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Dev Diary: Balancing the Loota

Dev Diary: Balancing the Loota

Posted on Nov 10, 15 By w40admin

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Alexander Ferguson is a Designer here at Hammerfall Publishing and is responsible for many elements of Warhammer 40,000: Regicide, he spends a large amount of time balancing the units within the game and is responsibile for the famous Warboss Rampage. He's also a filthy Tau sympathiser.

The Loota has always been a difficult piece to balance - In previous iterations of the game, Strength had been the sole governing factor of damage dealt in both snapshots and assaults. We always knew we wanted the Loota (and its Space Marine counterpart, the Devastator) to be the strongest piece on the board in terms of raw firepower, firing multiple high-power shots with an unpredictable hit chance.

However, under that model it had the unintended side-effect of making the loota immensely powerful in assaults as well, thanks to the Ork's natural +2 strength in melee. In addition, the ability Green Iz Best could shore up the Loota's poor weapon skill, negating his one weakness (His low to-hit chance). The result was a fairly durable, mobile unit that excelled both at a range and in melee. In other words: Broken as hell.

Our solution to this came in an update to our combat engine, which allowed us to split damage bonuses for snapshots and assaults separately. Now we could ensure that the Loota still hit hard with his snapshots whilst barely tickling in melee - a lot closer to the heavy-weapons-wielding cannon we had first envisioned.

We were getting closer to a good balance, but were still falling short - with the reduced power of its assaults, the loota's lack of accuracy became a glaring problem. It was meant to dish out huge amounts of damage at a range, but it was failing to do just that. Even with its potential to deal massive amounts of damage (with a WS of 2, it had around a ~25% chance to do a whopping 7 points of damage to a space marine, or a 37% chance to deal 11 damage with Green Iz Best +2), it was just failing to perform to a satisfactory level.

Increasing his Weapon Skill once more seemed to bring it back in line. The bump in accuracy brought the Loota back to deadly levels, able to pump out enough Dakka to match a Space Marine (and on occasion, more!). Of course, the real test will be at the hands of the community, who will no doubt devise some cunning new stratagems to exploit the loota to its fullest. I'm looking forward to seeing it!

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