Originally posted on the Evil Empire guild website as a part of Satrina’s warrior guides. This was excavated from an archive made by the Wayback Machine. As such, offsite links will likely not work.
Satrina@Stormrage - Last updated 21 July 2006
Credit and mad props to Celandro, Shiro, and the rest of the crew who worked hard to do the initial research on this.
Note! There’s data coming out lately that indicates the glancing blows are based on the difference between attacker weapon skill and target defense, and not simply on level difference. Once I know more, I’ll update this. For now, it’s left as by level difference, and we’ll just say “you get the idea”
There’s also information coming that shows at least some boss mobs have much higher dodge/parry values than level alone should give (which is pretty bad news for dual wielders for true.) Once we sort that out, you’ll see it here.
What Is A Glancing Blow?
A glancing blow is sort of the opposite of a crushing blow. The effect of a glancing blow is that you lose some percentage of damage from your attack when it hits. A player versus a mob whose defense score is higher than their weapon skill will suffer some number of glancing blows as they attack. Only white damage attacks are subject to glancing blows. Yellow damage (special attacks) and ranged damage are not subject to glancing blows. The number of glancing blows you will get depends on the difference in levels between you and your opponent:
|Frequency of Glancing Blows by Level Difference|
|Difference in Level||Number of Glancing Blows|
The damage reduction for glancing blows depends on the difference in your weapon skill and your opponent’s defense score (note that mobs have defense score equal to 5 x level):
|Weapon Skill vs. Defense Score|
Note that we’re looking at warriors in a PvE setting here, and assuming that the warrior has maxed out their natural weapon skill. We can easily see in game that a level 60 mage with 250 weapon skill will get glancing blows against level 55 mobs. Do we much care about this? No, not really. Well, I care about it a bit because it does indicate that the presence of glancing blows is actually related to the difference in weapon skill vs. defense score as opposed to level difference, and it does warrant more research to find out. For the purposes of this text, where we assume maxed weapon skill for the warrior and (5 x level) defense score for the mob, using +1/2/3 levels works just fine (corresponding to weapon skill vs. defense differences of 5/10/15) and produces the correct results.
What Can I Do About It?
The bad news is, you can never reduce the frequency of glancing blows. When fighting an opponent three levels higher than you, you will always get 40% glancing blows, and that is that. The good news is that as noted for table 2, the damage reduction for glancing blows depends on the difference in your weapon skill and your opponent’s defense score. Raising your weapon skill will reduce the damage lost to glancing blows. Against an opponent three levels higher:
|Glancing Blows vs. +3 Levels Opponent|
|Added Weapon Skill||Damage Reduction|
We see that +10 weapon skill reduces the damage lost to glancing blows effectively to zero. In real numbers, 40% of attacks landing for 70% damage is a loss of 12%. Adding weapon skill when fighting higher level opponents is very effective way of increasing your damage output, to the tune of recovering the whole 12% with +10 weapon skill against boss mobs.
There’s Still More Bad News
One other side effect of glancing blows is also bad news: Glancing blows cannot critically hit, and so overwrite chance to critical hit in the combat table. This means that your effective critical hit chance is reduced by the presence of glancing blows. This affects dual wielding much more than it does two-handed weapon wielders. Here are basic combat tables for 300 weapon skill (level 60) vs. 315 defense (level 63):
Dual Wielding Miss 24.6% Dodge 5.6% Block 5.6% Parry 5.6% Glancing 40.0% Hit+Crit 18.6%
Two-Handed Miss 5.6% Dodge 5.6% Block 5.6% Parry 5.6% Glancing 40.0% Hit+Crit 37.6%
Note that hit and crit are lumped together in the table because we don’t know what any individual warrior’s crit chance is, and critical hit chance overwrites hit chance in the combat table. The importance of +hit for dual wielders is underscored here. A dual wielding warrior with 25% crit and no +hit will be effectively capped at a 18.6% critical hit chance, and 6.4% of the critical hit gear is wasted. Everything else is going to be a miss/dodge/block/parry or a glancing blow, none of which can be a critical hit. Note that these numbers are correct when facing the opponent. If attacking from behind, the Hit+Crit cap increases to 29.8% for dual wield, and 48.8% for two-handed, since the chance to parry is removed.
Note that by adding +hit, you can cause the hit+crit cap to grow. This will increase the maximum effective critical hit chance, which is extremely desirable for dual wielders. For example, a dual wielder adding +5% to hit will change the basic table above (again for level 60 vs. level 63) to:
Dual Wielding Miss 19.6% Dodge 5.6% Block 5.6% Parry 5.6% Glancing 40.0% Hit+Crit 23.6%
The Moral of the Story
What it comes down to is this: +weaponskill is your friend. Getting to 310 weapon skill versus world bosses will result in an increase of your DPS output on the order of about 12%. Getting to 305 will give you 6% (hello humans with sword or mace, and orcs with axes!) Starting with patch 1.12, Rogues will really have it good with the new talent that gives them +weaponskill.
Hand in hand with +weaponskill is +hit. Two-handed wielders are not penalised nearly as much due to their lower basic miss rate. Dual wielders, you already knew it was a good thing to pile on +hit gear; now the importance of it is really showing.