Visions in the Flames: The Flames, Extinguished

As we come upon the release of the 1.5 Night’s Watch and Free Folk Updates this Friday, let’s take a look at just what to expect moving forward in a Post v1.5 world.

Bannermen! Over the last few weeks we have taken a look at what the future holds for both the Night’s Watch and the Free Folk, and come this bloody Valentine’s Day, the full roster of updates will be available. This, combined with the previous Stark, Lannister, and Neutral changes officially mark the end of our v1.5 Update.

There are some remaining items to discuss, however!

The first, and perhaps most important, is touching on the actual updates themselves. We spoke about this when we initially announced them, but to make things full circle, we’ll touch on them here at the end as well. Essentially, its re-capping the exact reason why we wanted to do these updates to begin with, and that comes down to our overarching philosophy that wargames by their very nature are a full-investment hobby. You’re not just picking up a random box of miniatures to move around the table – you’re investing your energy and, most importantly, your hobby time into the game – From collecting, to painting, and perhaps actually playing the game as well. And with this comes personal investment – whether its in the characters you love, a faction’s tactics and playstyle, or just cool looking miniatures… And one of the worst feelings in the hobby is “I really like these guys… But they just don’t perform on the battlefield.” This is always something we strive to avoid, and it the primary reason behind our updates.

You should always be able to play what you think is cool and not feel bad about it.

We would rather have a healthy game-state, and as many viable options as possible, since we have the power to make corrections, rather than let things just linger.

With that being said, we want to make it exceedingly clear that we do not take making such updates lightly, with the 1.5 Update coming roughly 18 months since the games debut. Such updates are also not something to expect to happen with any frequency. We took the 1.5 opportunity to group all our modifications and changes together into one lump sum, and we’re satisfied* with the results. Moving forward, the plan would be to evaluate the current game-state roughly once a year and monitor if anything needs adjusting.

Primarily, this would focus on whatever releases occurred over that period (if, in fact, anything even needs addressing). We’re not going to make any changes until sufficient data and feedback has been gained, and that only occurs with proper time. Tempering expectations is also important, and a secondary item to mention is that, in the future, it would be unlikely to see the level of changes that occurred with 1.5 across the initial four factions – as most of the underperformers were victims of pre-release/initial-wave meta expectations and projections.. As we mentioned, now that the game is out and booming, the broader image of how things have developed has become all the clearer.

Ok! Before we spend too much time waxing poetic you might have noticed that asterisk* back there (quite observant).

As mentioned, we’ve been very satisfied with the results of the 1.5 updates for the Starks, Lannisters, and Neutrals, but now that they’ve been out in the wild for some months there are a few items that caught our attention. From a design and development standpoint, it was frustrating because these items were exactly the ones on our list as far as “trouble spots” went when it came to the overall updates, and the ones we went back and forth on numerous times with playtesting and balances. While we did say we don’t want to give the perception of constant micro-changes, in these specific instances we felt it was healthier to address these items while we’re still introducing 1.5 changes, rather than allow them to potentially affect the meta until the next round of evaluations (which, again, ideally wouldn’t be for a long, long time).

With that being said, let’s look over the specific items from Stark, Lannister, and Neutrals that are getting one more tweak as we complete 1.5.

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