The stun mechanic works the same for both:
- player stunning enemy
- enemy stunning player
For a really long time when playing a character the player doesn’t need to bother if he gets stunned. It barely happens and when it happens, the impact isn’t very huge.
The other way round, stunning the enemy happens very frequently, making the game easier at the beginning and adding the feel of impact for combat (because for most enemies it’s the only hit indicator since there’s no stagger, except a few exceptions).
This completely shifts around when the character progresses:
- With enemies getting more health, stuns happen less often
- With enemies getting more damage, they stun you very regularly - often causing critical situations and player death
Theres one stat we can use against stuns and one or two uniques that have on stun effects. I know hp and damage mitigation prevent from getting stunned, but this doesn’t scale well for the player. Stuns happen very regularly on already relatively low corruption levels.
Admittedly I never build stun avoidance on purpose. There are already some minor issues for me with gear progression and the different defensive layers.
Let me jus iterate a bit on that:
We build towards certain defenses right from the start, depending on class/mastery. Resistances, armour, block/- effectiveness, dodge, health and ward are available from the start. Later we get endurance/ threshold and crit avoidance. Theres a point where e.g. crit avoidance becomes more important and it maybe necessary to drop some other defenses for getting CA. This happens regularly, because people build their gear using all 4 available affix slots on items. So when there are new affixes available you need to get rid of some other affixes to create the space for those new affixes. This may lead from being res capped to not being res capped anymore in favour for having some CA.
Also higher quality bases change their implicits. It’s not that I get low level gloves with 10% fire resistance and higher quality bases just increase that value. Higher bases all of a sudden change their element. Higher level gloves change to void resistance with a higher stat range. So if I want to have maximised implicit defenses, theres only one choice per item slot. And my implicit defenses need to shift item slots.
I don’t say that this is a bad thing. It makes itemisation more complex and interesting. But it also means that in some edge cases to have long term maxed stats, I need to go with a less optimised loadout when I start that alternation.
What does this have to do with stun avoidance?
Stun avoidance can completely be ignored until a certain difficulty level and then all of a sudden I need to build into it. I have to go through a new alternation progress with my gear. When I already have done this maybe 2 times. At that point also I have very high requirements for my gear so the search for new stuff even gets harder.
And all of this only makes sense if stun avoidance really works as a life saver on higher difficulty. Does it? I don’t know.
The stun mechanic in general is nice. But I dislike how it shifts around. My character should become more powerful when I progress and not become weaker (in terms of stun capabilities) and more vulnerable to stuns.
With infinite scaling systems like corruption and arena there’s no way that enemies stunning the player will ever be something that does not feel frustrating.
So I’m asking myself if that mechanic should stay in the game. Is it adding something useful to gameplay and player progression? From my point of view it is not.
I’m ok with my character having reduced stun chance on higher difficulty. That’s something you can work against until a certain point with stun chance and shock. And we also have skills with guaranteed stun effects (my favoured way of implementing a stun mechanic).
But the current meta of getting stunned by enemies is unbalanced. Already squishy characters like Marksman or Sorcerer will get stunned with almost every hit around arena wave 200. You may barely survive the hit that stuns you but not the hits that follow while you are stunned.
My suggestion would be to give the player the unfair advantage if being stun immune. Always.
A not so drastic way would be to change the stun chance formular to have a soft cap at some point (would be nice for the enemies stun avoidance, too). Don’t let it scale infinite. Or/and add sources of stun avoidance that are easy to get.
I’m really curious what you guys think!