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Underwhelmed with Shadow Tanking post 2.0


Farstrider

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I will be brief,

 

My experiences since 2.0 has gone live seems to have highlighted a weakness inherent in the Shadow defensive tree.

 

It just seems weak, compared to other tanking classes. I have run numerous instances as DPS and noted similar group setups with worse geared Vanguards and Guardians who more easily tank both trash and boss fights.

 

I am geared in full MK2 Black Market Duelist armour with the Makeb Survivor Saberstaff, my mitigation sits around 30% and my defense 23% with Shield Chance (buffed) at 41% and absorb at 31%.

 

Now I get ripped to pieces by trash pulls and struggle with some boss fights, its not a rotatation or skill issilue, I am very familiar with the way the class and spec works. I feel like I NEED to augment my gear to improve the way this plays.

 

Its all very frustrating.. As DPS with similar gear I know my output is very very high end. Tanking does not feel the same - I even respecced a few times and requipped all gear and buffs. I was convinced something was bugged....

 

Anyone else feel the same way or experiencing a similar problems?

 

:)

Edited by Farstrider
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I am geared in full MK2 Black Market Duelist armour with the Makeb Survivor Saberstaff, my mitigation sits around 30% and my defense 23% with Shield Chance (buffed) at 41% and absorb at 31%.

 

If you're using raw Duelist gear instead of swapping out mods and enhs, you've got multiple pieces with itemization wasted on Accuracy and Alacrity. That, right there, is going to increase your damage taken.

 

Anyone else feel the same way or experiencing a similar problems?

 

The problem isn't with the mitigation on Shadow tanks. Mitigation (not DR but actual *mitigation*, as in, how much damage you actually take) can easily be determined with simple math (since it's all simple math for incoming attacks, etc.), and it shows that Shadows are *still* the mitigation kings amongst all tanks, assuming you actually gear for mitigation rather than wasting your itemization. This is because, unlike Guardians and Vanguards, Shadows are more reliant on mitigation stats than raw item-level (because we've got low armor and high Def/Shield/Abs). As such, comparing a properly itemized Shadow to a properly itemized Guard/VG, the Shadow will require less outside healing.

 

Now, what you're likely experiencing isn't a problem with the amount of damage that a Shadow ends up taking but the rate at which it comes in. In other words, the spikiness of a Shadow. Shadows *are* absurdly spiky compared to Guardians and VGs, especially since Guardians got their spikiness reduced such that they're pretty much tied with VGs (who have always had the smoothest incoming damage curve). So, whereas pre-2.0, Shadows had a less stark difference in their incoming damage curve because Guardians were slightly better and VGs were substantially better so there it was a slide between the tanks, in 2.0, the difference is a lot more noticeable since Guardians and VGs exist on one level of spikiness and Shadows exist on a completely different level.

 

When a Shadow gets unlucky (re: several attacks in a row or during a single alpha strike aren't mitigated by a successful Defense or Shield roll), the incoming damage seems to be excessively high. Of course, when a Shadow gets lucky (re: you get a nice long chain of mitigated attacks) it seems like the Shadow is barely taking any damage. It's because of this difference in incoming damage rates that it often *feels* like Shadows take an absurd amount of damage compared to other tanks. The human brain sucks at actually determining averages; it's only good at getting a general expectation and determining deviations from that expectation. When things go well, you don't notice it because it's largely the same as when your healer is doing a good job. When things go *bad*, on the other hand, you notice it because your hp suddenly plummets. You then compare these recalled experiences to those of the other tanks and see that yours has episodes of terrible performance whereas the other tanks don't (because Shadows have a *spiky* incoming damage curve and the other tanks have very *smooth* incoming damage curves). You then conclude, from this, that Shadows have terrible mitigation compared to the other tanks, which isn't actually true. The *real* difference is in the incoming damage curve.

 

Of course, it's not like I'm saying that everything is copacetic. The vast gulf between the smoothness of the Shadow incoming damage curve and the Guardian/VG incoming damage curve is *definitely* something that needs to be addressed, if only because *everyone* notices it so it's just some mathematical oddity. It's a large enough difference that it has a substantial impact upon play: for trash packs, Shadows have to use their CDs in order to smooth out the damage curve when, honestly, the incoming damage is low enough that a healer, on average, should be able to get through it without incident; the other tanks have no such requirement to use CDs during non-intense damage scenarios. *Something* needs to be done to ameliorate the problems that Shadows outside of top tier gear have (once you're in properly itemized 69/72s with 4 pc set bonus, it's something that isn't really a major concern), but I'm really not sure what could be done (my only real idea is changing Kinetic Bulwark to increase DR rather than Absorb, but that doesn't really solve the burst damage problem because spikiness occurs when you *don't* manage to Shield a string of attacks).

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ISomething* needs to be done to ameliorate the problems that Shadows outside of top tier gear have (once you're in properly itemized 69/72s with 4 pc set bonus, it's something that isn't really a major concern), but I'm really not sure what could be done (my only real idea is changing Kinetic Bulwark to increase DR rather than Absorb, but that doesn't really solve the burst damage problem because spikiness occurs when you *don't* manage to Shield a string of attacks).

 

Knights starts with medium armour and move up to heavy when they become guardians. Consulars should start with light armour and move up to medium when becoming shadows. I play a dedicated healer and the damage spike is definitely the biggest problem I have in groups tanked by a shadow/assassin. For this type of tank only, I pretty much have to add bubble and ticking heals before many fights even start because I know the trash mobs will eat away 70% of their HP in seconds. An armour upgrade might go a long way toward making shadows and assassins less squishy.

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Knights starts with medium armour and move up to heavy when they become guardians. Consulars should start with light armour and move up to medium when becoming shadows.

 

That's not even remotely close to true. Shadows don't get any armor bonus upon taking their class, and Combat Technique actually provides substantially *more* armor than medium armor gets. The difference in tank mitigation between Guardians and VGs exists because the VG and Guard tank stances explicitly add flat DR% (Guards get 5% and VGs get 4%) *in addition to the armor increase*. Shadows only get the armor.

 

An armour upgrade might go a long way toward making shadows and assassins less squishy.

 

The problem with something like this is that, in order for Shadow tanks to get balanced out for total mitigation, we'd need to have everything else reexamined. The only reason we're allowed to have the incredible Def/Shield/Abs that we get (which is more than Guardians *or* VGs get in any category, I believe) is because we've got utterly pitiful armor. Of course, this is *also* the reason that we have disgustingly spiky incoming damage.

 

*Something* really does need to be done in some way, but I'm not really sure what I'd be willing to sacrifice to make up for it. The massive slew of different mitigation mechanisms is one of the things like about Shadows. Even turning them into a partial mitigation tank would kind of steal our thunder. Maybe if there were something done to allow redundant healing from TkT and CT to turn into an absorb shield, it would allow us to bolster our HP in preparation for the inevitable spikes when we get a lucky streak. It wouldn't affect our overall mitigation since the self healing is already factored in, but it would definitely allow us to smooth out the damage a bit by making sure that TkT and CT's healing is never wasted.

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That's not even remotely close to true. Shadows don't get any armor bonus upon taking their class

 

I know. I actually said they SHOULD get a bonus...

 

 

The problem with something like this is that, in order for Shadow tanks to get balanced out for total mitigation, we'd need to have everything else reexamined.

 

This is only true if the class if currently balanced to satisfaction. It isn't, so giving it a boost would only be a move toward balancing, yes? Speaking from a healer's perspective again, I feel way more comfortable with a guardian or a vanguard than I do with a shadow. Giving shadows medium armour on top of the damage mitigation stuff would probably only move shadows into that comfort zone that other tanks enjoy. If it turned out to be too powerful in one patch, they could always nerf it again in the next. Nothing is permanent in an MMO.

Edited by HaoZhao
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This is only true if the class if currently balanced to satisfaction. It isn't, so giving it a boost would only be a move toward balancing, yes?

 

You're confusing 2 separate aspects of tanking. The first is total mitigation, best described by the amount of external healing required to keep a target alive. The second is the rate and normalcy of incoming damage, often referred to as spikiness. You're confusing the second (spikiness) with the first (mitigation). Shadows, right now, have the outright *best* mitigation: to keep a Shadow alive, over time, less healing is required than for a VG tank or a Guard tank. That's just math. Increasing their damage reduction without reducing *something else* would increase their mitigation even more, such that Shadows would have a stable incoming damage profile (at least *somewhat* stable compared to the current state) and disturbingly amazing total mitigation. In short, unless something was removed, they would be massively overpowered and overcompensating is just as bad (if not outright *worse*) than leaving it be.

 

Now, the *reason* why Shadows have amazing mitigation but terrible spikiness is because, unlike the other tanks that rely on large amounts of flat damage reduction, Shadows have rely almost exclusively on chance based mitigation mechanisms. It would be like having a 95% chance to ignore all damage compared to simply 90% damage reduction: over time, you'll take *way* less damage than the damage reduction, but, when it *does* fail, it ends up failing spectacularly and dropping you like a rock. What Shadows need, rather than an arbitrary increase to their mitigation through a poorly thought out revision to our gear (what you're talking about would equate to an 8% increase to DR outright with no change in any *other mitigation*; it would accomplish the goal of normalizing incoming damage a bit but would screw up *absolutely everything else*) is a shuffling of our mitigation mechanisms away from an almost complete reliance on variable mitigation mechanisms in exchange for some *reliable* mitigation mechanisms.

 

If it turned out to be too powerful in one patch, they could always nerf it again in the next. Nothing is permanent in an MMO.

 

That is an absolutely *terrible* mantra to operate off of. Testing out mechanics in the field isn't a good way to keep your players. Buffing a class one patch in order to nerf them down again when it turns out the buff was too strong creates major variations that just end up pissing players off. It's better to underestimate the improvements and tweak them upwards afterwards. If something gets too strong, it'll get cries of hate from everyone *except* for the class playing it until it's brought down. If it's too weak, it'll only get cries from the people actually playing it, which they're already doing, only they're liable to do it less now that it's gotten improved to *some* extent. It's damage control: big changes cause big problems.

 

It's even worse when you realize that what you're recommending would involve massive changes in the gear itself: there isn't any medium WP armor in game atm and *all* of that would need to be changed to make up for it. What you're recommending isn't just changing numbers. It would involve a massive amount of revising the databases.

 

Changing armor types isn't an intelligent nor is it even a remotely *viable* solution (especially since you're talking about revising *every* Shadow's survivability profile, which would necessitate reevaluating even DPS Shadow survivability). It would involve *way* too much work and pretty much break every other imaginable thing about Shadows.

 

I'm pretty sure that any revision to all Shadows or even stuff *available* to all Shadow specs will be denied outright. I'm confident that most of the reason Shadow tanks are in the state we're currently in is because of all of the tank spec hybrids that ran around PvP for the last year and a half (high mitigation from CT inflating armor and excellent damage from DPS gearing and KC's excellent low tier damage talents): the developers felt that they need to tamp down on it, so they reduced our flat DR so that the *only* way to achieve survivability as a Shadow was through tank stats. So, in all likelihood, anything that would be available to anything but a pure KC build is probably off limits for that reason alone.

 

This probably means that if we're going to get any kind of change, the buff will be in the form of flat DR in tier 5-8 (having Slow Time or TkT provide some amount when used) with a commensurate reduction in chance based mitigation in the lower tiers (which is going to be a hard sell since most Shadows are pretty attached to stuff like Kinetic Ward, Kinetic Bulwark, DBSD, and Shadowsight). It's not a simple fix, which is most of the problem: it's not hard to identify the problem (Shadows rely *way* too much on chance based mitigation), but it's damned hard to find a decent solution considering how attached Shadows are *to* said chance based mitigation.

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a shield from TKT that reduces damage taken from unshielded attacks wouldn't make the best case Scenario much better but help with the worst case scenario

as an alternative all overheal could add to said shield

 

then there's the possibility to give the Force-wielder Armouring more Endurance and less Willpower then the endurance heavy Armouring of other Classes have

but for that Kitru (and if we look at the poor itemization we've got, resolve Armouring with tank stats in the FP drops/ Force-wielder Armouring in the pieces with DD/heal Stats, all the sages and our fellow Shadows who have had the misfortune to play DD :p are going to kill me.

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a shield from TKT that reduces damage taken from unshielded attacks wouldn't make the best case Scenario much better but help with the worst case scenario

as an alternative all overheal could add to said shield

 

This is what I think the best option would be since it would definitely require the least screwery with the rest of our survivability, but there are 2 problems with it: I'm not sure about the mechanical feasibility of it (as in, can the game differentiate between overheal and heal on the fly to change the effect from a heal to a buff?), and I'm still not sure about how useful it might be. It takes about 9 seconds to get into your first HSx3 TkT from scratch, so, for the alpha strikes that are the bane of a Shadow's existence, it wouldn't really do anything unless you've had time to warm up. Of course, alpha strikes are only really a problem in FPs and those problems are slowly starting to vanish as Shadows start getting geared up, but still.

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It is pretty obvious in some fights that the extra 20% DR that Vanguards and Guardians have can make all the difference in the world.

 

Sunder for example, The End ability will hit me for 40k ish, if I don't have a CD to use against, but a similar geared Vanguard takes about 30k without using a CD, which makes it survivable for them, but not for me. I'm in full Elite tier gear, with only mitigation stats (though not optimized).

 

We're more than capable of tanking all of the content, but our reliance on luck can make us both better and worse than the other tanks. Something that can be difficult to deal with, as it is largely out of our hands and a lot of other players don't understand or like that.

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Another issue with a charging shield buff for overheals is boss swap mechanics. The first encounter that comes to mind is TfB phase 2. Half the phase I'm building up a defensive shield. And I spend a lot of time functioning as OT, if I spend the very much time on the boss before picking up spawning adds, I've got a fairly hefty shield built up. I like the idea of the shield buff, but I think it ends up being OP if you're smart about the circumstances you put yourself in and would end up being too powerful in comparison to other tanks' mitigation.
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Another issue with a charging shield buff for overheals is boss swap mechanics.

 

That's why you would cap it off at a max value. My own personal recommendation would be 15% of max hp: you would start off with *something* in OT situations, but it would only really be enough to provide you a cushion against those big hits that penetrate your defenses.

 

Something that I think might also be of interest would be the solution that was applied to Super Reflexes in City of Heroes. The powerset relied *entirely* upon Defense chance. It was highly effective except in situations where you just got unlucky and dropped like a stone. In situations where a lot of attacks were thrown at you at once (i.e. alpha strikes), you would either escape unscathed or die without ever really accomplishing anything. The solution that made life drastically easier was the implementation of a sliding scale of damage reduction ranging from 0-40% depending upon your current hp, so that, at 100% hp, you had no additional DR whereas, at sub-10%, you got 40% mitigation. The problem, of course, is that it solves the problem Shadows have with multi-enemy alpha strikes, but it doesn't really do anything for those massive hits that are dropping Shadows in ops atm.

 

I still think the best solution would be the self heal into absorb shield: if it's capped at 15%, at 35k hp, it would provide you with an extra 5k cushion to soak those massive hits. If it's attached to self-overhealing, it won't impact the actual mitigation calculations since it's already factored in fully and 5k is more than enough to cover you against the single big hits. Of course, all of this is still predicated upon you bringing yourself *above* max hp. Sometimes that just doesn't happen because you're routinely nickled and dimed down right before the big attack.

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