Salamander vs Will-o-Wisp, clear imbalance?

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Salamander vs Will-o-Wisp, clear imbalance?

Postby DanTheTimid » Wed Oct 22, 2008 9:13 pm

Since the game has launched I have time and time again cried out for a rebalance of will-o-wisp as I feel it is far too weak compared to the other great spirits. Not one person has disagreed with me that I can recall, in fact I've had quite a large number of people agree and provide even more reasons why they think I'm right. In spite of this many months later will-o-wisp and his powerful great wisp brethren remain unchanged and the Nice, Hard Working, Japanese People in charge of balance have not even provided us a single response explaining why they feel will-o-wisp is balanced. Maybe they've forgotten about our complaints, or maybe they just never noticed since to my recollection we've never directly addressed this issue with its own topic, so this time instead of hi-jacking other topics I'm creating a topic SPECIFICALLY for illustrating exactly why I feel will-o-wisp (or his great spirt brothers) needs re balancing.

In the past I've compared will-o-wisp to every great spirit and stat by stat, skill by skill, pointed out why will-o-wisp is clearly significantly inferior. However to keep things simple and fair I'm only going to make a side by side comparison with the great spirit who in the english game most directly compares with Will-o-Wisp as he has an effect that is basically the reverse of Will-o-Wisp's, Salamander. If will-o-wisp is truly balanced he should compare equally to Salamander, with a little fudge room for opinions.

First lets look at the skills.

We'll start with similarities. Both are open skills. Will-o-Wisp's gives a unit +10 hp/max hp, and salamander gives one unit -10 hp. Healing is generally inferior to damage dealing since you can't heal if your already at full hp while damage can always be dealt, but in this case they've evened things out by allowing the unit to got past its initial max hp to make sure it still has 10 hp more then it started with even if it was at full hp. Both skills also have the ability to give the player field advantage in the long term. That is to say, if a unit has 40 hp and your attacker has 30 attack, salamander can bring it that unit down to 30 hp causing it to die from your attacker and giving you a 1 unit field advantage you wouldn't other wise have. Will-o-wisp does this in the reverse way, giving a 30 hp unit of your 10 more hp so that now with 40 hp it surves that 30 attack and you have 1 more unit under your control then you would have had other wise.

Now the disimilarities.
- Will-o-wisp causes max hp to go up which thus actually causes a small increase in hp recovered by the stand-by action. As resting recovers 25% of your max hp thats either 2 or 3 more hp you get depending on what your initial max hp was. Doesn't sound like much, and its true that its rare to see units utilize stand-by in the game, but it does happen and 2 hp COULD be useful, maybe not very often, but not never either.
- Salamander can kill a unit immediatly. If the targetted unit has 10 hp or less, Salamander can close it before it had a chance to do anything, as if it wasn't even there for the turn. Thats instant +1 field advantage, and its surprisingly not uncommon for it to occur, especially with the large number of units in the game with 10 max hp.

Winner:
Its a tough call, but I personally give the edge to Salamander on this. The ability to instantly close a unit with 10 or less hp comes up ALOT and provides a gigantic advantage to the Salamander using player. The 2-3 extra stand by hp will-o-wisp provides far more rarely proves meaningful. Even on units that stand-by alot, such as Folrart Shield Knight, and even assuming that extra 2 hp would have been useful, theres the possibility the unit will die before it ever gets a chance to stand by.

Ok so salamander might have a slight edge in skills but its slight enough that if the stats are comparably the same you could still say things are close enough to balanced. So lets take a look at those stats.

There aren't any true similarities beyond the fact both have 0 defense, though you could also argue their AGI are both so low even though wisps is slightly higher most of the time they will be effectively the same.

Now for disimilarities.
- Wisp has 20 hp, not enough to survive much of anything, the things that it can survive are in their for their skills not their attack power so its hardly noteworthy but atleast it won't die immediately to a salamander open skill or exploding spore explosion. Its attack is 10... not really high enough to make much of a difference most of the time, but every once in a while it might prove useful. Its range is 1... this really hurts because that means if this card is going to do anything besides take up space after its open skill goes off you've got to put it on the front lines where its 20 hp is hardly sufficient to take the beating front liners routinely take. Its speed is 2, not unexpected for refess who is generally around that speed but it does mean that if its in your front row almost every one of your opponents cards is gonna have a shot at it before it gets its chance to attack.
Overal: Wisp most likely won't do anything for you after its open skill is used besides take up space and eventually take a hit, hopefully in place of some other unit you didn't want hit. If it does by chance actually get to attack, its attack value is so low its unlikely to be helpful, but its better then nothing.

- Salamander has 10 hp, there are VERY few units that can't kill that. It also makes it vulnerable to other salmanders open skills and exploding spore explosion. Even some of their units they play for skills, not attack power, might be able to kill it, but then their probably using those units skills anyway so its a moot point. To put it simply, if Salamander gets touched, it dies. Its attack is a very solid 30, thats enough to 1 shot many of the popular 30 hp units, or double team to kill the many popular 60 hp units. Its range is 3, thats incredibly useful as it allows Salamanders low hp to not hinder it. It can hide from the back row and deal damage knowing your opponent has to go through every other unit you have or go out of their way if they want to kill it. It also has the flexibility to sit in the second row and pick off soft units in your opponents second row while still having an entire row infront of it to guard its low hp. Finally its speed is 1... thats as low as base speeds get, and would be an issue if it had poor range, but because of its long range its not as much of an issue as you'd think since your opponent will have to slowly plow through your meat shields and mid row units and that will generally take more then a single turn to do, in the mean time at the end of every turn salamander is getting to attack and deal some significant damage with its 30 attack power.
Overal: Salamander is a true force to behold on the field. Sal is hardly with out his weaknesses, being both slow and of low hp, but his huge range allow him to effectively negate both of those weaknesses and his huge attack power makes him a real offensive threat. Worst case, he's hit by a long range unit or range ignoring ability/soul skill, in which case he still took a hit for some one else.

Winner:
This ones no contest, Salamander is the hands down winner. Will-o-Wisp is almost as useless as a unit can possibly be once it hits the field, best you can usually hope for is that it takes a meaningful hit for some one else before it dies or that you have an effect that sacrifices units like Assassin that you can sacrifice it too. Salamander conversely is a monster on the field, dealing incredible damage and doing it from far away. His worst case scenarios are will-o-wisps best case scenarios, where he just becomes a distraction. Far more often however he'll deal some serious damage to your opponents field and provide a significant field presence.

Final Results: You can nitpick some of my comments about the skills if you want, argue that the skills are infact equal, heck, though I'd strongly disagree, you could even argue will-o-wisps skills are slightly superior. What you can't ignore though is that Salamanders stats are VASTLY superior to will-o-wisps. One unit is a powerhouse, one unit is a liability. Both can be used as nothing more then fodder, but only Salamander is truly a fearsome weapon on the field.

What does this all mean? It means there is a clear imbalance here that for the benefit of the game should be rectified. Whether the decision is made to make will-o-wisp better, or make salamander weaker (though if you take that route I can make an argument for all the non-will-o-wisp great spirits needing to be weakened) the game would be better if this was addressed instead of just being ignored.

If nothing else I'd really like to hear some official response as to why a change isn't being made, I really can't see how any one can argue that will-o-wisp and salamander are equal to one another, the gap in power is far too significant and far to clear. In any case, thank you for taking the time to read my rant.
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Re: Salamander vs Will-o-Wisp, clear imbalance?

Postby Gota » Wed Oct 22, 2008 9:18 pm

What if Will o wisp was changed to give +20hp or 25hp? Will that fix it up? :D
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Re: Salamander vs Will-o-Wisp, clear imbalance?

Postby DanTheTimid » Wed Oct 22, 2008 9:25 pm

I'm not sure, maybe, over the many months of this games existence all sorts of suggestions for how it could be re-balanced have been suggested, I'm particularly fond of giving Will-o-Wisp range 2 and 20 attack so that he can atleast do something once he hits the field even if he's not the threat salamander is. Going back to his japanese roots and giving him an open skill of "+1sp" instead of his original "+2sp" would be ok with me too, theres never a situation where an extra sp isn't useful, there are plenty of situations where +10 extra hp isn't useful.

In any case my main point is just that we already complained about this card and suggested changes, yet when set 2 came and any changes to set 1 would have been implemented... no changes occured. Will-o-wisp was apparently deemed balanced and not needing a change. I don't agree with that and used my comparison above to hopefully bring to light just how significant an imbalance there really is.
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Re: Salamander vs Will-o-Wisp, clear imbalance?

Postby Romdeau » Wed Oct 22, 2008 10:38 pm

Agree 100% I don't understand why when players feel a card is imbalanced, the response is either:

Compel us to buy hugely overpriced cards to counter it (EX Packs anyone?) or ignore us. I'd really like to hear a response from the Japanese-even if it's filtered through a GM.
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Re: Salamander vs Will-o-Wisp, clear imbalance?

Postby JudeBlack » Wed Oct 22, 2008 10:43 pm

I could see changing Wisp to +1 SP being useful, hell I'd probably splash it in Gowen and let it just die on the field to trigger soul cards and net me 2 SP for the price of 1.
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Re: Salamander vs Will-o-Wisp, clear imbalance?

Postby Candi » Wed Oct 22, 2008 10:51 pm

JudeBlack wrote:I could see changing Wisp to +1 SP being useful, hell I'd probably splash it in Gowen and let it just die on the field to trigger soul cards and net me 2 SP for the price of 1.


Price of 2 (1 for sphere 1 for unit), so you get a soul card for the price of 1 LP and a slot in your file.

And I am in agreement with everyone thus far that Will is underpowered in comparison with other Great Spirits. My refess files don't go near him, and I don't play Big Refess (since that was covered at some point somewhere in the past on this topic). Heck, splashing Gowen for Fairy Dance and a Magic Weapon is better, by far (even at 4 SP for the dance) IMHO.
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Re: Salamander vs Will-o-Wisp, clear imbalance?

Postby JudeBlack » Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:04 pm

I normally sacrifice my first LP anyways, dryad soldiers help immensely for rank up.
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Re: Salamander vs Will-o-Wisp, clear imbalance?

Postby DanTheTimid » Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:30 pm

Right but the point is that unless your planning to use that level in refess for something else, your not really getting any benefit from splashing the wisp since the +1 sp you gained is lost to the 1 sp you had to put into refess's sphere of influence. If your only playing a single unit with the intent of it dying your better of using, say, exploding spores which can not only fight better but can be forcibly exploded if your opponent won't attack them.

Regarding the response from the Japanese balance people, I actually considered making a topic specifically on just that before I made this one, asking if there was anyway we could get some feed back (whether directly or passed through a GM) regarding why various balance issues raised by the players have not been addressed. I've played card games much of my life and I know not everyone will always agree with me on what is and isn't in need of rebalancing, but its alot easier to swallow a non-change when those in charge tell you WHY they feel a non-change is the best course of action.

Our current situation is total silence and isolation where the only thing we have to give us any reason to believe their even looking into these matters at all is that the GMs tell us they've talked to the Japanese balance people about it. The english GMs at least have my full confidence as I've literally seen them in game trying out things people have complained about to see first hand what all the racket is about and have on many occasions posted their own theories from their own experiences on why things are the way they are. Unfortantly they hold very little power over getting changes done it seems, all they can do is what we're doing, bring up balance issues to the Nice, Hard Working, Japanese People, whether or not the Nice, Hard Working, Japanese People truly look into the matter or just go "ha, silly americans think they know more about alteil then we do, as IF!" then go back to working on the japanese game, that we have no real way of knowing with out some sort of communication from them showing they are indeed paying attention and looking into these issues.
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Re: Salamander vs Will-o-Wisp, clear imbalance?

Postby Justice » Thu Oct 23, 2008 3:57 am

I would actually consider using Will O Wisp again if it had Range 2. Giving this card range 2 can't break it right?

But yeah for now I'm just splashing Salamanders/Sylph/Shade/every other sphere's level 1s in my jank low level Refess deck.
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Re: Salamander vs Will-o-Wisp, clear imbalance?

Postby kitsunekit » Thu Oct 23, 2008 5:54 am

Well the best GM explanation I've heard is that its so powerful (nearly) everyone plays it, even non-refess.

Here's a solution/idea:

[Open Skill]
If you have at least 2 more [Refess Sphere] than points in any other sphere, get +2 SP. Otherwise, one unit gets +10 Hit Points/+10 Max Hit Points.

Or alternatively (albeit maybe harder to program):

[Open Skill]
If you have at least 15 Refess card in your file, graveyard and in play, you get +2 SP. Otherwise, one unit gets +10 Hit Points/+10 Max Hit Points.

Or even more alternatively:

[Close Skill]
If you have more Refess sphere points than any other, get +2 SP.

Or alternatively again:

[Open Skill] [1]
Get +2 SP.

But in all honestly, right now Refess is getting pwn't due to lack of SP generation. We have the most expensive units. And I don't just mean "Big Refess". I mean even our "small" creatures are more expensive for the ATK/AGI/RNG (which are the only 3 stats that REALLY matter the most in this game; HP don't mean much when ATK is clearly higher (see: Sphinx) and DEF is useless since Le Beau forced the EX packs and a good portion of set 2 to focus on anti-DEF).

Kesaran, while the cutest, is the worst SP generator. It has more HP than the Owl, but the Owl has the advantage of requiring only 1 SP to get +1 SP. The excavating magic archer may be level 2, but she can do some attack if she needs to and is once again a 1 SP for +1 SP trade off. Getting those precious 2 SP is just too difficult usually, as more often than naught you find yourself reviving your kesaran and only having 1 SP left...not enough for blessing. We do have the Angel, but unfortunately Verlaat is too rare for most Iczers and the Time Reader is quite fragile. Plus she is a character and in the end you only get 1 SP every 3 turns (except in eternal morning, which is more like "occasional morning").

Refess requires the most SP though as it also has the most abilities that require SP. Shield of the Heavens, Verlaat's Sword, Bardia, Seraph, Time Reader...although some other spheres have cards with effects too, they are usually superior to refess' in both cost and effect (for example, Shield of the Heavens can lock down an opponent, but Bander's effect not only stops the shield, but can wipe a board clean. Assassin survives after he assassinations and its optional, and I don't even want to get into why Seraph suffers without splashing Falkow or Gowen for more SP).

Finally, we have the worst of the SP generating Grimoires. We can all agree that the Falkow grimoire is probably the best (even if its only a CHANCE of an extra), but I almost NEVER see the Refess grimoire actually DO anything. Usually a unit is already dead or almost dead, and those extra 10 HP don't mean jack-squat. In fact, only once in all my time playing Refess and Big Refess have I ever seen this card's healing effects do ANYTHING useful. If it was like Cure, it would be slightly more useful, but not broken. It would be broken if it were cure for everyone. I think I'd prefer to see it as a temporary raise shield, even if it lowered AGI or something. *shrugs* just some food for thought.

A lot of Gowen players complain about their Grimoire, but I'll tell you right now Refess would LOVE that extra +1 AGI.

I'll also say that unless we see some errata in this game, it is doomed. Even if its a inconsequential errata (like making Magic Doll's SP be 2 or increasing Armed Citizen's attack to 5), it would show the players that the game is not only tested, but has the ability to change for the better given the environment.

EVERY CARD SHOULD BE PLAYABLE.
Some cards just more playable than others.

By that I simply mean that cards like Sphinx and Ancient Zombie Lord, while weak to the point of unplayable, have enough combo potential to allow in as they are. But cards like "Will-o-Wisp" are just disgracefully bad. Its outclassed in effect (Fairy Dance), Soul Skill (Verlaat; Witch; Seraph), Level (all the other great spirits), base stats (any other level 1 except armed citizens) and even as a healing alternative (Recovery Powder, Cure, Angel, Priestess). The card is horrible and we need it to be changed to make it worthy of play. Even if it isn't a power player.

The worst thing that happens: we find our experiment was wrong and the card becomes too strong. We change it back or scale it down.

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