Why Block Capping is Bad

06/21/2011 11:57 PMPosted by Morelore
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.


Actually - his A is pretty much on the mark. They clearly stated in Wrath when they were trying to defend prot warrior imbalance issues - that they could NOT buff the "most popular tank" even though they were the worst tank in actual game performance.

They *do* look at insignificant data when determining buffs and nerfs. Class population is a factor that should never determine the balance of that class - but they value it highly.

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.


But those theorycrafted numbers from the community almost always turn out to be correct. The community sees these problems long before they are actually a problem and Blizzard simply turns a blind eye - again - looking at Wrath and prot warrior issues that carried through almost the entire expansion. Or the fact that the community saw the DK problems before they went Live in Wrath.

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.


That's the stance they took in Wrath as well. It was a model that caused various tanks to become overpowered in various tiers of gear, and led to two tanks basically taking over the game in terms of survivability and easier progression.

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.


This is what causes the constant see-saw effect of class balance. Instead of analyzing the impact of ALL of their changes/fixes, they look at things on a 1 to 1 scenario. This doesn't work.

Take the Arms Warrior "charge bug" in 4.1 as a quick expample - it gives arms a boost in damage thanks to higher use of heroic strike. In some fights - it pushes arms way past fury thanks to no down time and constant charge spam.

This makes arms DPS look high (and it is VERY high on those fights). So what do they do, they basically cut 8% of arms damage off to help balance it out a little. But wait - they also fix the charge bug (which is all they really needed to do to begin with). Instead, they view the charge bug as a bug and don't factor it into the extremely high numbers arms can pull on specific fights, and instead lower their damage to address that.

From people on the PTR - arms has fallen behind fury by a good margin now and we're approaching Wrath again where arms is slowly becoming a non-viable raiding spec.
85 Night Elf Warrior
10285
ps. Arcdeek's point of view mirrors how I feel, pretty much. I have caught myself wondering if they know how to spreadsheet or theorycraft. Lately, I have had trouble giving a damn anymore.

06/21/2011 04:41 PMPosted by Andelwind
Isn't this a similar situation to what was seen in Beta on druid tanks with the original incarnation of SD? When it was highly likely for bears to be able to maintain near 100% up time, and bosses had to hit so damn hard to threaten bears that they would virtually one-shot the other tank classes?


This.

Block capping is bad for the game. It's exceptionally bad for the classes that can't block cap, but it's bad for the game, because boss damage rises to compensate, so healers have to heal harder, you see where this is going? Repeating the mistakes of Wrath.

Block should NEVER have been designed the way it has been. It should have been high chance, low value, or low chance, high value. What we have right now is high chance (because we can stack it) coupled with moderate to high value, which is just overpowered. Nobody could have predicted, etc, etc...

This leads me to the thought i've been mulling for the past day or so.

What if block value degraded as block chance improved?

Lets imagine there was some mechanic whereby, for every two percentage points above 30% block chance, you lost one percent block value (which starts at 30%). I'm right around 60% block chance in my mastery set. So in exchange for my 30% excess block chance, I would trade 15% block value, ie, i'd have a 60% chance to block for 15% and critically block for 30%.

So it looks like this:

Block % | Blocked %

00% | 30%
10% | 30%
20% | 30%
30% | 30%
40% | 25%
50% | 20%
60% | 15%
etc

The idea being, if i'm going to block cap, i'm going to stack Mastery. It gives me more block chance, but after a certain point, it has the side effect of reducing my block value. So I can block cap if I wish - it takes around 60 to 65 block chance - but if I do so, the amount I block for is significantly reduced.

It also means once you cap mastery and can start subbing avoidance, what you're also doing is increasing your block value by shedding unnecessary block chance.

All numbers detailed above are handwavy.
Edited by Charsi on 6/22/2011 7:11 AM PDT
85 Orc Warrior
7130
06/22/2011 07:04 AMPosted by Charsi
What if block value degraded as block chance improved?


A far mor Blizzard like solution would be to subject mastery to DR but then you're back to balancing some mastery + some avoidance and stacking stamina as your primary stat via gems and trinkets.

It's something I would prefer over going back to trying to 2-shot the tank but not a very imaginative solution. Looking at the loot list for tanking gear in 4.2 it seems like they're already trying to steer us away from stacking too much Mastery.
85 Night Elf Warrior
10285
I can find plate tank loot for every slot that has mastery natively on it with the single exception of a shield. And in that theoretical set, you get to roll with 2pc T12.
Edited by Charsi on 6/22/2011 7:32 AM PDT
85 Gnome Death Knight
7355
The day that the mentality of "make eveything operate to the least common denominator", or "We should make everything operate in the same manner, but give it a different name" goes away, will be the day that we finally can have true choice in the class we play and how we play that class.


The problem with this, Samdaniel, is that we're supposedly where blizzard wants us. If you have more health and take less damage, but we're where we're supposed to be- that means you're above the mark.
48 Gnome Priest
360
06/22/2011 07:16 AMPosted by Pestilenzio
A far mor Blizzard like solution would be to subject mastery to DR but then you're back to balancing some mastery + some avoidance and stacking stamina as your primary stat via gems and trinkets.


The problem I have with that is that it's ... weird. It's weird in that it devalues Mastery after a certain point. That's the reason I don't like CTC capping, especially with paladins.

06/22/2011 07:04 AMPosted by Charsi
What if block value degraded as block chance improved?


I'll make a more radical suggestion. What if Mastery for shield tanks is completely removed from block chance?

What the new masteries will be I'm not sure. It could be related to block in some way, it could also not be. They couldn't be as strong as a bear's or DKs given that shield tanks could still block, just not as much. How much weaker I'm not sure.

We could go along with your idea by making an ability for shield tanks that stacks block chance by x while decreasing block value by y plus a second ability that resets the stacks.
100 Dwarf Warrior
14290
06/22/2011 07:38 AMPosted by Kahzregi
I'll make a more radical suggestion. What if Mastery for shield tanks is completely removed from block chance?

Strictly speaking, wouldn't that orphan block chance at its base percentage, neutralizing the signature of both classes?

But you're onto something. I've always wondered why Blizzard was allowing, in Cataclysm's first tier, block chance to accelerate far beyond what we saw even in late-Wrath. Or why all eggs were in block's basket.

So instead, maybe warrior mastery could increase block chance by a fraction of its current rate, while any successful dodge, parry or block would guarantee the next physical attack to be blocked for an improved reduction percentage commensurate to designer-intended mitigation numbers. Dodge and parry would increase in value, Mastery would remain attractive without the risk of surfeit, and the value of Stamina would be restrained.

For the sake of creativity, while paladins might see the same adjusted increase to block chance, maybe their mastery could allow any successful dodge, parry or block increase parry chance by a percentage until the character successfully parried twice in a row, at which point parry chance would reset. The aim, likewise, would be similar — but controllable — physical mitigation.
90 Night Elf Death Knight
12055
They could fix Death Strike to be a flat damage reduction effect instead of a hit point shield. Imagine if instead of giving you a ~20k shield, Death Strike would (for equivalent gear and incoming damage) create a damage absorption effect that reduced all incoming physical damage by 4,000 for ten seconds.

This solves a whole host of problems: Death Knight damage is no longer horribly spiky, Death Knights are no longer required to use DS more than six times per minute to get equivalent mitigation, Death Knights don't have to play Rune Tetris to be on par with other tanks, and it still leaves Death Knights with active control over their mitigation.

If they wanted to, they could even make the effect stack with itself, but with each "application" expiring on its own timer. So if you DS'd once, it'd give you a 4k soak effect, and if you DS'd again it'd apply a second 4k soak effect, but each one would expire on its own 10s timer rather than refreshing.

The end result would be DK damage following a slow cycle of increased -> decreased -> increased damage taken, but on a much longer time frame than it does now, and with a much smaller swing.
85 Night Elf Warrior
10285
That's a good idea, Aedihild.

So instead, maybe warrior mastery could increase block chance by a fraction of its current rate, while any successful dodge, parry or block would guarantee the next physical attack to be blocked for an improved reduction percentage commensurate to designer-intended mitigation numbers.


To take this a step further.. do you need to reduce the block chance granted by Mastery if the block chance is only in effect after you avoid an attack.

In fact, i'll go even further than that. What if they extended the idea across all classes. Imagine if the various classes block mechanics durations (where relevant) were extended, but only took effect after avoidance.

It's kind of hamfisted, but you'd need avoidance to trigger mastery. It's sort of like the Cataclysm beta Parry split idea, where Parry actually reduced two attacks by 50% instead of one by 100%. Under this scheme, a dodge or parry would lead to the next attack being reduced by [class specific Mastery]. It wouldn't matter if we had 500% block chance from Mastery if we can only use it after we avoid an attack.

It's just a thought, I dunno.
Edited by Charsi on 6/22/2011 10:06 AM PDT
100 Dwarf Warrior
14290
To take this a step further.. do you need to reduce the block chance granted by Mastery if the block chance is only in effect after you avoid an attack. . . . It's kind of hamfisted, but you'd need avoidance to trigger mastery. It's sort of like the Cataclysm beta Parry split idea, where Parry actually reduced two attacks by 50% instead of one by 100%. Under this scheme, a dodge or parry would lead to the next attack being reduced by [class specific Mastery]. It wouldn't matter if we had 500% block chance from Mastery if we can only use it after we avoid an attack.

Assuming you're keeping block on the combat table while disconnecting it from Mastery and increases to its chances, that might introduce some gearing tension between avoidance and Mastery. I assume Mastery would simply be a super-block and, e.g., what we now know as warrior block chance would in effect become Critical Block. So you'd roll to avoid/mitigate damage; on a dodge, parry or block, you'd roll again for a chance to super-block. The values of dodge and parry would be obvious, while as you note, Mastery stacking wouldn't be the only answer.

The only objection I could see would be dependency on RNG, given the lower combat table coverage and separate values for avoidance/mitigation and Mastery. Today, at least Mastery helps you block: under this system, you could theoretically never see your reward for avoidance. However, if Mastery were to govern not the chance to block but the amount of damage absorbed through the block, players would rest easy knowing avoidance meant increased mitigation, and then choose between frequency and potency.

I think I'm still partial to my idea to see defense values at 10%/14%/23%, each activating some kind of mega-block. Let me underline that the most interesting facet of tanking right now is the array of choices we have for increasing survivability. I don't want to lose that, and certainly not by stacking Stamina.
Edited by Aedilhild on 6/22/2011 11:00 AM PDT
85 Night Elf Warrior
10285
So you'd roll to avoid/mitigate damage; on a dodge, parry or block, you'd roll again for a chance to super-block. The values of dodge and parry would be obvious, while as you note, Mastery stacking wouldn't be the only answer.


No, what I was suggesting is that after a dodge/parry/miss, you have a chance to block the next hit (or however your mastery mechanic works). The follow-up possibility only "exists" for the attack that follows an avoid.

Therefore it wouldn't matter if your chance to block is 100%, because it's gated by avoidance.
Edited by Charsi on 6/22/2011 11:31 AM PDT
48 Gnome Priest
360
No, what I was suggesting is that after a dodge/parry/miss, you have a chance to block the next hit (or however your mastery mechanic works). The follow-up possibility only "exists" for the attack that follows an avoid.

Therefore it wouldn't matter if your chance to block is 100%, because it's gated by avoidance.


It sort of would, since at that point your Mastery is capping. You would need to either have a secondary effect or accept that after a certain point Mastery is like Hit, wasted past a very specific number.
100 Dwarf Warrior
14290
06/22/2011 11:29 AMPosted by Charsi
No, what I was suggesting is that after a dodge/parry/miss, you have a chance to block the next hit (or however your mastery mechanic works). The follow-up possibility only "exists" for the attack that follows an avoid.

We're saying the same thing, but I just wasn't clear on whether you would retain normal blocks or apply blocking (or another Mastery) only as your post-avoidance event.

If the latter, that's an awfully open combat table, isn't it?
Edited by Aedilhild on 6/22/2011 11:45 AM PDT
90 Gnome Death Knight
6880
06/22/2011 11:44 AMPosted by Aedilhild
f the latter, that's an awfully open combat table, isn't it?


An open combat table is ok. Just like a covered combat table is. The problem is when some people have an open one and some have a covered one. Or when the combat table is middling to mostly covered (hello, WotLK).

Edit: A lot of these troubles all double back to replenishment (and rapture, revitalize, etc.), if you think about it. I almost wonder if changing healer mana regen could "fix" the tanking discrepancies.
Edited by Cleatsz on 6/22/2011 11:55 AM PDT
85 Gnome Death Knight
7355
06/22/2011 11:35 AMPosted by Kahzregi
You would need to either have a secondary effect or accept that after a certain point Mastery is like Hit, wasted past a very specific number.


I honestly don't see why people are so against this. If mastery doesn't have a cap, it's treated the same way stamina was in Wrath - stack it as much as humanly possible. That's not an interesting choice, that's just trading one king stat for another.
48 Gnome Priest
360
We're saying the same thing, but I just wasn't clear on whether you would retain normal blocks or apply blocking (or another Mastery) only as your post-avoidance event.

If the latter, that's an awfully open combat table, isn't it?


I don't think there's anything wrong with that. We might want some secondary effect to ease the increased damage intake but taking a few unmitigated hits in the face would let the bosses not need to hit as hard to actually threaten us.
48 Gnome Priest
360
06/22/2011 11:53 AMPosted by Gnomercee
If mastery doesn't have a cap, it's treated the same way stamina was in Wrath - stack it as much as humanly possible. That's not an interesting choice, that's just trading one king stat for another.


Only if it scales perfectly. You can still gain some benefit from extra Mastery without wanting to stack it.

For example, if after x Mastery it starts to lose value you might want to go to Parry / Dodge until y then switch back to Mastery. It also helps if you can't reforge enough Mastery off to avoid going over the cap.
100 Dwarf Warrior
14290
06/22/2011 11:56 AMPosted by Kahzregi
I don't think there's anything wrong with that. We might want some secondary effect to ease the increased damage intake but taking a few unmitigated hits in the face would let the bosses not need to hit as hard to actually threaten us.


06/22/2011 11:52 AMPosted by Cleatsz
An open combat table is ok. Just like a covered combat table is. The problem is when some people have an open one and some have a covered one.


I can't argue with that, especially if it's a change within logistical reason. All mechanics being equal, I'd rather have an open table than a closed one.
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