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Stats for Survivability

Stats for Survivability

Sometimes the best offense is a good defense, right? Or defence, even, if you're British like our old friend Mr. Tolkien. This article takes an in-depth look at the survivability stats that are useful for all classes.

Mitigation, Avoidance and a Whole Bunch of Morale

Some folks really dislike poking around under the hood of the combat engine, so I'll start with some general recommendations:
  • Lots of Morale is very helpful. Get as much as possible without compromising other stats.
  • Armour is for everyone, not just tanks. It contributes a lot to your Common mitigation, as well as mitigations for specific damage types like Fire and Shadow.
    • Empathy rank 10 adds 450 armour!
  • Block, Parry and Evade are awesome for survivability but can be difficult to increase. Evade is best since it works against the most attacks.
    • Purchase your passives from the class trainer!
    • Most classes benefit from focusing on just one Avoidance, since this makes partial mitigation relics more worthwhile
    • Guardians may prefer Block and Parry to trigger more reactive skills
  • Melee Defence reduces damage you take from melee sources. It's a great stat for most classes, especially while leveling.
    • Ranged Defence can be useful for Hunters
    • Tactical Defence can be ignored except in endgame raids
    • Before level 50 you can get Defences from Virtues and scrolls of Warding Lore made by scholars. After 50, you can also get them from legendary item Titles and Relics.
  • Vitality does double duty as a source of more Morale and better Resistances.
    • Unless you are raiding, or a tank, don't waste Virtues and gear bonuses on resistances - these are better used for other stats. Just clear the bad effects with a potion or skill.
If you are interested in the detailed answers, roll up your sleeves and read on. Caution, math ahead!

Understanding the Big Numbers

Before we dig into the individual defensive stats, let's take a few minutes to understand the ratings numbers that are the basis of so many stats since the changes to the combat system that came in with the Siege of Mirkwood expansion. Beyond that fact the big numbers are much less intuitive than a percentage, they add a couple wrinkles to the stats picture:

Ratings lose "oomph" with levels. Unlike bonuses that start as a percentage, the benefits from a rating number decrease as your opponent's level rises. In other words, you'll need a bigger number when fighting level 65 mobs to get the same % bonus you had fighting level 50 mobs.

Here's an example. Prior to Mirkwood rank 4 of Innocence provided -2% Melee Vulnerability as a straight percentage, regardless of the level of your opponent. With Mirkwood, -Melee Vulnerability was converted to Melee Defence rating, and Innocence rank 4 now provides 400 Melee Defence rating. Against a level 32 enemy, this now works out to be a 3.1% reduction in incoming melee damage. However, that same 400 Melee Defence rating reduces incoming melee damage by only 1.5% vs. level 65 mobs.

15% cap. Many of the bonuses calculated from ratings are capped at 15%, although there are some exceptions. How big your rating needs to be to hit the cap depends on the level of your enemies; a stat can capped for on-level mobs, but not for bosses five levels higher than you. Skills and other modifiers that apply a percentage-based increase (for example, Burglars' Touch and Go) are not affected by the cap.

Dodging Bullets: Block, Parry and Evade

Avoidance is the LOTRO equivalent of dodging bullets... it means not get hit at all. The three avoidances - Block, Parry and Evade (BPE) - are chances to completely avoid physical attacks under specific circumstances. BPE doesn't defend against magical (aka tactical) attacks.
  • Block defends against melee and ranged attacks in front of you (180 degree arc), provided you have a shield equipped. Each point of Might adds 2 points to your Block rating.
  • Parry defends against melee (but not ranged) attacks in front of you (180 degree arc). Each point of Might and Agility adds 1 point to your Parry rating.
  • Evade defends against both melee and ranged attacks from any direction, making Evade the best Avoidance for most classes. Each point of Agility adds 2 points to your Evade rating.
Block, Parry and Evade chances are additive where the circumstances of the attack is covered by more than one of them. For example, a ranged attack against a player wearing a shield coming from the frontal arc can be either Blocked or Evaded, so the chance to avoid that particular attack is Block chance + Evade chance.

Partial avoidance (how's that for an oxymoron?) plays a part in partial mitigation - something tanks often care about. See the Stats for Tanking and Healing articles for a discussion of partial avoidances and mitigations.

Avoiding Bad Effects: Resistances

In LOTRO, enemies can smite you with a variety of long-lasting, disabling effects. Some weaken you, others drain your morale or power, and others render you temporarily unable to fight. Resistances are a group of stats that help you completely avoid these nasty effects, at least some of the time. For auras and damage-over-time effects, the resist check happens for each "tick" - every 1-6 seconds depending on the effect.

There are four damage types for harmful effects: Wound, Disease, Poison and Fear. Fear resistance can prevent cowering from Dread some of the time; Wound resistance also prevents some fire-based effects; Poision resistance also prevents some acid-based effects.

Resistances are calculated from your base stats, and +Resist rating bonuses from virtues, gear, buffs and resist food. Each point of Vitality adds 2 points to your Wound, Disease and Poison resistance. Each point of Will adds 2 points to your Fear resistance.

The bad effects you fail to resist can usually be cleared by a potion, food or by a skill. Burglars and Hunters can clear poison effects, Captains and Minstrels can clear fear effects, and Lore-masters can clear both wounds and diseases.

Take Less Damage: Defences

So what happens when you get hit by the attacks you don't Block, Parry or Evade? Three stats - Melee Defence, Ranged Defence, and Tactical Defence - reduce damage from all attacks from one of these sources by a certain percentage. Melee Defence, for example, reduces the damage taken from all melee attacks. These are rating-based stats so the amount of damage reduction will vary depending on the level of your opponent.

A few percent off of every melee (or ranged, or tactical) attack is pretty awesome. Melee Defence is the most generally useful since the majority of attacks (excluding those in endgame raids) come from melee sources. Hunters and tanks sometimes find Ranged Defence helpful in their grouping roles, and Tactical Defence is helpful for all classes in endgame raid instances like Dar Nabugud and Dol Guldur.

The downside to the Defence stats is that they are relatively difficult to raise. Virtues like Innocence and Zeal provide Melee Defence, but there aren't many ranks available to lower level characters. After level 50 you can get Melee Defence from your legendary item title or relics - but you might have to pass up another valuable stat to get them that way. An easy (although not always cheap) way to raise Defences temporarily is to use a Scroll of Warding Lore, made by scholars.

More Damage Reduction: Mitigations

Mitigations reduce the amount of incoming damage to your character by a straight percentage based on the type of damage - Common, Fire, Frost, Shadow, Lightning or Acid - and the level of your opponent.

Common Mitigation reduces Common type damage. Common damage is aptly named; indeed you'll take a lot of common damage when you fight, especially when soloing.

Your Common Defence rating is calculated as Might + Armour then converted to a percentage like other ratings-based stats. The cap for Common Mitigation is not 15%, however. Instead, it's based on the most defensive armour your character can wear: Light armour, 30%; medium armour, 40%; heavy armour, 50%. Dwarves get a starting racial ability that adds 1% additional Common Mitigation; it's not affected by the cap.

Fire, Frost, Shadow, Lighting, and Acid Defence ratings are all calculated as: Vitality + Armour * 0.2 + bonuses from buffs and gear. As with Common Mitigation, the defence rating is converts to a mitigation percentage vs. a particular level enemy.

Survivability for Tanks

Players in the tanking role in a group or raid are defensive specialists, and need to dig even deeper into the survivability stats than the average player. I discuss more defensive stats for tanks in the Stats for Tanking article.

Related Articles

How Stats Work
Stats for Survivability
Stats for Damage
Stats for Tanking
Stats for Healing