Guild Ball: Balance Errata

We’re 8 months into Guild Ball Season 3, and we’ve seen some pretty exciting stuff. The Kick Off! two-player starter set is driving an increase in community size and we’ve seen some incredible Guild Ball events happening around the world including the first ever Guild Ball World Team Championship. More recently, the Pitch Formations beta test has been getting everyone excited for new ways to play Guild Ball. If you missed the latest update to Pitch Formations, you can find it HERE. Today, using knowledge gained from the last 8 months of Guild Ball Season 3, we’re revealing some changes that we’re making to existing Guild Ball players. We will also be talking you through why these changes have been made.

Why Are We Releasing an Errata Now?

Choosing when to release an errata isn’t as simple as it may first seem. We need to consider the effect on world-wide Guild Ball events, consider what the best method is of delivering news of any changes, and ensuring that news of change filters into the entire community at once. We also need to be aware of how often we make changes to our games and try to ensure that Guild Ball coaches who play less regularly can keep up with the latest rules. Here in the Development Team, we decided that now is an appropriate time to release an errata because we appear to have a happy median between the need for certain players to see a couple of changes, the proximity to upcoming events like the British Championship & the WTC, and the amount of time remaining until we see the release of Season 4 at SteamCon 2018.

Because there are so many people that enjoy playing Guild Ball, we expect there will be coaches out there who expected more or different players to receive some changes. Overall, we decided to limit this errata to what we feel are the most important changes to make right now. While we aren’t promising changes in the future, we are always open to constructive feedback and we are always watching to see where we need to make changes.

In this errata, we took a particularly close look at Captains with the aim of trying to equalise the ‘pick rate’ of all Captains as much as possible. By example, Captain Ox is included in this errata because feedback from our playtest groups as well as our observations of the Guild Ball community told us that Ox is selected for use less often than Fillet. Therefore, we have made changes to Ox in this errata to try to address that imbalance in pick rate.

Midas, The Chosen One

Midas saw quite extensive changes going into Season 3, and while we are happy at the overall direction and theme of this player, in the right hands he is a little too good at doing what he does best. Additionally, there are generally a lot of rules on this player’s card and trimming him down a little helps this player’s overall balance and his beginner-friendliness. A third point is that these changes to Midas should help the other Alchemist Captain, Smoke, see more play.

Midas no longer has the Super Shot Character Play or the Light Footed Character Trait. In addition, Lure of Gold has become ‘once per turn’ and the Heroic Play Promise of Fortune no longer grants [+1] ARM.

Protecting the fun, dynamic, playstyle that Midas has was of the highest importance to us when considering changes to this player. Overall, we have slightly reduced Midas’ survivability, and made him work a little harder to score a goal. That said, Midas is still an incredibly potent goal threat and with his Heroic Play, Promise of Fortune, he retains his ability to disengage from melee with relative ease. The changes to Midas add up to a slight step down in power level whilst retaining the strong identity and exciting style of the Chosen One.

Vitriol, Fulmination of Progress

Vitriol is in this errata because she has the potential to have a very strong kick off. By standing her within [1”] of an Obstruction, Vitriol has an [11”] Charge and a [2”] Melee zone with which to retrieve the ball to immediately score with it, pass it back to her own team, or just hold onto it whilst being protected by Clone. In addition, Vitriol causes more damage than a striker really should.                                                                                                            

Vitriol no longer has the Cover of Darkness or Hidden Damage Character Traits and we have reduced her maximum Health Points from [12] to [10]. In addition, we have removed all Momentous damage from her Playbook and generally made it more difficult for her to land significant damage upon enemy players. Finally, she gained a brand new Character Trait which is more in keeping with her back story, I’ve Been Burnt Before…

These changes should slightly reduce the strength of Vitriol as a kick off player and increase the risk of charging her off into the enemy team unsupported. In addition, reducing Vitriol’s Playbook damage should mean that she cannot finish off a wounded enemy player as easily as she could before, solidifying her position as a goal-scorer rather than a damage-focused player.

Ox, Master Butcher

Since the beginning of Season 1, Shark and Ox have represented two extreme ends of the goal scoring and take-out spectrum. However, more recent releases have started to outshine Ox as a melee captain. We still want Ox to represent an extreme as an incredible damage dealer that dramatically increases the damage that his whole team can inflict. Also, as mentioned in the introduction, Ox is included in this errata with the aim of equalising the pick rate between Ox and Fillet.

We have restructured Ox’s Playbook so that he is much more likely to deal significant damage to an enemy that he hits in melee. In addition, we have increased the highest Playbook damage result on Ox’s Playbook from [3] to [4].

We didn’t need to do much to Ox, but what we have done changes his game significantly. He now has a truly fearsome Playbook to back up his fantastic suite of supportive abilities. Losing the Initiative to Ox is something to be very afraid of once again.

Shark, Fang of the Sea

Shark is in this errata primarily due to reasons of ‘fun’ rather than ‘power level’. Playing against Shark when he uses Gut & String to reduce the MOV of your favourite players by [-4”/-4”] and then throws his Legendary Play, Caught in a Net, on top of that for another [-4”/-4”] MOV often leaves players completely unable to move at all. Aside from being quite powerful, this isn’t particularly fun to play against.

Gut & String has been removed and replaced with a new Character Play called Stagger. Stagger triggers in exactly the same way as Gut & String and reduces the enemy’s DEF by [-1]; however, Stagger does not reduce enemy MOV. In addition, we have reduced the Pulse size of Caught in a Net from an [8”] Pulse to a [6”] Pulse.

With Shark, we wanted to ensure that his offensive potential remained unchanged. Shark is just as effective at scoring goals as he always was, he just needs to be a little more careful when planning how to survive retribution from the opposing team.

Siren, Allure of the Sea

Siren is a similar case to Vitriol in that she is particularly potent when performing a kick off. This is because she can move up and perform the kick off action and, if allocated [4] Influence, she then has a high MOV attribute with which to Advance and retrieve the ball from the enemy team using Seduced. She could then Pass the ball back to her own team with relative ease.

Siren’s INF attribute has been reduced from [2/4] to [2/3]. The effect this has on the Pitch is that Siren can afford to Jog and spend her [3] Influence to use Seduced, but she no longer has any spare Influence with which to Pass the ball to friendly players. However, Siren’s ability to Charge and trigger Seduced from her Playbook has remained unchanged. Charging to trigger Seduced is often a higher risk tactic for a Fishermen Coach and reinforces the risk/reward nature this powerful ability should have.

Veteran Siren, Turning of the Tide

Due to the construction of her Playbook, Veteran Siren is able to benefit from a number of TAC bonuses within the Fishermen’s Guild to wrap her Playbook and generate a large amount of both Momentum and damage. A typical example of this would be using the large amount of [2”] Melee Zones that the Fishermen naturally have to boost Veteran Siren’s TAC up to [7] or [8] and then increase her chances of hitting by having someone like Corsair or Kraken knock down her target. While generating two momentum per influence from dealing damage is something that a number of other teams are capable of, it is not intended for the Fishermen to have access to this much Momentum generation from damaging an enemy player.

We have written a new Playbook for Veteran Siren. She no longer has any access to Momentous Damage, but she retains her ability to Push, Dodge, and trigger Dread Gaze Momentously.

Siren has retained her ability to damage enemy players; she just no longer does this while generating a lot of Momentum. This should focus her role on the Pitch to being an effective defensive asset to her team due to Dread Gaze who is quite difficult to take-out due to Escaping Fate.

Theron, Champion of the Sun Father

Theron is a player that already does everything that we want him to do, however there are a number of things that could increase Theron’s efficiency, making him easier to pick up and play. So we’ve enhanced Theron’s ability to fight in melee and control enemy players.

Pinned now has a reduced COST of [2], Arrow to the Knee has been replaced by Snipe, keen eyes will notice that Snipe is just a version of Arrow to the Knee that can be used multiple times per turn. Sun Strike has an increased RNG of [6”] and now triggers on each Character Play that the affected player uses. So if Theron is under the effect of Sun Strike, he will generate [1] MP for each Snipe or Pinned that hits an enemy player. Theron has gained the Light Footed Character Trait to allow him to move through his own forest AOE with ease, and the Heroic Play, Blessing of the Sun Father, can now target Theron himself as well as other friendly players. Finally, Theron’s Playbook has been simplified and his damage slightly increased.

A lot of small changes here add up to quite a lot. Theron is now a much more efficient player that can inflict the snared condition on multiple enemy players at range or in melee. Theron’s ability to generate Momentum has been dramatically increased both through his new Playbook and the new version of Sun Strike. Perhaps our favourite change is to Blessing of the Sun Father. Being able to target himself with this Heroic Play relieves a lot of ‘order of activation’ problems that the Hunters previously faced as a result of this Heroic Play.

Hearne, Scion of the Sun Father

Tied quite closely to Theron due to Hearne’s ability to teleport into forests and that they both have the same Heroic Play, Hearne needed a little bit of love to increase his efficiency and ease of use.

Hearne has the same change to Blessing of the Sun Father as Theron, allowing him to target himself with this Heroic Play. Additionally, the Playbook Trigger for the Singled Out Character Play is now a Momentous Playbook result.

Similar to Theron, these small changes add up to a big increase in efficiency for Hearne. Being able to spend [1] MP to either give a friendly player a free Character Play or immediately use it to throw a Skewered at an enemy player is a nice improvement in versatility. Additionally, making the Singled Out Playbook trigger Momentous makes Hearne better at his role as a set up player; allowing him to accomplish his task while generating Momentum for the team.

Hammer, Superstar

The issue with Hammer is fairly simple – he is less versatile than Honour in a team that champions versatility and tactical flexibility. The steps taken have been aimed at increasing Hammer’s versatility and making him a little easier to use, with the overall goal of equalising his pick rate with Honour.

Hammer has swapped his old Heroic Play for a Legendary Play of the same name, Hammer Time! This Legendary Play is now a [6”] Aura that allows other friendly Masons to choose one of three benefits, additional MOV, additional Playbook damage, or additional KICK dice. In addition, we have increased the RNG of Hammer’s Character Plays so he should have an easier time making use of them. Finally, we streamlined Hammer’s Playbook to make him easier to use for newer players to Guild Ball and the Masons Guild.

There isn’t much to summarise with Hammer. We believe these changes should make him a more versatile captain that is quite different to Honour, whilst at the same time making Hammer a little easier to pick and play.

Avarisse & Greede, Private Entrepeneurs for Hire

Avarisse & Greede are two particularly difficult players to design. In a game that centralises around single player activations, having two players activate at once and making that fun and interesting can be a challenge. Currently Avarisse & Greede are also doing things that they shouldn’t really be doing, such as scoring goals from [20”] or more. In short, we needed to take Avarisse & Greede back to their original concept as back alley thugs.

Rather than taking this duo change by change, let’s focus on what Avarisse & Greede do now. Namely, they beat people up, and they do it quite well. Greede is the bossy one of the pair, constantly shouting at Avarisse and directing the big man to who he should be beating up next. Greede’s abilities are themed around this ‘direction’ of Avarisse, and while Greede is around, Avarisse’s capacity to deal damage is significantly increased. Also, we thought it would be quite fun to give a visual representation of Greede kneeling down behind someone as Avarisse pushes them over and they trip up over Greede! This is shown through Thuggery on Avarisse. Avarisse is a melee beater and under the direction of Greede he can put out a huge amount of damage, but Coaches need to be careful not to get Greede taken-out!

Harry ‘the Hat’ Hallahan

Harry is a toolbox player that is meant to help his team with a number of different things. The issue here is that Harry is good at just about everything. He supports teams that want to play with the ball using Inspiring Hat, he has good control abilities in the form of Goad and Molotov, and he is also capable of large amounts of Momentous damage! Harry is in this errata to give him a weakness. Every other player in Guild Ball has one, and it’s time for Harry to play fair too.

Firstly, we decided to remove the Crazy Character Trait and reduce the length and contents of Harry’s Playbook. Harry’s new Playbook is much more focussed on supporting and setting up his team with Push and Knockdown results rather than damaging enemy players. To match his new Playbook and the removal of Crazy, Harry has a higher TAC attribute of [5].

These changes are aimed at ensuring that Harry is laser focused on his role as a support player. He can be relied upon to assist in melee with his [2”] melee zone and reliable Push Playbook results, and with a Charge or a few TAC bonuses he can also knock a lot of players down. Enemies will also still have to think twice about attacking Harry due to his Rising Anger Character Trait that provides his team with free Momentum! Additionally, Harry still supports his team with his handy control effects and eponymous hat.

There are currently no plans to produce physical copies of these cards. 

Well, that’s it for this errata. We’re excited to see how this effects the players we regularly see on team rosters. Tell us what you think on our forums HERE!