The 64,0000 Copper Question
Does Shield Block push crushing blows off the combat table or not?
Wait, what? Wasn't this settled a long time ago?
Pretty much, yeah. The simple answer is that if you parse all the hits you take while Shield Block is active, you never get a crushing blow and why isn't that good enough for you anyway? There's always been one lingering question, though: What if the client messes up the message when you get a block against a crushing blow? What if, when you block a crushing blow it just says Mob hits you for 1234. (123 blocked) instead of saying Mob hits you for 1234. (123 blocked) (crushing)? Well, we also have the fact that when blocking in PVP we do see Bob crits you for 123. (123 blocked), so we know the CRUSHING/CRITICAL flag in conjunction with a block is handled correctly to begin with. In any case, the question still got asked from time to time. Finally, it came to a head with the usual gnashing of teeth and calling of noobs, and a couple people set out to test it at last.
So, how to test? Shokk posted this methodology for the testing for someone to follow:
- Identify a Test Mob, by selecting a level 63 melee-based boss without a Frenzy or Enrage. Preferably no special attacks such as Mortal Strike either.
- The Testing Tank must have consistant gear and buffs throughout the testing. (ex. 60% damage reduction, 15% parry, 15% dodge, 25% block, 175 block value, etc)
- Determine the Test Mob's Normal Hit damage range vs the Testing Tank by parsing for "Test Mob hits Testing Tank for ####." (ex. 1000-1200)
- Determine the Test Mob's Crushing Blow damage range vs the Testing Tank by parsing for "Test Mob hits Testing Tank for #### (crushing)." (ex. 1500-1800)
- Confirm that Crushing Blow damage range is 150% of Normal Hit damage range.
- Identify all Blocked Attacks by parsing for "Test Mob hits Testing Tank for #### (### blocked)."
- Examine the damage inflicted by each Blocked Attack to the damage range of Normal Hits and to the damage range of Crushing Blows.
- If "Conventional Wisdom" is correct then every single Blocked Attack will be roughly equivalent to a Normal Hit (ex. "TM hits TT for 930 (175 blocked)." matches a Normal Hit being blocked.)
- If the OP's premise is correct then you will see that many Blocked Attacks inflict damage that is roughly equivalent to a Crushing Blow. This would indicate that that the 'crushing' tag in the combat log is replaced by the '### blocked' tag when a Crushing Blow is blocked, (ex. "TM hits TT for 1430 (175 blocked)." matches a Crushing Blow being blocked)
I suggested Highlord Taelan Fordring in Hearthglen as an easy to find, not too hard hitting level 63. Any priest should be able to keep a warrior up through his attacks for plenty long enough to get a good data set.
Within short order, we had two sets of results:
OK, so I went and did as Satrina suggested with Fordring. After about 2 hours of sitting there, this is what I came up with.
First, his average crushing blow was 308.807. This is with a standard deviation of 24.25. The high was 346. The minimum was 263. 75% of the datapoints fell between 290 and 330. This was on a sample of 109 crushing blows.
The block value is the actual amount recorded in the combat log. I was also entirely unbuffed for this - didn't want buffs interfering.
The normal hits were out of 154, mean of 203.85. Standard Deviation was 15.46. 75% of the hits fell between 192 and 217. Minimum was 175, Maximum was 231.
My block value was 179. So, what I am looking for is blocks that range from around 84 to 151. There is a bit of fudge in those numbers because block is calculated before AC. However, that effect would push these numbers higer and I can answer the question with just these.
Out of 862 blocked attacks, the mean was 41. The standard deviation is 16.34. The minimum hit was 13. The maximum hit was 70.
Conclusion? In 862 there were 0 crushing blows that were blocked. However, this does not establish error. This is actually slightly more difficult. There were 1932 total attacks. Of that, 209 were misses, 287 were dodged, and 302 were parried. A total of 44.62% of all attacks were blocked. Assuming that 15% of all attacks were supposed to be crushing blows, the probability for an attack to be both a crushing blow and a blocked hit is .4462*.15 - or approximately 6.7%.
Another way of estimating this number is as follows. 15% of hits are supposed to be crushing blows. Only 5.80% were. So that leaves 9.2% to be made up of dodged, parried, or blocked crushing blows (because a miss would be on the same table it doesn't count here). Approximately 59% of these hits were blocked. So 59% of 9.2 leaves approximately 5.4% of the blocks should have been blocked crushing blows.
Those two give us an estimate of an upper and lower bound. Using them, we should get between 46.58 and 57.54 blocked crushing blows. Because this is assuming purely random error, the error in these two numbers can be associated with 1/sqrt(n) where N is the number of samples or .034%. That means we could be off by 29.4 hits either way. Another way of saying that is that 29.4 is the standard deviation on the number of hits that "shoulds" have landed.
That means 0 is between 1.58 and 1.95 standard deviations from what we would expect. While I don't have my tables with me, if I remember correctly this means we can say with 80-95% certainty that you cannot get a crushing blow and a block at the same time.
In my opinion, that pretty well puts an end to the debate on whether or not shield block prevents crushing blows. I think that shows very well that it does.
Well, I just spent the last two hours at Hearthglen messing with Taelan Fordring. And my findings pretty much match up exactly with the dwarf.
The first test I did was with my normal tanking gear. My shield block was 231, the lowest crushing he did was around 260. His max melee hit on me was around 218-219. Given 231*.9 is around 208, so I just needed to see a blocked hit for over 12, preferably around 50 dmg.
Well about 30 minutes went by without results. The second test was just with enough gear to get me to 25% block, so I could pop the 100% mark with shield block, and had around 350 defense. Same results, I was crit a few times, but no abnormally high blocks.
So we have it. Actual parsed numbers showing that even by analysing the damage taken, no blocked attack could be hitting hard enough to be a crushing blow. For now, we're safe to say that you cannot take a crushing blow while Shield Block is active. I say "for now", because we all know that Blizzard can and does tinker with mechanics when they feel it's warranted, so someday we may see this changed. Or maybe not.
All of this does leave one question that is still unanswered: Does the Shield Block buff have to be up to push crushing blows off the combat table, or could you do it by naturally raising your dodge+parry+block+miss to be higher than 85% The paladin tanks have answered that conclusively: Get yourself to 102.4% natural combined miss+dodge+parry+block, and you do not take crushing blows.