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Ward vs health and resists

It was a big topic in POE back when ES was first introduced and it feels same here. HP builds are far behind ward builds in terms of survivability.

The only more or less OP thing for HP builds is life leech but it’s still looses to just massive amounts of ward certain builds can achieve. Resists also don’t feel important due to that. Why bother when you can just build a 5k+ ward pool.

I personally think Damage mitigation is a hot mess in PoE. It wasn’t ‘found out’ simply because of lack of ‘infinite’ end game levels, where the META builds will be apparent to the run of the mill builds.

ES (Energy shield) is too easy to scale, made worse by last few patches that greatly increase quality of item, which also scale ES to be obsurd. There is also many things that can regen, charge ES, on top of converting life regen & leech to ES. Also a gem (Discipline) that further increase ES, on top of a jewel (watcher eye) that further leech or regen ES if you have discipline applied.

There is NO equalivance to life builds. But but life build is suppose to mitigate with armor, isn’t it? 4 problems.

  1. Armor is hard to scale
  2. Armor works only for hits to you. So ground effects, aliments, Armor are useless
  3. Armor only works for physical damage type. ES act like life, so imigate all damages.
  4. Armor imigation is poor, It is not converted to Damage reduction% as ou would have thought, but rather as a FIX reduction, which means it scale badly against big attacks.

Then there is a evasion builds which is the most dumb of all, if you enjoy being one shot & lost progress. I can go on why its poor, other than the obvious that you eventually get hit, & you will die without huge life/ES pool. It ONLY works for HITs (like armor) & again only for physical damage.

In fact originally Diablo 3 used to give evasion for dex stats, but due to keep getting ‘one shot’, players asked Dex to scale with armor, which they eventually did.
In Diablo 3, armor scale against ALL damages (as a damage reduction%), which while I inially did not like the idea, but its far better for balancing.

If you ask me, I think WARDs and Energy shield should be a converted to (All) Damage reduction % & not add to helath pool, and armor is also (All) damage reduction, so its easier to balance. Life is always key. but you can build armor or ward builds or hybrids.

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IMO making resistances EHP makes it quite easy to solve balance issues. This system is no where close PoE’s system. Ward currently feels better because while it is really easy for some builds to gain and sustain Ward, protections are not in easy reach for many other health builds. In my sentinel I can get 5k EHP atm easily and I didn’t even craft most of my items. And it is better than 5k Ward because when I leech 20 health for example, it is equal to leeching 140 health since my max health is only 700. My leech rate is simply 7 times more. They just need to be sure that all characters can reach similar amounts of EHP. In PoE armor, evasion etc all jokes and only resistance that matter is elemental which ES characters can easily reach values of pure HP characters.

I guess my issue is that i currently hit a brick wall as necromancer and i don’t see any ways to progress with this build. I wanted to create a pure summoner and i did. I have very good crafted gear with very high resists and minions stats, see picture below:

Armor goes up by a lot in fights. , so don’t look at that. + i have around 300 ward + 40hp/sec regen + double blood golem heals. But even with all that i keep getting oneshot in arena by random damage spikes i can’t really understand.
I don’t attack myself so i just run around and spam summons, and i position myself quite well. But at random points after wave 120+ i just instantly die to attacks that should not do such absurd amounts of damage.
Meanwhile various ward builds with 0 resists just facetank waves 200+ with very little issues. It doesn’t feels balanced from my point of view.

Also to add to that, even with minion stats as in picture above my summons start to melt quite fast after wave 150+.

@Solo the problem IMO are:

  1. Your guy has low EHP you got ~1.3-1.5k Effective health.
  2. Necro has poor sustainability compared to other classes. I mean Lich has a ton of life leech and Mages have strong Ward generators etc.
  3. It’s also likely a number of those Wards builds are using Exsanguinous unique which is IMO on the overpowered side of things.

I think protection mechanics is ok. But ward… well, there are definitely several problems.

Lets summarize all we know about ward and do some math …

  • Current ward: ward functions as an additional health pool. And it has no maximum value.
  • W. Decay: ward constantly decays – 20% of Current Ward is lost every second.
  • W. Retention: slows ward decay. W. Decay = 0.2 * Current Ward / (1 + W. Retention)
  • W. Generation: ward can only be obtained via skills or unique item effects, and it’s always added as an exact number defined by the skill / item. Most those skills and effects have some cooldown (teleport) or generate ward constantly (ice ward, fire shield).

As ward decays over time, but its maximum is not limited by any parameter, it is possible to accumulate ward till its decay speed becomes greater than its generation. And THIS is the maximum ward you can reach …

W. Decay = 0.2 * Current ward / (1 + W. Retention)

… or …

W. Generation ~ 0.2 * Maximum ward / (1 + W. Retention)

Maximum ward ~ 5 * W. Generation * (1 + W. Retention)

Also we should keep in mind, that with …

  • W. Retention = 0 - ward loses 80% of its capacity in 8 seconds
  • W. Retention = 100% - in 16 seconds
  • W. Retention = 300% - in 32 seconds
  • etc.

This mechanics has several problems …

  1. W. Generation can’t be increased by any parameters, so there always be a problem with balancing W. Generation for early game and late game.
  2. 16 seconds or 32 seconds or even more time to reach ward maximum - is something beyond any reasonable terms of combat preparations. Of course, I must admit, that real preparation time is significantly less - 50% of ward max is reached over 1/3 of max time, but even than preparation time exceeds 10 seconds already in a middle game (for 300% W. Retention).
  3. W. Retention only reduces W. Decay speed / increases ward’s life time, and with par. 1 it means that players are forced to use their ward generators as soon as they become available. So the later game we take, the more ward will become a start-combat-health-pool than a real-in-combat-defense.
  4. Ward’s usefulness increases via W. Retention of those who are covered with ward. Also Ward and W. Retention are available for INT classes mostly. And this means that ward is class exclusive defense, and it’s significantly less effective to buff non INT characters with ward (if it would be possible).

And, when we know all this, what can we suggest? In my opinion, answer was already shown, when we were analyzing those problems…

  1. Replace W. Retention with W. Generation and make it increasing any gained ward. For example, skill grants 100 ward, but with +200% W. Generation you’ll get 300. This will make W. Generation fitting any game stage and easily managed via various attributes, items, effects etc. Also, ward’s effectiveness becomes dependent on caster’s parameters, not target’s. And this makes ward equally useful buff for any target.
  2. Make W. Decay constant ~ 10-13% ward per second, not more. This will set max preparation time (and effective ward life time) to 10-15 seconds, effective preparation time (50% ward) - to 3-5 seconds (enough for 1-2 skill combos).
  3. Make numbers of W. Generation comparable to health generation and healing effects. But ward decays, and we must take into account that. I think the numbers of health recovered and ward generated should be almost equal in term of 10 seconds. And for that base W. Generation should be twice larger.
  4. Suggestion of par. 3 will greatly reduce max ward we can reach. And to compensate that we should not reduce protection effectiveness by the ward amount. Though it also means that ward should no longer be a part of defense against stun (freeze is unaffected by damage, only by freeze rate and max-hp, so…).

P.S. All this will also allow to create hybrid defenses.


Thank you maths genius for the informative post. Those are some solid ideas.

I’ll just put out there, Ward suffers from the same problem as ES in PoE. Once it’s gone, there’s nothing you can do but die. Life builds get potions to instantly heal up. In Arena, it’s easy to face tank a bunch of brutal stuff with your Exsanguinous build, but once you’re worn down, you simply do not have the opportunity to regen it–it’s a slow process.
Yes, those Ward builds can facetank a bone lance on occasion, but the point of those big attacks is that you should dodge them, not take one to the face. The point of ARPGs is the action afterall :slight_smile:
(Btw, life leech methods are stupidly overpowered. A life-based spellblade is just as immortal as a ward-based sorc)

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I’ll add here that I was getting hammered in my first few timelines doing Monolith. After adding some vitality (mainly for the resists it provides), some elemental protection on every piece I could manage, and finding/crafting a half decent life leech rare I was rolling pretty smooth. Not steamrolling but making solid progress, so resists are definitely important in my experience. Once I had solid resists my I could face tank most encounters with the exception of some really AoE heavy or slam hit type bosses.

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Actually I am trying to play a harvest acolyte with focus on poison damage. I am at LVL 32 and I must admit that I am dying a lot. I create ward with harvest and by killing enemies. Works fine with having many small enemies around me. But it’s a little bit weird. I have a lot of ward after killing a group. But when I reach the next group my ward is already gone and I have to build it up again. For this build the ward nerf with the coming patch is hard.

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