Accuracy and defense are attributes that determine your chance to hit or miss your target. Accuracy determines your chance to hit targets, while your opponents defense reduces your accuracy. It’s important to note that not all attacks are affected by accuracy, but for simplicity’s sake let’s assume they are.
Your chance to hit a target is simple:
I recently talked about attack types and stated that the only attack types that are affected by defense are melee and ranged attacks. For more information about this, read my blog on attack and damage types.
The amount of damage you take from other players or mobs is reduced by an amount determined by your armor rating. It’s important to note that not all damage types mitigate armor. For example the sage damage over time ability: weaken mind is not mitigated by armor.
The 4 damage types in Star Wars: The Old Republic are as follows:
Thanks to the people at sithwarrior.com we know that armor reduction can be calculated using this formula:
Plotting the separate pieces of this formula (at level 50) from 0 to 10,000 produces this graph:
It seems that the diminishing return is swtor is not as bad as some other games.
Here are a few samples from my guild who have champion/battlemaster level gear. It’s interesting to note that even tanks mitigate more than twice as much as sages do. My guildmates are finding gear success with hybrid tank builds.
Light armor classes: 2500 armor (18.8% reduction)
Medium armor classes 3500 armor (24.48 % reduction)
Heavy armor classes:4500 armor (29.41% reduction)
Vanguard Tank: 8000 armor (42.55% reduction)
Please note that armor reduction has a 75% hard cap but there is currently no way to achieve the armor rating required.
Attack abilities in Star Wars: The Old Republic are classified into one attack type and one damage type. This is different from some other games and it is quite a difficult concept to understand so I will try and break it down as best as I can.
There are 4 types of attacks: Melee, Ranged, Force, and Tech. Melee and Ranged damage can be affected by the avoidance attributes defence and shield. This means that melee and ranged damage types have a chance to be parried or dodged respectively. Force and Tech, on the other hand, are not affected by the defense or the shield attribute. It is important to note that while they cannot be parried or blocked, Force and Tech attacks can still be resisted with abilities like: Resilience.
There are 4 types of damage: Kinetic, Energy, Internal and Elemental. Kinetic and Energy damage types are mitigated by armor. Internal and Elemental damage types are not. Contrary to popular bellief, many of the sages attacks are mitigated. For example: An attack like: Telekinetic Throw is a force attack that deals kinetic damage, thus it is mitigated by armor but not affected by defence or shield.
For more information about learning the attack and damage type of a particular ability go to torhead.com and look for a particular ability. Expand the effect details (which I have highlighted with a red circle in the screenshot below):
Once you expanded the details look something that looks like this:
|3||1||action||SpellDamage: SpellType=>Force, StandardHealthPercentMin=>0.079, Slot=>None, Coefficient=>0.79, StandardHealthPercentMax=>0.079, AmountModifierPercent=>0.01, DamageType=>Kinetic|
Please note that torhead.com might not have all the information in their database and are probably in the process of updating it. Please be patient if they do not list an attack or damage type of an ability you are looking for.
Critical hit chance in an attribute that determines how often you land a critical hit. Critical hits deal more damage than regular hits by an amount determined by your surge rating.
There are two main attributes when calculating your critical hit chance. Your primary attribute (strength, willpower, cunning or aim) and your Critical Rating.
For example: A player with a 1500 willpower and a 600 critical rating will have a critical hit chance of 32.88%.
Thanks to the people at sithwarrior.com we know that critical hit chance can be calculated using this formula:
I broke this formula down to its 3 basic components. The first line states that everyone gets 5 free critical hit chance percentage, regardless of class, creed or credibility. The second line adds your critical hit chance from your primary attribute. In my previous example it was 1500 willpower which translates to 10.03% critical hit chance. The last line is your critical hit chance from your critical rating. The 600 critical rating in my example translates to 17.85% critical hit chance. Adding them up:
Plotting the separate pieces of this formula (at level 50) from 0 to 2000 (primary attributes and critical rating) produces this graph:
I would also like to point out that the smuggler group buff also gives a 5% critical hit bonus.
Alacrity in an attribute that increases the cast times and channel times of spells. It is important to note that it does not affect the GCD nor does it increase the speed at which healing over time (HOTS) and damage over time (DOTS) tick.
For example: A player with a 400 alacrity rating will notice that a spell with a 1.5s cast time now casts at 1.32s instead. Assuming you are firing at a constant rate, this can interpreted as a damage per second (DPS) gain of about 13.2%. Not bad for a small investment of 400 points.
Thanks to the people at sithwarrior.com we know that alacrity can be calculated using this formula:
NCT = New Cast Time
CT = Cast Time
AFS = Alacrity From skills (such as Mental alacrity)
Plotting this formula (at level 50) from 0 to 1000 alacrity produces this graph:
Note that the dps gain from alacrity is independent of casts time. Alacrity also suffers from diminishing returns. From 0 to 200 alacrity on a 1.5s cast time spell will net you 0.1 seconds while going from 200 to 400 will only net you 0.08 seconds.
Jedi Sages get an ability called Mental Alacrity with increases alacrity by 20%. Plotting the same graph with the alacrity buff from this ability produces this graph:
Experienced raiders will realize what a great skill mental alacrity really is. There are some good boss fights where it can be used efficiently. For example: After igniting G4-B3 droid (the 4th boss in Karagga’s Palace).
While alacrity is a great pve skill, it’s very difficult to use efficiently in pvp unless you are a healer. Because of the the binary nature of pvp (either you’re getting hit or not), this will mean that you are probably better of stacking surge and using an alacrity adrenal.
Speaking of surge, how does an equal amount of alacrity compare with an equal amount of surge? From my surge blog we know 400 surge provides a critical damage bonus of 190%. Comparing that with 400 alacrity:
400 surge will provide a dps boost:
30% crit chance; (0.30 * 1.9 + 0.65 * 1)/(0.30 * 1.5 + 0.65 * 1) = 1.109 or a 10.9% gain
35% crit chance; (0.35 * 1.9 + 0.65 * 1)/(0.35 * 1.5 + 0.65 * 1) = 1.119 or a 11.9% gain
40% crit chance; (0.40 * 1.9 + 0.65 * 1)/(0.40 * 1.5 + 0.65 * 1) = 1.128 or a 12.8% gain
400 alacrity will provide a dps boost:
3s/2.64964976496s = 1.1322.s or a 13.22% gain
Alacrity is the slightly better. I would still suggest stacking surge from 350 to about 400 as mentioned in my surge blog. While there is a slight advantage to using alacrity, the advantages are not large enough to warrant some major changes to your gear setup (for example dots not scaling). If you are going for a pure dps build like 31 telekenetics, then it is definitely worth stacking.
When choosing your next gear upgrade or transplanting your next mod, it is often difficult to visualize the gains of a particular attribute. Fortunately for us, unlike surge or expertise, the primary attributes (strength, willpower, aim, cunning) as well as the secondary attributes (power, forcepower, tech) all scale linearly with no diminishing return.
Thanks to the people at sithwarrior.com we can look at the way these attributes scale.
Plotting these formulas from 0 to 2000 points produces this graph:
What is interesting about the formulas is that we notice a discrepancy in healing as we put more points into the attribute. The primary and secondary attribute gains for healers are significantly lower than that of damage. Does this means that in pvp, healers are getting the short end of a womp rats tail?
Remember that the definition of expertise is an increase in damage and healing, as well as a damage reduction. So if you have 300 expertise and your opponent had 300 expertise, you would not gain any damage or protection, but you would be healing yourself for 6.96% more. I would guess that this is Bioware trying to compensate for the healing scaling (or the heal scaling is compensating for this).
This should put to rest any arguments that expertise actually helps healers more than it helps damage dealers or tanks.
Edit: I’ve changed this article to include the 1.2 Expertise changes.
Expertise is a pvp only attribute that increases your damage and healing, as well as reducing how much damage you take from opposing players. The attribute is designed so that two players with expertise will essentially cancel each other out.
For example: A player with 300 expertise will do 7.03% more damage to a player with 0 expertise. The same player will also receive 7.03% less damage from the player with 0 expertise. The player would also heal at a 77.03% efficiency rather than 70% (because of the trauma debuff).
It is an attribute that is slightly affected by diminishing returns. A player with higher expertise will start noticing that they start receiving less of a boost the more expertise gear they put on. Pre 1.2, this has caused some speculation that a mixture of pve (rakata) gear and pvp (battlemaster) gear will be the optimal ‘best in slot’ set up for pvp. After 1.2, there will be no question that stacking expertise will be best in slot for pvp.
Thanks to the people at sithwarrior.com we know that expertise can be calculated using these formulas (old and new formulas shown):
Plotting these formulas (at level 50) from 0 to 1400 expertise produces this graph:
What is interesting about this graph is that even at the battlemaster level (around 600 expertise), you will still gain noticeable gains from stacking it. Unlike surge where you can notice a sharp curve, the curve is not as noticeable at the higher extremes.
I suggest that you keep stacking and improving your expertise as much as you can.
Edit: I’ve gotten a lot of requests to show just how much 1 expertise give you at varying expertise levels. You solve this question by taking the first derivative of the equation above. This produces a graph like the one shown below:
Let’s say you have 600 expertise. Adding 1 expertise at this level will net you a 0.0187% damage increase, damage reduction and trauma debuff reduction.
Edit: I’ve changed this blog to incorporate the new surge changes
Surge is an attribute that defines how much more damage you do when you critically hit your opponent. For example: A critical hit with 200 surge will allow you to do 171.26% of your normal damage, rather than the normal 150% of your normal damage.
It is an attribute that is heavily affected by diminishing returns. Any biochemist with a surge adrenal can tell you that after about 400 surge, using the adrenal is not worth the tears of the crew member who slaved over a hot workbench to create it. It’s been recently reduced so I’ve included the old and new values. So the real question is, how much surge should you stack?
Thanks to the people at sithwarrior.com we know that surge can be calculated using this formula:
Plotting both formulas (at level 50) from 0 to 1000 surge produces this graph:
Ouch What a nerf. I guess Bioware didn’t like the time to kill in the game and this was the most efficient way to reduce it. Not only did they change the scaling but they have set the upper limit to 180% of normal damage down from 200%.
What is interesting about this graph is how quickly your critical damage bonus increases for the first 200 points. At 200 surge your critical damage has jumped from 50% to 71.26% increasing your critical damage by a whooping 14.17% percent. If you are pvping, you should be stacking this to a minimum of 200.
Using this knowledge, I have changed my gear setup. I am now using the rakata power adrenal and stacking surge to about 200 using battlemaster earpieces, battlemaster implants, and the battlemaster focus. I’ve also been modifying my champion gear transplanting the mods from duplicate gloves and helms into my battlemaster gear.
I would not bother stacking this past 250 or maybe 300. The diminishing returns hits you harder than an olympic hopeful on steroids. It’ll be interesting to see how this compares to power and other attributes when choosing the best in slot. In my next few blogs, I’ll be posting about the other stats and gearing appropriately.