Good post. Hope more people read it.
So, for all the talking about it, we've managed not to demonstrate yet why they're using this. Knowledgeable tanks have just been trying to explain to the community about how this is a good thing, but I think I can actually demonstrate why this is a good thing.
Chill of the Throne will make it so that while your dodge chance doesn't actually change, you functionally have 20% less dodge if you're being attacked. Think of it like giving everything in Icecrown Citadel an Expertise aura.
Why are they doing this?
We've heard it said that avoidance is too high, right? But why is it too high?
Two simple values to consider when considering tank damage taken are the size of the hits (how much damage you see pop up each time), and how much damage the tank takes in total (easiest way to represent this within the varying time frame is with incoming dps).
The size of the hits you take is determined only by mitigation, by armor, resistance, block, and passive reductions from stance, talents, and buffs.
The amount of damage you take overall, however, is dependent also on avoidance. In a large enough average, 50% avoidance *is* 50% damage reduction, but that value will vary when you look at smaller sample sizes (i.e. in a 1 min fight you may actually avoid only 40% of the incoming attacks, or you may avoid 60% and get more value out of the avoidance in that small time frame). This overall damage reduction has to be accounted for by Blizzard, though given the random nature of it, I'd bet they value it slightly differently than a direct comparison with armor reduction percentage.
So, let's throw around some more solid numbers to illustrate. Let's consider a fictional boss in tier 9 content. Blizzard wants him to do about 5k dps to the tank (to balance against the expected level of healing the healers can put out, which is in turn a factor of the expected gear level, and level of distraction for encounter mechanics).
If the expected average tank will have 65% reduction from armor, 15% (rough average for the classes) reduction from stance and buffs, and 60% avoidance, the boss will have to do roughly 42k unmitigated dps to result in that 5k dps actual effect.
42k unmitigated dps would, with those stats, result in swings hitting for 84k before mitigation on a 2 sec swing timer, which the tank will see as 25k hits when it lands.
If they then want to step up to the next level of content, we'll say the tank now has expected average values of 67% damage reduction from armor, 15% miscellaneous damage reduction remains unchanged, and they will now have 65% avoidance. Being the next step up in content, they now want the tank to take 6k incoming dps.
Following the same math as above this would be 61k unmitigated dps, or 122k damage per hit before mitigation. With the expected stats that would be 34k per swing.
Ouch right? To keep tank damage stepping up to match improved healer output, and while making the new tank gear an improvement so tanks want to upgrade, the tank is now getting hit much harder. To make that sustainable and not reach a insta-gib threat, the tank's health pool would have to scale much faster, and this is a runaway train.
So, the step they're taking is to reduce avoidance. If you follow this path of balancing however, watch what happens.
The goal is that the tank takes 6k dps. The adjusted stats are 67% from armor, 15% from stance/buffs, and 45% avoidance (note: you will still get the same step up from gear, that hasn't changed).
From these values the boss will have to do 38.9k dps, or 77.8k per swing every 2.0 sec. With these mitigation values, the tank will now take only 21.8k damage per swing.
Note: the incoming damage is the same in overall scale, but each hit will actually be smaller than the previous tier. That means, to healers, you'll still be getting hit harder than ever before in total, but your whole health pool won't be flipping on and off like a light switch to get that increase. What really changed? You will take more hits, but any given hit will be smaller. This means you move away from the danger of "miss a heal and the tank dies" or "the tank took critical damage in less time than it takes to cast a heal because 2 effects lined up at the same time." You still take more damage, more healing is still required, but suddenly the tanking/healing game is fun again, instead of walking a razor's edge between life and death.
Following this path to find the desired balance, you can see why this is the smart move for Blizzard.
Now, it's been written well in many other places, but I'd like to re-emphasize something here. There are a couple of common reactions I've seen to this:
1.) "Why doesn't Blizzard just give us less avoidance?"
In order to do this, they couldn't just give us less on t10 gear, or we'd use t9 and not want the upgrades. They would have to rework all of the tank gear in the game to re-balance this one need. Chill of the Throne is a much simpler stepping stone, and Cataclysm is the time for the global paradigm shift. Expansions allow for the whole outlook to change because they can start semi-fresh, and sweeping changes are easier to implement with the LONG testing window and less mid-stream disruption.
2.) "Why didn't Blizzard see this coming?!?!"
Well, to a degree they did, and they've been trying to make small steps to keep things stable. They mentioned back in Naxx that they've felt avoidance was too high, and it's been seeing little adjustments here and there. Really, it hasn't reached a critical point yet, and I think they could've done Icecrown without really making a big change like this, but this change frees their hands to make a lot more interesting design choices in encounters, rather than trying to play in the corner that was painted. As above, this isn't the time to re-write the expansion, this is just a smart step to keep the balance the same in previous tiers (as they are currently working well enough), and leave us poised for a more flexible balance in Cataclysm.
3.) "Well, if cutting avoidance a little works so well, why don't we just get rid of it all together?!"
The thing is, this is a *balance* that makes the game more interesting. Considering the math above, if you have avoidance too high, the tank is teetering between life and death with every swing because they have to hit really hard when they do land. Alternately, if you take avoidance away completely, the tank just takes a constant and 100% predictable stream of damage. 6k dps with 65% armor rdx and 15% miscellany rdx becomes 20.2k unmitigated dps, and 12k per hit on a 2 sec swing timer. You *will* get hit for 12k every 2 seconds. The healer response to this is, I just find the right size heal and spam it, or I cast my big heal once every other 2 CD's. Suddenly healing no longer requires a brain or reflexes to do. You know what's coming, and there is nothing dynamic about it.
You can add unpredictable elements back in, say, make the tank crittable, or use encounter buffs! But, wait, we have encounter buffs, and to a degree they need to be regular and semi-predictable. That's a big part of what CD's are designed around. Making tanks crittable actually makes a no-avoidance world worse than adding avoidance. Why? Avoidance creates dips, moments where the tank doesn't need healing, which allows for survival, for skin-of-the-teeth luck, etc. It allows the tank to be tank-like and survive. Crits on the other hand mean the tank takes unpredictable surges of damage. Rather than being tank-y, it's now a health risk and a risk to the raid if a crit comes at the wrong time and the healers can't catch it.
Hopefully, this makes some sense to the people who can't get passed the idea that this is a tanking nerf, or a bad thing. Hopefully, you also understand my perspective (which I didn't invent) in the last portion, but this is a forum, this is where we discuss, so, reactions?
Good post. Hope more people read it.
It's defintely a welcome 'nerf' and might make tanking more interesting, especially for the spikier tank classes. It looks like avoidance will become even less attractice now (not that it ever was too attractice).
Every 1% of avoidance at 45% avoidance translates to 1.8% mitigation from avoidance, while every 1% of avoidance at 65% is 2.8% mitigation. I hope they will itemize ICC gear properly, with lower avoidance values.
Lower avoidance values would make the gear less of an upgrade, unless they bumped up the stamina and armor a lot to compensate.
See the above comments about removing avoidance.
There's nothing wrong with avoidance, and nothing is changing about its value either in the continuing scale. Though you are correct of course about the overall damage reduction impact being larger at higher percentages for the same size step in percentage.
It is a double statement, Adrael, because if they nerfed avoidance with the intent of making it useful, we are expected to see more avoidable damage, so the practical use of it may increase.
As a healer myself, I have to say this post captures precisely why I think Chill of the Throne looks like a marvelous thing. I do love the excitement of what the RNG brings to the tank/heal dynamic, but only within the boundaries of reason. When it's *not possible* for me to defeat the moments of RNG evil, I become sad. I want to be challenged and stretched to the limits of my skill. But I want it to be possible to win.
At any rate, I'll leave the babble behind. Kudos to you for managing to crystallize some of the thoughts I've been having about this.
Well said Tenaveran. A lot of tanks represent here that their healers would be happier if they didn't have to think or react while healing. I know mine wouldn't.
It does not really change anything for me as a healer. Unless this goes live with a substantial HP boost it changes the nature of my healing by nothing.
In fact it reinforces the need to spam heals regardless of the situation.
Say you're running in ICC and your healer is temporarily silenced, or needs to move, or there's a mortal strike on you, or whatever. Let's also say you have to survive 4 boss swings before the healer can get to you. With the way boss damage is now, you can maybe take 2 hits before dying. In ICC, let's say you can survive 3.
Hmmm. I was about to type out some math, but I realized it's been a while since I took stats, and I'm going to look foolish because I've complicated the scenarios I've put forth before. Can anyone do that math? 4 swings at 50% avoidance and the chance to get hit no more than twice vs. 4 swings and 30% avoidance and the chance to get hit no more than 3 times. Now I feel foolish for asking others to do my math, but I'd like to know if my hypothesis plays out.
The concept remains the same, though it will play out differently. Avoidance breaks up your damage intake and makes you easier to heal, even if the absolute need of healing is less predictable.
If 2 hits will kill you, and you avoid a hit, you get an extra swing timer to be healed up before you die. If it takes 4 swings to kill you, an avoid only pushes that down the line, but it is less absolutely urgent.
That's the funny paradox. People think high boss damage makes avoidance weak, but it actually makes it very powerful, it's the random factor that makes it hard to trust and people reluctant to do so.
Right, the concept remains the same, but when you have more opportunities to avoid because it takes more hits to kill you, you get more chances to push out your death in time for that heal. The result is the same, yes, but the chance of that result occurring ends up higher when there are more swings before you die, even if the value of avoidance is lower per swing. Am I just missing the point?
Very nicely put, Satorri I think they key point is thinking of the tank's incoming damage in terms of DPS (which then defines the amount of healing / number of healers you should expect to have), rather than Boss X should hit a tank for Y.
It worries me that it's a bandaid that they've resorted to again, and probably will have to in the future. If there was another raid in WotLK, there'd have to be a -25% dodge aura... Diminishing returns wasn't enough. Perhaps giving bosses expertise is a smoother solution, ramping it up for the more difficult raids. Tanks would still need to increase their avoidance with each tier, and the item designers wouldn't have to worry about letting avoidance get too high.
The net effect on healers will be a reduction in overhealing, because tanks will be taking more consistent damage rather than what we're used to now:
your observation is accurately representative of the current situation: the fact that the tank could, at any time, take a life-threatening hit, means you can't stop healing them even when they're not taking damage. if you wait for the hit to happen to start casting, the tank will probably die. so healers right now accept large overhealing as inevitable. This change will make damage occur at more regular intervals, at per-hit rate that is lower relative to the EHP and hps of the players who are geared appropriately for the content, and hence reduce overhealing; and likely, increase survivability.
to put it more simply: the mechanics don't matter, so long as you just understand that it decreases the likelihood of spike damage killing a tank. Reducing the amount of hits a tank avoids allows them to reducing the damage he takes from each hit. all adjustments will be relative to that change. for healers, that means that the tank is less likely to die from a damage spike if you have to stop healing briefly to dodge a ground effect or power through a stun. In other words, you may find yourself in a situation where you only have time to cast a flash heal, and with this cahnge, the flash heal might actually keep him up. without this change, it most assuredly would not.
Last edited by lyd; 11-04-2009 at 10:42 AM.
No, I think you're right, Reev. I think this actually makes avoidance a more pleasant mechanic for people's sensibilities. If two hits will kill you, avoiding one is a 50% increase in your lifespan. If it takes 4 hits to kill you, avoiding one is a 25% increase in your lifespan. But no one likes miss, dodge, miss, dead. I think the effect will be easier to appreciate this way.
Taei, it is a bandaid but one to bridge them to their next step which is the reworking in the expansion. Rather than lamenting that they didn't get it spot-on right from the beginning (as no one does, ever), it'd be handy if people appreciated the fact that they're learning, yeah?
And really, this is giving the mobs expertise, a scad of it, but expertise none the less, as they're neglecting dodge. Diminishing returns is plenty, part of the reason for my post is pointing out that it is not a problem with how avoidance works, but how where we fall in the balance relates to the other mechanics.
if it was at all possible the healing game will become even more grounded it spam the hell out of the tank regardless of what is happening.
This change has more impact on your healers than the tank...tanks are going to change nothing...they are going to take more damage and there is nothing they can do about it. The responsibility, like usual, lands squarely on the shoulders of your healers making it even more spam reliant.
If it was not for the fact that I have to move out of fire a couple times a fight I could heal most fights blind folded.
Not sure why any tank are complaining about this...it is not really your problem.
I think it's helpful to make the illustration very, very simple.
We need to balance the challenge of the encounter on the tank taking a certain amount of damage, and the healers healing that damage.
Lets say the tank needs to take 5000 DPS after modifiers.
An average debuffed boss swings once every 2.4 seconds.
Lets look at a 24 second period, or 10 swings.
Lets assume most tanks have 60% avoidance right now, and 40% avoidance with Chill of the Throne.
At 60% avoidance, the tank will be hit 4 times every 24 seconds, for 30,000 damage a swing.
At 40% avoidance, the tank will be hit 6 times every 24 seconds, for 20,000 damage a swing.
If a tank is hit for 30,000, the healers can never stop spamming the tank, as the tank cannot survive two back to back hits.
If the tank is hit for 20,000, the tank can survive two back to back hits, and the healers can afford to make more tactical healing choices.
To me, that's the sound byte.
Do I continually use a short heal? Do I time slower, bigger heals? Can I stop healing the tank for a second to move out of the fire, heal a DPS, whatever.
The tank and the healers deal with the same amount of damage either way. That's how the encounter has to be designed. But the time in which they have to deal with that damage increases, giving the players enough time to make choices.
Now, add on another tier of gear (full 258). Wear some avoidance trinkets, more avoidance gems. 70% avoidance isn't out of the realm of possibility.
You're getting hit 3 times every 24 seconds. For 40,000 damage just to balance the encounter.
Sounds fun right? Much easier to balance the encounter and player abilities, around a steadier damage intake, which also allows for the players to make choices, rather than always having to be prepared for the rare tank gib, but often not being threatened.
would you mind sourcing this? I'm not worried that you're being disingenuous or anything, i'm just interested to read what he actually said. the change seems counter-intuitive if tanks are still going to be dying in 2 hits.According to GC tanks will still be in danger fo dieing to 2 hits
On an unrelated note, even if this went live, today, in ToTGC, you likely would see absolutely minimal difference in tank death from how encounters are designed and healed.
The sky is certainly not falling.
We're going to be undergeared. And the heroic modes are going to be hard.
And we're going to have fun cleaves and such on top of everything.
Tanks are still going to explode. ICC isn't designed to be easy.
But we're going to explode less than we would had they not made the change.