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Descriptive Statistics and the EQ Magic System - Part 1

Author: Nenelar Valandur, High Elf Elementalist, E�ci (nenelar@hotmail.com)   Organization: N/A

My Purpose

I�ve read many comparisons of spells on many website and many online forums.Almost exclusively the power of spells is compared based on the maximum damage they can deliver and the efficiency of mana put into those spells is compared by the ratio: Point of damage per point of mana.

These are valid measures for comparison.However, they tell a very limited story in terms of the true power and efficiency of the classes.My purpose is to offer a more complete view of casting power using different statistics than what I�ve seen proposed previously.But first let me start with what seems to be a reasonable argument using the old statistics:

What We Think We Know

Facts:

The level 60 wizard spell �Sunstrike� costs 450 and does 1615 maximum damage.That�s a ratio of 450:1615 or 1:3.59.

The level 60 magician spell �Seeking Flame of Seukor� costs 350 mana and does 1024 maximum damage.That�s a ratio of 350:1024 or 1:3.2.

Conclusion:

At level 60, the wizard is roughly 10% more mana efficient than the magician and does roughly 60% more damage.

Note:Many of you don�t care about the numbers. It�s OK to prefer to play the game without knowing the numbers behind it.You don�t have to read further than this.Go play�have fun!I find this type of research into the game fun.That�s why I do it.I also like to know as much as I can about my class.If you�re like me, read on.If not, I cannot be held responsible for the increased awareness you may obtain by reading further!This isn�t a rant about anything!

Quick Reference Glossary:

Some basic knowledge of terminology is assumed below.You�ll need to understand the following concepts:

Tick

the basic unit of time in EQ equal to 6 seconds of real time.

Casting time

the time it takes to channel mana into the spell.This is represented by the purple channeling bar that appears when you click a spell.

Recovery time

the time it takes you as a caster to �recover� from the task of channeling.This is represented by the grayed out spell gems after casting.

Recast time

certain spells have an additional time to �reset.�Only that spell gem will remain grayed out, after all others have become available.

DD

Direct Damage.A spell that does all its damage in a single blast is called a DD spell.

DOT

Damage Over Time.A spell that does a certain amount of damage every tick throughout its duration is called a DOT spell.

The Descriptive Statistics

Mana to Damage Multiplier (MDM) The power of a class to convert mana into damage is different for each spell and generally increases with player level.MDM is the multiplier (a constant) that solves the equation: ManaCost * MDM = MaximumSpellDamage for a given spell.Or, restated: MDM = MaximumSpellDamage / ManaCost.�� Low level spells usually have a MDM of less than 1 since they cost more mana than they do in damage, whereas high level spells are always above 1.This is not really different than the ratio expressed the old way.Its value will not become apparent until a later analysis is published.

Example:

  • Seeking Flame of Seukor (Magician, 59) has a mana cost of 320 and does 1024 max damage.MDM is therefore 1024 damage / 320 mana = 3.2
  • Sunstrike (Wizard, 60) has a mana cost of 450 and does 1615 max damage.MDM is therefore 1615 damage / 450 mana = 3.59

In this example, the Wizard spell is indeed roughly 10% more mana efficient than the Magician spell.

Damage Per Tick (DPT)

The power of a class to deliver damage within a given period of time also changes as players grow in experience.This measure is important as it scales the speed with which a caster can deliver damage.Most DD spells have a recovery time of 2.5 seconds (time before any spell may be cast) and some spells have a recast waiting period.By adding the time to cast the spell and the greater of the time to recover or time to recast, a total time invested for a spell can be obtained.This number should be used for comparison�s sake only since DD spells do not actually deliver damage per tick.This statistic will be used later to compare spells, for now I simply describe it here.Its value will not become apparent until a later analysis is published.

Example:

  • Seeking Flame of Seukor (Magician, 59) has a casting time of 7 seconds and a recover of 2.5 seconds.Total time invested in casting this spell is therefore 9.5 seconds.The spell does 1024 max damage in a single instant of time during that 9.5 seconds. (7 seconds of channeling, bang! 1024 damage, 2.5 seconds of recovery)�� 9.5 seconds is 1.58 ticks.1024 damage / 1.58 ticks = 647 damage per tick.
  • Sunstrike (Wizard, 60) has a casting time of 7 seconds and a recover of 2.5 seconds.Total time invested in casting this spell is therefore also 9.5 seconds.1615 damage / 1.58 ticks = 1020 damage per tick

In this example, the Wizard spell delivers 57.6% more damage per tick than the Magician (while both have mana to cast).

Full Mana Damage (FMD)

The power of a casting class to deliver damage is further defined by the total mana available to that caster.All things being equal, more mana means more damage.While DPT measures the speed with which damage is delivered, FMD seeks to quantify the total damage a caster could do with a full bar of mana.For any given spell, this calculation is: FMD = (TotalManaAvailable / SpellManaCost) * SpellMaxDamage.

The first part of this calculation requires that the quantity of mana when full be known.This is unfortunately, one of the mysteries of EQ.I am using the approximate formula: ((Intelligence / 5) + 2) * LevelofCaster to estimate the mana available to a caster.While this formula is likely not the exact formula used in the game, it is a close approximate.Further, since this analysis uses the same formula for all classes compared, it does not bias any class.(Note: The druid is a priest class and uses Wisdom instead of Intelligence for mana, but the formula is the same).For the purposes of this analysis, a constant number of 200 for Intelligence or Wisdom is used.Therefore, total mana available is: (200/5) + 2 * Level = 42 * Level.

Example:

  • A level 1 caster would have 42 mana.A level 60 caster would have 60 * 42 = 2520 mana.
  • If the level 60 wizard were to cast Sunstrike (mana cost 450, 1615 damage), the calculation would be: FMD = (2520 / 450) * 1615 = 9044.
  • If a level 60 magician were to cast Seeking Flame of Seukor (mana cost 320, 1024 damage), the calculation would be: FMD = (2520 / 320) * 1024 = 7930.

In this example, the Wizard does 1,114 more damage with full mana than the Magician at level 60 (when both have equal mana available to cast).

Full Mana Ticks (FMT)

In the above example, the total damage capacity with full mana was calculated.However, the ability of a casting class to deliver this damage is dependent on the time each spell cast requires.The sum of all the casting time required to �chain cast� a full bar of mana can be expressed in ticks to compare the time efficiency of casting classes.The formula looks like this: FMT = (TotalManaAvailable / SpellManaCost) * SpellTimeInvestment.Recall from the DPT example, that there are three components to consider in SpellTimeInvestment: Casting time, recovery time and recast time.Most spells have only a recovery time.For such spells, casting time and recovery time can be added together to calculate the total time invested in a single cast of that spell.�� However, if a spell has a recast time greater than the recovery time, that time is added to casting time instead of the recovery time.

Example:

  • The spell Suntrike requires 7 seconds to channel and 2.5 seconds of recovery.The time to burn a full bar of mana on this spell at level 60 is therefore: (2520 / 450) * 9.5 = 53 seconds = 8.83 ticks.
  • The spell Seeking Flame of Seukor also requires 7 seconds to channel and 2.5 seconds of recovery.The time to burn a full bar of mana on this spell at level 60 is therefore: (2520 / 350) * 9.5 = 74 = 12.33 ticks.

In this example, the wizard not only does more damage, the wizard does it 3.5 ticks (21 seconds faster)!

What We Thought We Knew:

At level 60, the wizard is roughly 10% more mana efficient and does roughly 60% more damage than a level 60 magician.

What We Now Know:

At level 60, a wizard is roughly 10% more mana efficient, 39% more time efficient, delivers about 14% more damage per bar of mana, and delivers 57% more damage in the same amount of time as a level 60 magician.

Note: We haven�t accounted for the magician�s pet, the wizard�s pet, or the wizard�s inherently lower resists.Those will all be discussed later.

Conclusion

The current statistics used to describe and compare spells tell only a partial story.Like most partial truths, these statistics lead us to make seemingly logical conclusions that are in fact incomplete at best, or at worst totally false.The new statistics above make enable better comparisons within the magic system of EQ.

In the next analysis, I plan to discuss the power curves from level 1 to 60 of a few casting classes (I�m a magician, so you can bet it will be one of the classes).In this discussion, I�ll quantify the derivative of the power curve at each spell level�something that I think will prove interesting in the level 51 to 60 spell range!

Again, I don�t know if there�s many people like me who are �into� the magic system at this level.My hope is that there are.I know the ArchMage has to be aware of the system to this extent and beyond�how can we expect him to take rants seriously when they�re based on incomplete statistics?

I may be reached for comment at nenelar@hotmail.com.