Armor Analysis: AKA why Harnesses are bad

Discussion in 'Card Hunter General Chat' started by Jade303, Apr 12, 2015.

  1. Jade303

    Jade303 Thaumaturge

    Armor Value List here.

    Let's talk about armor. First, let's have an armor rating system, and a discussion about probability.

    Armor Rating System
    So, let's give armor cards ratings based on points. This is calculated by multiplying the Armor X value by the number of times it triggers if you were to roll all the numbers from 1-6 once.
    This point system makes Harnesses easier to calculate. More on them later.

    If you divide this point value by 6, you get the average damage reduction (ADR) for that armor.

    Mail: Armor 2, 4+
    0+0+0+2+2+2 = 6
    3X2 = 6 points

    Reliable Hide Armor: Armor 1 (1+)
    6X1 = 6 points

    ADR (Average Damage Reduction) = 1.0

    Now you think, which armor card is better? Mail, or Reliable Hide? I rate them both as 6, but one is clearly better than the other. And you may be surprised by which one it is!

    On average, they both reduce damage by 1. However, Mail can reduce any damage up to and including 2, to 0, as long as the die rolls are favorable. On the other hand, any damage from 2-1 can hit you every time that it fails in a similar "unlucky" scenario.

    Now, in the cases where you always take 2 or more damage, there is no clear winner. Hide absorbs 1 damage every six times, whereas Mail absorbs 2 damage half as often.

    However, if you take 1 damage per hit, it becomes clear that Reliable Hide Armor is the superior armor choice. Mail has Armor 2, but it requires a good die roll, and the extra point of armor reduction is wasted.

    Then you can compare Thickened Mail to Hardy Mail.

    The both have an armor value of 8 points, but whenever you take damage less than 4 points, statistically Hardy Mail is more effective. It is possible for Thickened Mail to reduce twice as much damage per hit as Hardy Mail, but this only happens in half of the scenarios. Also, the odds of Thickened Mail triggering several times in a row decreases exponentially.

    Let's look at another factor. Say that you are being targeted by three attacks, which total 3 points of damage more than your HP. Which armor is more likely to save your life?

    You may be thinking, Thickened mail is essentially 1/3 chance on 3 attacks, and Hardy Mail is 2/3 chance on two attacks. They must have the same odds of saving you right?
    You may also be thinking, hey, Thickened Mail only has to trigger once, But Hardy Mail has to trigger twice. What are the odds really?

    2/3 chance of Thickened Mail roll failing
    2x2x2 =8
    3x3x3 =27
    8/27 chance that you die with one Thickened Mail

    1/3 chance of Hardy Mail failing
    1/27 fail 3 times =1/27
    2/27 fail 2 times (x3) =6/27
    4/27 fail 1 time (x3) =12/27
    8/27 fail 0 times =8/27

    1/27 + 2/27 + 2/27 + 2/27 = 7/27 chance you die with one Hardy Mail
    Result: 8/27 Thickened Mail, 7/27 Hardy Mail. You have a 3.7% less chance of dying with Hardy Mail.

    As it turns out, your odds of survival are superior with Hardy Mail over thickened.

    Also, don't forget that in many situations, you only need an armor card to trigger once, not twice!

    Basically, the more times you take damage the better a more reliable armor card becomes.

    If you take these factors into account, it becomes clear that cards like Reliable Mail are extremely valuable, not just an illusion of reliability versus armor cards with (lower) die rolls.

    What About Harnesses?

    The problem with Harnesses is that they are actually poor armor cards for their cost, and they are only good when they leech off of other armor cards.

    By itself, Enchanted Harness is no better than Hardy Mail. When combined with a good armor, it can effectively double it's value. What do I mean? Read on...

    If you look carefully at Harnesses, you will see that Leather/Chain harness only increase your other armor card's value by 1-5 points. Enchanted Harness doubles this value, but has a lower armor value than most Silver and all other Gold quality armor cards. The effectiveness of Harnesses is further restricted by the hand limit, which means you can only keep any two normal harness or armor cards at any given time.

    Officer's Harness is not affected by the hand limit; however it has a very low armor value (just 3 points!) and even if you collect two harnesses to boost them, you only get 1-3 points per Officer Harness.

    So I developed a formula.
    X represents the number of Officer's Harness in hand.
    Y represents one armor card paired with a single harness. IE, Thickened Mail would have a 4 point bonus (Y=4) when paired with Leather Harness instead of Mail. The 8 points it normally has is omitted. In this example,

    Leather Harness Value = 3 + 1X +Y
    = 3 + 0 + 4
    Plus 8 points from Thickened for a total of 15. VS Mail + Thickened =6+8=14.

    Note I have simplified the harness formula by always including the added die rolls to their value.
    To avoid confusion, all 'Ench' refer to the harness not the mail unless otherwise stated.

    Leather= 3 +1X (+Y)
    Mail = 6
    LeatherX2 =8 +2X
    MailX2 =12
    Leather +Mail= 3+8= 11 +X
    Leather Harness is pretty weak... needs 2+ Officer's.

    Hardy = 8
    Chain = 6 + 1X (+Y)
    Chain Harness is only efficient with 3+ Officer's.

    HardyX2 = 16
    Chainx2 = 16 +2X
    Two Chain, on the other hand, is equivalent to Hardy Mail. At this point, Harnesses begin to have a benefit.

    EnchantedX1 = 8 + 2X (+2Y)
    Barbed = 12
    Barbed+Mail = 12+6 = 18
    Ench. +Mail = 8+10 = 18
    Enchanted Harness+ Mail has the same value (18) as Barbed Platemail + Mail.

    EnchantedX2 = 24 + 3X (Technically 4X but only on Thickened)
    At this point, two Gold Cards are equivalent to two Silver Reliable Mail cards, until you start adding Officer's Harnesses.

    Chain +Ench= 20 + 2X
    Thickd +Ench= 24 + 1X
    Barbed +Ench= 28 + 2X
    Ground +Ench= 32 + 2X
    What happens here? By using a high-value armor card instead of a harness, you gain much more armor points.

    Enchanted +Chain = 20 +3X
    Barbed + Chain = 24 +1X
    Barbed + Hardy = 20

    So, looking at the math overall, it seems that the boosting Harnesses are most effective when: A, they are paired with a high value armor, and B: They are paired with two or more Officer's Harness.

    They are NOT efficient armor cards by themselves.

    In addition, given the deck size, number of armor cards, traits, and cards drawn per turn, it is unlikely to draw your ideal armor set right away. So unless the game lasts for a sufficient number of turns, or you are able to draw the required number of cards, Harnesses are not a very effective form of armor.

    However, it is possible to gain Harnesses on Boot, Helmet, and Heavy Armor slots, whereas it is only possible to have ONE high value armor card in the Heavy Armor(or Divine Armor) slot. Therefore, there is a possibility to gain a significant benefit by including Chain or Enchanted Harnesses in other slots, since in effect, the harnesses can increase your armor value by an amount equal to a high-value card.

    A notable exception is the card, Heavy Armor, which has above-average damage reduction by itself or when paired with one Harness, and a staggering 30 point value when you have both Heavy Armor cards- which only exist on one item (Leaden Plate Mail). However, the Encumber drawback is significant to prevent this from being a common occurence.

    Also, there are Divine Armors Seething Armor and St. Temrun's Chainmail, which have two Crafted Mail and gain a significant boost by including one Harness.
    Lastly, there is Shimmering Aura, but it only works against magic.

    Assuming you have either one harness (minimum armor value) or one harness plus one other armor card:
    Leather Harness: 3 + 1-5 (Value: between 3-8)
    Chain Harness: 6 + 1-5 (Value: between 6-11)
    Enchanted Harness: 8 + 2-10 (Value: between 8-18)

    In all cases, Harnesses have an average value which is on par for the armor value of armor cards in that quality color. Only by combining the harnesses with high-value cards (3-5) do they become equal or superior.

    Now what about the "Legendary Officer's Harness setup"?
    General Jelom's Helm
    Xander's Mail
    Kelharin's Clogs
    (Perfect Stoutness for one extra OH)

    5-6X Officer's Harness
    2X Enchanted Harness
    1 Reliable Mail

    If you can gather all your Harnesses, you can have up to armor 10. Imagine shrugging off all the Bludgeoning branches that those trees have. Imagine tanking multiple Goblin Berserkers and taking no damage.
    Then imagine a Sundering Strike ripping through most, if not every single harness in your hand. Or Boiling Armor.
    Folks, it's just not worth it.

    Then there is the one card that changes the rules: Forward Thinking. The potential armor value here... is, well, actually not that great, since it's hard to stack high-value armors.

    Unless you are a Priest with St. Temrun's Chainmail (Two Crafted Mail + Enchanted Harness) you can only really use something like one/two Enchanted Harnesses + one/two Thickened Mail for 40-48 points of armor. It's way, way easier to get three Reliable Mail. (36 points)

    Too bad you can only have one Forward Thinking, or else armor stacking/harness stacking/ Dodge would become a viable strategy.
    Youbo and karadoc like this.
  2. Jade303

    Jade303 Thaumaturge

    List of Armors:
    (*Please note the (+)/(-) denote the card value, not armor value. EG: Mail= Paper+)

    6 Tough Hide Strips/Weakened Armor
    [6] Reliable Hide Armor
    6 Mail (+)
    (3-8 Leather Harness)

    1 Quickness Aura
    3 Holy Armor
    8 Hardy Mail/Thick Hide Armor
    8 Thickened Mail
    *12* Shimmering Aura (Only prevents magic/projectile)
    (6-11 Chain Harness)

    3 Flight Aura
    4 Sparkling Cloth Armor (-)
    6 Spiked Mail
    9 Solid Mail/Arrogant Armor
    12 Crafted Mail (+)
    [12] Reliable Mail
    15 Heavy Armor (-)

    9 Dynamic Armor
    12 Barbed Platemail (-)
    16 Grounded Plates
    (8-18 Enchanted Harness)

    15 Enchanted Mail

    Harness base values:
    3 Officer's Harness/Arcane Shell
    3 Leather Harness
    6 Chain Harness
    8 Enchanted Harness

    I have omitted Rushing Aura/Horned Plates/Frenzy Aura, Inspiring Armor, and Cloth Armor/Rusty Armor, since none of those Keep.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2015
    karadoc likes this.
  3. timeracers

    timeracers Guild Leader

    I believe the armor system should be revamped, and give harnesses +1 to roll.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2015
    doog37 likes this.
  4. SirSrsly

    SirSrsly Lizardman Priest

    The best armor is good positioning.
  5. Jade303

    Jade303 Thaumaturge

    Umm... You mean + 1 to rolls? That's no good...

    I'm pretty sure, after all of the analysis I've done, that the only armors that should be buffed are Leather Harness and Spiked Mail, maybe followed by Dynamic Armor and Holy Armor.
  6. Dingding123

    Dingding123 Orc Soldier

    Right now Warriors are forced to pick between stacking Reliable Mail/Hides or harnesses. Either one leads to a very simple end: you take a whole lot less damage once you have them until you lose both/all your armor cards. Little else is worth trying.

    Armor can't justify the Keep keyword in all scenarios. Even with how little damage Armor reduces right now, it still adds up way too much over time with just a small push (heals, more armor, etc.). IMO there needs to be a way to destroy Armor cards that is written on all Armor cards. The counterplay should no longer fall on niche and hardly used cards, but the Armor cards themselves.

    An example of what would work is if all Armor cards had their damage reduction doubled (or more in the case of non-Reliable cards) than what they can now,
    i.e. Reliable Hide Armor always reduces damage by 2; Mail blocks for 5 on rolling a 4 or higher,

    but if a player's armor would reduce incoming damage that is double or more of what the armor can reduce, the player must Discard the armor card if it reduces the damage.

    i.e. if an attack of 10 was reduced by a Reliable Hide, it would be reduced to 8, then Reliable Hide would be destroyed. If the incoming 8 damage then triggered a Mail card that did not successfully reduce any damage, then the incoming damage would still be 8 and the Mail would not be destroyed. However if another Mail card was triggered and rolled successfully, the damage would be reduced from 8 to 3 and since the original incoming damage was 8 the Mail card would not be destroyed since that is not quite double or more of what Mail reduces on a successful roll (10).

    Anyway, some system LIKE that one would work well. What we've got now is just blech to deal with. It's not a neat layer of depth and an awesome addition to the game right now, but that's what it could be.

    I'm excited for the next big card balance patch, whenever it'll happen. I want to see this game take off in the right way.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2015
  7. timeracers

    timeracers Guild Leader

    This is my response to your first paragraph: You overlooked a very effective choice known as frenzy armor like Cuirass Of Froth.

    Here is my response to your second paragraph: I agree that armor can make quite a difference but big attacks are still going to hit hard through it, and there are so many ways** of dealing with but of course they have a cost.

    This is what I think about the rest of your post: Reliable armor would be trash because they reliably fail to reduce the damage enough and therefor reliably get destroyed in addition to the fact they would be ineffective number wise i.e. reliable hide has 12 dots* VS mail which has 15 dots*. The other problem is that this would try to fulfill the same role as blocks

    * damage reduced if all 6 numbers were rolled on the armor with no modifiers and the damage would not be reduced below 0
    ** examples: acidic attacks(acid spray, blast, melt, boiling), sundering strike, penetrating attacks.
    doog37 and Flaxative like this.
  8. Bluemage

    Bluemage Hydra

    From a thematic point of view, the problem with harnesses is there's nothing that unifies them. Mechanically or thematically, they're just a bunch of random armors.
  9. Sir Veza

    Sir Veza Farming Deity

    I think all except Officer's Harness are very similar. There is a suggestion to change the name of Officer's Harness to reflect the difference, but nothing has come of it so far.
    Accent likes this.
  10. Dingding123

    Dingding123 Orc Soldier

    If I only had one sentence to describe what I don't like about armor cards in their current state:

    They're the most boring trigger cards in the game.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2015
  11. doog37

    doog37 Hydra

    I think the difficulty in liking armor comes down to the fact that in many RPG type games the "tank" archetype uses armor to effectively control a battlefield as an extremely difficult to kill enemy which just doesn't exist in CH.
    Add to that the requirement to fill an armor type slot (heavy/divine armor and robes) and for armors the choices for no token tend to be fairly weak and it becomes a frustrating endeavor. Do you spend a token to get more than 1 quality armor (silver or gold level armors)? which then are either minimal (reliable mail) or subject to chance or do you find the best 0 token fill hoping you have one of the few that are worth having.
    Harnesses (non-officer's) help but the hand limits make them only limited in usefulness and other than Enchanted, by themselves are very weak.
    What I see as the issue is the 0 or 1 situation of keep vs. no keep. If armors had declining utility or a limited use (but more than 1) there could be higher value armors. Take Toughness for example since it is an armor. It works because it is limited but it affords real protection. Know I understand that blocks serve this purpose, but there needs to be something between all damage prevented and up to 5 damage stopped some of the time. The fact that armor fails frequently is lame. You have a card that you need to hold for it to be effective and it might triggered multiple times and be worthless.
    What I would like to see is instead of rolls to succeed, I would like to see rolls to weaken. Each armor could have a keep value between 1-4. The roll would only matter to losing a keep "counter" no keep counters left and the armor is discarded. For example reliable mail would have 4 tokens and would be a 2+ roll (still 2 armor) but thickened would have 2 counters and would be a roll of 5+. This would mean that a reliable would statistically last about 24 hits (only a 1 removes a counter and 4 counters) meaning it would be highly reliable, but the thickened would be expected to last 3 attacks (1-4 removes a counter only 2 counters). But then you could have new armors like Enchanted Glass Mail armor 7, 2 counters and only a 6 passed the saving throw meaning likely a 2 use item.

    I know I know it's not happening I just like thinking out of the box. Armor is the most boring part of the game I think carrying an armor that might not do anything is illogical. Even if it was something where all armor values went up by 1 and the failed roll means only 1/2 strength would be more realistic.
  12. Juxtapostion

    Juxtapostion Hydra

    @doog37 , I like that idea a lot. It makes sense that armor should stop damage every time. Any getting around it is on the attacker, through skilled placement of strikes, penetrations etc. And, that armor, as it absorbs damage, weakens to uselessness. An issue I see though is redrawing the armor cards? Does it make sense that, given your armor was effectively destroyed that it mysteriously regenerates? Probably not. And, this could be gotten around by removing armor cards from the deck when they are all used up, and keeping track of how damaged they are (number of tokens left, by your example) if discarded without all tokens being removed. So that when/if you draw it again, it only has the number of tokens on it as it did when discarded.

    I think the biggest issue with armor is not that its bad, or even unfun, but like most balance complaints, the complainer wants this game to feel more like an RPG. And, represent a physical/magical conflict in a logical way. Logical as in, the way war/rpg/card/shooter games have always worked so we expect them to work that way. This game is not like other games, and I like it that way. We all know the mechanics, and though I agree some of them are weak. I don't think that a complete overhaul is good or necessary.

    That being said, harnesses do suck. And, it makes sense to me that if any change should happen its that you can keep one harness in hand for free. Simple, easy, solution.
    doog37 likes this.
  13. Jade303

    Jade303 Thaumaturge

    What would be neat is if after you draw it, you could keep any one armor card in hand, and it wouldn't count against your hand limit. Think of it as an "armor slot".
  14. Kalin

    Kalin Begat G'zok

    What if harnesses improved all your dice rolls, not just armor? It would be the opposite of Bad Luck.
  15. SirSrsly

    SirSrsly Lizardman Priest

    I've thought about this but it gets broken very quickly. Blocks would be bad enough. But also consider Altruism and Cause Fumble...
  16. Flaxative

    Flaxative Party Leader

    3+ Dodge, you say? :D
    ... 3+ Reflexive Teleport, you say?!?! :D :D :D
  17. Bluemage

    Bluemage Hydra

    5+ Unreliable Block!
  18. Kalin

    Kalin Begat G'zok

    That would take 2 harnesses. Would you want to hold onto 2 Chain Harnesses to get that? Reflexive Teleport is pretty much useless right now. (Enchanted Harness seems fine as is, so that would continue to only affect armor rolls.)
  19. Flaxative

    Flaxative Party Leader

    Well, it would take one Enchanted Harness ... except—

    Oh! So you want us to further decrease the similarity of mechanics for these cards XD

    This is really another topic, but ... no, no it's not.
  20. Ghostbrain

    Ghostbrain Ogre

    Argh! The math of this game is like spagetti going through hoops to me! Armor, however, is really dull. I would be interested in a reverse roll for it, but suspect many game mechanics will lead to a larger change; More likely, tank tank, heal, tank tank... I don't know if I like that or no... Either way if an abundance of truly useful armor existed, the larger change in removing those cards will exist. Basically by that sort of change I would anticipate a time where we had freeze cards vs armor cards. Maybe I'm thinking too basically though.

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