This is a site for discussing roleplaying games. Have fun doing so, but there is one major rule: do not discuss political issues that aren't directly and uniquely related to the subject of the thread and about gaming. While this site is dedicated to free speech, the following will not be tolerated: devolving a thread into unrelated political discussion, sockpuppeting (using multiple and/or bogus accounts), disrupting topics without contributing to them, and posting images that could get someone fired in the workplace (an external link is OK, but clearly mark it as Not Safe For Work, or NSFW). If you receive a warning, please take it seriously and either move on to another topic or steer the discussion back to its original RPG-related theme.
NOTICE: Some online security services are reporting that information for a limited number of users from this site is for sale on the "dark web." As of right now, there is no direct evidence of this, but change your password just to be safe.

Author Topic: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?  (Read 7000 times)

Abraxus

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2306
Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
« Reply #120 on: January 03, 2021, 01:03:09 PM »
Sorry, if you can't tell the difference there, I can't explain it any better. I think it's pretty obvious that a +1 does not provide a +50% bonus, but carry on.

I'm just wondering how a +1 seems to add 50% more. So if i have two apples and add another I somehow have 50% more apples.

It's the saw way as an Archer in Pathfinder I have to tape Point Blank Shot. It's not because it's a good feat or the bonus it gives is really that good it adds 5% to the odds. It's a requirement to have access for the other Ranged Weapon Feat. For low levels the 1 bonus on attack and damage rolls with ranged weapons at ranges of up to 30 feet is decent yet at higher levels not that much. The only instance I can see it being a significant factor is crit ranges on weapons where on 18-20 for example that +1 can double the damage of a weapon.



« Last Edit: January 03, 2021, 01:26:24 PM by sureshot »

Eirikrautha

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 739
Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
« Reply #121 on: January 03, 2021, 01:49:23 PM »
It's exactly how people make decisions. Psychological studies have shown that people think in relative terms, when it comes to probabilities. It's why, for instance, UX studies show that a 40% increase in speed (relative) is needed for people to feel that their computer is quicker. It doesn't matter how fast the original computer was, or if the absolute increase was greater (because the computer being tested was faster than in another test).

Incidentally, both your examples are relative, halving the chance of success. I agree that people don't naturally think in terms of numbers, but that's different than absolute vs. relative probabilities.
First, replication crisis.  Appeals to authority should at least appeal to slightly reliable authorities.

Secondly, my point was intended to point out the subjectivity of the player's perspective depending on what they are told.  No one looks at a +1 and thinks "Wow, I've got a 50% better chance to hit," if they only hit on a 19 or 20.  If presented with the 50% statistic, people will make different choices than they would if told they have a 90% chance of failure.  It's about the presentation, not the statistics.  And I've seen no evidence anywhere that players look at the benefit of an additional +1 over the overall chance of success.

mightybrain

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • m
  • Posts: 410
Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
« Reply #122 on: January 03, 2021, 02:41:29 PM »
they become insanely protective of their optimised character, and won't co-operate as well.

It's probably not a good idea for a player to get too invested in their character given the deadly nature of the game. But an optimised character is probably going to be a lot better at stuff than a randomly rolled one. I think it's perfectly fine for such a character to be dismissive of their fellows. In fact that's quite a common theme in ensemble cast stories; Boromir in Lord of the Rings for example. And as is the case with Boromir, this provides the DM with a weak point to attack by tempting that character into splitting the party and making the Dark Lord's job a whole lot easier.

Pat

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • P
  • Posts: 5212
  • Rats do 0 damage
Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
« Reply #123 on: January 03, 2021, 03:02:15 PM »
It's exactly how people make decisions. Psychological studies have shown that people think in relative terms, when it comes to probabilities. It's why, for instance, UX studies show that a 40% increase in speed (relative) is needed for people to feel that their computer is quicker. It doesn't matter how fast the original computer was, or if the absolute increase was greater (because the computer being tested was faster than in another test).

Incidentally, both your examples are relative, halving the chance of success. I agree that people don't naturally think in terms of numbers, but that's different than absolute vs. relative probabilities.
First, replication crisis.  Appeals to authority should at least appeal to slightly reliable authorities.

Secondly, my point was intended to point out the subjectivity of the player's perspective depending on what they are told.  No one looks at a +1 and thinks "Wow, I've got a 50% better chance to hit," if they only hit on a 19 or 20.  If presented with the 50% statistic, people will make different choices than they would if told they have a 90% chance of failure.  It's about the presentation, not the statistics.  And I've seen no evidence anywhere that players look at the benefit of an additional +1 over the overall chance of success.
If you look at the UX field, the core principles have been heavily replicated, because it's so easy to do so. It's not like the Milgram experiment, which we'll probably never see replicated because ethical standards have changed, or any of the vast longitudinal studies that require massive investments in time and effort. It's also just one example of a widely accepted principle in psychology. Which could be impacted by the replication crisis, but I have no idea how to assess that.

Your second point is valid. There's a difference in how we intuitively think about probabilities (which seems to be relative, with no trace of the absolute), and how language and other learned tools like arithmetic shape the expression of our thoughts. My larger point is trying to reconcile them both -- that when we talk about a +1 to hit meaning a +5% chance, that's based on our learned ways of assessing probabilities, and doesn't match our internal conception. The gulf there is really evident at the fringes, where over time being able to save on a 2+ instead of a 3+ looks small, but is really means you die half as often. That's a huge improvement, which talk about 5% and +1 masks.

Eirikrautha

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 739
Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
« Reply #124 on: January 03, 2021, 03:19:30 PM »
Your second point is valid. There's a difference in how we intuitively think about probabilities (which seems to be relative, with no trace of the absolute), and how language and other learned tools like arithmetic shape the expression of our thoughts. My larger point is trying to reconcile them both -- that when we talk about a +1 to hit meaning a +5% chance, that's based on our learned ways of assessing probabilities, and doesn't match our internal conception. The gulf there is really evident at the fringes, where over time being able to save on a 2+ instead of a 3+ looks small, but is really means you die half as often. That's a huge improvement, which talk about 5% and +1 masks.

While your statement is statistically true, what I question is how players actually behave.  I don't believe that most players look at it from your perspective.  I think many, if not most, simply look at their percentage chance of success when evaluating both their best course of action and also their choices during character creation when adding abilities and bonuses.  It doesn't matter if you are right when none of the people making the choices see it from the same perspective as you do.  Adding a +1 to a d20 roll does not, in the minds of most players, have a large effect on their success.  And, to my original point, it does not effectively represent the move from novice to expert.  When talking about expertise, no one will ever be satisfied with a 50% increase in their chance of success when that still means they have a 90% chance of failure.  That's not "expertise"!

TJS

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • T
  • Posts: 796
Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
« Reply #125 on: January 03, 2021, 04:47:52 PM »
It's exactly how people make decisions. Psychological studies have shown that people think in relative terms, when it comes to probabilities. It's why, for instance, UX studies show that a 40% increase in speed (relative) is needed for people to feel that their computer is quicker. It doesn't matter how fast the original computer was, or if the absolute increase was greater (because the computer being tested was faster than in another test).

Incidentally, both your examples are relative, halving the chance of success. I agree that people don't naturally think in terms of numbers, but that's different than absolute vs. relative probabilities.
First, replication crisis.  Appeals to authority should at least appeal to slightly reliable authorities.

Secondly, my point was intended to point out the subjectivity of the player's perspective depending on what they are told.  No one looks at a +1 and thinks "Wow, I've got a 50% better chance to hit," if they only hit on a 19 or 20.  If presented with the 50% statistic, people will make different choices than they would if told they have a 90% chance of failure.  It's about the presentation, not the statistics.  And I've seen no evidence anywhere that players look at the benefit of an additional +1 over the overall chance of success.
I definitely did in 4E when playing a Defender.  Once I got my defences high enough I could see the effect in play of getting my AC even higher.  I had a conditional +2 to AC that made me go from only hit on a 17 to only hit on a 19 and the difference was dramatic.  When it was the latter I felt perfectly safe waltzing through enemy lines without worrying about attacks of opportunity.

HappyDaze

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • H
  • Posts: 4982
Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
« Reply #126 on: January 03, 2021, 05:47:37 PM »
It's probably not a good idea for a player to get too invested in their character given the deadly nature of the game.
I've noticed that modern games, D&D 5e in particular, are far less deadly than earlier games. This is probably interrelated to the optimization/build bit, but I think it's a mix of cause and effect rather than just one or the other.

Abraxus

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2306
Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
« Reply #127 on: January 03, 2021, 06:12:43 PM »
I've noticed that modern games, D&D 5e in particular, are far less deadly than earlier games. This is probably interrelated to the optimization/build bit, but I think it's a mix of cause and effect rather than just one or the other.

Good thing about 5E one can adjust the level of how lethal it can be. So one can have the default setting where it is less easier to die to one where the DM can run games that are more deadly.

mightybrain

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • m
  • Posts: 410
Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
« Reply #128 on: January 03, 2021, 06:43:59 PM »
Optimisers should beware of monsters that know this maxim: the nail that sticks out is the first to get the hammer.

VisionStorm

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1553
Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
« Reply #129 on: January 03, 2021, 06:58:40 PM »
Optimisers should beware of monsters that know this maxim: the nail that sticks out is the first to get the hammer.

Minimizers should beware of monsters that know this maxim: the limp guy is the first one left behind when shit gets real.  :P

Abraxus

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2306
Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
« Reply #130 on: January 03, 2021, 07:48:47 PM »
Minimizers should beware of monsters that know this maxim: the limp guy is the first one left behind when shit gets real.  :P

Optimisers should beware of monsters that know this maxim: the nail that sticks out is the first to get the hammer.

Agree with both.

SHARK

  • Great White Hope
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3827
Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
« Reply #131 on: January 03, 2021, 07:54:05 PM »
Minimizers should beware of monsters that know this maxim: the limp guy is the first one left behind when shit gets real.  :P

Optimisers should beware of monsters that know this maxim: the nail that sticks out is the first to get the hammer.

Agree with both.

Greetings!

Seconded. Definitely true!

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
"It is the Marine Corps that will strip away the fa├žade so easily confused with self. It is the Corps that will offer the pain needed to buy the truth. And at last, each will own the privilege of looking inside himself  to discover what truly resides there. Comfort is an illusion. A false security bred from familiar things and familiar ways. It narrows the mind. Weakens the body. And robs the soul of spirit and determination. Comfort is neither welcome nor tolerated here."

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but is doing what you have to, in spite of the fear."
"Let Death and Fire Be Their Portion!"
"Delenda Est Parthia!"

Omega

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • O
  • Posts: 16015
Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
« Reply #132 on: January 03, 2021, 10:57:27 PM »
I always consider that. But there are three points against that. The first is I've looked at what I said, and it's seems pretty clear. That's not conclusive, because I could have missed something. But for me to reconsider that, you'd have to demonstrate where I miscommunicated, not just make a vague claim. Secondly, they didn't misunderstand my arguments in the same way. You made one argument, and they made other arguments. And most importantly is the third: People really don't understand probability well, and it can be challenging to break down their preconceptions. That's the reason why I posted what I posted. I expected some pushback.

I think the problem is more possibly where you are placing emphasis rather than the points themselves.

Yes, a +1 is a big deal at the outliers. But its not a big deal as you drift away from those edges.

But to an optimizer that +1 is a bonus period and they NEEED IT!

Or when I was a playtester on AQW. We had some nuts flipping out over how "unballanced" one class was over the others because its attack was .01 second faster. Even after we pointed out No. It didnt. Those were vauguarities in personal or serverside processing. But no-no. This is game breaking! And on the flip side others were declaring a different class THE BEST WHY TAKE ANY OTHER??? because they believed is was .01 sec faster. And of course it was not either.

And all this and so much worse behaviors been around a long time in tabletop gaming. As said. Some perceive it as an "I WIN!" button.

But at the end of the day to the more obsessive optimizer a +1 is a bonus across the board and thats all that matters. Better if can pump it up to a +2, 3, 4, etc.

Chris24601

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • C
  • Posts: 2338
Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
« Reply #133 on: January 03, 2021, 11:54:39 PM »
I think the problem is more possibly where you are placing emphasis rather than the points themselves.

Yes, a +1 is a big deal at the outliers. But its not a big deal as you drift away from those edges.
You pretty much nailed my read of their argument... Pat was putting so much emphasis on the outlier effects while ignoring that almost NO modern game (i.e. the types where you're most likely to see "builds" and planned optimization) build their system to have lots of outliers because, frankly, extremely low/high probabilities of success aren't actually that interesting.

Rolling 10-20 times just to hit once (because 10% doesn't mean you'll hit once every ten swings, it means you'll hit, on average, once every ten swings, but with the flat probability of a d20 there's quite a bit of swing until you're looking at hundreds of swings) is no one's idea of a good time.

Outside of TSR-era D&D (ex. 1st level Fighter with a Str 17 vs. AC 2) you just don't see odds like that too many places.

The fact is that most modern systems seem to be much higher than that... 50%, 60%, even 75% odds are not uncommon in modern systems (my system, for example uses a baseline for combat of about 60% or about three hits during a five round combat... this was also the baseline for 4E).

5e makes hitting even easier... low level opponents with ACs of 11-14 are pretty common while PCs probably have +5 to hit out of the gate for 60-75% odds of success with each attack. You'd have to be playing an 8 Str wizard using a non-proficient weapon to even get down to a 30% hit rate vs. AC 14.

And in those ranges, +1 is pretty trivial.

That's why I considered Pat's arguments off-the-mark/not communicated well. Sure, everything they said about the probabilities they mentioned were accurate, but almost no system where optimization is a big deal actually uses probabilities in the range their comments were primarily focused on.

Yeah, +1 in their edge case was a 50% improvement from 10% to 15% odds of success. But if situations where your odds are as low as 10% come up only once in a hundred checks... what's the point of using that 10 becomes 15% is a 50% bonuses in your argument. It's like arguing the utility of tiger repellent when travelling in India to someone who spends all their time in rural Montana. Sure, tiger repellent is useful in India... but its also a non sequitur to probably anything the Montanan may have been talking about.

Heck, from playtesting my own system +2 situational modifiers were largely ignored as not worth tracking by most players and skill-based boons (basically non-combat feats) needed to be about +5 to check results for 2-3 interrelated actions) before they were seen as worth taking on par with other options (adding graded successes that scaled up for every 5 points the base TN was beaten by also helped too since +5 gave the PC with the boon the same odds of pulling off the next higher grade as a person without the boon had of getting a basic success).

EDIT: Another thing I really think needs to be distinguished is that there were a lot of CharOps builds that were never intended for play; but rather theory-crafting exercises to see what they could break. A lot of those had critical weaknesses that were ignored because they were attempting to build for one specific target (best damage, best defenses, highest hit points) even if it gimped them elsewhere.

Those same people almost NEVER built the PCs they used in actual games that way because they understood that there are things like diminishing returns and that its not worth utterly gimping something else important just to chase them (i.e. I've never seen the people I knew who frequented various 3e/4E CharOps boards to consider taking a -2 penalty to all your saves/defenses as being worth getting just a +1 to hit).

Basically, you need to distinguish between theorycraft optimization and actual in-play optimization (which was rarely as severe unless it was someone copying a theorycrafting build from the boards without realizing it was a theorycrafting build... which usually left them with some gaping hole somewhere).
« Last Edit: January 04, 2021, 12:07:03 AM by Chris24601 »

Mishihari

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • M
  • Posts: 648
Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
« Reply #134 on: January 04, 2021, 12:19:42 AM »
But that's not how most people make decisions.  Tell someone that if they cut out eating all meat they'd cut their chance of getting some disease in half and you might get their attention.  Then tell them their chance of getting the disease drops from 0.04% to 0.02% and watch them go get a burger...

I find this point very telling.  If you tell someone that an action doubles their chance of success they pay attention.  If you tell them it increases the probability by .0001% they ignore it. If you give them both facts, then they ignore it.  This shows pretty clearly that the latter point is what people pay attention to.