3.2 Commentary III: Ardent Defender

So, they seem to have refined AD mechanics quite a bit as of the latest PTR build (10072), since my initial observations a couple posts ago. I like where it’s ended up, I think.

To clear the air, since it’s gone through a fair amount of changes as well as bugs since the initial PTR push, here’s how it works right now. There are two main and separate effects, a damage reduction effect and a Guardian Spirit-esque “save” effect.

The damage reduction effect works very similar to how the talent currently works on live, with one minor (yet important) change: hits that reduce your health below 35% have the portion that takes you below 35% reduced as well. Basically, any and all damage dealt to you below 35% gets the reduction. This fixes the long-standing leapfrog issue with the talent and basically ensures that it will always come into play, no matter how hard the boss is hitting. A great fix overall that will give us a little more survivability against the slow, hard hitting bosses that we’re currently pretty weak against.

The save effect works like this: when you “die”, you are immediately healed for 30% of your max HP. The amount of HP it returns is increased by Defense skill and caps out at 540, so tanks can generally count on getting the full 30%. You still take the full amount of damage from the hit (what would have been overkill damage is subtracted from the amount healed). When this happens, you get a debuff that doesn’t let it proc again for 2 minutes. For a little while on the PTR, the debuff was also removing the damage reduction effect, but this is no longer the case — the two are completely separate.

Both changes combined are best viewed as massive increases to effective health. The damage reduction effect can be mathed out to pretty much a direct 15% EH increase. In a perfect world, that would also be the case on live, but the leapfrog issue prevented it from living up to its full potential before.

The save effect could be considered a semi-permanent EH increase as well. Remember that effective health is really just a representation of how much raw damage it takes to kill you. As long as the save remains active, a boss will have to hit you for however much health you have left + 30% in order to kill you (and the 30% DR will be active for all of it). This goes away as soon as it procs of course, but the effect is pretty large.

It is technically possible for the save to go off and you still die. This is mostly so that Paladin tanks can’t survive things that are designed to be unsurvivable, but it does mean that, in some very specific situations, you could find yourself dead through AD. I’m not terribly worried, though. Even at 1 hp, a tank with a max health of 50k would be able to take what would normally be somewhere around a 21k hit if they were at 100% and still live, and that’s a very unlikely situation.

All in all, things seem to be shaping up quite nicely.

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