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

Pat

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Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
« Reply #150 on: January 04, 2021, 04:34:00 PM »
I'm not sure what point you're trying to make with all these replies and snide remarks. Because while the tone of your posts seems to be strongly opposed to what I'm saying, and you adopt elements from my posts like the +5%, you use those elements out of any context that makes sense, and never seem to address any of the points I've made.

Apologies, I don't mean to sound snide. I do disagree with your original statement, which I believe was that it's more "useful" to think of a +1 bonus as a "50% increase in the chance of success", and to thus consider it a "large" bonus.

I disagreed, and attempted to explain why to you, but you seem stuck in repeating mathematical truisms about comparisons that are, in my opinion, irrelevant to the context. As to the other points you brought up, like "survival is more complex than that," I find them entirely orthogonal to the conversation, so yes, I have nothing to say about them.

I understand probabilities just fine; I also understand relevance, which is something you don't seem to want to discuss.

In any case, I don't feel like you are engaging in conversation in good faith here, so I won't be continuing this line of argument with you.
Thanks for the apology, though the last two sentences are undercut it. It feels like you've been trying to dismiss my arguments, but nothing you've said seems to relate to what I've said. In turn, I can assure you, I've been trying to engage in good faith. There's a disconnect here, somewhere. One example is the comment you just made, that you consider the factors that contribute to survival to be orthogonal to the discussion. But you were talking about the percentage by which survival is increased, so that doesn't seem to make any sense to me.

One clarification, based on what you just said: I didn't say that +1 is a large bonus. I said +1 is a large relative bonus when it increases the chance of success from 2 in 20 (19+) to 3 in 20 (18+). The point I've been making is that a +1 on a d20 is not a flat 5% increase in your chances. The actual impact varies from slightly over 5% to effectively infinite (when a +1 makes an impossible hit possible, assuming the system allows that). The impact of a +1 bonus tapers off quickly from the unbounded result, to the median of 10%.

And I understand relevance quite well. That's why I've tried to place what I've said in context.

Theory of Games

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Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
« Reply #151 on: January 04, 2021, 04:58:16 PM »
My two coin:

Optimizers have a place as long as they can engage scenes that have nothing to do with whatever their character's great at. Calling the act of optimizing a character "immature" or "crazy" is more of that SJW "OneTrueWayism" that divides the hobby.

Chris24601

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Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
« Reply #152 on: January 04, 2021, 06:54:51 PM »
Chris, you seem to have a better grasp of probabilities, but otherwise you're doing exactly the same thing. It's really bizarre.
Pat, I’ll say it again... when multiple people are misinterpreting you in exactly the same way which is more likely?

A) That everyone else just happens to be reading it wrong in exactly the same way.
-or-
B) That something in your statement isn’t conveying what you think it is and people are reacting to that in the same way because that is the reasonable take away from what you actually wrote (vs. what you think you wrote).

And I’ll sum it up again +1 may increase the odds of success by 50%, but they’re also only reducing the odds of failure by 5.7%, which isn’t terribly meaningful at all.

The fact is that when people look at a bonus they aren’t looking at how much it improves your odds by, they’re looking at what the new odds are. They aren’t seeing “my odds of success have gone up by 50%” they’re seeing “my odds have gone from 10% to 15% and so that +1 might matter once in 20 rolls.*”

You’re stuck on arguing the equivalent of “you’ll halve your odds of heart disease if you stopped eating meat” as statistically significant, while everyone else sees “meat = 0.2% chance; no meat = 0.1% chance” and getting a cheeseburger.

No one is arguing your numbers are right; we’re arguing your numbers aren’t important to how people are evaluating success/failure and when most people say “my odds have gone up 5%” what they actually mean is “this distribution of possible results on this particular roll has a 5% greater chance of success and a 5% lower chance of failure than a distribution without the +1 bonus added to it.”

Only “my odds have gone up by 5%” is faster to say and most people know exactly what the speaker means by that and don’t feel compelled to correct them for it.

* or matter after only 5 rolls or not matter in 40 rolls because the flat probability of a d20 will only get close to the mean in many times 20 rolls... the odds of actually getting a perfect distribution of every one of the twenty results over the course of 20 rolls is astronomically small.

Heavy Josh

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Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
« Reply #153 on: January 04, 2021, 07:21:21 PM »
Watching this video, I'm struck by two things:

1. The sheer paternalism underpinning the whole argument: "we must tolerate the optimizers and teach them to be better players. Hold your noses!"

Tolerance is great, but it's a virtue in and of itself. It's not a means to an end.

2. Any approach to gaming where a player is belittled for bringing a play style or character build to the table is counterproductive. Yes, there are games where the expectation is that everyone had better be optimized for their job, combat, or whatever. And there are games where a misfit bunch of adventurers stumble into a dungeon and that's fine too. In either case, let the GM handle those players that brought knifes to gunfights, so to speak.

Don't tell other people they're playing D&D wrong because they're not playing in the manner to which you are accustomed. Tolerate their play style, get your kicks, and if you can't do either, act in a mature and adult manner after the game is done.
When you find yourself on the side of the majority, you should pause and reflect. -- Mark Twain

TJS

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Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
« Reply #154 on: January 04, 2021, 07:24:51 PM »
I'll say it again.  Some of you are missing where this does matter to players and is noticeable because you're focuing purely on chances to hit.

When it's your AC it has real and noticeable effect and after you play for a while you can see it.  It affects the risks you are willing to take.  If you are only hit on a 16 then increasing your AC further is noticeable - at a certain point you feel confident you can walk away from the 5 goons and go over and smack the wizard in the face.

Reducing the hits you take by a significant percentage means you're hit points can go a lot further. This was really noticeable in 4E because of how high you could get your AC - it's only slightly noticeable in 5E because of bounded accuracy.

It would matter for to hit chances if monsters regularly had AC that you can only hit on an 18 or 19, but that doesn't happen.  If every monster was like that then you can be sure that players would start doing everything they could to get that +1.


TJS

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Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
« Reply #155 on: January 04, 2021, 07:25:36 PM »
Watching this video,
See that was your mistake right there.

Heavy Josh

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Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
« Reply #156 on: January 04, 2021, 07:46:32 PM »

See that was your mistake right there.

Well, I'm in Canada. I'm all full up on inept politicians being dangerous in their ineptitude.  I needed a break.

Also, I watched it at 1.5x speed, so it wasn't a complete waste of time.
When you find yourself on the side of the majority, you should pause and reflect. -- Mark Twain

Pat

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Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
« Reply #157 on: January 04, 2021, 09:13:13 PM »
Chris, you seem to have a better grasp of probabilities, but otherwise you're doing exactly the same thing. It's really bizarre.
Pat, I’ll say it again... when multiple people are misinterpreting you in exactly the same way which is more likely?
Chris, I'll say it again: When we covered this, I told you I considered that, and gave four reasons contrary. And I can think of a 5th one: On technical issues, the crowd's answer tends to be completely orthogonal to the correct answer. To press your case, you'll need to present a case, not just make an unsupported assertion.

And I’ll sum it up again +1 may increase the odds of success by 50%, but they’re also only reducing the odds of failure by 5.7%, which isn’t terribly meaningful at all.

The fact is that when people look at a bonus they aren’t looking at how much it improves your odds by, they’re looking at what the new odds are. They aren’t seeing “my odds of success have gone up by 50%” they’re seeing “my odds have gone from 10% to 15% and so that +1 might matter once in 20 rolls.*”

You’re stuck on arguing the equivalent of “you’ll halve your odds of heart disease if you stopped eating meat” as statistically significant, while everyone else sees “meat = 0.2% chance; no meat = 0.1% chance” and getting a cheeseburger.

No one is arguing your numbers are right; we’re arguing your numbers aren’t important to how people are evaluating success/failure and when most people say “my odds have gone up 5%” what they actually mean is “this distribution of possible results on this particular roll has a 5% greater chance of success and a 5% lower chance of failure than a distribution without the +1 bonus added to it.”

Only “my odds have gone up by 5%” is faster to say and most people know exactly what the speaker means by that and don’t feel compelled to correct them for it.

* or matter after only 5 rolls or not matter in 40 rolls because the flat probability of a d20 will only get close to the mean in many times 20 rolls... the odds of actually getting a perfect distribution of every one of the twenty results over the course of 20 rolls is astronomically small.
Now that appears to be a reason, but I doesn't seem to make much sense.

Let's start with your first one. If you're at the place on the scale where a +1 increases your chance of success by 50%, that's huge. If it's an attack, you're increasing your damage output by 50%. That it only reduces the chance of failure by a smaller amount is irrelevant. What is relevant is that, if your improved chance of success is only 3 in 20, then the game will be very swingy. With only a 15% chance of hitting, your damage output will vary a lot, with long stretches where you do no damage at all, and then a big jump when you hit. In contrast, someone with the same average damage who hits 85% of the time will be the slow and steady type, dealing out a smaller amount of damage fairly consistently over time.

In fact, that's one of the design strengths of old school D&D. You don't just get new powers as you level up, but the very nature of attacks and damage shifts, as you move from a highly swingy game to a more stable and consistent one. This creates a lot of variety in play, over the course of a PC's career.

You addressed the swinginess, but what does that have to do with looking at the probabilities? They're separate issues, and both are important for determining how a game plays out. It's like I tried to explain the Pythagorean Theorem, and someone objected that the walls are too thin to bear the load. That may be a valid issue, but the one doesn't contradict the other in any way. The frequency a bonus comes into play is the same: Valid, but not directly related to anything I said. The same is true regarding player perceptions, and how they relate to the game mechanics.

So why the objections with what I'm saying? I'm talking about a set of tools for correctly assessing changing chances of success or failure. I haven't made any grand claims that it's the only important factor. It's like there's some instinctive aversion to even allowing someone to talk about the matter.

It's also irrelevant that people make blatantly incorrect statements in casual conversation. I'm discussing a technical issue, and in that context, being precise is useful, and statements that are incorrect should be corrected. Again, it's perfectly valid to talk about how players perceive things, but it's not an objection to anything I said.

Abraxus

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Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
« Reply #158 on: January 04, 2021, 09:30:31 PM »
Chris24601 do yourself a favor and walk away. No matter what you say you are in the wrong. Even if Pat is proven wrong it's never him it's everyone else.

It's not worth the time or energy and for what to be told your wrong all the time. Focus on something more productive as well as similar posters. That extra +1 is noticeable at low levels at higher levels not that much. If the +1 bonus would truly add 50% you can bet myself and others would be doing our damn best to get that bonus. For an extra 5% it's not worth it and hardly that noticeable and not worth the effort.

« Last Edit: January 04, 2021, 09:33:20 PM by sureshot »

Pat

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Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
« Reply #159 on: January 04, 2021, 09:30:45 PM »
I'll say it again.  Some of you are missing where this does matter to players and is noticeable because you're focuing purely on chances to hit.

When it's your AC it has real and noticeable effect and after you play for a while you can see it.  It affects the risks you are willing to take.  If you are only hit on a 16 then increasing your AC further is noticeable - at a certain point you feel confident you can walk away from the 5 goons and go over and smack the wizard in the face.

Reducing the hits you take by a significant percentage means you're hit points can go a lot further. This was really noticeable in 4E because of how high you could get your AC - it's only slightly noticeable in 5E because of bounded accuracy.

It would matter for to hit chances if monsters regularly had AC that you can only hit on an 18 or 19, but that doesn't happen.  If every monster was like that then you can be sure that players would start doing everything they could to get that +1.
There's a reason for that. AC increases staying power. It acts as a multiplier of hit points, and it's not a straight linear multiple. If a monster can hit you 50% of the time, and you can survive 10 hits, then you'll last 20 rounds. But if the monster only hits 5% of the time, then you'll last 200, a full 10 times more. Games that allow AC to vary outside the narrow middle range (old school D&D, 3.X, etc.) can create tanks that are very hard to take down with simple attacks.

But you to hit roll is a multiplier of the damage you inflict. If you hit 50% of the time, and can take down a foe in 2 blows, then you'll take out a foe on average every 4 rounds. If you hit 95% of the time, then increases, but not as massively as AC. Instead of a tenfold increase, you only roughly double (1 foe in slightly over 2 rounds). But if you hit 5% of the time, then the average time it takes to drop a foe does jump tenfold, to 40 rounds.'

So a high AC is more valuable than a high attack roll, but conversely a really bad attack roll hurts more than a bad AC. And the strong effects (high AC, or bad attack) are really skewed toward the end of the scale -- 5% is a tenfold difference compared to 50%, but even a single point nudge toward the center drops that to a fivefold difference (50%/10%), and 2 points drops it to a bit over over a threefold difference (50%/15%), and so on.

TJS

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Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
« Reply #160 on: January 04, 2021, 09:34:15 PM »
I'll say it again.  Some of you are missing where this does matter to players and is noticeable because you're focuing purely on chances to hit.

When it's your AC it has real and noticeable effect and after you play for a while you can see it.  It affects the risks you are willing to take.  If you are only hit on a 16 then increasing your AC further is noticeable - at a certain point you feel confident you can walk away from the 5 goons and go over and smack the wizard in the face.

Reducing the hits you take by a significant percentage means you're hit points can go a lot further. This was really noticeable in 4E because of how high you could get your AC - it's only slightly noticeable in 5E because of bounded accuracy.

It would matter for to hit chances if monsters regularly had AC that you can only hit on an 18 or 19, but that doesn't happen.  If every monster was like that then you can be sure that players would start doing everything they could to get that +1.
There's a reason for that. AC increases staying power. It acts as a multiplier of hit points, and it's not a straight linear multiple. If a monster can hit you 50% of the time, and you can survive 10 hits, then you'll last 20 rounds. But if the monster only hits 5% of the time, then you'll last 200, a full 10 times more. Games that allow AC to vary outside the narrow middle range (old school D&D, 3.X, etc.) can create tanks that are very hard to take down with simple attacks.

But you to hit roll is a multiplier of the damage you inflict. If you hit 50% of the time, and can take down a foe in 2 blows, then you'll take out a foe on average every 4 rounds. If you hit 95% of the time, then increases, but not as massively as AC. Instead of a tenfold increase, you only roughly double (1 foe in slightly over 2 rounds). But if you hit 5% of the time, then the average time it takes to drop a foe does jump tenfold, to 40 rounds.'

So a high AC is more valuable than a high attack roll, but conversely a really bad attack roll hurts more than a bad AC. And the strong effects (high AC, or bad attack) are really skewed toward the end of the scale -- 5% is a tenfold difference compared to 50%, but even a single point nudge toward the center drops that to a fivefold difference (50%/10%), and 2 points drops it to a bit over over a threefold difference (50%/15%), and so on.
Yes.  I know that.

In fact I said that.

Pat

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Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
« Reply #161 on: January 04, 2021, 09:35:43 PM »
Chris24601 do yourself a favor and walk away. No matter what you say you are in the wrong. Even if Pat is proven wrong it's never him it's everyone else.

It's not worth the time or energy and for what to be told your wrong all the time. Focus on something more productive as well as similar posters.
Says the poster who has spend the entire OD&D thread making unfounded attacks on OD&D players.

Pat

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Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
« Reply #162 on: January 04, 2021, 09:37:32 PM »
Yes.  I know that.

In fact I said that.
I thought some additional quantification would be useful.

Abraxus

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Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
« Reply #163 on: January 04, 2021, 09:46:34 PM »
Another issue I have with complaints about optimization is how easily it is tossed out by some players in the hobby. For example I am playing a Cavalier in Pathfinder campaign (They rock as class BTW imo). Not too optimized focused on the bread and butter Cavalier feats. When I charge and hit with a Lance I do decent damage. That alone would be considered "broken" and a sure sign of "optimization". I have run for and played with actually hardcore optimizers yet where does one draw the line. So being good at what a character is supposed to do is sign optimization.   

Not to mention in later editions with the right spells and classes out of the core that +1 can go really far. A bard at least in Pathfinder is a nightmare if the class is run properly. Bardic song to inspire the rest of the group and himself to hit and do more damage. A class ability to boost other character dice rules. Spells like Saving Finale give second save to the Fighter targeted by Confusion.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2021, 09:49:41 PM by sureshot »

Pat

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Re: Is RPG Optimization Psychosis?
« Reply #164 on: January 04, 2021, 10:10:16 PM »
Another issue I have with complaints about optimization is how easily it is tossed out by some players in the hobby. For example I am playing a Cavalier in Pathfinder campaign (They rock as class BTW imo). Not too optimized focused on the bread and butter Cavalier feats. When I charge and hit with a Lance I do decent damage. That alone would be considered "broken" and a sure sign of "optimization". I have run for and played with actually hardcore optimizers yet where does one draw the line. So being good at what a character is supposed to do is sign optimization.   

Not to mention in later editions with the right spells and classes out of the core that +1 can go really far. A bard at least in Pathfinder is a nightmare if the class is run properly. Bardic song to inspire the rest of the group and himself to hit and do more damage. A class ability to boost other character dice rules. Spells like Saving Finale give second save to the Fighter targeted by Confusion.
That's all true. I think the most overlooked aspect of optimization is social skills. Having one thing you're really good at shouldn't be a cause for an outcry, we should want all players to have their time in the spotlight. Conversely, if some players are better at optimization, it's more fun for everyone if they don't go to overboard, or help other players. RPGs are cooperative games, not individual competitions. There's nothing wrong with optimization, but it's also important to make sure everyone's having fun.

That's how we managed to make a highly optimized 3.0/3.5 epic game work. The DM was experienced enough to look over the character sheets and spot when something was too far out of step, but otherwise let everyone run with whatever they wanted. And the players were mature enough to work with each other. We wanted powerful, but we also wanted interesting and fun, so some choices were deliberately more challenging than others (like a high LA skill monkey). So we talked it out, and avoided stepping on each other's toes.

Bardic abilities and other abilities that apply to a lot of characters tend to be very powerful, especially as the group increases in size.