Cataclysm and armor/avoidance/block

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Cataclysm and armor/avoidance/block

Postby Arjuna » Fri Apr 16, 2010 12:58 pm

So, since defense is gone in cata, and healers have to think about their mana again, is this the glorious return of armor/avoidance/block?

Damage prevention helps save healer mana in tight situations, especially when boss damage compared to our new cata health probably will be a bit lower and thus makes it less important to have a over-sized healthpool...


Am I far off?
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Re: Cataclysm and armor/avoidance/block

Postby fuzzygeek » Fri Apr 16, 2010 1:21 pm

I don't think we have enough data to really start making assumptions. We know they're tying to seriously impact the way the healing game is played, so any changes to tank gearing will have to take their new mechanics into account.

Part of the old rule of thumb used to be:
If your healers are going OOM, get some avoidance.

This back in the day when healers would cancel heals at .25 sec left on cast, since mana management mattered much. Now, not so much. Those days may return. Who knows?
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Re: Cataclysm and armor/avoidance/block

Postby Meloree » Fri Apr 16, 2010 1:57 pm

Possibility the first: Bosses will be hitting for small enough/slow enough amounts that healers will be healing completely reactively. Gemming avoidance/mitigation is very very good, because it saves heals.

Possibility the second: Blizzard realizes how goddamned boring that'll be, and bosses STILL 2-3 shot tanks, and healers still spam blindly. They'll find ways to meet the necessary HPS, even though "mana matters". Stamina and armor remain kings.

I know what Blizzard's stated intentions are. I'm not sure I believe they'll pull it off in practice. I'm betting tanks continue to go 100-0 in 3 seconds or less, at least in hardmodes.

If Blizzard swings too far in the "mana matters" direction, if tanks take 15 seconds to die in the worst case scenario and healers have time to make choices and react, then the correct choice will always be to stack up the most efficient heals you can on the tank (HoTs) - further extending reaction time, making tank healing totally reactive, while all the healers spend most of their time on the raid. If they go that far, then tank gear basically won't matter, no matter what you do. You won't be draining much mana, because you're so heavily cushioned with hyper-efficient healing.

What happens if there's a more reasonable middle ground? Say the worst case scenario is for a ~5s tank death without heals. Same thing, only you'll have a direct healer mindlessly spamming efficient direct heals, too, ready to fire off something bigger in spikes. The tank matters a little more, maybe, but not by a hell of a lot, because you still have the opportunity of using extremely high-efficiency options to cushion yourself.

If you want to stress healers, by mana concerns or otherwise, tanks still need to get stomped by hard bosses. The shorter the fight, the harder the stomping has to be.
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Re: Cataclysm and armor/avoidance/block

Postby Chicken » Fri Apr 16, 2010 2:03 pm

Everything they've told us does indicate avoidance will be an option again. Lots of emphasis on tanks no longer being liable to die if they spend more than 3 or so second without healing, which indicates the amount of health available compared to damage taken should be low enough that avoidance greatly increases in value, especially if you combine it with their stated intent of healers no longer having infinite mana.

Currently WotLK is pretty much the opposite, as were latter parts of TBC, hence why we've been so focused on maximizing effective health.
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Re: Cataclysm and armor/avoidance/block

Postby Marblehead » Fri Apr 16, 2010 2:08 pm

Well, armor has never gone away to begin with. It always has been on the top of the list, we just didn't have in our disposal many items with bonus armor till ICC. And that won't change in Cata, unless they make all bosses to do more magic damage than physical.

Avoidance in Cata will be only dodge. Parry won't be avoidance any more. And since we'd like to conserve healer's mana, we don't want to have a spiky and unpredictable damage input that would require heal spam. We'll have to see how big the melee swings of bosses will be to determine the quality of dogde.

Parry and block will be in the same category. Neither avoidance or mitigation. Some sort of inconsistent mitigation, since they prevent fixed percents of incoming damage. Whether they'll become interesting choices or not, depends solely on how easy will be to be unhittable. If it'll be easy, then it's a no brainer, we'll do what we always did. Reach 102.4% combined avoidance and then trade equal amounts of parry/block for dodge. But if it will be hard, then we have to see first how much % the ratings provide in the expansion, their diminishing returns and their average amounts on items. Furthermore, we have to see how exactly parry is going to be working in Cata. Afterward, we'll do some theorycrafting and find out which one have priority over the others to get.
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Re: Cataclysm and armor/avoidance/block

Postby Arjuna » Sat Apr 17, 2010 5:42 am

Hmm...I wonder what the def gems will be transformed into... :)
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Re: Cataclysm and armor/avoidance/block

Postby Thels » Mon Apr 19, 2010 6:31 am

Being able or not being able to block cap is going to be quite decisive. We don't know exactly what we'll block for, since it's tied to our mastery, but let's say for now it's 33.3% (It's 30% without mastery). Reaching Block Cap would raise our effective health by 50% against any type of attack that can be blocked, which is devastating.

Defense, our 2ndbest stat to reach block cap, is gone. However, since it didn't have it's own Diminishing Return, but tapped into the Diminishing Return of the other avoidance stats, it might not be that bad. We'd just need more dodge/parry/block to compensate, and reforging will help on that.

However, there are two reasons why I don't believe block capping will be viable:

1) Anticipation and Deflection are most likely gone. That's a 10% avoidance not affected by DR that suddenly needs to be covered by stats that are affected by DR, meaning that we need much more than 10% to cover it.

2) Because it currently feels like it would be too overpowered if we could. 50% increase to effective health is a lot, and since this increase comes purely from mitigation, it will help out the healers just as well. Blizzard would have some serious issues trying to keep it balanced.
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Re: Cataclysm and armor/avoidance/block

Postby lythac » Mon Apr 19, 2010 6:48 am

With Blizzard wanting to reduce avoidance levels the rating per 1% may also be harsher compared to what it is atm.

60 13.8
70 21.76153945
80 45.25018692

Should be around 90 at 85 to allow for ilvl increase on gear, but they may aim it higher to keep avoidance down this expansion.

I agree that block cap won't be making a comeback.
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Re: Cataclysm and armor/avoidance/block

Postby theckhd » Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:54 am

lythac wrote:With Blizzard wanting to reduce avoidance levels the rating per 1% may also be harsher compared to what it is atm.

60 13.8
70 21.76153945
80 45.25018692

Should be around 90 at 85 to allow for ilvl increase on gear, but they may aim it higher to keep avoidance down this expansion.

I agree that block cap won't be making a comeback.


I sorta wish they'd set it to 100, just for ease of use. Alternatively, there's really no point to having rating on them at all - they could just do the conversion in-game and put "Increases dodge by 1.56%" on an item. We've already seen they're able to change the tooltip according to your current level (heirlooms), so we know they have the technology built in the game to handle it.
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Re: Cataclysm and armor/avoidance/block

Postby knaughty » Tue Apr 20, 2010 5:22 pm

Stated design goals imply the inability to block every attack (other than perhaps as a short-term mitigation CD). Avoidance levels need to be hugely lower that ToGC to get the feel they want, a significant majority of swings have to connect, but a tank needs to be able to soak 3-4 hits before death. IE: Tank “time to live” needs to be 5-10 seconds, not “under 3”. In that circumstance, healers can be semi reactive:

Default: Tank’s at 70-80%, incoming efficient, small, slow heal.
Uh oh, tank under 50%, better do a big heal!
Shit! Tank at 20%! Fast heal inc!

This is how healing worked at 60. I only played priest (and only as an alt), but the “default” was a down-ranked super-efficient heal, max-rank GHeal was your big one, and PW:S/Flash was the “oh crap, save the tank” move. The basic requirement is that even from 50%, you still need to have 2-3 seconds to get a heal off. Two-second swing timers on bosses, hitting for 20-30% of tank health, perhaps tweaked depending on how strong the HoTs are. If the boss hits for 20% of your health and swings slow... nearly all of those hits need to connect.

There also needs to be a reduction in raid-damage such that renews and efficient group heals can keep the raid alive with minimal use of direct heals, and TTL for raid members also needs to be long so you can throw a HoT on someone and think “Job done!” rather than Infest-style shenanigans.

The other key is that a healer using big or fast heals needs to go OOM in under a minute.

I’ll be surprised if they manage to tune it right. It worked at 60 because healers had tiny toolkits, fixed roles (EG: Shamans did Chain Heal... the end), and some of them basically didn’t regen mana at all. Typical raid had 15 healers (5 of each class) in it, which allowed for things like “Barney stops healing for a minute or so to regen mana”. If we were still running Vanilla healer ratios there would be 9-10 healers in-raid instead of 6.

Anyway, back on-topic: Worth remembering that block amount is also fixed – 30%, with Warriors having a Mastery to get critical blocks, and Paladins having one to block more often. I’d be surprised to see significant availability of Block Rating, which is a shame, because it would actually be a good stat in Cataclysm, and a lot easier to balance – just tune it to have about 3x the conversion rate as Dodge.
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Re: Cataclysm and armor/avoidance/block

Postby Dendrah » Wed Apr 21, 2010 3:53 am

Our mastery is not to block more but to have each block take more then 30% away. Not a critical like warriors but an overall increase on each block.
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Re: Cataclysm and armor/avoidance/block

Postby Iselian » Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:08 am

I think both are true. From what they've said, we'll be blocking for more; "Block Amount: We want to keep the kit of the paladin as a tank who blocks a lot. So by contrast, the warrior tank will sometimes get critical blocks, but the paladin will absorb more damage with normal blocks." Taken from the preview post

Consequently, I can also see us blocking more often, as from the above, "We want to keep the kit of the paladin as a tank who blocks a lot." That implies that, at least, we'll be blocking more often, and for more than 30% (my bet is 40% or 45%), while warriors will sometimes block for 30%, sometimes for 60%. Yay for not being RNG-tied, and more consistent?
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Re: Cataclysm and armor/avoidance/block

Postby Boyfriend » Thu Apr 22, 2010 1:49 am

I'm still not convinced Blizzard will manage the whole 'tank healing now requires mana management' thing, they already promised they would make 'tank health pools bigger relative to boss hits' for wotlk and nothing changed at all from tbc despite their promises at the time.

I am pretty sure Cataclysm will be something like this:

First tier of content, bosses don't hit hard healers have mana issues =>
Healers stack the wazoo out of mana regen, gemming etc. for mana regen all the way.
=> Healers have no more mana issues can spam their efficient heals 24/7, firs tier becomes ridiculously easy for them.

Second tier, to make things challanging bosses hit much harder =>
Healers stack even more mana regen, they can now spam their 'middle' heal 24/7

Third tier, Blizzard realizes it's not working and all bosses get a mana drain aura.
(Welcome to Kil'Jaeden mana burn because there is no other way to challange healers anymore)

I simply don't have any faith that Blizzard will manage to make mana regen weak enough, that it cannot trivialize their 'limited mana' method and at the same time make it feel powerful enough that people care. Either healers will end up with a static mana pool and no regen like in classic, or enough regen that they no longer care about mana like in tbc and wotlk.
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Re: Cataclysm and armor/avoidance/block

Postby hoho » Thu Apr 22, 2010 1:54 am

Boyfriend wrote:First tier of content, bosses don't hit hard healers have mana issues =>
Healers stack the wazoo out of mana regen, gemming etc. for mana regen all the way.
=> Healers have no more mana issues can spam their efficient heals 24/7, firs tier becomes ridiculously easy for them.
From what I remember blizz said healers should be able to spam the most efficient heal without almost any mana problems but there WILL be situations where they must use fast/big heals that aren't as efficient or people will die. Their biggest problem will be balancing between needed throughput and regen. WotLK was kind of screwed because of adding hardmodes as afterthought after the rought ilvls of gear were already decided on.
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Re: Cataclysm and armor/avoidance/block

Postby Boyfriend » Thu Apr 22, 2010 2:22 am

The issue is, more mana regen changes the usage percentages of the different heals on a healer. I mean it does not change what a certain heal does, but lets you say use the less efficient one more often.

Now if the goal is to have all healing spells useful and being used, you have a problem; because either they're all useful at Mana Regen X, or at Mana Regen 2X; they can't really be all useful at both because the only difference between having X and 2X mana regen is how useful the different heals are, this is an inherent contradiction.

If at mana regen X healers do:
Spam small heal if nothing else to do,
Cast middle heal if tank is <50%
Cast big heal if boss has enrage mechanic.

Then it has to be totally different at twice that mana regen, if it is not totally different then what's the point of mana regen. If it is totally different then it will look something like:

Spam middle heal.
Cast big heal if boss has enrage mechanic.

At the very least, and you've totally eliminated the small heal.
You can only balance spell mana cost for a certain mana regen amount, for a higher mana regen the less efficient spells will automatically become better... that's the point of having a higher mana regen. But if the most efficient heal was useful before, this means as you gear up it will become less and less useful, and realistically since upgrading gear should still feel like a meaningful difference to a healer, this will mean after at least 2 tiers the efficient heal will be useless.

Having less 'useful' heals will inherently reduce a healers toolbox and make mana management less challanging, leading ultimately to the same thing that has happened every expansion so far: Healing becomes a twitch game.

Now the solution to this is to have less gear inflation, but Blizzard cna't really do that; if a healer in T11 heals the same as a healer in T12 then likely a healer in blues will heal nearly the same too and it's likely the T12 healer won't feel like he heals all that much better than the healer in blues. And if the gear inflation is too flat then it's much much more likely for well itemized T11 to be better than badly itemized T12, and suddenly blues become better than epics.

I think the crux of the problem lies in the fact that heals cost a static amount of mana, yet your mana regen increases; if a tank is being hit by Mr. Fantastic it should cost you more mana to heal him for the same amount as the tank being hit by Awbad.
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