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The Cipher & The Soul Whip

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Forgive me if this has been answered before, but with regard to a Cipher's focus generation via the Soul Whip modal is the amount of focus generated dependant on the amount of damage done or is it fixed? I'm trying to work out which would be better, big heavy hits that do a lot of damage but are slow, or small rapid hits that are fast.

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I think it's something like rounded down 1/4 of total damage done (eg. 18 dam -> +4 Focus). So dependant on the amount of damage after DR substraction. But also you have to hit the target, no Focus on miss.

Edited by ushas
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I wonder does Draining Whip's +2 focus per hit get applied before or after the rounding? If it's after it seems like that'd make the blunderbuss pretty great for a cipher. 

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Honestly, using biting whip and an arquebus or blunderbuss to open with I've never really needed more focus for cipher. I used to take Draining Whip and/or Greater Focus but they just don't seem at all useful as long as you have a good gun.

 

They could unlimit the cipher's focus and it'd make no difference to me.

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Honestly, using biting whip and an arquebus or blunderbuss to open with I've never really needed more focus for cipher. I used to take Draining Whip and/or Greater Focus but they just don't seem at all useful as long as you have a good gun.

 

They could unlimit the cipher's focus and it'd make no difference to me.

 

Nice! Thanks for the tip, I wanted to know about that. I'm really interested now on playing a firearms wielding cipher.

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I wonder does Draining Whip's +2 focus per hit get applied before or after the rounding? If it's after it seems like that'd make the blunderbuss pretty great for a cipher. 

 

after, it's simply adds +2

 

Well you also have to be in combat mode, as Soul Whip activates after start of combat. I think when opening fight on neutral NPCs this bonus will not be applied (but the basic whip income still works, looks slightly inconsistent). Did some tests a few days ago about this, but I don't have the game at hand now to back this up.

Edited by ushas

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Thanks for the non-answer? If I wanted to just use guns I'd play a rogue. If I did play a cipher Im going to use mind powers. So do you know if a blunderbus could conceivably get you +2 focus for each projectile?

 

EDIT: Sincere thank you to ushas.

Edited by Shdy314

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Thanks for the non-answer? If I wanted to just use guns I'd play a rogue. If I did play a cipher Im going to use mind powers. So do you know if a blunderbus could conceivably get you +2 focus for each projectile?

 

EDIT: Sincere thank you to ushas.

If you want to cast more with a cipher, it is better to use guns, to get big chunks of focus from a single high damage shot.

 

Cipher is not very good in melee, having to cast their often lengthy powers in melee risks interrupts, plus there's just the simple fact that ciphers are not very durable.

 

Some quick tests shooting some Skaen nubs:

 

Hunting Bow -> 27 damage, gained 6 focus.

Crossbow -> 42 damage, gained 11 focus.

Leadsplitter -> Doesn't display its damage(but all shots hitting/grazing), gained 31 focus

Arquebus -> 109 damage, gained 27 focus

 

That's without draining whip.

With draining whip -

 

Hunting Bow -> 22 damage, gained 8 focus

Crossbow -> 40 damage, gained 12 focus

Leadsplitter -> (all shots hitting/grazing), gained 44 focus.

Arquebus -> 72(grazed) damage, gained 19 focus

 

Keep in mind a few of these may've been overkill shots(more damage than target has stamina left) not sure if that affects anything.

Biting whip gets you more focus from dealing more damage which is nice on its own, which makes it IMO the better talent. But draining whip does seem to give its bonus on hit rather per/damage from what I can tell. It's hard to tell with leadsplitter.

Edited by Odd Hermit
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Thank you for the answer. I wasn't planning on using melee on a cipher. Just idly wondering if the blunderbuss' projectiles offered an interesting synergy with a talent.

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From comments on SA josh sawyer said he thought it was 2 damage = 1 focus but he wasn't sure. From the testing I've done in the beta, biting whip is best for high might builds and draining makes high Dex builds work. With a blunderbuss you can benefit at higher levels from taking both. It also depends a bit on the opponent's DR; at high DR draining is a little more useful.

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Thank you for the answer. I wasn't planning on using melee on a cipher. Just idly wondering if the blunderbuss' projectiles offered an interesting synergy with a talent.

 

Ahhh see my edit I may've been wrong.

 

Focus gains definitely are based on damage dealt, but it looks like the focus gain from draining whip might be per hit considering the bigger gap between non-draining leadsplitter hit and draining leadsplitter hit.

Edited by Odd Hermit

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Good question. I think +2 bonus is actually applied per each hit/graze/crit -> each successfully landed projectile:) In comparison, the basic Whip ability sums all the AOE damage and rounds down 25% of it... It's like to have two different mechanics. So in case of Blunderbusess the talent may be even more useful, I guess?

 

I think what Odd Hermit says is also interesting regardless to weapons. You start combat with amount of Focus, which is actually 1/2 of maximal Focus one can reach, or so. One of the viable tactics may be to start with generating more Focus first and then unleash Cipher powers... Sorry in case stating obvious. The mechanic isn't explained well.

 

Correct me if wrong, I think the level progression is:

Focus = (15 + 5 * (LVL - 1))

Focus_max = 2 * Focus.

Edited by ushas

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Thanks for the non-answer? If I wanted to just use guns I'd play a rogue. If I did play a cipher Im going to use mind powers. So do you know if a blunderbus could conceivably get you +2 focus for each projectile?

 

EDIT: Sincere thank you to ushas.

If you want to cast more with a cipher, it is better to use guns, to get big chunks of focus from a single high damage shot.

 

Cipher is not very good in melee, having to cast their often lengthy powers in melee risks interrupts, plus there's just the simple fact that ciphers are not very durable.

 

Some quick tests shooting some Skaen nubs:

 

Hunting Bow -> 27 damage, gained 6 focus.

Crossbow -> 42 damage, gained 11 focus.

Leadsplitter -> Doesn't display its damage(but all shots hitting/grazing), gained 31 focus

Arquebus -> 109 damage, gained 27 focus

 

That's without draining whip.

With draining whip -

 

Hunting Bow -> 22 damage, gained 8 focus

Crossbow -> 40 damage, gained 12 focus

Leadsplitter -> (all shots hitting/grazing), gained 44 focus.

Arquebus -> 72(grazed) damage, gained 19 focus

 

Keep in mind a few of these may've been overkill shots(more damage than target has stamina left) not sure if that affects anything.

Biting whip gets you more focus from dealing more damage which is nice on its own, which makes it IMO the better talent. But draining whip does seem to give its bonus on hit rather per/damage from what I can tell. It's hard to tell with leadsplitter.

 

 

Ah. thank for that data. Sorry I didn't saw your post before.

Biting whip is hard to test as it's another damage modifier for randomly pulled damage from the range. Isn't it like +20%, so together with the basic whip +40% when under maximal Focus?

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Ah. thank for that data. Sorry I didn't saw your post before.

Biting whip is hard to test as it's another damage modifier for randomly pulled damage from the range. Isn't it like +20%, so together with the basic whip +40% when under maximal Focus?

 

 

It at least says in the tooltip x1.2 damage. And with it active, soul whip's tooltip has "Self: 1.2x Damage, 1.2x Damage"

Edited by Odd Hermit

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Good question. I think +2 bonus is actually applied per each hit/graze/crit -> each successfully landed projectile:) In comparison, the basic Whip ability sums all the AOE damage and rounds down 25% of it... It's like to have two different mechanics. So in case of Blunderbusess the talent may be even more useful, I guess?

 

I think what Odd Hermit says is also interesting regardless to weapons. You start combat with amount of Focus, which is actually 1/2 of maximal Focus one can reach, or so. One of the viable tactics may be to start with generating more Focus first and then unleash Cipher powers... Sorry in case stating obvious. The mechanic isn't explained well.

 

Correct me if wrong, I think the level progression is:

Focus = (15 + 5 * (LVL - 1))

Focus_max = 2 * Focus.

Seems to be base 10 focus + 5 focus/level, yeah., and twice that is your "max."

 

Presuming that it is 1/4 of damage dealt == focus gained:

 

From some rough back of the napkin calculations, a blunderbuss shot at the current base 6-9 per shot is going to average around 60 damage per shot, assuming everything hits, against an unarmored opponent, and presuming Might 10. So if focus gain is 1/4 damage dealt, that would be 15 focus gained from the base damage. If you take biting whip, you'd deal 72 damage instead average, and thus get 18 focus, for a gain of six focus vs. base. 

 

Conversely, the same shot would give you 15 base focus (from damage) + 16 focus (from the talent) if you took Draining Whip. So almost twice as much focus gained -- 31 focus vs. 18! But would only do 60 damage instead of 72. 

 

If you're going against an armored target -- say someone in plate -- the numbers get even more skewed.

 

On the other hand, let's say you've made a character with 18 Might. That gives you a 24% damage bonus. 

So your base 60 damage is now 74.4 damage, average, so you're getting 18.6 Focus per shot. Add Biting Whip and you're doing  89.28 points of damage, average, and getting 22.32 focus per shot. 

 

Let's say you also have a "Superb" enchantment on your blunderbuss (for an additional, what, 50% damage?) and a Burning Lash enchantment (for another 25% damage). I'm actually not sure how those formulas all work together (does biting whip enhance the burning lash, or is it calc'd separately off the base?) but let's say your base damage is 60 x 1.24(might) x 1.5 (quality enchant) x 1.25 (lash enchant) that gives 139.5 base damage; if biting lash multiplies off that total, that's then 167.4 damage (or about 27 additional points of damage), and you're getting 41.85 focus per blast average, about seven points of which is additional focus from the biting whip.

 

So yeah you're actually always going to get more focus from the draining whip than from biting whip, even with top end enchantments and a reasonably high Might. When I ran those numbers in Beta 435 the calculation I got was that biting whip was better late-game but the nerfs to blunderbuss damage seem to have changed that. On the other hand, if you can get a blunderbuss early on, even with biting whip you're still going to be getting just shy of 20 focus per shot before you even start enchanting it up. And twenty focus is *plenty* at low levels -- at second level that will top out your meter if you open with it before casting. So I'm not sure the extra focus from draining whip is worth the lost damage.

 

I think the "best" option for a blunderbuss Cipher is probably to take Biting Whip at 2nd level, but more for the long term damage boost than for the focus gain. At fourth level take Ruffian skill set for the accuracy boost (and go get the Leadspitter). At 6th level go ahead and take draining whip *also*, because by that point, your focus meter is getting big enough that having the nice reliable boost from draining whip might be a big help. At 8th level probably want penetrating shot.

 

On the other hand, there's definitely something to be said for taking Draining Whip early, especially if you find yourself facing a lot of heavily armored enemies. 

Edited by Dr. Hieronymous Alloy

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Thanks for the insight. It's definitely useful consider the level progression of class.

 

Just, I'm not sure whether I get calculations you are making there. Lets consider this:

 


On the other hand, let's say you've made a character with 18 Might. That gives you a 24% damage bonus. 

So your base 60 damage is now 74.4 damage, average, so you're getting 18.6 Focus per shot. Add Biting Whip and you're doing  89.28 points of damage, average, and getting 22.32 focus per shot. 

 

Let's say you also have a "Superb" enchantment on your blunderbuss (for an additional, what, 50% damage?) and a Burning Lash enchantment (for another 25% damage). I'm actually not sure how those formulas all work together (does biting whip enhance the burning lash, or is it calc'd separately off the base?) but let's say your base damage is 60 x 1.24(might) x 1.5 (quality enchant) x 1.25 (lash enchant) that gives 139.5 base damage; if biting lash multiplies off that total, that's then 167.4 damage (or about 27 additional points of damage), and you're getting 41.85 focus per blast average, about seven points of which is additional focus from the biting whip.

 

Shouldn't be damage calculation done additive? Sensuki and others were posting proposals to change x1.2 to +20% in descriptions, because that would be probably more clear. But that's probably not case of Lashes, those were in the last Beta calculated from whole damage (which is lowered by the corresponding DR).

 

If I would take your average damage 60. My guess is that the calculation may be

 

Normal Cipher with Might 18 and superb quality:
60 x [ 1.0 + 0.24(might) + 0.45(quality) + 0.2(base Soul Whip)] = 113.40 Pierce + 28.35 Burn
-> 35 Focus

 

The same Cipher with Biting Whip talent:
60 x [ 1.0 + 0.24(might) + 0.45 (quality) + 0.2 (base Soul Whip) + 0.2 (Biting Whip talent)] = 125.40 Pierce + 31.35 Burn
-> 39 Focus ?

 

I was assuming burn DR == pierce DR

This may be wrong, so feel free to correct it. Also I'm not sure about Lashes, you raised a good point. I will try to check it too.

Edited by ushas

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does biting whip enhance the burning lash, or is it calc'd separately off the base?

 

So it looks like it enhances.

 

 

Cipher (9 Might) with Biting whip + Superb Arbales with Crushing Lash against targer with Pierce DR=10 and Crush DR=12.5:

Damage range = (32 - 40) * [ 1.0 - 0.03(might) + 0.45(quality) + 0.2(soul whip) + 0.2(biting whip) ]  = (58.24 - 72.80) Piercing

 

In combat log:

(70.6 - DR:10) = 60.8 Pierce + 14.5 Crush

 

Which fits to the estimated range.  Meaning, the Biting whip also contributes to the Lash damage: (70.6 - DR:12.5) / 4 = 14.525 Crush

 

From this attack Cipher gets 18 Focus <- (60.8 + 14.5) / 4 = 18.825

 

So I guess Ciphers may embrace lash enchantments?:)

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Heh, thanks, yeah, I just saw Ushas' bug post. I'd been assuming that the description he pointed out was a typo, that basic soul whip gave no damage enhancement, and that biting whip just added 20%. If base soul whip added 20% and biting adds an additional 20%, and then lashes *too*, yeah, the more damage multipliers you stack, the more the Biting Whip pays off. 

 

Honestly I think the real "intent" of Draining Whip is for melee ciphers using dual weild against high-DR targets. If you have a 20 dex character you could start pumping out lots of attacks very fast, rack up lots of +2 Focus, low damage hits, and also dump out your powers very fast too. It does have that nice synergy with the blunderbuss though that makes it worth considering even if you're going for a high might, low dex build, but probably not as your first talent.

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eh, sorry for misleading:) I guess you are referring to one when description of Soul whip changes when you are in combat and have Biting whip talent -- there was x2.4 damage written.

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eh, sorry for misleading:) I guess you are referring to one when description of Soul whip changes when you are in combat and have Biting whip talent -- there was x2.4 damage written.

Oh it's not you it's the description, right. Thank you for pointing out the ambiguity.

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It's been several versions since I've given the cipher attention, but I have always favored quick rapid attacks for several reasons.

 

Since you always start combat with a given focus, you typically only need a bit more to get what is needed for most battles.  Smaller weapons, like stilettos, also better penetrate DT/DR which makes your focus collection more reliable. The use of focus oriented talents augment anything these smaller weapons lack. Most importantly, smaller/faster weapons strike more quickly, and recover faster. The goal is to cast spells, not gather focus to mount on your wall.

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It's been several versions since I've given the cipher attention, but I have always favored quick rapid attacks for several reasons.

 

Since you always start combat with a given focus, you typically only need a bit more to get what is needed for most battles.  Smaller weapons, like stilettos, also better penetrate DT/DR which makes your focus collection more reliable. The use of focus oriented talents augment anything these smaller weapons lack. Most importantly, smaller/faster weapons strike more quickly, and recover faster. The goal is to cast spells, not gather focus to mount on your wall.

 

 

That's precisely why I like big slow weapons on the cipher, though. With one alpha strike you attack once, get a great big pile of focus, and then cast for the rest of the fight.  I don't like using lots of small attacks because then I'm spending a lot of time attacking instead of spending a lot of time casting. Instead I just blast once then immediately stop bothering with the weapons and move to casting.

 

That said yeah either approach can work so long as you build for it appropriately.

Edited by Dr. Hieronymous Alloy

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You automatically get focus back to a certain amount every time you leave combat as well so you don't need to worry about having enough for the next fight, one big hit from a blunderbuss/arquebus could be all you need for shorter encounters.

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While I understand the virtue of using the blunderbuss to gather a large sum of focus, I specifically do not like its long recovery. After eliminating or disrupting the VIP, I like to keep my Ciphers reactive to screen anything that doesn't go according to plan. Long recovery times inhibit that greatly. Were my use of the Cipher much less time sensitive, I would probably favor your strategy.

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