Dev Diary: Update 9 Combat Revision

December 13, 2012



Jared “Kelsan” Prueet published a Developer Diary today focused on the Combat Revisions coming in Update 9.  Within the diary Kelsan explains that three major aspects of combat are being revised in fairly significant manners.

Interrupt Revision

Interrupts are taking a fairly big hit when it comes to players.  For those who may wonder what skills are classified as an Interrupt, Kelsan explains it as the following:

An interrupt is specifically a skill that says “Interrupts Inductions” in its tooltip.  Other ways of canceling an induction (ex Crowd Control, movement) are not impacted by this change.

So how are they changing?  I’ll be frank; they’re being nerfed.  In PvE, the functionality is staying the same; you use the interrupt skill and it goes on cooldown.  However, many of the skills that players have (those with cooldowns shorter than 10 seconds) are having their cooldown increased by 5 seconds with the exceptions of the Hunter’s Blindside skill which is being reduced.  These classes also include those of the Creep variety.  Wardens are having their interrupts removed from Boot, Onslaught, and Wall of Steel and are getting a new skill at level 15 called “Shield-slam” that will provide an interrupt and have a 15 second cooldown.

In PvMP and sparring, interrupts will be working a bit differently.  If the interrupt is successfully used against another player not only with the target have their induction cancelled, but they will find that skill disabled for 4 seconds.

We’re also told that landscape mobs will also be adjusted so that they do not interrupt a player more than once every 15-20 seconds.

Let me say that I am not a fan of this change in the least.  If it does indeed brings a “more interesting combat experience” into the game as Kelsan suggests then I’ll eat my words later.  However, I feel that the supplied reasons could have used a more in-depth explanation considering that this is such a major change.  As it is I’m left pretty unsatisfied with the explanations that were offered and I’ll do my best to leave it at that.

Critical Defence Revision

In the current game Critical Defence reduces the chance of a player receiving a Critical Hit, making it a fairly high priority for players.  Unfortunately it did its job too well because with Update 9 it will no longer affect the chance of receiving a Critical Hit, but rather how much damage it does.

Once a hit has been determined to be a Critical or Devastating Critical Hit a multiplier is applied to the attack giving it the bonus damage.  Critical Defence directly reduces this multiplier, causing a Critical or Devastating Hit to do less damage.  The multiplier can never be reduced below 1, ensuring that a Critical or Devastating Hit will never do less than the base attack damage.

While this could be taken as a nerf (and it is) it’s also something that will benefit players and NPC’s alike.  While the stat will no longer be as “powerful” as it is in its current incarnation, it should still remain a pretty high priority for those looking to maximize their survivability.

Miss Chance Revision

Miss Chance is being revised as follows:

Simply stated, your Ranged and Melee (tactical never miss already) skills will not miss, unless your Miss Chance has been increased by an external source (debuff).  As such, Agility will no longer reduce Miss Chance and classes that previously itemized it specifically for that reason will no longer need to do so.

However, that’s not entirely the case.  Higher level mobs (4+ levels higher than your character) will now be able to “Deflect” attacks made against them.  (They currently show up as “misses”.)

I personally find this change to be pretty good and fairly interesting.  It also allows players who were stacking Agility to reduce their Miss Chance freed up to pursue another stat.

So what do you think about the changes?  Will it be a grand old time, business as usual, or are you ready to rage quit?

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Co-founder of CSTM and an avid LOTRO fan.

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28 Responses to “Dev Diary: Update 9 Combat Revision”

  1. Avatar of Ethelros
    Ethelros Says:

    I like both the changes to Crit Defence and Miss chance. The former because it means classes that rely on crits to unlock skills can function better, while at the same time helping to restrain some of the more crit happy classes in the Ettenmoors.

    I like the latter because missing is a real buzz kill(for some reason getting BPE’d doesn’t suck as much) and needing to stack Agility when I shouldn’t have to was a pain.

    The changes to interrupts are good for the Moors I think. Outside of it though the increases/decreases to cooldowns were not necessary IMO.


  2. Ulmir Says:

    2h-champs are nerfed pretty badly and the dev doesn’t even seem to have noticed it. Silly, just silly…


    • Tiran Blade Says:

      I’m not even seeing this, could you please elaberate?


      • Joshua Says:

        Two-handed weapons have bigger hits than one-handed weapons, in exchange for one-handed weapons having a higher attack speed. A second-order effect of this fact is that two-handed weapons crit for more damage, while one-handed crit more often.

        I believe Ulmir is suggesting that this nerfs two-handed weapons because, say, 20% off of a 2k critical hit is 400 damage reduced, whereas 20% off of a 1.5k critical hit is only 300 damage reduced, so two-handed weapons lose more damage than one-handed weapons.

        However, that’s not the whole picture. One-handed weapons land more auto-attacks (and more skill uses, though not by much) per fight than two-handed weapons. So, two-handed weapons have fewer chances to land a critical hit per fight.

        In this view, I think the critical defence change is a buff to two-handed weapon DPS by making their critical hits more reliable. Basically, losing any given critical hit removes more damage from the two-hander than the one-hander. Going back to above: under the old critical defence system, a two-handed weapon would have a 20% chance of losing 1000 damage, while a one-handed weapon would have a 20% chance of losing “only” 750 damage. Under the new system, a two-handed weapon has a 100% chance per critical hit to lose 400 damage, while a one-handed weapon has a 100% chance per critical hit to lose 300 damage.

        There’s also another argument regarding the clumpiness of random effects and how it’s worse with fewer trials (i.e., attacks) than more trials, which means the old system lead to two-handers being more likely to get completely screwed by clumpy RNG results, but it’s significantly harder to math out in a blog comment than the other stuff I mentioned.

        IMO, it won’t actually be a nerf to two-handed weapons at all.


        • Tiran Blade Says:

          Hmm, interesring info, just one question about attack speed though, I had been told, and through my own playing thought this as well, that all weapons attack speed were set to match about two years back, am I incorrect on this?


          • LightningR5 Says:

            2H-Weapons still need more time to execute a skill.
            The thing Joshua didn’t seem to see is that the real nerf for 2H Weapons is the CD of clobber which is now 15s instead of 10s. Now the whole skill rotation of 2H-Weapons is messed up because you cannot interrupt the animation of Brutal Strikes as often as you could before. You lose a lot of dps that way.

          • Ayalinda Says:

            Your semi-right. all 1h weapons are the same, and all 2h weapons are the same, but 2h weapons are slower than 1h weapons.

        • Elrohir Says:

          So the math is basically that if a 2hander does 2k critical damage every, say, 1 seconds, and a 1hander does 1.5k every 0.75 seconds (assuming they are tuned like that so DPS average is the same), and with the new critical defense all lose 20%, this ammounts to a remaining critical DPS of 1.6k/1s and 1.2k/0.75s respectively, which is again the same.
          So if DPS is correctly adjusted in first place,there is no disadvantage after applying critical defense. Am I right?


          • Ayalinda Says:

            Yeah a lot of people need to learn some simple maths. Over a fight where you assume perfect matching with expectation values, there is no difference to the damage dealt.

            It is a nerf to burst damage in a way, because those times where you get a string of crits, you will do less damage, and some argue that is the most important type of damage in PvP particularly 1v1. But your chance of pulling off crit combos is increases so its not a 1 sided coin.

        • Fralin Says:

          no, it’s not about the crit values. It’s about clobber, swords and stat distribution.

          1. Clobber – This skill is used in conjucnction with Brutal strikes to create an instant 4 hit attack that is frontloaded. Now with the increase in clobber cd two things will happen. First we can only frontload dmg every 10 sec instead of every 5 (so a 100% increase in cd). Secondly the brutal attack can be interrupted meaning we could get 1/3 attacks out if we’re interrupted or disarmed at that point. Effectively this will make 2h champs subpar compared to dw champs meaning dw champs will be the only really viable option for dps after u9.

          2. Swords – those champs that are using swords will get screwed over with the new passive. A fervor champ don’t pary or block or evade. So if you’re not a dwarf champ you’re screwed, and if you use a 2h you’re doubly screwed (see point 1)

          3. Stat distribution – Most champ gear is a cmobination of might + agi. Previously we’ve needed to stack agi to reduce miss chance something that with u9 will be automatic. Having large slices of agi on anything reduces the other slices so we’ve had lower might on stuff (no high might rings while there’s been rings for both vit, agi and will). Those slices will now be more or less useless since they don’t really contribute to your total dps anymore. This was also the case with the Hytbold armor. In beta it didn’t have agility and people complained about it since they’d have started missing attacks with no agility (a fair point at the time) so Turbine added agility and at the same time reduced might and other dps stats. Now, two months later, those agi slices are useless. Turbine should have known this change was coming…

          In short, if you’re playing ANYTHING other than a dwarf dw champ you’re really screwed, if you’re a dwarf dw you’re just now screwed as much.


          • Adam Says:

            “dw champs will be the only really viable option for dps after u9″

            I think thats a bit over the top, the parses I tried last week on Bullroarer were not that off, and most of this is pretty minimal anyway, you’ll still find a 2 hand wielding, sword using champ, seriously tearing chunks out the opposition, and doing more than their share of the dps. In most raids the min maxing of dps is pretty tough to comprehend anyway, as the amount of movement, avoiding effects, and such mean the minor percentage you get from the ultimate min maxing is often lost in the haze of avoiding poop, off tanking, and movement with running off eyes and such.

            If you like see this as punishment for not being adual axe wielding dwarf champion, which is surely the only choice right? :D

            (a 2 handed sword wielding man champ)

          • Fralin Says:

            @ Adam

            The dps loss is 150-200 which translates to ~10% of 2h dps. Now, personally I’d say 10% dps loss is a pretty big deal. So I maintain that dw will be the only option for any serious raider. Ofc if you don’t mind selfgimping 2h is ofc still an option. If you want to be on top of your game dw is the way to

          • Adam Says:

            do you find this from your own parses? I didn’t see that much to be honest, maybe 100ish, but I’ll fully admit my parses won’t hit the figures that complete min-maxers will. I still maintain I can raid fine, certainly won’t be in the world first group to complete T2 HM of any raid with the ‘serious raiders’ though.

            Didn’t mean to cause any offence, but the tone of ‘no point unless you do it this way’ is a bit hyperbolic and tends to tweak me a bit, after all:
            “In short, if you’re playing ANYTHING other than a dwarf dw champ you’re really screwed” should be follwed by… “if you want to be in the top few percent of players”. A 2 hand sword wielding champ will still be able to succesfully raid and complete any content offered, and will be far from the weakest dps link in a raid group.

            That said they certainly want to look at it, but it was a stupid mechanism anyway having to use immediates to produce comparable dps to other styles, a small tweak to 2 hand dps would do it.

          • Adam Says:

            I will add, I am completely with you on the stat distirbution though, something needs addressing, especially now there is really no need for even a tanking champ to preference it over might, as the sum bonus of extras it adds are… evade

          • Fralin Says:

            I suppose you’re right as well (seems we both are in one way or another). For a generic raiding build it won’t really matter since you should be able to push decent numbers anyway. But, as you said yourself, going for a t2c you want to be on top of your game and in that case dw is the way to go after u9. I should probably have added the other part that you suggested as well :p.
            In the end dw will have higher dps by some amount… which also should put an end to the dw vs 2h discussion

        • Ulmir Says:

          Was mainly talking about the clobber nerf.

          1. 10s CD = less dps due to fewer brutal/clobber combinations.
          2. Also a gimped ability to frontload dmg in order to use the wild attack crit proc or other offensive buffs.

          I will however not reroll DW just having spend 20k+ shards and 13 empowerment scrolls on my 2H weapon. I am however upset that the devs nerf a certain build without even realising that they do.


  3. Atzumo Says:

    I don’t understand what Turbine is doing since they introduced finesse. It’s seems like they are not thinking about the playstyle of Wardens?
    I may be wrong, but that’s the impression I’m getting from this changes.


    • Joshua Says:

      Er, the critical defence changes are pretty much explicitly intended to help out Wardens. So, you know, you can say thanks for that.


      • Nerves Says:

        Yes, I agree, and it’s something I’ve been asking for since Critical defense first showed up. It’s a way to not get 1-hit by those big devastates when you don’t have the big mits of a guard to soak it up.


  4. Cedrowald of Vilya Says:

    The 2H champ need actually references the changes to “Clobber” ( the champ interrupt skill). Currently an ideal 2h DPS rotation involves building 4 fervour pips and then using brutal+clobber. Because clobber is “immediate” this front loads all the damage from all 4 hits. It also prevents an opponent from stunning you during the animation for Brutal Strike (which can and does take 1 or 2 of your hits away if it happens) but since it becomes the most recent skill used you are able to follow with a fast skill (such as Swift Strike or Merciful Strike) as soon as the animation time for Brutal Strikes is finished. Put another way you can put 4 hits into the time that would otherwise be occupied by 3 hits AND execute you next attack sooner than you would otherwise be able. The problem is that Brutal Strikes is on a 4.2s cooldown. This is no problem currently because clobber is on a 4s CD, fast forward to U9 and at least every other rotation a champ will have 1-2 fewer hits over tha same time frame. With each hit worth 500-1000 dmg that is 50-100 DPS less that a 2h champ will do when compared with pre U9. Depending on the champ in question you are talking about a 5% or so reduction in DPS…that’s a pretty significant nerf.


    • JR Says:

      I’m a very casual player, so it sounds funny to me to hear a 5 percent reduction of DPS considered “significant.”


      • Ulmir Says:

        Any reduction is significant given that they are intending (not so sure anymore though) to modify interrupt mechanics and not dps.

        If that is noticed in solo play is another question, but the weirdness persists. :)


      • Cedrowald of Vilya Says:

        Just think though, how many times have you been able to raise your DPS by 5% with one piece of gear or by switching weapons? With the latter it happens pretty often and its really noticeable as you level when you switch from lower to higher level weapons. This will be the same in reverse and while the biggest “feel’ change will likely be in how the combat flows its also no doubt that this is capping 2H DPS at a lower level.


  5. Dunon Says:



  6. Goreamir Says:

    I can now envision a lot more of this in the future:

    Boss gets off it’s massive induction heal…
    “Champ, clobber!!”
    “On CD, sorry. Just interrupted that big AOE ten seconds ago”.

    No like.


    • Adam Says:

      Folks will have to deal with this like they deal with a number of other mechanics, it becomes another job the team has to share. No biggie for any decent group to manage their corruption and CC mechanics, its just now adding interrupts to this.


  7. Avatar of andyb
    andyb Says:

    Another change to wardens, RoI seemed to be the point where they suddenly started poking and prodding at them changing things far too often.

    I suppose at least this time they havent decided to reshuffle the gambits so that levelling players dont lose or regain gambits on an almost weekly basis like they did at the start of RoI.

    For a cat to be set amoungst the pigeons any change to rotations due to an altered mechanic is always going to annoy the min-maxxing type of player. But then again the nastyburnykilly stuff on the floor also has the ability to screw a dps rotation so this is just an extension of that to be factored into the equations to bring the theoretical dps numbers into the realms of the actual.

    DPS is a means to an end, the end being the boss dying. In other games I couldnt care less what dps someone had if they didnt want to break their precious rotation by moving and died as a result. A dead dpser is no dps at all.


  8. Strunto Says:

    I sure do miss a lot on my Captain. So that’ll be nice, I guess.


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