Wednesday, August 07, 2013

L2Math Young Grasshopper

Normally, of course, the expression is L2P, learn to play, usually shouted at some noob who makes a noob mistake. Today's post isn't about noobs though. It's about the mathematics of game play.

When I first started playing MMOs, or games with lots of build/spec options, way back in 2005, I became painfully aware of the need to calculate if I were going to be serious about things. I often tell the story of my then 9 year old daughter and me using a spreadsheet to figure out whether to go 2H or dual wield. We calculated the damage for each spec. In these sorts of games, there are constants and variables, and if you know the values you can get very geeky very fast. In World of Warcraft I will admit to reading multiple posts on Elistist Jerks to determine the best shot rotation on my hunter or the best cast rotation on my warlock.

When I played Rift and SWTOR (Star Wars: The Old Republic), I didn't play them long enough or have as much love for them as one normally needs in order to reach the point where you start pulling out a sheet of paper and running equations. Guild Wars 2 has reached that point. I have seven level 80 characters: thief, ranger, warrior, mesmer, engineer, elementalist, guardian (not sure I'll even like the necromancer to get her to 80). I've relied on my own sense of things, enlightened by a few posts and video guides, but I haven't sunk to the level of algebra... until this week. I think it's because it's summer break and I'm playing more, not sure. There's also multiple pleasure points in these games, only one of which is reaching the top level (80). There's a supreme satisfaction from tweaking and min/max'ing your character, not unlike the pleasure car guys get from fiddling around with the engine of the car.

At any rate I was pleased to encounter the real deal in GW2. Here's a forum exchange on the warrior build. Now remember, there aren't "tanks," in the classic sense of that, in this game. But every toon has group support capabilities and solo/pvp abilities. Here's an exchange about the warrior between two nerds who disagree about the min/max for group and solo. Yes, it's in secret language you may not get, but just read it for the intensity and specificity and well, the math and reasoning.

First we have Veritas:
The reason 30/10/0/0/30 partial or full Signet build is the strongest is because you can get 100% crit chance in all berserkers (or knights, but then you already aren’t doing max dps). Once you hit 100% crit chance, 1% crit damage = 1% damage. So, you have nearly maximum power, and effectively, a 30% damage bonus from Discipline because you, literally, always crit. Neither Desperate Power nor Attack of Opportunity come close to equaling that damage bonus. However, if your group comp (Ex. Ranger running Spotter) or food (Master Maintenance Oil and Bowl of Curry Butternut Squash) allows you to achieve 100% crit without needing 10 in Arms for Deep Strike, 10 in Tactics would push your dps even further. So it actually looks like this in a full signet build:
250 precision, -20% CD on GS, ~15 stacks might and + 10% damage
615 precision(Deep Strike, Heightened Focus) and15% crit damage(15% damage at 100% crit)
575 is reality though cause SoR will always be on cooldown
But for dungeons, if you take group support(banner of tactics and FGJ), they compare more similarly in Arms, but the 15% crit chance from Discipline still nets a ton of damage because of the extremely high crit modifier.
and then Molch rejoins:
I run full Berserker with 4 ascended pieces, rest exotic. As support, we assume Banner of strength, banner of discipline and 10 stacks of might (you have 8 already with SoR and FGJ)
Your damage goes with Power x (1 + Crtichanche x Critdamage) – pm me, if you want to know why this formula.
I have 2596 power + 10 × 35 might + 5 x 35 might from Forcefull GS. (average)
57% critical chanche + 20% fury = 77%
104% critical damage.
+ 10% damage
(2596 + 15 × 35) x (1 + 0.77 × 1.54) x 1.1 = 7504
You lose 150 precision, 10% damage and 5 might, but gain 15% critical damage and 15% critical hit chanche.
(2596 + 10 × 35) x (1 + 0.85 × 1.69) = 7178
30/25 deals 4.5% more damage, and I dont even consider the fact, that GS skills have 20% less CD.
The reason for this is, that precision scales very bad, the diference between 77 and 85 critchanche is not that big. To get 100% critchanche, as you suggestet, you neet to sacrifice even more, eg.: sigill of acuracy instead of sigil of force, or precision instead of bloodlust. If you do, your damage will drop even more.
Edit: 15% critdamage at 100% critchanche is NOT equal to 15% damage. If you already have 100% critdamage, it is (1 + 1.00 × 1.15)/(1 + 1.00 × 1.00) = 7.5% damage. Only flat + x% damage stacks multiplicative, thats why + 10 % damage is so incredible good.

And this is part of what makes gaming fun, imho. It's got gravitas; it's got weight, depth, thought. And while you can calculate to your heart's content, there's always room for dissention. There's always the element of skillful play or situational variables to make it just unpredictable enough to keep you engaged.

And by the way, if 8th grade algebra had looked like this, I'd have been all over that baby.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

LOL teaches Impulse Control

Still playing and enjoying League of Legends (LOL, to those who play). I'm actually getting better at it too. AFter you learn to play the particular strengths of your guy, you have to learn the hard lesson all LOLers must learn: impulse control.

There will come a time, often in fact, when you have a bad guy down to about one bar or less of health.  You're in pursuit and you know you can take him out, but he's heading toward his tower. Now comes the  moment of decision. If you're not tanky, do you dare pursue into the tower. Do you... tower dive? A tower can kill you. Fast.

90% of the time the answer is no, a$$hat. But it's sooooo tempting that most of us try it, at first as a noob who is clueless, and later as she-who-should-know-better-but-can't-resist-the-urge-to-pwn-he-who-is-almost-dead, sooo almost dead you can already taste the kill.

You see, in LOL, it's about your stats. People report their skill as kill/deaths/assists, or in the case of my last game as a mid-laning Rumble: 7/2/6. That's pretty good. Sure Tryndamere has 21/5/6 but everyone knows Tryndamere is a KS face roll killer: that is, a kill-stealing (lands the final blow even though you mostly damaged the bad guy), face-roller (easy to play, keep hitting that one key). There are a few of those sorts of toons: Teemo, Darius, Draven, and others. At any rate, most people pooh pooh the stats on those guys.

So people want kills. Only the support guys are happy with a high assist stat. The rest of us see it as victimized by a kill stealer. We hate that. We want kills! But we also don't want deaths. When you die you "feed" the bad guys; they get gold from killing you and they can use it to buy items that boost their potency. When you kill them you get more gold to boost your potency. Kill is good. Death is bad.

So back to impulse control... you learn, eventually, after dying way too much, feeding the bad guys, and embarrassingly reported as killed by a tower, you learn to back off. Even though you think you can land that final hit. Use your ulti (ultimate, last acquired but most devastating move) if it's ranged; toss up an ignite and hope for the best, but do NOT tower dive, young grasshopper. Learn patience and impulse control.

And here's the summary of my last game...11/0/2