fractic

2008-09-17, 04:13 PM

There has been talk about Sure Strike being weak and how to balance it. Well let's find out how bad it really is.

Waring

Boring mathematics ahead, skip ahead to the conclusion if you aren't interested in that.

Let's start of with the variables we need to know. Let str be the fighter's strength bonus, mod be the other modifiers to attack rolls and [W] be the usual.

Let's start with two-handed weapons because those are easiest. If we were to attack the same enemy 20 times with Sure Strike(SS) and then 20 times with Reaping Strike(RS), SSe would hit 2 times more. However RS will deal str damage 20 times while SS will never do str damage. RS is the following amount of damage ahead

20*str - 2([W]+mod) [levels <= 20]

20*str - 2(2[W]+mod) [levels 21+]

Let's attempt to balance at levels 11 and 26 both right in the middle of the duration for which these formulas hold. First we'll need some good values for str, [W] and mod. Two-handed weapons generally are 1d10, 1d12 or 2d6. Let's assume 1d12 for the average. Assuming starting with an 17 or 18 in str (including racial modifiers) and increasing strength at every opportunity, we get that str = +5 at level 11 and +7 at level 26. Finding the value of mod is more tricky. The usual sources are feats or class features, possible powers. It's not hard to get a +1 from weapon focus +1 from a class feature and +1 somewhere else over the course of 26 levels. Let's assume mod = +2 at level 11 and +3 at level 26.

This gives us the following results. RS will do the following amount of extra damage compared to SS:

100-13-4 = 83 [level 11]

140-26-6 = 108 [level 26]

Remember that this is averaged over 20 attacks. RS is cleary ahead.

Now for one handed weapons. Since RS only does half str damage on a miss with a one handed weapons we need to know how often we hit. Let n be the average amount of hits in 20 attacks. A recent thread shows that n varies somewhere between 8 and 13 if you just take strenght, weapon enhancement, +2 proficiency and 1/2 level into account. Figuring there areadditional sources of bonusses to attack we can estimate n = 11 or 12. The difference is small between the two. We'll assume n = 11.

Over 20 attacks SS will hit 2 times more often and RS will do n times str and 20-n times 1/2 str extra damage. This gives us the following amounts

n*str+(20-n)*1/2str - 2([W]+mod) [level 11]

n*str+(20-n)*1/2str - 2(2[W]+mod) [level 26]

For one-handed weapons [W] is probably 1d6, 1d8 or 1d10. Let's assume 1d8. Pluggin in the numbers from before we get

55+18-9-4 = 60 [level 11]

77+27-18-6 = 80 [level 26]

Well it's not as bad as with two-handed weapons but it's still more than significant. In fact if you run SS against a basic attack the basic attack comes out ahead.

Well SS needs a boost. How to do it? There are several ideas. Increase the +2 to hit to a higher number, give it str (or 1/2str) to damage on a hit, or both. Just increasing the bonus to hit would require bumping it up all the way to around +9 or +10. That's a bit too sure of a srike for my tastes!

Adding +str to damage is an easier fix. SS still has the benefit of 2 extra hits, but RS only has the extra damage advantage on misses. We get that with this fix RS is ahead by:

9*5-13-4 = 28 [level 11 | two-handed weapon]

9*7-26-6 = 31 [level 26 | two-handed weapon]

9*2-13-4 = 1 [level 11 | one-handed weapon]

9*3-26-6 = -5 [level 26 | one-handed weapon]

That's quite close allready. RS is however a bit handicapped by str being an odd number. A few levels higher or lower when str is even RS pulls a little bit further ahead. Chaning SS to be strength+3 to attack and +strength to damage would leave RS ahead for two-handed weapons but make SS better for one-handed weapons (most notable with str odd).

There are also other factors to consider. SS is better than RS at killing minions (cleave is still better) and SS is also better at dealing the finishing blow. Also if you somehow get a bigger mod or use a bigger [W] SS improves move then RS. If you give SS strength to damage then SS also benifits from getting bonusses to hit (+3 proficiency, combat advantage, powers).

Summary

Sure Strike is a lot weaker than Reaping Strike. In fact a basic attack is better when it comes to damage output. Just making Sure Strike better at hitting would require making it around strength+10 to attack. That's not a good solution.

Making Sure Strike to [W]+strength on a hit balances it quite well. With this fix Reaping Strike still is better at dealing damage with two-handed weapons but Sure Strike is very close (maybe better, maybe worse depending on factors) with a one-handed weapon.

With this fix getting a bonus to attack or damage from somewhere (say a stance or combat advantage) favours Sure Strike more then Reaping Strike. Also consider that Sure Strike is better at killing minions or dealing the finishing blow then Reaping Strike.

Conclusion

Change Sure Strike to make it deal [W]+strength damage. This makes Sure Strike a viable choice.

Waring

Boring mathematics ahead, skip ahead to the conclusion if you aren't interested in that.

Let's start of with the variables we need to know. Let str be the fighter's strength bonus, mod be the other modifiers to attack rolls and [W] be the usual.

Let's start with two-handed weapons because those are easiest. If we were to attack the same enemy 20 times with Sure Strike(SS) and then 20 times with Reaping Strike(RS), SSe would hit 2 times more. However RS will deal str damage 20 times while SS will never do str damage. RS is the following amount of damage ahead

20*str - 2([W]+mod) [levels <= 20]

20*str - 2(2[W]+mod) [levels 21+]

Let's attempt to balance at levels 11 and 26 both right in the middle of the duration for which these formulas hold. First we'll need some good values for str, [W] and mod. Two-handed weapons generally are 1d10, 1d12 or 2d6. Let's assume 1d12 for the average. Assuming starting with an 17 or 18 in str (including racial modifiers) and increasing strength at every opportunity, we get that str = +5 at level 11 and +7 at level 26. Finding the value of mod is more tricky. The usual sources are feats or class features, possible powers. It's not hard to get a +1 from weapon focus +1 from a class feature and +1 somewhere else over the course of 26 levels. Let's assume mod = +2 at level 11 and +3 at level 26.

This gives us the following results. RS will do the following amount of extra damage compared to SS:

100-13-4 = 83 [level 11]

140-26-6 = 108 [level 26]

Remember that this is averaged over 20 attacks. RS is cleary ahead.

Now for one handed weapons. Since RS only does half str damage on a miss with a one handed weapons we need to know how often we hit. Let n be the average amount of hits in 20 attacks. A recent thread shows that n varies somewhere between 8 and 13 if you just take strenght, weapon enhancement, +2 proficiency and 1/2 level into account. Figuring there areadditional sources of bonusses to attack we can estimate n = 11 or 12. The difference is small between the two. We'll assume n = 11.

Over 20 attacks SS will hit 2 times more often and RS will do n times str and 20-n times 1/2 str extra damage. This gives us the following amounts

n*str+(20-n)*1/2str - 2([W]+mod) [level 11]

n*str+(20-n)*1/2str - 2(2[W]+mod) [level 26]

For one-handed weapons [W] is probably 1d6, 1d8 or 1d10. Let's assume 1d8. Pluggin in the numbers from before we get

55+18-9-4 = 60 [level 11]

77+27-18-6 = 80 [level 26]

Well it's not as bad as with two-handed weapons but it's still more than significant. In fact if you run SS against a basic attack the basic attack comes out ahead.

Well SS needs a boost. How to do it? There are several ideas. Increase the +2 to hit to a higher number, give it str (or 1/2str) to damage on a hit, or both. Just increasing the bonus to hit would require bumping it up all the way to around +9 or +10. That's a bit too sure of a srike for my tastes!

Adding +str to damage is an easier fix. SS still has the benefit of 2 extra hits, but RS only has the extra damage advantage on misses. We get that with this fix RS is ahead by:

9*5-13-4 = 28 [level 11 | two-handed weapon]

9*7-26-6 = 31 [level 26 | two-handed weapon]

9*2-13-4 = 1 [level 11 | one-handed weapon]

9*3-26-6 = -5 [level 26 | one-handed weapon]

That's quite close allready. RS is however a bit handicapped by str being an odd number. A few levels higher or lower when str is even RS pulls a little bit further ahead. Chaning SS to be strength+3 to attack and +strength to damage would leave RS ahead for two-handed weapons but make SS better for one-handed weapons (most notable with str odd).

There are also other factors to consider. SS is better than RS at killing minions (cleave is still better) and SS is also better at dealing the finishing blow. Also if you somehow get a bigger mod or use a bigger [W] SS improves move then RS. If you give SS strength to damage then SS also benifits from getting bonusses to hit (+3 proficiency, combat advantage, powers).

Summary

Sure Strike is a lot weaker than Reaping Strike. In fact a basic attack is better when it comes to damage output. Just making Sure Strike better at hitting would require making it around strength+10 to attack. That's not a good solution.

Making Sure Strike to [W]+strength on a hit balances it quite well. With this fix Reaping Strike still is better at dealing damage with two-handed weapons but Sure Strike is very close (maybe better, maybe worse depending on factors) with a one-handed weapon.

With this fix getting a bonus to attack or damage from somewhere (say a stance or combat advantage) favours Sure Strike more then Reaping Strike. Also consider that Sure Strike is better at killing minions or dealing the finishing blow then Reaping Strike.

Conclusion

Change Sure Strike to make it deal [W]+strength damage. This makes Sure Strike a viable choice.