Sunday, December 21, 2008

Skill Coefficients 101: Direct Damage and Instant Cast Skills

So, before I get into this next block of blog, I would like to setup some basic definitions.

Coefficient: in a MMO sense, this is the percentage if it's scaling statistic that gets added to the skills damage.
Casting Time: easy one. This is the time it takes to cast a spell or skill. Also known as a Buildup Time.
DPS: an acronym for Damage Per Second or Damage/Second.
GCD: as I will be referring to this often, this is the acronym for Global Cooldown, as I understand it is currently set to 1.4 seconds or the casting time of the skill if it's cast time is less than 1.4 seconds.
BS: short for Ballistic Skill.
White Mice: for some reason, when I hit Chaos they bleed white mice! This has no bearing on what I'm talking about, I just thought I'd share.

Also, here are the formulae for calculating a few stats which we'll need.

Ballistic Skill: +DPS = ( Skill / 5 )
Strength: +DPS = ( Skill / 5 )
Toughness: -DPS = ( Skill / 5 )

Hard huh?

Warhammer Online makes it ridiculously easy to calculate coefficients. Why? Well, because stats yield +DPS to specific skills, rather than than some arbitrary coefficient that only the Devs understand.

By calculating the +DPS given by a particular attribute and multiplying said value by the cast time of the skill, it will yield the spell coefficient. This works fine and dandy for casted direct damage skill, but DoTs or Half-and-Halfs make it harder. For now, we'll stick to the basic skill from Rifleman, Core, and Grenadier, the kinda skills that you use most the time, and move on from there!

Here's the skills we'll calculate to whet your appetite!
Gun Blast
Spanner Swipe
Hip Shot
Fire Bomb

This list will work for now. What I'm trying to establish, before I just throw out a list of Skills and Numbers, is how we got these numbers. Understanding the process is just as important as knowing the answer! Hah! It's my blog, I get to push my ideals on you!

Direct Damage Skills

Anyhow, let's start with Gun Blast. It's easy! It has a medium cast time! It deals direct damage! For now, I'll be using the paper doll tooltips of the skill at level 25, which means that you are a level 40 Engineer who has no mastery points in Rifleman.

Gun Blast
level 25
40 Action Points
2 second cast
Deals 299 damage to an enemy target.

Nice. Simple. Short. Sweet!

Let's say you are shooting at a target with 0 armor(got hit by an Ironbreaker and Chuck Norris simultaneously) and has 0 toughness(which I'll explain later). Additionally, you have 0 Ballistic Skill(yeah, you're that bad!)

You press the button. 2 seconds later, the enemy will be hit by a bullet that deals 299 damage. Now, let's add some Ballistic Skill. You equip "Uber Jerkin of the Hardcore Ranger +100" which increases your Ballistic Skill by 100(whoudathunkit?)

So, getting out +DPS value on the 100 BS is simple(refer to the beginning of the article if you need help =P): +DPS = ( Skill / 5 ). Pulling out my TI-89 Graphing Calculator, as I don't do mathz in my head, I read our +DPS being 20.

Now, here's where the tricksy part comes in; since Gun Blast has a 2 second casting time, i.e. you could, without server latency, fire the skill every 2 seconds, it means we should get ( 2 seconds * +DPS value ) = 40 damage to each cast. Hence, we get, instead of 299 damage, we get 339 damage.

This last section gives us a handy formulae to calculate spell coefficients for Direct Damage skills;

Coefficient = (( Scaling Statistic / 5 ) * Casting Time ) / Scaling Statistic.

To apply this to our previous paragraph, it would be ( ( ( 100 / 5 ) * 2 ) / 100 ) = .40 = 40% coefficient. So, at any time, so see how much extra damage to Gun Blast you'd get from a piece of armor, just multiply the +Ballistic Skill on the armor by .40 and you got your answer!

Let's run the Fire Bomb through this formulae, assuming +100 Ballistic Skill;
Fire Bomb Coefficient = ( ( ( 100 / 5 ) * 1 ) / 100 ) = 20%

Instant Cast Skills

Instant Cast skills work a little differently. Since they do not have a cast time we cannot divide by it! But, we have something that works; the GCD! This is the cooldown that instant cast skills must have before the can be reused. Having this GCD is the same as the skill taking that long to cast. The Warhammer Online GCD is 1.4 seconds.

So, the above forumulae still applies; we just have to use the GCD instead of the non-existant cast time. Here are Hipe Shot and Spanner Swipes coefficients, using +100 Ballistic Skill and +100 Strength, respectively.

Hip Shot =
( ( ( 100 / 5 ) * 1.4 ) / 100 ) = 28%
Spanner Swipe =
( ( ( 100 / 5 ) * 1.4 ) / 100 ) = 28%

Both of these skills will get 28% of their scaling statistic added to the damage dealt when used.

What to Watch For!

Now, this all looks great on paper, but in game is different. Why? Well, because of Toughness! Toughness allows the enemy to "mitigate", in a way, our scaling stats. In it's most basic sense, for each 1 point of Toughness they have is the same as -1 Ballistic Skill, Strength, and Intelligence. This makes testing these values in game somewhat difficult.

Do not despair! If you really have the hankering to try these formulae, try and hook up with a friend that plays the opposite Army as you. You can test to your hearts desire!

Coming Up Next!

Next, I'll be working on "Skill Coefficients 102: Damage over Time". These are trickier to calculate, and to be honest I have not really worked on it, but that will be the next post.

I'll also go through each of the Engineers skills, find their scalling statistic, and calculate the damage coefficient. Just for you!

Cheers mates, keep on engineerin'!
Papa Gwan