What went wrong with Isabella?

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Tronn_Bonne
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What went wrong with Isabella?

Post by Tronn_Bonne » Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:24 am

This question has bothered me because I’m the type of player that gives IS a good deal of credit. Sure, they make mistakes but there is usually some form of rational behind every decision they have made (yes, even AW1 Max). However, the balance of Isabella baffles me. Someone at IS must have raised the issue that, while her CO Effect is fine, her COP is clearly overpowered when it is Gage’s plus an improved version of Will’s. Seriously… she is one of the clearest examples in the whole series of a non-boss CO that is stronger than others in the cast.

Thus, the question then arises of what exactly happened here? Did IS somehow drop the ball and, through some bizarre twist of logic about her having only a 10% offense boost, felt that she was balanced or was she intended to be overpowered? I can’t help but think that the latter must be the case and she was made deliberately to be some kind of beginner CO in order to make the game more accessible. Does anyone else have thoughts on this?
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Re: What went wrong with Isabella?

Post by DTaeKim » Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:26 pm

I think IS thought she was balanced because her stats are worse than Gage or Will. Clearly, it wasn't enough of a weakness.
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Re: What went wrong with Isabella?

Post by Tronn_Bonne » Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:27 pm

That is what I originally thought but Isabella's stats are about the same, arguably better, than Will's and Gage's. In the case of Will he has a 20% offense boost to Ground Direct Units only while Isabella provides 10% offense/defense to all units. Sure, defense is not as important in DoR as it was in previous AWs but the fact Isabella's boost affects everything helps to compensate for that. A similar argument can be made for Gage whose stats are superior to Isabella's but are also more selective. All three COs have the same CO Zone too.

Thus, it is difficult to envision her as being balanced when comparing her stats to Will's/Gage's unless IS thought that only having a 10% offense boost combined with the nerf in defense mechanics was a significant weakness.
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Re: What went wrong with Isabella?

Post by -STL- » Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:00 pm

Well IS underestimated the strengh of a COP. Forsythe and Isabella have the exact same boost while Forsythe has a Zone of 5 and Isabella only 2, so he got no COP and Isabella the best COP in the game. I can definitly imagine after deciding COs they thought Isabella is about balanced.

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Re: What went wrong with Isabella?

Post by Tronn_Bonne » Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:50 pm

Hmmm... I never thought of it that way but it does make sense when you compare Isabella to Forsythe. Clearly IS overestimated the benefit a large CO Zone had although Isabella still stands rather strong when compared to Gage and Will. At the very least they should have halved the benefits to +1 movement/ +1 Indirect range. Maybe the IS balance team simply forgot to check her against anyone besides Forsythe? :geshrug:
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Re: What went wrong with Isabella?

Post by Delta_Angelfire » Wed Apr 14, 2010 11:20 am

I believe the original intention was that Caulder and all of his "children" were meant to be OP to begin with. Which of course would make sense from a story perspective. Even Penny (providing the map is in permanent weather).
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Re: What went wrong with Isabella?

Post by Sven » Wed Apr 14, 2010 12:09 pm

i don't believe you actually use isabella in campaign so that is what i always thought myself.

sort of like a bonus CO except play legal for some reason.

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Re: What went wrong with Isabella?

Post by ALAKTORN » Thu Apr 15, 2010 4:50 am

Sven wrote:i don't believe you actually use isabella in campaign so that is what i always thought myself.

sort of like a bonus CO except play legal for some reason.
she's used in Trial maps though

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Re: What went wrong with Isabella?

Post by Kyasarin » Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:18 pm

Twice.
Trial Maps are totally unrelated to the normal Campaign maps.

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Re: What went wrong with Isabella?

Post by Tronn_Bonne » Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:52 pm

Sven wrote:i don't believe you actually use isabella in campaign so that is what i always thought myself.

sort of like a bonus CO except play legal for some reason.
She is sort of like a bonus CO since, for some reason, IS really wanted to have four 12th Battalion COs as the default cast. They could have not included her and turned Davis or even the Beast into a CO. I wonder if making Isabella playable was a last minute decision...
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Re: What went wrong with Isabella?

Post by Kireato » Fri Apr 16, 2010 2:30 am

Advance wars doesn't exactly have a large competitive scene so I doubt balance was their main concern. And originally, they certainly had no care whatsoever for it. Their cast of CO was deliberately extreme because it would make single player more fun.

Moreover, from what I've heard, IS has had cuts and some consider that this game visibly suffered from it.
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Re: What went wrong with Isabella?

Post by Narts » Fri Apr 16, 2010 3:36 am

It's entirely likely they simply didn't realise just how fast powers could be charged if you know how to micromanage the zone so they misunderestimated the importance of powers versus boosts.

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Re: What went wrong with Isabella?

Post by Tronn_Bonne » Fri Apr 16, 2010 8:06 am

Kireato wrote:Advance wars doesn't exactly have a large competitive scene so I doubt balance was their main concern. And originally, they certainly had no care whatsoever for it. Their cast of CO was deliberately extreme because it would make single player more fun.

Moreover, from what I've heard, IS has had cuts and some consider that this game visibly suffered from it.
I have not heard about them getting cuts. I assumed the lack of single-player content was a result of the emphasis being placed on the multi-player experience but I suppose it could have also been from a simple lack of manpower. Regardless, certainly the changes to the CO system and units were an effort by IS to make the competitive scene more diverse. That only makes Isabella more of an oddity since CO balance was must have been on the mind of IS although I agree that they probably misjudged how quickly COPs could be charged.
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Re: What went wrong with Isabella?

Post by Modular » Tue Aug 03, 2010 8:00 am

Something I was considering:
I took a look at gipface's tier list and after playing a few matches with Isabella I realize that her co-power is absurd. While she is top tier in that regard, do any other COs have an advantage over her while she is charging her power? To use a possibly incorrect analogy, Brawl has a tier list based on the metagame as well. Meta Knight is ranked number one and while no match-up is really unfavorable for him he is near even with some much lower characters (for example Jigglypuff, ranked 34th is considered an almost even match).

Returning to relevancy, are any of the other CO's D2Ds good enough that they effectively balance out Isabella's weaker D2D and stronger COP? Are Lin and Tabitha, for example, good enough with their D2D COs that the makers believed that they would be balanced in a match with Isabella and her comparatively weaker stats?
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Re: What went wrong with Isabella?

Post by Xenesis » Tue Aug 03, 2010 8:54 am

That's the thing, though.

Isabella's D2D isn't exactly weak (It's basically as good as Forsythe's) and the COP is such sheer overkill (Will is top of balanced tier simply by virtue of +2 Movement Mechs). Isabella can basically use all of Gage and Will's tricks: Get a COP and then overkill with Artillery or Mechs (but then she can do both) - while less broken than say, Caulder she's got everything going for her so to speak.
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Re: What went wrong with Isabella?

Post by Modular » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:48 am

Xenesis wrote:Isabella's D2D isn't exactly weak (It's basically as good as Forsythe's)
True, but perhaps IS believed that it was weak enough that it would balance out her absurd COP. Also, if looking strictly at D2D (and disregarding the Air and Naval only COs), Izzy really is bested or even (at least theoretically) with everyone except Penny. I mean take a look:

Isabella: 120/120 (COZ = 2)
Penny: 110/110 (COZ = 3) [worse]
Forscythe: 120/120 (COZ = 5) [Even, but with larger COZ]
Lin: 130/130 (COZ = 1) [Better]
Tabitha: 150/150 (COZ = 0) [Better]
Will: 130/110 (COZ = 2) [Even, though more specific]
Brenner: 110/130 (COZ = 3) [Even, but with larger COZ]
Gage: 130/120 (COZ = 2) [Better]

Note: Tasha, Greyfield and Waylon have been discarded due to the specialized nature of their boosts. All of them theoretically beat Izzy D2D, but their specialized nature makes this to be misleading information. Gage and Will have been kept on due to the prevalence of their units in common play, though otherwise their D2Ds are also technically weaker.

In reality this is all blown to pieces. While Lin and Tabitha's D2D is theoretically incredible, we know that their small COZ makes them far from overpowered, plus five of the COs only boost specific kinds of units. From a purely statistical standpoint however, Isabella's D2D is actually one of the game's weakest, with only Penny giving a smaller boost when the COs are boosting the appropriate units. This might have factored into IS's rationale, despite the fact that minimal play testing should have revealed this to be an incorrect assumption.
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Re: What went wrong with Isabella?

Post by a noob » Tue Aug 03, 2010 7:32 pm

Waylon also has 2 zone and a better air boost. But wait, his CO power is a guaranteed instant-win too! OMGZ imba!

See how I did that? Waylon only falls 10/10 short of Isabella's boost, and his CO power is also an instant-win. He should be above Brenner at least.

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Re: What went wrong with Isabella?

Post by Xenesis » Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:38 am

If Waylon boosted some useful land units as well, I could easily see him shooting way up the tiers. That COP is beastly, if unwieldy due to the fact you need bombers to make use of it properly.
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Re: What went wrong with Isabella?

Post by Modular » Wed Aug 04, 2010 1:51 am

Xenesis wrote:If Waylon boosted some useful land units as well, I could easily see him shooting way up the tiers.
I originally skipped out on Waylon, Tasha, and Greyfield, but let's take a look at them:
Greyfield: 120/150 (COZ = 3)
Tasha: 150/130 (COZ = 1)
Waylon: 130/140 (COZ = 2)

All of the super specialized COs have very high D2Ds actually. IS probably figured that giving them decent ground units would mean having to force their boosts lower (Can you imagine Waylon or Greyfield boosting tanks?)
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Re: What went wrong with Isabella?

Post by a noob » Wed Aug 04, 2010 3:19 pm

Xen,

You don't need bombers to win with Waylon's COP. If you've massed 4+ b-copters and have adequate tank support, it's an instant win.

The only reason bombers seem necessary is that they can do a ton of attack/counter-attack damage to AA, whereas b-copters do practically nothing to AA. Having 7 move and OHKO isn't bad either.

Using b-copters also allow you to deal with enemy copters, which may be considered an advantage.

Waylon's COP seems to be the best for breaking stalemates.

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Re: What went wrong with Isabella?

Post by Xenesis » Wed Aug 04, 2010 6:24 pm

Well, that's true too.

And yeah. Waylon's CO power is a fantastic stalemate breaker.
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