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 When Tanking, Shields can be good for a DRK

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Zedar
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PostSubject: When Tanking, Shields can be good for a DRK   Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:54 am

Originally posted by Hemetite on the Knights of 3305 Forum
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Investigation Summary
Having a better tank is obviously important to all adventurers and not just Gnomes. As I am a Necro Hobbyist (it supports my mineralogy) I have always been somewhat interested in biological machinery both living and dead. I was meditating upon this when a rather huffy dread knight walked by with a very wicked two handed axe.

I was thinking about how to better keep Zed alive in raids when it struck me. You always see DRKs with a two handed weapon. Why is this since the main purpose of a tank is to take a pounding and leave the DPS to others. Would a shield be better? There must be some factor to it and the purpose of this investigation is to determine how to make a DRK a better tank.

Candidate Selection

Subject: Lesser Giant
Name: Knat
Level: 30
IQ: 65
Profession: Adventuring DRK

After interviewing several candidates I finally found an experimental subject that had an appropriate IQ for the task (a healthy lesser giant who seemed willing to do anything for Elvin Tastee Treats (note to self: The treats are expensive Ė it would be nice to be able to make my own; but Iím not familiar with the meat or pickling sauce. The trader that sold me these said they came from Dahknang; but given the name it might be possible to import directly from Leth Nurae. The treats seem like Catnip for the big guy though. Heís also extremely fond of Druid berries). Fortunately, unlike most of the races, he seemed to have no fear of Gnomes (or anything else) or jealousy of their great intellectual powers.

Theory
Certainly using a two handed weapon grants Dread Knights specific abilities, and these must be understood rather than just writing them off:

Spell Cast Cooldown(s) Other
DRK Ability 5% blocking when wielding a 2 handed weapon
Bleak Foeman 0 30 Stops fighting, +150% chance to block next attack
Anthamineís * * 60min buf, gives 35 dmg shield
Mutilate 0 120 +400% weapon damage, +290 dmg, ignores mitigation


Blocking
Knatís inate ability with a 2H weapon grants him +5% blocking at level 31. However, he also had a shield that was +15% blocking, the extra 10% far outstrips the natural ability.

Bleak Foeman
This doesnít seem to be commonly used. Partially because it would be best to block the initial attack, but the DRK is usually busy setting up agro skills then. Also, the block only has a minimal impact for Knat at Level 30 (you can still take advantage of blocks with a 1H, you just canít force a block using this skill). If a DRK does use this a lot, a macro could be setup to swap weapons before executing it.

Anthamines
For Knat at level 35 his shield does 35 damage. The additional damage does generate additional hate, but itís very small compared to his other hate mechanisms. If you consider that the damage done by a tank is inconsequential compared to the rest of the party, this doesnít seem like much of a loss.

Mutilate
This is a very nice skill, but its long recharge time means that it is typically held in reserve. A Dread Knight need not give this up either; a simple macro can be used to swap to a 2H weapon just before executing the skill.

Healing
DRKs healing ability comes from their weapon damage. As 2H weapons have a better DPS than a 1H weapon this is another ideal position for a macro to insure maximum healing.

Experimental Procedure
Statistics were recorded at varying AC, dex, and stances in attempt to correlate what role each played with both 1H and 2H weapons. Results from when the subject died were discarded and the subject brought back until he got the test right. The subject was not allowed to use any skills other than attack (the purpose was to see what sort of damage heíd take, not give).

Results
Itís clear that a DRK with a Shield will take slightly less damage than with a 2H weapon. For Knat, it was about +200 on his Defense, which was +2% on melee mitigation, +1% on spell mitigation, and +8% on evasion.

In solo play for a DRK, using a shield would be madness as the reduced DPS would extend the fight and they would take far more damage since the fight would take longer. However, in a group where their sole purpose is to generate hate rather than DPS a Shield gives them a greater advantage than a 2H weapon in terms of taking less damage. With the proper use of macros, they only thing a DRK gives up by using a shield is their innate damage shield ability (i.e., it decreases their dps marginally) and a couple of bag slots.

One question still remains: Can a DRK with a shield hold agro sufficiently? A DRK canít compete on a DPS basis with a mage, they depend on their skills to gain and hold agro. If their agro isnít as dependent on the damage they do then they should be better in groups using a shield. Ideally the DRKís shield gives them a substantial AC and blocking boost. Dex also seems more critical than int (in theory) because they help to generate criticals and some of the DRKs criticals are geared to generating hate.

Iím definitely not happy with the small sample size. Long before the experiments should have been over Knat noticed where I had the Elvin Tastee Treats stashed and he seized and consumed them. At that point I decided it was wiser to use a Gnome "instant" teleport to move myself to a place of safety, thereby avoiding any unpleasantness.

Personal Note: I canít help but wonder if perhaps I shouldnít publish this report. Should it fall into the wrong hands it could cause more death and destruction in the world. In the end, Iím just a scientist. So I publish this report to help others in the hopes that they can make an informed choice and do more good in the world


----
Hemetite Rockclan
Society of Invention, Member in Good Standing

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PostSubject: Re: When Tanking, Shields can be good for a DRK   Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:55 am

Level 50 DK

While in my stance Armor of Darkness and using a 2-h weapon I get a bonus Weapon Shield it gives bonuses to block

Weapon Shield block bonus
at level
10 16%
20 20%
30 24%
40 26%
50 28%

Anthamines's Charge IV level 46
Damage Shield 87 damage only usable with a 2-h weapon

My block chance with a shield keep in mind with a shield equipped weapon shield is not active
Shield of Hatred 31.56%

with a 2-h weapon equipped 38.04%


As a DK a shield does not provide me any better chance versus blocks.

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PostSubject: Re: When Tanking, Shields can be good for a DRK   Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:01 pm

Originally posted by Looney on the Knights of 3305 Forum
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I broached this subject with Juanfer..... He laughed and the threatened to eat me. He said and I quote here, "A Dread Knight with a sword and board is an accident looking for a place to happen. The reason we use 2 handed weapons is so we can deal damage. Dread knights build up tons of hate. When they are equipped with a shield it shows weakens and it does weaken the Dread knight. It eliminates a good 5-8 skillsets that we are trained in. Now a midranged Dread knight MIGHT accrue some benefit from using a shield but after they advance to the higher levels of proficiency a shield is a waste and a liability. I leave the sword and Board routine to the Palidines who rightly hide behind a shield as they are weak."
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PostSubject: Re: When Tanking, Shields can be good for a DRK   Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:42 pm



Well, if Juanfer doesn't want to enter into an open discussion based on fact there isn't much anyone can do about it. I'm certainly not going to try to convince him, I don't want to be a snack either. Anyone who thinks a tank's primary job is to dish out damage certainly should be in someone else's group. But, the original post recommends macros with 2H weapons specifically so a DRK wouldn't lose any skills other than damage shield and gain in AC, blocking, and parrying (all good trade offs).

Now Scotis, he raised an issue that I completely missed! Essentially that is that the stance "Armor of Darkness" (AoD) does more than is admitted to in the description. The description says it adds 15% mitigation and 40% hate, but as Scotis points out it also adds to Blocking. Shadow Meld (SM) says it adds 6% to blocking, and it does. But AoD seems to add between zero and 28% to blocking (this is on top of the melee mitigation).

Now you have to ask yourself, would you rather have another +100 AC from a shield, or +11% to blocking. The answer is clearly blocking.

Scotis's table is very clean cut based on level, but when I went through Knat's raw data files I found something different, something surprising. The amount of blocking is hard to determine, but is somehow factored in with the weapon. Take a look (EB is the stance Ebon blade which should not effect blocking) at the data for a variety of weapons:

% Chance to Block
WeaponAoDEBSM
None8.978.9714.97
Hammer (1h)8.978.9714.97
Short Sword (1h)9.129.1215.12
Great Axe (2h)38.3314.3320.33
Great Maul (2h)33.259.2515.25
Great Sword (2h)33.189.1815.18
Lance (2H)32.978.9714.97
QuarterStaff (2H)8.97*8.9714.97
Axe (1H)9.089.0815.08
Dune Longsword (1H)9.089.0814.97
(*Obviously Dread Knights shouldn't use this 2H weapon!).

Scotis table shows that Knat (at L30) should have a +24% blocking in AoD. It took the I4 computer a while, but essentially what happened is this. Knat's Two handed weapons do get +24% blocking, the variations are due to weapon attributes. For example, the great axe has a +5% blocking. The short Sword adds +7 to strength, and increasing strength increases blocking.

Knat, with a Heart Shield Deflector, gets +20% to blocking and with his 1 handed weapon yields:

% Chance to Block
WeaponAoDEBSM
Hammer (1h)27.1827.1831.98
Short Sword (1h)27.3 27.3 32.10

Curiously, an L32 DRK in the SM stance with a +20% blocking shield such as Knat has puts him near the same blocking that he would have in the AoD stance. The SM stance also has a +6% to parry. However, in a group the AoD stance is still far superior as it not only adds +15% melee mitigation (e.g., 15% less damage), but it also increases hate by 40%.

New Conclusion
So, does this mean that a DRK should always use a two handed weapon in a group? For DRKs that don't want to do the math the answer is yes. Unless the weapon is bugged, it seems a pretty safe bet.

However, if a DRK can get a shield and 1h weapon whose blocking is greater than the bonus in the AoD stance with their 2H weapon, then they should look into switching if they are the primary tank. However, this would have to be an exceptional shield and weapon at lower levels; the combination may well not exist (but if it does I hope someone tells us about it). At higher levels other unknown factors might come into play - but it's something to think about. Here's Scotis's table again to make it easy to know what to look for (and thanks Scotis!)

Weapon Shield block bonus at level:
10 16%
20 20%
30 24%
40 26%
50 28%

Hemetite Rockclan
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PostSubject: Re: When Tanking, Shields can be good for a DRK   Fri Feb 20, 2009 2:11 am

Oh! I almost forgot....Juanfer did have a good point about hate. As was mentioned in the original post the tank's job is to keep aggro, and hate is very important. The concept of a DRK using a shield makes the assumption that hate generated by skills is more important than that generated by damage. That might not be accurate but it would be worthwhile finding out - we want the best for Zed don't we?

Unfortunately, us Gnomes are very peaceful and lovable and we just don't understand hate let alone how hate works in regards to Aggro.

Here are some general observations:
Damage causes hate.
Healing causes hate.
Debufs cause hate
Bufs cause hate if given in combat.
Specific skills can generate hate (e.g., Armor of Darkness gives +40% hate (presumably from weapon damage)).
Being a Dwarf causes hate.

Hate causes Aggression which I think can be translated into who is being attacked (i.e., aggro). I believe aggression is a natural factor which is why some things are "red" to begin with. But there are also other things that affect it. For example, each usage of Incite for Knat can generate 2000 aggression.

Here are some general observations on Aggression
Lowest level gets more of it
Lower AC (defense?) gets more of it
Being closer increases it (which is why spell casters like to stand waaaay back)
Getting hit with a ranged weapon increases it

If anyone has any experimental data, evidence, or can help clarify how this mechanism works please let me know!
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PostSubject: Re: When Tanking, Shields can be good for a DRK   Fri Mar 13, 2009 7:15 am

As an experienced tank (Pali) and all my looking through forums throughout my time playing VG, I can tell you the following about tanks:

1) The devs set up 3 tanks with (in theory) parity amongst them all, when it comes to tanking/holding aggro.
IMHO, holding aggro is the most important thing a tank can do. When he loses it, that's it. The other Divisions (healers, casters, Offensive fighters) do their thing.
2) In my experience with many Raid type mobs and 6 person group Mobs with 53.6, I would say there is parity between all 3, when the tank knows the benefits of his class. Which leads to #3.
3) I don't know why but everything I have read and seen about the devs plan was: DKN is 2h tank, Warrior is double wielding tank, and Pali is sword and board. There is no weakness in a Pali using a shield but there is when he 2h wields. And the same goes with all of them especially in the higher levels.

I'm sorry I don't have stats for ya, but I do know the devs made the DKN with the 2h wield set as the Main Tank set.

My personal experience is that in the high 40's and 50 the main thing that matters is holding aggro. That is it.
Tanks lose it for 2 main reasons:

1) DPS hits too hard compared to how much aggro you've accumulated
2) Healer has had to heal you so much they out aggro the tank.

#1 - With a good tank and DPS, usually an adjustment of timing works this out every time. This is because the Tank, regardless of class, knows the best ways to raise and hold his Aggro throughout the fight (i.e., dps - warrior, spells- Pali, XXX - i don't know for DKN). Once he's done that the only reason for him to lose aggro is because DPS came in to early or because tank messed up not paying attention.
#2 - This is greatly affected by the tank's gear. The worse the gear (melee miti first), the more healers have to heal. The more they heal, the greater the chance for lost aggro. This is fixed with Tank gear - Ichy Armor, APW ...


Well that's all I know. I'm sorry if you were looking for hard nose stats. I'm not a DKN but I thought I could impart some knowledge here.

Barel
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PostSubject: Re: When Tanking, Shields can be good for a DRK   Fri Mar 13, 2009 8:44 pm

Great post!

From the numbers, any shield that blocks more than 28% should out-do the DRK's 2H blocking. So a DRK w/Shield requires less healing and therefore the healers get less aggro.

Which doesn't help casters, Barrel's 100% right - the tank is worthless if they can't keep aggro. No fighter can keep up with a caster in terms of DPS. But it's not just about DPS. If the fighter class didn't have hate-management skills casters like me would just be stains in the carpeting.

The real question is if a DRK can be as effective an aggro master while flipping a shield in and out (don't forget, they still have to wield a 2h weapon for their best skills). As with all fighters, a DRKs real hate-generation is from their skills. The aggro doesn't seem to be based on weapon damage, so there shouldn't be any hate loss via skills from going 1H. But, using a 1h weapon reduces overall damage which reduces the overall aggro.

Unfortunately it's not clear that 1 point of physical damage generates 1 point of hate. Or that 1 point of healing, arcane damage, or ranged damage are all equal amounts of hate. I had hoped to get some experimental feedback from my post, but no takers so far.
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PostSubject: Re: When Tanking, Shields can be good for a DRK   Sat Mar 14, 2009 5:12 am

I think your questions are really for other dreadknights.

Therefore, why not re-post on the Sony VG forums perhaps here: http://forums.station.sony.com/vg/forums/show.m?forum_id=44

There you will have a huge amount of people who play your class and give you tons of feedback.

A lot more than the few here.


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