Re: Returns
Fri, 24 Jul 92 22:06:23 EDT wrote:
>The way I think about this is: The *definition* of a Level 10
>is that he is 50 times better than a Level 1.

I disagree. I think all that can be said is the Level 10 is better
than Level 1 with 8 steps in between the two. Just because a person
spends 50 times the time studying a skill does not mean that he is 50
times better. I know your argument is based on balance and not
reality, but there are other ways to adjust balance. Read on.

>Now, if that isn't possible/feasible for miners, say, then there
>should be a cutoff for that skill. A documented cutoff, I hasten
>to add :-).

You can't mine gold unless at least one high level miner is around.
Perhaps "assist" could be balance accordingly. As for the subskills,
maybe THEY don't need 10 levels.

>That being said, let me say that I think Steve still has it wrong for
>combat. Assuming that it takes 50 times as long to train someone to
>Level 10 than to Level 1, a Level 10 fighter ought to do much more
>than 50 times as much damage. If he doesn't, it will *always* be to
>the players advantage to make bigger, less skilled units.

>The reasons are twofold.

>First, bodies are a combat resource. They're hit point sinks.
>A battle between two stacks that do the same amount of damage will
>be won by the stack with more bodies. This skews battle towards
>larger, less skilled units.

To a certain degree, that is the way it really works. A mob of 10
thugs can overwealm the worlds greatest martial artist. I know, it
isn't cinematic. But we can get cinematic several ways -- read on.

>Second, the cost of raising a unit to a high level isn't only the time
>involved. There's a high cost in terms of money to train the unit, and
>a high cost in terms of lost productivity while training.

Yes. But if the cost of building a unit is raised so that men are
more expensive than training, this partially goes away. We are
already moving towards making it more expensive to add men to a combat
1 unit than to train 1 man to the next level already.

>The net effect is that unless the combat factor is greater than the
>training time factor, combat troops at least will always be skewed
>towards larger, less skilled units. In fact, this will probably hold
>for all skills, since there are intrinsic benefits to having large
>units over small units.

OK. You are looking at brute force vs. brute force. Consider this a
different way. Suppose the skill of the high level unit doesn't simpy
affect the damage that unit does. It could also affect:

(A) the damage the unit TAKES. High combat levels could reduce the damage
a unit takes by, say, 9% per level representing skill in getting out
of the way. A level 10 unit would take 90% less damage (before armor
is factored in) while the level 1 unit would reduce damage by only 9%.
This would make the unarmored "Chuck Norris" or "Conan" type with a
high skill competative against a number of heavily armored opponents.

(B) the ability to do "critical hits". If a critical attack is scored, it
will eliminate one opposing unit (either kill, flee, or capture --
depending -- irregardless of armor, etc.). The odds of scoring a
critical for any combat round could be 1% per combat level or so.
This could prove too frustrating for players, though.

(C) the number of men who can take part. In the movies, when Chuck Norris
or Conan is confronted by a mob of low level thugs, they don't do the
logical thing and all charge at once. That attack a few at a time.
Limit it so that, per round, only so many men can be factored into
the attack. This could be made dependant on level.

Any of these ideas could work. (A) is very simple and provides a cinematic
"high fantasy" feel of the next to impossible to kill -- no matter how
little armor -- hero and you would HAVE to be high level to take advantage
of it. It allows for the prolonged battle between the two great warriors.
I kinda like that.

>Frankly, like Rich, I think that a 50+ to 1 range for skill use is a
>bit to extreme. That's why I suggested cutting the levels for skills
>down to something on the order of 3. That would give a range of usage
>of say, 20 to 1, which would be more reasonable.

I just think it is a lot better to think of ways to make the higher
levels more desirable than to simply give them a lot more punch for the

John Morrow - Varian [856]

Main Index  |  Olympia  |  Arena  |  PBM FAQ  |  Links