KotOR: Power Attack vs Critical Strike vs Flurry

This has since been updated. Check out the new version for many improvements.

Posted: June 29, 2011

While playing Knights of the Old Republic, I came across the question of which combat feat is the best. I remember asking this question way back when, but I never went through the numbers to see for sure. I do remember seeing some forum threads about it, but everyone seemed to disagree about which was best. I hope to get a pretty good estimate here of what each one is capable of. Note that this is for the first game only (KotOR 1), not the sequel (KotOR 2).

I will be separate the question into six parts based on the lightsabers you can choose to equip as well as whether you go with a Strength build or a Dexterity build. Both stats increase chance to hit with lightsabers, but only Strength adds damage. I assume the player started with 16 in the stat (either str or dex) and added all 5 level-up attribute points to get 21. I then assume they increased it to 22 with an item for a +6 bonus. For all of these, I assume Master Force Speed is enabled to add 2 attacks per round with the main hand. Flurry also adds one main hand attack.

Weapon configuration average damage

For all the weapons in the game, you can easily calculate the average damage based on the damage range and critical threat range. First, we calculate the average of the damage range: (Minimum_Damage + Maximum Damage / 2).
Then we add a percentage increase based on the critical threat range. This is because 20-20, means 1 in 20 will be a critical. That’s a 5% chance of critical hit, so we can extrapolate that to other critical threat ranges like 19-20 (10%) and 17-20 (20%). The general formula for critical chance is then: 5% * (1 + (20 – Critical_Threat_Minimum)). This critical chance can be averaged into the damage just by increasing the average damage by that percentage.

Single Lightsaber

  • The lightsaber does 2-16 damage with critical threat range of 19-20. Average damage is 9 with 10% critical chance.
  • For Power Attack and Flurry calculations I use Solari + Upari with Heart of the Guardian for the color crystal. Solari adds 1-10 (5.5 average) damage and Upari adds 2-12 (7 average) damage, totaling 12.5 average damage. Damage bonuses with a range (as opposed to single values) are not affected by the 2x critical damage bonus, so they are added after the critical bonus is applied.
  • For Master Critical Strike calculations I use Nextor + Opila with a normal color crystal. These add the Keen and Massive Criticals stats to the lightsaber. Keen lowers the critical threat range from 19-20 to 17-20, 20% critical chance. With Master Critical Strike the threat range goes down further to 11-20, 50% critical chance. Finally, Massive Criticals adds 2-12 bonus damage on a critical hit. This is 7 average damage with a 50% chance for an average bonus damage of 3.5. This bonus damage is applied after the percentage critical chance increase.

Two Lightsabers

  • A second lightsaber just increases the number of attacks by one.
  • For main hand calculations and off hand Critical Strike calculations, I use the same crystals as above for Single Lightsaber.
  • For off hand Power Attack and Flurry calculations I use Phond + Sigil with Mantle of the Force. Phond adds 1-10 (5.5 average) damage and Sigile adds 1-8 (4.5 average) damage, totaling 10 average damage. Damage bonuses with a range (as opposed to single values) are not affected by the 2x critical damage bonus, so they are added after the critical bonus is applied.

Double-bladed Lightsaber

  • A double-bladed lightsaber increased the number of attacks by one over a single lightsaber.
  • The damage is 2-20 with critical threat range of 20-20. Average damage is 11 and with 5% critical chance.
  • For the calculations, I use the same crystals as Single Lightsaber above. However, the smaller threat range influences the Critical Strike outcome by a little bit. The 20-20 threat range is reduced to 16-20 with the crystals, 25% critical chance. This lowered critical chance lessens the effect of Massive Criticals as well. 25% of 7 is 1.75 bonus damage.

Special Note about Scoundrels: This particular class has a special feat called Sneak Attack that gives them bonus damage against stunned enemies, such as enemies afflicted by the Critical Strike stun.

  • The average damage is 14 for Sneak Attack 4 (level 8 Scoundrel), and it is not affected by critical hits per the feat description.
  • I assume the stun has a 100% chance just for easier calculations even though it’s probably closer to 50% depending on the enemy.
  • Sneak Attack bonus damage is not added to the first attack as the stun effect is applied at the end of the first attack. This means a calculation with 4 attacks per round will get 3 Sneak Attacks in that round instead of 4.
  • At the end of each Critical Strike calculation, I add the Scoundrel’s bonus damage in parentheses.

Strength builds

Power Attack

  • Single lightsaber: 3 attacks per round * (((9 damage + 6 Str damage + 10 Power Attack damage) * 1.10 critical chance) + 12.5 crystals damage) = 120 overall damage per round.
  • Two lightsabers: 3 attacks per round * (((9 damage + 6 Str damage + 10 Power Attack damage) * 1.10 critical chance) + 12.5 crystals damage + 1 attack per round * (((9 damage + 6 Str damage + 10 Power Attack damage) * 1.10 critical chance) + 10 crystals damage) = 157.5 overall damage per round.
  • Double-bladed lightsaber: 4 attacks per round * (((11 damage + 6 Str damage + 10 Power Attack damage) * 1.05 critical chance) + 12.5 = 163.4 overall damage per round.

Critical Strike

  • Single lightsaber: 3 attacks per round * (((9 damage + 6 Str damage) * 1.50 critical chance) + 3.5 massive criticals) = 78 overall damage per round (Scoundrel: +2 * 14 = 106).
  • Two lightsabers: 4 attacks per round * (((9 damage + 6 Str damage) * 1.50 critical chance) + 3.5 massive criticals) = 104 overall damage per round (Scoundrel: +3 * 14 = 146).
  • Double-bladed lightsaber: 4 attacks per round * (((11 damage + 6 Str damage) * 1.25 critical chance) + 1.75 massive criticals) = 92 overall damage per round (Scoundrel: +3 * 14 = 134).

Flurry

  • Single lightsaber: 4 attacks per round * (((9 damage + 6 Str damage) * 1.10 critical chance) + 12.5 crystals damage) = 116 overall damage per round.
  • Two lightsabers: 4 attacks per round * (((9 damage + 6 Str damage) * 1.10 critical chance) + 12.5 crystals damage) + 1 attack per round * (((9 damage + 6 Str damage) * 1.10 critical chance) + 10 crystals damage) = 142.5 overall damage per round.
  • Double-bladed lightsaber: 5 attacks per round * (((11 damage + 6 Str damage) * 1.05 critical chance) + 12.5 crystals damage) = 151.75 overall damage per round.

Dexterity builds

Power Attack

  • Single lightsaber: 3 attacks per round * (((9 damage + 10 Power Attack damage) * 1.10 critical chance) + 12.5 crystals damage) = 100.2 overall damage per round.
  • Two lightsabers: 3 attacks per round * (((9 damage + 10 Power Attack damage) * 1.10 critical chance) + 12.5 crystals damage) + 1 attack per round * (((9 damage + 10 Power Attack damage) * 1.10 critical chance) + 10 crystals damage) = 131.1 overall damage per round.
  • Double-bladed lightsaber: 4 attacks per round * (((11 damage + 10 Power Attack damage) * 1.05 critical chance) + 12.5 crystals damage) = 138.2 overall damage per round.

Critical Strike

  • Single lightsaber: 3 attacks per round * ((9 damage * 1.50 critical chance) + 3.5 massive criticals) = 51 overall damage per round (Scoundrel: +2 * 14 = 79).
  • Two lightsabers: 4 attacks per round * ((9 damage * 1.50 critical chance) + 3.5 massive criticals) = 68 overall damage per round (Scoundrel: +3 * 14 = 110).
  • Double-bladed lightsaber: 4 attacks per round * ((11 damage * 1.25 critical chance) + 1.75 massive criticals) = 62 overall damage per round (Scoundrel: +3 * 14 = 104).

Flurry

  • Single lightsaber: 4 attacks per round * ((9 damage * 1.10 critical chance) + 12.5 crystals damage) = 89.6 overall damage per round.
  • Two lightsabers: 4 attacks per round * ((9 damage * 1.10 critical chance) + 12.5 crystals damage) + 1 attack per round * ((9 damage * 1.10 critical chance) + 10 crystals damage) = 109.5 overall damage per round.
  • Double-bladed lightsaber: 5 attackers per round * ((11 damage * 1.05 critical chance) + 12.5 crystals damage) = 120.25 overall damage per round.

Conclusions

Based on this analysis, I can answer a few questions, including the most pertinent one:

Q. Which of the three combat feats does the best damage?
A. For all situations, Power Attack does the most damage followed by Flurry in second and Critical Strike in last. However, the Scoundrel’s Sneak Attack shakes things up a bit. With Sneak Attacks added in, Flurry still has better single lightsaber and double-bladed lightsaber damage, but Critical Strike has better two lightsaber damage. Still, Critical Strike is good enough to beat the game with, because the game itself is not very hard.

Q. Which of the 3 weapon configurations does the best damage?
A. The double-bladed lightsaber does the best damage with Power Attack and Flurry while two lightsabers does the best with Critical Strike. A single lightsaber always does the least damage. On the other hand, no feats are necessary to use a single lightsaber without penalties.

Q. How much more damage does a Strength build do over a Dexterity build?
A. On average a Strength build will do 30 more damage per round than a Dexterity build.

9 thoughts on “KotOR: Power Attack vs Critical Strike vs Flurry

  1. there are some other factors to consider, such as a scoundrel’s sneak attack, that alone could possibly push critical strike above flurry and power attack.

    • Thanks, I did the calculations for Sneak Attack and added them to the page. Power Attack still seems to be better. Flurry is much closer with only single and double-bladed lightsaber doing higher damage. Critical strike with two lightsaber seems to do better damage than Flurry with two lightsaber. Note I am assuming 100% stun chance with Critical Strike. This is probably a little high, so I would expect the actual Sneak Attack bonus damage per round to be a little less. That might be just enough to keep Critical Strike at the bottom, though not by much.

  2. Nice article =] You actually made me re-install Kotor out of nostalgia.

    But there are some very serious flaws in your math: You completely ignored to-hit chances, that do have serious impact on damage on most of the post-starmap-seeking (or the dual Tarentateks if Korriban is done last at higher levels (Yes, they scale)) harder enemies of the game, including bosses; and *MUCH GREATER* impact on “Difficult” setting (IE enemies whose armor plus difficulty penalty is at least the character + bonus to hit, and there are plenty that reach 30+)

    Also, Critical hits are still *MUCH WEAKER* for dual sabers because it is needed to hit TWO times for the critical to activate (The threat roll!)

    One of the battles where a dual saber or double saber will have his @rse kicked over and over again (unless resorting to wimping out and grenading from the door) when a good duelling will prevail (LIKE A BOSS!) is against the two Tarentateks in Naga Shadow Tomb. Those Tarentateks have high AC and high to-hit, making the +3 AC and average +3 to +5 to-hit from the Dueling Jedi the strongest against stronger enemies.

    Also, thanks to what I’ve stated above, using two sabers, I would definitely never sacrifice -2 to hit on the 3 (4 with flurry) main-hand attacks for 2.5 more average damage on the crappy single attack of the off-hand, more yet taking into account non-single-saber builds have the least to-hit. Those 2 to hit will affect criticals and chance to hit on the main hand.

    A simple (but somewhat inaccurate) way to fix your math is to subtract -25% damage (the to-hit difference % of the D20) from your dual saber Jedi, or 15% from the main hand and 25% from the off hand if using a small saber offhand or dual saber; This is somewhat inaccurate because there are 3 independent ranges: Critical (and threat), Hit and Miss to be compared, making a matrix needed to generate exact numbers. Applying my quick fix to your math, Single Saber will come 1st place (or very near, like, 1-2 damage), against any stronger enemy whose to-hit matters, and still have the +3 AC that do matter a lot – the +3 AC granted by Dueling equals -15% damage the character will take, and there are many places in the game this AC is of huge impact.

    Also, your choice of crystals is not optimal; I started playing again and am only in the 1st star map, but for example, massive criticals – 2d6 isn’t as good as the crystal that gives 1d8 to *EVERY* attack, 2d8 on criticals.
    Crystals must be assembled based on which attack you’re using; Power attack benefits the most from Keen and +To-Hit; Flurry benefits the most from cost-effective balance;

    Critical Strike (My personal fave, BTW) benefits the most from raw-damage of Heart of the Guardian – Solari + Upari; Critical Strike already pushes the critical threat range a lot, so lots of damage is much better with the huge amount of criticals than sacrificing damage to get +2 critical range with Nextor + XXX. If you re-do your math with this saber, you’ll see that its damage will be the best (And gives stun – works wonderfully with sneak attacks) but the -AC is a huge factor.

    Sneak Attack is very powerful *AND WORKS WITH FORCE JUMP!!!* =] But… to get Sneak Attack 3 or 4 one have to sacrifice *A LOT* (To Hit, HP, Saves and Feats) and still not get the third Scoundrel Luck AC bonus, so I would not recommend one to go over Lvl 6 Scoundrel that is IMO the best breakpoint.

    As I go on thru the game again (4th or 5th time, “Difficult” from the start) I’ll try to make a to-hit/critical/miss and damage matrix and post it here later. Now I am curious to get the exact numbers against the tougher foes on “Difficult” of single/twosabers/dual with each attack.

    I believe, thou, that a Munchkin that is also a Cheater (that duplicates Solari, Heart of Guardian and XXX) and start with 18 STR (and super-dumb 8/8/8 lol) will go over the single-saber advantage of hitting later enemies 95% of the time. The game is made so that a very good single-saber character can get exactly the needed number to do that on “Difficult” setting. I’ve made that math a long time ago.

    So, in summary of my current knowledge:
    Yes, two-sabers and dual saber will deal more damage… Against WEAKER enemies, that are easy to dispatch anyway, so I don’t care; Or for cheating-munchkin bastards heh. Against the tougher battles and definitely in the harder difficulties, Dueling has the upper hand most of the time.

    Feel free to criticize what I’ve just wrote =]

    • I have a few comments on some things you said. I do remember ignoring to-hit because I only care about max damage. Yes, I know it has an effect, but I just wanted to find what is the best damage possible. I also don’t know what the AC is of the enemies in the game. Instead of having a general calculation, I would have to do a separate one per enemy. Too much work. I also ignored enemy damage as this is about max damage regardless of anything else. So I did not consider difficulty level at all.

      What is the name of the crystal that does 1d8, 2d8 criticals? My source is GameBanshee: http://www.gamebanshee.com/starwarskotor/sabercrystalsguide.php. I don’t see it on the list. I should note that this is for KotOR 1, not the sequel. Some crystals in the KotOR 2 may not be available in the first game. I will add that to the top of this article.

      Thanks for the information though. I’m not really playing this game right now. My focus is on Diablo 3 and Torchlight 2, so I don’t know if I will be updating this. However, if you want to do all the math, I will update this with the results. I can add a section at the bottom that accounts for to-hit and difficulty level with all the math you have done.

  3. Are the critical strike calculations missing crystal damage? Opila grants three on top of massive criticals. You also suggested above the straight bonus damage is calculated into crits (which I didn’t know). If this is true, I think Sapith (DB: 4) wold cause more average damage than Nextor’s keen.

    • The straight bonus damage thing I got from the old Bioware forums a while back. Bioware shut them down though. Someone confirmed that Solari + Upari damage did not get double damage with critical hits. Someone else confirmed that Power Attack did get doubled with critical hits. So I made my own conclusion that damage ranges don’t get doubled (except base weapon damage range) while single values do get doubled.

      Nice catch on the Opila damage, must have missed that before. I see what you mean with the Sapith too. Based on your and Daniel’s responses, I want to do the numbers again with some different crystals. For example, Power Attack plus Opila and Critical Strike with Solari + Opila. Power Attack may benefit more from critical hit chance relative to other stats, likewise for Critical Strike and straight damage.

      I won’t have the time do this for a while though. I am still finishing some things for Diablo 3, and then I have a couple vacations coming up, one 3 days long and the other one 7 days long.

  4. your average values for the 2-12 and other damage ranges like that, the base damage being 2 and such is slightly off as the actual calculations on the game side is 2d6, so average damage is 6 and not 7. It’s a small difference.

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