Removal of Gunnery Skills for promotion

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Nastyogre
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Removal of Gunnery Skills for promotion

Post by Nastyogre » Sun Nov 08, 2015 8:18 pm

To combat the rise of IDF forces as well as some of the most min/maxed armies, Gunnery skills (Laser, Ballistic and Missile) have been removed as options for pilots.
Due to the technical challenges to remove existing skills, those units that have them will be able to keep them.

Skinny is, those skills were far, far too inexpensive in terms of BV. The Co6 deemed them unbalancing and that the contributed to the manifesto abuses seen as of late. They were fine when we couldn't choose them, with player chosen leveling, it became too easy to optimize units.

The only way to gain improved chances to hit is now to take a gunnery stat level. If you want a 3/5 unit, you will need to take Natural Aptitude Gunnery.

This was considered preferable to other options such as; removal of player driven leveling or additional rules restricting army composition or play, removal of units from the build tables.

If we can recode the BV costs of these skills they may return, but they will be much more expensive so they properly reflect their impact on play.

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Re: Removal of Gunnery Skills for promotion

Post by Jackal » Sun Nov 08, 2015 10:09 pm

To give one really extreme example (no offense to the players who were using this, as it was within the rules), the AWS-8Q had these stats with 3/5 gunnery vs. 4/5 GE:
  • AWS-8Q (3/5): 1926 <-- +20% compared to base
    AWS-8Q (4/5GE): 1745 <-- +8.7% compared to base (and with exactly the same combat ability as with a 3/5 pilot).

So by simply picking GE instead of a gunnery level, this mech arbitrarily ends up with nearly 200 less BV than normal. That's the kind of imbalance that concerns us.



And the AWS is not at all the only example, btw. There are many, many other units had this problem.

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Re: Removal of Gunnery Skills for promotion

Post by TigerShark » Sun Nov 08, 2015 10:23 pm

Jackal wrote:To give one really extreme example (no offense to the players who were using this, as it was within the rules), the AWS-8Q had these stats with 3/5 gunnery vs. 4/5 GE:
  • AWS-8Q (3/5): 1926 <-- +20% compared to base
    AWS-8Q (4/5GE): 1745 <-- +8.7% compared to base (and with exactly the same combat ability as with a 3/5 pilot).
So by simply picking GE instead of a gunnery level, this mech arbitrarily ends up with nearly 200 less BV than normal. That's the kind of imbalance that concerns us
And the AWS is not at all the only example, btw. There are many, many other units had this problem.

The BV assigned to each Gunnery skill is arbitrary. You could set it at 20 BV per weapon, or 100 BV or whatever you want. Your current setting is 35 BV per energy weapon. I have mine set at 80 BV per weapon and it's worked pretty well. (Not a suggestion: Just stating that it doesn't HAVE to be any given number.)

1605 + (80*4) = 1925

That would make it equal to a single Gunnery level.

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Re: Removal of Gunnery Skills for promotion

Post by Jackal » Sun Nov 08, 2015 10:45 pm

The other part of the story is it also makes 2/5 pilots possible, which (perhaps) contributes to this IDF problem we've been talking about.


That said, jacking GE to 80 for the units that already have it isn't such a bad idea. It would solve the AWS problem. But doing so would also end up over-BVing other units that already have this skill, which would irk many players too. That's the problem with flat modifiers--it doesn't work equally well for all units.

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Re: Removal of Gunnery Skills for promotion

Post by TigerShark » Sun Nov 08, 2015 10:58 pm

Jackal wrote:The other part of the story is it also makes 2/5 pilots possible, which (perhaps) contributes to this IDF problem we've been talking about.


That said, jacking GE to 80 for the units that already have it isn't such a bad idea. It would solve the AWS problem. But doing so would also end up over-BVing other units that already have this skill, which would irk many players too. That's the problem with flat modifiers--it doesn't work equally well for all units.
That's what pilot swaps are good for :) Or eliminating NAG/NAP. Or both.

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Re: Removal of Gunnery Skills for promotion

Post by Jackal » Sun Nov 08, 2015 11:03 pm

I'd much rather get rid of Gx than NAG. Unlike Gx, NAG follows the standard BV rules. I personally would see getting rid of NAG to keep Gx as a double-loss.

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Re: Removal of Gunnery Skills for promotion

Post by Ceorl » Mon Nov 09, 2015 4:53 pm

You seem to be under the impression that standard BV rules are a good thing and do not need to be modified. I certainly fall in Tigershark's camp that the BV values are arbitrary and open to revision, rather than elimination.
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Re: Removal of Gunnery Skills for promotion

Post by Jackal » Mon Nov 09, 2015 5:28 pm

I actually HAVE redesigned the BV system in a 5 year long project, Ceorl. I would like to bring that system to MMNet someday.

But flat modifiers where, for example, an AC20 and MG both receive the same +50 BV cost from GB, is NOT the right way to do it.

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Re: Removal of Gunnery Skills for promotion

Post by Ceorl » Mon Nov 09, 2015 5:34 pm

Then lets have a discussion about bringing in some rule revisions. Certainly more productive than dancing around the elephant in the room that is BT's flawed (but admirable) BV system.
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Re: Removal of Gunnery Skills for promotion

Post by Spork » Mon Nov 09, 2015 6:30 pm

No it's not, because that would require code.
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Re: Removal of Gunnery Skills for promotion

Post by Nastyogre » Mon Nov 09, 2015 7:28 pm

Pilot swaps bring the problems of head hunting. I recall being told it was allowed here before and was a problem with people hunting pilots. I don't want to trade one problem for another, potentially more serious problem. I suppose if you consider game balance less serious than personal conflicts between players then it's reasonable. I don't this it is, but some people might and you could make valid arguments that we should be able to manage the personal challenges with a better game.

As Spork also points out, altering the Bv system would require code and lots of it. Some way to convert every unit to the proprietary Mekwars BV system? That's so far beyond our scope. Though we could certainly try to do it. Sure it would be nice, but our resources are less than that of Catalyst and they couldn't successfully do a BV 3 or even a revision of Bv2, I'm not sure how we could.

We do have the capacity to formulate a revision of the cost for the Gunnery skills. Some code yes, but I would guess not that much. The real challenge is how do we determine the way to properly value the skill?

I see a number of issues with even recosting the skills.

1& 2 Gunnery skills on units that "Boat" them is more valuable than on a unit that happens to have that type of weapon. Additionally, some units have primary weapon systems that make that unit much more valuable with improved gunery. Centurion 9-A The AC 10 is worth 123 Bv per the Techmanual. The LRM 10 is 90 with the 2 medium lasers worth 46 each. Which of the three Gunnery skills do you want on that unit? Laser? One of the med lasers is rear facing. The lrms? No, it's the Autocannon. Sure the AC costs more but even calculating that the AC's value as 40% of the units weapons, should the Gunnery Ballistic skill cost 40% of the cost of making the whole unit 3/5? Sounds good but I don't care too much what the LRMS and lasers do on my centy's (that average a whopping 6 and 5 points of damage) It's the AC 10 that matters. So balancing it is more than just a statistical calculation. Figuring it out is a mess. There may not be a very good way to balance mechs using points at all. The game wasn't even designed to do it. I don't want 'perfect' to be the enemy of 'good' but we risk making a system that's worse, not better.


3. Do we even want a way for players to take their units to 2/5? (effectively) Are there any pilots who were just Ace gunners who were merely average pilots? Thinking about it, I don't know if I think its a very balanced system to have such pilots. Want a 2 gunner? Get NAG and go 3/5, 3/4, 2/4 and have your unit cost 161% of normal.

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Re: Removal of Gunnery Skills for promotion

Post by Jackal » Mon Nov 09, 2015 7:32 pm

Ceorl wrote:Then lets have a discussion about bringing in some rule revisions. Certainly more productive than dancing around the elephant in the room that is BT's flawed (but admirable) BV system.
Spork wrote:No it's not, because that would require code.
Right. That's more or less what I was going to say. The Council only has the ability to request changes in settings. Changes to code--and redesigning the BV system would almost certainly require code--is beyond our mission.

Even if that weren't the case though, I think you're really overestimating how likely a discussion/debate is to lead to a better BV system, Ceorl. It's like saying you can come up with a better version of a complicated algorithm though a legislative process... it's just not going to happen!


The only way IMO to develop a better BV system is to just go out and DO IT (which is the way both Tigershark and I have gone about our various BV redesigns). Come up with the model, code it, test it, refine it. After you've done all that you still have to convince people to adopt it, but at least then you'll have data you can point to.


Short of that though, debate is only going to allow room for some pretty incremental stuff... which is exactly what the Gx thing is. An incremental improvement arrived at after a lot of debate...

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Re: Removal of Gunnery Skills for promotion

Post by Ceorl » Mon Nov 09, 2015 9:46 pm

@Jackal & Spork
Right. That's more or less what I was going to say. The Council only has the ability to request changes in settings. Changes to code--and redesigning the BV system would almost certainly require code--is beyond our mission.
I'm not talking about a drastic redesign. Only the modification of the BV allotted by the Gunnery skills. Even a luddite like me knows it is a relatively simple code modification to alter the variable numbers without any other modification to the code.

@ Nasty

Whether we make the system better or worse, two strong banhammers are in place that weren't before. I think its good to have a discussion on ways to lift the bans while addressing the underlying issues. So I endorse the flat increase to Gunnery BV modifiers as Tigershark suggested.
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Re: Removal of Gunnery Skills for promotion

Post by Spork » Mon Nov 09, 2015 10:10 pm

Ceorl wrote:I'm not talking about a drastic redesign. Only the modification of the BV allotted by the Gunnery skills. Even a luddite like me knows it is a relatively simple code modification to alter the variable numbers without any other modification to the code.
No code necessary for that.
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Re: Removal of Gunnery Skills for promotion

Post by Nastyogre » Mon Nov 09, 2015 10:25 pm

The underlying issue is the willingness of the player base to play in a manner which does not respect their opponents. Gx was fine until every laser or missile boat was went 3/5 with the appropriate Gx skill. Sometimes they added on a min/maxed army to the hilt. ( I saw an army of a 2/4 Tbolt with 3 units who collectively make up 1000 to 1200 BV more. The Tbolt was 2/3 of the army BV) Tell me how to get people to play by the manifesto before they play to win and I am all for it. I don't think Spork knows any code to turn that particular option on. (#Sportsmanship) We can talk about fixing a system all we want but the problem is us. We have these rules because a segment of the players insisted on using tactics and army builds that were disrespectful to other players.

My personal belief was that we needed stronger measures to end the unwanted behavior and bring IDF back. The Council did not agree with me. The admins only removed IDF, they didn't reimpose BV spreads, remove units from the buildtables, remove double blind or ban offending players out of hand. I know some of those options were discussed, including just banning players.

The Council chooses to take a more measured approach to modifying the behavior. (in comparison to my suggestions) Which I think you all would appreciate. Remember the IDF ban is the staff responding to undesireable player behavior. The Gx removal is the Council's effort to balance an imbalanced set of options and possibly bring IDF back. It is certainly preferable to limit the unwanted behavior with the tools we have rather than allow it to continue as we try and work out the details of a change.

No I don't think a flat increase in cost would have been preferable. We are likely to create imbalance in another direction. An AWS 8Q that suddenly cost the full 1900ish points when 4/5 GL is appropriate. My Cursader-R that just so happens to have Gunny Ballistic, shouldn't take a 160 BV bump.

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Re: Removal of Gunnery Skills for promotion

Post by TigerShark » Mon Nov 09, 2015 10:43 pm

I can work on coding a multiplier-based fix for calculating Gunnery/X BV tonight/tomorrow night, if you want to take a look at it. I think I have more time tomorrow night than today, but... Let me know.

I'd simply pull the BV of each weapon of a given class and multiply it by a triple integer. Shouldn't be too tough, but I'm kind of new to Java so... I'll expect lots of errors heh.

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Re: Removal of Gunnery Skills for promotion

Post by Jackal » Mon Nov 09, 2015 11:12 pm

TigerShark wrote:I'd simply pull the BV of each weapon of a given class and multiply it by a triple integer.
Can you give some examples of what you mean, Tigershark? You lost me at triple integer. ;)

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Re: Removal of Gunnery Skills for promotion

Post by TigerShark » Tue Nov 10, 2015 12:04 am

Jackal wrote:
TigerShark wrote:I'd simply pull the BV of each weapon of a given class and multiply it by a triple integer.
Can you give some examples of what you mean, Tigershark? You lost me at triple integer. ;)
I probably should have said this more simply. I only mean that it's a number with two decimal places. :) 2.01, for example.

1.00 would be the weapon's base BV. Adding an integer beyond that would increase it by a percentage point. So 0.80 would multiply the weapon's base by 80%, adding that final total to the value of the 'Mech.

Example 1: Generic Mech A with (4) Medium Lasers is 1,000 BV with a 4/5 pilot.

54 (BV Base) * 0.80 (multiplier) = 43
43 * 4 (number of Medium Lasers) = 172 BV
1,000 BV (Mech base BV) + 172 BV = 1,172 (~17% BV increase)

Example 2: GRF-1N Griffin

178 (PPC Base BV) * 0.80 = 142 BV
1,272 + 142 = 1,414 (11% increase)


The beauty of this system is you can play around with the multiplier until you find a 'happy medium' for all weapons.

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Re: Removal of Gunnery Skills for promotion

Post by Crucis lancers » Wed Nov 11, 2015 2:49 am

i only know we keep going down to lower bv and lower bv with these changes and making it harder to try competive lances, lately findin a 6k+ bv game is prety hard . everyone trying to squese stuff at low bv

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Re: Removal of Gunnery Skills for promotion

Post by Nastyogre » Wed Nov 11, 2015 5:19 pm

I find games pretty readily 5-6K. Not much above that though. The removal of GunneryX will actually increase BV's as to have that 3 gunner takes a 20% increase in BV. You can min/max of course, but that "ace" unit is going to be more expensive.

We've discussed a modified "stair-step" that would prevent armies that field 50% or more of their BV in a single unit. How we would do this, either by rule or by an actual BV spread that is flexible enough to allow for most of the flexibility we have these days has not been determined, or even if the Co6 will change army construction rules. We may simply save that for the next Council.
I am of the idea that this cycle is highly experimental anyway, so we might was well try and nail down a good set of ops, settings and rules that we can go forward with for cycles to come. It's sort of like getting all the work out of the way in the beginning of the day and then being able to enjoy the rest of the day.

You aren't the only one that has noticed the push to lower Bv's (and the min/maxing that goes along with that)

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Re: Removal of Gunnery Skills for promotion

Post by Ceorl » Wed Nov 11, 2015 6:55 pm

I think that depends on what you define as low. Anecdotally, I like playing 2-4k range and have found myself moving up to the 4-6k range in order to get more games. I have one 2k army which hasn't seen a game all cycle.
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Re: Removal of Gunnery Skills for promotion

Post by Crucis lancers » Thu Nov 12, 2015 12:35 am

Ceorl wrote:I think that depends on what you define as low. Anecdotally, I like playing 2-4k range and have found myself moving up to the 4-6k range in order to get more games. I have one 2k army which hasn't seen a game all cycle.
it will be very rare u find a 2k game because min amx and squeeze big unit syndrome.
most people will use 1-2 low bv units an 1 medium value and big one so most will be around 2,9 and 3,6k

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Re: Removal of Gunnery Skills for promotion

Post by SirNomad » Fri Nov 13, 2015 5:50 pm

I would prefer to see the gunnery skills back but at a multiplier, rather than flat, BV. Does the code support this? Would it be able to consider the offensive BV of the weapons modified and apply a multiplier? It always seemed silly to me that it was 50 BV per ballistic weapon whether that was a machine gun or AC/20...

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Re: Removal of Gunnery Skills for promotion

Post by TigerShark » Fri Nov 13, 2015 6:12 pm

SirNomad wrote:I would prefer to see the gunnery skills back but at a multiplier, rather than flat, BV. Does the code support this? Would it be able to consider the offensive BV of the weapons modified and apply a multiplier? It always seemed silly to me that it was 50 BV per ballistic weapon whether that was a machine gun or AC/20...
I'm working on it. I can get it working, but only at a fixed % of the weapon's Battle Value. For some reason, I can't get the variable field to work in the Admin's campaign editor. (i.e.: change from +80% of weapon BV to +75%; right now I can only hard-code it to a fixed %)

I won't go off of Offensive BV because some of those weapons are discounted for heat threshold. So it's best to go off of the original, base BV. For example, if you have 10 SHS and (2) PPCs, the second PPC will be discounted to 86 BV while the first is at 174. So the % would be going off of the 86, not the full value of the weapon.

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Re: Removal of Gunnery Skills for promotion

Post by Nastyogre » Fri Nov 13, 2015 6:38 pm

Thank you for your efforts on this Tigershark. I'm not going to be supportive of a flat #. I agree, we would much rather see the modifier applied to all class of weapons on the skill at their full value. It's better for it to be slightly too expensive (because a mech runs hot or has rear mounted weapons) than too cheap. The 3 PPC's on an AWS-8Q might not be able all fire every round but most and the modifier should be based on what it CAN do, not just what it might do.

Something that effectively valued the skills in a way that the skill cost the same as a gunnery skill level if the unit was all one weapon type is a balanced skill.

Anybody know if there is a way to limit the skill to only allowing one of the Gunnery Skills? So if you are an Ace Ballistic gunner you can't also be an Ace Missile?
That seems appropriate to me. Then again, what seems appropriate to me or what I support is not the will of the Co6. Convince three of us and it can happen as long as the staff doesn't object. They give the Council a pretty long leash, so if you all want to make a change and convince the Council to implement it, go for it.

Back to what you can make work. Can you show us an example or two of what you CAN get to work right now vs what you are trying to do. The big question will be, is it enough. We don't want "perfect" to be the enemy of good. If it's an appropriate modification and gets us pretty darn close, then that's something I can take back to the Co6.

So. AWS-8Q
Hunchie 4P
Crusader R (its got energy, ballistic and missile and runs hot)
Longbow (either)
Centurion (say with Gunnery Ballistic)


See what it looks like. If we are talking just a few points. Meh. If it's a significant difference. Then maybe we need to see if there is more we can investigate or if we consider it important enough to request the staff commit our very limited time for code to find the problem. Jackal has taught us the value of seeing the examples of impact. It's really helped us make some decisions in the Co6.

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