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01.22.2013 , 11:08 PM | #1
Finally got around to updating my tanking spreadsheet for the Nightmare EC damage numbers. These values were drawn from my combat log on our title run, which was essentially clean and mistake-free on all bosses. There are a couple things worth noting:
  • We use a different strat for Kephess on Nightmare mode than we do on Hard mode (don't we all?). As a result, the damage profile is a little weird since I take very, very little damage from the trenchcutters. However, this is balanced in the stochastic model by the fact that I take the rail shot from the pulsar droids. In terms of overall, post-mitigation DPS, my cotank and I take about the same amount of damage in nearly identical gear (same class and spec), so I think this is a fair model.
  • Due to the fact that we run two shadow tanks, I don't have updated damage values for Empowered Slash, the ability Kephess uses to apply the bleed. This is because we always have Resilience up at that moment, and so we take no damage. I do recall a few times early in our progression on this boss where I didn't have Resilience at the critical moment and was hit for around 15.5k. As this is almost exactly the Hard Mode damage value, I left it in.
  • Before anyone mentions it: this is a stochastic model. What that means is the numbers are averaged over the entire fight based on number of hits and specific fight length. This gives us DPS values over the full fight, but not within specific time windows. Kephess in particular highlights the weaknesses of this model, since his damage looks dramatically less formidable when time-averaged over the entire fight. A time-windowed model (likely based on phase) would be far more interesting, but also much more time consuming.
  • The Guardian and Vanguard tanks listed in the spreadsheet are for reference only. They have since unsubbed and thus have gear which is a full tier below my own. Thus, direct comparison between the current values is misleading, though some inferences can be drawn (guardians and shadows look insanely close in terms of net mitigation, while vanguards still seem significantly behind).

So, with all that in mind, here is the updated spreadsheet:

For those who want the summary version, here are the highlights… Nightmare Mode EC has nearly all of the same abilities as Hard Mode, with each boss gaining ~2 abilities, depending on boss. Each existing ability hits about 15% harder than the same ability in Hard Mode, with the exception of Kephess himself (final phase), where some of the abilities are more than 110% more damaging. Unfortunately, swing timers were also shortened by a significant amount (this is most noticeable on the tanks and on Kephess's first phase). Thus, the overall damage increase over hard mode is 82.87%. This matches community expectation that tanks (and healers!) need to be in essentially top-end gear in order to keep up with the DtPS.

The exact damage ratios (weapon/kinetic vs tech/kinetic vs tech/internal) are largely the same. The amount of internal damage went up slightly overall, largely due to the three added abilities on Toth and Zorn (which are all internal damage), the one added ability on Firebrand and Stormcaller (which is internal), and the increased damage on Kephess's bleed. This is good news, since it means that shadows aren't being obsoleted due to damage ratios. Yay!

The bad news is that the pre-mitigation damage has risen by such a significant amount. This was expected, but it has an unfortunate effect on the survivability contribution of the shadow and guardian self-heals. My fully min-maxed Dread Guard geared shadow tank lost almost exactly 4% of his overall survivability when I plugged in the new numbers. That sounds bad, but it actually brings things more into line with balance. An ideally-played shadow under previous top-tier content was *dramatically* more efficient to heal than an ideally-played guardian or vanguard, with the primary difference being in the self-heal. Bumping the numbers for Nightmare EC drops the survivability of the shadow significantly, as well as (to a lesser extent) the guardian, bringing the shadow and the guardian almost exactly into line, with the vanguard still trailing by a few percentage points.

The really bad news is that Nightmare EC is probably a sign of things to come, and that sign is not good for tanks reliant on flat mitigation measures like self-healing. If I limit damage ratios to just Nightmare EC, shadow survivability drops a whopping 10%, pushing vanguards to the top of the heap. This trend is only going to get worse as content starts hitting harder. Now is really the time when BioWare needs to adjust the way that the self-heal scales, because Nightmare TfB will be the last content for which it is balanced in its current state.

With that said, Nightmare KP is still the hardest-hitting op in terms of tank damage (by almost 10.4% over Nightmare EC), so maybe I'm worrying about nothing.
Computer Programmer. Theory Crafter. Dragonslayer on The Ebon Hawk.
Tam (shadow tank) Tov-ren (commando healer) Aveo (combat sentinel) Nimri (df scoundrel)
Averith (hybrid sniper) Alish (lightning sorcerer) Aresham (jugg tank) Effek (ap powertech)