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As influence-generating tools, are combat missions...
Way Overpowered 6%  6%  [ 1 ]
Overpowered 63%  63%  [ 10 ]
Balanced 6%  6%  [ 1 ]
Underpowered 19%  19%  [ 3 ]
Way Underpowered 6%  6%  [ 1 ]
Total votes : 16
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 Post subject: For the love of Magnus, do /something/ about combat missions
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 5:58 pm 
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I'd like to gauge the general thoughts on this. Since I suggested a specific solution last time, the thread meandered off into the pros and cons of that and other specific options rather than putting up a big flashing 'fix this please!' flag.


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 Post subject: Re: For the love of Magnus, do /something/ about combat miss
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 6:21 pm 
Legend

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A few thoughts:

First, agreed that your last thread devolved astonishingly quickly into crazy schemes, where a simple stat change would have sufficed. People, you've got to understand that making suggestions to the devs is like trying to feed a fussy toddler: even though it's good for him, you're going to wrestle for a long time, something's probably going to get broken on the first pass, and there's no point in trying to do something fancy.

Second, agreed that combat grinding is going to reliably generate more influence per hour than cargo missions. However, I don't think it's as enormous of a difference as is often complained about. I won't bog down this post in the numbers (though I'd be happy to run through them for the curious), but certain crazy spots like Romeo/Juliet aside, it works out to about 25% better inf/hour to grind than run even a fairly optimal set of three cargo missions.

Third, I definitely believe that while real balance would be nice, if there's going to be one consistently better than the other, I'd prefer cargo to combat missions. I enjoy that this is a sporadic game and as much as I dig combat, the puzzle of cargo missions feels much truer to the spirit of it. I mean, it's called grinding for a reason.

Fourth, I would suggest rather than combat getting nerfed, that cargo missions get buffed -- specifically to the tune of an across-the-board increase by 25% of inf/km. I wouldn't be averse to more, but I would appreciate a numbers-based counter-argument as opposed to emotional fingerpointing at us grinders. In general, I prefer buffs to nerfs; they feel more like rewarding the downtrodden than punishing the logical gamesperson.


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 Post subject: Re: For the love of Magnus, do /something/ about combat miss
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 6:55 pm 
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Zabrak! wrote:
A few thoughts:

First, agreed that your last thread devolved astonishingly quickly into crazy schemes, where a simple stat change would have sufficed. People, you've got to understand that making suggestions to the devs is like trying to feed a fussy toddler: even though it's good for him, you're going to wrestle for a long time, something's probably going to get broken on the first pass, and there's no point in trying to do something fancy.

Nicely put. :razz:

Quote:
Second, agreed that combat grinding is going to reliably generate more influence per hour than cargo missions. However, I don't think it's as enormous of a difference as is often complained about. I won't bog down this post in the numbers (though I'd be happy to run through them for the curious), but certain crazy spots like Romeo/Juliet aside, it works out to about 25% better inf/hour to grind than run even a fairly optimal set of three cargo missions.

I would be interested in those numbers. I was going to point out Sinshlad, but Sinsh is doing a lot of his grinding on Romeo/Juliet, if I recall correctly. That pair is a very special little situation, and I think I'm going to just scoot those over to 'outside the scope of this thread'.

My main concern about combat grinding basically comes down to memories of Acero. His automatic domination of the board made it significantly less fun to compete--normal people had basically no hope of taking first place. For all the problems last round had, I managed to hang onto the top spot entirely by being smart with my mission tetris and being on top of my landings, and the competition I had was tight and really well fought. That much of last round was really fun. For me, at least. :shifty:

Sinshlad has said, I believe, that he has three days a week where he can grind--basically, he's a determined person with a pretty normal schedule. Someone without anything better to do might have twice the influence that Sinshlad has by now and, of course, we are on the internet; there is no shortage of people without anything better to do.

Just to boil it down to honest selfish motivations, I want to be competitive for the top spot. I don't want to have my chances for that be linked unlimitedly to how much time I have to spend on the game--I would play WoW if that's what I wanted a game like that, and there is no shortage of other games that work that way.

Quote:
Third, I definitely believe that while real balance would be nice, if there's going to be one consistently better than the other, I'd prefer cargo to combat missions. I enjoy that this is a sporadic game and as much as I dig combat, the puzzle of cargo missions feels much truer to the spirit of it. I mean, it's called grinding for a reason.

Agreed on all points.

Quote:
Fourth, I would suggest rather than combat getting nerfed, that cargo missions get buffed -- specifically to the tune of an across-the-board increase by 25% of inf/km. I wouldn't be averse to more, but I would appreciate a numbers-based counter-argument as opposed to emotional fingerpointing at us grinders. In general, I prefer buffs to nerfs; they feel more like rewarding the downtrodden than punishing the logical gamesperson.

I agree with buffs being preferable to nerfs. I like the 25% inf/km buff for one major reason: it's something a dev could implement with a couple hours in one evening, and therefore much more likely to get done. It may or may not be a complete solution, but it might be Good Enough.


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 Post subject: Re: For the love of Magnus, do /something/ about combat miss
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 8:40 pm 
Legend

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I'll do a quick rundown of the numbers, with three caveats. The first is that since I doubt everyone is clamoring for them, I'll be brief. Second, I got a late start this round and my crew and skills are suboptimal; that may change a lot of this later on. Third, a lot of your discussion about Acero is quite understandable but misses the mark for me, since I run influence for factional and gubernatorial purposes, not simply for the leaderboards (something for which I coined a term that I sincerely hope is still in use), and as such don't really mind someone getting huge numbers on a lost cause skyland or what have you.

To the numbers. Combat missions: I asked nehp to set up a separate board to assess kills per hour to answer this very question. I expect 25 kills per hour; there's obviously quite a bit of variance but it works well enough. The premium combat missions have a payout of around 210 inf/kill, so if I get three of them that's about 630 inf/kill, which works out to 25 * 630 = around 16,000 inf/hour, pre-diplomat.

So, the question is, how easy is it to beat that rate running cargo missions? My Nova has a number of different cargo configurations, the average of which is about 850 kph (not quite, but it tidies up the numbers). My level 5 navi makes risky flights 15% faster, so that's 850/.85 = 1000 kph (see? tidy), meaning I need 16,000/1000 = 16 inf/km in cargo missions to break even vs combat grinding. Putting three missions that total above 16 inf/km in a hold that's between 105 and 201 crates isn't a challenge at all -- heck, there are several combinations of only two missions that get above that threshold. Where luck comes in pretty dramatically is that the target skylands for those three missions be close enough together that I get to clear them in a reasonable amount of time. This is pretty hit or miss, but honestly, it's the part of cargo running that I enjoy the most.

That's why I say the discrepancy between combat and cargo missions is less about the raw payout, and more about the reliability. It's highly dependable that you're going to get missions averaging 210 inf/kill, and fairly dependable that you'll get 25 kills per hour most places on the map if you're doing patrols and strategically hunting. It is fairly dependable that you get cargo missions that add up to more than 16 inf/km, but extremely undependable that they be going to nearby skylands, or skylands along the way. I think that last factor is a big, enjoyable gamble, but the risk/reward percentages are just not in balance with the sure thing that is combat grinding. Hence my modest endorsement of this proposal -- a moderate bump to cargo payouts.


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 Post subject: Re: For the love of Magnus, do /something/ about combat miss
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 10:00 pm 
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Could I ask how many hours you would estimate you spent combat grinding yesterday?


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 Post subject: Re: For the love of Magnus, do /something/ about combat miss
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 10:03 pm 
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I have great respect for Zabrak!'s command of the numbers, and we should do what she says.


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 Post subject: Re: For the love of Magnus, do /something/ about combat miss
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 11:57 pm 
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EDIT: I'm leaving my post up for posterity, but it might be a bit moot. Apparently that kill board has a bug right now where yesterday's kills/hour are being divided by the same number of hours as today's kills/hour. So if it's 20 hours into the day, yesterday's kills/hour are being divided by 20 rather than 24. That explains why the numbers were steadily falling on me while I wrote this post, anyway.


The reason I asked about how many hours goes a little something like this. I'm going to proceed on reasonable-seeming guesses for the moment, since it looks like Z! has gone to bed.

I'm not sure I'm entirely willing to give you the 25 kills/hour number straight up. I notice you managed 30 kills/hour yesterday, and Kagetu 40 for instance*, which works out to 18,900 and 25,200 respectively.

The problem I have with that kills board is that it does not--and it can't, of course--take into account how long someone actually goes looking for combats each day. That means that its averages include time spent running cargo missions and otherwise not grinding combat, and that means that those averages are very, very dependent on how long a person is actively grinding.

What those numbers say to me is that the actual number of kills per hour while one is actually active is quite a bit higher than 25. If we suppose that Kagetu ground for 12 hours yesterday, then he was actually running 80 kills per hour during that time, which is 50,400 influence/hour. There is nothing stopping him, of course, from running cargo missions during his no-grind time. As a point of comparison, last round I aimed to make 25,000 influence/hour on cargo missions, and that was before they were nerfed by the shorter distances and slower planes of 2.6.

The problem only intensifies the fewer hours we suppose he took to grind out those kills. If he only worked 8 hours for that average, we're talking 75,800 inf/hour. Not just 75k/hour, but 75k/hour of reliable, easily-targeted influence as opposed to the wandering nature of cargo missions.

This all goes straight out the window if nehp's kill board is operating more complexly than I perceive it to be operating, of course. :razz:

*It appears to be a rolling average, as these numbers have changed as I typed.


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 Post subject: Re: For the love of Magnus, do /something/ about combat miss
PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 5:16 am 
Legend

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Kagetu's not splitting time running cargo missions: http://skyrates.jusque.net/vapour/trail/Kagetu

I use 25 kills per hour when I'm grinding because assuming otherwise means I have missions left uncompleted when I land. As I said, there's a lot of variance, particularly when you're running two skylands close together, because patrols can vary wildly in the kill numbers you get.

Look there's always going to be places on the map that grinding is much better than cargo missions, and those are going to draw stuffers like moths to a flame. I'm just not concerned with them. I use the numbers I gave because they're close to global, and that's what you want when proposing global shifts in the payouts.


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 Post subject: Re: For the love of Magnus, do /something/ about combat miss
PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:43 am 
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I keep forgetting that vapor trails exists.


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 Post subject: Re: For the love of Magnus, do /something/ about combat miss
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:38 am 
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Making cargo missions more competitive with combat missions would be a lovely idea. While I enjoy grinding combat at times, being able to contribute just as significantly without being tied to my PC all day would be a thing of excellence.


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 Post subject: Re: For the love of Magnus, do /something/ about combat miss
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 6:37 am 
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Good discussion here. I feel a boost to cargo missions may be in order.


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 Post subject: Re: For the love of Magnus, do /something/ about combat miss
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:26 am 
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It is great to have Z! back. She always has the numbers to express what my gut sees but my brain is too lazy to calculate.

As Martin noted, last round cargo running was sufficient. I felt like it was a waste of time to even do patrols and clean up small combat missions. I stayed close to the top of the reputation boards running cargo-only missions between EO skylands. That probably means combat was too weak.

This round combat missions got the needed boost but cargo missions were simultaneously nerfed by lower CKPH (and the smaller map doesn't help focused cargo running either).

Lord Gilbert wrote:
Good discussion here. I feel a boost to cargo missions may be in order.

YAY :thumbs:

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