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Wired Reflexes Balanced?

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Shadowjack

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« on: <07-22-11/1919:38> »
Of course, wire reflexes have always been one of the obvious power choices for cyberware but my friend wonders if it's balanced. In my opinion it is balanced because it  eats up a large chunk of your essence  and nuyen while severely impeding your social presence. It also promotes the idea of quantity of turns over quality. A fully cybered character with no wired reflexes is usually going to be a lot more punishing on the one initiative pass he does have. But having 4 initiative passes when most others only have one is a bit scary. I can think of plenty of builds with level 3 wired reflexes that would make for some insanely powerful characters right from character creation. Another thing I consider is that the game is not solely about combat. Wired reflexes eats up a lot of your characters potential to do other things and certainly won't help in many non combat situations. So what are your thoughts on this?
« Last Edit: <07-23-11/1929:19> by Shadowjack »
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Chrona

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« Reply #1 on: <07-22-11/1928:33> »
I think it's balanced for reasons you've pointed out AND because Adepts and Mages have their own vesions.

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Shadowjack

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« Reply #2 on: <07-22-11/1950:12> »
It looks like the magicians have the advantage in terms of initiative passes considering the spell required costs very little and doesn't hurt your potential to add more spells to your arsenal, while wire reflexes consume a considerable amount of essence and nuyen. However, cyberware always works and is always active while spells can fail and you may be caught off guard. But still, having 4 initiative passes as a magician seems pretty insane. I can't think of a good reason not to take increased reaction and use it regularly.
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Onion Man

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« Reply #3 on: <07-22-11/2005:48> »
If anything I'd say it's underbalanced, from a group optimization standpoint.

- 1 IP only really works if your action is lobbing stunballs or ends with going astral or VR 9 times out of ten.

- 2 IPs is fine, you'll go more often than most of your opponents, most of the time and won't have your movement cut to peanuts.

- 3 IPs and you start to get into iffy ground.  You're either slow as molasses from having movement split into 3 segments or tuned up with a bunch of speed enhancing qualities and augments to make up for it.  You burn through ammunition like a wildfire in a matchbox factory.  More actions per Initiative means more oportunities to glitch, fail, or try something challenging, so edge goes more quickly.  Diminishing marginal returns start to rear their ugly head.

- 4 IPs.  You don't really need this many (and in hindsight, I don't want this many on Jolly all the time).  Every factor that impacts the diminishing marginal returns at 3 IPs is made more severe and more pronounced at 4.  You're slow as molasses (per IP), burn through ammo like you're shoveling it into a furnace, and will have so many more opportunities to either need or want to spend edge that you'll be out of it in no time.


On top of the diminishing returns, not only does it eats up a lot of your essence and there are other ways to go about getting more passes  that are arguably better investments like you mentioned, but the in character consequence of experiencing the world faster than normal would be downright draining (and probably part of why it's such an essence drain).  Having active wired reflexes is how I would describe as being dysfunctionally high on speed, constantly.  Sure, you as a player have the absolute power to play it as if you've gained reflexes and the ability to clearly think through and rationally process all of the input, but that's not exactly what the fluff seems to be.  It'd be like having a body that reacts faster than you can think about things, should lead your character to some impulsive moments (not the same as the poor self control quality, but acting before you're able to clearly think your way through a 1 second or fraction of a second of a combat round), and leave you feeling like your thoughts are racing but can't all necessarily keep up with each other (kinetic synapses much more responsive than creative and rational).

Wired reflexes are a double edged sword, in RP terms, if you're one of those RP heavy sort of role players, and a mixed blessing at best mathematically.
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Shadowjack

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« Reply #4 on: <07-22-11/2114:08> »
I'm not following you, Onion Man. I only have the standard 4th edition book at the moment, perhaps that is why. I can't find any details on dividing movement amongst IPs. I assume this must be a new rule in the anniversary edition, which I hope to have in a couple of weeks or so. More actions will mean more fails but they are also coming with much less risk in the sense that characters with just 1 IP are relying on their sole IP to get their job done. More IPs is only giving you more chances to accomplish what you want to do, right? Burning through ammo is a legitimate point although you are still reloading with extra actions and you can typically bring lots of ammo with you.

The social repercussions are extreme and in my opinion they should impact all campaigns except for the most casual ones. Thanks for helping me through this by the way. I hope you can clear it up further for me :)
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Onion Man

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« Reply #5 on: <07-22-11/2126:48> »
Quote from: Movement Rate
The movement rates for each metatype are noted on the Movement
Table. This rate is the distance the character moves by that method per
Combat Turn (not per Initiative Pass).
If a character mixed his modes of movement during a Combat
Turn and it becomes important to know exactly how far the character
moved in a particular pass, simply divide his Movement Rate by the
number of passes in that turn.

It's something of a bummer to have your speed based characters be turned into cold molasses, but it's just how the math works out.

It works in the opposite direction for delayed grenades and such.  If you have lots of IPs your grenades detonate way faster, if you have only 1 it takes into the next combat round unless your GM is being particularly generous.

Combat essentially breaks down (IMO) to an action economy, but unlike games like D&D, each action has a very realistic chance of backfiring on you and two of your 3 most precious resources (Edge and nuyen) are refiled at a variable rate.  There are definite advantages to being able to go more often than your opponent, but you have to essentially budget for the extra Edge and bullet use that occurs when you do (this gets really bad when you have more IPs and 2 or 4 arms all taking actions separately by dividing dice pools).

Jolly ran around with 4 IPs for most of Origins.  Only once did we go into a second combat round and only a handful of times did we even get into a second IP.  My at home character, NML, has 3 IPs and has made mixed use of the ability to unload more bullets into opponents than they can into us, but also spends a lot of IPs waiting in the van for something to happen in a location where he can be of use without taking himself out of position for our getaway.  Orson hasn't been in combat yet, but he's got 2 IPs and will most likely have more than enough actions to stay competitive.  It's a mixed bag of advantages and disadvantages is all.
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Chrona

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« Reply #6 on: <07-22-11/2133:18> »
The social repercussions are extreme and in my opinion they should impact all campaigns except for the most casual ones.

Can you give examples of the social repercussions having wired reflexes would give?

Onion Man

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« Reply #7 on: <07-22-11/2137:35> »
The social repercussions are extreme and in my opinion they should impact all campaigns except for the most casual ones.

Can you give examples of the social repercussions having wired reflexes would give?
Ever try and socialize with a long time tweaker?  It's like that except that wired reflexes wouldn't speed rot your teeth out, at least if the reflexes are "on", and who ever actually turns them off (if you do you'd better be playing with the fact that your first round in combat is with less reaction and less IPs and you'll be spending your free action to turn your reflexes back on).
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Neurosis

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« Reply #8 on: <07-22-11/2143:41> »
Quote
The movement rates for each metatype are noted on the Movement
Table. This rate is the distance the character moves by that method per
Combat Turn (not per Initiative Pass).
If a character mixed his modes of movement during a Combat
Turn and it becomes important to know exactly how far the character
moved in a particular pass, simply divide his Movement Rate by the
number of passes in that turn.

See how it says the number of passes in that turn and not the number of passes you act in that turn?

You guys are misinterpreting the movement rules.

Assuming the highest number of IPs involved in the combat is 4, each character moves (Movement Rate Per Turn/4) meters per pass, whether or not they receive an action in the pass. If the highest number of IPs involved in the combat is 3, each character moves (Movement Rate Per Turn/3) meters per pass and so on.

Even if you have only one pass and another guy has 4, you still get to move 1/4 your movement speed in every pass, just like he does. You don't get to make your movement all at once just because you have less passes.

This is one of the hardest rules in the game to understand, but when I finally got it straightened out (by dumpshock, iirc) it really helped my GMing.

And of course, as is always the case with the fiddly bits of SR RAW, I could be wrong, and there might even be multiple valid interpretations.

Anyway, I think that wired reflexes are one of the best balanced pieces of equipment in the game and have been for multiple editions. Important benefits, but important drawbacks, even accepting that Initiative Passes are key.

Quote
Combat essentially breaks down (IMO) to an action economy, but unlike games like D&D, each action has a very realistic chance of backfiring on you and two of your 3 most precious resources (Edge and nuyen) are refiled at a variable rate.  There are definite advantages to being able to go more often than your opponent, but you have to essentially budget for the extra Edge and bullet use that occurs when you do (this gets really bad when you have more IPs and 2 or 4 arms all taking actions separately by dividing dice pools).

Back in the days of combat pool, this was even more pronounced.
« Last Edit: <07-22-11/2147:07> by Neurosis »
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Shadowjack

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« Reply #9 on: <07-22-11/2153:03> »
One example would be if someone knocked a salt shaker over at your table your reflexes would twitch in a hyper reaction to an inconsequential event. As Onion Man was saying, your body is reacting quicker than you can process thoughts. It is my understanding that wired reflexes also makes you jittery and causes things like your eyes constantly darting around and things of that nature. All of this makes a character with wired reflexes very socially awkward, not to mention the substantial essence loss detracts from your humanity by making you more robot or cyborg like. I believe this was touched on more in 3rd edition than 4th.

That is very counterintuitive that a quickness enhancer would actually destroy your chances of winning a short foot race. I'm not sure splittling up movement is a very good way to address the situation since players should not be penalized for having wired reflexes in this way. Unless you see a good reason against it, I will probably use a house rule in my home game.

I suppose you would be significantly more reliant on edge as  your number of IPs increases although you are not forced to take a potentially risky action such as firing a gun, in some cases it may be best to just skip your extra IP although it is wasteful considering what you invested to obtain it in the first place.

So most of your fights ended in 1 turn? That seems very crazy if I  understood it correctly. The rules seem to be pretty balanced for decent length fights although I have yet to try 4th edition. Perhaps you are playing with a large group of pcs and the gm is making the opposition fairly easy? With factors such as retreating, cover, bad luck on both sides etc I could see many battles taking a good number of turns. But maybe your gm was trying to simplify things to prevent battles from taking an eternity to finish.

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Onion Man

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« Reply #10 on: <07-22-11/2154:45> »
Oy, tracking position based on a number of IPs that a pawn may not have has it's own huge supply of wonk to it.  Ex: A character with only 2 IPs would not be done moving when he was done acting in a combat round with 4 IPs as the ceiling.

I like the general idea, just pointing out the wonk.  Movement always seems to be the game aspect with the most wonk in every game.  Vehicle Accel, movement rates/IP are both way wonky, but nothing is quite as wonky as DnD 4E's movement is in squares if you're touching a solid surface but is in feet if your body is moving freely (jumping or falling).
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Onion Man

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« Reply #11 on: <07-22-11/2156:25> »
@Shadowjack, it's just the Shadowrun Missions play that ends so fast.  NML and company tend to have encounters that last 4+ combat rounds unless we get some awesome grenade drops or something like that.
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Shadowjack

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« Reply #12 on: <07-22-11/2156:30> »
Ah, yes, that makes sense Neurosis.
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Neurosis

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« Reply #13 on: <07-22-11/2158:34> »
I know, it can be a lot of work but for me, doing it the RAW way (at least the way I see as being RAW) makes the most sense, because otherwise you have people with 1IP who are inexplicably capable of sprinting huge distances in a fraction of the time it takes a character with 3IPs to do the same.

I use to just handle all movement at the end of the turn, but that certainly has its problems too, when it becomes important to know where a player is at a given point or IP in a turn.

Of course, it all depends if you're playing the kind of game where you're using minis/dice/maps to track position and movement at all.
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Shadowjack

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« Reply #14 on: <07-22-11/2158:56> »
Gotcha :)
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