What is Auto Attack?
If you engage combat and just stand there, not clicking any Combat Arts, Spells, etc. you will still swing your weapon every few seconds. So what’s the big deal? Well for some classes like scouts and fighters, up to 40% of your damage can come from Auto Attack.
Just how much damage can you get from Auto Attack? Let’s find out…
First, you want to find out your Weapon Delay. Press I to bring up your character sheet and point at your weapon or weapons. You will see a Delay. This is typically 3-4 seconds and then 7-9 seconds for a bow if you have one. This means that your weapon will Auto Attack every 4 seconds or whatever time it says. It can be helpful to have 2 weapons with the same delay.
Now type /weapon. You will see your weapon or weapons listed with Actual Delay. You probably noticed that it’s shorter than the Delay.
This is because you are wearing some items (or have spent AA points) to increase your Haste or Attack Speed. You can wear 1 item with Haste (typically increases your Attack Speed by 10-40%) and then you can wear additional items with Attack Speed (typically 2-4 points each item). If you wear 2 Haste items, then only the highest one functions (they do not stack). When you are in a group, especially with an Enchanter (Illusionist/Coercer) or a Bard (Dirge/Troubadour) your attack speed may get boosted dramatically.
Depending on the group you are in, your Weapon Delay may shrink down to as little as ONE second.
Note: For most classes, it is a mistake to choose weapons based solely upon the shortest Delay. Once you start to take advantage of Auto Attacks, you’ll find that medium weapon delays are better.
What’s my Auto Attack?
So how much damage is your Auto Attack doing? Fire up EQ2 and type /log to start generating a Log file. Now Install Advanced Combat Tracker (ACT) and go through the setup wizard, telling it where your EQ2 is installed and where your log file is.
Now go to your Guild Hall and pickup and place a Training Dummy. Alternately you can travel to Kunzar Jungle and visit the Training Wall. Engage combat and just stand there, not casting any spells or CAs. Make sure you are in melee range so you can hit the dummy. Now switch over to ACT and watch the numbers.
Let’s say you are watching the ACT window and notice that the DPS numbers are idling between 750-850. That means your Auto Attack is doing 750-850 dps. You don’t want to lose that!
So what’s the big deal?
Before I learned about Auto Attack damage, I used to just click the Combat Arts and Spells as fast as I could, not leaving any gap or delay. I thought I was doing the best damage I could.
But if you are doing this, you are preventing or delaying your Auto Attack from going off. If you are doing 1,400 dps and you can start leaving gaps between your Combat Arts, you can increase your DPS to 2,000 dps or more.
You’ll soon become aware of roughly how many seconds there are between your Auto Attacks and make sure you are leaving a gap between casting Combat Arts so that your AA will go off as often as possible. This is called “timing” your Auto Attacks.
This is where your Actual Weapon Delay becomes important. Depending on your group or raid setup, this might shrink to as little as 1 second. This would mean leaving a 1/2 second gap between nearly every Combat Art you cast.
At the website for Advanced Combat Tracker, there are instructions to add a timer/trigger so that ACT will play a Bell sound every time your Auto Attack is ready to be fired. That way you can start learning when to leave a small gap between your attacks.
You may want to install an Auto Attack plugin for your EQ2 client. This will display a bar that fills up. When it reaches the end, that’s when your autoattack goes off. So you can learn to make sure you are not “pausing” your autoattacks by casting combat arts at the wrong time.
What about those other Statistics?
The Shadow Odyssey actually changed one of the most important statitistics for melee/ fighter dps — melee and ranged crit. These used to give a 30% bonus to all Combat Arts. But this was changed!
Melee Crit and Ranged Crit are the percent chance that on any combat art or Autoattack, you will do the Maximum Damage. For instance let’s say you have a Combat Art that will do 800-1,250 damage. If you have a Melee Crit of 50%, then 50% of the time you use that Combat Art, you will hit for 1,251 damage.
Whereas Melee Crit is a very important stat for Fighters and Scouts, Rangers should focus on having their Ranged Crit as high as possible as this applies to ranged attacks.
Double Attack and Ranged Double Attack are distinct from Melee and Ranged Crit. They are your percent chance that you will Auto Attack twice. Just like Melee Crit and Ranged Crit, you want these numbers to be as high as possible (the cap is 100%).
Combat Art Damage is the amount of extra damage you do with each successful Combat Art. In your Persona window, this shows up under Melee Stats as Damage Amount. +CA Damage improves the damage of your Combat Arts.
So why can’t you just get all the +Combat Art Damage items possible to increase the damage each one of your Combat Arts does? The answer is that Combat Art Damage bonus cannot give you more than 50% bonus over each of your combat arts. Let’s say you have a combat art that does 300~500 damage. 50% of 500 is 250. So your maximum base damage for that combat art is 550~750 (300+250 ~ 500+250).
Another stat is DPS Mod, which increases your Damage Per Second by a percentage amount. Any item, adornment, self-buff, or group buff which adds DPS modifies this stat. The most powerful ring for fighters and scouts until you get a similar item is the mastercrafted strength ring with a proc on it that periodically increases your DPS by 40. Keep this until you get another item with a similar effect.
EQ2 has a diminishing returns system which means that once you get to a DPS Mod of 80, the benefit starts tapering off. Each point over 80 gives you less and less improvement until you get to 200 points which gives you an actual benefit of 125% increase in DPS.
AGI vs. STR
The number one stat for Scouts is Agility (AGI), right? Absolutely not.
If you want to increase your damage, the number one stat is Strength (STR). This is followed closely by Intelligence (INT). If you mouse over each stat in the Persona window, you’ll see what each stat does. It is a common misconception that Scouts need a lot of AGI. My AGI is under 500 and it doesn’t bother me a bit. AGI does affect your Power Pool and Avoidance which are probably a big deal solo, but not in a group or raid setting.
As I mentioned above, EQ2 has a diminishing returns system which means you’re graded on a curve. Player attributes STR, INT, STA, AGI, WIS have a “Soft Cap” of 800 and “Hard Cap” is 1220. This means that once you are over 800 points, you are starting to get less benefit from each point you get.
Considering that when you are in a group or raid, you will have buffs on you which can easily gain another 100-150 STR, it’s not hard to reach 1,100 or more STR at level 80. Once you do, start looking at other stats. Predators (Assassins, Rangers) can benefit from increased Intelligence (INT) in their use of poisons to increase their damage. Bards (Troubador, Dirge) benefit from increased Intelligence (INT) in the effectiveness of their spells.
A Word About Rangers
Rangers are a special case because we can be either Auto Attacking with Melee, or we can be Auto Attacking with Ranged. Our Ranged Auto Attack does FAR more damage than melee, so we should make sure that whenever there is a gap, the Ranged attack button is toggled, rather than the Melee attack button.
I rotate my attacks between Melee and Ranged, always making sure that I do Ranged last so the next autoattack is Ranged as well. I will typically do do a Melee CA, a Ranged CA, and then pause for Ranged Autoattack, a Melee CA, a Ranged CA, and then pause for Ranged Autoattack, repeat. Sometimes I am able to do 2 ranged DAs or 2 melee CAs back-to-back and still get a Ranged Autoattack off.
It’s tricky and getting the most DPS out of a Ranger is challenging. There are a ton of rangers out there with their epic who cannot breach 1,500 dps. With the right gear, spec, and play style, you should be doing 3,000 dps.
The single biggest way to increase the damage of a Ranger is to increase Ranged Double Attack. This used to be a very difficult statistic to find on equipment; it was mostly on raid gear, but there is an AA line you can go down which gives 8%, and the TSO Void Shard Armor set gives at least 13 points if you have a full set.
For more information on all of these stats, please check out this highly detailed article by Victor. Note that there are some important corrections to the article with regards to TSO Critical Mitigation contained within the Comments.
Last Updated Sept 26, 2009.
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