Three BIG Concept to make Warband Skirmish TRULY Legendary...

Mordheim Warband Skirmish has nailed the battle mechanics and the warband construction. It has done a fantastic job with the really hard part of making a fun and delightful tactical game. I really love MWS but after playing 250+ encounters I am wondering what the point of the game is? Are you fighting to get to very top of the Leader Boards (done that) are you fighting to max out every skill possible (done that too). So what are you fighting for, what keeps a player coming back?

I am a game designer and former GW employee who has been playing Mordheim since the very beginning. But even in the best run staff campaigns there were only a limited number of games that could be played. The best campaigns lasted 15 missions but most campaigns would normally fall apart around game five or six if you were lucky. Now with MWS I can play 20 games in a single night!!! The scale of MWS changes everything and means that new ideas are needed to keep the game fresh. Here are three big concept ideas to keep the game fun and interesting for a long time.

1. Use the Mordheim Map
2. New Varieties of Missions
3. Work in the Mordheim Back Story

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1. Use the Mordheim Map: One of my favorite components of MWS is the map that shows you where all the battles are going to be fought. The problem I am running into is that the map is pretty meaningless. Yes it is cool to see an area highlighted when a mission is selected but what does that mean? Nothing really.

Why not combine the map with the difficulty of the mission. Mordheim lore establishes that life around the Black Pit is horrific and more bearable further out. Why not add a difficulty modifier to the mission. So that battles taking place near the black pit are harder with nasty traps for the player to fall into to but give more Wyrdstone?

Additionally instead of having players use fate to endlessly rejuvenate dead warband members why not have a Master Level league which costs 3 Fate to start but once begun it has Rogue-like difficulty where players CANNOT use fate to heal warband members or rejuvenate them, just like the old table-top. Additionally any player who exits from a Master Level League game automatically loses. An extremely difficult Rogue-like game is the Mordheim I really want to play and I would love to see who can make it to the top of such a cut-throat and lethal league.

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2. New Varieties of Missions: Fighting enemy warbands is great when you up against other players in a short table top campaign, with warbands lasting now 100+ battles it greatly expands the breadth of the game. A simple solution would be greater varieties of missions.

Why not have games in which 10 pieces of wyrdstone are scattered around the map and the player has only a certain amount of time to gather all the pieces before the map is overrun with a zombie horde or Giant Rats or WIld Dogs or Murderous fog or vile nightmarish creatures from the Pit?

Why not have a mission which is essentially a mini campaign for the player in which three or four warbands are competing to recover information off of a dead body and escape the map?

Why not have a mission in which the player is hired to rescue captives who are about to be sacrificed?

There are vast number of missions that can be crafted using existing maps to create nuanced and varied adventures that can take advantage of the lore and the designer's creativity to make some really fun and exciting games.

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3. Work in the Mordheim Back Story: Mordheim has an incredible backstory with four warring factions each sending warbands into the city to get the Wyrdstone necessary to turn the tide of the game. Why not use this idea. So the Wyrdstone your warband gains are actually used to advance your faction's war efforts.

Maybe every month a new Emperor is crowned based on the warband gathered by the players in the game. A rotating monthly campaign could be a lot of fun and really motivate players to get involved and play the heck out of Warband Skirmish!!!
 
How would any of this work from a programming perspective and what practical benefit would these additions bring?
 
I don't think there is a practical benefit to making your game more interesting and fun to play. That's why World of Warcraft has never bothered to release any updates or expansions. It was a good thing Hearthstone never in Invested in updateing their rules or creating new card sets or new modes of play.

Successful games are never interested in bringing in more players or increasing gamer involvement. I am sure Legendary spent all the money to buy Mordheim License to make a game that players will eventually get bored with. Why would they invest in simple coding changes that could expand the reach and replayability of their game for years?

I guess we will find out.
 
Um I meant practical for the players. There are gameplay balance issues that need to worked out long before you try making competititions for bragging. Marquand already does that every thing he brings up ranking. When they fix the ridiculous inflation of equipment tiers (gromril armor 35-40 times the cost of Brigadine, example), then lets get to making other things.

Im interested in the game, but as it is a game the gameplay is more important than unnecessary things to interest people but have no actual value in improving gameplay. That is more relevant in a mobile phone game and stuffing it with extra data just causes problems that are in essence "window dressing".

One big boon they did a couple weeks ago was making is so you can pick through available targets in range rather than just the closest. Thats great and all but now that combat is focused on showing the entire map horizontally every time I try to shoot something it makes my phone slow to a crawl.

Or that they patched out rolls of 7 when upgrading your statistics anymore. Deal with those first.
 
Well there are two types of players in the world, designers who look at the big picture and gamers who complain about White Skaven and the stats and stats for armor. This post was meant for the guys at Legendary whose job will be to create a game beyond the stats and the warbands. Copying GW only gets you so far and eventually Legendary will need to play the long game, no offense Chaos Tickey but these are the issues that Legendary will be dealing with long after you have moved on to another game.
 
Well there you go. Gameplay is why I will stay or leave. Being a halfway adaptation of Mordheim Im on the fence. Im hoping it gets better an develops into something more 75-95% accurate to its source.

Ill go back to your original post.
#1 If people use Fate to get into a special club, fine. Hopefully I wont have to act like its fine every time I see teams stacked with heavily armored Freelancers.

#2 Id like for special objectives and rewards to appear more often. Its boring going game after game just fighting and trying to earn inadequate amounts of gold and experience. Tie additional rewards into the objectives rather than being rare and/or superfluous to gameplay. Just thinking about it I havent even found a loot chest in 2 weeks.

#3 Id liked to see a library explaining things better than the tutorial and pop-down tips. Tell people what Skaven and clan Eschin are. Have an equipment list so everything from a Dagger to a Scoped Long Rifle is available to see.

If fighting to support your faction patron would give anything like extra experience, gold, or equipment than yes that would be very nice. If not than its pointless competition to make people feel like they are doing something but really just wasting time waiting on new things which also means the programmer is wasting time developing pointless things.
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Where we really differ is I want gameplay to be fun and to do that things need to have a greater practical impact. The game gets extremely tedious after a point as things dont scale up. Items get extremely expensive, gold is too low to buy anything without many battles, each level takes a dozen or more battles to reach. Its just stagnant.
 
thank you Chaos Ticket for the more rounded analysis. However, you are still ending with concerning about points and costs. The game can have BOTH big concept fun ideas that makes the game playable for years AND simplistic explanations of weapons and items.

It is not a one or another proposition. The game can work on both levels and in time it will have too.
 

Ewan Lamont

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks for the thoughts Steve. All stuff we would love to do if we had the time...If the game keeps growing we may get the time! A Map feature is planned for the town cryer screen to check off where you have been as is live multiplay and friend challenging enabling friends to set up tournaments with their own rules. The missions are regularly getting tweaked to be made more varied and with the new independent AI feature for pets and zombies maybe, just maybe come halloween Mordheim will make The Walking Dead look like a walk to the park!
 

Ewan Lamont

Administrator
Staff member
Well there you go. Gameplay is why I will stay or leave. Being a halfway adaptation of Mordheim Im on the fence. Im hoping it gets better an develops into something more 75-95% accurate to its source.

Ill go back to your original post.
#1 If people use Fate to get into a special club, fine. Hopefully I wont have to act like its fine every time I see teams stacked with heavily armored Freelancers.

#2 Id like for special objectives and rewards to appear more often. Its boring going game after game just fighting and trying to earn inadequate amounts of gold and experience. Tie additional rewards into the objectives rather than being rare and/or superfluous to gameplay. Just thinking about it I havent even found a loot chest in 2 weeks.

#3 Id liked to see a library explaining things better than the tutorial and pop-down tips. Tell people what Skaven and clan Eschin are. Have an equipment list so everything from a Dagger to a Scoped Long Rifle is available to see.

If fighting to support your faction patron would give anything like extra experience, gold, or equipment than yes that would be very nice. If not than its pointless competition to make people feel like they are doing something but really just wasting time waiting on new things which also means the programmer is wasting time developing pointless things.
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Where we really differ is I want gameplay to be fun and to do that things need to have a greater practical impact. The game gets extremely tedious after a point as things dont scale up. Items get extremely expensive, gold is too low to buy anything without many battles, each level takes a dozen or more battles to reach. Its just stagnant.
Just addressing some of your points I know you would prefer if we had copied the table top exactly but it just wouldn't work. A table top game of mordheim takes about an hour to play excluding all the book keeping painting and set up, this takes 5-6 minutes. We have some players playing over 250 games a month with the same warband. The table top was never designed to cope with that volume of games. The gold reward and costs have to reflect this, we are open to ideas on how to change this but going back to the table top is not an option. We are also constricted by tech, your phone is already challenged with what we have. One more player controlled warband member would kill it. We already have three times as many mission types as were in the table top and they are being added to and refined every release. If you buy hire swords you will largely get matched up against others who do it or really good non fate users so the net game effect is largely experiential adding more variety to everyones experience. A freelancer is less than £$€1 the table top miniature is over 10 these days so bang for buck not bad value. Re-weapons there is a pretty good description in the store page. If there is anything specific missing/designed badly let us know and we will change it.

Some good points about loot chests and lack of description on what the skaven are. These are scheduled to be changed.
 
Just addressing some of your points I know you would prefer if we had copied the table top exactly but it just wouldn't work. A table top game of mordheim takes about an hour to play excluding all the book keeping painting and set up, this takes 5-6 minutes. We have some players playing over 250 games a month with the same warband. The table top was never designed to cope with that volume of games. The gold reward and costs have to reflect this, we are open to ideas on how to change this but going back to the table top is not an option.
I was wondering about how this was going to be dealt with. I remember back in the tabletop days... once you played maybe 30-40 games (even if that) with a warband... You'd usually have to retire it if only because nobody would play with you once you got to that skull crushing rank... Before they were banned from legal tournament lists... I used to run a Shadow Warriors warband using Wood Elf Glade Guard minis, and Way Watchers, because they looked SOOOOOOOOO much better (and way more 'shadowy') than the cone head dome top Shadow Warrior models available in the High Elf mini range.

It's fairly simple to understand why a solid direct copy of Mordheim just wouldn't work in a mobile platform context. That being said, the hour(s) to play a tabletop are drawn out because of rules lookups, charts, dice, measuring, etc... ALL that guess work and referencing is taken care of under the hood in MWS which makes the games go by much faster. From a design perspective, and also having to take into account needing to integrate a solid monetizable system that doesn't cause a horrible pay to win imbalance, I think the adaptation y'all have done has been superb. Obviously like with any game kinks have to be worked out, balance passes need to be made, spit shine polish yadda yadda... But y'all have come out with a very solid foundation to build on. But like ScubaSteve said, to be more long term sustainable, there will certainly need to be something to break up the monotony.

More than anything, I think there needs to be either more maps, or some sort of dynamic tile based map generation. Did y'all decide to go with the pre-generated map approach due to tech restrictions? After the 50 or so games I've played, the maps are beginning to form their own 'best strategy' in some cases. The different starting points varies it a bit, but when you only have a handful of 'randomized' starting points, it gets a bit redundant. Speaking of starting points, have y'all considered the idea of deployment phases instead of predetermined deployment? I know this wouldn't be just some quick implementation of course. Alone it would very easily require a few balance passes just to make sure deployment mechanics aren't being abused, or if they're too close.
 
It would be better if players could actually move characters around after entering a map but before it starts, like Warhammer, Mordheim, heck Total War has that. Right now its possible to have your warband scattered and have to spend the first several turns just organizing your team into a coherent force.

Starting in the open is a double-edged sword. You dont know who you are facing so you could start out being spotted by a team with Long Rifles, or you can be the one spotting. Ive been in comical setups where I move one character up with good Initiative and spot the entire enemy team on turn 1. Depending on the team it may either end up a Turkey Shoot or an "oh crap" moment when I see the entire team is heavily armored and/or has Long Rifles.
 

Ewan Lamont

Administrator
Staff member
I was wondering about how this was going to be dealt with. I remember back in the tabletop days... once you played maybe 30-40 games (even if that) with a warband... You'd usually have to retire it if only because nobody would play with you once you got to that skull crushing rank... Before they were banned from legal tournament lists... I used to run a Shadow Warriors warband using Wood Elf Glade Guard minis, and Way Watchers, because they looked SOOOOOOOOO much better (and way more 'shadowy') than the cone head dome top Shadow Warrior models available in the High Elf mini range.

It's fairly simple to understand why a solid direct copy of Mordheim just wouldn't work in a mobile platform context. That being said, the hour(s) to play a tabletop are drawn out because of rules lookups, charts, dice, measuring, etc... ALL that guess work and referencing is taken care of under the hood in MWS which makes the games go by much faster. From a design perspective, and also having to take into account needing to integrate a solid monetizable system that doesn't cause a horrible pay to win imbalance, I think the adaptation y'all have done has been superb. Obviously like with any game kinks have to be worked out, balance passes need to be made, spit shine polish yadda yadda... But y'all have come out with a very solid foundation to build on. But like ScubaSteve said, to be more long term sustainable, there will certainly need to be something to break up the monotony.

More than anything, I think there needs to be either more maps, or some sort of dynamic tile based map generation. Did y'all decide to go with the pre-generated map approach due to tech restrictions? After the 50 or so games I've played, the maps are beginning to form their own 'best strategy' in some cases. The different starting points varies it a bit, but when you only have a handful of 'randomized' starting points, it gets a bit redundant. Speaking of starting points, have y'all considered the idea of deployment phases instead of predetermined deployment? I know this wouldn't be just some quick implementation of course. Alone it would very easily require a few balance passes just to make sure deployment mechanics aren't being abused, or if they're too close.
Pregen maps vs randomised terrain was a hotly debated topic internally. Procedure generated terrain would have added a lot of variety but the visual effect would have been much poorer. We are currently working on a hybrid solution that will ensure every map is different. That alongside new warband content and a live play feature will make play much more varied.
 
Pregen maps vs randomised terrain was a hotly debated topic internally. Procedure generated terrain would have added a lot of variety but the visual effect would have been much poorer. We are currently working on a hybrid solution that will ensure every map is different. That alongside new warband content and a live play feature will make play much more varied.

The system I was thinking of would sort of -be- a hybrid in a sense. The tiles themselves would be pregen to a point, and then randomized during map creation by randomized orientation, tile sizes (think tetris with game environment tiles), and placement. Having tiles of varying size, as well as layout (say an L shaped tile 2 units tall and 1 to the right/left, maybe a 3 unit long tile, S curved 4 unit tile, etc) would allow for varied street layouts by putting the 'street edges' that blend together at the outer edges of the tiles. One tile would have one half of the street, the adjacent tile would have the other. Or you could make half sized streets or alleyways by butting one side of a tile's building up against the edge with just enough for a street curb to blend with the adjacent tile.
 
If you could have completely random maps, how would that work to a players' advantage? Depending on your warband, or generally any warband you want Cover for your warband to start off so you dont just get spot then shot.

If you randomize playable maps then the overall overmap setup and even having names for particular locations would be pointless.
 
The system I was thinking of would sort of -be- a hybrid in a sense. The tiles themselves would be pregen to a point, and then randomized during map creation by randomized orientation,
LathotHead I really like the idea of randomized tile maps that is a phenomenal out of the box idea for how to keep the game fun and fresh. It would also be a tough job to program but the idea is very sound.
 
LathotHead I really like the idea of randomized tile maps that is a phenomenal out of the box idea for how to keep the game fun and fresh. It would also be a tough job to program but the idea is very sound.

Depending on the engine being used (which looks like Unity 3D), it wouldn't be as hard as you might think. Most of the work would be in art assets and creating the tiles. all the logic and everything attached to the pieces themselves (i.e. cover data, etc.) as components (which they probably already are to some degree). Most of the programming would be related to the tile placement. As long as the tiles follow a uniform set of guidelines (i.e. road edges, walls, curbs, canals, etc) so that everything tiles properly, putting the tiles down is a breeze (relatively speaking).

But that is based on my own assumptions of how I -think- the game is put together, which could -very- easily be wrong. Of course it would have to fit into whatever framework is already necessary for the engine anyway. But it would really be a two part approach. Part A would be creation of the tile assets which would probably be the brunt of the work, Part B would be the programmatic side to put the tiles down correctly. Simple placeholder plane objects could be used for the tile placement logic during development while the tiles are be produced in parallel according to whatever set of guidelines are laid out ahead of time (i.e. roads are this wide, canals are this wide, sidewalks are this big, etc.)

I don't know if this is too much of an "under-the-hood" question to ask, but are the maps assembled in whatever engine editor is being used as prefabs to be loaded at runtime, or are they pre-assembled in a third party program (3dsmax, maya, DAZ, Poser, etc) and exported as full scenes that are then loaded into the game? The two different pipeline approaches would amount to the same thing (visually) but would be quite different programming wise. But if it's the former, where each building, fence piece, walls, barrels and carts, etc... are all different models that are used to assemble the map in an editor, then using the same assets to create tile assets wouldn't be too much of a leap from the current framework. But again, there are a LOT of assumptions based on the framework of the game and how I 'think' it's put together, So all of this could be a guided shot in the dark, lol.
 
If you could have completely random maps, how would that work to a players' advantage? Depending on your warband, or generally any warband you want Cover for your warband to start off so you dont just get spot then shot.

If you randomize playable maps then the overall overmap setup and even having names for particular locations would be pointless.

Randomized maps aren't supposed to work toward either players advantage. I'm not saying there wouldn't be cover, I'm saying players would be able to develop map specific strategies that could break gameplay (think of starcraft map strats). It could be done very easily to deploy warbands to not be directly in LOS at the start of a battle. That's not really an issue.

Randomized maps doesn't make having named places pointless, it just means you aren't fighting in the EXACT same part of that 'named place' every time you go there. The named places could easily be used as defined 'tile sets' where as a canal area would have canal type tile sets, graveyards have a graveyard tile set, markets a market set, etc etc. Just because the maps are randomized doesn't mean it can't be assumed you're not just fighting in a different part of that area of the city.
 
Okay Im going to stop you there and suggest something else. Dont randomize current ones. Make...new...maps.

There are possible other locations. Its possible to make up shops, structures like bridges, a mansions, and so on.
 
yes but most of the city would benefit from random maps. You can have some specific maps for general locations but I think it is a little Odd that I have fought 250 battles in the same five locations. I would love some randomness to make battles different.
 
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