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Topic: The Speed trap - an assessment of Speed in DestinyQuest

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  • The Speed trap - an assessment of Speed in DestinyQuest

    I love DestinyQuest, but one thing that bothers me more than anything about this game is the Speed trap.
    You always need more Speed. Speed does far more for you than any other stat. Indeed, a point of Speed is usually more important than any other consideration when selecting gear.

    That's a shame, really. All that fine gear, with interesting abilities, but do those items keep me on the speed treadmill? No? Gotta dump 'em.

    Why is that?
    Let's look at the following table, which analyses how likely you are to win combat rounds for a speed differential, all other things being equal.

    Spd diff| Rounds you win for every round they win
    -5   | 0.06
    -4   | 0.12
    -3   | 0.22
    -2   | 0.36
    -1   | 0.60
    0   | 1
    +1   | 1.66
    +2   | 2.72
    +3   | 4.80
    +4   | 8.52
    +5   | 16.93

    See, if I fall behind even by 1 Speed point, the enemy are winning 1.66 combat rounds for each round I win. If I fall behind by 2 speed points, they are winning 2.72 combat rounds for each round I win.

    The only item benefits that comes even close to the value of Speed points are those abilities that allow you to 'flip' a combat round from their victory to yours. Abilities like trickster, deceive, overpower, brutality, and command. How do they stack up?
    Suppose I am at -1 speed to you. You get 5 wins to my 3, so to even the score, I'd need to spend one 'flip' ability every 8 rounds that don't stalemate.
    If I am at -2 speed? Then you win 19 rounds to my 7, so I'd need to flip every 4 1/3 rounds.
    God forbid I'm at -3 speed. Then you win 48 rounds to my 10, so I'd need to flip every 3 rounds to balance it.

    Spd diff| # of flip abilities you need
    -3   | 1 every 3 rounds of fighting
    -2   | 1 every 4 1/3 rounds of fighting
    -1   | 1 every 8 rounds of fighting

    So it looks like if you expect a fight to go 8 rounds of combat or fewer, trading a point of speed in favour of a flip ability on a one-for-one basis is worthwhile. If the fight lasts longer, then Speed is better.

    So why is this the case?

    The reason for this is the way Combat uses 2d6. Since incidences of high and low numbers fall off sharply, you get into trouble. If I have a 3 point speed deficit, the odds of me rolling high *and* you rolling low are much worse. Witness what happens when we replace 2d6 with 1d12:

    Spd diff| Rounds you win for every round they win
    -5   | 0.18
    -4   | 0.26
    -3   | 0.36
    -2   | 0.51
    -1   | 0.70
    0   | 1
    +1   | 1.42
    +2   | 1.99
    +3   | 2.75
    +4   | 3.80
    +5   | 5.52

    Spd diff| # of flip abilities you need
    -3   | 1 every 4 1/4 rounds of fighting
    -2   | 1 every 6 rounds of fighting
    -1   | 1 every 12 rounds of fighting

    Much better. Also, the break-even point for 'flip' abilities is with fights that last more than 12 rounds, not 8 rounds.
    If you want to play with it more, the following principles apply:
    * Single dice work better than multiple dice added together, because a flat distribution curve is most favourable to those 'left behind' with speed.
    * Changing the size of the dice matters. The smaller your dice, the more painful speed differentials will be. The larger the dice, the less painful.

    Side note - if you look at how Dungeons & Dragons works, they use this mechanic in to-hit rolls. They use 1d20, but the same analysis applies.

  • Re: The Speed trap - an assessment of Speed in DestinyQuest

    I wonder if maybe making enemies with higher speeds have significantly lower brawn or armour, or enemies with low speed have much higher brawn or armor would help balance it a bit. For example if an enemy has 14 speed it should have maybe 5 brawn or 3 armor. That way speed would be less Important as even if you lost a combat round you wouldn't necessarily receive as much damage, or your skills and abilities could do more damage to the enemy. So 14 speed, 5 brawn, 6 armor, or 9 speed, 16 brawn, 7 armor. When one stat is really high another could be really low. This might make the balance better and decrease such a huge reliance on speed.

  • Re: The Speed trap - an assessment of Speed in DestinyQuest

    I don't disagree that speed is important, although you do need to take into consideration the vast range of abilities at a hero's disposal. You only mention a few 'flip' abilities in your analysis - but consider the speed abilities (haste, webbed, curse) that help to win rounds, the combat abilities that let you do huge bursts of damage when you win (piercing, deep wound, heavy blow etc) and also the passives that will tick away from one round to the next (bleed, disease, barbs, thorns).

    Also, Winter's Fury heroes also have death moves, which mean that you get extra chances to deal damage or heal as opponents are defeated.

    So I agree that speed is important and you never want to ever drop below -2 against the current level of opponents, but you also have to factor the wealth of abilities that can inflict damage, help you to win rounds, and avoid your opponent's blows. Careful choice of abilities can help boost slower heroes.

    On a side note - item upgrading is a common trait in most action role-playing games. You often get a favourite item/weapon - but once something better drops, you would be foolish not to take it. The runes and glyphs that can be found in the game do offer opportunity to upgrade some of your older items and ensure a longer playing life.

  • Re: The Speed trap - an assessment of Speed in DestinyQuest

    One thing I noticed on my first run was the lack of combats in act 2. Once I was past the green quest I think theres something like 7 or 8 combats in the whole act? I found I had to replace equipment after every fight or else I would be behind on speed. Not a problem for me as my hero was quite powerful but perhaps the shortage of items in act 2 makes it a bit harder for some people?

  • Re: The Speed trap - an assessment of Speed in DestinyQuest

    Thank you all very much for reading my analysis. Some further thoughts:

    Da Boss:
    I don't believe I do need to take into account so many of the vast range of abilities at a hero's disposal. However, some ofthe ones you mention are worth discussing, so let me reply point by point:
    Haste, webbed, and curse: These skills are strictly worse than the flip abilities. This is because you can only use them *before* you know what the outcome of the speed comparison will be. They could be wasted overkill. By comparison, the flip abilities are used only after speed is rolled, so they only ever flip the result of a round you were going to lose anyway.

    Piercing, deep wound, heavy blow: Deep wound and heavy blow are not interesting to this analysis, because they do not scale. +3 damage if you win a combat round is not a value proposition against enemies with 100 health. Piercing is worth considering. If the enemy is not immune, it's often worth an entire combat round (or near one) by itself. If you consider piercing as +1 combat round win, then it's worth slightly less than a flip ability (which also removes a combat round win from the enemy). Still, it's close.

    Barbs, thorns, disease, venom, bleed, etc:
    These skills are also very good. For a fight lasting an average of 10 rounds, if you ensure you hit in the first round, they are each the rough equivalent of +2 combat round, but many enemies are immune to them, so I would rate them as +1 combat round - potentially worth dropping a speed point for.

    I still conclude that there are few skills worth sacrificing a speed point for. Flip abilities are best. Down the scale but close are piercing, DOT abilities (if the enemy isn't immune), and the dodge family (if the enemy isn't immune).

    I don't believe abilities that boost speed before speed dice are rolled rate much of a mention, or abilities whose damage boost doesn't scale into the 10+ range.

    Further thought regarding items:
    Speed is worth far more than Brawn. I don't think enough items take that into account. If an item is available that's 'off the speed curve', to make it competitive requires either a high value ability, or a *lot* more brawn and armor. An example, the crown of command: Even the crown itself is barely competitive, hamstrung as it is by the lack of speed bonus. If it didn't have a flip ability (worth 1 speed) it would never be taken. 5 Brawn is strictly much worse than 2 speed 3 brawn. (since I would always trade 1 Brawn for 1 Speed). The CoC is effectively 5 brawn 1 speed though, so you're being offered to give up 1 speed and whatever ability is on the 2sp/3br headgear, in exchange for 2 brawn. It's a very marginal trade.

  • Re: The Speed trap - an assessment of Speed in DestinyQuest

    If anyone want to play hard games and adventures with more strategy in them have to choose items with speed abilities. 2d6 give us more options and I agree with this system in the books.
    In LoS at Act 2 we realy have to choose speed in the items, but in Act 3 we can replace it with others with low speed point and some speed abilities.
    In HoF speed isn't a problem. There are some "godest" abilities like "shure grip" and so many "Charm" for use.
    I think that speed abilities must to use before rolling dies like now.

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