Missing the Dodge (and more) Pt.1

After clearing your free trinkets and testing out the new crafting mechanism, the next large change to the game comes in the form of the modified dodge modification. As brought up in the previous post (and at the request of many), let’s discuss what exactly dodge is now and how this has impacted combat as a whole.

As a continuation in a later post, we shall also look into what is good now and new strategies to adopt in order to adapt to these new changes.

Before I go into that, do give the entirety of the official changelog a read first before we go any further.

Done? Alright, let’s start.

(Much thanks to Mercure and Ryan for pointing out my error in the dodge reduction values! Glad to have observant readers :))

The new Dodge

Since the release of the update, dodge has now become quite an intriguing principle. One no longer can place a definite dependence on a high numerical value and expect it to be constantly effective throughout a match.

To summarise the pointers in the changelog, dodge is now capped and premised on a degradation mechanism.

Simply put, dodge loses effectiveness every time you get hit by an enemy attack, but excluding damage taken from Damage over Time (DOT). This decreases your overall effective dodge to a percentage of 20% of your total dodge (multiplied, not a flat subtraction). For example, you can lose up to a maximum 40% dodge from a 50% dodge character.

However, there is no official indication of the exact duration of regeneration for dodge, but has been generalised to ‘a few seconds‘.

dodge
Smoke Veil is still useful in sticky situations, though you might need to physically evade attacks as well for it to be effective

Bringing your dodge number above 70% though, through the use of gears and trinkets (and perhaps skills as well), is written to act as a buffer against losing more dodge value, as effective dodge remains at a maximum of 70%.

Think of it as a real-life scenario, where fatigue and exhaustion throughout combat impairs the performance of the player: – the more you dodge or get hit, the less effective your next dodge is going to be. Only until you recover by being out of combat, then your ability to dodge properly gets restored.

TL;DR: Dodge degrades whenever you get hit, similar to real-life, and recovers once you’re not being hit.


An Example in Math

To put all of this into perspective, here is an example to explain how this works in mathematical terms.

Let’s say you are planning to charge in head first into combat and trigger smoke veil to boost your dodge and keep yourself alive, below is what will happen in the past (previous of this update) and currently*:

(*The current scenario is a speculated guess since there is no longer a way to see numerical property values anymore.) 

Assuming the following fixed variables:

  • Base passive dodge – 50%
  • Smoke Veil – 32.5%

Past

Smoke veil stacks directly* onto your passive dodge, giving you a total of effective dodge of 50 + 32.5 = 82.5%.

(*This was documented in a previous forum post, but unfortunately the values can’t be tested now)

Current (Speculated guess)

Smoke veil stacks directly onto your passive dodge, but gives you a total effective dodge of 70% (maximum cap).
The additional 12.5% is translated into a ‘buffer‘ that enemies will have to make a couple more hits on you first before they can start decreasing your 70% dodge.

If you keep getting hit, you can lose up to whopping(!) 56% dodge to an effective net of effective dodge of 14%.

Of course, some might have realised a few issues with or have a couple of questions about this speculation, such as:

  • What happens when your smoke veil runs out?
  • How many hits does an additional 12.5% actually translate to?
  • Does smoke veil actually add directly to effective dodge now?

The Impact of the Change

But beyond that, I’m guessing the burning question would be what does all this mean?

Effectively, the dodge degradation mechanism translates to removing the option of face-tanking (or standing in front and receiving) every single attack that comes towards you.

mezzo
Close in at the right time, least you find yourself getting frozen unnecessarily

It also requires a need to be observant in combat, through understanding and reading the attack animations of enemies to know when they are casting spells or activating an ability. This will help you know the timings and when it is safe to rush into battle (right after an enemy attack) or keep away (in the face of abilities with multiple hits).

Ranged users also have a noticeable advantage over melee users, since keeping a distance from enemies means a reduction in chance of getting hit. However, ranged users still suffer when they get flanked or chased by stronger and faster minions (eg. monkeys, wicker beasts, ignicores etc.).

smallSH
Smaller Stronghold rooms with multi-projectile minions are particularly deadly this update

Although there is a presence of a dodge cap, high dodge users (>50%) will still benefit from this magical property/trait. They would have to be more cautious during combat now though since it does not guarantee an option to be complacent during battle as dodge does not stay as it is.

However, the higher one’s dodge is, the more % it loses when degraded. This also makes it less worthwhile to nitpick over the loss/gain of small percentages of dodge since it now becomes a constantly changing variable in combat which is influenced by how well players avoid getting hit, over ‘hard‘ values.

TL;DR: The new Dodge impacts: –
+ Avoiding attacks
+ Ranged Users
+ Small Trap rooms & multi-hit monsters
– Hard numbers
– Face-tanking

But wait, this actually does not explain entirely why combat is generally more difficult as a whole. Do keep reading as the post doesn’t stop here!


Skill Re-balancing

Unsurprisingly, raiding has naturally become tougher and is especially more so for those who have been highly reliant on dodge as a trait. However, the reason is not only attributed to this change of dodge, but also the re-balancing of certain skills.

Skill Nerfs

As listed in the changelog, these are the skills include:

  • Ice Burst – cannot bypass enemy dodge as easily
  • Fire Cone – cannot bypass enemy dodge as easily,  reduced burn damage; increased impact damage
  • Ice Stalagmites – reduction of subsequent damage in the zone

An immediate observation about these nerfed skills is that many players have classified them overpowered (OP) and feedback that have been often exploited for easy wins. The common Smoke Veil, Fire Cone and Ice Stalagmites setup has often been the go-to combination for most players since it largely improves damage output and negates combat strategy to a large extent… …which have been attributed to the underlying cause of strongholds being less effective in defences.

My other guess is that this might be an attempt to re-balance all skills before arena gets released… something which probably needs work least it becomes as straight-forward as fighting against the keeper in SH v1.0.

After testing these skills, the following observations can be made:

Ice Burst – Still useful to maintain invulnerability during casting but not as well-off against minions that naturally have high dodge (eg. monkeys, corvus)

Fire Cone – Very much less damaging for burn damage and can now get negated by dodge. This is so much so that Fire Cone is much more useful for its passive traits (dodge, run speed) instead of it’s original damage-dealing intent, unless you keep firing it for its impact damage.

Ice Stalagmites – Still of legendary status as a persistent zone skill, but damage reduction can be ‘felt’, though reduction is very much less significant than Fire Cone. Doing an ice stalagmite in the middle of a Ruby Temple full of fire minions is still a feasible option though.

iceSta
Planting an Ice Stalagmites against Fire type minions is still a practical solution

TL;DR: Smoke Veil, Fire Cone and Ice Stalagmites setup is no longer as effective

Skill Buffs

On the bright side, there are a number of equally impactful positive revisions to combat itself.

  • Cyclone – Improved chance to block projectiles
  • Earthen Wrath – Increased Damage
  • Avalanche – More likely to bypass enemy dodge

Unfortunately, I don’t have the T6 variants of these skills so testing them might not be to the best of effect…which goes to show how much emphasis I’ve placed on these skills. I’ve noticed the T5 avalanche being more useful though, but I guess it’s best to only draw conclusions once the skill is T6.

On top of this, some of the ‘beginner‘ skills have also received T6 status as of this update. Shields, in particular, have been speculated to be good replacements for smoke veil as damage absorbers. However, like above, I’ve yet to get any of these to T6 yet and will probably do a post in due time once I’ve done so.

t6shield.png
The good old lightning shield might prove to be useful once again

(Interestingly, as highlighted by a number of players, there is also a ‘hard’ cap for elemental armor bonus of 95.0%. So anything above that value is not registered into the system for global armor stat.)

The improvement in a greater number of skills also means the opportunity to test out new combinations of skills instead of relying on the old over-used combinations. This encourages players to re-look and re-prioritise skill combinations and setups – something I believe DH5 was originally designed for with its initial vast array of skills.

TL;DR: Beginner skills get T6 and certain skills get buffed, enabling a greater choice of viable skill options.


Other Significant Changes

Besides dodge and skill changes, there are two changes which are much more positive on a combat level.

Stagger Removal

The first is the removal of stagger, which was an annoying action that causes characters to jerk and pause whenever you get hit by certain monster abilities (eg. Corvus Ground Rune, Fire Colossi Flamethrower) or get hit by a strong attack.

corvus
It’s now easier to chance down and finish Corvus much quicker than before

In light of this, combat becomes much smoother in comparison to the past. This makes it easier to physically evade attacks of minions and escape quickly to prevent dodge from getting degraded. Unless, of course, you get frozen/stun/knockdown in place, which is still a legit strategy for stronghold building.

Dodge Roll Cooldown

The second is the reduction in cooldown time for dodge roll by 1 second, making it significantly easier to regenerate all of your roll actions much more quickly than in the past. Likewise, this helps in evading incoming minion attacks to help prevent the dodge degradation from occurring.

TL;DR: Stagger removal and dodge roll cooldown time reduction places emphasis on getting away from minion attacks, instead of out-rightly receiving them.


Due to the extreme length of this post, I’ve decided to get a breather here and it’ll be continued sometime mid-week.

The next post (Part 2) will look into the new meta (ie. which trap rooms and minions have been improved) and what strategies that you can use to counter them.

Have fun!

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10 thoughts on “Missing the Dodge (and more) Pt.1

  1. Dear Zung,

    thanks again for the nice content, really love that you are more active this time of the year!

    I do have to say though, that I understood the changes to the dodge mechanics differently than you have. In the patch notes (on Android, Europe) it says that “Dodge value cannot be reduced to a value below 20% of your Dodge rating. For example, if your gear has enough combined Magic Properties to give you a Dodge rating of 80%, then your effective Dodge rating will never go below 16%”.

    This means that the nerfs to Dodge have been very massive and – under certain circumstances (fast and constant enemy fire/attacks rendering the Dodge level recovery useless) – make trap rooms like Ruby Temple or Forbidden Courtyard a real pain in the back. Whereas you could dodge a lot of crowd control abilities like Stun/Freeze from Wicker Beast/Mezzogian/Vile and therefore somewhat reliably dish out damage/dodge further projectiles via movement, you sometimes just get stuck due to the endless reapplication of those effects (with even higher effectivity due to the further decrease of your dodge rating because of taking extra hits during stun).

    It’s almost impossible to test by how much a single hit of an enemy character decreases your dodge rating (5%/10% of your total rating per hit?), but I have noticed a pretty massive decrease of dodge chance during raids. My average dodge rating of 55% now feels pretty useless and I am now thinking about investing in more offensive stats like crit%/critdmg%/runspeed% to fastly kill one or two of those annoying champions in order to more reliably raid my opponents.

    In case of me being right on the patch notes and changes: What would be your take on this change then and also what would be your recommendations when it comes to choosing items based on their statlines?

    Thanks in advance for your kind feedback in advance, Zung.

    Regards
    Mercure

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    1. In addition: According to the changes to dodge, my dodge rating of 55% could go as low as 11%, whereas someone with a dodge rating of 30% could go as low as 6%. Just for a clarification on the figure basis.

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    2. Dear Mercure,
      Thanks for noticing the error! I’ve amended the figures accordingly 🙂
      As for the minions and trap rooms, yes you are right about them as once these get you locked into a stun/knockdown, you’ll be an easy target. However, personally, I would disagree with Ruby Temple as being more dangerous though, it is sufficiently large enough to escape from enemy attacks, just need to keep some distance.

      I’ll do a strategy post in the continuation to this entry so do stay tuned for that. Will try to get it out by slightly over mid-week and it’ll take about suggested strategies and character gear selection as well.

      Thank you!

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  2. Thanks for your great work, Zung.
    But I think the calculation of dodge decrease is wrong. As stated in the changelog, “Dodge value cannot be reduced to a value below 20% of your dodge rating. For example, if your gear has enough combined Magic Properties to give you a Dodge rating of 80%, then your effective Dodge rating will never go below 16%.”, i.e., the dodge can be decreased to 20% of your dodge rating, not decreased by 20% of your dodge rating. Please check it.

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  3. I agree that Ruby Temple is not the prime target of this “Stronghold buff” since you have indeed more room to play with. At the same time – due to the increased amount of hits you are generally taking – the application of the room’s dot has become way easier now. Therefore you do not only suffer more damage from minions in the room, but additionally suffer damage from the dot, which makes it even more deadly.

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  4. With the dodge change, do you think an armor like the water armor ‘Crown of Thorns’ gets a boost in value? I realize it doesn’t have CHC/CD, but has inherent armor become that much more important now? I was thinking about raising this to T6 and using instead of Poseidens. Would love to hear your thoughts.

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    1. Frankly, I think dodge still has a strong footing in the game. But as it is now a variable value, physically moving away from attacks needs to be done often to make it useful.

      My suggestion would be to go with the Crown of Thorns if you are a melee user, since a higher armor and increased attack bonus would help since dodge gets degraded much more frequently. Do remember to equip other gears which add dodge too so its value isn’t too low.

      If you prefer ranged, then go with Poisedon’s Defence since there are less chances of getting physically hit. However, do remember that the Water WC chest does have a (small) chance to give you a T6 Poisedon’s Defence, since it is a WC-type armor after all.

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  5. Thanks Zung. Yes, I am primarily melee and haven’t had huge issues getting through WP75 with my water set (Poisedens is T6 maxed already). I can do that water set right now with dodge above 70%, but am thinking that taking a hit on dodge to increase armor significantly may pay off. Guess I can test and see…just cost a bunch of mats. I’ll do some testing with Crown if Thorns maxed on T5 first.

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