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Application and Re-Application of DoTs/HoTs

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Classes
Application and Re-Application of DoTs/HoTs

Korse's Avatar

02.24.2013 , 10:07 PM | #1
This may not be the best place for this, so feel free to relocate it to the correct forum area.

I'm wondering about some of the design decisions made behind the application and re-application of Damage over Time and Heal over Time effects. I already looked on the PTS to see if the mechanics were the same as on the current live version. I'm currently seeing two different methods of the way these over time effects work. These applications apply to both heals and damage. I'm not sure if the ability descriptions are just wrong and need to be updated, purposefully vague, or behaving incorrectly. For example, there are a number of abilities that currently say "Does X over Y seconds" when it's pertinent to know and understand that it really "Does X damage immediately and Y over Z seconds." This also affects reporting in the combat log.

Immediate Effect
All abilities immediately apply their desired effect to a target when cast (for the case of those following in combat logs, I use immediately when I mean within ~5/1000 of a second). However, some abilities apply an immediate effect as well as an over time effect. When an ability is used that re-applies an effect already existing on a target (whether it resets the timer to its original duration or creates another stack), only some abilities immediately causes the desired effect. Examples include a Powertech using Flame Burst with Bursting Flame (First Row Pyrotech) that can re-apply and immediately cause damage using Combustible Gas Cylinder and a Sorceror casting Resurgence that immediately causes a heal effect. This is not what the ability descriptions indicate.

Ticking Effect
Other abilities that re-apply a target's already existing effect are a little bit more difficult for me to figure out the specifics. These effects occur X times over Y seconds. When these effects are re-applied, it appears as though these abilities are altered to refresh X and Y to their original amounts. However, whether it's a factor of the game's calculations for when these events occur or when they are reported to occur, these effects occur within a range of time. For example, the Operative ability Kolto Probe and the Sorceror ability Affliction both last 18 seconds and occur 6 times. I've noticed this range (+- factor relative to what should be 1 tick every 3 seconds) to be either 1.1 seconds (PTS, limited testing) or 2.1 seconds (tested extensively on live within the last two months). I admit that some of the very unusual amounts I was seeing on live do not seem to be occurring as badly on PTS. During some extreme circumstances, when re-applying Kolto Probe I had noticed that it could change when the next effect's occurrence happened to be within 2-5 seconds after the previous occurrence. This range itself is acceptable since the ability descriptions do not include the frequency, only the duration.

I bring up the differences between these two types of effects not because of the frequency irregularity (which all over time abilities report) but because of the advantage the first type gives over the second. This difference is not new to games, but I haven't heard any discussion regarding the SWTOR classes and why they have these functional differences. For example, a Powertech using Combustible Gas Cylinder and the skill Bursting Flame can re-apply CGC's Burning damage effect to occur immediately after the previous effect, however a Sorceror lacks the ability to re-apply Affliction and gain this extra clipped damage. This same difference exists between a Sorceror's Resurgence granting immediate healing over an Operative's Kolto Probe.

Under most circumstances, a player won't be able to time something like Flame Burst to re-applying immediately after an occurrence, but when they re-apply an effect in between occurrences they gain an immediate result as well as extending the full duration of the effect. In fact, any time these abilities are cast they immediately apply an effect as well as applying their duration effect. If a Powertech with Bursting Flame and 0 alacrity casts Flame Burst every other GCD, this is what could occur. Combustible Gas Cylinder ticks Burning every 3 seconds and the (reported) tick occurs just before the 3s mark (since these are reported with variability in the combat log), Burning will occuring immediately at 0s, sometime before 2-3s, then an extra time at 3s (because of the re-application and immediate effect of Burning).

For example, Sorcerors that cast Affliction put an effect on their target that hits 6 times over 18 seconds. Powertechs that put Combustible Gas Cylinder on a target hits immediately as well as 2 times over 6 seconds. Operatives that cast Kolto Probe get an effect that hits 6 times over 18 seconds. Sorcerors that cast Resurgence heal immediately as well as 5 times over 15 seconds. Sorcerors Revivification heals immediately and then 10 times over 10 seconds. Yet there is no distinction for these two types of abilities in the descriptions of the skills. An example of a skill that performs what the Immediate Effects get is reflected in the PTS version of Kolto Infusion: "Executes your Tactical Advantage to heal the target immediately for X-Y followed by Z over 9 seconds."

Since I mentioned the combat log, I'd like to also mention that Immediate Effects show their ApplyEffect with every AbilityActivate. The Ticking Effects only show ApplyEffect when the effect is originally applied. When re-applying or stacking these effects, there is no mention of it applying an effect in the combat log. This means that when re-applying or increasing the number of stacks for a Ticking Effect ability, you cannot determine the number of stacks nor the recipient of the effect. For example, reading a combat log, it's impossible to keep track of the number of Heat Signature's a Mercenary applies to a target or who an Operative cast Kolto Probe on.