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Multi-Night Discussion / Pondering About Armor Ignore

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Galactic Starfighter
Multi-Night Discussion / Pondering About Armor Ignore

Armonddd's Avatar


Armonddd
04.19.2014 , 03:46 PM | #11
Quote: Originally Posted by Altheran View Post
But do not forget that most weapons that are not missiles are inherently inaccurate and tend to worsen with tracking penalties.

As the result, it's like if anyone had a much higher base evasion, and every point of extra evasion tend to have much more impressive results that stat sheets imply.
That's build-neutral, though. If a shot truly misses because of the tracking penalties, it'll miss regardless of whether you build for armor or for evasion. If a shot doesn't miss because of tracking penalties but rather misses because of evasion, that's a point for the evasion build and should be recorded as such.

Imagine a table with two columns and one hundred rows. On the left are the numbers 01-100, and on the right are "hit", "miss from accuracy/tracking penalties", "miss from evasion", and "critical hit". By default, everything in the right column is filled with "hit"; tracking penalties, low accuracy, evasion, and crit chance bump off hits. When you fire a shot, the game rolls a 100 sided die (they exist) and uses the result on the table. There's never going to be a point where "miss due to accuracy" is going to apply to an evasion build but not an armor build.

There is an argument for stacking evasion so more slots on the table are filled with misses, since misses deal zero damage. And that's a valid strategy -- most scouts stack evasion for that reason. On the other hand, most weapons are either short range -- meaning 90%+ base accuracy with tracking penalties of 1% per degree or less -- or long range -- meaning little dropoff at range (85% at worst) and little in the way of tracking penalties by the nature of ranged combat. Everyone who knows what they're doing also takes Pinpointing, which further mitigates low accuracy. To top it off, skilled pilots will make sure their target is as close to the center of their screen as possible, further mitigating the disadvantages of tracking penalties.

And, of course, there's BLCs, which are rather important in the current meta. At 2 km with Pinpointing, BLCs have 103% accuracy and -0.8% accuracy per degree of tracking (call it 3% for easy math)... but they also completely ignore armor on most builds, so your 14%ish chance to not be hit is better than the alternative of always being hit with your armor doing nothing.

A fully upgraded slug with pinpointing will have just over 107% hit chance at 10 km. Tracking penalties are fierce, but again, in long range combat your enemy needs to move a lot to make you alter your aim by one degree. It doesn't hurt that the gunship will slowly turn in the direction the railgun is aiming, which further reduces tracking penalties. At that point, 14% evasion turns into only a 7% chance to not be hit. But, again, slugs completely ignore armor, so that 7% chance is better than nothing.

Is lightweight armor better than deflection armor? I dunno. Clearly, against slugs, HLCs, and BLCs, Lightweight wins out. On the other hand, mines and missiles are equally big players in a lot of matches, and lightweight armor does nothing against them whereas deflection armor applies to most of them.

And then, of course, there's the question of reinforced armor, but it's very hard to tell if +20% hull strength would realistically turn a two-shot into a three-shot, especially if repair drones are lying around.
Space Ace of <Death Squadron>, <Black Squadron>, <Eclipse Squadron>, and <solo da>

Ramalina's Avatar


Ramalina
04.19.2014 , 05:03 PM | #12
So a short summary of the conventional wisdom on damage reduction and armor piercing below.

If you stack DR, you can do neat tricks like boost through multiple bombers worth of mines and just feel a slight tickling sensation.

Damage reduction has several drawbacks that make it a fairly rare choice though.

  1. It does nothing to prevent shield damage. If you're dying to burst damage, this doesn't really matter. If you have moderate more or less steady shield damage with regen opportunities such that the shield portion of your effective health is greater than your max shield pool (after cooldowns) then the performance of DR falls off. How big this factor is depends greatly on the play environment that you experience in GSF, it can be trivial or it can be huge.

  2. Armor penetration is binary. Either the weapon does nothing against damage reduction, or it completely negates damage reduction. In theory DR should be best in situations where you're going from full shields and full hull to dead from burst damage. In practice the bursty weapons have armor piercing either native or as the most commonly taken upgrades, making DR completely worthless in the situation where it should in theory perform best. Evasion and Shields are countered by Accuracy and Shield piercing, but only partially. Personally, I suspect this ability to be completely circumvented by very common bursty weapons is the main reason why DR is not favored by most people.

  3. Shield bleedthrough. People really dislike this, but I'm not sure it's a really big deal. If you're taking minor steady damage, then shields or evasion are going to be superior choices for survival in any case. It can also be easily countered if you have reliable hull repair available to you. So annoying perhaps, but if the DR is being used in appropriate situations, it doesn't really have a significant negative effect on the value of DR.

  4. Anticipation. Like evasion DR is something that works best when stacked to absurd levels and relies on using active abilities with cooldowns to do so. So if you can't predict the incoming damage, you're not going to find it nearly as useful as if you could predict it. In one sense DR is fairly noob friendly in that an inexperienced player in a ship with few upgrades will very often die in one burst of fire, which is where DR should be at it's best. The problem is that knowing when that burst is likely to arrive and hitting a DR active ability just in time requires a lot of experience. In theory seeing your shields disappear is a warning, but for a new pilot the delay between noticing that and hitting the cooldown is often going to be more time than the attacker needs to finish them off. In this respect evasion has a decided advantage, in that ships that have moderate (15-33%) passive evasion still reap significant benefits, whereas with DR failing to have the full stacked effect is a serious problem.

So where does that leave DR as a defensive stat?

Baseline ship DR is free and you can't alter it so don't worry about it. It doesn't have a big enough effect to be worth changing ship class over.

Stacking DR can work in special situations. In minelayer vs minelayer and strike vs minefield situations it can be extremely useful assuming that the mines are seismic and interdiction mines and gunships and emp aren't doing the job. It does sort of require believing that gunships and type 2 scouts are a plague and successfully avoiding them like the plague. Perhaps reasonable for a minelayer, but hard work on a strike in most cases.

If you're not stacking DR, then you probably don't want to take the armor component for it, you'll underperform the other options.

There might be a case for taking the crew active if you're a skilled pilot. You'll be more vulnerable to many weapons compared to taking running interference, but it will be the same as if you had taken an offensive copilot ability, so certainly not an excessive loss of general survivability. Clever use when appropriate though, might make dealing with mines much more survivable, and if you know that you're getting hit by weapons like quads, light lasers, or rapid fires it would allow you to greatly reduce hull damage from them after your shields went down. A very niche use, but in that niche you might give people a nasty surprise by not dying when you should.

Sort of sums up DR in it's current state. Potentially very good in its niche, but it's niche is a very small one and requires a lot of skill to exploit.
"A padawan's master sets their Jedi trial, Rajivari set mine."

- Zhe Lian, Sage.

Kuciwalker's Avatar


Kuciwalker
04.20.2014 , 02:20 PM | #13
The straightforward, simple fix to the issues surrounding armor pen is obvious: take all the weapons with 100% armor penetration and change them to have only 50% armor penetration. Those weapons will still be superior choices against turrets but DR will not be widely useless like it is now.

One other option, that could be taken alone or combined with the above, is to remove armor penetration from BLC.

Armonddd's Avatar


Armonddd
04.20.2014 , 02:23 PM | #14
Quote: Originally Posted by Kuciwalker View Post
The straightforward, simple fix to the issues surrounding armor pen is obvious: take all the weapons with 100% armor penetration and change them to have only 50% armor penetration. Those weapons will still be superior choices against turrets but DR will not be widely useless like it is now.

One other option, that could be taken alone or combined with the above, is to remove armor penetration from BLC.
I'd also like it if it didn't only apply to hull damage, since hull damage is so much harder to recover from and so much more dangerous to take.
Space Ace of <Death Squadron>, <Black Squadron>, <Eclipse Squadron>, and <solo da>

Kuciwalker's Avatar


Kuciwalker
04.20.2014 , 03:31 PM | #15
That is a far more drastic fix that both changes an actual game mechanic (rather than a visible statistic) and might require further pervasive balance changes.

Bioware has shown a willingness to do things like "across the board, reduce shield piercing" or "across the board, reduce evasion". They've shown a willingness to make mechanical tweaks to individual components when those components were seriously overpowered (ion railgun). They do not yet have a precedent for making across-the-board mechanical changes.

I think that the "reduce armor pen to 50%" and "remove armor pen from BLC" suggestions are the sort of change Bioware might actually make, which is why I've been arguing for them.

Verain's Avatar


Verain
04.20.2014 , 04:04 PM | #16
The tradeoff appears to be:

Hull:
> If you have Damage Reduction hull, you take less hull damage from most sources (including all mines). The fact that mines have this as a partial counter is very important. It also works against some missiles, reducing the damage from the ubiquitous clusters and some concussions. Important things that still hit you through this include the other missiles (thermite, proton, rocket pod, even EMP), the common burst laser cannon, and heavy lasers. This is your best hull against all bombers by a linear mile, and is also your only call if you are running charged plating.

>If you have health hull, you can take more damage from all sources, but the advantage goes away unless you are receiving heals. This is your best hull against surviving a gunship hit and can give you the power to survive against hull blasting mines, but at the end of the day you will need heals to cycle into this hull. It also "works" against all manner of missile. It's a kind of niche choice.

> If you have the evasion hull, you have an advantage in dogfighting situations, and it can even evade railgun shots. Unlike the other hull choices, it allows you to have more breathing room in all situations, as the evasion percent can actually result in a shot that would have hit the other hulls instead missing you- meaning that it boosts your effective health versus these attacks by the most, as it alone essentially multiplies your effective shields. The disadvantages are that it is entirely without merit against mines and missiles, and the option to really capitalize on it (distortion field) is really only present on certain ships.




Because these things stack additively, their effects are much more than additive. As an example, if you have 0% evasion and add 25%, you have increased your survival by 33%. If you took 1000 damage to kill before, it will on average take 1333 to killy ou now. If you add another 25%, now you have increased your survival by 100% from base and by 50% from the previous upgrade. This means that each point of evasion is worth more than the point before. The same is true of damage reduction.


When it comes to crewmembers, max health isn't a choice. You can essentially buff shields (ok), buff shield restore (poor), buff damage reduction (ok) and buff evasion (normally the best). Essentially, go with whatever gives you the benefits you are already going for, but strongly consider evasion regardless- any missed shot is important.

When it comes to systems and shields, these things really determine what you are up to. If you take distortion field, you have a whole lot of evasion, which stacks very well with other evasion sources. If you take charged plating, then you need to have all the damage reduction sources (and yes, this means it's entirely worthless on a Starguard). If you have big shields, then your best bet can often be evasion. If you have big hulls, and especially if you have shields, then your best bet could be damage reduction or health. But really it depends on what damage is being dealt to you. If your game is running into flashfires with BLC, then damage reduction is of lower value to you. If you are humping a node, then perhaps damage reduction can be better because of the mines.




I think it's overly generous that BLC ignores all armor. I think that gunships definitely need a full armor ignore shot, but it's odd that this is the same shot that also has inherent and talented shield piercing- I would expect slug to have one or the other, and plasma to have the missing one (this would also reward a ship for having plasma and slug to some degree). Proton needs to be exactly what it is, as does thermite. Concussion has a fair tradeoff for its armor ignore, but it could have been given something entirely different in that spot. I'm not enamored of rocket pods, burst lasers, and heavy lasers having armor ignore with no tradeoff. I would think that an armor ignore laser would exist, but would not necessarily be as good as the rest of the laser pack.

Ramalina's Avatar


Ramalina
04.20.2014 , 04:27 PM | #17
Really it would probably help to get some good pilots to give damage reduction a test run, and see how far they can push it's performance in general play, and not just in the niches where it's clearly a good choice.

Based on times I've look at theorycrafting parts of GSF, I think they must have some sort of math model for GSF balance and for the most part it works pretty well. Otherwise there would have been a lot more balance problems than there have been so far. That sort of implies that the devs think, or at least at some point thought, that damage reduction even with its drawbacks is competitive with other defensive stats.

So if we're going to make a convincing argument for change, it would probably help to really figure out if the main problem with DR is just that the tooltips LOOK unappealing, and therefore we're reluctant to try it or if it really underperforms. Ideally we'll be able to base that on personal experience and also figure out math wise WHY it's underperforming. For things like ion rail drains, distortion field as an offensive cooldown, evasion vs shields value, there were threads were that sort of joint practical and theoretical argument was made. Ultimately it comes down to the dev team's best judgement, but with a long list of things for the devs to work on, if we want existing parts of GSF changed really solid arguments are probably helpful.
"A padawan's master sets their Jedi trial, Rajivari set mine."

- Zhe Lian, Sage.

Kuciwalker's Avatar


Kuciwalker
04.20.2014 , 05:14 PM | #18
Quote: Originally Posted by Verain View Post
I think it's overly generous that BLC ignores all armor. I think that gunships definitely need a full armor ignore shot, but it's odd that this is the same shot that also has inherent and talented shield piercing- I would expect slug to have one or the other, and plasma to have the missing one (this would also reward a ship for having plasma and slug to some degree). Proton needs to be exactly what it is, as does thermite. Concussion has a fair tradeoff for its armor ignore, but it could have been given something entirely different in that spot. I'm not enamored of rocket pods, burst lasers, and heavy lasers having armor ignore with no tradeoff. I would think that an armor ignore laser would exist, but would not necessarily be as good as the rest of the laser pack.
  1. Agree re: BLC. It really shouldn't penetrate any armor IMO - scouts already have very strong reasons to pick it.
  2. Don't agree that gunships need a 100% armor pen. 50% would be fine. Against a full-armor bomber's passive DR this would reduce slug damage by about 20% - this will not break the game.
  3. I would be fine with proton retaining 100%, but the overall game balance won't be crippled if it doesn't.
  4. Conc would probably now default to the other T5 choice, sure, but there are a lot of components with unbalanced T4 or T5 choices and it doesn't break the game.

I don't claim that an across-the-board change here is the most ideal change that can possibly be made. It is, however, something we may be able to sell to Bioware. The meta surrounding armor is very bad for the game.

Quote: Originally Posted by Ramalina View Post
So if we're going to make a convincing argument for change, it would probably help to really figure out if the main problem with DR is just that the tooltips LOOK unappealing, and therefore we're reluctant to try it or if it really underperforms.
I disagree. I can tell you with certainty that as long as BLC and slug have 100% armor pen, DR is just not viable against good players.

Armonddd's Avatar


Armonddd
04.20.2014 , 05:42 PM | #19
Quote: Originally Posted by Verain View Post
I'm not enamored of rocket pods, burst lasers, and heavy lasers having armor ignore with no tradeoff. I would think that an armor ignore laser would exist, but would not necessarily be as good as the rest of the laser pack.
While the 3% crit and -5% tracking penalties for HLCs are an insignificant sacrifice, the tradeoff BLCs make for armor penetration is attrition damage, which is sometimes the only way to take out an exceptionally skilled opponent.

That said, with the introduction of mechanics such as damage overcharge and mines that ignore shields entirely, this tradeoff is also pretty close to insignificant.

On the other hand, armor penetration is almost universally useful on a weapon that's already almost universally useful.

I don't think there's any aspect of BLCs that reeks of poor design, but I do think they're overtuned, and removing armor penetration would go a ways towards fixing that.

My only concern, from there, is that scouts would have even fewer ways to answer bombers. This change would mean that a scout's best (maybe only) answer to a bomber is to simply ignore him completely, and I disagree that that's good game design. I'm of the opinion that everyone should have a reasonable chance to take out an equally skilled pilot regardless of what either party is flying, and that upgrades should make you better against some builds and worse against others.
Space Ace of <Death Squadron>, <Black Squadron>, <Eclipse Squadron>, and <solo da>

Kuciwalker's Avatar


Kuciwalker
04.20.2014 , 06:24 PM | #20
Quote: Originally Posted by Armonddd View Post
I don't think there's any aspect of BLCs that reeks of poor design
The fact that it is the ideal scout weapon in essentially every circumstance reeks of terrible design.

Quote: Originally Posted by Armonddd View Post
My only concern, from there, is that scouts would have even fewer ways to answer bombers.
Quads are a reasonable alternative because of the extra range (almost 6km). The current edge case of charged plating would probably need rebalancing, but charged plating would need rebalancing in any universe where 100% armor pen weapons aren't ubiquitous.

I just checked the numbers, and at mid range against a target with 39% DR quads do about 83% of the hull damage that BLC's with armor pen do currently. At max range, that number is 88%. Both of these figures are before accounting for interpolation of damage and accuracy; i.e. I'm comparing 3450m to 3300m and 5750m to 4400m.

Account for interpolation and calculating on an even basis at 4400m would probably narrow that gap a lot and bring them close to equal.