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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2015 6:02 pm 
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Hey folks,

I'm making cheese today which leaves me with a lot of time I can't stray too far from the kitchen, so I decided to write up a review of the game.

I feel that I've got enough games under my belt now to write up an honest review of the current Warzone Resurrection system. I really do enjoy the game. It's got a solid IP, fantastic models, and the makings of a fantastic ruleset that really just need a few tweaks in my book. But I've also seen a LOT of people who got interested in the game quickly get discouraged and stop playing. My store sold a LOT of WZR models over the past year, but almost all of those people have stopped playing, and I've spoken to many of them about it, as well as watched their games and their frustrations.

I fear that Prodos has kind of abandoned WZR to make minis for other companies, (which is understandable, they need cash), so I have no idea if they even check these forums any more, but I want to offer my honest thoughts on the game. Now overall I still love this game, and happily play when opponents are available. So while this is going to come across as very nit-picky because I'm going to focus only on what I see as flaws, do keep in mind that I still love the system, and very much want it to succeed.

The main areas of the game with which I have grievances are:
-Rapid Deployment
-Resource cards
-Pacing and Cover
-Vehicles


I'll go into each of these in a bit.

Firstly, rapid deployment. This is in my opinion, an absolutely broken part of the game. We're in the process of coming up with house rules for rapid deploy at our store, because the current system is ultimately incredibly un-fun. This is objectively the single biggest aspect of the game that pushed players away in our store. I have seen numerous players eager and excited to play warzone, loving their minis, and discovering the absurdness of rapid deployment in their games, and getting incredibly frustrated. This is the absolute biggest issue with the game right now.

Now I say this as a Capitol player too. I've abused rapid deployment. I've succumbed to rapid deployment used against me. The current system is simply too low risk, too high reward, and complicated by the fact that many RD-capable squads bring ridiculous weapons to the table. I'm sure we've all had Etoiles, Stalkers, Air Cav, or even Vulkans dropped right on top of us, and watched with frustration as an entire squad or two is taken out of action instantly.

Aside from that 5% chance to fumble, (which many units/armies can avoid anyway), rapid deploying is incredibly safe. The chance to scatter is low for many units, and then the chances of scattering enough that you either hit an enemy model or impassible terrain is very low. From there, the squad is free to unleash a ridiculous amount of damage with shotguns, flamethrowers, or close combat attacks. Low Risk, High Reward.

This is complicated by the fact that there is simply so little you can do to counter rapid deployment. The obvious answer is “creative use of the sentry ability,” but if we're being honest, it's incredibly finicky to use. The number of models which can go on sentry is highly limited, and in my experience setting up squads with sentry specifically to prevent rapid deployment, it's still easy to find a place to fit the RD squad where they are safe. I don't care how carefully you position those sentry troops. I guarantee I can find a place for some shotgun armed air-cav to land where they'll still obliterate your troops. And sentry wears off at the start of the turn anyway. I can always wait til the next turn.

This is even further complicated by ridiculous alpha strike weapons, (shotguns, pukers, incinerators) that can wipe entire squads off the board. Combined with very strict deployment options (6 inches battle line, or heaven help you, quarters) and turn-1-first-activation suicide RD squads landing and blasting models to pieces is unavoidable, too powerful, and simply un-fun. That said, other squads, (valkyries, tiger dragons, banshees, etc) without ridiculous alpha-strike potential are actually pretty neat. They serve a strategic purpose beyond “I am willing to sacrifice this cheap unit to annihilate your entire X unit.” This leads me to believe that the problem with RD is potentially boiled down to the weapon options some RD squads have, but I am not entirely sure.

Anyway, I have a few suggestions which is probably best for another topic, but something needs to be done about rapid deployment. I suggest that either the squads are deployed at the start of the turn, immediately after initiative is rolled. This at least offers some chance to react to the deploying squads. Or perhaps make it so RD squads cannot deploy on the first turn, and must randomly show up like shunters or deep-strikers in other games. Right now Rapid Deployment is in many ways a better version of infiltrate as it offers an incredibly safe way to deliver a very powerful squad wherever you want with almost nothing your opponent can do to stop it. It is simply not a fun mechanic.

Alright, moving on!

I like resources and the card metagame a lot. I think special squad active abilities, and the option to play strategy/tactic/gear cards is awesome. I really like this aspect of the game. What I do not like, is the generic “give a model an extra action point” ability. Warzone is already a game where models die very quickly. It's fast paced and brutal. The ability to have your important hard-hitting models able to circumvent the normal rules of the game is both unpredictable and frustrating.

Again, as a Capitol player, Free Marines are the obvious example. I can infiltrate them somewhere where they'll be very difficult to root out, and if you approach anywhere within 19 inches, I can throw C4 on your head. This is downright silly. My light infantry with shotguns can RUN, burn a card to gain another action, and fire a cover-ignoring weapon into your dug-in troops. That juggernaut can RUN, burn a card, and fire a flamethrower at anything it likes.

This ability to completely ignore the normal tempo of the game is no fun. Now obviously not every model can do this, but not every model needs to. I only need to have 1 or 2 marines do these shenanigans to annihilate your squad. You only need to burn cards on that flamethrower trooper to get the most out of it. The rest of the squad can act normally.

The default warzone system has the rules system set up where there are reasonable expectations of what models can and cannot do in a turn. My troopers can aim and fire to be more accurate, but they cannot move if they do so. My troopers can advance a little bit and fire, but they will be less accurate than if they had aimed. Or my troopers can run forward, moving further than normal but giving up the opportunity to fire. When all models adhere to these rules, the game is solid. My opponent and I both know what mine and his troops are capable of this turn, and we can both act accordingly. The base rules are very crisp, but being able to violate them with extra actions for single models with way-too-powerful weapons shatters this solid gameplay. It feels more like posturing to the position from which we can both best launch our ridiculous alpha strikes, and the rest of squads are less important.

I feel that this aspect of the game needs to be tweaked in some way. Given the number of cards you can get in advanced games, and the chance of not getting a great hand, means you might very well be giving 6-8 troops extra actions, or extra attacks each turn. This makes the game much less predictable, which in my opinion is not a good thing. Special abilities are great. Being able to ignore the basic rules of the game is not.

Next up: Pacing and Cover

Blah, I've spent a long time writing and rewriting this section, and I just can't convey my feelings well here. I find the lack of diversity in weapon strengths, cover bonuses, and model stats frustrating, but I can't find the words to explain exactly why. I feel models die a bit too quickly, high ROF weapons are significantly better than high strength weapons, and that cover provides too small a bonus and is super hard countered by templates.

But I can't for the life of me come up with something coherent to explain how I'm feeling, so this section is kind of aborted.

Anyway, on to vehicles.

Having vehicles in a game is awesome. I am definitely all for having walkers and bikes and tanks and all sorts of awesome vehicles in Warzone. I love 'em. My complaint is that they feel incredibly binary right now. Playing against vehicles with my Capitol army is very frustrating. I feel like I just can't kill the damned things. The way that damage is randomly distributed makes vehicles absurdly durable against low AVV and non-crit damage weapons. Yet not every army is like this. Taking vehicles against Bauhaus or Cybertronic is nuts. They've got AVV7 rockets with critical damage 2 everywhere! But against Imperial, my Orca can just waltz up the field with impunity.

As Capitol, I very much struggle to damage vehicles, and can spend multiple turns absolutely pouring shots into them before they've so much as lost a system. With Brotherhood, I simply don't care. I've got crit-damage 2 weapons in almost every single squad. Taking vehicles against Mishima is easy as long as you keep tiger dragons away from them! But against Legion? A paid of stalkers could wipe out multiple tanks every activation!

The relative invulnerability and fragility of vehicles makes them feel so very binary. In some matchups, they're unstoppable monsters, and in others they're lucky to survive a single turn. I am not sure what the best solution here would be, but I've had games where vehicles are either frustratingly impossible to deal with, or laughably easy to blow up. It's pretty rare that I feel there's a middle ground.

Anyway, those last two sections are minor grievances. Rapid deploy and TTB free actions are major issues with the game that in my opinion need to be addressed. I'd love to hear people's thoughts on this, and while I don't think Prodos has checked on this forum in a few years, mayyyyybe someone up there is reading and will put something into a future rules release. I love Warzone, and I really want it to succeed, but at the rate it's going, this game is going to die out. I've seen way too many people excited for the models, pick it up, and rapidly become discouraged with blatantly un-fun mechanics.

And lastly, a few minor points that I feel need some addressing:

-Good lord the section on escalation deployment could use some work. This section is atrociously worded.

-Flamethrower template weapons should not have a ROF higher than 1. It's ridiculous what these can do, but becomes a MAJOR problem with RD and TTB free run+shoot.

-The structure system is silly. Who's going to fire 8 rockets into a building to bring down a bunker? With AV 20 to boot? It sounds awesome in theory, but in practice you quickly learn it's way easier to just shoot the people inside until they're dead. I would love to get those damned rangers off the top of that building, but it would take me many many many turns to actually bring the building down. (This system is easily house-ruled though)

-Because throwing more dice is almost always the better option, special close combat actions aren't very appealing. I don't think I've ever used them!

-Sentry should perhaps be a 360 ability. Giving up the ability to act normally to be ready to react should really give you a bit of flexibility, especially as it expires at the end of the round! Reactive strategy should play a major part in any wargame, but it is very limited in WZR.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2015 12:46 pm 
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Good post, I have a few comments:

Quote:
I really do enjoy the game. It's got a solid IP, fantastic models


I agree!

Quote:
the makings of a fantastic ruleset that really just need a few tweaks in my book.


The general idea behind the rules is good. The basics are quite intuitive and easy to learn. Unfortunately a LOT of rules lack clarity - they can be interpreted in a number of ways. This is a serious problem that only a new edition of the rules could solve. This lack of clarity usually doesn't spoil the fun when playing, but I absolutely hate finding later that me or my opponent played something wrong and it could've influenced the outcome.

Quote:
I fear that Prodos has kind of abandoned WZR to make minis for other companies


I don't share that opinion. New models are released every one or two months. The new Imperial rules also include changes for weapons from other factions which makes a few special weapons more useful. I don't think that we can expect (or demand from) Prodos to focus on WZR even though I agree that the game needs a few tweaks and needs additional effort from Prodos to make it really good.

Quote:
Firstly, rapid deployment. This is in my opinion, an absolutely broken part of the game.


Everyone can take it (or an equivalent such as golden lions) so it is balanced in a way. And the tournament rules have a limit of 20% of points for RD. But in general I agree - there are way too many units with RD that are just too strong for what they do. I perceive the scorpion as an example of a balanced RD unit - it can do massive damage but with just 2 wounds for 95pts it usually has just one chance to do the damage and then gets killed, even 2 lucky shots from a model in sentry can kill it. At one point Prodos had a nice idea of an additnional penalty to LD for units rapid deploying close to the enemy, I think they made a mistake when the abandoned it. Another idea is to simply increase point costs for most RD units.

Quote:
What I do not like, is the generic “give a model an extra action point” ability.


I think the problem is not in the 3rd action point but in some of the special rules such as C4 on the free marines you mentioned. 3rd action point opens new tactical possibilities which makes this game great. It is some special rules such as C4 (and many many others) that are too strong.

Quote:
I find the lack of diversity in weapon strengths, cover bonuses, and model stats frustrating, but I can't find the words to explain exactly why.


I don't feel there are any problems with this aspect of the game.

Quote:
My complaint is that they feel incredibly binary right now.


I think it's good that the armies are so diverse. Cybertronic is good at fighting Vehicles but struggles in CC, Mishima is great in CC but is bad at shooting at vehicles. Your Capitol must work out how to tackle vehicles, my Cybertronic must have an idea how to deal with good CC units. I don't think of it as a problem of the game. Most wargames work this way - factions are good in some aspects of a game but lack in other ones.

Quote:
-Good lord the section on escalation deployment could use some work. This section is atrociously worded.


Unclear rules is something that happens often in WZR rules unfortunately. Escalation deployment is something so random that I never play it.

Quote:
Flamethrower template weapons should not have a ROF higher than 1


Some (Hindenburgs) deserve higher RoF. But flamers shouldn't be able to have their RoF increased by burning cards.

Quote:
Because throwing more dice is almost always the better option, special close combat actions aren't very appealing.


True, special actions are situational, but I've used some of them - focus fire/swarm and backstab most often.

Quote:
Sentry should perhaps be a 360 ability


I tink it's good as it is.

Quote:
The structure system is silly. Who's going to fire 8 rockets into a building to bring down a bunker? With AV 20 to boot? It sounds awesome in theory, but in practice you quickly learn it's way easier to just shoot the people inside until they're dead.


Come on, it's quite realistic. You can't expect the bunker to be more fragile than the guys inside.


Last edited by Assur on Sat Sep 26, 2015 5:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2015 2:43 pm 
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You raise some valid concerns.

Without going into too much detail, a lot of your points have already been noted by Prodos. The issue is that they're snowed under for the next few months or so with AVP KS releases, so that's why WZR seems a little quiet.

However, there's work going on in the background. The issues with the ruleset are being worked on, and I'm also aware that revisions to the existing set of army rules is well advanced.


That being said, I don't think I've every heard concerns about the TTB for +1AP before. It's easily the most useful of the TTB abilities, but it's not been that gamebreaking in my experience. It does lend itself to alpha strikes, but then you're spending your RC in one place and can't spend it elsewhere.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2015 3:15 pm 
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Quote:
Quote:
The structure system is silly. Who's going to fire 8 rockets into a building to bring down a bunker? With AV 20 to boot? It sounds awesome in theory, but in practice you quickly learn it's way easier to just shoot the people inside until they're dead.


Come on, it's quite realistic. You can't expect the bunker to be more fragile than the guys inside.


Quote:
Quote:
I find the lack of diversity in weapon strengths, cover bonuses, and model stats frustrating, but I can't find the words to explain exactly why.



I don't feel there are any problems with this aspect of the game.



The thing about a structure is, I don't think that anyone would waste a turn of shooting at it if they could instead just hit the guys inside. This relates to both points, you get the same -4 for firing into a bunker as you do in ruins or other hard cover, a standard 5 man squad has much better chances of removing a few models inside the bunker than trying to take it down. The same goes for pretty much all of the structures.
If a Grizzly used its anti tank gun only, it would take it two turns to destroy wooden crates (4 turns if it used its standard gun). And the wooden crates could actually still in fact ignore that on a 4 or less? And if shot a 230mm shell at a bunch of wooden crates and it missed and scattered onto a unit that might not even benefit from the cover? The 230mm shell would do no damage to anything but the crates.
If you got a flame weapon into range of an access point of a multistory building it has the potential to hit every single model in the building regardless of where it is.

Don't get me wrong, I would love to play a game where the city starts untouched and then turns into rubble and ruins, but practically speaking no one is ever going to destroy a structure if they could instead just shoot the dude in the window at a -4. And also I understand that flame weapons are deadly and that stuff bounces and fire spreads, but EVERY UNIT IN A STRUCTURE? Maybe every unit on the same level as the access point, but seriously if it's a 3 story building and I shoot a flamer on the ground level I'd hit units on the third floor? No way. You get a -4 for shooting at a unit in a bunker firing through a gun port and the same -4 for shooting at someone behind some wooden boxes?

This is how ridiculous the structures rules are, a unit of Hussars can trace LOS to a unit on the first floor of a two story structure. BAK activates and uses its Feldblitzer Howitzer to attack said unit using the LOS of the Hussars. Assume the scatter is negligible. That shell will pass through the roof and the ceiling above the targets and a LE template would then be place on top of the unit in the building. (The Feldblitzer doesn't even make a RS check as it always scatters.<-That information is incorrect.) This attack has no affect on the structure and the unit inside receives no benefit from being inside the structure.


Last edited by Dullahan on Sat Sep 26, 2015 7:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2015 5:09 pm 
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Sure everyone has access to a feature, but that doesn't mean it's good for the game. In Firestorm, both myself and my opponent could take a battlestation in an 800 point game. So it might not be "unbalanced," but it's certainly not fun. The current rapid deploy mechanic is very very powerful, but my ultimate complaint is that it's just frustrating to play against, and there's so little you can do to combat it.

Limiting it to 20% of your army is hardly a fix.

Wraith, I'm glad Prodos is aware of some of the issues with the game. I really really want Warzone to take off, but I sadly watched it die in my area as everyone got frustrated and lost interest.

As for burning for action points, I understand that it offers some strategic options, but not very deep ones in my opinion. The ability to bend the normal game rules makes things somewhat less predictable, and I always have more cards than I know what to do with. I really like the 2 action point per model system, where it feels like every model has to make decisions on what to do this turn. Being able to ignore those decisions and instead do a bit of everything feels a bit cheap. I think I might try a game or two without the mechanic and see how it feels.

As for structures, Dullahan nailed it. Have you *ever* in a game of Warzone, fired at a structure? I know I haven't, because the amount of shots I'd have to allocate to do so is ridiculous. The feature might as well not exist right now, which is a damned same, because blowing up buildings and changing the board would be awesome!


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2015 6:02 pm 
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Quote:
but practically speaking no one is ever going to destroy a structure if they could instead just shoot the dude in the window at a -4


True. And I undestand your concerns - more diversity in possible ways to fight units in buildings would be welcome. But I really don't think Prodos set this aspect of the rules far from being realistic. This aspect of the rules is on an acceptable level for me.

Quote:
That shell will pass through the roof and the ceiling above the targets and a LE template would then be place on top of the unit in the building.


A vateran Warzone player told me that no previous edition had perfect rules regarding shooting at different elevations and Prodos' version is no better in this respect.

Quote:
The Feldblitzer doesn't even make a RS check as it always scatters.


I don't agree. It still has to do the RS test (haven't found anything in the rules saying otherwise, please quote if there is something), but no matter the roll the shot has one additional scatter from the heavy gun support rule (so if the test is succesful you scatter once, if failed you scatter twice). Did I mention that some of the rules are unclear? That's one of the examples.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2015 6:37 pm 
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Assur wrote:
.

Quote:
The Feldblitzer doesn't even make a RS check as it always scatters.


I don't agree. It still has to do the RS test (haven't found anything in the rules saying otherwise, please quote if there is something), but no matter the roll the shot has one additional scatter from the heavy gun support rule (so if the test is succesful you scatter once, if failed you scatter twice). Did I mention that some of the rules are unclear? That's one of the examples.



You are more than likely correct here.

But we're just going to have to agree to disagree on the AV and SP of structures. Sure a bunker at 20/8 that makes since, it's a bunker. I also understand that buildings just don't blow over at the slightest provocation, but a 2 story wooden structure has av16 with 8sp? Or that a wooden crate is tougher than a vorreiter? I don't buy it.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2015 10:15 pm 
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There is a new stream lined version of the rules in the works, as I believe was hinted at on the facebook page.

Some of my thoughts:

for the most part I like the way the rules work. Sure, some things can be more clear, and I think those will be fixed in the next set. nothing is perfect.

Shotguns excel and clearing out structures. So do flamers. even if troops in a bunker aren't baked by the heat, the oxygen in there would get sucked up by the flames and they would suffocate. This is one game that got flamers right I think. They are deadly weapons to face.

I also love how the humble assault rifle is in this game. In 40k, a guardsman with a lasgun has zero chance or hurting a major character. In WZR, a trooper with a M50 and a clear shot can hurt pretty much anything with alittle luck.

RD got pulled back with the restrictions on when they can deploy. I've found that to protect against it, set up what you want to protect in cover. Most RD units are glass hammers. They get one shot to get it right, as they will die as soon as they next activation rolls around.

Power gamers will always find a way to abuse the rules. Ive learned to try and balance out my forces and to never rely to heavily on any one unit as it may get taken out before I can use it.

I love this game ;-)


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2015 5:49 am 
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@Duck_bird, I did notice from your battle report in the other thread that you're not performing the other thing to keep your guys safe from RD- spreading out. If you spread out (particularly your cheaper troops), you'll do two things: 1, deny them the ability to drop without being immediately engaged or scatter onto your troops (who count as impassable terrain), and 2, you'll lower the effects of any template hit or multiple models getting caught in CCWR. The fact that your HI were piled in one small space with your WL and the Iron Lady at the edge meant that they were easy pickings for the Vulkan to drop and punch. Similarly, if you leave only single models within reach of Etoiles, they'll drop and hit maybe 2-3 with the Puker.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2015 4:46 pm 
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Yup, I definitely goofed my deployment and Dullahan absolutely punished me for it. I'm not basing my criticism of RD on a single game. I definitely could have set up differently, but that Vulkan could still have killed either my warlord or the iron lady, even had I spread out. Losing 4 banshees to the puker was avoidable if I had really spread out. Again though, I'm not basing this criticism on one game. I've got about 30 games of Warzone played now, and Rapid Deploy, even when not overpowering, has never really been fun.

Every time I've abused rapid deployment, or had it used against me, it's always felt like there is so little that I or my opponent could have done to prevent it. Aside from spreading my models out and giving up cover, there wasn't a damned thing I could do to prevent 2 squads from landing within inches of the board edge, and killing a bunch of stuff. Sure it's a gamble for my opponent, but it's not fun either way. As it went, I was down about 260 points that didn't have the chance to do anything at all in the game. Had my opponent botched his RD rolls, he would have been down 2 heavy hitters that failed to do anything, and the game would have been quite imbalanced in my favor. Neither of those results are enjoyable.

In Firestorm, I can lay mines to deter shunters, or I can spread out a few frigate squads to heavily affect where you can try to jump. In Infinity, AROs and suppressive fire mean that jumping into my deployment is gong to meet a lot of resistance.

I've stopped taking air cav suicide squads because it's simply unfun for my opponent. And I've played them against brotherhood with inquisitors, legion with nascas, and capitol with dogs, all with plenty of sentry coverage, and I've never not been able to find an opening to RD in and deal ludicrous damage. And I've never seen an opponent fall victim to that not look incredibly discouraged/frustrated when it happens. So I stopped rapid deploying anything but banshees for the sake of more enjoyable games.


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