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> Are Skillwires overpowered?
Orangexplosion
post Mar 17 2009, 12:34 AM
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I was explaining to a friend how my character design works, utilizing rating 4 skillwires to make up for a lack of legitimate combat active skills. He immediately launches into a rant about how ridiculous it is that a relatively inexpensive piece of gear can essentially remove the need to take certain skills, because you can essentially have every skill. Personally, I don't think it's a big deal, and from what I can tell might make your character versatile, but certainly won't make your character. Still - I'm interested in hearing what everyone else thinks. Are they fair/balanced?
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Draco18s
post Mar 17 2009, 12:37 AM
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You still have to buy the skills, just with (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nuyen.gif) and not BP/Karma, and at rating 4 they're not cheap. Cheaper than BP, yes, but not trivial. Plus you can never improve that skill: you're stuck at 4.
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Sir_Psycho
post Mar 17 2009, 12:43 AM
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If I recall correctly, you can't use Edge when it comes to skillwire dicepools. Also, you can't "every skill", and certainly not all at once.
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Rotbart van Dain...
post Mar 17 2009, 12:47 AM
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QUOTE (Sir_Psycho @ Mar 17 2009, 01:43 AM) *
If I recall correctly, you can't use Edge when it comes to skillwire dicepools.

With the right Option, you can at least reroll failed tests.
QUOTE (Sir_Psycho @ Mar 17 2009, 01:43 AM) *
Also, you can't "every skill", and certainly not all at once.

You don't have to.
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Glyph
post Mar 17 2009, 12:58 AM
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Remember that SR4A (which will be in the next errata) dramatically increased the cost of skillsofts. So cheap, it isn't. Remind your friend that he needs more than the hardware - he also needs the activesofts. At 10,000 (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nuyen.gif) per rating point, you are paying basically 2 BP per skill point - half of the normal cost for skills, true, but this comes out of your limited pool of resources, and you can't spend Edge on these skills (except to re-roll a failed test, if you have a skillwire expert system). All in all, it is fairly balanced. Given its limitations, it was balanced even before skillsofts became more expensive.
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Caadium
post Mar 17 2009, 01:18 AM
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To get 1 skill at rating 4 that way you have to spend a total of 20,000 nuyen and .8 essence. Eight of that twenty thousand is for the hardware, each active skill at rating 4 is another twelve thousand. This second skill can be used at the same time. So, for 32,000 nuyen, and a good portion of your soul, you can become a "Vetran" in two skills. Please note that this is the same basic price as unenhanced Heavy Military Grade armor. This is also more than most 'cars', with the highest end sports car and a Limo being considerably more expensive. Put in other terms, this is 12.8% of starting max wealth (250,000), and 13 1/3% of your essence; all for 7 bp worth of cred.

For some builds, tight on BP but with some extra essence and cred to spare, they make perfect sense as a short term solution. I say short-term because you can not advance them, and I'd not trust key skills for my character to something I am unable to use edge on in an emergency. This is why skillwires are the perfect tools of the corps for their wage-slaves.

Since they don't pay the markup on the wires they create, nor for the skill chips they program, they can quickly 'implant' skill-sets into an employee for far cheaper than training them. Why pay a real Doctor 150k a year when you can implant a guy with some basic smarts (aka Logic) with wires and pay him 50k a year. Of course, if it was your life we were talking about, or even the life of that PC your attached to, who would you rather pay to see? Most folks wouldn't even call a chipped wage-slave a doctor; even if their chips make them the equal of one. If you wouldn't trust the chipped 'doctor', why would you trust the chips for your own crucial abilities?

The above math gets more extreme when you factor in the changes of SR4A (thanks for reminding me Glyph). Instead of 12k a skill, you are talking 40k. 2 skills, and wires, at rating 4 would actually be in the same price range as that sports car now. With corps only paying production costs its still a very affordable option for them and their 'slaves' though.

At least, thats how things seem to function in the group I run for.
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Agent 333
post Mar 17 2009, 01:30 AM
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Also, Unless I'm missing something, a starting character can't have a skillwire with a rating higher than 3 (availability Rating x 4 = 12). Again, usefull in the right circumstances, but nothing you'd want to have as a primary character focus.

//Has image in head of a Hacker with skillwires for combat skills...//
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Gunslinger057
post Mar 17 2009, 01:43 AM
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Here's my issue with it.

My current character, without skillwires, has spent the following BP amounts on active skills. (Note that skillwires may only equip activesofts, not knowledgesofts, thereby only allowing the learning of active skills)

Stealth skill group rating 4 - 40 BP
- Infiltration 4
- Shadowing 4
- Palming 4
- Disguise 4
Blades 3 - 9 BP
Pistols 6 - 24 BP
Armorer 3 - 9 BP
Dodge 3 - 9 BP
Perception 3 - 9 BP

So all in all a total of 100 BP, or 1/4th of my character
Here's what I can do with skillsofts:
Effectively the only skill that I can't use skillsofts for is pistols, as the skill level is too high, so that limits me to these options
Skillwire system rating 4 - 8,000
- Infiltration skillsoft 4 - 12,000
- Shadowing skillsoft 4 - 12,000
- Palming skillsoft 4 - 12,000
- Disguise skillsoft 4 - 12,000
- Blades skillsoft 3 - 9,000
- Armorer skillsoft 3 - 9,000
- Dodge skillsoft 3 - 9,000
- Perception skillsoft 3 - 9,000
For a grand total nuyen cost of 92,000. Sound's heavy, right? Well, let's convert that nuyen amount into BP cost. 92,000 nuyen = 19 BP!
Add that to the 24 BP required for the pistol skill at rating 6, and we have an effective BP ratio of 100/43, or 5/2, roughly
So getting skills with skillwires saves me 57 BP to allocate to other attributes, like edge or magic or even *gasp* other skills, all while leaving me an effective 155,000 nuyen with which to purchase other things, such as lifestyle and vehicles, weapons and gear. Quite a lot, if you ask me.

The only downside to this is that I cannot specialize in any of these skills, and I cannot spend edge to augment any tests involving these skills. And, I can have only two of them active at any time. However, given a character with one IP, the time duration required to switch between these skills is 1.5 seconds. And the time required gets even lower the more IP's a character has.

So, in my opinion, there is no reason for a character not to get skillwires. I mean, why wouldn't you? Sure, you're stuck with a skill at max rating 4 forever, but what does that really matter. It still won't detract from a character (such as the one above) being specialized in one thing, just don't buy the skillwires for it. The only reason not to get skillwires is if you want your character to have expertise in every single skill that they have in their repertoire. But, ultimately, that isn't the case for most, if any, character.

So, as a closing statement, skillwires are best, as far as balance purposes are concerned, when used in moderation. By their very nature, they encourage a player to min-max their character at character creation. However, in the long run, they do NOT allow a character the same depth of skill, or dice pool size, for tests as a character who takes the skill in the meat. But, for a character looking to have use, but not expertise, when it comes to most skills, they are the best bang for your buck.

All in all, they don't make me happy, as they are the only option for a fleshed out skill character. I am eager to see the cost change in SR4A
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Lindt
post Mar 17 2009, 01:50 AM
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I think the problem was during the sr3-sr4 conversion they forgot that the biggest issue with skillwires was that you couldn't use combat pool with it, making it 'inferior' to the skill at the same level.
Raising the price on them now is definitely a solid fix. Though removing the hard cap on rating 4 and changing the cost of the program (rating^2x¥6000, or something similar) would make them both more, and less viable.
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Draco18s
post Mar 17 2009, 02:40 AM
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QUOTE (Gunslinger057 @ Mar 16 2009, 08:43 PM) *
So, in my opinion, there is no reason for a character not to get skillwires. I mean, why wouldn't you?


Because they don't work in dracoform.
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Neraph
post Mar 17 2009, 02:49 AM
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QUOTE (Draco18s @ Mar 16 2009, 09:40 PM) *
Because they don't work in dracoform.

Come on, who plays a drake anyways?

In any event, play a mage with only Magic skills (Conjuration, Sorcery, Enchanting, ect), max your magic, and take 60 BP of cash (with 10 BP for Born Rich), 30 BP of In Debt, and Restricted Gear. This will give you 330,000 (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nuyen.gif) , more than enough to buy your r5 Alpha-Skillwires, maybe a datajack, and possibly some more bio/cyber (staying within the 1 point of Essence you've already lost), but most importantly, that gives you enough to buy a few r4 Personalized r3 Pluscode activesofts.

EDIT: To get even more bang for your buck, add some of those skills together into Skillsoft Clusters (saving 20% (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nuyen.gif) ). By RAW, if you SkillCluster 2 skills that have rating/effective rating 1, you get to load those skills for free. I can assume the RAI won't let it drop between either 1 or 2 though.

Some examples:
The CQC SkillCluster: Blades, Blunt, Unarmed Combat, and Dodge.
Sniper Skillcluster: Longarms, Perception.

Personally, I'd get some Spurs, then get a Blades + Dodge + Automatics SkillCluster and pick up a machine pistol (Ares Crusader) and assault rifle (Ares Alpha).
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Caadium
post Mar 17 2009, 02:56 AM
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Heaven help you if you're skillwires are accessible to a nearby hacker. Imagine trying to call up your flashing, over priced, r4 personalized pistols skill when instead you start doing 1990s hip hop dance maneuvers! Meanwhile, the guy that actually knows how to shoot puts a bullet in your brain before he himself falls over laughing.

Yes, you can tweak and bend the system to make anything seem broken in a game. That doesn't mean that normal applications are imbalanced.
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Neraph
post Mar 17 2009, 03:00 AM
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QUOTE (Caadium @ Mar 16 2009, 09:56 PM) *
Heaven help you if you're skillwires are accessible to a nearby hacker. Imagine trying to call up your flashing, over priced, r4 personalized pistols skill when instead you start doing 1990s hip hop dance maneuvers! Meanwhile, the guy that actually knows how to shoot puts a bullet in your brain before he himself falls over laughing.

Yes, you can tweak and bend the system to make anything seem broken in a game. That doesn't mean that normal applications are imbalanced.

You're assuming 2 things:

1) I can be hacked.
2) I'm flashing overpriced pistols.

I was talking about a personalized Skillsoft, not a personalized weapon. And my post was to be a generalization, not the exact specifics. I'd absolutely have a tricked out comm with a r6 Firewall, not to mention things like Nonstandard Wireless link, be running silently, have 1 or 2 fake comms, and even then have the freaking wires wired, not wireless. So while you're (or the enemy) is trying to hack me, I'm ganking him.
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HappyDaze
post Mar 17 2009, 03:01 AM
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QUOTE
(Note that skillwires may only equip activesofts, not knowledgesofts, thereby only allowing the learning of active skills)

Knowsofts and Linguasofts only require a sim module - and it doesn't even need to be implanted.
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Draco18s
post Mar 17 2009, 03:02 AM
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QUOTE (Neraph @ Mar 16 2009, 09:49 PM) *
Come on, who plays a drake anyways?


I do. But I do agree that by RAW (and likely RAI) are a little on the low-power side of things for their cost. One of the main hurdles (besides cyber only effecting your metahuman side) is that armor is shredded or otherwise unhelpful in dracoform (though if you're a mage and your body is lower than your armor and you only get entangled in it, you could cast Fashion and fix that, though you do take [Armor Value] in damage when shifting--Tyger Eyes didn't say if it was stun or physical, but my GM and I have worked out a solution: transforming armor).
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Neraph
post Mar 17 2009, 03:10 AM
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QUOTE (Draco18s @ Mar 16 2009, 10:02 PM) *
I do. But I do agree that by RAW (and likely RAI) are a little on the low-power side of things for their cost. One of the main hurdles (besides cyber only effecting your metahuman side) is that armor is shredded or otherwise unhelpful in dracoform (though if you're a mage and your body is lower than your armor and you only get entangled in it, you could cast Fashion and fix that, though you do take [Armor Value] in damage when shifting--Tyger Eyes didn't say if it was stun or physical, but my GM and I have worked out a solution: transforming armor).

Or be a mystic adept/adept with Mysic armor instead. Or be posessed by a spirit and get ItNW. Or not be a drake. Or cast armor and use a Sustaining Focus. Or not be a drake. Or be an Oriental drake with a shield. Or not be a drake.

By the way, Lindt, you make good chocolate.
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Glyph
post Mar 17 2009, 03:11 AM
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Gunslinger057, you are forgetting that you need the Restricted Gear quality if you want skillwires at rating: 4. Plus, there is the huge price increase in SR4A. And you got a bunch of skills, which you can't use Edge on when you glitch, and which are stuck at rating: 4, at the expense of a big chunk of resources.

When I take 50 resources, I usually spend the majority of it on cyberware and bioware, and don't have much left for anything other than gear when I'm done. Rather than being a skill monkey, I might do something like (for example) use the restricted gear quality twice to get wired reflexes: 3 and muscle toner: 4, giving me 4 IP and lots of dice for even my low-rated Agility-based skills. I'm not saying skillwires are necessarily bad, but they are far from the only approach for a cybered character.
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Wasabi
post Mar 17 2009, 03:16 AM
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With the "Pluscode-2" program option from unwired on each 'soft and Skillwires 4 a character can have 8 rating 3 activesofts active at once or 4 rating 4 activesofts loaded at once. As an aside, per SR4A an agent can load a program for you which isnt a big security flaw when your PAN has no wireless and you just use a microtransceiver to talk to your team.
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Draco18s
post Mar 17 2009, 03:20 AM
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QUOTE (Neraph @ Mar 16 2009, 10:10 PM) *
Or be a mystic adept/adept with Mysic armor instead. Or be posessed by a spirit and get ItNW. Or not be a drake. Or cast armor and use a Sustaining Focus. Or not be a drake. Or be an Oriental drake with a shield. Or not be a drake.


1) I am an oriental drake
2) The idea of a shield came up only this last session (it'd boost my human armor to 14+)
3) I have mystic armor, but only 2 points of it because I decided not to be hyperspecialized (because I like having LOGICAL and BALANCED characters)
4) Adept, not Mage, also not Summoning
5) I wanted to be a drake because I fucking wanted to be a fucking drake so stop being an ass. I knew the limitations I was going to have going into it, I knew that cyber/bio ware was not an option, my post here was offering a valid point (albeit a humorous one rather than serious, though RAW), not to be a douche. You on the other hand had to be the douche and tell me not to play the character I wanted to play not once, but twice.
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Neraph
post Mar 17 2009, 03:20 AM
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QUOTE (Glyph @ Mar 16 2009, 10:11 PM) *
Gunslinger057, you are forgetting that you need the Restricted Gear quality if you want skillwires at rating: 4. Plus, there is the huge price increase in SR4A. And you got a bunch of skills, which you can't use Edge on if you glitch, and which are stuck at rating: 4, at the expense of a big chunk of resources.

When I take 50 resources, I usually spend the majority of it on cyberware and bioware, and don't have much left for anything other than gear when I'm done. Rather than being a skill monkey, I might do something like (for example) use the restricted gear quality twice to get wired reflexes: 3 and muscle toner: 4, giving me 4 IP and lots of dice for even my low-rated Agility-based skills. I'm not saying skillwires are necessarily bad, but they are far from the only approach for a cybered character.

Correction added. I actually find it hard to spend more than 30k (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nuyen.gif) with most of my characters, which is why getting the 330,000 (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nuyen.gif) looks so good as a mage/mystic adept, only getting a few skills not obtainable by 'wires, and going to town with SkillClusters. Even with the increased costs, you can get Blades (for your spurs), Perception, Dodge, and Automatics at the very least, and stand-alone those would cost 4 of your 10 skillwire slots (2 if you cluster) and give you those skills at rating 5 (Personalized). And adding that kind of versatility to a mage is pretty interesting.

You could also get like Data Search, Cybercombat, Electronic Warfare, and Computer and be a better-than-hacker hacker. Still at chargen, still within your price limit, still able to afford the gear that would make you effective.

And as we all know, cash is easier to come by in game, so already having good 'wires'll give you even that much more of an edge, and it'll free up your karma for spells/stats/foci/magic skills, instead of adding non-magic related skills into the mix as well.
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Neraph
post Mar 17 2009, 03:25 AM
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QUOTE (Draco18s @ Mar 16 2009, 10:20 PM) *
1) I am an oriental drake
2) The idea of a shield came up only this last session (it'd boost my human armor to 14+)
3) I have mystic armor, but only 2 points of it because I decided not to be hyperspecialized (because I like having LOGICAL and BALANCED characters)
4) Adept, not Mage, also not Summoning
5) I wanted to be a drake because I fucking wanted to be a fucking drake so stop being an ass. I knew the limitations I was going to have going into it, I knew that cyber/bio ware was not an option, my post here was offering a valid point (albeit a humorous one rather than serious, though RAW), not to be a douche. You on the other hand had to be the douche and tell me not to play the character I wanted to play not once, but twice.

For the record, it was 3 times, but that was intended to be more of a 'neah neah' than a "yew eediot!" I've actually contemplated a troll western drake, and my group has fought one that was a blood mage (Cannibalize + Power Bleed - you should look into that. Get powers like regen and ItNW).

QUOTE
With the "Pluscode-2" program option from unwired on each 'soft and Skillwires 4 a character can have 8 rating 3 activesofts active at once or 4 rating 4 activesofts loaded at once. As an aside, per SR4A an agent can load a program for you which isnt a big security flaw when your PAN has no wireless and you just use a microtransceiver to talk to your team.

I meant Pluscode 3 on R4 'softs. Personalized. That way they're treated as R1 for skillslots. That way you can have 10 active (stand-alone, not to mention SkillClustering) with a Restricted Gear R5 Alpha-Grade Skillwire set.
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Wasabi
post Mar 17 2009, 03:29 AM
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QUOTE (Neraph @ Mar 16 2009, 10:25 PM) *
I meant Pluscode 3 on R4 'softs. Personalized.


Unwired, p114: "Each program can be maximally equipped with a number of options equal to half its rating (round down)."
I misread that to mean a number of rating points but I see now you're quite right. Good to know, thanks!


PS: Any GM who allows skillclustering is a sucker, yo! (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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Gunslinger057
post Mar 17 2009, 03:31 AM
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To Glyph:

I agree that it isn't the only, and necessarily best build for a cybered character. I was merely demonstrating how drastic the difference in BP that can be attained with skillwires. I am still struggling with how I feel about skillwires, due to the restrictions put on using the skills they provide. The more I look at them, the more I think that they are best used for supplement skills, and not skills necessary for your character. For example, I wouldn't use skillwires for infiltration on a covert ops character.

All in all, balanced I suppose
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Draco18s
post Mar 17 2009, 03:35 AM
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QUOTE (Neraph @ Mar 16 2009, 10:25 PM) *
I've actually contemplated a troll western drake, and my group has fought one that was a blood mage (Cannibalize + Power Bleed - you should look into that. Get powers like regen and ItNW).


Scary.
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Wasabi
post Mar 17 2009, 03:35 AM
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If I had an Infiltration character with Hardware skill at 3 and he could use an activesoft with Hardware 4+Personalized he'd probably use the chip.

Perspective, I suppose...
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