Possible Changes to Critfisher [Community Discussion]

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Possible Changes to Critfisher [Community Discussion]

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Thu May 23, 2013 7:14 pm

Due to a bunch of math broken down by thematthew as well as a lot of critfishing builds seeming extremely powerful in playtesting - we're considering cutting or changing the +1 variation of critfisher. Currently it lets you roll 5 dice, but being able to roll that many dice reliably is way too strong when combined with special moves - and particularly traits such as King of Fools, Crushing Blow and similar - like Derpy's Lightning (that 12 can be brutal in the right build) and Be Prepared. Plus, we like it when crits feel special and aren't just something you expect to happen. When crits happen reliably, they can feel a little less special and the slightly more powerful crits (as well as those crits that are worth more when used reliably) have their advantages compounded over and over again to exacerbate the differences.

In short, the +3 for two dice mode is great and we love it. But being able to roll 5 dice every turn, at all reliably, seems to be way too much. Even if that cost 2 pips or more, it would still be very powerful (there are traits and items that allow constant pip regen too). We've explored smaller additional dice pools, but in general the specials were based around only rolling 1-2 dice each turn - being able to roll 3 or more (on top of interrupts and reactions that also roll dice gets way over our balancing tools.

So we're considering just making Critfisher a +3 ability that lets you roll 2 dice, without its additional mode.

We've been dragging our feet over this a long time because so many people love Critfisher and Critfishing builds in general - but the math is really troublesome, as have the playtesting results been. Being able to roll 5d12 for example, while critting on 1s with King of Fools once, Means you've got a decent chance of triggering a 12 crit on a +1 move. Combined with powerhouses like Derpy's Lightning 12 ability - putting the best high pip talents in your build - the average results for your +1 are extremely high (way over the curve). Being able to trigger It's Over about 20% of the time when you hit a 12, and you're triggering a 12 about every round, is pretty scary.

What are your thoughts?

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Re: Possible Changes to Critfisher [Community Discussion]

Post  A1C Bronymous on Thu May 23, 2013 7:23 pm

Well, I think anyone who builds combat around activating their specials is kind of wasting their time. I use critfisher to build pips between power hits, so I don't even have a use for the second option. I don't think anyone who spams that option is going to be too effective in combat, unless they get really lucky or cheat, and sometimes its good to have it as a backup, last chance all or nothing shot. I say keep it.
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Re: Possible Changes to Critfisher [Community Discussion]

Post  Xel Unknown on Thu May 23, 2013 7:26 pm

Well... What about the factor of the whole other update you've been musing about?

Regardless, I don't think this change would be overall a bad thing. Sure some people would dislike it, but it totally works in my mind.
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Re: Possible Changes to Critfisher [Community Discussion]

Post  Karilyn on Thu May 23, 2013 7:34 pm

Considering I did extensive analysis (pages worth) of this, with myself over Skype, I'll basically post the summary of my analysis here:

1. [+1] 5 Dice Critfisher is mathematically too strong when synergizing with traits.
2a. [0] 4 Dice Critfisher is mathematically balanced when synergizing with traits
2b. BUT there is a reason why [0] damaging attacks do not exist (all [0] are either +PiP moves in disguise, or somehow have an alternative cost associated with them), and that is because it's boring and creates builds that only use one move. You'd want either a [-1] Critfisher which is slight stronger, or a [+1] Critfisher that is slightly weaker, or a [0] Critfisher with an alternate payment method.
3. Because of this, [0] 5 Dice Critfisher with an HP cost (relative to whether you picked a d8, d10, or d12 Special Move) is mathematically balanced and still a dynamic and interesting choice.
4. However, when you're in the 5 Dice range with King of Fools, you're talking about more or less having a "certain" chance of using your Special Move (math behind the spoiler tag), so why even have people roll at all instead of just having [0] Critfisher say "You may use a Special Move of your choice, pay an HP cost" (A mathematically balanced HP cost would be in the 8-15HP range for the various Special Moves), and avoids the complete absurdity of using Fool Me Twice, King of Fools, and Critfisher 5 dice all at once.
5. At this point, you have to address the question of "Is the [+3] 2 dice Critfisher weak enough that it needs to be propped up with extra diversity via an alternate option?" And considering the [+3] 2 Dice Critfisher is arguably the best [+3] move in the game ATM, it would seem the answer is no. So at this point, it would be best to split the move into two separate moves.
6. Once it is a separate move, you have to question if a [0] PiP, HP costing "Activate a special move" combat talent is a good thing for the game... and I'm leaning towards no.

So yeah, that's my analysis.

The long form of all of the above is inside the spoiler tags, in case you want to follow my train of thought in way too much detail:

Spoiler:
While I understand why [+1] 5 Dice Critfisher needs to be nerfed, I virtually never use it. I have seen virtually every player in AOH2 take the talent. But particularly when combined with The King of Fools, it just breaks down.

For 5d8 with King of Fools?
76% chance of at least one crit
37% chance of at least two crits

That's way overbudget when you think about what d8 crit abilities are:

8: Deal 1d12 damage to a random enemy.
8: You gain resist 5 until the end of your next turn and target enemy must attack you on its next turn

Are two which are most obviously overbudget when combined with King of Fools Critfisher.

The stats are fairly similar for d10s and d12s, just select whichever is the most powerful Special Moves for the dice of your choice.

Crushing Blow, King of Fools, and Critfisher are insane together. It was my first reaction to combine those three when I saw Critfisher originally.

I won't be happy to see it nerfed, but I look at how EVERYONE worships that move, and how much I want it compared to all the other +PiP moves, and I'd have to be blind not to realize it's strong.

Let's analyze a hypothetical nerf mathematically. [0] 4 Dice Critfisher with King of Fools and Crushing Blow

d8s
32% chance to miss
68% chance to hit at least once
26% chance to hit at least twice
Average of 0.98 Hits per use

d10s
41% chance to miss
59% chance to hit at least once
18% chance to hit at least twice
Average of 0.79 Hits per use

d12s
48% chance to miss
52% chance to hit at least once
13% chance to hit at least once
Average of 0.66 Hits per use

... And AnyDice just crashed.

Now you have to analyze the value of a [0] PiP move producing the effect that the special move + 1d12.

Some come off as fairly well balanced:

[0] Bucanneer Blaze
Deal 1d8 damage to target creature and each creature adjacent to the target. Deal 1d12 to target creature.
[+1] Fireball
Deal 1d8 damage to target creature and each creature adjacent to the target.

Others are difficult for me to evaluate due to a lack of similar combat talents:
[0]Knight's Presence
You gain resist 5 until the end of your next turn and target enemy must attack you on its next turn.
[+2] Perfect Focus - Standard Utility
You gain resist 3 until the end of your next turn. At the start of your next turn, if you have not taken damage since you last used this ability, you gain 2 more pips.

But, mathematically it seems pretty balanced at [0] 4 dice, and the Special Moves you gain access to through Critfisher seem to be coming out similarly priced to equivalent Combat Talents.

Especially factoring in the 30%, 40%, and 50% miss chance (Along with the average 1 hit, 0.8 hit, and 0.66 hits per use; as unreliability has been used in the past to justify some moves having slightly above average power, or even ridiculously high potential power such as Deal with Discord and Thunderstorm)

Biggest reason against [0] 4 Dice Critfisher: It's not compelling. I've noticed that generally speaking you avoid adding powerful [0] PiP moves to the game. All [0] PiP abilities aren't actually [0] PiP. They either gain PiPs on a dice roll, or spend PiPs in an usual way (Channel Mind), or cost HP, or destroy a conjuration, or expend a vial, or restrict your access to other talents (shapeshifting). There is not a single [0] PiP ability which doesn't function as a normal PiP gaining move or cost you something. And there's a good reason for it. Because it is NOT compelling. If you were to make a straightforward damage dealing move that cost [0], you've created an opportunity where a player could chose to use the exact same move ever round, neither gaining or losing PiPs. This is the exact reason why [0] Critfisher should not exist; because it costs NOTHING. Slap a "Pay 10 Life" and make it 5 Dice? lolidunno. But it should NOT equal [0] PiPs without some other cost associated with it. Either [+1] and weaker, or [-1] and stronger, or [0] and cost life.

Well the general gist of the math is that while it initially looks strong, you're essentially, even with King of Fools, looking at very high miss rates. For a 4d12, 1s and 12s crit, you might as well have a talent which reads:

[0] Standard Utility
//Flip a coin. If heads,// target creature gains Resist 3d8 until the end of your next turn. In addition, until the end of the encounter you and up to six allies may use any combat talent that you possess - even if you did not select it for this battle.

Because Critfisher would have a 49% miss chance, effectively a coin flip.

Now is that still overpowered at [0] PiPs? Hell yes. The core problem with critfisher is that it exacerbates the fact that Special Moves aren't balanced against each other, they are balanced internally. A Special Move might have a weak d8 and a strong d12, or vice versa, as long as they are balanced against each other.

Of course, I could debate about the effectiveness of this, as when I do my builds, I wind up looking at whether I roll d8s, d10s, or d12s the most, then pick one of the special moves which is strongest for that tier.

But it is what it is.

Because while d12 Be Prepared Critfisher is overpowered, d8 Critfisher and Be Prepared is grossly underpowered...

[+1] Stab - Standard Attack
Deal 1d10 damage to target creature.

[0] d8 Be Prepared - Standard Attack
//Roll 1d12. On a 5 or higher,// Deal 1d10 damage to target creature. On an 11 or higher, deal 2d10 damage.

That's, really underpowered if you convert the ratios into a standard attack, when you compare it to stab.

That being said, I still like the hypothetical [0] Pay 10 Life version. While it's still crit on demand, the paying of life would force you to-----

Oh duh. I feel stupid now.

Since the 5 version was basically crit on demand anyway, and the problem is a large number of dice rolls, why not make the replacement simply "You can activate your special ability?"

Hypothetical replacement:

[0] Critfisher - Standard Utility
A) Gain 3 pips. Roll two dice of your choice from amongst d8s, d10s and d12s (you could choose to roll both dice from one of these types, or a mix from amongst these types).
B) Activate a Special Move of your choice. Pay 8HP for a d8 Special Move, 11HP for a d10 Special Move, or 14HP for a d12 Special Move.

(HP Values are placeholders)

Boom. Still allows crit on demand, HP cost make it a compelling choice that you are forced to use strategically, and keeps the crit feeling as if it is something special due to non-trivial HP cost.

Honestly I'm not convinced the B version is needed really. Even the 2 dice ability is really powerful on it's own, and Critfisher is already probably the most popular +PiP ability, judging by the extremely small sample size of AoH2.

It's taking an already powerful move and giving it even more versatility.

Not that I'm against a move that gives you an on-demand use of a Special Move. But even if such a move did exist, it probably should be a seperate move from critfisher.

Though you're right about the auto-nat-20. The closest thing to that is This is Whining.

The major difference between a nat20 and a Special Move, is that nat20s are super powerful things you could already do, while Special Moves are functionally identical to combat talents, only budgeted differently.

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Re: Possible Changes to Critfisher [Community Discussion]

Post  Ramsus on Thu May 23, 2013 7:37 pm

Well, I still prefer the suggestion that was given to just have the +1 version only do d8's or d10's. I certainly agree rolling 5d12 is pretty much always broketastic.

Edit: Have you considered +2 pips, roll three dice as a secondary option?
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Re: Possible Changes to Critfisher [Community Discussion]

Post  tygerburningbright on Thu May 23, 2013 7:41 pm

That is very very impressive...

I am now leaning towards the just +3 version of critfisher.
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Re: Possible Changes to Critfisher [Community Discussion]

Post  Karilyn on Thu May 23, 2013 7:59 pm

Ramsus wrote:Have you considered +2 pips, roll three dice as a secondary option?
The general agreement among the people I've seen who've discussed that option, is that it really isn't different enough from [+3] Critfisher to be a meaningful option. They are just too similar.

tygerburningbright wrote:That is very very impressive...
Thank you. I wanna go to college to become an actuary.

Bronymous wrote:Well, I think anyone who builds combat around activating their specials is kind of wasting their time. I use critfisher to build pips between power hits, so I don't even have a use for the second option. I don't think anyone who spams that option is going to be too effective in combat, unless they get really lucky or cheat, and sometimes its good to have it as a backup, last chance all or nothing shot. I say keep it.
Personally, I usually only use the [+3] version too. Though I've recently tried using the [+1] version at the start of the fight until I activate Be Prepared, with glorious success (After all, I'm already starting the fight with 4 PiPs, I'm not in an urgent state to increase them).

This is the probability breakdown on [+1] 5 Dice Critfisher, including King of Fools, but not including Fool Me Twice (because I don't know how to use AnyDice well enough to calculate out something that complicated, and I don't want to do it by hand; I may go and calculate it if people really are desperate for me to do so). Also remember that Crushing Blow synergizes well with this too.

It's not hard to see why it's horribly too strong for it's PiP cost.

5d8 Critfisher:
23.73% chance to miss
76.27% chance of at least one crit.
36.72% chance of at least two crits.
10.35% chance of at least three crits.
Average of 1.25 Crits per use of Critfisher.

5d10 Critfisher
32.77% chance to miss
67.23% chance of at least one crit.
26.27% chance of at least two crits.
5.79% chance of at least three crits.
Average of 1 Crit per use of Critfisher.

5d12 Critfisher
40.19% chance to miss
59.81% chance of at least one crit.
19.62% chance of at least two crits.
3.54% chance of at least three crits.
Average of 0.83 Crits per use of Critfisher.

And of course it gets even more absurd with Fool Me Twice and Crushing Blow.
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Re: Possible Changes to Critfisher [Community Discussion]

Post  Ramsus on Thu May 23, 2013 8:28 pm

Karilyn wrote:
Ramsus wrote:Have you considered +2 pips, roll three dice as a secondary option?
The general agreement among the people I've seen who've discussed that option, is that it really isn't different enough from [+3] Critfisher to be a meaningful option. They are just too similar.
Sorry, I guess I could have been more clear. I meant having a pay 1 pip for three dice option the way it previously had a pay 2 pips for five dice option. This would probably help in not completely ruining people's builds that used Fool Me Twice and such.
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Re: Possible Changes to Critfisher [Community Discussion]

Post  AProcrastinatingWriter on Thu May 23, 2013 9:10 pm

I like Ramsus's idea, assuming of course it's mathematically balanced.

EDIT: Although...originally I thought the rolling of d5 was a -2 without the +3 first...what if that were an alternate move? Perhaps with a stronger PiP cost?
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Re: Possible Changes to Critfisher [Community Discussion]

Post  Ramsus on Thu May 23, 2013 9:26 pm

Once you get down to -pip cost moves you should be getting actual effects, not just dice. Otherwise the sole purpose of the move will just be to make obscene combos. Which while they'll be less crazy than +pip version, would still I'm guessing break things.
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Re: Possible Changes to Critfisher [Community Discussion]

Post  Z2 on Fri May 24, 2013 4:28 pm

Okay, I'll pretend to approve of and agree with for a moment that the +1 version is useless. That means there is no reason to go out of your way to change it...

Also, I don't want my crits to 'feel special'. I want my combat successes to be the result of careful planning and skillful use of luck-minimizing options rather than having to thank the RNG for my treasured characters survival... If I'm going to CARE about crits, I'm going to set it up so that I can use them more easily.

Maybe there wasn't a particularly good reason to CREATE the talent in the first place, but there is NO reason to REMOVE it now that it is already in use.

Edit: and I just reread some of this nonsense and saw that the general opinion has shifted because some basic statistics were used in order to force the old opinion that 'it's too strong'. While I'm starting to feel like a nerdy Lorax over here, I will say that the fact that SOME luck is required to do anything at all balances out the generally decent chances; and the fact that without placing some focus on them, crits come up far too rarely for me and several others to care about them at all. Doing this will be messing with perfectly valid builds, and cutting down on player options yet again, so I personally don't consider the arguments of "it's really good" and "we like crits to feel 'special'" to be sufficient arguments for getting rid of critfisher +1.


Last edited by Z2 on Fri May 24, 2013 4:37 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Possible Changes to Critfisher [Community Discussion]

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Fri May 24, 2013 4:31 pm

Z2 wrote:Okay, I'll pretend to approve of and agree with for a moment that the +1 version is useless.

Why would you do that?


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Re: Possible Changes to Critfisher [Community Discussion]

Post  Z2 on Fri May 24, 2013 4:38 pm

Just edited my post, while you were posting. I figure if it's 'useless' that's an argument not to forcibly remove it, and I should probably support any front working for the result I desire.
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Re: Possible Changes to Critfisher [Community Discussion]

Post  Ramsus on Fri May 24, 2013 4:42 pm

Z2, I basically made my suggestion as a compromise between the five die version being too strong and two dice completely killing builds. Three dice should be enough to still keep those builds worthwhile.
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Re: Possible Changes to Critfisher [Community Discussion]

Post  Z2 on Fri May 24, 2013 4:49 pm

I see your three dice option. I find it superior to total removal, but still far inferior to no change at all. As far as your suggestion preventing those builds from getting killed... Hacking off a leg might not kill something, but they'll still probably miss their leg...

Since we're talking about alternate versions, how about:
Critfisher [+3]
Roll 2 dice of your choice, and roll an additional die for each pip you pay, up to 5 dice.

That way the +1 version gets SOME downgrade, the 3 die version appears somewhere for players who just like threes, and those who really like the old talent can still use it, they just won't get pips anymore.
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Re: Possible Changes to Critfisher [Community Discussion]

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Fri May 24, 2013 6:19 pm

Z2, may I suggest that before you dismiss the math that other people have done - such as thematthew and Karilyn (though I can't find the thread where thematthew and I discussed it, so you can feel free to just focus on Karilyn's if you can't find it either) - that perhaps you explain through mathematical analysis where you think they made a mistake in their calculations.

As this is an issue of balance principally, the math behind the balance is the most important factor.

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Re: Possible Changes to Critfisher [Community Discussion]

Post  Z2 on Fri May 24, 2013 6:30 pm

At no point did I actually say the math was incorrect in its execution. The conclusion of, "There is X chance of Y happening with Z, I don't want Y to happen as frequently as it might with X, Z MUST BE DESTROYED!" is what I object to. Also, the combats are defined by strategy, and often the only luck that matters are the ones on the far sides of the scale. Knowing the 'average' to be slightly LESS than a single 1d12 crit per usage doesn't grant any more control to the player, and for the most part, critical hits aren't so exceptional that 'maybe getting to use one' is not an overpowered effect in general for a +1 pip move...

But if you disagree, you could weigh in on the alternate versions of Ramsus or myself.


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Re: Possible Changes to Critfisher [Community Discussion]

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Fri May 24, 2013 6:35 pm

So if you agree that the math is correct, why do you disagree with its conclusion that Critfisher's +1 variation is far too powerful?

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Re: Possible Changes to Critfisher [Community Discussion]

Post  Z2 on Fri May 24, 2013 6:43 pm

I think I described that in my previous post, maybe you missed the edit?
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Re: Possible Changes to Critfisher [Community Discussion]

Post  Paper Shadow on Fri May 24, 2013 6:48 pm

Z2 wrote:I think I described that in my previous post, maybe you missed the edit?
Last edited by Z2 on Fri May 24, 2013 10:36 pm; edited 1 time in total
Stairc -Dan Felder Today at 10:35 pm
Technically, it didn't exist when he made his post...

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Re: Possible Changes to Critfisher [Community Discussion]

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Fri May 24, 2013 6:52 pm

Yep, did miss the edit. Can't say I understand your argument though. It ignores all combo potential with traits and doesn't explore the results of the most powerful builds with those crits - such as using Wild Lightning's 12 combined with abilities such as It's Over and more. It also seems, which I'm sure can't be true, to object to the very concept that if something happens too often then it should be nerfed. This argument can't possibly be what you're suggesting, because it throws all issues of balance and probability out the window. So since I don't think you're suggesting that, I have no idea what you meant by that.

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Re: Possible Changes to Critfisher [Community Discussion]

Post  Z2 on Fri May 24, 2013 7:01 pm

If something happens too often, its modification could be justified. I'm arguing the definition of TOO often here: that's often the argument, is it not? Also, heaven hope that I not put it in your head to go slap it too with the "Nerf Bat of Combo-Hating +5" but it seems that your primary argument against the criticals is against ONE particular critical far above the others.
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Re: Possible Changes to Critfisher [Community Discussion]

Post  Paper Shadow on Fri May 24, 2013 7:08 pm

It's not just one particular critical, it's just that Derpy's Lightning is the most common. Dan also brings up the traits like Crushing Blow, which deals 1d12 damage whenever you score a critical...

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Re: Possible Changes to Critfisher [Community Discussion]

Post  tygerburningbright on Fri May 24, 2013 8:26 pm

Perhaps one possible answer is to if it really is causing so much trouble is to just change the D12 on Derpy's Lightning...
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Re: Possible Changes to Critfisher [Community Discussion]

Post  Stairc -Dan Felder on Fri May 24, 2013 8:34 pm

Derpy's Lightning is causing a huge amount of problems too - but rolling 5 dice is causing problems with 12 crits in general. Derpy's Lightning and Be Prepared are just the most egregious offenders of these combinations.

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Re: Possible Changes to Critfisher [Community Discussion]

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