Block, dodge, reflect missiles mechanics, thoughts for engie

SquigglerSquiggler Posts: 5
edited November 2014 in Engineer Discussions
I'm a chronic min-maxer and on my quest to create the ultimate, most OP engineer, I decided to investigate dodging, blocking, and reflect missiles mechanics. First, some basics:

Stacking and caps:

Dodge and block stack additively, with a cap of 75%. This means you get rapidly increasing returns as you get more dodge and block (when you go from 0% to 1% block, you are blocking on average 1% of the damage that previously was going through; when you go from 70% to 71%, you are blocking 1% of the remaining 30%, or 3.33% of the damage that was previously going through). Reflect missiles stacks mutliplicatively, so if you have x% reflect from one source and y% from another, you effectively have a 1 - (1 - x%) * (1- y%) chance of reflecting. This also means that it is much better to have fewer but larger sources of reflect projectiles %. I've heard that reflect projectiles also has a 75% cap, but this is untrue. With lots of zardon's skulls I reached over 95% chance to reflect with no cap in sight.

When do block, dodge, and reflect missiles actually proc (THE BIG QUESTION!):

Dodge is pretty crappy, though we get it for free because we're interested in dex for +crit chance, so I guess I shouldn't complain. I have experimented with many, many different attacks, and as far as I can tell dodge procs ONLY on the following:
- regular melee attacks
- regular non-aoe ranged attacks (so you can't dodge a cannon or a shotgun blast, but you can dodge bows, etc.)

Unfortunately, in my testing, I have not found one single skill which dodge protects you from. Even melee skills that look like the sort of thing you can dodge cannot be dodged. Even skills that launch slow-moving physical ranged projectiles cannot be dodged. I have not tested every skill in the game so there could be some rare exception, but at the very least the vast majority of skills cannot be dodged.

Reflect missiles procs pretty much every time you'd expect it to. If something is ranged, then it almost certainly can be reflected, skills included. I found reflect missiles to be tremendously effective, and it has no cap! Getting 90%+ reflect is quite reasonable with a shield with a good reflect enchant and/or some zardon's in the late game, and it really protects from a lot.

Block is the best. Almost everything can be blocked, including some things that look pretty unblockable. Unfortunately, as I will discuss later on, even if you block something your forcefield still takes damage.

The order of application:

Reflect missiles
Block & Forcefield absorption
Hp pool

Other thoughts and considerations (please note that these are being said with (****) elite and absolute min-maxing in mind):

Dodge is really lackluster, but you get a lot of it for free by investing in dex. The question then is should you get any more dodge beyond what you get from dex? On the one hand, dodge (like block) has rapidly increasing returns because it stacks additively - consider that at 75% dodge you are getting hit by dodgeable hits only half as often as you are at 50% dodge. On the other hand, dodge cannot dodge any (?) skills, only regular melee and non-aoe regular ranged attacks. To reach the dodge cap, either be an outlander or get 4% dodge enchants from karkhozi or inherent equipment bonuses. There really isn't any equipment with +dodge%, and there are no socketables that give it, so reaching the dodge cap is actually pretty hard for a non-outlander. You'd be giving up quite a bit of stat enchants and selecting otherwise inferior equipment to get it. Of course, a 75% chance to completely avoid some forms of damage is pretty good.

Block is incredible, but the big problem with it for engineers is that your forcefield still takes full damage even when you block a hit. Considering that 75% block is pretty easy to get late game, this means that your forcefield effectively is taking up to 4x more damage than it otherwise could be (and than you would want it to). This is such a big deal that it may not even make that much sense to go with a shield at all! When your forcefield is up, your block is useless. And an engineer will have his forcefield up all the time. The vast majority of hits and the vast majority of damage taken will be absorbed by the forcefield, and when it goes down, the first priority is to get it back up. Furthermore, making use of block requires you to have a shield, which makes you give up your second weapon slot. You can do so much with a second weapon slot - 4 * 10% crit gems, a second hammer of retribution to proc glacial spike even more often, +60% crit damage gems, etc. Don't forget that all this extra damage and power increases your survivability, undermining the case for a shield. Sure, with a shield you have block to protect you when your forcefield goes down, but with all these offhand weapon bonuses forcefield might not even go down at all.

For a forcefield-using engineer, reflect missiles is an amazing (and superior) alternative to block. Most of the serious threats are missiles (you aren't just standing in place while a melee enemy whacks you, are you now?), and you already get decent melee mitigation from dodge. On an endgame engineer going to 75% reflect missiles and beyond is both possible and extremely good. It will make your force field last so much longer, and is effective against pretty much all ranged attacks.

In addition to my information about over of application and when they proc, I think the main takeaway is that block is extremely good - just not for forcefield using engineers. If you stack an enormous amount of + health, then it becomes a viable strategy to depend on your forcefield a lot less and just rely on your health since you're blocking 3/4 of most attacks before they touch your hp. But I think in general you can be significantly more powerful by dropping the shield and getting a second weapon, and relying on reflect missiles and maybe a bit of extra dodge to make your forcefield even more powerful. This certainly is the case for my absurdly OP emberquake + glacial spike proc build, which now gets a second hammer of retribution socketed with eyes of aleera for even more glacial spike procs and crit chance.

Any feedback and discussion would be appreciated.


  • D2HansD2Hans Posts: 3,031 ✭✭✭
    Blocking can still be good for a force field engineer just in case the the field goes down in the heat of battle. That 75% chance to block might be the thing that saves your ****, especially when playing HCE.

    Reflect Missiles are just awesome, just like it was in the first game.

    Dodge is quite good to have especially if you are not using Force Field or when it goes down. Its use is limited but when it used with the other defensive options, it increases your tanking capabilities. Since Dodge can be increased with points in Dexterity, which is quite a good stat for most engineer builds since it also increases your chance at getting crits.
    "Six... one, six... the nuuuumber ooof the beeeaaast!"
  • NeophytoiNeophytoi Posts: 3,539
    D2Hans wrote:
    Blocking can still be good for a force field engineer just in case the the field goes down in the heat of battle. That 75% chance to block might be the thing that saves your ****, especially when playing HCE


    (plus, where's the love for Spider Mines? I mean, in terms of the elicit joy that only the primitive hind brain can produce... you know, the entirely elicit joy of the "Gee, that got blowed up to kingdom come real good" sort..., nothing - and I mean nothing - rivals Spider Mines... except maybe the occasional screen-dazzling SPFX whump of a really big wrench deployed with precision timing and aim... other than that, let Spider Mines rule until the stars fall :) )
    never let your hatred of people who would bar you from the Inviolable House of Worship lead you into the sin of aggression: but rather help one another in furthering virtue and ****-consciousness, and do not help one another in furthering evil and enmity
  • It is quite a coincidence that I return to this forum for the first time in 1.5 years on the exact day that my thread gets bumped. And as far as things that make you go "Gee, that got blowed up to kingdom come real good," I'd say glacial spike builds come close (or maybe even beat) spider mines in this regard. ;)
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