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A constant issue of Games Workshop's games is the issue of power creep in codices and army books; the older armies fall down the competitive scale when compared to the newer armies, etc.
Is this an issue in Privateer Press games, specifically of course Warmachine or Hordes? I would guess the answer is primarily a 'no' simply because most of the time (with the exception of the immediate future), with every new book, every army is updated with new units and rules. But, it doesn't hurt to ask!
Will this become an issue with the new "Forces of..." books coming out over the course of the next year, give or take? Or do we trust PP to have a better handling on that aspect of gaming than our old friends, Games Workshop?
Any opinions would be great, as I'm thinking of making the swap over to PP full time, if I can persuade my regular gaming buddies to do it with me.
I don't believe that there has ever been a power creep, because PP releases a little something for every faction. Thus all the 'power' and 'creeping' happens all at once for everyone. Even though Warmachine and Hordes have a collective 10 factions between them, the division of the parent games has allowed PP more time to balance any power or creeping that may have come on over the years.
We were able to see a bit of a power creep from the Escalation stuff to Legends stuff, but it is this that called for a Mk II to finally happen IMO. It took 6 years before a the power creep was noticeable... and PP did something about it!
I agree with Blood. Every time the game gets updated all factions get new units so there's never an opportunity for one faction to get a ton of new stuff and outclass everyone. MkII was a big reset button for them as well so I'd be surprised to see huge imbalances appear.
You should totally make the swap.
Privateer games don't have exceptional balance, especially when it comes to internal balance, but power creep hasn't really been an issue. Sometimes newer models would more or less replace old models by being a lot more powerful, but just as often they'd be just about worthless in comparison to older models--some of the original casters remained the most powerful throughout the entire lifespan of Mk I.
Of course, MkII is a pretty different animal altogether. As you note, they're going to army books rather than simultaneously updating each faction, and that certainly opens the door to power creep.
On the other hand, MK II took a big step away from the overpowered mechanics of mark I. Almost everything that was particularly good got toned down, and some of the most powerful abilities were removed entirely or nerfed into virtual uselessness. In some ways, it implies that Privateer is getting better at game balance. On the other hand, their obvious over-nerfing of some units is a little disturbing.
In the end, I expect Mark II will suffer from roughly the same balance failures as Mk I did--not codex creep, exactly, and not too much imbalance between the top armies in each faction, but sufficient internal imbalance to make some army builds in each faction considerably better than others.
Once again, the conservative, sandwich-heavy portfolio pays off for the hungry investor!
I have not had any problems with the imbalances between the factions. These I've found to simply be the cost/reward of each factions flavorful playing style. Also, I've had success at bringing 'sub-prime' lists - that have truely out preformed - simply because the moves seem more foreign and confusing (ala Kossites).
I'm actually going to go in a different direction. I think that Warmachine and Hordes have exceptional game balance between their factions. I say this because I break miniatures games as kind of a hobby, but I have yet to make an unbeatable Warmachine or Hordes force.
I've made ones that win tournaments (local and national) but never one that I felt was broken. Mind, not all army builds are created equal- you really have to think about what you're taking, and how you play it on the field if you want a force that works well.
I felt that there was a bit of power creep in Legends (there was just a lot of stuff that you really should be taking all the time) but Mark II ended all of that. There is now a very good reason to take almost every unit in the game.
There are a few units here and there that aren't all that great, but for the most part, they're very balanced with one another.
Especially since all of the faction decks are coming out at the same time, and the faction books are only a month apart each. There won't be any power creep there.
Of course, the difference between Privateer and GW is that Privateer seems to try a little harder to fix the balance errors in their game. The Steamroller tournament format, in particular, was extremely hard on the Haley army. Mark II has brought a lot of the old power houses into line.
Mark II is concerning, though, because it shows some obvious over-reactions. Haley (and I keep referring to Haley only because I am most familiar with her, not because she is the only example) and the denial army have been rendered unplayably bad. Other units which were good have been nerfed to the point where they are clearly worse than the options they used to overshadow.
Privateer gets credit for having a fairly well balanced game. They get credit for trying to make it better.
They don't get credit for being perfect, or even being exceptional. Their balance has flaws, and their attempts to rectify those flaws have not been universally successful.
Mark II did help a lot, though; that's true.That's pretty disappointing. The constantly-adding-new-units system really bothers me, and I'd prefer to see army books and a focus on adding new armies rather than new toys for armies that already have far too many units. I had hope that they'd finally seen the error in their previous methodology. So much for that, I guess.This is actually not true. While they are releasing army books for every faction in 2010, they are then going back to their update everything in the same book method (presumably in alternating years with Hordes and Warmachine books). So that door is still firmly shut.
Especially since all of the faction decks are coming out at the same time, and the faction books are only a month apart each. There won't be any power creep there.[/QUOTE]
Once again, the conservative, sandwich-heavy portfolio pays off for the hungry investor!
I haven't seen any power creep in the upcoming Mark 2 revision--full credit to PP for that--but Warmachine still suffers even more than 40k from the "Bring this unit if you want to win" syndrome. If your army doesn't have the Piper of Ord or Kovnik Joe, etc, then you just aren't trying. If you look at the tournament armies in No Quarter magazine then you'll find that the winning lists are almost identical to each other; the exceptions seem to be the artists and those who min-max to win a specific award.
One of the current balance issues that seems to be (partially) addressed by Mark 2 is that between Warmachine and Hordes. I play Cygnar and (previously) Skorne, and both of those factions suffer from the lack of crossover between the focus and fury mechanics. I can't fault PP much since Cygnar was around long before Hordes but it's still an issue to be considered.
As far as the upcoming faction books, I can only say that Privateer Press really cares about the game. They do a few things I wish they wouldn't but I can tell from the fluff and No Quarter that they genuinely like their own product. I respect that and, therefore, I'm not nearly as worried about the future of Warmachine as I am about 40k.
"My tanks have names, my men have numbers." -Col. Edmund Grahvess, 23rd Kronecker Prison Guard
You know, I thought the same thing when I was looking over the GenCon Masters Tournament lists in No Quarter.
However, having now been to one of their big tournaments (at PAX) I can say that there are superpowered lists for every faction. Add to that the fact that Skorne won this year's Masters, I think they're addressing the variety issue of the game rather well.
By the way, these balance issues are all rather small compared to balance issues in other games I've played. In Mark II, it seems as though they've made something work very well for every 'caster in the game.
I kind of think that there have always been better and worse 'casters to use, but overall, they've balanced them out well enough that in less competitive play the balance issues are practically unnoticable.
Now, locally we have a number of players that are the caliber of player to attend the Masters (no one has a win yet). So our local meta is rather competitive, and we see almost everything fielded.