Why Block Capping is Bad

90 Orc Warrior
10130
So, one of the things that came up in the thread Zarhym posted in was that they don't see block capping for paladins as something that is problematic. I disagree, and most of my argument can be summed up in around two words: because deathknights.

For the longer explanation, let's look at history. Way back in the way back, there used to be a boss mechanic called "Crushing Blows." The gist of this mechanic was that you had a 15% chance to be hit for 150% damage by a boss. Ouch! However, two of the three existing tank classes had ways to remove or reduce the likelihood of those crushing blows. Paladins had the original Holy Shield, and Warriors had the original Shield Block. The third tank, Druids, were compensated with extra high health and armor, so that while they took additional damage from time to time, they took less damage on each individual hit, and since they had more health, you had more time to react to spiky crushing blows. Tanking worked, by and large. There were a lot of problems with design, but most of those revolved around fights that were designed only to be tanked by a specific class. Avoidance was also too powerful.

Moving on to Wrath, they got rid of Crushing Blows. They felt too random. That led to the Naxxramas problem--the tanks never died. In turn, that took us to the Ulduar model, which was used for most of Wrath--high damage on a short cooldown to threaten tanks.

The problem with block capping is that it brings back crushing blows. Paladins take 70% reduced damage--or expressed differently, everyone else takes attacks that hit for 143% damage. Now, to be honest, this isn't that big of an issue necessarily for Warriors and Druids. Warriors will be unhittable 1/3 of the time, and with trinket procs and mastery gains, probably net out somewhere around 5% hittable. Similarly, druids aren't terribly problematic because they have higher avoidance and higher base armor--they only take swings that hit for 82% of the other tanks damage anyways.

The problem comes down to Deathknights. If you make it so that you have a comparison between a DK and a Paladin, the DK will take more damage, more spike damage, less predictable damage and is compensated through a reactive healing mechanic. That isn't fun.

The problem with block capping is that if we were to have a boss hit a paladin for 50K, that same boss hits a DK for 74K. All of a sudden, three hits in a row on a DK adds up to 222K, while it only comes to 150K for the paladin. Block capping means that "spikes" mean something different to a paladin than a DK (and to a lesser extent a warrior). A DK in three shot territory is a paladin in 4 or 5 shot territory. That's a problem for game design.
85 Human Death Knight
11740
Here's another link to Tyds's blog on the subject, because he can't post here:

http://elitistjerks.com/blogs/5379-liar/539-why_paladin_block_capping_bad_game/
90 Draenei Warrior
13785
I do believe I'm starting to see people's point and thus, I am giving this post a Like. Let's hopefully bring on changes in 4.3?
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Attack tables, diminishing returns and you!
http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2489160859
85 Human Paladin
4185
I mentioned this in the other thread, but it's another angle of the block capping issue. Take it or leave it.

Our single best mitigation stat capping and thus giving us no benefit in the near future is quite a balance concern (imo). If some caster arbitrarily had an int cap coming in the next tier the appropriate answer would not be to say 'gem crit and haste instead' because that puts them at a gearing disadvantage compared to other casters that aren't effected by a cap. Even if that int cap gave them some crazy immediate advantage it would ultimately cause scaling problems as the expansion continued.

In addition ctc capping would, for a short time, put us at a massive advantage over other class since we would be almost unspikable. Once gear upgrades after the ctc cap has been reached we will be unable to gain benefit from our best stat whereas other class will continue reaping its benefits.


In addition total avoidance (dodge/parry/miss) is of less relative benefit to a block capped paladin than a dk since the paladin effectively reduced the hit by 70% instead of 100%. No longer will dodge/parry/miss procs or gains push complete hits off the table for a paladin. One of two things will occur; either the ctc coverage will give paladins such a strong base of mitigation that they will be wildly overpowered forever and onwards, or the throttled scaling of avoidance and the null scaling of mastery will cause them to slowly lose power over time in relation to other classes taking full advantage of their best stats. I am tending towards the former :/ .
Makes me wonder if Blizzard would prefer to adjust other classes up to the level of block-capping Paladins, or if they want to re-adjust Paladin mastery to bring them back in line. Zarhym's post made me think they are currently discussing which they would rather do.
Edited by Brohk on 6/20/2011 5:17 PM PDT
85 Human Paladin
6435
06/20/2011 05:16 PMPosted by Brohk
Makes me wonder if Blizzard would prefer to adjust other classes up to the level of block-capping Paladins, or if they want to re-adjust Paladin mastery to bring them back in line. Zar's post made me think they are currently discussing which they would rather do.


There are problems with both choices, it's just a matter of finding the correct one. If that makes any sense.
90 Orc Warrior
10130
Makes me wonder if Blizzard would prefer to adjust other classes up to the level of block-capping Paladins, or if they want to re-adjust Paladin mastery to bring them back in line. Zar's post made me think they are currently discussing which they would rather do.


So there are two problems with that.

1. If they nerf paladins, they have to nerf warriors, too. Warriors have the same issues that paladins have, but on crack, since in the heroic tier of this patch, warriors will be able to maintain block cap, but will also be critically blocking for a large amount.

2. They have to completely re-design DKs for it to work. DKs work through reactive damage mitigation. If you have bosses who kill tanks inside of 5 seconds, then you don't have time to react. Once again, a boss that would take 7 seconds to kill a paladin, kills a DK inside of 5.
90 Draenei Death Knight
11090
DKs will be spiking all over the place even more so than normal. The problem is that Death Strike's delayed mitigation--if you can't actually live those 3 hits, you get zero benefit from Death Strike. Avoid 2/3 of those hits? Looking at a pretty small shield size coming up for the next set. Avoid none of the hits whatsoever with that small shield? Pain.
Edited by Euliat on 6/20/2011 5:30 PM PDT
48 Gnome Priest
360
To be honest it really sounds like the problem isn't mainly with block capping but with DKs. I find your title is somewhat misleading.

Let's say paladins get a redesigned Mastery that has them block cap at the same time warriors do minus Shield Block. Let's also imagine that the redesign has them roughly equal to warriors in terms of damage taken over time at and before the block cap.

Bears have extra armor, avoidance, savage defense and magical bear stuff to help cushion the extra damage. You seem to think this will be close to evening things out. Let's say it's true or Blizzard makes some brilliant tweak that lets this happen.

And then there was the Dead Knight ... I mean Death Knight, the squishiest tank in the land. Sure, he can heal up that extra damage he's taking but getting so low he's shotgunning those Death Strikes so he isn't splattered on the dungeon tiles. Well, he is until he gives up and rolls another tanking class.
85 Human Death Knight
11740
But won't Death Strikes between those 74k hits heal that damage back and provide a huge Blood Shield to prevent the second and/or third such attack from gibbing the DK?


Communism Death Strike miss
85 Human Paladin
4185
Maybe block-capping isn't the problem: maybe Death Knights are the problem?

I KID!!!

On a more serious note, won't such huge damage intakes be unlikely on a DK? I freely admit to not knowing much about DK's, and I am perfectly willing to be educated here. But won't Death Strikes between those 74k hits heal that damage back and provide a huge Blood Shield to prevent the second and/or third such attack from gibbing the DK? Doesn't the scenario presented ignore the heart of the DK's mitigation mechanic, and presume that the DK is just standing there?


The problem comes down to Deathknights. If you make it so that you have a comparison between a DK and a Paladin, the DK will take more damage, more spike damage, less predictable damage and is compensated through a reactive healing mechanic. That isn't fun.


Amongst other issues, it's about dependability. In much the same way that it's better to pop a cooldown before a large amount of damage rather than after; nullifying the damage is a much safer bet than trying to recover from it. What if the next DS is parried? The dk could very well be in trouble then (not to mention the 20% hp cap on DS heals).
Edited by Fridays on 6/20/2011 5:32 PM PDT
90 Draenei Death Knight
11090
06/20/2011 05:31 PMPosted by Communism
Communism Death Strike miss


Yeah, when you're not going to die for like 8s or so, missing DS doesn't matter a great deal. When you reduce that window so that the GCD is almost half as long as the window, you're screwed.
06/20/2011 05:17 PMPosted by Xayton
Makes me wonder if Blizzard would prefer to adjust other classes up to the level of block-capping Paladins, or if they want to re-adjust Paladin mastery to bring them back in line. Zar's post made me think they are currently discussing which they would rather do.


There are problems with both choices, it's just a matter of finding the correct one. If that makes any sense.


It does.

06/20/2011 05:22 PMPosted by Zarko
Makes me wonder if Blizzard would prefer to adjust other classes up to the level of block-capping Paladins, or if they want to re-adjust Paladin mastery to bring them back in line. Zar's post made me think they are currently discussing which they would rather do.


So there are two problems with that.

1. If they nerf paladins, they have to nerf warriors, too. Warriors have the same issues that paladins have, but on crack, since in the heroic tier of this patch, warriors will be able to maintain block cap, but will also be critically blocking for a large amount.

2. They have to completely re-design DKs for it to work. DKs work through reactive damage mitigation. If you have bosses who kill tanks inside of 5 seconds, then you don't have time to react. Once again, a boss that would take 7 seconds to kill a paladin, kills a DK inside of 5.


I think I'm as interested for the next PTR as I am for patch 4.2. A complete re-design doesn't seem feasible mid-expansion, and I hope Blizzard wouldn't try to entertain the notion of simply increasing a few percentages here or there to try to compensate DK's as they would need more than just lip service.

It feels like that would make the first option seem more attractive, in terms of ease, to Blizzard.
85 Human Death Knight
11740
06/20/2011 05:30 PMPosted by Kahzregi
To be honest it really sounds like the problem isn't mainly with block capping but with DKs.


It's more like an impossible trifecta, where each part isn't a problem but they can't coexist.

You can have block capping tanks.
You can have bosses that challenge tank survival.
You can have a spike damage tank.

But you can only have 2 of the above. It's entirely possible for us to continue as long as bosses don't hit hard.
85 Human Paladin
4185
To be honest it really sounds like the problem isn't mainly with block capping but with DKs. I find your title is somewhat misleading.


I'm going to point to my earlier post about stat scaling (especially a tank's best stats) being throttled. It's not very rewarding and it basically makes mastery/avoidance into the old defensive stat (i.e, cap and ignore), with stam stacking coming after it's reached.
Edited by Fridays on 6/20/2011 5:35 PM PDT
85 Blood Elf Death Knight
10020
06/20/2011 05:34 PMPosted by Communism
To be honest it really sounds like the problem isn't mainly with block capping but with DKs.


It's more like an impossible trifecta, where each part isn't a problem but they can't coexist.

You can have block capping tanks.
You can have bosses that challenge tank survival.
You can have a spike damage tank.

But you can only have 2 of the above. It's entirely possible for us to continue as long as bosses don't hit hard.

Exactly. You can't have all three or things break down.

I don't know how hard the firelands bosses will hit, but if current healer mana scaling and current mitigation is any indication, we will enter the 3 shot and be pushing towards the two shot area as we enter heroic firelands. (I'd love someone with PTR raid experience to tell me I'm wrong or right there). In that case, the DK model falls apart and the warrior model may do the same until they cap. That is worrisome and will get worse in upcoming tiers.
48 Gnome Priest
360
06/20/2011 05:34 PMPosted by Fridays
I'm going to point to my earlier post about stat scaling (especially a tank's best stats) being throttled. It's not very rewarding and it basically makes mastery/avoidance into the old defensive stat (i.e, cap and ignore), with stam stacking coming after it's reached.


Warriors also will run into the same issue with the current Mastery design, just at a later date. They might even hit it in heroic T12.

If all tanks could hit CTC at the same time with the secondary Mastery effects being the differentiating item it would be roughly balanced in this sense. Of course it would mean giving bears and DKs an actual blocking effect.

Yes, it would mean that in order for you to do a certain tier level you would need to be defense capped. However 100% CTC coverage is going to be difficult to avoid without gutting Mastery as a stat or doing away with blocking as part of the combat table.
85 Undead Death Knight
5765
The problem with Death Knight's in an effective health model occurs for so many reasons it's hard to count them. What's more, they appear in layers and each one only hurts the other.

While shield tank's Mastery improves the frequency at which damage is reduced, with fixed reduction percentages, Death Knight's improves the % of damage reduced and only the % of damage reduced, while having (relatively, within RNG) fixed numbers of blocks in a minute. While this seems to stumble its way to the end of the first tier, it's only going to get worse. To anyone who's taken basic physics, the damage taken by a DK appears in 'waves.' However, as gear passes, the troughs of the waves, where damage taken is minimal, will become lower and lower and may eventually reach zero, but unless it lasts for eight seconds worth of attacks, it's going to be offset by the fact that the peaks will reach higher and higher, until it literally one-shots a Death Knight. Combine that with random factors of encounters, like Breath-weapons or Shadow's Order like affects, and you're going to see Death Knight's become literally unhealable. Compare this to say, a Paladin, who will see a decrease of damage taken as Mastery stacks, as well as a smoothing of the waves. Once it reaches CTC, there's literally no way you could take spike-damage outside of encounter-specific mechanics. This means that the bosses will have to hit insanely hard in order to kill a Paladin tank, the amount of damage which in those strikes could kill a DK.

The second is that our block is reactive. While a Warrior shaves off 30% or 60% of an attacks damage, a Death Knight combines multiple hits (which, without spammed Flash of Lights, will kill them), then receives healing and shielding from the next attack. While this, again, stumbles through current content, it goes completely against any idea of Effective Health as no amount of self-healing or shields to prevent a future attack will revive of a dead tank.

The third is lower overall effective health. While this wouldn't be too much of a problem in normal content, combine it with the increasingly spiky damage and reactive blocking style, having the lowest health and armor of all the tanks is just putting us that much closer to being two, or even one shot.
Edited by Corpseicle on 6/20/2011 6:07 PM PDT
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