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Alacrity is Terrible for Scoundrels/Operatives. An analysis

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Classes
Alacrity is Terrible for Scoundrels/Operatives. An analysis

RuQu's Avatar


RuQu
02.17.2012 , 01:49 PM | #1
And it's even worse for Commandos and Mercs...but that's another thread.

I worked this up while responding to a post in another thread, but I think it really deserves its own topic.

By request, a quick abbreviation list first:
  • GCD: Global Cooldown (the enforced pause between abilities, 1.5s for instants, 1.5s or cast time, whichever is shorter for non-instants)
  • EC: Effective Cost (energy cost - energy regen while casting)
  • UWM: Underworld Medicine, big heal, generates UH
  • UH: Upper Hand, used as a secondary resource
  • EMP: Emergency Medpac, instant heal, consumed UH
  • DS: Diagnostic Scan, weak heal, channeled for 3s, sped up by alacrity, crits generate 2 energy.
  • SRMP: Slow-release Medpac, Scoundrel HoT.
  • HoT: Heal over Time ability.

Let me know if I missed any.

Quote: Originally Posted by Azaranth View Post
Finally, I want to caution people from staking too much on the 'perfect scenario' healing rotation information. While it's definitely useful to know, 99.99% of your healing is not done in these circumstances. Most of the time, you're dealing with damage spikes and damage droughts, fights where you have to cast on the run, and all sorts other environmental factors. I think this leads to people undervaluing Alacrity, which looks horrible when computing sustainable infinite heal rotations, but has much more practical value when trying to heal through Gharj's enrage.
First, yes, obviously these tools cannot model the complexity you see in game. They do, however, provide a good foundation for making decisions. Knowing that a change in Crit will give you, at a certain gear level, more benefit than a change in Power is true whether you are standing still or not, but some healers will always fear crit for its evil tendency to only happen when you don't need it and never when you do. Similarly, if people are dying before your spells can land, you should probably load up on some more Alacrity, even if something else is objectively a bigger HPS increase. A 10s cast that heals for 80 billion HP is worthless if the target dies after 5 seconds.

Acknowledging that there are valid amounts of Alacrity that are useful, Alacrity is absolutely terrible for any non-Sage/Sorc healer.

I will keep this post confined to Scoundrels/Operatives, but there is a lengthy analysis of just how terrible it is for Mercs, and even worse for Commandos located here. Yes, there is a difference between the two.

As for Scoundrels, the first thing about Alacrity that matters is that it does not decrease the GCD for instants. That is well known, and we can move past it to more important issues.

The second is that it makes cast-time spells less efficient. This chart shows the changes in Effective Cost of UWM and DS with Alacrity. Yes, fitting in extra DS casts will offset some of the loss in regen, but from 0-39% Alacrity, you go from a base regen of 18 to 11 during a cast. Yes, 39% is fully capped and massively overstacked, but the line is linear. You would need to fit in an extra DS for every 3 you cast at 0% just to maintain Energy neutrality from lost DS return, not even accounting for the fact that UWM goes from costing a net 13 to a net 17.7.

Next, let's examine the changes in rotational composition. This chart shows the change in cast counts for UWM, EMP, and DS, and the total change. As you can see, almost all of the change comes from increasing the number of times DS is used. Alacrity isn't letting you do more in the same time, it is letting you do what you would have done before in a shorter time, and then sit around and cast DS. This is why there are benefits to Alacrity in PvP, where fights are short and Energy is nearly irrelevant, but it does very little for your throughput in PvE content. How often do you say "Man, if only I'd gotten in an extra DS cast, that would have gone differently..."? Never, that's how often.

Count yourselves lucky that you actually see a minor but positive change in UWM casts with Alacrity. Mercs hold steady with their heals, but, due to differences in regen window sizes, Commandos actually see a 14% reduction in big heal casting from 0-39% Alacrity, and it is a steady drop along the way.

We now need to examine the other implications of this increase in DS while maintaining near steady UWM cast counts. This chart shows the percentage of your rotation comprised of either UWM or DS. I didn't bother to plot EMP, but it should roughly mirror UWM since SRMP UH procs are alacrity independent. We see that UWM drops from 40% down to 35%, and DS rises from 11% to 23.5%. Now realize that these two spells have different coefficients, they scale differently with Power. Adding 100 Power adds 17 Bonus Healing. With their coefficients, that means DS will heal for only 17 more, while UWM heals for an extra 46.24. So as the percentage of your casts made up of UWM (your highest coefficient) drops and DS (your lowest) rises, your average coefficient for your rotations decreases, which means you scale slower with gear upgrades. Alacrity actually makes all of your other stats worth less.

Reasons Alacrity is Terrible for Scoundrels
1) Doesn't affect instant abilities or HoTs.
2) Makes spells less energy efficient.
3) Even at extreme levels, only earns you extra casts of your weakest ability.
4) Decreases value of all other stats, makes all your upgrades weaker.
5) Opportunity Cost: you could have picked something else.
Brushing off the dust on my Assault Cannon. Time to get back in the fight.

EyeRekon's Avatar


EyeRekon
02.17.2012 , 02:03 PM | #2
Provide a legend for what all of your acronyms mean. Not all of us have encyclopedic knowledge of all classes and skills and it is difficult to follow your reasoning.

RuQu's Avatar


RuQu
02.17.2012 , 02:09 PM | #3
Quote: Originally Posted by EyeRekon View Post
Provide a legend for what all of your acronyms mean. Not all of us have encyclopedic knowledge of all classes and skills and it is difficult to follow your reasoning.
Sorry about that. Stuck one at the top. Let me know if I missed anything, or if I can clarify any confusing point.
Brushing off the dust on my Assault Cannon. Time to get back in the fight.

matthewcreech's Avatar


matthewcreech
02.17.2012 , 02:18 PM | #4
I commend you for waging forward with numbers and graphs.
Knowledge and informed decisions will make this a better game.

That said, stacking alacrity to the levels where a significant yield is seen isn't terribly practical. Completely eliminating alacrity is also impractical.

Having an alacrity relic or adrenal handy is something that could be of measurable benefit as pointed out elsewhere. Alacrity is good for increasing burst healing in a finite time frame such as enrage timers where fractions of a second can count.

RuQu's Avatar


RuQu
02.17.2012 , 02:26 PM | #5
Quote: Originally Posted by matthewcreech View Post
I commend you for waging forward with numbers and graphs.
Knowledge and informed decisions will make this a better game.

That said, stacking alacrity to the levels where a significant yield is seen isn't terribly practical. Completely eliminating alacrity is also impractical.

Having an alacrity relic or adrenal handy is something that could be of measurable benefit as pointed out elsewhere. Alacrity is good for increasing burst healing in a finite time frame such as enrage timers where fractions of a second can count.
I definitely concede an Alacrity relic could be useful, although you will pay the price in increased cost of the abilities. The EC complaint doesn't change just because it is on demand vs constant.

I started out just assuming there would be a sweet spot for Commandos sneaking in extra heals during SCC. The numbers told a different story, namely that Alacrity in its current implementation is terrible for the Ammo/Heat/Energy classes.

Now I'm just trying to constructively raise awareness of the issue.
Brushing off the dust on my Assault Cannon. Time to get back in the fight.

Soshla's Avatar


Soshla
02.17.2012 , 02:35 PM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by matthewcreech View Post
Completely eliminating alacrity is also impractical.
I don't think that's entirely true. As it currently stands, Alacrity is functionally useless for all melee classes, terrible for Commandos/Mercs/Scoundrels/Ops of any spec, and lackluster at best for Sages/Sorcs. It really wouldn't be missed.

That said, we definitely need more useful stats to choose from. Accuracy is also probably going to need some reworking in the near future. Perhaps Presence should be retooled to be useful when grouped.

matthewcreech's Avatar


matthewcreech
02.17.2012 , 03:04 PM | #7
Quote: Originally Posted by Soshla View Post
I don't think that's entirely true. As it currently stands, Alacrity is functionally useless for all melee classes, terrible for Commandos/Mercs/Scoundrels/Ops of any spec, and lackluster at best for Sages/Sorcs. It really wouldn't be missed.

That said, we definitely need more useful stats to choose from. Accuracy is also probably going to need some reworking in the near future. Perhaps Presence should be retooled to be useful when grouped.
It is impractical to completely avoid Alacrity as an Operative or Scoundrel Healer given the current itemization in the game without creating a net detriment to your stats.

Removing alacrity would require a complete re-itemization of the entire game to remove it from gear. Revising alacrity would be the other approach but is not necessarily a simpler solution.

1.2 (or earlier) would be a great time to look at addressing the issue.

For Operatives / Scoundrels if you stack enough alacrity, you can significantly increase your heals per second when you gain enough energy from faster DS to cast 1 more KI in a heavy burst scenario.
This, however, would diminish the amount you heal in a sustained scenario making it impractical, but it does have a potential use.

RuQu's Avatar


RuQu
02.17.2012 , 03:18 PM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by matthewcreech View Post
It is impractical to completely avoid Alacrity as an Operative or Scoundrel Healer given the current itemization in the game without creating a net detriment to your stats.

Removing alacrity would require a complete re-itemization of the entire game to remove it from gear. Revising alacrity would be the other approach but is not necessarily a simpler solution.

1.2 (or earlier) would be a great time to look at addressing the issue.

For Operatives / Scoundrels if you stack enough alacrity, you can significantly increase your heals per second when you gain enough energy from faster DS to cast 1 more KI in a heavy burst scenario.
This, however, would diminish the amount you heal in a sustained scenario making it impractical, but it does have a potential use.
The passive Energy return from DS drops off as it casts faster, so DS also gets worse with Alacrity. From 0-39% (crazy high, I know) you lose 7.7 Energy regen during the cast, and crits can only bring in a max of 6 if every tick crits.

The solution is pretty easy:

Put an "Oops we didn't think through the stats properly" vendor on the Fleets. It sells Power/Crit, Crit/Surge, Power/Surge, and Acc/(power, crit, surge) mods and enhancements, and the price is one of the terrible Alacrity carrying mods/enhancements they put all over everyone's gear. Get a drop, rip out the bad enhancement, trade it in for a good one. One NPC, a dozen mods/enhancements total, and you are good to go. They can already use items as currency, look at commendations, so that mechanic is already coded.
Brushing off the dust on my Assault Cannon. Time to get back in the fight.

bobudo's Avatar


bobudo
02.17.2012 , 03:35 PM | #9
Quote: Originally Posted by RuQu View Post
The solution is pretty easy:

Put an "Oops we didn't think through the stats properly" vendor on the Fleets. It sells Power/Crit, Crit/Surge, Power/Surge, and Acc/(power, crit, surge) mods and enhancements, and the price is one of the terrible Alacrity carrying mods/enhancements they put all over everyone's gear. Get a drop, rip out the bad enhancement, trade it in for a good one. One NPC, a dozen mods/enhancements total, and you are good to go. They can already use items as currency, look at commendations, so that mechanic is already coded.
I nominate this idea for the Healer Request Compilation.
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RuQu's Avatar


RuQu
02.17.2012 , 03:53 PM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by bobudo View Post
I nominate this idea for the Healer Request Compilation.
I made it a little more polite, but its done.

I also added this simple change that would make Alacrity work how I think the intended it to:

Actual_Ammo_Cost = Base_Ammo - regen*(delta_cast_time)

Boom. Now a neutral rotation is neutral regardless of alacrity, you can fit more of the spells you want in, scaling doesnt decrease as alacrity increases, and no need to just fill rotations with weak filler abilities, and it doesn't increase passive regen, so inefficient rotations will still be inefficient (ie can't just spam MP until empty and then be full again in 5 seconds if you have enough Alacrity).
Brushing off the dust on my Assault Cannon. Time to get back in the fight.