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Do you agree: more agile characters should have better defenses?



I've spent some time studying how various skills and attributes affect combat abilities. One thing that gnaws at me is that more agile characters (those with higher Dexterity and Athletics) don't get bonuses to attack or defense. 


These rules are complex and REALLY different than what I'm used to. Attack stats are divided into two major pieces: likelihood of a hit and damage done. They interact.


Likelihood of hit is determined by subtracting  the enemy defense value relevant to the type of attack (Deflection in the case of melee/ranged) from the attacker's Accuracy. To this result is added a 1-to-100 die roll. If the result is 15 or less, it's a Miss. 16-50 is a Graze (partial damage). 51-100 is a Hit (full damage). If the result is over 100 (Accuracy is greater than defense and a high die roll is achieved), it's a Crit (critical, added damage).


Accuracy is a function of class and level. It also goes up with Perception, but I see no indication of by how much. Many spells briefly increase Accuracy. It appears that much of the time, Accuracy and the corresponding defense are about the same, mid-50s, and so most attacks result in a Graze or Hit.


The four defenses are determined by different attributes. Deflection (physical damage) is a function of Perception and Resolve, but only increases by one point for the amount each of these exceeds 10. (The in-game documentation says Deflection goes up with Intellect, but this doesn't appear to be true.) Fortitude (resisting poison or knockdown) is a function of Might and Constitution. Dexterity and Perception determine Reflex (resisting AoE attacks), and Will is a function of Intellect and Resolve. These effects are fairly small, so MOSTLY these defensive stats are a function of character type and level. 


Damage done is poorly documented but appears to be simply the damage caused by the weapon/spell minus "damage reduction". Strength can substantially increase physical damage from any weapon. Shields increase damage reduction but may reduce Accuracy. Armor also improves damage reduction but slows attack speed. A "Graze" reduces damage done, and a "Crit" can greatly increase it. I would guess that Damage Reduction comes into play only after the decreased damage from Graze or increased damage from a Crit has been determined.


Attack speed isn't discussed much but appears to be a critical issue. Heavy armor can slow it by over 50%. BB Rogue's Dexterity of 17 increases attack speed by 21% (i.e., three times the amount by which Dexterity exceeds 10). This effect seems to be the only way Dexterity helps combat.


Athletics doesn't directly help Attack, Damage, or Defense, but it does increase maximum combat fatigue limit and slows the speed with which combat fatigue accumulates. Fatigue isn't discussed much but appears to accumulate during combat and, if it exceeds the maximum limit (not disclosed anywhere), it decreases Endurance and Health.


Endurance and Health are also confusing. Combat damage or excessive Fatigue decrease both by the same amount, but you have about five times more Health. Substantial loss of Health occurs mainly with successive combats, but it's very hard to improve Health without resting. So unless your Health is already low, Endurance is the only statistic worth watching in a given combat. However, healing spells and potions work well to help Endurance, so theoretically you could maintain Endurance but lose all Health in a single battle.


One final statistic is Interrupt, which is the power to prevent an enemy from its next attack. To do so, the Interrupt must be higher than the enemy's Concentration, although there is probably an additional random number in the mix.


SO, having analyzed how attacks and defense work, what role does agility play? There is no direct agility statistic, but one would think Dexterity and Athletics would be the appropriate statistics. Again, they have relatively little effect. Dexterity improves attack speed by 3% for every point over 10 and increases Reflex (AoE damage) by 2% for every point over 10. MEH!! Athletics just improves Fatigue -- useful but hardly critical.


SO, in real life, being more agile would definitely reduce your likelihood of being hit and possibly the damage done by increasing the chance of a glancing blow. But not in PoE! I think this is a real oversight. Granted, in many other RPGs, a high-Dex dual-wielding thief can be devastatingly effective and almost impossible to hit. In PoE, he is quick and can inflict lots of damage but is at incredible risk of being hit. Yes, he gains invisibility and the ability to escape a dicey group attack, but only once each per combat. Otherwise, trying to run away gets him killed.


Do you agree?

Edited by jimgagne
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