Blocking

Oct 10, 2016, 10:09 pm
#1
Ischaldirh's avatar
Ex-Tyrant of the IVANers


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So I just did some digging around in script files and the old forums, curious about blocking. I compiled a spreadsheet with information about (almost) every item in the game, as relates to blocking. Now, it's already been sussed out of the code (thanks to Squashmonster, in this thread) that blocking involves a BlockStrength and a BlockValue. BlockStrength is a bit hectic and is pretty specific to the item/weapon in question - it involves factors like hit strength and weapon class skill bonus - but BlockValue is a little easier to analyze in broad strokes.

BlockValue involves two terms, ToHitValue and BlockModifier. ToHitValue is a whole can of worms which involves some crazy ass shit, but we don't need to worry about the specifics; just note that a higher ToHitValue is better. (IIRC, ToHitValue caps out after a certain point, and that point can usually be reached by enchantments. Thus if we're wondering about end-game viability here, we can ignore this value.) Which leaves us with BlockModifier, which is wonderfully simple to analyze: Size * Roundness * 2 (* 2 again if the item is a shield).

So what does all this mean? Well, here is a spreadsheet I made containing (almost) every item in the game.

The upshot is that cloaks and big chests are tied for the best blockers in the game. (Using these is problematic, however. Also, I'm not sure you can gain any relevent skill with cloaks...) Actual shields are a pretty close second (24000 vs 22800). Everything else is dramatically less reliable: the next in line is Neerc se'Ulb, with BlockModifier = 14000 - nearly half that of cloaks and shields.

Quite amusingly, the Big Mine is the next on the list. In fact, both the Big Mine and the regular Mine are better blockers than any actual weapon, other than Neerc se'Ulb.

In terms of (non-special) weapons, the Mace and the Halberd are the best blockers (7500 and 6800, respectively. Mjolak is in between, with 7200). If you want to play a block-happy build, I recommend a mace and a shield.

Unfortunately, by now we are talking about relatively poor BlockModifier values. Justifier weighs in with the same block value as a Lyre of Charm - 5000. You are as likely to block with a bottle as you are with a two-handed scimitar, at 4200. Short swords have a measly 2100, while whips are at 1000 or less.

The worst blocker I found was the carrot. At 400, you would need to be an excellent carrot warrior to block anything.
Oct 10, 2016, 10:12 pm
#2
capristo's avatar
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Nice research! I'm surprised the weapons are so low... seems like a short sword should be better than a bottle

Ischaldirh wrote
The worst blocker I found was the carrot. At 400, you would need to be an excellent carrot warrior to block anything.

HAHahaha. Wish blob were around to draw a carrot warrior. Could be a new challenge for JoKe
Oct 10, 2016, 10:56 pm
#3
Joined: Dec 11, 2008
Posts: 1,770
Hey, you should write up a blocking page on the wiki!

A table with the spreadsheet's data on the wiki would be very handy.

I guess I could also do it myself if you'd like.
Or at the very least get the formatting straightened out for you.
Oct 10, 2016, 11:03 pm
#4
Ischaldirh's avatar
Ex-Tyrant of the IVANers


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I'd say I'll do it, but if I don't do it now, I know myself too well - it won't happen. And right now, I'm playing IVAN. Just cleared the minefield. Have levitation belt, dual wielding Vermis and a gift from Valpurus. Need more scrolls of charging, or some wands of mirroring...
Oct 11, 2016, 3:46 am
#5
Ernomouse's avatar
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Wow, those values for weapons don't make any sense to an ex swordsman like me! Swords are excellent blockers - especially the (lighter?) two handed swords should rank way higher than mines or maces. IRL the two main attributes that define if an object would be good for blocking are weight & balance and reach & surface area. Of course durability of the object defines if we are talking about a last ditch effort or a more permanent solution - a cloak won't take as much punishment as a kite shield, even though it does make an excellent and effective blocker even in real life.

Based on my experience, I would put the order in something like (in descending order)
Category 1: cloak, full shield (>20 000's)
Category 2: big swords, small shield, most two handed weapons; staffs, spears and war hammers, buckler shield (~15 000's)
Category 3: small swords, rapiers, bulky items like chests, mines, daggers, other one handed items like axes and maces (~10 000's)
Category 4: whips, carrots, and other miscellaneous items (<5 000's)

If I was the Emperor, I would set the items in each category pretty close to each others, and wider caps between each category. I would consider splitting the blocking ability of each weapon into two categories (the rapier is excellent when you need fast response to light threats but near useless against something heavy like an axe or a scimitar). I feel it's not really necessary to complicate the game that much.

Weapons that leave your limbs or fingers in harms way are bad for blocking for psychological reasons (mines, carrots, many misc. items).

Some objects should be much more prone to breaking when blocking. For example the way swords are designed, you always block with the main material (steel) and so the break value should be close to what you have when you attack. With an axe you're way more likely to take the hit into the secondary material of the handle, and so it should break much more often. Mines should break easy (and explode when they do). Carrots, cloaks, staffs, spears and war hammers, chests, axes, maces, whips, carrots, and all other non-metal items should also break easily, and become worse blockers.

Weapons could have an attribute that makes them break equipment more easily. A sword is for damage and won't leave much of a mark on an armor, but a war hammer or an axe should DESTROY whatever the opponent puts in it's way. This would make the game more interesting and kobolts more of a threat. It could also serve to balance the game if we upgrade many weapons.

Other ideas:
Maybe we could give maces a metal handle to make them more suited for blocking than axes?
Why cannot we equip chairs in battle? They make a fine two handed weapon both for attack and blocking!
(Cloth material) cloaks should be feasible if easily broken one handed weapons if they aren't already - a whip type weapon that is very good for blocking but not so much for attack maybe? Perhaps add an entangling attribute to occasionally disarm the enemy.
Oct 11, 2016, 9:05 am
#6
Ischaldirh's avatar
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You're not wrong Erno. Keep in mind though, that a lot of other factors go into the ability to block - item material plays a pretty big factor, as it affects accuracy (and hence block chance) and strength (and hence how effective a successful block is). The way the game is designed to calculate BlockModifier favors large and "round" items. I'm not sure what "round" refers to exactly - there is a note on the roundness line for Maces that says "we count the handle, too". (Maces have a relatively high roundness factor.) This would have to be rebuilt, or at least, all the items' size and roundness would have to be adjusted, to match the groupings you suggest.

As for breaking gear, items used for blocking do trade damage with the item the block. This tends to result in broken shields a lot, especially when using wooden shields (which tend to make great shield trainers due to high accuracy). I would like to see war hammers and axes do extra damage in these cases, and in general to worn items; that would be cool, and make them more interesting.

Ernomouse wrote
Maybe we could give maces a metal handle to make them more suited for blocking than axes?

They already are better, and the handle is included in calculating their roundness (somehow). The handle is pretty substantial with maces. Making them made of metal would make maces substantially heavier and harder to wield. Part of why Neerc se'Ulb is so hard to wield in one hand is because of it's metal handle.
Oct 11, 2016, 5:03 pm
#7
Joined: Dec 11, 2008
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Ischaldirh wrote
The way the game is designed to calculate BlockModifier favors large and "round" items. I'm not sure what "round" refers to exactly

From what I can gather roundness is exactly what it says on the tin - how round the item is.
This plays a big part in blocking because an effective block doesn't take the full force of a blow, it deflects it by redirecting the force in a different, less harmful direction as best it can.

So, shields have high roundness due to their convex shape which makes it easier to deflect strikes.
I don't really get the roundness comment on maces either but maybe it's easier to block with the mace's handle than it is to block with the actual ball part which honestly sounds like a really bad idea.

Of course IVAN's implementation of roundness is quite silly. If we take roundness as literally as its name implies and push it to its maximum extent, you'd have godlike blocking abilities by wielding a large orb or ball.
Oct 11, 2016, 6:51 pm
#8
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Preferably a valpurium beach ball full of ghost.
Oct 11, 2016, 7:17 pm
#9
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Ernomouse wrote
Some objects should be much more prone to breaking when blocking. For example the way swords are designed, you always block with the main material (steel) and so the break value should be close to what you have when you attack. With an axe you're way more likely to take the hit into the secondary material of the handle, and so it should break much more often.

It would be awesome, and probably not too bad, to make blocks split between primary and secondary materials with a frequency depending on the item type. Worst part will probably be adjusting all of the weapons to adjust the fraction. You could default to just the relative volumes of the materials, minus what's inside of a hand, but then you end up with maces blocking with the ball.
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