OK, this is going to be a long post. I spent a few hours playing spreadsheet jockey today with VZX's wonderful damage calculation spreadsheet. So first off a lot of credit goes to him.
We've had a lot of threads about the tradeoff between STR, RAtk, and AGI for endgame rangers, and how to best maximize WS (read: slugwinder) damage. There's been alot of anecdotal things thrown around, and a lot of formulas tossed around too, sometimes correctly, sometimes incorrectly. So I decided to actually play around with VZX's spreadsheet and try and figure out the following:
For an endgame ranger, vs. XP mobs, what is the marginal benefit of adding 1 point of STR, RAtk, and AGI?
To lead with my conclusion - which is highly generalized:
On sidewinders, 1 STR gets you the equivalent of 2.25 RAtk gets you the equivalent of 4 AGI.
On slug shots, 1 STR gets you the equivalent of 2.25 RAtk gets you the equivalent of 2.7 AGI.
For testing purposes, I used my gear setup, which is as follows:
Ranged: Ebow + PPA and Obow + GMB
Weapons: Kriegs + Franny
Neck: RNG necklace
Ears: Genin + Minuet
Hands: S Kote
Rings: Ruby x2
Back: Amemit +1
Waist: RK Belt +2 (assumed not in controlled region, I'm from Bastok lol)
Legs: Jaridah Salvars
Feet: War Boots
I also assumed the following (again, based on my setup): 2 merits for Obow and 1 for Ebow; Coeurl Sub as food; Acid bolt in effect for Obow but not for Ebow; /NIN so obviously no berserk or attack bonus.
For mob stats, I used VZX's default stats: level 81 mob, 74 VIT, 344 Def. I have no idea how reasonable this is, though the damage output seemed about right. Clearly, though, my tests don't apply to HNM type mobs.
Finally, I did the test two ways. (1) assume no other buffs/debuffs. (2) assume Dia II and Minuet III + IV in effect. Sort of the "crap party" and the "good party" test. From now on I'll label (1) = Low (damage) and (2) = High (damage).
First off, my base WS damage was as follows:
Sidewinder, Low - 895
Sidewinder, High - 1343
Slug Shot, Low - 942
Slug Shot, High - 1420
Interesting to note that Obow > Ebow here; take away acid bolt def down, though, and the Obow damage goes to 797 Low and 1192 High - witness the power of Acid bolts.
Next, I started bumping up the three variables separately, 1 point at a time, and recorded the incremental damage for each set up. Then I averaged the incremental damage over the course of each point, up to 20. Here's what I got (note that these are AVERAGES - see disclaimer below):
Sidewinder, Low - 1 STR = 4.8 D; 1 RAtk = 2.4 D; 1 AGI = 1.1 D
Sidewinder, High - 1 STR = 6.7 D; 1 RAtk = 2.7 D; 1 AGI = 1.8 D
Slug Shot, Low - 1 STR = 4.7 D; 1 RAtk = 2.4 D; 1 AGI = 1.8 D
Slug Shot, High - 1 STR = 6.6 D; 1 RAtk = 2.7 D; 1 AGI = 2.5 D
Some things to note:
(1) STR >> RAtk >> AGI on sidewinders, while RAtk and AGI are a bit more balanced on slug shots.
(2) Base stats (STR & AGI) increase in importance to RAtk the higher the base damage of the WS is. So, 1 STR ~ 2 RAtk on the Low WS and ~ 2.5 RAtk on the High WS. I'd say on HNMs, where average WS damage is far lower, RAtk becomes much more important relative to base stats than on XP type mobs.
(3) Benefits from RAtk are fairly steady - the minimum increment from 1 RAtk was 2 D, and the maximum was 4 D, across all tests. Benefits from base stats are more lumpy. On STR, the minimum increment was 1 D, while the maximum increment was 18 D. More commonly, small D increments of 2-3 D and large D increments of 9-11 D alternated every +1 STR. For AGI, the increment is 0 D on 4/5 +1s for sidewinder and 3/4 for slug shot, and then a large increment of between 6 D to 11 D depending on which test I ran. The "chunky" behavior of STR/AGI benefits to WS D is due to the nature of the WS formula, which rounds fractions down rather than retaining them.
With these figures in hand, I compared various gear pieces to see which ones should damage the best (assuming ranged accuracy isn't a problem, which of course is a consideration). I took the damage increase based on that gear's stats as a percent of base damage, averaged across the High and Low scenarios. SW = sidewinder and SS = slug shot. Remember these are averages; in general the RAtk gear will gain relatively in low damage WS situations while the STR/AGI gear will gain relatively in the high damage WS situations.
Weapons - 1H
Kriegsbiel - 2.52% SW, 2.68% SS (so this increases SW D by an average of 2.52% and SS D by 2.68% - or about 25 D on a 1000 damage SW (before kriegs) and 27 D on a 1000 D slug shot)
Woodville's - 2.05% SW, 1.93% SS
Franny - 1.64% SW, 1.56% SS
Ifrit's Blade - 1.54% SW, 1.45% SS
Kriegsbiel 4tw here, clearly. Woodville's will outdamage Franny, especially for otherwise pimped out rangers. Ifrit's isn't a bad free alternative to the expensive axes, and actually outdamages Franny in the High case.
Weapons - 2H & DW
Kriegs/Woodville - 4.57% SW, 4.61% SS
Kriegs/Franny - 4.16% SW, 4.24% SS
Fire Staff - 4.40% SW, 4.16% SS
Vulcan's Staff - 4.91% SW, 4.63% SS
K/W is the best option due to rng acc benefit on SS, while Vulcan's wins on SW assuming you can make up the rng acc elsewhere. Otherwise, on average K/F outdamages Fire Staff slightly on SS, while Fire wins on SW. Still, if /NIN I think I'd go K/F over Fire on SW for the rng acc benefit. But Fire/Vulcan's is clearly the way to go if you are /SAM or /WAR vs. any of the individual 1H options.
Wyvern's Helm. End of story.
Qiqirn Collar - 1.88% SW, 1.78% SS
Spike Necklace/Chiv Chain - 1.54% SW, 1.45% SS
Jagd Gorget - 1.41% SW, 1.33% SS
RNG Necklace - 1.17% SW, 1.11% SS
Elemental Gorgets - 1.94% both
Hope Torque - 2.28% SW, 0.90% SS
Faith Torque - 1.56% SS only
Justice Torque - 2.56% SW, 2.41% SS
The question here is how much do you have to pay for Q Collar or J Gorget. I also note that Spike & Chiv Chain > RNG Neck on damage (and more so in High cases) though of course you lose the 5 rng acc. The elemental gorgets & Sea God torques are the best options, if you can manage to get your hands on them.
Triumph - 1.03% SW, 0.96% SS
Genin - 0.51% SW, 0.72% SS
+1 STR option - 0.51% SW, 0.48% SS
Drone - 0.39% SW, 0.54% SS
Fenrir's @ night - 2.35% SW, 2.22% SS
So Fenrir's @ night > all. After that, Triumph does the best - you gain about 5 D on a 1000 D slugwinder vs. Minuet/Cassie/etc. Genin is >= a +1 STR earring. Note on SS Drone is slightly better than +1 STR earrings as well.
Kirin's Osode - 6.41% SW, 6.64% SS
Archer's Jupon - 4.91% SW, 4.63% SS
Blue Cotehardie +1 - 3.21% SW, 3.31% SS
Kyudogi +1 - 2.11% SW, 2.00% SS
OK. So on a 1000 damage SW with AF body, switching to Osode adds about 64 damage. If you are at 2000 damage with AF body, add about 128 damage (though in that High case it's more like 140 damage). Not shabby but not 200-300 as some have claimed. Archer's is not a bad substitute, once you get past the -10 rng acc lol. I threw in Blue Cot +1 to show how stupid the Kyudogi +1 piece is in comparison. It's just not worth very much.
S Kote - 1.93% SW, 2.71% SS
CFG - 2.35% SW, 2.22% SS
BFG - 2.58% SW, 2.45% SS
Basically here, the rule of thumb is S Kote for SS and CFG/BFG for SW. However at very High damage S Kote will begin to outdamage CFG on SW, and at very Low damage BFG will outdamage S Kote on SS.
The more STR the merrier. End of story.
Amemit's +1 4tw. Gunner's Mantle can slightly outdamage in Low situations but do you really want the -10 rng acc? I didn't think so.
RSE +4 STR belt - 2.05% SW, 1.93% SS
RK +2 belt (home country no control) - 1.28% SW, 1.33% SS
RK +2 belt (home country control) - 2.69% SW, 2.66% SS
AF2 belt - 2.28% SW, 2.46% SS
RK+2 damages the best if the area is under your home country's control due to the RAtk +6 benefit (can't help in ToAU areas, sadly). The AF2 belt (if you can get it) is the next best alternative, followed by a +4 STR RSE belt.
Akinji Salvars - 0.94% SW, 0.89% SS
Jaridah Salvars - 0.70% SW, 0.67% SS
War Brais +1 - 0.64% SW, 0.90% SS
Galliard - 1.03% SW, 0.96% SS
Rep Cuisses (home country control) - 1.90% SW, 1.92% SS
P Seraweels - 1.54% SS, 1.45% SW
P Seraweels is the all around best piece in this slot. Republic Cuisses wins if you are fighting in nation controlled area. Otherwise get Galliard if you have a good LS or Akinji if you're rich. War Brais +1 actually does well on SS - something to note for you gun/xbow rangers.
AF2 - 2.35% SW, 2.22% SS
STR +3 feet - 1.54% SW, 1.45% SS
War Boots - 1.17% SW, 1.11% SS
War Boots +1 - 1.41% SW, 1.33% SS
There's lots of options for the STR + 3 feet, price em out vs. War Boots +1 and see which ones are a better buy. Otherwise regular old War Boots ain't bad, compared to the other buyable choices (AF2 . . . drool.)
So, that wraps it up. Again, please remember that these are averagish damage calculations against XP type mobs for level 75s. On HNMs RAtk will become more important. OTOH, if you are decked out against XP mobs, have a BRD, a debuffing RDM, etc., STR and AGI will deliver more marginal value.
Edited, Oct 27th 2006 at 7:30pm PDT by DeschainSiren: fixed AF2 belt, added some equipment
Edited, Oct 28th 2006 at 8:52am PDT by DeschainSiren