Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Dodging is bad, just take in on the chin

A new patch for Diablo 3 is in the works and there are lots of changes, most of them good.  The one that interests me the most is that both the monk and the demon hunter are going to get armour from their dexterity instead of dodge.  This is a massive upgrade and should make both classes much more survivable.  Prior to this those two classes really got the shaft because their main stat was poop for defence.  The trouble was that everybody else got free armour or resist from their main stat and basically got to take half damage from attacks.  Demon hunters and monks got to dodge about 35% of the time which is shockingly bad in comparison.

The question that is useful to answer is how much dodge chance would you need to make up for lacking 50% flat damage reduction?  Clearly the answer isn't 50% dodge because consistent reduction is greatly superior to chance based avoidance since unlucky streaks kill you and lucky streaks aren't that exciting.  I suspect the answer is something like 90% since with that much dodge you could really expect to avoid most of the damage in nearly any situation.  As long as the monsters aren't cracking you for a third of your health on every hit 90% dodge is probably fine.  In softcore, that is, since death every so often isn't that big a problem.  In hardcore you need something like 97% dodge to make up for 50% reduction.

Of course some characters avoiding 90% of attacks is a ludicrous situation.  For one you have to worry about people pushing the envelope by stat stacking and getting to 100%.  For another PVP becomes completely ridiculous as the dodge classes would win nearly every fight without a scratch.  There is simply no way to have 90% avoidance that scales nicely with a stat and have that not be horribly broken in one direction or the other.

So Blizzard has finally caved in and accepted that their system which has been broken from day 1 is best salvaged by just flattening everything out.  It isn't as if dodging actually introduced any interesting choices or mechanics so just getting rid of it entirely is a fine plan.  Having a variety of ways to defend yourself is interesting when those ways actually generate thinking and varied strategies and the old system did not do that at all.

However, there is a way in which the old system could have been kept in place without losing the flavour of being dodgy vs. tough.  My suggestion would have been to drastically reduce the bonus other classes got to their defenses from their main stat.  If all the strength and intelligence classes got about 40% of their current benefit from their main stat things would be a lot more equitable.  They would then be getting something like 20% damage reduction vs. the 35% dodge that monks and demon hunters get.  You still might choose the 20% but at least the dodge classes would legitimately be taking less damage instead of taking more damage *and* spikier damage.

The trouble with my solution is that it would require significant rebalancing of monster strength and would been seen as quite the nerf.  People tend to celebrate buffs and curse nerfs even when their relative power to the monsters stays constant.  From a game variety perspective I think my solution is much more elegant especially as it would reduce the power of everyone's main stats and personally I think that might introduce a little more variety and thought into gearing.  However I don't have to content with legions of people complaining about their characters changing so I understand Blizzard's position.  They would rather the dodgy classes suddenly feel a lot tougher and everyone else just continue on oblivious even if it does mean giving up a smidgen of variety.


  1. Regarding stacking to 100%, I have to say I was totally floored when I found out the dodge function. How it wasn't Dex / (Dex + 500 * attack level) I will never understand.

  2. yeah, they really seemed to rely on the fact that nobody can achieve 100% dodge because they just set the ceiling really high. Still, the fact that they got the other mitigation formulas right and totally phoned in the dodge formula is bizarre.