Mirror WAR – BW v. Sorc
Today we take a look at the Bright Wizard (BW) and Sorceress (Sorc), two range dps classes that deal exclusively magical range-dps and have a mechanic that makes their abilities hit harder while increasing the damage they take. Both classes have their mastery trees divided into single target damage, damage-over-time, and area-of-effect damage.
Detaunt, root, and other standard core abilities aside, the BW and Sorc have four other core abilities which are unique to them. Two are exact mirrors, one a quasi-mirror, and one pair is different. Of the two shared abilities we have one that turns their secondary pool of points (Combustion/Dark Magic) into Action Points at a rate of 40 ‘secondary points’ into 160 AP; for the BW this ability is Burnout, and for the Sorc this ability is Reckless Gather. The second shared ability is a core attack which consumes all of the character’s secondary pool and deals damage based off of the amount consumed (Meltdown/Dhar Wind) – but since consuming points isn’t advantageous, players hardly use this ability. The quasi-shared ability is a self-preservation buff with the BW getting Shield of Aqshy, a 10 second armor buff, and the Sorc getting Shroud of Darkness, a 20 second resistance buff. The remaining ability is unique to both classes: the BW gets Cauterize which is a self cleanse, and the Sorc gets Obsessive Focus which increases the damage they deal to one target by 10% for 20s but decreases the damage they deal to other players by 10% for the same duration.
- Both M1’s are the same, a 680 burst with a 1365 DoT over 9 seconds (Magic Dart/Dire Blast).
- The BW at M2 had Ruin and Destruction which is a 30 foot AoE attack from the BW that deals 1360 damage to all enemies in that radius, and at M3 Heart of Fire which removes all hexes and curses from the BW and heals them for 535 over 15 seconds.
- The Sorc at M2 has Wind-Woven Shell which decreases the amount of damage the Sorc’s group takes down to 80% for 20 seconds, and at M3 Darkstar Cloak which causes the Sorcs abilities to cost 0 AP for 10 seconds.
- Crown of Fire – Flames of Rhuin (group buff for +elemental damage/attack) now has a 75% chance to proc (instead of 25%).
- Distracting Fires – Smoke Screen (detaunt) and Fire Cage (root) have their cool-down reduced by 7 seconds.
- Embrace the Flames – On crit, your morale is increased by 200 points, cannot proc more than once every 3 seconds.
- Fan the Flames – Rain of Fire (GTAoE) and Detonate (AoE DoT) have their radius increased by 50% (to 30ft each)
- Flashfire – On being disrupted, your next ability within 10 seconds that would have had a cast time is an insta-cast.
- Fueled from Within – Flames of Rhuin (group buff for +elemental dmg/attack) deals 272 base damage and Flame Shield (melee thorn-shield) deals 242 base damage (up about 100 tool-tip damage).
- Lingering Fires – Pyroclastic Surge (build-time increase) and Scorched Earth (30 foot self-AoE) have a 25% chance to deal an additional 660 elemental damage over 5 seconds.
- Power From the Ashes – Meltdown (core attack) will restore your AP based on the amount of Combustion consumed.
- Empowered Dhar – Dhar Wind (core attack) will restore your AP based on the amount of Dark Magic consumed.
- Frozen Fury – Frozen Touch (group buff for +corporeal damage/attack) now has a 75% chance to proc (instead of 25%).
- Glorious Carnage – On crit, your morale is increased by 200 points, cannot proc more than once every 3 seconds.
- Grasping Darkness – Doombolt (3s single target) and Chillwind (DoT) cause your target to lose 20AP and lose 120 Strength, Ballistics Skill, and Intelligence for 10 seconds.
- Hastened Fear – Dread Aspect (detaunt) and Grip of Fear (root) have their cool-down reduced by 7 seconds.
- Infernal Gift – On attack, there is a 25% chance your group will have their damage increased by 10% for 10 seconds.
- Manic Obsession – Obsessive Focus has its cool-down reduced to 40 seconds (from 60s)
- Triumphant Blasting – Anytime your Destruction (AoE) abilities critically hit, all enemies hit are knocked back a medium distance.
- This mastery tree for both classes focuses on single target direct damage. Three out of five core abilities are mirrored in design and have the same AP cost, Range, CD, and cast time. One ability is quasi-mirrored, and one core ability is class unique. On average the Sorc deals more tool-tip damage per ability.
- Of the shared core abilities we have: a 1s-Cast burst that build 25 secondary pool (Combustion/Dark Magic) points, the BW’s Sear deals 542 elemental damage while the Sorc’s Gloomburst deals 552 spirit damage; a 3s-Cast that builds 10 secondary points (Fireball/Doombolt); and a group buff that gives group-members a 25% chance to deal additional magic damage (Flames of Rhuin/Frozen Touch).
- The quasi-shared ability is shared in essence with different secondary effects; both cost 30AP, take 2 seconds to cast, build 10 secondary points and deal roughly 650 damage (642 BW, 655 Sorc). For the BW’s Pyroclastic Surge, if the target is hexed then their build times are increased by 50% for 3 seconds. The Sorc’s Arctic Blast snares the target by 40% for 5 seconds if the target was cursed.
- The last core ability is completely different for both. The BW has Burnign Iron which costs 35AP, builds 10 Combustion and drains 50AP from the target. The Sorc’s Frostbite costs 20AP, builds 10 Dark Magic and disarms the target for 3 seconds.
- Of the mastery abilities one is shared – the MR9 ability which costs 40AP, is an insta-cast, builds 40 secondary points, and has a 10s CD – the BW has Nova, the Sorc has Impending Doom. The remaining two abilities are different
- At MR5 the BW has a self buff Funnel Power which causes all attacks to deal an additional 138 corporeal damage, but the BW takes 70 damage for each attack; and at MR13 Fireball Barrage which is a 3 second channeled attack with a 80 foot range which deals 625 damage per second to your target, and 283 damage per second to all enemies within 10 feet of your target.
- At MR5 the Sorc has an insta cast burst which is undefendable, it builds 10 DM and requires a disrupt; and at MR13 Shades of Death which is a 10 second curse that causes the target to take an additional 165 spirit damage every time they are hit for up to 5 hits.
- For mastery tactics none are shared.
- At MR3 the BW has Searing Vitality which causes Sear (1s Cast) to heal the BW for 67% of the damage dealt; at MR7 Draining Burn which causes Burn Iron (AP drain) to deal more damage and the AP drained goes to you; and at MR11 Burn Through which makes Fireball (3s-Cast) and Pyroclastic Surge (2s-cast BT increase) undefendable.
- At MR3 the Sorc has Recover Energy which gives abilities in the Path of Agony a 25% chance to recover 50AP, this cannot proc more than once every 3 seconds; at MR7 Tapping the Dark which on every proc of Frozen Touch (group buff that deals additional corp damage on proc) your group-member gets a 5s absorb bubble; and at MR11 Swell of Gloom which increases the damage of Gloomburst (1s-cast) by 634 but guarantees that it will backlash.
- For M4’s both are different. The BW’s Burning Head deals 2720 damage to your target and 2040 damage to all enemies within 20 feet of your target and causes all of them to lose 600 points of morale. The Sorc’s Soul Stealer deals 1360 damage to your target and all enemies within 20 feet of your target and causes all enemies hit to lose 125 AP; the Sorc regains 1360 health and 125 AP.
- This mastery tree for both classes focuses on DoTs. Four out of five abilities are mirrored exactly in essence, one is different. The Sorc’s abilities have higher tool-tip values.
- Of the shared core abilities we have: a 9 second DoT (Ignite/Chillwind); a 5 second AP drain which drains 30AP over this time and deals burst damage upon ending (Slow Boil/Vision of Torment); a 10 second willpower debuff which deals burst damage upon ending (Boiling Blood/Word of Pain); and a group buff that has a 25% chance to deal magical damage back to melee attackers (Flame Shield/Daemonic Chill).
- The one unique ability each class gets its: Detonate for BWs which has a 80 foot range unlike all other abilities which sit at 100 feet and requires the target to be hexed – it deals elemental damage to your target and all enemies within 20 feet of your target for 9 seconds. The Sorc has Ice Spikes which is an insta-cast no-CD ability that builds 10DM and is a 65 foot cone DoT over 15 seconds.
- For mastery abilities none are direct mirrors.
- At MR5 the BW has Playing with Fire, an insta-cast with a 30 second CD which debuffs incoming heals by 50% for 10 seconds and deals elemental damage back to anyone healing your target; at MR9 Withering Heat which is a 6 second channeled attack that also snares your target by 40%; and at MR13 Stop, Drop, and Roll which is an insta-cast knockdown that requires your target to be ignited (with Ignite).
- At MR5 the Sorc has Gloom of Night which is a quasi-mirror of the BW’s Detonate, though it is a 2s Cast and deals spirit damage every 3 seonds for 15 seconds; at MR9 Hand of Ruin which also quasi-mirrors Withering Heat in that it is also a 6 second channeled attack, though it does not share the snare ability; and at MR13 Absorb Vitality which is a 15 second DoT that heals the Sorc for all damage dealt.
- For tactics two are shared and one is not.
- At MR3 both classes get a tactic to increase the potency of their willpower debuff (Boiling Blood/Word of Pain) and to decrease its duration to 5 seconds with a stronger burst on end; and at MR7 both classes get a tactic that makes their 9 second DoT cost 20AP less and debuff the resistance of the classes burst damaging abilities (Ignite/Chillwind).
- At MR11 the BW has Smoldering Embers which gives Ignition, Slow Boil, and Boiling Blood a 25% chance to reapply on end. The Sorc gets Chilling Gusts which makes Chillwind (DoT) and Ice Spikes (Cone DoT) hae a 33% chance to deal an additional damage burst on each tick.
- For M4’s both are different. The BW has Wall of Fire which is a 65 foot wall of flames that lasts 8 seconds and deals damage per second. The Sorc has Crippling Terror which silences and disarms all enemies within 20 feet of your target for 7 seconds.
- This mastery tree for both classes focuses on area-of-effect abilities (even though the middle tree has some AoE DoTs). All core abilities are shared with the Sorcs having higher tool-tip values.
- Of the core abilities we have: an ability which costs the secondary pool of points and is a 30 foot AoE from the caster (Scorched Earth/Surging Pain); a 3s-cast 20-foot burst from your target (Fiery Blast/Shattered Shadows); a 10s channeled 20-foot GTAoE (Rain of Fire/Pit of Shades); an AoE 3s silence affecting all enemies within 20 feet of your target (Choking Smoke/Stricken Voices); and lastly the only ability with a variation, a cone attack, the BWs Fiery Breath costs 35AP, is a 40 foot Cone, and is a 9s DoT dealing 916 damage over this time, while the Sorc’s Infernal Wave is a 40AP 65-foot burst of 435 spirit damage.
- For mastery abilities we have one pair which is shared at different levels and two pairs which are different
- At MR5 the BW gets Annihilate, and at MR9 the Sorc has Disastrous Cascade – both are 3 second channeled attacks which deal damage per second to all enemies within 30 feet of the caster.
- At MR 9 the BW has Spreading Flames which requires the target to be hexed which is a 15 second DoT and for each tick of the DoT the affect will spread to all enemies within 20 feet of your target and give them a 3 second DoT; and at MR13 Backdraft, which also knocks all enemies within 30 feet of the caster back and applies a 15 second DoT.
- At MR5 the Sorc has Black Horror which is a 3 second cast 80foot attack which deals damage to all enemies within 20 feet of your target and reduces their initiative for 20 seconds; and at MR13 Shadow Knives which is a 6 second channeled attack that deals corporeal damage every 2 seconds to your target and all enemies within 20 feet of your target.
- For tactics one is shared – the MR3 tactic makes it so that anytime a BW Explodes or a Sorc suffers a Backlash that 50% of the damage they suffer is dealt to all enemies within 30 feet of them.
- At MR7 the BW has Fiery Reserves which decreases the CD of Flame Breath and Rain of Fire by 10 seconds; and at MR11 Wildfire which makes all abilities in the Path of Conflagration have a 25% chance to deal a 5 second DoT
- At MR7 the Sorc has Lengthening Shadows which increases the range of Surging Pain and Infernal Wave by 33% (to 40 feet and 86 feet respectively); and at MR11 Neverending Agony which reduces the cool-down of Infernal Wave by 5 seconds and of Pit of Shades by 10 seconds.
- For M4’s as per usual both are different. The BW has Conflagration of Doom which is a 20 foot GTAoE that deals 340 damage per second for 8 seconds. The Sorc has Paralyzing Nightmares which deals 2040 damage to all enemies within 30 feet of the character and roots them for 7 seconds.
Comparing the BW and the Sorc is a rather difficult task, as one is inclined to compare them to every other RDPS in the game. However, putting aside the gaping divide between these two classes and their counterparts, we try to look at the Sorc and BW themselves to see if one has an edge over the other. For core non-mastery tree abilities the BW certainly has the edge with Cauterize over Obsessive Focus – given the speed at which a Sorc can kill someone, a 20 second debuff to damage dealt to other players doesn’t really make this ability worth it.
For morale abilities the Sorc’s Wind-Woven Shell seems incredibly out of place for a glass-cannon RDPS, a 20% incoming damage debuff for 20 seconds is way too potent for a class which can melt anyone it chooses in 5 seconds; and for M3 the Sorc’s free AP certainly has greater potential as a back-line caster than a cleanse for a BW (because hopefully the BW is in the backlines and not getting DoT-ed up). Of the four core tactics that the classes don’t share, the BW’s aren’t very appealing. Grasping Darkness with a 120 stats debuff and Infernal Gift with a 10% damage increase buff for the group (another group buff) do however have their appealing natures, whether or not they are slotted is on the player. I personally find that the two buffs the classes receive are suffice group-utility, and that the Sorc’s group damage reduction M3 and group damage buff tactic are perhaps a tad too much, particularly with a class that already brings so much to the table as is. The BW by comparison does not have additional group utility beyond the two buffs.
Looking at the mastery trees we see that 12 of 15 core abilities are virtually mirrored. The abilities that differ are each in their own right strong and desirable so one cannot really argue that one class has it better than the other. Perhaps in terms of kiting the Sorc has it better with Arctic Blast, but the BW can deal with casters better with Pyroclastic Surge. The biggest argument that could be made would be against the Sorc having a spammable cone attack that requires no target (Ice Spikes) that builds Dark Magic, combined with Infernal Wave which has a great range and burst than its mirror Flame Breath. The BW by comparison does not have an ability they can spam to build Combustion unless they slot a tactic to do so with Flame Breath.
But taking the battle of the mirrors to the specced mastery abilities, the BW has an incoming heal debuff which the Sorc does not, and the BW has a 3 second knock-down while the Sorc has a crappy DoT/HoT. So in terms of core mastery-abilities I think the Sorc wins, particularly with the Dark Magic race, but with the specced mastery abilities I think the BW has some nicer tools if they’re willing to spend the points. Even looking at mastery tactics both classes have a very powerful MR11 tactic in their single target tree, while the other unique tactics aren’t much to brag about.The last front to compete on would be M4’s in which the BW’s Burning Head beats its counterpart, Soul Stealer; the Sorc’s Crippling Terror beats Wall of Fire (because who would stand in a wall of fire…?); and likewise who would stand in a GTAoE for 8 seconds (Conflagration of Doom), lending to another point for the Sorc with Paralyzing Nightmares.
However, I cannot pass up the opportunity to comment on the Sorc/BW in regard to their counterparts. Let’s face it, these two classes have two 5 second debuffs with a burst at the end of their duration leading to some heavily backloaded damage. Get your timing right and you can literally have 4-6 abilities proc in one second – that is damage that a healer simply cannot heal though. It’s not difficult to do at all, you line up your buttons and hit them in the same rotation and your target is dead at the end of the rotation. For example here is one rotation BWs use (for Sorcs just stick in the mirrored ability):
- Ignite/Chillwind with Ignition/Shadow of Disaster slotted for the resistance debuff (9s DoT)
- Slow Boil/Vision of Torment for a 5 second debuff with its end burst
- Boiling Blood/Word of Pain with Fuel to the Fire/Vision of Domination slotted
- Fireball/Doombolt or Pyroclastic Surge/Arctic Blast for a flight time ability
- Sear/Gloomburst with a 1s Cast time
- Nova/Impending Doom is your insta cast
- If you had Flames of Rhuin/Frozen Touch up, those are likely to proc for additional damage, particularly if you slot Crown of Fire/Frozen Fury
- If that doesn’t kill them toss in Withering Heat/Hand of Ruin
By the time the 5s DoTs end and burst, the 3s Cast with its flight time will hit coinciding with the 1s Cast time ability AND the insta-cast, not to mention the amount of times the buff for magical damage has to proc (6x for Ignite, Slow Boil, Boiling Blood, Fireball, Sear, and Nova). All of this hitting your enemy in 1-2 seconds depending on your timing. There is no skill to this rotation. There is no way to combat this rotation other than a slew of cleanses, but even then these abilities can most likely be reapplied at a rate higher than one can cleanse/be cleansed. Someone’s got to throw a monkey-wrench into this rotation because simply put there is little way to counter it.
So are the Sorc and BW mirrors? Well for all intents and purposes yes. The Sorc wins the Dark Magic race, has maybe a handful of more useful morales and tactics, and has higher tool-tip values; however, I think the BW’s unique mastery abilities, particularly in Incineration and Immolation, give the BW at least some more tools to even the scale. I’m not going to claim they’re perfect mirrors by any degree because they are not, but I think in their own uniqueness they balance out.