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Regional FlagWhy Block Capping is BadSource
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Zarko
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#1 - 2011/06/21 12:05:00 AM
So, one of the things that came up in the thread Zarhym posted in was that they don't see block capping for paladins as something that is problematic. I disagree, and most of my argument can be summed up in around two words: because deathknights.

For the longer explanation, let's look at history. Way back in the way back, there used to be a boss mechanic called "Crushing Blows." The gist of this mechanic was that you had a 15% chance to be hit for 150% damage by a boss. Ouch! However, two of the three existing tank classes had ways to remove or reduce the likelihood of those crushing blows. Paladins had the original Holy Shield, and Warriors had the original Shield Block. The third tank, Druids, were compensated with extra high health and armor, so that while they took additional damage from time to time, they took less damage on each individual hit, and since they had more health, you had more time to react to spiky crushing blows. Tanking worked, by and large. There were a lot of problems with design, but most of those revolved around fights that were designed only to be tanked by a specific class. Avoidance was also too powerful.

Moving on to Wrath, they got rid of Crushing Blows. They felt too random. That led to the Naxxramas problem--the tanks never died. In turn, that took us to the Ulduar model, which was used for most of Wrath--high damage on a short cooldown to threaten tanks.

The problem with block capping is that it brings back crushing blows. Paladins take 70% reduced damage--or expressed differently, everyone else takes attacks that hit for 143% damage. Now, to be honest, this isn't that big of an issue necessarily for Warriors and Druids. Warriors will be unhittable 1/3 of the time, and with trinket procs and mastery gains, probably net out somewhere around 5% hittable. Similarly, druids aren't terribly problematic because they have higher avoidance and higher base armor--they only take swings that hit for 82% of the other tanks damage anyways.

The problem comes down to Deathknights. If you make it so that you have a comparison between a DK and a Paladin, the DK will take more damage, more spike damage, less predictable damage and is compensated through a reactive healing mechanic. That isn't fun.

The problem with block capping is that if we were to have a boss hit a paladin for 50K, that same boss hits a DK for 74K. All of a sudden, three hits in a row on a DK adds up to 222K, while it only comes to 150K for the paladin. Block capping means that "spikes" mean something different to a paladin than a DK (and to a lesser extent a warrior). A DK in three shot territory is a paladin in 4 or 5 shot territory. That's a problem for game design.

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Community Manager
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#83 - 2011/06/22 07:20:00 PM


The problem with block capping is that if we were to have a boss hit a paladin for 50K, that same boss hits a DK for 74K. All of a sudden, three hits in a row on a DK adds up to 222K, while it only comes to 150K for the paladin. Block capping means that "spikes" mean something different to a paladin than a DK (and to a lesser extent a warrior). A DK in three shot territory is a paladin in 4 or 5 shot territory. That's a problem for game design.


This scenario assumes that the tank is getting no heals, and/or is doing no self-healing. A tank facing off against a boss that is hitting for 50-74K per hit is at a huge disadvantage if no healer is participating, or the tank fails to self-heal.

That's not a game design problem at all.

The entire DK tanking model is predicated on taking more damage, but having roughly the same survivability as other tanking classes.

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Community Manager
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#118 - 2011/06/22 08:19:00 PM
06/22/2011 12:35 PMPosted by Prinzesa
This scenario assumes that the tank is getting no heals, and/or is doing no self-healing.

And well it should: If the Paladin is in 5-shot territory, then it becomes very difficult to kill him. If you increase boss damage to the point where the Paladin is in 2/3-shot territory, then you're going to kill the DK before he can be healed or heal himself.


Cataclysm bosses aren't designed to work that way. A moderately-geared tank should not be in grave danger from Cho'gall producing 40K melee swings. The danger comes when Cho'gall uses Flaming Destruction for 80K while hitting with a melee swing. In that situation, the paladin block doesn't help against the magical damage, but the DK's tools actually can help him survive. And for either the paladin or the DK, stipulating low incoming heals is a bit unrealistic.

I'm not saying that -- hypothetically -- we couldn't implement a fight with this exact problem. These concerns are reasonable; it happened in encounters in Wrath of the Lich King. But we aren't designing boss encounters like that today, because the experience of tanks suddenly and unexpectedly dying isn't fun.

Note: Flaming Destruction should be expected, and not terribly sudden.

But the only way healers can compensate for sudden, unexpected spikes in damage is to spam heals without stopping. Besides the "not fun" aspect, we aren't designing fights that way because it would negate the entire mana game we're trying to create.

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Community Manager
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#198 - 2011/06/23 01:17:00 AM
In my humble experience, a tank and team that is routinely being hit for 70-100K on Heroic Cho’gall 25 could be better-managing the Worship mechanic. Even so, it is still survivable.

Sinestra 25 can melee for 80-90K, but does so during the phase where your healers also have excess mana and haste. That is partially in order to deal with those big hits. She is also intended to be the hardest fight in the game. Some players will no doubt feel that Cho’gall or Al’Akir are more difficult, but the intent in this tier was for Sinestra to be hardest. She can (potentially) three shot a tank without healing.

DKs tank Sinestra successfully all the time, and future bosses are unlikely to hit proportionately harder than Sinestra (given that your stats are going to go up with future gear). DKs will probably tank future bosses quite well.

Many of the other big hits experienced on other bosses are intended to be scary (but predictable) moments when tanks or healers can pop their cooldowns. Again, it’s theoretically possible to make a boss that is really hard for DKs to tank, but we haven’t made any in Cataclysm so far. It is reasonable to worry about future scaling, but that's a concern that depends on encounter mechanics. We're very focused on encounter mechanics.