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PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 1:51 pm 
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I brought up EU's albatross nature at the last Tea Tyme with Ryme, where he said he had no answer to my question. Now, since the chat is both length-limited, and the Tea Tyme was time-limited, I thought I'd bring this to the boards, where people can discuss it without worrying so much about length and time.

So, let's look at Electronic Understanding:

it augments somewhere between two and four skills (game manual says two - Mind Jab and Psionic Blast, but evidence exists that it also augments Wind Warrior - which the game manual does not mention - and apparently spading has also showed it helps with Mind Poke). ANYWAY, it only augments these limited skills against one particular kind of foe: the robot. And this augmentation is almost meaningless, since it just says "you can do damage against them too!"

Now, players (at least in retcon) have very few reasons to be exposed to robots. They appear in the City of Lost Robots - also, guardian orbs appear in the various parts of the Casino. Also, one occasionally meets robots among the Unborn. In a retcon/ascension context, that's basically it. Of course, all these areas must be visited between levels 5 and 8. Meanwhile, EU is a level 11 skill. Arguments that it's helpful to newbies (or helpful to no-skill Psion runs) don't hold water, when it doesn't even become effective or available until the end of the quest cycle.

So, it appears as though EU is completely a failure at assisting Retcon. At least, unless you allow the perming of skills, in which case a Psion could enjoy the effects of the skill from level 1.
Of course, if you allow the perming of skills, EU also fails, because there are skills from other classes that are more useful against robots than the psion skills could be, even with EU (at least, barring going overboard on skill points).

Conclusion: there is almost no reason for a player to make EU permanent. And, if there is no reason to make EU permanent, why does it exist as a permable skill? (I emphatically disagree with Harry when he says not every skill needs to be retcon relevant. Any skill that can be permed should be retcon relevant. Otherwise, why bother?)

to use a KoL example: EU is almost like the pre-NS13 Spirit of Rigatoni. It's the one skill that is consistently recommended to NOT be permed.

----

EU is a great effect. It adds a lot of flavor to Psions. (and pretty much only psions, since it just affects psion skills)
At the same time, making it a skill kind of gives Psions a raw deal, especially having it occur so late in the game. And making it a *permable* skill (especially after ensuring it's almost totally useless) just seems like a bad move.

This is not an argument to remove EU entirely, just to remove it from the list of class skills. It is almost entirely irrelevant in terms of retcon. It makes much more sense as a class inherent. If it were a class inherent, it would start becoming useful from the first level of a Psion, when the class most needs it. Consider:

If you treat 'level-1' as the # of "skill points" in the effect (capping at ten) then:

a 1 level Psion would do 50% damage to Erobots, and 10% damage to Probots
a 2 level Psion would do 55% damage to Erobots, and 11% damage to Probots
...
a 11 level Psion would do 100% damage to Erobots, and 20% damage to Probots
a 12 level Psion would do the same, etc.

Ryme expressed a fear that, were it an inherent, it might stop people from using non-psion attack skills. I disagree. Because the vast majority of foes in the game are NOT robots, people might very well perm the psion attack skills, and just use them on non-robots (and use other attack skills on robots themselves).

-----

The only arguments FOR EU seem to be "it helps newbies and/or those in no skill runs" which I believe has been thoroughly debunked. The other argument I've heard seems to be "some people love being high level, and have no incentive to retcon, and use this skill." I believe making it another inherent of the Psion addresses this (especially if any skill points already invested are returned)

Of course, the one problem with making it an inherent is that now Ryme would have to come up with FIVE class skills (elemental 13, elemental 16, gadgeteer 5, gadgeteer 9, and psion 11) instead of just four.

-----

I'd like to hear thoughts from anyone else on this skill. I think I've addressed the main arguments for it:

* Newbies/no skill runs! - comes too late
* Skills shouldn't be retcon-relevant! - yes, they should, if they're meant to be permed
* People will never perm and/or use psion attack skills - there's no reason to believe this will change

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:23 pm 
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I think it was very well expressed during Tea Time:

[N] Patojonas: not everything has to be about runs...

EU comes in quite handy for players who are Psions that don't want to retcon. And not everyone enjoys retcon, or wants to do it. Plus, all the alts out there that will probably never go through runs because it gets tedious doing it for more than one character after a short amount of time.

Not every skill needs to be retcon relevant. As long as it is useful to some players, then it is doing everything it was created to do.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 8:56 pm 
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Lxndr wrote:
to use a KoL example: EU is almost like the pre-NS13 Spirit of Rigatoni. It's the one skill that is consistently recommended to NOT be permed.

This is a bad analogy. Spirit of Rigatoni was a detriment to the player; Electronic Understanding is just of minimal use.

I would argue that Electronic Understanding would be mostly fine just by lowering its level. Slide it down to 5, and move Premonition, Mind Jab, Wind Warrior, Keen Observation, and Knit Bone up one level. That would put it in a place where it's useful in a retcon environment as well as pushing two powerful skills (Keen Observation and Knit Bone) to higher levels. It would also put a bigger cap between Knit Flesh and Knit Bone.


Quote:
Now, players (at least in retcon) have very few reasons to be exposed to robots. They appear in the City of Lost Robots - also, guardian orbs appear in the various parts of the Casino. Also, one occasionally meets robots among the Unborn.

"Occasionally"? The Fusion Octotron is a robot, and a rather tough one at that if you don't have pulls.


BvBPL wrote:
Filling in missing skill slots in class skills (lvl 5 gadget, lvl 13 elemental) should take priority over balancing existing skills.

I fully agree. Furthermore, re-balancing will be much easier once all the skills are in.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:39 am 
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I agree the skill is underwhelming, and I also wonder if it wouldn't make more sense to give robots psychic resistance by default and make EU work by ignoring a part of it(so it would also apply to psychic damage from equipment).

I *think* that most robots would take full damage from non-psion spells sources of physic damage, but I might be wrong.

As for retcon relevance - I agree that not ALL skills have to be retcon relevant, but if we could find a way to make this better...why not?

A small +firing rate of software would make sense to me - you understand electronics better which also improves your interaction with computers - but unfortunately that infringes on the Gadgeteer's territory.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:04 pm 
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Yes, not everything has to be about runs.

But consider this:

The 'reward' for completing any given retcon is a skill to be made permanent.

So, any skill that can be made permanent should be considered in relation to retcons.

I assert that no permable skill should be retcon irrelevant, which is a much smaller scope than asserting that everything should be retcon relevant.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 2:07 pm 
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Lxndr wrote:
I assert that no permable skill should be retcon irrelevant, which is a much smaller scope than asserting that everything should be retcon relevant.


You can assert this if you like, but I'm stating firmly my design workspace has no such constraints. Just as a wild example, if we added a handful of high-level, deep-water zones far under the bay, I would have no qualms about adding permable skills (i.e., bends banisher, advanced ear-popping, and murk vision) which only helped out in those zones. If people don't want to perm them they don't have to, but I flatly refuse to accept they're somehow broken or unacceptable just because they don't have anything to do with retcon.

If you want to argue that the level 1-16 class-based skills shouldn't be retcon-irrelevant, I'd probably accept that . But we've got four years of history of the game being more than retcon. Just because we've added retcon doesn't mean the rest of the game should get thrown out.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 3:32 pm 
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The timing of this discussion is kinda funny to me -- I was just considering EU for my next perm (2nd Psion Perm) to make a string of Psion runs easier.

It might be narratively and strategically nice if EU was the reward for a Psion side-quest that came before you had to have a show-down with the Octotron. The absence of EU makes that combat quite a surprise when you're unprepared. In my run I was zapping everything with my mind without . . . uh . . . thinking about it (heh). That is until I had the Octo fight and was caught with my pants down. "Crap, what do I do now?" I believe was my psychic shout at the time.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 8:51 pm 
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Kurg wrote:
I *think* that most robots would take full damage from non-psion spells sources of physic damage, but I might be wrong.
It's a mixed bag. Some robots have additional resistances to elements, including psychic, which would reduce non-spell sources of psychic damage.

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