Author Topic: Main Tanking vs Lethal Force Authorized  (Read 1847 times)

Redlynne

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Main Tanking vs Lethal Force Authorized
« on: February 11, 2023, 10:24:02 am »
For the last few months, I've been off and on main tanking iTrials with my SR/MA Tanker (Redlynne) ... and one of the most cantankerous duties I've had to endure as a main tank is ... the Elite Boss Warwalkers in the Underground Trial.

Targeted -> Arrest Mode (an AoE Hold), I can handle.
Targeted -> Crowd Control (an AoE Terrorize), I can handle.
Targeted -> Lethal Force Authorized (an autohit 4s DoT) ... has been a struggle. Sometimes I make it through, sometimes I don't ... so I wanted to know WHY.

Well, I think I've found the answer.

City of Data v2.0 (for Homecoming): Lethal Force Authorized (link)
Quote
  • PvP or PvE 100% chance
    • 30% max health Energy damage (all affected targets) every 1.0s for 4.1s (100% chance)
    • if !target.VillainName>RoguesGallery_Desdemona_Underground && (target>enttype eq 'player')
What this means is that the Lethal Force Authorized attack is autohit (so Defense is helpless against it) when you are Targeted (which, as the main tank, YOU WILL BE, and since you're the main tank, YOU CAN'T RUN). The damage the attack deals is "30% max health Energy" ... meaning that powers like Dull Pain (and its equivalents) WON'T HELP YOU, because the damage that Lethal Force deals will simply scale upwards as your max health gets boosted upwards.

And since Lethal Force Authorized is deliberately designed to inflict 4x30% max health damage onto anyone (and everyone who has been Targeted) ... that means that no matter what you need to be able to endure taking 120% of your max health in Energy damage over 4 seconds(!).

There are two basic strategies for being able to pull this off.
  • ENERGY RESISTANCE
  • ABSORB

The resistances option is going to be the "more reliable" method, since the damage from Lethal Force Authorized is NOT unresistable. So resistances will rather directly reduce the amount of damage being taken.
This means that a 20% Energy Resistance will be sufficient to make ... 120% max HP / 1.2 = 100% max HP ... a reality.

In the case of Super Reflexes, with scaling resistances as HP goes down, the Lethal Force Authorized is a double whammy ... because the scaling resistances won't "kick in" against a DoT that is already in progress (the damage per tick does not recalculate after every tick). So whatever damage throughput is determined for damage tick 1 is the same amount delivered for damage tick 4, meaning the scaling resistances "don't get to apply" as the damage (rapidly) flows.

Net result ... as a Super Reflexes Tanker ... Lethal Force Authorized is yet another form of "kryptonite" to my protection scheme.
Defense doesn't stop it.
Scaling Resistances don't mitigate against it.
The DoT is fast enough that high Regeneration can't keep up with it.

So the only response that will work are Resistances and Absorb (preferably both!).

I've started using Resist Inspirations when I need to main tank the Extinction War Walkers during Underground Trials, to prevent the "faceplant potential" of getting hit by Lethal Force Authorized. One major bugaboo about the attack though is that by the time the words Lethal Force Authorized appear on screen, it's too late to do anything about it ... so you have to be buffed against the attack BEFORE it happens (and the chance it happens is random).

Needless to say, long drawn out fights with the Extinction War Walkers is decidedly dangerous for my RI4 build for Redlynne, because inspirations expire ... so if the battle drags on for too long, I'm vulnerable to getting One Shot™ by a Lethal Force Authorized attack. There are various things I can do to try and work around the the problem (Hybrid Core Melee adding +Resist for all Foes within PBAoE, Rune of Protection adding +Resist, Preventative Medicine kicking in its +Absorb proc, Resist Inspirations) ... but ultimately, in order to "proof" myself against this particular threat, I think I'm going to need to make some relatively significant changes to my build in order to increase baseline Energy Resistance and baseline Absorb so as to be able to withstand the Lethal Force Authorized attack from Extinction War Walkers (that I can't just run away from) more reliably.

Let's see what RI5 brings to the table once it goes Live (and Mids Reborn gets updated for it).


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Redlynne

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Re: Main Tanking vs Lethal Force Authorized
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2023, 03:16:36 pm »
Hrmmm ... I wonder.
Looking more in depth at the Lethal Force Authorized (City of Data v2.0, for Homecoming, link) problem ... and I'm wondering if there's another angle to attack the problem from.

Specifically ... Interface slotting choice.
Which one would be the most "broad spectrum useful" in terms of Elite Boss+ shut down potential?



For a Main Tank ... I'm thinking it would be T4 Preemptive Core Flawless Interface.

The rationale here is that the heaviest hitting attacks from the three flavors of Extinction War Walkers and the Avatar of Hamidon during the Underground Trial all require expenditure of significant amounts of Endurance by the EB+.
When I say significant, I'm talking like 20-30 Endurance per attack for a 1-2 combo punch (setup, then the heavy hit).

So against the Extinction War Walkers, casting the Targeted condition costs 20 Endurance.
Casting the Arrest Mode (hold), Crowd Dispersal (terrorize) or Lethal Force Authorized (4x 30% Max HP DoT over 4s) requires an ADDITIONAL cost of 20 Endurance for those attacks.

In other words ... so long as Endurance can be debuffed below 20 (and sustained below that threshold) ... the heaviest and most dangerous attacks from the Extinction War Walkers can be rendered "unavailable" and therefore moot. This in turn would make the Main Tank's job MUCH easier!

The same apparently holds true for the Avatar of Hamidon (20 END to set up for Cripple, 30 END to actually cast Cripple) ... and even for Maelstrom at TPN Campus (14 END to cast Marked For Death, another 14 END to follow through 7s later on a 4x 50% HP over 2s).



Against the major scripted bosses of Trials, they're going to have an 87% Debuff Resistance to Recovery Debuffs ... so the -5% Recovery for 4s debuff from T4 Preemptive is going to deliver a throughput of approximately -0.65% Recovery for 4s worth of debuffing (which is nothing to cheer for) and can only stack 4x ... for a maximum throughput of only -2.6% Recovery debuff for 4s with a full 4 stacks, which is pretty wimptacular all things considered.

No, the valuable part of a Preemptive Interface proc is that it will SUBTRACT -1 END 4x over 4s PER PROC.
That's -4 END per proc (over 4 seconds) ... with a max limit of 4 procs ... meaning that it's possible to drain away up to -16 END per 4s using (stacked) Preemptive Interface procs ... and scripted boss battles tend to "last for a while" (usually longer than 4 seconds).

In other words, an iTrial league would only need a smattering of participants with Preemptive Interface procs (for endurance drain) stacking up in order to essentially "nerf" the biggest bosses that we have to fight in those iTrials.
Yes, the biggest bosses would still have attacks that cost zero END to cast, but those are mainly the "filler" attacks (punch, kick, smash) rather than the massive heavy hitters that produce league wipes.
Yes, the benefit of this strategy is something that has some ramp up time to it, so it isn't an "instant thing" that can protect you (as a Main Tank) at the start of an engagement ... but using a "sapper strategy" with your Interface procs to suppress the biggest bosses from launching their most powerful attacks while wearing them down COULD be an alternative (backdoor?) route to enhanced survival as a Main Tank wanting to protect a league of teammates from the heaviest attacks that can be thrown at the group.

Also note that 25% chance Tempest set proc for -13 Endurance that can be slotted into Ranged attacks can also come in QUITE handy in this regard when it comes to suppression of casting the heaviest attacks by iTrial bosses when deployed by a sapper oriented ranged attack build that is invested in suppression of Big Bad Stuff™.



Now, what makes this especially interesting, is that in the case of the Extinction War Walkers their big three heavy hitter attacks have a really peculiar recharge cycle behavior to them.

Arrest Mode, Crowd Dispersal and Lethal Force Authorized all have a 9999s recharge time on them.
However, the Targeting power has a 15s recharge time on it.

Basically, when it's time to use Arrest Mode/Crowd Disperal/Lethal Force Authorized ... the Extinction War Walker will just make a to-hit roll and the results of that roll determines what attack gets used.
  • 0 to <33 = Arrest Mode (hold)
  • 33 to <66 = Lethal Force Authorized (4x 30% Max HP energy DoT over 4s)
  • 66 to 100 = Crowd Dispersal (terrorize)
Now the clever bit the Paragon Studios devs did here is that if any of the attack powers are recharged (and therefore ready to be used) they get cast ... but if they're on cooldown, then the Targeting power will instead instantly complete the cooldown of that attack power.

This means that the Extinction War Walkers need to "roll a whiff" before they can reuse a particular attack.
They can't do ... Target > Lethal > Target > Lethal > Target > Lethal > Target > Lethal ... if that's the way the dice roll.

Instead, you can have this behavior ... Target > Lethal > Target > Instant Recharge Lethal > Target > Lethal > Target > Instant Recharge Lethal ... but the key linchpin to that behavior is being able to cast the Target power.
No Target, no recharges (and no attacks into the bargain!).

So with sufficient Endurance Debuffing (not Recovery Debuffing, actual blue bar Endurance Debuffing), I'm thinking it is perfectly possible to "take the big toys away" from major scripted boss events during iTrials ... such as Extinction War Walkers and the Avatar of Hamidon in the Underground Trial ... from Maelstrom in the TPN Campus Trial ... the Sentinel in the Dilemma Diabolique Trial ... Antimatter in the Keyes Trial ... and possibly even more (BAF and Lambda anyone?). I'm thinking it might be a good idea to test this notion out on Live and see how it plays this week, because IF IT WORKS this could be a solution to a LOT of Main Tanking threats we need to deal with on a regular basis in iTrials.



Just something to think about. ^_~


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Redlynne

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Re: Main Tanking vs Lethal Force Authorized
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2023, 12:34:03 am »
Well, tested out the Preemptive Core Flawless Interface during tonight's iTrials on Redlynne (a Tanker).

I could see Endurance being subtracted as the procs landed on mobs, but there just wasn't enough throughput (from me solo) to overwhelm blue bars on mobs. However, we did have an Electric Sapper and a Kineticist in our small league (of 12) and their combined debuffing was able to "floor" blue bars on Big Bads pretty effectively, which in turn limited the quantity of "Major Attack Havok" we needed to deal with. It was pretty subtle, overall ... but draining blue meant we needed to heal less green on our side of the ledger, which was interesting to see.

We took on Lambda (and went No Grenades At All against Marauder).
Then we killed MoM.
And last, we took our fight into the "belly of the beast" to stop Mot in DD.

In all three iTrials, (actual, honest) sapper builds for draining away Endurance seemed to me to make things easier for everyone else (fewer Nova Fists getting thrown, Sentinel couldn't hit us with as many Heal/Regen debuff DoT attacks, etc.).

However, the effect of my own Preemptive Core Flawless Interface was pretty negligible when I wasn't near our sapper(s). Even with a 75% chance to proc, in a solo context I just couldn't usefully drain enough Endurance (reliably/fast enough) to overcome native Recovery. So for a Main Tank (melee), this doesn't seem to be the throughput solution I was hoping it might be.



So ... next up ... T4 Paralytic Radial Flawless Interface with a 75% chance of a 5% Damage Debuff (8s duration), which presumably COULD be stacked fast enough to mitigate a Lethal Force Authorized in order to make it "insufficiently deadly" to my SR/MA Tanker build, enabling a more reliable path to surviving this particular threat.


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Draggynn

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Re: Main Tanking vs Lethal Force Authorized
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2023, 12:29:29 pm »
I'm curious to see what you find, but I suspect Energy resistance is really going to turn out to be the only path.  Fortunately, with the new enhancement sets on Rebirth, even starting from 0, you can get pretty decent resistance on almost any build.

Gauntleted Fist will give you your first 6% energy rez bonus, so you likely only need four more.  I like splitting up Vampire's Bite into 3 sets of 2 pieces to snatch another 3, 6% bonuses.  If you have anything that can slot witchraft you can get another 6% bonuses.  If you have over 5, you can always leave the Halloween enhancements unenhanced for the 4.5% bonus. (Fear and Resurrect can get the bonus with fewer slots, but those a bit more niche).

Then for the rest of the 4.5% bonuses, I like slotting shield walls in powers that can be slotted for defense since you only need four of them: https://wiki.cityofheroesrebirth.com/wiki/Category:Sets_that_improve_Energy_Resistance

If you can do the 5, 6% bonuses and 5, 4.5% bonuses, you can hit 52.5 energy resistance and then add in Shield Wall and Reactive Defenses Globals and you're at 60%.  So even if you can't hit the full 5 bonuses, you can stack substantial energy resistance.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2023, 03:47:59 pm by Draggynn »
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Redlynne

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Re: Main Tanking vs Lethal Force Authorized
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2023, 02:58:16 pm »
I'm curious to wee what you find, but I suspect Energy resistance is really going to turn out to be the only bath.

Maybe, but I'm not so sure.

Right now I'm entertaining a respec rebuild during RI4 (without waiting for RI5 to go Live) that would drop the Sorcery and Medicine pools (both!) entirely from my current SR/MA build, giving me 6 power slots and 9 slots to reorganize.
What I'm investigating is whether it is possible to leverage Energy Mastery (for Conserve Power and Physical Perfection @ 41, 44), put Elude in @ 32 (for a massive +Absorb buff when wanted), and still have 3 powers left to play with. Dropping Aid Self means that the Preventative Medicine set shifts over into Practiced Brawler (increasing the +Absorb gained there substantially), thereby yielding enough of a "rebalance" mix to be able to survive direct hits from Lethal Force Authorized with better margins, even if Energy Resistance can't be improved all that much.

It kind of depends on how all the parts and pieces fall into place after throwing them up in the air like that.

One side effect of ditching the Sorcery Pool like that would be that instead of putting the +3% Defense procs (and +Max HP proc) from Resistance sets into Rune of Protection (which I barely ever use, except during UG Trials) ... I could instead use Hover, Stealth and Victory Rush. Hover and Stealth would increase Endurance costs ... but Physical Perfection would offset that additional endurance budget drain, and a combination of Elude, Conserve Power and Victory Rush would effectively offer something along the lines of more than 100% combined uptime on endurance buffing. Agility Alpha slotting adds +20% global Defense buffing ... which on +2.5% Defense (base, when attacked) powers like Hover and Stealth, that turns into 2.5*1.2=+3 Defense ... exactly matching the "value" of the Resistance set procs being lost, even without any additional slotting (effectively trading slots for endurance toggle power picks).

Side effect of making this shift would be that Max HP would come down(!) ... but +Absorb would go up(!) ... a combination that offers greater margin buffer against Lethal Force Authorized, even if Energy Resistance stays the same (which it probably won't in a rebuild).



So I definitely agree with you.
Needs more research! ^_~


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Draggynn

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Re: Main Tanking vs Lethal Force Authorized
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2023, 03:51:41 pm »
If you're going to the +absorb route and you're no longer tied to Sorcery, have you considered gadgetry for Force Barrier.  That would give you another source of massive absorb.
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Redlynne

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Re: Main Tanking vs Lethal Force Authorized
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2023, 04:41:43 pm »
If you're going to the +absorb route and you're no longer tied to Sorcery, have you considered gadgetry for Force Barrier.  That would give you another source of massive absorb.

I'm considering multiple things ... nothing is nailed down yet.
But yes, I have given thought to switching from Sorcery to Gadgetry. Whether or not such an option "makes sense" depends on how the rest of build and how everything fits together holistically.


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ElBee

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Re: Main Tanking vs Lethal Force Authorized
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2023, 06:02:25 pm »
I have been able to survive Lethal Force on Zinnias, who is invuln. Not by resistances but by Force Barrier, Rebirth Radial, and Dull Pain. To overcome lethal force by way of healing with Greens or buffs I've had to react the instant I see concerning damage numbers. Elude in SR might help you out as it has a big absorb buff and doesn't offer a crash anymore.
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Redlynne

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Re: Main Tanking vs Lethal Force Authorized
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2023, 04:31:34 pm »
City of Data v2.0 (for Homecoming): Lethal Force Authorized (link)
Quote
  • PvP or PvE 100% chance
    • 30% max health Energy damage (all affected targets) every 1.0s for 4.1s (100% chance)
    • if !target.VillainName>RoguesGallery_Desdemona_Underground && (target>enttype eq 'player')




Hmmm ... there are two ways to interpret this information, with important implications for how it all works under the hood.
  • 30% of (current) Max HP of $Targets, subject to con level modifiers (x1.33 for being +3 to the PC) ... which means that characters with lower Max HP take less damage than higher Max HP characters with otherwise identical specs (think Dull Pain in an On vs Off state).
  • 30% of Max HP for your character's Archetype and ignoring the con modifier (so no x1.33 damage for being +3) ... regardless of what your character's current Max HP is when the attack hits (so you take the same damage regardless of whether Dull Pain is On or Off).
I'm starting to think that the way that Lethal Force Authorized might be structured to work on the game mechanical back end as option 2, rather than as option 1.

Option 1 allows for some "peculiar edge cases" in which it is more advantageous to LIMIT the +Max HP gain in a build so as to take less damage from Lethal Force Authorized in absolute terms, thereby handing an "escape" mechanism to low HP builds.

Option 2, however, becomes more of a "pure survival check" where no matter what, having more HP is ALWAYS beneficial (as one would expect).

Option 1 allows use of +Absorb stacking on low Max HP values to be much more effective (less incoming damage means that identical +Absorb values are proportionally more effective mitigation).

Option 2, by contrast, yields a "no free lunch" scenario where no matter what you need to be able to withstand incoming damage on the order of 120% of your Archetype's hard cap for Max HP (which for a Tanker is 3534x1.2=4240.8 before Energy Resistance). Basic idea here being that the closer your character is to the Max HP cap for your Archetype, the less Energy Resistance you'll need in order to be able to survive taking a hit from Lethal Force Authorized (low current HP will need more resistance and/or absorb to prevent a faceplant).

I'm starting to think that Option 2 is probably how this is implemented, but I can't be sure. I'd need to tease some info out of the Combat Tab log of damage taken in order to be sure (one way or the other), and fights with the Extinction War Walkers are "decidedly noisy" combat events (with attacks and damage scrolling rapidly!). Still, might see if I can try to pull that data out the next time I participate in an Underground Trial.

Part of my anecdotal evidence line of thinking is that my RI4 build for Redlynne ought to have been able to withstand taking Lethal Force Authorized hits without needing to use inspirations for added energy resistance ... but I still got faceplanted a few times (which was both annoying and embarrassing, as a Main Tank). Consequently, I'm exploring options for how to "close this gap" with my RI5 (re)build for Redlynne as a SR/MA Tanker, which is proving to be quite the challenging edge case. I think I've got it, but testing will be required to prove the concept.



One of the side effects of undertaking this rebuild effort is trying to work out ways in which the Avatar of Hamidon's Cripple attack can be effectively mitigated/countered (aside from League support from Kinetics and Nature). I'm honestly thinking that Victory Rush (of all things) cast on a defeated Elite Boss (of which there are PLENTY in the Underground Trial!) ought to boost Recovery enough to at least break even while under Cripple (-10 END per second for 15 seconds AND -100% Recovery for 15 seconds). Additionally, the Recovery boost from Elude will ALSO work, creating an opportunity for either alternating (on long drawn out facetanking slugfests) or doubling up (if needed).


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Redlynne

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Re: Main Tanking vs Lethal Force Authorized
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2023, 01:42:03 am »
  • 30% of (current) Max HP of $Targets, subject to con level modifiers (x1.33 for being +3 to the PC) ... which means that characters with lower Max HP take less damage than higher Max HP characters with otherwise identical specs (think Dull Pain in an On vs Off state).

Looks like this might be the answer (or at least, closer to the answer).

According to Kewpie Gusto who was main tanking Underground Trial tonight, they had 2748 Max HP, 90% Energy Resistance (so 10% of the damage "leaks through" to be taken) and were taking 117-127 damage per tick from Lethal Force Authorized doing 30% of Max HP in Energy damage per tick.

2748 * 0.3 * 0.1 * 1.44 = 118.7
2748 * 0.3 * 0.1 * 1.55 = 127.8

1.44 is the damage multiplier for +4 con differential (in the mob's favor).
1.55 is the damage multiplier for +5 con differential (in the mob's favor).

The best fit that I have then from this anecdotal reporting is that Lethal Force Authorized needs to be assumed as using a damage formula that amounts to this:

PC's Max HP (not their cap) * 30% * (100-Energy Resistance%)/100 * Con Level multiplier of 1.55 = Damage per DoT tick (4 ticks over 4 seconds)



This then provides me with a rough estimation of a "minimum damage" floor that needs to be survived (in theorycrafting). It also means that in some very important respects, +Absorb is superior to +Max HP for defending against Lethal Force Authorized. That would be because as Max HP goes up, so too does the amount of damage delivered by Lethal Force Authorized (because the attack deals 120% of Max HP before factoring in Energy Resist and Con Level differential multipliers).

This broadly matches the results I was seeing during tonight's Underground Trial.
It also tells me that my RI5 build for Redlynne falls 776 points short of (undamaged) Max HP plus Practiced Brawler Absorb. Powers such as Elude and Force Barrier can certainly fill in that potential deficit in ability to "soak" incoming damage from Lethal Force Authorized.


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