A numerical defense of shield warriors

Jibaholic

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First, here is Damage Calculator that I created on google sheets comparing builds at level 18 and level 23. If you choose File -> Make a Copy you can save it and make edits to play around with different builds on your own. The math in this post is simplified by ignoring elemental damage and crits. But that is all in the spreadsheet.

Second, thanks MikeB for the 'Error in DPS Calculation' thread for unlocking the DPS numbers.

Lesson 1: Whirlwind and Charge Are Overrated

Max Whirlwind does 120% of normal damage (not elemental damage, check the combat log). With Heavy Hand and a strength of 8 (including belt) and a Greataxe of the Falling Stars, a non-critical hit will do 35.5 normal damage per hit (not DPS). Multiply that by 2.2 and add the 5 elemental and you have 83 per hit. The other non-Whirlwind hits will do about 41 damage per hit.

However, Whirlwind has a cool down time of 9 seconds, which means only one out of 8 hits. So take the average and you get 43.1. Maxing out Whirlwind gets you about 5 damage per hit. With a weapon with a speed below 10 that means less than 5 per second. For 9 skill points. Heavyhand gets you just as much damage for 6 points.

What this means is that pretty much all Warriors should go the Bloodlust, Heavy Hand and Duel route. And as we'll see below, Flurry is good that 2H warriors need it too. So it very difficult for Warriors to leverage the massive damage potential of a high STR because they need an Agility of 6. They should also take Body Development and build up their End.

* A point in Whirlwind and especially charge is still a really good idea for crowd control etc.

The Heavy Hand and Duel Path

Let's compare two balanced (for main quest) builds: Light vs 2H at level 18. I'm leaving out crits and elemental damage, but they are in the spreadsheet.

Level 15 Light Warrior with Icicle
  • Duel and Heavyhand for 15 damage
  • Agility 7 (with gear) + Str 4 (for Heavy Hand) for 9 damage
  • So Icicle will have normal hits of 28-34, average of 31
  • Speed 12 gives a total DPS of 37.2
  • A good rule of thumb is that you get 6 points of damage reduction per 10 points of Armor. So a Boss with Armor 30 has 18 points of damage reduction.
  • So Icicle does about 19 DPS normal damage against a Boss

Level 18 2H Warrior with Greataxe of Falling Stars
  • Duel and Heavyhand for 15 damage
  • Str 9 (with belt) for 22 damage
  • So GFs will have normal hits of 40-55, average of 47.5
  • Speed 9 gives a total DPS of 42.8 (realize this is only 5 higher than Icicle above!)
  • A good rule of thumb is that you get 6 points of damage reduction per 10 points of Armor. So a Boss with Armor 30 has 18 points of damage reduction.
  • So GFS does about 26 DPS normal damage against a Boss

The 2H does about 35% more damage than the Light Warrior

Flurry and the Shield Mimic

However, I left out Flurry! The points that the 2H Warrior puts into 2H Expert the Light Warrior puts into Flurry. That gives the Light Warrior a 75% bonus to DPS. The Light Warrior actually outdamages the 2H Warrior! Of course, a tough boss mob may outlast Flurry, but even so I think the damage output is roughly comparable.

Can the 2H Warrior put points into Flurry? Yes, but at level 18 it is very tough because you need an Agility of 6 for Flurry, which is the same as our Light Warrior's Agility. If you want Flurry at a relatively low level, you have to "spec" your character like a Light Warrior.

Level 18 2H "Shield Mimic" with Greataxe of Falling Stars
  • Duel and Heavyhand for 15 damage
  • Str 6 (with belt) for 15 damage
  • So GFs will have normal hits of 33-48, average of 40.5
  • Speed 9 gives a total DPS of 36.5 (realize this is slightly lower than Icicle above!)
  • A good rule of thumb is that you get 6 points of damage reduction per 10 points of Armor. So a Boss with Armor 30 has 18 points of damage reduction.
  • So GFS does about 18.5 DPS normal damage against a Boss - Less than Icicle!

The "shield mimic" at low levels is not a viable option. It's damage is comparable while giving up AC bonus of a shield *and* while making a huge sacrifice in skills to take 2H Expert in addition to Flurry, Heavyhand and Duel.

Armor

So far I'm only looking at the damage done. But 2H Warriors have a huge penalty in Damage taken.

Also, remember, the damage reduction with a shield is 40% to 100% of the listed Armor. Without a shield it is 20% to 100%. So a 2H Warrior gets about 6 points of damage reduction per 10 points of Armor. The Shield Warrior gets 7.

  • Armor difference
  • 21 : armor from gear (not including belt)
  • 3 : Shield
  • 2 : Belt Choosing1 Str, 2 Armor belt over +2 Str belt
  • 4 : points of extra Agility for Shield warrior
  • 2H Warrior damage reduction: 13
  • Shield Warrior damage reduction: 21

Every hit the 2H Warrior takes will do 8 more damage.



Level 23: 2H Warriors are viable but not superior

At level 23, 2H Warriors no longer have to make such dramatic tradeoffs between Traits. They can have a high Agility (for Flurry) and an high Str. But the armor gap remains and you end out trading off dealing damage for ability to tank damage.

I personally have evolved from Light Warrior to 1H Warrior. It means that I can free up the neck slot for resistances (because I used to use the Amulet of Dark Whispers for Stun Immunity) while relying on Infantry Training to prevent stun.

Conclusion

I don't think this is the last word, but I do think that Shield warriors are not second tier warriors. Personally, this exercise has me curious to play "Shield Mimics" who have Traits spent like Shield warriors but use a 2H weapon.

Edit: Just created a Damage Calculator on Google Sheets to make this a bit more concrete. I'll post in more detail in a followup post but here are the quick results:

Edit 2: Cleaned up the post a bit and added a Shield Mimic discussion, which was not in the original post.
 

Argarath

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My 2H warrior had Flurry as soon as he could so I guess I am a shield mimic? My point is Flurry is not a 1 Handed exclusive skill. I agree with Whirlwind as a 1 point skill, but so is Cleave 1 because no decent 2 Handed warrior will let himself be surrounded by too many foes. Heavthand can be left at II until much later on, and bloodlust at I and Flurry III asap because that is where the most DPS come from.
In fact I would argue the reverse. It is better to be a 1 Handed warrior at low to mid level simply for superior armor at the beginning is more useful and to change over to 2 Handed warrior later on because of advance skill. Body Development II and Resilience III also play an important role in survivability of the 2 Handed warrior
 

p4ran0id

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It also really funny to play a 1H AGI build. I managed to finish the whole game with that build, dps is really awesome, but a bit tricky to fight bosses or enemies with high armor. But still really funny and it's kind of my favorite warrior build.

The best thing with that build is the synergy between Duell, flurry and massive criticals, fighting an enemy you'll get high dps really fast and since you make much more hits/s you will get very often a critical hit. Even bosses are easy to kill that way.

Ps: but my build is not perfect, I played it long time ago, since then there are several new skills that can be useful here, maybe I replay that build again and see what can be improved







 

taldriel

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Jibaholic":1n42pfy0 said:
First, this may be old news to many folk, but for those of us that google the game there are many threads which suggest the 2H warrior is superior...

why you assume the icicle dps is 20?? if you have a boss with 30 defense, and you hit 34,5 that let's you 4,5 per hit so you have 5 or 6 of dps... the problem of the 1h warrior is the bosses with high defense because the dps of a light weapon get really low, the 2h warrior don't have that problem.

Mod Note: please avoid full quotes
 

Jibaholic

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Thanks for the great followup discussion and for not putting me through the "first time poster" ringer!

Argarath":1llo15jo said:
My 2H warrior had Flurry as soon as he could so I guess I am a shield mimic? My point is Flurry is not a 1 Handed exclusive skill. I agree with Whirlwind as a 1 point skill, but so is Cleave 1 because no decent 2 Handed warrior will let himself be surrounded by too many foes.

I'm also tempted by the "shield mimic" path. That 2.5 x Str is very seductive and makes you want to invest in Str at the expense of other stats, but I'm starting to think a balanced 2H build is best. Having said that, at any given level a 2H Warrior has to put 6 points into 2H Expert. The shield mimic would drop HH for Flurry, and I think you're right that this is better than maxing out STR.

On a tangent, how do you not get surrounded by too many foes? (I'm new to warriors and still learning their tactics). You don't always have the luxury of fighting in doorways, and even so, the spell casters are in the back healing everyone. I usually use Charge to break through and kill the casters first. The tradeoff is that this means getting surrounded. If there is a way to keep from being attacked by many foes, then I'd obviously prefer to do that. Instead Cleave is a goto (works great for Bloodlust as well).

taldriel":1llo15jo said:
why you assume the icicle dps is 20?? if you have a boss with 30 defense, and you hit 34,5 that let's you 4,5 per hit so you have 5 or 6 of dps... the problem of the 1h warrior is the bosses with high defense because the dps of a light weapon get really low, the 2h warrior don't have that problem.
Sorry, I tried to be as clear as possible without getting too bogged down by lots of math, but it was a confusing post. The 21 DPH (not DPS) was from Heavy Hand (5), Duel (10), and Bloodlust (6). I initially wanted to isolate the effects of those alone. Then I ran the numbers including weapon damage. The "contest" was
  • Shield warrior with Icicle using HH + Duel + Flurry (18 skill points)
  • Vs. 2H warrior with Greataxe of the Falling stars using HH + Duel + 2H Expert (18 skill points)

The Shield Warrior had more DPS even taking into account an armor of 30. Again, not the final word but a good starting point to show that shield warriors are effective builds.
 

VDX_360

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p4ran0id":314uek58 said:
It also really funny to play a 1H AGI build.
For clarity, are your referring to using 1-H weapons with high agility, or Light weapons with high agility (1-H weapons get more damage from STR, Light weapons get more damage from AGL).
 

VDX_360

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Jibaholic":2j5vkd7e said:
On a tangent, how do you not get surrounded by too many foes?
1) If you have a Companion, have them only fight enemies close to them so they don't run off screen and provoke a cluster of enemies.
2) If you have a Companion AND are trying to split a large group of enemies in a room, have your Companion wait outside the room, typically a corner or two away. Provoke an enemy, run back around the corner and presto you and your companion can ambush it without provoking the entire room. Waiting around a corner also counters range attacks of enemies (they can't range attack around corners either).
3) Bow. The best, if not only, reason for a warrior to have a bow is to use it to aggro enemies inside a room without triggering the other enemies. Equip bow, get near door, or just inside door, use bow to hit enemy, that enemy chases you (see Item 2 above).
4) Run till they thin out. When being chased by a group, you can often thin the group out by running, the more corners the better. Movement speeds, path-finding differences and crowd slow down (they block each other when trying to run through a door etc). Using a low level summon wolf as a delay tactic helps too. Some enemies might stop chasing you all-together, some might be so spread out that you can kill the first one before the next one reaches you, or heck, you ran this far, just keep running. It's good cardio.
5) Move slow. Don't dash ahead, don't run to meet the enemy. Let them come to you. Esp in early dungeons. Sometimes you can fight a zombie (etc) at the door way without provoking the other undead in the room. Step into the room, however, and you trigger all of them. The warrior skill Charge can work against you in this regards because sometimes using the skill takes you into the aggro range of the next cluster of enemies.
6) Charge for the healers in the back, or range dealers. One of the best uses of Charge is you break through a cluster of enemies to attack the healer, high damage range enemy in the back. Companions and summons can distract the front row while you charge through to kill that pest that keeps undoing the damage you did.

As you get more familiar with the game, you'll get better at knowing how close you can get to what enemies before they aggro. You also learn the tricky spots at dungeons.

This is separate from those times you want to fight a pack of enemies. Put those multiple-target skills to use.
 

p4ran0id

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VDX_360":22fbbo3z said:
For clarity, are your referring to using 1-H weapons with high agility, or Light weapons with high agility (1-H weapons get more damage from STR, Light weapons get more damage from AGL).
Of course 1h light weapon AGI build.

Besides, I won't call it the most effective build for a warrior, but it is really nice to play that build, It's just different and for me it makes way more fun than simple 1h-shield or 2h warrior
 

Argarath

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Jibaholic":2gmkohbn said:
Thanks for the great followup discussion
[*]Shield warrior with Icicle using HH + Duel + Flurry (18 skill points)
[*]Vs. 2H warrior with Greataxe of the Falling stars using HH + Duel + 2H Expert (18 skill points)[/list]

The Shield Warrior had more DPS even taking into account an armor of 30. Again, not the final word but a good starting point to show that shield warriors are effective builds.
Anytime bud for a good discussion. At level 18, your character will have more skill points in play for a 2H to also pick Flurry.
VDX covered the tactics for drawing foes out well. I never charge into a room full of aggros, in fact I don't even use charge. Bait and draw them out 1 by 1, or 2-3 anything that is manageable. Your flurry 2H damage will outdo any 1 healer, except when there are 2 enemy healers at which point you should withdraw instead of charging in trying to kill them (quick death for a 2H warrior)
As long as you are well prepared for elemental damage (mainly rings), enemy casters should not do much damage to you.
 

VDX_360

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On the note of crowd control, pairing Cleave (warrior skill) with an elemental damage weapon works well. All enemies that get hit by Cleave get the FULL elemental damage from the weapon in addition to the reduced physical damage. It can make a light weapon such as the Icicle or Primal Icicle pretty effective crowd control. It's my go-to build for Gris.

In the early game, Warriors with light weapons and a shield have really good armor, which gives them an edge. However, as the game progresses, it's hard to beat the raw damage output of a 2-H warrior. That and Infantry Training requires a 1-H, not a light, weapon.
 

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