So, my company has been gearing up for war, and as a part of that we have been researching and testing pvp builds and weapon & skill combinations. For any noobs reading this, here’s some background information you need to know about NW mechanics:
1: Buffs and Debuffs with keywords have a cap of 50% effectiveness. So if you stack “Empower” the visible benefit you get from it caps out ant 50% increased damage to the target.
2: Debuffs in the same bucket can stack against buffs, and and thus require you to stack more buffs to hit the cap. So if you get hit with a 20% weaken, you would need 70% empower in order to hit the 50% empower cap.
3: The damage calculation formula is broken up into groups which I refer to as buckets, each buff in a bucket is additively calculated with others in the bucket, and buckets are calculated multiplicatively with each other. That is why some damage perks and passives generate a smaller measurable damage gain than the tooltip specifies.
With the Brimstone patch, AGS made an effort to add key words to tooltips, to enable the average joe to better able to process the information presented, and be able to make an informed choice. Which, I appreciate. I do think the tooltips overall look a lot cleaner. However there are a LOT of problems still, and with Great Axe specifically, pertaining to Empower cap and the tooltips for the skills and weapon perks.
This passive states, that you gain 10% damage while 3 or more foes are within 4m. However, this “bonus damage” is an Empower, NOT a bonus to raw damage.
Same story here, the capstone buffs counts towards Empower cap, but lacks any indication of such.
I haven’t tested this passive, but given the similarity in wording to Center of Attention, I think it’s fairly safe to assume that it is an Empower as well. I’ll note here, it also lacks a range for “around” you. But it is probably copy and paste bock of code from Center of Attention, so probably 4m.
The weapon perk for Fortifying Whirlwind, SAYS it increases Slashing Damage. This is a lie, it is also an Empower. Slashing Damage perk on Ring, is a raw damage increase. Slashing Damage in the passive tree is a raw damage increase. This is not.
SO… you may have figured out what the problem is by now… but if you haven’t, here it is.
The problem, is that probably most players who use Great Axe, are WAY over the empower cap, and thinking that all these passives are stacking together and increasing their damage. When in reality, if you have Mauler’s Fury up, with a Honing Stone of T3 or better, and you proc Keenly Empowered, you’re already at Empower Cap.
If you’re spinning with Whirlwind with ONLY a Honing Stone (yes this is an empower too… kek) and you have 3 enemies near you, and you have the Center of Attention passive, you’re at 45% empower.
Most pvpers stack buffs to the max, and expect to be under the effects of Oblivion at critical points in war.
This this is 15% empower. Keenly Empowered is another commonly used weapon perk (see above) that grants 15% empower.
So for effect, lets to do some optimized math. Setting the scene:
The greataxe player, sees a group of three enemy players… knowing he’s a badass and has the BEST AoE weapon in the game, he charges them with all the confidence of a power gamer. His teammate is right beside him ready to drop oblivion. He has a casual tier III honing stone running because they’re just out questing. He throws his Gravity Well, and catches both, so he charges in, and hit Whirlwind. His buddy dodge rolls in, and drops Oblivion under their feet. He’s now within 4 ft of them and Center of Attention and Surrounded are both active. He hits all 3 of them with his first 4 hits, and now Mauler’s Fury is at maximum stacks. He saw one crit, so his Keenly Empowered buff is active. One of the fools tried to block him, so Frustration is active. He has them RIGHT where he wants them! He hits Maelstrom, the Coup de Grace of his AoE rotation, Gravity Well explodes in their faces, SPIN! SPIN!.. and no one is dead. All 3 are only at half health. WHY?
15% Empower from Oblivion,
15% Empower from Keenly Empowered,
15% Empower from Frustration,
5% “Bonus Damage” (Empower) from Honing Stone
Empower is now capped
30% “Bonus Damage” (Empower) from Mauler’s Fury
10% “Bonus Damage” (Empower) from Center of Attention
50% “Bonus Slash Damage” (Empower) from Fortifying Whirlwind
15% Empower from Greed
For part of the time:
30% “Bonus Damage” (Empower) from Surrounded
Additional Possible Sources of Empower:
20% from Empowering Breaker (on gloves)
16% from Shirking Empower (Amulet)
An optimized Bruiser player dipping from all the possible empower sources, and taking all the big juicy damage perks, is putting himself WAY WAY WAY WAY… over the Empower cap. Conservatively, double the empower cap, but possibly even TRIPPLE.
The Damage output of whirlwind is TERRIBLE, because everything is an empower. You’re already at empower cap, so all those big numbers on the tooltip are irrelevant.
Slotting the weapon perk ON the weapon is gratuitous above and beyond the base form of the perk on armor, which ALREADY over caps both empower and fortify for the duration.
AGS needs to standardize how they scale damage on weapon abilities, as well as how they annotate the tooltips. My friends and I shouldn’t have to do all this work, just to figure out why we aren’t seeing any increase in damage from an ability when we keep stacking “increase damage” buff passives.
If all these passives are converted from empower to the raw damage they SAY they are, Great Axe will be BEYOND over powered, but if they leave the math as is, and just change the tooltip to say “empower” at least people can do the math for themselves and know what to avoid. I just think it’s shitty to select a passive or a weapon perk that SAYS it does one thing, and it does something completely different that also happens to be 100% useless.