Edain 4.5 – Gondor Review

After 3 or so years of waiting, Edain Mod 4.4 graduated to 4.5 this last week and the fun has been a-flowing. This patch constitutes a complete overhaul of several of the key gameplay mechanics such as economy and god powers. It adds new units and textures which are both visually pleasing. Importantly though, the patch re-invisions each faction to make them more unique, less exploitable and arguably much more fun overall. Gondor/Arnor being my favorite army, I will start the assessment with them:

Gondor’s Economy:

Previously, individual economy buildings had to be upgraded separately in order to accelerate the flow of resources and/or expand population cap. Now, however, pop cap is an incremental research option in the citadel (so resource buildings lost won’t shrink your cap), and econ upgrades are purchased at a forge or similar research building (in Gondor’s case, the Marketplace has been repurposed to do this). All new econ buildings take the global research level instead of needing to be leveled up once built. Econ buildings don’t deteriorate revenue based on how damaged they are (thank the maker). Upgrades tier at 1200 for level 2 and 2400 for level 3 (on castles, outposts and settlements separately). Pop expansions are 200 cap for 500 resources, all the way up to 1500 – a reduction in cap from v. 4.4 by 300 I’m sad to report.

This new restructuring paces the game significantly slower than it was in the previous iteration. The resource penalties are higher, which draws out the time to collect resources and thus, things in the game take longer to unfold. I do like this change though! Games feel more deliberate, less rush rush hasty.

Gondor’s Army:

There’s a new mechanic for the manor houses that gifts their elite unit cost reduction to regular infantry and archers, which causes a late-game surge when all the pieces fall into place. Once researched at the marketplace. That’s a 60 resource reduction on the cost of all units, if you are at the max number of houses built. It’s stellar. That, in conjunction with the already existing reduction mechanic for cavalry through the farms, waging war with Gondor is fast and furious like I remember it being in the previous version of Edain, but even more so than before.

Signal fires were totally overhauled, which made me sad since one of my favorite strategies was a spam with signal fire units (since they’re free in v. 4.4) after the god power additional battalion upgrade.  Sadly, the timer-spawned units are not happening anymore. Now, the signal fires collect a “resource” every 60 seconds called a “signal rider.” the units can be bought once you have enough currency, 2 is the starting low value and 10 is the largest sum of riders that can be spent at once. 10 brings 8 full level 2 battalions of the standard 4 types of signal fire unit (swordsman, axemen, pikes, archers). This mechanic lets you place the battalions at your discretion near the signal fire building instead of having them spawn automatically. It also is upgraded to 3 total battalions once you buy the god power upgrade. The units are the same quality, but just more deliberate about how and when they are brought to the battlefield. You must have the cap available to summon whatever you pay riders for, or you will lose the units that don’t fit under the cap to the cosmic ether… never to be seen again.

Arnor is largely unchanged with the exception of their spellbook. They still lean on swordsmen instead of the pikes of Gondor. Their allegiance with the elves gives them one of the game’s best elite multipurpose units. The spellbooks are better duplicates of each other then they were before so I really like the fact that they made Arnor just a dusty mirror of Gondor. As it should be, they’re all the same people, just split between the two kingdoms of men.

I don’t use the settlement rangers… regular archers are more than sufficient in appropriate number to thin melee units. Rangers are only an option on castle maps since then there’s a good chance of reducing their cost with the manor house mechanic. I never use Faramir. I use Pipin, Boromir and occasionally Denethor. I sprinkle Gondor knights… they add substance to any real push. Can’t win with infantry alone. Siege comes in to play every game, and trebuchets are as effective as ever.

All told, I’m  pleased! I give the whole update an A. Gameplay has been very good against the hard AI. I have tried several different build orders and am starting to settle on one that keeps me in contention and paces expansion along with the necessary economic hurdles. Edain team really came through with a phenomenal update, meeting 3 years of my pent-up expectations. I continue to play and explore all the unique features they have added to the different factions. Not to mention the fact that the next major update will be coming sooner, and it will have the final faction missing from Edain: Goblins. I believe they will be known as Misty Mountains now since it won’t be just Goblins but an amalgamation of Gundabad, Moria and Mirkwood. W is a Gobs guy from way back in the day, back when vanilla Battle for Middle-Earth II hit the shelves (in 2006). He loved them, and Edain has taken them away for years and years. Now, finally, and perhaps even this spring, they will be welcomed back into the fold.

Ultimate Apocalypse Build Order: Tau Empire

It’s been a long time since I wrote one of these, but I know the others I published years ago are long irrelevant due to many many patches since they were written. The newest version of UA at the time of this post is the one we will be focusing on. THB.

So Tau have long been my favorite faction because I like the units and build order plus the melee to ranged ratio is very nice in my opinion. I have a preference to play them, but against the Hard and Harder AIs I have a little trouble, or, had. I have since implemented a new build order which maximizes the potential for success while limiting the vulnerability to the rush. Orks and IG will hit hard and within the first five minutes so it is important to have a strat that compensates.

The goal of the strat is to balance tech with unit production and timely units as well. Transition to vehicles quickly. Backloads armies with elite ranged.

I still think there’s no defense to an Ork rush, but every other faction can fall victim to this sequence.

Within the first few minutes:

Go barracks (ranged) then as many requisition nodes as possible until 4 – 5 are capped and listening posts are built. Then hit the first two power plants to quickly go tier 2. While all of that is going on. you need a commander and 1 melee or ranged squad (whichever is better). The military units should come out of the barracks not HQ building. These steps are core to any future build order because they enable fast leveling for the commander unit.

As Tau, I choose the ranged commander, the XV22 and a squad of Fire Warriors. Keep them together at some central point so they can act on intrusions. I also get a Kroot Alpha squad out and hold the next front with them. I need to get to tier 2 very fast. I’ll back up a second squad of FW and max out their squad size.

Next is a mad dash to tier 3. Try to build some Hounds out to beef up a unit presence and I will drop a Devilfish or two since the AI will have vehicles at this point as well. I stay away from the Skyrays since they don’t really mature as decent artillery until tier 3. So I do the best I can to hold ground until I get to both types of tier 3 that the Tau have (melee and ranged). I crank on tier 3 units and the new commanders/squads. I The secondary ranged commander and the command squad for ranged are good enough to hold a front by themselves with limited interaction from units and vehicles. They pack quite a punch once the base-level is up above 5.

Also, get that Ethereal out as soon as possible and flip on the create bodyguards function on all the time. Set the Ethereal somewhere where it isn’t in immediate peril and let it keep popping out free Fire Warriors in the backline somewhere. Those three unit squads pack a hefty punch, can capture nodes and are reinforceable if they lose members.

I get the Kroot Commander out on that massive beast and just let him tank the shit out of any melee that is happening on the battlefield. The Kroot Alphas are usually pretty strong by then too, and I do make sure to have them cannibalize as much as possible along the way so they end up with some late game relevance. The final push should be made when the commanders are all at max level. I typically go to production increases when it comes to the passive upgrades.

Barracudas are good at holding the sky and pummeling vehicles which is needed in my infantry-heavy approach. Since Knarloc Riders count as vehicles I’d say 50/50.

All along the way, I buy my technologies once the units I need are in play. I work on making them stronger only after I have secured some ground. I’ll spend up-front money on units and then make them stronger as they are in play, hopefully creating an instantaneous advantage. I think this start works, with the 4 or 5 requisition nodes first thing and then tiering up as fast as possible. The command units can hold ground for the most part, and I’ll combine the Kroot Alphas and the XV22 if I need to in order to hold a point. I value the Tau since they have multiple ways of countering.

ECONOMY UPGRADES YES: As soon as they are available since nodes and generators have limited yields. Get the economy upgrades to power your push and maximize your resources. Decay is based on time.

Try that and see if it works for you. A real hardcoire Ork rusher will still kill you. There’s no stopping an Ork rush. I’ve decided.

Slammy Susan Update

Hoping to be saved from the pit of irrelevance, I had all my eggs riding on this week’s matchup with last place Bangle-Doof. As the innings fade here on the final evening of scoring, things are looking solidly W. I was saved by a somewhat less effective C. Sale on a second start as the Astros knocked him around a bit. His T. Bauer failed miserably as did my gamble on C. Paddak. I nearly lost it because of my bad waiver moves.

This next week I’m taking a flyer on B. Buxton. I think Minnesota is due for some run. They’re pretty scrappy and that’s what I look for as a metric. Hard to quantify but not hard to see when players either have the stuff or don’t. Often times I find my instincts on picking in this way are less than accurate. Carpet bombing draws a familiar parallel to my methodology up to this point. I feel like I’m getting better at recognizing trends. When teams get hot, they hit better, and that sliding percentage improves depending on the batting order, venue and so on. It’s a lot like football, but that stats go three levels deeper. They have sub metrics for damn near every aspect of gameplay. The Yahoo! league editor only lets you carry 15 statistical categories between batting and pitching, but there are twice as many choices of things to track. The data scrutiny is not a thing I have yet come to terms with. The guys who make money at daily fantasy know who to pick, on what day, and why it is a high percentage pick. Even down to the history of the individual batter’s past plate appearances versus the starting pitcher for the day… the comparisons allow for a super-informed perspective if one has the willingness to comprehend the data set in its entirety.

I am finding I continue to tune my focus; I’m working on understanding the various comparisons that might be of value. I experiment with risks in this somewhat prideless forum. Though, I am unhappy that DerpyDerpDerp is RUNNING AWAY with 1st place and has yet to be defeated. This unbelievably fortunate team is raking in several relevant offensive categories like HR, R and RBI as well as earned strikeouts for pitchers. It’s gross that I didn’t even think that team was relevant, giving in the preseason 3 of 4 ranking. Third place team, trashing me like yesterday’s pancakes.

 

Well my RP F. Vasquez just got a save to put me in the running for 1st place in terms of overall score. Not bad considering I was on the verge of losing 3 in a row. Yikes.

 

 

FMLB Reset Boop

I’m changing the scoring system in the league today. This is what I was trying to figure out with my artificial league in my first experiment with fantasy baseball. I needed to find out what day-to-day scoring looks like. The ups and downs, the flashes and fizzles… then create a league scoring system that was both competitive and fair. Based on player skills, dramatic achievements and overall consistency. I didn’t know how to score a league how I had conceived it in my mind, since I’ve never played in one before, Head-to-Head. Now that I have seen what it looks like, I noticed a few things:

  1. If I’m scoring Assists, why not Put Outs? The Put Out is the real scoring play, not the Assist. This has been added and both have been scaled.
  2. Pitchers are not getting penalized for Hits, and scoring double on Relief Wins. This stat has been eliminated.
  3. Grounding Into Double Plays is overly penalized considering its day-to-day value.
  4. Runs and Hits for batters should have their values juxtaposed.
  5. Triples should not be worth more than Home Runs.
  6. Batters should be smacked for Balks, period.
  7. OFAs are now worth 20 times more than regular Assists: degree of difficulty, yo.
  8. Other categories were scaled and balanced as well

I concluded I wanted regular offensive players to have scaling and incremental scoring over the period of the day-to-day activities. Pitchers should provide massive bursts (potentially) of scoring to push a manager over the top or projection. Pitchers can make you or break you, but without consistency you’re nothing. After much testing and deliberation, I have decided on the final settings that will carry on into perpetuity. There might be a chance that I could revise again after the season was over, but I felt it necessary to do so now in order to not diminish the season’s potential. If I held on to the same rudimentary settings all year, It would be a disappointment. If I change them now, there’s still 18 weeks of fun now that I know much more than I did when I started.

This is going to be fun!

See below for all the categories on both sides of the ball that I’;m going to be scoring. This is going to be a fiercely competitive league, with a serious threat in the league of sound defeat. Things are much more balanced than they have been for the first three weeks. Things are going to be very different now, and much more interesting.

 

FMLB Week 1: Results

A win for my team this first, very long game week. I’m starting to see a few league trends:

Strikeouts are killer at -.75

Singles and Runs should have their values juxtaposed

Some of the bonehead plays are being punished too harshly

Player value is in avoiding calamity. Catchers seem to consistently let me down, much the way the TE did in the NFL

The 1 day unlock is FUCKING AWESOME, and adds an element of difficulty that mirrors FNFL

I can see PO should have been a stat in my league

Some days are all negative, others are conveniently rocket ship

Did I mention about the strikeouts?

I just saw Dan Plesac drop a solid 35-foot putt on live tv, funny as hell how his fellow hosts reacted. Go look it up I’m not sure about the distance. They went apeshit.

NPR – Capital Public Radio PSS Article

Here I am with my first interview for a media outlet!

http://www.capradio.org/articles/2019/03/28/peer-mental-health-workers-could-become-state-certified-under-proposed-california-law/