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ghost_warlock
2008-07-22, 05:33 AM
I was looking through my Monster Manual tonight and it seemed to me that many of the low-level creatures had a disproportionately low Will defense compared to the other defenses. Being suitably bored, I decided to run some numbers. :smalltongue:

Given time constraints, etc., I only calculated odds for levels 1, 2, and 3 creatures (including minions, etc.); creatures likely to be encountered by brand-spanking new characters. All figures assume a 16 in relevant PC statistic and a +2 Proficiency bonus from weapon for vs. AC attacks. PC level was calculated as equal to monster level (so 2nd-level and higher PCs gain the +1 bonus to attacks from the +1/2 level mechanic).

Against level 1 monsters, PCs attacking AC had an average of a 54.33% chance of hitting a given monster. Percentages were 57% vs. Fort, 52% vs. Ref, and 62% vs. Will.

Against level 2 monsters, PCs attacking AC had an average of a 55.56% chance of hitting a given monster. Percentages were 58.06% vs. Fort, 56.39% vs. Ref, and 62.22% vs. Will.

Against level 3 monsters, PCs attacking AC had an average of a 50.22% chance of hitting a given monster. Percentages were 51.09% vs. Fort, 52.39% vs. Ref, and 55.87% vs. Will.

All-in-all, it looks like my hunch was right-on. This trend may not hold true against higher-level monsters, though. Maybe some other mathaholic can run the numbers for level 4+ creatures... :smalltongue:

Characters attacking AC can generally improve their odds by 10% by upping their relevant stat to 18 and picking a +3 proficiency weapon rather than the more-common +2 weapons. Characters attacking other defenses can generally improve their chances of hitting by only 5% by upping their relevant stat to 18.

Because of the associated point-buy costs, I didn't take into account characters willing to sacrifice the large number of points it'd take to score an ability score of 20 in the 4e system.

Viruzzo
2008-07-22, 05:46 AM
Lower level monsters mostly deal phisical damage (either ranged or melee) and as such usually have decent STR/CON and DEX and poor values for the other stats. As long as the monster has decent DEX his Reflex defense is going to be on par with AC and Fort, but since Will defense comes from either WIS or CHA and both tend to be low for them, is generally lower at the first levels.

Dhavaer
2008-07-22, 05:54 AM
The numbers have been run for monster defences, Will is something like 3.5 below AC, Reflex is 3 and Fortitude is 2. That's not exact, but it's something like that. The full math is somewhere on the Wizards boards.

quotemyname
2008-07-22, 06:04 AM
I believe the reason wizards did this is simply BECAUSE of the high 'to hit' bonus that characters gain from weapon proficiency. casting characters/non-weapon based characters (the ones that use implements and such) have a harder time getting item bonuses to hit. (Or even if they don't have a hard time getting items they still cost a lot for not much of a bonus.) consequently, wizards ramped up AC to deal with this problem. otherwise no one would play characters like the warlock if the monster's secondary defenses were just as high as AC was...

Kurald Galain
2008-07-22, 06:36 AM
The numbers have been run for monster defences, Will is something like 3.5 below AC, Reflex is 3 and Fortitude is 2. That's not exact, but it's something like that. The full math is somewhere on the Wizards boards.

It strikes me that the distinction between the four defenses is, at least for monsters, not all that relevant, and could be superseded by resistances and vulnerabilities.

ghost_warlock
2008-07-22, 08:23 AM
The numbers have been run for monster defences, Will is something like 3.5 below AC, Reflex is 3 and Fortitude is 2. That's not exact, but it's something like that. The full math is somewhere on the Wizards boards.

If this is accurate, then if you want to reduce the number of 'wasted' encounter and daily powers due to misses (ie. wasted rounds in combat), you'll want to focus on powers that attack the Will defense.

It strikes me that the distinction between the four defenses is, at least for monsters, not all that relevant, and could be superseded by resistances and vulnerabilities.

Monster resistances are even more influential when you're relying on the "Miss: Half damage" powers because you can't hit a monster's defense.

Starbuck_II
2008-07-22, 12:53 PM
If this is accurate, then if you want to reduce the number of 'wasted' encounter and daily powers due to misses (ie. wasted rounds in combat), you'll want to focus on powers that attack the Will defense.

Monster resistances are even more influential when you're relying on the "Miss: Half damage" powers because you can't hit a monster's defense.

There are exceptions: Orcus has higher Will than AC.

AKA_Bait
2008-07-22, 01:03 PM
The numbers have been run for monster defences, Will is something like 3.5 below AC, Reflex is 3 and Fortitude is 2. That's not exact, but it's something like that. The full math is somewhere on the Wizards boards.

Can you link where? I remember seeing it before but I can't find the bloody post now.

Larrin
2008-07-22, 02:32 PM
i saw the break down of defenses on EN world actually, but they've been so hideously slow on my machine i can't look for it. The thread title is along the lines of "Compliled statistics of Monster Manuel" or something similar.

ghost_warlock
2008-07-23, 01:33 AM
There are exceptions: Orcus has higher Will than AC.

Of course there's exceptions; there's exceptions in the low-level monsters, too. But generally, when facing an assortment of different monsters, characters who focus on vs. Will attacks can expect to hit more often than characters focusing on attacks vs. the other defenses, all other things being equal (stats, implements, misc.).

Since attacks against any defense are likely to simply deal XdX + X damage and cause the target to become immobilized, dazed, stunned, weakened, etc. for a round, I don't see a particular reason why any one defense should be favored. In 4e, characters can just as easily daze/stun/whatnot with a vs. AC attack as another PC can with a vs. Will attack. That's all I'm saying.

The only reason it'd make mechanical sense for creatures to have a lower Will defense than other defenses, however, is if there were fewer vs. Will attacks. A glance through the PHB reveals a lot of vs. AC attacks (which I'd expect as the book focuses primarily on martial classes), but there doesn't seem to be all that many fewer options for vs. Will attacks than for vs. Fort or vs. Ref attacks. And WotC's first Class Acts article added a slew of more nice vs. Will attacks in the form of illusion powers for wizards (and anyone else who decides to blow some feats to get them).

Think of this thread as a bit of advice for players and/or a cautionary note for DMs, I suppose. Players will always seek to optimize/exploit and the DMs should be aware of the ways for them to do so.

TheOOB
2008-07-23, 01:51 AM
It's no secret really. AC is usually the highest defense, but it's usually opposed by weapon attacks which naturally have a higher attack bonus. Of the three other defenses, fort is typically the highest, and will is typically the lowest. This is partly just a natural occurrence (most monsters tend to be physical oriented, and more tough rather then fast), and this is also a game design choice. A power can be slightly more powerful then others it's level if it targets fortitude, because it won't hit as often overall, and will attacks should be slightly weaker(in practice we rarely see this however).

Gralamin
2008-07-23, 02:00 AM
It's no secret really. AC is usually the highest defense, but it's usually opposed by weapon attacks which naturally have a higher attack bonus. Of the three other defenses, fort is typically the highest, and will is typically the lowest. This is partly just a natural occurrence (most monsters tend to be physical oriented, and more tough rather then fast), and this is also a game design choice. A power can be slightly more powerful then others it's level if it targets fortitude, because it won't hit as often overall, and will attacks should be slightly weaker(in practice we rarely see this however).

Following this thought, any power that attacks a defense other then AC and has the weapon keyword should be relatively weak, as it would have a huge chance to hit. This is not always true however (Eg: Compare Piercing Smite and Radiant Smite, both level 1 Paladin Encounter powers. Radiant Smite deals slightly more damage, Piercing Smite is a Strength/weapon attack vs reflex that deals slightly less damage and marks adjacent enemies.)

ghost_warlock
2008-07-23, 02:05 AM
It's no secret really. AC is usually the highest defense, but it's usually opposed by weapon attacks which naturally have a higher attack bonus. Of the three other defenses, fort is typically the highest, and will is typically the lowest. This is partly just a natural occurrence (most monsters tend to be physical oriented, and more tough rather then fast), and this is also a game design choice. A power can be slightly more powerful then others it's level if it targets fortitude, because it won't hit as often overall, and will attacks should be slightly weaker(in practice we rarely see this however).

Exactly. There shouldn't be any particular reason (other than RP/flavor) to focus on a particular attack over another, but the game appears to reward players who focus on Will attacks over other attacks because their powers will hit more often. Ideally, monsters wouldn't primarily be physically oriented since there's no reason by RAW/RAI they should be when an attack against any defense can result in the same sorts of damage/conditions as any other. The traditional caster-based save or suck/lose abilities have been removed from the game so there's no reason why low-level monsters can't have caster-fluff and be suitably balanced against vs. Will attacks.

Following this thought, any power that attacks a defense other then AC and has the weapon keyword should be relatively weak, as it would have a huge chance to hit. This is not always true however (Eg: Compare Piercing Smite and Radiant Smite, both level 1 Paladin Encounter powers. Radiant Smite deals slightly more damage, Piercing Smite is a Strength/weapon attack vs reflex that deals slightly less damage and marks adjacent enemies.)

Additionally, rogues (who have some of the highest attack bonuses I've seen in the game from level 1 on) have a vs. Reflex at-will that deals comparable damage. Of course, the majority of their damage will often come in the form of +Xd8... :smalltongue:

Gralamin
2008-07-23, 02:27 AM
Additionally, rogues (who have some of the highest attack bonuses I've seen in the game from level 1 on) have a vs. Reflex at-will that deals comparable damage. Of course, the majority of their damage will often come in the form of +Xd8... :smalltongue:

They can only get that once a round with the newest update, the same as any other striker. This means if they make multiple attacks, only one has it.

ghost_warlock
2008-07-23, 04:42 AM
They can only get that once a round with the newest update, the same as any other striker. This means if they make multiple attacks, only one has it.

I never thought they could use SA more than 1/round, even before the update. Most of my playtesting has been done with low-level characters and there's not many ways for them to get multiple attacks in a single round other than multiclassing ranger or using an action point. The extra damage from SA (even 1/round) seemed to be a pretty good show-stopper in my playtesting. My rogues used daggers to attack, though. Maybe if they'd been equipped with other weapons the SA dice wouldn't have seemed like such a big deal, but I was working on maximizing their to-hit bonuses.

Dhavaer
2008-07-23, 05:33 AM
Following this thought, any power that attacks a defense other then AC and has the weapon keyword should be relatively weak, as it would have a huge chance to hit.

The best power to compare with for this would be Corellon's Blade, the Wizard of the Spiral Tower level 20 daily. It's a weapon power that targets will and has an innate +4 bonus to attack rolls, probably making it the single most accurate attack power in the game so far. The question being, is it correspondingly weak to make up for this?

Helgraf
2008-07-23, 11:40 AM
They can only get that once a round with the newest update, the same as any other striker. This means if they make multiple attacks, only one has it.

The text for Sneak Attack (with or without Backstabber) has _always_ limited the extra damage from Sneak Attack to a single attack each round no matter how many attacks are made in a round. It's right there in the PHB.

Yakk
2008-07-23, 02:01 PM
Look at the Rogue's vs Reflex attack: it has nothing else special about it, other than being vs Reflex (and being dex-based).

Ie, targetting Reflex is a "special feature" of a Weapon attack.

On the other hand, targeting an arbitrary defense is a default assumption of a non-Weapon based attack.

Weapons get +2 to +3 bonus over Implements.

This is reflected by the fact that AC is generally that much higher than other Defenses.

In short, this is as designed.

---

For casters, what they often really care about is "what is the lowest defense of the target", and pick their power usage based on that guess.

Roderick_BR
2008-07-23, 02:07 PM
If this is accurate, then if you want to reduce the number of 'wasted' encounter and daily powers due to misses (ie. wasted rounds in combat), you'll want to focus on powers that attack the Will defense.

Monster resistances are even more influential when you're relying on the "Miss: Half damage" powers because you can't hit a monster's defense.
In the same way that in 3.5, the majority of non-inteligent monsters have low Will saves, so your wizards/sorcereres are more likely to attack to hit that, instead of Reflex or Fortitude, to not waste their spells.

Gralamin
2008-07-23, 03:15 PM
The text for Sneak Attack (with or without Backstabber) has _always_ limited the extra damage from Sneak Attack to a single attack each round no matter how many attacks are made in a round. It's right there in the PHB.

Apparently I should stop posting so early in the morning.

2008-07-25, 09:07 PM
This is neither anything new nor anything to complain about.

It makes sense that monsters have lower Will than the other ones, and it's not a HUGE discrepancy, as Will powers tend to not be quite as damaging.

Thinking before choosing your powers, and attempting to choose the right ones for combat does not mean you are no longer RPing properly.

Game balance is cool. Perfect game balance is extremely boring.

Jarlax
2008-07-25, 10:59 PM
stacking your powers to attack a certain defense type because its perceived as statistically easier to hit is a bad move. your PC should strive for "one of everything", at least one power that attacks AC, reflex, fortitude and will.

a solid example is the mage, you can make the argument as to which out of cloud of daggers, magic missile or scorching burst is best. but your second at-will should be thunderwave or ray of frost. not because of their damage or effects but because they strike at fortitude instead of reflex.

also "Vs will" attacks commonly hold the "implement" descriptor its rare (although no impossible) to find a melee class using their weapon to attack will. however for the time being the majority of will attacks are caster powers, so while will defense is often 2-3 points lower than the creatures defense score average casters are also lacking the +2-+3 proficiency bonus that comes with a weapon. this includes paladins who cast using their holy symbol for their "vs will" attacks instead of a weapon.