|This article relates to an element of Star Wars Galaxies prior to the Combat Upgrade. It is no longer accurate and remains for historical purposes only.|
It is generally well-known that mods like Carbine Speed and One-handed Weapon Speed decrease the time you must wait between successive attacks with a specific weapon. But exactly how do these modifiers increase your speed? Where do weapon speeds come into play?
Your weapon firing speed depends on 3 variables (values that affect the outcome of an equation):
- Weapon speed mod ("Speed"); i.e. the numerical value of your Carbine Speed, Rifle Speed, etc. mods. Only the mod for the type of weapon you're using goes into effect here.
- Individual weapon speed ("Weapon"); i.e. the value shown as "Speed" when examining your weapon. A lower number is better.
- Special ability in use ("Ability"); each combat ability has an inherent delay modifier on it, and slows down your rate of attack accordingly. These modifers are listed on each ability's entry. In general, more powerful attacks have higher delay modifiers.
Speed equation Edit
The amount of time your character is unable to attack for after using a given special ability, "Delay Time", is calculated as follows:
However, there is one small caveat: no attack can have a delay of less than one second. Any computation that comes out to less than one will be automatically rounded to 1.0.
At first glance, the speed equation is rather straightforward: increasing your Speed by a single point results in a 1% decrease in delay time. It even seems completely fair. Because we're dealing with percentages, a weapon with a high speed will always shoot slower than one with a slow speed, and always with the same percent difference in speed. Let us imagine two hypothetical weapons to illustrate this point:
The FWG5 pistol currently fires three times faster than the DLT20a. Now let's imagine a Pistoleer with +50 Pistol Speed and a Rifleman with +50 Rifle Speed. Assuming that the delay modifier on a default attack is 1.0, the Pistoleer will fire the FWG5 with a delay of 1.0 seconds ((1 - 50/100) * 2.0), and the Rifleman will fire the DLT20a with a delay of 3.0 seconds ((1 - 50/100) * 6.0). Thus, the FWG5 maintains its 3x speed boost over the rifle.
So it appears everything is fair regarding weapon speed, assuming that weapons and special abilities are completely balanced in terms of damage and delay. But naturally, all is not as it seems. That 1.0 second speed cap really messes things up. Here's why.
Because your firing speed increases linearly as a function of your speed mod, there eventually comes a point where your mod is high enough that a weapon of any speed will always fire at the 1.0 limit (referred to as the "speed cap"). This is also regardless of the special attack that you use. See where this is going? In short, the speed cap enables a Rifleman to use the highest-damage weapons in the game at the same speed as a Pistoleer with the fastest weapon in the game. Once a character caps on speed, the relative speed of a weapon is no longer important, only its damage range. Min/max damage powerups and damage slices become the only modifications of worth.
Let's take a look at those two weapons again. Now imagine that our Pistoleer has +74 Pistol Speed (as a Master Pistoleer, and our Rifleman has +90 Rifle Speed (again, as a Master). How fast does each weapon fire now?
- FWG5: delay = 1.0 ((1 - 74/100) * 2.0, rounded to 1.0)
- DLT20a: delay = 1.0 ((1 - 90/100) * 2.0, rounded to 1.0)
So now our rifle fires the same speed as the pistol, yet does twice the damage! Is that really fair?
This ability for slow weapons to fire at the same speed as fast weapons is one of the primary causes of the imbalanced nature of Star Wars Galaxies PVP. Riflemen outclass other ranged professions by far, as they are able to fire the heaviest-hitting weapons in the game as fast as any other profession. Pistoleers are especially ineffective, as they do not gain any special abilities to differentiate themselves from Riflemen: both professions acquire abilities to do extra damage, hit multiple targets, and apply some basic status effects. Aside from a melee-range knockdown, Pistoleer gains virtually nothing to offset the immense bonus Rifleman receives from its high speed mod. Carbineers fare somewhat better with a wide array of state attacks and knockdowns, but it is clear that Rifleman (and other high-damage professions) gain an immense numerical advantage with their speed. This discrepency is one of the main points to be addressed by the Combat Upgrade.