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Fixing Shadow Tank Spikiness

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Classes > Jedi Consular > Shadow
Fixing Shadow Tank Spikiness
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Kitru's Avatar


Kitru
05.20.2013 , 03:21 PM | #1
So, as everyone and their cousin knows, right now, Shadows are almost painfully spiky right now, *way* above the Guardians and VGs. There are only 2 ways to really fix the spikiness: increase DR (which would necessitate losing some degree of our mitigation stats) or provide some effect that either provides a cushion before or after the damage arrives (i.e. an absorb shield of some kind that only triggers on big damage attacks or something that turns some portion of incoming damage into a DoT so that the same amount of damage is taken but it's not taken immediately).

I'm not sure how viable the second portion of those options are since some of them represent some non-trivial programming and design obstacles, but I think I figured out a decent compromise that allows for the first without having a major impact on the fundamental Shadow playstyle: change the 5% accuracy debuff that Shadows apply through Force Breach into a 5% DR buff that lasts the same amount of time (kinda like what Guardian Slash does). We'll still be the spiky tanks, but swapping out 5% functional defense for 5% DR at our levels of Defense would keep the mitigation roughly the same (it could be tweaked down to 4% DR if necessary to account for the comparative value of DR to Defense, but that's just semantics and a bit of balancing). It'll also go a fair ways to making Shadows more viable tanks at low levels.

Those are my ideas. I'm kinda curious what everyone else's are.
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Dispersion's Avatar


Dispersion
05.21.2013 , 01:49 AM | #2
I had an idea once, but I kept convincing myself it sounds bit OP :P
It's about Kinetic Ward - successful shielding would additionaly trigger combat technique effect on the attacker (on a separate x-seconds cooldown maybe).
That way shadows get a nice to boost to their self healing (which could be nice for trash tanking, since they tend to eat shadows in seconds), and threat generation, which is allready great.

I'd also consider restoring 20% armor buff on Martial Prowess talent.

Snarkasms's Avatar


Snarkasms
05.21.2013 , 06:32 AM | #3
All I truly want is another cooldown, or a reduction in timer of some of the others. If you're going quickly through trash packs, deflection and battle readiness aren't back fast enough (for me) to go into the third pack confidently. I've taken to bringing along an old campaign defense clicky relic to get a pseudo-third trash-entry cooldown to prevent too much spikiness.

Does anybody else have troubles like these, or do I just race through my FPs too much?

Ryvirath's Avatar


Ryvirath
05.21.2013 , 08:26 AM | #4
What about tying a battle readiness' CD reduction into the parried, shielded, deflected bit in the same way that force resilience can have its CD reduced. Or just a one minute CD would be nice.
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Jimvinny's Avatar


Jimvinny
05.21.2013 , 09:36 AM | #5
Honestly, it's not a problem. If it were anyone other than Kitru complaining, I'd be pulling out a "L2P" right now. Maybe I just have good healers, but they certainly aren't complaining.

Snarkasms's Avatar


Snarkasms
05.21.2013 , 09:41 AM | #6
Well, that's kind, but it ultimately does not change the play-based reality that my vanguard and my powertech can jump into trash mobs and barely have to bat an eyelash, and my shadow needs to pop a cooldown the instant I enter it so I don't immediately drop to 20%. I think that's the root of what we're all getting at - cooldowns are an "oh no!" button for other tanks, and they're a requirement of standard play for shadows.

Kitru's Avatar


Kitru
05.21.2013 , 10:25 AM | #7
Quote: Originally Posted by Dispersion View Post
It's about Kinetic Ward - successful shielding would additionaly trigger combat technique effect on the attacker (on a separate x-seconds cooldown maybe).
The problem is that your idea doesn't fix the *spikiness* issue. High spikiness occurs when you rely too much on the very chance based mitigation mechanisms that you're recommending be improved. This would actually *increase* spikiness by shifting more of our survivability onto our chance based mitigation mechanisms.

Quote:
I'd also consider restoring 20% armor buff on Martial Prowess talent.
The 20% increase to armor isn't really going to do much. It'll amount to all of 1-2% total DR. Considering the difference between the passive DR of Guardian/VGs and Shadows is roughly 20%(Shadows top out at ~35%, VG/Guards top out at ~55%) and how *likely* attacks are to punch right through out chance based mitigation (~34% chance for an M/R attack, ~45% chance for an F/T attack), our incoming damage is *ridiculously* spiky, especially on F/T where we either take amount the same amount of damage as a VG/Guard or we take 45% more.
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Kitru's Avatar


Kitru
05.21.2013 , 10:38 AM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by Ryvirath View Post
What about tying a battle readiness' CD reduction into the parried, shielded, deflected bit in the same way that force resilience can have its CD reduced. Or just a one minute CD would be nice.
I actually kind of like this idea. The developers already see Shadows as, explicitly, *the* skill tank so planning on us use our CDs as a fundamental part of the Shadow tank playstyle would make a fair bit of sense. It also allows us to remain spiky while simultaneously giving us the tools to mitigate the spikiness at certain intervals.

Another option might be the reset of Battle Readiness and/or Deflection when we exit combat or enter stealth, like how Vigi Guards get Force Leap, Combat Focus, and Saber Throw reset or Infil Shadows get Blackout back. It would allow us to start fights with one or both of our major CDs *always* available, so as to mitigate the biggest source of disadvantageous spikiness: the alpha strike.

I kind of doubt adding another one minute CD would be viable though I think it would be interesting if we got something like Dodge (60 sec CD, 3 sec duration, 100% defense increase): short duration, short CD, high effect. To normalize it, it could be designed to only apply to single target attacks, like Saber Reflect does, or apply a 100% increase to Shield chance, rather than Defense chance, so that you'll still be taking damage while it's active, just not a coin flip for "dead or tolerable". Conversely, something like Defense Screen (45 sec CD, 15 sec duration, creates an absorb shield for a moderate amount) would be pretty useful: being able to apply a Force Shield to *ourselves* would provide us with a measure of burst mitigation. Yet another option would be giving us a copy of Endure Pain: 30% extra hp for a short period of time offsets the spikiness by providing us with a larger damage cushion and a bit more self healing (but not really all that much).

There are a *bunch* of things that could be done, and it's not like it's not a problem. Guardians and VGs use their CDs like CDs. Shadows have to use our CDs as a fundamental part of our playstyle because, when we don't, healers can't predict how much healing we'll need so they'll either end up not healing us enough and ending up with a spike that destroys us or dump in *way* more healing than we actually *need* (and more than the other tanks need) and waste most of it on overheal to offset the likelihood that there will be a window of time where we just took damage like we're a DPS rather than a tank.
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Kitru
05.21.2013 , 11:25 AM | #9
Quote: Originally Posted by Jimvinny View Post
Honestly, it's not a problem. If it were anyone other than Kitru complaining, I'd be pulling out a "L2P" right now. Maybe I just have good healers, but they certainly aren't complaining.
Normally, I would be pulling out an L2P as well, and I actually *did* when we were testing this stuff on the PTS, but it's become apparent to me the more I play my Shadow tank that it *is* a problem. If a Guardian or VG in my level of gear runs into an FP, there isn't a single time where they actually *need* to burn a CD in order to survive (Guardians will often burn Saber Reflect but that's more for the threat generation than for the actual mitigation). There is at least 1 pull in *every* Hm FP (and often 2-3+) where, if I don't start off or use Deflection or Battle Readiness almost immediately after the fight starts, I stand a *very* good chance of dying. I dramatically overgear the content and yet, because of the spikiness, I can still die. That's a problem.

I shouldn't *have* to burn a CD to survive a trash pack when I'm tanking a piece of content I overgear while running with a healer that's appropriately geared, and, yet, I am. It's either burn the CD or stand a *damned* good chance of dying (seriously, in my experience, it's something like a 50+% chance on some of those dog packs) because I'm gonna get my face beat in by the world's most vicious alpha strike. I've learned enough about tanking the HM FPs as a Shadow that I use my CDs and don't experience any problems, but tank CDs aren't supposed to be for getting you through trash; they're for getting you through high damage boss phases or times when the healer dies or something similar. Being forced to use them for trash packs in standard scenarios is completely counter to their actual intent.

In ops, it's generally not as big of a problem because you don't have major alpha strikes and, if the Shadow dies due to a massive spike (this has happened to me more often that I care to admit), there is a second tank to cover while they get a brez. It's still a problem however. The best example is, and I'm going to bring this up a lot in any discussion of spikiness, Operations Chief Terminate: it'll hit a VG/Guard for 22k and a Shadow for 32.5k. Vacillation between incoming damage on that scale for big attacks like that is just *not* something that should happen.
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Jimvinny
05.21.2013 , 12:04 PM | #10
You're right, it does suck having to burn a cooldown to survive a trash mob. But I guess I've come to accept that shadow tanking means taking the good with the bad, and part of the bad is active and strategic use of cooldowns, rather than using them as "oh s**t" buttons. The good is plentiful, the bad requires skill to contend with. If anything, I like that there is no such thing as an "OK" shadow tank. There are good shadow tanks, and there are dead shadow tanks. Not much in between.

Also you mention the Operations Chief's terminate as an example where shadows get owned. What about huge grenade on Titan? I can resilience it every time, taking no damage whatsoever. What can VG's and Guardians do that comes even close to that? I was pretty discouraged when I first heard about the 2.0 changes. I had two full dread guard tanks that had both cleared Kephess NiM, a shadow and a VG. Thought at first I'd be using primarily the VG, but not so. My shadow is my preferred tank by a long shot.