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 Post subject: Re: character point cost overhaul
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 10:07 am 
Droid Army Commander
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Since so many others have chimed in without answering your question Toady, I'll throw my two cents into this thread for posterity's sake.

First some game history on the actual design process (not that Eric (Engineer) is actually all that far off). Rob Watkins designed the early sets in groups of three, taking basically one month to complete each set, pending LFL approval. Over the course of the game, it's future continuation was always in question. Wizards would not commit in house to long term production of the game so Rob made many a final set. Rebel Storm was designed as a one off. Universe, A&E, Kotor, IE were all final sets. The assignment of the final cost score was not done by Rob. He had former Magic R&D/Magic Pro-Tour Mons Johnson do all the costing. To say no formula was used is misleading.

The costing was based officially on two factors (well actually three if you include attempts to compensate for errors). A simple formula that can be reverse engineered by anyone with some time and a sliding scale based on a units rating Rob would to assign it.

Every unit in every set was assigned a rating from 1 to 10. If a unit was given a 1 it was destined to be a univerally recognized bad piece that would offer less than others of the exact same cost. Early examples of 1's include the Ithorian Scout and Klatoonian Enforcer. If a unit was given a 10, this was going to be a great piece. Rob would include a note on it for Mons saying something "Fan favorite, cost aggressively." Aurra Sing is an example of an 10 if not higher often viewed as mistake in too agressively costed.
Boris the Dwarf/Grand Moff Boris/Boris/aka Dennis Beard famously (at least for us old time SWM nerds) asked Rob about this in person at Gencon in regard to the differences in the Stormtrooper :stormie: and the Rebel Trooper :geek: , both five points but clearly not the same. Rob confirmed the Stormtrooper by straight formula should have been 6 points but because they wanted them to be more playable they made them only cost 5. Other "considerations" to cost would be the Commander Effects available within the faction, I use quotations marks because this was never really considered by Mons as far as I can see but it was a standard line given any time costing came up. This sliding scale effectively gave many units no cost bonuses while detrimenting others straight out of the gate. When squads were constructed that only included undercosted 10's they would have the advantage of being actually worth more in play value than the average squad, that was made up of lesser aggresively costed units.

Famous costing mistakes that rocked the game: most notably is the Jedi Weapon Master from Champions of the Force. Supposedly originally costed/designed as a Unique but changed to Non-Unique status at the last minute without adjusting the cost, made all Melee in it's price range obsolete shortly after release. Another that was a combination of costing mistake and a design mistake is Boba Fett Bounty Hunter, who's Accurate Shot/Disintegration/Twin Attack/+18 Attack on Uniques coupled with Mobile Attack/ Twin Attack/Flight was not supposed to include Accurate Shot as it was deemed too powerful, but whoops another editing error, (oh well, who cares we are only making one more set, it's not like this is Magic after all.)

To say that extensive playtesting for Wizards was seen as an unneccessary endevour for SWM is an understatement. For one thing they did not have enough time to being that they only allowed a month for each set. The cursory playtesting that was done was only within the current set or sets being designed at the time-see Soresu Mastery, rather than the game as a whole. With this disregard of playtesting, powerful Synergies emerged that were unforseen by Rob, but were figured out by the top players in the game (B&B), while others combinations were pratically written on the stat card (Nom Bombs, Republic SS, Han Cannon).

Recosting all the Wizards minis to balance the cost of pieces across the board for the game they finished with Masters of the Force will not keep the game/active competitive play alive which is why members of this site have opted to produce the V-sets. A much more grand effort than simply restatting the cost. It maintains interest in the game more than a list of 800 new costs ever could.

If you read this whole post, here is an ewok :Ewok: . Sorry for the Rickroll.

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 Post subject: Re: character point cost overhaul
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 10:53 am 
Jedi Knight
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That was a good, insightful read. I'm glad the V-Sets are getting playtested more than the original game.


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 Post subject: Re: character point cost overhaul
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:07 pm 
One of the Sith on Malgus' Shuttle
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wannabemexican wrote:
That was a good, insightful read. I'm glad the V-Sets are getting playtested more than the original game.

They're getting loads of playtesting. The thread for playtesting is at least 20 pages long with each post usually consisting of several characters. I doubt WotC put that much time into playtesting ^_^


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 Post subject: Re: character point cost overhaul
PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2011 10:54 am 
Unnamed Stormtrooper
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Thx R5Don4 for some background - I am new to the behind scenes politics of it all.
But I still see it as an ewok/wookie (apples/oranges) kind of thing. Completely reworking old characters and creating new ones is great - its why I asked this question to begin with, but for me 97.31% of the characters are ok except they just don't play well together. I see a complete cost overhaul as kind of legitimizing the whole game as such. Guess I'm just old fashion.

I did make customs of
Yarael Poof
Oppo Rancisis
Tyvokka
and was trying to develop stats/costs for them


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 Post subject: Re: character point cost overhaul
PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2011 3:47 pm 
Intelligence Operative
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As a nice middle ground, how about more v-set characters with rapport (higher then 1 if need be) and CEs for the really overcosted pieces. Examples early set fringe... Yes all them haha. And all separatist large/huge droids especially the super battle Droids and commando Droids. Most republic unique jedi, rebel troopers, vong warriors, and so on and henceforth. There is a nice healthy mix to be found between redo-ing old suck pieces and rapportimg ones that were just a bit off. I also think the designers here are doing an awesome job so far at finding this balance. Now please fix huges haha


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 Post subject: Re: character point cost overhaul
PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2011 6:37 pm 
Moff Disra
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GeneralGrievous wrote:
As a nice middle ground, how about more v-set characters with rapport (higher then 1 if need be) and CEs for the really overcosted pieces. Examples early set fringe... Yes all them haha. And all separatist large/huge droids especially the super battle Droids and commando Droids. Most republic unique jedi, rebel troopers, vong warriors, and so on and henceforth. There is a nice healthy mix to be found between redo-ing old suck pieces and rapportimg ones that were just a bit off. I also think the designers here are doing an awesome job so far at finding this balance. Now please fix huges haha

New Super BD in Theed. Support R&R to get the card.


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 Post subject: Re: character point cost overhaul
PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2011 7:23 pm 
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Wow, missed this essay when first posted. Pretty good read. I'm going to pull out a few things and correct what I believe to be inaccuracies just for additional posterity. :lol: Overall, it still gives a pretty good idea.

R5Don4 wrote:
The assignment of the final cost score was not done by Rob. He had former Magic R&D/Magic Pro-Tour do all the costing.


Rob had the final say on all costs. Mons however did the preliminary costing of all figs and most of it stuck.

Quote:
To say no formula was used is misleading.


I would argue the exact opposite, but perhaps that's semantics on how one defines a formula. I think most people will thing that element A adds X to the cost and element B adds Y and every element has an associated cost. You add them up and get the basic cost. WotC did not have a formula in that respect. No where was there a secret chart with 20 Damage vs 10 Damage or anything else. It's all comparison based to other figures, which is formulaic in some respect, but not what I think most people would consider a formula.

Quote:
The costing was based officially on two factors (well actually three if you include attempts to compensate for errors). A simple formula that can be reverse engineered by anyone with some time and a sliding scale based on a units rating Rob would to assign it.


As noted, no such animal. Confirmed by Rob multiple times.

Quote:
Every unit in every set was assigned a rating from 1 to 10. If a unit was given a 1 it was destined to be a univerally recognized bad piece that would offer less than others of the exact same cost. Early examples of 1's include the Ithorian Scout and Klatoonian Enforcer. If a unit was given a 10, this was going to be a great piece.


I believe this is a complete misinterpretation of some of Rob's comments. As I understand it, there was a power-scale used but it was earlier in the process and completely unrelated to cost or cost/value ratio. I believe he used it when discussing with LFL and/or Bill Slavicek to determine how powerful they wanted a particular character to be. So Ewoks are 1 and Vader SL was originally a 10. And maybe when they designed Vader JH he asked the question and they answered the question "he's the meanest of the mean--pump this Vader up to 11!". And that ended up being 75 points. But it's important to understand that IG-86s are fantastic for their cost, but they're still power 3 or so, not 10. Power is not related to cost. Similarly Reven was again a case of "Make this guy an 11!" even though he's not worth 88 points. Rob talked about this in relation to characters who he didn't know all that well--it let him get a grip on whether he was shooting for a mid-costed 30ish point character or a 60 point plus monster.

Quote:
Boris the Dwarf/Grand Moff Boris/Boris/aka Dennis Beard famously (at least for us old time SWM nerds) asked Rob about this in person at Gencon in regard to the differences in the Stormtrooper :stormie: and the Rebel Trooper :geek: , both five points but clearly not the same. Rob confirmed the Stormtrooper by straight formula should have been 6 points but because they wanted them to be more playable they made them only cost 5.


Here's the actual quote:

chat wrote:
boris_the_dwarf: Could you explain how you came up with the point system, specifically for basic troopers? The basic Rebels seem much weaker than their Imperial counterparts for the same cost.

wotc_robwatkins: I started off by organizing all of the miniatures in Rebel Storm by relative power level. Then I rescaled the point values such that they miniatures fit into a 100-point format. The basic Rebel troopers are not as good as the Stormtroopers, pound for pound, for their point cost. This was by design. The Stormtroopers are worth more like 5.8 to 6 points, but we priced them at 5 so that we would see lots of Stormtroopers in play on the table. The Rebel uniques are also priced aggressively because we wanted to see Han and Chewie and friends running around the game.



It's subtle but Rob never said anything about a formula in that interview. In comparison to a Rebel Trooper the Stormie should have been 6 because he's obviously statistically better. But this was indeed the fount where all myths about a secret formula sprang. :P But very few have gone back and looked at what was actually said...


Quote:
The cursory playtesting that was done was only within the current set or sets being designed at the time-see Soresu Mastery, rather than the game as a whole.


I don't think this is true at all. Older pieces were clearly considered and included in playtesting. (That alone however doesn't mean that there aren't a ton of questionable pricing decisions in this regard. It's just too simplistic and inaccurate an answer.)

Thanks for writing it all out in one place. The clarifications above wouldn't be possible without all the time you put into the original post.

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