First I want to open with a disclaimer. I feel in general the Monk threads neglect the Arena players. But it’s mostly their unit. They should have the last word in any discussion about Monk changes.
I also don’t agree with the narrative that Monks would be OP. In most Maps they don’t play an important role. I still see pros sometimes not even caring about picking up Relics on the more agressive open Maps.
But I think Monks can be improved. Especially the currently one-dimensional Skill requirement which makes Monks naturaly way more effective for players with high apm and a lot of training/experience. This is one of the main reaosns why the narrative found such high response, as most players from mid elo just baiscally never see monks in their own games - and seeing the difference in monk usage at pro level gives the relative impression of overusage. Despite, for evidence: Even in the games that hera himself proclaims abusing monks he makes most of the time more Knights than Monks. A unit that we all know is actually intended to be countered by Monk and also more expensive.
So maybe some pros don’t like how much use Monks see these days. But as long as they make still orders of magnitude more use of other unit types i refuse to accept their calling of "OP"ness. And I don’t like the threads and posts that unreflectively take these pros words for reality. Cause they clearly only try to make a point by exaggeration. Which is their right. But that’s why we have to ask the question if this is really legitimated. Especially as these Calls come from players which are known from there aversion against clownery. So they just don’t like Monk play very much. Fair. But other people don’t like Knights, Raiding, Forwarding, Hill Camping…
You see, I think some of the Pros take their pro Status to adjust the Game to push their own specific likings and undermine other strats. And I don’t like that. Especially when it comes from a player that totally thrives in the current Meta WITHOUT “abusing” Monks. It would be different when for some reasons now Clowns would take over pro play, but that’s not the case. It leaves the taste that the currently best Player tries to manifest his position with using it to push down all strats where he doesn’t feel as comfortable.
But that’s the character of a strategy game. Nobody is the best in all strats and interesting games occur when differen strats collide with each other. I want to preserve this and not artificially push down stratrs and playstyles that are already actually NOT AS SUCCESSFULL as the standard meta play.
But here ofc starts the big if. The if what happens when some of the super strong high apm pros start investing most of their training into monk micro. I see the danger here. Cause indeed it has the potential to completely change the landscape. Atm we have a meta that favorises Monks. It’s often a small Knight rush in castle age whilst booming behind. Sometimes with the additoin of siege.
Against these small numbers of high valueable units, Monks are ideal for defence. Ofc there is the timing issue and often leftover scouts or arcehrs from feudal. But some pros might find strats to deal with that, also with the potential addition of light cav when seeing the monk defence.
So there is double potential for Monks. First from the time investment part of things but also strategically. Which might lead in some pros actually going this direction.
So the concept I try to propose is intended to solve this issue. It tries to add Anti-Monk strats that have a even higher skill requirement to execute than the monk micro itself, so there is a natural negative feedback: When Monks become too powerful they become less powerful as it’s then more revarding to learn the anti-monk micro. This is achieved by a special “counter conversion” mechanic. But for this to be suitable there is a requirement to change how conversions/Monks work in general. In this we can also take away the rng factor.
The basic concept is, that all units now get Faith as a basic stock, like life. They also slowly regenerate this Faith (start at 100 %). Depending on the unit. Monks and Anti-Monk units regenerate Faith faster than regular ones. Also, in general more expensive units tend to have more Fath to reflect that cost.
Faith is also in Parts bound to Heath. Whenever a unit (that can’t convert) losses Health, it also losses a bit of it’s Faith - not the other way around. This makes recently damaged units easier to convert.
The concersion mechanic then works as followed:
The Monk invests some Faith (eg 5 Faith/s) and reduces the faith of the Targeted unit by this multiplied with a factor, depending on upgrades and resistance. If eg the standard factor is 2 and the unit doesn’t has a special resistance, it will lose 10 Faith. If this reduction puts the faith of the unit below 1 it will be converted. Additional Monks after the first have their factor reduced. Either it’s then a fixed value (similar to how additional builders work) or an ever ongoing reduction (like with the gurjaras mills). Note that these additonal Monks lose faith in the same rate as the first, meaning they are way less effective in using their faith to convert.
After a successfully conversion all linked monks lose an additional portion of their Faith until theocracy is researched.
Converted units start with a very low faith bar, meaning they usually can be reconverted quite fast. (exact number needs to be figured out via testing)
Note, that monks who use their Faith for conversion necessarily become easier to convert for the opponent. On the other side, when they still have enugh faith left, you can potentially try to convert the next unit right away, even if you don’t have T######### The disadvantage of using multiple monks is in the lower efficiency of fath usage. So it’s more forgiving to not use Monks “optimally” which allows for a smoother learning and utilization curve and therefore also allowing to tune down the maximum potential.
Hwaling and Faith Healing now require some Fiath. Whilst Health healing usually only negates the natural Faith regen of the Monk, healing Faith costs the same Faith to the Monk. So you need to be careful to heal units with low faith, as you might take away faith from your Monk you would want to use to convert opponent units. Monks will automatically heal faith until the healed unit has the same or higher relative faith as the monk does. This also means when you have a group of Monks of which you used half to convert and the others are “fresh”, they will automaticlly faith heal each others until all of them have basically the same faith. This passively optimizes the faith regeneration of a group of monks, as it means whenerver you use faith they will disperse it over all of them. Also jsut bringing some monks to a battle passively will always help agaisnt opponent concersions as some of the taken away faith will be automatically “healed”.
But even more important you now can “counter” conversions by protection. With the normal conversion key you now can target your own units. And whenerver an opponent Monk tries to reduce this units Faith, the unit acutally GAINS that amount of Faith. Additonally, the Monk chosen to counter the conversion will also get some Faith back when it’s below the maximum. The protection also costs some Faith but way less than conversions, about 2 x as much as the passive Faith regen of the Monk. So it’s usually only to be used when the conversions happen and not to be used as preemptive tool to stop all conversions before they can even happen.
Note that the conversion protection is NOT healing. It’s a differeent action Monks can perform only to protect directly from enemy conversions. This might be especially useful when you have a small amount of very valueable units you don’t want to be converted, like a few Elephants or Siege (redemption required). Making it more suitable to have a few high-value units present even when the opponent has Monks to convert them.
It’s hard to come with exact values, as conversion mechanics are super volatile - so it is heavy testing required anyways.
But for me a good place to start would be to give most units a Faith cap of 100 with a regeneration of 30 / minute. Monks could have 120 with a regen of 60 / minute. When we assume a standard conversion factor of 2 Monks could use about 6 Faith per Second to convert, which would take away 12 faith/ s from the converted target. This would result in a target with 100 faith and 30 faith/minute regen to be converted in 8.7 (=> 9) s. The monk would lose 45 faith in that conversion + the value set for a succssfull conversion (i think 20 would be a good value here). A Monk could convert a fully faithende opponent monk in 10.9 s., losing 55 faith in the process.
Units like light cavalry could have eg the standard 100 faith to begin with but a quite high faith regeneration rate like 240 / minute. THis would result in a Monk needing 12.5 s to convert a light cav, and in the process losing 65 faith. But especially interesting it allows the light cav player to disengage and “heal” up the lost faith quite fast - allowing some kind of skirmishing with the monks. Atm there is no such mechanic in the game that gives any advantage of disengaging when monks start converting you. But with this implemented, light cav players could try to use the light cav strategically to trick the opponent in wasting the faith and then engaging when it’s down. If this is managable to exectute in a real game is a different story, but the mechanics would theoretically allow for that.
Units like Elephants could just have higher starting Faith with 120 or even 150. There is potentially even the idea to give some units lower faith like archers, which are usually not a good conversion target,
Like with health, garrisoning units increases the faith regeneration (increasable with herbal medicine) but not by a huge amount.
Monk Techs that would need a rework;
Illumination: Increases Faith regen, eg when a monk has 60 faith/ minute regen it could increase to 90.
Faith: All units max Faith gets multiplied by 1.25. Meaning most units would have 125 instead of 100, monks 150 instead of 120.
First Crusead: like Faith, but with 10 % increase.
Inquisition: Monks convert faster (use 7 faith per second instead of 6 resulting in taking away 14 instead of 12 Faith from the convertable target)
Ofc this would result in a few changes in the handling and conversion mechanics. The first is, that there would be no rng involved anymore. Completely gone.
The second is, that we now would get total information about hte conversion progress. most likely in form of an additional (probably blue) bar below the health bar of a unit you would be always informed about the Faith status of any of your units. Meaning, when you are able to do it you can always just delete units that are close to be converted or try to disengage when the bar allows for it. Or even try to counter convert with the mechanic described above.
This is a huge disadvantage for the Monk players. Their return is that they don’t get really unlucky anymore, also they can more comfortably convert with multiple monks at once as the punishment isn’t as bit. Also Monks usually start with enough juice for two conversions before they really need to rest, which is ofc quite neat in comparison to right now.
But in general I think the changes from stratgeical perspective hurt monk play more than they benefit it, as the rng factor plays atm a huge role in that. But I also think there is an easy set screw for potential inbalances - the conversion factor. Atm I set it to 2, which means for every 1 Faith Monks “invest” into a conversion, they take away 2 from the opponent. But this factor can be slightly increased or reduced to put the Monks in a balanced state. So if my own impression is right, there would be the option to increse that factor to 2.2 or even 2.5 which should be enough to compensate for the strategical hit monk play would take with these changes.
This whole concept is still quite vague and raw. But I also think for such a complicated topic it wouldn’t actually help to make it to detailled from the beginning cause it would potentially undermine important aspects other community memmber can bring into the discussion which should be refelected in a potential rework of the conversion mechanic.
And I have to state that I’m not using monks a lot myself. Monks usualy see a lot of play in map types I don’t play a lot so there isn’t much incentive for me rn to learn it as rn the learning curve for monks is realy like that. When you play a lot on clown maps it’s valueable, but you need to invest a lot in it. If you don’t play on clown maps, it’s jsut not worth investing more than the absolute basics. And that’s where I’m currently at.
But that’s also part of the rework, to make that learning curve a bit smoother, so everybody is free to decide on his likings how much he wants to invest in that skill without either dumping an important skill for specific maps or overinvesting into something that gives almost no value on specific other maps. Also intended to make the transition between different basic playstyles more bearable.