Thursday, 22 April 2010

WAR Stats: Avoidance and Onions

I've been having a good 'ol think about combat and avoidance for some time now and have done some testing in-game. It's been a bit like an onion really. There are many layers to peel and it makes my eyes cry so I'll be breaking it down into a few parts.

In this part I'll be looking at some basics and testing a balanced Parry & Disrupt build. In part 2 I'll go all out and stack more avoidance and throw a big shield into the mix and see how that fares. I want to look at how avoidance works with Guard damage too. Once I'm done with testing I hope to offer some insights to the worth of avoidance vs. mitigation as there is much more to avoidance than just reducing overall damage, such as avoiding CC and damage spikes.

Basic Mechanic
Stats and Items give a character a percentage chance to avoid attacks.
Rok did an awesome job of posting the theory of combat in his post 'From Mace to Face'. Check it out for a more in-depth look at combat. I thank him for the loan of the equations :)

Weapon Skill gives a % chance to parry a melee attack. My modest 350 Weapon Skill gives me a base chance to parry of 7.4% on the character screen.

Similarily, Willpower offers a % chance to disrupt an attack from a Caster and Initative gives a % chance to Dodge ranged attacks.

Block gives a % chance to avoid any type of attack. A decent T4 purple shield with a block rating of 370 translates as a %Block value of 21.1% on my character screen.

However an attacker's offensive stat (Str, Int or BS) reduces the defender's chance to defend. A melee attack made with 1000 Strength will reduce my base chance to block from to 21.1% to 14.8% and my chance to parry will drop from 7.4% to 5.3%.

There are other bonuses in-game (Tactics, Items, Buffs) that influence the chance to attack and defend, e.g. +5% to Block or 5% reduced chance to be Evaded. 2-Handed weapons reduce chance to defend by 10%.

And very importantly Block and Parry are only useful when the attack is made to your front, a 180 degree arc I think.

Please TheoryHammer! Don't Hurt Us!
As you can see there is a lot going on with avoidance and a base chance to avoid on the character screen of 10% may or may not translate to that in combat. So on to some testing...

Through a combination of gear, tactics and renown points I got both my Parry and Disrupt to 18%. I ran with a 2-hander so my Block chance was 0%. I didn't use any abilities which provided a buff to these stats.

I specifically chose Parry and Disrupt to test as Parry is only effective against Melee attacks and Disrupt is only effective against Casters. The two can be kept seperate. Also, as Parry is positional and only defends against attacks from the front and Disrupt defends from all directions I can get an idea how much Parry I lose out on by getting attacked from behind. I must add that the current situtation in-game will dictate my positioning rather than trying to keep my attackers in front of me all the time. If I need to move to defend an ally in some way then I usually will even if that means exposing my back (not to a witch Elf though!!).

Results with 18% Parry and 18% Disrupt
  • I was attacked 1260 times by Casters and Disrupted 85 times. 6.7% Disrupt Rate.
  • I was attacked 1478 times by Melee and Parried 81 times. 5.5% Parry Rate.
Furthermore from Initative I had about an 8% chance to Dodge. I was hit by a Squig Herder 123 times and didn't Dodge any of them!! 0% Dodge Rate.

This is really pretty depressing at first glance. It appears that approx. 10-12% of your avoidance is wiped off your base stat straight away by your atatcker's offensive stats and gear.

I have had a go at working out the amount of potential damage I avoided. I would appreciate some comments on this comparison as it's not an easy one.

Looking just at the Sorcerer for starters, those bastards hit me 407 times and I disrupted 26 hits (6.4% avoidance). I can see which individual abilities I avoided so can make a good estimate of the damage those 26 Disrupts saved me from. Sorcs did 154,352 damage to me overall and I estimate that I avoided an extra 13,826. That's an overall damage reduction of 8% or 34 dmg per hit. If I've got this right I would need ~170 extra Toughness (34*5)to get the same overall reduction in damage, which is quite a bit actually. 34 renown points buys you 102 Toughness. A tactic slot all Tanks get called Rugged gives 160 toughness.

With the Sorc being a high DPS class I also took a look at the damage I avoided from wimpy Tanks. I was hit by Tanks 675 times and parried 38 hits (5.6%) avoiding an estimated 4067 damage, a reduction in damage of 5% or 6 Dmg per Hit. This is equivalent to the overall damage reduction I would gain from an extra 30 Toughness.

A common perception in Warhammer is that avoidance is worthless in PvP as your chance to avoid an attack gets reduced far too much by your attacker's setup. I've demonstrated this is true to an extent with my both my Parry and Disrupt rates getting reduced from 18% to ~6%. But by comparing the potential damage avoided against a Sorc and against Tanks it suggests the benefit of avoiding an attack get proportionally better the higher the damage of the attack. This is a bit like in PvE when Tuten McBosspants is hitting you for 8000 per hit - it's better to avoid that hit entirely than just mitigate it down to 7500 or something.

I'm starting to think now that avoidance might be the best path for me. In my other WAR Stats posts I've shown that it's the high damage attacks from the likes of Sorcs and Witch Elves that do me the most harm, and I know from experience it's getting big hits in quick succession that gets me killed in a hurry. Having a chance to avoid these big hits rather just soak them up sound good to me. Plus there's the intangilble benefit of avoiding some CC or a nasty armour debuff.

Quite a bit to chew on. I hope this has not made your eyes water and makes some sense. Next up I'm going to try and stack even more Disrupt and see if the extra X% that I stack on top of the 18% I've tested here translates to an extra as X% in-game.



  1. Thanks for this My SM is about to hit r40 and ive noticed i get killed by casters more often then any other class and I look forward to hearing your solutions.

  2. I'd look mostly at dropping your chance to be crit for Sorcs honestly. Sorcs get a much larger than normal damage bonus on crit due to their mechanic. Initiative is your friend on them. Also, Lingering Intimidation is awesome for this.

    I look forward to seeing the increasing disrupt results though.

  3. Thanks the comments guys.

    @Mike - I will post some overall solutions one day soon. You should check out Ted Hanson's blog too though - he has a bunch of articles on the SM on his blog Taralther Talks (on my WAR Blog list).

    @Ted - Yes, Crits are a killer too. I have ben looking at them and they will be the topic of a future post.

  4. That's a rather sobering result, to say the least, more so since other than avoidance there's no defensive stats worth stacking. In fact, they probably want to force you to carry a shield for real avoidance, due to block not being reduced but by fighting opponents using 2H's unless I'm mistaken.

    That pretty much defies what the SM stands for, though he'll admittedly tank better going Sword and Board with the new RvR choices.

    Going by your results I assume that a soft capped main stat causes an effective avoidance loss of 10 - 15% flat, which seems far to much, personally. We could try and ask Keedo about it, I'm sure he knows, and/or has a better idea how the backend to those calculations word.

    Ultimately however anything but Block seems utterly useless and Block is so easy stack by merely equipping a shield with nothing else (30+% isn't a rarity). Rather lame if you ask me.

    As far as initiative goes against Sorcs, don't even bother. Any decent sorc will have 50 - 80% base crit with full DM, making your own chance to be crit rather minor if not completely obsolete.