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I am interested in the breakpoint at which the bonus armor from Seize the Initiative will outperform The Guardian's Path 15% dodge bonus, at maximum level. This is so I can choose the best defensive passive for reducing incoming damage in situations where I can only pick one of them.

I am aware that dodge is more random than armor, and can lead to damage spikes or lulls, but I'm really just concerned with the average expected damage reduction.

At what amount of Dexterity/Armor does Seize the Initiative offer more damage reduction than The Guardian's Path?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

It's complicated for a number of reasons, but here's some things I learned from fiddling in Excel.

  • For starters, Dodge will mitigate 100% of any hits you dodge, but you'll only Dodge D% of the time.

  • Armor will mitigate A% of every hit, but that value is dependent on the level of the enemies attacking you (see this question).

So the basic question is "what has to be true for D to be greater than A?"

At level 60, my calculations show that 520 Armor will give you just over 15% damage reduction from armor. So you only need 520 Dexterity for Sieze the Initiative to start being better.

However, this is only true if you have 0 base Armor and 0 base Dodge, which is probably not true! If you have 100 Armor you only need 420 Dexterity - unless you have 5% base Dodge, in which case you'll need 700 Dexterity on top of your 100 Armor...

You can use this table to estimate how much mitigation you'll get from armor when fighting level 60 monsters:

Armor       Mitigation
500         14%
600         17%
700         19%
800         21%
900         23%
1000        25%
1100        27%
1200        29%
1300        30%
1400        32%
1500        33%
1600        35%
1700        36%
1800        38%
1900        39%
2000        40%

If you look up your base Armor + Dexterity here and compare to your base Dodge + 15% you should be able to tell which is better in a given situation.

Overall it SEEMS like it's pretty easy to stack Dexterity and have Sieze The Initiative outperform The Guardian's Path, but I tend to stack Dex anyway and definitely have not attempted to stack Dodge, so I'm not sure which is more viable in the long run.

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Keep in mind that increasing dodge by %15 isn't as good as it sounds. With %40 dodge from dex, say, an extra %15 will land you at %51 dodge, not %55 dodge as you might expect. It just multiplies your non-dodge percent by 0.85 (0.6 * 0.85) –  fcrick May 24 '12 at 21:38
note that dodge provides some different benefits that armor does not, namely avoiding explosions (like killing a molten rare or those green exploding dudes in act 3) and annoying affixes like nightmare and frozen. –  z - Aug 27 '12 at 20:08
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TLDR: Check the Graph. X is your current armor, Y is the amount of dex needed to add 15% to your mitigation. (IF someone has a better online graph, by all means edit away)

Assuming you are fighting level 60 mobs, and smoothing out 15% dodge to be a 15% damage reduction, some basic algebra will tell us the break even point.

Begin with A1 = your actual armor (A*K/(1+A*K)), and A2 being your armor after Seize the Initiative (A+D)*K / (1 + (A+D)*K. K, if you are fighting level 60 mobs is .000333 (1/300) Solve for A2 = 1.15*A1.

This gives us D = -A*(.15*A*K+.15) / (.15*A*K-1)

You can plug in any current armor value A into the above equation to get the amount of dex needed to increase your mitigation 15%. If you have more dex than D, use Sieze, if you have less, use Guardian's Path.

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I don't think you can compare them on basis of damage reduction because they serve two separate purposes.... one gives you armor while the other gives you dodge chance. Armor reduces damage, while dodge chance gives you a chance to avoid damage completely and relies on luck.

If you're tanking and expect to be taking hits hits, use Seize the Initiative to reduce the damage taken.

If you're dps and don't take hits very well, use The Guardians Path to avoid getting hit in the first place.

Monks have a variety of ways to heal (Mantras, Transcendence, life on hit/kill/damage, etc), so I think you either want to take a fairly consistent amount of damage so you know when to heal, or you want to focus on avoiding it entirely (in which case, 15% isn't going to do that for you)

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I know they are different, but both dodge and armor can be reduced to a single number in expected damage reduction over the long term. For a single mob they could vary wildly, but with a slew of little guys attacking you for a long time, the amount of incoming damage should be about the same with 15% dodge and 15% damage reduction from armor –  dpatchery May 24 '12 at 20:14
@dpatchery The difference is that you can have a string of bad luck with dodge, which will leave you dead, while a string of bad luck with damage reduction doesn't really exist :) Which one you pick should be based on your overall build and playstyle, not based on the amount of damage reduction they could potentially offer. I'm not actually sure your question can be answered without knowing how much damage you are being hit for, which varies widely depending on what you are fighting and your gear –  Rachel May 24 '12 at 20:17
The opposite could be said as well. A string of hits that would normally kill you due to insufficient damage reduction may not kill you if you get lucky with dodging. –  bwarner May 24 '12 at 20:58
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