ChahDresh takes another look at Initiative in 2.0, now with 100% more graphs.
Last week, we reviewed the history of Pilot Skill and how it’s played out in 1.0. From there we pivoted to a discussion of how things are changing in 2.0. The plan this week is to flesh out our conclusions using graphs and charts to help visualize the discussion.
Bring On the Charts
Without further ado, here’s what Pilot Skill looks like in the current field of ships:
Now, you hardly need me to tell you this isn’t quite how it plays out in live games. Relative to the number of pilots who have that skill, 8 and 9 are way overrepresented, 4 6 and 7 are way underrepresented, and the low PSs are only seeing a resurgence now from Renegade Refit-backed X-Wing swarms. (Five is well-represented, largely due to Ezra and Lowhrrick being redonkulous.)
To make the point in a different way, let’s bring back a chart from last week:
- # of ships dominated by their highest-skill pilot: 24
- # of ships dominated by their lowest-skill pilot: 12
- # of ships dominated by something in-between: 14
Despite most of the pilots in the game being in the 5-7 range, most ships are best-represented by their extremes.
With X-Wing 2.0, we shift Initiative to only 6 buckets (with no VI to shift those values around). What does that look like?
A caveat first: there are a lot *fewer* pilots in 2.0. Partly this is because many ships that boast a multitude of pilots, such as the Interceptor or A-Wing, have only a few of their complement in the conversion packs. The biggest culprit, though, is the omission of Resistance and New Order pilots, a fact particularly telling at the high end.
That being said, the overall shape of the graph doesn’t look much different, does it? You have a generic-heavy low-end that gives way to a flood of unique pilots in the middle, with a swift decline in the upper reaches and an exclusive club of elites at the top.
Does this mean we’re doomed to see a repeat of the PS structure we see in play today? It’s tempting to say so. After all, we’d expect ordnance alpha strikes and arc dodging to still be viable strategies in 2.0. Those are strategies disproportionately rewarding to those who move last and shoot first, meaning their existence will always put upward pressure on Initiative.
I’m not ready to answer that with a yes. A great deal depends upon tuning– if ever there were an opportunity for FFG to adjust the cost of Initiative to be closer to its value, this would seem to be it. The absence of VI removes some of the upward pressure, too. Finally, the same circumstances that would foster a generic resurrection work in favor of mid-PS unique pilots, too– namely, the de-powering of upgrades, especially action-less offensive upgrades. We’ll see.
Each Point Matters
We can say, though, that the difference in every point of Initiative is much more significant. Feast your eyes on this chart:
|% of pilots||7||15||28||39||55||71||87||96||100|
The percentage there is “percent of the total pilot pool that is here or below”. In other words, if you’re at PS3, 28% of all available pilots are the same or lower than you. Of course, we have to adjust this for practical experience (that is, the top-heavy nature of the current game) but it’s good enough for this purpose. Compare that chart to this one:
|% of pilots||10||29||54||83||97||100|
Innnnnteresting. Initiative 2 achieves the same coverage of the population as PS3; Ini 3 does the same as PS5; and Ini4 is slightly below PS7. Therefore, for a ship in the mushy middle, one extra point of Initiative is as impactful as *two* points of Pilot Skill. Going from 4 to 5 or 5 to 6 is about the same as it is today to go from 7 to 8 or 8 to 9. All the gains of the new system are captured by the mid-PS pilots. Prepare, in other words, to seriously ponder the viability of an Ini4 arc-dodger. Prepare to think deeply as to whether to give up a pilot ability you like to bump up from Ini3 to Ini4.
Those are the main points, now let’s look at a few other things just for fun because I already did the graphs so why not.
Ever wondered what the breakdown by faction is going to be? You didn’t, huh? Pretend you did and look at this.
It’s interesting that the Imperials are the faction known for having the extreme high-low mix of pilot skills, yet they actually have fewer bottom-of-the-barrel pilots than the others. Then again, they had the most impactful example of the species (Academy Pilot), so maybe it works.
As a faction, the Rebels are the ones most stuck in the mushy middle, with a particularly pronounced number of Ini2 pilots compared to the others.
The Two New Factions?
One more chart, unrelated to the previous. A total of six ships came into the game from the New Wars trilogy. How does their PS breakdown look compared to the rest?
Half the New Wars ships boasted a PS9 pilot– and that’s without counting New Han. We could take this opportunity to bemoan how New Wars wrecked the curve. Or we could be honest with ourselves about Quickdraw. Let’s face it: the only reason Quickdraw is PS9 is because Kylo’s Silencer hadn’t been teased yet, and the Empire/New Order was (somehow) behind on the PS9 goodness compared to the other factions. (Quickdraw was released the same wave as Fenn Rau in the Fang Fighter.) He was a parity pick.
~What I’m saying is: when the New Wars conversion packs get here, don’t count on Quickdraw being Ini6.