The great Dex Fix in DAO

I’ve now staggered through hundreds of pages of misunderstanding and crying and… I thought I’d add my own two cents.

Let’s start with a bit of clarification – background.

A combat attack consists of:
1) Dodge check
2) (if not dodged) Hit check
3) (if hit) Damage check.

I need to point out the dodge check is based on the toolset information, where it’s called displacement. I do not fully understand that mechanism yet beyond the fact it exists and this is the process. I do, however, know enough of 2 and 3 to bring that together.

For hit, the way it works is the attacker’s final attack rating is compared to the defender’s final defense rating to identify the percentage chance of a hit, and then a random roll is made.

For damage, the weapon’s base number (which is fixed) gets some modifiers applied, then is checked to see if it’s a critical and if so further modified, then other modifiers are applied. The armor penetration is subtracted from the armor value and the result (which cannot be negative) is subtracted from the damage. That’s then applied to the target.

First point of confusion is that attributes modify BOTH hit and damage. For both subtract 10 to get the number that’s used – this is pretty much a constant in all the attribute driven results.

The ATTACK (to hit) attributes for ALL weapons is 1/2 of strength and 1/2 of dexterity. No, no quibbles about how crossbows don’t need the strength and all that sort of stuff apply – it’s the mechanics of the game, leave reality out of it.

Though it’s not directly relevant, the entire Dexterity (minus 10 as noted) is used to modify the defense. So if you put 10 points into Dexterity your chance of hitting goes up 5% while the chance of the other guy hitting you goes down 10%. If you split that 10 points between strength and dexterity, however, your hitting AND defense go up 5%. So, why do this? Damage.

Weapons do NOT all use the same attributes. Most of the direct melee weapons use strength, but daggers (well, war daggers with blades in the 14-20 inch range – short swords to some) are supposed to be half from strength and half from dexterity. Over in the missile choices, the bows are like daggers and the crossbow is supposed to come 100% from Dex.

Enter the oops.

Daggers were grouped with all the other melee. Some people also claimed that crossbows didn’t get their boost. This was caught by the senior developer of the game (Georg Zoeller) who told folk and started working on a fix. In addition, he noted that bows, though running with the correct numbers (yes including crossbows), were missing about 5-10% more than the conceptual plan intended. Lots of factors working in synergy seemed to be contributing to that.

Anyway, thus the Great Dexterity Fix discussion was born. And thus came a crapload of confusion.

The first was that any dagger would do as much damage in a single strike with (D+S)/2 as it would with (D). What people kept doing was saying “ok, you’ve got 20 D or you’ve got 20D and 20S, either way it’s +20 damage.” Yep, except the 20D took 20 points to build and the 20+20 took 40 points. Using 20 points in each gives you 20 or it gives you 10.

On the other hand, other elements make the dagger extremely OVERPOWERED with just strength as a bonus. The base such element is the speed of the weapon. A dagger, which does about 55-60% the base damage of the sword, swings twice as fast (actually 55% faster). But as you add strength the difference at base between the two gets smaller and smaller, even accounting for the dagger only getting 85% of the attribute. So a top level dagger at 6.4 damage and a top level sword at 11.2 damage, both borne by a character with +26 from strength, are getting (respectively) 28.5 and 37.2 damage. In other words the dagger’s single strike is 77% that of the sword. But when you go by DPS rate… the dagger’s dps is 59. The sword is 41.3. That, basically, “Ain’t Right.” It got worse, however.

See, all the Dual Weapon talents and several of the Rogue specific talents are dexterity based. Most of the warrior stuff is strength (barring some shield skills). So if a rogue wanted to be a master of dual weapons, he needed 36 Dex (26 added points). That’s 26 points he could not put into strength (or due to a different talent, cunning which could replace strength).

In THAT regard the change benefits the rogue. 26 points that used to be attack mod only is now 13 points added to damage.

The great Dex Fix gimps daggers, sorta, from what they are to what they should have been. I say sorta because it picks up the numbers that “had” to go into dex anyway.

Now incidentally, Georg’s hotfix (unofficial patch) also boosted the bowsa little bit more. That in turn makes the game a wee bit MORE challenging as all those archers get a bit more deadly.

Last thing to mention here – the dagger part has been applied in a patch. Provided, that is, you’re playing with a PC. If you’re on a console… nope. There may, someday, be updates (patches) for the game, but not yet. So if you really, desperately want overpowered melee players, use daggers. At least, use them till you get bigger weapons with better stats that outstrip what daggers can do.

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