Thanks again for the interest in this topic! Sorry I've been afk - was at GDC for a bit. Thanks Dwagonzhan and Pap Renvela for stepping in with some math while I was out. Let's see if I can clarify a few things.
this thread is not really about optimizing purely by Karma efficiency - it is about being aware of Karma efficiency, so that you can better balance it against other factors.
There's a general idea that computers (in this case represented by the spreadsheets I used to derive a lot of this data) are better at performing tasks like computation than people, but worse at performing tasks like making decisions.
What that means here is that I can use the sheet to derive the standard deviation for the weighted binomial distribution of dice pools that hit on a 5 or a 6, but I can't use it to tell you how to build "the perfect decker" because it's not going to know solely from the math stuff like Hobbes's convenient one-point wonders or Glyphs 6+2 / 6+2 / 4 allocation, at least not without the math getting WAY more complicated than a person's experience / instinctive familiarity.
the OP [n]ever advocated building a character totally according to those numbers...understanding this stuff is useful when generating a character, but by no means sufficient.
Correct - the goal here isn't to build the perfect runner, but rather to highlight some of the numbers that go into making good decisions during creation.
With that said, let's address some of your more specific points.
Limits are another place, I just made a new char that was a Mystic Adept Face Infiltrator and when I got done with everything I realized my Limits were terrible (5 social and 3 physical) and had to rearrange my stats so i could actually be good at Social and Physical tasks that I had plenty of skill points in (Sneaking for example).
I've addressed Limits in their own section, showing which attributes they're derived from, how to boost each one, and what your optimal limit is based on the size of your pool (tldr: generally [dice in pool]/3 + 2).
You mention "optimal skill allocation" what is that?
I break down optimal skill allocation in the Skills section (tldr: Deal with groups first, then individuals, as many as you can at 6, then specializations), but I never show you the math I used to generate the table, so let me break that down here.
Skill groups first, 10 points means 1 at 6 (105 karma) 1 at 4 (50 karma) for 155 karma equivalence in groups.
Then 7 skills at rank 6 (42 each) for 294 karma in skills.
Finally, we have 4 points left over, so 4 specializations (7 karma each) gives us 28 points in specializations.
So 155 (groups) + 294 (skills) + 28 (specializations = 477 karma for optimal allocation. You'll note that this math doesn't take into account the aptitude quality, although the approach I describe is still valid.
I didn't describe that math specifically in the skill section because you can derive it from the advice I gave, but I can include it if people think the clarity outweighs the clutter.
Really, though, there are three strikes against skills prioritization.
- The skill cap of 12 vs max of 6 at creation means you're it's impossible to really tall-stack skills like you can attributes (at max-1).
- Attributes have synergy between skills, where most skills are only used for a specific roll.
- High priorities grant skill groups, which aren't karma efficient. They're 2.5 * the cost of skills, so you need 3 core skills in a group for it to be a discount, and most don't. Not to mention the weird rules about breaking them up and specializing only at the final step.
Since people are still having a hard time pulling that from the skill section I've written, I may need to re-revise.
Also, some of the math I don't understand, like how do you come by the various numbers you have for Attr E-->D? If one were to build a character with Attr E "optimally" you'd have tall stack in a couple of stats and the rest 1's, so when you increase to Attr D you'd be increasing 2 stats from 1 to 2 which would be only 20 points each (10 each), or one stat from 1 to 3 which would be 25 points. So the most you would lose going from D to E would be 25 yet the chart has all sorts of numbers in it? I must have missed something. Also, If you think about going from Human E to Human D how to you get the value for that? Consider that those Special Attr points could (and often are) used to raise Magic. So you might be moving you Magic from 4 to 6. That's 55 Karma cost. Whereas going from Edge 2 to 4 is 35. You have 45 listed. Did you average these values? Again you say "if allocated optimally" but don't define what that is.
Regarding the math, you actually have several questions packed into that paragraph, so I'm going to break it up a bit.
For prioritizing Attributes E vs D, it depends on the racial maximums for the attributes you're allocating into. If I'm a human at E, I would spend 5 points to raise, for instance Intuition, to 6. Then I could spend 4 to raise, say Reaction, to 5 because I can only cap 1 at creation. Now I have one 6, one 5, and 6 1s, so I'll use my last three points to raise Agility to 4. So if I do D instead, I'd be raising Agility from 4 to 5, and taking 1 elsewhere, not raising Str from 1 to 3. And those numbers change if I'm an elf, where my Cha and Agi caps are higher. That's why I made the table. Again, the process (but not the math) is described in the attribute section.
In the metatype section, I break down the karma equivalence for the base stat bonuses as (for instance with Dwarves 60+) values greater than or equal to X. That's because if I pump the attributes that exceed human maximums, they're worth more. The same applies for the special attributes in the metatype column - I assume a starting Magic and Edge of 1. In practice, it's karmically-optimal to apply special attributes to Magic first as you may have greater than 1 base, whereas Edge will start at 1. As with all Attributes, though, tall-stacks are the name of the game, so as long as you max either Magic or Edge then put the remainder in the other, you should be good.
Long winded thing about your Ork Sam here.. maybe too much ...
With your breakdown of the Sam, I think you're making several assumptions. The purpose of that breakdown was to demonstrate how you combine your own personal knowledge and preferences (Magic, Resources, Metatype) with the math from the table (Skills and Attributes). If you always prioritize Attributes, cool! --Set that priority first. I agree with you about the dangers of over-skilling, and I've tried to outline them both in the skills section and this post. I wouldn't do Close Combat / Firearms for the skill group, though. You don't need three fighting skills at 5, just one at 6.
Just wondering if it would make sense to break the magic column up by type (adept / full-mage or mysad / aspected)... if not, could maybe break that down in the magic section?)
Column space is at a terrible premium there, but I can try to add a breakdown for Aspected and Technomancer karma equivalences in their sections of Magic soon.