A more appropriate response to Calandris

[Much of this, while accurate as far as it goes, is confusing and even misleading.  Please read More Melee for clarity.]  Rereading my response to Calandris in the 2h vs 1+Shield post, I realize I came off a bit brusk. Worse, it looks like I ignored a big chunk of what he said. Thing is, what he said was valid, just irrelevant to that particular discussion. In an attempt to apply things a bit more relevantly, this post. (Don’t you love long introductions?)

As I said in my response to him, the original post was raw number consideration. It’s a tiny part. One of the things I emphasized over and over in the two posts – shield and the dual wield that followed – was that talents and spells and such may change the valuation. Let’s get specific for an example, and in fact let’s use the example Calandris gave.

Shamanistic focus is a tier 3, one point talent (Enhancement) for Shamans. Every time the shaman melee crits, the next shock costs 60% less mana. Now any mana user is going to know the usefulness of that. And experienced ones will know that it matters only if you use shock a lot – or if it’s one you keep ready to go at all times ‘just in case’. And the answer is that yes, shock meets this standard.

Now, it just doesn’t matter until you are at least level 20. One of the things I’ve been frustrated about in several classes – and in fact one of the reasons I dug so deeply in HOW to theorycraft – is that almost everyone who writes theorycraft does it as though the player is level 70. Great, and it certainly resolves a number of other issues, but it’s not helpful to the player trying to GET to 70 – not really. Equally frustrating to me is that of those that do discuss getting there, most just say, “take these talents” without discussing why, or why other alternatives aren’t as good, or… It doesn’t help that there’s a tendency (and I’m guilty here, though not with priests) to just write as though the way YOU chose was the only one.

So for up to 20, use a 2 hander instead of a shield. At 20, IF you’re taking enhancement, you have something to think about. And that is this talent. Now before we jump into this, I need to look at the shocks.

I have three shocks – Earth, Flame and Frost – at level 20. Earth takes 85 mana, does an average of 62 damage, and it’s a spell interrupt (and shutdown of that class for 2 seconds). Flame takes 95 mana, and does 45 damage immediately plus a 48 damage flame DoT. Frost takes 115 mana and does an average of 92 damage, plus slows its target movement 50% for 8 seconds. (note, not anti-haste, just movement). All three share a six second cooldown timer. (There is an elemental talent that will reduce this. I’m ignoring it for now, but want it known that it’s there.)

Now, Primulaveris is level 16, not 20, but this is some hard numbers for me. Right now, thanks to gear choices, PV’s mana pool is 646. I suspect it’ll be close to 720 by the time he’s 20, so I’ll use that. His 2 handed weapon does an average of 48 every 3.5 seconds, and with his strength and enchants and all of that he actually does an average of 73 every 3.5 seconds for a DPS of 20.9 (nominal, excluding miss rate). He’s up to almost 6% crit chance.

Now it’s not the way I fight, but for theorycrafting we need to establish a solid baseline, so let’s go with casting 2 shocks every fight. We’ll use the frost for our calculation because we’re making maximum effect.

Using my two hander and casting two frost shocks in every 15 second fight, I’m doing a nominal 4 hits * 73 plus 2 * 92 = 476 damage over 15 seconds — 31.73 DPS. I crit once out of every 17 swings which means I see the effect once every 4 battles. Since I drain my mana every three battles, what this means is that I expect to have to restock mana every 3 then 4 fights, alternating. It’s a time issue – drinking is not killing is reducing my overall DPS. hmmm, let’s check that more fully. It takes a drink 21 seconds to replenish my mana. So what happens is I go 45 seconds fighting, drink for 21, 60 seconds fighting, drink for 21, and so on. 45 + 21 + 60 + 21 is 142 seconds, during which I did a nominal 476 for seven battles. No, wait, I had one crit, so I’ve got an additional 73 damage in there. My sustained nominal DPS, with this talent and crit rate, would be 23.98 DPS.

Now let’s do some figuring using a one-hand weapon. I’m going to swag slightly, using nominals determined earlier. I will assume a nominal one-hand weapon with a dps that’s 75% and a weapon speed that’s 2/3 (approximate) that of my two hander. So my nominal one hander does 10.3 dps over 2.3 seconds for 23.69… let’s call it 24 damage average hit every 2.3 seconds. Add the 15 that’s my personal stuff not part of the weapon to keep things equal, and I do 39 every 2.3 seconds.

My melee is 16.95 seconds (nominal), and my nominal shock dps is 19.17 for 36.17 non-crit DPS. Notionally, I can get to 476 damage in 13.16 seconds. Backing out two shocks of 184 leaves 292 to be done by melee, which at 39 per hit is just about 7.5 hits, which comes out just about 17.25 seconds per battle. I am killing a bit slower. Adding a third shock does no real good – it kills the first mob fast, but after that I have to wait for the cooldown during the subsequent mobs. I run out of mana after six shocks, regardless.

Basically, I can do 4 battles before I run out of mana, and that happens over just over a minute (66 seconds due to cooldowns). Except, we have two crits. (well, 1.7). Which means I get 5 battles before I’m out of mana. 5 battles at ~17 seconds (476 damage per battle), plus 21 seconds of drinking. 23.33 sustained DPS.

So, my 2 hand sustained DPS is 23.98 and my sustained sword and shield is 23.33. Which means the 2 hander still wins, right?

Well, not necessarily. Because what’s not in here is the time needed to recover from damage taken – whether healing wave or bandage or food or…

And these MATTER, in the long run. Which is why any theory craft has to include a bunch of caveats.

But we’ve now run enough numbers to know that ONCE the enhancement shaman is level 20, and PROVIDED he gets focus, and PROVIDED he uses shock in pretty much every battle, then the DPS for both systems is just about equal.

And in my OPINION, this would have me shift to one hand and shield at that point, because the increased life expectancy from the shield more than overcomes the loss in killing speed. Add the fact of one more enchantment point, and the deal is clinched.

Till more talents come along to confuse the issue further, of course.

In the meantime, go have fun.


~ by Kirk on May 14, 2008.

6 Responses to “A more appropriate response to Calandris”

  1. Woot, a post with my name in it. And it hurts my head. Thank you kirk for going back and looking at this.

  2. I understand what your trying to do here, but you are doing more harm than good. Your math is nonsense and completely ignores some very significant parts of the Melee DPS formula. For example – look at the following example you provided:

    Our one hand is .95 * 10 = 9.5 DPS.
    Our two hand is .95 * 1.33 * 10 = 12.635 DPS
    Our dual wield is (.76 * 10) + (.76 * 10 * .5) = (.76 * 15) = 9.234 DPS

    First of all, you are only considering base chance to MISS. Your target also dodges, parries, blocks. Factor those things into the simplified equation you provided above and you’ll find that dual wielding yields a higher DPS.

    Second of all, you completely ignore how ATTACK POWER weighs into this discussion.

    (Weapon DPS + AP/14) * Weapon Speed = Damage for Mainhand / Two-Hand
    ((Weapon DPS + AP/14) * Weapon Speed) * .5 = Damage for Offhand

    For simplicity, that is roughly 1 DPS per 14 AP for One Hand / Two Hand and 1 DPS per 8 AP for Dual Wielding. In other words, 140 AP is the equivalent of 10 DPS with 1 weapon and 17.5 DPS for dual wielding. That is VERY significant and SCALES as you get better gear. For Fury Warriors, Shamans and Rogues that all have abilities that provide a form of haste, the benefit from AP when dual wielding is magnified tremendously.

    Under no circumstances or DPS calculations is it acceptable to ignore the impact that AP has on your damage output. On my Rogue, my Attack Power counts for 58% of my WHITE auto-attack damage output.

    Third of all, you seem to be ignoring the effect your weapon has on YELLOW attacks. The most important weapon stat is often the AVERAGE damage of the weapon, not the DPS. This is because INSTANT attacks don’t care about a swing timer – they just deal the average damage. So while a weapon 2.0 speed weapon may have 3 DPS more than a 2.6 speed weapon, the amount of damage it deals overall may be significantly less because it provides 30 damage more per instant attack. And most of these instant attacks are modified, so it’s really more like 30 + 25% = 37.5 damage. Since most melee classes and specs rely heavily on instant melee attacks, this stat contributes very significantly to the overall DPS formula.

    As I said, you think you are helping out and providing some prescriptive guidance but you can’t just broadly apply DPS formula to all melee. The correct weapon choice really has too many variables for the scope of a signle discussion.

    It’s different for Rogues, Fury Warriors, Arms Warriors, Shamans, and I am sure Paladins. Better advice would be to talk in generalities about how basic concepts (like attack power, to hit and such) can impact different abilities rather than trying to mathematically calculate if a sword + board is better than a two-hander. The answer is (and always will be) it depends on your class, talents, gear and your preference for the abilities you will be performing. Even within a single class and tree like a Fury warrior, there is much debate about the merits of slow/slow, fast/slow, slow/fast, fast/fast or a two-handed sword.

  3. Sid67, I feel like you didn’t really read the article. Let’s walk basic point number one:

    This is crawling, not walking. And as such it applies BEFORE any talents, skills, etc are added. As an example:

    Yellow damage is due to skills, or talents, or… it’s special. Yes, it matters. Yes, it supplements the basic.

    But it’s above and beyond the basic of white unmodified damage.

    As a sub-20, yellow damage is highly uncommon in just about every class – rogues being the biggest exception. It’s there, but it’s not a high return. Around 20 that changes, in some cases significantly. AP matters from day one, but it’s on top of the weapon and other damage (not to mention it’s not constant across classes, neither in what stats generate how much but in the multiplier).

    Crawl is common to all. When I get detailed, it’ll be on the class in which I’m digging – I’ll leave those about which my understanding is either pre-2.0 or non-existent alone except for offhand comments. That’ll be walking, and maybe running.

  4. I understand the intent, but I very much disagree that it is helpful and in fact is fairly harmful.

    My example with Attack Power is strictly 100% about WHITE damage. If you Dual Wield, you get vastly more WHITE damage benefit from Attack Power than someone who uses a one-handed or two-handed weapon. That holds true at level 20 and at level 70. However, your math only considers the effect of the DPS stat in the item tooltip. As a result, your calculations indicating that a 2-handed weapon provides the greatest amount of WHITE damage is flatly wrong. Were you to factor in Attack Power, you would find that Dual Wielding actually provides the most WHITE damage. Moreover, the delta between them grows incrementally as you scale Attack Power by leveling.

    I don’t disagree that there are elements to theorycrafting that are common amongst all classes. However, your definition of crawling and my definition of crawling are quite different. I’m not saying that you are wrong to teach someone to crawl, only that you are trying to teach them to crawl while laying on their back instead of on their hands and knees.

    My suggestion would be to focus on core stats and formulas like Attack Power, the Hit Table and the basic theory behind how instant yellow attacks are calculated. Those are the types of building blocks you need to provide to teach someone to crawl.

  5. AP matters from day one, but it’s on top of the weapon and other damage (not to mention it’s not constant across classes, neither in what stats generate how much but in the multiplier).

    Wrong. It’s included as part of the formula used to calculate the actual damage caused by each white attack. This formula does not change from class to class and is not impacted by any multiplier. What DOES change from class to class is how your Attack Power is derived. Warriors, for example, get 2 AP for each STR while Rogues only get 1 AP. However, both of them convert AP to DPS at the same 14:1 ratio.

  6. ,,, I see your points. I’m not sure I agree with them, but I did make at least one error of fact (the yellow/white source), and so will think about it.

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