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Steve Davies



Tuesday, October 9th 2007, 8:30am

Massive Defense anyone?

Mal wieder ein netter Beitrag von Ensign zum tagtäglichen block, block, block

I see a lot of threads, here and elsewhere, talking about specific balance changes and I feel like most of those are the generic 'nerf what's popular, buff what isn't' haphazard balancing suggestions. I don't think people really understand what happened to really change the flavor of the game.

It all stems from Nightfall really. Nightfall made one really big change to the game - it made it much, much easier to kill people with a very palpable power creep. Elementalists went from being strictly blind bots to real damage threats; Mesmers stopped messing and just plain blew people up for a time. Midlines gained Paragons which punched people in the face; Rangers gained a means to do damage. Melee damage, particularly melee spike damage, skyrocketed between Dervishes and a ton of new fast melee attacks for compressing damage. Balance updates since then have toned back the caster damage somewhat, but the physical damage continues to go nowhere but up. Pre-Nightfall, your standard Eviscerate -> Executioner's spike dealt 150 damage plus a Deep Wound; your modern Executioners/Eviscerate/Agonizing Conjure Warrior spikes for over 260 damage plus a Deep Wound.

The net effect has been to change the priority of a build. While before a team had to carefully tailor an offense to find a way to score kills, now a team has to carefully tailor their defense to survive the onslaught of damage coming in, lest they blow up in 30 seconds or less.

Another part of the equation is how teams simply cannot afford to take damage anymore. As the amount of damage has continued to go up, Monks continue to have to try and keep pace with Heal Other, Dwayna's Kiss, and Gift of Health, which is a joke, there's no way those can even pretend to keep up. The old off-Monk Heal Party was obsolesced by strong self condition removal; the only skill that's even remotely efficient in the current environment is Light of Deliverance. Teams are hopelessly dependent upon that skill now to keep their bars up; just look at what happens to a team that has LoD Distracted. If their massive defensive web holds for the duration, things will look a little ugly but they recover; if the web was in bad shape, the team will probably wipe from losing LoD.

As boring as passive defense is you simply need a good amount of it to survive. Without a plethora of block and evade, physicals will simply rock your bars down and there isn't any way in the game to get them back up. It isn't that people necessarily want huge passive webs; if they weren't needed to survive, people would be eager to fit in stronger split tools or utility skills. But you really can't do so; teams that try and make strong split builds, or build for utility instead of overloading on physical shutdown find that when they inevitably do have to fight 8v8 they blow up over and over again.

Not to mention that the piles of block and passive physical defense are incredible against the even-larger archer mobs at VoD. A team with a full selection of passive physical defense can aggressively push into archer balls to wipe NPCs without fear; a team without all that defense blows up.

Any approach to dealing with passive defense cannot focus on exclusively on the defenses themselves. Key to getting out of this mess is rebalancing the 'red bars go down' and the 'red bars go up' aspects of the game; the ridiculous spike damage that physicals can put out needs to be toned down, and healing needs realistic alternatives to reduce dependence on LoD. Without doing that, nerfs to passive defenses will only require teams to pack even more of it into their builds to survive, while even further cementing overwhelming physical damage as the driving force of the metagame.

Und du beweisst hier auf sehr eindeutige Art, dass dir die Eier fehlen.