While working on some game stuff, I did a bit of research to quantify an idea. I’ve written about “Encounter Equivalence” in Fourth Edition Dungeons & Dragons before, and the basic concept is in calculating the effective power of a character based on the number of their “encounter equivalent” powers.

To qualify for “encounter equivalence,” which can really only be determined on a case-by-case basis, an attack power has to deal an extra die of damage per tier for single-target attack powers. That’s 2[w] from 1st-10th, 3[w] from 11th-20th, and 4[w] from 21st-30th. Strikers tend to get higher-dice, higher-damage effects a sooner.

None of this really takes into account any of the cool, random alternate effects that get attached to attack powers. We’re also still talking about encounter-equivalent powers. Daily powers don’t really enter into the equation at this point. If you get less damage than plus-weapon-per-tier, you had better make sure you’re getting a good deal.

It can sometimes be difficult to weigh the advantages of single-target powers with multiple-target powers, if only because you can’t be sure you’ll face lone enemies or groups. It can also be difficult to weigh one energy type against another, or some effects, when you don’t know what resistances and immunities exist.

Extra Credits ran an episode a couple weeks ago about “Power Creep,” in which they described a type of game effect called a, wait, what was it called? I think they used the term, “incomparables.” Game effects that proved divergent enough that they couldn’t adequately be weighed against one another in terms of usefulness.

Incomparables seem to be more about tactical value than strategic value.

One tactical situation may call for a certain type of effect that makes a particular build of character more useful than another, such as a push, pull, slide, slow, or immobilize effect (forced or restricted movement). Sometimes a particular enemy proves just as effective standing still, no matter where they are on the battlefield.

Different than that would of course be strategic value, which tends to be about the “right place, right time,” rather than “right people.” So the important difference found through incomparables might well be in tactical value. “What do I need right now?” This will probably require more study. Par for the course.