On second thought, I will edit the first post to include more helpful links. Here is my response to what people had to say about Pretender design in the original mega thread.
My experience with CBM pushed me into the opposite direction. While it ultimately does better balance Pretenders, there is far to much drastic and unnecessary changes for my tastes. I once got into a nasty war with Pan as MA Ermor, who used his Pheonix to cast Fog Warriors and turn a difficult battle into a much harder one. In the a big battle for my survival, I figured out a way to kill the thing. Only, since it was immortal is was back in action with no afflictions to show for it. CBM decided immortality and two useful buff paths were not enough and turned the Pheonix into a zero risk, turn 2 expander. Ugh.
The Prince of Death is undercosted. A much better starting SC than the Wyrm with dom 9 or 10, more magic, full slots, flying - it's brutal. CBM had the right idea bumping it up from 75 to 125. If I need an awake SC in vanilla I'd look no further than this unless the gorgon is available.
Hmmm... I am not sure I entirely agree with your Wyrm vs. PoD. I think both are underpriced. For starters, in a 1 on 1 fight, the Wyrm would wipe the floor of the PoD, for whatever thats worth. More importantly, the PoD does have a handful of key vulnerabilities, most obviously a low HP total and a no real defense to missiles. Yet, when it comes to balancing the Wyrm, I am more interested in how it stacks up to the other Monster Pretenders, such as the Manticore, Dragons, the Great Bulls, etc.
As stated earlier, I am not a fan of CBM. Admittedly, I ultimately agree that you have to change some pretenders so they are competitive with others in their class. Yet, CBMs approach seems to be "the Sage is an inferior rainbow chassis the Enchantress, lets make it a ridiculously good researcher!" Or "no one uses this Titan, lets give him 50 siege defense!" Never mind that a SC Pretender conducting siege defense probably means the player has already lost. When there are over 100 possible Pretenders, they all can't be go to options. My approach is going to realize there really are only 4 things to do with Pretenders: SCs, rainbows, blesses, and utility w/ great scales. Make them competitive in these categories without forcing the player to relearn what every Pretender can do. But hey, different strokes for different folks.
As for the "reverse engineering" point totals, I was a math major. I tend to think that if somebody can get the numbers right, everything else will fall into place. Instead of looking at an underused Pretender and saying how can I spike its power so players will use it, you plug in the numbers and know that if players still aren't using it, its their problem not the Pretenders. Also, developing such an algorithm makes it easy to assess what new, user made Pretenders should cost. Or, though it would be a big of work on the front end, one could set up a game where every player could have a truly customized Pretender.
I was definitely thinking of the Titans when I said some were moderately overpriced. Surprisingly, they are the most common Pretender Type in the game, though perhaps not as universally available as the Rainbow or immobile options. Yet, they are probably used the least. I think they should be priced closer to what the better Rainbows are priced... and maybe start with armor and a weapon so they can compete with the other early expanders. The Mother of Rivers in theory should be a good SC, water magic boosts defense on its own, and also has Personal Quickness and the Frost Aura spells which are both great for SCs. Maybe she just needs a bit of protection to pull it off.
I would add the Monolith to the fountain, oracle, sphynx class of pretenders that have decent dominions/path and are balanced by immobility.
While the Oracle is obviously a great choice, the rest not so much. Namely, because the Oracle does the exact same thing as the other immobiles (except the Blood Fountain) while costing less and having 4 miscellaneous slots. The HP difference is not that important on a chassis that can't engage the enemy anyways. The Sphinx in particular is really worthless because it can't teleport. I think they should in general cost about the same across the board and have 2 or 4 slots instead of just 1.
Balancing the dragons has to be an interesting problem. I believe the Dragons would be taken for more often if the price of new paths wasn't so steep. On the other hand.... a mistformed, ironskined, ethereal dom10 flying dragon would be too much.
Actually, I think I've got Dragons figured out. They are really good expanders on their own, easily on par with the Wyrm. Plus they come with flight, a free path, and a human form that lets them switch to ritual magic once expansion is done. Compared to other Monsters that come pathless, its a great deal and balances out. I think the real problem with Dragons is their Dominion score is only 1. So whats happening is players build a Dragon, get that Dom-9 or Dom-10 for Awe, and discover it Costs to Darn Much and go build something else. I hope by raising the base dominion to 2, Dragons will become a lot more competitive. Just a small change, but that is the approach I'm trying to take.
Thanks for the input guys, any more would be appreciated.
For example, if there was an option to add flight (and map movement 3) to a pretender, how much would you pay for it?
Have you ever faced a Pretender and thought what a dirty build (that is mostly my reaction to facing an immortal)?
Whats more useful, early game expansion, or long term utility? Obviously not a straight one or the other question, but I'm challenging myself to find a balance between the two.