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falcotron

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Thursday, December 24th 2009, 12:40am

Tixxing in HW, TG, and AIW

The short version:

Obviously, the (non-megatixxer) players would prefer to have no significant tixxing at all. But GAS has to make money somehow, and this is the business model they chose. So, the only reasonable thing we can expect is that they find a way to make the same amount of money with less imbalance to the game.

Tagoria is better than HW because, to a large extent, it pulls this off. Even though they sell more tix, the tix are more spread over more people, and the megatixxers--who are still there--don't unbalance the game nearly as much. They pulled this off by both decreasing the value of amber, and adding lots of other things to spend tix (diamonds) on that have either diminishing returns or hard limits (or both).

And I think that will be even more true with AIW.

---


The long version is really long, so probably nobody but blert will read it, but here goes:

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In Holy War, everything costs gold, except for premium (1 ticket) and battle healing (1 ticket). Because there aren't that many real choices with gear, or the residence, there's basically no advantage to be gained on everyone else except to buy more stats. Gold/ticket is a flat amount, and it goes up as your level at the exact same (linear) rate that costs go up.

So, while the first 2 tickets/month are worth hugely more than the 3rd, the 100th ticket is worth just as much as the 3rd.

Given that, it's not that surprising that every world in Holy War either has no tixxing at all (and therefore very little money for GAS) or huge megatixxing (and therefore very little fun for anyone but the megatixxers).

---


In Tagoria, the first 2 tickets/month (for premium and the Warlord's Feast) are similar to HW. But Tagoria adds diamonds on top of amber, and a variety of things to spend them on, while inflating income and costs in amber:
  • A few more tix here and there gets you the most important pieces of diamond gear, and master enchants on everything you plan to keep for a long time. The benefits of this are huge--on average around 45% more HP/DEF/stats, plus only needing to upgrade a third as often (which saves hassle as well as amber).
  • There are diminishing returns from diamond gear--at level 42, 126 vs. 90 HP from a weapon or 61 vs. 43 DEF from armor is huge; 27 vs. 19 DEF from a pauldron or 24 vs. 18 stats from a ring, not so much.
  • There's obviously a fixed limit--once you're covered in diamond gear, there's no further benefit you can get by spending more.
  • Occasional free diamonds and diamond/rare/divine gear means that everyone effectively tixxes a little bit--which encourages more people to occasionally actually tix a little bit.
  • Because of the rare and divine gear, to equip himself as well as possible, a megatixxer has to bribe other players with diamonds/tix to give up their gear when they get lucky, which spreads around the tixxing even more.
  • Diamonds for extra APs makes a big difference, but the cost of additional APs goes up quadratically--4, then 9, 16, 25, 36, 49, 64, .... You can get 1 AP/day for only 1 ticket/week, but to get 6, you'd be spending 33 tix/week.
  • While Tagoria gives you the same amount per ticket as HW, income and costs are massively inflated. Plunders pay out something like 10x as much as in HW. Meanwhile, healing costs are much higher, gear is more expensive, and, most of all, everyone has 2.5x the stats. To make a serious dent in your stats in Tagoria is so much more expensive than in HW that people rarely even attempt it after the early levels.'
  • Megatixxers will tix for amber when they want to buy a piece of new gear immediately--especially if someone is selling a glowy weapon--and sometimes occasional tixxers will as well. But there's obviously diminishing returns and a fixed maximum benefit to be gained that way.
All of this is why Tagoria works better than HW. It's not perfect, by any means, but most worlds are not at all dominated by megatixxers even though twice as many tix are spent there as in HW.

---


So, how does AI War change things?
  • Very little of the diamond gear provides nearly as huge an advantage as in Tagoria, and it rarely means you can skip any upgrades at all. So, the benefits of being fully diamond-sparkled go way down, while the costs go up.
  • A few pieces of diamond gear are nearly essential, because there is a long gap with no non-diamond gear. So, the benefits of occasional diamond gear go way up.
  • Major upgrades are not quite as beneficial as master enchantments--and, because you have to upgrade gear so much more often, you have to spend more to stay maxed out.
  • Diamond implants work very differently from diamond bling. Megatixxers spend 54 diamonds every other level to have a flat +12 to their stats; mini-tixxers might occasionally spend 18 diamonds to get a +2 bonus for a while and to be able to skip a couple of upgrades.
  • Diamond gear rewards are much more common--but, because there is no rare or divine gear, you're never going to get 90 diamonds (much less 90 diamonds + 3 tix) for it. This reduces the luck factor a lot, but it also raises the bar on how often an occasional tixxer has to spend.
  • Unlike the other two cave improvements that I can't even remember in TG, the safe is marginally useful, so there's another ticket/month that many tixxers will probably buy.
  • Income and costs are inflated even more--wages are higher, healing costs are higher--and stats seem to have less of an extreme effect on combat, which further reduces the benefits from megatixxing for credits.
  • The new gear needed at different levels is highly variable--level 16 is expensive, level 18 is supercheap, and level 20 is a killer. More people will probably tix up the cost of gear a little more often.
So, all of these changes should work to increase the incentive for occasional light tixxing and to decrease the imbalance caused by megatixxing (although it's hard to be sure at this early stage). Exactly what they wanted.

---


The one flaw in AIW, at least from my point of view, is that the benefits of being an arms dealer go way down. In Tagoria, you can charge 110% of retail amber (which means you lose 1%) and 200% retail diamonds (or 300%, for 2-socket items) in the market. In AI War, you can only charge 100% credits (which means you lose 10%) and 100% retail diamonds. Also, the lack of rare and divine gear means that nobody's ever getting stuff that the tixxers will pay and arm and a leg for. If I fight my way to the top in Tagoria, I can get enough tix to cover my premium and more free diamonds than I know what to do with. In AI War, it'll be a lot harder.

But I'm not sure that's a flaw from GAS's point of view. How much benefit do they get from being able to point to me, or PrivatePain, or dawnbringer and say, "Look, there's proof that you don't have to tix your way to the top"? Would it be better for them to force us to pay 2-3 tix/month instead of 0, even if it meant there weren't as many of us to point to?
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2

Thursday, December 24th 2009, 8:37am

The long version is really long, so probably nobody but blert will read it, but here goes:


Skimmed, not read.


But I think that what you say about AIW assumes that this world will even become competitive, which without more players in it, I'm not sure that it will. Outside of a very small handful of tixxers and a couple others, most of the really competitive players who are ahead in XP and who pay enough diamonds for gear are all in one alliance. And since a lot of the others who ought to be trying to catch up are too busy doing team missions and the rest of their missions on easy or normal to "maximize credits," they are posing less and less of a challenge every day. The only thing keeping them remotely competitive is that it takes more XP each level to level up.

And for those who get more and more ahead, the only reason to keep spending on diamonds is to do a better job of beating up on each other. For those who want to win XP fights, diamond gear makes sense, but more and more, one can get by without it. After lvl 10 or 14, stats are high enough that one piece of diamond gear doesn't seem to make a huge difference in missions. As the lack of competition in battles increases, the motivation for diamond gear ought to go down. This may not happen, but I certainly see little reason to buy diamond gear if it's a) not going to make a difference in battles, b) not going to make a difference in XP hits unless I buy virtually every piece of diamond gear at every level, and c) just going to leave me with gear that is harder to resell.

The most significant casual tixxing that I see going on in AIW right now, besides the power rations, is the extra AP every day or two by a few players. (When, over the course of two days, I do a fair amount of XP hitting, win all of my missions on hard, and get hit for XP by no one except a couple of suiciders three levels back, and yet still manage to fall two places on the high score list, there are some people tixxing missions.) People in the top 20 or so are throwing a few tixx toward diamonds, but most already have a store or diamonds from the diamond gear they previously bought and then resold, and unless they are burning through the diamond implants and diamond weapon upgrades, for which they get nothing back on explantation or resale, most just keep buying diamond gear with the same pile of diamonds and only need a ticket every couple of months to recharge the pile, assuming they don't get a drop from a mission that hands them a nice stash of diamonds. Of course, whoever is buying that gear in the market probably is tixxing for diamonds, but diamonds still seem like one of the less significant forms of tixxing so far, outside of a very small handful of players who seem to buy up every mystique and diamond item and who are also tixxing credits and whatever else that GAS puts in front of them. Of course, as items start to cost more than 30 diamonds, maybe players will start spending more on diamonds, but outside of a few players in the top 10 who really want to be the very biggest and baddest, diamonds don't seem all that relevant to me.

I think you're right, though, that the facts that there is no rare/unique gear that can be resold for diamonds and that diamond gear can only be sold for 100% value of diamonds makes it a lot harder for players at the top to amass diamonds. This is probably a good thing in some ways, but bad in others. It certainly means that fewer of the tixxers' diamonds go to you, which means less of a balancing effect on their tixxing. But it also means that you (or an evil version of you) are less likely to fleece players a few levels back who are looking to upgrade diamond gear early.

falcotron

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Thursday, December 24th 2009, 9:23am

But it also means that you (or an evil version of you) are less likely to fleece players a few levels back who are looking to upgrade diamond gear early.
The funny thing about that is that I try not to be an evil profiteer in Tagoria, but people just won't let me.

When I buy someone a piece of gear, I usually charge an extra 8-13 diamonds (based mostly on the hassle and losses involved in me coming up with the amber to buy it). If they say they'll be able to buy between 20:00 and 23:00, I'll try to buy it before 20:00, and then I'll stick it in the stalls at max and go to work for an hour at a time while waiting for them to come up with the amber, and drop the price when they're ready.

A lot more often than you'd expect, someone grabs it out of the stalls at that price, paying 90 diamonds, even though they know that they can get me (or a couple other people) to buy it for them for only 53-58. At a few significant levels (like 50 and 58), I've made hundreds of extra diamonds this way, a lot more than I've made negotiating deals with people.

In fact, twice in the past few weeks, the person I was waiting for actually grabbed it from the stalls, and then lied and told me he'd found a better deal.

Maybe many of these occasional tixxers are just not as good at tixxing efficiently as the habitual tixxers. But still, it seem beyond belief that anyone who would never waste 4 diamonds on an extra AP would waste 35 diamonds, and risk annoying someone they'll probably want to do business with again, just to save 15 minutes of waiting around.

Anyway, probably the biggest risk to trying to survive as a non-tixxing arms merchant in AIW (besides the fact that the game might just die before it gets rolling) is that this extra source of diamonds, this tax that I unintentionally levy on those with low intelligence or poor impulse control, doesn't exist.
Top accounts for sale: TG1 (or the gear) and AI1
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4

Thursday, December 24th 2009, 1:40pm

I read the long version Falco........................... well most of it :P

5

Thursday, December 24th 2009, 10:29pm

In fact, twice in the past few weeks, the person I was waiting for actually grabbed it from the stalls, and then lied and told me he'd found a better deal.

See, it's things like this that make me lose faith in humanity. I mean, how can people be so utterly dumb? I mean, is the person's goal to mess over the person selling to them, to ensure that no profits go to that person's pockets? If so, spending twice as much on gear is an absurd way to win a victory. And who does the buyer think would be putting top-level gear into the stall? There can only be one or two people in the world with easy access to that kind of gear, so how can the buyer not realize that he has just paid twice as much in diamonds for the exact same item that he'd lined up in advance, profiting his seller double?

Of course, if I fell into this mistake and bought that gear for twice the diamonds, I'd probably lie about it, too, out of complete embarrassment.

falcotron

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Friday, December 25th 2009, 1:20am

I don't think either of them were intentionally trying to screw me over.

My guess is that they've cowed out one too many times, and were so nervous about carrying around 80K that when I told them to wait for 24 minutes, after checking and rechecking their SF and going to the market over and over again to see if it was 24 minutes left, they finally couldn't take it anymore and bought the overpriced one they saw there....

Another great moment:

Someone posted in the SB, "Whoever's selling the Slitter's Claw for 90 diamonds, PM me." So I replied, "I'll send you a PM to negotiate. I just put one up at 90 every day in case someone's too lazy to try to haggle." Someone grabbed it within a minute, at 90. That means someone had to have seen the conversation in the SB, and known I was willing to negotiate, and decided he'd rather spend an extra ticket than go through the hassle of exchanging a couple of PMs. (Of course I bought another one, and sold it to the guy from the SB for the 65 diamonds he offered, then bought and sold him a second one for 55 the next day, because I felt bad that he'd offered so much more than most people.)

If I had a couple shills working for me, I could probably have sold twice as many. :)
Top accounts for sale: TG1 (or the gear) and AI1
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7

Saturday, January 30th 2010, 2:32am

In fact, twice in the past few weeks, the person I was waiting for actually grabbed it from the stalls, and then lied and told me he'd found a better deal.

See, it's things like this that make me lose faith in humanity. I mean, how can people be so utterly dumb? I mean, is the person's goal to mess over the person selling to them, to ensure that no profits go to that person's pockets? If so, spending twice as much on gear is an absurd way to win a victory. And who does the buyer think would be putting top-level gear into the stall? There can only be one or two people in the world with easy access to that kind of gear, so how can the buyer not realize that he has just paid twice as much in diamonds for the exact same item that he'd lined up in advance, profiting his seller double?

Of course, if I fell into this mistake and bought that gear for twice the diamonds, I'd probably lie about it, too, out of complete embarrassment.
Your talking about the same people who go pay the base price for a car....

Or the people who go to Fries (the Walmart of electronic crud) and buy the absurdly overpriced electronics, then don't get them to throw on a few freebies because the people on commission are desperate to make a sale.

falcotron

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Saturday, January 30th 2010, 11:24am

Some new thoughts on this:

Fights in AIW are much, much less random than in HW and TG (because there are many, many more shots fired than swings swung). But they're also a lot closer.

At a similar point in HW or TG, I was beating the tixxers almost 10% of the time, whereas here each win is a cause for celebration. However, my typical fights there were 45-450 losses, whereas here they're 450-550 losses.* Similarly, while a tixxer may be able to clobber someone a few levels back 700-100 here, I can clobber that some guy 600-150.

This means that, in a battle, while Percy or PsiMage was worth at least 5 normal high-levels, probably more, the tixxers here are worth more like 1-1/2, maybe less.

And I think this is a good chance. The tixxers can lord their undefeatable status over everyone without having to deal with those embarrassing fluke losses to mere mortals, but they can't control the outcome of every battle.

* Except when I forget and go xp hunting with my MP200L cow-slayer and lose 100-550, which is always embarrassing.
Top accounts for sale: TG1 (or the gear) and AI1
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9

Saturday, January 30th 2010, 3:09pm

This means that, in a battle, while Percy or PsiMage was worth at least 5 normal high-levels, probably more, the tixxers here are worth more like 1-1/2, maybe less.


I wonder if this method encourages more tixxing or less. Without being heralded as the next coming of Jesus for battle, does this mean the incentive is lost? I am not saying mega tixxers over all do it to be acknowledged, but you know there are some that do it for that reason alone. But, it could also mean they need to tixx more to make it happen :P So up the spending.

falcotron

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Sunday, January 31st 2010, 1:21am

This means that, in a battle, while Percy or PsiMage was worth at least 5 normal high-levels, probably more, the tixxers here are worth more like 1-1/2, maybe less.


I wonder if this method encourages more tixxing or less. Without being heralded as the next coming of Jesus for battle, does this mean the incentive is lost? I am not saying mega tixxers over all do it to be acknowledged, but you know there are some that do it for that reason alone. But, it could also mean they need to tixx more to make it happen :P So up the spending.
Well, there's still the part about being able to beat up everyone else in the game, which they get even more here than in HW and TG. But even there, I'm not sure that less randomness helps increase tixxing there. Sure, there's still the potential for an arms race between tixxers, but if you're seeing very little benefit to your win rates (until you suddenly catch up all at once), how likely are you to keep it going? So, really, I think this encourages people to only tix up just enough to beat the non-tixxers reliably, and then stop there.

But that may be the point. In Tagoria, instead of 5 people dominating the world and nobody else buying more than premium every month like HW, there are a dozen people spending themselves into the top 20, and another 100 who aren't even in the top 50 but still spend a few tix here and there. If AIW takes that even farther, that's good.
Top accounts for sale: TG1 (or the gear) and AI1
Already sold: HW1/2/3/4 TG1DE

11

Monday, March 1st 2010, 10:27pm

the reason I like AI WAR far more then TAG or HW is that I can be competitve without spending 12 tixs on a single weapon... Up to now I'm not in the stongest group (ranked #25 in the last ranking from Falco) but I've started to lvlup 2 months after everyone else. So not bad.

12

Monday, March 1st 2010, 10:54pm

I read the entire thing, but only because I've known you for about 2+ years now and you write excellent articles and pretty much keep the HW forums alive... or you did at least haha

falcotron

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Tuesday, March 2nd 2010, 6:28am

the reason I like AI WAR far more then TAG or HW is that I can be competitve without spending 12 tixs on a single weapon...
On the other hand, I like that in TG I can sell that weapon to someone else for 12 tix, and still be competitive without it. :)

Well, I don't do that too often with weapons, but I do regularly sell off helmets and pauldrons. A couple months of premium and a 13th AP every day for a few weeks is worth a lot more than a few DEF points....

But yeah, I think this game is better with the more-balanced gear.
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Tuesday, May 11th 2010, 6:22am

I don't think either of them were intentionally trying to screw me over.

My guess is that they've cowed out one too many times, and were so nervous about carrying around 80K that when I told them to wait for 24 minutes, after checking and rechecking their SF and going to the market over and over again to see if it was 24 minutes left, they finally couldn't take it anymore and bought the overpriced one they saw there....

Another great moment:

Someone posted in the SB, "Whoever's selling the Slitter's Claw for 90 diamonds, PM me." So I replied, "I'll send you a PM to negotiate. I just put one up at 90 every day in case someone's too lazy to try to haggle." Someone grabbed it within a minute, at 90. That means someone had to have seen the conversation in the SB, and known I was willing to negotiate, and decided he'd rather spend an extra ticket than go through the hassle of exchanging a couple of PMs. (Of course I bought another one, and sold it to the guy from the SB for the 65 diamonds he offered, then bought and sold him a second one for 55 the next day, because I felt bad that he'd offered so much more than most people.)

If I had a couple shills working for me, I could probably have sold twice as many. :)
Not necessarily cowed out, but I've been in similar situations before myself. Like a while back when I was buying a weapon upgrade from someone over in HW, I saw the item I had arranged to buy from someone in the stalls, though at a higher price than we'd agreed upon. Naturally, I assumed that he'd left it up in stall in hopes that someone might buy it at that higher price while he was waiting for me to sell enough healers. All the while, I was panicking a bit fearing that if the item in stall belonged to my seller and if it sold I'd be up a creek and need to find another seller, and then began considering just buying the one in the stall regardless of it being at a high price. Turns out I was wrong though, and it was from an entirely different seller, as my seller put the item up at the agreed upon price at which point I saw two of them in stall, the one at the high price and the one at the price which the seller and myself had agreed upon.

For some reason, I think it is in human nature to panic a bit in situations like this and assume the worst. It is probably doubly true when you have an unresponsive seller though, like when you're sending them message after message telling them you have the amber/gold/credits and are waiting for their response telling you when they'll be putting it up in the market, and after waiting 30+ minutes (or less) without a response you begin to get a little nervous.

I've had this happen once or twice myself. Last week I got a set item over in Tag, put it up in stall at max amber/max diamonds with the mail seller feature activated so that people could mail me offers thinking no one would buy it, and then logged off for a few hours while I ate some lunch and cleaned up dishes. Then, one of the first people that had mailed me an offer for around 70-75 diamonds apparently panicked and sprung for the 90 diamonds and max amber. I think part of what goes into responses like this is fear that they'll miss out on being able to buy a good piece of gear and/or someone else will buy it from the stall before they can get into contact with the seller. Also, I suppose that an item being from the highest level set (there) or maybe being a piece of the best gear for X number of levels (here) would add to the pressure to buy an item before someone else does.
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15

Wednesday, May 12th 2010, 7:48am

You're probably right, Noble, although with regard to panicky buyers, I've also had the experience of selling to some very annoying people who are barely responsive for a couple hours. They set a time with me to be online to sell them something, and so I put the item in the stall at the appointed time and send the buyer a PM. Then I hear nothing for half an hour. Suddenly, I get two or three quick PMs in a row from this panicked buyer complaining that he doesn't have enough money raised yet, so I have to take the item down so nobody else buys it. (Sorry, but I went to work for an hour, and I'm not wasting the half hour of work that I just did unless we agree to raise the price of the item by that amount since you are the one who was late.) After this, I hear nothing from the person again for another hour, and then suddenly I get another three or four panicked PMs in the next 10 minutes screaming at me about where the item is, where I am, and how the person is scared to SF with so much money on him.

Thanks for buying my old junk, but simmer down. There is no reason to panic, and one PM is going to get my attention just as well as four. Four is likely to make me ignore the person for another 15 or 20 minutes just because I can.

Still, in terms of buying things from the stall, you're probably right that people will grab something at whatever price is there because they are afraid of someone else grabbing it first. I doubt I'd ever do this with diamonds, but I have bought gear in HW that way, especially once when I saw something come up in the SB that I wanted and another person posted in the SB about a PM to the seller. That tipped me off that I should move fast. I got my elixirs into the stall before the other buyer did, and I set mine at a somewhat high price because the stall was empty to start. The other buyer undercut me by a few coins, and then I undercut him even more, but still managed to get well above minimum for the elixirs. I raised the gold first, and never bothered to mention to the seller or in the SB that I was competing for the item, and the other chump must have been really ticked off to find his gear gone once his money was finally raised. I mean, getting undercut in the elixir stall AND losing the item all in the span of a couple hours...bummer.

It only takes being on the receiving end of something like this once or twice for people to want to grab gear as quickly as possible and run.

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Thursday, May 13th 2010, 8:56am

Yeah, but this is different from seeing a great weapon in the stalls in HW or AIW. If you pass up that Gamma 31 or Blood Thumb, you're not going to get another chance for a while, if ever, because the only reasons anyone would sell one are that they're upgrading to something better, or they're helping out a friend. But if you pass up a Slitter's Claw when the top people are newly 58, there will be another one on the market almost instantly. In fact, there's usually more than one.

The difference is that TG lets you sell for more diamonds than blacksmith price, and people will pay that (because it's worth it--the key blacksmith items are hugely better than anything else for weeks or months to come, and the level penalties are so low they barely matter), so any top-level that doesn't keep buying and selling these things in the market until demand dries up is basically throwing away free diamonds.

Anyway, I'm glad TG has so many suckers. I didn't sell that many at 90d, but I did sell a couple, and I sold a ton for 59-65 even though my profile said I'd buy you one for 56 (and so did gigio's, and DW's, and there was a post in the forums about it, and people were constantly talking about it in the SB...), and the same at all the other key levels (I forget which levels, but the Iron Claw, Panzer Armor, Heavy Plate, Double Splitter, and a few others). I never figured out what percentage of my diamond stash came from mercing vs. fair gear merchanting vs. suckers, but I'll bet the suckers were a sizable chunk of it.

Meanwhile, I can see why GAS didn't want a handful of us getting rich off suckers like that (I don't agree, but I can understand and accept it)--but I wish they'd found a way to prevent that in AIW without preventing perfectly legitimate gear trades that are in everyone's best interest.
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