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The 9th Age version 1.1

MasterSpark

Nostalgian
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True Blood
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#1
Hello everyone.

This Friday (02-09-2016) saw the release of a hotfix to the 9th age. Here are the notes.

tiny @ t9a said:
Welcome everyone to the hotfix notes for 02-09-2016 for the 9th Age.
During the previous design cycle of the 9th Age, we decided to release a hotfix in the period after the ETC to resolve any lingering problems before we would start up the next design cycle.
Before we discuss the hotfix itself in these notes, lets first explain what this hotfix exactly is:
  • This is not the result of a new design cycle.
    The members of the RT have combined the results from the Data Team, the ETC, the ABC members, playtesters, comments from the forum and their own experiences to pinpoint the worst offenders of balance in the version 1.0 release, and tried to correct them without massive changes to the core game. We are aware that not all the problem cases are handled by this hotfix, but changing those would need to include changes to the core rules of the main rulebook or massive changes to certain units. We have chosen to keep this hotfix as short and simple as possible, so people can continue playing their games until the next design cycle without changing their lists too much.
  • We are currently not buffing units, only nerfing the worst offenders. While we have enough data and feedback to indicate certain armies and units are under performing, we wanted to focus first on bringing a better external balance by removing the worst offenders. We don’t have enough time to have an in-depth look at what buffing certain armies would do to the overall meta, and therefore those changes need to be carefully considered before implementing. Therefore we decided to wait with this until the next design cycle where we will have the fully reorganized team behind the project to get the best result.
    While we understand this is frustrating for certain armies and their fans, we hope you realise that by weakening certain key units all armies become more balanced against each other, and the weaker books will go up in strength as a result.
  • In November all the books will get a significant update, and the RT is currently focusing their time and efforts for that update.
Onward to the changes themselves, but please keep in mind that we are mostly focusing on the auto includes of the top armies:

EOS
- The altar of battle goes up to 200 points
The Altar of battle has shown to be to much of an auto include in this army. Therefor we added a small price increase to balance this out.

HBE
-The skysloop mount will lose its shooting weapon and becomes 20 points cheaper.
The skysloop spam seen in the last few months is seen as detrimental to the game. To balance this we removed the shooting weapon from the mount, and gave it a 20 point reduction to compensate.

ID
- The Kadim titan will go up with 25 points, and the Titan loses its 4+ wardsave.
The Kadim Titan is seen as too strong on the table. Therefore it loses its 4+ wardsave (still retaining its 5+ wardsave) and going up with 25 points.

OK
- Tribesmen will lose their Heavy Armour
With the buffs to Tribesmen in the past we felt we went overboard, and we want to bring a bit more balance to the Ogre core selection, and make the choice between Tribesmen and Bruisers a bit more challenging.

SE
- Entwined roots will have a maximum unit size of 6
The use of this enhancement will be capped to a maximum unit size of 6 to prevent certain Deathstar builds in the SE book.

VC
- We will change ethereal to 3+ / 5+ and also make the green knight from KOE a bit cheaper)
The consensus is that ethereals enable the creation of very one-sided lists. While on average the list might still score an average of 10 points we don’t believe this is balanced (having a few extreme good matchups and a few very bad matchups does not make for a very interesting game).

VS
- Plague Pendulum will go up to 215 points
It is properly no surprise to anyone that the Pendulum has shown to be very effective for its points cost. To balance this out a bit we have increased its point cost, instead of nerfing the option.

Rulebook
-There will be a lot of clarifications in the rules themselves (think FAQs etc.).
-Rule changes to prevent “character teleportation”.
 

Mad 'At

Dumb enough to work
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#2
I must say that I am personally not a fan of the Ethereal change. I think it risks leaving our ghosts without a purpose, because they won't really be able to tank anything now. It was hard enough as it was with only a 2++. A 5++ against magic is sure nice, but I doubt it will make a world of difference. A magic Missile will still cripple the unit. I hope I am wrong, I guess we'll see.

The other changes seem very valid. The nerf to the Pendulum and the Altar of Battle might not be enough, since they are still incredible powerhouses, you just have to pay a little more for them. It is a step in the right direction but I hope (and think) the next release will redesign them a bit.
 
Joined
Sep 15, 2015
Messages
31
#3
I agree with @Mad 'At about the ethereal change. Survivability was their strength, and even that was questionable if your opponent came prepared (which he should). A lot of other units are a lot harder to deal with, even when the ethereals were totally immune to mundane attacks they could still be dealt with via combat resolution.
Of course I haven't tried the new lists with the additional ethereals (mounted wraiths). I think maybe the extra availability caused the need for the nerf, which in turn is changing the role of ethereals and taking their purpose away, leaving us with zombies as the "better option" for holding things up. Again.
 

MasterSpark

Nostalgian
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#4
Yeah, going from 2+ to 3+ is such a huge step down I think it's going to make wraiths more or less suicidal on the charge unless you're able to take a flank of something. I think this should have come with some form of boost to their vitality, either like a second wound or make them recover more from an invocation.
 
Joined
Sep 15, 2015
Messages
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#5
Yes, they give you way too few wounds for their cost as it is now. They used to be so characterful, now they are more like very, very weak deamons.
 

Raizi

Vampire Thrall
Joined
Oct 16, 2011
Messages
987
#6
What would help Spirit Hosts would be to give them monstrous infantry supporting attacks. Now there is no point in fielding them in two ranks other than the extra wounds.
 

Irisado

Ancient Vampire Lord
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May 22, 2010
Messages
625
#7
Apart from the change to the Ethereal rules, it also seems as though the Banshee's points cost has been increased by twenty points. As I haven't had the chance to play Ninth Age yet, I can't say whether either change is justified, but there seem to be an awful lot of people complaining about both changes, so I'm guessing it's a contentious decision at best.
 
Joined
Sep 15, 2015
Messages
31
#8
As I haven't tried the rules either, it's hard for me to judge. But the Wail of Woe seems very lackluster compared to the old rules for Banshees, so an increase in prize just puts me more off the ethereals. Nothing scary is scared of a handful S 4 hits, that doesn't even bypass armour anymore. A little bummed by these changes, but not overly fuzzed as I never used a great deal of ethereals anyway. Still, hoping they get some better rules again.
 

Mad 'At

Dumb enough to work
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Apr 2, 2011
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#9
The banshee cost increase is quite warranted from what I've seen. The wail might not seem like much, but when bunching two or three banshees together it can do a lot of damage. It is basically an automatic fireball with two extra hits (granted only range 8"), and seeing as Path of Fire is very popular, I can understand why this is popular too.

What's sad about it is that taking one banshee was never an issue, but several of them was a bit too good. This is a problem that we keep seeing in the game, and quite a hard one to crack. Hopefully they can do something about it all in v1.2.0.
 
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