Mechanics of channeled spells

  • #1
    In December, Bashiok posted:

    "The tick rate of channeled skills is currently scaled by your weapon speed. This has the side effect of making the resource cost go up, which we’re okay with. It’s consistent with the philosophy that faster speed weapons consume more resource but may do more damage."

    So I think this means that if my Wizard wields a weapon that attacks twice per second, the damage for disintegrate will tick at the same rate, or at least some rate which scales with the weapon speed. Demon Hunter Rapid Fire might be an example where the spell damage pulses at a faster than weapon attack speed rate. Either way, it implies there is a window of time between each damage tick.

    Does this mean it would in theory be possible to alternate the beam between two enemies and have it always miss one enemy? In other words, every time the damage ticks, it is on enemy 1.

    Or maybe the damage clock resets when the spell hits a new enemy, but in this case you could speed up the DPS by juggling the beam between multiple targets.

    I'm not in beta so can't test it out, but does anybody have insight into how this works?
  • #2
    Quote from Whizzleteeth

    In December, Bashiok posted:

    "The tick rate of channeled skills is currently scaled by your weapon speed. This has the side effect of making the resource cost go up, which we’re okay with. It’s consistent with the philosophy that faster speed weapons consume more resource but may do more damage."

    So I think this means that if my Wizard wields a weapon that attacks twice per second, the damage for disintegrate will tick at the same rate, or at least some rate which scales with the weapon speed. Demon Hunter Rapid Fire might be an example where the spell damage pulses at a faster than weapon attack speed rate. Either way, it implies there is a window of time between each damage tick.

    Does this mean it would in theory be possible to alternate the beam between two enemies and have it always miss one enemy? In other words, every time the damage ticks, it is on enemy 1.

    Or maybe the damage clock resets when the spell hits a new enemy, but in this case you could speed up the DPS by juggling the beam between multiple targets.

    I'm not in beta so can't test it out, but does anybody have insight into how this works?


    Based on the way enemy life bars react to channeled spells in Beta, it appears that damage calculations and critical chance are performed at set intervals ("ticks") but enemies take damage continuously.

    For example, if you put a Ray of Frost on an Unburied and kept hitting it until it died, the ticks might look like: 16 24 (crit) 16 5(enemy dies). On the other hand, if you rapidly swept the Ray of Frost across multiple skeletons, it might say "5" "3" "6" "5".

    I believe how it works is that as long as you are channeling, the game re-calculates damage rate every tick (a fraction of a second depending on weapon speed) but enemies take damage every frame. This means that a "critical tick" will increase the damage rate for the duration of 1 tick, and then it will go back to the noncrit damage rate. If a tick is 0.5 seconds (15 frames assuming a serverside framerate of 30) then enemies will take 1/15th of the tick damage every frame.

    However, it will not display a damage number over the enemy's head until the next tick happens, at which point it displays the total damage taken (3 damage if you are sweeping the beam across, 16 damage if you are holding the beam on).

    Channeled spells do not overkill; if an enemy has 1 hp left your ray of frost will never display a damage number higher than 1. This is in contrast to an Arcane Orb which could easily overkill it for 40 damage.
  • #3
    Thanks for the detailed response. That makes a ton of sense, but maybe you could clarify one more thing for me. How do on hit effects work? I get what you are saying about crit chance increasing the damage for the duration of that tick, but what about something like chance to stun? In the example of sweeping a beam across a group of skeletons, is the stun chance recalculated for each skeleton?

    If so, maybe they limit it to one stun chance per enemy per interval.
  • #4
    Quote from Whizzleteeth

    Thanks for the detailed response. That makes a ton of sense, but maybe you could clarify one more thing for me. How do on hit effects work? I get what you are saying about crit chance increasing the damage for the duration of that tick, but what about something like chance to stun? In the example of sweeping a beam across a group of skeletons, is the stun chance recalculated for each skeleton?

    If so, maybe they limit it to one stun chance per enemy per interval.


    I have no idea. I have not seen any "on hit" items in Beta, it is possible that they are too high level.

    That said, I would guess that the chance to stun would be multiplied by the fractional ticks taken. So if you swept a beam across a skeleton and it took half a tick, it would have half the listed chance to get stunned.
  • #5
    I did a bit of testing using ray of frost. Some interesting observations:
    The arcane power cost is multiplied with the attack speed.
    1.53 attack speed drained 100 arcane power in 4.5 seconds
    1.00 attack speed drained 100 arcane power in 8.8 seconds

    The numbers are fairly consistent with the expected numbers of 1.53*20=30.6 AP/s and 1*20=20 AP/s

    EDIT: Further testing of RoF suggests it ticks at roughly twice your attack speed and you only do damage at ticks even though the health bar moves continuously (can only kill one enemy per tick). This seems to be how channeled spells works in general, though the tick rate may wary between spells. Deamon Hunters Strafe for instance ticks at a significantly higher rate then the attack speed.

    *Time measurements are somewhat rough
  • #6
    very interesting topic. i wonder how Monk's Tempest Rush skill will tick with higher attack speed. Thanks for your analysis (^^)
  • #7
    Quote from xXrasuninXx

    very interesting topic. i wonder how Monk's Tempest Rush skill will tick with higher attack speed. Thanks for your analysis (^^)


    A very interesting question, actually. Makes me think that Tempest Rush would be a better defensive ability when combined with a slow 2 handed weapon so that it doesn't drain as much spirit. The animation does show the Monk using a staff.... food for thought I guess.
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  • #8
    Quote from Nerax

    I did a bit of testing using ray of frost. Some interesting observations:
    The arcane power cost is multiplied with the attack speed.
    1.53 attack speed drained 100 arcane power in 4.5 seconds
    1.00 attack speed drained 100 arcane power in 8.8 seconds

    The numbers are fairly consistent with the expected numbers of 1.53*20=30.6 AP/s and 1*20=20 AP/s

    EDIT: Further testing of RoF suggests it ticks at roughly twice your attack speed and you only do damage at ticks even though the health bar moves continuously (can only kill one enemy per tick). This seems to be how channeled spells works in general, though the tick rate may wary between spells. Deamon Hunters Strafe for instance ticks at a significantly higher rate then the attack speed.

    *Time measurements are somewhat rough


    This appears to be correct. Ray of Frost appears to tick at twice your attack speed for 100% attack damage. Even though the enemy health bar moves continuously, the ray will always do at least 1 tick's worth of damage to any enemy you hit, and won't hit any other enemies during that time.
  • #9
    Quote from KageKaze
    Quote from xXrasuninXx
    very interesting topic. i wonder how Monk's Tempest Rush skill will tick with higher attack speed. Thanks for your analysis (^^)
    A very interesting question, actually. Makes me think that Tempest Rush would be a better defensive ability when combined with a slow 2 handed weapon so that it doesn't drain as much spirit. The animation does show the Monk using a staff.... food for thought I guess.


    oooohhh...you are right! i didn't thought of that.
    Mmm...drain spirit slower over time and still able to move faster thanks to movement speed buffs and equipments. Are we able to swap our weapons with just the press of the "W" or "Tab" key? I would still prefer faster attack speed but i would like to swap to a slow 2-handed weapon when i want to get to places faster or escape. (^^)
  • #10
    There is no weapon switch.
  • #11
    Someone asked about on hit stuff, there are indeed on hit items in the beta, they are extremely rare and not very good at the current level though, I've gotten Chance to Stun, Chance to Chill, and I think one other but can't remember. But they are like 1% chance to chill on hit, and it might have even been on Crit. So while they are there it would be too inconsistant to test, at least to get any sort of sample rate high enough to be sure for quite a few runs.

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