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fractic
2008-09-17, 04:13 PM
There has been talk about Sure Strike being weak and how to balance it. Well let's find out how bad it really is.

Waring
Boring mathematics ahead, skip ahead to the conclusion if you aren't interested in that.

Let's start of with the variables we need to know. Let str be the fighter's strength bonus, mod be the other modifiers to attack rolls and [W] be the usual.

Let's start with two-handed weapons because those are easiest. If we were to attack the same enemy 20 times with Sure Strike(SS) and then 20 times with Reaping Strike(RS), SSe would hit 2 times more. However RS will deal str damage 20 times while SS will never do str damage. RS is the following amount of damage ahead
20*str - 2([W]+mod) [levels <= 20]
20*str - 2(2[W]+mod) [levels 21+]

Let's attempt to balance at levels 11 and 26 both right in the middle of the duration for which these formulas hold. First we'll need some good values for str, [W] and mod. Two-handed weapons generally are 1d10, 1d12 or 2d6. Let's assume 1d12 for the average. Assuming starting with an 17 or 18 in str (including racial modifiers) and increasing strength at every opportunity, we get that str = +5 at level 11 and +7 at level 26. Finding the value of mod is more tricky. The usual sources are feats or class features, possible powers. It's not hard to get a +1 from weapon focus +1 from a class feature and +1 somewhere else over the course of 26 levels. Let's assume mod = +2 at level 11 and +3 at level 26.

This gives us the following results. RS will do the following amount of extra damage compared to SS:
100-13-4 = 83 [level 11]
140-26-6 = 108 [level 26]

Remember that this is averaged over 20 attacks. RS is cleary ahead.

Now for one handed weapons. Since RS only does half str damage on a miss with a one handed weapons we need to know how often we hit. Let n be the average amount of hits in 20 attacks. A recent thread shows that n varies somewhere between 8 and 13 if you just take strenght, weapon enhancement, +2 proficiency and 1/2 level into account. Figuring there areadditional sources of bonusses to attack we can estimate n = 11 or 12. The difference is small between the two. We'll assume n = 11.

Over 20 attacks SS will hit 2 times more often and RS will do n times str and 20-n times 1/2 str extra damage. This gives us the following amounts
n*str+(20-n)*1/2str - 2([W]+mod) [level 11]
n*str+(20-n)*1/2str - 2(2[W]+mod) [level 26]

For one-handed weapons [W] is probably 1d6, 1d8 or 1d10. Let's assume 1d8. Pluggin in the numbers from before we get
55+18-9-4 = 60 [level 11]
77+27-18-6 = 80 [level 26]

Well it's not as bad as with two-handed weapons but it's still more than significant. In fact if you run SS against a basic attack the basic attack comes out ahead.

Well SS needs a boost. How to do it? There are several ideas. Increase the +2 to hit to a higher number, give it str (or 1/2str) to damage on a hit, or both. Just increasing the bonus to hit would require bumping it up all the way to around +9 or +10. That's a bit too sure of a srike for my tastes!

Adding +str to damage is an easier fix. SS still has the benefit of 2 extra hits, but RS only has the extra damage advantage on misses. We get that with this fix RS is ahead by:
9*5-13-4 = 28 [level 11 | two-handed weapon]
9*7-26-6 = 31 [level 26 | two-handed weapon]
9*2-13-4 = 1 [level 11 | one-handed weapon]
9*3-26-6 = -5 [level 26 | one-handed weapon]

That's quite close allready. RS is however a bit handicapped by str being an odd number. A few levels higher or lower when str is even RS pulls a little bit further ahead. Chaning SS to be strength+3 to attack and +strength to damage would leave RS ahead for two-handed weapons but make SS better for one-handed weapons (most notable with str odd).

There are also other factors to consider. SS is better than RS at killing minions (cleave is still better) and SS is also better at dealing the finishing blow. Also if you somehow get a bigger mod or use a bigger [W] SS improves move then RS. If you give SS strength to damage then SS also benifits from getting bonusses to hit (+3 proficiency, combat advantage, powers).

Summary
Sure Strike is a lot weaker than Reaping Strike. In fact a basic attack is better when it comes to damage output. Just making Sure Strike better at hitting would require making it around strength+10 to attack. That's not a good solution.

Making Sure Strike to [W]+strength on a hit balances it quite well. With this fix Reaping Strike still is better at dealing damage with two-handed weapons but Sure Strike is very close (maybe better, maybe worse depending on factors) with a one-handed weapon.

With this fix getting a bonus to attack or damage from somewhere (say a stance or combat advantage) favours Sure Strike more then Reaping Strike. Also consider that Sure Strike is better at killing minions or dealing the finishing blow then Reaping Strike.

Conclusion
Change Sure Strike to make it deal [W]+strength damage. This makes Sure Strike a viable choice.

Tengu_temp
2008-09-17, 04:18 PM
I always assumed Sure Strike's purpose is to kill minions, in those rare instances when there is only one enemy adjacent to you. So it's not worthless, just extremely situational.

fractic
2008-09-17, 04:20 PM
I always assumed Sure Strike's purpose is to kill minions, in those rare instances when there is only one enemy adjacent to you. So it's not worthless, just extremely situational.

Way too situational. Having only one minion and no other enemies nearby is unlikely. Not to mention that other at-will powers or classes are a lot better at dealing with minions. You can't pick 1 of your 2 at-will powers for such a situation.

Yakk
2008-09-17, 04:22 PM
This should be in homebrew, like my older thread on the same subject. :-)

The math is really:
(P+.1)A vs PA +S
where A is your non-strength-based average attack damage, and S is your strength bonus, and P is your probability to hit.

A basic attack then becomes P(A+S).

RS-SS is S-.1A, and SS is better than RS when A > 10*S. Not something that happens that often, as you noticed.

It gets slightly more complex for 1 handed weapons.

1HRS: P(A+S) + (1-P)S/2
= PA + PS + S/2 -2PS/2
= PA + PS/2 + S/2
1HRS = PA + S*(1+P)/2

which ends up being equal to SS at A = 5*(1+P)*S

SS-BA is .1A -PS, or when A = 10*P*S, where P is the base chance to hit with a basic attack. At 50%, A needs to be 5 times larger than S. At 30%, A needs to be 3 times higher than S.

Attacking it this way means you can then do the concrete plugging in reality checks afterwards. You can make estimated equations for enchantment, other, weapon, etc damage, and see if there is an interesting curve.

---

I ended up with a few possible solutions:
1> Keep the +2 to hit, and give 2 attack rolls. If either hit, deal [W] damage. If both hit, deal [W]+Wis damage.

2> Increase the to-hit to +3, and make Sure Strike a basic attack.

3> Grant (STAT) to damage and (2 + STAT/2) to hit, where STAT varies by weapon type. Axe, Hammer, Mace = Con, Blades = Dex, Polearms = Wis. If the weapon qualifies as more than one, you pick the best stat.

4> As you noted, change it to [W]+Strength damage.

---

The problem I see with #4 is that it is relatively flavorless. :/

Tengu_temp
2008-09-17, 04:24 PM
Way too situational. Having only one minion and no other enemies nearby is unlikely. Not to mention that other at-will powers or classes are a lot better at dealing with minions. You can't pick 1 of your 2 at-will powers for such a situation.

In that case, the suggestion you're giving makes Sure Strike too good. Combine it with Fighter Weapon Talent and it's better than Valiant Strike in most cases.

Kurald Galain
2008-09-17, 04:26 PM
I always assumed Sure Strike's purpose is to kill minions

Killing minions is the wizard's job.

fractic
2008-09-17, 04:30 PM
In that case, the suggestion you're giving makes Sure Strike too good. Combine it with Fighter Weapon Talent and it's better than Valiant Strike in most cases.

I think it's best to leave FWT out of the equation because there are powers similar (or equal to) Sure Strike, such as the rangers Careful Attack. Valiant Strike is sometimes better, sometimes worse.

fractic
2008-09-17, 04:34 PM
This should be in homebrew, like my older thread on the same subject. :-)

I'll post in homebrew next time. I haven't seen your thread before.

I ended up with a few possible solutions:
1> Keep the +2 to hit, and give 2 attack rolls. If either hit, deal [W] damage. If both hit, deal [W]+Wis damage.

2> Increase the to-hit to +3, and make Sure Strike a basic attack.

3> Grant (STAT) to damage and (2 + STAT/2) to hit, where STAT varies by weapon type. Axe, Hammer, Mace = Con, Blades = Dex, Polearms = Wis. If the weapon qualifies as more than one, you pick the best stat.

4> As you noted, change it to [W]+Strength damage.

The problem I see with #4 is that it is relatively flavorless. :/

It is indeed kind of bland but your other solutions have their own issues.

1 slows the game down.
2 wouldn't help unless you have a warlord or are going for opportunity attacks while not wielding bladed weapons.
3 could very well make it too strong.
4 is bland.

Tengu_temp
2008-09-17, 04:35 PM
Valiant Strike is sometimes better, sometimes worse.

It's better only when you're surrounded by 4 or more enemies. If you're surrounded by 5 or more enemies, it means at least two of them are flanking you. It's a strength-based power, and strength-based paladins aren't as tanky as charisma-based ones - if you're surrounded by such a large group, you usually are doing something wrong.

Starbuck_II
2008-09-17, 04:45 PM
---

I ended up with a few possible solutions:
1> Keep the +2 to hit, and give 2 attack rolls. If either hit, deal [W] damage. If both hit, deal [W]+Wis damage.

2> Increase the to-hit to +3, and make Sure Strike a basic attack.

3> Grant (STAT) to damage and (2 + STAT/2) to hit, where STAT varies by weapon type. Axe, Hammer, Mace = Con, Blades = Dex, Polearms = Wis. If the weapon qualifies as more than one, you pick the best stat.

4> As you noted, change it to [W]+Strength damage.

---

The problem I see with #4 is that it is relatively flavorless. :/

5> Change it to 2 x Strength damage. So not high damage, but reliable (since no rolling damage).

I like 2, but I think mixing 5 and 2 would be best. Like this:

Keep the to-hit to +2, and make Sure Strike a basic attack. If hit, deal 2 [Str] damage.

fractic
2008-09-17, 04:48 PM
5> Change it to 2 x Strength damage. So not high damage, but reliable (since no rolling damage).

Not so high damage? Maybe not at level 1-10 or 21-30 but at paragon tier it'll do a lot more damage with one-handed weapons.

Starbuck_II
2008-09-17, 04:54 PM
Not so high damage? Maybe not at level 1-10 or 21-30 but at paragon tier it'll do a lot more damage with one-handed weapons.

See, that makes it useful. Just more useful while Epic.

fractic
2008-09-17, 04:59 PM
See, that makes it useful. Just more useful while Epic.

I dislike that. You'd get people avoiding the power at low levels because it sucks then, but when they hit level 14 (or 8 or 4 with the right weapon) and get the stat boost that makes it better they'd retrain it in and at level 21 they'd retrain it out again.

Yakk
2008-09-17, 05:06 PM
1 slows the game down.

Naw. Roll 2d20, take the best. I'll admit the "add wis if both hit" can slow things down.

Possibly the "two chances to crit" component is enough to make it good enough.

2 wouldn't help unless you have a warlord or are going for opportunity attacks while not wielding bladed weapons.

Heavy Blade Opportunity is a paragon tier feat.

Hmmm. It should also qualify for your Combat Superiority powers (those aren't OAs)?

3 could very well make it too strong.

MAD sucks. And yes, it can become quite strong at level 30. You have to give up a +1 to hit to have a high secondary stat typically (say, 18 strength 16 con). Add +10 to both (demigod), hitting 28 str 26 con.

That's +9/+8.

Sure Strike then becomes:
+6 to hit over a normal attack
-1 damage over a normal attack

In comparison, Reaping becomes:
+0 to hit over a normal attack
+9 damage on a miss.

(P+.3)(A+8) vs (P)(A) + 9
.3A + P8 + 2.4 vs 9
.3A + P8 vs 6.6
A = (22 - 26.7*P)
is the point that sure strike becomes better than reaping strike average damage.

At 50%, this is A = 8.666666666666667. Likely to happen at level 30.

Hmm. Drop the bonus to (Str+1+Special vs AC).

(Then we get
.25 A +P8 vs 6.6
A = 32-26.4*P
At 50%, that's A = 18.8. More reasonable.

So...

Attack: Str+1+(Secondary/2) vs AC
Hit: [W] + Secondary

isn't out of balance

4 is bland.

*nod*

kc0bbq
2008-09-17, 05:11 PM
The two extra hits from SS at level 26 account for an additional 10 damage, generally, from weapon enchantments. Or generally speaking anyway, you should have +5 or so weapons at that point. It mutes the difference a bit, because you don't get weapon bonus damage when you only do STR damage.

The models even get wierder depending on crit threat range, especially with the crit damage bonuses. Over infinite damage rolls, with crit on 20, you're looking at an additional 10% of an additional 5d6 (or d8 or d12) depending on the enchantment. That's effectively 1.8-3.3 more damage from SS or more.

It starts to come closer into line with enough rolls to be truly random. It gets really hard to model with party interaction.

fractic
2008-09-17, 05:16 PM
Naw. Roll 2d20, take the best. I'll admit the "add wis if both hit" can slow things down.

Possibly the "two chances to crit" component is enough to make it good enough.

Two chances to crit is very good indeed.

MAD sucks. And yes, it can become quite strong at level 30.

[snip]

isn't out of balance

I guess it's not as bad as I initially thought. I like it.

fractic
2008-09-17, 05:19 PM
The two extra hits from SS at level 26 account for an additional 10 damage, generally, from weapon enchantments. Or generally speaking anyway, you should have +5 or so weapons at that point. It mutes the difference a bit, because you don't get weapon bonus damage when you only do STR damage.

Oops I forgot too add those in my post. I had them in my original calculations. The conclusion was the same though.

The models even get wierder depending on crit threat range, especially with the crit damage bonuses. Over infinite damage rolls, with crit on 20, you're looking at an additional 10% of an additional 5d6 (or d8 or d12) depending on the enchantment. That's effectively 1.8-3.3 more damage from SS or more.

It starts to come closer into line with enough rolls to be truly random. It gets really hard to model with party interaction.

Crits make no difference since both strikes score a crit the same number of times and critting makes no difference in the damage besides the [W].

kc0bbq
2008-09-17, 05:33 PM
Oops I forgot too add those in my post. I had them in my original calculations. The conclusion was the same though.

Crits make no difference since both strikes score a crit the same number of times and critting makes no difference in the damage besides the [W].1) conclusion is the same, but not as pronounced.

2) Enchanted weapons of all sorts do additional damage on a crit. One die per plus. The die varies. Staves do +xd8 per plus (even on a critical spell when it's used as an implement), vorpal and, umm, Vicious(?) do d12s. Most do d6s. Vorpal is even wierder to figure because you can blow the top off, so you have a 5/12 or 6/12 chance of another piece of a d12, and 1/12 per additional dice, ad infinitum.

You're right, they crit the same amount over infinite time, I goofed there. My brain had crossed over into a mystery world filled with party interaction and broke.

You ninja'ed my edit, lol.

fractic
2008-09-17, 05:36 PM
Enchanted weapons of all sorts do additional damage on a crit. One die per plus. The die varies. Staves do +xd8 per plus, vorpal and, umm, Vicious(?) do d12s. Most do d6s. Vorpal is even wierder to figure because you can blow the top off, so you have a 5/12 or 6/12 chance of another piece of a d12, and again, ad infinitum. They also score crits at the same rate, but with more hits the SS does proportionately more critting over a unit of time.

You can use those weapons with either power. In 20 attacks you will score 1 crit on average (or 2 with a feat). Instead of 1[W]+stuff it will do 1[MW] +stuff where [MW] is the damage on a crit. It doesn't matter what [MW] is, since both sides get it the same number of times so it cancels out.