With no implant, a fully equipped Operative in Desert Rat eq has something like 239 armor. An Engineer in Sunwalker eq has about 298 armor. And a Commando in Sandstorm eq has about 400 armor. Everyone wants to know, "What do these armor values mean?"
The problem is that we do not have many answers. We know SL armor is not like PL armor, where damage is reduced in a 1:1 armor:damage ratio. We don't know if there is a ratio for SL, though, or what that ratio is. I tried to find out.
I took my lvl 26 Engineer and level 25 Commando through several areas of this wonderful game and let enemies beat on them with varying levels of armor. I recorded the minimum and maximum damage values and plotted them on a line. The results were quite revealing...
First, let's look at damage from one of the larger bugs in Cycorp Industries - Shipping Bays. I tested this guy at armor levels 2, 50, 100, 203 and 298. I got average damages of 19.5 (17-22), 18.5 ( 16-21), 17.5 (15-20), 16 (14-18) and 14.5 (13-16). For your viewing pleasure:
Looks like a straight line to me. What does it mean? Well, with a straight line, you can take a Slope. A Slope is a ratio! The armor:damage ratio is what we've all been wanting, right? I'll spare you the math: the Slope of this line is about -1/59.2, meaning it takes about 59 armor to reduce the damage this enemy does by 1 point. Let's continue.
Next, I took my Engineer and Commando to Numa Prime - Outer Limits, and let one of those little "burrower" enemies repeatedly bite on me... a lot. I recorded his damage results while having 2, 50, 100, 348 and 700 armor. I found that his average damage was 30.5, 29.5, 28.5, 24 and 17, respectively. I then graphed these numbers:
The Slope of this line is about -1/51.7. That means that every 51.7 points of armor I had reduced his average damage by 1 point. He's a stronger enemy, and armor affected his damage more than the green bug in Cycorp...
But we are not done. Does that same ratio apply to all enemies in Numa Prime? How about big hitters like Vulars and Guardian, who can do 100+ damage in a single hit? I did some more testing with the first burrower guys in Numa Prime - Narrows, which are stronger than the Outer Limits ones. I got damage averages of 37 with 2 armor, and 27.5 with 298 armor. Ouch these guys hit harder... Anyway, the Slope between these two points is just -1/31.15! That means it takes just 31 armor points to reduce the damage done by the heavier hitting burrowers.
Finally, the Vular in Unchated Ruins. This guy is second only to Guardian himself in terms of damage. In fact, his critical hits can do 135+ damage to my poor Engineer. She died several times during this testing, and blew through many stims to bring us this data. In any event, the average damage values I saw were 86.5 damage (57-116) with 2 armor. Ow. His damage was reduced to 70 (47-93) with 298 armor. The Slope between these two points is -1/18! That means it takes just 18 armor points to reduce the damage done by a Numa Prime Vular by one point
So four scenarios, four enemies, each taking 59, 51.7, 31 and 18 armor to reduce damage by one point. What does it mean? It probably means two things. First, the damage reduction achieved by armor is probably linear. But there's something more important. The Slopes also suggest that the easier the enemy, the more armor it takes to reduce his damage; but the stronger the enemy, the less armor it takes to reduce his damage. ie. it takes 50+ armor to decrease a lower level mob's damage by 1, but it only takes 18 armor to lower a stronger enemy's armor by 1. I don't have the patience (or the pots) to let Guardian beat on me to determine his ratio, but maybe it is entirely enemy specific, or level vs. enemy, but we now have some great data here.
What do you think?