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Discussion about Active Defenses

rtmartma Posts: 1,199 Arc User
edited February 2022 in Power Discussion
So I have been thinking about the updated variations lately since my last post years ago, they all seem nice but considering they are intended to delay the inevitable defeat but how would you decide what to pick? especially with your build, lets break the 5 AD's down.

Indestructible - Essentially acts as a powerful temporary invulnerability passive applied to you, overall well rounded damage reduction, seem decent, don't see it much use tho.
Unbreakable - Regenerative shield, works well against a lot of weaker hits but can be easily overwhelmed by spikes, so not so good at cosmics for mitigation, again don't see much use.
Masterful Dodge - Increased Dodge/Avoidance, sounds nice with BCR+ RR adv, considering how powerful it can be on a dodge build and any other with Rank 3 giving 100% Dodge chance, still a gamble if your not built for it, once again, not seeing it used.
Field Surge - Still not updated, synergy with PFF, gives a decent shield restoration for PFF otherwise anything end game destroys it, still in need of revamp so lets move on...
Resurgence - This one I have seen more prevalent, the concept of restoring ones health with temporary regeneration doesn't seem that good theoretically, because of what damage reduction/mitigation of the others offer, but considering mechanically you use AD's to prolong your life, this one is an undo button, to give you a second chance, trivializing everything else, so what is the downside? why is it popular? I come to hear your opinions on the subject, why it seems so compelling compared to the others and what could the Devs do about it? :tongue:
Post edited by kaiserin#0958 on
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I take this quote from a review that I agree with.

"customisation is so linear; everyone is after the optimal dps:survivability ratio with 0 reliance on other players = autonomous gameplay... Players don't need each other anymore... which in my opinion is a bad thing."

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  • thisiscraftaaathisiscraftaaa Posts: 72 Arc User
    So, uh, I tried to post this on its own but got the message "Body is 3904 characters too long." So, I guess I need to split this into two parts!



    Part 1: the defensive formula, the groundwork for deciding which Active Defense is the best for you.

    For talking about Active Defenses, it's worth bringing up the subject of how the various defensive layers work to highlight why some are used in certain areas. Namely,

    Dodge, Block, Defense, and Flat.

    First off, to my understanding, since Dodge, Block and Defense are all divisory, it doesn't matter which order you calculate them in, but Flat (should) come after everything else. I still need to actually study these things a bit more for the guide I've been writing, but this is what I have so far on the topic.



    Dodge works by flat-out reducing any incoming damage by your Dodge Severity / Avoidance whenever your Dodge Chance procs it. While theoretically you could reduce incoming damage by 100%, this is in reality impossible, since Avoidance actually functions based on the same diminishing returns that Block and Defense function on, so you'd need essentially infinite Avoidance to pull it off. Due to the RNG involved in making dodging work (one wayward un-dodged Mama Dino bite can plaster a dodge tank all over the walls) dodge tanking is unpopular and usually more of a flex than anything else.



    Block works off the following dimret formula: ID / (Block% + 1) = DT, where ID is Incoming Damage, DT is Damage Taken, and your Block% is... well, self-explanatory. 200% for a default/R0 block, 360% for most R3 blocks (though some can go higher,) so on and so forth. Of particular note, blocks that give "extra defense" innately, like Antagonize's Cornered, apply their bonus to the Defense layer, not the Block layer, while blocks that give "extra defense" from an Adv, like Ebon Void's Voracious Darkness, or Energy Shield's Laser Knight or Phalanx Defense System, do apply their bonus to the Block layer. With that in mind, any other sources of Block Adv effects will also apply to the Block layer, like the Energy Absorbing Crashsuit device, which applies Force Shield's Force Sheathe when used. Without any outside influence (said device as an example,) your highest possible Block% is 360% with most blocks at R3, 380% with Energy Shield R3, and 410% to Physical damage types (Crushing/Piercing/Slashing) with Telekinetic Shield R3, or 410% to Non-Physical damage types (everything that ISN'T those three) with Eldritch Shield R3, both of those latter two providing 360% to the types they don't match.



    Defense has the same dimret formula: ID / (Def% + 1) = DT, so I shouldn't need to re-explain it. Anything that adds to your Defense at all adds to your Def%, whether it's your Defense stat, your Slotted Passive, a friendly AoRP, any defensive devices slotted (like Inborn Tenacity and its ilk,) Brilliance if you have one slotted, any active effects from various powers (like Telekinetic Eruption's Enhanced Form Adv for example,) so on and so forth.

    While getting your Def% to be as high as a R3 block isn't feasible on your own (you'd need to be stacking hard on Defense as a Str-prime Con-stacked tank, which you shouldn't since you should always prioritize max health over Defense for better EHP outside of certain situations like the narrow band of HP to Def that DPSes and healers are in where a Brilliance gives more EHP than a R9 Growth Amulet, AND you'd need a high-statted AoRP and possibly AoPM on the side to help get you the rest of the way there,) Def% does have the benefit of always being active, though it won't save you from effects that require you to block (like Therakiel's Dark Spin, or various event and OM bosses' big *BOOM* pet-nukers that slap a %DoT on you if you don't block, for examples.)



    Finally, Flat. Now, I still need to test Flat to say for sure, I've been given conflicting information when asking around (some say it's fully calc'd after everything else and others say different sources of Flat are calc'd between different defensive layers, all I've ever seen evidences it being calc'd after everything else but I haven't been paying close attention and running the numbers on it, only casually observing it.) So let's assume for convenience for now, that it's calc'd after everything else entirely, but put a nice, big "take this with a grain of salt" flag on it.

    Flat is simple. Any incoming damage you receive has your Flat subtracted from it. My lack of research shows here, in that I know that multiple Inertial Dampening Fields suffer diminishing returns (though they seem weirdly variable in their dimret, sometimes quickly knocking subsequent IDFs into the single percents of effectiveness, sometimes chopping them down to ~25% then climbing back up in effectiveness after, it's super weird,) but I don't know if, say, multiple Devious Shields suffer from DR, or if an IDF and a Devious Shield hit one or the other with DR, or if the same happens with the Indestructible AD, or the Invulnerability slotted passive. But at the bare minimum, even just one of these (except Devious Shield, which only blocks 50 points at R9) makes you effectively immune to all regular/weak DoTs like Bleeds, Poisons and the likes, and massively reduces chip damage from trash mobs.



    So! Having explained all that, I'd like to talk about one last concept: Effective Health Points, or EHP. Essentially, your EHP is just "if all your defensive effects just gave you extra health, what would your health be one-to-one?" For example, if you have exactly 10,000 HP, and 100% Defense, and a R0 block (200% Block%,) as well as 50% Dodge Chance and 50% Avoidance, then it'd look something like this.

    10,000 HP * (100%+1) * (200%+1) = 20,000 * (200%+1) = 60,000 HP
    If you successfully dodge, then 60,000 HP * (100%/50%) = 120,000 HP. That 50% there is your Avoidance, mind you.

    To run the numbers backwards to make sure they work, 60,000 ID / (100%+1) / (200%+1) = 30,000 / (200%+1) = 10,000 DT
    Or for the dodge,
    120,000 ID / (100%+1) / (200%+1) * ((100%-50%)/100%) = 60,000 / (200%+1) * ((100%-50%)/100%) = 20,000 / ((100%-50%)/100%) = 20,000 / (50%/100%) = 20,000 / 0.5 = 10,000 DT.

    With that in mind, having 100% Defense is basically a 2x multiplier to your EHP. Having 200% Defense is a 3x multiplier. Having 300% Defense is a 4x multiplier. The same goes for your block. If you can guarantee a dodge 100% of the time, then 50% Avoidance is a 2x multiplier. 75% is a 4x multiplier. 80% is a 5x multiplier. ~83.3% is a 6x multiplier. Etcetera. Otherwise, if you don't have a guaranteed dodge, then your EHP is drastically different on a dodge versus a non-dodge. Now, most people don't run EHP calculations. They don't need to nor do they want to. The general premise is "you don't care about dodge unless you're a dodge tank, maaaybe a dodge-heavy DPS, or a CC at Kiga." Just knowing the defense and block formula is enough for most. But for understanding why certain Active Defenses are so much more commonly used than others, having this concept of EHP is important to help gel it all together.
    Defender save my soul, for I have sinned...
  • thisiscraftaaathisiscraftaaa Posts: 72 Arc User
    Part 2: Active Defenses themselves, what they do and their pros and cons.



    Now! Let's look at (if I recall correctly) every last Active Defense in the game.

    Indestructible R1: 125% Def, 83 Flat, lasts 15 seconds, CD of 90s on all ADs
    Indestructible R2: 150% Def, 100 Flat, lasts 15 seconds, CD of 90s on all ADs
    Indestructible R3: 180% Def, 120 Flat, lasts 15 seconds, CD of 90s on all ADs

    Ice Barrier R1: 3 destructible Ice Objects near you (20% Def and 100% knock res each) for 30s or until destroyed, Healing Rune on top of you (chip healing every 1s for 30s,) CD of 90s on all ADs, rune WILL be below 70 healing/sec unless you have healing specs or are in Support role
    Ice Barrier R2: 5 destructible Ice Objects near you (20% Def and 100% knock res each) for 30s or until destroyed, Healing Rune on top of you (chip healing every 1s for 30s,) CD of 90s on all ADs, rune WILL be below 80 healing/sec unless you have healing specs or are in Support role
    Ice Barrier R3: 6 destructible Ice Objects near you (20% Def and 100% knock res each) for 30s or until destroyed, Healing Rune on top of you (chip healing every 1s for 30s,) CD of 90s on all ADs, rune WILL be below 100 healing/sec unless you have healing specs or are in Support role

    Unbreakable R1: 2310 Shield, restores 1155 each time you take damage, CD of 90s on all ADs
    Unbreakable R2: 2772 Shield, restores 1386 each time you take damage, CD of 90s on all ADs
    Unbreakable R3: 3326 Shield, restores 1663 each time you take damage, CD of 90s on all ADs

    Masterful Dodge R1: 50% Dodge Chance, 87% Avoidance, 167% less damage from DoTs, CD of 90s on all ADs
    Masterful Dodge R2: 75% Dodge Chance, 105% Avoidance, 200% less damage from DoTs, CD of 90s on all ADs
    Masterful Dodge R3: 100% Dodge Chance, 126% Avoidance, 240% less damage from DoTs, CD of 90s on all ADs

    Field Surge R1: 2977 shield, heals your PFF (if you have one) for 3423, CD of 90s on all ADs
    Field Surge R2: 3572 shield, heals your PFF (if you have one) for 4108, CD of 90s on all ADs
    Field Surge R3: 4286 shield, heals your PFF (if you have one) for 4929, CD of 90s on all ADs

    Resurgence R1: 50% HP, 5% Regeneration for 15sec, +833 max health for 15sec, CD of 90s on all ADs
    Resurgence R2: 75% HP, 10% Regeneration for 15sec, +1000 max health for 15sec, CD of 90s on all ADs
    Resurgence R3: 100% HP, 15% Regeneration for 15sec, +1200 max health for 15sec, CD of 90s on all ADs

    Last Stand R1: 100% HP, +833 max health for 15sec, +50% regeneration for 15sec, 150% Def for 15sec, general CC immunity for 15sec, 200% knock res for 15 sec. After 15 sec, you take 90% HP damage and and cannot be healed for 10 seconds. (5 sec with 1-point adv.) CD of 90s on all ADs. CD of 300 on all self-rezzes. Can only be used while dead.

    Last Stand R2: 100% HP, +1000 max health for 15sec, +75% regeneration for 15sec, 200% Def for 15sec, general CC immunity for 15sec, 250% knock res for 15 sec. After 15 sec, you take 85% HP damage and and cannot be healed for 10 seconds. (5 sec with 1-point adv.) CD of 90s on all ADs. CD of 300 on all self-rezzes. Can only be used while dead.

    Last Stand R3: 100% HP, +1200 max health for 15sec, +100% regeneration for 15sec, 250% Def for 15sec, general CC immunity for 15sec, 300% knock res for 15 sec. After 15 sec, you take 80% HP damage and and cannot be healed for 10 seconds. (5 sec with 1-point adv.) CD of 90s on all ADs. CD of 300 on all self-rezzes. Can only be used while dead.

    Hah, had to space out each instance of Last Stand due to just how much of a mess it is! But now, let's talk about each one of these in turn.


    Indestructible! While not a particularly horrible AD, it's not particularly amazing either. Immediately, one would be inclined to compare it with Masterful Dodge, since both just bulk up different layers of defense, and it outperforms Masterful Dodge in a vacuum drastically at R1, while somewhat (if still notably) at R3. However, sources of Def% are much more common than Dodge Chance and Avoidance, which means that Indestructible won't give you quite as much of a benefit out of a vacuum when you already have some innate Def%, due to the numbers provided prior explaining the formula / how the dimret for Block% and Def% work. If already under the effects of an AoRP, then while still useful, Indestructible will provide you much less survivability due to this fact. Even on a tank, this can be useful preemptively, but due to your already-heightened Def%, you'd garner much more benefit out of another AD. Oh, yes, and there's the chip damage resistance, which is nice at least, but 15 seconds of 83/100/120 Flat won't do much. Indestructible will, as with most ADs, be more beneficial when popped preemptively, rather than being used as a panic button at low health (especially as it doesn't make you immune to damage; only reduces how much you take, and as I'm sure you can conclude from my prior talking about EHP, making your HP more effective when you have 6000, 10000 or however much your max is, is much more useful than doing so when you only have 1000 health and your screen is flashing red.) An oddity worth noting is that dodge tanks can lean towards Indestructible without many problems much like HP/Def% tanks can lean towards Masterful Dodge without many problems, since each one isn't far into dimret on the other's territory and benefits more as a result. (Though let's be honest, they'll probably take Resurgence instead 90% of the time.)


    Ice Barrier! This one's a weird one. At R1, it only gives you 60% Defense (20% per Ice Object.) At R2, it gives you 100% Defense. At R3, it gives you 120% Defense. It also gives you 300%/500%/600% knock resistance at R1/R2/R3, and plops down a weak healing rune that scales with rank and, unlike every other part of this and all other ADs, actually scales with your stats (in this case, your healing strength,) though beyond lasting for 30 seconds instead of 10 seconds, it's an otherwise entirely unremarkable healing rune. It gives much less of a defensive buff than Indestructible, but both defining parts of Ice Barrier (the Ice Objects and the healing rune) are actually AoEs, which makes this beneficial to your whole team, not just you. In this sense, one could make an argument that this is better on a DPS or support than a tank. However, the Ice Objects are destructible and can be targeted by enemies, which means that in a fight they're likely to be quickly destroyed, putting the otherwise strange gimmick of a 30-second-long AD that buffs up your whole team to rest very, very early. And taking it for the healing rune alone is entirely worthless. Especially in late-game and endgame content, where everything throws around hard-hitting AoEs, Ice Barrier unfortunately just can't take the heat, pun entirely intended.


    Unbreakable! Now, this one could be seen as a blend of Resurgence and Field Surge (albeit useful like Resurgence, as Field Surge is utter garbage.) When popped, you get 15 seconds of a relatively small shield, at least by late-game and endgame standards. The catch? The shield restores 50% of its strength each time you take damage, and even if it's completely depleted by an attack, it'll fill back up part-way and keep working until that 15 second window expires. This makes it something akin to Flat defense on steroids, even though it's in the shield HP layer which doesn't benefit from any sort of Block or Defense statting. Or Dodge or Flat for that matter. This is most useful for when you can expect groups of enemies to be gunning for you, as most late-game and endgame bosses do huge amounts of damage that completely eat through even beefy 10k healer shields several times over per hit, let alone a cute, fluffy little 3326/1663 shield at R3. This one in particular is a popular pick for healers running Therakiel's Temple, since healing turns you into an enormous aggro magnet and often times the tank isn't in a position to effortlessly grab 30 mobs at once, and the DPSes take a few seconds to chew through groups that big. However, in lower tier content, like casual Alerts, leveling, Adventure Packs and the likes, unless going up against one of those odd extra-hard-hitters like Jack Fool, this is basically a free invincibility button. Personally, I love Unbreakable. Just remember, most ADs are a proactive defense to pop, Resurgence is a reactive panic button you hit when you've already taken a lot of damage, but Unbreakable can serve as either. Use it well and it'll pay off like crazy!

    Masterful Dodge! Now, I talked about this bit with Indestructible, but Masterful Dodge... well, this one's a weird one. At R1, it's way, way less effective than Indestructible for mitigating big hits, since only (your dodge chance +50%) of the time, you'll have incoming damage slashed by... at R1 with base Avoidance, around 53%. Which means that about half the time, incoming damage will be cut down by slightly over half, which is what Indestructible R1 already does 100% of the time. A bit worthless in this state unless you've already spec'd enough into Dodge Chance and Avoidance that this can bump you up to 100% dodge chance. However, at R3, Masterful Dodge pulls ahead significantly. With 100% Dodge Chance, you'll always dodge for those 15 seconds of Masterful Dodge, 100% of the time. And with 126% more Avoidance, incoming damage is more than divided in half... it's more usable even on non-dodge characters if you're willing to spend 4 Adv points beefing it up like this. For comparison, base Dodge Chance/Avoidance is 10%/20%, and with R3 Masterful Dodge, it's 110%/60.1%. However, its biggest strength is this: it only bothers its own diminishing returns, rather than cutting into the dimret of your Def% or Block%. That makes R3 Masterful Dodge popular on HP/Def% tanks who don't want to stick to the Resurgence meta, but especially on Kigatilik Dog CCs who are usually Pre-stacked in Hybrid form with a little extra Con on the side for good measure, running AoRP, to stack up as much survivability as possible, part of which includes Masterful Dodge instead of Resurgence since a Pre-stacked healer or CC can self-heal way better than Resurgence can (Bionic Shielding, Bountiful Chi Resurgence, anything that immediately drops a healing rune, etc,) and they take advantage of that to be able to weather both Kigatilik's wrath and all four of his Dogs for just a few seconds so they can CC the Dogs while the main tank gets Kigatilik's attention. All in all, pretty usual business! And be sure and thank your CCs. They do the boring job so you and I can shoot lasers at Kigatilik's backside in peace.

    Field Surge! Yeah, you said it. Field Surge doesn't even put up as strong of a bubble/shield as a dedicated healer could, but it eats up your Active Defense slot. Even if you're running PFF for whatever reason, any other AD's going to benefit you more in the long run. Let's just... move on from this steaming hot dumpster-fire of a power and to something more interesting.


    Resurgence! Now here's my definition of more interesting! Resurgence is unique. Let's ignore that thing where it makes Regeneration cap out its healing output, because honestly, if you're running Regeneration, you don't need Resurgence nearly as much as you'd benefit from other ADs in 90% of situations, and if you do have Resurgence anyways, any time where your health is low enough you need to pop Resurgence, Regeneration is already healing as hard as it can anyways. What really matters here is what Resurgence does. It doesn't give you any direct damage mitigation beyond a temporary increase to maximum health, though that increase in and of itself is very good considering the rest of what Resurgence does. At R1/R2/R3, it gives 833/1000/1200 maximum health, heals you for 50%/75%/100% of your max health, and gives you 5%/10%/15% regeneration for 15 seconds. This means that Resurgence is at its worst as a proactive / use-when-you-know-you're-about-to-get-crushed Active Defense, and at it worst on a healer (who will usually have low defense, always have low dodge stats, and can already self-heal very hard, and thus benefits more from Indestructible, Masterful Dodge or Unbreakable,) but is singlehandedly the strongest self-heal available to a DPS and to a tank that isn't using Sentinel Mastery in a crowd of mobs, and is especially at its best when used on a character that already has more health, defense, dodge, etcetera. Regeneration is "regain X% of your max health per second" so its efficacy can be measured thusly. 50%+(5%*15) at R1, 75%+(10%*15) at R2, and 100%+(15%*15) at R3. That's 125% of your max health (after the 833 boost) at R1, 225% of your max health (after the 1000 boost) at R2, and 325% of your max health (after the 1200 boost) at R3. For self-healing, all this requires is that you have approximately a tenth of a second to press it (this seems to be roughly the minimum time necessary for activating a power with no Activation Time, as far as I can tell, though it MIGHT be based on your ping, I'm not sure since multiple no-activ-time powers seem to instantly pop at the same time when chained together.) Combined with an R3 block alone, and this yields you an immense amount of EHP since you can turtle up behind a block while this runs its course. Factoring in Def% as well, and for fifteen seconds, providing you're blocking, you basically won't ever need a healer as a tank, and as a DPS you won't need a healer unless you got yourself in way, way over your head with the kinds of bosses or groups clearly intended for "modern" tanks with 14k+ base HP and a healer in tow to grab the attention of. For an example relevant to right now, with Nightmare Invasion currently running, I've had no problems using R2 Resurgence to without effort solo through Unstable Portals and ALL the mobs around them, as well as Terror Siphons and ALL the mobs around them as well. Or for a more classic example, it's allowed me to survive blocked Qwyjibo fireballs, as well as Kigatilik spinning around and sniping me (or someone near me) after the tank loses aggro or dies for whatever reason. Point being, Resurgence is a very strong utility that generates you a large amount of healing, especially accounting for EHP, taking advantage of your current defensive statistics, rather than just making it harder for mobs to chip away at whatever remainder of your health you have. Essentially, if you have Resurgence, then you'll probably never need to take any other self-heal no matter what, unless you're a healer (and thus, your job is healing everyone constantly, in which case you shouldn't HAVE Resurgence,) or you've got a team bad enough you might as well just back out and team up with a healer to try again. (And if it's something that requires a healer, and your healer sucks at their job, then oof, not much saving that outside of just practice and trying over and over again.)


    Last Stand! Okay, let me be blunt, this thing is an absolute abomination. I'm not sure what mega-dumbo thoughts our devs were thinking when coming up with this thing, but it's a combined Active Defense and Self-Rez that, as such, puts both those on cooldown when used. It's somewhat of a mixture of Resurgence and Rebirth, giving you the same scaling-with-rank health boost that Resurgence does, but refilling 100% of your max health regardless of rank. In addition, at R1/R2/R3, it provides 50%/75%/100% Regeneration (that's right, you heal 50%/75%/100% of your max health PER SECOND while active,) as well as CC immunity, and 200%/250%/300% knock resistnace. All of this lasts for 15 seconds, before you take 90%/85%/80% of your max health in damage, lose all the prior buffs, and cannot be healed by anything or anyone, whether your own powers or devices or anyone else's, for 10 seconds (or 5 seconds if you take the 1-point Adv that reduces that time.) Additionally, this power can only be used while dead, meaning that if nothing else, you'll probably have to take an AD in addition to this (if you're bothering with ADs and self-rezzes) anyways even though this classifies as an AD as well as a self-rez, and you cannot use whatever other AD you might've taken to help keep yourself alive. for the 10 or 5 seconds where you'll only have 10% to 20% of your health remaining and cannot be healed at all. That means that, at an absolute minimum, on a glass healer with no extra health from AoPM or on gear at all (slightly under 4500 max health,) you'll be stuck at ~450/675/900 HP for 5 to 10 seconds with no way being healed whatsoever. A glass DPS in the same circumstances would be at ~500/750/1000 HP for 5 to 10 seconds with no way of being healed. On the opposite extreme, a tank with 20k health that took this, for whatever dumb reason, would wind up with just 2000/3000/4000 health for 5/10 seconds with no way of being healed. And considering Last Stand has a 2-point adv that increases aggro gen severely while active? The idea must have been "oh, this is for tanks to regain control if they die," which is stupid because if they regain control with 3000 health, then how will they last 5 to 10 seconds with no healing whatsoever to something that killed them when they had 20000 health in the first place WITH a healer? All in all, there's a darn good reason to not use this: it'll get you killed in any solo fight where you can't finish the fight in 15 seconds (with all your Toggleform stacks gone no less, so you have to spend time turning those on or zerg it with no Toggleform,) and in any team-based content, stray AoEs can clip you and instantly kill you during that 5/10 second span, even if they'd have been just annoying chip damage to you at full health. This means that using this at Cosmics (except Eidolon, and it's iffy even there) is utterly worthless. Same for using it in Andrithal and Teleios Ascendant. And in Therakiel's Temple, oh god... even if you're not trying to aim for a perk run, this is worthless since so many AoEs fly constantly there that you'll get plastered all over the walls just for existing if you're stuck with health that low for 5-10 seconds. If you need a rez, just use a regular rez, and if you need an AD, just take a regular AD. This power is very much a jack of all trades that, overly ambitious as it is, winds up being master of none... and bad enough in so many cases that it's closer to being the dunce of all. (Plus, generally, in team-based content, your goal should be to not die in the first place, which is what ADs are for. And a self-rez that doesn't KILL YOU AGAIN IF YOU USE IT is generally better for trying to recover in a sticky situation.)





    So! Ah... as you can see, they have their different strengths and weaknesses.

    Indestructible is best on a character with low Def%, and is best used proactively.
    Ice Barrier is best on a DPS or support in a fight where whatever you're going up against is using single target attacks. (Very rare in the endgame though, so this one's a meh.) It's also best used proactively, if you do find a good situation to use it in.
    Unbreakable is best against swarms of enemy mobs, serving as Flat/chip resistance on steroids. It's a good panic button against massive amounts of chip damage, and while best used proactively, it can also be used reactively.
    Masterful Dodge is best on a character with low Dodge Chance and Avoidance, but only if R3. Pretty underwhelming at lower ranks due to the chance to fail a dodge. It's best used proactively.
    Field Surge is best if... no, it's not.
    Resurgence is best if you're already confident in your defense and dodge statistics and have good health, and need a burst of healing more than you need a burst of defense in the first place. It's a good panic button against large bursts of damage in general, and is best used reactively.
    Last Stand is... eh... it's best if you're in a situation where you know an AD won't save you and a healer won't save you, and you won't be hit by AoEs whatsoever in an exact window 15 to 25 seconds (or 15 to 20 seconds) after being rezzed. It's similar to Ice Barrier in that sense, though with greater reward for a risk that drastically outweighs that reward, instead of small reward for a small risk at best.

    Resurgence is the most popular due to its all-around applications. It's 15 seconds of a free pocket healer when most of the time, you're not going up against something that can overpower Resurgence (and if you are, you're likely teamed up with an ACTUAL healer, AND with a tank who's going to be holding the attention of that something most of the time anyways.)

    Masterful Dodge and Unbreakable both follow that up in popularity due to the fact that Def% is more common than Dodge Chance and Avoidance for most builds, and due to the fact that for regular/easy content EVERYTHING is chip damage while for harder and endgame content mobs throw around just enough damage that an effective chip damage resistance of ~1k or so makes you immune to MOST of what gets thrown around, respectively.

    Indestructible follows up as an utility mostly for dodge tanks and healers who don't have AoRP on the back pocket, who are expecting singular heavy hits to come their way.

    Ice barrier is a cute little gimmick but doesn't really do much, Field Surge is utterly worthless, and Last Stand is too confused on what it wants to be to be good in anything outside of a few odd, niche situations.



    But ah, blimey, around five thousand words! I've rambled on more than long enough. This is my understanding of and my take on the various Active Defenses and why they're used. As for what the devs could do about it...

    They probably won't do anything. With the current design philosophy of the game being "make dedicated holy-trinity roles mandatory even though Kaiserin talks about how much she hates healers" current good ADs won't be made any stronger, and with things like the Heavy Weapon nerf telling us the current thought process, even if current bad ADs got buffed, they'd only be buffed to be usably worthless, and not as good as the current few that are actually worth using. It's a shame, but that's just how it is.





    And that's that! I might've missed something here and there, but I'm pretty sure I got all the important details down.
    Defender save my soul, for I have sinned...
  • jaazaniah1jaazaniah1 Posts: 5,150 Arc User
    Because I am terrible at predicting when a lag spike is going to hit and negate my block (which for me is the main way of survivng most things) I never try to be proactive with things like Indestructible, Maserful Dodge, etc. I only ever take Resurgencge R2 anymore, even on my 1 dodge tank (since he's at 100% dodge almost every second anyway). As long I am not one-shotted, that's (and sometimes a self rez as well) all I need to get me back in the game.
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  • spookyspectrespookyspectre Posts: 579 Arc User
    Part 2: Active Defenses themselves, what they do and their pros and cons.

    This is a great write up.
    Unbreakable! Now, this one could be seen as a blend of Resurgence and Field Surge (albeit useful like Resurgence, as Field Surge is utter garbage.) When popped, you get 15 seconds of a relatively small shield, at least by late-game and endgame standards. The catch? The shield restores 50% of its strength each time you take damage, and even if it's completely depleted by an attack, it'll fill back up part-way and keep working until that 15 second window expires. This makes it something akin to Flat defense on steroids, even though it's in the shield HP layer which doesn't benefit from any sort of Block or Defense statting. Or Dodge or Flat for that matter. This is most useful for when you can expect groups of enemies to be gunning for you, as most late-game and endgame bosses do huge amounts of damage that completely eat through even beefy 10k healer shields several times over per hit, let alone a cute, fluffy little 3326/1663 shield at R3. This one in particular is a popular pick for healers running Therakiel's Temple, since healing turns you into an enormous aggro magnet and often times the tank isn't in a position to effortlessly grab 30 mobs at once, and the DPSes take a few seconds to chew through groups that big. However, in lower tier content, like casual Alerts, leveling, Adventure Packs and the likes, unless going up against one of those odd extra-hard-hitters like Jack Fool, this is basically a free invincibility button. Personally, I love Unbreakable. Just remember, most ADs are a proactive defense to pop, Resurgence is a reactive panic button you hit when you've already taken a lot of damage, but Unbreakable can serve as either. Use it well and it'll pay off like crazy!

    I had read that if Unbreakable is completely depleted it stops working and I'm glad to read that may not be the case. I've wanted to try it on a healer, especially to see if it keeps them from being interrupted during a rez. Cybermind comes to mind, as he always seems to attack my healer when trying to rez someone.
    Masterful Dodge! Now, I talked about this bit with Indestructible, but Masterful Dodge... well, this one's a weird one. At R1, it's way, way less effective than Indestructible for mitigating big hits, since only (your dodge chance +50%) of the time, you'll have incoming damage slashed by... at R1 with base Avoidance, around 53%. Which means that about half the time, incoming damage will be cut down by slightly over half, which is what Indestructible R1 already does 100% of the time. A bit worthless in this state unless you've already spec'd enough into Dodge Chance and Avoidance that this can bump you up to 100% dodge chance. However, at R3, Masterful Dodge pulls ahead significantly. With 100% Dodge Chance, you'll always dodge for those 15 seconds of Masterful Dodge, 100% of the time. And with 126% more Avoidance, incoming damage is more than divided in half... it's more usable even on non-dodge characters if you're willing to spend 4 Adv points beefing it up like this. For comparison, base Dodge Chance/Avoidance is 10%/20%, and with R3 Masterful Dodge, it's 110%/60.1%. However, its biggest strength is this: it only bothers its own diminishing returns, rather than cutting into the dimret of your Def% or Block%. That makes R3 Masterful Dodge popular on HP/Def% tanks who don't want to stick to the Resurgence meta, but especially on Kigatilik Dog CCs who are usually Pre-stacked in Hybrid form with a little extra Con on the side for good measure, running AoRP, to stack up as much survivability as possible, part of which includes Masterful Dodge instead of Resurgence since a Pre-stacked healer or CC can self-heal way better than Resurgence can (Bionic Shielding, Bountiful Chi Resurgence, anything that immediately drops a healing rune, etc,) and they take advantage of that to be able to weather both Kigatilik's wrath and all four of his Dogs for just a few seconds so they can CC the Dogs while the main tank gets Kigatilik's attention. All in all, pretty usual business! And be sure and thank your CCs. They do the boring job so you and I can shoot lasers at Kigatilik's backside in peace.

    Was going to mention MD is good for CCers that are pulling Kiga's dogs and you beat me to it :smile:
  • flowcytoflowcyto Posts: 12,387 Arc User
    edited February 2022
    So, uh, I tried to post this on its own but got the message "Body is 3904 characters too long." So, I guess I need to split this into two parts! (...)
    It seems like a nice write-up overall. Good work 8)

    And yea, as others have said, Resurgence is popular now mainly because its combo of a big instant heal and a solid regen effect is good for any build that get smacked to low health and/or wants to be more self-sufficient, and this makes it pretty straightforward to use, regardless of the build or content. It wasn't as good w/o the regen effect before, but still had some use as being a big instant heal that didn't need any healing bonuses. Despite Resurgence's current strength, it is nice to hear of good uses for some of the other ADs, even if they are more situational.
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  • warcanchwarcanch Posts: 994 Arc User
    I seem to recall that Unbreakable does not block the Storm damage nor the non-storm ticks during 2/3 and 1/3 health of Kiga. Even though the shielding is of sufficient strength, these damages ignore the shield. At least, that's what I recall from months ago.

    As well as, I recall being told that once the main strength shield of Unbreakable was exceeded, then it didn't regen any more, no matter how much time was left. This is just from memory and not a "fact" of what is current for the power.​​
    .

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  • ansemthedarkansemthedark Posts: 652 Arc User
    warcanch wrote: »
    I seem to recall that Unbreakable does not block the Storm damage nor the non-storm ticks during 2/3 and 1/3 health of Kiga. Even though the shielding is of sufficient strength, these damages ignore the shield. At least, that's what I recall from months ago.

    As well as, I recall being told that once the main strength shield of Unbreakable was exceeded, then it didn't regen any more, no matter how much time was left. This is just from memory and not a "fact" of what is current for the power.​​

    Shield in general is weird, see PFF or similar vs Viper or Argent weapons that seem to ignore those fully. No balance at all when specific enemies can ignore such powers. Might make sense Lore wise but gameplay wise always and bad idea, imagine a Fire Elemental being immune to Fire Damage because "sense". Not makes a fun game experience in an MMO.
  • pantagruel01pantagruel01 Posts: 7,091 Arc User
    warcanch wrote: »
    I seem to recall that Unbreakable does not block the Storm damage nor the non-storm ticks during 2/3 and 1/3 health of Kiga. Even though the shielding is of sufficient strength, these damages ignore the shield. At least, that's what I recall from months ago.​​
    There's a fair number of 'ignore defenses' NPC powers out there; Unbreakable doesn't work against them any more than any other defense does.

    By and large, the reason people currently use resurgence (and why they previously all used masterful dodge) is that it's the best active defense for most purposes.
  • warcanchwarcanch Posts: 994 Arc User
    It's pretty annoying how they made the NPCs break their own rules and bypass certain things.

    The device, Eruption, is much like Unbreakable in that it used to be pretty much 5 seconds(?) of perfect immunity. Now, lots of things ignore its' defense.​​
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  • thisiscraftaaathisiscraftaaa Posts: 72 Arc User
    I had read that if Unbreakable is completely depleted it stops working and I'm glad to read that may not be the case. I've wanted to try it on a healer, especially to see if it keeps them from being interrupted during a rez. Cybermind comes to mind, as he always seems to attack my healer when trying to rez someone.
    warcanch wrote: »
    As well as, I recall being told that once the main strength shield of Unbreakable was exceeded, then it didn't regen any more, no matter how much time was left. This is just from memory and not a "fact" of what is current for the power.​​

    Just popped on one of my healers that uses Unbreakable and wheeled into the battle station on Challenge level, Challenge size, New Purple Gang, just to verify. Damage overflow from the shield being dropped to 0 did steadily chop away at my health bar since I didn't self-heal at all, but the shield repeatedly dropped to 0 from heavy hits and then refilled back to full from incoming chip damage. Just needed to test it myself to make gosh-diddly-darn sure I was putting up the right information in confirming this.

    I do know it used to, a long while back, expire/end early if the shield hit 0. That was the same time that dealing damage reduced the amount of shielding you'd regain each time you were hit, which meant even a Sparkshield/Thornshield would utterly brick it for you. Both of those got changed so, thankfully, it's actually usable and halfway decent as an Active Defense now.
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  • warcanchwarcanch Posts: 994 Arc User
    Thanks for checking. Good to have CURRENT information when making decisions.​​
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  • redcastle56redcastle56 Posts: 119 Arc User
    Master of the Mind also counts as an AD.
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