EXODE: Federal Database Challenge: A Reply to Apshamilton's Analysis

in hive-155862 •  13 days ago 
I must say that I'm enjoying this immensely. I hope that everyone else is enjoying it as well.

The core of my reply is that Captain Apshamilton's argument is not so much with my strategy and tactics as with my assumptions and rubrics for resolving combat situations.

At the top of all my results posts, you'll see something like the following:
Note: As you'll observe below and throughout, per the pre-written rubrics, I am attempting to give every advantage to the grabber wherever possible (particularly where capabilities are unclear or under-specified). Despite this, there is still at least one unbeatable keeper strategy that I am aware of. If there are any unbeatable grabber selections/tactics (Akhen Cannon?), they will be squelched in a similar fashion.

As I indicated in my post of his results, I found it too easy to create a Kobayashi Maru keeper. As a result, I was indeed somewhat conservative with the abilties and power of the AA/AT Turrets, Defensive Bunkers and Vanguards to some small extent in the rubrics as a result of my play-testing -- but not overwhelmingly so. Further, I don't consider it at all unreasonable to treat an orbital capacity ship with gadgets and missiles as comparable to a standard issue A-10 Warthog.

A lopsided game is no fun and I believe the fact that twice as many keepers were submitted indicates that other people made the same assessment of relative strengths that I did.

Apshamilton's build was good but was missing many points that it could have had and won with. As can be seen with tomorrow's post, my grabber will not win all match-ups. In the island build case, there was no Mysterious AI for ECM, Defensive Bunker for additional support or any of the other points I mentioned in the recap.

Most importantly, the evaluation's rubrics are at least as badly shaded as mine -- if not grossly more so.

First, it relies upon the anti-missile capabilities of the turrets and Vanguards. Iron Dome is specifically a large-area anti-missile defense system -- something that joins a naval force in not currently existing in EXODE. A lot of Iron Dome's effectiveness is due to the sheer number of defenders vs. attackers. Standard anti-air defenses will take down some missiles but certainly not enough when being fired upon by multiple attackers.

Next, the comments that it should take multiple hits to take out a Vanguard are absolutely correct. That is why the rubrics state that a Storm's entire missile load is required to take out a Vanguard. Given the A-10 Warthog's typical performance against tanks, this was probably terribly unfair to the Storm.

The assumption that the Velvet Storms don't have the radar necessary to properly use the missiles that they are equipped with is ludicrous. So are the statements about the Mantis's capabilities and timing and the impossibility of a craft performing a soft landing putting a substantial number of rounds into a static object that it is right on top of because it doesn't have the "ground attack" capabilities of a Rhino or Warthog.

Most of the examples in the analysis are cherry-picked with best of breed matched up against inferior opponents. The Merkava tanks against the badly outdated Arab Air Forces. A nation-wide anti-missile defense against small numbers of missiles (and even so, there are still bad results occasionally). The author's confirmation bias is clearly on display.

Sneering at standard strategies because of a very small number of cherry-picked examples is just poor argument. Is it probable that NATO planners haven't examined those cases as thoroughly as can be done?

It is my hope as well that this enterprise helps to flesh out the EXODE world. On the other hand, like the NATO military experts, I am not at all convinced by the points the analysis tries to make -- and that doesn't even consider that I was concentrating on balance rather than cold, hard reality.
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I agree that the scenario was heavily biased toward the Keeper.

Defenders always have an advantage and having complete choice of terrain and time to assemble pre-fabs were huge additional advantages.

If what you are saying is that you had to give the Velvet Storm and Mantis capabilities that they don't actually have in Deck Expert in order to provide game balance, that is fair enough.

But seriously, suggesting that pretty boy racer is comparable to an A10 Warthog is hilarious. The Warthog is ugly for a reason (lots of armour and guns). :-)

I'm not sure how much actual combat there will be in Exode, but if there is much @elindos needs a wider range of vehicles, especially naval and air vehicles.

If the "pretty boy racer" isn't comparable to a Warthog, it is far to easy to create a Kobayashi Maru keeper. I think that with some creativity, the Mantis's capabilities weren't too unreasonable -- particularly as it was mainly doing clean-up when the other fighters were running short of ammo. On the other hand, it is certainly fair to say that granting Warthog capabilities to "pretty boy" was definitely granting "every advantage to the grabber wherever possible (particularly where capabilities are unclear or under-specified)".

The main thing that I also want to stress is that the rubrics were prewritten and weren't done in response to any particular entry. I tried to get both a reasonable balance and reasonable spread between the entries. So far, after three entries, I'm pretty pleased as to how it is turning out.