My primary computer has something very wrong with it and I spent a week + debugging that. Now I'm traveling and have re-built the latest simulator on my laptop so I can test again.
What Am I Doing Right Now?
Testing Bio-Weapons. Specifically different kinds of bites and Thunder Tail (a large, REA-expensive, striking weapon).
What Am I Learning?
Some of the attacks--the bio attacks--have profiles that mean they go very rarely (ROF 1x, charge up of 1 Round). In simulator-ville this means that to give the user a 50% POV with them they need to do like 40pts of damage on one hit. This is overwhelming. The reason is that in a given battle sometimes they may not ever get to act so when they do it has to be decisive.
However: if a PC has an 8 AP 'Monstrous Jaws' attack that deals 45 PEN damage when their companions are doing around 10 PEN for the same investment that's a problem. Why? Well, the dynamics of many-on-one are very different than the dynamics of 1-on-1 and a group of PCs (estimated 3-5) can make up for each other's weaknesses in ways that the current simulator environment doesn't handle. For example, while the attack might get blocked in the simulator, in a real-world situation a group of PCs with Monstrous Jaws might choose to only attack targets who've spent all their REA.
What Can We Do?
Well, a few things--and I'm not going to go into all of them right this second. The best thing to do would be to create some new simulator environments that handle many-on-1 attacks and then see how the attacks perform there. Give the simulation some PC-vs-NPC style battles.
We may still do that--but right now we're looking at a simpler scenario: manual revision of the numbers. I'm going to look into simply reducing the excess damage (above 25 at L1) by some standard amount and making a very few simple tests to see how that performs (such as making the Test Characters fewer AP than normal but putting in 2 of them instead of one). If I can get some basic balance out of that I think we'll be okay.
I should note that this is a rare problem and it usually only occurs when people take 'monster' attacks and that those attacks are not really supposed to destroy a PC in one hit--they're, instead--meant to be a scary attack that comes out once in a while. Reducing the damage will actually help with that.
We are working on the new Character Creator software and we're trying to make it get A-Cost correct. This is quite difficult since we're still revising how it works.
Our current thinking: There are no 1pt attacks. Previously if I had Super Strength and wanted Eye-Beam-Lasers at the same level I paid 1 AP for the second attack. This was because it was way, way more efficient to just have "double your points" in one attack or the other. The utility (range) of splitting them made no sense.
The problem is that in some (early) testing it looks like having a ranged attack for ranged people and a hth attack for hth-people (Which will hit harder) is, in fact, a good deal better than 1 AP worth.
We were also charging 1/3rd AP of your most-expensive attack for other attacks like Exotic ones (Ghost Bullets that ignore armor--who wouldn't pay 1 AP for some of those!?) or Periodic Attacks (like the monster bite that does way more damage but is only active once in a while). This formula has been extensively tested and seems to work.
So getting rid of the 1 AP attacks means that if you have 12 AP in Super Strength for 4 AP more you can get 12 AP in Laser-Eye-Beams. While the exact value may not always work out right this works out pretty well so far and makes the rule much, much simpler.