Monday, 1 June 2009

On block

It's pretty well accepted at present that block as a hybrid avoidance/mitigation stat is pretty underwhelming on bosses. When Wrath came out many people, including me, were seduced with the vision of becoming invulnerable block tanks, secure behind our shields. This has not materialised, and instead warriors and paladins are to an extent sidelined behind the health, armour and cooldowns of DKs and Druids (even after all the nerfs). Ghostcrawler has stated that he would like to change the way that blocking works. Here are some ideas for how he might do it:

1) Upping block values to something that would be meaningful on bosses

This has the effect of making shield tanks overpowered on trash and would trivialise earlier content. It might also mean that depending on how they balanced it, stacking block could be de rigeur for most shield tanks (since block gear contains lots of stamina it would be ok for magical fights too).

2) Changing block to mitigate a percentage of a hit

This would make block a dreadful stat for levelling tanks or freshly dinged level 80s (bear in mind the % in question should never really go above 25% since otherwise what would be the point of critical block or shield block?). It would also make block rubbish on trash, would make AoE tanking much more unpleasant, and would potentially be overpowered on bosses.

3) Tinkering with critical block

This is what I think they will do and is perhaps the most interesting option - make critical block baseline. The baseline stats for critical block would be 200% blocks (as now) at zero percentage chance, and then increase the chance to critically block by up to 30% chance with talents (as now). You can then itemise gear to increase the chance to critically block to above 30%, and increase the amount of damage blocked by each critical to more than 200%. This could perhaps be done via the block rating and value stats.

4) Something a little crazy

How about a system where a lower block value tank will block most hits for a small amount, but a high block value tank will block occasionally for a large amount? This might scale more smoothly than the other systems with block value REDUCING block chance, but increasing the amount blocked. Conceptually, this would be the difference between using a small shield like a buckler, or a large infantry shield like one of those Roman things.

5) Min/max

I am really off-roading now. Each block mitigates a % of incoming damage, or the block value, whichever is higher. The percentage is based on block value. This should work as hoped - with a large percentage mitigation on smaller hits, and significant amounts blocked on larger single hits.

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