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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
05.21.2013 , 12:13 PM | #11
Quote: Originally Posted by Jimvinny View Post
There are good shadow tanks, and there are dead shadow tanks. Not much in between.
The problem I have is that sometimes good Shadow tanks still die to stupid stuff because of massive spikiness. You'll pretty much never see a Guardian or VG die to similar circumstances.

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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?
In the same way that Isotope Release on Golden Fury can be laughed at by a Shadow but actually affects Guardians and VGs: it does a lot of damage but nothing like Terminate (atm, Terminate is the biggest single hit in the game). The attacks are intended to be big but not "coin flip: shield or dead!". A Shadow getting to ignore an attack that deals a lot of damage by using Resilience intelligently when you can still survive it fine by *not* using Resilience is a bit different than an attack that has a pretty decent chance of outright one shotting you while not being all that big of a deal to a VG or Guardian. The higher DR has a pretty substantial impact on how dangerous an attack like that is.
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eventidephoenix's Avatar


eventidephoenix
05.21.2013 , 12:56 PM | #12
I have to agree with Kitru's ideas...

I feel very inferior now... Saber reflect I feel its a little o/p, maybe its just me. It changes the entire balance between tanks

I know a Guardian tank who tanked endgame content with nothing but full 63 gear. Try getting a Shadow tank to do the same *sigh*

EFSoupy's Avatar


EFSoupy
05.21.2013 , 05:17 PM | #13
Worried about getting 1 shot by a 33K terminate? Sounds like you better stack some endurance . muahahahaha.

<realizes what he just said and hangs head in shame>
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Kitru's Avatar


Kitru
05.21.2013 , 05:28 PM | #14
Quote: Originally Posted by EFSoupy View Post
<realizes what he just said and hangs head in shame>
That's actually what Jesse Sky told me. Because, you know, Shadows should have to stack Endurance rather than mitigation stats when Guardians and VGs can go full bore max mainstat and mitigation (re: what I did pre-2.0) without *any* negative effects. I kinda had to facepalm a bit at that. My hope is that Peckenpaugh realizes that it's a problem since he's the class numbers guy.
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Vaidinah's Avatar


Vaidinah
05.21.2013 , 06:55 PM | #15
I have to disagree. Shadows in 2.0 are much spikier than the other tanks and it's not a problem. 2.0 Assassins just need to adjust to the fact that they have real trade-offs that are appropriate for their style of tanking. Pre-2.0, Assassins were pretty much superior to other tanks 90-95% of the time and it's simply not the case anymore. Personally, I have both an Assassin and Juggernaut tank that are geared roughly the same and there are clear advantages and disadvantages to both of them now.
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Kitru's Avatar


Kitru
05.21.2013 , 07:21 PM | #16
Quote: Originally Posted by Vaidinah View Post
Personally, I have both an Assassin and Juggernaut tank that are geared roughly the same and there are clear advantages and disadvantages to both of them now.
The only advantage that Shadows have at the moment are the few occasions where Resilience allows you to ignore an attack that Saber Reflect doesn't. There aren't really all that many of those.

In *every* other situation, Shadows are noticeably sub par thanks to their spikiness. Before, it wasn't as big of an issue because it wasn't as likely to happen because Shield chances and Absorb values were higher and there weren't *nearly* the same number of massive hits in the game. Now that we can expect giant hits as routine parts of Ops, it's both more common *and* a bigger deal.

It's important to mention that Shadows are *explicitly* designed to be the skill tanks. Skill tanks are *supposed* to have a higher top end functionality because their performance is dependent upon the skill of the player. It's why Shadows were allowed to be more survivable than the other tanks. The Guardian tank buffs have made it so that Guardians, which are *incredibly* easy to play now and have almost no actual skill interaction for their survivability (re: spam Blade Storm and Guardian Slash which is what everyone does anyways), have almost identical top end survivability, better CDs (CD reduction on Saber Ward and Warding Call, Endure Pain, *and* Saber Reflect), and the exact same standard spikiness as a VG.

The way it's currently, VGs are just simple tanks that don't really have anything going for them, Guardians are the tanks with the best of pretty much *everything*, and Shadows are high average survivability with an incoming damage profile so spiky that it functionally invalidates the high average survivability because it requires either stacking an obscene level of Endurance (which *lowers* your mitigation), massive spam overhealing from healers (which is against the entire *point* of having high mitigation), or using their CDs as part of their standard rotation (which no other tank has to do). Shadows are a skill tank where high levels of skill allow you to break even in general. High skill level on a skill tank should allow you to be *noticeably* better. That's the point of a skill tank.
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Vaidinah
05.22.2013 , 12:33 AM | #17
Quote: Originally Posted by Kitru View Post
The only advantage that Shadows have at the moment are the few occasions where Resilience allows you to ignore an attack that Saber Reflect doesn't. There aren't really all that many of those.
So you completely disregard Phase Walk (up to 7% extra healing) along with the ability to teleport? The ability to go into stealth, which allows you to CC, cheese certain mechanics, res people in the middle of combat, and use medpacs multiple times (great if you are Biochem) in a single fight? They have a pull over Juggernauts/Guardians, much better self-healing than any other tank, the best set bonuses, and constant damage + accuracy debuffs.

Quote: Originally Posted by Kitru View Post
In *every* other situation, Shadows are noticeably sub par thanks to their spikiness. Before, it wasn't as big of an issue because it wasn't as likely to happen because Shield chances and Absorb values were higher and there weren't *nearly* the same number of massive hits in the game. Now that we can expect giant hits as routine parts of Ops, it's both more common *and* a bigger deal.
This is a good thing. Regardless, as stats get higher in future tiers of gear, Assassins/Shadows will get the most benefit from it as they get an absolutely massive amount of free stats from their skill tree and abilities. This will help smooth out their spikiness as well.

Quote: Originally Posted by Kitru View Post
It's important to mention that Shadows are *explicitly* designed to be the skill tanks. Skill tanks are *supposed* to have a higher top end functionality because their performance is dependent upon the skill of the player. It's why Shadows were allowed to be more survivable than the other tanks. The Guardian tank buffs have made it so that Guardians, which are *incredibly* easy to play now and have almost no actual skill interaction for their survivability (re: spam Blade Storm and Guardian Slash which is what everyone does anyways), have almost identical top end survivability, better CDs (CD reduction on Saber Ward and Warding Call, Endure Pain, *and* Saber Reflect), and the exact same standard spikiness as a VG.
I'm not sure why you think Shadows were designed to be the skill tanks. I assume a developer mentioned this at some point. Even if that were true in theory, they were certainly not in practice pre-2.0 as they were extremely easy to play effectively while Guardians took by far the most skill to be effective. After 2.0, Shadows take the most skill of any tank to play effectively, which is how it should be if they are the skill tanks as you say. Whether pre-2.0 and after, though, Guardians/Juggernauts have the highest skill ceiling to be played optimally.
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Eternalnight
05.22.2013 , 03:39 AM | #18
Quote: Originally Posted by Vaidinah View Post
I'm not sure why you think Shadows were designed to be the skill tanks. I assume a developer mentioned this at some point. Even if that were true in theory, they were certainly not in practice pre-2.0 as they were extremely easy to play effectively while Guardians took by far the most skill to be effective. After 2.0, Shadows take the most skill of any tank to play effectively, which is how it should be if they are the skill tanks as you say. Whether pre-2.0 and after, though, Guardians/Juggernauts have the highest skill ceiling to be played optimally.
Even pre-2.0 Guardians could be played extremely badly, and it would only make minimal difference to their survivability. You just sucked at holding aggro if you played them badly.
Yes, especially pre-2.0, Guardians/Juggernauts were the most difficult to hold aggro with, while shadows/assassins were the easiest, but this does not make guardians/juggernauts skill tanks.

The definition of a skill tank is not the tank that takes the most skill to produce high DPS/threat.

The definition of a skill tank is the tank for which that how well they are played makes the biggest difference to their survivability.

As such shadows/assassins are, and always have been, the tank that fits best to the definition.

Kitru's Avatar


Kitru
05.22.2013 , 04:14 AM | #19
Quote: Originally Posted by Vaidinah View Post
So you completely disregard Phase Walk (up to 7% extra healing) along with the ability to teleport?
Phase Walk is functionally worthless in PvE: it can only be placed under your own feet (which, as a tank, means that the healers aren't going to get the benefit of it beyond the first cycle and, only then, if they're willing to not move), it has a cast time to reapply it (which means losing over 1 GCD since you're going to get punched in the face and lose time based off of that), and it has a 45 second downtime regardless of how it falls off so the best uptime you can ever hope for is 72%.

You're also doing the math wrong. Shadow's Shelter provides 2% healing received as a passive bonus which is multiplicative with the 5% increased healing done by standing near a Shadow tank's active Phase Walk patch (but you're actually getting less than that because the bonus healing received is additive with the 1% that everyone gets and the multiplicative is additive with any +healing buffs the target might get through stuff like UH or CSC).

Phase Walk is *not* a useful ability in PvE with its current implementation. In PvP, it's decent for node defense, but, in PvE, it's pretty much a waste in its entirety. If it gets changed so that the patch, at least, can be maintained permanently and is instant and off the GCD so it can be applied without impinging on the rest of the stuff a tank is doing, it'll be useful but still not all that impressive.

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The ability to go into stealth, which allows you to CC, cheese certain mechanics, res people in the middle of combat, and use medpacs multiple times (great if you are Biochem) in a single fight? They have a pull over Juggernauts/Guardians, much better self-healing than any other tank, the best set bonuses, and constant damage + accuracy debuffs.
Stealth isn't a particularly useful utility in PvE, especially for a tank. The mechanics that you used to be able to cheese (implantation on Writhing Horror being the only one you could cheese with stealth that I recall) got fixed with 2.0 (the implantation forces you back into combat immediately and the adds will spawn regardless) and stealth rezing doesn't really work for someone who is supposed to keep aggro constantly.

As to the pull, self healing, set bonuses, and damage/acc debuffs, those are all already factored in to general utility. If you want to bring up the pull, Guardians have the Leap *and* the push *and* the taunt shield. In PvP, the best that Force Pull is good for is generating some threat at 30m since everything that matters is immune to physics; for that, tank spec Saber Reflect is *way* better since it's an AoE and generates more threat in practice. Self healing is factored into total mitigation and has been pretty much since release, and the acc debuff and damage debuff are standard effects (and they're also factored into the fundamental Shadow mitigation stuff so they're not "utility"): Guardians get the acc debuff and VGs and Watchman Sents get the damage debuff. Since they don't stack, it's just as likely that the debuffs will be redundant since those class/specs provide the same (plus, since VGs, Guardians, and Watchman Sents all get their debuffs through their optimal rotation whereas Force Breach is only useful for Shadows in AoE situations so, if you don't have to use Force Breach, you're better off).

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Regardless, as stats get higher in future tiers of gear, Assassins/Shadows will get the most benefit from it as they get an absolutely massive amount of free stats from their skill tree and abilities. This will help smooth out their spikiness as well.
It's not going to be as big of an impact as you might think. First off, Shadows get the absolute least contribution out of improved armor rating amongst the tanks. Even if they get more contribution out of higher mitigation stats, it's not enough to offset the lower gains from armor rating.

As to smoothing out spikiness, it's not going to be like it used to be. Shadows aren't going to be sitting at passive mitigation values of 30/65/60. We're at ~20/55/45 right now and, at best, we can figure on 5% more in each of those 3 tiers from now. That's not even getting into the fact that our DR is *way* lower than it used to be and will continue to be low: we're pulling 35% at best right now and that'll only push up to ~38-39% when we were managing 42% before.

The fact that we're so mitigation focused rather than DR focused is a *weakness*. Because of the new DR curves and the massive difference between our DR and the other tanks, Shadows are going to *remain* painfully spiky and it's not going to improve appreciably unless something is explicitly done about it.

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I'm not sure why you think Shadows were designed to be the skill tanks. I assume a developer mentioned this at some point.
It's been explicitly mentioned multiple times by multiple devs. It's not even a question at this point.

Quote:
Even if that were true in theory, they were certainly not in practice pre-2.0 as they were extremely easy to play effectively while Guardians took by far the most skill to be effective. After 2.0, Shadows take the most skill of any tank to play effectively, which is how it should be if they are the skill tanks as you say. Whether pre-2.0 and after, though, Guardians/Juggernauts have the highest skill ceiling to be played optimally.
You're confusing something about the term "skill tank". It doesn't refer to the amount of skill required to generate threat or manage your resources, which was the *only* difficult thing about Guardians pre-1.7. It refers to the level of impact a player's skill has on the tank's survivability.

Once you learned the rotation for a Guardian, you were pretty much done since almost nothing you did as part of your rotation actually had much impact on your survivability (Blade Storm was about it and you should've been spamming that on CD anyways b/c of the damage/threat). The skill was based entirely upon just learning to play the class and, with 2.0, that was almost completely removed since resource management was made way easier and CD cycling was made into a joke since the cooldown on your attacks was standardized to 12 seconds for everything.

Shadows, on the other hand, require you maintain and watch buffs and debuffs and use your attacks and cooldowns in a timely and specific manner. Guardian CDs are universally applicable. Only one of the Shadow CDs is (and that's brand spanking new). Shadows have to watch and maintain KW while maximizing the value of Kinetic Bulwark. Guardians have Riposte and that's just "use it whenever it comes up for extra damage and threat!". Shadows have to vary their attack string based upon multiple procs (PA as well as Shadow Wrap) while also watching for 3 stacks of HS and knowing the fights well enough to knock be forced to move or get knocked back while using the 3 second channel that provides a majority of their self healing.

Guardians *never* had the highest optimal skill ceiling. They had the highest *entry level* skill requirement, but that's not the same thing. Once you've learned how to play a Guardian (which, guess what, is now on par with playing a VG tank with a couple extra CDs), there wasn't much room for improvement. Shadows *always* had a major difference between a good Shadow and a great Shadow. The same could never be said about a Guardian.

Right now, it takes a incredible amount of skill for a Shadow to perform at the top tier and, if you do it right *and* get lucky in the process, you'll just *barely* edge out a Guardian tank, which can, now, be played in an almost faceroll manner (keep your 4 12 sec CDs on CD, use Strike and Slash when you get bored) without any of the threat problems that plagued it in the past (in fact, AoE threat is as simple as pressing a single button).

Shadows *are* the skill tank: skill is single largest variable in a Shadow tank's performance, second only to the RNG (which is just wrong). Guardians are not, nor have they *ever* been, skill tanks. Pre-1.7, they were a compromise between the simplicity of the VG and the complexity of the Shadow; now they're just as faceroll as VGs with a bigger, more effective toolbox.

There is good reason why skill tanks should be the best tanks: it's a design based around rewarding a higher level of skill and punishing lower levels of skill. Right now, because of the massive impact of RNG and the massive buffs to Guardians, it's not really true. Guardians get to break even with Shadows with a *modicum* of the skill required, and the case could *easily* be made that they are better because, unlike Shadows, RNG isn't a major deciding factor in whether you live or die.
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Panzerfire
05.22.2013 , 04:56 AM | #20
I don't think that the spikiness on assassins is a game breaking concern.
Yes, we can take enormous amounts of damage if we do not mitigate it, and I would like Thrasher to have his attacks split into multiple components, or just the Swipe. But that's part of the challenge and it can be overcome by cooldowns on both the tank and healer side.

You mention Terminate in particular, but I cannot see how assassins have problems there, with or without the best gear. You have 4 cooldowns to use: Rakata Medpack (15% health), Rakata Absorb Adrenal (10% DR), Force Shroud (100% DR) but it can bug and not resist and Overcharge Saber (25% DR), between those 4, possible armor increase from Mercenary Healers, possible Bubble from Sorcerers and the natural tank switch for every 2nd flashbang cc on tank, you should not die, even with 30k health.

Flashpoints, well, pushing an extra button isn't game breaking and I'd rather have this than how lvl 50 FP's were with Dreadguard gear.

The only problems which can occur in the future is if "harder" content will be based on increasing the damage which tanks take on single hits rather than increasing raid damage or the difficulty on current or new mechanics. But we'll see on the nightmare versions.

We're not in an optimal situation but it's also not impossible to run two assassin tanks, every second you spend not tanking the major damage dealer makes your cooldowns worth more, this does lead to a lot of tank switching which the other two classes can ignore. Phase Walk should be used before a major damage phase, examples are Titan VI soft enrage, Thrasher at any health % and the resurrected Kell Dragon on Styrak, it does not have a very big uptime and its use must be planned before since you need two things: 1) Being in a position to move where your raid will stand for the burn phase and 2) the burn phase must start within 120 seconds after you put it down, if it ends within those 120 seconds it's even better but it's not required.