Why Block Capping is Bad

86 Goblin Death Knight
8890
We already see this problem in current Heroic modes. There's a reason I have a Stam set that puts me at 199K health Raid buffed for H Atramedes. I was getting 3 shot while waiting for runes to recharge. We put a Warrior tank who WAY undergears me on the same boss another week, we needed my Rogue for gong sprinting, and he just stood there like a champ, hardly ever dipped in health. Just a single anecdote, not a trend or anything, but it is indicative of problems to come.

The waves aren't even that big currently, but the difference is palpable.

84 Blood Elf Paladin
1150
06/21/2011 06:57 PMPosted by Metronome
I was getting 3 shot while waiting for runes to recharge


You obviously didn't shift gears fast enough.
85 Tauren Warrior
8050
Metro the difference was palatable in normals when i switched from ved to mooshield. and that is content that that it isn't suppose to be noticeable, supposedly.
86 Goblin Death Knight
8890
06/21/2011 08:35 PMPosted by Mooshield
Metro the difference was palatable in normals when i switched from ved to mooshield. and that is content that that it isn't suppose to be noticeable, supposedly.


I haven't raided on my 85 Warrior yet, but even in the Troll Heroics, which I ran on my super Blue geared Warrior 2 days after hitting 85, I was less spiky. Harder to heal overall probably, but less spiky. I somewhat discounted it though because when I run heroics LFD on this character I tend to be lazy and not play ideally. Being overgeared tends to do that.
90 Night Elf Druid
17755
Block Capping innately won't be bad. You can block cap now, but with the tradeoffs that you have to make, it really depends on the content you're doing and the role you have in that content. You could block cap to tank Sinestra, or HeroicAA, or HeroicNef - but .... meh.

When you look at something like T13 where you'll basically have it innately without any effort, and stuff, healers will have even more regen than they do now, and bosses will hit harder ... yeah. They can mitigate it by forcing heavy raid damage and slowing down tank damage ramp, and with mechanics that target healer sustainability, but you can't do that for every fight in an entire tier.
Edited by Slashlove on 6/21/2011 8:54 PM PDT
85 Human Warrior
11430
I agree with you, but I'm curious to see how the warrior set bonus impacts this. It's entirely possible that you could be block-capped as a warrior 66% of the time (33% Shield Block, 33% 4p set bonus) in a "reasonable" set of gear that doesn't involve any special sacrifices. It'll probably still take at least some heroic gear so maybe it won't be a huge issue, but 66% of the time is enough that it can mean "100% of the time that I actually care about" in a lot of situations.
90 Dwarf Death Knight
13725
06/21/2011 08:35 PMPosted by Mooshield
Metro the difference was palatable in normals when i switched from ved to mooshield. and that is content that that it isn't suppose to be noticeable, supposedly.


I've noticed it in normals as well. My paladin (at 94.4% CTC) simply doesn't suffer those "oh-@@%*" moments that periodically hit my DK.
85 Human Warrior
11430
I strongly suspect that has a lot more to do with stuff like Hammer of Justice, Shockwave, silences/interrupts, better/easier debuff application, and so on than it has to do with CTC. There's nothing particularly special about block as compared to Death Strike in those situations.
Edited by Ahti on 6/21/2011 9:08 PM PDT
85 Blood Elf Paladin
8270
The biggest problem I see is that everyone seems to go after the immediate problem, that is paladins block capping now. Even then there is a dearth of credible solutions to this.

The only one I've see advocated is nerfing the block rate increase to that of a warrior and adding something else, like an extra static % block or my own suggestion of enhancing Holy Power abilities.

There is a huge problem with the above "solutions." What happens when in T13 both warriors and paladins are block capping?

We need to either learn to love the block cap or find a way to make sure it never happens.

Edit: Without making Mastery a second class stat.


One solution i would suggest, but would not be very popular, would be to put a DR on avoidance after 45% block. That way paladins and warriors could get close to capping but not completely and could scale with mastery the entire expansion. Of course this would drop the value of mastery past 45% block from our best to our worst stat...but it would still scale.

However, this will diminish the value of mastery past that point and take away the advantage block had over avoidance. But since DR would not "kick in" till 45% (arbitrary number) its DR would be much less than avoidance and it would still be better. Later on it would make for interesting gearing decisions as what is better might not be as obvious.

Though im not sure how that would work in the final tier. At the end of wrath i had nearly 50% avoidance without even trying. Meaning it would only take 52.4% block before problems started up again so it would have to be some pretty heft DR on block.
90 Dwarf Death Knight
13725
06/21/2011 09:08 PMPosted by Ahti
I strongly suspect that has a lot more to do with stuff like Hammer of Justice, Shockwave, silences/interrupts, better/easier debuff application, and so on than it has to do with CTC. There's nothing particularly special about block as compared to Death Strike in those situations.


Sorry, I wasn't intending to attribute the difference to CTC alone, CTC, debuffs, and (most importantly to my mind) the radically different role RNG plays for the two specs all work together to make the different experience.
85 Blood Elf Death Knight
10020
06/21/2011 09:08 PMPosted by Ahti
I strongly suspect that has a lot more to do with stuff like Hammer of Justice, Shockwave, silences/interrupts, better/easier debuff application, and so on than it has to do with CTC. There's nothing particularly special about block as compared to Death Strike in those situations.

I agree with your conclusion; however I think the bigger key is just the player mentality. When you hold your mastery mitigation in your hands, you see the spikes and you want to react to them. A warrior hits 35% HP? No biggie. A paladin? They may WoG. A DK? They smash the DS key. Where a warrior or paladin watch and use CDs, they don't panic with each spike. Why? Because there is very little they can do about it. The DK on the other hand, panics and tries to react. The spikes become much more apparent because of the mentality. Now in heroic raids, when you can die in 5 seconds, that's where the issue pushes past mentality in my opinion because the healers also see the larger spikes.
90 Tauren Warrior
10125
Just wondering, any bets on whether Bears actually fly under the radar and end up as the best hardmode tier 12 tank by far? Every discussion on these boards lately seems to be revolving around block capping.

In my mind, the massive mitigation (particularly magic!) that bears are gaining with 4.2 has not been looked at hard enough. Tanks aren't just killed by unblocked hits these days, they're killed by unblocked hits combined with some special attack or aoe damage where healers are stressed, or by themselves or healers making a mistake and taking extra damage. If one tank can do fairly well on the blocking aspect (if not quite as well), but also blow everyone out on magic and physical mitigation...that's where my money goes.
Edited by Migol on 6/21/2011 9:46 PM PDT
90 Orc Warrior
10130
06/21/2011 09:42 PMPosted by Migol
Just wondering, any bets on whether Bears actually fly under the radar and end up as the best hardmode tier 12 tank by far?


I don't make threads about class balance issues anymore. I try to only make threads about game balance issues. It appears that the various changes to bears will go live.
86 Troll Druid
10495
How many defensive CDs does a DK have in respects to the other 3 tank classes?

How does proper usage of those correlate to the amount of spike damage they take?

If the previous question goes favorably for the DK, how hard is it for the average player to grasp this concept?

Each tanking class is different, so the mentality towards how to heal that tank, should differ for each tank, right?

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.


Not only are they compensated with a reactive heal, but a shield as well, that can (and will?) be in place 1/3 of the time. With "proper rotation" and no issues it'd be 2GCD, shield 2GCD 3x last shield, repeat. Then you throw in CDs to that basic system. (What would you cound as a defensive CD anyway? Dancing runeweapon? Rune Tap? Vampiric blood? Bone shield? Anti-Magic shield? Icebound Fortitude? Empower Runeweapon? Death pact? Dark Simulacrum? Army of the Dead?)

With one of their major damage absorption flavors coming from a strike, wouldn't it make sense for a DK tank to hit cap and expertise cap to make it less spiky?
85 Blood Elf Paladin
3200
<3 block cap. dont ever take it away lol.
86 Tauren Death Knight
7490
It seems pretty logical to me that once you start considering a tank model that can make 70% the new 100% and avoid the rest.. w/ a tank model that requires soaking large hits for full mastery effect, that there would be a sizable problem somewhere down the line as stats increased, the models diverged even moreso, and stuff keeps hitting harder and harder.. I wonder if Blizz was aware of this as they implemented Blood's and Prot's Cata models.

I blame the DK having few-no options to get real smooth, preemptive mitigation. Any gearing model- heavy avoidance, heavy mastery, or balance of both- is spiky. Currently it seems the best ways a DK tank can function in a '3 hits ur dead' world is to throw out as many DS's as possible while praying for some avoidance and/or cd reprieve- ie. dilute DS and make it more frequent to try to cover as many of the inc hits as possible. Even its its more inc dmg overall, its less spiky and more healable. It can work as is, of course, partially because of just how many cds DKs have (+wotn as a pillow) + good playing w/ RE gaming etc, but if the DK gets thru such an encounter its rather haphazardly and w/ a good portion of luck and a twitchy healer on their side. I'm not seeing how that can last the rest of the xpac w/ new content.
Edited by Cryotube on 6/21/2011 10:41 PM PDT
90 Undead Death Knight
10720
06/21/2011 10:34 PMPosted by Cryotube
Even its its more inc dmg overall, its less spiky and more healable.


That was kind of the basis for my question about the runechants. Will swordshattering remain king as the current model scales up in damage spikes?
90 Dwarf Death Knight
13725
The longer and longer I play this game, the more I find myself believing two important things:

A) Blizzard does not theorycraft extensively, if at all. They look at abstract data (population sizes/fluctuations and damage statistics) and try to tune the various levers in the game to make that data appear the way they want it without digging into the nitty-gritty of what is actually causing the problem. And

B) Teams simply aren't communicating the way they should be when working on a single product.

This in turn leads to a couple important problems:

- Obvious flaws sneak past them until the damage is done. Often.
- Nerfs and buffs often miss the mark or work to cross purposes because they use predetermined levers that may or may not have anything to do with the issue, they're just a convenient number to tweak.
- Anyone who interacts with the public gets the shaft and customers are left feeling like Blizzard has no idea what they're doing. CMs getting bad information and GC's blog continually being contradicted by development action mere days after posting are the most obvious cases.

It's getting sad to be honest. I'm a big ol' Blizzard fanboy, have been since Warcraft 2, but time and again I find myself thinking "what the hell man?"
85 Blood Elf Paladin
9950
The longer and longer I play this game, the more I find myself believing two important things:

A) Blizzard does not theorycraft extensively, if at all. They look at abstract data (population sizes/fluctuations and damage statistics) and try to tune the various levers in the game to make that data appear the way they want it without digging into the nitty-gritty of what is actually causing the problem. And

B) Teams simply aren't communicating the way they should be when working on a single product.

This in turn leads to a couple important problems:

- Obvious flaws sneak past them until the damage is done. Often.
- Nerfs and buffs often miss the mark or work to cross purposes because they use predetermined levers that may or may not have anything to do with the issue, they're just a convenient number to tweak.
- Anyone who interacts with the public gets the shaft and customers are left feeling like Blizzard has no idea what they're doing. CMs getting bad information and GC's blog continually being contradicted by development action mere days after posting are the most obvious cases.

It's getting sad to be honest. I'm a big ol' Blizzard fanboy, have been since Warcraft 2, but time and again I find myself thinking "what the hell man?"


A is definitely false. The issue is not that they don't theorycraft, or that they don't see the issues, but that their tolerance for difference is much greater than the player bases, especially the one that posts here. Think about how they came up with the curves for DR and appropriate allocations of item levels. Blizzard clearly does plenty of theorycrafting and balancing, and it's not like they don't know the forums where the player base does this exists.

However, the theorycrafting community, especially here on the official forums, tends to use artificial models that don't actually reflect real raid situations and then get very upset if their projected damage taken isn't within fairly narrow bounds for every class. Blizzard takes the stance that actual gameplay is more complicated than that, and they, based on my reading between the lines and my judgment of their actual implementations, give much more weight to their actual results than to their theoretical models.

If tank class Bob takes more damage than tank class Jim, but there's no statistical bias in raid success toward Jim, then the extra damage probably doesn't matter.

They are clearly hesitant to make pre-emptive balance changes, once they're past the beta phase. I don't think it follows from this that they don't predict the problems - you can see from the dev discussions that they're aware of the potential - but I think it reflects a reasonable caution.

With regards to block capping, I suspect that the reason why they feel it's not a problem they need to solve right now is not because they can't do all the same napkin math that everyone here is doing, but that they look at the results of raids with block capped paladins, and non block capped ones, and DKs, and everyone else and while being block capped may do all kinds of things, it doesn't provide an unwarranted overall advantage to raid success. Given the current numbers, I don't have a lot of trouble believing this is true. Whether it remains true in the future will depend on how incoming boss damage scales with tank health pools - a DK needing to survive several 100% hits before they can heal up vs a paladin taking the same 70% hits isn't a crippling weakness as long as health pools are large enough to buffer the increased incoming damage.
85 Orc Warrior
7130
I think we're headed back towards TBC style tanking styles. Shield tanks will go for CTC and non-shield tanks will be stacking stamina to compensate for the extra damage. This will work so long as healer mana doesn't become an issue.

I don't think Blizzard will intervene until the higher end raiding guilds start swapping tanks for given encounters.

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