Pacing Specialists, part 2

Last time we looked offensive specialist and how they perform in mixed groups. This time I’d like to see what happens if we run the same scenarios with focused fire.

If you recall, we did the last round of tests with 2 unit groups. In the balanced group, both units had an offense and initial health of 1. In the mixed group, we substituted one of those 1/1 units with a more offensively oriented 2/0.5 unit.

That means for the balanced team, their collective damage rate equals their remaining members. For the balanced teams, the damage rate works out to: number of balanced members + 2 * number of offense specialist.

Now let’s see how focused fire works out with these groups. We’ll start by focusing on the balanced members, then try focusing on offense specialists.

I’ve set up a spreadsheet here. which lets you test for different combinations and values. I’ve included observation from this in the “extended results” section of each run.

Focus Fire on Defense

Pass 1
Time to Member Loss
mixed team time = balanced member health / balanced team damage rate = 1/2
balance team time = balanced health / mixed team damage rate = 1 / (1 + 2) = 1/3

Results
Balanced team loses 1 member in 1/3 time. Mixed team’s balanced member drops to 1/3 health (1 initial health – 2 health loss rate * 1/3 time).

Pass 2
Time to Member Loss
mixed team time = balanced member health / balanced team damage rate = (1/3) / 1 = 1/3
balance team time = balanced health / mixed team damage rate = 1 / (1 + 2) = 1/3

Results
Both teams lose a member in 1/3 tic. This leaves the mixed side with one member at full health and the balanced side defeated.

Extended Results
An offensive damage rate of two seems to be the break point for only the offense surviving. Past that point, the defender also survives with health equal to (offensive damage rate – 2) / (offensive damage rate + 1).

Focus Fire on Offense

Pass 1
Time to Member Loss
mixed team time = offense health / balanced team damage rate = 0.5/2 = 1/4
balance team time = balanced health / mixed team damage rate = 1 / (1 + 2) = 1/3

Results
Mixed team loses offense in 1/4 tic. Targeted member of balanced team drops to 1/4 health (1 initial health – 3 health loss rate * 1/4 time).

Pass 2
Time to Member Loss
mixed team time = balanced member health / balanced team damage rate = 1/2
balance team time = balanced health / mixed team damage rate = (1/4)/1 = 1/4

Results
Balance team loses member in 1/4 tic. Mixed team’s remaining member drops to 1/2 health (1 initial health – 2 health loss rate * 1/4 time).

Pass 3
Time to Member Loss
mixed team time = balanced member health / balanced team damage rate = (1/2)/1 = 1/2
balance team time = balanced health / mixed team damage rate = 1 / 1 = 1

Results
Mixed team loses last member in 1/2 tic. Last member of balanced team drops to 1/2 health (1 initial health – 1 health loss rate * 1/2 time).

Extend Results
Further testing gave the balanced team an increasing advantage of the offense’s damage rate climbed and it’s durability fell. The health left seems to follow this progression: health remaining = (offense damage rate – 1) / offense damage rate. This gives us a limit of 1 member at full health as the offense’s damage rate approaches infinity.

Conclusion

As we’ve seen adding a frail but heavy hitting member (also known as a “glass cannon”) can actually work against their team if that member is balanced for one on one conflicts. This disadvantage is greatest when the enemy can focus fire on the offender, but is still present even with no focus fire at all.

However, the glass cannon actually becomes a net advantage if enemy fire is focused on a more defensive member.

The advantages provided to both sides becomes more extreme the higher offense climbs, within certain limits.

Given this, it’s no surprise that players started have defensive characters act as hit magnets or “tanks” for their glass cannon allies. After all, it lets those who favor fast paced and slower combat play together by simply pushing enemies toward poor tactics.

The this is once players started doing this, it laid the ground work for a self-reinforcing cycle. After all, offensive character can push their damage increasingly high without worrying about the drop in health if they never take damage. On the other hand, this means defenders have to be tougher and better and keeping enemy fire focused on them as the more allies push toward glass cannons, the easier it is for them to drop if any damage does make it past the defenders.

I will say I don’t think the tank + glass cannon combo is the only way to solve these problems. You could easily do things like give character the ability to control their pacing. This would let glass cannons scale back their damage for defense if they start taking a lot of heat. By the same token, tanks could scale up their damage if enemies are ignoring them. While I think the tanking solution is an solid answer to this problem, I think there are others that are certainly worth exploring.

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Published in: on June 12, 2011 at 1:59 pm  Leave a Comment  
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