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View Full Version : A Proposal on how to balance the Learning skill

Grypheonheart
02-13-2006, 08:27 PM
My suggestion is to increase the extra exp gain of basic, advanced and expert learning to 15%, 30% and 45%. Following are the reasons for this.

First, let's quantitate the 'balance' of a skill. Take Offense for example: In HeroesIII, expert attack skill will give the army extra 30% of damage (in melee combat), which is roughly equivalent to 6 attack of the primary skill, where 1 extra attack gives the army 5% more damage; expert defense will reduce the damage your army receives by 15%, where 1 denfense (primary skill) reduces it by 2.5%, so this time it's also roughly equivalent to 6 primary skills. Other skills are harder to measure by primary skills, but think about that they are already thought balanced (better than learning at least) we can arrive at the conclusion that a balanced skill at expert level should be equivalent to 6 primary skills. (Here I get this conclusion based on Heroes III b/c I don't know exactly how attack and defense work in H-V. But considering how closely they follow H-III, this is still a reasonable benchmark in H-V, hopefully)

Now turn to learning. The effect of learning is to let your hero gain extra exp, thus have higher levels. For each extra level your hero gains, s/he gets a random extra primary skill, so it seems that your hero should be 6 levels higher than your oppenent. But this is not the case, for your hero also learns secondary skills when gaining a level. Since expert skill = 6 primary skill, we can approximately say that 1 second skill = 2 primary skill, thus the proper extra level from expert leaning should be 4:

expert learning = 4 extra levels = 4 primary skills + 1 extra secondary skill = 6 extra primary skills = other skills

The extra secondary skill is 1 instead of 4 because you've already spent 3 at expert learning.

Finally, let's see how 4 extra levels is related with extra exp. In previous Heroes, the leveling system is like this (I'm not 100% sure at this point, so pls correct me if I'm wrong. thx)

exp need for a new level = exp need for the previous level * a certain factor (denote as Q) , at high levels

The Q value is either 1.1 or 1.2 in HeroesIII & IV. So this is a geometry series, and the total exp need for the n-th level is

exp need for the n-th level = a prefactor * Q^n

So the extra exp you have to gain in order to build a 4-levels-higher hero is

extra exp percentage = Q^4 - 1

Take Q = 1.1, this percentage is 45%; take Q = 1.2, it's 100%!

Dingdang! Here's the conclusion: in order to balance learning with other secondary skills, we have to set expert learning at 45% or 100%, corresponding to Q = 1.1 or 1.2, respectively.

This sounds like a bit overpowered. But still, think about the only effect of the expert learning is that your hero is 4 levels higher than your oppenent, the conclusion is reasonable enough.

PS: some people may say the heroes also have hero-specialties which grow stronger with higher levels, I'll argue that in actual case, the Q factor is rather 1.2 than 1.1 in H-III & IV, which means we should choose 100%! Thus an extra 45% exp may only give your heroes 2 or 3 more levels, which to some extent balance out the hero-specialty advantage.

At last, thank you all for your patience in reading my babbles... :P

Polaris2013
02-13-2006, 08:53 PM
Great topic! I've suggested this also and I'm glad your independent analysis came to the same result- especially since your reasoning was slightly different from my own. For reference here is the exp chart in Heroes *3* (don't have a chart like this for H5 yet)
1 0
2 1000
3 2000
4 3200
5 4600
6 6200
7 8000
8 10000
9 12200
10 14700
11 17500
12 20600
13 24320
14 28784
15 34140
16 40567
17 48279
18 57533
19 68637
20 81961
21 97949
22 117134
23 140156
24 167782
25 200933
26 240714
27 288451
28 345735
29 414475
30 496963
31 595948
32 714730
Starting from the level 12 transition, Q=1.17 and steadily increases toward Q=1.20; before lv10 the relationship is different, though.

Grypheonheart
02-13-2006, 09:09 PM
Thanks a lot Polaris2013! Your list of exp clears out my most uncertain part of the arguement.

Cheers~

KingAlamar
02-13-2006, 09:13 PM
BTW: I stole elements of this proposal from others ...

I've got a counter proposal that I've been thinking about for a while. The principle behind my proposal is that instead of increasing XP to allow you to learn more skills & abilities why not just award the hero with extra skills / abilities flat out instead of worrying about XP.

Proposal:

1. Drop the XP bonus that you get from Learning.

2. Whenever you take a level of the Learning skill you immediately get to pick any other skill or ability that you have the requirements to take.

3. After X level ups [X varies depending on the level of the learning skill] give the player a choice to learn an additional skill or ability just like they had a free level up.

This proposal solves the big problem with any pure +X% XP system because it would be useful to high, mid, and low level heroes.

High & Mid level hereos could take learning so they could get those last couple of skills / abilities to make them "perfect".

Low level hereos will benefit not as much from being able to pick skills/abilities but from the extra random skills & abilities they are awarded after X level ups.

IMHO opinion the only challenge would to reduce the power of the above proposal slightly so Learning wouldn't be SIGNIFICANTLY more powerful than other skills http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Polaris2013
02-13-2006, 09:15 PM
Grypheonheart,
Sure no problem. The topic was here (http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/1851065692/m/4811026604/r/4811026604). My relevant post was on page 2, but a lot of other people had their own suggestions too. Cheers!

KingAlamar
02-13-2006, 09:32 PM
@Grypheonheart,

In your proposal if you get +45% XP from L1 until L20 you basically will only be L23 with the HoMM3 XP chart if I did my math properly. +3 levels gives you 3 skill points BUT 3 skill points were spent on the learning the skill so there's 0 benefit after 20 levels of expert learning.

Even with a +150% XP bonus you're only about 5 levels higher than you would otherwise be {@L20]. When you take out the 3 skill points spent getting expert Learning that means that you are only 2 skill points ahead of the game at L20. Seeing that the skill cost you one of your precious skill slots only getting 2 additional skill points doesn't seem like much ...

Polaris2013
02-13-2006, 10:17 PM
Originally posted by KingAlamar:
@Grypheonheart,

In your proposal if you get +45% XP from L1 until L20 you basically will only be L23 with the HoMM3 XP chart if I did my math properly. +3 levels gives you 3 skill points BUT 3 skill points were spent on the learning the skill so there's 0 benefit after 20 levels of expert learning.

Even with a +150% XP bonus you're only about 5 levels higher than you would otherwise be {@L20]. When you take out the 3 skill points spent getting expert Learning that means that you are only 2 skill points ahead of the game at L20. Seeing that the skill cost you one of your precious skill slots only getting 2 additional skill points doesn't seem like much ...
You are forgetting that extra levels also give you attribute bonuses. Also you missed the point of his post- that expert learning should lead by 4 levels (which it does with the learning percentage at 100%). He just wasn't sure what the level chart looked like when he first made his post so his numbers did not do what he wanted them to.

BTW, while we're on the topic critiquing other's suggestions... I don't understand how your suggestion really works when you get right down to it. For the sake of argument let's assign some numbers to your version of the skill. Say B/A/E Learning gave a skill bonus every 7/6/5 levels. Say you got basic learning on lv4, upgraded to advanced on lv6, finally got expert on lv8 (where you are now). Now how do you know when your next skill up is coming- is it lv10?

The advantage of having learning add to experience is that it provides a bonus to a stat you already have- like all the other skills do. Also, its current purpose is to convert skill points into attribute points. Your version of the skill lacks the cohesion of enhancing something that's already there and also has a different purpose- converting present skill points into future skill points.

daeley
02-14-2006, 02:46 AM
Just an experience boost won't do the trick I think... even with an expierience booost you're still using up skill points only in the hopes of having more skill points (and a few more more stat points ok) after a long while. I'm a bit bothered by the long-term thinking here... generally either:
a) the game doesn't last that long.
b) you're playing with too many heroes for your learning hero to actually reach a very high level.

I'd simply suggest adding something else to learning (after increasing the XP bonus) like this: your hero gets a broader choice of skills to pick from when he/she levels up. For example, 1/2/3 extra skills. That would make learning a lot better, no?

baraholshyk
02-14-2006, 03:00 AM
Well im sure that learning skill is a way too worthless as it is now.
/voting for additional skill points with this skill and higher exp bonus (prolly lvl dependant bonuses will work too)

KingAlamar
02-14-2006, 07:20 AM
Originally posted by Polaris2013:
You are forgetting that extra levels also give you attribute bonuses.

Actually I didn't forget about those extra attribute points at all. I just consider those boosts to be unimportant compared to what you gain from skills.

Plus I am not convinced that attribute points should be the appropriate reward for Learning. While having better attributes may be a side effect [IMHO] the key thing is that they should have more skill points.

Having a flat +X% XP may not be mathmatically sound given that the XP charts are not simply linear and at some points not even differentiable.

Also you missed the point of his post- that expert learning should lead by 4 levels (which it does with the learning percentage at 100%). He just wasn't sure what the level chart looked like when he first made his post so his numbers did not do what he wanted them to.

OK ... but doesn't a +100% bonus to XP sound oddly high to you? Plus past L26 even a +100% XP bonus will NOT leave you 4 levels ahead.

BTW, while we're on the topic critiquing other's suggestions... I don't understand how your suggestion really works when you get right down to it. For the sake of argument let's assign some numbers to your version of the skill. Say B/A/E Learning gave a skill bonus every 7/6/5 levels. Say you got basic learning on lv4, upgraded to advanced on lv6, finally got expert on lv8 (where you are now). Now how do you know when your next skill up is coming- is it lv10?

You have the level ups at L5 & L6 which add 2/7 of a skill point. The level ups at L7 & L8 add 1/3 of a skill point. Your total at this point is 13/21. That's roughly 62% of the way away from another skill point. Every level up from now on gives you 20%. Therefore in 2 levels you will get your new skill point. Then every 5 levels after that you get another skill point.

While the fractions may look ugly I feel confident that a computer could easily keep track of them http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

The advantage of having learning add to experience is that it provides a bonus to a stat you already have- like all the other skills do.

And the problem with it adding to XP is that the value of the skill DIMINISHES with more XP because XP progresses geometrically and a FLAT +XP% system can not compete with that.

Just a little more thought or more knowledge of the XP progression chart would have made that obvious.

Also, its current purpose is to convert skill points into attribute points.

Actually [because you can pick skills or abilities at level up with the current system] it is to give you MORE skills AND abilities.

Your version of the skill lacks the cohesion of enhancing something that's already there and also has a different purpose- converting present skill points into future skill points.

If you must have cohesion think of it this way. With the current system you get to pick skills or abilities every so often. My proposal adds upon that by allowing you to those skills or abilities more often.

Actually as pointed out above there is NO skill point to ability point conversion with a +XP% system ... during level up you're presented with the same Skill + Ability choice as you would with any other level up.

When you choose to get learning currently you give up Skill/Ability points on the gamble that the game will end at EXACTLY the right level so that you [in the future] will have 1 more skill/ability point than you would have otherwise and possibly a few attribute points. This is not NEARLY enough of a reward.

Any proposal to fix the learning skill needs to address the following issues:

1. The skill should be useful for low level heroes.

2. The skill should be useful for mid & high level heroes.

3. The skill should be useful whether the game is a short game [L10 finishing heroes] or a long [campaign game] where heroes may be L40+.

4. The skill should not be overly powerful [or weak] compared to other systems.

Right now my system fails on check 4 but at least it is too powerful so it could be brought into balance by reducing its strength.

KingAlamar
02-14-2006, 07:32 AM
BTW: I'm far too arguementative in my prior post so I apologize to all those offended.

Polaris2013
02-14-2006, 10:35 AM
Originally posted by KingAlamar:
Actually I didn't forget about those extra attribute points at all. I just consider those boosts to be unimportant compared to what you gain from skills.

Possibly you are correct. But keep in mind that this is the way the skill was initially designed since it gives an EXP boost. In fact, some of the abilities in H5 (the Awards) convert 1 skill point directly into 2 attribute points. Even the free level up from Dark Revelation has a similar effect.

OK ... but doesn't a +100% bonus to XP sound oddly high to you? Plus past L26 even a +100% XP bonus will NOT leave you 4 levels ahead.

And the problem with it adding to XP is that the value of the skill DIMINISHES with more XP because XP progresses geometrically and a FLAT +XP% system can not compete with that.

Just a little more thought or more knowledge of the XP progression chart would have made that obvious.

It is close enough in my opinion. You suggest that it should be balanced for all heroes at all levels, but that simply isn't the way that skills are done in the first place. Scholar is not equally valuable regardless of your level (low level heroes have nothing to trade, high level heroes have all the spells), nor is Frenzy (+1 damage is more valuable early game), nor are a lot of other skills. But they still have a use. Besides, the EXP chart is arbitrary, they could make it fit the EXP boost provided by Learning if they really wanted to (I don't think they should even if it would make the EXP boost more mathematically equal).

You have the level ups at L5 & L6 which add 2/7 of a skill point. The level ups at L7 & L8 add 1/3 of a skill point. Your total at this point is 13/21. That's roughly 62% of the way away from another skill point. Every level up from now on gives you 20%. Therefore in 2 levels you will get your new skill point. Then every 5 levels after that you get another skill point.

While the fractions may look ugly I feel confident that a computer could easily keep track of them http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Of course the computer would have no problem calculating it- that's not the point. How do *I* know when it's coming up? Right-click Learning skill to see when it's next benefit comes? No other skill behaves like that, why should Learning be the only one? Incidentally, this anamoly is tied to the cohesion I was talking about elsewhere.

Any proposal to fix the learning skill needs to address the following issues:

1. The skill should be useful for low level heroes.

2. The skill should be useful for mid & high level heroes.

3. The skill should be useful whether the game is a short game [L10 finishing heroes] or a long [campaign game] where heroes may be L40+.

4. The skill should not be overly powerful [or weak] compared to other systems.

Right now my system fails on check 4 but at least it is too powerful so it could be brought into balance by reducing its strength.

I disagree with points 1-3 as a set that must be equally fulfilled, as they don't apply to several other skills in the game as I pointed out earlier. As a reiteration, in a short game you may see no benefit from mastering Expert Summoning if you don't get a lv5 Summoning spell (and that is not a unique situation). Why should Learning be held to a higher standard than other skills? #4 is something we both agree on, and another thing we agree on is that the current version of Learning miserably fails this criteria. I will concede that your version of Learning is better than the current version, but I like mine and Grypheonheart's fix better because it fits the original spirit of the skill.

PS- I don't mind argumentative posts. I can't help but make them myself so I don't mind when others make them too http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

KingAlamar
02-14-2006, 05:54 PM
Thank you for your civil post ... sometimes I get TOOOO wrapped up into HoMM and have to realize that it's just a game.

I also agree that your [or some similar XP bonus model] does fit the tradition and the spirit of the skill far more than my proposal.

FYI: I'm not sure if you've noticed but Expert Summoning is useful even if you don't have L5 spells. The effects of all Summoning spells increase as you increase your Summoning Skill[or other magic skills]. This explains why a "curse" spell without Dark magic doesn't do much while a curse spell with Expert Dark Magic has full effect.

After thinking about it for a while it is difficult to list any [non-racial] skill besides Learning that isn't useful both at high or low level:

Offsense ... useful for any main hero.
Defense ... ""
Spell Skills .. [if you have spells] ""
Logistics ... probably ""
Luck ... ""
Sorcery ... hmmm useful for "magic" heroes ""
War Machines .. [if you have machines] ""
Learning: Bad if taken at low level // Horrid if taken at high level.

Out of the list above Learning is really the only turd in the punch bowl.

I understand that you don't agree with my opinion that the skill should be useful [just like other skills] to low, medium, or high level heroes and that it shouldn't overly punish you for taking the skill late in the game but I believe that it would make it a BETTER skill if those goals were met.

Ramparter
02-15-2006, 04:24 AM
Originally posted by KingAlamar:
Learning: Bad if taken at low level // Horrid if taken at high level.

That's true, learning is mostly usefull for its special abilities.I don't know for other bonuses but definetely needs an xp boost.(expert should give 50% or more).

Val-Gaav
02-15-2006, 05:11 AM
Well about learning ... this would be good if it did not give exp bonus but instea a free level ... just like Alamar said in this topic ... I like this idea becouse it makes learning usefull even if u get it in the end game ... atually it makes it more usefull in the end game...

or ...

increse it's % base
basic 10%
expert 30%

now 50% is clearly too much ... I would rather stay with 30% ...

baraholshyk
02-15-2006, 10:47 AM
now 50% is clearly too much ... I would rather stay with 30% ...

Consider that learning got kinda worthless special skills also (well intelligence is nice probably, but not that essential).
Started poll here on forum - about spell system, (i dont like random gain of new spells from magic guild due skilles/abilities specialised in certain schools appeared) and if allow hero with learning skill trained to choose 3 additional spells (so it wont be random http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif ) from magic guild of proper lvl. Could be done only once ofc.
For example, if hero got 1 lvl of learning he can get spell of 1-3 lvl, if 2 lvls - 1-4 and if 3 - up to 5 lvl spell, except dimension door and tower gates maybe. Otherwise even with 20% expirence gain it will be still worthless, cause homm isnt mmort or rpg where ull need to spend months to lvl your chars - game usually ends when you are lvl 10-15 from my experience (atleast when your aim was to win, not to lvl up a lot)

Polaris2013
02-15-2006, 11:23 AM
Alamar,
The reason I think Learning does not need to be well balanced at very high levels is that most games don't get to a high enough level for it to matter. You point out correctly that 100% boost is no longer worthwhile after lv26, but how many games get that far? Not many.

But then again, you make a good point that an attribute point is probably worth less than half of 1 skill point- mainly because the attribute point is randomly assigned. In light of this, I think perhaps EXP boost of 50/100/150 would be more to your liking (this can be balanced down if I went TOO high). I did the math and this translates to a maximum skill point advantage of 1/3/3 (that's in the lv5-12 ranges, the skill point advantage is smaller elsewhere). For this early game advantage, you trade late game power in that learning doesn't really help you like offense does once your skills are maxed.

On the topic of maxing skills isn't your skill MUCH WORSE at this point than any EXP boosting version of learning? At least the EXP booster awards some extra attribute points at that stage of the game, while being awarded all those skill points no longer matters because you would have them anyway at that point.

Val-Gaav,
Why is 50% clearly too much? Grypheonheart and I are arguing that it's still not enough (perhaps even Alamar would say so)! A number is just a number, it's only too big or too small if it's effect is too big or too small. I think everyone will agree that 30% learning (given the H3 experience charts) is still a worthless trade for 3 skill points. Dark Revelation gives you about a 20% EXP bonus and that only costs 1 skill point!

KingAlamar
02-15-2006, 03:45 PM
Originally posted by Polaris2013:
Alamar,
The reason I think Learning does not need to be well balanced at very high levels is that most games don't get to a high enough level for it to matter. You point out correctly that 100% boost is no longer worthwhile after lv26, but how many games get that far? Not many.

My expectation is not many games will you get to L26. However I am currently hitting L20 or so on the [not XL] maps like Lost Town. If you assume a 100% XP bonus from L1 to L15 you're only at L18 with the old HoMM3 XP progression. So the skill is close to a wash at L15 also. If we stick to a FLAT +XP% model [not progressive by hero level] then I'd rather see a 125% - 150% bonus to XP to make the skill worth it for longer in the game.

On the topic of maxing skills isn't your skill MUCH WORSE at this point than any EXP boosting version of learning? At least the EXP booster awards some extra attribute points at that stage of the game, while being awarded all those skill points no longer matters because you would have them anyway at that point.

You didn't notice one of the points that I buried into my proposal [aimed at making it useful for a high level hero / endgame hero to take]. Any time you take a skill level in Learning you get to pick from ANY skill or ability that you have the prereqs for. Therefore if a high level hero takes the skill late in the game they get IMMEDIATE skill/attribute point rewards so they can choose those last few skills/abilities that they need to make them "perfect".

Val-Gaav,
Why is 50% clearly too much? Grypheonheart and I are arguing that it's still not enough (perhaps even Alamar would say so)! A number is just a number, it's only too big or too small if it's effect is too big or too small. I think everyone will agree that 30% learning (given the H3 experience charts) is still a worthless trade for 3 skill points. Dark Revelation gives you about a 20% EXP bonus and that only costs 1 skill point!

I'm the radical on the board that thinks that IF Learning is a fixed XP% then it should be roughly 45/90/135 [+/- 15%] Just look at the XP chart [using H3 numbers] posted previously in this thread and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Obviously I prefer a toned-down version of what I proposed earlier in the thread but I'm willing to concede that it does nothing to keep the flavor of the old Learning skill [which was broken].

Val-Gaav
02-15-2006, 05:53 PM
well ..
I must say that 50% just seems a bit to much ... I do not have a good point for it ... sorry no good point at all http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

The main problem I see now that if it is in % it will always be a skill usefull only at the beginning ...

Now if we make it a 30% ... but change it in a way that when u get it it would also increase your already gathered experience by this 30% ???
Now this would make this skill usefull on begining and on end game ...

and still 50% seems a bit too much ...

KingAlamar
02-15-2006, 06:42 PM
Originally posted by Val-Gaav:
well ..
I must say that 50% just seems a bit to much ... I do not have a good point for it ... sorry no good point at all http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

The main problem I see now that if it is in % it will always be a skill usefull only at the beginning ...

Now if we make it a 30% ... but change it in a way that when u get it it would also increase your already gathered experience by this 30% ???
Now this would make this skill usefull on begining and on end game ...

and still 50% seems a bit too much ...

Even if you give a 50% bonus to XP and have enough base XP to be L15 you will only go to L17. This gives you 2 skill points more than you would have had. But assuming that you had to spend 3 skill points to get the skill it's still "useless".

Unless the number of skill points that you get out of the skill is higher than the skill points you invest for the skill [across all level combinations] I believe that you will have a poor skill.

Polaris2013
02-15-2006, 08:46 PM
Well Alamar, it seems like every time I see you I get into an argument, so this time I'm going to call a truce. You've made your argument and I've made mine, but neither of us are going to convince the other that our suggestion is better.

Keep up the interesting arguments, its always good to have another point of view! (Unless you're Val-Gaav, in which case I have nothing else to say to you other than "get over it!" http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_razz.gif )

KingAlamar
02-16-2006, 06:11 AM
I don't think that we are arguing as much as discussing alternatives and pointing out shortcomings with the current and proposed systems .... http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

I do wish that more constructive ideas came out of the discussion though. The only ideas that I noticed were:

1. Increase XP% rewarded
2. Reward with additional skill/ability points
3. Give you free levelups when you take the skill + XP%

Hopefully others [esp. the devs] will read the discussions about the beta and do something about it.

pop_pip
02-16-2006, 05:05 PM
Interesting discussion, I personally believe that the skill idea itself is inherently flawed and should simply be removed/replaced with something else.