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Lord Antoine

Possible Masons and Blacksmiths Identity Crisis?

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Ok so for the record I am super excited about the upcoming Blacksmith's guild(they look amazing) and plan on buying them upon release. In fact thats kind of what i thought the Mason's were before i picked up the box and read they were masons/stone workers. This is why i chose to start this thread as these guilds seem to have many similarities. Now granted I will trust Steamforged to make sure each guild is different and has their own flavor. In the meantime I wanted to discuss some similarities both guilds seem to have. I will divide it up into two categories:

Looks:

Holy Armor and Hammers Batman!!! Now granted it may have been a mistake to put the Masons in this nice shiny looking armor as it is. Just looking at them without knowing anything about the game its hard not to think they look like Armorer's/Blacksmiths. I personally think the armor was added because Steamforged knew what kind of playstyle they wanted them to have and added it (more on that later) But because of this they look alot like Blacksmiths as opposed to Masons, though the chisels and the hammers help, kind of....maybe not as much as you'd like. This is because most of the Blacksmith's will also be using hammers, tongs, and chisels in their trade. The shields I think are a very nice touch but personally I think the only way to differentiate the two teams will be to have them wield some of their crafted weapons (Heres to hoping for someone with a giant Cloud sword with scything blow and a push :)) This will be difficult to do though and not make them look like generic soldiers. Though one thing id like to point out I noticed which I think was also mentioned on facebook is it is funny how the Masons armor looks master crafted and Blacksmith's armor looks more like an apprentice did it (some even looks like it could be made of stone ironically) Or who knows maybe some added fluff will clear this up such like Mallet, Brick, or Granite were formerly a master Blacksmith and came over to the Masons guild and made the armor for them all.

Playstyle:

Low def, high armor, low to med move, with lower momentous results and more synergy between its players than most other guilds. This pretty much defines how the Masons play at this point. This being the case the Blacksmiths described playstyle and revealed cards hints towards much the same playstyle.

So the question is how will their playstyle be different?, and do you think this will form an identity crisis for one or both guilds?

(Note: On a side note Ive been going on to my friends for some time hoping for a Mason wielding a shield that gave out Def buffs, or could count as cover so was super excited to see when the Blacksmith's came with them)

Obviously we will have to wait and see until more is revealed but would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

Especially after seeing @Nykolae posting very much the same thoughts i had in the other thread: 

"I'm also very much worried about the new guild, the Blacksmiths. Sure, there are only two models spoiled for ~75%, but their [Master]/[Apprentice] mechanic and the "slow MOV / high ARM" stats can easily be compared with what the Masons are known for: synergies between players while standing near each other and high ARM values. So basically, I'd think they'll attract the same kind of players, which might dilute the Masons' playercount even more. Don't get me wrong, I'm quite psyched about them, but I guess that was to be expected from a Masons player, right? ;)"

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Ah, I think I read something along the lines of [one master/apprentice pair will vary wildly from the next] so here's to hoping that Anvil/Sledge are accidentally the Blacksmith's Mason-y duo and other couples will be really different. You know, these guys are armor makers, some other guys are really good at making swords; they are unarmored because why not and therefore fast, may feel more like butchers, then there is something else again? That would definitely mean that the guild as a whole would not infringe on the identity of other guilds too much, though individual players might..

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I think there's a few things going on here...

First off, I think visually Blacksmiths and Masons can't help but overlap. If Steamforged really wanted to do Blacksmiths I don't know how they could have avoided that. They've already established Masons as armored knight-like people, and Blacksmiths can, at best, be more working-man unpolished versions of that.

Second, there are a few things you've identified as Mason's identity that I think, as the game expands, more and more guilds will break in on. When DEF and ARM are the only stat dials that can be tweaked for defensive stuff (specifically stats, there's of course traits and attacks whatnot), there's going to eventually be more than one guild that is low DEF/high ARM. There's already a couple high DEF/low ARM guilds, and we've just gotten our first low DEF/low ARM guild, but assuming SFG is gonna keep making guilds the statlines will eventually just overlap between guilds. There's just no way to completely avoid that.

Ditto to positional synergies... While Masons probably have the most explicit version of that ATM with two positioning-requirement countercharges, other guilds have this idea as well. In particular Brewers to me have this trope, it's just that theirs must be activated  in most cases (Commanding Aura, Esters's Heroic, Time's Called, Tactical Advice) whereas Masons' are more passive. 

Now, that said, Blacksmiths have all of those things, not just a few. I get that they look pretty similar to Masons thus far, but I actually think there's more of a problem with Masons as they currently stand. Masons do have a unique identity on some of their models, but that identity is kind of subtle and not always obvious. For me, the really unique things about Masons, which have not been seen on the two Blacksmiths, are playbook structure and activation shenanigans. No other team has playbooks in the exact way that Masons do, and the way Masons' attacks work are significantly different than other teams because of that. In addition, no other teams are as active outside of the normal activation order (combination of Countercharge, Superior Strategy, Hammer Time and all of Hammer's plays, Go Ape, Linked, Granite's move thing, Poised and Reactive Play once upon a time, Knockback making counterattacks SUPER good, etc) as Masons, and just based on these two Blacksmiths that isn't changing with the new guild.

The problem I have then is with Masons more than Blacksmiths. Masons' unique traits are first of all pretty complicated to explain to a new player, so I think it's hard to illustrate exactly why they are unique, and if all you can easily say is "tanky slow guys with armor" then they are gonna sound identical to Blacksmiths so far. The second problem is I don't feel like Masons are very consistently designed. Activation shenanigans in a game structured around activation order is definitely hard to balance, but it seems to me that Masons have suffered too much for that particular perk. Pretty much everybody I talk to is underwhelmed with Granite, since she's been slowed down so much to make up for her out-of-activation movement that she has trouble impacting the game or helping an already slow team. Then you have models like VetHarmony, Chisel, and Wrecker, who don't really fit the themes of Masons very well at all IMO (not a comment on strength). Finally, while both playbook consistency and activation tricks are cool, neither of them obviously have anything to do with masonry as far as I can tell. 

Basically I think you've misidentified what makes Masons unique from a gameplay standpoint. The Blacksmiths are butting in on the aesthetics of the Masons, but not the gameplay space. But that doesn't excuse the fact that what does make the Masons unique has not been 100% executed on from a design standpoint in my opinion, and I can understand why Masons players have trouble getting excited about their guild for that reason. If I was king of Guild Ball, Masons would probably get a bunch of small changes to unify their design a bit more going into next year and up their power level a tiny bit. 

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Wow, @Slothrop, I think you've actually hit the nail on the head right there. I've actually never realized the Masons have so many activation-shenanigans, or defined them as such! 

16 minutes ago, Slothrop said:

Finally, while both playbook consistency and activation tricks are cool, neither of them obviously have anything to do with Masonry as far as I can tell. 

I guess the Masons can better be called Time Lords then? :P

Banter aside, thanks for giving another helpful view on the matter and I hope it'll induce some healthy discussion in later posts/threads. :)

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I think Masons are meant to sort of be the 'steady, reliable structure' sort of theme. So they have lost of individual parts which are reasonably solid, but when combined together they become an insurmountable barrier. So lots of interlocking pieces and buffs for each other.

'Lack of ranged attacks' I think is a Masons theme - if they are doing something to the enemy, they're physically within a few inches of you.

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I did very much look at the Blacksmiths and think Masons 2.0.  I do agree that has more to do with Masons always having more of an "armored" aesthetic than a stone working one but the team also feels like its expanding on the original unique gimmick of a dedicated player pair.  A lot of that has to do with Masons being the game's "rock" rather than being designed with the skills of quarry workers, which is a general shift we've been seeing with newer teams.

I'll be curious to see how the Masons evolve going forward, but in a lot of ways I see this as an opportunity to reshape the Mason identity.  I'm certainly hoping Masons get a bit more attention in Season 4 and if the Blacksmiths force that issue?  Great.

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31 minutes ago, Atilla_the_Nun said:

Ah, I think I read something along the lines of [one master/apprentice pair will vary wildly from the next] so here's to hoping that Anvil/Sledge are accidentally the Blacksmith's Mason-y duo and other couples will be really different. You know, these guys are armor makers, some other guys are really good at making swords; they are unarmored because why not and therefore fast, may feel more like butchers, then there is something else again? That would definitely mean that the guild as a whole would not infringe on the identity of other guilds too much, though individual players might..

This def is an interesting idea though im not sure what the fast guys would specify with (maybe throwing weapons like axes or spears?) Either way I like this take on them

 

 

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I was worried about this also at first, but to me Masons have two defining features.

1) They can break the flow of the game like no one else with Linked and extra activations.

2) They are very good all rounders - I doubt the Blacksmiths will be as a whole. Also - the playbooks of Masons almost all have momentous tackles, momentous low damage, and a fair number of momentous dodges or pushes (depending on the player). Crucially - Masons have very few momentous results above half way up their playbook, and the Blacksmths at the moment certainly seem to have momentous results much higher up.

 

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I see the Masons as having nice shiny armour, because they are partly interested in asthetics - We see Tower sculpting a statue in Season 1 for example.

In terms of play style and background I think the whole premise is stronger together - each Masons individual strength bolstering the others, and Honour is obviously the conceptual centre of that idea, and we get to see how the Masons begin to crumble following her departure in the fluff. 

To a certain extent, I think that they are lacking in a specific playstyle, as they fill that "generic human" team idea from some other games - not particularly great in one specific area, but consistently good across all aspects of the game.

You get reliability in momentous playbook results, but hot dice don't necessarily help you as much as they would with some Guilds.

They do certainly have some unique aspects that can be very strong.

I am confident that people will not consider these Guilds too similar to one another once the rules are out there.

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I don't think Blacksmiths will overlap Mason's identity and I think what @Slothrop said is spot on.

As a S2 Mason main who hasn't touched mason's on S3, Blacksmiths have me super excited. 

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I guess, when SFG wanted Masons to have high ARMs, than other Guilds, the design concept would make sense to have them wear a lot of armour.   So art direction the Black Smith and Masons will look similar.  Look at Tower, he looks like a Black Smith.  Design wise I'm unsure what concept you can come up with to make them look interesting.  I feel the Farmers looks kind of boring as an art point.

 

With the release of Anvil and Sledge they look interesting between their interaction and if there are further Masters and Apprentice it will be very interesting how they all incorporate as a team.

 

Whenever I play Masons against people, they highlight the annoyance of the 2ARM.   I feel the high ARM is part of Masons identity, and hoped with Granite they expand on this, with base 3Def and 2ARM and also Determination, which brings her 4Def and 2ARM.  Is this over the top?  Yeah could be, but it is Masons' trait amplified.  But another negative trait people identify is their slowness, Mallet, Brick and Granite, you really have to make them move.  

 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Masons are the only Guild that have Knock Back, in Hammer, Brick and Tower, which is a brilliant trait to have and hope none other Guilds will have it!

 

I haven't really mastered the Masons, compared what the pro players can do, but always felt they are a team that should soak up some the pressure and explode with their quick players for the counter attack play.  

 

 

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3 hours ago, LunarSol said:

Only one:

?format=500w

:P

Hahaha that is really ironic. My initial reaction is that they overlap with what has been spoiled but if these are the only 2 that share a masons vibe then that will be fine. But if they release another master + apprentice combo with similar low speed and defense with high armor that manipulate movement out of activation or turn order then we might have a riot on our hands. 

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8 hours ago, naiconn1981 said:

with base 3Def and 2ARM and also Determination, which brings her 4Def and 2ARM.

It's actually 2+/2 to 3+/2 with Determination. ;)

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2 hours ago, naiconn1981 said:

@Nykolae I meant what I would have like to see her at.  Or giving her Brace would be great as well, just to be defensively annoying. 

Yeah, going from bad defensive stats to acceptable/normal when ganged up on isn't so hot. 

2 hours ago, naiconn1981 said:

@Nykolae I meant what I would have like to see her at.  Or giving her Brace would be great as well, just to be defensively annoying. 

Yeah, going from bad defensive stats to acceptable/normal when ganged up on isn't so hot. 

Actually, if it was +1 defense PER additional model then it would be pretty interesting and would reward getting super stuck in and keeping people there. Currently the reward is non-existent considering how hard it is to get her so stuck in. It would also offer a decision as to whether an opponent would want to bring in another model in the scrum. Probably would be too busted but at least interesting vs now haha. 

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On 2017-5-16 at 6:12 PM, Andrew Jones said:

I was worried about this also at first, but to me Masons have two defining features.

1) They can break the flow of the game like no one else with Linked and extra activations.

2) They are very good all rounders - I doubt the Blacksmiths will be as a whole. Also - the playbooks of Masons almost all have momentous tackles, momentous low damage, and a fair number of momentous dodges or pushes (depending on the player). Crucially - Masons have very few momentous results above half way up their playbook, and the Blacksmths at the moment certainly seem to have momentous results much higher up.

 

Blacksmiths are definitely not all rounders, they are definitely going to be defined by the master-apprentice relationship which is going to limit their flexibility in some cases. It also generally means the master has the setup stuff, the better INF pool etc and the apprentice finishes it off, like slamming you for mom 7.

blacksmiths also seem to lack pushes and dodges, at least based off the tiny sample size of two of them

 

 

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Since S2, the Masons have had their mojo taken by other teams. More factions now have at least on or two new models that gives their teams increased flexibility or expand their tool box. 

 

At this point, it seems the Mason's major flavor relates to a lack of ranged attacking CPs or inflicting only KDs. (But Brewers do more with the capitalizing on KD.) 

 

I used to call the Masons the "Menoth" of GB. Now I'm calling them GB Space Marines. Baseline GB team.

 

Their main "advantage" is that if you master their learning curve, other teams seem easier.

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