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Understanding the Defense and Shield Mechanics for Tanks in PVP

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Classes
Understanding the Defense and Shield Mechanics for Tanks in PVP

taugrimtaugrim's Avatar


taugrimtaugrim
01.21.2012 , 12:43 AM | #1
http://taugrim.com/2012/01/19/unders...-tanks-in-pvp/

Copy of the article in full below.

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This article describes the Defense and Shield mechanics for SWTOR and their implications for tanks in PVP.

Defense is the Avoidance mechanic and Shield is one of the Mitigation mechanics. In this article I use the terms “defense” and “avoidance” interchangeably.

Avoidance and Mitigation in SWTOR

To quickly define terms:
  • Avoidance: not being hit
  • Mitigation: reducing damage taken when hit
There are 3 categories of Avoidance as captured in the Defence Chance tooltip:
  • Melee Dodge: base of 5%, boosted by Defense Rating, talents, and buffs
  • Ranged Dodge: base of 5%, boosted by Defense Rating, talents, and buffs
  • Resistance: base of 0%, boosted by talents and buffs. This is against “spells” (Force and Tech attacks)
Mitigation comes from multiple sources:
  • Expertise: stat that provides mitigation against all damage types
  • Armor: mitigation against 2 of the 4 damage types: Energy and Kinetic. Keep in mind that for attacks that deal “weapon damage”, to understand whether Armor factors in, you have to check the damage type of the weapon itself. E.g. blasters and rifles deal Energy damage
  • Talents that provide flat damage reduction
  • Shield Chance / Shield Absorption: provided when you have a Shield offhand equipped and successfully Shield an attack that hit. The amount of damage mitigated (absorbed) is based on the offhand (e.g. 20%), your Absorption Rating, and talents in the tanking tree. SWTOR’s Shield functions similarly to WoW’s Block mechanic. The main difference is that in SWTOR you don’t have to keep oppponents in your frontal facing to Shield
  • “Bubbles“: mitigation against all damage types
The 2-Roll System

SWTOR leverages a 2-roll system for determining the outcome of an opponent’s attack as explained by BioWare’s Georg Zoeller (references: 1 2), bold emphasis mine:

Quote:
First is a hit roll, accuracy versus defense, and if the attacker misses then no damage occurs. If the attacker rolled poorly enough to miss even discounting the target’s defense then a “Miss” result occurs. If he misses because of the defense then the result varies based on the attack type, the cover state of the target, and the target’s equipped weapons. All the possible results – Dodge, Parry, Deflect, Resist, Cover – are mathematically the same, but they can trigger different effects and are visualized in different ways.

If the attacker hits, then a second roll is made with the crit chance of the attacker versus the shield chance of the target. If a Crit or a Shield occurs then the damage is adjusted up or down (based on Surge/Absorb), and then it goes through to the armor and damage resistance. A critical can never be shielded, and an attacker with a high enough crit chance can push the target’s shield chance off the table. It shouldn’t be possible to get your passive crit chance high enough to start pushing off the target’s shield chance, but there are short-duration buffs that push these chances high enough to come into conflict.
Which Attack Types are Defensible and Shieldable

There are 4 attack types: Force, Melee, Ranged, and Tech.

The attack types should not be confused with the 4 damage types: Elemental, Energy, Internal, and Kinetic.

Melee and Ranged attacks are Defensible and Shieldable, whereas Force and Tech attacks are not. This is consistent with other games such as WoW and RIFT, where “spell” attacks are not dodgeable / parryable and not blockable.

Implications for Tanks in PVP

A critical consideration for SWTOR is that all classes have either Force or Tech attacks. You can see the attack type by looking at the Abilities tab for a given character and looking at the right-hand column. Therefore, an implication is that you may not get as much mileage out of your Defense and Shield-related talents as you might expect. E.g.
  • Stun-based abilities across all Advanced Classes are classified as either Force or Tech attacks, so the target’s defensive capability doesn’t come into play
  • I play Bounty Hunter and Trooper and most of my key abilities are classified as Tech
Keep in mind per Georg’s post that the attacker’s Crit Chance can push Shield Chance off the table. There are a lot of buffs (e.g. talent-based, from Relic, etc) that boost Crit Chance, and the implication is that when you most need to Shield heavy incoming damage, your Shield Chance may be reduced significantly or completely. Given that, and the fact that Shield Chance is calculated after the hit roll, Shield Chance is not a strong mechanic in PVP.

Another implication is that the talents for boosting mitigation may be stronger than we might have expected. In particular, this explains why in my experience Guardians and Juggernauts tanks take the longest time-to-kill: they have multiple bubble mechanics in their tank tree, including Invincible (Warding Call) and Sonic Barrier (Blade Barrier), and these excellent abilities provide mitigation against all damage types.

I shared some of the thoughts in this article on a thread for my Guide to Powertech Mechanics and PVP a week ago, and some 50 Powertechs including chainsawsamurai tested and confirmed that the Avoidance and Shield-related talents do not work against Force and Tech attacks.

When I run as a tank-spec’d Vanguard, I will likely use a DPS PVP set based on the game mechanics and avoid (no pun intended) the talents related to Melee Defense, Ranged Defense, and Shield Chance, unless they provide some additional benefit (e.g. the Ammo-regen effect from Shield Cycler).

This is not to say that you shouldn’t take the talents and tank PVP gear. If you want to max out your survivability, invest in them. It’s just important to understand what benefit you get out of them and the mechanics.

Acknowledgements

Huge thanks to Kjollborn, who helped me to realize that the attack type not the damage type is what is factored into Melee Defense, Ranged Defense, and Shield Chance.

Thanks to Lightweight, a 50 Combat Medic Commando in my guild, for helping me with testing.
Taugrim
PVP Maven, Guide Writer, Host on GAMEBREAKER's The Republic show
@taugrim | taugrim.com
Guides: Resolve | Powertech/Vanguard PVP | Defense/Shielding | Bolster

CygnisJunior's Avatar


CygnisJunior
01.22.2012 , 02:55 AM | #2
Thaanks a lot! This was an incredibly helpful guide!

taugrimtaugrim's Avatar


taugrimtaugrim
01.22.2012 , 03:21 AM | #3
Quote: Originally Posted by Ticklemeweiner View Post
Thaanks a lot! This was an incredibly helpful guide!
You're welcome!

There are many misconceptions about how Defense and especially how Shield works, so hopefully what I wrote will clear things up for players who spec tank in PVP.
Taugrim
PVP Maven, Guide Writer, Host on GAMEBREAKER's The Republic show
@taugrim | taugrim.com
Guides: Resolve | Powertech/Vanguard PVP | Defense/Shielding | Bolster

Melchiora's Avatar


Melchiora
01.22.2012 , 03:38 AM | #4
As a note, the benefit against other classes/specs will vary heavily.

For example, a marksmanship sniper does almost entirely weapon damage, which is defensible, shieldable, and mitigated by armor.

Engineering uses a few more tech options, which often do kinetic (not defensable, not shieldable, but yes affected by armor).

The third spec gains various internal damage attacks, which is not affected by armor, as well as not affected by defense chance or shield.

To say that all classes have force/tech is a misnomer, because it doesn't recognize what that spec actually uses.

CygnisJunior's Avatar


CygnisJunior
01.22.2012 , 05:03 PM | #5
Quote: Originally Posted by taugrimtaugrim View Post
You're welcome!

There are many misconceptions about how Defense and especially how Shield works, so hopefully what I wrote will clear things up for players who spec tank in PVP.
It certainly did, especially since I was terribly confused about the different attack/damage types.

Its unfortunate that shields/defense proc on so few things in pvp...I looked through my abilities last night and realized that only hammer shot and HIP would be affected by someone else's shields (and full auto, but I never use that). It probably is best to just wear dps gear!

This guide also showed me that accuracy isn't nearly as helpful as I thought it would be, since only hammer shot and HIP are affected, as Tech abilities are all 100% accuracy already.

Very useful post indeed.

taugrimtaugrim's Avatar


taugrimtaugrim
01.22.2012 , 05:10 PM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by Melchiora View Post
As a note, the benefit against other classes/specs will vary heavily.

For example, a marksmanship sniper does almost entirely weapon damage, which is defensible, shieldable, and mitigated by armor.
Almost.

You are confusing damage type with attack type. MM Sniper has Ranged attacks, which are Defensible and Shieldable.

As I wrote in the article, damage type is not what's used for Defense and Shield rolls, attack type is.

Quote: Originally Posted by Melchiora View Post
To say that all classes have force/tech is a misnomer, because it doesn't recognize what that spec actually uses.
Incorrect.

Name a class that doesn't have Force or Tech abilities....you can't.

That being said, what you wrote previously is true though - some classes such as Sniper / GS will feel the impact of Defense and Shield on their target moreso than other DPS classes.
Taugrim
PVP Maven, Guide Writer, Host on GAMEBREAKER's The Republic show
@taugrim | taugrim.com
Guides: Resolve | Powertech/Vanguard PVP | Defense/Shielding | Bolster

Cronhour's Avatar


Cronhour
01.23.2012 , 03:47 AM | #7
Quote: Originally Posted by taugrimtaugrim View Post
Almost.

You are confusing damage type with attack type. MM Sniper has Ranged attacks, which are Defensible and Shieldable.

As I wrote in the article, damage type is not what's used for Defense and Shield rolls, attack type is.



Incorrect.

Name a class that doesn't have Force or Tech abilities....you can't.

That being said, what you wrote previously is true though - some classes such as Sniper / GS will feel the impact of Defense and Shield on their target moreso than other DPS classes.
It would seem you misunderstood his point, which was that some classes while having force or tech attacks don't use them during pvp.

Then the last two lines would suggest that you cottoned on to his reasoning, as a result your post confuses me.

taugrimtaugrim's Avatar


taugrimtaugrim
01.23.2012 , 11:32 AM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by Cronhour View Post
some classes while having force or tech attacks don't use them during pvp.
Why wouldn't a class that has Force or Tech abilities use them in PVP?

Quote: Originally Posted by Cronhour View Post
Then the last two lines would suggest that you cottoned on to his reasoning, as a result your post confuses me.
I clarified his statement that seemed to be confusing attack type with damage type.

But his point that some classes (e.g. GS/Sniper) are more impacted than others due to how Defense and Shield Mechanics work is valid.
Taugrim
PVP Maven, Guide Writer, Host on GAMEBREAKER's The Republic show
@taugrim | taugrim.com
Guides: Resolve | Powertech/Vanguard PVP | Defense/Shielding | Bolster

Vesperr's Avatar


Vesperr
01.24.2012 , 04:04 PM | #9
Quote:
If the attacker hits, then a second roll is made with the crit chance of the attacker versus the shield chance of the target. If a Crit or a Shield occurs then the damage is adjusted up or down (based on Surge/Absorb), and then it goes through to the armor and damage resistance. A critical can never be shielded, and an attacker with a high enough crit chance can push the target’s shield chance off the table. It shouldn’t be possible to get your passive crit chance high enough to start pushing off the target’s shield chance, but there are short-duration buffs that push these chances high enough to come into conflict.
But does that mean that if I get (theoretically) 70% shield chance (as a tankasin), can I push their crit chance off? Or does that mean that I cant and having more than N% shield chance is useless against high crit classes and will be useless (what I mean is 50% shield chance will give same mitigation as 70% shield chance)? Its not like shield is even useful in PvP (doesnt work when stunned like defense and useless against 80% (read tech/force) attacks).


p.s. Are the defense and shield going to be buffed in PvP any time soon? Coz in PvP tanks rely only on armor for mitigation (not good for tankasin =_=).
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taugrimtaugrim's Avatar


taugrimtaugrim
01.24.2012 , 05:11 PM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by Vesperr View Post
But does that mean that if I get (theoretically) 70% shield chance (as a tankasin), can I push their crit chance off? Or does that mean that I cant and having more than N% shield chance is useless against high crit classes
No, Shield Chance can't push Crit Chance off the table, but the reverse is true.

Based on what Georg said, this is how I imagine the roll table for Crit-vs-Shield looks like...

Scenario 1
Attacker's Crit Chance: 30%
Defender's Shield Chance: 30%
So remaining 40% is normal hit (not Crit, not Shielded)

Scenario 2
Attacker's Crit Chance: 60%
Defender's Shield Chance: 30%
So remaining 10% is normal hit (not Crit, not Shielded)

Scenario 3
Attacker's Crit Chance: 80%
Defender's Shield Chance: 30%, but for the roll calculation it's treated as 20% because the Crit Chance pushed 10% off the table

Scenario 4
Attacker's Crit Chance: 100% (e.g. due to a proc buff that makes the attack Crit)
Defender's Shield Chance: 30%, but for the roll calculation it's treated as 0%
Therefore, the attack is a guaranteed non-Shielded Crit

Keep in mind this is my guess at how it's been implemented. If anyone has seen confirmation of the roll table structure please link it.

Thanks!
Taugrim
PVP Maven, Guide Writer, Host on GAMEBREAKER's The Republic show
@taugrim | taugrim.com
Guides: Resolve | Powertech/Vanguard PVP | Defense/Shielding | Bolster