Heirloom Derby

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Heirloom Derby

Postby Kinak » Mon Jun 30, 2014 7:55 pm

I really, really like heirloom retcons. And, I figured, what better way to share my love of heirloom retcons than a running contest?

Thus begins the Heirloom Derby! To enter, just complete an heirloom retcon pulling one of the chosen items by the end of the month. Enter as many times as you want, there are quite a few categories you might want to shoot for.

This month's Heirloom Derby boards are visible from a link in Nocturne's. You can probably figure out the items and judging criteria by looking at the chart.

I set the Derby to run each month so we can do "Item of the Month" heirlooms, which are usually a lot of fun, without having contests based on items people can't get... which is less fun. Each month's derby will have two items, one IotMy and one that's just a random item I think is interesting.

Get your retcons done by the end of the month and receive fame and fortune. Not only will the records stick around to inspire future generations, there are also whispers of derby-only items awarded to the winners each month... because I just started whispering them. Right now.

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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby xKiv » Tue Jul 01, 2014 4:47 am

Kinak wrote:...there are also whispers of derby-only items awarded to the winners each month... because I just started whispering them. Right now.


(whispers) different every month?

(I kind of hope that it's not different *every* month; I would be totally comfortable with a cycle (like, different for every month-of-year))

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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby Kinak » Tue Jul 01, 2014 5:42 am

The winners (each month) get sweet items. Sorry if what "each month" was modifying wasn't clear.

The items may change from time to time, but I don't plan on adding different items every month.

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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby erfMortium » Sun Jul 06, 2014 2:48 am

You know, I liked the idea of this when it first appeared, but now I realise that as it is a timed contest it is just another way for the age old players to win phat lewt since they have all the extra skill points and permed skills to allocate.

I was hoping that this idea would allow the younger players a chance to obtain some kind of a way to catch up.
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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby Harry Dresden » Sun Jul 06, 2014 6:15 am

There are two categories for each Heirloom item: days and mettle. Older players do have a big advantage in the Days column, but anyone choosing the highest amount of Mettle gets very little advantage from being an old player. It's almost an even playing field.

Also, this will be an ongoing contest with new items every month. So you may be the "new player" for now, but after a few months of retcons you'll have the same advantage as the other older players.

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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby Kinak » Sun Jul 06, 2014 8:22 am

The game does unabashedly reward long-term play. Harry's right, though, that Speed and Mettle are very different arenas.

Speed will always favor those with the sweetest sidekicks and skills. That said, I think it's exponentially easier to compete there than in an arena allowing sidekicks, skills, and items.

The only advantage with Mettle is how the bonus skill points interact with low-skill runs... which just feels wrong anyway. I'll put some thought into that, but I don't believe a few skill points here or there is likely to push anyone out of competition.

In either case, as you try for those runs, the gap between "new" and "old" decreases. At absolute worst, it's something fun to shoot for while you perm the skills you want.

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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby Satan » Wed Jul 09, 2014 10:42 pm

Can we get a clarification on what it means to win? I.e., only the first person for each item per category, or are there runners up, etc.
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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby Kinak » Thu Jul 10, 2014 4:42 am

Satan wrote:Can we get a clarification on what it means to win? I.e., only the first person for each item per category, or are there runners up, etc.
What does it mean to win? To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their significant others!

There are also a number of different rewards that have different criteria. It's not just first place.

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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby Patojonas » Sat Jul 12, 2014 9:16 am

will some of the rewards be unavailable in future events? or will they cycle back in from time to time?

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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby Kinak » Sat Jul 12, 2014 10:04 am

Patojonas wrote:will some of the rewards be unavailable in future events? or will they cycle back in from time to time?
There'll be a Derby every month. I have no plans to push out a new slate of rewards every month.

The rewards will exclusive to Derbies, not exclusive to a particular month's Derby, if that helps.

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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby Patojonas » Sat Jul 12, 2014 11:51 am

Kinak wrote:not exclusive to a particular month's Derby, if that helps.


What I wanted to know, thanks :wink:

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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby Satan » Sun Jul 13, 2014 10:22 am

Will there be a reward for having the most runs on the board?
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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby Kinak » Sun Jul 13, 2014 10:35 am

Satan wrote:Will there be a reward for having the most runs on the board?
There will be rewards for stuff other than just placement and certainly having more runs will never hurt.

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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby Satan » Sun Jul 13, 2014 8:47 pm

I had thought the speed runs were sorted by first days and then time to complete the run, but upon inspection they're sorted by days and then alphabetical name. Wouldn't sorting by hours like the other retcon leaderboards be more appropriate?
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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby Kinak » Mon Jul 14, 2014 4:43 am

Satan wrote:I had thought the speed runs were sorted by first days and then time to complete the run, but upon inspection they're sorted by days and then alphabetical name. Wouldn't sorting by hours like the other retcon leaderboards be more appropriate?
Or it's sorting by something else and it happens to match the alphabet :)

Trust me, my last name starts with W, I know the pain and suffering caused by alphabetical order.

Mousing over the number of days/mettle should give you the breakdown.

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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby Satan » Mon Jul 14, 2014 5:58 am

That's somewhat odd. So speed is ranked by days, and then mettle per time spent to break the ties? I figured since there's a category for mettle anyways, mettle wouldn't need to factor in to the speed runs either way. It kinda gives preference to adding slightly more mettle to the run, since the increase in mettle weighs more than the few extra hours it would add. I'm kind of in favor of speed run being purely about speed. If someone manages to get a faster time putting in more mettle, more power to them, but factoring in the mettle kind of skews it so that a slower run can outrank faster runs.
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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby xKiv » Tue Jul 15, 2014 2:16 am

Satan wrote:..., but factoring in the mettle kind of skews it so that a slower run can outrank faster runs.


So the competition isn't just being the best at a particular difficulty setting, but also about picking the difficulty settings so that you make the best daycount you can, while hitting the spot where you put in the best performance in terms of mettle/minute farming.
I think this is a pretty good approach to the "too many leaderboards" problem.

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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby Kinak » Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:25 am

There were a few reasons for that.

xKiv wrote:So the competition isn't just being the best at a particular difficulty setting, but also about picking the difficulty settings so that you make the best daycount you can, while hitting the spot where you put in the best performance in terms of mettle/minute farming.
This is one of them. I think the skill to cut out everything you don't need for speed deserves to be rewarded sometimes.

Also, mettle was always going to need day count for a tiebreaker, so having the day count board not refer to mettle seems both unfair and weirdly asymmetrical.

Lastly, there's some merit in having different boards reward different things. There are already a ton of boards for pure speed. Adding yet another board for pure speed has less value than adding a board for something a little more nuanced.

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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby Satan » Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:50 pm

That sounds good in theory. But take for instance, Harry's 11 mettle run, with sidekick having to be recruited. Having the sidekick isn't that essential, although the IotM ones can help your run alot. Harry finished in 52 hours, but in order to pass his time/mettle (without beating the day count of 5), you need to finish a 9 mettle run in 42 hours. Certainly possible, depending on luck, but it seems disproportionate.

EDIT: Ideally, what it means is that you should hope having the sidekick can push you to 4 days instead of 5, but that's also based on luck. But then the day count has no reflection of mettle, so some of that symmetry is broken.
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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby Harry Dresden » Wed Jul 16, 2014 5:57 am

Don't use my run as an example! That's my account with no donation skills, sidekicks, or Hideout items - i.e., as equal as it's going to get with any low level players or non-donators. Plus, it took me 6 hours to find a freaking data plate in that run so I could build a computer. So basically, you're just saying that even with a donation sidekick from the beginning you couldn't compete with a practical newbie that the RNG absolutely loves to hate. :P

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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby Satan » Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:16 am

Harry Dresden wrote:Don't use my run as an example! That's my account with no donation skills, sidekicks, or Hideout items - i.e., as equal as it's going to get with any low level players or non-donators. Plus, it took me 6 hours to find a freaking data plate in that run so I could build a computer. So basically, you're just saying that even with a donation sidekick from the beginning you couldn't compete with a practical newbie that the RNG absolutely loves to hate. :P

That's literally exactly my point. The sidekick can't make enough difference to actually bridge the significant gap, even against a newb char. Which means the mettle added is far more valuable than the sidekick itself when it comes to mettle/time spent.
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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby xKiv » Thu Jul 17, 2014 7:12 am

Satan wrote:That's literally exactly my point. The sidekick can't make enough difference to actually bridge the significant gap, even against a newb char. Which means the mettle added is far more valuable than the sidekick itself when it comes to mettle/time spent.


You seem to be stuck on the idea that 1 mettle should have the same value no matter what. That's impossible anyway - the same retcon option has different value with different combinations of other options, for different people, for different characters ....

It's not the developers responsibility to balance mettle values.
It's your responsibility to balance your resources and skills against retcon options to get the best leaderboard position you can. If you could have gotten better position by not using a sidekick, you shouldn't have used a sidekick. If that wouldn't have been enough, you are just that much worse.

I just ... don't understand why every option combination should have the same competeability.

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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby Satan » Thu Jul 17, 2014 8:46 am

Wow. I don't know why I bother with these debates. The point is that if the option isn't worth the mettle it takes away, in terms of speed gained, why should it be that much more valuable when comparing speed runs? It's really easy to get 52 hours run with a fresh character without a sidekick if you know what you're doing. It's near impossible to get 42 hours, in this particular heirloom situation, without serious luck and an IotM sidekick- and a less fresh character will have an even more unbeatable, probably impossible time.

I am FULLY aware that your advice is to just do another type of run to get a better mettle/time spent. I'm saying that this doesn't work in practice because the numerator, the one on top, is tremendously more valuable to increasing your mettle/time spent, than the denominator, the one on bottom. Regardless of what the mettle happens to be from, sidekick, no sugar, etc., it will /almost always/ be worth more compared to a slightly lesser amount of mettle. It's a property of division, because the values of the numerator are smaller than the values of the denominator, the reduction of the top has a much greater effect than the reduction of the bottom. Which means so long as you can hit the same amount of days, you can be unlucky and slow and make mistakes and still more likely than not beat someone with less mettle in their run. Not because you were better, just because that's how math works.

Noticing that and just adding more mettle to the run so that I can get a better place superficially, while barely adding any difficulty, doesn't make me a better player, and that's my argument. If that doesn't matter here, there's no point in discussing it further. I just don't feel like the point is being taken.
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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby Kinak » Thu Jul 17, 2014 11:37 am

xKiv wrote:It's your responsibility to balance your resources and skills against retcon options to get the best leaderboard position you can. If you could have gotten better position by not using a sidekick, you shouldn't have used a sidekick. If that wouldn't have been enough, you are just that much worse.
Yeah, I actually really like this aspect of it. It's not often I get to let people choose their level of challenge or involvement, so finding a place like this to include that option is nice.

It's a different sort of challenge, though, so probably not for everyone.

Satan wrote:I just don't feel like the point is being taken.
You've amply communicated that you don't like it and why. You're probably right that it's time to bow out.

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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby xKiv » Fri Jul 18, 2014 4:02 am

Satan wrote:...
Noticing that and just adding more mettle to the run so that I can get a better place superficially, while barely adding any difficulty, doesn't make me a better player


I think we will have to disagree here.
Disliking this kind of metagaming is a valid preference (equally valid as the alternatives), but it doesn't make the metagaming itself invalid as a gameplay mechanic.


BTW, if it was it in a pure speed way, I suspect all serious attempts would have to be 4-mettle (heirloom on, and then everything else permitted), and only on characters with all skills permed with some extra skill points (every minute counts). Somehow I don't think that would be better.

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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby Cristiona » Mon Jul 21, 2014 10:06 pm

Ugh. Forgot how much I hate maso, even masoloom. Nommy's insane.
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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby Satan » Tue Jul 22, 2014 5:11 am

xKiv wrote:
Satan wrote:...
Noticing that and just adding more mettle to the run so that I can get a better place superficially, while barely adding any difficulty, doesn't make me a better player


I think we will have to disagree here.
Disliking this kind of metagaming is a valid preference (equally valid as the alternatives), but it doesn't make the metagaming itself invalid as a gameplay mechanic.


BTW, if it was it in a pure speed way, I suspect all serious attempts would have to be 4-mettle (heirloom on, and then everything else permitted), and only on characters with all skills permed with some extra skill points (every minute counts). Somehow I don't think that would be better.


It's not that I dislike it, I just don't think it's a matter of skill in this case, because of how much extra mettle disproportionately affects the ranking.

Is a 4 mettle heirloom even possible? I don't have the point values in front of me, but if you have heirloom you get 4, and class you get 5, and the lowest point values from the other categories are 0. All of the negative values are in items category, right? So it would have to be 9. You don't really need /all/ skills permed either, there's a specific set that are vital:

One low level healing skill that doesn't need to have points put in (knit flesh or first aid kit)
Lifeblood manipulation
Meditation
Proper hydration
Starfish regeneration
Aura: Mental Magnetism
Aura: Keen Observation
Echolocation
Animal Kung Foolery (kind of optional, purely for fighting the Mick)
Sugar purifier (kind of optional, if you can get access to good sugar)
Metal detector (kind of optional, helps with taut sinew/combat paperclip/swingline stapler, and madness items)
Catalyze (kind of optional, good for precoffee to postprecoffee, only needs 4 points)
Precompletion Pro

Then there are a few passives which are nice to have, don't really need points:
Battle armor
Premonition
Basic Martial Arts
Advanced Martial Arts

That's only 17 skills, 8 of which are mostly optional. The main thing that will help any run is the number of runs you've done before, since more skill points each level up is crucial. In which case, you're going to be picking up more than 17 skills while you're doing the point crunching, if you want to try to do speed runs. Which reminds me. Why isn't this a retcon option, to increase mettle by dropping point increase back down to fresh character for the run (and receiving the lost points in aftercore)?
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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby Kinak » Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:25 am

Satan wrote:Which reminds me. Why isn't this a retcon option, to increase mettle by dropping point increase back down to fresh character for the run (and receiving the lost points in aftercore)?
The way mettle and skill points interact needs a look in general.

I'd like to switch it from scaling based on previous retcons to scaling based on available skills, so that skill-restricted runs naturally adjust and high-level accounts that have gathered a bunch of non-class skills get some more points. It also handles the transition to aftercore elegantly.

But, like most things, the theory is the easy part. There are some tricky corner cases I need to figure out before I can actually make any changes.

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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby Cristiona » Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:22 pm

Kinak wrote:I'd like to switch it from scaling based on previous retcons

Aww... but I like getting 14/level.
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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby xKiv » Wed Jul 23, 2014 3:53 am

Satan wrote:It's not that I dislike it, I just don't think it's a matter of skill in this case, because of how much extra mettle disproportionately affects the ranking.


Which is the thing that you don't like.
(I would describe myseld as being more ambivalent about it; it's acceptable when not excessive)

Is a 4 mettle heirloom even possible? I don't have the point values in front of me, but if you have heirloom you get 4, and class you get 5, and the lowest point values from the other categories are 0. All of the negative values are in items category, right? So it would have to be 9. You don't really need /all/ skills permed either, there's a specific set that are vital:


Durrr...

That's only 17 skills, 8 of which are mostly optional. The main thing that will help any run is the number of runs you've done before, since more skill points each level up is crucial. In which case, you're going to be picking up more than 17 skills while you're doing the point crunching, if you want to try to do speed runs. Which reminds me


I think you would still want all the skills and all the points, just on the off chance that it makes the minute difference makes a minute of difference, eventually, in the One Perfect Run.



Kinak wrote:I'd like to switch it from scaling based on previous retcons to scaling based on available skills, so that skill-restricted runs naturally adjust and high-level accounts that have gathered a bunch of non-class skills get some more points. It also handles the transition to aftercore elegantly.


I feel like that would remove about a third or half of the incentive to retcon that I still have left. A character that can max out ALL the skills at level 2 is a clear and definite goal that can be worked towards for decades (even with just 17 class skills and 4 classes, that's 4*17 skills *10 points per skill *10 retcons per extra skillpoint at level 2 - 2 natural points = 6798 retcons, give or take some because I probably didn't account correctly for what it means to have done X retcons (may be off by 1 for the original continuity and another 1 for the continuity in which the maxing out happens). Even retconning every day (for 2-day runs), that's over 18 years - a comfortably long-term goal. Especially if I interlace it with prolonged periods of ultrarare hunting or other "I am tired, let's burn turns mindlessly" activities.

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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby Satan » Wed Jul 23, 2014 4:39 am

xKiv wrote:Which is the thing that you don't like.
(I would describe myseld as being more ambivalent about it; it's acceptable when not excessive)

Once again, I don't dislike meta gameplay of this sort. I just don't think it works well in this specific case, because it's too discrete. It works better when you have a continuous domain to work on. A lot of strategy and tower defense games make good use of it.
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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby Kinak » Wed Jul 23, 2014 6:06 am

xKiv wrote:I feel like that would remove about a third or half of the incentive to retcon that I still have left. A character that can max out ALL the skills at level 2 is a clear and definite goal that can be worked towards for decades (even with just 17 class skills and 4 classes, that's 4*17 skills *10 points per skill *10 retcons per extra skillpoint at level 2 - 2 natural points = 6798 retcons, give or take some because I probably didn't account correctly for what it means to have done X retcons (may be off by 1 for the original continuity and another 1 for the continuity in which the maxing out happens). Even retconning every day (for 2-day runs), that's over 18 years - a comfortably long-term goal. Especially if I interlace it with prolonged periods of ultrarare hunting or other "I am tired, let's burn turns mindlessly" activities.
Long term goals like that are always a double-edged sword.

On one side, you continue to grow in power slowly for 18 years. On the other side, nobody's ever catching up.

At the very least, I'd like to tone it down for skill-restricted runs. I'll give it some more thought, though.

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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby xKiv » Thu Jul 24, 2014 6:28 am

Satan wrote:Once again, I don't dislike meta gameplay of this sort. I just don't think it works well in this specific case, because it's too discrete. It works better when you have a continuous domain to work on. A lot of strategy and tower defense games make good use of it.


I still think this is a matter of preference (and, by extension, like/dislike), because how else are you picking a metric for "works well/better"? What objectives do we get as absolutely given?

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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby Satan » Thu Jul 24, 2014 12:43 pm

xKiv wrote:
Satan wrote:Once again, I don't dislike meta gameplay of this sort. I just don't think it works well in this specific case, because it's too discrete. It works better when you have a continuous domain to work on. A lot of strategy and tower defense games make good use of it.


I still think this is a matter of preference (and, by extension, like/dislike), because how else are you picking a metric for "works well/better"? What objectives do we get as absolutely given?

It's a balancing thing. It's very difficult to define exactly what's right, but simple to tell when something is wrong. But separately from that even, when you have a discrete number of configurations, even if parts of the problem are probabilistic, it's a trivial thing to solve for the optimal configuration using mathematics (linear programming). When you have continuous configurations, it's much more difficult to solve, especially if parts of it are abstract enough to not be represented by mathematics well. At that point you have to rely on true understanding of the mechanics and experience. When it's discrete, things can happen where a certain configuration is more likely to win out even when you don't have mastery of the mechanics or tons of experience. It's not always like that, but in this case it feels like it is. Yes, you can switch over to that configuration once you realize it, it just doesn't feel interesting. In the IotM category, once you solve the problem the first time, that same configuration is usually going to be the winning one (unless we get something like an IotM computer, or something else that really saves some time).
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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby xKiv » Fri Jul 25, 2014 7:45 am

Satan wrote:It's a balancing thing. It's very difficult to define exactly what's right, but simple to tell when something is wrong.


I think that this either doesn't address what I wrote, or proves it.
Define "difficult", "define exactly", "right", "wrong".

But separately from that even, when you have a discrete number of configurations, even if parts of the problem are probabilistic, it's a trivial thing to solve for the optimal configuration using mathematics (linear programming).


*Integer* programming. Straightforward LP is usually completely useless when dealing with discrete configurations.
And this doesn't really apply here - we are analyzing [days(x), minutes(x)/mettle(x)]. Not linear problem at all.
(we can always find range of x that minimizes days(x), and then use that as another condition, but can't really get rid of the reciprocal).

Of course, this is relatively easy to solve by just enumerating all possibilities.

When you have continuous configurations, it's much more difficult to solve


Unless
1) you can simplify using differentials (or variations). Then you might even get analytic solutions, sometimes.
or
2) it's not linear

especially if parts of it are abstract enough to not be represented by mathematics well.


"We can't use math to solve this if we can't use math to solve this" is always true.



Important point incoming.

At that point you have to rely on true understanding of the mechanics and experience. When it's discrete, things can happen where a certain configuration is more likely to win out even when you don't have mastery of the mechanics or tons of experience. It's not always like that, but in this case it feels like it is. Yes, you can switch over to that configuration once you realize it, it just doesn't feel interesting. In the IotM category, once you solve the problem the first time, that same configuration is usually going to be the winning one (unless we get something like an IotM computer, or something else that really saves some time).


How do you know that this is wrong?

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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby Satan » Sat Jul 26, 2014 7:40 am

I'm not sure I can put this in a way you'll understand or except. But when you play video games alot, you get an intuitive feel for balance. When it's done right, you notice nothing. When it's off, it's glaringly obvious.

Integer programming is a subset of linear programming. Similar techniques, but you need more advanced bounds checking and traversal. Anyways, I really was talking about linear programming. Yes, mettle is represented by integers, but since we have a finite number of configurations, you can represent them as discrete conditions in a linear program. And there are techniques to deal with the reciprocal.

And as you said, it can also be solved simply by iterating through the possibilities one by one, /easily/.

When you're dealing with continuous configurations, you usually end up with multiple variables. Not entirely impossible to use calculus to solve, but often you end up with only a partial answer or none at all (or infinitely many). And if it's not linear, it's usually even farther outside our ability to solve.

My point was that if we can't use math to solve it, then we have to rely on experience and skill.

I'm not saying it's wrong, it's just not that interesting. If that's what the team wants to go with, it's fine with me. I was just pointing out that it's not that interesting as meta gameplay goes.
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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby Cristiona » Sun Jul 27, 2014 4:20 am

Satan wrote:My point was that if we can't use math to solve it, then we have to rely on experience and skill.

Isn't experience and skill what makes it gameplay? Otherwise, it's just... Progress Quest.
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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby xKiv » Sun Jul 27, 2014 4:50 am

Cristiona wrote:
Satan wrote:My point was that if we can't use math to solve it, then we have to rely on experience and skill.

Isn't experience and skill what makes it gameplay? Otherwise, it's just... Progress Quest.


I only read about PQ, but doesn't it have all the math on the server side? Doing the math on *my* side can make a difference. Even if I only have to do it once ever.

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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby Kinak » Sun Jul 27, 2014 5:52 am

xKiv wrote:
Cristiona wrote:
Satan wrote:My point was that if we can't use math to solve it, then we have to rely on experience and skill.

Isn't experience and skill what makes it gameplay? Otherwise, it's just... Progress Quest.


I only read about PQ, but doesn't it have all the math on the server side? Doing the math on *my* side can make a difference. Even if I only have to do it once ever.
Yes, doing math is generally more skill intensive than PQ (which only tests how long you can leave a window open).

But I'd also count math among skills, for obvious reasons, so I don't think Cris is disagreeing with you at all.

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Re: Heirloom Derby

Postby Satan » Sun Jul 27, 2014 6:47 am

I'm not saying math should be completely uninvolved. I like math. Just that it shouldn't rely too much on math.

Also, progress quest is a fun game >.>
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