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Winds of chaos - some comparisons (maths-heavy, long post)


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Posted (edited)

Trigger warning – maths ahead!

 

Preamble

I’ve been trying to assess the significance of the change to “Winds of Chaos”, the mesmer’s staff autoattack, and have run some calculations to try to evaluate it and to try to get an idea of the scale of the change.  I’ve then compared this to the autoattack from the mirage’s axe and also the necromancer’s sceptre and revenant mace.  This comparison is primarily looking at PvE scenarios.

The reason for comparison with necro sceptre is that both staff and sceptre have low power coefficients, and both will auto-hit (necro sceptre by its nature, Mesmer staff due to the projectiles homing), so it seems to me like the most reasonable comparison outside of the Mesmer profession.  I've also run the same calculations for revenant's mace as it's another "condi" weapon with low power coefficient and seems similar to mirage axe in some ways.

N.B.  This is only looking at the autoattacks.

 

TLDR conclusion (as this is a long post) – the staff autoattack has had its condi dps hugely increased in PvE.  The autoattack damage seems overly generous given the massive amount of utility the staff offers, and that’s before we even look at the mirage’s staff ambush skill (both its dps and its buffs).  Staff overshadows axe to a great degree.

 

For the purposes of this comparison, I’ve assumed a condi dps stat of 1400.  It assumes no expertise (all the cases are being treated as having the same level of expertise), but if you want to scale up the damage due to that, feel free to multiply as appropriate.  It also takes no account of "Sharper Images" or other traits that change things.

The first case will look at a situation where the staff only gets 1 damaging hit on an enemy and the other 2 bounces hit allies, giving them boons, but doing the enemy no damage.  It also assumes that the enemy is static.

 

Winds of Chaos (pre patch of 11-May-21)

The old Winds of Chaos gave a 33% chance of 1 of (4s bleed/1s burning/4s torment) - (the old value for torment here is used, so the lower torment dps is assumed for a static target)

Where c is the condi damage stat, 4s bleed = 4*(22+0.06c), 1s burn = 1*(131+.155c), 4s torment = 4*(22+0.06c).  With condi damage ( c ) = 1400, we get 4s bleed = 424, 1s burn = 348, 4s torment = 424 Thus, the initial hit will do base average condi damage 398.6.  However, per the wiki the old “Winds of Chaos” was cast once every 1.32 seconds. So the base condi dps with only 1 hit and no clones would be 302 (=398.6/1/32). Based on my testing, both staff clones and axe clones have a base attack speed of half of the player’s base attack speed, so 50% of the condi dps can be added on for each clone, meaning that with 3 clones and only the initial hit counted, the equivalent base condi dps would be 302*2.5 = 755

 

Winds of Chaos (after patch of 11-May-21)

The new Winds of Chaos always inflicts 5s of torment = 4*(33.8+0.09c)  on the first hit (as torment has now been switched to do more damage to stationary targets)

Thus, with 1400 condi damage = 1400, we get 5s torment = 789 damage. The wiki states that one winds of chaos is now cast every 1.02 seconds but this is incorrect, according to my testing, which suggests that it’s actually cast once every 1.12 seconds (383 casts in 428 seconds, fwiw), so I’ll use the value of 1.12 seconds that I gained from testing. Staff clones attack once every 2.21 seconds, according to my calcs.  There may have been some error in the way I gained just 1 clone (decoy) due to the stealth, so I’ll take it that staff clones attack every 2.24 seconds (in part to keep the multiplier simple, but this is a difference between 0.5 and 0.506, so a minimal difference in practice) The base condi dps with only 1 hit and no clones would be 704 (=789/1.12).  If each clone attacks at 50% of the mesmer’s base speed, the base condi dps with 3 clones in this situation would be 704*2.5 = 1761

The patch also increased the duration of the fury applied by this skill from 2s to 3s

Comment– the net effect of the patch has been to buff the base condi dps of the staff autoattack (with only 1 hit) from 302 to 704 with no clones and from 755 to 1761 with 3 clones.  Sharper images would of course come on top of this, assuming one takes dueling, and expertise would of course also affect it.

The outcome is that the base staff autoattack condi dps has been buffed by appx 133% (!);   Winds of Chaos may have needed some buffs, but this is absolutely enormous!

 

Winds of Chaos (2 hits on same enemy)

The “2 hit scenario” where the projectile hits the enemy, bounces to an ally/oneself/clone and then hits the primary target again is a little more complex for the new staff auto (it’s not possible AFAIK to get both secondary bounces on the same target so I’ll ignore that possibility)

For the old Winds of Chaos, it’s simple – the projectile hits twice, so the condi damage is just doubled.  So base condi dps with no clones = 604 and with 3 clones = 1510 For the new Winds of Chaos, the secondary bounces inflict 5 seconds of confusion per 1.12 second attack = 4.65 stacks of confusion.  So, if the projectile hits the target twice, base condi dps = 704 +(4.65 seconds of confusion).  If one has 3 clones this increases to 1761 + (11.6 seconds of confusion).  It's obviously tricky to assess the dps value of confusion as it depends on how quickly the opponent attacks.

 

Axe (Lacerating Chop chain)

This inflicts 2s bleed on 1st hit, then 2s torment, and finally 6s bleed + 6s torment.  The attack chain completes in appx 2.25 seconds (+/- .02) per the wiki, which agrees with my testing.

Applying the same formulae for bleed and torment as before with 1400 condi damage stat,  8s bleed = 848 damage and 8s torment = 1262 damage.  So, base condi damage for the chain of 2110. Taking into account the 2.25 second attack chain, this translates to a base condi dps for the axe with no clones of 937.  With 3 clones, the base condi dps becomes 2343 (Phantasmal Spinning Axe from “Mirrored Axes” and Sharper Images’ bleed damage would of course be additional, and one can also apply a multiplier for condi duration).

 

Comparison between Lacerating Chop chain and Winds of Chaos

To compare axe and staff I’ll look at the “3 clones” case as this is going to apply in most important cases – it’d be rare for a Mesmer to be without clones for very long in a PvE fight against a champion/legendary.  However, if you want to look at the “no clones” case, you can just divide the below numbers by 2.5 but, either way, they’re still just as comparable.

 Axe

  • Axe gets a base condi dps of 2343 with 3 clones
  • Axe’s power coefficient is higher (0.55/0.55/1.1) as compared to staff’s 0.3 – neither are exactly “power” weapons, however!
  • Axe autoattack cleaves, but staff doesn’t (it just uses up a bounce on another target if appropriate)
  • When one uses axe, one may have less utility than the staff, but one can pick up some good offhands with respectable damage & utility options.

Staff

  • Staff (with 3 clones) gets 1761 with no second hit or 1761 + appx 11 seconds confusion (per second) with a second hit on the main target (5 secs confusion x 2.5 /1.12).  Once into the combat, and it’s had time to stack, this would equate to appx 11 base stacks of confusion.  Confusion does almost no damage if no skill is used, but inflicts (for the test case of 1400 condi damage) 368 damage per stack = 4048 confusion damage per enemy skill use.  So, if an enemy is going to be hit twice by each winds of chaos projectile, staff auto comes out ahead as long as the enemy attacks more than once per 7 seconds or so which should, I think, cover most cases.
  • Staff auto also applies 5s might and 3s fury per bounce to an ally
  • Staff doesn’t rely on a “chain”, so interrupting one’s attacks “at the wrong place” won’t meaningfully reduce dps – one therefore doesn’t have to pay as much attention to not breaking chains.
  • Staff autoattacks home on their target from 1200 range, whereas one needs to be in melee range for axe.
  • Staff's abilities provide excellent utility.

To me, it looks like staff is just better than axe at present as regards the autoattack, even in an open world situation.  Once one includes the ambush skills and the incredible might and alacrity stacking that mirage ambush gives, the contrast is even more starkly in favour of staff IMO.

 

Commentary

The odd thing about Winds of Chaos for non-mirages is that most of it seems to be loaded into the autoattack.  Phase retreat adds no dps, but is wonderful utility.  Phantasmal warlock is borderline useless except for generating a couple of clones.  Chaos armour provides a useful AoE blind and a little AoE confusion now along with some other stuff (but little damage), and Chaos Storm offers some nice AoE buffs to allies and some debuffs to enemies, but again no real damage.  Thus, most skills apart from the autoattack appear to be a dps loss or to provide minimal offensive gain. TBH, I’m not even sure if shattering isn’t going to be a dps loss, but would need to test more re this (though shattering becomes more worthwhile if there’s a crowd of enemies around)

For Mirage, however, the ambush adds a huge amount of damage over time as well as massive boons - 8 stacks of might for 15 seconds and 3s alacrity – with no boon duration needed if one has the right food and/or sigil!

 

Comparison with Necro sceptre auto and Revenant mace auto

If we go outside of Mesmer and look at necro’s sceptre, their chain ("Blood Curse") has a 2.4 second duration and the condis inflicted are 4.5s bleed/4.5s bleed/4.5s bleed+6s poison. Applying the same formulae as before, one gets a base condi dps by my calcs of 890 One can do similar for the auto chain of revenant mace ("Misery Swipe") as well to get base condi autoattack dps of 1273

However, these are their autoattacks only.  If these professions just autoattack, their dps is poor – to get good dps they need to use many other abilities.  But this does underscore (IMO) how dependent a condi staff Mesmer (and axe, to a lesser extent) can be on autoattack (with clones) to create damage in PvE.

 

Some suggestions

What solution would I propose re the autoattacks and base damage?

Firstly, reduce the condi damage output of clones even more, even buffing the player’s condi dps output if necessary (e.g. sceptre).  This will reduce the disparity between condi and power clones and will make it so that clones become less of a thing that one relies on for damage (unless one’s talking about Infinite Horizon ambushes of course)

Shift some of the condi dps on staff auto to other skills, reducing the staff auto’s dps – perhaps add some of this into Chaos Storm?

A follow up from this would be to pick up on the old Anet point that they didn’t want confusion applied automatically, but wanted it applied in bursts via specific skills.  If they want to give staff Mesmer a load of confusion stacks, why not do this via the Phantasmal Warlock?  After all, it’s not doing much at the moment, and don't think Anet need to worry too much about chronomancers with chronophantasma rushing to pick up the staff and run condi builds at present...

Edited by Jijimuge.4675
A couple of typos
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Posted (edited)

In pvp, the damage has become less than it was due to the nerf of the torment
I really don't know anymore who walks in pvp with a staff, it was already pointless last year after the fatal condition nerf
wind of chaos is still not useful, in addition, now chaos armor does not give 33% protection (when taking a trait on a staff skill cooldown), I think the new patch has once again nerfed condi mirage to pvp and wvw
If the target has discharged all skills and is running, then the chaos vortex, due to burning, could still inflict damage on the target, but now it will run and wait for the skills to roll back, taking 30 damage per stack of confuse . And it turns out that in pvp, the mirage is still bad and no buffer.

Edited by Zraurum.8493
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3 hours ago, Zraurum.8493 said:

In pvp, the damage has become less than it was due to the nerf of the torment
I really don't know anymore who walks in pvp with a staff, it was already pointless last year after the fatal condition nerf
wind of chaos is still not useful, in addition, now chaos armor does not give 33% protection (when taking a trait on a staff skill cooldown), I think the new patch has once again nerfed condi mirage to pvp and wvw
If the target has discharged all skills and is running, then the chaos vortex, due to burning, could still inflict damage on the target, but now it will run and wait for the skills to roll back, taking 30 damage per stack of confuse . And it turns out that in pvp, the mirage is still bad and no buffer.

isnt this a pve post

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For staff, the damage should be moved away from the clones entirely toward buffing the mesmer's damage based on how many clones they have out (though this is true with all condition weapons, just most egregious with staff).  I don't think Staff Mesmer's damage is that egregious but the mesmer itself should be the one committed to attacking.  Phantasmal Warlock should actually do a damaging effect that is important to actually land and you want to use at opportune times rather than spamming so you get a clone as soon as possible because it does nothing else. 

 

Cry of Frustration should also get it's cooldown reduced closer to Mind Wrack's in PvP .  The baseline duration is 3 seconds of Confusion has been really limp at a 24 second base cooldown.  Staff Auto Attack's confusion proc is now 6 seconds, 2x the duration of Cry of Frustration.   Like you'll be lucky to get 3k damage out of it for what is supposed to be your bread and butter ultimate damage cooldown on condition mesmer.  Cry of Frustration generally not being worth using is what lead to a lot of degenerate clone auto attack builds in PvP.

 

There's no way Arena Net is going to let Staff Auto Mirage do the level of damage it's doing with 111111.   As much as I like it the thing is 100% getting absolutely nuked by Arena Net sooner or later.  Though at the same time spammy weapons have always been apart of GW2.  Just look at staff necro, in PvP.  Aside from the Fear mark all the other cooldowns are just spammed freely off cooldown.

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2 hours ago, mortrialus.3062 said:

Though at the same time spammy weapons have always been apart of GW2.  Just look at staff necro, in PvP.  Aside from the Fear mark all the other cooldowns are just spammed freely off cooldown.

Yeah, I don't get why marks still give life force even when dodged. If they remove that part, maybe necros will actually have to put some thought into mark placement and timing. 

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On 5/15/2021 at 10:39 PM, necromaniac.7629 said:

isnt this a pve post

If we are talking about pve, I'm just wondering have you seen a mesmer with a staff in pve? Will you now take the so-called renewed staff instead of the ax? The staff is still a poor weapon for dealing damage and is still useless as a support weapon.

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38 minutes ago, Zraurum.8493 said:

If we are talking about pve, I'm just wondering have you seen a mesmer with a staff in pve? Will you now take the so-called renewed staff instead of the ax? The staff is still a poor weapon for dealing damage and is still useless as a support weapon.

Plenty after May 11 patch.

It's not a poor weapon for dealing damage or buffing if you've been paying attention or testing it.

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5 hours ago, Yoci.2481 said:

If you play Mirage. I don't think it's very great on core or Chrono.

I doubt that it is much worse if you're playing core condi or condi chrono seeing you have no other condi weapons to swap to. Staff has 5s torment on auto and scepter only has 2 or 3 seconds unless you complete the whole attack chain (then on average it's ~5s). It's 5 stacks of 8s torment on scepter block and confusion is not quite relevant most of the time from the Confusing Images channeled skill. (Malicious Sorcery scepter trait doesn't stack with quickness.) Your biggest loss is not being able to use torch or pistol.

I would not see any reason that someone would not run staff as a swap while using a condi build.

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Dont know why, but it bugs me, that we are always at a point in PvE, where we compare our anyways very limited weapons with their auto attacks. Ok, to be fair, power based weapons must not be compared. We only have 2 of them… The question is not anymore „what do I want to play“ it’s „do i want to play meta or be totally inefficient“. God kitten TETRIS offers more playstyles at this point

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Senqu.8054 said:

Dont know why, but it bugs me, that we are always at a point in PvE, where we compare our anyways very limited weapons with their auto attacks. Ok, to be fair, power based weapons must not be compared. We only have 2 of them… The question is not anymore „what do I want to play“ it’s „do i want to play meta or be totally inefficient“. God kitten TETRIS offers more playstyles at this point

My motivation in posting this wasn't to equate the effectiveness of the weapons to the autoattacks, but to do 3 things -

  • Firstly, the upcoming change to Winds of Chaos wasn't really much discussed in the pre-patch period - other issues were focussed on by the community.  I wanted to remedy this as I thought that the scale of the change might not be fully appreciated...perhaps because staff autoattack dps was seen as poor, so any buff to it dismissed as relatively insignificant.  I therefore wanted to post a numerical comparison of the autos to provide more data to help with evaluations.
  • Secondly, to flag up the extent to which condi staff dps in PvE relies on autoattacks (+ clones' autoattacks) as well as mirage dodge for mirages.  I'd prefer that getting good dps on staff involved a little more complexity than it does at the moment, so would prefer to see some of the autoattack dps moved to other skills (or abilities) i.e. I'd like staff mesmer to be less reliant on autos+clones(+dodge if mirage) and instead to have to use other abilities as well.
  • Thirdly, I was concerned that the extent of the buffs to staff meant that mirage axe might become almost redundant.  I'd like both staff and axe to be viable (& sceptre too) for condi mesmer, but think that having a lower-risk playstyle (e.g. on staff) should result in a lower dps than a (relatively) higher risk one, such as axe.
Edited by Jijimuge.4675
changed "reduce" to equate - clarification of meaning
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Let’s be honest that’s the first buff for a long while, but I think we can all agree it won’t last long. Because Mesmer just became.... good at something - Alac, Might, cdps  (oh my god!)

 

meanwhile Firebrand can do it all (apart from alac) with healing on top and it’s 100% cool.

 

 

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23 hours ago, Jijimuge.4675 said:

I'd like both staff and axe to be viable (& sceptre too) for condi mesmer, but think that having a lower-risk playstyle (e.g. on staff) should result in a lower dps than a (relatively) higher risk one, such as axe.

 

I understand the intent, but staff being in a good place doesn't mean it is OP - it might just mean that axe is underperforming.

 

When you've been in the cellar for so long, daylight looks overly bright. :)

 

Only if ANet across-the-board reduces power creep should staff be toned down; otherwise, keep staff as it is now. 

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23 hours ago, TheAgedGnome.7520 said:

 

I understand the intent, but staff being in a good place doesn't mean it is OP - it might just mean that axe is underperforming.

I'd be the first to admit that axe is underperforming...but yes, the staff is overpowered in its current state. Used to be I had to take Illusions to beef up my cdmg. Now I just run staff & a/t with Chaos/Inspi/Mirage, and I kill things faster than I did on the classic cMirage. Just stick with auto and only shatter if I need additional cleanses. How much fun is a trailblazer staff mirage with PU and full bar of Inspi signets to fight? I don't know, the dead don't speak.

 

I hate to complain about the first buff we've received in eons but the kitten is broken af.

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On 5/19/2021 at 5:03 AM, TheAgedGnome.7520 said:

 

I understand the intent, but staff being in a good place doesn't mean it is OP - it might just mean that axe is underperforming.

 

When you've been in the cellar for so long, daylight looks overly bright. 🙂

 

Only if ANet across-the-board reduces power creep should staff be toned down; otherwise, keep staff as it is now. 

Have you seen the numbers staff mirages put up. It is clearly op

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