Spell Damage Mitigation Discussion.
I've been lurking these forums for awhile now and have finally decided to throw my metaphorical hat into the ring in an attempt to isolate constructive thoughts from the tanking community involving a concern that's been on my mind lately: Spell Damage Mitigation by tanks.
Short background on me: I'm an alt-aholic, currently with 5 alts at 80, 2 of which I've spent a reasonable amount of time on: Warrior (who was my main during the BC era) and DK. I've spent a small amount of time at 70 tanking as both a feral druid and paladin, though I understand times have changed, so those experiences may be solely anecdotal. I consider myself to have at least a rudimentary understand of each of the tank classes, enough to recognize this as an issue to scaling into future content.
The perceived issue is as follows: The inability of tanks to achieve additional spell damage mitigation through gearing means (apart from resist gear) that scales in at least a reasonable fashion to the ability to mitigate and/or survive physical effects via Effective Health or avoidance. I'd like to isolate this mostly toward the mitigation side of things, as spell damage avoidance is not nearly as useful toward progression-style tanking as mitigation would be (much as EH is generally more useful than avoidance for such)
To begin the process of addressing this (and, eventually, submitting the concepts to blizzard for their consideration), I'd like to collect more 'focused' ideas on the issue, and possible solutions for it. I realize numbers can be tweaked and adjusted to fit the design of the game, and result in balance, but am looking for thoughts of a more specific nature than we've seen discussed in the past.
I understand it may be Blizzard's design to have the DK fill the role as primary "magic tank," but, without means to scale to the incoming damage, they may become the exclusive tank capable of handling higher-end progression content. At best, other tanks risk becoming 'mana sponges' for such content, at worst, we may reach a level that an encounter is untankable without extraneous outside effort by a druid, paladin, or warrior.
This is not a "QQ deathknights are overpowered" thread (Which is why I mentioned tanking on my DK, an activity I do enjoy) or a plea to 'make DKs obsolete' or anything of that nature. It's a concern about ongoing content, which strives toward greater balance amongst tanks.
To avoid gigantic 'wall of text' and help to organize things a bit better, I'll leave this as an introductory post toward the topic, and go into my thoughts a bit in the post(s) to follow.
Thanks for your input on this matter.
Concept 1: Armor as a means of spell damage mitigation.
This thought has been addressed several times in generalized terms. It would certainly be nice if a stat as useful in the realms of physical mitigation had some effect on magic mitigation, but how would it be implemented? What would be appropriate without being overpowered? The issue largely lies in the numbers, but this is my more specific idea on how magic could be mitigated via armor.
Each of the 4 tanks has at least 1 talent focused on increasing their contributions of armor from items, what I’d propose is rolling into these talents (or other talents, if balance would be more appropriate) an effect similar to the following:
Druid: (Either Thick Hide of SotF) Also allows 17/34/50% of your physical damage reduction from armor to apply to damage from magical spells and effects.
War/Pal: (Toughness) Also allows 6/12/18/24/30% of your physical damage reduction from armor to apply to damage from magical spells and effects.
DK: (Toughness) Also allows 3/6/9/12/15% of your physical damage reduction from armor to apply to damage from magical spells and effects.
The numbers can be tweaked as necessary, down or up, and could also be relegated solely to be from ‘higher level targets’ or another such tag to function solely in PvE, perhaps even only from AoE effects, if PvP balance is a concern, but this is largely targeted at PvE, so I’ll leave PvP implications out, for the most part.
The idea with the above, and the reason for the different classes having different numbers as the initial concept was a combination of ability to deal with physical damage as part of a “boss tanking” scenario, cooldowns available, and expected armor/health levels at given levels of content. Obviously there would be a ‘cap’ on the reduction able to be obtained by such means, as armor reduction is also capped. Armor levels are also reasonable straightforward to project into certain levels of content, and this generalized concept would allow for scaling into future content, with these reductions considered.
This would allow selection of different types of gear to tank certain encounters, and allow EH to be truly effective against spell damage encounters. This would allow at least some means of further mitigating incoming spell damage as one improved one’s gear level, though at a reduced rate to that of physical damage.
Concept 2: Block as a means of spell damage mitigation.
Obviously, this is specific to War/Pal, and leaves DK/Druid out of the equation.
I believe it’s safe to say that most of us would like block to have some use against non-physical damage, particularly with the LK alterations allowing for more block value than ever. The question then becomes how it’s implemented.
What I’d suggest, is somewhere in the prot talent trees for both War and Pal, there be an attachment to a talent that gives:
“Allows a chance, equal to your block chance, to reduce incoming magic damage by 150% of your block value”
The 150% is somewhat arbitrary, and, as always, is a number that could be balanced. Both classes would, as in melee scenarios, have greater effectiveness from this on smaller hits than on larger ones.
Holy Shield, then, would increase a paladin’s magic damage mitigation, by increasing the frequency of spells blocked.
Shield Block would become the ‘mini shield wall’ for warriors in magic damage situations, making you decide if you want to use it as such, burn it for more threat, use it on physical damage phases, etc, based on encounter design. Essentially, it would be similar to melee scenarios, but could potentially prevent a non-trivial amount of incoming damage when SB was used.
Concept 3: Defense as a means of spell damage mitigation.
This may be somewhat controversial, as defense is already a solid stat, even beyond the ‘crit cap.’ It would also have MUCH greater effect for war/pal/dk tanks than it would for druid tanks. This is a concept I haven’t decided how much I like in practice, though it’s largely, as the rest of the above, about the number balance.
What I’d propose is the following addition to the Defense skill:
Reduces damage taken from magical spells and effects by .1% per point.
This additional reduction would only apply to points beyond the level-based max skill for defense (i.e. 400 @ 80). As always, numbers can be altered as necessary.
As we break into higher levels of content, and higher tiers of gear, it’s not unreasonable to expect additional points of defense available (though whether you choose to take them over other stats is certainly up to each player). Of course, encounters can be designed based on the idea of each tank having “x” amount of reduction from defense, and numbers adjusted accordingly.
The concept allows for another option for means to increase spell mitigation through scaling levels of gear for each of the 3 classes (as druids, admitted, derive little from additional defense). It would at least make for some interesting gearing decisions on a boss-by-boss and upgrade-by-upgrade basis.
Thoughts and feelings on implementation.
I wouldn’t suggest that all of the above be implemented together, but rather to provide options for the scaling of each of the tank classes, and allow the ability, though specific gearing combinations, for each to improve the ability to mitigate incoming magic damage.
As I’ve thought about ‘best’ implementation, the combination I believe I currently like best (and reason for some of the seemingly arbitrary numbers above) would be:
War/Pal: Defense AND Block
Obviously, defense could be admitted across the board, having little effectiveness on druids, as listed above, while giving them the addition of the armor coefficients to allow them to scale on a stat that is useful to them. Since War/Pal are carrying around those giant hunks of steel they hide behind for physical damage anyway, some kind of block scaling makes sense to them, and gives them a secondary means of increasing ability to deal with incoming spell damage.
DKs currently have, in place, the best toolbox for dealing with spell damage, but allowing them to scale concurrently with paladins and warriors would establish a reasonable baseline, and ability to customize each character to different encounters, while not leaving any 1 too far behind.
The above combination may help to bridge the gap that currently exists in the ability to deal with spell damage, while allowing the DK to retain its ‘edge’ for overall mitigation. While the encounter design itself can be adapted to be, for example:
‘We know our new boss Dragon_01, Oneshotter of yer tankz, is designed to threaten the total health pool of any tank, so we’ll adjust the damage of the breath to be in line with expected mitigation values’
That should certainly figure into design, but would allow the flexibility of, say, a War or Pal to stack higher amounts of block value, or defense. A DK to stack more defense than s/he typically would. A druid to swap to a higher armor set, trinkets, rings, etc (though, lack of armor modifiers from those slots may not make it reasonable) rather than a stam set.
The idea is to give the ability to adapt to expected damage, without becoming an excessive mana sponge. Any thoughts/feelings/input/bashing of me in the head (hey, I’m a tank, it’s what I do) is welcome.
I posted simultaneously about this very subject, but from a different viewpoint.
Blizzard simply will not significantly increase basic and consistent magic reduction, even for deep prot, while PvE changes are still linked to PvP. They do fear adverse reaction from either of these crowds, so we are stuck with weak compromise changes.
Separate out changes specifically to raiding in-instance bosses, and you can make meaningful changes that will make tanks truely "different but equal."
While your write up is well put, the thing is, do we really need it? The only fight where this matters is Sarth+3 where the magic damage is so high that it's in the insta-gib region. So I'd think blizzard would just not make a fight to that sort of extreme rather than buffing everyone's magic reduction.
While this is true at the moment, I see OS3 as a symptom of a greater underlying cause. It could potentially be troublesome in the future in terms of design balance to have such a mitigation gap between the tank classes as expected EH values increase. Any boss that's designed to challenge the health pool of a DK spec'd for heavy magic reduction could potentially be in insta-gib territory for any of the other tanks.
Originally Posted by blackhand
This is true. I can assure you through experience that a prot paladin in arenas can sustain a 2v2 rating in the 1700s depending on gear and skill level, and with the 3.1 changes they'll be even stronger. Avenger's shield silence, divine plea rolling, new glyphs, 20 sec. cooldown hammer of justice, and maybe even some benefit from the improved seal of justice.
Originally Posted by Priestvalon
I also know that warrior tanks are strong in a 5v5's setting, with all the interrupts, stuns, and improved spell reflect.