MERC AC nerf

Discussion in 'The Veterans' Lounge' started by Kablam, Dec 9, 2014.

  1. Ratbo Peep Augur

    [quote="Matari, post: 3153853, member: 411706"
    No one is asking for a stupid merc to better than a PC. All that is being asked is for them to be a viable option in group content[/quote]

    Only and exactly this.
  2. Casia Apprentice

    I've always been of the opinion that in game experience is superior to numbers. There are those who will scream '100 hour mininum parses' to prove anything, thinking that removes all variables, but numbers are only good if they are comprehensive and EQ has many variables. Choosing one number out of all of them leads to incorrect conclusions.
    The reason we were given for the changes to MERCS was:

    "The 101 to 105 mercs had their tanking abilities adjusted to be have a more even spread of avoidance vs mitigation, so as to more closely approximate player tanking ratios. IE, their AC went down a bunch, but their avoidance was majorly increased.

    Previous to the change, most mercs had their AC so high, that it had essentially minimized their chances of getting hit for any of the higher values on the damage table. Which meant that adding AC with buffs, gear,etc did basically nothing. Now that the spread is more even, AC bonuses will matter much more than they did before.

    And yes, we accounted for strikethrough in the changes.

    As always, open to feedback on the changes."
    -Ryan (Rytan)

    There are two lines of extremely reasonable thought here that do not play out as expected in actual gameplay (which is all that matters)

    #1) A tanking parse shows incoming damage for MERC and PLAYER as within an acceptable range of parity.
    #2) The changes make MERCS perform more like PLAYERS.

    Both of those ideas are fine, but incomplete in regards to the final conclusion.

    For #1 -- A charted parse of incoming damage could show a MERC and a PLAYER both receiving an incoming damage rate of 7k DPS under testing situations. No problem, right? Except the MERC shouldn't be equal to a real PLAYER.
    BIG PROBLEM when you combine #1 with #2 in a real gameplay situations--
    A MERC does not have the HPs of a PLAYER, therefore the same rate of incoming DPS is taking a greater percentage of their health.
    -A MERC does not cycle through defensive discs, decreasing damage be 20%, 25%, 35%, etc...
    -A MERC does not have self clickies, buffs, tribute, powersources, and auras which raise their AC above baseline. The ability to buff them with the new 'more meaningful' AC changes is limited.
    -A MERC does not have HP boosting spells/AA to further absorb spikes.
    -A MERC does not self heal, lifetap, or use any other ability as a stopgap to keep themselves from reaching zero HPs before the next heal hits.
    -A MERC does not use disciplines advantageously.
    -A MERC does not crit heal, crit tap, deflect, cast self Vies, use epic effects, veteran AAs, normal AAs, or anything else to amplify incoming healing when its needed most.
    -A MERC has little situational awareness, meaning it will grab an add when it should let it loose until heals come; it will stand next to a rooted mob and take extra damage; it will not adjust agro to accommodate another tank or weaponshield or similar discs from group mates used to stretch out survival times when healing can't come fast enough.
    -A MERC (tank) will not go full burn to kill a mob faster in self preservation.

    MERCS are NOT PLAYERS and therefore should not be treated as players. In so many situations they will die where a PLAYER tank will not, therefore not doing their job of surviving (agro is another story).
    The way to compensate for MERC stupidity to some degree is to either give them superior HPs, mitigation, resists, or avoidance.
    That may sound unfair to player tanks, but it is necessary for them to be superior in some aspects in order to do their job in any capacity approaching what a real tank can do.

    In this case, parsing and theorycrafting are insufficient. Real in-game experience tells the story: MERC tanks are very poor at their job and endanger the group.
    Why is there a tank class MERC in the game if it cannot perform its function of tanking?
    It wasn't our idea to introduce tank MERCS, but many players have adapted to what the designers have provided for them. Make the design functional.

    Now if we throw in healer MERCS, everything is complicated further. They are nearly as unreliable as tank MERCS. Using both in a group will result in unnecessary deaths and is a vastly different experience than having a real healer. Too bad real healers have little incentive to participate in the group game. And the ones that do usually lose that desire quickly when they have to prop up a lameduck tank MERC to keep a group going.
    Metanis likes this.
  3. Cerris Augur

    The issue with focusing solely on incoming melee damage is that it overlooks some of the very real drawbacks that tank mercs have vs. real tanks when fighting TDS tier 3 named.

    Take Warleader Jocelynn, for example, who self-buffs with a non-dispellable 4000 point damage shield and casts a 100k targeted AE nuke. A player tank will be taking damage shield damage only from his mainhand even if dual wielding (And I'd love to have a tank around who could dual wield in TDS T3 zones) and will only take 70k from the nuke. They also have the option to turn off autoattack and spam hate abilities to maintain aggro.

    The merc will happily grind itself into pieces against the 4k DS, and I don't think damage shield damage shows up to anyone but the caster, so this will be completely missed by any parser. They'll also eat the entire force of the nuke.

    Jocelynn isn't an outlier, either. Named all through T3 LOVE to cast huge damage shields or huge reverse damage shields.

    Mage pets are just as dumb and also dual wield, but they have enough hit points to soak up the DS damage and enough spell shielding to mitigate the nuke. I've been able to kill most T3 named with an EM20 focused earth pet tanking, but it takes 2 cleric mercs AND the mage cycling all his pet defensive abilities AND patch heals from the mage against some of the tougher ones so I don't think anyone can complain too much.
  4. Marshall Maathers Augur

    I pulled a book named in Arx and all 3 of my cleric/wiz mercs were vaporized before I could swap to my cleric to heal. Just as if they were DTed. Some things in TDS were just not designed for mercs of any type.
  5. segap Augur

    This is exactly what needs to be done if you want any chance of change. I do think that a HP boost is warranted with the current damage tuning. Both for mele damage and the AE that some named have. If you get a bad roll before landing a slow or getting adds controlled, the merc can splat in a blink. An AE + above average mele round before the healer finishes casting can kill the merc nearly instantly.

    The OP happens to have all the tools necessary to mitigate most of the merc's weaknesses. That's why I've responded the way I have to this thread. Besides bringing actual data of what's wrong to the conversation, you also need to demonstrate some effort and honesty in what actually works. The truth is tank mercs can work with the right support and a tweak to play style. The question becomes whether or not that support is a reasonable expectation.

    I do think it is reasonable that a group either a) have a real tank that can handles multiple mobs b) have someone that can do crowd control c) have someone that can pull singles. For named, is it reasonable to to require a group have either a class that can slow and/or have additional healing (or perhaps just a real cleric)?

    I know tank mercs are there to help groups that cannot find the mythical group tank. I for one depend on a tank merc. But does the existence of a tank merc also mean that groups don't need to find some sort of class balance and build around needs? Using a real tank gives you some added flexibility and that is a bonus to picking a real person to group with (if you can actually find one). Tank mercs require that you either seek out certain classes to compensate for weaknesses or that you're prepared to use two healer mercs in certain situations. You should also expect to fail more frequently on tough encounters if the rng isn't kind.
  6. sojero One hit wonder

    I guess the disconnect that I see is a merc allows a group to get together and go play somewhere, but that does not mean they get to go to end zones and destroy it, or play everywhere. They are a band aid to get people together and do something with waiting for a replacement so that you can go to a more desirable place.

    A merc is not supposed to replace a real player, and I believe everyone can agree none of them do. When looking at what happens with a merc tank against a named you also have to look at what happens to other mercs. A merc healer wont heal the group through the AE, the melee dps mercs will also destroy themselves on the DS, and both dps mercs will get destroyed by the AE.

    I believe we have to accept the fact that mercs were designed the way that they were to allow for players to be better, and if we add to much to them, ie spell shielding, shielding, ability to ae heal/cure we will want other players even less.

    It would be nice to hear a merc is supposed to be good for XYZ zones, but that is also unrealistic because what you prop a merc up with will determine much of that. if you have slows, buffs, etc

    From a tanks perspective and often the person that puts the group together I have to weigh what we are doing vs what I can get away with inviting. I don't bring a group of sk + 5 melee dps + a healer merc to a place with a named that can ae hard and has a huge ds, I wait until a real healer is available. The same should be taken into account if a real healer is available but a real tank is not.

    There has to be a balance and a baseline put in, and that means that in some situations they will be unacceptable to use, and they should be for the benefit of the game. This can also seem like a detriment, but to those, they need to look more at themselves and their play style and determine if there is something wrong with that. Just expecting to pop a merc and roll through content is not going to happen with just any makeup, and skill level. Skill level also has a lot to do with what happens with mercs in a group.
    Bigstomp and SaderakhBertox like this.
  7. Ravengloome Augur

    Skill level is more often then not the restriction, or poor planning classes wise for a box team (for those that do). Mercs though are horrible, and group content should not be balanced around their use.
  8. Marshall Maathers Augur

    I agree with that, as I mentioned above there are some things that cannot be done with mercs, and that should not be used as the baseline of comparison between the different mercs. That being said, I feel the tank merc sucks a lot more than the healer and wiz mercs, so if there is a lot less content that can be done by people that rely on tank mercs vs. cleric mercs, it would make sense that some balancing occurs.

    I am of the opinion that the tank merc needs more hp. It is woefully low for the current content, whether doing trash or whatever else.

    I am sure this can be confirmed with time-domain plots of incoming damage.
  9. sojero One hit wonder

    I kinda agree that tank mercs need work, I have tried using a tank merc with 3 melee dps boxing and I did not like the results, and it wasn't from the incoming damage reason that I did not like it.

    That is why I have my wives pally on her account, my sk on my main account, and leveling a war on my box account. That way no matter what we play we can use a real tank. I also have a cleric on my wives account, a clr and shm on my box account so that if we need to use a real healer, we can.
    We adapt to the situation and make the best of it, usually that means for my box crew its less dps/utility but more open options.

    I would love to see tank mercs get the 25% sword and board proficiency and a little bit bigger hp pool, but when looking at it, how many HP does a full group geared tank have without AA? They need to be around the same with the draw backs of type 3's, which is actually large.

    I am going to guess that a cotf t2 group geared war has around 90-100k hp? someone that has one please tell me as mine is only 94 and roft t1 gear and has 80k/7.4k buffed but doesn't have many of the newer hp AA. he does have 35+ ac augs in all slots.

    I think the problem is most people see tanks in raid gear and what they can do, and there are truly not many tanks in group gear left. At least not many/any that post on the boards.
  10. segap Augur

    My 105 war with a mix of cotf t2 and tds t2 group gear is around 126k hp with self, cleric and shaman buffs + cleric aura + all hp AA.
  11. Cerris Augur

    Searching magelo for level 100 warriors with 43% haste and tossing out a couple of outliers that are largely raid geared but have a group belt for some reason shows that your guess is more or less spot on. It looks like 95k is about average, with 100k being the group warrior who really pushes himself.
  12. sojero One hit wonder

    Seeing that a 105 war with all buffs is pushing 130k (didnt sound like the poster had brells, and had some pieces that are above cotf t2), a merc at 105 with 108k don't know the buffs it had on, seems reasonable to me. The HP AA account for a good amount of HP on a war so that alone will put a good amount of difference. There has to be a reason to invite the group war over a merc.
  13. Siddar Augur

    Well I think there are two issues here one being original poster not using all tools he has available in the most effective manner. The other is the question of if warrior mercs are viable at doing there intended function.

    On second point I have to agree warrior merc is far to weak against named mobs. I tested against a named in CotF West Karana using a level 105 warrior merc with all tanking merc AA except a few ranks of increased agro. Merc had Bard AC tank songs, and two cleric mercs a 105 cleric and 103 cleric for heals. Named mob Lava Mantle had enchanter slow, stat debuff, and mental contortion. The result was 105 warrior merc died rather quickly to a mobs meant to be killed by level 100s.

    Now there are few things more I could have done to maybe change the outcome here like chaining runes on merc with enchanter or doing a merc swap between cleric and warrior mercs to have a fresh warrior that would use tanking discs on named. But all together that merc had enough support that it should have been able to tank that named without those additions. Once warrior merc died TDS necro pet tanked named with no problems until it died,

    I believe the changes to merc tanking ability is now causing them to take to many high DI rounds versus named mobs. Warrior merc are now it seems forced into waiting for changes to mob damage promised to help group geared tanks to see if that makes them viable against named mobs again.
  14. sojero One hit wonder

    Well that named is not one that is easy either, and honestly most tanks without a decent group are not going to survive that.

    he has a DD that does:
    1: Decrease HP when cast by 46240
    2: Decrease Hitpoints by 9510 per tick
    3: 20% Chance to trigger: Burning Rubble
    I don't know how FD effects a merc

    and hits for up to 22k per hit and quads.

    with what you had on I would suspect probably most 2-3 hits per round but the DD killed merc.

    With no dot or spell shielding that will halve his hp in one cast. I would suspect it was that spell that did him in on a bad round. This guy is like roon/shroon on crack because that spell will kill most group geared or merc if they are not at 85% to 100% of their hp.
  15. Shiea Augur

    If you're boxing an enchanter, THERE is your tank right there. Problem solved. Runes and clr mercx2 and you are golden.
  16. Siddar Augur

    I'm fairly certain all mercs come with maxed Mod 2 built in. I vaguely recall a attempt to add pet cloaks to mercs in VoA that was pulled because it turned out they already had those stats maxed.

    I don't see any 40k hits on parse but bard AC + resist song may have caused them to be resisted. What is on parse is a 10% DI 19-20 hit rate while versus a CotF trash mob DI 19-20 rate that's in the 3% range. That's where recent changes to merc ac is impacting performance. Tests likely did not take into account that named mobs shifting the hi DI hits percentages upwards.. Warrior mercs simply fail under those conditions because they don't know how to save discs for named mobs to offset that higher DI 19-20 hit rate,.
  17. sojero One hit wonder

    I agree, they don't save defensive discs, and they probably do have a small higher % chance of hitting di 19-20 as they should have higher ATK values. The thing is, a named also does that to a regular tank. and with a merc or regular tank, just med a few mins until the disc is back up before engaging then burn it down.

    As to the type 2 mods, I was under the assumption that they did not, but I certainly could be incorrect on that.
  18. Engineer Augur

    What's the point of spending plat and putting in the effort of AAing and gearing your merc if they're supposed to just suck compared to any given player in the end?
  19. Cerris Augur

    It took a little digging through the EGL archives and I couldn't find it in the old forum archives here, but dzarn posted back on 05 Jan 2012 that all mercs over level 89 should have 23% shielding, spellshield, and DOT shielding. This was in reaction to a patch which accidentally gave all mercs over 89 35% to all mod2s, which was put in place because up until that point mercs all had 0 mod2s.

    I couldn't find anywhere to say whether mercs got progressively higher mod2s at higher levels, but at the very least they've had some mod2s since 2012.
  20. Bigstomp Augur

    They'll be weaker than an average player. Not any given player. I've played with players I'd happily replace with a merc before.