Apsolutely no suggestions, demands, threaths, hyperbole or anything here. Just a missplaced blogpost on a class in a videogame for anyone with time/will/interest in such a thing. Would like other people's thoughts below it, but won't sacrifice depth of analysis - I'm doing this for fun. (It's not a balance discussion! It's rambling!)
So, apart from Darvin dropping hints about their reliability at clearing vicious (enough to get me interested to experiment), and me dropping hints about their attack bonus maybe being excessive, and sporadic mentions about cydstep in general, we haven't had much talk on warlords.
Now, my relationship with warlords had been a strange one. At first, even during the alpha, they confused me completely. They took a perspective shift that my mind couldn't easily make, and adjusting to them took me a while. Basicaly, they were so simple and powerful that actions I felt were necessary with other guys were counter-productive, and I couldn't believe something like that could even exist. This is Lujo the noob talking - in a game that's generaly difficult and arcane to a newcomer, something like a repeatable cydstep can seem like a big anomaly. My mind kept shutting out this possibility, and telling me that if I get used to this it would make the difficulty I was having with other guys seem tiresome instead of challenging.
Then, after deciding to try to accept that, yes, they were indeed ment to be that powerful, I started using them more often. After all, I WAS using more powerfull stuff, but I rationalized it to myself as intentional cheating in a way that wasn't forseen. Something that, if pointed out would be adjusted. It made me feel smart about figuring it out. Warlords, however, seemed to be built that way on purpose. So I decided to see if there was something I was missing, maybe they weren't "made of win"? Turned out they were, but button mashing, muscle memory and the general lack of need to think while I play them made me missclick myself to death often enough to prompt me to drop them as "not worth the risk".
Then, when effort was put into making accidental missclicks a much rarer occurence and combat predictions were made more servicable, I tried them again some more. All my previous expirience with their power level was telling me Darvin was probably right about them being dependable vicious clearers (I suspected too dependable). And sure enough, very few places could stand an undying guy with the biggest damage bonus in the game. By this point I didn't mind their power - I concluded that the game obviously needed straightforward powerhouses, even if I'm still ready to dispute the caliber.
However - the dissatisfying expirience didn't go away. The whole "why is repeatable cydstepp mechanicaly bad to the game" debate revolved around this mechanic-wise: repeatable cydstep lets you ignore health as a resource. While many could appriceate the power it provided, or agree that it's an interesting twist, what it ment was that you are playing a melee guy who plays like a spellcaster. Since you only really wanted to cast one major spell (not counting for utility), and your hero started with this spell, what you were looking for in terms of magic boosting items/boons was mainly mana and mana refill. Since health was unsynergistic, what you were looking for as a melee guy was damage. You had the biggest built in +% dmg, so piling on more lead to diminishing returns, so what you were in fact looking for was base damage.
In other words, this guy had actual need for very few features, at the basic level. His inherent power ment he could get away with it, too. At a more advanced level, he could make good use of a few more things:
Since all his mana is tied up with recasting a 10 mana glyph, unless you are efficent with leveling he can waste a lot of blackspace. However, since he can reliably kill enemies much higher in level than himself, once you make the perspective shift which lets you think of higher level monsters as popcorn rather than obstacles, you naturally become efficent with leveling. IMAWAL helps, and so does Entanglement (Clearance is allready attractive as a mana refil). So do the damage items (even the current tri-sword). So, making up for his possible "intangible" defficency comes from simply playing him "right", to the point where he's all upside.
The physical resist monsters seem to be his failing, but RBS both helps with that, has it's downside eliminated by warlords core mechanic, doesn't fight for space in a warlords inventory and synergises with cauldron.
At the most expirienced, but skippable-to-via-guide, level, he can be optimized by preps. The preps aren't such that they "break" him, the preps are basicaly simply synergistic with the few feature he does have, or simply number among the very few things that he wants - gnomes/mana keg for poions, orcs/trisword for damage, JJ/Mysterea/Earthmother for mana/mana refills, Mysterea/Cauldron for cost reduction / mana refill efficency, extra mana/elves for mana, potions/slayer wand for blackspace efficent catapults... This may seem like a lot, but most of it is one and the same, can be prepped on any run, and there is very little else you could want to prep with them anyway (if you're being rational).
This sinergy goldmine ultimately lead to warlord play being boring but powerful by default, and the warlords being "cursed with awesome" for me. I enjoyed experimenting with the Cauldron, as well as the new Dragonsoul because they gave the "same old, same old" warlord shoehorn routine alternatives, but just as Darvin pointed out many times - why not just prep a Tri-Sword? And it's true - Warlord gold, if you look at it, looks like it shouldn't be doable, yet for a warlord it is.
So, right now, I use them to save myself time and effort in some places when I don't have the time or energy to come up with a more creative and rewarding solution. The optimization that Darvin is inclined to apply to anything is rational, but there is no need for it. As Murdus found out in the "class abilities mix and match" thread - and you can look it up it's a pricelesly hilarious moment - it's really hard to make the warlord more powerful than he is.
However I've noticed that just about every "serious" badge completely changes the way he behaves - and it feels more interesting than playing him in a regular fashion! Faithless? Warlords without prepped-to-cheeze mana refills! Parched? Warlords that have to work gods and a variety of items, have a sensible damage bonus on top of not being gnomes! Hoarder? Warlords without a guaranteed efortless million CP! Miser? Warlords that actually have to think about an arbitrary hazard! Warmonger? These guys which get a Might whenever they drink a mana potion and sinergize with Taurog!
Anyway, that has been my experience with the warlord. I wonder what other people think about him, in relation to the other guys, and what I wonder about the most, as usual, is what am I missing? There's so much stuff that warlords don't have to pay attention to, and so little space in my locker most of the time, that the only thing that ever let me experiment with them were badges that in theory cut his inherent power by anything between by 1/3 to a 1/3.
Ty for reading ^^
Last edited by Lujo
on Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:16 am, edited 1 time in total.