Reveal Limb Damage Mechanics

edited April 2021 in North of Thera

Keep the formulas, we can work those out.

But please let us understand how limb damage works, on the serverside. Not having access to how this works (and there's clearly something weird going on) stops us from being able to explore and figure it out ourselves, even after hundreds of hours of testing.

The main argument for this is that newer classes (and some older ones) have a plethora of limb damage options, with BM being the best example. But even looking at a less complex class like SnB Knight, you have Rend, Slice, Longsword, Broadsword (with 4 levels each), and also Weaponry attacks (warhammer, flails, daggers, throwing knives, handaxes). For people who use "hit counters" (the only real reliable way to play limb classes currently) this means they cannot mix/match their abilities or weapons, as "11 hits" assumes you're using the same weapon the entire fight. It also doesn't allow you to even approximate limb damage on rebounding hits, etc, as 1 of my hits does not == enemy hitting rebounding with a bastard sword.

Would also argue that in today's meta of 6-10 second kill strategies on practically every new or reworked class, a single early or late limb break means a death, which can't be attributed to a "mistake" as much as just dying to the fact that limb damage is unreliable.

Adding on to this, Sawbones is useless. This is evidenced by the fact that it's rare if ever experienced fighters even use it on limb damage classes (its only use case) due to its huge ranges that are often far larger than single attacks, making it useless for determining if a limb is prepped, or to see how many hits are needed to prep or break a limb.

It is clearly not linear as is plain to see if you map out breakpoints. It's also likely that limb HP is not 1:1 with max health, either scaling with its own formula off of Con, bracelet, and level, or it has different formulas for different level ranges or hp ranges, or something.

I'm actually OK with keeping the formulas themselves secret. I like the challenge of figuring it out. The real issue is that it's practically impossible to figure it out when the server is doing black magic on the back-end that as far as I can tell, is completely unintuitive.

It's been mentioned that it could get reworked, but I'd argue that this is 100% unnecessary. We just need to know how it works, currently. If we are allowed to understand the mechanics of it, we will handle the formulas, which will very rapidly be shared with novices and casual players via systems, scripts, or here on forums.

Some half-measures ideas;

Please also consider making Sawbones just work like Assess. Every other Assess-like ability in the game just shows us the actual value, and I suspect the only reason Sawbones doesn't work like this was to intentionally hide some kind of weird back-end logic that doesn't "look good" or something along these lines. At the end of the day though, we don't care - we want (and in some cases, really need) to see it.

Another idea: If you have the Sawbones ability, have a message on limb damage attacks that simply says: "You feel Target's right leg weaken under the blow" indicating that the next hit with the same attack will break the limb. (this isn't a great solution as it doesn't tell you if OTHER attacks would break the limb, but it's better than nothing)


  • Should be mentioned that the only people who would really have any incentive not to agree on this are people who think they have it worked out, and don't want to lose their advantage.

    2 points here:

    1) You don't

    2) It's just another barrier of entry for newer players or even fairly experienced players who don't have super advanced scripts and/or mathematics skills and immense amounts of time to figure it out themselves.

  • Well that's not a loaded poll at all.

    Disappearing from Achaea for now. See you, space cowboy.

    smileyface#8048 if you wanna chat.

  • edited April 2021

    Wow polls look awful on the new forums! Did you do something wrong to make it look this bad?

     i'm a rebel

  • Gotta highlight the text

  • Why are the bubbles not aligned? Why is it white on ... very very light grey? What is going on here? @Nicola help!

     i'm a rebel

  • edited April 2021

    I don't know @Iocun - what could be more fun than this?

    Noting this is just for a single ability and doesn't translate to any other abilities, and even with all this, it's not enough to solve the formula without knowing the underlying mechanics.

    For the people zooming in, those are zig-zag lines <produced intentionally by dividing HP with floor(), e,g floor(x/100)>, not straight lines. It is not linear, almost certainly due to how the variable is stored behind the scenes, but I have not been able to get a mechanic that works for all known data points across different attacks/abilities, and I've tried a lot of ideas.

    Just collecting the data is insanely OOC and unpleasant, as I'm frequently using NEWBIEWHO to find novices and asking them to stand there and let me break their limbs for half an hour, while swapping artefacts a zillion times (because getting data as close as possible to y-intercept aka. low health values helps dramatically).

    (your formula has to both calculate limb damage and also translate it into damage / max-HP at the same time, which is why the formulas get so convoluted. The game code is probably pretty simple, but it's like trying to solve a puzzle box by simply looking at the outside.)

  • edited April 2021

    Yeah I've done this a few times :'( - and I think it's safe to say it's impossible to actually solve this from our end without an absolutely staggering amount of data, which would then only apply to that one single thing you're testing.

  • Wow, why the hell do the forums still look like trash over a month after everyone has routinely said that they look like trash.

    Anyways, I am more than fine with Limb damage being revealed. Though, not for the reason the loaded poll has stated.

    Limb classes are just obtuse and require a lot of figuring out how many hits it takes to break a limb, and finding the exact calculation for such. (See: "Let me smack you x amount of times with a totem to figure out the EXACT amount of limb damage this does")... I want it to be open-ish to new players without having to spend hours figuring out just how many hits each of their attacks takes to break a limb, or what combination has to be used to equal JUST the right amount of limb damage.. Or.. God forbid, outliers of "I have a fuckton of god TFs" or "I'm Penwize" ruining it for those higher end tiers.

    I say this almost exclusively because @Tesha testing out Sentinel limb damage on me was like a 2 hour long endeavor between handaxe/maul/trip/spear attacks across the like 20+ different health pools I could have.

  • Surprising number of people indicating they actually like that it's obscure.

    Noting this thread isn't asking for limb damage formulas, it's asking for an explanation of the mechanics the game uses, while still leaving figuring out the formulas themselves up to players.

    May I ask for any of the people who don't support this request to explain their reasoning?

  • Pretty sure the mechanics are publicly known and testable already. I highly doubt there's variables like "phase of the moon" or "tenth digit in target's bank account".

    You seem to want a way to automate limb combat more than it already can be, which we don't need a "Have you stopped eating babies?" style poll to ask for.

  • edited April 2021

    @Gallida That's where you're wrong, both about me, and about my purpose for the post. I don't automate combat, first of all... (the only "automation" I use is venom selection, which I use about half the time). A few of my classes don't use any automation at all. I certainly don't automate (nor do I want to automate) weapon selection, attack selection, limb selection, etc.

    More importantly, this request is quite the opposite of trying to empower automation. People who automate already have formulas that work 95-99% of the time, and a very select few even use this to properly mix their attacks instead of just using the same exact thing X number of times based on a hits-to-break table.

    Publishing this would allow for an actually correct limb damage tracker that isn't just a "hit counter" to be made and shared, which is exactly what I'd do immediately if the mechanics were shared with players. As @Iocun mentioned, this should not screw over the many tactics used IG to fool with limb trackers, it should simply make existing limb trackers actually accurate, for basic tracking of hitting limbs.

    In other words, this would benefits newbies and midbies far more than anyone else, while also mildly benefiting top end players by eliminating the 1-5% error they see on limb breaks.

    Also, I'm convinced that not a single person other than IRE coders know the actual mechanics. I've been doing this for a very, very long time. Plenty of people may think they do, but I've never seen a single formula (and I've seen a lot) that actually fits the data properly. If it's a y=mx + b, it is 100% wrong, right off the bat.

  • edited April 2021

    I think it's good to have the information obfusticated because this gives the game some depth it would not otherwise have. If someone really wants to understand something, they should be rewarded with a deeper appreciation through detailed study/testing/whatever. Limb damage is one way this manifests, and there are countless other examples in the areas of lore, exploration, astronomy, language, coin flips etc. etc.

    The ability to predict breaks being so impactful on combat is not a good consequence of this though. A happy medium I can imagine is where the current limb damage mechanics remain, but people (attacker and defender) get message when a limb is within one hit of breaking.

    E.g. - dsl shecks

     - You slash into Shecks' left arm with a hypothetical scimitar.

      You feel the bone in Shecks' left arm flex and almost give way.

    from Shecks' point of view

     - Lyrin slashes into your torso with a hypothetical scimitar.

      You feel your ribs flex and almost give way.

    This message would only describe proximity to a break for the attack that just hit.  This maintains some value to studying and practicing limb breaking for classes with attacks doing varying limb damage, as they would need prior experience + inference to understand what the "limb about to break" message might mean for other attacks.

    E.g:  Want to be certain that you'll break head on the next hiru?  Better prep with hiru because if you prep with nervestrike (does more limb damge), the "break on next hit" message from nervestrike won't tell you whether the person will break on the next hiru.  If you dont want to guess what the nervestrike message might mean for hiru on a target with 8921hp, study limb formula or prep with the less optimal path of hiru only. Similar logic for sentinel doublestrike/trip, knigh rend/slice etc. etc. etc.

    This might necessitate some rebalancing for classes with predictable break chains and are impacted by enemies who can predict breaks (e.g. dwc).  Things along the lines of snb's ability to give blackout during the break chain help a lot and might need to be replicated in other classes.

  • edited April 2021

    @Lyrin - I agree with your general philosophy 100%, I just don't agree that "obfuscation through random obscure back-end server black box of chaos" is good design, nor does it qualify as "depth" (because "depth" implies that it's something you can learn or master over time, which really is not the case).

    If they really wanted this in the game for this reason, they'd just randomize it like with HP damage formulas - but they do not. It's obfuscated because it's legacy code that's a huge pain in the ass to rework. I can say this with certainty because several generations of lead coders have said as much.

    So, I'm not asking to fix it, I'm just asking to tell us how it works.

    If they want to keep it obfuscated, they can just leave Sawbones alone, and randomize the damage +/- 3% or something.

  • I think it should stay obscure and benefit those putting a lot of effort into it. It will make things even more automated and complex and newcomers are often repelled by it.

    If you duel a lot, and have like a nemesis or two, there's always a way to figure out limb damage on that one player after a couple of fights, often times people will let you test for break points too. Just being able to do that on every person seems a bit too easy for me, it'll make prep classes so much more reliable and powerful that there's no poibt in playing anything with momentum. I hate hit and run combat these days.

  • edited April 2021

    @Dominius valid points of course, but it has to be mentioned that aff classes have been slowly power creeping upwards, while limb damage classes have not - and in principal you wouldn't be able to do anything if limb damage wasn't obscure that you can't do right now, it'd just be a tiny bit more reliable (to the tune of 2-5% depending on how good your tracking is).

    Again, if limb damage should be randomized intentionally to balance limb damage classes, this should be clearly how it works - it should be gated behind a clear, transparent mechanic (randomness) not obscurity of mechanics which is a completely different thing.

    Would also point out, in reply to your comment, that experience vs a specific opponent is pretty useless as both your damage changes frequently (artefact upgrades, stance changes etc) and your opponent's health changes frequently too (any fluctuation of max HP due to traits, artefacts, runes, defences, current class, racial spec etc) - so I think that whole "nemesis" concept just doesn't stand up at all. Maybe that'd work in one single session of repeated duels, but that's about it.

    As for limb damage testing, I personally view this as a pure OOC venture that destroys immersion/RP as it's really silly (and often very frustrating) to have to go around saying "Hello good citizen, could you please stand still and let me break your leg 50 times?". This is especially true since most people are secretive about their data, meaning that it's not just one guy going around testing SnB, it's 50, and if that same guy has to get priest, Tekura, Shikudo, BM, Runie, and Sentinel data due to multiclass, he has to do this repeatedly. Poor @Reonna has been subject to quite literally thousands of limb breaks, and it honestly isn't fun for anyone involved.

    Another point is that the majority of people who benefit from having great limb damage tracking haven't actually done the work themselves - they've been given it through OOC means, which IMO kinda invalidates that point too, for most people. Why should new players (or anyone else) be unable to reliably use their class kit / weapons without getting a ridiculous complex set of mathematical equations handed to them by someone else through OOC interactions? If this mechanic were made public, this barrier of entry would be eliminated, as there would be far less incentive to keep these things private.

    Same thing I said above - the obscurity isn't there for balance reasons, it's there because it's a convoluted OG code system that has been perpetually grandfathered to avoid impact on players and huge amounts of effort by the coding team (which only continues to grow as we add more limb damage classes). Again, this has been clearly stated by several different lead coders over the years, and is also evidenced by the fact that Sawbones was added specifically to reduce obscurity, not to maintain it.

    In fact the main trigger for this post was Mak / others saying that they hope to rework limb damage soon - and my argument is simply that this isn't necessary - they just need to tell us how it works. If we knew how it worked, no rework would be needed. Of course a rework would be fine too, but just 100x harder for pretty much everyone involved.

  • Maybe they have no idea how limb damage works. The coders of old created it and no one been able to Crack it. It's only a matter of time before the limb damage AI becomes self-aware and begins ruling Achaea through extortion.

  • @Lyrin: In my opinion, there's a fundamental difference between exploring in-game geography, history, etc. and doing testing to figure out limb break data. The first can be done perfectly in-game and in character, whereas the second requires out-of-game data crunching and time spent in the game doing various "tests" that can only be considered reasonable IC interactions if you're being extremely generous about suspending disbelief. It's always a decidedly mechanical sort of "research" that doesn't lend itself well to immersion. Plus, it's a near-necessity if you want to do combat as a limb breaking class to begin with (unless you just use someone's scripts).

    I'm not saying this because I hate that sort of OOC work on the game. I love many of these things, from coding scripts to figuring out obscure game mechanics, but they should never feel like a requirement.

    Something to show you how close you are to a break isn't a good alternative solution, in my opinion, as this would foil a lot of legitimate defensive tactics against limb breakers.

    P.S. How do I quote/reply to posts on the new forums?

  • edited April 2021

    I think the only thing that's needed is to tell us how the server stores and calculates limb damage. That's it.

    Given that, we can do the exploration / formulas ourselves.

    This doesn't change balance in any way, other than eliminating the sporadic "surprise" break 1 bit early or late.

    As mentioned above, the meta has changed. Spending 40s prepping single limb (SnB) just to have it break 1 hit early on your extremely carefully timed Ferocity combo + aff stack + enemy tree on CD, etc - just to have the whole thing fail because "obscurity is fun" is not good balance or design, to me?. Almost every aff class can kill you in 10-15s, so having a 40s (minimum) prep, or 60s+ against static parry, foiled by this just seems really, really silly.

    Meanwhile the priest knows exactly what Mana damage he's doing, damage classes know exactly how much damage they do, aff classes know exactly what aff they land (except loki which is why nobody uses loki). Limb damage is the only thing where you don't know what your own abilities are doing.

    Put another way - If obscurity is good then why is limb damage the only thing in the game that relies on this principal? By the same logic we could suggest that every aff has a 5-10% chance of fizzling without telling you that it fizzled, completely randomly. Add classes would just have to guess / hope that their abilities worked, and when they don't, they just have to start all over from scratch.

  • You forgot the "I don't like Shecks and I disagree" option.

  • Frankly I think you shouldn't count on the admin or petition them because the likelihood is slim even if the entire populace votes for it. I mean, that kind of info is one of the reasons you can't play any of your characters after seeing the code, so I highly doubt they'll just say "this is how we do it. [South Central does it like noooo body dooooes..]"

    Go it alone. Do each weapon by itself, hone the formula to perfection. Then you can use them for the master formula.

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