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Old 12-30-2010, 03:16 AM   #1
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Default Evaluate useless? (from Why Wait)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Landwalker View Post
As far as other tactics go, making opponents harder to bring down (through good defenses and/or armor) may encourage players to Evaluate, in order to do build up a bonus for something like Deceptive Attack or a Targeted Attack to a more vulnerable, but penalized, hit location (like the hand).
So far I have not yet found a use for evaluate and actually think it's useless in most situations.

Consider the the alternatives:
A Skill-12 warrior attacks some adversary.

1) choose evaluate, attack next round: one attack at skill 13. probability of success 0.84
2) choose attack and also attack next round: 1-((1-0.74)^2). probability of success 0.93

So only at effective skill 4 is an evaluate followed by an attack better than two successive attacks. At skill 5 the two attacks are already better (according to a quick calculation)

The only situation in which I can imagine evaluate being useful is when your opponent does not see you.. but then still telegraphic attack is the better option given that you could be detected any second, being that close - and if you can't a hefty TDM is in place anyway making the hit almost automatic.
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Old 12-30-2010, 03:51 AM   #2
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Default Re: Evaluate useless? (from Why Wait)

What if those 2 attacks were stopped by active or passive defences?
Evaluate to increase your effective skill and choose an attack that has better chance of defeating that defence. eg feint or deceptive attack or targeted attack or armour chinks.
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Old 12-30-2010, 04:43 AM   #3
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Default Re: Evaluate useless? (from Why Wait)

In any of these situations attacking two times gives a higher chance of landing a blow than attacking once with +1 to skill (see calculation above) unless your effective skill drops to 4 or below.

As an additional note: The chance of NOT being able to deliver the attack after evaluate is also higher. The other guy might disable or wound/shock his opponent in the first blow already, eliminating the threat.
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Last edited by Wicked Lurker; 12-30-2010 at 04:49 AM.
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Old 12-30-2010, 04:46 AM   #4
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Default Re: Evaluate useless? (from Why Wait)

Remember too that evaluate works at the distance for a move and attack.

So it it can be used at some range particualarly with a long reach weapon. At least in the first turn this might be handy. Especially if you don't want to move and attack.

Also as another plus it gives a bonus to resist feints.

Last edited by lachimba; 12-30-2010 at 06:47 AM.
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Old 12-30-2010, 06:17 AM   #5
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Default Re: Evaluate useless? (from Why Wait)

As a houserule I allow Evaluates to be used at a distance. An evaluator can make a PER based roll against the same weapon skill being used by the target, subject to Range/Speed and Vision penalties.

This allows an instructor to observe his students from outside their striking distance and understand what they are doing. It also allows a canny fighter to watch an opponent fight someone else and then have an advantage because they know how the target fights.
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Old 12-30-2010, 06:43 AM   #6
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Default Re: Evaluate useless? (from Why Wait)

In line with another response in this thread, you could use the bonus from Evaluate to soak up the penalty from something like a Deceptive Attack. Let's say, for instance, that you Evaluate for two turns. This gives you a +2 to skill. On your attack, you choose a Deceptive Attack (-2/-1) to bring your skill back to unmodified but giving your opponent a -1 to active defenses. Granted it's not much, but if you can do the Evaluate from cover, it's a free bonus for you (or penalty for them, depending on your outlook).
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Old 12-30-2010, 07:30 AM   #7
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Default Re: Evaluate useless? (from Why Wait)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wicked Lurker View Post
At skill 5 the two attacks are already better (according to a quick calculation)
However, at such low effective skill levels there's another factor to consider besides the chance of hitting: Any melee attack that fails by 10 or more is a critical miss.

Skill 5:
Critical hit (3-4) + hit (5) = 4.63%
Critial miss (15-18) = 9.26%

In other words, at skill 5 you are twice as likely to critically miss as you are to hit. At skill 6, it's at least the other way around.

Last edited by Darkness; 12-30-2010 at 07:37 AM.
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Old 12-30-2010, 07:54 AM   #8
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Default Re: Evaluate useless? (from Why Wait)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wicked Lurker View Post
In any of these situations attacking two times gives a higher chance of landing a blow than attacking once with +1 to skill (see calculation above) unless your effective skill drops to 4 or below.

As an additional note: The chance of NOT being able to deliver the attack after evaluate is also higher. The other guy might disable or wound/shock his opponent in the first blow already, eliminating the threat.
You are absolutely and demonstrably right. "Evaluate" is basically useless, and often counterproductive. Those who argue otherwise, clearly don't have the slightest idea of how probabilities work. It is quite shocking that many people still fail to realize Evaluate is useless and propose flawed justifications to say it is useful (e.g. thulben argued that you can effectively lower your opponent's defenses by 1 if you Evaluate for 2 turns before attacking... but it is clearly more effective to attack three times, or to Feint & Attack.)

GURPS Martial Arts in some way acknowledged Evaluate's uselessness, and tried to make it better by adding the "reduce penalties caused by Feints/Deceptive attacks" bit. Even so, it is useless and counterproductive 90% of the times.

Those who want to make Evaluate a real tactical option, not just something you do when your enemy is too distant and you don't want to Move&Attack, usually adopt one or more of the following houserules:

- Evaluate grants +2 instead of +1
(each turn). Evaluate might still be statistically counterproductive in some instances, but it does lessen the problem.

- Evaluate grants +1 to your own defenses
(as if it were a "Defensive Attack" maneuver). Evaluating an enemy seems a more cautious choice than directly attacking him, and this caoutiosness should be reflected in game terms. I think this is the realistic explanation on why fighters often Evaluate in real life (because they feel they would expose themselves more, if they attacked each turn).
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Old 12-30-2010, 08:32 AM   #9
DouglasCole
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Default Re: Evaluate useless? (from Why Wait)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lupo View Post
...adopt one or more of the following houserules:

- Evaluate grants +2 instead of +1
(each turn). Evaluate might still be statistically counterproductive in some instances, but it does lessen the problem.

- Evaluate grants +1 to your own defenses
(as if it were a "Defensive Attack" maneuver). Evaluating an enemy seems a more cautious choice than directly attacking him, and this caoutiosness should be reflected in game terms. I think this is the realistic explanation on why fighters often Evaluate in real life (because they feel they would expose themselves more, if they attacked each turn).
No reason not to allow both. Amass your choice of attack and defense bonuses. One might do either +1/+2 as you suggest, or make it a mirror of AoA, which allows +4 to hit in exchange for giving up defenses for a turn.

+2 to +4 for a turn of "no-action" is pretty good. Maybe too good, though, since that's basically an auto-success on a Feint QC by 4.
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Old 12-30-2010, 02:15 PM   #10
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Default Re: Evaluate useless? (from Why Wait)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lupo View Post
You are absolutely and demonstrably right. "Evaluate" is basically useless, and often counterproductive. Those who argue otherwise, clearly don't have the slightest idea of how probabilities work. It is quite shocking that many people still fail to realize Evaluate is useless and propose flawed justifications to say it is useful (e.g. thulben argued that you can effectively lower your opponent's defenses by 1 if you Evaluate for 2 turns before attacking... but it is clearly more effective to attack three times, or to Feint & Attack.)
If your opponent is skilled in Counter-Attack or makes a lot of ripostes, attacking every turn is a bad idea. Similarly, if you're a medium encumbered knight fighting against someone who has a wicked good beat, attacking every turn is also bad, as it gives him a perfect opportunity to beat your shield or sword(you block with shield, he beats, he parries, he beats).

If you use Feints, against a similarly skilled opponent, evaluating for three turns, then launching a devastating feint + attack(possibly with a riposte mixed in for even MORE awesome) that will be difficult to defend against.

If your opponent has credible defenses(for example, Basic speed 6, Combat Reflexes, Shield 14, a large shield and a weapon), attacking EVERY turn isn't necessarily going to be effective: with a block of 13 + retreat, it's likely that you won't be able to get through your opponents defences without a feint or deceptive attack. Evaluate lets you get higher skill levels.

I know I've created a number of fighters who were built along the idea of using high defense(for example, Staff + heavy spear in defensive grip) and counter-attacks for openings. When Erik has a defensive skill of 16-17+ and has very high levels in the counter-attack technique, bad things can happen: you attempt to hit me, I parry(Easily), and then set up an arm lock with my spear. Now your arm is broken and you can't fight.

Evaluate is also useful for fights where something unexpected may happen. If you're fighting an unarmed thug who pulls a weapon, getting a bonus to your observation roll to see it can be the difference between life and death.

Attacking every turn is great..if you can do it with no cost. If you use an unbalanced weapon, for example, it's not a great idea: you lose your secondary defense system, which allows rapid-strikes and all-out(double) to bypass your shield and get to you, and your only defense at that point is a dodge, which because of encumbrance is penalized. In this case, evaluating for a few turns is a big deal, as it allows you to make one attack, make it count, and win the battle.

The bonus defense against feints and deceptive attacks is also great: 1 turn of evaluate effectively cancels 2 points of skill for your opponent's deceptive attacks. Again, if you use the defensive techniques, it's very possible to have a character who is virtually immune to enemy attack: Again, I cite my spear-fighter Erik who would routinely use Evaluate to prevent Deceptive attacks from lowering his skill(he already had an extremely high feint skill as well), and Erik would happily parry, parry, parry, parry, parry, feint, arm-lock, break arm, through you to the ground and stab you in the throat with a telegraphic all-out attack once you are on the ground.

Evaluate can also be used while advancing toward an opponent who is distant(like 4-5 yards), as you can evaluate as you walk forward. Your opponent is limited to either a move-and-attack(penalties to defense and attack) or All-out attack(about 3 hexes of movement and NO defense), or he can walk towards you.

The probabilities are great, in a vacuum when attacking carries no negative repercussions. But once other combat options are in use, attacking can be a bad idea.

My one house rule has been to allow waits to automatically translate into evaluates, much like aiming.
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