Post prompted somewhat by seeing an LFM for Haunted Halls that read "Evasion Required, BYOH".
Required may be a bit strong but it's hard to argue that having evasion is a significant advantage in the new content. I would guess that future content will be along the same lines so would like to discuss some ideas on how to not need 2monk, 2rouge, or 9ranger on every build that wants to do level 28 and higher content.
My general goals and objectives-of the post:
- Give non evasion builds a meaningful way to mitigate elemental damage
- Should not negatively impact any current build
- Should be easy to implement in the existing game framework
- Should be available to any build with a reasonable investment
Suggestion 1: Make evasion available to all builds.
Make it a selectable feat - something like "Epic Evasion". It could be a general or Epic feat with a requirement of level 26 so that it did not affect existing lower level content, or it could be made an Epic Destiny Feat that requires two capped Martial sphere destinies and level 28 if there was a need to really restrict it. Either way, it would require a feat selection and not be selectable until you reach content where it really gimps a build that does not have it.
Suggestion 2: Reduce the need to have evasion.
The easiest way I see to remove the requirement for evasion is to offer some other meaningful way to mitigate elemental damage and the easiest way to do this is remove the requirement to be actively blocking from the energy absorption methods that currently require it (Shield Deflection, US Block Energy, Divine PL Feat Block Energy.) Requiring blocking makes these highly situational and mostly useless. It is not often that you can just block, or see a tell and hope you can react quick enough to overcome lag and block in time. Removing the current actively blocking requirement and making these always on would actually make them useful and worth an investment. While this would help the general survivability of a build, it would not help much with specific encounters like Miior in HH that specifically favor evasion. This would be a much better option for builds that utilize medium/heavy armor and would help reduce some of the downside of using heavier armor.
I see multiple ways to remove the active blocking requirement:
(suggesting to implement one or a variant of one - not all at the same time - listed in my order of preference)
2a: Simply remove it - easiest and most flexible. Only downside is possible balance issues but I don't see it as a big problem. When you consider that evasion is a free feat and can be built to near 0 damage 95-100% of the time, I don't think giving a build a constant 40% max chance at 0 damage from Shield Deflection or 30% absorption (52% absorption if both US Block Energy, Divine PL Feat Block Energy are maxed, active and stack) is out of line considering that all in they can't provide the same defense that evasion does and require Feat/Fate/Past Life Stance investment.
2b: Have a defensive stance requirement. For example you could require any Defensive Stance (Defensive Fighting, Combat Expertise, Stalwart Defense, or Sacred Defense) be active to have the abilities always on. If the stance requirement was not met they function as they do now. This would impose the penalties of the stance for the gain of always on absorption and allow for more general situational use. Could still be available to any build wanting to invest in it and keeps the theme of trading offensive for defense without going to the extreme of near 0 offensive that blocking requires.
2c: Modify the existing Shield Deflection Feat to something like:
"While holding a Shield you are proficient with, you gain a Competence bonus based on the type of shield to completly ignore Acid, Cold, Electic and Fire damage. (Buckler: 20%, Small Shield: 25%, Large Shield 30%, Tower Shield: 40% ). Additionally, any energy absorption ability that requires actively blocking is active and does not require blocking as long as any shield is held." Note that this would require a shield be held so may significantly impact the capabilities of some builds when it was "Switched on" by holding a shield.