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Twin Disciplines, Project, and Balance.


AstralFire

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GFreeGamer's post in another thread about using a traditionally Sage item set for Balance made me decide to rethink some of the ways I approached things. How much damage does Twin Disciplines add, anyway?

 

Devoid of any skill points, I have 364.6 bonus damage. Let me emphasize devoid of any skill points; this means I lack Applied Force, which would increase Double Strike's performance by 6% below.

 

Ability Damage:

Double Strike: 569-658x2 (1227 avg)

Spinning Strike: 2372-2745 (2558.5 avg)

 

Ability Damage w/ Combat Technique (346.4 bonus damage):

Double Strike: 555-645x2 (1200 avg)

Spinning Strike: 2316-2689 (2502.5 avg)

 

Combat Tech reduces bonus damage by 5%, and Twin Disciplines increases bonus damage by 10%. Extrapolating from the above, then, gets us that with this gear, Twin Disciplines would have me add 54 damage to every Double Strike activation, and 112 damage to every Spinning Strike. That's roughly equivalent to a 4.4% damage increase on Double Strike and Spinning Strike. This is less than the damage increase on Applied Force to Double Strike, and requires casting Project.

 

Project deals 1176-1240 kinetic damage (1208 avg). Upheaval gives it the ability to deal an extra 50% damage with a 45% chance. This averages out to an extra 271.8 damage, or 1479.8 damage. This would initially put it a slight bit ahead of Double Strike, but wait!

 

There's more; there's the math on Adjudication and Force Synergy. For simplicity's sake, let's just assume Force Synergy is up, because it can proc from DoTs and thus should be up almost always for the Balance Shadow. We'll look at cases of both 5% and 10% enemy defense. All cases will ignore enemy armor, because they are all equally affected by enemy armor.

 

Ability Damage:

Double Strike: 569-658x2 (1227 avg)

Crit: 38.03%

Multiplier: 231.49%

Accuracy: 96.41%

Average Damage (Perfect Accuracy): (760.37)+(1080.2)=1840.57

Average (Non-Consular, Non-Tank): 1682.47

Average (Consular): 1590.44

Average (PvP Shadow Tank): 1480.00

Average Peak Burst: 2841 (Chance: 10.7% versus Consulars)

 

Spinning Strike: 2372-2745 (2558.5 avg)

Crit: 38.03%

Multiplier: 181.49%

Accuracy: 96.41%

Average Damage (Perfect Accuracy): (1585.50)+(1765.89)=3351.39

Average (Non-Consular, Non-Tank): 3063.50

Not going through the rest, its relative superiority is established.

Average Peak Burst: 4644 (Chance: 33% versus Consulars)

 

Project: 1176-1240 (1208 avg)

Crit: 27.86%

Multiplier: 181.49%

Average Damage: (750.65)+(610.80)=1361.45

Average Upheaval: 1361.45*0.5*0.45=306.33

Total Average: 1667.78

Accuracy: 100%, not affected by defense.

Average Peak BUrst: 3289 (Chance: 1.7%)

 

After Project, you have 20 seconds to melee with Twin Disciplines. 1.5 seconds are taken up by your GCD for Project. Assuming that you have already cast Force in Balance, Force Technique and Sever Force prior to Project (reasonable) and that you never need to use a CC and have 100% uptime on the target, this leaves you with room for 12 attacks afterwards. One will have to be Force in Balance, because it should be used on cooldown. Two attacks will be Mind Crushes in our optimal scenario, and you will never recast the earlier DoTs. This leaves nine attacks. Eight will be Double Strikes, one will be Spinning Strike. In our ideal scenario, Project has added 700 damage in addition to its own average, so that a single casting grants you about 2370 damage.

 

In terms of Force, it is still marvelously inefficient - it comes about 320 points short of the damage that'd be necessary for it to maintain parity with Double Strike for efficiency against a Consular target. These calculations have also not included the higher chance for Force Tech to activate on Double Strike, because I should sleep sometime tonight. In terms of possible spike damage, it is also less than effective - you will see more consistent spiking with Double Strike. It is a notable DPS increase, but only in a sustained damage situation, and every GCD you have to spend on something besides beating on people is a GCD wasted.

 

tl;dr? This could be the sleep deprivation talking, but Balance Shadows in PvP may want to completely avoid the Upheaval and Twin Disciplines skills and attempt to minimize use of Project. This means that basically, based on whether you prefer to tangle with positional requirements or not, you're looking at a possible 7/2/32 Balance spec or 5/5/31 or possibly even a 2/8/31 or 0/10/31.

Edited by AstralFire
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Interesting, I've been wondering how to best utilize project and not really found a good place for it since I'm busy with other attacks but you might be onto something here!

 

however, those other points you still have to invest in the balance tree aren't that good, are they?

Edited by Martinwars
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Interesting, I've been wondering how to best utilize project and not really found a good place for it since I'm busy with other attacks but you might be onto something here!

 

however, those other points you still have to invest in the balance tree aren't that good, are they?

 

I think they're largely solid except for the DoT protection skill, which could add up with all the other defensive skills grabbed. I'm going to test one of these new specs today, and I think some horrid frankenstein of 2p Force-Master and 2p Stalker may be the ideal item set to pursue for Balance.

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Telekinetic Throw: 2340

Crit: 38.03%

Multiplier: 181.49%

Average Damage per GCD: 1532.59

ADpG w/ Potency: 2123.433

 

If anyone's curious, those are the stats on TK Throw, meaning that as far as a damage ability, it's definitely effective for us barring its short range, immobility, susceptibility to interruption, and susceptibility to pushback. You might think that this makes it a bad ability, but situational is not the same as bad. As a casted ability, it baits interrupts from unfocused players that could go to more critical players in your team; when combined with Force Stun and Force Lift, you can guarantee getting it off more, and (here's the kicker), it doesn't give Vanguards/Powertechs more chances to activate their Stockstrike/Rocket Punch because it pierces defense and shields. Combined with the questionable utility of Project and the limited frontload on Mind Crush, it makes an excellent candidate for your Potency after Force in Balance. Balance definitely has the weakest uses of Potency overall, as you can only get in one usage of your Force in Balance during the duration of the buff.

 

Even if you get interrupted, as long as it's after the first second of your TK Throw, you're making out ahead compared to using Potency with Project. It's sad, but true.

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If anyone's curious, those are the stats on TK Throw, meaning that as far as a damage ability, it's definitely effective for us barring its short range, immobility, susceptibility to interruption, and susceptibility to pushback. You might think that this makes it a bad ability, but situational is not the same as bad. As a casted ability, it baits interrupts from unfocused players that could go to more critical players in your team

 

Yeah, I don't see why everyone has a mindset that TK Throw is useless. If it does last for the full channel it essentially regains the force it required to activate it, compared to the 2 doubles strikes you can use instead. In my opinion whenever you're fighting another melee you can find some way to use it in your rotation (i.e. sever force - create space during GCD - TK Throw). Like you said if they waste an interrupt on it you're controlling when they use their interrupts which still gives you an advantage.

 

EDIT: 5m more with this ability would make all the difference, as seen with project/mindsnap and force master's pvp gear.

Edited by Innercalm
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I'd already come to the conclusion that Upheaval has no place in Balance builds. Your other insights are very interesting.

 

Probably not a build I'll play. But good stuff!

 

They need to move it down the tree then so I don't have to waste as many points getting it for my infil or kinetic spec.

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Pinning ressolve is next to useless, as Balance spec I use FiB more than I use project, better mileage for the force cost all around. But being squishy as we are in Force Tch, you think TK throw is a good idea? Certainly not in the middle of a melee I'd say, and Force Potency is only once every 1.5 minutes.
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Pinning ressolve is next to useless, as Balance spec I use FiB more than I use project, better mileage for the force cost all around. But being squishy as we are in Force Tch, you think TK throw is a good idea? Certainly not in the middle of a melee I'd say, and Force Potency is only once every 1.5 minutes.

 

Ten seconds off of Force Stun is definitely not useless. It's not the strongest skill in the tree, but useless is very unfair - I use the shortened CD a lot already.

 

'Squishy' is a matter of perception. I'm currently walking around with a bit less than 25% mitigation, 10% defense, 12% internal/ele mitigation, a lot of self healing especially with the 2p Force Master bonus, and an additional 15% mitigation on DoTs. I feel squishier than I did as a tank, but for a DPS I'm pretty hard to kill.

 

You also don't need all four ticks of TK Throw to go off for it to have been a worthwhile cast, just go at least 1 second without being interrupted.

Edited by AstralFire
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So prior to the last patch I was running a Harnessing Shadows build (Kinetic/Infiltration spec) which utilized circling shadows to reduce the cost of project. It seemed to work quite well. The rotation base was DS, DS, Project, DS, DS, Project, DS, DS, Project, TK Throw. Of course FB and a SS were used when off CD and Find Weakness proc'ed respectively. Project was an integral part of the rotation.

 

Now with the change to Circling Shadows where it only works in Shadow Technique, I find that I have not used Project often and Slow Time has taken its place in building the Harnessing Shadows stack. My initial thoughts are that even with Particle Acceleration up, the force cost of Project is less than ideal because of its force/damage ratio. My main question is, with Force Potency active does the additional damage make the Force/Damage ratio good enough to use Project or is Project just as useless to a Kinetic as to a Balance Shadow?

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Yes, absolutely. The biggest problem with Project for Balance is that its slow regeneration in most situations makes Project awkward to use. Kinetic has a much faster Force regeneration between One with the Force and Double-Bladed Defense, Particle Acceleration sharply increases Project's worth, and you can build stacks of Harnessed Shadows much faster.

 

Essentially, you have the option of going for more steady damage with Kinetic, or deal with having a Saber Strike or two more in your rotation for higher burst and survivability.

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Yes, absolutely. The biggest problem with Project for Balance is that its slow regeneration in most situations makes Project awkward to use.

 

I'm always really curious where exactly this sentiment comes from. Sharpened Mind gives you 20 Force every 15 seconds for 1.33 Force/sec. Force Strike saves you 40 Force every 9 seconds or so (thanks to the free cast) for 4.44 Force/sec. Even if you just assume that Force Strike replaces a Double Strike rather than acting as a hard cost benefit, it's 2.78 Force/sec. Worst case, the total benefits of your Force consumption talents are 4.11 Force/sec.

 

Compare this to Kinetic which has One With the Force (2.4 Force/sec) and DBSD (~1.3 Force/sec assuming you're being attacked). As a tank, you're getting 3.7 Force/sec.

 

Unless you want to make the claim that Balance uses substantially higher cost Force intensive abilities than Kinetic does (something I highly doubt), you can't really make the claim that Balance is somehow at a Force disadvantage compared to either Infil or Kinetic. Honestly, I'd make the claim that Kinetic is actually the most disadvantaged, though I'd be making that claim without factoring in the now more often used TK Throw (which is an amazingly cheap source of damage) and less needed Project (which probably skews the overall calc a bit).

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I'm always really curious where exactly this sentiment comes from. Sharpened Mind gives you 20 Force every 15 seconds for 1.33 Force/sec. Force Strike saves you 40 Force every 9 seconds or so (thanks to the free cast) for 4.44 Force/sec. Even if you just assume that Force Strike replaces a Double Strike rather than acting as a hard cost benefit, it's 2.78 Force/sec. Worst case, the total benefits of your Force consumption talents are 4.11 Force/sec.

 

Compare this to Kinetic which has One With the Force (2.4 Force/sec) and DBSD (~1.3 Force/sec assuming you're being attacked). As a tank, you're getting 3.7 Force/sec.

 

Unless you want to make the claim that Balance uses substantially higher cost Force intensive abilities than Kinetic does (something I highly doubt), you can't really make the claim that Balance is somehow at a Force disadvantage compared to either Infil or Kinetic. Honestly, I'd make the claim that Kinetic is actually the most disadvantaged, though I'd be making that claim without factoring in the now more often used TK Throw (which is an amazingly cheap source of damage) and less needed Project (which probably skews the overall calc a bit).

 

There's a difference between "slow regeneration" and "force starved." For "Force Starvation," Balance is probably the best of the three specializations, as it has a number of free or low cost principal abilities, and Kinetic is indeed pretty starved despite its high regen rate and deflection.

 

But with Kinetic, while you're just sitting there, your Force returns faster. 1-2 Shadow Strikes is all you ever need to recover sufficient Force for even a Project. With Balance, however, if your bar is running low you might have to wait 4 GCDs to fire off Project. If you really needed a Project right then, that's bothersome. This is especially true in PvP, where the targets you mashed with Force Suppression are very possibly not DoTted for reasons of being dead, too far away, not a principle concern of the moment, etc.

Edited by AstralFire
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There's a difference between "slow regeneration" and "force starved."

 

In my experience, they're the same thing, though that's generally because I always play from a standpoint of sustainability. Balance operates more like a Sage than Infil or Kinetic do (which makes sense since it's the shared tree) so it follows suit that it follows with a more Sage-like Force consumption model. While it's not as bad as it is with a Sage, Balance Shadows suffer from greater penalties when they run out of Force rather than burning their Force sustainably which is why, rather than playing like an Inf or a Kinetic (and bringing in those high cost, high regen rate expectations), they should play sustainably from the beginning.

 

But with Kinetic, while you're just sitting there, your Force returns faster. 1-2 Shadow Strikes is all you ever need to recover sufficient Force for even a Project.

 

I'm really hoping you just meant Saber Strike there, lol.

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In my experience, they're the same thing, though that's generally because I always play from a standpoint of sustainability. Balance operates more like a Sage than Infil or Kinetic do (which makes sense since it's the shared tree) so it follows suit that it follows with a more Sage-like Force consumption model. While it's not as bad as it is with a Sage, Balance Shadows suffer from greater penalties when they run out of Force rather than burning their Force sustainably which is why, rather than playing like an Inf or a Kinetic (and bringing in those high cost, high regen rate expectations), they should play sustainably from the beginning.

 

I don't disagree with you, but considering that all of Balance's moves are 20-25 Force, that essentially means the entire conclusion of why Project is bad for Balance - it's high consumption for little benefit most times, and doesn't fit with that model. You spend five training points to get the ability up to "sometimes usable," and that's a waste.

Edited by AstralFire
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I am so glad that I am not the only one thinking project doesn't work well with balance. Also its is great post like this that make me glad we dont have damage meters. It reminds me of early days of mmos when people did t have the game figured out in 3 days making everything trivial.
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You spend five training points to get the ability up to "sometimes usable," and that's a waste.

 

I actually agree with this sentiment. From a design standpoint, if you're going to put in a talent to augment an ability, it should make the ability actually useful, especially when it's an ability as absurdly expensive as Project is (honestly, any ability that costs as much as Project should really do more than it does, which is one reason why there is some reason to believe that Shadow's Training isn't working as it should be since, with the 25% increase in Project damage, it would actually be worth it).

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Based in the number if talents that deal with project, and our "shadow training" I assume project is supposed to be a core ability for all shadows. I imagine thats dev vision.

 

Yet from the sound if this thread it didn't really fit well for any shadow except infil. Yes we use it but it doesn't fit well...

 

To me this says they need to lower the force cost so it fits for all shadows. Or adjust the talents to make it worth the cost...

 

Edit: was just thinking. A lot of our abilities seem to be extremeky situational. IE not worth using except under very explicit circumstances.

 

Project... No without procs, questionable with procs

Shadowstrike: only with procs, dont have to keep on cd

Whirling: only with 4+ enemies in melee range

Mind crush: only balance & only with procs

 

double strike / CV and beach seem to be the only non situational spells we have although id argue beach is situational for kinetics and infil

Edited by grandmasterub
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It's interesting because I did consider that I shouldn't get the 4-piece bonus of the Force Master set.

 

For those who don't know, the 2 piece gives me 0.5% health regen per MC tick, whilst the 4 piece increases Project's range by 5m to 15m.

 

I have considered getting the 2 piece bonus from Force Master and couple it with the 2 piece bonus from Stalker (Increases the range of Force Slow by 5m) simply because I've realized that I shouldn't be using Project much.

 

This is even more significant since I've turned into THE point defender; run into a crowd Tab+2 -> Repeat. I don't maximize my damage potential, but I protect things well and easily.

 

Having 2 Stalker pieces would mean I'd be able to use Slow more easily to get into range to deal serious damage with Double Strike.

 

However, the extra 5m on Project gives me higher chance of kiting melees, including other Shadows and Assassins.

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Based in the number if talents that deal with project, and our "shadow training" I assume project is supposed to be a core ability for all shadows. I imagine thats dev vision.

 

Yet from the sound if this thread it didn't really fit well for any shadow except infil. Yes we use it but it doesn't fit well...

 

Well, actually it fits well with kinetic too, it just depends on a not too reliable proc. A procced project+saber strike deals more damage and cost less force than 2 double strikes (and it adds a stack to harnessed shadows). Using project without the proc is only a consideration to fasten harnessed shadows stack while not being force starved.

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