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Pyro Fly and Plasma Fly

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6/21/2020 21:47:22   

If I recall correctly, Pyro Fly used to take into account all tied skills when considering the top three highest level skills. For example, if the opponent had a level 10 skill, two level 4 skills, and two level 3 skills, all five of these skills would be eligible to be disabled by Pyro Fly at 20% each. I believe this is how it worked for years.

Recently, CactusChan and Ginger did some testing and found that it only ever disabled 3 skills over a hundred trials. The build they used had a maxed skill, three level 2 skills, and the rest level 1 skills. The fact that the robot is disabling exactly three skills no matter the number of ties isn't really wrong, I suppose (maybe this was just a change to the way the bot works, not a bug). However, the problem arises when in the cases of ties, the specific skill that is elegible to be taken out of the tied skills appears to be pre-determined depending on the build and not random at all, and this can give the impression that the skill is rigged.

Out of curiosity, I decided to test what would happen for each case of having a skill at max level and the rest of the active skills tied at level 3. By doing this, I hoped to reveal the exact priority list that the bot follows when it chooses from a list of tied skills. The results were intriguing.

For Blood Mage, when having:
  • Fireball, Plasma Cannon, Brutal Strike, Blood Instinct, Fire Rain, or Energy Parasite maxed and all other skills tied, Field Medic and Terrify were eligible
  • Blood Shield, Terrify, or Maelstrom maxed and all other skills tied, Field Medic and Blood Instinct were eligible
  • Field Medic maxed and all other skills tied, Blood Instinct and Blood Shield were eligible.

    For Cyber Hunter, when having:
  • Nanotech Shield, Malfunction, Plasma Grenade, Static Charge, Adaptive Offense, or Memory Leak maxed and all other skills tied, Field Medic and Neurotoxin were eligible
  • Precision Strike, Neurotoxin, or Massacre maxed and all other skills tied, Field Medic and Memory Leak were eligible
  • Field Medic maxed and all other skills tied, Memory Leak and Massacre were eligible.

    The patterns observed for the two classes are eerily similar yet hard to explain. For BM, the default combination appears to be Field Medic and Terrify whereas for CH it is Field Medic and Neurotoxin. However, there are exceptions. For BM, the skills that switch from Terrify to Blood Instinct are Field Medic, Blood Shield, Maelstrom, and Terrify itself. For CH, the skills that switch from Neurotoxin to Memory Leak are Field Medic, Precision Strike, Massacre, and Neurotoxin itself. For both classes, Field Medic is an extra special case, which is probably not a coincidence because it is the one skill that is eligible to be taken in every single build setup.

    In fact, when I tested builds that had one skill maxed, another skill at level 5, and the rest of the skills tied, in all cases the maxed skill, the level 5 skill, plus Field Medic were eligible. Field Medic is the undisputed number one priority for Pyro Fly when it chooses from tied skills.

    From this information, I decided to test what would happen if I had one skill maxed, several skills tied at level 4 that did not include Field Medic, and the rest of the skills at level 1.

    When I had Fireball maxed and:
  • Plasma Cannon, Brutal Strike, Fire Rain, and Maelstrom all tied at level 4, Plasma Cannon and Maelstrom were eligible
  • Brutal Strike, Fire Rain, and Maelstrom all tied at level 4, Maelstrom and Fire Rain were eligible
  • Plasma Cannon, Brutal Strike, and Fire Rain all tied at level 4, Plasma Cannon and Brutal Strike were eligible.

    Again, some sort of strict pre-determined priority ranking system seemed to be at play when choosing among the tied skills. That's the bottom line, and it's strange. By having Pyro Fly only ever take three skills, it's a huge indirect buff, and the fact that it always prioritizes Field Medic when it is among the tied skills is, generally speaking, also a buff considering how vital Field Medic is to most builds. Intended or not I don't know at this point, but now we are aware of it.

    As for the ratios with which the three skills are taken, I wasn't able to find anything conclusive to say that they weren't exactly even (33.33% each) because my sample size was far too small for each build, but I'm also not ruling it out completely either. I got the sense that Field Medic tended to be overrepresented whereas the other tied skill (Terrify, Blood Instinct, or Blood Shield in the case of BM) were underrepresented.

    Now here's something I know isn't working properly: Plasma Fly is only targeting exactly three skills as well even though it is supposed to be able to target any active skill. This is according to the skill description which states that it places "a random skill" on cooldown. The three skills that Plasma Fly targets are the exact three that Pyro Fly would have targeted. Majorly rigged!

    < Message edited by NDB -- 6/21/2020 21:54:16 >
  • Epic  Post #: 1
    6/22/2020 18:18:42   

    I've now done testing similar to Machaon's for all 6 classes. I set all skills to level 3 except for one skill at level 9, and I went through all possible combinations of this for every class. What I found is that Machaon's assertion that Pyro Fly always prioritzes Field Medic is not correct; however, there is always a skill in every class that is a candidate to be disabled no matter what the highest-level skill is. Furthermore, I found a sort of pattern for how skills are disabled, but it's rather weird and the skills that make up the pattern still seem randomly selected.

    First, I want to define a few terms for simplicity's sake:

    1. Maxed skills refer to the skill that happens to be maxed for a given set of 3 disable-able skills.

    2. Common skills refer to the skill that is disable-able for every Maxed skill across a class.

    3. Mixed skills are a bit trickier. For every class, there are two skills, not Maxed or Common, one of which will almost always be disabled along with the Maxed and Common skills.

    With those definitions in mind, here are the Common and Mixed skills for each class:

    BH = Venom Strike
    Merc = Static Smash
    TM = Assimilation
    BM = Field Medic
    CH = Field Medic
    TLM = Energy Shield

    BH = Smoke Screen & Static Grenade
    Merc = Blood Commander & Maul
    TM = Malfunction & Super Charge
    BM = Blood Instinct & Terrify
    CH = Neurotoxin & Memory Leak
    TLM = Frenzy & Atom Smasher

    Now for each Maxed skill for each class, I examined the 3 skills that were disabled with Pyro Fly. In almost every case, the 3 skills were the Maxed skill, the Common skill, and one of the two Mixed skills; however, for each class, there was one exception that occurred, and which always occurred when the Common skill was also the Maxed skill. In each of these 6 cases, the Common skill and one Mixed skill were disabled, but the third disabled skill was not the second Mixed skill but something seemingly random. Let's call these seemingly random skills Outliers, and look at which ones appear for each class:

    BH = Massacre
    Merc = Berzerker
    TM = Bludgeon
    BM = Blood Shield
    CH = Massacre
    TLM = Field Medic

    So I did establish that there is a pattern here, however obscure it may seem. However, as previously stated, there doesn't seem to be much connection between the skills in each list. The Mixed and Outlier skills are all quite diverse, both in effect and placement on their class's skill tree. The only slightly reliable link I found was in the Common skills, and it's not a very strong one: For the starting classes, the Common skill is always the non-ultimate tier 4 skill; for the evolved classes, the Common skill is always a tier 1 skill.

    Now for all this, keep in mind that all this is only for scenarios in which every skill is the same level except one. For other scenarios like the ones Machaon tested, the disabled skills appear to diverge from the ones found in the pattern above. Obviously, it would take far too long to test every scenario, since the number of possible combinations of skills increases factorially as the number of skills that are equal in level decreases. Even without testing all these possibilities, however, neither Machaon nor I can come up with any explanation for why certain skills are prioritized over others. I would dearly love to have a chat with NightWraith about how Pyro Fly and Plasma Fly are programmed, since the distribution of disabled skills is clearly so weird.

    < Message edited by CactusChan -- 6/22/2020 18:19:15 >
    Epic  Post #: 2
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