Sunday Musings - ToJ Dominance (in General)

QBsutekh137 February 13 2005 1:07 PM EST

Though Myth would have us believe the ToE is the "best tattoo in the game" on his for-sale thread, I think anyone who has gone up against one of the top three ToJs in the game would beg to differ.

This morning I was losing to a team barely one-third of my PR because the team had the third-best ToJ in its possession. Poor me. I decided to jot down some facts about these huge ToJs to put things in perspective and get a feel for whether or not the gap between "normal" minions and these tattoo minions is getting larger or smaller. I will have to be checking this out in months to come to see how it is working.

First off, in case anyone doesn't know, a ToJ splits its level out in the following proportions for HP/STR/DEX: 0.33/0.20/0.33, or one-third/one-fifth/one-third. This means that 0.87 of the ToJs level is split among the Big Three stats. I will call the summation of HP, STR and DEX the Intrinsic Index. In addition to the intrinsics, the ToJ also trains UC and Endurance.

The largest ToJ in the game has an Intrinsic Index of 75K + 45K + 75K = 197K.

The largest unaugmented single tank in the game (Kai, by my estimation) has an Intrinsic Index of 57K + 57K + 54K = 168K. Kai is no pushover, having a PR of nearly 116K. But against the aforementioned ToJ, he will be pushed over indeed.

With augmentation, a singe tank can finally best the massive ToJ. Spid, with similar PR to Kai but draped in a ToA, has an Intrinsic Index of 105K + 71K + 86K = 262K. So, we do have one tank in the game who can soundly thrash the largest ToJ. Yay.

My tank, part of a duo, has an Intrinsic Index of 50K + 43K + 50K = 143K. The top ToJ in the game makes my tank look like a chump. In fact, four ToJs can rip my tank to shreds (higher Intrinsic Index).

I have decent PR. And it is only spread between two minions. Yet my tank is worthless when anyone equips one of four ToJs in the game. Add on the fact that these high-end ToJs have enough Endurance to eliminate 70% of all damage (even the shots coming from my 95K magic missile), and one wonders when these never-idle (thanks to Rentals) ToJs will become in any way beatable.

As I said at the beginning, I will have to check this all out again in a couple months to see how the ToJs are keeping pace. But right now, a dedicated single tank cannot barely compete with several high-end ToJs without augmentation. Anyone who has run a tank in this game knows that one larger tank (even only slightly bigger) can beat out almost any number of smaller tanks because of the experience concentration (especially dexterity). It is somewhat disheartening to think that anyone aspiring to build a strong tank is always going to get beat out by a fricking tattoo (maybe even several of them).

These are just musings, as the subject indicates. But I did have one idea to try to level out the ToJ dominance. Don't train the dexterity so high. Right now, the dexterity is jacked up to one-third of the ToJ level, while STR is only one-fifth. Why not make STR and DEX train the same amount of total experience they do now, but in equal proportions? At least then something like EC could stand a chance of nullifying the ToJ's dodging capability. The STR training on ToJs is a joke (even the big ones do not generate much actual offense). But the dodging, in combination with the endurance, makes them soooo hard to kill (over 8 rounds for me, and that is only the third-highest ToJ in the game).

I have a ToJ, and believe me, I want it to remain valuable. It helps my team a lot, and if nothing else, I can trade it for a lower one and have some nice income generation. I just don't like having to inspect every character I fight in fears that they have just equipped the biggest Tank in the game.

(Can we get ToJ added to the spell checker? I have seen about a dozen posts asking that, and I don't think the string ToJ is going to start getting used any less in forums...)

QBJohnnywas February 13 2005 1:22 PM EST

I love that moment when your favourites list hasn't refreshed and you suddenly start getting beaten heavily by somebody you could beat in two rounds. Do an inspect and yes, lo and behold there's a ToJ that wasn't there before....

I agree about the proportions of the Xp spread and don't forget that a certain amount is going into evasion as well (at least that's the information from the item meta-stats - don't sue me if I'm wrong!). It would be good to be able to work out the level of the ToJ's UC weapon and evasion from the overall level.

[FireBreathing]Chicken February 13 2005 1:36 PM EST

Don't get a tank. I've tried using tank before, and its tough. ToJ against tanks is kinda like CoBF to FB mages, only its far more widespread. Just conform with everybody else and stick with 1 minion FB mage with a massive jig.

Barron [CB2BANK Investors Club] February 13 2005 1:39 PM EST

The ToJ is just a UC minion. Tattoo of Endurance at high levels will rule. That's my bet, but who knows? We'll soon see. :)

Majestik Moose February 13 2005 1:41 PM EST

will + on weapons not be a later factor, unconsidered in your post?

Majestik Moose February 13 2005 1:44 PM EST

highest + in game so far is +40, and +33 seems to be an average (among the weaponusers that has the big rare ones).

Compared to CB1, these numbers are pretty small

MrC [DodgingTheEvilForgeFees] February 13 2005 1:47 PM EST

Myth's right about ToEs. ;)

In my battles against The Steveh a while ago. His ToJ: 120k or so, my ToE: 40-50k. With tattoos I'd come out with around 20k HP as a win, without our tattoos he came out with 70k HP as a win.

It just takes the right type of minion for a ToE to be effective.
I can tell you now that when someone dominates because of their tat, it will almost certainly be ToA/ToE due to them helping you get the most out of your stats. Wait until we get a big tank up there with a ToA, it'll be near untouchable, especially against ToJs. Just my opinion though. :)

Majestik Moose February 13 2005 1:50 PM EST

yup.. but if someone can find a use for ToE/ToA on Hypnotoad, I would be confused :)

QBsutekh137 February 13 2005 2:14 PM EST

Yes, net worth will start to close the gaps on ToJs I suppose, since they cannot equip any weapons or armor.

Yes, ToE might be the best tattoo for a single minion, but that does not make it the best tattoo overall. Not everyone is going to stick with single-minion strategies forever.

[FireBreathing]Chicken February 13 2005 5:40 PM EST

ToE is limited in the long run. 70% is a lot right now, but didn't Spid block out some 90% in CB1 with heavy armor? thats 3 times more blocking power. Than again, ToE seems perfect for mages.

QBsutekh137 February 13 2005 5:47 PM EST

TOE seems perfect for any mage who has NO TANK on his team. Remember. one tattoo eats the slot for the whole team. For any team having only enchanters and mages, TOE is wonderful. But it precludes having any of the familiar tattoos and the ToA for a tank. Big picture, TOE is simply not the end-all be-all tattoo for everyone.

(I have capitalized TOE so that it looks like the word "toe". Can we get the tattoos added to the spell checker, please please please please? And why is the word "enchanters" considered mis-spelled?)

[EG] Almuric February 13 2005 6:32 PM EST

I rented one of the big ToJ's last night. I fought everyone above me. I could beat everyone except for the CoBF users. I wouldn't mind seeing a day when Tattoo's didn't work (like Sunday clans) just to see how everyone stacked up against each other without Tats.

I had the 34th biggest ToJ a few days ago. Now it's 37th. I'm losing ground to all the people loaning theirs out. I think tats are fine, but if we could make a small change so that people couldn't have others level them up, it would be nice. In other words, if the Tattoo isn't yours (it's loaned or rented to you), then it doesn't gain any EXP.

That would level the playing field a little, I think. That way those of us without the time to hang out in chat and find suckers, er, I mean other players to level up our tats could have a chance.

(My explanation of why I used 'sucker': You're paying for the 'priviledge' of increasing the stats of another person's item. If they paid you, you could consider yourself a forger. As it is, you're helping someone else and paying for it. You don't get the tattoo. In fact, all you're doing is making it harder for yourself to eventually be the best. But maybe that's not your thing. Either way, I think it's strange that people would be willing to do that. Maybe they're all friends. Whatever. It's somewhat discouraging to see the gap between my tat and the top 5 to grow every day, even though I use about 18 hours of BA a day.)

MrC [DodgingTheEvilForgeFees] February 13 2005 7:01 PM EST

That way those of us without the time to hang out in chat and find suckers, er, I mean other players to level up our tats could have a chance.

So, someone who spends a lot more time working on upgrading their tat shouldn't have any advantage over someone who just equips it and forgets about it?

And Chet, I agree that ToE isn't the only option, but if any tat is going to dominate the game, it'll be ToE/ToA, I'm just not seeing how you can explain a "ToJ Dominance" thread.

ToE: Anything with high HP and it's much better than ToJ.

ToA: Any tank has to get their hands on one of these things.

ToF: Not a fan of DD tats but really, an extra round of your minions surviving and at least one round of a big FB dealing damage for you.

ToS: Got a big AS? Want DD? Get a ToS!

ToI: Um... yeah well I'm sure the tat looks cool.

My point being, all tats (well, most anyway) have their place, if we are picking the best tats overall, ToJs certainly can't be even in the top 3, can they?
Their stats are spread out to the point where they are a meatshield or in Hypnotad's case, an enchanter killer.
If we have a meatshield that will eventually end up being a 1-2 extra rounds of taking damage at most, you have to consider whether a ToF's 1 round of taking damage and hitting your opponent back wouldn't be better.

QBRanger February 13 2005 7:27 PM EST

I disagree about the TOJ being the 3rd or 4th most useful in the game.

Pluses about the TOJ:

1) Endurance-it takes far less damage then any character yet (that may change with high AC and with high protection), with protection on top of its own endurance it would take far less.

2) Its an extra minion, thereby diluting the damage across your minions by an opponents FB or COC. The TOA or TOE does not have have that ability. For a single tank minion, that can be invaluable, that is taking 1/2 the damage from a Fireball for a few rounds.

3) High dex, so vs enemy tanks they likely will get only 1 hit.

4) Large meat shield for your mages to hid behind. Probably the best Tattoo for a mage team.

5) Unaffected by an opponents DM, unlike the TOS, TOI or TOS.

Just my random musings.

Majestik Moose February 13 2005 7:34 PM EST

So.. there should be a tattoo-free day.. so that all chars who build their strats partly/fully on our tats wouldn't be possible.
I guess tattoos aren't welcomed as part of strat, just cause they didn't exist in CB1?

Also.. Almuric, if you find another big ToJ, I'd be happy to try and fight you without my CBF (to test), just send me a chatmail :).

QBsutekh137 February 13 2005 8:04 PM EST

Chuck, I definitely have to go with ranger. Maybe you are feeling your oats since you are doing so well with a totally single minion, but to completely disregard the extra minion factor is a tad off, in my estimation.

If Endurance really does top out at 70% (theory), then you should be shaking in your boots. Once folks get back to the 200+ AC and using Protection (I notice you do not run DM), you are done. End of story. As the tanks rise, you will fall. And the tanks will rise, as Moose pointed out with his net worth observation.

How do you expect to beat other teams when you are eliminating 70% of damage while your enemy is eliminating 75-80% (via armor and Protection) AND has an extra minion (familiar) to dilute your fireball (a minion that can take one hell of a beating, if it is a high-end ToJ).

If you want to discuss merits of various tattoos, let's start another thread. This thread is about ToJs, and my disdain for them being the largest tanks in the game. Maybe in three months the gap will close and this post will look like pure idiocy. We'll have to wait and see.

AdminJonathan February 13 2005 8:16 PM EST

Complaining that the top ToJ in the game (owned by characters over 200k PR and IIANM all of which have also spent substantial effort lending out to others) are more powerful than a 116k PR 1MT is a bit like complaining that left-handed vegetarian Laotians aren't paid as well as the average NBA player: it may well be true, but it isn't a very useful comparison.

MrC [DodgingTheEvilForgeFees] February 13 2005 8:17 PM EST

My strat isn't in question here. ;)

The point is, a ToJ is not better than all the other tats. It as you say, due to NW wont be the biggest tank, in fact as it is it's damage is so wimpy that I don't see why you used the word tank to begin with and yeah, another minion is good but when you say that this tat is dominating, you have to look at the other tats as well, I'm not seeing it either dealing damage or blocking enough damage to dominate a fight.
It's not the best tat, in a month I wouldn't be surprised if it only gets 2 rounds against a tank. I still fail to see what's so good about it, but if you can get it to work for you, good on you, however it currently stands as a decent but not brilliant meatshield, that is all it is.

QBRanger February 13 2005 9:59 PM EST

One other random musing about Tattoos

A ToA can be negated with a large EC.
A ToE can be duplicated with a large Protection and/or large AC.
A ToI, ToF, and ToS can be negated with a large DM (stopping the AS from giving them good hp)

But a TOJ, thats another thing. It cannot be negated with an spell or skill. If you have a large EC it still has its HP and endurance. It will always have a large endurance and have a nice amount of base HP.

So, IMO a TOJ is the best Tattoo out there. A TOA will not allow a 5k PR character to defeat a 50k PR one. Same with a TOE/TOI/TOF/TOS. However a TOJ will if its one of the top ones. At higher levels things may change a bit, but I really dont think so. As you get higher in PR so will the TOJ's. In fact they are getting higher than the top characters now given the fact they can be in rentals. Thats why I sold my TOA and kept my TOJ. That extra minion with endurance is key.

I do not use it for attack purposes but to keep my tanks alive that one or two extra rounds it takes to finish off most enemies.

Just another of my random musings.

QBsutekh137 February 13 2005 10:08 PM EST

Chuckles, I never said the ToJ was the best. I said it is hard to prove a TOE or ToA is the best (you said that, not me). I have no idea which tattoo is the best. In all of my tattoo blatherings I have merely been making observations and balance suggestions. Kind of funny that you call the ToJ a glorified meat shield...what exactly is the TOE doing for you? *smile* And no, I have no qualms with your strategy. I sure can't beat you.

Jonathan, go ahead and double that PR in my example. Say someone is staying relatively concentrated and has two minions. TM, ET, TT -- whatever. That team would still get wiped by that ToJ (as my team does). Are you saying that the only thing that should be able to compete with the top half-dozen ToJs is a single concentrated minion of equal PR or an augmented one?

I was under the impression that tattoos were something extra -- not something that can totally take over. I don't really care how the tattoo got that way. Folks are fond of comparing large tattoos to large weapons. That is folly. Weapons cost money to upgrade no matter how you cut it. Tattoos only require use. They will continue to grow and will not ever stop.

But I keep coming back to Moose's excellent point, and it is something I glossed over initially. As overall net worth throughout the game increases, tattoos will become less and less dominating because they cannot be enhanced with cash. I will do my analysis of large tattoos again in a couple months.

QBJohnnywas February 14 2005 4:38 AM EST

I think the best thing about the familiar tattoos is being overlooked by a lot of people. Most people are seeing them as additions to EEMM/EETM type teams. But if you focus your team around them they give you the ability to have FOUR enchanters. That's the ability to have four huge enchantments. For instance, alongside an already large ToJ, stack up AS,GS,Haste, EC and/or AMF to huge levels with not much in the way of dilution. That already unbeatable ToJ can have it's strength and dex increased to make it a useful tank rather than a meatshield. Put a large DD tattoo on that same 4 enchanter team and do the old favourites of AS, GA and AMF and add EC to take down those tanks and you have a very powerful mage orientated team.

Also, if you own a few tattoos you now have the ability to change your strategy around without having to worry too much about losing large amounts of pr. Just swap tattoos around.

Of course that's not necessarily the best way to go. Any strategy that revolves around an item is a dangerous one to depend on. All it take is one new changelog entry and you wind up having to think again.....

QBBast [Hidden Agenda] February 14 2005 5:03 AM EST

"But I keep coming back to Moose's excellent point, and it is something I glossed over initially. As overall net worth throughout the game increases, tattoos will become less and less dominating because they cannot be enhanced with cash." -- Chet

Inasmuch as those huge ToJs take upwards of $20k to "loan" for an hour, I wager they were enhanced with "cash". Mine certainly was.

It just takes more doing to spend whatever ($CB1 or $USD) to get my hands on enough $CB2 to be able to fritter that away, at $20-$25k an hour, to get other people (yes, we'll call them suckers) to put their BA into my tattoo. And mine hasn't been out nearly as much as some others. Without a $CB2 infusion of some kind, it quickly becomes prohibitively expensive to keep one's ToJ in circulation.

Happily, there are people who are willing to cover the transfer fees for the privilege of an hour with my ToJ, so I'm sometimes using their money instead of mine for the boost to my ToJ. At $20k an hour, though, that's going to be a rarity.

Rubberduck[T] [Hell Blenders] February 14 2005 5:57 AM EST

while you can rubbish Chets comparing a 200k char's Toj fighting a 116k pr char I think this only addresses part of his point.Some of the large tats spend a lot of their time fighting far below their owners level making the mid levels a minefield of low pr chars with large tats. The team may be irrelevant you just have to ask yourself am i going to hit or miss that tat. I like the idea of the tats as I see the scope they give for more varied strategy given relatively even teams and tats.

I can see the potential for their impact to lessen as minions get more NW put into them but could this be offset by the fact that you can get a gearing effect on tat levelling by using other peoples ba to level your tat. Even with higher rental/transfer fees this still looks attractive to me.

If the Toj is 1st target maybe an assasin x bow with decent + to hit will to level help for non archery tanks.

I see newbs with terrible strats carry on with them just because people lend them tats and they keep winning. I probably was one of these for a while.

How about this - My tat farm

Get to know a few newbs/rooks without tats, get them to come to me when they come on to see if i've got a tat to loan I pay them a set fee which is the cost of their max ba purchase for the day(at cheap price) and they use all that ba on my tat. It may cost a fair bit but it allows you to turn money into extra ba and if you pick the right lendee will profit you in game terms i think. Once the tat is high enough it goes in rentals and the tat farm gets other lower ones.I'd be interested to see if you can profit by levelling up and instaing down with this method. Is this what I should be doing to keep up, or will my minions eventually win through?

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 14 2005 6:05 AM EST

Hi Chet, just one thought about your Intrinsic Index. When comparing Tank versus Tank, Dexterity has much more of an impact than either Strength or Hit Points. It doesn't matter if you have 100K more Hit Points than the opposing Tank, if his Dexterity is just a little higher and you can't hit him. Maybe there should be some kind of weighting, other than just summing the three stats. A 100K/50K/50K Tank wouldn't be equal to a 50K/50K/100K one (At least I don't think they would! ;P ) although both their combined stats would add up to 200K.

Rubberduck[T] [Hell Blenders] February 14 2005 6:09 AM EST

Bast I don't know what level costs you 20k to transfer but once it gets that high you'll have to put it in rentals with a to rent price which will cover your renting fee, if its high enough people will pay and it will be out a lot of the time. Of course you have to do without it for a day so you might want a reserve

Majestik Moose February 14 2005 6:43 AM EST

Renting my Tat out for 12*2 hours, with 6,000 $ / rent would give a listing fee of 58,737 $, and a maximum gain of 72,000 $

Renting my Tat out for 12*2 hours, with 8,000 $ / rent would give a listing fee of 70,737 $, and a maximum gain of 96,000 $

My tat is at level 132,670.

I don't want to add a comment (since I don't know what I can make of this), make your own conclusions!

Rubberduck[T] [Hell Blenders] February 14 2005 6:58 AM EST

Well I'd try it, if you can do without it, you may make money or perhaps a small loss but I doubt that (I'd go for the 6k rental fee).Will it make less levels than you can manage yourself? I guess you make quite a few exp per day but if a few people buy ba for use with it you'll be ok I should think and you can level another. If you consider the increase in NW as it has to be profitable.

sasquatchan February 14 2005 10:30 AM EST

I'll throw out some experimental data from my end.

I won a lesser ToE in an auction. Didn't expect to, just bid because I thought it'd be interesting to try.

I swapped it for my ToJ. Stats to consider:
A Tattoo of Jigorokano lvl 23,270
A Lesser Tattoo of Endurance lvl 6,970

Go down my fight list, and I lost twice -- once to the highest score guy on my list, and once to a guy who had just rented a 2-3 mill ToJ.

I don't recall if anyone could say what level the ToJ trains endurance at (I recall a few educated guesses in some posts), but when a ~7k ToE can reduce damage as much, or at least around the same amount of meat shield protection one gets from a ToJ (and without causing more damage via AMF or physical attacks), that's an interesting tradeoff. Consider if the levels were more equal, what the final verdict would be ?

QBsutekh137 February 14 2005 11:02 AM EST

GentlemanLOser, yes, Dex is huge, as is HP on the ToJ because of its Endurance. I was thinking of just using the HP/DEX index (since ToJ offense is negligible in a lot of cases), so your point is excellent. That is why my one balance suggestion was to train STR and DEX equally (but using the same amount of overall experience). That would make the dexterity gap that much less to overcome. How the heck is a silly tattoo smart enough to traing dexterity at a higher level anyway? *smile*

Bast, I meant weapons cost money for the OWNER to upgrade. Here, the owner can actually make money (though Moose's rental figures are enlightening. My point was simply that unless rentals and tattoo loans are done away with entirely, the biggest tattoos will continue to grow. Only net worth applied to "real" minions will be able to level the playing field over time.

QBRanger February 14 2005 11:07 AM EST


Actually there is a thread today about how high the TOJ's are likely to go. There is a limit as to how high they really can go in rentals due to the cost of putting them in rentals and the price people are willing to pay.

It may be between 450-650k in strength. But this is just estimations based on what people will pay and how much people are willing to lose trying to get them higher in rentals.


Alienfb February 14 2005 11:26 AM EST

I have three ToJs, one i fight with and two i used to rent/loan.

I have stopped renting them because it costs just too much. Its nice to get them to grow whilst renting but when it costs you money whats the point?

QBsutekh137 February 14 2005 12:51 PM EST

Excellent points all around. Are loan fees also prohibitive? I can't remember whether tattoos get special treatment when it comes to loaning...

Caedmon [Revenge of the Forgers] February 14 2005 1:51 PM EST

It's going back a ways, but Jonathan's right -- trying to compare a large ToJ to a large tank is apples and oranges.

If anyone suggesting being able to buy, borrow, or rent a 150k pr tank minion, they'd be /kicked.
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