In another thread, I mentioned that I had reverse engineered the formula the game uses to determine squad point values on ship cards. In this post I will be sharing my findings.
Unfortunately for most of you, understanding how I came up with the formula will be difficult, requires some knowledge of performing a regression analysis, and will take some time.
Fortunately for all of you, the formula they seem to use is fairly simple and easy to understand even for people without a degree in some sort of Math related field. I personally have a degree in finance which is why I know how to do analyses like this but I don’t have much statistical background beyond that. Please keep in mind that FFG does tend to modify the formula in a few cases (Academy Pilots and most Named Pilots) presumably for game balance reasons. I'll go more into that later in the post.
When first trying to compile the data to perform the analysis, I just took all the generic ships stats and tried to run a regression.
That didn’t work out. I ended up getting weird results that didn't make much sense. I even tried changing the order of the ships because that can make a difference in the results. Eventually, I realized that there is no way each point in each stat is contributing to the cost because there weren't enough squad points to go around. I hypothesized that only stat points which rose above a certain threshold were contributing points, stat points at the threshold were 0, and stat points below that threshold were removing points (e.g. Y-Wing agility which is why it can have such high hull and shields yet still be cheap).
By looking at the stats on the ships, I came to the conclusion that the base stats must be 2 Weapon, 2 Agility, 3 Hull, and 0 Shields. I was not sure how upgrades or actions would play into the equation so I left them in to see what would happen.
After changing the order of the ships and running several regressions I was able to come up with a regression without any weird negative numbers or other counterintuitive coefficients.
I know this looks like a scary number of numbers to most people so I’ve highlighted the most important part in green. The numbers with “E” in them are written in scientific notation. 3E-15 means there are a decimal point and then fourteen zeros before the 3 (i.e. extremely close to 0). Conversely, 5E+14 means there are 14 zeros after the 5 (i.e. 500 trillion). Basically, those numbers indicate that there is a high probability the coefficients are accurate and not anomalies.
Now we get to an explanation of the important numbers and how they can be used to predict squad costs or to make custom cards. Please remember when we are talking about ships’ stats, we consider them relative to their threshold value as I mentioned above (Weapon 2, Agility 2, Hull 3, Shields 0)
“Intercept” is the y intercept of the formula when graphed. It is 2; every ship starts out costing 2 squad points before ever taking into account the rest of the stats.
“Skill” is Pilot Skill. It is 1; each point of pilot skill is worth 1 squad point.
“Attack” is Weapon. It is 8; each point of weapon above 2 is worth 8. A Weapon stat of 2 is worth 0. Eight points are subtracted for each point less than 2 although no ships have an attack that low yet. EDIT: Attack dice are actually under priced compared with defense dice. They have an additional damage dealing side.
“Defense” is Agility. It is 8; it works the same as the weapon stat. The only ship with negative squad points in this stat is the Y-Wing so far.
“Hull” is Hull. It is 4.25; each point above 3 is worth 4.25. There are no ships with less than 3 hull yet but we know the A-Wing will have 2 Hull.
“Shields” is Shields; each point of shields is worth 4.5.
Interestingly, action bar and upgrade icons seem to have no effect on squad points. This is most obvious when comparing a TIE Advanced with an X-Wing or an Obsidian TIE with a Black Squadron TIE.
When writing the formula algebraically it looks like this:
‘Squad Points’ = 2 + ‘Pilot Skill’ + (‘Weapon’ – 2) x 8 + (‘Agility’ – 2) x 8 + (‘Hull’ – 3) x 4.25 + ‘Shields’ x 4.5
Order of operations is immensely important.
Let’s plug in some numbers to demonstrate how it works. Starting with a Rookie X-Wing we get the equation:
‘Squad Points’ = 2 + 2 + (3 – 2) x 8 + (2 – 2) x 8 + (3 – 3) x 4.25 + 2 x 4.5
‘Squad Points’ = 21
Now for a Black Squadron TIE:
‘Squad Points’ = 2 + 4 + (2 – 2) x 8 + (3 – 2) x 8 + (3 – 3) x 4.25 + 0 x 4.5
‘Squad Points’ = 14
A Gold Y-Wing because Y-Wings are the only ones with a negative score in their stats:
‘Squad Points’ = 2 + 2 + (2 – 2) x 8 + (1 – 2) x 8 + (5 – 3) x 4.25 + 3 x 4.5
‘Squad Points’ = 18
Now for the Interceptor; the preview picture looks like it could be an 18 or a 19 but we can find the true answer with the formula:
‘Squad Points’ = 2 + 1 + (3 – 2) x 8 + (3 – 2) x 8 + (3 – 3) x 4.25 + 0 x 4.5
‘Squad Points’ = 19
Here is a chart with most of the generic ships, their stats less the threshold values, their squad points according to my formula, and their squad points as printed:
As you can see, everything is consistent for these ships. The blue section is the modified ship stats and the red part shows how much each of those stats is worth.
Some of the quicker among you might have noticed that Academy Pilots and non-TIE unique pilots are overpriced by 1 squad point. Presumably that has to do with game balance and the special nature of the Pilot Skill stat.
EDIT: For most Named Pilots and Academy Pilots the formula is:
‘Squad Points’ = 2 + ‘Pilot Skill’ + (‘Weapon’ – 2) x 8 + (‘Agility’ – 2) x 8 + (‘Hull’ – 3) x 4.25 + ‘Shields’ x 4.5 + 1
The Academy Pilot “should” cost only 11 points, but that would allow a 9 ship swarm which may have been determined to be too much. In addition, the named TIEs are not over priced but every named rebel ship is; having the academy pilot cost an extra point may help maintain the power balance. Also worth noting is that X-Wings cost the same as TIE Advanced ships but have less action bar abilities. Attack dice are better than defense dice and the X-Wings have a droid slot which may make up for it.
You may be thinking that playing an extra squad building point to get a powerful ability on your X-Wing, Y-Wing, or TIE/ad might be cheap but I think it evens out because of the nature of the Pilot Skill stat. Those of you with a less nuanced opinion on the stat might think that having a higher pilot skill is better (it obviously is) and having an 9 skill is significantly better than 4 skill (it isn't always). Pilot Skill isn't immensely important, attacking first is. Take a look at the rebels going against an 8 Academy Pilot swarm (skill 1). As you all know, they only need Rookie Pilots (skill 2) to always attack first; using Red Squadron (skill 4) pilots would be a total waste of squad points. Similarly, the Red Squadron pilots facing all 6 named TIEs (their lowest skill is 5) would always go last so they might as well be Rookies. Having the special abilities on the named pilots makes up for their always high cost. Wedge’s 9 skill might be major overkill (and really expensive) against an Academy Pilot, but at least he still has his special ability.
Anyway, that’s enough talking about game balance. Back to more predictions using the formula:
As you can see, these new ships don’t work out to having round numbers so I rounded them up. For the unique ships, I added an additional squad point to be consistent with most of the ships already released. It is hard to tell from the picture elsewhere on this site, but the 8 skill A-Wing could have a cost of 24. The rest are too blurry for me to make out.
TL;DR This isn't Reddit. There is no TL;DR.
EDIT: I removed some of my editorial comments from this post because they gave the wrong impression.