test content
What is the Arc Client?
Install Arc

Block Timing Explained

pantagruel01pantagruel01 Posts: 6,291 Arc User
edited January 2017 in Power Discussion
The block power in CO looks really simple: just tap the power at the right time, and avoid damage, knockback, holds, whatever. However, if you use it that way, you'll find that it doesn't actually work. That's because there's actually two timings that matter for blocking: start of activation and end of activation.

If you are blocking at the start of activation, your block will be counted for:
  1. Whether the attack knocks you back.
  2. Whether any blockable status effects are applied. This includes holds and roots.
  3. Whether any on-hit effects of your block are applied.
  4. Whether any other effects that are contingent on the target blocking are applied.
If you are blocking at the end of activation, your block will be counted for:
  1. Damage resolution.
  2. Certain NPC roots and holds will be suspended until you stop blocking.
What this means is that powers with nasty secondary effects need to be blocked early. For powers that have nasty secondary effects but low or no damage you can actually release your block before the power completes. Teleiosaurus has a number of powers where this matters:
  • Mighty Roar (orange): block early to avoid being held. If you block late, you will be held when you release block.
  • Spine Burst (green): block early to avoid genetic decay debuff (DoT), late to avoid toxic damage. Note that the damage from the DoT cannot be blocked.
  • Stomp (yellow): block early to avoid knockback, late to avoid damage.
See also Steam's Block Page.

Note: Critter powers, like player powers, can have charge time and maintain time, as well as an activation time. Shtick tells (Boom, Foom, Freem, Bam) appear at the start of charging, but the checks mentioned above occur at the end of charging.

Note 2: the game renders power animations, including block, locally, and thus it appears that block happens instantly when you hit the block key, but it actually resolves block server-side; thus, a successful block requires beating the indicated time by your latency (you can use /netstat 1 or /netgraph 1 to see your latency).
Post edited by pantagruel01 on
«1

Comments

  • pantagruel01pantagruel01 Posts: 6,291 Arc User
    gradii said:

    Theres also a steam guide on this very topic.

    And if you gave a link to it that would be a useful comment.
  • roughbearmattachroughbearmattach Posts: 4,784 Arc User
    Superb post--this mechanic is not understood by most newer players, and many older players.
    It comes up in so many Cosmics fights when players are saying in Zone, "My block didn't work."

    ___________________________________________________________

    Whoever you are, be that person one hundred percent. Don't compromise on your identity.
  • morigosamorigosa Posts: 698 Arc User
    Useful information, but not quite accurate. Block's protection from knockback and holds and %health effects has a delay on it; when you need to be blocking relative to the power's activation depends on what power you're trying to defend against.

    For example, let's consider Gravitar's Force Snap power - she snaps her fingers, knocking a target (usually the tank) into the air. If you want to not be knocked by that, you have to be blocking for about a second prior to when she uses it; blocking immediately beforehand will reduce damage, but won't reduce the knock effect.

    For another example, Teleiosaurus' Mighty Roar: assuming a low latency connection, you need to be blocking at about the time her second foot gets lifted off the ground - which is a bit after the power starts activating, but well before it completes. Any later than that and you'll be held - with no indication of whether or not you're held until you stop blocking. (Advice: if you're not sure whether or not you missed the timer, keep holding block through the next big AoE attack or two - or until there's a dps check.)
  • pantagruel01pantagruel01 Posts: 6,291 Arc User
    morigosa said:

    Useful information, but not quite accurate. Block's protection from knockback and holds and %health effects has a delay on it; when you need to be blocking relative to the power's activation depends on what power you're trying to defend against.

    No it doesn't, though this gets into how power timing works.

    Powers basically have three periods:
    Charge time: during this time, the critter will play a charging animation. If you start blocking during this time period (and continue for long enough), you will accomplish an early block.
    Activation time: during this time, the critter will play an activation animation. If you start blocking during this time period (and continue for long enough), you will accomplish a late block.
    Maintain time: during this time, the critter will play a maintain animation. Maintains, unlike clicks, appear to resolve all of their effect simultaneously.

    Certain powers lack charge time (e.g. Force Snap), and thus do not give you any cue that would allow an early block (if the critter's attack rotations are reliable enough, you can guess). Many powers lack maintain times.
    morigosa said:

    For example, let's consider Gravitar's Force Snap power - she snaps her fingers, knocking a target (usually the tank) into the air. If you want to not be knocked by that, you have to be blocking for about a second prior to when she uses it; blocking immediately beforehand will reduce damage, but won't reduce the knock effect.

    The fingersnap is activation animation, not charge animation; by the time the snap occurs, start of activation has already happened.
    morigosa said:

    For another example, Teleiosaurus' Mighty Roar: assuming a low latency connection, you need to be blocking at about the time her second foot gets lifted off the ground

    The pawing the ground is a charge animation.
  • magpieuk2014magpieuk2014 Posts: 1,214 Arc User
    It comes up in so many Cosmics fights when players are saying in Zone, "My block didn't work."

    Latency, packet loss, server distance and the ropey game client usually accounts for that.

    The problem with block activation time being so key to block's efficacy is that the power's worth is more often determined by technicalities than by the player's skill. As there's no EU server for CO, anyone in Europe who's looking to block those charge-activation effects needs to start doing so around 1/4- 1/2 a second before anyone in the USA (or more, depending on how badly the game traffic is being routed through your ISP). Game performance also declines the longer you play and in multi-player environments, so in Rampages and Cosmics you can end up being killed by an attack that that the game client registers but hasn't actually rendered (yet). Fun!

    There is also an issue where basic Block's activation time is significantly greater than any of the Block Replacer powers (and seems to increase as you level), which means the only way of getting an efficient block effect outside of the USA is to be systematic about it and just block, all the time.... :)
  • pantagruel01pantagruel01 Posts: 6,291 Arc User

    Latency, packet loss, server distance and the ropey game client usually accounts for that.

    Added note about latency. I'd add a note about the way maintains can sometimes make blocks fail, but I'm not entirely sure how it works.
  • kamokamikamokami Posts: 1,623 Arc User

    The problem with block activation time being so key to block's efficacy is that the power's worth is more often determined by technicalities than by the player's skill.

    It happens but not "more often". Not counting complete wipes, death counts are not high or evenly distributed enough to justify technicalities being the primary cause. Usually 2-3 players are dying way way more. And that's attributable to a lack of familiarity with the fight....the fight itself does not require great skill.
  • roughbearmattachroughbearmattach Posts: 4,784 Arc User

    It comes up in so many Cosmics fights when players are saying in Zone, "My block didn't work."

    Latency, packet loss, server distance and the ropey game client usually accounts for that.

    The problem with block activation time being so key to block's efficacy is that the power's worth is more often determined by technicalities than by the player's skill. As there's no EU server for CO, anyone in Europe who's looking to block those charge-activation effects needs to start doing so around 1/4- 1/2 a second before anyone in the USA (or more, depending on how badly the game traffic is being routed through your ISP). Game performance also declines the longer you play and in multi-player environments, so in Rampages and Cosmics you can end up being killed by an attack that that the game client registers but hasn't actually rendered (yet). Fun!

    There is also an issue where basic Block's activation time is significantly greater than any of the Block Replacer powers (and seems to increase as you level), which means the only way of getting an efficient block effect outside of the USA is to be systematic about it and just block, all the time.... :)

    Once players have determined this is the case, the answer is to block even earlier and more often.
    Getting a minimum score to reap rewards is easy if you're there for the entire fight, and even easier if your character isn't defeated. If your connection has latency issues, or if CO has a memory leak on your computer, etc., just take that into account.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Whoever you are, be that person one hundred percent. Don't compromise on your identity.
  • pwestolemynamepwestolemyname Posts: 978 Arc User
    edited January 2017
    Does power de-activation time have anything to do with it? My fire girl seems to be so lackadaisical about getting out of her Conflag pose and into blocking stance. It doesn't seem to take so long from other powers or from a standing start, but from Conflag it seems long. I'm wondering if the block actually activates before she finishes the animation, or if some powers actually do have a longer de-activation time.

    Also, great thread!
    - - - - -
    SIGNATURE:
    Used to be coach on the forums. Still @coach in game.
  • spinnytopspinnytop Posts: 15,308 Arc User

    Does power de-activation time have anything to do with it? My fire girl seems to be so lackadaisical about getting out of her Conflag pose and into blocking stance. It doesn't seem to take so long from other powers or from a standing start, but from Conflag it seems long. I'm wondering if the block actually activates before she finishes the animation, or if some powers actually do have a longer de-activation time.

    Also, great thread!

    The block does activate. In fact you can block without the block animation ever registering visually - happens a lot to tanks who really have their block timing down.
  • pantagruel01pantagruel01 Posts: 6,291 Arc User

    Does power de-activation time have anything to do with it?

    There are a few bugged powers that lock out block, but for the rest block is immediate (other than net lag) and any animation issues are just ghosts. For example, block canceling a force cascade still produces a visible force cascade, though it doesn't do any damage.
  • roughbearmattachroughbearmattach Posts: 4,784 Arc User
    Some devices have the same animation issue. For instance, if I am using the Hi-Pan staff to blast something, but change my mind and block, the staff animation plays through, but my block kicks in.

    I find that the block power lighting up on my power tray is a fairly accurate measure of whether or not my block is active.
    ___________________________________________________________

    Whoever you are, be that person one hundred percent. Don't compromise on your identity.
  • aiqaaiqa Posts: 2,618 Arc User
    edited January 2017
    Maybe it would be good to lists the powers that can't be properly block canceled in this thread.

    The powers I know off:
    - Illumination
    - Ball Lightning
    - Hydra
    - Dust Devil
    - Particle Mine
    - Mini Mines
    - Strafing Run
    Post edited by aiqa on
  • kaizerinkaizerin Posts: 2,124 Cryptic Developer
    There is actually a flag that can be set on powers that allows it to be self-canceled or not (mainly used on npc's but occasionally creeps onto player powers), so a list of powers that can't be block canceled would be handy.​​
  • pantagruel01pantagruel01 Posts: 6,291 Arc User
    Lance Rain (Onslaught Vendor) cannot be block canceled. It also cannot be partially charged.
  • theravenforcetheravenforce Posts: 6,624 Arc User
    Note: The Block Mechanic does not protect you against 'Disable' effects.

    Disable - This crowd control effect is no longer available to players but still exists in game. 'Disabled!' Crowd Control, prevents a player from accessing any of their powers for the duration of the effect. Players can break out of this effect through "Z-mashing" or waiting it out, or through incoming damage from other NPCs. Players under the effects of 'Disabled!' can still move freely using their normal movement speed but cannot access super powers or travel powers. (Enemies which use this include the Supreme Serpent and The Sovereign Sons).

    Taken from my Crowd Control page on the Champions Online Wiki.
  • draogndraogn Posts: 1,267 Arc User
    There are domr abilities and powers that ignore block as well. Some of the abilities from Psi and Viper for instance will still knock/push you backwards.
  • spinnytopspinnytop Posts: 15,308 Arc User
    edited February 2017
    People like to be like "hurrdurr SpinnyTop U only tink teh game is ez cause U kno all teh trix!" but I didn't actually know the info in the OP until I read it. This has brought my block game up to the next level, why isn't this stickied yet? Someone get on that.


    PS - link this to everyone you know who says blocking is hard, this explains a lot. #DinoMom

    PS2 - Thank you Panta for sharing this, this is must know info.
  • roughbearmattachroughbearmattach Posts: 4,784 Arc User
    spinnytop said:



    PS - link this to everyone you know who says blocking is hard, this explains a lot. #DinoMom

    Agreed--sticky-worthy.

    To be fair, without this knowledge, blocking does seem hard/confusing/random.
    I have already pointed folks in game here.
    Jolly good show.
    ___________________________________________________________

    Whoever you are, be that person one hundred percent. Don't compromise on your identity.
  • eviltwintwoeviltwintwo Posts: 321 Arc User
    I still fail to see why you'd be held after releasing a block. The whole point of blocking is to block incoming damage AND aftereffects. Still, I'd rather have a chance of blocking than none at all.
  • theravenforcetheravenforce Posts: 6,624 Arc User
    I'm surprised that this information on block wasn't known...then again I used to block excessively when I came to CO as I viewed it as a novelty to be able to do that but anyway...there used to be (and possibly still are) some block replacers/enhancers which detail exactly what is contained within a blocking ability e.g. Block provides a grand total of -1 Hold to all CC effects for example (so if there are category 2 holds thrown at you and you block, you'll still be held post block, so wait out the duration).

    It would be useful to have this thread as a sticky but also include a mandatory tutorial for blocking perhaps at the Ravenswood Academy site at level 6 and then once more at level 40 for endgame content.

  • theravenforcetheravenforce Posts: 6,624 Arc User

    I still fail to see why you'd be held after releasing a block. The whole point of blocking is to block incoming damage AND aftereffects. Still, I'd rather have a chance of blocking than none at all.

    Mostly depends on the category of CC you are taking the brunt of, some like in cosmics, with correct timing can be completely cancelled out, others cannot and some cannot be protected against (e.g. Disable effect).

    There are also ways of weakening a hold before it is cast on you so that the duration is greatly lessened, this can be achieved without blocking.
  • magpieuk2014magpieuk2014 Posts: 1,214 Arc User
    Once players have determined this is the case, the answer is to block even earlier and more often.

    The rendering accuracy of the client declines over time, and especially so in multi-player events. Even in simple events, like a Grab Alert, you'll normally find yourself being rubber-banded 2-3 seconds into the past at least once while the client(s) and server try to resynchronise themselves. Until it does that, all manner of fun can occur, especially in open-world events, where you can be regularly one-shotted by attacks which your client hasn't even started displaying (the wireframe tells from Liberated Mega-Destroids during the Mechanon event might as well have been in the post for all the relevance they had to the attack's effects).

    Not counting complete wipes, death counts are not high or evenly distributed enough to justify technicalities being the primary cause. Usually 2-3 players are dying way way more. And that's attributable to a lack of familiarity with the fight....the fight itself does not require great skill.

    Blah blah blah covers this, I think. It's a bad idea to adopt statistical terminology ("evenly distributed") when you don't have, or don't provide, the statistical backup. Empiricism is the order of the day here.

    And that's attributable to a lack of familiarity with the fight....the fight itself does not require great skill.

    Indeed so; but it's not a good thing to say that the game client is so flaky that reaction based play is unworkable. If I had one major criticism of CO it is that playing it well seems to require abandoning such old-school concepts as WYSIWYG and accepting that you have to learn the curious mechanics, which include blocking ahead of time and understanding that objects between you and an enemy have no bearing on whether an attack hits you, amongst other things...
  • cptmassive1cptmassive1 Posts: 115 Arc User
    I would agree about blocking needing to be able to negate holds on a late block - seems kinda counter-intuitive the way it is. That and most people's instinct will be to drop the block anyway if they are "in a rhythm" for a while and it takes a quick awareness check to break that rhythm. Especially if the fight runs long.

    My favorite experience was when one time I was held, defeated as a result of the hold, was rezzed almost immediately after only to recover and still be held from the previous attack (i.e. the dino hadn't done another hold). That's just insult to injury.

    I didn't know about the latency commands - thank you for those. Always good to know going in whether I'm going to have timing issues.
  • erile#2692 erile Posts: 70 Arc User
    So, I found this guide from your posts in another thread.

    How do you interpret the netgraph to see if you are having latency problems?

    Are there any recommendations on how to read what the enemies are doing? I ask this as a person who really hasn't noticed these things until they were mentioned (game really needs to explain how it works to players). Given that I haven't noticed, something must be interfering with my ability to see these things.

    How can you tell if an enemy out-of-view is doing something that needs blocking?
  • pantagruel01pantagruel01 Posts: 6,291 Arc User
    Using /netgraph 1 will show ping times, in units of 1/1000 second, in the left lower quadrant, and will show a scrolling bar graph of ping times in the right lower quadrant.

    If the bar graph is dramatically spiky, there's something wrong and you might see intermittent freezes or even have commands vanish. Otherwise, you just need to beat timings by the indicated number of milliseconds (most charged powers are around 2s charge time, so in theory pretty large charge times are playable, but probably not very pleasant.
  • erile#2692 erile Posts: 70 Arc User

    Using /netgraph 1 will show ping times, in units of 1/1000 second, in the left lower quadrant, and will show a scrolling bar graph of ping times in the right lower quadrant.

    If the bar graph is dramatically spiky, there's something wrong and you might see intermittent freezes or even have commands vanish. Otherwise, you just need to beat timings by the indicated number of milliseconds (most charged powers are around 2s charge time, so in theory pretty large charge times are playable, but probably not very pleasant.

    Thanks, I didn't realize the graph was there (it hides in the graphics) and was trying to figure out whether the numbers were good or not.
  • pantagruel01pantagruel01 Posts: 6,291 Arc User

    Using /netgraph 1 will show ping times, in units of 1/1000 second, in the left lower quadrant, and will show a scrolling bar graph of ping times in the right lower quadrant.

    If the bar graph is dramatically spiky, there's something wrong and you might see intermittent freezes or even have commands vanish. Otherwise, you just need to beat timings by the indicated number of milliseconds (most charged powers are around 2s charge time, so in theory pretty large charge times are playable, but probably not very pleasant.

    Thanks, I didn't realize the graph was there (it hides in the graphics) and was trying to figure out whether the numbers were good or not.
    The best ping times are probably in the 100 ms range, Cryptic doesn't have the infrastructure of a fighting game. I don't have a lot of experience to say how different ping times affect game play.
Sign In or Register to comment.