Proposal: Show GDR numbers


Although the central place for this kind of discussion is on the CDO wiki, some may find it helpful to discuss potential requests and suggestions here first.

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Post Thursday, 4th January 2018, 15:02

Proposal: Show GDR numbers

Is there a specific reason GDR (Guaranteed Damage Reduction) numbers hasn’t been added next to AC?
If not; showing GDR numbers would help a lot, especially when calculating it for Gargoyles.

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Post Thursday, 4th January 2018, 16:18

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

I think that GDR should be calculated from total AC. This way, you wouldn't need to actually show GDR numbers, because the player would be able to deduce GDR effects as a subset of AC. Gargoyles have a substantial AC bonus, so they still would get a GDR bonus.

GDR is a very complicated thing, I tried opened a thread about it some time ago and I was very surprised by the info on it. GDR only works in melee, for example. This means that adding numbers would mean having to clarify the player about the fact that those numbers only apply to melee. In general, I think it's avoided because of info overload.
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Post Thursday, 4th January 2018, 16:23

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

Renove gdr

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Post Thursday, 4th January 2018, 16:27

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

What if we baked GDR info into the Xv information? That way, it could be "displayed" without having to actually display/explain it. I don't fully understand GDR, which is why I just assume every enemy will deal max damage to me, and is why I undervalue higher classes of armor.

Related: I would love if there was something similar to the "press s to set your skill target for this weapon" for armor. I know it's tricky because armor never stops giving a penalty, but even a rule of thumb like "this is the armor you'd need at your current strength to get the penalty below X threshold" would be very useful differentiating between "worthwhile armor to think about" and "don't even consider it."

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Post Thursday, 4th January 2018, 19:14

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

Why does gdr exist anyways? Is it necessary for balance or does it provide interesting strategic nuance? More likely, it is additional formulaic convolution for the sake of simulationism ie 'it feels right'
Last edited by amaril on Thursday, 4th January 2018, 19:47, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Thursday, 4th January 2018, 19:27

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

amaril wrote:Why does gdr exist anyeays? Is it necessary for balance or does it provide interesting dtrategic nuance? More likely, it is additional formulaic convolution for the sake of simulationism ie 'it feels right'

I assume someone decided it sucked to have 70 AC and have it do nothing sometimes, so someone added this odd side calculation, it's fairly convoluted and weird.

In reference to the OP, the reason GMDR isn't shown (IMHO) is that it's totally opaque even if you have the number in front of you, and everyone who learns about it, uses it in the entirely wrong way to evaluate how valuable armour is. The number itself is horrible and misleading if you don't take the time to fully explain it, and even once you do, most people still misunderstand what it does because how GMDR behaves is so non-intuitive. So showing the GMDR number without a clear explanation of what it does actually reduces the game's clarity, if you treated it like it didn't exist, you'd more often make correct decisions about what armour to wear and when than if you did show the number. Unfortunately there is no clear explanation of what it actually does, because what it does is so convoluted. So *unless you were willing to source dive to understand how it actually works* the number is actually bad for game clarity, and if you're willing to source dive to understand how it works, then finding the actual numbers themselves isn't any more work.
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Post Thursday, 4th January 2018, 19:37

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

Siegurt wrote:I assume someone decided it sucked to have 70 AC and have it do nothing sometimes, so someone added this odd side calculation, it's fairly convoluted and weird.

In reference to the OP, the reason GMDR isn't shown (IMHO) is that it's totally opaque even if you have the number in front of you, and everyone who learns about it, uses it in the entirely wrong way to evaluate how valuable armour is. The number itself is horrible and misleading if you don't take the time to fully explain it, and even once you do, most people still misunderstand what it does because how GMDR behaves is so non-intuitive. So showing the GMDR number without a clear explanation of what it does actually reduces the game's clarity, if you treated it like it didn't exist, you'd more often make correct decisions about what armour to wear and when than if you did show the number. Unfortunately there is no clear explanation of what it actually does, because what it does is so convoluted. So *unless you were willing to source dive to understand how it actually works* the number is actually bad for game clarity, and if you're willing to source dive to understand how it works, then finding the actual numbers themselves isn't any more work.

This is the best argument for removing GDR that I've ever heard.

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Post Thursday, 4th January 2018, 21:32

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

I'm a fan of GDMR because it does make a difference - characters in plate can safely take one more swing against a giant with 35 hp, whereas a draconian with similar AC could end up taking 40 damage in one hit and die. You can feel the change if you play a lot of high GDMR characters and then switch to someone who has none but still gets decent AC. I've had deaths to giants like the example above because I was right on the edge of what their max damage could do and didn't have GDMR to reduce their max damage. It lowers variance, which makes it easier to predict combat and make correct decisions.

All that being said, it is 1) opaque, and 2) not terribly impactful most of the time. Situations exist where it's made a huge difference, but on the average case, it isn't a huge deal. I'd support reworking it into something more simple. Example: an AC floor - an armor with an AC floor of 5 can't roll less than 5. Having 10 ac means you can roll 0-10 damage reduction, but if you have 10 (floor 3) you can only roll 3-10 damage reduction.

Accomplishes mostly the same thing, very easy to understand, and is a single number which can be easily displayed if desired. Could be made to apply to all damage sources that AC applies to, or only to melee as is the case with GDMR now.

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Post Thursday, 4th January 2018, 23:27

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

Hellmonk wrote:
Siegurt wrote:I assume someone decided it sucked to have 70 AC and have it do nothing sometimes, so someone added this odd side calculation, it's fairly convoluted and weird.

In reference to the OP, the reason GMDR isn't shown (IMHO) is that it's totally opaque even if you have the number in front of you, and everyone who learns about it, uses it in the entirely wrong way to evaluate how valuable armour is. The number itself is horrible and misleading if you don't take the time to fully explain it, and even once you do, most people still misunderstand what it does because how GMDR behaves is so non-intuitive. So showing the GMDR number without a clear explanation of what it does actually reduces the game's clarity, if you treated it like it didn't exist, you'd more often make correct decisions about what armour to wear and when than if you did show the number. Unfortunately there is no clear explanation of what it actually does, because what it does is so convoluted. So *unless you were willing to source dive to understand how it actually works* the number is actually bad for game clarity, and if you're willing to source dive to understand how it works, then finding the actual numbers themselves isn't any more work.

This is the best argument for removing GDR that I've ever heard.


Well, "Hard to describe and understand" is not the same as "Is bad for gameplay". I don't make the case that GMDR is good or bad for gameplay I'm only pointing out that "Easy to describe and understand" doesn't equate with good game play.

If someone wants to make the case that removing GMDR or replacing GMDR with something else would make the game would be better *and* it would be clearer and easily communicable, then I'm all for it, but "it's hard/easy for humans to understand" in and of itself is a poor reason to change game design of computer games.
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Post Thursday, 4th January 2018, 23:52

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

So, there are two questions in my mind.

1 - Would including GDR in the damage ratings on monster descriptions "fix" this issue? If it said "This monster can do 25 damage (or 30 without armor)," would that solve the issue? Is there a use case for showing GDR past "calculating max damage a monster can do?" Setting aside that it might be information overload, since that feels solvable.

2 - Is there a formula that can base GDR exclusively on AC such that optimizing it is the same as optimizing AC, without changing the game balance that currently exists? I suspect the answer to this one is no, but if it's possible, it seems like an easy upgrade to the current system. Ideally, a simplified system would couple with slightly better "max damage" info, but even without it, the issue would likely be alleviated, since maximizing your GDR would be as simple as maximizing your AC, which is already good strategy.
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Post Friday, 5th January 2018, 01:43

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

I guess that, if it is to remain as it is now, GDR could be added as a single line in the armour description:

"When worn, leather armour absorbs 14% of the damage from each melee attack".

Or:

"When worn by a Gargoyle, leather armour absorbs 34% of the damage from each melee attack".
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Post Friday, 5th January 2018, 02:59

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

Shtopit wrote:I guess that, if it is to remain as it is now, GDR could be added as a single line in the armour description:

"When worn, leather armour absorbs 14% of the damage from each melee attack".

Or:

"When worn by a Gargoyle, leather armour absorbs 34% of the damage from each melee attack".

Except that's not actually true....
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Post Friday, 5th January 2018, 05:54

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

Siegurt wrote:
Shtopit wrote:I guess that, if it is to remain as it is now, GDR could be added as a single line in the armour description:

"When worn, leather armour absorbs 14% of the damage from each melee attack".

Or:

"When worn by a Gargoyle, leather armour absorbs 34% of the damage from each melee attack".

Except that's not actually true....


Change that to "guarantees absorbing at least 14% of the max damage from each melee attack or 14% of your AC whatever is less".
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Post Friday, 5th January 2018, 07:29

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

VeryAngryFelid wrote:
Siegurt wrote:
Shtopit wrote:I guess that, if it is to remain as it is now, GDR could be added as a single line in the armour description:

"When worn, leather armour absorbs 14% of the damage from each melee attack".

Or:

"When worn by a Gargoyle, leather armour absorbs 34% of the damage from each melee attack".

Except that's not actually true....


Change that to "guarantees absorbing at least 14% of the max damage from each melee attack or 14% of your AC whatever is less".

Still not accurate :)
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Post Friday, 5th January 2018, 07:32

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

Siegurt wrote:Still not accurate :)


Sorry, I don't remember details now. I still believe it is possible to accurately describe it, it won't take that many words and will be useful to everyone.
Actually I like Stonar's idea from above post, "this monster can deal up to N damage in melee" should take GDR and AC into account. Otherwise the game is lying and I believe devs hate when game is lying.
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Post Friday, 5th January 2018, 09:03

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

Siegurt wrote:Still not accurate :)

Can you try giving a short and accurate description? At this point, I am curious to see how it would be.
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Post Friday, 5th January 2018, 09:36

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

wiki says
  Code:
The damage reduction is capped at your GDR% of the enemy's maximum damage or 1/2 of your AC, whichever is lower.
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Post Friday, 5th January 2018, 10:06

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

Quoting duvessa from another thread:
"GDR doesn't actually use the monster's maximum potential melee damage. It just uses the monster's base melee damage + the monster's weapon's base damage (if it has a weapon). GDR thinks that a berserk ogre wielding a +500 giant club of crushing and wearing a +500 ring of slaying has the same maximum damage as a weakened ogre wielding a -500 unbranded giant club and wearing a -500 ring of slaying."

disclaimer: that thread was more than a year ago, no idea if GMDR has changed since
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Post Friday, 5th January 2018, 16:25

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

Reading that description of what GDR (and duvessa's addition) does makes me very much think it should not be in the game. I don't think there's a reasonable way to explain that mechanic in an armour description.

I'm rather strongly of the opinion that two characters with the same AC should take the same damage from an attack unless there is a clearly communicated reason they won't. (Resistances and damage shaving count as "clearly communicated" to me.)
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Post Friday, 5th January 2018, 18:02

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

Shtopit wrote:
Siegurt wrote:Still not accurate :)

Can you try giving a short and accurate description? At this point, I am curious to see how it would be.

Let's see if I haven't forgotten anything and can make it shortish:
The minimum reduction by AC of the melee damage done by a creature will be at least (GMDR)% of a creature's unmodified max melee damage (before slaying, enchantments and status effects, but after base weapon damage is added) or 50% of your AC value, whichever is less; if your armour roll would have reduced the melee damage done by less than that amount, it will reduce it by that amount instead.


That presumes foreknowledge that your AC is rolled and subtracted from the damage done by the monster (aka knowing what I mean by "your armour roll") and that the way monster's weapon damage work is that the monster's weapon damage is added to the monster's damage statistic, and it presumes you know what "modifiers" could effect monster damage, but presuming you already know those things, I *think* that's accurate (if I didn't forget anything)

If you don't presume foreknowledge (Like you shouldn't when writing descriptions which appear in game) the "short" description gets much longer, since you have to explain what the things are that GMDR uses when doing what it does.

As you can see, that's pretty darn long, and involves a lot of mental contortions to parse it properly, and I'm still not 100% sure that description doesn't fail to cover some corner case (I'd actually have to go source dive and read through the code again to be sure)

Note that I'm not sure where you would *put* this description, since your GMDR is mostly dependent on your body armour, but might also depend on mutations (e.x. gargoyle), and it's possible (although unlikely) that other new "stuff" which could be added to the game, could contribute to your GMDR as well.
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Post Friday, 5th January 2018, 19:23

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

if your armour roll would have reduced the melee damage done by less than that amount, it will reduce it by that amount instead.


This is not required I believe. It is what "minimum reduction" means. So the description is much shorter and should be in the game IMHO.
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Post Friday, 5th January 2018, 19:57

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

The actual place for explaining GDR to people would be in xv for monsters since it's a totally different number for a juggernaut and a bat. I think maybe this would be true if you had 9 AC and 20% GDR?

  Code:
It can hit for up to 10 damage. Your current armour will protect you from at least 2 damage of this monster's attacks.


You could throw AC into it too:

  Code:
It can hit for up to 10 damage. Your current armour will protect you from between 2 and 9 damage of this monster's attacks.


(It is very possible that I don't understand AC and GDR properly so this message was a lie anyhow, in that case, just laugh at me.)

I don't know how GDR would work for monster with multiple, different damage attacks. (Or if it works on ranged attacks, and if so, which ranged attacks.)

I still think changing AC so that GDR isn't needed makes way more sense.
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Post Friday, 5th January 2018, 20:33

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

njvack wrote:(Or if it works on ranged attacks, and if so, which ranged attacks.)

It does not, because it is GMDR, Guaranteed Melee Damage Reduction.
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Post Friday, 5th January 2018, 22:38

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

njvack wrote:The actual place for explaining GDR to people would be in xv for monsters since it's a totally different number for a juggernaut and a bat. I think maybe this would be true if you had 9 AC and 20% GDR?

  Code:
It can hit for up to 10 damage. Your current armour will protect you from at least 2 damage of this monster's attacks.


You could throw AC into it too:

  Code:
It can hit for up to 10 damage. Your current armour will protect you from between 2 and 9 damage of this monster's attacks.


(It is very possible that I don't understand AC and GDR properly so this message was a lie anyhow, in that case, just laugh at me.)

I don't know how GDR would work for monster with multiple, different damage attacks. (Or if it works on ranged attacks, and if so, which ranged attacks.)

I still think changing AC so that GDR isn't needed makes way more sense.


Yes, that's the appropriate place and method to display GMDR if it's to be displayed, note that the GMDR percentage wouldn't be displayed at all, and you'd just get the actual, useful, human-understandable *result* (Of course after modifying the text so it was clear that the protection only effected melee damage)
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Post Saturday, 6th January 2018, 00:28

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

lol, did I get shadow banned or something? That's what I said! :P

Anyway, I agree. :) Especially since such a system could (in the future) include relevant information for other sources of damage reduction - "Your current armour will proctect you from between 0 and 10 damage from this ranged attack" or "Your fire resistance will protect you from half of this damage" would be nice, too.

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Post Saturday, 6th January 2018, 21:25

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

I've always been a fan of Brogue's "At worst, it could kill you in <x> hits" description on monsters. If something like that could be made to accurately include GDR, it would go a reasonable way towards demystifying the property without being misleading.

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Post Saturday, 6th January 2018, 21:45

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

Stonar wrote:lol, did I get shadow banned or something? That's what I said! :P

Anyway, I agree. :) Especially since such a system could (in the future) include relevant information for other sources of damage reduction - "Your current armour will proctect you from between 0 and 10 damage from this ranged attack" or "Your fire resistance will protect you from half of this damage" would be nice, too.

I don't think anyone disagreed with you, we were just off on a tangent and didn't respond to your comment (well except VAF who said he liked it).

Personally, I like the "Armour would prevent between 5 and 10 points of this damage" format better than doing the math and subtracting it from the monsters "damage it could do", as having the monster's pre-armour damage lets players get a sense of how nasty something might be if they were to face it with a different character with different GMDR and AC.
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Post Monday, 8th January 2018, 16:50

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

I agree. I was trying to preempt the issue of information overload, but that feels like a small concern.
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Post Monday, 8th January 2018, 18:32

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

Sorry, I simply missed your message. No offense intended!

The more I think about it, the more I realize that it's just really hard in Crawl to describe how the game works. Like: GDR applies only to melee. What happens with brands? Are all brands handled the same? IIRC distortion bypasses all AC, so presumably GDR doesn't apply to it. What about elec/freezing/flaming/draining/vorpal?

I realize:

  Code:
There is no straightforward way to tell you how much damage you'll take from this monster, outside of running a simulation.


is not a very satisfying thing to say, but that's kind of where the game is. Right now, when numbers are complicated, Crawl could:

1. Say something really complicated
2. Say something that is actually a lie
3. Change the underlying mechanics so they're simple to explain
4. Say nothing

... and right now the game mostly chooses option 4. I think that's actually a pretty defensible choice, and is much better than 1 or 2. Whether option 3 is better depends on the fundamental design goals of Crawl (and how much appetite individual devs have for changing mechanics with simplicity as a goal). I don't remember "have simply-explainable mechanics" being in the design doc.
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Post Monday, 8th January 2018, 20:34

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

But that's how the game currently handles weapons and brands - it says something like:

This monster does 15 damage, plus the damage from its rapier of freezing.


You could easily just add this system for those base damages, which are displayed. (I'm not convinced there's really value to obscuring the full damage values, though I understand it's a complex problem that would take some careful design, I don't see why it couldn't be communicated clearly.)

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Post Monday, 8th January 2018, 21:38

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

Does the game even bother describing how monster damage or AC even works?

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Post Tuesday, 9th January 2018, 18:57

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

The manual says:

Next come your defences. For all of them, more is better.

Armour Class
Abbreviated to "AC". When something injures you, your AC reduces the amount of damage you suffer.
Evasion
Abbreviated to "EV". This helps you avoid being hit by unpleasant things (but will not reduce the amount of damage you suffer if you do get hit).
Shield
Abbreviated to "SH". This number is a measure of how good your shield (if any) is at blocking attacks.


[ Armour
This is also rather important. Most worn armour improves your Armour Class, which decreases the amount of damage you take from most types of injury. The heavier an armour is, the more AC (armour class) it will provide, at the expense of your EV (evasion) and stealth. Heavier types of armour also hamper your melee accuracy, making it harder for you to hit monsters. Wearing heavy armour also increases your chances of miscasting spells, an effect which is only slightly reduced by your Armour skill. These penalties are smaller if you have a high Armour skill, but larger if you have low Strength. On the other hand, body armour will also provide some guaranteed damage reduction against melee attacks, and heavier armours are better at this.

A shield normally increases neither your AC nor your evasion, but it lets you attempt to block melee attacks and some ranged attacks aimed at you. Wearing a shield (especially larger shields) with insufficient Shields skill makes you less effective in hand combat and hampers your ability to cast spells. It also lowers your evasion if you do not have sufficient skill, and you obviously cannot wield a two-handed weapon while wearing a shield. Shields are most effective on the first attack on you each turn and become less useful on every one after that. There are three types: bucklers, shields, and large shields.

Some magical armours have special powers. These powers are sometimes automatic, affecting you whenever you wear the armour, and sometimes must be activated with the 'a' command.

You can wear armour with the 'W' command, and take it off with the 'T' command. With '[' you can have a quick look at your current gear.

Most armours can be improved by reading the appropriate scroll. Body armour and bardings can be enchanted up to the base value of AC they provide. Shields can be enchanted up to +3, +5, or +8, depending on their size. Other gear is limited to +2.


Also this, in the philosophy section:

Clarity
Things ought to work in an intuitive way. Crawl definitely is winnable without spoiler access. Concerning important but hidden details (i.e. facts subject to spoilers) our policy is this: the joy of discovering something spoily is nice, once. (And disappears before it can start if you feel you need to read spoilers - a legitimate feeling.) The joy of dealing with ever-changing, unexpected and challenging strategic and tactical situations that arise out of transparent rules, on the other hand, is nice again and again. That said, we believe that qualitative feedback is often better than precise numbers.

In concrete terms, we either spell out a gameplay mechanic explicitly (either in the manual, or by in-game feedback) or leave it to min-maxers if we feel that the naive approach is good enough.


Personally, I feel like EV's mechanic is explained well, while AC is less clear than I would like.
I am not a very good player. My mouth is a foul pit of LIES. KNOW THIS.

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 4929

Joined: Friday, 25th November 2011, 07:36

Post Tuesday, 9th January 2018, 23:24

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

njvack wrote:
  Code:
It can hit for up to 10 damage. Your current armour will protect you from between 2 and 9 damage of this monster's attacks.


(It is very possible that I don't understand AC and GDR properly so this message was a lie anyhow, in that case, just laugh at me.)

As a minor point, AC can absolutely roll for 100% (or higher, but rolling for over the max is the same as rolling for max) of the monsters attack (you are hit for no damage) so this should say "protect you from between 2 and 10 damage".
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Vaults Vanquisher

Posts: 495

Joined: Monday, 24th April 2017, 11:46

Post Wednesday, 10th January 2018, 10:31

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

All this discussion reminds me of an exchange elsewhere some months ago where I was viciously attacked for believing that a shield does me any good. The argument there was that it would do next to nothing to reduce the max damage I can receive in any given encounter. The trouble with this, though, is that there seems to be no reasonable way to know the max damage of an encounter the moment I wear anything heavier than a robe, because of the obscure GDR calculation. That makes the shield, as a device that reduces average damage over time, much more attractive again.
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Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 3296

Joined: Friday, 8th May 2015, 17:51

Post Wednesday, 10th January 2018, 11:43

Re: Proposal: Show GDR numbers

I don't think max damage is that important. I mean what would prefer:
1) AC 30, GDR 40, EV 0, SH 0. Max damage from Juggernaut is reduced by 15 and it will hit you every time.
2) AC 30, GDR 0, EV 40, SH 35. Max damage from Juggernaut is not reduced but you have quite low chance to be hit.
Actually I would rather have AC 0 and EV 40/SH 35 vs that high damage attackers like Juggernaut.
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