Hi there, this is going to come across as really sad but bare with me...
When the UK went into COVID lockdown in March, I was heavily into playing Halo Wars 2. I particually loved A.I. skirmishes as I'm intrigued by how the A.I. will utilise each leaders' units & abilities.
So much so that I started conducting tournaments with a scoring system to entertain myself during lockdown. I played hundreds of games, with every consievable combination of A.I. team in 3v3 lobbies. Every leader in the lobby was unique (no duplicates) I would play 6 rounds with the same lobby of leaders (a round for me to play as each leader) and every leader in every round (besides the leader I play as) would be awarded points based-off the end-game results.
I could go into the detail about the point system and the math behind it (I'll elaborate fully if this post recieves interest) but basically it worked well after some trial & error and the results were often close, balanced and fit what was to be expected.
It was exciting, and I ended up completeing 3 tournaments across hundreds of hours of gameplay.
With my reults from the tournaments and experience witnessing and playing as different leaders in many combinations of scenarios - I can happily say I agree with a lot of the patch choices, but I was suprised by a few things that I'll address below along with additions:
- The Omega Team power is a wonderful addition to Halo Wars 2 but the Spartan team is significatly weaker and less effective then other Hero units in the game. The sword-weilding spartan will always run at the enemy to his death because the sword does little damage and so he spends most his time chasing after enemies rather then killing any. I understand you didn't want to make the team overpowered, but currently they are slightly dissapointing and problematic with the rail-gun spartan surviving last in the majority of encounters.
- 'Grizzly tanks' are by far the most problematic unit to Halo Wars 2 and I am suprised a small nerf was not in the patch notes. There are little-to-no units that the Grizzly tank is ineffective against. Even aerial units such as banshee's are easily combatted by Grizzlys due to the tanks firepower and the Banshee's low health. Vultures were the only practical counter-unit to the Grizzly tank. I have seen an army of hunters loose to 3 veteran Grizzly tanks many-a-time. For this reason, Forge would always take 2nd place in my A.I. tournament results, because he has a special unit that can combat almost everything effectively.
- The power 'Ghost in the Machine' is often devastating and extremely hard to combat. I figured Isabelle is weak early game because it balances her heavy-hitting end game.
(A.I. have an intruguing grasp on the power. You'll often find your units are released by the ability deep behind enemy-lines and far from where they were first 'Ghosted' making them hard to retrieve.)
Cutter(This leader would often come next-to-last in the tournaments and I believe that is simply because humans utilise the leader powers completely differently to A.I. as humans spam orbital drop units to reinforce attacks. A.I. use powerful strikes to finish-off weaker combatants)
- The most effective A.I. leader that often placed 1st in the tournaments, due to her choice of multiple powers that effect large areas of the map for prolonged periods of time. I hope her 'Hellcharge' buff doesn't make her overpowered.
Voridus(Unanimously, the worst leader for A.I. to play as. I believe understanding of how Voridus's leader powers can be used effectively, is not in the A.I. programming. The patch will continue his legacy of being last place in A.I. tournaments)
- Bunker changes: Multiple bunkers could already be placed quite rapidly onto the battlefield. (I know because Johnson is my favourite leader to play as) So I don't understand why the timer has been reduced significantly.
- Colossus: A fun addition, very slow but is compensated by its viewing range. However it only takes a couple of air-units to overwhelm this slow-moving and slow-firing Golliath - making retreat impossible and sustained attacks unlikely unless backed-up by a full population army making it less effective then a average tank in many scenarios. I would increase the already significant cost but also add 15% health, as Johnson cannot provide the same vehicle back-up as other leaders.
- His Hero unit (besides Forge & Colony) is the most effective leader unit with a cannon that causes area-of-effect damage and is effective on all types of units. Increasing the hero units ability seems dangerous.
- Unanimously this leaders Hero Unit is the the most overpowered addition to the game. Once the unit starts gaining experience and promotions to veterancy, then it only needs to be placed in one of the maps garrison spots and the unit becomes close to invincible. Within a garrison, a fully veteran Colony hero unit can take on two Scarabs and win. A fleet of Vultures can loose to a garriosoned standard Colony hero unit. An army of the overpowered anti-infantry 'Grizzly Tank' units would loose to a garrisoned veteran Colony hero unit.
- 5% is far too low for a health reduction.
I could win a game against Legendary A.I. with just that one Colony hero unit.
- Wraith: I have never seen a Wraith counter its own counter units. I found it to be a very standard unit and believe a large reduction of 20% would render the Wraith to be inefficient.
That's the end of my list. Thank you if read it all the way to the end.
I do have all my tournament results from each individual match written into a pocket book if anyone is interested in how any particular leader performs as an A.I.
I've not touched Halo Wars 2 for a couple of months after playing it vigourously at the start of lockdown, so I look forward to seeing the results of a new tournament with the latest patch that I'll start tonight! <3