Toldain Talks

Because reading me sure beats working!


Toldain started as an Everquest character. I've played him in EQ2, WoW, Vanguard, LOTRO, and Zork Online. And then EVE Online, where I'm 3 million years old, rather than my usual 3000. Currently I'm mostly playing DDO. But I still have fabulous red hair. In RL, I am a software developer who has worked on networked games, but not MMORPGS.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Don't Hurt Me!

Yet another post examining the upcoming changes in live update #13 (released with DoF). Today we're going to talk about how your stats and your gear affect your chances in combat. Today we're going to consider invormation from the official posting from Moorgard about avoidance and mitigation.

Avoidance, if you didn't know, is your characters ability to not get hit, and it's relevant to both auto-attack damage and combat arts (but not spells). Mitigation, on the other hand, reduces the damage that you take when you get hit. It also is relevant to auto-attack damage and combat arts, but not spells.


* Your likelihood of avoiding an attack is now based on two primary factors: the con color of the attacker and the type of armor you are wearing. The heavier your armor, the lower your chances of avoiding an attack.
* The more grey your target is to you, the greater your chance to avoid attacks and mitigate damage from that opponent; your chance to hit and damage the target also increases.
* Conversely, the more red your target is to you, the less your chance to avoid attacks and mitigate damage from that opponent; your chance to hit and damage the target also decreases.
* Increasing your Defense, Parry, and Deflection skills give you a better chance of avoiding attacks, but there is now a cap on how much these skills can be buffed or debuffed.
* Increasing your Agility improves your base chance of avoiding an attack, but it will not improve your likelihood of parrying, deflecting, or blocking with a shield.
* Buff caps scale as the character increases in level. The higher your level, the greater the amount of buffs that can be applied.
* Mages and Priests no longer receive the Parry skill.
* Shields now have the following base chances to Block: Tower (15%), Kite (15%), Round (5%), Buckler (3%). Your chances to Block scale up or down based on the con of your opponent. Shield buffs no longer have any effect.
* Wearing no armor significantly reduces your chances of avoiding an attack.


* The base mitigation values of armor against an opponent of your level have been adjusted as follows: Heavy (38%), Medium (30%), Light (22%), Very Light (16%).
* Mitigation scales up or down based on the con color of your attacker. That is, you mitigate progressively more damage of blue, green, and grey opponents, and progressively less against yellow, orange, and red opponents.
* Mitigation is now shown as a numerical value instead of a percentage. The percentage is still visible by mousing over the mitigation value on the Persona window.
* Spell and item effects can now have a greater effect on your overall mitigation. You can mitigate a maximum of 80% of any damage type. This cap is higher against opponents that con grey.
* Armor quality (Handcrafted, Treasured, Legendary, Fabled, or Mythical) is more meaningful than it was before.

There's one more tidbit you should probably know. Items will no longer improve as you increase in level, but have a fixed value for all benefits they give you. I'm not sure why this change was made, perhaps to simplify things. It takes away an interesting choice, but perhaps it turns out that it was a choice that players didn't like to make, or often felt they got wrong. There's a limit to how much grief an entertainment company can give its paying customers, after all.

Ok, what does all this mean? First of all, there's no mention of mitigation values for armor, mitigation is tied only to the type (Heavy, Medium, Light, Very Light) and also to the quality level (Handcrafted, Treasured, Legendary, Fabled, Mythical) Presumably that list is in order, and this statement means that the better the quality of the item, the more mitigation it does.

However, there's no mention of mitigation improving by level of armor. Does that mean that tier 5 handcrafted heavy armor is the same mitigation as tier 3 handcrafted heavy armor? (nobody can wear heavy armor in tiers 1 and 2.) Does that mean that the Fabled heavy armor drop you got at level 20 still makes sense to wear at 60? That's possible, and it would mean that the only reason to upgrade armor is for the improvements to your stats that they bring.

All of which means that the high-tier handcrafted stuff is going to be less in demand, I think. The imbued items will maintain their value, I suspect.

But there is no stat that improves mitigation. There is likely to be spells, though. And wearing heavier armor comes with a tradeoff now, in the form of decreased avoidance. Some tanks are talking about getting a set of medium armor, although I'd have to consider it a design failure if that was a strategy that was effective in all situations. Of course, there will be people who will insist that going with lighter armor is the thing to do whether that's true or not.

Every melee class will be getting a defensive and an offensive stats. I suspect that these stances will interact significantly with avoidance and mitigation in such a way as to make avoidance more important for scouts and brawlers, and mitigation more important for the heavy armor types. But what about priests, who are sometimes expected to be able to take a beating, particularly templars. Will they want to boost their avoidance by wearing lighter armor?

With the changes, there will now be a "hard cap" of 80% avoidance, no matter what mob you are fighting. So you can't make yourself unhittable to mobs with color, period. This was the issue that prompted the big "AGI nerf" last winter. By stacking AGI buffs on an agi-based toon (typically scouts) they could become the best tanks in the game, due to never being hit. This is not what the game designers had in mind.

Buffing AGI so that avoidance is nominally higher than 80% is still useful, since effective avoidance is reduced for each level that the mob is higher than its target. So stacking nominal avoidance up to 120% means that your favorite troubador will get his full avoidance versus a mob a few levels higher than him. We don't have figures though for how much a level is worth, but my sense of the game is that it means quite a lot, perhaps 5 percent per level. We shall have to see, though.

It's also stated that gray mobs should have a hard time hurting you. This is already true to an extent, but it's not sufficient to allow my level 43 illusionist to take on heroic mobs that are 10 levels lower than him. This makes certain low-traffic quests, such as book quests, very difficult to complete. I'm hoping these changes will make gray heroic mobs easier for me to handle solo. Though enchanters are getting some specific help for soloing which should help too.

Given the hard cap on avoidance, some templars might find it advantageous to use lesser armor to maximize avoidance. This is because getting hit gives the chance of interrupting spell casting. By the way, there is a new skill for all casting classes, called Focus, which is used to determine whether an interrupt happens when you get hit.

But if you don't get hit, you can't be interrupted. Thus some healers might very much like to maximize their avoidance rather than their mitigation. Since the relative level of the mob to the character affects mitigation and avoidance pretty strongly, it using light armor against mobs that con green might have no point, avoidance is already hit the hard cap of 80 percent. So we could see templars using heavy armor against green mobs and light armor against orange mobs, which would be strange, to say the least.

To sum up, it should be easier for melee classes to tank against mobs which are con gray, and harder for them to tank mobs which con red. Furthermore, though I don't expect scouts to be able to tank Heroic or especially Epic mobs of their same level very effectively, monks and scouts will have better tanking potential, especially against mobs of equal or lower level, and they will be better able to solo.

Which is probably the way it should have been all along.


Anonymous Milia said...

Yet another great article. Thanks for the info and thoughts. Now you need to write up a quick spreadsheet we can all plug our info into and figure out what is the best gear based on our level and the mob. Make sure I can load it into my PDA.

8:17 AM  

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