Pilot Skills

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Deadweight
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Pilot Skills

Post by Deadweight » Fri Oct 02, 2015 10:35 pm

So over on the DCMS board I brought up the interesting case of two of my units.

I have two Partisan Heavy Tanks in my Hangar.

One is a 3/5 Partisan and costs 800ish BV.
The other is a 4/5 (GB) Partisan and costs 900ish BV.

Both pilots have exactly the same skill with ALL of their weapons in that tank, therefore they are practically identical units, yet one costs more than the other.

Jackal points out that this is because of the way the RPG Gunnery Ballistic skill adds 50BV per ballistic weapon (MGs and ACs) on the unit.


Has anyone got any suggestions as to how this sort of issue can be fixed for the next cycle?

I have no idea how hard it would be to change the code but something along the lines of

"If a unit's value gets modified due to RPG skills (Gunnery Ballistic, Gunnery Missiles, Gunnery Energy) to a point where it's higher than it would be if only the pilot's base gunnery skill were lowered, then use the value of the unit as if the pilot's base gunnery skill were lowered instead."

Thoughts?

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Nastyogre
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Re: Pilot Skills

Post by Nastyogre » Sat Oct 03, 2015 12:00 am

It is an adjustable cost. It may even be just a setting change. The question is how to balance it correctly. While improving gunnery or piloting may not be appropriately reflected in BV cost, the RP skills are probably too cheap in BV (especially the gunnery skills, probably melee spec too, but at least that requires getting up close and personal, thus risking the unit and pilot)

If I had my way? No RP skills, but people like them. I've seen a couple of suggestions. If people have them. Make them here and the Council can consider them. OR, ask your council member to make a proposal to the council and we can consider it.

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Re: Pilot Skills

Post by obese pigeon » Sat Oct 03, 2015 1:15 am

if i had my way, RP skills, especially GX would be gone as well.

Several issues:

1) No difference in BV for PPC vs sm laser, AC20 vs MG. The cost (35 per weapon for GE and 50 per weapon for GB/GM) makes no sense and seems completely arbitrary. Also, why is GE cheaper than GB/GM?

2) It doesn't make sense that, for a fairly large proportion of units, levelling one of the gunnery skills is the most efficient way to level vs traditional gunnery/piloting. Ideally, when giving players a choice on how to level their units, you want players to be 'indifferent' (in the economics sense) to the various choices available. Basically, it should be a hard choice when deciding what to level instead of clearly GB/GE/GM is the best choice for a particular unit

It's no surprise at all that you see 2 gunner PPCs (GE + 3 gunner) commonly in the current meta.

In my opinion, RPG skills adding flavour to pilots does not outweigh the fact that they are not properly bv costed.

Hence, i feel they should be removed, or at the very least. they can be randomly assigned, but players should not be able to choose them as a levelling option

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Re: Pilot Skills

Post by Ceorl » Sat Oct 03, 2015 6:06 am

Obese you make some pretty good arguments. The flip side of the coin is that Gunner skills reward single weapon units, which I like, and penalize multiple weapon units, which I don't like. The basic idea being most veteran players prefer a spread of medium lasers to a single AC20 because of a more consistent DPS. Now don't get me wrong, the 15BV difference weakens the distinction but it doesn't eliminate it.

I absolutely agree that modifications to the rules are a good idea, rather than treating them as a holy grail, but that has more to do with fundamental problems regarding the entire leveling system than just gunnery skills.
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Mole
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Re: Pilot Skills

Post by Mole » Sat Oct 03, 2015 8:13 am

For my two cents, I'd like to see the RPG skills remain but have them randomly generated with a chance that more will be added as the pilot gains experience, so along the lines of traditional pilot and gunnery leveling. What would really be ideal, though, is the ability to switch pilots between units, probably limited to the same type of unit (meks, vehicles, infantry) and/or the same weight class. Pilot John Smith is operating a Hunchie P, but gains Gunnery Ballistic skill, so you drop him in a Hunchie G instead where he can really used that skill. Pilot Susan Jones is in a Awesome, but gains Melee Specialist skill so you put her in that Charger to go kick things. You get the idea.
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Nastyogre
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Re: Pilot Skills

Post by Nastyogre » Sat Oct 03, 2015 4:45 pm

Obese Pigeon's arguments carry a whole lot of weight for me. I don't know if there is any real way to balance the skills very well. Though I have heard some ideas that come closer. The big concern is also the cost of things like Astech (no cost but makes the unit a money maker)
Perhaps this is something to take up once the Council has the new operations rolled out. Please keep talking and making suggestions.

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Re: Pilot Skills

Post by fokker » Sat Oct 03, 2015 4:55 pm

+1 on the idea of random pilot leveling (you do not get to choose what is leveled, but it happens automatically at X interval, like after few battles/kills/some XP). Allow pilots to be switched between units, but just of the same type (exactly as Mole described it). Keep all RPG skills pls.
Mole wrote:For my two cents, I'd like to see the RPG skills remain but have them randomly generated with a chance that more will be added as the pilot gains experience, so along the lines of traditional pilot and gunnery leveling. What would really be ideal, though, is the ability to switch pilots between units, probably limited to the same type of unit (meks, vehicles, infantry) and/or the same weight class. Pilot John Smith is operating a Hunchie P, but gains Gunnery Ballistic skill, so you drop him in a Hunchie G instead where he can really used that skill. Pilot Susan Jones is in a Awesome, but gains Melee Specialist skill so you put her in that Charger to go kick things. You get the idea.

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Re: Pilot Skills

Post by TigerShark » Sun Oct 04, 2015 4:29 am

The problem is that, right now, it's a flat BV adjustment. Random pilot leveling brings its own monsters with. 4/2 Atlas is one of them, which people endlessly bitched about and had to fight meaningless scrap games for this purpose.

But regarding a fix for this, I proposed this to fahr back in the day:

Code: Select all

BV Increase = [(Weapon Cost * 0.6) * (number of weapons)]
This would be incredibly easy to implement. Here are some examples:

Gunnery/Laser for a Marauder MAD-3R:

PPC: (178*0.6) * (2) = 214 BV (107 ea)
Medium Laser: (46*0.6) * (2) = 56 (28 BV ea)
Total: 270 BV added (1633 total, or +19.8%)

The unit effectively got 1 gunnery level (+20%) for all of its Gunnery/Laser. This isn't handy on the 4/5 level, but when you reach upper levels, it becomes huge.

4/5 -> 3/5 = +20%
3/5 -> 3/4 = +38%

The Piloting and Gunnery are multiplied at higher levels. So instead of taking a Gunnery level, maybe you take a Gunnery/Energy and save some BV. But it at least is a FAIR calculation, based on the BV of the weapons, themselves.

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Re: Pilot Skills

Post by TigerShark » Sun Oct 04, 2015 4:35 am

Hunchback HBK-4P

(46*0.6) * (8) = 221
(9*0.6) * (1) = 6
Total = 227 (1365, or 20% increase)

Griffin GRF-1N

(178*0.6) * (1) = 107
Total = 107 (1379, or 8.4% increase)

So G/L pays off for units with a single laser weapon, but as the "spam" increases, the benefit decreases. Even the mighty AWS-8Q would only see a 20% increase; same as a 3/5 anyhow.

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Re: Pilot Skills

Post by Domenoth » Sun Oct 04, 2015 5:54 am

TigerShark wrote:The problem is that, right now, it's a flat BV adjustment.
I definitely agree with this.
TigerShark wrote: This isn't handy on the 4/5 level, but when you reach upper levels, it becomes huge.
But this feels off to me. I'd prefer something that doesn't increase the benefit depending on what your pilot's level is.

We had a thread going before on this very subject and if someone is going to spend some time in the code changing things, I'd recommend a slightly different approach.

Code: Select all

Level Increase = (Gunnery - 1 BV) - Current Gunnery BV
Weapon Type Percentage = Weapon Type BV / All Weapon BV
BV Increase = Level Increase * Weapon Type Percentage
So Assuming a Mech has 200 BV worth of weapons with 127 of that coming from Lasers, a 4/5 BV of 1600, and a 3/5 of 2000 (I don't actually recall the calculation to turn 4/5 into 3/5)

Code: Select all

Level Increase = (2000 BV) - (1600BV) = 400 BV
Weapon Type Percentage = 127 BV / 200 BV = 63.5%
BV Increase = 400 BV * 0.635 = 381 BV
So GL costs 381 BV with a 4/5 GL pilot. The calculation would change for a 3/5 GL pilot because "Level Increase" would change. But if you have a 4/5 GL GB GM pilot, the BV should come out to the same as a 3/5 pilot.

This same approach could also be applied to Weapon Specialist skills.

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Re: Pilot Skills

Post by TigerShark » Sun Oct 04, 2015 6:24 am

That completely eliminates the need for the skill. Making it worse that a Gunnery level. And encourages more huddling around 4/5 pilots.

Domenoth
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Re: Pilot Skills

Post by Domenoth » Sun Oct 04, 2015 10:22 am

TigerShark wrote:That completely eliminates the need for the skill. Making it worse that a Gunnery level. And encourages more huddling around 4/5 pilots.
So it sounds like you want some level of unfair. I didn't realize that was the goal. Carry on then.

My assumption was that GL would be cheaper to unlock EXP-wise than a full gunnery level. Or that you might want to just level your LRM's in an Archer to get that extra min-max by leaving your lasers one level back. I just assumed that since there's purportedly some math behind BV calculations, it would be a good idea not to mess with it by giving free bonuses for some Mechs and not others (I seem to recall some similar griping that HQ's give init without being charged a BV penalty at all). I genuinely am sorry. I really misread the intent of the skills.

But I am really confused how you can say it would be "worse that a Gunnery level" when it's actually defined to be equal to one if you buy all three. That makes me think that GL + GB + GM should cost the same EXP as one Gunnery Level (or just a touch more).

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Nastyogre
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Re: Pilot Skills

Post by Nastyogre » Sun Oct 04, 2015 3:27 pm

Let's make sure we are civil. The Council doesn't HAVE to take suggestions, we can just do things, and as long as the staff doesn't think they are asinine they will let us implement them. We are very civil in the Council forum, please make sure the suggestions forum (which is effectively talking directly to us and the staff) is just as civil.

I don't think that GL+GB+GM should be roughly equal to a gunnery level. Otherwise a missile boat or energy boat can get a level on the cheap because they only take one of the skills. What we need is a calculation that is roughly equal to taking a level when the bulk of the weapons is from one specialized type. The idea that you would take GL+GM+GB would be foolish it would cost too much, you might as well take a level of Gunnery Skill. Probably 2 of the specialties should be 25% more than a gunnery level. 3... well almost double.

What I forsee is going 3/5 (once you spend the exp for NAG) and then the one specialty skill that is the primary weapon type for the mech to get a 2 gunner with the predominant weapon. That should cost just a touch less than taking 2 gunnery. The savings comes from not having to drop your piloting to 4.

I still don't like the RP skills at all from a game balancing standpoint. I like them from a flavor/fluff/interest standpoint.


Since we are just talking about it, perhaps this should be moved to the general forum for discussion. The OP does not conform to the rules regarding suggestions. Not a big problem but, this forum is for formal suggestions, not general musings.

Domenoth
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Re: Pilot Skills

Post by Domenoth » Sun Oct 04, 2015 6:12 pm

Nastyogre wrote: Let's make sure we are civil. The Council doesn't HAVE to take suggestions, we can just do things, and as long as the staff doesn't think they are asinine they will let us implement them. We are very civil in the Council forum, please make sure the suggestions forum (which is effectively talking directly to us and the staff) is just as civil.
It's really hard to convey things over written communication like this but I really am okay with things if the stated goal is to make GL/GM/GB special by making them a "steal of a value" if you will. I'm totally okay with them being a required leveling choice. I just didn't approach the problem from that direction so I'm attempting to provide the direction I was approaching things from because based on TigerShark's response it does appear like we differ.

I am, however, genuinely confused how my suggestion causes "4/5 huddling" but I'm more of a forum lurker so it could just be my own ignorance.
Nastyogre wrote: I don't think that GL+GB+GM should be roughly equal to a gunnery level. Otherwise a missile boat or energy boat can get a level on the cheap because they only take one of the skills.
This is a fair point. Can you clarify? Do you mean roughly equal in EXP cost? If so, I'd say I agree. I thought about that more after my post so maybe GL/GM/GB should be something like half of a full level. So if you level all three, you've wasted some EXP in the process. Either that or make the EXP cost based on what percentage of the weapons you're leveling + a penalty for taking the shortcut.
Nastyogre wrote: What we need is a calculation that is roughly equal to taking a level when the bulk of the weapons is from one specialized type. The idea that you would take GL+GM+GB would be foolish it would cost too much, you might as well take a level of Gunnery Skill. Probably 2 of the specialties should be 25% more than a gunnery level. 3... well almost double.
Again, can you clarify if you mean EXP or BV here? If you're talking BV, I'd be worried about the situation where a GL pilot ejected into the pool and later got added to your new laser boat. If GL BV + GM BV + GB BV doesn't equal a full gunnery level, then I'm pretty confident GL BV on a laser boat won't equal the exact same Mech with a 3/5 on it. If they don't equal within maybe +-1 more inf BV, then one of them is clearly better than the other. And if you're going to try to get them that close to each other, why not take the extra step and actually make them equal in BV?

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Re: Pilot Skills

Post by TigerShark » Sun Oct 04, 2015 8:15 pm

Domenoth wrote:
TigerShark wrote:That completely eliminates the need for the skill. Making it worse that a Gunnery level. And encourages more huddling around 4/5 pilots.
So it sounds like you want some level of unfair. I didn't realize that was the goal. Carry on then.

My assumption was that GL would be cheaper to unlock EXP-wise than a full gunnery level. Or that you might want to just level your LRM's in an Archer to get that extra min-max by leaving your lasers one level back. I just assumed that since there's purportedly some math behind BV calculations, it would be a good idea not to mess with it by giving free bonuses for some Mechs and not others (I seem to recall some similar griping that HQ's give init without being charged a BV penalty at all). I genuinely am sorry. I really misread the intent of the skills.

But I am really confused how you can say it would be "worse that a Gunnery level" when it's actually defined to be equal to one if you buy all three. That makes me think that GL + GB + GM should cost the same EXP as one Gunnery Level (or just a touch more).
First off, RPG skills are called "role playing" for a reason. They're not there to balance, but to reward, like gaining a Feat in D&D. They're introduced to add flavor to the universe. Assigning them a BV is really so the game isn't completely thrown off when arranging between two armies. But otherwise, no, they're not intended to be "fair." And any BV estimate is still just that: An Estimate.

Secondly, all of MekWars is based on Min/Max. You minimize the BV you intend to play with, minimize the number of units fielded, and maximize your potential for damage. That's pretty much the definition of min/max, isn't it? People retain certain units in their hangar and scrap/donate/trade others to tailor their force. That too is min/maxing. I think this term gets thrown around way too much without actually looking at what it means. If you want to avoid min/maxing altogether, you'd have a campaign with randomly generated armies, where no player has control over what they bring to a fight. Then it's 100% "fair." Nobody can pick/choose a unit they're good with: They have to play with what they have.

That isn't a suggestion. ^ It's just an example of what a campaign looks like without any min/max. And it's been tried and failed.

Third, (GL + GB + GM) shouldn't = 1 gunnery level. An AWS-8Q could have a VERY cheap set of PPCs, since it's missing the Gunnery + Missile component of that equation. Each grouping of weapon types could only = 33.33% of the hypothetical "gunnery level", at a maximum. That would mean that if it had Gunnery/Energy, it would gain 6.67% of a single Gunnery level. I'm sure the AWS-8Q pilot would take that. :-D

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Re: Pilot Skills

Post by Nastyogre » Sun Oct 04, 2015 10:15 pm

Right and the RP skills are appropriate to an RP environment. This isn't an RP server, its a competitive campaign, thus we have to try and balance them.

I like the idea that the RP skills scale. It's a bigger deal to get that 2 gunner than a 3 gunner (effectively) The savings isn't in the skill itself but not having to take piloting or pay the very high BV cost to go to a 2 skill. Thus it might not be beneficial to take an RP gunnery skill over the Pilot Gunnery Skill as a 4/5. 3/5 would be better, unless you really are only worried about it for a single weapon class. Then a minor discount overall would make it worthwhile.

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Re: Pilot Skills

Post by obese pigeon » Mon Oct 05, 2015 3:57 pm

I'm not sure why there seems to be some hostility towards Domenoth's idea, but i think Domenoth has a nice way of looking at the issue at hand. I think maybe there is some misunderstanding here?

From what i understand, Domenoth is merely suggesting that the Gx skills be prorated based on what weapons a unit already has. Also, the bv cost of such skills should be based on how expensive 'normal' gunnery levels are.

Simply put, a 4/5 GL AWS-8Q should cost as much bv wise as a 3/5 AWS-8Q since they are functionally the same thing!

A 3/5 TDR-5S should cost exactly the same as a 4/5 TDR-5S with GL/GB/GM (A tbolt has all three kinds of weapons)

Similarly, a 3/5 GL AWS-8Q would cost exactly the same as a 2/5 AWS-8Q.

Using the 'law of one price' to look at this problem is quite elegant, and certainly beats the flat and arbitrarily assigned bv cost we have at the moment.

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Re: Pilot Skills

Post by Deadweight » Mon Oct 05, 2015 4:47 pm

obese pigeon wrote: Simply put, a 4/5 GL AWS-8Q should cost as much bv wise as a 3/5 AWS-8Q since they are functionally the same thing!
That was indeed my point!

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Re: Pilot Skills

Post by Jackal » Mon Oct 05, 2015 5:24 pm

The big issue with RP skills is that they provide a flat modifier and don't consider the weapon that they're modifying. For example GB adds 50 BV to a machine gun, whereas GE adds just 35 BV to a PPC. It makes no sense.

Even more problematic is that fact that Gx skills, unlike Gunnery 3, also completely ignore the value of the entire unit. In some cases this can result in units having SIGNIFICANTLY less BV than they should. For example:
  • AWS-8Q (3/5) = 1605 * 1.20 = 1926 BV
    AWS-8Q (4/5GE) = 1605 + (35 * 4) = 1745 BV
Nearly a 200 BV difference for a unit with exactly the same combat capabilities!!!



Baruk and I discussed a possible solution to this problem, but it requires coding. The way it would work is the BV skills would first check the proportion of each weapon type.

So for example, a TDR-5S has:
  • 261 BV of energy weapons (1 LL, 3 ML's) -- 61.0% of total
    157 BV of missile weapons (LRM15, SRM2) -- 36.7% of total
    10 BV of ballistic weapons (2MG's) -- 2.3% of total

    Total Weapon BV: 428 BV

What the BV calculator would then do is multiply the weapon-type proportion by the BV modifier for 1 gunnery level (which is 20% in BV2). So the BV modifer for GE, GM and GB would be as follows:
  • Gunnery Energy = 61.0% * 20.0% = 12.2%
    Gunnery Missile = 36.7% * 20.0% = 7.3%
    Gunnery Ballistic = 2.3% * 20% = 0.5%
So for the TDR, each of these individual skills would result in the following BV's.
  • TDR-5S (4/5GE) = 1335 * 1.122 = 1498 BV
    TDR-5S (4/5GM) = 1335 * 1.073 = 1432 BV
    TDR-5S (4/5GB) = 1335 * 1.005 = 1342 BV
Compare that with:
  • TDR-5S (3/5) = 1335 * 1.20 = 1602 BV

While this is a good solution, it requires code, and on the Council we're only allowed to suggest things possible within EXISTING code. So unless someone wants to take the initiative to code this solution, the best alternative would be to disallow pilots from training the Gx skills and let them disappear through attrition. (If I understand correctly, it would be extremely difficult to remove the skill from pilots who already have it).

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Re: Pilot Skills

Post by TigerShark » Mon Oct 05, 2015 5:54 pm

If you want to come up with the precise calculation, I certainly could.

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