After the post I made last week about gear and attributes in Guild Wars 2, I got not only a great response which I’m truly grateful for, but also had a number of really good questions and discussions with a number of friends and players. This post is the outcome of one of those discussions about the pros and cons of stacking Power over Precision. There’ll be another later about Toughness vs Vitality.

This is going to be a little bit more maths heavy than before (which was mostly just tables of options), but hopefully I can make it simple enough for most to follow without a headache!

**How damage is calculated**

In Guild Wars 2 according to the Wiki, damage is calculated according to the following equation:

Damage = ( Power * Weapon Damage * Skill Multiplier ) / Target’s Defence

This is just one hit though and on its own it means very little. We need to look at what happens over a number of attacks and that’s where critical chance, critical damage and precision all roll in. In order to investigate the effect of all these mechanics, I’ve had to make a number of assumptions about various values that may not be true in game. For example, I’ve assumed that all weapons deal 1000 damage, the skill multiplier is 2 and the target is a scholar who has done nothing to improve their toughness. Just because the numbers don’t tally exactly doesn’t mean the trends that they tell us aren’t useful – in fact the opposite. To minimise the effect of these assumptions, I’ve changed none of them in any of the calculations.

This means the only factor in the equation we’ll be changing is Power, and we can investigate Precision by looking at a number of attacks and varying the number. So, I have also assumed that the number of critical hits in 100 exactly tallies with the percentage chance to critical hit (ie if the critical chance is 30% then out of 100 attacks, 30 of them will be critical hits).

In the game there are lots of things that affect how much damage an attack does, including things like Might, Fury, Protection, Vulnerability and Toughness, or if it actually lands at all. You can read more about this on the Guild Wars 2 Wiki.

**Your actual results will vary. **

**The base line**

The base line for all professions is 916 Power and 916 Precision. As was explained last time, every point in power equates to a point of attack damage, so by default all characters have 916 attack. Precision relates to the chance to do a critical hit. The first 916 Precision equates to 4% critical chance. Every 21.16 points in Precision thereafter raise the critical chance by 1% (at level 80). The amount of damage a critical attack does is controlled by Critical damage, which is based on 1.5 times the normal attack. Raising critical damage by 1% results in an extra 0.01 multiplier on damage (ie 1.51 times the normal attack).

All in all, a bog standard character will do a normal hit of 998 and a critical hit of 1497. Over 100 hits, on average they will do 101,778 damage.

**Raising power**

To see the effect of power, I’m going to just run through the calculations of raising it in steps of 200, probably further than is possible through equipment and gear.

Power |
Precision |
Critical Chance |
Critical Damage |
1 hit |
100 hits |

916 | 916 | 4 | 1.5 | 998 | 101,778 |

1116 | 916 | 4 | 1.5 | 1,216 | 124,000 |

1316 | 916 | 4 | 1.5 | 1,434 | 146,222 |

1516 | 916 | 4 | 1.5 | 1,651 | 168,444 |

1716 | 916 | 4 | 1.5 | 1,869 | 190,667 |

1916 | 916 | 4 | 1.5 | 2,087 | 212,889 |

2116 | 916 | 4 | 1.5 | 2,305 | 235,111 |

2316 | 916 | 4 | 1.5 | 2,523 | 257,333 |

2516 | 916 | 4 | 1.5 | 2,741 | 279,556 |

2716 | 916 | 4 | 1.5 | 2,959 | 301,778 |

So looking at the trend here, we can see that an extra 200 points into power will reward the player with an extra 22,222 damage over 100 attacks.

**Raising precision**

Similar to what we did with power, I’m going to run through the calculations of raising precision in steps of 200.

Power |
Precision |
Critical Chance |
Critical Damage |
1 hit |
100 hits |

916 | 916 | 4 | 1.5 | 998 | 101,778 |

916 | 1116 | 13 | 1.5 | 998 | 106,493 |

916 | 1316 | 23 | 1.5 | 998 | 111,209 |

916 | 1516 | 32 | 1.5 | 998 | 115,925 |

916 | 1716 | 42 | 1.5 | 998 | 120,640 |

916 | 1916 | 51 | 1.5 | 998 | 125,356 |

916 | 2116 | 61 | 1.5 | 998 | 130,071 |

916 | 2316 | 70 | 1.5 | 998 | 134,787 |

916 | 2516 | 80 | 1.5 | 998 | 139,503 |

916 | 2716 | 89 | 1.5 | 998 | 144,218 |

Once again, looking at the trend, an extra 200 points in precision raises the critical chance by 9.45%, resulting in an extra 4,715 damage over 100 attacks.

**That’s a big difference**

So we’ve established that (for these numbers at least) you’re going to get around 4.5 times more damage putting 200 points into Power rather than Precision. So are there any reasons at all to put points into Precision?

The answer is yes, to a point. There are a number of skills that have effects that fire on a critical hit, so increasing the chance to critical hit is something you want to do – you just don’t want to ignore power so much that your character is very weak. So if you raise your Precision up, you might want to consider raising Power as a secondary attribute to make sure the attacks that do become critical hits do even more damage. Of course, this will mean sacrificing points you can put into your survival or other wanted benefits.

In reality, Power and Precision aren’t mutually exclusive. Many armor and jewellery pieces have both Power and Precision on them in varying proportions. Working out exactly what proportions you need to get the best out of your character isn’t easy (we haven’t factored in condition damage or might for example) but hopefully you’ve now got an idea of which is better for you!

Of course, these aren’t the only common considerations for characters – I’ll be taking a look at Toughness and Vitality soon.

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### 7 Responses to “Power vs Precision”

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[...] Attached to Keyboard — Power vs Precision. “After the post I made last week about gear and attributes in Guild Wars 2, I got not only a great response which I’m truly grateful for, but also had a number of really good questions and discussions with a number of friends and players. This post is the outcome of one of those discussions about the pros and cons of stacking Power over Precision. There’ll be another later about Toughness vs Vitality.” [...]

Why am I the only comment here?

Now that you’ve laid it out in front of me, it is staggering quite how much more effective power is than precision. I think you’re right that most people will go for beserkers armour anyway – which means they’ll be stacking power primarily, with precision second and then crit damage third.

Have you thought about adding a dual attribute spreadsheet as well ie.. Power/precision vs precision/critdamage or others

[...] Power vs Precision… i would have prefered a sort of 2 part breakdown as well ie.. power/precision vs precision crit damage or something like that since stat allocation has a primary and secondary damage component (sometimes 1 or 3 too) [...]

@j3w3l: I have, but like you hinted on the blog post you linked to this (thank you for that by the way), the combinations can get complex very quickly. That was not the aim of this series of posts, which are intended to guide people who don’t like calculators, or have the kind of obsession with spreadsheets that I do, into making informed decisions about their equipment.

That said, I am working on an overall spreadsheet that will help people compare different equipment choices into damage output over time and the number of hits they can survive. It should be out before the end of the week.

The probelm with comparing precision to power is that precision itself is not the damage stat, its a supporting stat. Also precision can be lowered if traits are taken that priovide additional crit chance or Fury has a high uptime.

Comparing precision/crit damage to about 70%/50% (around 2300 prec with maybe 300-400 power) vs power/precision may provide a more relevant answer.

Unfortunately many do see precision as a damage stat and I’ve seen people stack it inappropriately to the detriment of their damage output. Like so much about gear choices, it is hard to generalise a best path because of the sheer number of choices when it comes to professions, traits and weapons combined with play style and competence.

You bring up a valid criticism about the comparison though and I’ll work through a few practical PvE gear examples for a later blog post.