The Avatar Beta Test

One the final playtest of the Malifaux Wave 2 beta finished up, we got the final cards, and now, we are a week into the Avatar beta test.

This is a make or break period, I think, for Wyrd. These Avatars are models that people have purchased and put a lot of effort into, or that languished on the shelves because no one wanted them. They now, with this test, have the chance to bring all the Avatars into line and create a fun, cinematic experience that everyone will enjoy.

The small amount of discussion I’ve had here indicated that they are not as on target as I would hope. After two full beta tests, I expected a better initial delivery. There have been some obvious oversights that I would have expected them to catch.

Maybe I am being to harsh on them. I don’t run play tests, and I don’t generally try and break a game. Instead, I like the game to conform to my idea of balance within a game. That is something that’s actually really hard to do, and I understand that from the get-go, but I think that as gamers, we think ourselves a smart bunch and expect the game designers to be of the same cloth.

When Crazy interactions pop up, It gives me little hope that the game designers are paying attention. Lucas McCabe can somehow get 15 actions in a single activation. Then there is the Sacrifical Manifestation issue with Outcasts. Maybe its supposed to be a no-cost manifestation on turn 1, but it seems wonky.

My three avatars are pretty tame in my first glance at them. I’m probably missing something, honestly. Malifaux, or any game really, is one that I have a hard time managing to see things before they are on the board. Its taken a very long time for me to become comfortable with Cryx in the method I am.

I look forward to picking up Perditas Avatar one day, and trying her out. Lucas I have mixed feelings on, and I just have to try and figure him out overall. McMourning, however, I have high hopes for. His Guild Avatar is pretty cool, with some 6 actions a turn, and the ability to fly around the board with Scalpel Slingin’.¬†I really wish I knew what cool guild models would make him hum, but I am so bad at building crews I just don’t have the closest clue.

Lastly, I’ve been doing a lot of painting lately, and that’s got a neat little concept of a Model Spotlight post brewing in my head. I can always just post pictures of my painted models, but It might be nice to take a post to lay out what I want to get from the model, along with why I painted it the way I did and my general thoughts about the model. Should be fun times!

OK. Wait a minute here.
I have to come clean: I’d only seen images of Perditas avatar on cover art and what have you. I’d never actually seen the damned thing until I went to grab some pics for the article.
That thing is fantastic! I now have a very vested interest in getting and playing that model as soon as my poor self can do it! Man! I’d just assumed that there would be stumpy wings and a lame looking face. Instead I get a really fantastic model. Painted here by Viruk of Independent Painters.

Perdita by Viruk




  • Moondog

    I think Avatars are going to be a tricky thing for Wyrd to get right, and its why breaking them into their own cycle was a very smart move on their part.

    Avatars need to fit into the new upgrade system, not break the existing balance, be good enough to consider against other upgrades, and make it worth investing in a new $20-30 model (once they all get remade to plastic in the distant future.)

    I think with the Avatars being the (almost) sole focus of this beta cycle, they can do it, but its definitely going to be tricky. They’re also fighting against the preconceived notions people have of Avatars from M1.5, where they were their own models (and all the crazy BS that came along with trying to balance that.) I think this implementation is better for overall game health, but I also think some people won’t be able to get over the old Avatar power curve/stigma.

    I will say that this first set of updates was a good set of changes in a lot of places, and Justin did a good job of clarifying his design intents on the forum, so hopefully things keep going in the right direction.

    I haven’t seen a painted up Avatar Perdita. That is indeed a sick model.

  • Oh Avatars,

    Best design decision they made was to push them into there own playtest as a sole focus. Avatars come with a lot of history in 1.5 they were essentially used as short term design fixes for certain masters in malifaux 1.5. They now are being moved into the realm of upgrades and will have a power level to match. Justin design intent post recently really does help clarify it. Part of the play test style that wyrd employs is starting at 300% Overpowered and then work them backwards to acceptable levels. You’ll see them evolve a lot over time with the testing. In the end I expect they’ll be okay. But all the stuff in each of the waves starts at ridiculous and gets toned into place its just there preferred method kinda of like sculpting. Its easier to remove than it is to add. Perdita avatar is one of wyrd coolest sculpts and it looks great in that scheme. Avatars are intended as an option that gets a cool looking model, but not the only option. Please be vocal on the forum if you see something you like or don’t like as it relates to the playtest, its the only way we get better.

    • Tionas

      Thankfully, I never got into the Avatars in 1.5, and it seems like that would really color my ability to look at them straight-on. Perdita’s avatar seems pretty fixed in the Beta, right now. I also have McMourning and McCabe, but they really don’t have that wow factor that the Ortegas bring to the game with me. Hopefully they get cool rules!

      I was going to be vocal on the forums, but the problem is it doesn’t resize in my browsers, so its completely useless. I have 3-4 windows going most times, and its just not worth going in and resetting my window for that one site.