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  1. #1
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    Default The Ecology of Armor

    In the not too distant past DDO realized that it was silly the best tanks in the game were monks and attempted to make AC relevant again. This change was implemented with the best intentions and you technically can make a high AC/PRR fighter in heavy armor but he will inevitably suffer from poor dps and low to nonexistent self healing. He will also find out that in epic levels his AC is no longer what it once was and be staggered by the massive hps of EE mobs. This problem of epic mob hps was addressed by indirectly by adding 3 new abilities in the enhancement pass, all of which favored monk splashes - dance with flowers to any weapon, one with the blade and earth stance available to any fighter who took kensai and monk combinations. Fighters could now purchase monk stances without meeting ability score requirements and get the best defense and offensive multipliers so once again all melee is dominated by robe wearing big stick swinging crouching tiger hidden dragon monk hybrids. This isn't a bad thing for them, after all china represents a huge percentage of the world population but it should not be the only way to fight EE mobs. After all didn't dungeons and dragons begin being based on medieval Europe? Shouldn't the knights of that era be viable? To answer this we need to look at the ecology of armor and why it dominated the battlefield for centuries.

    The fall of the Roman Empire was an extremely destabilizing event in Europe and led to the fragmentation of all social order. The vast migration of Germanic tribes led to petty warlords holding sway over the countryside. These warbands would be led by the strongest most capable fighter type who was surrounded by his comitatus band. These warriors would have had armor and skill in combat which led them to defeat any unarmored opponents. Your average foot soldier of the day would have had a helmet, spear and shield and they would have fought in a shieldwall. Your shieldwalls would have been broken by the warlord and his comitatus would have had chainmail, swords and war helms. They had a huge advantage over someone who didn't have chainmail. People then gravitated to these warlords who eventually became your nobility as they provided protection for the unarmed and the feudal system took off from there.

    Armor became increasingly more important for the fighting individual and well armored forces could rarely kill each other. Take a look at the battle of Hastings, Harold's Huscurls who would have used great axes and chainmail could not be killed by William's Norman knights who themselves were in chainmail and the battle was a stalemate for much of the afternoon. It was only when William feigned a retreat and the integrity of Harold's formation broke up as they went to pursue that the issue was decided. In the ensuing centuries you had warfare used a semi sport among the nobility because there was very little chance you could be killed in armor. Armor became more effective and heavier until something came along that could make it irrelevant, namely the English longbow and the English victories over the French at Crecy and Agincourt spelled the doom of armor on the battlefield. Note however that the English longbow and the eastern equivalent the Japanese daikyu took years to master and in game terms would not be lumped into a generic martial proficiency. Just because you learned to swing a sword doesn't mean you had the muscles and skill needed to use a longbow. Also note that armor didn't completely die out of the battlefield because it still had a purpose. As late as the Napoleonic wars heavy cavalry, Cuirassiers wore a plate cuirass because it gave them a decided advantage over non armored light cavalry in combat.

    The benefits of armor would not only have been in protection, it is reasonable to assume a warrior clad in armor is going to be more confident and forceful in combat because he knows he has protection and ignore slashing types of attacks. If you ever watch the military channel and see them test swords on armor you can see that its very difficult to penetrate armor with a slashing weapon. An armored warrior will also have a certain degree of 'shock' value when clad in armor as he will be able to bully his way thru an unarmored opponent.

    If we now look at the ddo world it is difficult to imagine how armor would ever have developed. Armor does not provide significant defense to make it worth the expense and in fact it hinders combat if we go back to the massive benefits that a warrior gets by being unarmored and a combination monk/fighter. Let us look at our battle of Hastings in ddo terms assuming William had an army of monk/fighters Harold had Huscurls with great axes and medium armor. The monkachers in Williams armor quickly furyshot all of Harold's clerics and then the better dps, equal AC, self healing monk/fighters make short work of the Huscurls. Armor would cease to be used in Europe at that point because the only way to combat monk/fighters would be with other monk/fighters. Is this the history on which the game was founded?

    I do not advocate nerfing monk/fighters, the more choices a player has the better, but it must be a choice. There must be a reason to use armor that makes sense for armor to have historically evolved in the world. Currently being in armor means you lose significant dps, the ability to evade spells/traps and have access to monk stances. There MUST be a benefit and frankly it needs to be as game changing as the dance with flowers/one with the blade changes were. Some spitball ideas for increasing the benefits of medium and heavy armor.....

    1. Drop the shield requirement from the stalwart defender and unyielding sentinel trees. The only requirement should be wearing medium or heavy armor
    2. Take a cue form the Dwarven tree and add a % to dmg increase while wearing medium and heavy armor again dropping the shield requirement - 20% dmg increase while in heavy armor and 10% while in medium
    3. Assign each type of armor a DR factor that increases based on level with a x multiplier. So while you may have a DR 10 at level 5 you DR will be in the 100-150 range at 28
    4. Give all named medium and heavy armor 3 slots and restrict all cloth armor to 1. Light armor to 2.
    5. Add a new epic proficiency called armored assault that gives plus 10 PRR, 15 AC and 5% doublestrike while wearing medium or heavy armor

    Now we start to have a choice and we can see why armor would have developed among the martial class in our world.

  2. #2
    Community Member Bolo_Grubb's Avatar
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    Well written and I like the ideas. I believe that Fighters (non Monk splash) should be a viable DPS and tank option. Tanks should never have the same DPS as say a Kensai fighter but it should be viable.
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  3. #3
    Community Member Raoull's Avatar
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    What I find odd about the armor currently, is that the problem exists even without monk splashes.

    The dodge caps are so low, that a toon that isn't built for it (is just using dodge gear) will hit the dodge cap on any medium or heavy armor without nimbleness.

    My FvS used to wear heavy armor (Embrace the Spider queen) for PRR....but now is wearing Terrorweb Chitin breastplate, even thought I haven't even bothered to swap out the feat. The extra 9 dodge is better than the extra AC/PRR.

    Looking at epic dragonscale.... lets assume 20 prr from other sources and 24 BAB:
    robe: 25% dodge, 20 prr -> 12% reduction from prr. Total reduction: ~34%
    light: 19% dodge, 34prr -> ~19% reduction from prr. Total reduction: ~34.5%
    medium: 8% dodge, 40prr -> ~21.5% reduction from prr. Total reduction: ~28%
    heavy: 2% dodge, 50prr -> ~25.5% reduction from prr. Total reduction ~27%

    The protection goes down, with a pretty big jump for light -> medium.

    And this understates the true problem. A single ring gives 24PRR, and various abilities give bonuses on top of that. The more PRR you have, the worse each point is. (Conversely, the more dodge you have, the better each point is... at least until you cap.) And on top of that, dodge will prevent energy/alignment based bonus damage as well as special effects (some of which include CC/stun abilities) that PRR has no effect on.

    It also understates the problem because dodge caps on Epic Dragonscale are better than most armors. Both the epic FooBarcraft and the MOTU commendation turn in armors go down like:
    25 -> 14 -> 6 -> 1
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  4. #4
    Community Member PermaBanned's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bolo_Grubb View Post
    Well written and I like the ideas. I believe that Fighters (non Monk splash) should be a viable DPS and tank option. Tanks should never have the same DPS as say a Kensai fighter but it should be viable.
    And the same is true in reverse: a Kensai should never have the survivability of a tank, it should mearly be viable. There's so many simple things Turbine could be doing to bring armor on par with robes, just through a few armor buffs/tweaks - no Nerfs required (even where deserved ), that it boggles the mind (unless you drink in the P2W Tea) why they don't do it...
    Now excuse me while I wander off to arm myself with Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and hunker down behind my Armored Beer Refrigerator, while I have the UFO's take control of the Congresional Wives with the help of the International Cocaine Smugglers and the Evil Geniuses for a Better Tomorrow

  5. #5
    Community Member HastyPudding's Avatar
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    Raoull, the funny thing about your post is it concerns dodge. If somebody is wearing a full suit of heavy plate armor, they aren't going to NEED dodge, they should be shrugging off blows like a champion. Heavy armor needs a vastly high increase in PRR/AC, I mean really push it into epic levels.

    I do like the DR idea, though. Dr in the game, right now, is worthless. The 10/whatever DR some classes get is just useless. I think you should get a 'stacking' DR simply based on the armor you're wearing, irrelevant of/stacking with PRR.

    Cloth - no dr, your 'armor' is dodge
    Light - character level / 3 = DR (lvl 28 has a DR of 9/-)
    Medium - character level / 2 = DR (lvl 28 has a DR of 14/-)
    Heavy - character level = DR (lvl 28 has a DR of 28/-)

    Example: You are level 28 and wearing heavy armor. If you're wearing heavy armor, you are probably going to have a good source of PRR through abilities and equipment. A PRR of 100 is fairly easy to achieve for heavy armor folks, so let's go with that, reducing the physical damage you take by 41.21%. This % will be the amount of damage reduced AFTER your 28/- DR kicks in. That means if you get hit with an attack that does 100 flat damage, you take 72 damage due to the DR, and your PRR reduces that to roughly 40ish damage.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buffyanne View Post
    4. Give all named medium and heavy armor 3 slots and restrict all cloth armor to 1. Light armor to 2.
    5. Add a new epic proficiency called armored assault that gives plus 10 PRR, 15 AC and 5% doublestrike while wearing medium or heavy armor
    Quote Originally Posted by HastyPudding View Post
    Cloth
    Light
    Medium
    Heavy
    Could we, like, _not_ base it on weight again, so that making the armor from a better material (mithral) doesn't make it worse?
    Instead base it on the type, like the PRR should have been in the first place. (Eg. full plate - big, breastplate - moderate, chainmail - small, leather armor - hardly any, etc.)

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by HastyPudding View Post
    Raoull, the funny thing about your post is it concerns dodge. If somebody is wearing a full suit of heavy plate armor, they aren't going to NEED dodge, they should be shrugging off blows like a champion. Heavy armor needs a vastly high increase in PRR/AC, I mean really push it into epic levels.

    I do like the DR idea, though. Dr in the game, right now, is worthless. The 10/whatever DR some classes get is just useless. I think you should get a 'stacking' DR simply based on the armor you're wearing, irrelevant of/stacking with PRR.

    Cloth - no dr, your 'armor' is dodge
    Light - character level / 3 = DR (lvl 28 has a DR of 9/-)
    Medium - character level / 2 = DR (lvl 28 has a DR of 14/-)
    Heavy - character level = DR (lvl 28 has a DR of 28/-)

    Example: You are level 28 and wearing heavy armor. If you're wearing heavy armor, you are probably going to have a good source of PRR through abilities and equipment. A PRR of 100 is fairly easy to achieve for heavy armor folks, so let's go with that, reducing the physical damage you take by 41.21%. This % will be the amount of damage reduced AFTER your 28/- DR kicks in. That means if you get hit with an attack that does 100 flat damage, you take 72 damage due to the DR, and your PRR reduces that to roughly 40ish damage.
    PRR is DR reformatted so it doesn't break down as the game changes.

  8. #8
    Community Member minorpenthes's Avatar
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    Well, while we are at it, we should perhaps reintroduce the modifiers to hit that were a part of the initial AD&D rules where the type of weapon used (piercing, bludgeoning, etc.) would have various modifiers depending on the type of armour that your opponent was wearing.

    This made maces and hammers more attractive to knights who would use them to deliver straight kinetic energy in such a way that it did not matter that the armour had not been breached- the opponent still had broken bones.

    I could understand all of this intellectually as I played (all those years ago) but it was such an bookkeeping nightmare that we almost never used it- it would have paralyzed our DM in any but the most basic of combats.

    But with the number-crunching power of a computer, this is not even an issue.

    While we are at it, we could also figure in the benefits of partial cover in ranged combat- and maybe even allow the introduction of the sling and thrown spear to Eberron.

    Oh yes, and maybe a realistic encumbrance system... one in which your monkcher can not possibly use evasion while carrying 14 sets of armour in his backpack for when he can get back to a pawn vendor and flog them all for some change.

    And maybe a more realistic economy, where the amount of treasure is drastically reduced...

    One thing to consider is that yes, it would be nice to have some more realism in DDO, but you might want to be careful what you ask for, lest you actually get it...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MindCakes View Post
    Could we, like, _not_ base it on weight again, so that making the armor from a better material (mithral) doesn't make it worse?
    Instead base it on the type, like the PRR should have been in the first place. (Eg. full plate - big, breastplate - moderate, chainmail - small, leather armor - hardly any, etc.)
    I agree. Mithral armor should not penalize you. Not sure how to work that in, that depends on Turbines current view of mithral armor, is it still the original dungeons and dragons equivalent of being the most rare and sought after form of armor?

  10. #10
    Community Member redoubt's Avatar
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    Basing it on armor type would be good. Not weight. That allows you to have better versions of a type. I.e. Platemail could become Mithral platemail and still have the benefits of platemail while being lighter.

    The factor for upping DR, PRR and AC (or some combination) of the same needs to be pretty high.

    When mobs hit for 100s per hit, 28dr is not that much. If DR is used as a pseudo replacement for dodge (thus leaving the rest of the system alone) you could push the earlier posters idea up a bit:
    unarmored = no DR bonus
    leather/hide armors/chain = DR equals character level
    half plate/breast plate = DR equals character level x2
    full plate = DR equals character level x3

    Even when the cap goes to 30, the DR is still only 90 points. This takes the edge off of a hit, but doesn't eliminated damage.

    Part of the point here is to realize how far armor would need to be pushed to be a choice people would want to make instead of being a centered monk (or centered splash).
    /sigh

  11. #11
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    @OP: It's a bit sad your proposal excludes completely shields, where they should have a stronger place IMO.

    A solution I see would be 2-fold:
    * First, increase the PRR benefits from heavier armors and shields.
    * Second, give attacks a bypass a DR: basically, the margin of success of your attack (this would also give some benefits to AC, as even if it isn't enough to prevent being hit, it would reduce the margin) reduces the PRR (by the margin, or 2 times the margin, or any multiplier - this multiplier could also change depending on weapon, size, etc.) before calculating the %reduction to damage.

    Example: If Bob has 60 AC and 60 PRR. He is attacked by a monster that hits for 80. The monster has a margin of 20, reducing the PRR to 40, reducing the absorption from 29.43% to 21.52%.
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  12. #12
    Community Member Bolo_Grubb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PermaBanned View Post
    And the same is true in reverse: a Kensai should never have the survivability of a tank, it should mearly be viable. There's so many simple things Turbine could be doing to bring armor on par with robes, just through a few armor buffs/tweaks - no Nerfs required (even where deserved ), that it boggles the mind (unless you drink in the P2W Tea) why they don't do it...
    I agree
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  13. #13
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    Default enhancements of tank classes

    Why not add an enhancement into on of te tank lines of these trees that acts as a multiplyer to PRR and AC of heavy and medium armors....and maybe tweek in some epic stuff for them as well such as a skill to the tune of "unstopable juggarnaut" which is a rush type attack with a chance to stun or knock down any targets hit, give it a long CD or a tactics slot. make it only usable while in heavy armor and wielding a shield.... or "turtle" which is a PRR/AC buff for the parting in a small circle around the tank.....

  14. #14
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    I appreciate the work the OP has put into this post and agree with much of it. However, I think he completely devalues shields at the same time as trying to rejuvenate armor. Two steps forward and one step back. This is not to say that shields couldn't have other similar benefits as well, but I think it would be important enough to the discussion to include any proposed changes for shields at the same time instead of basically just trying to remove them from the equation altogether. If I were to quickly suggest ways to enhance shield viability, I'd explore doublestrike bonuses exclusive to shields as well as passive shield bashing and elemental absorption without having to specifically shield block.

    Also, DR 150 at level 28? While that may seem almost remotely balanced against an EE endgame, it breaks EN and EH completely. This is more about the extreme divide between EH and EE that we currently have, but all difficulties have to be considered when making changes. This is the main reason that defense is broken in EE currently. No consideration was made for the divide between EH and EE. Adding 150 DR skews it completely toward the other end.
    Last edited by redspecter23; 02-05-2014 at 12:54 PM.
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  15. #15
    Community Member Kalevor's Avatar
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    I enjoyed the OP and i like most of the ideas exposed. We need MOAR options, i don't like been in pajamas with all my toons... we are playing D&D Eberron and FR; not the Oriental Adventures module.
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  16. #16
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    Cool post, kudos.

    This has all been said over and over on the forum but I do think we need to keep saying it. The overwhelming agreement is that heavy armor needs more PRR/DR or a higher dodge cap in order to make it a viable choice to pajamas. It's not right that Dodge works exactly the same in EE as EH and EN whereas heavy armor gets worse and worse the harder the difficulty you play.

    I hope Turbine someday does something about it. Obviously the AC system overhaul was suppossed to fix this problem of everyone wearing pajamas because armor was irrelevant at endgame, but the system clearly breaks down in EE.

    And if we buffed heavy armor that would be that much more that we wouldn't have to nerf monks, which would keep everyone happy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by redspecter23 View Post
    I appreciate the work the OP has put into this post and agree with much of it. However, I think he completely devalues shields at the same time as trying to rejuvenate armor. Two steps forward and one step back. This is not to say that shields couldn't have other similar benefits as well, but I think it would be important enough to the discussion to include any proposed changes for shields at the same time instead of basically just trying to remove them from the equation altogether. If I were to quickly suggest ways to enhance shield viability, I'd explore doublestrike bonuses exclusive to shields as well as passive shield bashing and elemental absorption without having to specifically shield block.

    Also, DR 150 at level 28? While that may seem almost remotely balanced against an EE endgame, it breaks EN and EH completely. This is more about the extreme divide between EH and EE that we currently have, but all difficulties have to be considered when making changes. This is the main reason that defense is broken in EE currently. No consideration was made for the divide between EH and EE. Adding 150 DR skews it completely toward the other end.
    Thus PRR.

    DR shouldn't be a part of any defense equation. It is impossible for it to scale properly.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jalont View Post
    Thus PRR.

    DR shouldn't be a part of any defense equation. It is impossible for it to scale properly.
    I agree, more PRR or a higher dodge cap is probably the way to go. If heavy armor gave DR high enough to be helpful in EE content, it would result in EH being even easier than it is now...and it's already too easy IMO. And considering EH is the most common difficulty by far, we can't design the game around EE.

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  19. #19
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    Come play Dungeons and Dragons! In the fantasy setting of Eberron you will meet the most foul beasts in all existence! In heroic play you will face the evil minions of Demons, Devils, Beholders, and even ruthless Mind Flayers.

    When and if you make it to Epic levels you face even greater threats. Threats like... giant rats and wolves! There are even mountain lions, deep within dark recesses of earth, uncovered for untold ages.

    But never fear, you will be armed to the teeth and get to become your favorite fantasy hero of all times. You can be a dwarf, a halfling, or even an elf! You have the chance to become a mighty warrior, a holy cleric, or a powerful wizard.

    You could also opt to become the most powerful force of all... a karate robot!

  20. #20
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    The English Longbow piercing Plate armor IS A FRIGGIN MYTH.

    Had you said firearms . . .

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