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  1. #1
    GWOnline.Net Member shaktiboi's Avatar
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    The Dagger FAQ v4.0 (effective DPS versus melee/bow weapons)

    (Part 1 of 3)

    ================================================
    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.


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


    Also, I want to give thanks to Arredondo, BLAHHH, Bobross, Bravo, kate sullivan, ShadowKntSDS, Syes, TooBadUnknown, Viri, and zampani for their comments and explanations in my previous two versions of the Dagger FAQ (and related threads).


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    Corrected Info in this Version of the FAQ
    ==================================================

    • I’ve replaced the Tables 4-6 in V3 of the FAQ with a single Table 4. In the previous FAQ, I overlooked two important details when calculating DPS for weapon mastery 16:
      • I didn’t adjust the median damage for a 68 baseline.
      • I overlooked the obvious fact that a NON-Assassin primary could not possibly get 34% or 40% crit chance because they wouldn’t have access to the Critical Strikes attribute.
      • I overlooked the obvious fact that an Assassin primary could not possibly achieve 16 ranks in weapon mastery for axes, swords, hammers, and bows.
    • Based on the revised DPS tables, I also revised my previous conclusions about relative DPS between Assassin, Ranger, and Warrior primaries.
    • In the section on Dagger Speed, I’ve clarified the relationship of base “attack” speed to effective dagger speed and added a description of how IAS skills like Frenzy affect dagger speed.
    • In the section on Energy Regen, I’ve added a note that explains how the Critical Strike dual attack skill does indeed give you 2x the energy bonus for crits. I’ve also clarified the exact ranks in Critical Strikes at which you get the +1, +2, or +3 energy bonus.
    • I’ve made other miscellaneous clarifications here and there.



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    The Auto-Attack DPS Tables
    ==================================================


    The following tables show the sustained auto-attack DPS for all the melee/ranged weapons with various common attribute values. These DPS values are derived from the base 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.

    All of the other factors in the total damage formula will adjust this [b]base[/s] DPS value up or down. For example, a customized weapon (+20% damage enhancement) that also has the +15% damage enhancement when above 50% health both factor into the Attacker’s Damage Enhancement portion of the formula, so all other things being equal, you would increase any of my base DPS numbers by a flat +38% if you had these two mods on your weapon. That’s just one simple example. Regardless, the point is that the numbers I give are based on the weapon-specific factors that DO NOT CHANGE, so they are the best basis for comparison.

    TIP: Since most people PvP with a customized 15/50 weapon, you can multiply each of the following DPS values by 1.38 to determine what the auto-attack DPS would be if you are wielding a customized 15/50 weapon.

    The first three tables are based on these assumptions:
    • 12 ranks in the corresponding weapon mastery skill. This what many will consider the optimum value, because even though Dagger speed continues to increase at 13 ranks and higher (thereby proportionally increasing DPS relative to other weapons), the improvements to the Baseline portion of the (Armor Modifier) are only 2 per rank instead of 5 per rank) AND you have less attribute points to spend in other useful areas. I will show a 5th table in a following section that compares the DPS at 16 ranks of weapon mastery.
    • 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.


    Table 1: Base Weapon DPS for Assassin primaries, WITH Critical Eye running full-time (35% crit chance)
    Code:
    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
    Table 2: Base Weapon DPS for Assassin primaries, WITHOUT Critical Eye (29% crit chance)
    Code:
    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
    Table 3: Base Weapon DPS for non-Assassin primaries with NO Critical Strikes attribute (16% crit chance)
    Code:
    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
    The next three tables are for builds with 16 ranks in the relative weapon Mastery and 13 ranks in Critical Strikes. This is the optimum combination of attributes for a pure DPS dagger-based Assassin primary, because the additional 4 ranks in Dagger Mastery not only increases your Baseline and your chance of crits, but also increases the weapon speed of Daggers even more than 12 ranks, which increases the DPS for daggers proportionally more than for all other weapons. However, note that this leaves you with only 4 attribute points left over for other useful attributes, so this is a highly specialized build without much flexibility.

    Table 4: Table 4: Base Weapon DPS for 16 ranks in weapon mastery

    ** Note: Hammer, Axe, and Sword values are possible ONLY for Warrior primaries. Dagger values are possible ONLY for Assassin primaries. Bow values are possible ONLY for Ranger primaries.
    ** Note: only Assassins can hit 40% crit rate or 34% crit rate. Non-assassins have no access to Critical Strikes and Critical Eye.

    Code:
    Hammer Base DPS (21% crit):                20.8
    Dagger Base DPS (40% crit):                19.5
    Axe Base DPS (21% crit):                   18.7
    Dagger Base DPS (34% crit):                18.6
    Sword Base DPS (21% crit):                 18.3
    Dagger Base DPS (21% crit):                16.8
    Short/Flat Bow Base DPS (21% crit):        14.5
    Horn Bow Base DPS (21% crit):              11.8
    Long/Composite Bow Base DPS (21% crit):    11.6
    One final note about relative DPS among the weapons. In general, faster weapons yield more reliable DPS in a short fight. In the time it takes to attack 3 times with a hammer, for example, your typical dagger-based Assassin primary can swing 5 times. If the Assassin gets blocked or evaded 20% of the time, that’s one attack that doesn’t connect. If the hammer user gets blocked or evaded 20% of the time, that’s one hammer attack that doesn’t connect, so the hammer user loses 33% of their damage, while the dagger user loses only 20% of their damage. Many other MMOGs have proved time and again that two weapons might have similar DPS when you do the math, but the faster weapon of the two is always the better choice.

    This basic fact is mitigated somewhat by Guild Wars’ implementation of attack skills, but it’s still something to consider if you’re on the fence regarding, say, a decision between daggers and swords (both of which have very similar DPS values). A dagger is significantly faster than a sword at typical values for Dagger Mastery.


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    Why Strength Is Not Applicable to DPS Comparisons
    ==================================================


    In version 2 of this FAQ, I included tables that showed DPS values for Warrior primaries with 10 ranks in Strength. This was a poor choice because the 10% AP of Strength is applied only to attack skills, not to normal auto-attack damage. Therefore, trying to compare DPS over time for Warriors with Strength is a bad comparison; apples to oranges. Trying to calculate an improvement in overall damage output due to Strength is a tedious proposition.

    As a rule of thumb, however, you can safely assume that running a Warrior with 10 ranks in Strength would add relatively little to the overall auto-attack DPS for a 16% critical chance (for 12 ranks in the corresponding weapon mastery) or for a 21% critical chance (for 16 ranks in weapon mastery). The overall DPS that 10 Strength will buy you certainly falls somewhere below the halfway mark between the auto-attack DPS values for 16% and 29% crit chance (for 12 ranks in mastery) or below the halfway mark between the auto-attack DPS values for 21% and 34% crit chance (for 16 ranks in mastery).


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    Understanding Dagger Mastery and Dagger Speed
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    The Dagger Mastery attribute works like all other weapon mastery attributes in that it affects your Baseline portion of the Armor Modifier:
    • 12 ranks at character level 20 gives you a Baseline of 60. This is optimal.
    • For each rank below or equal to ((CharLevel / 2) + 2), add 5 to the Baseline.
    • For each rank above ((CharLevel /2) + 2), 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 effective speed of your Daggers. The base Dagger speed (the “attack 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 effective weapon speed.

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

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

    Some examples, assuming a base speed of 1.33:
    • 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)


    Now, before you walk away thinking “with a Dagger speed of 1.00 I’ll be more effective at interrupts”, remember that the base “attack speed” or “swing speed” of a dagger is still 1.33 seconds, just like swords and axes. Keep this in mind when planning a build—your dagger will not actually be attacking once every 1.07 or 1.00 seconds.

    NOTE: At this time (pre-Factions), it is not known precisely what happens when a double-strike occurs. One possibility is that you actually “attack” just once at base speed of 1.33 and the two “damage rolls” are just applied at the beginning of the 1.33-second attack interval. So your attack speed never varies from 1.33-second intervals. A second possibility, however, is that when a double-strike occurs, the normal attack interval of 1.33 seconds actually becomes two separate attacks, each taking half of that normal base interval. If this is the case, it fundamentally affects your chance of interrupting the target during a double-strike, because you might be making two separate attacks in that 1.33 second interval. We will not be able to determine which is the case until after Factions comes out.

    Why is knowing the effective speed of your dagger important? One obvious reason is that it affects your overall DPS, with faster speeds meaning more DPS than slower speeds. This is why daggers benefit more from ranks 13 – 16 in mastery than all other weapons do.

    One point of confusion is how IAS skills like Frenzy are applied to Dagger speed. You must always apply the IAS skill to the base speed (1.33). The resulting new base speed is then used in the preceding formula to calculate your new effective speed.

    A less obvious reason is that dagger speed 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…

  2. #2
    GWOnline.Net Member shaktiboi's Avatar
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    628
    (Part 2 of 3)

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    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 (+1.33 energy per second), 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
    • 8 ranks in Critical Strikes gives us +2 energy bonus per crit
    • 3 ranks in Critical Strikes gives us +1 energy 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


    NOTE: Due to a poorly-written description for the Critical Strike dual-attack skill, some players will argue that you do not get the energy bonus for using this skill. They are wrong. You get two guaranteed critical hits, and each critical will yield the energy bonus. So you can get up to +8 energy per use of this dual-attack skill.

    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] / 0.33

    Where:
    • Pips (also called “ticks”) is the energy per second regen rate from your crits translated into energy par pips (each pip is +0.33 regen per 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


    Also remember that you must ADD this “+Pips” value to your basic 4 pips that you get from your inherent energy regen plus the regen bonuses on your assassin armor.

    Some examples:
    • +4.4 Pips (1.44 energy per second) 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) / 0.33). 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. Total Pips = 8.4 when auto-attacking.
    • +2.7 Pips ( 0.89 energy per second) for the same stats as above, only with no Critical Eye running (([0.29 x 3] / 1.07) / 0.33). This drops your crit chance by 6% and your energy bonus by 1. Total Pips = 6.7 when auto-attacking.
    • +3.2 Pips (1.05 energy per second) 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) / 0.33). 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. Total Pips = 7.2 when auto-attacking.
    • +1.4 Pips (0.47 energy per second) for 9 ranks in Dagger Mastery, 12 ranks in Critical Strikes, and no Critical Eye running (([0.24 x 2] / 1.13) / 0.33). 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. Total Pips = 5.4 when auto-attacking.
    • +4.8 Pips (1.60 energy per second) for 16 ranks in Dagger Mastery, 13 ranks in Critical Strikes and Critical Eye running full time during battle (([0.40 x 4] / 1.00) / 0.33). The 16 ranks of Dagger Mastery gives you 1.00 dagger speed and a 21% 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 40% and your total energy bonus is therefore 4. Total Pips = 8.8 when auto-attacking.


    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 effective 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. (Note that 16 Dagger Mastery versus only 12 Dagger Mastery, however, does not yield a significant difference in energy regen.) Also, the comparison between Daggers and Axes highlights the effect of daggers’ faster weapon speed on your total energy regen rate.


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    Expertise Versus Critical Strikes
    ==================================================


    Which yields better energy efficiency? Expertise or Critical Strikes? This has been a hotly-debated subject (previously argued with a fair amount of well-meaning disinformation), and will continue to be a hotly-debated subject.

    Let’s start with some key differences between the two attributes:

    Expertise
    • ”Earns” energy for you only when firing off non-spell, non-enchant, non-hex skills.
    • ”Front-loaded” energy savings that enables you to get off more skills in a rapid chain before you run out of energy.
    • Best thought of as reducing the cost of certain skills by roughly half (at optimal values of 13 Expertise).


    Critical Strikes
    • ”Earns” energy only when you are auto-attacking or using attack skills. Note that auto-attack doesn’t happen if you are running all over chasing a fleeing target.
    • ”Back-loaded” energy savings that doesn’t help you to get off more skills in a rapid chain.
    • Best thought of as a means of higher, more constant energy regen over time during battle only! (provided you aren’t wasting a lot of time chasing targets around).


    To accurately compare Expertise and Critical Strikes, we must first examine an Assassin primary that is not using the Critical Eye skill. Let’s look at two common values for Dagger Mastery that most folks are likely to take: 12 ranks and 16 ranks. (See the previous section if you don’t understand the math.)
    • +3.5 pips (0.81 energy per second) for 12 Dagger Mastery and 13 Critical Strikes. (([0.29 x 3] / 1.07) / 0.33) + 1
    • +4.4 pips (1.02 energy per second) for 16 Dagger Mastery and 13 Critical Strikes. (([0.34 x 3] / 1.00) / 0.33) + 1


    So one way to make a rough comparison between Expertise and Critical Strikes is this:

    1. Determine the recharge time of your attack chain. (For example, you can repeat it every 12 seconds.)
    2. Add up the energy savings that a value of 13 Expertise will confer to your attack chain. Don’t forget to add in the “extra” attacks that the front-loaded savings of Expertise would enable you to perform before running out of energy.
    3. Divide the total energy savings by the recharge time of your attack chain.
    4. If the result is even close to 1.15, you’ll probably get way more bang for the buck with Expertise, and you should consider whether an Ra/A build will work for you. Remember that in real battle, especially PvP battle, you will not actually achieve those +3.5 or +4.4 pips with Critical Strikes because you will certainly have some “down time” chasing runners. In fact, for PvP builds I’d make that comparison number more like 0.6 to 0.7.


    Another more fuzzy way to compare Expertise and Critical Strikes is this:

    Expertise works in your favor when you have a long, expensive attack chain that tends to run out your energy bar immediately. Critical Strikes works in your favor if your attack chain is short and energy-cheap, or if your attack chain has moderate amounts of downtime where you are waiting for the next hotkey to recharge.


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    Dual Attacks Versus Double Strikes
    ==================================================


    There are two different types of “double hit” damage that daggers can do:

    • Dual attacks -- these are the attack skills called “Dual”
    • Double strikes – these are the random double hits that occur during auto-attacks, and their percent chance of occurrence is based on your ranks in Dagger Mastery (2% per rank) and some enchant skills can boost this percentage further.


    Dual attacks always hit twice. Each hit’s damage amount is evaluated separately, so one of the hits might crit and the other might do damage based on a random roll in the weapon’s listed damage range. The bonus damage and other effects of the dual hit, however are always applied twice. So a dual attack with a bonus of +18 damage will in fact incur a total bonus of +36.

    It is unverified at this time (mid April 2006) whether the damage amount for double strikes are evaluated separately.

    It is also unverified (but strongly believed) whether single attack skills of any sort (lead, off-hand, AOE, etc.) can double-strike. The current belief is that single attack skills never double strike, and that only auto-attacks have a chance to double-strike.


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    Comparing Assassin Spike Damage Versus Other Classes
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    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 means the damage bonus is also applied twice. So you are getting 2x the normal “auto-attack” damage (with crit potential) AND you are getting 2x the listed bonus. That can equate to some hefty damage from some Dual attacks, to rival anything Axes and Hammers have.

    My hunch, therefore, is that Assassin primaries can devise damage combos that can come very close to, or even exceed, the single-instance spike damage 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.

  3. #3
    GWOnline.Net Member shaktiboi's Avatar
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    628
    (Part 3 of 3)


    ================================================
    Conclusions
    ==================================================


    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 auto-attack DPS provided by your normal weapon attacks. Total DPS is dependent on the other skills you use in combat.

    • For builds that run 12 ranks in the relevant weapon mastery, an Assassin primary can do more DPS with hammers, axes, swords, and bows than any Warrior or Ranger primary with those same weapons. This makes obvious sense because Assassin primaries have access to a higher crit chance, which equals more DPS.
    • For builds that run 16 ranks in the relevant weapon mastery, however, a Warrior primary can do more DPS with hammers and swords (but less DPS with Axes) than an Assassin primary could do with those same weapons. Likewise, a Ranger primary can do more DPS with bows than an Assassin primary could.
    • When comparing the DPS of daggers to all other weapons:
      • At 12 ranks in the relevant weapon mastery, Dagger DPS for an Assassin primary is less than Hammer, Axe, and Sword DPS for a Warrior primary if the Assassin is not running Critical Eye. With Critical Eye running, however, Dagger DPS can come very close to the DPS of Axes and Swords., but almost equal with Axe and Sword DPS for a Warrior primary. Compared to Ranger primaries, however, Dagger DPS is higher than bow DPS across the board regardless of Crit chance.
      • At 16 ranks in the relevant weapon mastery, Dagger DPS for an Assassin primary is less than Hammer DPS for a Warrior primary, but roughly equal to Axe and Sword DPS if the Assassin is not running Critical Eye. With Critical Eye running, however, Dagger DPS is much higher than Axes and Swords. Compared to Ranger primaries, however, Dagger DPS is higher than bow DPS across the board regardless of Crit chance.
      • Dagger DPS for a 12-rank Assassin primary is higher than Bow DPS for a 16-rank Ranger primary for every bow type except Horn Bows. For Horn Bows, 13 ranks in Critical Strikes makes Dagger DPS equal with Horn Bow DPS, and running Critical Eye makes Dagger DPS higher than Horn Bow DPS.

    • 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 +6.8 pips of additional energy regen. If the energy regen rate is an important factor, you can get +2 pips of regen “for free” just by dint of having Assassin armor, but to get +6.8 additional pips of regen, you’ll need to put a lot of points into Critical Strikes and plan to use Critical Eye in your build. The loss of Strength-related DPS should not even be a factor in your decision, as it is a minimal loss.
    • Players considering an A/Ra build should ask themselves whether giving up 30 elemental AL (from Ranger Armor) and giving up the front-loaded energy-efficiency of Expertise is worth the access to higher weapon DPS, tactical teleport and shutdown skills, and +1 to +5.8 pips of additional back-loaded 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 skills, 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 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 for 2x the normal and 2x bonus damage. 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.



    ================================================
    My Personal Observations From The Factions Preview Event
    ==================================================


    During FPE, I mostly played an A/Mo that had no points in Monk attributes, and only one Monk skill on the toolbar (Rebirth). I did this because I wanted to see how a mostly “pure” Assassin would perform.

    Even though I was at level 20, I had only 9 ranks in Dagger Mastery for most of my builds, which provided a less-than-optimal Base Value for my overall DPS, not to mention a less-than-optimal dagger speed and crit chance. I did this because I was heavily testing higher values in Shadow Arts and Deadly Arts and didn’t want to take away from my Critical Strikes value of 12 ranks. (And note that with CS of 12, I was getting an energy bonus of only 2 per crit).

    Despite my low baseline and my lower-than-optimal energy bonus from crits, I STILL tore up foes and performed very well as a tank in PvE quests with a mostly-henchman party (and my wife as the only other PC). I would usually charge in first, not even bothering to send my henchmen in first to take the heat. I did all the target calling, and I certainly took a lot of the initial “alpha” onslaught from each new group of foes.

    I rarely died, even when performing this role that an Assassin was not designed for. And even with mostly dim-witted henchmen in the party.

    What I found is that you can be QUITE survivable as a pure Assassin even when charging in first, because you have so many nice self-healing, damage mitigation, and teleport tactics available to you. So my advice regarding your secondary class if you want to play an assassin primary is:

    • If you solo or duo with one partner (with the rest of the group composed of henchment) and your focus is mostly PvE exploration and questing, then go with a Monk or Ritualist secondary, don't waste any attribute points on Monk or Ritualist attributes, and just keep one reusable rez (Rebirth or Flesh of My Flesh) on your toolbar. You'll still rock as a meleer, but you'll be able to recover the team from the many deaths than tend to occur during PvE missions.
    • If your focus is mostly PvE but you regularly team with large groups of real players so you don't need a repeatable rez, then go with an A/W build if you enjoy having many options for tactical melee fighting. You'll be able to use every melee weapon and its associated skills as suits your mood. Some people might think that an A/Ra or an Ra/A is fun and useful, but IMO, the main strength (and fun!) of an Assassin is tactical mobility to get in and out on certain targets, and Rangers don't need that ability.
    • If your focus is mostly PvP, look for any secondary that gives you nice spike combos and still leaves room for some shadow-stepping tactical skills. For example, A/Me is particularly nice with Mantra of Signets > Palm Strike > Blinding Powder > Signet of Shadows > Signet of Shadows for a 200-point opening damage spike, which you can follow 12 seconds later with Palm Strike > Repeated Strike and just keep spamming Repeated Strike till you run out of energy or Repeated Strike finally misses. This leaves you two slots for nice Assassin utility skills.



    ================================================
    OTHER USEFUL INFO AND DERIVATIONS ==================================================


    • Axes, Swords, and Daggers all have a base weapon speed of 1.33 seconds per strike. (But Dagger Mastery effectively increases the weapon speed of daggers as described in a preceding section.)
    • Hammers have a weapon speed of 1.75 seconds per strike.
    • Bows have a weapon speed of 2.0 (short/flat), 2.5 (long/comp), and 2.7 (horn) seconds per strike.
    • Horn bows have a base armor penetration (AP) of 10%.
    • Strength confers a base AP of 1% per rank in Strength.
    • Base damage per strike for all weapon types is calculated the same way.
    • The base weapon damage number used in damage calculations is ALWAYS a random value from the weapon's listed damage range. (You do not use higher values from the range as your corresponding weapon skill increases; instead, your damage is greater because of the relative level of your weapon skill versus the target's AL and other defensive attributes.)
    • Critical hits always use the maximum value of the weapon's damage range and the target's EAL value is reduced by -20 AL GSM; other than those two exceptions, critical damage is calculated like normal damage. (So crits do not ignore armor or do double-damage or ignore relative attack/defense levels, etc. as they do in other MMOGs.)
    • SonOfRah’s explanation of positional damage and shield positional defense is no longer correct. Shield AL is applied from all sides when attacked. The same damage is incurred no matter what positional facing you use during attacks. (This info isn’t directly relevant to this Dagger FAQ, but it’s good info discovered by Deford that I want to make sure gets passed around.


    Using all the facts from this and preceding sections, we can make the following derivations, based on SonOfRah’s damage formulas:

    Code:
    =====================================================================
    THE FOLLOWING DERIVATIONS ARE ALL BASED ON A WEAPON SKILL OF 12 RANKS
    =====================================================================
    
    Critical Damage Modifier           (-20 AL): 2^[[60-(60-20)]/40]       = 1.4142
    Horn Bow Median Damage Modifier    (10% AP): 2^[[60-(60x0.9)]/40]      = 1.1096
    Horn Bow Crit Dam Modifier (10% AP, -20 AL): 2^[[60-([60x0.9]-20)]/40] = 1.5692
    
    Hammer Damage Range:         19-35
    Hammer Median Damage:        27    ( 19 + [[35 - 19] / 2] )
    Hammer Critical Damage:      49    ( 35 * 1.4142 )     ! -20 AL base
    Hammer DPS (35% crit):       19.8  ( [[27 * .65] + [49 * .35]] / 1.75 )
    Hammer DPS (29% crit):       19.1  ( [[27 * .71] + [49 * .29]] / 1.75 )
    Hammer DPS (16% crit):       17.4  ( [[27 * .84] + [49 * .16]] / 1.75 )
    
    
    Axe Damage Range:            6-28
    Axe Median Damage:           17    ( 6 + [[28 - 6] / 2] )
    Axe Critical Damage:         40    ( 28 * 1.4142 )     ! -20 AL base
    Axe DPS (35% crit):          18.8  ( [[17 * .65] + [40 * .35]] / 1.33 )
    Axe DPS (29% crit):          17.8  ( [[17 * .71] + [40 * .29]] / 1.33 )
    Axe DPS (16% crit):          15.5  ( [[17 * .84] + [40 * .16]] / 1.33 )
    
    Sword Damage Range:          15-22
    Sword Median Damage:         18.5  ( 15 + [[22 - 15] / 2] )
    Sword Critical Damage:       31    ( 22 * 1.4142 )     ! -20 AL base
    Sword DPS (35% crit):        17.2  ( [[18.5 * .65] + [31 * .35]] / 1.33 )
    Sword DPS (29% crit):        16.6  ( [[18.5 * .71] + [31 * .29]] / 1.33 )
    Sword DPS (16% crit):        15.4  ( [[18.5 * .84] + [31 * .16]] / 1.33 )
    
    Dagger Damage Range:         7-17
    Dagger Median Damage:        12    ( 7 + [[17 - 7] / 2] )
    Dagger Critical Damage:      24    ( 17 * 1.4142 )  ! -20 AL base
    Dagger DPS (35% crit):       15.1  ( [[12 * .65] + [24 * .35]] / 1.07 )
    Dagger DPS (29% crit):       14.5  ( [[12 * .71] + [24 * .29]] / 1.07 )
    Dagger DPS (16% crit):       13.0  ( [[12 * .84] + [24 * .16]] / 1.07 )
    
    Bow Damage Range:            15-28
    Bow Median Damage:           21.5  ( 15 + [[28 - 15] / 2] )
    Bow Critical Damage:         40    ( 28 * 1.4142 )     ! -20 AL base
    Horn Bow Median Damage:      24    ( 21.5 * 1.1096 )   ! 10% AP
    Horn Bow Critical Damage:    44    ( 28 * 1.5692 )     ! -20 AL and 10% AP
    
    Sht/Flt Bow DPS (35% crit):  14.0  ( [[21.5 * .65] + [40 * .35]] / 2.0 )
    Horn Bow DPS    (35% crit):  11.5  ( [[24   * .65] + [44 * .35]] / 2.7 )
    Lng/Cmp Bow DPS (35% crit):  11.2  ( [[21.5 * .65] + [40 * .35]] / 2.5 )
    
    Sht/Flt Bow DPS (29% crit):  13.4  ( [[21.5 * .71] + [40 * .29]] / 2.0 )
    Horn Bow DPS    (29% crit):  11.0  ( [[24   * .71] + [44 * .29]] / 2.7 )
    Lng/Cmp Bow DPS (29% crit):  10.7  ( [[21.5 * .71] + [40 * .29]] / 2.5 )
    
    Sht/Flt Bow DPS (16% crit):  12.2  ( [[21.5 * .84] + [40 * .16]] / 2.0 )
    Horn Bow DPS    (16% crit):  10.1  ( [[24   * .84] + [44 * .16]] / 2.7 )
    Lng/Cmp Bow DPS (16% crit):   9.8  ( [[21.5 * .84] + [40 * .16]] / 2.5 )
    
    
    =====================================================================
    THE FOLLOWING DERIVATIONS ARE ALL BASED ON A WEAPON SKILL OF 16 RANKS
    =====================================================================
    
    ** Only Daggers can achieve 40% and 34% crit values!!!
    
    Median Damage Modifier        (68 baseline): 2^[[68-(60- 0)]/40]       = 1.1486
    Critical Damage Modifier           (-20 AL): 2^[[68-(60-20)]/40]       = 1.6245
    Horn Bow Median Damage Modifier    (10% AP): 2^[[68-(60x0.9)]/40]      = 1.2745
    Horn Bow Crit Dam Modifier (10% AP, -20 AL): 2^[[68-([60x0.9]-20)]/40] = 1.8025
    
    Hammer Median Damage:        31    ( 27 * 1.1486)
    Hammer Critical Damage:      57    ( 35 * 1.6245 )     ! -20 AL base
    Hammer DPS (21% crit):       20.8  ( [[31 * .79] + [57 * .21]] / 1.75 )
    
    Axe Median Damage:           19.5  ( 17 * 1.1486)
    Axe Critical Damage:         45    ( 28 * 1.6245 )     ! -20 AL base
    Axe DPS (21% crit):          18.7  ( [[19.5 * .79] + [45 * .21]] / 1.33 )
    
    Sword Median Damage:         21.2  ( 18.5 * 1.1486)
    Sword Critical Damage:       36    ( 22 * 1.6245 )     ! -20 AL base
    Sword DPS (21% crit):        18.3  ( [[21.2 * .79] + [36 * .21]] / 1.33 )
    
    Dagger Median Damage:        13.8  ( 12 * 1.1486)
    Dagger Critical Damage:      28    ( 17 * 1.6245 )  ! -20 AL base
    Dagger DPS (40% crit):       19.5  ( [[13.8 * .60] + [28 * .40]] / 1.00 )
    Dagger DPS (34% crit):       18.6  ( [[13.8 * .66] + [28 * .34]] / 1.00 )
    Dagger DPS (21% crit):       16.8  ( [[13.8 * .79] + [28 * .21]] / 1.00 )
    
    Bow Median Damage:           24.7  ( 21.5 * 1.1486)
    Bow Critical Damage:         45    ( 28   * 1.6245 )     ! -20 AL base
    Horn Bow Median Damage:      27    ( 21.5 * 1.2745 )   ! 10% AP
    Horn Bow Critical Damage:    50    ( 28   * 1.8025 )     ! -20 AL and 10% AP
    
    Sht/Flt Bow DPS (21% crit):  14.5  ( [[24.7 * .79] + [45 * .21]] / 2.0 )
    Horn Bow DPS    (21% crit):  11.8  ( [[27   * .79] + [50 * .21]] / 2.7 )
    Lng/Cmp Bow DPS (21% crit):  11.6  ( [[24.7 * .79] + [45 * .21]] / 2.5 )

  4. #4
    Free excellence bump.

  5. #5
    GWOnline.Net Member jvxmtg's Avatar
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    There's too much to read but I don't believe that you cover the fact that Dagger Mastery gives you an X% chance per rank to hit twice without using any skills.

    When I started with my Assassin and I still don't have any combo skill, while I was waiting for my one skill to recharge, my Assassin simply attacked twice on it's own skipping the normal attack delay of 1.33s.
    ~jvxmtg

    ~ I officially quit Guild Wars and will not buy any Anet product in the future starting today, June 19, 2007. I've given all my items and cash to Erasculio and I'm sure he'll be rich with some of them. :wink: ~

  6. #6
    GWOnline.Net Member zampani's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jvxmtg
    There's too much to read but I don't believe that you cover the fact that Dagger Mastery gives you an X% chance per rank to hit twice without using any skills.
    Yeah, this is covered. Check the section titled "Understanding Dagger Mastery and Dagger Speed" for more info, but in effect the random chance of performing a double strike with your daggers increases as your DM goes up and can be simulated in the calculations by increasing the relative speed of the weapon as compared to the unmodified value (as already included in the calculations above).

  7. #7
    GWOnline.Net Member hahnsoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jvxmtg
    There's too much to read but I don't believe that you cover the fact that Dagger Mastery gives you an X% chance per rank to hit twice without using any skills.
    It's listed as:
    Double strikes – these are the random double hits that occur during auto-attacks, and their percent chance of occurrence is based on your ranks in Dagger Mastery (2% per rank) and some enchant skills can boost this percentage further.

    Please take the time to read an article before making any criticisms.
    Hahnsoo's Collectors Guide (ver 0.13) and Ranger Guide (ver 0.60), updated for Factions
    Old Guides (Prophecies only): Mesmer Guide, Skills Guide
    "Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed." -G. K. Chesterton

  8. #8
    GWOnline.Net Member jvxmtg's Avatar
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    2,750
    Quote Originally Posted by hahnsoo
    It's listed as:
    Double strikes – these are the random double hits that occur during auto-attacks, and their percent chance of occurrence is based on your ranks in Dagger Mastery (2% per rank) and some enchant skills can boost this percentage further.

    Please take the time to read an article before making any criticisms.
    I'm not actually criticizing I just thought you missed it. Thanks for pointing it, I somehow skipped that big chunk of your article.
    ~jvxmtg

    ~ I officially quit Guild Wars and will not buy any Anet product in the future starting today, June 19, 2007. I've given all my items and cash to Erasculio and I'm sure he'll be rich with some of them. :wink: ~

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by shaktiboi
    One final note about relative DPS among the weapons. In general, faster weapons yield more reliable DPS in a short fight. In the time it takes to attack 3 times with a hammer, for example, your typical dagger-based Assassin primary can swing 5 times. If the Assassin gets blocked or evaded 20% of the time, that’s one attack that doesn’t connect. If the hammer user gets blocked or evaded 20% of the time, that’s one hammer attack that doesn’t connect, so the hammer user loses 33% of their damage, while the dagger user loses only 20% of their damage. Many other MMOGs have proved time and again that two weapons might have similar DPS when you do the math, but the faster weapon of the two is always the better choice.
    Mathematically, this is incorrect. If you swing 5 times, you have a better chance to be blocked than if you swing 3 times. If they dodge 20% of the time, you have a (hypothetically) 100% to be blocked once, which means you will PROBABLY be blocked once. If you swing three times, you have a 3/5 chance to be blocked.

    Another note is that I'm sure spike groups would rather have a warrior hit 1 time for 1000 damage every 20 seconds than 50 damage every second, because there is no way a monk could heal to this.

  10. #10
    GWOnline.Net Member shaktiboi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OmInOuS NeCrOsIs
    Mathematically, this is incorrect. If you swing 5 times, you have a better chance to be blocked than if you swing 3 times. If they dodge 20% of the time, you have a (hypothetically) 100% to be blocked once, which means you will PROBABLY be blocked once. If you swing three times, you have a 3/5 chance to be blocked.

    Another note is that I'm sure spike groups would rather have a warrior hit 1 time for 1000 damage every 20 seconds than 50 damage every second, because there is no way a monk could heal to this.
    I'm sorry but you're dead wrong on this point. This is a basic flaw in logical thinking that every student of statistics runs into.

    A 20% chance to block is equally applied to each and every attack. Separately. Just because you have 5 attacks versus 3 attacks... it makes no difference. For each attack the chance of blocking is a flat 20%. There is no multiplicative effect.

    Again, this is a basic lesson learned and understood in other MMOGs. Given equal DPS, the faster weapon is ALWAYS better.

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