shaktiboi

05-04-2006, 20:09

(Part 1 of 2)

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Introduction

==================================================

Before the introduction of the Assassin class in GW:Prophecies, comparing the base damage per second (DPS) of the available melee and bow weapons was fairly straightforward. With the introduction of daggers and the Assassin class, however, comparing base weapon DPS becomes much less intuitive because of the following factors:

Base weapon DPS depends on the weapon speed, the weapon’s listed damage range, inherent EAL adjustments such as the 10% base AP for horn bows, the percent chance of crits, and the -20 AL GSM for crits.

Daggers, unlike other weapons, do not have one single speed. Instead, the speed varies depending on your ranks in Dagger Master, ranging from 1.33 seconds per attack at 0 ranks to 1.00 seconds per attack at 16 ranks in Dagger Mastery.

If you are an Assassin primary, the percentage chance of a critical hit (a “crit”) for all weapons is no longer dependent solely on your ranks in the corresponding weapon skill. It is now also affected by your ranks in Critical Strikes, and also by the “Critical Eye” skill.

This FAQ contains the following sections:

A concise summary of the relative base DPS of all weapons in the post-Factions game, factoring in the effect of the -20 AL GSM for crits, the 10% base AP value of a horn bow or of 10 ranks in strength for a Warrior primary, and weapon speeds.

An explanation of how dagger speed changes with each rank of Dagger Mastery

An explanation of how the Critical Strikes attribute and the Critical Eye skill affects your energy regen rate.

Basic conclusions we can draw from all this information.

Some personal observations from playing a level 20 Assassin in the Factions Preview Event.

The basic facts, formulas, and derivations that were used in producing this FAQ.

The facts and derivations used in this FAQ are based on the following sources:

SonOfRah’s excellent Damage Article: http://www.gwonline.net/page.php?p=157#TDE

Deford’s post in the GWOnline Community forum that explains some inaccuracies in SonOfRah’s essay: http://forums.gwonline.net/showthread.php?p=4004064#post4004064

Also, I want to give thanks to Arredondo and zampani for their comments and explanations on my original Dagger FAQ. In particular, zampani pointed out the need to factor in the base AP% for Strength and horn bows and the need to factor in the -20 AL GSM for crits for a better understanding of how Assassin primaries get a significantly larger proportional benefit from critical damage on melee weapons, which makes the true DPS of daggers wielded by an Assassin primary actually very close to the DPS of axes or swords wielded by a Warrior, which wasn’t at all obvious from the numbers in my original FAQ.

================================================

The Relative DPS Tables

==================================================

The following tables are focused on the weapon-specific factors in the total Damage Formula, which looks like this (I’m using Deford’s corrected version of SonOfRah’s formula):

Received Damage = (Victim’s Damage Enhancement) x [[(Attacker’s Damage Enhancement) x (Base Damage) x (Armor Modifier)] + (Bonus Damage)]

By weapon-specific factors, I mean the (Base Damage) portion of the formula, coupled with part of the (Armor Modifier) part of the formula. In particular, the (Armor Modifier) contains bits that relate to the -20 AL GSM modifier for critical hits, and also contains bits that relate to the effect of base AP% from Strength and for horn bows.

The following DPS values are based on these assumptions:

12 ranks in the corresponding weapon skill. This is the optimum value, because at 13 ranks and higher, the improvements to the Baseline portion of the (Armor Modifier) are only 2 per rank instead of 5 per rank). You always have to ask whether the huge number of skill points you spend to get 13 – 16 ranks wouldn’t be more worthwhile elsewhere, considering the improvement past rank 12 is so much less.

13 ranks in Critical Strikes (for Assassin primaries). This is the optimum value due both to maximizing crit potential, but also to getting +3 energy back per crit because Assassin is an energy-hungry class.

10 ranks in Strength for the Warrior primary table (the 4th table). For a Warrior primary that doesn’t use any Strength, see the non-Assassin primary table (the 3rd table). Note that for Warriors with 10 Strength, the base AP% for Strength does not stack with the base AP% for a horn bow. Also note that 10 Strength isn’t necessarily an optimum value; it just makes the AP% a nice, even 10% which makes it easy to compare with Horn Bows.

Base Weapon DPS for Assassin primaries, WITH Critical Eye running full-time (35% crit chance)

Hammer Base DPS: 19.8

Axe Base DPS: 18.8

Sword Base DPS: 17.2

Dagger Base DPS: 15.1

Short/Flat Bow Base DPS: 14.0

Horn Bow Base DPS: 11.5

Long/Composite Bow Base DPS: 11.2

Base Weapon DPS for Assassin primaries, WITHOUT Critical Eye (29% crit chance)

Hammer Base DPS: 19.1

Axe Base DPS: 17.8

Sword Base DPS: 16.6

Dagger Base DPS: 14.5

Short/Flat Bow Base DPS: 13.4

Horn Bow Base DPS: 11.0

Long/Composite Bow Base DPS: 10.7

Base Weapon DPS for non-Assassin primaries with NO Strength attribute (16% crit chance)

Hammer Base DPS: 17.4

Axe Base DPS: 15.5

Sword Base DPS: 15.4

Dagger Base DPS: 13.0

Short/Flat Bow Base DPS: 12.2

Horn Bow Base DPS: 10.1

Long/Composite Bow Base DPS: 9.8

Base Weapon DPS for Warrior primaries with 10 ranks in Strength (16% crit chance)

Hammer Base DPS: 19.4

Axe Base DPS: 17.3

Sword Base DPS: 17.5

Dagger Base DPS: 14.2

Short/Flat Bow Base DPS: 13.6

Long/Composite Bow Base DPS: 10.9

Horn Bow Base DPS: 10.1

================================================

Understanding Dagger Mastery and Dagger Speed

==================================================

The Dagger Mastery attribute works like all other weapon mastery attributes in that it affects your Baseline portion of the Armor Modifier:

12 ranks gives you a Baseline of 60. This is optimal.

For each rank below 12, subtract 5 from the Baseline.

For each rank above 12, add 2 to the Baseline.

Dagger Mastery also works like all other weapon masteries in that it partiallyaffects your base chance to score a critical hit, to the tune of 1 + (1.25 x Attribute). Some examples:

16% at 12 ranks (1+[1.25 x 12] = 16)

12% at 9 ranks (1+[1.25 x 9] = 12.25)

21% at 16 ranks (1+[1.25 x 16] = 21)

The other factor to consider with crit chance % is the relative level of you versus your opponent. If you are exactly the same level, the preceding numbers apply, but if you above or below your opponent’s level, the preceding numbers double or halve every 5 levels in difference, as follows:

For every 5 levels you are above your opponent, your crit chance doubles. For example, if you are level 20, with 12 ranks in your weapon mastery, and your opponent is level 15, your base crit chance is 32%. If your opponent is level 10, your base crit chance is 64%, etc.

For every 5 levels you are below your opponent, your crit chance halves. For example, if you are level 15, with 12 ranks in weapon mastery, and your opponent is 20, your crit chance is 8%.

Where Dagger Mastery does not work like the other weapon masteries is that it also affects the overall speed of your Daggers. The base Dagger speed is the same as swords and axes (1.33 seconds per attack). But for each rank of Dagger Mastery, you also get a 2% chance to strike twice in one attack. If you have 12 ranks in Dagger Mastery, you have a 24% chance on any given attack to strike twice. On average, then, every 100 attacks will yield 124 strikes, which equates to a 24% increase in overall weapon speed.

So a simple formula for determining your effective dagger speed is this:

Dagger Speed = 1.33 / [1 + (Attribute x .02)]

Some examples:

9 ranks in Dagger Mastery = 1.13 seconds per attack (1.33 / 1.18)

12 ranks in Dagger Mastery = 1.07 seconds per attack (1.33 / 1.24)

16 ranks in Dagger Mastery = 1.00 seconds per attack (1.33 / 1.32)

Why is knowing the speed of your dagger important? One obvious reason is that it affects your overall DPS, with faster speeds meaning more DPS than slower speeds. A less obvious reason is that it also affects the rate at which you regen energy from your Critical Strikes attribute and from your Critical Eye skill. Which leads us to the next section…

================================================

Understanding the Energy Regen Rate for Assassins

==================================================

Assassins are a very energy-hungry class. Our armor has the same base physical AL as Ranger armor (70 AL), but we get two pieces that provide +1 energy regen, for a total of 4 pips of energy regen, just like casters get. (On the downside, we don’t get the 30AL of elemental armor that Rangers get.)

On top of the 4 pips of energy regen provided by our armor, we also get an energy bonus per crit from the effect of our Critical Strikes attribute and from the use of the Critical Eye skill. Note that only Assassin primaries can reap these bonuses:

Critical Eye gives us +1 energy bonus per crit

13 ranks in Critical Strikes gives us +3 energy bonus per crit

at 7 or 8 or 9 ranks in Critical Strikes (I can’t remember which), you get +2 energy bonus per crit

Below 7 or 8 or 9 ranks in Critical Strikes, you get +1 energy bonus per crit

Critical Eye stacks with Critical Strikes, so at 13 ranks in Critical Strikes and with Critical Eye running, you get a total energy bonus of +4 energy per crit

The formula to figure your additional energy regen rate from crits is this, and again, this formula applies only to Assassin primaries:

Pips = (Crit Chance % x Energy Bonus) / Dagger Speed

Where:

Pips (also called “ticks”) is the average amount of energy regained each second

Crit Chance is the decimal value of your total percentage crit chance

Energy Bonus is the total stacked energy bonus per crit from Critical Strikes and Critical Eye

Some examples:

1.3 Pips for 12 ranks in Dagger Mastery, 13 ranks in Critical Strikes and Critical Eye running full time during battle ([0.35 x 4] / 1.07). The 12 ranks of Dagger Mastery gives you 1.07 dagger speed and a 16% base crit chance. The 13 ranks in Critical Strikes gives you 3 energy bonus and another 13% crit chance. The Critical Eye gives you 1 energy bonus (stackable), plus another 6% crit chance (stackable). Your total crit chance is therefore 35% and your total energy bonus is therefore 4.

0.8 Pips for the same stats as above, only with no Critical Eye running ([0.29 x 3] / 1.07). This drops your crit chance by 6% and your energy bonus by 1.

1.1 Pips for 12 ranks in Axe Mastery, 13 ranks in Critical Strikes and Critical Eye running full time during battle ([0.35 x 4] / 1.33). The 12 ranks of Axe Mastery gives you 1.33 weapon speed and a 16% base crit chance. The 13 ranks in Critical Strikes gives you 3 energy bonus and another 13% crit chance. The Critical Eye gives you 1 energy bonus (stackable), plus another 6% crit chance (stackable). Your total crit chance is therefore 35% and your total energy bonus is therefore 4.

0.4 Pips for 9 ranks in Dagger Mastery, 12 ranks in Critical Strikes, and no Critical Eye running ([0.24 x 2] / 1.13). The 9 ranks of Dagger Mastery gives you 1.13 dagger speed and a 12% base crit chance. The 12 ranks in Critical Strikes gives you 2 energy bonus and another 12% crit chance. Your total crit chance is therefore 24% and your total energy bonus is therefore 2.

As you can see from the examples, the total energy regen rate provided by your critical strikes can vary quite widely depending on your Weapon Mastery (and speed) and Critical Strikes attributes, and depending on whether or not you can fit Critical Eye into your build. Hitting rank 13 in Critical Strikes is an especially important “sweet spot” that significantly affects your regen rate, and Critical Eye also has a dramatic effect. Also, the comparison between Daggers and Axes highlights the effect of daggers’ faster weapon speed on your total energy regen rate.

================================================

Comparing Assassin Spike Damage Versus Other Classes

==================================================

There has been much argument over whether Assassins can equal the damage output of Rangers or Warriors, especially in terms of “spike” damage. I have even argued in the past that dagger spike output is probably considerably less than for other weapons. This might not actually be the case, however.

Spike damage output has two components:

How much damage you can pile on in one combo skill chain

How rapidly the combo chain recharges so that you can apply it again

People look at the big damage bonuses on some Axe and Hammer skills, for example, which are literally twice the amount of most Dagger skills, and they conclude that obviously, Dagger spike damage output is inferior to what you can achieve with Warrior weapons. What is less obvious is that the three different types of dagger attacks can be very rapidly spammed, compared to most non-dagger skills which require rage to regenerate after each attack in the combo chain.

I don’t have the stamina to perform an exhaustive analysis of dagger spike combos versus non-dagger spike combos, but I will point out the simple fact that you can instantly chain-cast a Lead attack and an Off-Hand attack as fast as you can press your hotkeys, and if you add up the damage bonus on most Lead and Off-Hand attacks, the cumulative damage bonus is roughly equal to the big damage bonuses you see on a single axe or hammer attack.

I’ll also point out the fact that a Dual attack strikes twice. That doesn’t mean the damage bonus is applied twice (I think – I didn’t get a chance to test this during FPE), but underneath the listed damage bonus is the damage from two normal attacks, so that’s a type of “hidden” damage bonus in every dual attack.

My hunch, therefore, is that Assassin primaries can devise damage combos that can come very close to dealing the single-instance spike damage equivalent to that of Warrior or Ranger primaries.

My other hunch is that Assassin primaries can NOT equal the sustained spike output of Warriors or Rangers unless the Assassin invests heavily in Critical Strikes and tries to fit Critical Eye into their build, in order to maximize their total energy regen rate to 5 pips or better. The reason I suspect this requirement is necessary for sustained spike output is because all the Assassin skills are very energy-hungry. To repeat your spike combos as often as they recharge requires a lot of energy.

I would love it somebody could post a comprehensive analysis of spike damage, both in one instance and sustained over time, between Assassins and other classes. This is an area that still needs investigation.

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Conclusions

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Some interesting conclusions can be drawn from the information in the preceding sections. Some of these conclusions are simple facts, while others are subjective interpretations of my own. Your interpretations might be different, or you might reach some useful conclusions that I didn’t think of. Please share your interpretations in replies to this thread for everyone’s benefit.

Note: Where I mention “DPS” in the following list, I’m talking only about the base DPS provided by your normal weapon attacks. Total DPS is dependent on the other skills you use in combat.

An A/W or A/Ra build can do more DPS with MOST weapons than any W/x or Ra/x primary, even more than a W/x build with 10 ranks in Strength! The only exception is for swords (for a W/x build with 10 Strength), but even here the DPS is very close.

Dagger DPS for an Assassin primary is almost equal with Axe and Sword DPS for a Warrior primary if that Warrior is not using their Strength attribute (many warriors don’t put points into Strength).

Dagger DPS beats Bow DPS (all types) across the board in every possible primary/secondary combination.

Players considering an A/W build that does *not* use Dagger weapons should ask themselves whether giving up high physical AL (from Warrior armor and Shield) is worth the access to higher weapon DPS, tactical teleport and shutdown skills, and +2 to +3.3 pips of additional energy regen. If the energy regen rate is an important factor, you can get 4 pips of regen “for free” just by dint of having Assassin armor, but to get 5.3 total pips of regen, you’ll need to put a lot of points into Critical Strikes and plan to use Critical Eye in your build. Note that I don’t even consider the loss of Strength a factor in the decision, because the relative damage tables show that the gain in crit chance more than offsets the loss of base AP% from strength. (How many warriors invest more than 10 ranks in Strength, if even that much?)

Players considering an A/Ra build should ask themselves whether giving up 30 elemental AL (from Ranger Armor) and giving up the energy-efficiency of Expertise is worth the access to higher weapon DPS, tactical teleport and shutdown skills, and +1 to +2.3 pips of additional energy regen. Many high-Expertise Ranger primary builds that rely on skills that benefit from Expertise are probably more energy-efficient than anything you could do with an A/Ra build. IMO if you like the combination of Ranger and Assassin, I’d look carefully at Ra/A builds first.

Players who are concerned about spike damage should remember that they need to look at how fast they can pull off and repeat a 2- to 5-part dagger combo, and how often they can repeat it, versus pulling off their favorite non-dagger combo. Remember to add up all the seemingly small damage bonuses on those dagger attacks, and remember that dual attacks always strike twice, which adds a “hidden” damage bonus to the listed damage bonus of a dual attack. IMO the spike output of a dagger-based Assassin primary can at least equal, if not exceed, most Warrior or Ranger primary classes. There’s a reason we’re more squishy than both warriors and rangers.

================================================

Introduction

==================================================

Before the introduction of the Assassin class in GW:Prophecies, comparing the base damage per second (DPS) of the available melee and bow weapons was fairly straightforward. With the introduction of daggers and the Assassin class, however, comparing base weapon DPS becomes much less intuitive because of the following factors:

Base weapon DPS depends on the weapon speed, the weapon’s listed damage range, inherent EAL adjustments such as the 10% base AP for horn bows, the percent chance of crits, and the -20 AL GSM for crits.

Daggers, unlike other weapons, do not have one single speed. Instead, the speed varies depending on your ranks in Dagger Master, ranging from 1.33 seconds per attack at 0 ranks to 1.00 seconds per attack at 16 ranks in Dagger Mastery.

If you are an Assassin primary, the percentage chance of a critical hit (a “crit”) for all weapons is no longer dependent solely on your ranks in the corresponding weapon skill. It is now also affected by your ranks in Critical Strikes, and also by the “Critical Eye” skill.

This FAQ contains the following sections:

A concise summary of the relative base DPS of all weapons in the post-Factions game, factoring in the effect of the -20 AL GSM for crits, the 10% base AP value of a horn bow or of 10 ranks in strength for a Warrior primary, and weapon speeds.

An explanation of how dagger speed changes with each rank of Dagger Mastery

An explanation of how the Critical Strikes attribute and the Critical Eye skill affects your energy regen rate.

Basic conclusions we can draw from all this information.

Some personal observations from playing a level 20 Assassin in the Factions Preview Event.

The basic facts, formulas, and derivations that were used in producing this FAQ.

The facts and derivations used in this FAQ are based on the following sources:

SonOfRah’s excellent Damage Article: http://www.gwonline.net/page.php?p=157#TDE

Deford’s post in the GWOnline Community forum that explains some inaccuracies in SonOfRah’s essay: http://forums.gwonline.net/showthread.php?p=4004064#post4004064

Also, I want to give thanks to Arredondo and zampani for their comments and explanations on my original Dagger FAQ. In particular, zampani pointed out the need to factor in the base AP% for Strength and horn bows and the need to factor in the -20 AL GSM for crits for a better understanding of how Assassin primaries get a significantly larger proportional benefit from critical damage on melee weapons, which makes the true DPS of daggers wielded by an Assassin primary actually very close to the DPS of axes or swords wielded by a Warrior, which wasn’t at all obvious from the numbers in my original FAQ.

================================================

The Relative DPS Tables

==================================================

The following tables are focused on the weapon-specific factors in the total Damage Formula, which looks like this (I’m using Deford’s corrected version of SonOfRah’s formula):

Received Damage = (Victim’s Damage Enhancement) x [[(Attacker’s Damage Enhancement) x (Base Damage) x (Armor Modifier)] + (Bonus Damage)]

By weapon-specific factors, I mean the (Base Damage) portion of the formula, coupled with part of the (Armor Modifier) part of the formula. In particular, the (Armor Modifier) contains bits that relate to the -20 AL GSM modifier for critical hits, and also contains bits that relate to the effect of base AP% from Strength and for horn bows.

The following DPS values are based on these assumptions:

12 ranks in the corresponding weapon skill. This is the optimum value, because at 13 ranks and higher, the improvements to the Baseline portion of the (Armor Modifier) are only 2 per rank instead of 5 per rank). You always have to ask whether the huge number of skill points you spend to get 13 – 16 ranks wouldn’t be more worthwhile elsewhere, considering the improvement past rank 12 is so much less.

13 ranks in Critical Strikes (for Assassin primaries). This is the optimum value due both to maximizing crit potential, but also to getting +3 energy back per crit because Assassin is an energy-hungry class.

10 ranks in Strength for the Warrior primary table (the 4th table). For a Warrior primary that doesn’t use any Strength, see the non-Assassin primary table (the 3rd table). Note that for Warriors with 10 Strength, the base AP% for Strength does not stack with the base AP% for a horn bow. Also note that 10 Strength isn’t necessarily an optimum value; it just makes the AP% a nice, even 10% which makes it easy to compare with Horn Bows.

Base Weapon DPS for Assassin primaries, WITH Critical Eye running full-time (35% crit chance)

Hammer Base DPS: 19.8

Axe Base DPS: 18.8

Sword Base DPS: 17.2

Dagger Base DPS: 15.1

Short/Flat Bow Base DPS: 14.0

Horn Bow Base DPS: 11.5

Long/Composite Bow Base DPS: 11.2

Base Weapon DPS for Assassin primaries, WITHOUT Critical Eye (29% crit chance)

Hammer Base DPS: 19.1

Axe Base DPS: 17.8

Sword Base DPS: 16.6

Dagger Base DPS: 14.5

Short/Flat Bow Base DPS: 13.4

Horn Bow Base DPS: 11.0

Long/Composite Bow Base DPS: 10.7

Base Weapon DPS for non-Assassin primaries with NO Strength attribute (16% crit chance)

Hammer Base DPS: 17.4

Axe Base DPS: 15.5

Sword Base DPS: 15.4

Dagger Base DPS: 13.0

Short/Flat Bow Base DPS: 12.2

Horn Bow Base DPS: 10.1

Long/Composite Bow Base DPS: 9.8

Base Weapon DPS for Warrior primaries with 10 ranks in Strength (16% crit chance)

Hammer Base DPS: 19.4

Axe Base DPS: 17.3

Sword Base DPS: 17.5

Dagger Base DPS: 14.2

Short/Flat Bow Base DPS: 13.6

Long/Composite Bow Base DPS: 10.9

Horn Bow Base DPS: 10.1

================================================

Understanding Dagger Mastery and Dagger Speed

==================================================

The Dagger Mastery attribute works like all other weapon mastery attributes in that it affects your Baseline portion of the Armor Modifier:

12 ranks gives you a Baseline of 60. This is optimal.

For each rank below 12, subtract 5 from the Baseline.

For each rank above 12, add 2 to the Baseline.

Dagger Mastery also works like all other weapon masteries in that it partiallyaffects your base chance to score a critical hit, to the tune of 1 + (1.25 x Attribute). Some examples:

16% at 12 ranks (1+[1.25 x 12] = 16)

12% at 9 ranks (1+[1.25 x 9] = 12.25)

21% at 16 ranks (1+[1.25 x 16] = 21)

The other factor to consider with crit chance % is the relative level of you versus your opponent. If you are exactly the same level, the preceding numbers apply, but if you above or below your opponent’s level, the preceding numbers double or halve every 5 levels in difference, as follows:

For every 5 levels you are above your opponent, your crit chance doubles. For example, if you are level 20, with 12 ranks in your weapon mastery, and your opponent is level 15, your base crit chance is 32%. If your opponent is level 10, your base crit chance is 64%, etc.

For every 5 levels you are below your opponent, your crit chance halves. For example, if you are level 15, with 12 ranks in weapon mastery, and your opponent is 20, your crit chance is 8%.

Where Dagger Mastery does not work like the other weapon masteries is that it also affects the overall speed of your Daggers. The base Dagger speed is the same as swords and axes (1.33 seconds per attack). But for each rank of Dagger Mastery, you also get a 2% chance to strike twice in one attack. If you have 12 ranks in Dagger Mastery, you have a 24% chance on any given attack to strike twice. On average, then, every 100 attacks will yield 124 strikes, which equates to a 24% increase in overall weapon speed.

So a simple formula for determining your effective dagger speed is this:

Dagger Speed = 1.33 / [1 + (Attribute x .02)]

Some examples:

9 ranks in Dagger Mastery = 1.13 seconds per attack (1.33 / 1.18)

12 ranks in Dagger Mastery = 1.07 seconds per attack (1.33 / 1.24)

16 ranks in Dagger Mastery = 1.00 seconds per attack (1.33 / 1.32)

Why is knowing the speed of your dagger important? One obvious reason is that it affects your overall DPS, with faster speeds meaning more DPS than slower speeds. A less obvious reason is that it also affects the rate at which you regen energy from your Critical Strikes attribute and from your Critical Eye skill. Which leads us to the next section…

================================================

Understanding the Energy Regen Rate for Assassins

==================================================

Assassins are a very energy-hungry class. Our armor has the same base physical AL as Ranger armor (70 AL), but we get two pieces that provide +1 energy regen, for a total of 4 pips of energy regen, just like casters get. (On the downside, we don’t get the 30AL of elemental armor that Rangers get.)

On top of the 4 pips of energy regen provided by our armor, we also get an energy bonus per crit from the effect of our Critical Strikes attribute and from the use of the Critical Eye skill. Note that only Assassin primaries can reap these bonuses:

Critical Eye gives us +1 energy bonus per crit

13 ranks in Critical Strikes gives us +3 energy bonus per crit

at 7 or 8 or 9 ranks in Critical Strikes (I can’t remember which), you get +2 energy bonus per crit

Below 7 or 8 or 9 ranks in Critical Strikes, you get +1 energy bonus per crit

Critical Eye stacks with Critical Strikes, so at 13 ranks in Critical Strikes and with Critical Eye running, you get a total energy bonus of +4 energy per crit

The formula to figure your additional energy regen rate from crits is this, and again, this formula applies only to Assassin primaries:

Pips = (Crit Chance % x Energy Bonus) / Dagger Speed

Where:

Pips (also called “ticks”) is the average amount of energy regained each second

Crit Chance is the decimal value of your total percentage crit chance

Energy Bonus is the total stacked energy bonus per crit from Critical Strikes and Critical Eye

Some examples:

1.3 Pips for 12 ranks in Dagger Mastery, 13 ranks in Critical Strikes and Critical Eye running full time during battle ([0.35 x 4] / 1.07). The 12 ranks of Dagger Mastery gives you 1.07 dagger speed and a 16% base crit chance. The 13 ranks in Critical Strikes gives you 3 energy bonus and another 13% crit chance. The Critical Eye gives you 1 energy bonus (stackable), plus another 6% crit chance (stackable). Your total crit chance is therefore 35% and your total energy bonus is therefore 4.

0.8 Pips for the same stats as above, only with no Critical Eye running ([0.29 x 3] / 1.07). This drops your crit chance by 6% and your energy bonus by 1.

1.1 Pips for 12 ranks in Axe Mastery, 13 ranks in Critical Strikes and Critical Eye running full time during battle ([0.35 x 4] / 1.33). The 12 ranks of Axe Mastery gives you 1.33 weapon speed and a 16% base crit chance. The 13 ranks in Critical Strikes gives you 3 energy bonus and another 13% crit chance. The Critical Eye gives you 1 energy bonus (stackable), plus another 6% crit chance (stackable). Your total crit chance is therefore 35% and your total energy bonus is therefore 4.

0.4 Pips for 9 ranks in Dagger Mastery, 12 ranks in Critical Strikes, and no Critical Eye running ([0.24 x 2] / 1.13). The 9 ranks of Dagger Mastery gives you 1.13 dagger speed and a 12% base crit chance. The 12 ranks in Critical Strikes gives you 2 energy bonus and another 12% crit chance. Your total crit chance is therefore 24% and your total energy bonus is therefore 2.

As you can see from the examples, the total energy regen rate provided by your critical strikes can vary quite widely depending on your Weapon Mastery (and speed) and Critical Strikes attributes, and depending on whether or not you can fit Critical Eye into your build. Hitting rank 13 in Critical Strikes is an especially important “sweet spot” that significantly affects your regen rate, and Critical Eye also has a dramatic effect. Also, the comparison between Daggers and Axes highlights the effect of daggers’ faster weapon speed on your total energy regen rate.

================================================

Comparing Assassin Spike Damage Versus Other Classes

==================================================

There has been much argument over whether Assassins can equal the damage output of Rangers or Warriors, especially in terms of “spike” damage. I have even argued in the past that dagger spike output is probably considerably less than for other weapons. This might not actually be the case, however.

Spike damage output has two components:

How much damage you can pile on in one combo skill chain

How rapidly the combo chain recharges so that you can apply it again

People look at the big damage bonuses on some Axe and Hammer skills, for example, which are literally twice the amount of most Dagger skills, and they conclude that obviously, Dagger spike damage output is inferior to what you can achieve with Warrior weapons. What is less obvious is that the three different types of dagger attacks can be very rapidly spammed, compared to most non-dagger skills which require rage to regenerate after each attack in the combo chain.

I don’t have the stamina to perform an exhaustive analysis of dagger spike combos versus non-dagger spike combos, but I will point out the simple fact that you can instantly chain-cast a Lead attack and an Off-Hand attack as fast as you can press your hotkeys, and if you add up the damage bonus on most Lead and Off-Hand attacks, the cumulative damage bonus is roughly equal to the big damage bonuses you see on a single axe or hammer attack.

I’ll also point out the fact that a Dual attack strikes twice. That doesn’t mean the damage bonus is applied twice (I think – I didn’t get a chance to test this during FPE), but underneath the listed damage bonus is the damage from two normal attacks, so that’s a type of “hidden” damage bonus in every dual attack.

My hunch, therefore, is that Assassin primaries can devise damage combos that can come very close to dealing the single-instance spike damage equivalent to that of Warrior or Ranger primaries.

My other hunch is that Assassin primaries can NOT equal the sustained spike output of Warriors or Rangers unless the Assassin invests heavily in Critical Strikes and tries to fit Critical Eye into their build, in order to maximize their total energy regen rate to 5 pips or better. The reason I suspect this requirement is necessary for sustained spike output is because all the Assassin skills are very energy-hungry. To repeat your spike combos as often as they recharge requires a lot of energy.

I would love it somebody could post a comprehensive analysis of spike damage, both in one instance and sustained over time, between Assassins and other classes. This is an area that still needs investigation.

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Conclusions

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Some interesting conclusions can be drawn from the information in the preceding sections. Some of these conclusions are simple facts, while others are subjective interpretations of my own. Your interpretations might be different, or you might reach some useful conclusions that I didn’t think of. Please share your interpretations in replies to this thread for everyone’s benefit.

Note: Where I mention “DPS” in the following list, I’m talking only about the base DPS provided by your normal weapon attacks. Total DPS is dependent on the other skills you use in combat.

An A/W or A/Ra build can do more DPS with MOST weapons than any W/x or Ra/x primary, even more than a W/x build with 10 ranks in Strength! The only exception is for swords (for a W/x build with 10 Strength), but even here the DPS is very close.

Dagger DPS for an Assassin primary is almost equal with Axe and Sword DPS for a Warrior primary if that Warrior is not using their Strength attribute (many warriors don’t put points into Strength).

Dagger DPS beats Bow DPS (all types) across the board in every possible primary/secondary combination.

Players considering an A/W build that does *not* use Dagger weapons should ask themselves whether giving up high physical AL (from Warrior armor and Shield) is worth the access to higher weapon DPS, tactical teleport and shutdown skills, and +2 to +3.3 pips of additional energy regen. If the energy regen rate is an important factor, you can get 4 pips of regen “for free” just by dint of having Assassin armor, but to get 5.3 total pips of regen, you’ll need to put a lot of points into Critical Strikes and plan to use Critical Eye in your build. Note that I don’t even consider the loss of Strength a factor in the decision, because the relative damage tables show that the gain in crit chance more than offsets the loss of base AP% from strength. (How many warriors invest more than 10 ranks in Strength, if even that much?)

Players considering an A/Ra build should ask themselves whether giving up 30 elemental AL (from Ranger Armor) and giving up the energy-efficiency of Expertise is worth the access to higher weapon DPS, tactical teleport and shutdown skills, and +1 to +2.3 pips of additional energy regen. Many high-Expertise Ranger primary builds that rely on skills that benefit from Expertise are probably more energy-efficient than anything you could do with an A/Ra build. IMO if you like the combination of Ranger and Assassin, I’d look carefully at Ra/A builds first.

Players who are concerned about spike damage should remember that they need to look at how fast they can pull off and repeat a 2- to 5-part dagger combo, and how often they can repeat it, versus pulling off their favorite non-dagger combo. Remember to add up all the seemingly small damage bonuses on those dagger attacks, and remember that dual attacks always strike twice, which adds a “hidden” damage bonus to the listed damage bonus of a dual attack. IMO the spike output of a dagger-based Assassin primary can at least equal, if not exceed, most Warrior or Ranger primary classes. There’s a reason we’re more squishy than both warriors and rangers.