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Old 08-28-2015, 03:38 PM
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Default On Dodging, Accuracy, and Evasion

I've got a whole battery of questions about dodging and avoiding moves! I wasn't sure whether this deserved a meta thread or not, but I figure there's probably room for discussion here, so. Feel free to just toss this post back into the Question Box if there are already established answers to these questions.

Ahem. So! Normally, we calculate whether or not a move will hit based on two things: the move's accuracy, and the Accuracy/Evasion stats of the parties involved (including terrain effects and whatnot). But I'd like to discuss nonstandard ways of adjusting accuracy, i.e. things such as dodging, moving closer, or impairing enemy movement. Here's some of the things I'm wondering about:
  • If a Pokémon is commanded to Dodge, what happens? What's the default probability of successfully dodging an attack?

    Thoughts: I guess the reason nobody uses Dodge is that virtually all Pokémon have access to Protect, which does the same thing but more reliably. It still has its uses, though...

    Assume we give Dodge a base 50% chance of success. Then it will, on average, let you avoid every other move. This is strictly worse than using Protect, since Protect lets you avoid every other move if you alternate it, and can be used twice in a row with a 50% chance of success. In fact, using Protect three times in a row gives you better odds than using Dodge three times in a row! Protect will also shield you from never-miss moves.

    But on the other hand, Dodge has an advantage in that it doesn't cost more energy to block more powerful attacks. Dodge will also mess with many players' conditionals, as the user is not strictly speaking unhittable...

    In the end, a 50% chance of dodging feels like a high number to me. But maybe it isn't overpowered, given that Protect is already a thing.

  • Is dodging affected by Speed, Evasion, or status conditions like Paralysis? If so, how much?

    Thoughts: It definitely makes sense, flavor-wise, for Speed to affect dodging. If we were only looking at Speed stat stages, I'd say a 5% change in dodge chance for every stage of Speed would make sense; then you'd have an extra 30% chance to dodge at maximum Speed. Now, having an 80% chance to dodge sounds like a very high number, but then again Double Team is already a thing (and, just like Protect, is learned by pretty much everything). Double Team gives you a ludicrously high chance of avoiding moves when you're at max Speed, but generally isn't considered overpowered because there are ways to work around it. And Dodge, unlike Double Team, only works while you're actively spending your actions on it, meaning you don't get to avoid moves and do other things at the same time. Hmm...

    Paralysis should reduce dodge chance by 30%, corresponding to -6 Speed. Freezing at least as much, depending on severity.

    I have no idea how base Speed should affect dodging, or if it should at all. Haven't thought about the numbers, really.

  • Does Pokémon size affect dodge chance, or move accuracy in general? Is it easier to hit a Wailord than a Skitty?

    Thoughts: Although it should logically be easier to hit a big target, it's also dangerous to mess too much with the game mechanics. So maybe it would be best not to take size into account. Then again, there's Minimize...

  • What about using moves like Agility or Quick Attack to dodge? It stands to reason that this should be more effective than a plain Dodge command, but how much more?

    Thoughts: Eh. Maybe bump the success chance up to 75% or something?

  • Do status conditions and Speed drops affect move accuracy in general? For example, is it easier to hit a Pokémon while they're asleep, or if they're at -6 Speed? What about trapping moves, like Whirlpool or Bind?

    Thoughts: Well, it makes sense for an immobile or incapacitated opponent to be easier to hit... With projectile moves, like Gunk Shot or Zap Cannon, you could perhaps argue that their inferior accuracy is because the attack itself is really hard to aim, in which case it should still be difficult to hit even if the target is immobile. But with contact moves, it's harder to justify. I mean, any remotely proficient combatant should be able to land a kick against a sleeping opponent, right? Hrrm!

    I don't think Speed should have any bearing on move accuracy (except when you're actively trying to dodge).

  • Does positioning affect accuracy? For example, if you command your Pokémon to move really close to the opponent, can you increase your chance to hit? Or, conversely, is it harder to hit opponents who put themselves at a great distance away from you?

    Thoughts: It definitely shouldn't be possible to change accuracy this way without actually investing in it. So you can't just say "move in really close and then attack them" and expect that to improve your chances. However, if you dedicate an action to moving really far away from your opponent, maybe that ought to do something.
Okay! I can't write any more now because ultraviolet is telling me I have to go to bed, so I apologize if this all sounds very disorganized. But if anyone has any opinions on this, please share! Good to sort some of these things out, hehe.
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Old 08-28-2015, 04:04 PM
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Default Re: On Dodging, Accuracy, and Evasion

I have an answer and you're probably not going to like it, but again, this is mostly up to the ref. Of course you make very valid points, and some of these examples (low accuracy moves on sleeping / paralyzed targets) show how ASB has limits sometimes. To answer your questions with my own thoughts...

I think dodging should be affected by the user's speed. Logically, a Sneasel will have a much easier time dashing around than a Torkoal. Paralysis would also be accounted for, obviously. If we try to be as logical as possible, weight and size should be factors as well, because yes, it's easier to hit a big target. In that sense, maybe Sneasel would be better at dodging than Sceptile, for example, even if the latter has higher speed.

About moves - I have absolutely no problem in allowing moves to dodge. Priority moves like Aqua Jet and Quick Attack would work especially well, in my opinion, to dodge single-target attacks - it would be much harder to avoid Earthquake or Discharge.

About accuracy - that in my opinion is a lot less clear. Should moving closer really affect accuracy? Expending a few more energy just to have superior accuracy screams for abuse, and then there's no real drawbacks to powerful moves like Dynamic Punch.

Paralyzed, naturally slow or trapped mons should be easier to hit, depending on the move. I get that Zap Cannon is hard to aim, but there's no reason High Jump Kick misses a sleeping target. I think at that point, it's up to the referee to judge what makes sense and what doesn't, and use certain % to show the odds of some event happening or not.
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Old 08-28-2015, 10:39 PM
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Default Re: On Dodging, Accuracy, and Evasion

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Originally Posted by Lord of the Fireflies View Post
I have an answer and you're probably not going to like it, but again, this is mostly up to the ref.
Yeah, you're right. And I'm not necessarily suggesting that these things be forcibly standardized. But in practice, saying "it's up to the ref" is an invitation to discuss. I think it's still a good idea to try to establish some sort of standard for things like these, because while it's true that we want to allow referees some amount of individuality, it's also true that we don't want mechanics to vary too wildly from battle to battle. I mean, think of the guidelines for status conditions, or even for damage and energy. Most people use the official scales there, even though they're not strictly speaking required to.

There's many benefits to discussing reasonable standard values for things like these: firstly, it gives referees an idea of how well their decisions align with those of other refs, allowing them to make more informed choices; secondly, it's handy for novice refs like me, who are often unsure of how to handle uncommon situations; and thirdly, it clarifies the justifications for, and highlights the advantages and disadvantages of, reffing things a certain way.

I mean, say you're reffing an actual battle and someone literally commands their Pokémon to just dodge. What would you, personally, do? What actual number would you be working with here? I get that it's up to the ref, but the ref has to quantify this somehow. That's the hard part.

In any case, I'm glad you shared your opinions on this!
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Old 08-28-2015, 11:20 PM
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Default Re: On Dodging, Accuracy, and Evasion

Dodging and aiming, at least when trainers command them on top of other actions, leave a really bad taste in my mouth as a ref. It's basically commanding "don't get hit by this" and/or "don't miss" which is a little bit silly, since y'know, your Pokémon is presumably already doing its best on that front? Missing and getting hit are not things anyone does on purpose. I'm fine with using moves in interesting ways to dodge: non-damaging use of Quick Attack, Aqua Jet, and U-Turn fit the bill there, and I'd even let Agility keep its speed boosting effect if the user was already faster. Might not last as long though. As for using a full action for dodge... I dunno about that so much. I might take pity and treat it as a one-action +2 to evasion, possibly more depending on speed, but I don't feel it's a sound concept in general.

Positioning ought to be completely irrelevant except for flavour unless you've deliberately used an action to set it up - as in Fly, Dig, Teleport, etc. I recently saw a ref allow Hyper Voice to be used as single-target in a double battle because the other opponent was a large distance away. Obviously that decision was between the ref and their battlers, but it seemed a little out of left field to me, since the distance wasn't set by the arena or even made clear in the flavour.

In general battlers shouldn't expect to be given free stat boosts or mechanical changes just for asking nicely.
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Old 08-28-2015, 11:27 PM
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Default Re: On Dodging, Accuracy, and Evasion

Fair enough. I think a viable base number for dodging would be 50%. From there, you adjust depending on the weight / size / speed of the Pokémon, ranging from 5% of the move's original accuracy: "wow this pokémon can dodge pretty much everything that is thrown at it" (+6 Ninjask) to 100% of the move's original accuracy: "wow this pokémon literally can't dodge" (Asleep / Ingrained / -6 speed Shuckle), depending on how far the pokémon is from standard in terms of dodging viability.

That's the way I would go.

EDIT: I agree with Meursault on complementary commands. It makes me cringe every time I see them because you can't know if the referee's going to oblige (they shouldn't). Things like do it quickly or so shouldn't interfere with speed order / move priority. If a Pokémon is slower, it's slower, and moves with 0 priority should take in effect last.

Moving on, I'd like to bring up something that has happened a few times lately - the action to latch on the opponent. How viable should that be? It does give a huge advantage to the Pokémon latching on, especially since everybody expects it not to be hit by moves coming out of the opponent's mouth / appendages as well as increases accuracy of moves used against it.

Logically, a bigger should be able to shake the latcher fairly easily, or should it? I don't know what to think about that.

Last edited by Lord of the Fireflies; 08-28-2015 at 11:39 PM.
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Old 08-29-2015, 01:01 AM
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Default Re: On Dodging, Accuracy, and Evasion

personally I agree with Meursault, and I feel like commanding a pokemon to dodge is akin to telling a pokemon to hit the right Double Team clone, it's kinda unstrategic and there are kind of lots of ways to make a pokemon avoid a move? I mean, even Shuckle gets Dig.
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Old 08-29-2015, 01:40 AM
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Default Re: On Dodging, Accuracy, and Evasion

And adding to that, I've never had or reffed a battle where anyone just told their pokémon to dodge. Specifying how to dodge, yes - priority moves, dig, even closing your eyes, etc. are fair game.

Otherwise, it's a case-by-case basis. Chances of success are determined by how easy it is to visualize the intended scenario happening in-universe.
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For those in ASB Battles that I happen to be reffing, I have several habits that deviate from most other refs. These can be found in this document, and involve mostly stat modifications and status conditions, as well as other clarifications regarding the specifics of certain attacks.
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Old 08-29-2015, 02:26 AM
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Default Re: On Dodging, Accuracy, and Evasion

I've never seen someone issue a simple "dodge" command either, but it's worth pointing out that the description for the Run Away ability specifically "makes dodging moves easier."

As a ref, I would allow a command to simply dodge--it is Anime-Style Battling, after all, and if there's one thing that watching Pokemon on Netflix has taught me, it's that they pull that shit all the time. Or at least they used to. But it certainly wouldn't come without drawbacks--that's a waste of an action, sure, but also some energy expenditure, or (more likely with most attacks) a small damage reduction (rather than a nullification--think "grazing hit") in return for an equal/greater energy cost. Complementary commands to do so are a lot easier to...I don't want to say "penalize" but I guess it's appropriate, because giving a dodge command drawbacks is my opportunity to respect the commands of the Trainer, but also to discourage that vein of conduct. The evasive Pokemon's attack might be weaker or less accurate as a result of concentrating so much on avoiding something else, for example.

If someone is creative enough with their commands, I can get pretty lenient, but dodging in a battle I'm reffing will almost never, if not never, be a simple one-and-done sidestep.
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