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Fixing Shadow Tank Spikiness

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Elyx's Avatar


Elyx
05.22.2013 , 09:23 PM | #21
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 like this idea too. it gives you more flexibility in using those CD's that shadows apparently need to deal with the Alpha situations.
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Vaidinah's Avatar


Vaidinah
05.22.2013 , 11:05 PM | #22
Quoting your entire post is going to make this unreasonably long so I'm just going to reply to your points and explain why you and the guy who posted before you have a fundamental misunderstanding on what optimal play is for a tank.

Saying Phase Walk is functionally worthless is incorrect and if you choose not to maximize the use of it, that's on you as a player. If you want to play optimally (I'll get to this later), you should be using it as much as possible on most fights as there are plenty of opportunities to do so especially since tank swaps are a very common mechanic in the new operations.

There were many instances of being able to cheese mechanics like on Xeno (where Shadows could completely ignore a tank swap), on Firebrand (cancelling Incinerate), and so on. While they have fixed most of them, there will undoubtedly more found in the future. Also, you can definitely still stealth res as a tank. While not possible on every fight, you can do so on most of them (I know because I've done it many times) that only require one boss to be tanked at a time. It's not exactly hard to call for a tank swap so you can res someone on your team since all the new ops want 2 tanks. So unless you found some amazing way to solo tank all the content and/or you have no faith in your co-tank to do his/her job, it's a great option that only Shadows get.

All those skills have their equivalents for Shadows and pulling is generally much better as a tool for managing adds in boss fights than a push will ever be. Saber Reflect is pretty ridiculous as a threat generating skill so I can't argue with that, but it does have a 45 second cooldown.

Now, we're onto optimal playing as a tank. I don't know where you guys get this idea that as a tank, the only element of skill you care about is your survivability. It's an overly simplistic assertion that ignores a lot of important factors. Based on your sole highly flawed goal as a tank, a Juggernaut using his AoE taunt to shield his team means absolutely nothing, using Intercede to shield a teammate, and so on don't count as skill and is a waste of time. I can see where you get this idea, due to your definition of skill tank, but it's completely wrong.

The point of a tank is to help protect his/her team from damage and support their team's abilities. Survivability is very important because you have to stay alive in order to protect your team from attacks, but being able to hold aggro, do damage, and help your team in other ways like holding the boss and adds together to maximize your team's DPS are all elements of skill.

The last argument I'll go over is this bizarre idea that Guardian tanking is so easy that the difference between an average and an optimal one is minimal. Anybody who thinks this is either nowhere close to being a good Guardian tank (if they even have one) and/or has little understanding on Guardian play. Guardians have far more skills *and* depth in using those abilities both offensively and defensively to play optimally compared to Shadows.

Offensively, Shadows optimally only use 6 skills (7 if you count Force Pull, 8 if off-tanking) in their rotation on 95% of boss fights. They are restricted to a fixed rotation that is both optimized for damage and survivability for the vast majority of every fight. Watching for one proc and one debuff is a joke. Juggernauts use 14 skills (15 if you count Saber Reflect) and their skills vary greatly in timing due to Revenge stacks and if you want more damage/threat up-front or survivability.

Defensively, Shadows optimally use 4 cool downs for themselves (including the Ward) and 1 skill that benefits their team (Phase Walk). Juggernauts use 5 for themselves and 2 for their team (Intercede and AoE taunt). Any decent Shadow knows how to use their defensive cooldowns and this makes up the majority of the difficulty of playing one. How many Guardians know how to maximize their defensive cooldowns (especially Enraged Defense) and protect their team with Intercede and AoE taunt? Very few and that is one of the big differences between a decent Guardian and an optimally played one.
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Panzerfire's Avatar


Panzerfire
05.23.2013 , 07:30 AM | #23
I'll try not to get into an argument about which is the most complex class, and I don't own a jugg nor do I have a reliable comparison since nobody plays a "perfect" jugg, or any tanking class for that matter and all we can do is approximate the perfect tanking setups. Assassins have to watch for 2 procs: shock and maul, the accuracy debuf and the time left on dark ward. The accuracy debuff is almost impossible to follow on 16 man so it's usually better to time it and just expect it to hit instead of looking at the boss for it.

The main argument in this thread is that assassins have to work harder and be more aware of all the fight mechanics in order to reach the survivability of juggs and PT's, and that it doesn't seem like we can go much higher than them. In addition, our spikiness negates any positive effects of reduced damage taken because healers have to be ready to heal a string of unmitigated attacks which threatens to kill us, where the same string of attacks would not threaten juggs and PT's. I disagree that it's this bad, although less spikiness would be nice.

As for suggestions, what about some form of kolto overload coupled with an armor increase if we take more than 50-70% of our health in 1 hit? With an internal cooldown of course.

Kitru's Avatar


Kitru
05.23.2013 , 10:34 AM | #24
Quote: Originally Posted by Panzerfire View Post
I don't think that the spikiness on assassins is a game breaking concern.
Here's where we're going to disagree. It's not a concern that prevents me from doing content, so it might not be game breaking in *that* sense. However, it's a drastic disadvantage that isn't really present in any of the other tanks, and the disadvantage doesn't even offer a commensurate gain elsewhere.

It's not a question of Shadows being *incapable* of doing content. It's a question of it being such a major disadvantage when *doing* such content, such that, even when you factor in the advantages that Shadows *do* get (short CDs, Resilience, self healing, better average survivability), Shadows are *still* at a disadvantage from a functional standpoint.

Having to use tank CDs as a fundamental aspect of play when the other tanks only have to use them for emergencies isn't balanced.

Supposedly having the best average survivability but requiring the *most* healing, a lot of which is wasted as overhealing, to deal with the massive spikes in incoming damage while the other tanks just sit there and take everything constantly isn't balanced.

You bring up how Shadows can get around Terminate by using CDs and consumables (not *everyone* is a Biochem and has the reusables, so isn't something that the content or the class is developed around), which is funny because *the other tanks don't have to*.

I have *never* said that Shadow tanks cannot do content. I have *always* said that Shadow tanks are at a major disadvantage compared to the other tanks specifically *because* of the spikiness issue. It doesn't matter how many workarounds using our CDs, consumables, tank swaps, or whatever else because it's still stuff *we* have to do as a matter of survival that the other tanks *don't*, and we're not even compensated for it in any other appreciable way. Before Saber Reflect was added, you could make the claim that Resilience was our compensation, but now Guardians have something that's either commensurate or better (depending on how much you value the reflect/threat generation/affecting ranged attacks) so that's no longer true. Hell, our short CDs mean less than they used to now that the Guardian CDs are at 150 secs rather than 180.
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Kitru
05.23.2013 , 11:17 AM | #25
Quote: Originally Posted by Vaidinah View Post
Offensively, Shadows optimally only use 6 skills (7 if you count Force Pull, 8 if off-tanking) in their rotation on 95% of boss fights. They are restricted to a fixed rotation that is both optimized for damage and survivability for the vast majority of every fight. Watching for one proc and one debuff is a joke. Juggernauts use 14 skills (15 if you count Saber Reflect) and their skills vary greatly in timing due to Revenge stacks and if you want more damage/threat up-front or survivability.
Complexity isn't just a question of the number of abilities. It's the interaction *between* those attacks that's important. Guardians have everything on a standard CD. There isn't any appreciable variation in their attack string (I kinda laugh when you bring up Revenge stacks because those are an almost *laughably* minor consideration; you don't even have to pay attention to them to get the value out of them: just leave some time between Force Sweep and Blade Storm and, boom, taken care of without paying any attention *at all*; if you absolutely micromanage, at best, you'll get to replace a Strike with a Slash once every 20 seconds which isn't really a big deal). More buttons to push isn't complexity. It's just a more full ability bar. Hell, half of the attacks you're talking about are only used once per minute or only at the start of a fight. Your actual *rotation*, which is what you're talking about with the Shadow 6-8, is comprised of 7-8 attacks (Force Sweep, Blade Storm, Guardian Slash, Riposte, Sunder, Strike, Slash; Master Strike is on a long CD so it's kinda questionable) that you don't even really have to watch because they're all on a standard CD. The only "variable" one is Riposte and that's just "spam the living hell out of it". I've *got* a Guardian and routinely *deal* with Guardians. The Guardian rotation is a joke (and, yes, it's a rotation, not a priority string).

Now, I'm not saying that the Shadow priority is necessarily *hard*, but it's definitely more difficult than what Guardians have to "deal" with. Before, Guardians required some level of skill and practice to learn to attack with em, but, now... If you think it's even *remotely* hard or complex, you're doing it wrong.

Quote:
Defensively, Shadows optimally use 4 cool downs for themselves (including the Ward) and 1 skill that benefits their team (Phase Walk). Juggernauts use 5 for themselves and 2 for their team (Intercede and AoE taunt). Any decent Shadow knows how to use their defensive cooldowns and this makes up the majority of the difficulty of playing one. How many Guardians know how to maximize their defensive cooldowns (especially Enraged Defense) and protect their team with Intercede and AoE taunt? Very few and that is one of the big differences between a decent Guardian and an optimally played one.
You're once again conflating the number of CDs with the complexity of those CDs. Shadow CDs require you actually *know* what the attacks are. With the exception of Battle Readiness (which is omg amazing), the Shadow CDs explicitly require you know what you're doing. Bringing up the fact that most Shadows already *know* how to use them because they've had gobloads of practice (especially us major Shadow advice givers) has nothing to do with it. It's "easy" because we've had practice, not because it's easy. Guardians have 5 CDs, only one of which requires any skill to use "properly" and that's not even a major contributor (Focused Defense is a minute amount of healing and chews through your resources while dropping your threat; talking about it like it should be used more than once in a blue moon is like referring to Phase Walk as an amazing tool of awesome usefulness), all of which are absolutely gobsmackingly easy to use because all but one is useful in all situations (Saber Ward applies to both Force and Tech, Warding Call reduces *all* damage multiplicatively by 40%, Endure Pain gives you 30% extra hp so, even if you're at full health, it's still useful). Saber Reflect is the only one that requires any knowledge of mechanics to use and that's just learning whether it's an AoE or melee attack (which tend to be pretty obvious; the wonky ones are attacks like Terminate that you have to figure out whether are ranged or F/T, which, guess what, Saber Reflect applies to either way), plus it's on a standard CD rather than a variable one like Resilience (at which point you also have to weigh the benefits of ignoring the attack or cleansing the debuffs).

As to the party assists, Guardian Leap is probably the *only* funky one, and that's more a question of "who do I leap to" rather than "how do I use this". Most Guardians have a problem using it less because it's hard to use and more because they don't have the modicum of practice from using it while solo to gain proficiency in it. The AoE taunt shield is almost painfully in how it's used (big damage to everyone coming? AoE taunt and tell the other tank to retaunt his target). Phase Walk, on the other hand, is both not really all that useful (5% additional healing output? that's... awesome... ish; it's slightly more than Commando and Scoundrel healers give themselves passively! Except that it's got a short duration, non-permanent uptime, and requires the tank to stop actually doing their job for an extended period of time to get anything out of it...) and requires loads more effort to actually get anything out of while also outright *doing* less. Man, we *really* got an awesome ability, totally more useful than Saber Reflect.

Guardians are *not* complex. They have more *buttons*, but that's not complexity. Complexity is having options that aren't just an automatic choice. Complexity is actually having to make a decision on the fly rather than just clicking one of a category of equally effective options. Complexity is an ability that you can't just use by clicking a single button to help out your group but, instead, requires you sacrifice time tanking to place or replace it (more than just the 1 GCD is you want to place it *effectively*) *and* forces you to choose between destroying it to fulfill the ability's normal purpose or having it behave purely as a party buff.
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ScatteredAshes's Avatar


ScatteredAshes
05.23.2013 , 11:17 AM | #26
Quote: Originally Posted by Kitru View Post
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'll state up front that I don't actually disagree with you about the whole issue of Shadows' spiky mitigation, but this a pretty silly example to use in support of your point. The HM FP dog pack pulls are hard for Shadows because of the mechanics of Kinectic Ward: a bunch of hard-hitting mobs burn off all the charges before Kinetic Ward's CD resets. A Shadow tank therefore spends some fraction of 15 secs being extra squishy. Working as intended, imo. If we're the "skill" tank, we need to be skillful enough to be aware of our Kinetic Ward charge count. It's sort of a class design irony that adds flavor to the game. Shadow tanks are great at pulling and maintaining more AoE aggro than Kinetic Ward can mitigate.

The huge hits from Terminate seems like a much worse problem. Any sort of Op boss mechanic that reduces Shadows' viability relative to other tank classes is VERY BAD NEWS for Shadows tanks as a class. Shadow tanks will be excluded from content if we're a liability on even one Op boss.

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Kitru
05.23.2013 , 11:42 AM | #27
Quote: Originally Posted by ScatteredAshes View Post
A Shadow tank therefore spends some fraction of 15 secs being extra squishy. Working as intended, imo.
Except that, you know, the survivability calculations for Shadows assume 100% uptime on Kinetic Ward. As soon as KW drops off, Shadows because *noticeably* squishier *and* spikier compared to the other tanks.

Quote:
The huge hits from Terminate seems like a much worse problem. Any sort of Op boss mechanic that reduces Shadows' viability relative to other tank classes is VERY BAD NEWS for Shadows tanks as a class. Shadow tanks will be excluded from content if we're a liability on even one Op boss.
Half of the problem is that it's an F/T attack. Shadows have a lot of Defense, which means it takes up a lot of our total effective mitigation. Since Defense is applied only to M/R attacks, even with our higher Shield/Abs, we still take more damage from F/T attacks than the other tanks do:

A BiS Shadow tank manages a survivability profile of 35/22/57/52 (factoring in KW and average contribution of KB). Against an F/T K/E attack, a Shadow manages 54.26% average mitigation. Shielded, the mitigation is 68.8%. Unshielded, it's 35%.

A BiS Guardian tank manages a survivability profile of 50/26/41/35 (factoring in Guardian Slash and Blade Barricade). Against an F/T K/E attack, a Guardian manages 57.175% average mitigation. Shielded, the mitigation is 67.5%. Unshielded, it's 50%.

A BiS VG tank manage a survivability profile of 51/19/42/58 (factoring in average contribution of Power Screen and Energy Blast). Against an F/T K/E attack, a VG manages 62.9% average mitigation. Shielded, the mitigation is 79.4%. Unshielded, it's 51%.

As such, a Shadow, thanks almost *entirely* to terrible K/E DR, manages *lower* DR against the F/T attacks, largely a tie with Guardians when they shield and substantially worse than a VG, while also being *absolutely* worse when it's unshielded. It's like they didn't even *look* at the math for F/T + K/E attacks when they were working on the tanks in 2.0 and only made it worse when they designed the huge individual hits to be K/E instead of I/E (which, honestly, they should be since all of the tanks mitigate those pretty much identically).
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ScatteredAshes
05.23.2013 , 12:20 PM | #28
Quote: Originally Posted by Kitru View Post
Except that, you know, the survivability calculations for Shadows assume 100% uptime on Kinetic Ward. As soon as KW drops off, Shadows because *noticeably* squishier *and* spikier compared to the other tanks.
YOUR survivability calculations may depend on that. I'm not at all sure the designers' do.

My point was that problems with HM FP dog packs aren't really indicative of Shadow tanks' Op viability and therefore aren't a serious problem. In any situation where a Shadow has to has to take damage from many hard-hitting mobs simultaneously, Kinetic Ward's charge count is going to be a survivability issue. That's sort of intrinsic to the Shadow tank class as we know it, and isn't the root the spiky damage problem that's actually a danger to our Ops-worthiness.

I mean... I'd love for Kinetic Ward to be a perma-buff, too, but... not going to happen. Until it does, our solution is to pop a CD on the dog pulls in HM Mando Raiders and complain in Group Chat about how Saber Reflect is OP.

Quote: Originally Posted by Kitru View Post
It's like they didn't even *look* at the math for F/T + K/E attacks when they were working on the tanks in 2.0 and only made it worse when they designed the huge individual hits to be K/E instead of I/E (which, honestly, they should be since all of the tanks mitigate those pretty much identically).
This is the real problem, and it is a big deal. Shadow tanks will get left behind because of this. Though... I suspect that they'll fix it by changing the damage type of Terminate rather embarking on any sort of overhaul of the way Shadows mitigate damage.

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Kitru
05.23.2013 , 12:35 PM | #29
Quote: Originally Posted by ScatteredAshes View Post
YOUR survivability calculations may depend on that. I'm not at all sure the designers' do.
I'm pretty sure the developer's survivability calcs do, mainly because they've explicitly *said* that Shadows are the most survivable tanks (actually said to me during the M&G in first person by Jesse Sky). Without the permanent uptime on KW, Shadow tank survivability drops *dramatically*. Unless you assume a near permanent uptime (re: 80-90% uptime) in virtually all cases, Shadows aren't the most survivable which contradicts what I've been specifically told.

Quote:
My point was that problems with HM FP dog packs aren't really indicative of Shadow tanks' Op viability and therefore aren't a serious problem. In any situation where a Shadow has to has to take damage from many hard-hitting mobs simultaneously, Kinetic Ward's charge count is going to be a survivability issue. That's sort of intrinsic to the Shadow tank class as we know it, and isn't the root the spiky damage problem that's actually a danger to our Ops-worthiness.
You're misinterpreting my line about the multiple dogs as a problem with KW charges dropping off. The problem is actually in alpha strikes on Shadow tanks themselves. Because KW now packs 15 charges, you're pretty much *never* going to lose all of your KW stacks from an alpha strike (it would require ~38 attacks in the alpha strike to strip all of your charges immediately). Alpha strikes specifically refer to the massive cluster of attacks that occur almost simultaneously when you aggro all of the enemies in a single pack. Normally, attacks are distributed evenly over time, allowing for heals and whatnot. With the alpha strike, all of the damage arrives at one time, which, with a spiky incoming damage profile, means that you can be killed pretty much off the bat by a big enough one (which, yes, does happen with the dog packs). Oftentimes, even if you survive the alpha, a Shadow tank will be reduced to low enough hp that the high incoming damage (since damage is highest at the start of a trash pack before any of em die) isn't able to be overcome by the healer's healing. Right at the start of a fight, healing is almost always below the actual incoming DPS (this is why using bad target priority sucks hard for the tank and healer since you're extending this time of maximum incoming damage) so the natural atrophy from the high damage phase can kill you and the fundamental cause is still the alpha strike (since said atrophy wouldn't have killed you without the sudden drop in hp caused by the alpha strike).

Quote:
This is the real problem, and it is a big deal. Shadow tanks will get left behind because of this. Though... I suspect that they'll fix it by changing the damage type of Terminate rather embarking on any sort of overhaul of the way Shadows mitigate damage.
I actually asked Jesse Sky about the damage type on Terminate and explained why it should be I/E instead of K/E. He said they thought about it when they were developing it and said he was quite happy with how it had turned out regardless. It set one of my eyes to twitching in perplexity.
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Panzerfire
05.23.2013 , 02:14 PM | #30
Quote: Originally Posted by Kitru View Post
Here's where we're going to disagree. It's not a concern that prevents me from doing content, so it might not be game breaking in *that* sense. However, it's a drastic disadvantage that isn't really present in any of the other tanks, and the disadvantage doesn't even offer a commensurate gain elsewhere.
The gain is in reduced overall damage taken and more cooldowns resulting in a longer uptime on cooldowns. Right now, the healing output of healers vastly outnumbers the average damage taken and wipes can only occur due to spike damage, which automatically results in shadows being the *worst* tanks since they simply are the only tanks capable of dying in a group doing a fight properly with end game gear. I'll say that shadows will pick up on nightmare modes if the total damage taken, raidwise, gets closer or goes over the optimal healing output. Kephess in EC comes to mind. If we have to, we'll be offtanks only to be used with cooldowns up in order to free up healing for other raid members. The fact remains that shadows are amazingly good if you tailor your cooldowns around boss abilities and they get better with an increase in damage output of bosses. Except for the self-healing component, which was and is a problem, since 2.0 acts only as a band-aid for self heals falling behind.

Quote: Originally Posted by Kitru View Post
It's not a question of Shadows being *incapable* of doing content. It's a question of it being such a major disadvantage when *doing* such content, such that, even when you factor in the advantages that Shadows *do* get (short CDs, Resilience, self healing, better average survivability), Shadows are *still* at a disadvantage from a functional standpoint.
The functional disadvantage of shadows is debatable per ops group. If most of the overhealing can be avoided then shadows perform a lot better, as this is the main counterargument to shadows being good. How that happens is up to you, whether by healing assignments or cooldown usage, we're rotating 3 assassins and 1 jugg for 16 man and the only problem was the first kill on HM Thrasher, which even now remains the only *fun* fight, healers being used to assassins actually prefer to heal us over other tanks. And I know that we're far from being perfect so it can get even better. This is part of the *skill* requirement, no? As long as shadows are not consistenly dying due to bad luck and they get an advantage over the other tanks they remain the *skill* tanks.

I will agree that such an advantage is hard to measure and quantify. And juggs/PT's will just give you an easier time. An interesting thing would be to see how much mitigation we can sacrifice for more endurance in order to reduce overhealing, as there is less incencitive to quickly heal someone if they cannot be 1-shotted at 70-80% of their health. I'll try this out someday by switching from crafted implants/ear to UW once I have them. And maybe enhancements, although I don't think the trade on high vs low endurance 72 enhancements is worth it.