an easy counter to a hero subtype (summoning heroes) that wasn't even considered one of the best.

Potions were weakened in terms of cooldown and amount restored, mostly to encourage people to be more mindful of how and when they used them. Being able to sit an AOE hero in the middle spamming potions was a pretty common sight in 4.2.

Potion of Restoration was again a really cost effective item, mostly in how it was on a different cooldown timer as the other potions.

Heroes now start with 1 TP to make people more mindful of how they use their items. Rather than having them be purchasable in the middle (and players buy them to TP home when they get in trouble), they were moved to players' bases. This would make people have to think ahead and buy a TP prior to going out to fight. Given that item slots are at a premium in Frenzy, 1 charge per TP makes the game more cut-throat.

Healing Salves were added to replace the fountain-like base healing. Again, to encourage more micromanagement while weakening inherent base defense.

A variety of items (Cheese, SLB Staff, Entangling Roots, etc) were added for variety and to account for the new creeps/teching timers.

Hero Balance in 4.2

Obviously the biggest complaint was the Archmage. Doubtful that anyone would argue there. Huge damage through all levels, no mana issues, an incredible ultimate, and extremely easy to use.

Shadow Hunter was another big issue, with Hex being incredibly powerful through early levels (the duration/cooldown on it made levelling past 3 pointless).. The Serpent Wards allowed him to achieve AOE-like income, and he was the ultimate all-around hero. It was a hero with an incredibly good healing spell, arguably the best disrupting skill in the game, and the equivalent of AOE, all three of which had fairly low mana demands. Lots of people argued this hero was better than the Archmage.

AOE heroes in general received it's fair share of complaints. There was a stretch of time where some idiot kept complaining about how Naga was imbalanced becasue it was an instant AOE hero with Evasion, etc.

The general feeling was that AOE heroes were the best ones, simply because they could decimate tech, decimate heroes, and generally were much easier to use than other types.

Hero Balance in 5.1

Archmage was weakened all around. Blizzard damage was lowered, Mass Teleport cooldown was increased.

Brilliance was reworked to only affect heroes, to prevent abuse with the new cheap creeps.

SH was reworked as well. Serpent Wards now do not have nearly the same money making capability as before. Hex was scaled so as to be a worthy investment at level 6.. For the most part, it has a very long duration on units (which makes it ideal against the new creeps) and the hero duration doesnt really kick in until later levels.

In changing those two heroes, we (beta testers included) tried to come up with what the next "imbalanced" hero of Frenzy would be. We basically looked at the top tier AOE and "combo" heroes (ie, heroes that have AOE and hero killing or disrupt), and weakened the heroes we felt were likely candidates. Tauren Chieftain, Dreadlord, Lich, Naga, Edge, Warden, among others.

AOE heroes were an easy choice since the whole premise of Frenzy is based on the ability to make gold, and AOE spells can do that most easily.

No comments: