Balance perspective on ability scaling

Hey there, fellow players.
My today’s question is:

Do we agree with the spell scalings in their current form?

When it comes to early-game, there’s not enough magic to make a major difference, and late-game there’s no point in single-target damaging abilities, unless they bring utility.

The idea I have is that Single Target damaging abilities could have 150% Magic ratio. True damage abilities could stay at 100%. Just random numbers coming to mind.

What is your idea on possible future rework on Magic to ability damage changes? Are you for, or against them? Why? Please, discuss.
I personally would welcome a change like this in a year or two.

Interesting idea, though it might skew things. Troops like Pharos-Ra can already nearly 1 shot most troops when at full souls, but then again he’s a base Mythic and scales more on souls than magic.

How would it deal with troops that just deal damage, compared to those that do more? Examples:

6 Red
Deals [Magic+2] Damage to an enemy.

Pride Hunter:
8 Red
Deals [Magic+2] damage to an enemy, and silence them.

Would these scale the same? Would it be left to mana cost to balance out the difference?

For argument’s sake, lets assume the player has 22 Magic (12 base + 5 Magic Kingdoms at 5* (10 Magic) + 2 Guild bonus). Both troops do 24 damage. The Musketeer does 4 points of damage per mana, while the Pride Hunter does 3 points per mana and silences.

If we have a 150% Magic Ratio on single targets (150% of 22), then we’re looking at 35 damage per cast. Musketeer now does 5.83r points of damage per mana, while Pride Hunter does 4.375. Musketeer has had an increase of 1.833r points of damage per mana, while Pride Hunter only had 1.375.

Another example:
Sabertooth Lion:
8 Blue/Green
Deals [Magic + 3] damage to an enemy. Gain 5 Magic if the enemy dies.

10 Green/Brown
Deal [Magic + 3] damage to an enemy. Reduce the enemy’s Attack by 2.

Assuming the same 22 Magic, both troops do 25 damage. Sabertooth does 3.125 damage per mana, while Owlbear does 2.5. If we increase the Magic by 150% we get Sabertooth doing 36 damage, or 4.5 damage per mana, and Owlbear doing 3.6 damage per mana. Increases of 1.375 and 1.1 respectively.
Also Sabertooth gives us another case to examine, magic increases. If Sabertooth kills an enemy their magic increases by 5, meaning it will do 30 damage next cast, which gives a ratio of 3.75, or an increase of 0.652. Under the 150% rule Sabertooth gains 7.5 mana if it kills, meaning it would do 32.5 damage next cast, which would give a ratio of 4.0625, or an increase of 0.9375.

In short: (aka TL;DR) It wouldn’t be as simple as just giving single target spells a 150% buff, as you’d have to look at a number of other things including mana costs. Not saying this idea is bad, just pointing out that it would favour the lower cost single target spells.

Interesting viewpoint. Needs a lot more thinking, I’m thinking.

Many troops had spells designed when the max level in the game was 15, and there were no ascensions. The same stat ratios and balance probably don’t remain.

Two points to consider:

  • how does spell damage compare with attack damage?
  • how do the different spell damage models (single, AoE, split, true, etc) compare?

Try playing arena to see a game balance model far nearer the original designs.

I’ve some strong views on this, but no time to scribe more now. Thoughts welcome.


@Ozball That might actually be the idea, you see.
When it comes to comparison - most of abilities that are cheap are plain damage abilities. They do damage and nothing else. Once you add utility to them - they are supposed to be weaker per mana than pure damage abilities.

At least that’s how I see it.

Naturally, things could be looked into a bit further, but this concept is extremely easy to implement and solves a lot of balance questions.

I, for example, find it user-unfriendly that difference between single target and AoE to 1 target is 5 damage. By promoting single-target abilities, you wouldn’t really ruin the game. You’d open up a massive diversity. Mana drain would become a thing. Web instantly becomes useful. List goes on.

After all, I don’t see a problem if a troop designed to hurt a single target actually hurts a single target. We’ve had bone dragon for so long that killing 2-3 troops in one turn is already a habit, anyway.


@Jainus I completely see your viewpoint.
… And that’s why I believe that an update as the game progresses is kind of necessary. Because currently, it feels like you have around 20 troops to pick from. If you pick something else, you are not playing “right” (aka efficiently).

I agree that if developers actually decide to look into this topic, it will need more thought than simply throwing a random number generated by a random player from the forums, but it can definitely bring more light to an important matter such as design of one of the four main stats.

Thank you all for your thoughts, so far. The feedback as well as ideas are highly appreciated.

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I don’t feel like they need a new way to balance rather they just need to go back to the old troops and evaluate what they are good for and apply buffs. I don’t think we should implement a new scaling when this way still works. And the way your saying sounds a lot more complicated than what we have now.

And also I really don’t like the idea of killing multiple troops in 1 turns like bone dragon… that comment completely lost my favor for this idea. That’s not the route I want the game to go down. still want reasonable strategy/games that are 1-3 minutes not a few turns… comparing your balance idea and saying:

Wasn’t a good choice

I don’t think we should have single target troops that kill the target in one spell. That sounds unreasonable unless it’s a mythic or legendary. It’s mostly the idea of facing these troops that I don’t like and don’t find fun. Racing to the first skill, like bone dragon, which determines the fate of the game is not fun. Especially if the skill is cheap and can one shot and cause a snowball effect…

I prefer teams like the dragons, where it’s AOE damage, explodes, or transforms where you have a build up. One skill doesn’t determine the entire game, you have to weave them together. I also like to throw them with Pharos, who can one shot and transform color/board clear. Like my favorite team is krystanex, dragon soul, sylvanimora, Pharos. It’s a build up, has utility, aoe and single target damage, and board control (souls too),and doesn’t end the game in 2 turns like bone dragon. Fun, pretty efficient, and has utility. That’s the goal for all the teams I make so I would like it personably if more troops fit that description.

Also I wanted to point out that mana drains and webs are in a good place. Especially mana drains. They are strong, annoying to face, and used frequently (Emperor K, manticore, famine are the top three). You make it seem as if they are currently useless.

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Actually, from the numbers I proposed, it’s obvious I never went for the one-shot theory. I only stated that single target abilities should have a purpose and there should be a moment where you might consider it rather than AoE (and in case you find a strong combination and build-up, you should be able to one-shot a troop, why not? Rowanne and Gard’s Avatar can wipe the whole enemy team in one cast, please, consider that). Currently, singles are now useless once you level up 5 kingdoms and epic troops.

When I mentioned the drain and web, I meant it might actually make me want to place them in my team rather then put them on defense battles, in case single-targets are against me. When it comes to PvP, players take what wins the safest and fastest. And very few drainers go for that combination. Not today, at least.
Of course, casual players who play for fun and not numbers still use them, but then we are not really talking about balance.

If you want to tell me that charging up a troop like Musketeer (6) 8 times to kill 4 troops is too overpowered, then we might be misunderstanding each other somehow. With (let’s say) 20 magic, these troops would get 10 bonus damage. To a single target.

I’m afraid I have to say your example with dragons only proves my point.
Vast majority prefer dragons because they build mana by dealing AoE damage. Which is safe, fast and rewarding. I haven’t seen anyone use Borealis for decades, even though he has amazing concept. Because he is just way too slow since single-target. If those focused shots hurt more - it might have been a difference in diversity.

both single target and aoe have their strength and weakness.

in general:
damage to all aoe is a little faster and less thinking required, but their single target damage is low.
single target damage usually stronger against for one troop and you can choose target, which is good to get rid of key enemy fast, but slower.
split damage aoe is in between both. strong vs a single troop, but weak as aoe. and you can’t target with it.

rowanne is strong because of her boost, which is better with 50% bonus this week. but she is useless if she got hit to 0 armor.
dragon aoe team, while feel fast, it take almost the same time to take down a 4 troop team and 1 troop team. what worse is when vs a resurrecting unit, it gonna take much longer because the damage per target is low.

current magic scaling is fine. each troop has their use. for some, while their single damage is lower, they has some other utility to make up for it. for others, while strong, they have their own weakness. there also some which are highly dependent on trait to make them good.

Plenty still feel like they’re for lvl10 :stuck_out_tongue:

I think my main issue with scaling is how many extra effects there are in the game that are a flat value when they should also be scaling. We’ve got Krystenax that has the summon and the damage scale, why not expand on that? Stuff like Dwarf Lord’s armor-on-kill value should be reasonably high at later levels - but not some middle ground that makes it indestructible earlier.


right now we have aoe troops that kill all 4 targets in 3 casts
but if u take any single target unit - in 3 casts in most cases it wont even kill 3 targets

excluding some extreme cases like pharos to kill 3 targets (not to mention 4) you will need 6 single casts… (if not more)

sadly status effect changes and gem manipulations in nearly all the cases cant or shouldnt scale
so half of spells that has extra effect still wouldnt benefit from such changes

in general i agree that either most of single target spells should hit a bit harder, or all aoe spells should scale with magic on a slower rate (1:2 not 1:1 for example) and i also would like to buff aoe split damage spells to scale with magic on a higher rate then 1:1 (many have x2 i think but not all, and i think i really wouldnt mind x3 )

I agree with @Annaerith here. The other solution could be decreasing the AoE scaling a little.

When it comes to Split Damage - I completely agree it should go up with the ratio to at least 2x for all split damage troops (currently, all split damage troops have 1x but some have higher magic value). It is a middle-ground mechanic between AoE and single target that should work as a weak AoE but get stronger against few troops. If you hit a single target, you’ve already won anyway. It should be a trade off of weak start of the game but stronger execution phase. Currently, any split damage in late-game works nothing but a barrier-erases. (Excluding Rowanne, she doesn’t work of Magic but completely different stat for this discussion)

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rowanne is a proof that 2x would work :wink:

They’ll never reduce overall damage at this point. Too many people like the boom, boom look at the explosions stuff.

They’re only going to go up from here. In fact, they’re more likely to bypass damage altogether and put in more devour/death mark stuff.

Um, split damage DOES get stronger with fewer troops. Split damage is far superior to flat AOE damage as the match goes on.

not really, i mean considering amount of casts you need to do to kill said team of 4 troops it seem to go faster in the end but the damage per cast is much lower so i dont think it ends in less casts then the regular aoe does

but please do show me how the math goes on

Flat AOE does more damage at the beginning of the match. Split does more at the end of the match.

Flat AOE of 25 does the same damage to all 4 troops. If you have 4 enemies, that’s 100 total damage. If you have 2 enemies, it’s still 25 per troop so it goes down to 50 total damage and so on.

Split damage of 50 does 50 damage split between all 4 troops, obviously. If you have 2 enemies, it’s still 50 total damage and so on.

In the specific case let’s say of having 1 enemy left with 25 life, 24 AOE takes 2 casts to kill. 26 split damage kills it in one. Flat AOE speeds up the damage earlier in the match but slows down as you kill enemies. Split damage starts out slow but ramps up as you kill enemies.

I consider Split damage to be the “finisher” or “cleanup” where flat AOE is the initial barrage. They’re not interchangeable and sometimes it’s advantageous to use both.

While the principles work in what you’re saying…

Agree with this.

But looking at the math, @Annaerith is right. A TDS/Nax/Sylv team tends to kill 3-4 enemies at once with its last cast - sometimes the first one is down from attacks and exploded skulls, but mostly hitting everyone for 20-30 at a time is far faster than split damage. Yes AoE stalls if one enemy is tougher and needs finishing.

(Rowanne is an exception, as with her boost ratio she hits as hard as any AoE troop if she has all her armour)

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Yeah, it doesn’t come into play much at higher levels simply because of the overall damage output.

Where I noticed it most was in the mid-game, comparing like Crimson Bat to Psion.

If you had one or two troops in the enemy stack that were particularly beefy, Psion could finish them off in 1 or 2 turns vs. Bat taking 3.

To piggyback on that, the place you’ll find split damage most useful? Arena.

These are both false statements.

edit: Upon reflection, one line bitchy replies like that aren’t helpful, so allow me to elaborate.

There is no actual need that is addressed by your proposed change. Single-target damage, like every other type of damage, has its place within the game and has been carefully tuned to be in balance.

IMO most of the time when people are talking about “issues” with certain damage types, “the problem with frozen”, and all manner of these topics, most of the time the underlying issue is that a player would like to shoe-horn something into a place it was never meant to be.

I think that before any discussion on this flows forward, the case that it is necessary must first be made. You’ve not done that to any standard outside of personal opinion.