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Yosharian

Spearcaster Unique Arbalest - Bolt Upgrade - Arcane vs Elemental

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As per the wiki here: https://pillarsofeternity2.wiki.fextralife.com/Spearcaster

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Arcane Bolts

+5 Ranged Accuracy (Increases with Arcana skill), 15% chance to cast Minoletta's Minor Missiles at a target on scoring Hit

Requires: reagent_sReagent x2, adra_ban_sAdra Ban x2, awakened_adra_sAwakened Adra x2, binding_copper_sBinding Copper x2

Elemental Bolts

+5 Ranged Accuracy (Increases with Arcana skill), +3% Damage as Burn, +3% Damage as Corrode, +3% Damage as Freeze, +3% Damage as Shock

Requires: primal_earth_sPrimal Rock x2, primal_flame_sPrimal Flame x2, primal_water_old_sPrimal Water x2, primal_windPrimal Wind x2

 

Question: I'd really like to get people's opinions on which of these upgrades is optimal.  The character I'm considering this for is a single-class Evoker, so primarily a caster, using Spearcaster as a back-up weapon.  He's got 18 MIG base.  He's using Ring of the Marksman (+4 acc and +1 PEN with Ranged weapons).  He's also probably going to get some of the elemental talents (Scion of Flame, Secrets of Rime, and Heart of the Storm).

Thanks for reading!

Edited by Yosharian

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I guess "Elemental Bolts" is more reliable, 'cause of the +%dmg.

"Arcane Bolts" only has a 15% chance. so you need to attack often to get it popped frequently and like you said it's only a backup weapon

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I'd go with elemental. Since you're a wizard and won't be auto-attacking very often, you aren't often going to see the 15% chance proc. Elemental will help no matter how frequently or infrequently you shoot. I also imagine that the missiles can get reflected by enemy wizards, which would be kinda annoying.

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I think it doesn’t even matter... since u will be casting instead of auto attack most of time. But since OP wants to pick one upgrade, Arcane Bolts is better on DPS side because wizard has low base damage and Arcane Bolts gives a flat damage bonus instead of percentage bonus (lash damage is based on your base weapon damage and thus better for classes like rogue).

But for a ranged wizard, isn’t Blightheart better because 1) reload can be canceled at anytime so u can shot and cast immediately; 2) I remember reading in wiki the 10% lash from Blightheart affects spells.

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Thanks for the comments guys.  I'm leaning towards Elemental Bolts, I think.

@dunehunter My mistake, I should have specified that this is for turn-based mode.  I'm still curious about that Blightheart lash though.  If it affects spells, that would be pretty powerful.  My character has 18 MIG, so not sure what you mean by low base damage.

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1 hour ago, Yosharian said:

Thanks for the comments guys.  I'm leaning towards Elemental Bolts, I think.

@dunehunter My mistake, I should have specified that this is for turn-based mode.  I'm still curious about that Blightheart lash though.  If it affects spells, that would be pretty powerful.  My character has 18 MIG, so not sure what you mean by low base damage.

Actually I tested that the missile of Arcane Bolts is not scaled with your PL, so it is always 3 projections. So Elemental Bolts is better yeah.

Quick math here:

Let's use average damage here so Arbalest has base damage of 21 (17~25), assume your additive damage bonus is x, Elemental Bolts gives 12% lash, so you get extra 21 * x * 0.12 = 2.52x.

Minoletta's Minor Missiles has base damage of 5 (4~6), and it use your weapon damage bonus instead of scaling with PL, so 3 projection, 15% chance to trigger and your math expectation is 5 * 3 * x * 0.15 = 2.25x.

So 2.52x VS 2.25x, Elemental Bolts is usually better unless enemy has immune to some of its elemental lash.

Edit: and People says since you seldomly attack with the weapon so 15% to proc missile is less attractive, that is totally wrong, because there is nothing to do with HOW FREQUENTLY you use the weapon, for the long term playthrough only mathematical expectation matters. Elemental Bolts better is just because after calculation it has higher DPS, and that's it, nothing to do with how frequently u attack. And I can think only one case that Arcane Bolt is better, that is if u cast Combusting Wounds on enemies and the extra missiles can help u proc CW.

Edited by dunehunter
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If you often use Combusting Wounds: take Arcane Bolts, as you will be able to proc Wounds more often that way.

Otherwise go for Elemental Bolts.

P.S. If it was a cipher, Elemental Bolts would have an upper hand in any case, since he craves for more focus, and +12% combined lash helps with that a bit.

P.P.S. Didn't notice dunehunter's edit before posting)

Edited by MaxQuest

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4 hours ago, dunehunter said:

Edit: and People says since you seldomly attack with the weapon so 15% to proc missile is less attractive, that is totally wrong, because there is nothing to do with HOW FREQUENTLY you use the weapon, for the long term playthrough only mathematical expectation matters. Elemental Bolts better is just because after calculation it has higher DPS, and that's it, nothing to do with how frequently u attack. And I can think only one case that Arcane Bolt is better, that is if u cast Combusting Wounds on enemies and the extra missiles can help u proc CW.

No, I'm going to stick to my guns on what I said. If you only auto-attack 2-3 times in a fight, the chance that you will experience the damage bonus of your 15% chance is very low. This means that in most fights you will experience absolutely no benefit to your DPS. With elemental bolts you will always get an increase to your DPS in every fight.


Mathematical averages across an entire playthrough are unhelpful with these kinds of issues IMO. The relevant question is, "how helpful will this be for me in any given fight?" Or: "If I'm struggling with a fight, how likely is this to make a difference?" Arcane bolts are not likely to be helpful at all in any given fight for a caster as the chance to see the effect is so low. If you are playing a weapon-attack focused character, however, who attacks frequently during every fight, you may expect arcane bolts to be helpful in any given fight.

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10 hours ago, Ivanfyodorovich said:

I can confirm that Blightheart lash applies to spells, also. 

Well, I bought Spearcaster now.  It's pretty devastating, especially with the modal.

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8 hours ago, Jayd said:

No, I'm going to stick to my guns on what I said. If you only auto-attack 2-3 times in a fight, the chance that you will experience the damage bonus of your 15% chance is very low. This means that in most fights you will experience absolutely no benefit to your DPS. With elemental bolts you will always get an increase to your DPS in every fight.


Mathematical averages across an entire playthrough are unhelpful with these kinds of issues IMO. The relevant question is, "how helpful will this be for me in any given fight?" Or: "If I'm struggling with a fight, how likely is this to make a difference?" Arcane bolts are not likely to be helpful at all in any given fight for a caster as the chance to see the effect is so low. If you are playing a weapon-attack focused character, however, who attacks frequently during every fight, you may expect arcane bolts to be helpful in any given fight.

You're arguing about how the weapon 'feels', rather than which is mathematically superior.  Which is fine, but you should realise that's what you're doing.  Dunehunter is absolutely correct, mathematically speaking, there is no difference between a proc chance vs a percentage lash, all other things being equal.

However, that's not to say that your point is weak in any way - how a weapon feels is often a large part of why people choose to use weapons!

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1 hour ago, Yosharian said:

You're arguing about how the weapon 'feels', rather than which is mathematically superior.  Which is fine, but you should realise that's what you're doing.  Dunehunter is absolutely correct, mathematically speaking, there is no difference between a proc chance vs a percentage lash, all other things being equal.

However, that's not to say that your point is weak in any way - how a weapon feels is often a large part of why people choose to use weapons!

What I said has nothing to do with how it "feels" dude... let me see if I can explain with an example...


Imagine a ridiculous case in which a weapon has a 0.1% chance to do one billion damage. So long as you use it enough that the chance proc at least once in a playthrough approaches 1, your expected damage output expressed as a mathematical average is going to dwarf anything else that exists in the game by a whole lot. But that still doesn't mean much of anything in practical terms because in almost every fight you are ever in, the ability will do absolutely nothing. The same thing is true with Arcane bolts on a caster: once in a while you will get a spike of damage, but the vast majority of the time it simply will not help.

 

Abstracting total damage across a playthrough is a useful tool of comparison in many cases, but it misses much that is of real, tangible value to an actual person playing a video game, where the pertinent question is not so much "what is the max theoretical damage value I can hit as an average across 200hrs of play?" and more "which abilities do I choose so that my character can most effectively kill the baddies I want him to kill, when I want him to kill them?" 

 

 

 

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Yeah, yes. Elemental Bolts is usually the better enchantment since lashes are a multiplicative dmg modifier while Missiles are just additive dmg. Also those missiles won't scale with Power Level afaik since they originate from a weapon and not you. They might scale with weapon quality though. Usually I also value random dmg bonuses (proc chances) lower than lashes since they are unreliable. Example: even if the average dmg is the same on paper, the proc chance means that the dmg roll has to be high in order to balance out the randomness. High dmg rolls have a tendency to overkill. That means you have damage on paper but a lot is actually wasted.

Stuff like Combusting Wounds, Confounding Bling and The Shield Cracks might nugde you towards missiles, but in general I think Elemental Bolts is the much better enchantment.

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12 hours ago, Boeroer said:

Yeah, yes. Elemental Bolts is usually the better enchantment since lashes are a multiplicative dmg modifier while Missiles are just additive dmg. Also those missiles won't scale with Power Level afaik since they originate from a weapon and not you. They might scale with weapon quality though. Usually I also value random dmg bonuses (proc chances) lower than lashes since they are unreliable. Example: even if the average dmg is the same on paper, the proc chance means that the dmg roll has to be high in order to balance out the randomness. High dmg rolls have a tendency to overkill. That means you have damage on paper but a lot is actually wasted.

Stuff like Combusting Wounds, Confounding Bling and The Shield Cracks might nugde you towards missiles, but in general I think Elemental Bolts is the much better enchantment.

That is not what I was responding to.

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Too bad. But don't let that demotivate you. 👍


"Man - I have the exact same sweater! But without sleeves... and it has another pattern."
- P. Walterman -
"Nothing is wrong with the truth of my comment."
- SonicMage117 -

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