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  #1  
Old April 20th, 2010, 11:44 AM
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Genre and the Metagame: The Place of Sci-Fi/Historical Units

My look at Genre in Heroscape spawned a thought (thanks, Bats) about how even though Fantasy units abound in Scape, they don't exactly own the podium, at least not according to Jexik's Tier work and Rankings.

My genre thread shows a clear preponderance of Fantasy units. Here is the short version of a long thread:

Totals
Historical 49

Fantasy 88
Sci-Fi 43

However, at our most recent tourney (just a small sample, I know, but one that includes the influence of D1), we saw our top 4 armies each with a Sci-Fi element, even though D1 and other Fantasy units were plentiful as well.

Our top army was Heavies, Grimnak, Nerak, Isamu, and Marro Warriors. Next was Phantom Knights and Marro Stingers and Marro Warriors, then third and fourth were identical Blasts/Glads/Raelin builds. (Also notable for D1 units was a Fen Hydra x2, Raelin, Rats build and a Torin/Zettians/Marro Warriors/Warden/Chainfighter build. A more classic build was a Minions/KMA/Isamu build, which includes a dabble of each.)

[Note: Isamu is technically Sci-Fi, since he is from future Earth (with Agent Carr), but for most people he looks and feels like a historical unit, thus the blended colors. For more about how I divided the units by genre, check out my original genre thread: A Study in HS Unit Genres: Or, where is the Sci-Fi love? and the discussion that ensued there.]

This got me thinking about how genre actually plays out in the metagame. So, I took a look at Jexik's Top Tiers and his (and SP's) Power Rankings, to see how top armies reflect the genre imbalance.

TIER ARMIES BY GENRE

Tier 1

Spoiler Alert!


Note on Tier 1:
In fact, it is notable that aside from Raelin and Dragons there are very few Fantasy units that rank well here. It will be interesting to see if this year we see an upswing in Fantasy units (Heavies, Dwarves, and D1 seem to be on a potential ladder climb, as it were).

Tier 2 [Edit]

Spoiler Alert!


Note on Tier 2 [Edit]
What stands out to me most is how much this tier of armies relies on more monochromatic (single genre) builds. Many more of these are not exploiting the resources that seem to come from having a cross section across genres. (There are exceptions, of course, but it stands out to me.) Could this be another piece of evidence that there is a kind of value that seems to come into Scape when you have a mixed army? Perhaps.


POWER RANKINGS BY GENRE

"A" Rankings
Spoiler Alert!


Quick "A" Ranking Summary (courtesy of Kroc):

Spoiler Alert!


Note on "A" Rankings:
Again, it is notable (to me, anyway), that Raelin is the only Fantasy unit A or above (and Sci-Fi dominates in terms of numbers at least at A or above). However, at the A- level Fantasy (and Historical) becomes plentiful (and Sci-Fi fades away).

"B" Rankings [Edit]
Spoiler Alert!


Quick "B" Rankings Summary (borrowed from Kroc's approach):
Spoiler Alert!


Note on B Rankings [Edit]
Not sure this shows much that's new. About the only thing that might be noticeable is how few Sci-Fi units are in the B- category. I'll have to review the C's as well to see if this is really a pattern or just a coincidence. Otherwise, this looks to be a pretty wide mix.

[Kroc's summary approach shows that Fantasy has a lower percentage (though not by a huge margin) at both the A and B levels. Now I'm really curious what the C level will show. I'll get to that soon.]

"C" Rankings [Edit]
Spoiler Alert!


Quick "C" Rankings Summary
Spoiler Alert!


"C" Note:
Nothing really stands out here. Fantasy is big in C- (and Historical in C+), but overall the C's are pretty representative of all genres.

"D/F" Rankings [Edit]
Spoiler Alert!


Quick "D/F" Rankings Summary
Spoiler Alert!


D/F Note [Edit]
Not many units here--notably, not many Fantasy units at all. Guess they all got used up at the C- level . Seriously, there are more Historical and Sci-Fi units here; they definitely have their stinkers. In fact, the idea that Fantasy units tend to group in the moderate/average category gains some credence here.

Final Thought/Note:
There may be more Fantasy units than the others, but the metagame shows a clear trend toward mixed armies and that all the genres (despite discrepancies in representation) currently have a clear/strong place in the game.

Last edited by 1Mmirg; April 21st, 2010 at 05:00 PM. Reason: Added Tier 2 and B-F Rankings now w/ Kroc's summary approach
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Old April 20th, 2010, 11:57 AM
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Re: Genre and the Metagame: The Place of Sci-Fi/Historical U

Interesting. We will have to wait till after Gencon results to see how D&D (all fantasy units) do and see how SpiderPoison or Jetix not only ranks the D&D figures but also re-ranks the older figures based on the metagame now with D&D. It has been asked before, but maybe the Phantom Knights, Wyverns, and Drow Chainfighter will lower the value of ranged figures, especially A & A+ Sci-fi ones.

Then again, maybe not.
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Old April 20th, 2010, 12:10 PM
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Re: Genre and the Metagame: The Place of Sci-Fi/Historical U

Well, with the D&D push, if there are any strong units released, they'll add to fantasy's competitiveness. Pending tourney results, I could see some D&D units being pretty highly ranked.

Also, a lot of Fantasy units seem to go to Ullar and Utgar, who probably have the most 'duds' around. Funny that one of Vydar's few Fantasy units (DŁnd) is one of his least competitive. I never thought about it.

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(I've also played many matches with great, fun people who were using Q9. So using Q9 doesn't make you a tool. But being a tool sure seems to make you use Q9.)
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Old April 20th, 2010, 12:26 PM
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Re: Genre and the Metagame: The Place of Sci-Fi/Historical U

Yup, it's sort of a backwards way of looking at recent events (and some of the complaining), but in a way Fantasy units have needed a big push to be really effective and D&D might be doing just that. (They've always had the quantity, but not necessarily the quality.)

Mogrimm and the Dwarves, the rise of the Heavies over the last bit, and the impact of D1 (and D2!) may be just what Fantasy has needed to be more represented at the top of the metagame.

(I'm still hoping/wishing for more fun Sci-Fi units to come, but even I can concede that Fantasy has actually needed this little boost.)
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Old April 20th, 2010, 04:49 PM
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Re: Genre and the Metagame: The Place of Sci-Fi/Historical U

Well, I'm double-posting, but I've had this mulling in the back of my mind today and I wanted to explore a bit more. I've now added Jexik's Tier 2 and the B Power Rankings.

A few tentative thoughts, conclusions:

It seems like the cross-genre armies are often quite smart (of course, this is true in many things in Scape--just like many single General armies have "holes" that another General fills). It was interesting to see (in my view) that the Tier 2 armies had a lot more single genre builds in it.

Tentatively, I'll also add that Sci-Fi units seem to drop off a bit at the lower rankings. When I get a chance I'll look at it more, but they are almost absent from the B- bracket. And just a glance down the Rankings suggests (to my perhaps biased eye) that Sci-Fi are only sparsely represented (though they definitely don't disappear--even F has one Sci-Fi unit).

Interesting? Who knows. But, hey, thought I'd share it anyway .
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Old April 21st, 2010, 05:44 AM
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Re: Genre and the Metagame: The Place of Sci-Fi/Historical U

Very interesting point, 1Mmirg, but it's an awfully long read and hard to follow. I think it would be improved by summary numbers, like I've done for the power ranking classifications. Basically for each grade (and then all three) I count the number of units from each genre and give you the total.

A+

Fantasy 1
Historical 0
Marvel 0
Sci-Fi 1

A
Fantasy 0
Historical 3
Marvel 1
Sci-Fi 8

A-
Fantasy 14
Historical 9
Marvel 3
Sci-Fi 3

A+, A or A-
Fantasy 15 of 88, 17%
Historical 12 of 49, 24%
Marvel 4
Sci-Fi 12 of 43, 28%

But notice the trend you talk about (over representation of Historical/Sci-Fi) really disappears when you look at A- or the total over all three grades. Over all three top grades Fantasy is number one. In percentage terms its rather low, but in number its tops. Or to be more precise all three groups are pretty much equally represented.

Historical and Sci-Fi are clearly better represented in the power rankings than the total number of units, but I wouldn't say that Fantasy is especially weak. It's just not especially strong. Looking at these numbers I say the balance is just about right, which means we don't need more high quality Fantasy units.

We need more Historical and Sci-Fi units!

Just had to say it.

Edit: I've noticed some schism in your analysis. In your original post you conclude (I think rightly) that there is a good mix of the three genres in the Tournament meta-game. But then in a later post you say.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1Mmirg View Post
... in a way Fantasy units have needed a big push to be really effective and D&D might be doing just that. ...
I just think you are WRONG WRONG WRONG here. We DESPERATELY need more great historical/sci-fi or we are going to loose the balance you have brought to light.

Last edited by Kroc; April 21st, 2010 at 05:50 AM.
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Old April 21st, 2010, 08:31 AM
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Re: Genre and the Metagame: The Place of Sci-Fi/Historical U

Cool! What are the AE and Drake?


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Old April 21st, 2010, 11:18 AM
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Re: Genre and the Metagame: The Place of Sci-Fi/Historical U

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kroc View Post
We need more Historical and Sci-Fi units!

Just had to say it. [Just had to quote it again ]

Edit: I've noticed some schism in your analysis. In your original post you conclude (I think rightly) that there is a good mix of the three genres in the Tournament meta-game. But then in a later post you say.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1Mmirg View Post
... in a way Fantasy units have needed a big push to be really effective and D&D might be doing just that. ...
I just think you are WRONG WRONG WRONG here. We DESPERATELY need more great historical/sci-fi or we are going to loose the balance you have brought to light.
Thanks, Kroc.

I love the breakdown you did. I'm going to look into adding that to the first post and see about continuing the idea. (There really is just too much info to put into a single post; perhaps that was a mistake. I'll have to play with a more effective way to present the data. Maybe it's time I learn to use Spoilers and just present the totals (like you did) in the main thread--but later today.)

And I agree with you, both what you add to my ideas and that there is a schism in my post and attitude. My "in a way" and the note you quote was meant to be a bit perverse (a twisted lemons from lemonade kind of claim). While Fantasy perhaps "needs" a few more top units (i.e. A/A+), the bottomline is we need more sci-fi/historical units in this game. As you say, we need it DESPERATELY, imo, to keep the heart of what is Scape alive.

(My other side, the schizophrenic side of me , says that I am glad that the sci-fi/historical units we have are as good as they are. Thank goodness they are not all Hatamoto's and Deathwalker 7k; that would make our current genre crisis even more lamentable.)

Thanks again for tackling my too long post, Kroc, and offering a great re-vision of it. You've helped me to see it again/anew and I truly appreciate that .

EDIT: @Simpsons Scaper: They are both Historical units and are in the A-/B+ range in the rankings. They each have a strong place--Drake in 4th Mass armies particularly and the AE as a strong menacing force in armies needing range support/thread.

Last edited by 1Mmirg; April 21st, 2010 at 11:59 AM.
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Old April 21st, 2010, 05:04 PM
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Re: Genre and the Metagame: The Place of Sci-Fi/Historical U

Well, it is no thing of beauty, but I think the thread is easier to navigate (at least you can choose what to scan and what to read better). Thanks for the ideas, Kroc.

Not sure any of the new information changes the basic ideas/points, but it is more complete now. The spread is more even than I thought it would be, though there are places (like C-) where the percentage of Fantasy units is quite high--or where Sci-Fi is high (flat As).

Anything speak differently to anyone else? Other thoughts?
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Old April 21st, 2010, 05:20 PM
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Re: Genre and the Metagame: The Place of Sci-Fi/Historical U

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jexik View Post
Funny that one of Vydar's few Fantasy units (DŁnd) is one of his least competitive. I never thought about it.
I never thought of DŁnd as a fantasy unit. Sudema seems more like a fantasy (mythology?) unit than DŁnd.

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Old April 21st, 2010, 06:14 PM
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Re: Genre and the Metagame: The Place of Sci-Fi/Historical U

Sci-fi units means ranged units for the most part.

Ranged units dominate melee units for the most part.

Not a big surprise that Sci-fi units show up the more often in the top tiers then fantasy units do.
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Old April 22nd, 2010, 12:35 PM
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Re: Genre and the Metagame: The Place of Sci-Fi/Historical U

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rˇchean View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jexik View Post
Funny that one of Vydar's few Fantasy units (DŁnd) is one of his least competitive. I never thought about it.
I never thought of DŁnd as a fantasy unit. Sudema seems more like a fantasy (mythology?) unit than DŁnd.
Yeah, Sudema is as well, of course. But Dund is from "Feylund." In my original post I had him as Sci-Fi and someone else pointed that out to me. I always thought he was an alien hunting dog or something. I was surprised, too.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Yodaking View Post
Sci-fi units means ranged units for the most part.

Ranged units dominate melee units for the most part.

Not a big surprise that Sci-fi units show up the more often in the top tiers then fantasy units do.
Good point. Though, the interesting thing is that that Rats are a big reason Sci-Fi is so prevalent (like Raelin for Fantasy). They show up in more armies than most of the rest.

Nonetheless your point is dead on--Sci-Fi has some of the best (most solid) ranged units around (and best blockers), with Historical bringing plenty of firepower as well (Kaemon, AE, 4th, 10th, etc.). Fantasy has good ranged units, but they seem to always be really frail (AG, AA, Syvarris, Elves in general, etc.; the exception are the Dragons, of course--the top A units for Fantasy).

In melee, the Rats are the stand out Sci-Fi unit, while the Knights and Orcs and Dwarves (as well as Charos and the Sentinels/Minions)stand out for Historical and Fantasy, respectively.
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