Sim Stories: Proceed With Caution

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The Introduction

It’s been longer than I’d hoped since I was able to dig into some sim results, but that’s not for lack of trying.  I have an idea for a big article, but the logistics are a bit of a roadblock at the moment. In the meantime, IDGT902 from Apex Predators suggested a great topic that I’m frankly a bit embarrassed I didn’t think of myself.  Recently Ludia gave us a balancing survey and many of you already know my feelings on the survey itself.  One of the questions in the survey deal with how to balance Cautious Strike.

Now, I am on record saying “There’s no way Cautious Strike doesn’t get nerfed in 1.11” and so you can imagine my, along with many others’, surprise when it was BUFFED instead! The outcry on the forums led to the survey and many of you have already voted (assuming you could actually get to the survey).  But, as I’ve already said, we don’t have the proper qualifications or data to make those calls. So I’m here today to illustrate that point by showing you some data from our sim.

The Rules

  1. 7 separate versions of Indoraptor Gen 2 will be tested.  The current ability as-is, plus one version each with single aspects removed (Speed Up, Cleanse, Dodge, Distraction, Precise, Damage).  These correspond with the 7 options we were voting on in the survey.

  2. The opponent pool will be Tyrant, High Apex, Mid Apex, and Low Apex creatures.

  3. All creatures will be level 26 with no boosts.

  4. Only “clean” wins will be counted.  This means a match where the opponent used a swap out move will not be considered. This means the results wont add up to 100%.

The Results

Before you look at these results, try to take a moment to remember how you voted.

Click Here For Results

Ability Modification Win Percent Loss Percent
Unchanged (Base 1.11) 68.71% 15.44%
No Speed Up 68.15% 16.33%
No Cleanse 68.10% 15.40%
No Precise 67.14% 17.70%
No Dodge 62.90% 22.54%
No Distract 60.48% 26.05%
No Damage 44.68% 42.50%

The Analysis

Are you surprised? I was too, at first, but let’s break this down.  First we see that removing Speed Up or Cleanse basically do nothing to change the results. I kind of expected Cleanse to be the least important part of Cautious Strike, but I didn’t think it was this unimportant.  Then I remembered. These results aren’t showing how these changes affect Cautious Strike itself, they’re showing how Indoraptor2 as a whole is affected. It just so happens that another skill, Mutual Fury, has these exact effects as well.  So removing these effects from Cautious Strike cause the sim to utilize Mutual Fury more. The first change that I would call meaningful is the removal of Precise and even that is barely a change. I found this quite surprising since this was the change in 1.11 that sparked the outrage over Cautious Strike. While I certainly still think Cautious Strike is too powerful, turns out Precise isn’t that much of a difference.

Now we’ll look at the changes that have real impacts. Removing either Dodge or Distraction bring Indoraptor2’s win rate down do the likes of Mammotherium, Erlidominus, and Procerathomimus. This isn’t a big surprise to me since both of these abilities mitigate damage, which means Indoraptor2 is around longer to dish out more damage herself. On average, Dodge and Distract are equal in terms of damage mitigation (50%) so it’s really interesting to me that removing Distract has a significantly greater impact.

I’m not even going to think about the last change too much because I think it’s pretty ridiculous.  Removing Damage from the ability leaves Indoraptor2 with only one damage dealing ability and that ability has a Delay and Cooldown. It completely ruins the creature and the data shows it.

The Farewell

After seeing these results, I’m not sure where I stand anymore.  I absolutely think Cautious Strike is too powerful, but is Indoraptor itself too powerful?  If not, then the answer is to remove Speed Up or Cleanse to create a more diverse playstyle.  If Indoraptor is too powerful overall, removing Dodge or Distract are probably the best single effects to remove.  For some context in that regard, there are 3 other creatures with win rates even higher than 1.11 Indoraptor2: Magnapyritor (70.12%), Ardentismaxima (72.70%), and Geminititan (75.00%). That makes me think it’s just Cautious Strike that is the problem and not Indoraptor2 as a whole. But at the same time I think having two damage mitigation effects on one ability is way too much and there’s no way of fixing that without significantly depowering Indoraptor2. Maybe the answer is removing some combination of effects?  That, however, is a sim for another day.

I hope these results were enlightening about how complicated the balancing process can be.  The effects you think go too far (Precise) might not actually have much of an impact and the ones that have the most impact (Distract) might not be the ones you suspected.  This is why Ludia needs to be the ones to test these things. If they really want us to have a say in the direction these balance changes take, at least give us some kind of data to go with instead of making us rely on our biased gut feelings.

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About the Author(s)

Hello, I am either a robot made to fold paper or a robot created to fold paper.  I forget which.  I love numbers! I love data!  I love animals!  I love you!  Will you got to robot prom with me?