Monday, 3 February 2014

Skyrim Armor

My secondary game of Skyrim has become my primary one.  While I usually default to playing mages of some kind, it turns out that beating people with an outrageously sized hammer is great fun in a game where you actually control your character in combat.  It also seems that the game is heavily weighted towards doing so.  The amount of damage I can outlay with physical attacks puts the damage the spells do to shame.

Part of smashing with a warhammer is putting yourself in a giant metal box so you can get smashed by the other guy's warhammer.  Skyrim offers a fairly simple path to getting tough, just practice smithing and unlock perk after perk to make better and better armor.  You start with iron but you just find that stuff so you don't really make it.  Steel takes a bit more doing, dwarven metal can only be found by melting down scrap metal from dwarven ruins but dwarven ruins are everywhere, orcish armor is easy to get because there are orichalcum mines at nearly every orcish settlement, and ebony may be relatively limited in the world but its nearly all in one place so its pretty easy to pick up a full set.  Daedric armor is ebony armor but you also need daedra hearts.  Dragon armor, which I will probably get to tomorrow, presumably uses the dragon bones and scales I've been collecting incidentally while reaping dragon souls so I expect I can crank that stuff out in a hurry.

My armor rating has been going up and up and I feel great, particularly since daedric armor looks extremely badass.  But feeling great is one thing, knowing the formula that calculates how great you are in another.

Skyrim's formula is 0.12% damage reduction per armor point.  What's wrong with armor formulas like this is that each point of armor is actually better than the last.  If you have 100 armor then you get 12% damage reduction, making your 300 health into 341 effective health, giving .41 health per armor point.  If you have 200 armor then you get 24% damage reduction, making your 300 health into 395 effective health for 0.47 effective health per armor.  The last full armor point, the one before the one that gets cut off by the 80% cap on damage reduction, would be worth 8.8 effective health.  You see how that's better.

But there are some stranger things about Skyrim's formula.  You don't actually need 667 armor to get maximum damage reduction.  Most times you'll only need 567.

That's because each piece of armor has a hidden 25 armor rating that factors into the calculation but that is not shown on your inventory screen.  There are five armor slots that count: helmet, chest, gloves, feet and shield.  So if you wore all of those things you would get 15% damage reduction even if they had no armor rating.  But actually you wouldn't, since if they had no armor rating then they aren't armor and don't give the 25 hidden bonus.

A suit of unagumented leather armor has a total armor rating of 52 while a suit of unaugmented dwarven armor has a total armor value of 78.  Looking at those two numbers, it looks like the dwarven armor is 1.5 times as good as the leather armor at reducing damage and would increase your effective health by 3.4% relative to the leather.  In reality it is only 1.17 times as good at giving you armor rating, but despite this perversely increases your effective health by 4% because of that more armor is more good thing.

So they are hiding things in strange ways and having perverse effects.  Another confounding factor in the armor formula is just how easy it is to hit the cap.  I'm not in anything like endgame, I don't think.  I wasn't even drinking potions to increase my blacksmithing skill when I tempered my armor, let alone crafting those postions myself using gear I enchanted to boost alchemy.  But despite that my armor rating is 757.  Since I'm not wearing a shield that means my true armor rating is 857, way above the cap.

In fact, working down the list you can not only hit armor cap in dragon armor and daedric armor, but also in ebony, orcish, dwarven and even steel armor.

This has interesting consequences for the end game.  It's a good thing that if you max out your smithing skill and work at it a bit you can wear whatever kind of armor you want and still have maximum protection.  If you like the look of steel armor then it's neat that you can make it as good as dragon armor just by being the best guy in the world at making it.

On the other hand, it seems kind of lame to me that shields don't do anything to improve your armor once you get good enough at smithing.  The advantages of using a shield are better blocking and an extra thing to enchant.  I can't think of the last time I blocked, so I'm no so interested in the former.  The latter might be pretty tempting, but I don't think there are enchants that make up for the massive damage difference between one and two handed weapons.  Using a shield might also make it easier to hit armor cap while not wearing a matched or full suit of heavy armor - since these both give 25% bonuses with the relevant perks.  But the only items I've seen so far that would make me want to wear game-generated instead of me-generated items are master robes - and maybe the aetherial crown - and not wearing heavy armor in all slots would break up the 100 point perk which seems completely insane.

What this all means for me is that I'm collecting daedra hearts from my one reliable source of them so I can make myself a second set of daedric armor to enchant properly once I get to 100 enchanting.  Once I make that and get to 100 smithing I'm going to legendary my smithing skill and go up the light armor side this time.  We'll see how that goes.

No comments:

Post a Comment