This information is the culmination of an enormous amount of pretty damn well controlled experimentation. For example, the latest set of experiments contains *half a million* swings from the same Yasnaki attackers, against the same target in the same hex. In control experiments, the attackers are changed with all else held constant, to control for their influence. There is more analysis to be done to fill in additional information, and a few things left to vary and control for to confirm the relative values of AC, dex adds, and skill (in case they vary in some unhandled scenarios).
Part 0: Blocking Basics
- There are 5 ways your character can avoid a physical attack:
1. Miss: All attacks can miss you, based on your Dex and Dex adds. 2. Shield: In left hand, can block all non-bow attacks, based on the shield's Armor Class (AC). (Shields are useless in the right hand.) 3. Shield Spell: Can block all attacks, based on how much of it you have on (cast on you, and from rings and bracers). 4. Armor: Can block all attacks, based on its Armor Class (AC) if it's not a bow attack, or based on its Arrow Deflection instead if it is a bow attack. 5. Weapon: Can block all non-bow attacks, based on skill, type of weapon, 1h vs 2h, and blocking bonus of weapon (sometimes called AC as well).
Part 1: Weapon Blocking Setup
- There are 3 golden rules to blocking:
1. You can only ever block with one weapon, period. If you are holding two weapons, only the one in your left hand can block. The one in your right will not help you block in ANY way. 2. Shields held in the left hand will block, and will still allow you to block with the weapon in your right hand at FULL EFFECTIVENESS for 1h blockers and HALF effectiveness for 2h blockers. Basically, with a 1hander, you add your shield AC to your weapon's AC. 3. Unlike 1-hand blockers, 2-hand blockers will not block AT ALL when put in the left hand. They must be held in the right hand. On top of that, if you aren't using both hands (if stick any non-weapon item in your left hand), your blocking will be dramatically reduced. If the item you put in your left hand is a *weapon*, then it becomes your blocker instead (Rule 1.)
- Two-Handed blockers include:
1. Hands 2. Halberds 3. Two-Handed skill weapons (bbs, sga, greatswords, etc.)
- Here are some examples:
L = Left R = Right L: staff. R: raxe. Blocking w/ Staff (1h). L: raxe. R: staff. Blocking w/ RAxe (1h). L: none. R: Staff. Blocking w/ Staff (1h). L: balm. R: Staff. Blocking w/ Staff (1h). L: figurine. R: raxe. Blocking w/ Raxe (1h). L: bbs. R: any. NOT BLOCKING w/ any weapon or hand. L: none. R: bbs. Blocking w/ BBS (2h). L: balm. R: bbs. Blocking POORLY w/ BBS (2h). L: corpse. R: halberd. Blocking POORLY w/ Halberd (2h).
Part 2: Blocking Effectiveness
- Here are the factors that determine a PC's probability of being hit by an NPC:
A- NPC's ATTACK score + weapon adds B- Dexterity Combat Adds C- Armor Class (armor slot only) D- Blocking Weapon (hand or not hand, 1h or 2h, weapon AC, weapon skill) E- Shield Spells F- Hindrance (only if blocking with hands)
A: Opponent Skill & Weapon
1. NPCs have a single combined ATTACK value for each of their up to 3 attacks. It combines their combat adds and attack skill (which is the same no matter what weapon they use). The combat adds of any weapon they're holding in right hand are added to that. Example: A Yasnaki Thaumaturge has 22 combined weapon skill for his single physical attack, and uses a +0 mace, giving a total attack bonus of 22 for that attack.
B: Dexterity Adds:
Your dexterity should always be 18. On top of that, your dexterity combat adds further increase the chance that an attacker will miss you. (Adds are based on class and level, as long as you started the game with at least 15 str and dex. (If you do not have max adds, you should almost certainly ancestor. See the Combat Adds chart on Marine's LOK Page - left column under LOK Resources.) Losing 1 dex add is like losing 1 AC on your blocking weapon, or 4 skill levels of blocking (1.3 for hand skill).
C: Armor Class:
Armors provide 0-6 AC. Identify or appraise them.For example, Dragon Armor provides 3 AC. Ice Dragon and Cloud Dragon armor provide 5 AC. More info later. The starter MA armor's protection varies based on the type of attack (bashing none, slashing/piercing 1 AC).
D: Blocking Weapon:
Other than hand skill, all weapon skills are equally good at blocking, starting at the same point and generally providing the same benefits at every skill bonus.
Hand skill provides 3x the benefits at every skill level. Therefore, other than for hand skill, type of weapon doesn't make a difference.
AC on a weapon (or gaunts, only if using hands to block) increases your chance of blocking with that weapon. 1 point of AC is worth about as much damage reduction (in the form of weapon blocks) as 1 point of Dex combat adds, or 4 skill levels of non-hand skill (1.3 skill levels of hand skill).
Blocking gains per skill level are equal on all weapons and at all skill levels (except hand skill, which provides triple benefit per skill level as long as you are at 0 hindrance).
There is no blocking cap at skill 12 or anything like that. Going from 12 to 13 is just as helpful as going from 18 to 19 or 5 to 6. (There *may* be small, strange dips at specific skill levels when at a specific value of combat adds. I am still investigating this; for now, ignore.)
Certain 2handed blockers will not block at all in left hand (require right hand), and will block poorly if you put an item (ANY item) in your left hand.
This includes halberds, hand blocking, and all weapons that skill "twohanded" skill (BBS, SGA, etc.).
There may be others in this category that I haven't tested yet. With both hands full, 2h blockers block 1/2 as well.
E: Shield Spell
For every point of shielding up to the shielding cap (which is 9, btw), you get a bit of shield spell blocking. At the shielding cap of 9, this adds up to about as much blocking, VERY ROUGHLY, as 10 skill levels in a non-hand weapon (a bit over 5 in hand blocking). You can cap with 3 +3 rings, or 1 immortal +9 ring, or the +6 bracer and 1 +3 ring.
IF you are blocking with your hands, the hindrance values of your armor and robe (but not boots) are very important. Hands give triple blocking per skill level at 0 hindrance, double blocking per skill level at 1 hindrance (e.g. normal robe), the same blocking per skill level as other weapons at 2 hindrance (e.g. normal armor), and NO blocking gains at all per skill level at 3 hindrance (normal armor and normal robe). At very low hand skill, it might be helpful to wear hindering armor, but wearing it at higher hand skill will cripple you. Hindrance on boots appears only to affect jumpkick hit rate, afaik.
If your opponent's attack skill/adds are much, much higher than yours (e.g. naked level 18 wizard vs Yasnakis), a bit of armor class or skill will not affect that at all, and it will not be until you gain a lot that begin to see any difference.
Armor slot AC appears to reduce the physical damage you take VERY slightly (up to 10% from clouds/icies). This is from older experiments and not as certain as the rest of the info here.