I was getting sick of being oblivious to the formulas that make the wheels turn, so I decided to take on theorycrafting today.
In order to do that, I removed all my gear and runes, and swapped all my team with my collection of 3-star, level 30/30, tier 1, Awakened (S) heroes. Then I took all my heroes to the final boss of Desert, Draghultan. I chose an AoE boss, because everyone hits it, and then it hits everyone at once; making calculations all that easier.
Here are my findings.
I started with a team of 2 Warriors, 2 Hunters, and a Mage. I will vary this in the future.
Today's heroes and their values are:
And here are 12 consecutive battles' first AoE hits against my team, with Barister leading (Crit bonus, not affecting damage dealt to my team):
Here are the screenshot values in a table. The lowest and highest damage dealt to each hero are emphasized:
Average + DEF
That's some variation! The variations are probably the result of two things: Randomization, and chance abilities. The abilities to consider are: Rage/Pacify (assuming Pacify pacifies Rage), Crit, Block, and Hit/Dodge (assuming Hit modifies how much a target can Dodge). If enemy's Crit/Rage and team's Pacify/Block can double-double stack with several permutations, that would easily create wild fluctuations like the ones above.
When we look at the average damage dealt to the team, going by DEF values alone, we would expect Barister and Reinston to be equal and lowest of the bunch, Manston and Alexi close with Manston receiving less damage, and Gerinald to be between the two Hunters. The picture isn't too wildly off, especially when we factor dodges into averages (counting them as 0 damage), instead of taking them out of the average altogether.
However, when Manston can't dodge (which she does suspiciously often) she can't defend well, and takes the most damage. This is suspicious. Is it a coincidence that the Hunter with the higher DEF dodges all the time? Is Dodge a separate, unseen skill with a specific point value per hero, is it a skill point of the main hero (us, the player) that applies to each Hunter, or is it a value calculated directly from DEF? This pool of 12 shows that it is not a player skill. Whether it is a separate skill or a derivative of DEF is up for grabs. [UPDATE: It is a separate skill.]
If DEF is directly subtracted from the damage dealt (which is a big assumption), the Average+DEF cells must be equal for each hero, with slight variation caused by class skills like Block, Pacifist, and Dodge. Again, we get a picture that is not too far off. The two Warriors with Block and Pacifist are almost equal. The Mage and the Hunter who didn't dodge are almost equal. Manston with her incredible dodging skills complicates the picture, we need to compare her to another Hunter with comparable Dodge skills.
Next up: Does CRIT really determine the ferocity of the Special Attack? Do Special Attacks that do not bring up a CRIT symbol on heroes depend on CRIT? Does ATT only scale the normal hit, or does it factor into the Special Attack too?
Coming soon... In the interim, chew on these thoughts on hidden skills.
The game throws dice!: The window for randomness is considerable. Check out how the Draghultan damages the same team in 12 consecutive battles (Day 1).
AoE damage to every target is rolled individually: Two warriors with same DEF values can have seriously differing damage done to them. This suggest one blocked or one had a crit on, while the other didn't (Day 1).
All heroes might not be created equally: Notice how Manston dodges 4 while Alexi dodges none (Day 1). The pool of 12 attacks is too small to make a determination, but heroes might have invisible stats that vary. Or, more interestingly...
Dodge might directly be related to DEF: The Hunter with the higher DEF dodged 4 out of 12 attacks, while the one with the lower DEF didn't dodge at all (Day 1). Coincidence? [UPDATE: Yes, coincidence! Official info from the EU version of Pocket Knights, Hero Dreams, suggests that heroes have skills we can't see yet, but will see soon.]
DEF might be a straight subtraction from damage dealt: I do not see any non-linear variation as DEF increases or decreases. For now, it appears that DEF is just a straight damage dampener that gets subtracted from a total damage dealt.