Breaking the Unbreakable

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Re: Breaking the Unbreakable

Post  Xel Unknown on Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:42 pm

I think one thing that might help is retooling Daredevil to not use d8s, but that might just be unfair...
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Re: Breaking the Unbreakable

Post  Ramsus on Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:44 pm

Generally speaking, what I mean is too long winded and complicated to bother saying when typically people can be expected to understand subtext. Really, you try saying everything you mean when you talk. It's exhausting.

The point is still that there is no value in having "double all damage" appear anywhere in the system aside from things to occupy people's time discovering how to make crazy things happen. That value is completely negated by the fact that some of those people will try to apply those things in actual games and lessening the enjoyability of it for everyone involved.

I'd also like to point out that in the beginning it was impossible for me to agree with you since your response to my statement was to make this crazy talent. After the point at which you had done so, it simply appeared that you were mocking me for providing you with information instead of actually considering it. There was nothing for me to agree to until it was stated that it wouldn't work very well. So, it was impossible for me to lead with agreeing with you about anything because of the way you chose to respond. And more to the point, it's not really me agreeing with you, as you agreeing with me. To begin with my point was always that such things would not work. So, I didn't have any responsibility to lead any form of agreement since it was you who were making an argument against my statement. So, I would like to counter your statement of "In that case, you might want to lead with that in the future instead of complaining that people disagreed with what you said." with, in the future, don't pick pointless arguments if you're capable of understanding what the other party meant even if you don't like the format in which they made their point. I'd also like to point out that I never complained that you disagreed with me. I complained that you ignored my point in favor of mocking me and ignoring the point I was making. I have no issues with an honest disagreement between people but, I don't tend to put a lot of effort into compromising with another party whose goal is not to reach the truth, and only to win an argument.

Additionally, stop claiming I'm angry all the dang time. You full well should know what it looks like when I'm actually angry about something. It makes it very hard for me to take your opinion seriously when you do so because it just looks like you want to win an argument as opposed to come to an understanding.

Edit: Xel, I think that would just make it less fun, not less strong.
Edit 2: While I also agree that Daredevil's Rush is rather strong, I kind of like the way it is, simply because it rewards teams that actually make the effort to built a synergistic team. In most cases (without item cheese at least) it's not that great when the rest of the party isn't working with you to make whatever you're trying to do with it work (and this is somewhat balanced out by them having to support the DR user instead of doing other things).


Last edited by Ramsus on Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Breaking the Unbreakable

Post  Xel Unknown on Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:47 pm

Like I said, it was just an idea... Not the answer to the issue with Daredevil.
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Re: Breaking the Unbreakable

Post  thematthew on Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:57 pm

Basically DDR hits it's problems in 3 major spots:

1) 'free' specials. If you roll an 8 you get a special and you halve the damage. Perhaps making it if you roll a 1 you get half damage, making the low rolls more important and giving them more a theme of playing it safe. It also means that if you go full bore (all 8 ) you get burned. Bad.

2) Toothless Drawback. The drawback of Daredevil's Rush basically isn't there, there are too many ways to circumvent or actually abuse the drawback.

3) A huge boatload of power. Seriously, 10 pips is a lot of pips. It put you at turn 2 with 15 pips and an action left on your turn with Gather Energy, and nopony got to try to take you out before you get to use them.


Last edited by thematthew on Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:07 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Stupid emoticons...)
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Re: Breaking the Unbreakable

Post  Ramsus on Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:08 pm

thematthew wrote:Basically DDR hits it's problems in 3 major spots:

1) 'free' specials. If you roll an 8 you get a special and you halve the damage. Perhaps making it if you roll a 1 you get half damage, making the low rolls more important and giving them more a theme of playing it safe. It also means that if you go full bore (all Cool you get burned. Bad.

2) Toothless Drawback. The drawback of Daredevil's Rush basically isn't there, there are too many ways to circumvent or actually abuse the drawback.

3) A huge boatload of power. Seriously, 10 pips is a lot of pips. It put you at turn 2 with 15 pips and an action left on your turn with Gather Energy, and nopony got to try to take you out before you get to use them.

Well, I'll agree with point 1. Point 2 is really all about your team setup and still requires help of the team (note: not considering items in this statement because so far it seems possible to do crazy stuff with almost all combat builds with the right items). Point 3, *shrug* see my response to point 2?
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Re: Breaking the Unbreakable

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:12 pm

thematthew wrote:The problem with Daredevil's Rush is that it goes ahead and gives you a huge pile of pips while putting you closer to being bloodied, thus it activates everything a berzerker pony was built to do while giving him the huge pip pile to do it with. I think trying it with a limit of 5 could work, but I'm not entirely sure at this juncture how to fix it.

The fun of Daredevil’s Rush is it lets you ask yourself if you’re feeling lucky for a huge gain in pips, similar to the +6 power that forces you to lose 1d8 pips. We’d want to make sure to capture that fun.

Xel Unknown wrote:I think one thing that might help is retooling Daredevil to not use d8s, but that might just be unfair...

Interesting. Retooling it into what?

Ramsus Stuff - Don't worry about it if you're here for actually talking about builds or Daredevil's Rush:
Ramsus wrote:Generally speaking, what I mean is too long winded and complicated to bother saying when typically people can be expected to understand subtext. Really, you try saying everything you mean when you talk. It's exhausting.

Alright, remember you said this please – because it’ll be important later.

Ramsus wrote:I'd also like to point out that in the beginning it was impossible for me to agree with you since your response to my statement was to make this crazy talent. After the point at which you had done so, it simply appeared that you were mocking me for providing you with information instead of actually considering it. There was nothing for me to agree to until it was stated that it wouldn't work very well. So, it was impossible for me to lead with agreeing with you about anything because of the way you chose to respond.

There we go. So… You expect me to assume that you’re meaning a lot more than what you’re specifically saying… But you want to take everything I say precisely at face value

Why didn’t you insert the subtext that I was only disagreeing with the specific point that I quoted? Why did you assume I was somehow trying to argue with your overall (and unstated) point?

What happened was you wrote something that I disagreed with. I gave an example explaining why I disagreed. At this point you could simply say, “that isn’t what I meant, what I meant was…” And the discussion could easily and immediately have moved on.

If you expect people to assume you mean a lot more than what you’re saying and interpret it in a more favorable light, please do others the same courtesy and don’t assume they’re trying to insult you.

Ramsus wrote:The point is still that there is no value in having "double all damage" appear anywhere in the system aside from things to occupy people's time discovering how to make crazy things happen. That value is completely negated by the fact that some of those people will try to apply those things in actual games and lessening the enjoyability of it for everyone involved.

It hasn’t been my experience that having a friend of mine pull off an awesome combo lessens my own enjoyment. Now, if a player is playing very poorly – that might lessen the group’s overall enjoyment but that’s something a group can easily handle by helping the player. I’d rather leave such things up to the group than try to solve a possibly-imaginary problem by preventing interesting talents from being made in the first place. This is kind of basic game design. Check out the Timmy, Johnny and Spike MTG article on player psychographics.




Ramsus wrote: I didn't have any responsibility to lead any form of agreement since it was you who were making an argument against my statement.

When you’re claiming to mean something that you didn’t say, it behooves you to… You know… Actually say it. What you should have done was just quickly clarify that you didn’t mean exactly what you said, or led with saying what you meant to begin with. How hard is it to say, “I don’t think double damage will ever be fun, useful and balanced all at the same time”? This doesn’t take a paragraph. But this isn’t what you said, you said that they’d always be broken no matter what.

If you say what you mean from the beginning, you won’t have to complain when people listen to what you say and disagree with it. Alternatively, if what you type doesn’t come off the way you meant it (which happens to all of us) just explain what you actually meant instead of complaining that people aren’t listening to you.

It’s really quite simple, and most people of the forums seem to manage it just fine.

Ramsus wrote: I complained that you ignored my point in favor of mocking me and ignoring the point I was making. I have no issues with an honest disagreement between people but, I don't tend to put a lot of effort into compromising with another party whose goal is not to reach the truth, and only to win an argument.

Sadly Ramsus, I cannot read your mind. You claim that I ignored your point when I did not. I responded to *exactly* what you said. You are now complaining that I didn’t respond to what you thought *but did not type*. And you’re also claiming that I’m trying to avoid the truth because I responded to exactly what you wrote exactly how you wrote it.

If what you wrote is not what you intended, then the solution is simple. Write the actual sentence next time that you mean or just clarify what you meant when it’s misinterpreted. Allow me to demonstrate.

Example Person 1: “[+6] Powers will always be broken.”

Example Person 2: “Isn’t that one power when you gain 6 pips but then lose 1d8 not broken? The average gain is only 1.5 pips.”

Example Person 1: “Okay, that’s true, but that’s only because it immediately undoes the pip gain – so it’s really only a +5 power at best and might actually cost you pips. I’m talking about +6 powers that actually give you the +6 pips and apply some other effect.

Example Person 2: “Ah, that makes sense. Let’s talk about that. Thanks for not insulting me or saying I didn’t listen to you.

Example Person 1: “Why would I say that?”

Example Person 2: “No idea. Anyway, let’s talk about this idea of yours!”


Last edited by Stairc -Dan Felder on Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:25 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Breaking the Unbreakable

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:18 pm

thematthew wrote:Basically DDR hits it's problems in 3 major spots:

1) 'free' specials. If you roll an 8 you get a special and you halve the damage. Perhaps making it if you roll a 1 you get half damage, making the low rolls more important and giving them more a theme of playing it safe. It also means that if you go full bore (all 8 ) you get burned. Bad.

I'm not sure how the making it 1s that halve the damage would change the expected outcome of rolling it for +8 or more. You're still likely to get half damage on average. Of course, it would make rolling high all the more dangerous, but getting rewarded for rolling the very highest is actually a fun part of the combat talent. I'd be reluctant to make this change until other options have been considered.

thematthew wrote:2) Toothless Drawback. The drawback of Daredevil's Rush basically isn't there, there are too many ways to circumvent or actually abuse the drawback.

This I agree with. I like power designs with huge drawbacks that you can counter or turn to your advantage. However, it only works if they don't give you some massive upside on their own. And as you say next Daredevil's Rush gives you...

thematthew wrote:3) A huge boatload of power. Seriously, 10 pips is a lot of pips. It put you at turn 2 with 15 pips and an action left on your turn with Gather Energy, and nopony got to try to take you out before you get to use them.

Exactly. The combo with Gather Energy makes it particularly absurd - as the enemies don't have a chance to knock you dead.

The ability definitely needs to be nerfed. The question is how best to do it... Attacking either 2 or 3 (or both) seems best. I'd rather attack 3 though, since i like the build options of turning it into an advantage.
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Re: Breaking the Unbreakable

Post  thematthew on Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:20 pm

[quote="Stairc -Dan Felder"]Example Person 2: “Isn’t that one power when you gain 6 pips but then lose 1d8 not broken? The average gain is only 1.5 pips.”[quote]

Please don't make me rant about averages on single dice again...
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Re: Breaking the Unbreakable

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:21 pm

I think I missed this rant. The average damage on a d8 is 4.5, so what's the problem? The variance, the possibility of rolling low (or triggering your special) is the only reason the power is even worthwhile. And the best you can hope for is gaining 4 or 5 pips one fourth of the time - or else triggering your lowest special at the cost of a standard action and 2 pips.
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Re: Breaking the Unbreakable

Post  thematthew on Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:25 pm

The reason multiple dice have an average is that there are more possibilities which can cause a result.

Example 2d8: average 9 ( 1+8, 2+7, 3+6, 4+5, 5+4, 6+3, 7+2, and 8+1)

Whereas on a single die there is no average result since each result is equally as likely.

Quite literally the average result of a single roll of dice is whatever result is most likely, and thus a single die cannot have an average unless one result is more common than others.

That's the boiled down rant.
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Re: Breaking the Unbreakable

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:33 pm

thematthew wrote:The reason multiple dice have an average is that there are more possibilities which can cause a result.

Example 2d8: average 9 ( 1+8, 2+7, 3+6, 4+5, 5+4, 6+3, 7+2, and 8+1)

Whereas on a single die there is no average result since each result is equally as likely.

Quite literally the average result of a single roll of dice is whatever result is most likely, and thus a single die cannot have an average unless one result is more common than others.

That's the boiled down rant.

But there is an average from a game design perspective. While each outcome is just as likely as any other, the results of this combat talent used over the course of a campaign do involve multiple die rolls. This just makes it more likely that overall the trend will settle around 4.5 on a d8. Naturally, I don't think a 4 or a 5 is *more* likely to come up than any other number, but over the course of multiple rounds a lot of dice are going to be rolled. If the +6 power in question is used twice over two rounds, the totals are indeed going to have the average of 9 when put together just as you say. Then divide that by the two rounds and you have a contribution of 4.5 for each round.

The expected outcome of each d8 is 4.5, and we can design based around that. That's how casinos make money after all. On average, each pull of the slot machine will make the casino money; even though each result of the slot machine individually is just as likely to come up as any other. It's the same with d8s. You can plan around expected values, so long as the worst case scenarios are both unlikely and you can afford a string of crazy luck now and then.

TLDR; We have to think about the talent being used multiple times in a given combat and in multiple combats in a campaign - so we are dealing with a "more than one die" scenario.
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Re: Breaking the Unbreakable

Post  thematthew on Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:39 pm

However, one can't really base much around the "average" of a single die roll, since each is an isolated incident. While I do agree that 4.5 is used as a theoretical average for a single d8, one cannot actually make the claim that it is the average. The best way to consider how single die rolls affect game balance is to compare the edge cases and the middle cases, so for this power consider how it works based on 1, 4, 5, and 8. If it works as expected in all those cases then it is well balanced and acceptable. You don't need to consider 2, 3, 6, or 7 in this standard since there isn't some weird rule like 'if you roll a 3 turn all your opponents into lifeless rocks.' At that point you should probably remove the if you roll 3 rule.
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Re: Breaking the Unbreakable

Post  Ramsus on Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:49 pm

Well, firstly, nobody else I've talked to had any trouble understanding the point I was making, why would I assume you did? The issue we now have is that I did read between the lines and assumed you were mocking me instead of missing something everyone else picked up on and that assumption on my part is backed up by your habit of claiming I'm angry all the time when I'm just disagreeing with your opinion. At no point until I called you out on mocking me, was it even clear that there was a misunderstanding, why then would I think I needed to stop and clarify what I already thought was clear? If you had wanted a clear discussion instead of wanting to mock me why did you go for the juvenile option of creating a talent to "counter" my statement when you could have just disagreed and said why and that would have immediately made it clear there was a misunderstanding? Why when you behave in such a way should I assume you are behaving maturely and reasonably counter to the evidence? You try to fault me for being unclear when you did something that was even more unclear in response. I don't really know how to respond to that at all.

Secondly, when one member of team completely breaks the balance, they are typically being an asshat and that's usually not enjoyable. Trying to claim I was saying that people should not get to have shiny new toys because someone might break them is silly.

Thirdly, you just tried to strawman me so.... yeah, have fun with that I guess?
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Re: Breaking the Unbreakable

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:49 pm

thematthew wrote:However, one can't really base much around the "average" of a single die roll, since each is an isolated incident. While I do agree that 4.5 is used as a theoretical average for a single d8, one cannot actually make the claim that it is the average. The best way to consider how single die rolls affect game balance is to compare the edge cases and the middle cases, so for this power consider how it works based on 1, 4, 5, and 8. If it works as expected in all those cases then it is well balanced and acceptable. You don't need to consider 2, 3, 6, or 7 in this standard since there isn't some weird rule like 'if you roll a 3 turn all your opponents into lifeless rocks.' At that point you should probably remove the if you roll 3 rule.

You're right, 'average' was the wrong term to use. I was talking about expected value, but wrote average instead - which isn't correct in a mathematical sense. Glad I could clarify that.

Using expected value is absolutlely fine though, considering at we're thinking of the course of an entire campaign (which has a whole line of d8s being rolled). So really, we're in the same situation as the 2d8 example - there's just a break between rolls on ocassion.

The best way to break down this power is to look at the overall expected value contrasted to the outliers. If you look at how often it's overpowered compared to how often it's fair or underpowered, it's certainly reasonably. Rolling a 1 or 2 is overpowered compared to the average standard action, rolling a 3 or 8 is about average for a standard action and rolling a 4, 5, 6 or 7 is underpowered. 5, 6 and 7 are all significantly underpowered too. With a 50% chance of being underpowered, a 25% chance of being fair and a 25% chance of being overpowered - things definitely weigh in its favor. The question is by how much these outliers then effect things. Since the 25% overpowered is actually only gaining 1 or 2 pips more than average, while there is an equal chance of losing 1 or 2 pips more than average and another equal chance of losing 3 or 4 pips more than average (I cound losing 2 pips but being able to activate your special as being a reasonably fair trade) - that puts the power at certainly underpowered overall. Since the expected value is a loss compared to the average, it's fine to have the odd case where the player hits the jackpot - as they will have only gained 1 or 2 pips more than normal.

The DM is the Casino and the player is the standard customer. The DM has a whole campaign to enjoy the odds balancing out in the end.

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Re: Breaking the Unbreakable

Post  Paper Shadow on Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:50 pm

Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:As for your counterargument, I'm not sure exactly what you're asking. Would you mind clarifying?
Well, usually when the word broken is used in gaming, it means that something is so strong that not using it is stupid. Clearly DDTIB isn't this, but rather the other meaning of broken; unable to function. If doing a move twice in a row is considered more economical than DDTIB, then isn't it, as a source for double damage, broken? Admittedly, it sounded better in my head...

My suggestion for Daredevil Rush is to make the damage true or pure damage. That is, the damage isn't affected by by things that reduce or increase damage...

And finally, my suggestion for double damage. I think I finally found a fix for our dilemma:
[0] Relapse - Standard Utility
Pay the Pip Cost of your last attack. You deal the exact same damage to the exact same target(s). You must use an attack between uses of this talent.

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Re: Breaking the Unbreakable

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:54 pm

Paper Shadow wrote:
Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:As for your counterargument, I'm not sure exactly what you're asking. Would you mind clarifying?
Well, usually when the word broken is used in gaming, it means that something is so strong that not using it is stupid. Clearly DDTIB isn't this, but rather the other meaning of broken; unable to function. If doing a move twice in a row is considered more economical than DDTIB, then isn't it, as a source for double damage, broken? Admittedly, it sounded better in my head...

Gotcha. We were just talking about it being 'broken' in the gaming sense of the word - not the colloquial sense. Now I see what you mean. Thanks for clarifying. =)

Paper Shadow wrote:My suggestion for Daredevil Rush is to make the damage true or pure damage. That is, the damage isn't affected by by things that reduce or increase damage...

So you'd suggest, "Lose Xd8 life"? That would probably still combo with things though - like Form of the Reaper. How would you get around that?

Paper Shadow wrote:And finally, my suggestion for double damage. I think I finally found a fix for our dilemma:
[0] Relapse - Standard Utility
Pay the Pip Cost of your last attack. You deal the exact same damage to the exact same target(s). You must use an attack between uses of this talent.

This seems kind of clunky.
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Re: Breaking the Unbreakable

Post  thematthew on Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:55 pm

Actually you can't look at it as 2d8 with a huge break between them, because this is what happens:

roll 2 d8 average 9.

roll 1 d8 and then 1 more an hour later: The first d8 result is known while the second d8 set is unknown collapsing the probabilities into a set where each remaining probability is equally likely. The result of 9 is now only at a 1 in 8 chance, where it started, but now there are 7 more results which have the same 1 in 8 chance.
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Re: Breaking the Unbreakable

Post  Ramsus on Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:55 pm

Paper Shadow raises a point I was going to make but, thought would detract from the issue at hand. "Broken" doesn't always mean "Overpowered". Things can fail to function properly and detrimentally in many ways. "Double all damage" typically falls under at least one of these ways.
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Re: Breaking the Unbreakable

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:06 pm

thematthew wrote:Actually you can't look at it as 2d8 with a huge break between them, because this is what happens:

roll 2 d8 average 9.

roll 1 d8 and then 1 more an hour later: The first d8 result is known while the second d8 set is unknown collapsing the probabilities into a set where each remaining probability is equally likely. The result of 9 is now only at a 1 in 8 chance, where it started, but now there are 7 more results which have the same 1 in 8 chance.

These really are semantics, because you're talking about differences in perspective at this point. Before a battle, adventure, or campaign starts the results are not known. Try rolling 100 d8s right now and total them up, then divide by 100. The result will probably fall close to 450. If you do it with your eyes closed while I note each individual die roll, thus changing my perspective as in your example, the result will still be close to 450.

Furthermore, if you have a combat talent that does 2d8 damage - the total will usually end up close to 9. If you roll 1 die at a time for that same combat talent - as players that do not have two separate 8-sided-dice often do - the total will *still* usually end up close to 9.

It's because of expected value and averages over the course of many events that Casinos make money. In this situation, the DM and her campaign are the Casino.

Ramsus wrote:Paper Shadow raises a point I was going to make but, thought would detract from the issue at hand. "Broken" doesn't always mean "Overpowered". Things can fail to function properly and detrimentally in many ways. "Double all damage" typically falls under at least one of these ways.

I agree that double damage typically does fail to function in some fundamental way from an efficiency perspective. Of course, other games have pulled it off. Furnace of Rath has been a fun casual card for years in MTG, and that double damage even stacks.

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Re: Breaking the Unbreakable

Post  thematthew on Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:16 pm

Actually, it's quantum physics., not semantics. What you are considering is basic probability, which would in fact state that the average result of any to random selections of numbers between 1 and 8 is going to be 9 based solely on an equal chance of any given number. However in a quantum physics model, we are in a state of flux and once an outcome is known we have collapsed the state into something which is in fact a different probabilistic concern.

Put simply, while I agree that rolling 100d8s will more than likely give you a result of approximately 450, rolling a 2 on a d8 in the first hour of the game lends no special chance that my second d8 roll will be 7. And since there is actually a finite number of dice rolls made, we cannot make the reductionist argument that over an infinite number of d8s we get an average result of 4.5 per die, that is just a quick mental math trick to be able to tell what the average is for any group of dice.

I'm not saying that balance cannot be determined using the theoretical average of a given die, nor am saying that it isn't in most published games, I'm just saying that there is a better (albeit more difficult) model to use when determining game balance for randomness without actual averages.
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Re: Breaking the Unbreakable

Post  Paper Shadow on Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:33 pm

Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:
Paper Shadow wrote:
Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:As for your counterargument, I'm not sure exactly what you're asking. Would you mind clarifying?
Well, usually when the word broken is used in gaming, it means that something is so strong that not using it is stupid. Clearly DDTIB isn't this, but rather the other meaning of broken; unable to function. If doing a move twice in a row is considered more economical than DDTIB, then isn't it, as a source for double damage, broken? Admittedly, it sounded better in my head...

Gotcha. We were just talking about it being 'broken' in the gaming sense of the word - not the colloquial sense. Now I see what you mean. Thanks for clarifying. =)
I know, I was just being pedantic, because I'm silly like that...

Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:
Paper Shadow wrote:My suggestion for Daredevil Rush is to make the damage true or pure damage. That is, the damage isn't affected by by things that reduce or increase damage...

So you'd suggest, "Lose Xd8 life"? That would probably still combo with things though - like Form of the Reaper. How would you get around that?
Either make Form of the Reaper not work on self-damage, or make Daredevil Rush give its pips at the start of the next turn, so players can't sacrifice themselves for instant FotR...

Stairc -Dan Felder wrote:
Paper Shadow wrote:And finally, my suggestion for double damage. I think I finally found a fix for our dilemma:
[0] Relapse - Standard Utility
Pay the Pip Cost of your last attack. You deal the exact same damage to the exact same target(s). You must use an attack between uses of this talent.

This seems kind of clunky.
That's a common theme of my ideas. They're smart, if I may stroke my own ego, but I've seen Spike Pits smoother than most of them. But hopefully my idea gets through; instead of having actual double damage, have a way to replicate damage at the cost of extra pips. Let me have another crack...

[-X] Germinate Attack - Free Action
Trigger - You attack an enemy.
You deal double damage with the attack. X is the cost of the attack. If you pay less than 2 pips, you deal not deal double damage.

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Re: Breaking the Unbreakable

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:33 pm

Actually, as expected value is both highly practical and stands the test of experience, I'd say it's by far the firmest bedrock to base balance on. Naturally, outliers also have to taken into account (1d20 has higher variance than 2d10 and is thus more difficult to balance for exactly those reasons) - but expected value is both very solid and used as the bedrock for all calculations where probability is at the core of financial solvency (again I bring up casinos, which work exactly this way). Trying to judge the relative value of half the numbers on the die on its own is certainly more accurate, but it's not good shorthand and it's also irrelevant for situations where the variance is minor and/or the sample size is large.

It seems like we agree on most everything, so I'm not sure what's left to discuss about this. I certainly agree that any number is just as likely as any other to come up on a d8 - however we need to look over the course of a battle or campaign; which makes expected value a fine thing to base assumptions on (and then account for variance in highly volatile cases). The issue you're running into is that you're happy to look at a single combat talent that deals 2d8 damage as having an expected value of 9, and that can be planned around, but a player using the same combat talent that deals 1d8 damage twice in a row does not have the same expected value. Before the first die is rolled and the result is known, the two cases are equal - the same as rolling 2d8 stops having an average of 9 if you roll the dice one at a time (as many players do).

Naturally, as game designers, we balance things before they're ever taken into combat - so the two cases are nigh-identical from a game balance perspective.

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Re: Breaking the Unbreakable

Post  thematthew on Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:54 pm

Actually what I'm looking at is the idea that everything one plans around will eventually be torn to shreds by players doing something that was unexpected or the fact that dice follow the rules of probability about as well as death row inmates followed the rules of polite society.

I consider any given event on it's own first, and try to balance them together into a group of well designed balanced concepts. Then I consider the interactions with each other and find out what I miss. My philosophy in game design is to give a solid bedrock of balance which builds upward into a balanced game. While I agree that we are basically agreeing in overall concept, it is the way we arrive there that is also important. A good deal of my game deign standards has been colored by a combination of my personal experience (there are people on this forum who were not born when I started playing RPGs) and the many topics I have made it a point to learn about in my academic pursuits (to include statistical analysis, quantum physics, chaos theory, and random number generator program design) which has colored my viewpoint so strongly that I am a jaded cynic when it comes to game balance.

In actuality I do not believe that game balance exists, and that any given game can be completely rendered unplayable by the concentrated effort of a small group of individuals, usually referred to as twinks or powergamers. This is the true edge case which I ignore, since at all times what I am doing can be burnt to ash like Aunt Beru on Tatooine I try to limit the amount of damage that can be inflicted onto something I cared enough about to create. On the other hand, I like weird combinations of powers to do cool things for the individuals who are willing to take the time and effort to construct the contemplative loop of D&D such that they get 9th level spells early and laugh about it.

None of what I do here is meant to foster arguments, or cause strife, it is actually meant to highlight things which I think are not at the power level that they should be or need some clarification. But one of the big concerns I have game balance wise is that the balancing act hasn't moved much into the multi-person combos. When I was looking at DDTIB I realized just how crazy things like Channel Mind and all the extra action powers really can be, since they effectively allow one character to devote himself to getting off other peoples ultimate combos at a speed which is frankly absurd

Also, I still feel that Team And I'll Form The Head made a great showcase of what kind of crazy bullshit can happen if the group builds their combat styles together. If I really wanted I could have It's Overed 3 times on turn 2, and that's just nuts...
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Re: Breaking the Unbreakable

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:14 pm

For all the practical purposes that you want game balance, that can certainly be achieved. I understand your theoretical argument, but in practice it's revealed that things are actually reasonable. Chess is a game that people have concentrated for generations on attempting to break, and while white has a slight edge - player skill often overwhelms it entirely (especially in multi-game sets) even at the highest levels. Magic the Gathering deals with far more variables and yet the competitive scene is often very healthy, with bannings being very infrequent in established formats.

Now, you don't actually want all the talents in the game to be perfectly balanced simply because then there's little for players that enjoy trying to maximize their character's power level to do. That's one reason why I intentionally include some abilities that are far stronger than others and some abilities that are intentionally weaker - in order for players to have a chance to make meaningful decisions when building their characters.

Outlier scenarios, like triggering three specials in a row or Derpy's Lightning into and It's Over or rolling five 1s on an ability that deals 5d12 damage all create different and unusual scenarios in battle that are both memorable and interesting. A run of amazing luck is exhilarating and a run of terrible luck is crushing, but feels great to overcome. This is why people like gambling in the first place. The random element makes it exciting.

So when high variance does show up, it usually leads to some very good results for gameplay without making one player feel like he's playing with a strictly worse character than another. In fact, the refuge of luck actually lets people comfort themselves if their build isn't doing as well as they'd like or they aren't playing as well as they'd like.

Game balance can certainly exist for all practical purposes, and that's really all we as game designers care about. =)

As for the multiple player combos, that's something we'll definitely look into. I knew they'd be an issue, but I'm not entirely convinced that they're a *terrible* issue yet. Again, it's all very impressive for 4 players to pull off an It's Over on the first turn, but if each simple used a -3 power, they'd be dealing around 2d12 damage anyways each without any items or traits to help them. That's 8d12 total without needing to risk health totals or expend item abilities, which is less than "It's Over" by a significant amount, but also can benefit more times from triggering things like Vulnerability.

What does need to be redesigned for sure is Daredevil's Rush.
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Re: Breaking the Unbreakable

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:16 pm

Paper Shadow wrote:Either make Form of the Reaper not work on self-damage, or make Daredevil Rush give its pips at the start of the next turn, so players can't sacrifice themselves for instant FotR...
All interesting ideas, though it does ruin some of the fun of comboing Form of the Reaper with things like All or Nothing. Having Daredevil’s Rush add pips at the start of the next turn seems like a patch though, it’s still giving an ungodly amount of pips.

Paper Shadow wrote:That's a common theme of my ideas. They're smart, if I may stroke my own ego, but I've seen Spike Pits smoother than most of them. But hopefully my idea gets through; instead of having actual double damage, have a way to replicate damage at the cost of extra pips. Let me have another crack...

[-X] Germinate Attack - Free Action
Trigger - You attack an enemy.
You deal double damage with the attack. X is the cost of the attack. If you pay less than 2 pips, you deal not deal double damage.

This is a nice idea, but it’s still got some issues. Doesn’t it just give you a free standard action as long as you use it on a [-3] or more talent? That’s pretty ridiculous.
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Re: Breaking the Unbreakable

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