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Awesome Fred
 Wednesday, January 19 2011 @ 08:53 PM UTC (Read 13572 times)  
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From a design perspective. We've breached this topic several times in the past months in various balance topics I've made, but I've just gotten a reminder of how silly the stats seem.

First off, we know that players with many DKs under their belt significantly, significantly outperform players with few DKs. As a principle, I would agree with this. But since the game does try to emphasize collaboration, with the existence of Titans, this gap seems too large. Titans can't be touched by those under 10 DKs, but those with over 50 seem to be able to two-hit-KO them. I take it most people who can do this either spend their DK points on Attack or at the least have a balance of Attack and Defense, but never prioritize Defense?

Next, Defense is a strange stat. When I boost the first number (not the bonus number), it seems like it decreases the amount of damage I take from the enemy. I guess. I haven't really taken a good look at it. When I boost the second number, the bonus number, it doesn't seem to decrease the amount of damage I take from the enemy--instead, it turns me into a Riposte machine that stops incoming damage altogether and deals it back. In other words, Defense bonuses also act like an Attack stat. The problem with it is that it makes battles a High-Risk, High-Reward scenario. The Force Generator, we all know to be my armor of choice, can turn you into a monster-shredding machine. But everyone who's used it has also noticed them being knocked out by a blow that they had no way of surviving. It increases the damage of Taking-It-On-The-Chin attacks. I just got this:

Titan hits you for 1171 points of damage!
Your Clan Aura allows you to reflect 117 of the damage you received Titan!
The force of the blow sends you reeling, and knocks 14736 Stamina points out of you!


I have about 863 health at level 15. That particular attack raised my Taking It On The Chin skill by 1200 exp. In a single round of combat, I got hit for a 12x crushing blow. If I were on a rank 7 DK, I could understand this punishment. But I'm on Rank 4.

But this isn't the product of a Rank, as the Titan barely does any damage to me otherwise. I can spam fights forever and not lose health, until BAM CRITICAL HIT IT'S SUPER EFFECTIVE. This is the product of 67 Defense + 994.3 Defense from the Force Generator (and Mutant Leathery Hide).

When I play as a Joker or a Robot, the sharp Defense penalty actually works well with the Force Generator. It gives me enough bonus defense (about 350ish) to turn enemy attacks into ripostes and take down most enemies in 1-3 hits, but not enough for me to experience the giant wallops that do more damage than I have health for. Crushing blows are almost nonexistent when I have that.

This thread isn't about the Force Generator. It's about the fact that Defense and Bonus Defense acts so unintuitively in this game.

Thirdly, what's the deal with HP? It seems to scale enemy damage with it. Enemies at Rank 5 did far less damage to me, strictly by HP, when I was at 20 DKs than on my 55th DK (when I don't have the Force Generator on). Does it keep the same percentage of damage dealt though? Because if it does, it seems like HP is a worthless stat to get unless you're focusing on manipulating the Chemical Pack's awarding points on Health Deficit.

Lastly, my previous gripe: percentage-based equipment far outstrips normal gear when used by a high-DK player. It's this gear which is really why I'm destroying things with the Force Generator or other people take down Titans with their Sun Guns or Plasma Guns.




Let me say that this isn't actually urgent. It doesn't seem like combat stats direly needs to be fixed for players to continue playing. It "works" for now. But it would be nice to see these things being addressed around Season 3 (which I actually remember CMJ saying before, that the current stat system is a remnant of the Legend of the Green Dragon system). It would be nice because stats are crazy right now and I can't play my Defensive Bulwark style that I love to do in RPGs.


 
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CavemanJoe
 Wednesday, January 19 2011 @ 09:03 PM UTC  
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If you think these stats are unbalanced, you should try playing stock LotGD some time. Yikes!

All this is stuff that we can't adjust without doing a grand reset, so it's gonna have to wait 'til S3.


 
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Awesome Fred
 Wednesday, January 19 2011 @ 09:23 PM UTC  
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Well, I guess since CMJ is fully aware, I guess there's no more feedback needed then. Thread over! I'm gonna clean up, who's gonna drive the less sober guys back home?


 
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CavemanJoe
 Wednesday, January 19 2011 @ 09:28 PM UTC  
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It ain't so much that I'm fully aware, as that there's nowt I can do about it. The rewards have been grandfathered in, and were we to change the system mid-Season, Rookies would get advantages or disadvantages over veterans that would be unfair to all involved. Say you'd focussed on upping your defence stats for the past 40 DK's - were I to nerf Defence now, you wouldn't be happy at all.


 
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Awesome Fred
 Wednesday, January 19 2011 @ 09:31 PM UTC  
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Quote by: CavemanJoe

It ain't so much that I'm fully aware, as that there's nowt I can do about it. The rewards have been grandfathered in, and were we to change the system mid-Season, Rookies would get advantages or disadvantages over veterans that would be unfair to all involved. Say you'd focussed on upping your defence stats for the past 40 DK's - were I to nerf Defence now, you wouldn't be happy at all.



No, no, I understand. I was saying you're fully aware of the unbalanced nature of the stats and so we don't really need to convince you to do something about it, because you already know you're going to do something about it when Season 3 rolls around. Perhaps I needed a Mr. Green face in the last post.

I getcha, and as I said, things aren't imbalanced enough that a change needs to happen immediately. I think we can wait until Season 3.


 
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Matthew
 Thursday, January 20 2011 @ 12:39 AM UTC  
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About the force generator: while using it, and you get hit for like a billion damage, that's not actually the monster doing that much damage normally. Your force generator works with high-damage ripostes, right? Well, when the monster ripostes that, it hurts a hell of a lot.

At least, I'm pretty sure that's how it works. I dunno.


 
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Awesome Fred
 Thursday, January 20 2011 @ 07:26 AM UTC  
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Quote by: Matthew

About the force generator: while using it, and you get hit for like a billion damage, that's not actually the monster doing that much damage normally. Your force generator works with high-damage ripostes, right? Well, when the monster ripostes that, it hurts a hell of a lot.

At least, I'm pretty sure that's how it works. I dunno.



Yep. It's a result of your own high bonus Defense. Hence my statement that the stats are ridiculously unintuitive.


 
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dark
 Thursday, January 20 2011 @ 11:26 AM UTC  
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Back when I played Logd every 18 months or so betwene 2002 and 2006, this was one of the things that put me right off the game after 2 or three dragon kills.

First dk, I'd be watching my stats, pegging it to the bank to deposite cash, using whatever buffs and specials I could get my hands on and generally playing carefully.

by the third dk though, I'd either got uba items, or had increased my stats sufficiently to the point where anything in the forest couldn't touch me. Fight till end, fight till end, fight till end! it just got boring as hell, and usually after three dk's I'd explored all the stuff that you couldn't get into until after your first kill.

this was why I never got beyond about 6 or 8 dk's in the game, because it just turned completely into a grind fest of doing the same thing over and over again, , indeed, one of the things I'm finding interesting about Improbable island is the extra combat options and the fact that you actually have to think about wat your doing in the game.


 
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Swede
 Friday, January 21 2011 @ 07:26 AM UTC  
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Quote by: Awesome+Fred

Thirdly, what's the deal with HP? It seems to scale enemy damage with it. Enemies at Rank 5 did far less damage to me, strictly by HP, when I was at 20 DKs than on my 55th DK (when I don't have the Force Generator on). Does it keep the same percentage of damage dealt though? Because if it does, it seems like HP is a worthless stat to get unless you're focusing on manipulating the Chemical Pack's awarding points on Health Deficit.



I've been wondering about this too. My recent experience with my rank 6 being similar.
Can anyone confirm this? If so I can stop my visits to the gauntlet and concentrate on becoming the most handsome man on the island. Wink


 
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Hairy Mary
 Friday, January 21 2011 @ 01:52 PM UTC  
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I'm not much of a game player, so I may be barking up the wrong tree here, but I think that a few extra HP are helpful, the scaling effect doesn't kick in till HP start getting to high.

Also, with extra HP, you can trade them in temporarily at Tynan's Gym in Squathole for extra attack or defence.

But others may tell you that in actual fact that's less useful than it might appear. Don't know.


 
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Awesome Fred
 Friday, January 21 2011 @ 06:32 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Hairy+Mary

I'm not much of a game player, so I may be barking up the wrong tree here, but I think that a few extra HP are helpful, the scaling effect doesn't kick in till HP start getting to high.

Also, with extra HP, you can trade them in temporarily at Tynan's Gym in Squathole for extra attack or defence.

But others may tell you that in actual fact that's less useful than it might appear. Don't know.



The biggest detractor is that the Hospital Tent also increases in cost the more HP you need to heal.


 
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Epaphus
 Friday, January 21 2011 @ 09:55 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Awesome+Fred

The biggest detractor is that the Hospital Tent also increases in cost the more HP you need to heal.



Kinda like a real hospital, eh?


 
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Matthew
 Friday, January 21 2011 @ 11:13 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Awesome+Fred

Quote by: Hairy+Mary

I'm not much of a game player, so I may be barking up the wrong tree here, but I think that a few extra HP are helpful, the scaling effect doesn't kick in till HP start getting to high.

Also, with extra HP, you can trade them in temporarily at Tynan's Gym in Squathole for extra attack or defence.

But others may tell you that in actual fact that's less useful than it might appear. Don't know.



The biggest detractor is that the Hospital Tent also increases in cost the more HP you need to heal.



All I can add is this: I'm starting to really regret my stupidly high amounts of bonus HP.


 
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Bakemaster
 Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 03:29 AM UTC  
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'The old man kicks you idly in the shin as one might kick a tyre. "Hmm... from the state of you, mate, 2117 requisition tokens to do a proper job," he says as he bends over and pulls the cover off a tray table stacked with shining surgical steel sharpnesses.'

OBAMACARE PLEASE


Unofficial Improbable Island out-of-character chat is at irc.foonetic.net, channel #iisland - come on by!
 
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tehdave
 Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 04:14 AM UTC  
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Quote by: Bakemaster

'The old man kicks you idly in the shin as one might kick a tyre. "Hmm... from the state of you, mate, 2117 requisition tokens to do a proper job," he says as he bends over and pulls the cover off a tray table stacked with shining surgical steel sharpnesses.'

OBAMACARE PLEASE



Sounds like what I was paying for 50 HP to heal on Bastard Rank...


Isn't sanity just a one-trick pony anyway? All you get is one trick: rational thinking. But when you're good and crazy, oooh, oooh, the sky's the limit.
 
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Buddleia
 Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 04:51 AM UTC  
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I dare say I agree with Awesome Fred about the stats. I haven't studied them as clinically as he has, but I've tried to understand and been fairly confused as to how they work.

Still on hitpoints; I agree with the earlier posters, and I'd like a reliable way to permanently lose max HP. You can lose one point to the old man in the jungle, and to the shady salesman in the PSK; but there are lots of ways to gain them, which also happen more often. I haven't seen any benefit to having 800 rather than 80: monsters hit harder to compensate, Improbabombs blow up ditto, the Chempack doesn't seem to refill any faster, and it does cost a hell of a lot more to heal. (Maybe an anti-Gauntlet sort of place? Pay to lose max HP to gain ... something?).


Improbable Reference Links - goo.gl/MRBnb -------------- Land Registry (map of Places) ---- goo.gl/bpkRR
 
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CavemanJoe
 Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 05:10 AM UTC  
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Just pokin' me head in here to say, hey, guys, I didn't mean to sound like I was saying "Hey, it's pointless to talk about this right now" up there. We do need to have this conversation sooner or later, and talk like this is definitely helpful - just remember that the stats we'll be using in S3 might not have much, if any, relationship to the system we're using right now.


 
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Count Sessine
 Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 05:56 AM UTC  
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Quote by: Buddleia

I dare say I agree with Awesome Fred about the stats. I haven't studied them as clinically as he has, but I've tried to understand and been fairly confused as to how they work.

Still on hitpoints; I agree with the earlier posters, and I'd like a reliable way to permanently lose max HP. You can lose one point to the old man in the jungle, and to the shady salesman in the PSK; but there are lots of ways to gain them, which also happen more often. I haven't seen any benefit to having 800 rather than 80: monsters hit harder to compensate, Improbabombs blow up ditto, the Chempack doesn't seem to refill any faster, and it does cost a hell of a lot more to heal. (Maybe an anti-Gauntlet sort of place? Pay to lose max HP to gain ... something?).

There's a happy medium, I think, for hit points. A sweet spot where you can usually survive a force generator failure, but the cost of hospital healing won't bankrupt you.

For people who've gone beyond that point and then come to regret it... yes, it would be good if there were some way to shed permanent hit points. I went for "more is better" in Season One. (It worked out all right then because of the ridiculously inflated S1 economy.) In S2, I've been more cautious, knowing that additional permanent hit points are irrevocable. But... they really shouldn't be. It would be better if people had the flexibility to adjust their characters, over time, to fit revised ideas of how they want to play.

What would it make sense to trade hit points for? There's always Tynan's gym, of course.... but that's only temporary.


 
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Matthew
 Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 07:16 AM UTC  
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Quote by: Count+Sessine

What would it make sense to trade hit points for? There's always Tynan's gym, of course.... but that's only temporary.


Req, or maybe cigs? Maybe you're going to a hospital (maybe even the tent out in the jungles) to donate blood. Takes permanent HP away, and you're given monetary compensation.


 
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Awesome Fred
 Saturday, January 22 2011 @ 08:42 AM UTC  
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Oh, I was thinking you had a plan already to do something in particular with the stats, CMJ. My misinterpretation then.

The ability to intentionally shed HP is a strange concept to traditional RPG systems, but I could imagine it being something suitable for an environment like Improbable Island. I'm not really sure that it's the best course of action.

Let's organize ourselves for a bit. We have three main stats that determine the outcome of a battle: Attack, Defense, and HP. Usually in games, ATK determines how much damage you do, DEF determines how much less damage the opponent's attack does, and HP determines how much damage you can take before game over. In games of old, DEF and HP played overlapping roles in survival. You could increase your defense so you can take an additional hit before you die, or you could increase your HP so you can take an additional hit before you die. But games have evolved from that point, and now the two stats will interact differently with other mechanics, so choosing to raise one or the other have different consequences.

So on the Island, we have DEF interacting with:

+Effective Time to Live
+Damage Taken
+Chance of Riposte
+Riposte Damage
-Counterattack Damage Taken
-Midget Rage Meter
-Tesla Coil
-Chemical Pack Filling
+Gear and Buffs

while we have Health controlling

-Healing Costs
+Chemical Pack Filling

I'm sure I'm missing plenty, so post responses of other things they affect so we can talk about those later. I'll talk about HP before Def because my mind wanted to jump to a specific thing.

First off, note that I didn't write Effective Time to Live for the HP section. That's because in Improbable Island, it seems we experience the weird phenomenon where as we gain health, the enemy's damage simply scales up with it. That means that HP doesn't directly help our survival within a fight.

Next, if you use the Chemical Pack implant, every round of combat that passes increases the amount of current fluid in the pack by half of your health deficit (max health minus current health). That means that while the first point that I made about having 50 out of 80 HP is the same in combat as having 500 HP out of 800 HP in terms of how many hits the enemy will take to kill you, having 500/800 will give you 150 to your Chempack, whereas 50/80 gives you only 15, and the costs are still the same. I don't remember that low-HP past so long ago, but I'm fairly sure I use the Chempack ALL THE TIME in battle. In my recent 240-day DK where I always OST'd out of the Imp Drive fight in order to stay at level 15 and kill Breaches at CC404 for nearly 2 months, I got to a Chempack max of about 35,000. I almost never used the Hospital Tent on that DK, and I almost never do anymore on any DKs because I always choose Chempack to take advantage of this health deficit.

On the other side of that same coin, I always choose the Chempack to avoid healing at the Hospital Tent, because I don't want to pay numbers like Bakemaster's hospital bill. The price gets exorbitant but the income doesn't rise with more HP, because the amount of fights you can take before healing doesn't change with more HP, because damage taken scales with HP.

Now, onto DEF:

Base Def, the number before the bonus Defense, supposedly reduces the amount of incoming damage an enemy deals in an attack. It seems incredibly silly that I say it supposedly does that. It's Defense. It's what you'd expect it to do. But unlike Attack, it's hard to see it take that much effect, probably because HP rises pretty fast in a character, and that adds to damage taken. So could somebody confirm that base Defense actually works?

Bonus Defense, the green number added to it, seems not to reduce the amount of incoming damage. Instead, it seems to increase the chance to parry and counterattack an enemy's attack, and increase the damage on that counterattack. It also seems to be the value with which an ENEMY uses to deal damage to you when THEY riposte. The higher your Bonus Defense, the higher the crushing blows against you. Players who use the Force Generator see it all the time.

Defense, if it lowers damage taken as we assume, works negatively with the Chemical Pack and Midget Rage. As we said, Chempack refills based on Health Deficit, and reducing damage taken means you get less chems during the next round. Midget Rage fills linearly with damage taken. Every point of damage you take is a bit more to the Midget Rage gauge. (Someone confirm--I think I determined this, but it was a long time ago). By getting Defense, you lower the rate at which that gauge fills. The Tesla Coil deals back damage equal or multiplied by the amount of damage you took on the round you activated it. So, lowering damage taken lowers the damage dealt by the Tesla Coil.

Lastly, Defense interacts with gear and buffs. We have gear which increases your Defense, gear which increases your Bonus Defense, and buffs that increase your Bonus Defense. HP gets nothing but Tynan's, and you typically spend the HP in order to get Attack or Defense, stats which actually determine the outcome of your fight directly.







What does all my babbling come to though? What plans of action can we make from it?

Nothing. We need to have goals and intended directions of play. We need a way we want the stats to work, not just bandaid fixes that let you circumvent a flawed system. That's why I personally don't think just adding a method to shed unwanted HP is a good way of handling the HP problem.

If we use Tynan's Gym as canon, ATK represents muscle mass, DEF represents agility, and HP represents muscle tone. The Hall of Fame refers to the HP rankings as "Toughest Contestants on the Island". So unlike most RPGs, Defense actually is canonically dodging attacks altogether, and maybe perhaps making dead-centered attacks into grazing or glancing hits if it just reduced damage. This actually means that Riposte Rate going up does make some sense. HP is actually the amount of punishment your body can take with your endurance and firmness of muscle. From a story standpoint, it means the stats make sense.

What doesn't make sense then is the overall balance of the system. How tough you are and how much punishment your body takes never actually improves because enemy damage scales up with it.

If enemy damage simply didn't scale up with how much health you have, how would the game play? At 50 HP how many fights more can I go than someone with 15 HP if everything else was the same? I wonder if this change alone would make a vast improvement to the desirability of HP as a stat. But if so, maybe the ease of getting so much needs to go down.

My other main problem is that Bonus Defense determines how much damage the enemy ripostes to you. They should riposte with THEIR defense value, as you do yours. Or perhaps their Defense value plus your Attack value, or the average of those values. That way, HP would also interact better with Attack. You need to make sure enemies can't riposte higher than your own health, so increase your HP if you need to. Or if that seems bad, just have it their defense value. It's really silly that when I make myself TOO agile, my enemy can slap my attack away and bust my gut for OVER NINE THOUSAAAAAAAAAAAND!


Yeah, I said it.

Alright, now I should really go to sleep. I have no idea about the continuity of the things I said before, but now I'm just too sleepy to check it.


 
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