Wednesday, 2 June 2010

WAR Stats: Debuffing Initiative

Thanks to a comment in my last WAR Stats post from the venerable TzuDevil I'm going to discuss Initiative debuffs and their effect on your chance to be crit.

TzuDevil's comment was that debuffing Initiative is HUGE. He's right. Here's an example:

I am aloofly striding into battle with my Swordmaster and start attacking the insidious Evillyn. Using Nature's Blade enchantment that is core to all Swordmaters and with points in the right tree I have a chance on any attack to steal 120 pts from a random stat, including initiative.

A reminder that the formula before bonuses from items for Chance to be Crit is 35/Initiative

Evillyn has an initiative of around 200 and one -3% Crit item on her Armour Set giving her a base chance to be crit of about 15%. I would say this is typical for most people.

I hit Evillyn a few times, get lucky and steal 120 points from her initiative reducing it from 200 to 80. Her chance to be crit has now increased from 15% to 45%! If she gets focused by DPS, even just a little, she'll probably cark it.

The good news for Evillyn is the SM initiative debuff is a bit random. The bad news is that a Witch Hunter can debuff Initiative too. Blessed Bullets of Purity debuffs Initiative by 80. The Archmage has a 80pt debuff called Mistress Of The Marshes.

By the same yardstick, buffing your own or group's Initiative is very advantageous. It's all to do with the steepness of the curve at the low end. You don't want to be sitting on the steep bit, it's treacherous. Unless you stack Initiative up to around 300 a debuff is really going to hurt, so protect yourself and your allies by buffing it if you can.

If you hold true to the maxim that Bursts Kills and Crit FTW! then do what you can to debuff your opponent's initiative - it'll make a difference.

About Swordmasters
For a Swordmaster looking to assist the DPS classes the potential for Nature's Blade to debuff Initiative by 120 points makes it very hard to overlook in my eyes, and it's actually a stat steal so also buffs your entire group by the amount it steals. Very useful. The Black Orc has the mirror for Destro. It doesn't just steal iniative either, it can steal any stat.

People will argue that a Knight can do the same job of increasing crit chance much more reliably than a Swordmaster, and they may well be right. For example, the KotBS has a tactic called Dirty Tricks that increases their group's Crit chanceby 10% for 10s every time they block. This is more reliable when compared to Nature's Blade, which is more random but has a higher reward. The odds are hard to calculate but in a warband with 3 or 4 SMs all running Nature's Blade I would think that there would be enough initiative getting debuffed it would leave your enemy very vulnerable to crits, not to mention stealing and buffing your group with all the other stats.


  1. Gotta love a nice pile of crit. I try to run 250+ on my squishy toons and 300+ on my defensive toons. Very handy for spotting those damn 2-shotting WH/WE bastards too. They love being dotted out of stealth!

  2. Yeah, I always advocated stacking initiative to at least 300 on any career.

    KotBS can debuff enemies chance to be crit for flat 15% (+ increase chance to crit for 10% on block as you mention). Which you show is better on enemies that stack initiative. But I'm sure that most people don't so a SM debuffing people for 120 is actually much better and provides more group utility. Too bad it's random and just about the only thing you'd want to take a SM over KotBS (WW being the second).

    Thanks for the post. :)

  3. Something that brings the SM blade proc way up in importance is not the chance to reduce Initiative, which is solid, but usually only ends up on one or two in a crowd, but that it buffs your group by that number, making them all much better vs crits. Lots of people knock this Enchantment as useless, but it is far from it.

    And just and FYI, there are a lot of classes with very low base Initiative, like DoK's for example. I know when my DoK first hit 40 I had 155 Initiative, and I died very fast and often until I worked out the Initiative thing ;)


  4. Aye Tzu. Looking at this post...
    I can see DoKs, BOrcs and Chosen all have just 123 base initiative and are ripe for a bit of debuffing.

  5. Hmmmm, might have to start building mine up!

  6. I heard claim about ones chance to be crit being hard capped at some point (never done testing), the number that has been thrown into the room at that time was 30%.