Building Blocks #6: Weapon Comparisons #5

Calculating Weapon Damage pt 5: the Non Factors

When we are comparing weapons generally we have already chosen the assumed weapon style so we will be considering similar weapons (this will be explored further later). There are several abilities that add additional damage, both weapon abilities and class abilities. Some of these abilities we can ignore because they apply to each swing equally.  These abilities would include things like sneak attacks and frenzy rages. Sneak attacks apply equally on applicable strikes regardless of the damage being dealt by a weapon so for purposes of comparing weapons we can ignore them.  Same with frenzy rage damage.  To be sure, attack speed can be a factor with these abilities, but this too we can ignore so long as we are considering weapon comparisons of the same combat style.   Abilities similar to this include manyshot and endless fullisade. Both of these abilities increase attack speed for a short time and as I have already described, attack speed is a non issue so long as we are looking at similar fighting styles. (example combat styles would be two weapon fighting, two handed fighting, bows , sword and board, and repeaters).


Other abilities we will ignore because they are only short term boosts to damage.  Since we are considering weapon damage over a large period of time these boosts increase damage increasingly less.  These would be abilities such as smites and action boosts.  To be sure these abilities would increase damage but with a large sample size they can mostly be ignored.  Besides, they would apply to all weapons, albeit unequally, in a positive manner and “better” weapons actually increase better than “inferior” weapons.  This essentially means that if we can show that without these boosts that a weapon is better than another, this will at worst mean that the first weapon is still equally better than the second.  Most likely however this would mean that the first weapon is increasingly better than the second because most of these abilities, particularly action boosts add in a percentage of weapon damage.


Let’s next consider glancing blows.  Glancing blows do additional damage with certain weapons (mostly 2 hand weapons but also a few exotic weapons when used without two weapon fighting). This damage is a percentage of the main weapon’s damage the amount of which is dependent on feats and enhancements.  However, again as long as we are looking at the same combat style we can negate this as well.  Because this bonus is percentage based we can say that at worst any 2 weapons will equally benefit from this special ability, but more likely the gap between the 2 weapons will only widen. Double strike is another ability that is percentage based like glancing blows.  Unless this ability is specifically on one of the 2 weapons we are considering we can ignore it.  If it is on one of the weapons being compared then we not only need to add in that % of damage to that weapon’s numbers, but suddenly we need to consider things we already are ignoring.  If a weapon registers 3% more strikes than a different weapon that means there will be 3% more sneak attacks or rage frenzy hits and to get an accurate calculation that must be considered.


Now, if we are calculating the difference between combat styles and/or classes then all of these factors will need to be considered.  Attack speed is the hardest to calculate and in reality it’s probably easier to do a series of test cases to pick the higher dps.  To do this in the easiest fashion pick on the airship training dummy.  Kill the dummy once (it takes more damage after its been beat up once) and then time how long it takes you to kill the dummy a few times with a specific set up.  Average the times and then kill the dummy an equal number of times with the second weapon set and compare the average times.


Additionally, if you aren’t the kind of person who likes math and you want to compare similar weapons you can use this same method instead.  The more times you kill the dummy the better results you should get.


This is not a perfect method, but it should hopefully give you an idea in the difference between combat styles.  However, in the future I will always be assuming that we are only comparing similar weapons be they 2 handers, main hand weapons, off hand weapons, bows or what have you.  My assumption is that people generally consider which weapon for their character is better knowing which style of weapons their character uses, therefore any damage that is independant of the weapons in question is irrelevant.  They either apply equally or make the better weapon even better.


If you have a topic or a build youd like me to look at drop me an email ( or leave a comment.  I am in no way guaranteeing that I will consider, reply to, or let alone read comments in anything resembling a timely manner (sorry, time is unfortunately not an infinite resource of mine until I am high enough level to cast time stop).

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