Home > Uncategorized > Physical vs Magical DPS

Physical vs Magical DPS

Today I wanted to briefly discuss the realm of dps as divided between physical and magical dps – and before I begin I will clarify that by ‘magical’ I mean attacks that deal elemental, corporeal, and spiritual damage. My primary examples for this thought experiment will be range dps classes because melee classes for the most part deal physical damage (yes, there are some exceptions). In the group of physical rdps I have Squig Herders, Shadow Warriors, and Engineers (while I recognize that each has ability with ‘magical damage’) and in the group of magical rdps I have Bright Wizards, Sorceresses, and the Magus. If anyone would like to argue these classifications I defer to the common morales and tactics which bind the groupings.

The argument I propose is that there is a great disparity between physical and magical dps classes – most visible between rdps classes.  Now lets approach each groupings stats and the general stats of their target.

First off lets go over the defensive aspects of any target in war.

  • Toughness is a statistic that every class has and does a basic damage mitigation, a rather low damage mitigation so we wont focus on it. Toughness mitigates all damage.
  • Armor is a defensive statistic that every class has but it increases by armor class – which is broken up into light robe, light, medium robe, medium, and heavy armor. Armor is the primary statistic in physical damage mitigation, which is capped at 75%* (although you can go well beyond 75%).
  • Lastly we have the three resistances: corporeal, elemental, and spiritual. Resistances are the primary statistic in magical damage mitigation, which is capped at 40%* (again, you can go well beyond this %).
    • *I’m not going to claim certainty here, this is what I have read and heard and to the best of my knowledge it is true.
  • For the sake of my non-mathematical approach (because I hate numbers) I am going to ignore defensive %’s such as parry, block, dodge, and disrupt.

Next off we’ll focus on the Physical dps classes –

  • Physical range dps classes’ primary statistic is Ballistics Skill (for melee dps it is Strength). This is a damage modifier.
  • However to bypass armor (which mitigates physical damage), physical dps classes should also give attention to Weapon Skill.
    • Melee dps classes in general have more weapon skill built into their pre-Sovereign armor sets (in the old Sovereign armor sets they did too, but in the new over-generalized sets all uniqueness has been eliminated so there can be no cries of ‘theirs is better than mine’)

And now for the Magical dps classes –

  • Magical range dps classes’ primary statistic is Intelligence, which modifies their damage. In melee classes that have random magical attacks it is modified by strength, and likewise for physical rdps classes which have random magic attacks it is modified by Ballistics Skill.
  • Magical dps classes do not have/require another statistic to give attention to in order to bypass resistances.

Now that said and done we look at the disparities, and they are simple.

  • Classes dealing physical damage have to bypass a higher mitigation (75% armor) while magical damage classes deal with a lower mitigation (40% resistance). Both can be debuffed, but in the end the physical class still has to deal with a higher possible mitigation.
  • Physical dps classes also have to worry about slotting weapon skill to further bypass armor; magical dps classes can solely focus on intelligence. Incredibly high values of weapon skill are required to increase armor penetration by a significant amount, values which are not naturally present in physical rdps classes’ armor.

Having played a Shadow Warrior and a Bright Wizard both to high renown ranks, I know the full potential of each. Aside from the fester-bomb-one-trick-pony (which I abhor), the Shadow Warrior deals lower damage then the Bright Wizard. I have played every tree on my SW and know the ins and outs of them; on my BW have not touched the aoe tree, yet recognize its potential. The truth is that when my BW was achieving the renown rank to wear conqueror and invader gear, the damage it dealt was already equaling, if not surpassing, my rr80 SW. The BW and Sorc have high value burst damage abilities (Nova, Sear, etc) and short duration DoTs with high values. In comparrison, the SW has perhaps higher damage value DoTs but they exist over a far longer duration meaning that they tick for less every second while dealing with higher physical damage mitigation; and our burst damage is perhaps equal in tool-tip damage to the BW but again deals with higher mitigation. Now also having played an Ironbreaker to rr80 (too much free time, I know) I know full well that I can get my armor far beyond the 75% physical damage mitigation so that even if I get a armor debuff, I am still comfortably sitting around the 75% damage mitigation cap.

End result? Well yesterday someone who plays an engineer came back to Warhammer and asked  ‘Whats the use of engineers these days?’ the replies he received were: “To soften up targets for others to kill” “To steal kills” and “Someone’s got to fix the broken plumbing”. In truth the end result is that physical rdps really only excel at killing lightly armored classes, while magical rdps can kill anything. Why do people thing the Magus performs so poorly? Because they’re all pigeonholed into their pull spec – I have seen Magi who spec into Havoc and Changing tear people apart, but there are so few of them the general misconception is that they are the red-headed step-child of magical rdps.

The solution? Well there are a few I can ponder up. The overly general one is ‘Bring physical rdps damage up to the magical rdps damage, or raise the former and lower the latter reaching a middle ground’. Another solution which Mythic has told us has ‘unforeseen consequences’ is to raise the resistance cap. Lastly I solution I pondered up which could go hand in hand with the raised resistance cap is to create a new statistic ‘Insight’ to bypass magical mitigation. I do not believe a tool-tip damage nerf to magical rdps classes (or magical abilities on other classes) would have favorable results from the community, while perhaps a raise to resistance caps would not have the same result; people are less prone to realize increases in their targets defenses than they are to realize decreases in their tool-tip values.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. December 1, 2010 at 8:17 AM

    The Engineers use is to drive the trains right?

    Nice little write up Ekas. Andy posted something yesterday about something coming down the road for physical DPS that will equal things out – http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/232/index/5342425%26lf%3D8#5348812

    • December 1, 2010 at 5:20 PM

      Ooh nice timing on that one eh? Well, I’ll be frank – Andy’s comment gives me no hope. It’s just another “we’ll look into it” and later be told all is well, just like they’ve been evaluating the BW/Sorc for 2 years. The question is also, how long before they ‘even things out’. I don’t foresee another patch until March/April 2011.

  2. Dilek
    December 2, 2010 at 7:55 AM

    I am baking cookies today Eka. I need to send you your birthday batch and cheer you up. Oatmeal raisin from my grandmother’s super secret recipe okay?

  3. Genis
    December 3, 2010 at 9:03 AM

    It’s worth pointing out (because it makes the situation worse for Physical DPS), that the 75% physical damage mitigation is checked AFTER weapon skill is applied. So if my damage mitigation is listed as 90%, and someone is hitting me with an Armor Penetration of 30%, my actual mitigation will be 60%, not 45% (90 – 60 75).

    [(Armor / Enemy’s Rank) / 1.1] * [1 – (Enemy’s Armor Penetration)] // must be <= 75

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