Monday, April 25, 2016

Ninth Age - A Niggling Thought

Ninth Age is being keyed up for this year's ETC and I can help but think that there may be a rude awakening just around the corner.

Call me a cynic, but there are different motivations at play. While one group is trying to write a ruleset there are a series of groups trying to win an ETC. let me say that I'm now sure that the two factions are necessarily aligned and altruism will always be evident.

The ETC groups are trying to get every advantage they can and I think it would be very naive to expect that every broken combo being found is being dutifully reported back to the writing teams. Indeed, as we speak, I would guess there are private gaming sessions going on in Kraków, Düsseldorf, Roma etc where lists have been developed with the express intention that they won't be revealed before rulesets are finalised...and lists lodged.

I suspect there will be a number of extreme lists come to the fore in the coming few months and that a pretty significant patch will need to be developed post Greece.

Until then we'll sing Kumbaya but come August "The Weak Will Be Punished".


  1. In any new system (and that's still what 9th Age is) there is going to be 'rough edges' and imbalance. I think the issue isn't that there is going to be broken-ness, but rather how well and how timely it can be patched up. That was always the problem with GW, they never seemed to give a rat's arse; the frequency and quality of their FAQs were pretty abysmal.

    As long as 9th Age has a frequent round of relevant FAQs/updates, then it should be OK I think.

    1. You are missing the point, or appear to be.

      There is currently a huge incentive for top end players not to divulge brokenness and keep 'rough edges' to themselves.

      Not everyone is as altruistic as you and me Tane

    2. Wouldn't be the first time I've missed the point, or the last.

      Fair enough, I agree that there are probably some people whose self-esteem is so wrapped up in winning ETC that they'd deliberately leave in broken combos just so they can exploit them. Wankers.

      But with the play-testing and number-crunching to date, I'd hope the exploits would be few, or at least a lot fewer than GW gave us. And as long as they're fixed quickly(ish), I think that's the more important thing in the medium-long term. A broken combo is only a bad thing until the rules are FAQed or updated.

  2. I think you're right - there will be people 'hiding' combos until the ETC, but you would hope they are few and far between. And those that bring them to the ETC will find those combos broken up for next year.

    The thing is, they had to draw the line somewhere with all the chopping and changing, even where there are known issues (and there are many in discussion still).

    The committees were fairly open about the fact that they were only going to be able to keep updating until end of April then it was set so the ETC teams could be given adequate prep time. Then the next review cycle will begin again after the ETC.

    And I think you already know that this practice was prevalent with previous iterations of the ETC - specific people getting onto the AR committees to steer things their way.

    It's now on all of the teams to dig in and find the 'rough edges' and imbalances to exploit them for themselves.

    Hopefully, after the ETC, the committees will have enough data to make the required adjustments so there are fewer imbalances and more variety in lists. I think, for the most part, internal balance is relatively good, but there is a fair amount of work to be done on external balance and this can only really be done properly with a lot of data to work with.

    1. Apparently one of the Euro powers were pissed off with the last update for VC. It invalidated a lot of their preparatory work for ETC. They had an extreme build spamming multiple upgrades and it got closed down.

      Of course they hadn't identified it in the feedback process.

      As I said at the outset I expect a fairly significant patch post-ETC.

      The funny thing will be correlating broken lists to ABC-membership, and general rules committee membership