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 Balance changes between H1 and H2

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Sir Albe
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PostSubject: Balance changes between H1 and H2   2015-08-08, 07:15

As many of you sure know H2 can be classified as a extended version of H1 with new features to the base game. The 4 classic classes, the creatures, spells and buildings seem to be just like their H1 versions, but actually a very small number of balance changes has taken place between the two games:

Creatures:
Note that all nearly all creatures have their movement speed doubled because of the increase in battlefield size from 5*7 in H1 to 9*11 in H2 which, depending on how you look on it, makes the battlefield twice as large. Therefore only creatures with movement speeds that are not doubled from H1 are present here:

  • Paladin has 5 speed instead of 6 (was 3 in H1)
  • Cyclops has 5 speed instead of 4 (was 2 in H1)
  • Druid has 5 speed instead of 6 (was 3 in H1)
  • Unicorn has 5 speed instead of 4 (was 2 in H1)
  • Phoenix has 7 speed instead of 6 (was 3 in H1). Also Phoenix has recieved the "Immune to elemental spells" abillity.
  • Rouge has 5 speed instead of 6 (was 3 in H1).
  • Ghost has 5 speed instead of 4 (was 2 in H1).


Buildings:
Two buildings had either their cost or requirements changed.

  • For Bridge (trolls) to be constructed now both Stick hut, Den and Adobe is needed (was only Stick Hut and Adobe in H1).
  • The cost for Stonehenge (druids) is now only 2500 gold and 10 ore (was 2500 gold, 10 ore and 10 mercury in H1).


Spells
Two spells change their effects since H1. I haven't taken spells that was split up in H2 with (resurrection) or spells that just changed their spell level, since the number of spell levels went from 4 in H1 to 5 in H2.

  • Slow's effect decreased from setting speed to 2 (was 1 in H1) to reducing speed by 50% (rounded up) in H2.
  • Haste's effect was decreased from setting speed to 8 (was 4 in H1) to just adding 2 to the speed of target creature.


If all changes are taken into account it actually makes especially the sorceress better. Also the Barbarian may receive a little buff, but also suffers from the extra requirement and the knight's paladin is decreased a bit. It is quite interesting that both  sorceress and barbarian get net +1 speed (the sorceress has -1 for druid, +1 for unicorn and +1 for phoenix = +1) and the knight "losses" 1 speed even though it is considered the weakest class in the game. Only the Warlock receive no "free" speed buff or debuff, which for sure will survive considering his strength. That way H2 may be a bit more balanced than H1, but it is important to remember that H2 adds a lot of new features that interfere with the balance for instance creature upgrades (BD for warlock sure makes up for the missing speed buff Very Happy ), secondary skills, more spells ect.


Last edited by Sir Albe on 2016-08-11, 23:51; edited 4 times in total
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Pitsu
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PostSubject: Re: Balance changes between H1 and H2   2015-08-08, 19:32

Sorry, I do not get why you say that area is dobled when (9*11)/(5*7) =2.8, which is more than double. And if you take into account that starting armies take some space of it, then the ratio will be even higher than two-fold. Regarding balance the speeds of creatures are actually breaking it in other way - namely the speed is also initiative. With only 3 speed grades in H1 it is more likely that both sides of a battle can get to act. H3 style "Crag hack casting mass haste" situation where entire army of one side gets to act before other is less likely to happen in H1 than H2. Therefore IMO the H1 battles are due to initiative equalities more "fair" or balanced. If neutral armies would be H4 style mixed armies I guess a lossless victory over neutrals would be a rarity in H1.

Regarding spells the greatest change is probably the way how knowledge works. With introduction of mana points and no need to reload spells from towns the value of high knowledge skill IMO was reduced. That was a blow to sorceress, and to make things worse both new factions (wizards and necromancers) are decent in magic skills. So in H1 -> H2 magic transition IMO warlock won (easier to compensate low knowledge), sorcerer lost value of the primary skill specialized in, and both got new competitors. The competition from wizard heroes is most difficult (among magic heroes) for Sorcs AFAIS.

So, with these additions, I would conclude that in might department the greatest losers are "very slow" creatures like knight starting army. In magic department sorceress hero is devaluated and sorc town armies are better lead by a foreign hero class.
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PostSubject: Re: Balance changes between H1 and H2   2015-08-08, 19:42

Exactly. Heroes 1 is way more balanced and this is why there is even a Tournament Edition for Heroes 1 which I plan to feature on the Forums of Enroth later. Concerning Heroes 2, there are a lot of balance patches and there has never been any agreement.

I insist that the balance cannot be calculated without a good tournament experience. It depends on the player skill very much.

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Sir Albe
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PostSubject: Re: Balance changes between H1 and H2   2015-08-08, 22:11

Let me explain:

About the battlefield size: It is entirely true what you noticed; The number of hexes on the battlefield is about 2.8 times the number of in H1 (99/35), but I am afraid you missed something important. Double the length and width of a battlefield gives four times as many hexes. For instance imagine you have a 10*10 battlefield and then double the length and width so it becomes a 20*20 battlefield. The number of hexes is four times as big (400/100), but the length for creatures to cross it in any direction is only twice as big. You can find the "true" number on how much bigger the H2 battlefield is if you square root the number of hexes: √99/√35 = 1,68. It is not quite the real "true" number because units still takes up one hex (or two if large), so that on the 10*10 battlefield would take 9 hexes from one corner to the diagonal corner. That would then be 19 hexes on the 20*20 battlefield. Also obstacles must be taken into account.

About the initiative: Not sure that the number of speed grades makes the difference here. If I had 1000 speed grades would my creatures then still act (averagely) the same amount as if I had 3? It is though true that you can be more or less sure to go first when you have creatures with many different movement speeds (for instance champions and phoenixes in H2 always goes first). But H1 is not more balanced because of the fewer speed grades - it just don't have creatures that stand out and always has its turn first (like mentioned champions and phoenixes in H2).
What might make a difference is the ability to cast spells like mass haste as you mentioned. Such spells makes the one side act much faster than the other and maybe it just feels different in H2 because of such spells.

About the change of knowledge skill: It is for sure very important to take into account that the knowledge mechanic changes. That way the sorceress is weaker than before. I just pointed out some stat changes which was the only thing I looked at. In a full analysts of the game balance, it sure is way more important to take such changes into account than just pure stat changes.

And yes Orzie, player skill is very important for game balance. I just also have a strong trust in the math behind the game Smile


Last edited by Sir Albe on 2016-08-11, 23:50; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Balance changes between H1 and H2   2015-08-11, 01:15

Sir Albe wrote:
[*]Paladin has 5 speed instead of 4 (was 2 in H1)

Eee... what? Not 3 in H1?

Sir Albe wrote:
What might make a difference is the ability to cast spells like mass haste as you mentioned. Such spells makes the one side act much faster than the other and maybe it just feels different in H2 because of such spells.
It's OK in H2. The spells exist though they are not very easy to get. That's one of the reasons however why I disrespect H3.
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PostSubject: Re: Balance changes between H1 and H2   2015-08-11, 03:09

Ups, sorry. It of course should be 3. I will change that immediately. Thank you for pointing it out for me Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Balance changes between H1 and H2   2015-08-11, 06:14

I admit that movement is more linear than square function. Perhaps a good way to compare the field with movement would be the percentage of filed that can be covered by movement range. In this comparison indeed 2-fold may be (have not done all the calculations) accurate. The obstacles, and IMO even more importantly the armies themselves, are relatively larger in H1 and taking them ninto account makes H2 more spacy than appears in comparison of only field dimensions.

If there would be only one initiative level the attacking and defending side would always switch like in chess - white moves, black retalitates, white, black, white, black and so forth. In HoMM the acting order is definded by speed (intiative) and the faster moves first. In case of equal speeds of units from both sides the priority is to switch side and not to let one side to get consequtive moves. If most units from the 10 who are on the field have different speeds, a player is more likely to get consequtive moves during which the other side cannot take any countersteps against your tactics. A good player can (ab)use it and make battles one-sided. Imagine chess where withe can do three consequtive moves and then black three moves and then again white three moves and so forth. Both sides still get "the same number of acts", but would the chances of white winning remain the same?
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PostSubject: Re: Balance changes between H1 and H2   2015-08-12, 06:32

I am sorry but I don't see why having less grades of different movements speeds make the game more balanced. In your example:
Pitsu wrote:
If most units from the 10 who are on the field have different speeds, a player is more likely to get consequtive moves during which the other side cannot take any countersteps against your tactics. A good player can (ab)use it and make battles one-sided. Imagine chess where withe can do three consequtive moves and then black three moves and then again white three moves and so forth. Both sides still get "the same number of acts", but would the chances of white winning remain the same?

But units have different movement speeds in H1 as well. You example could happen in H1, except you wouldn't be able to use for instance "Mass Haste" to make your units act quicker.
The difference is that you have higher chances to go first when you for instance own a fast creature, but so has the enemy and in that way it is just as balanced as in H1. You can get creatures with 7 speed in H2 and still meet enemies with 7 speed creatures just like you can have creatures with 3 speed in H1 and meet enemies with 3 speed creatures.

If we say we have lots of speed grades (100 or so) it would still be balanced, because you always pays for the amount of speed the creature has. That way you might get the first turn nearly always, but you also paid an appropriate amount of gold for it (if game is balanced of course).
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