06 September 2018

WildStar: Spellslinger Bug Rotation - The Ins & Out

Alright, since there are no more Redmoon Terror or Genetic Archives Prime 1 runs inside of our guild I pretty much closed up with WildStar for the time being. Thus it doesn't bother me too much if this gets me banned but I wanted to talk about this topic for quite a while since it's really interesting from a game design perspective.

I'm not going to explain every little detail but I try to tell you the most important things if you're not a Wildstar player.

Spellslinger & Redmoon Terror Set

The Spellslinger is one of a variety of classes that can be played. As weapons they use guns and their skills focus on guns and magic. Redmoon Terror is the last raid that was released in Wildstar. In this raid, every class can get a rune set referred to as RMT Set or risen class set. Each class has its own set.

The Spellslinger's risen class set basically works like this:

Every second you can get a stack when you use an auto-attack. Once you reach six of these stacks you can use an ability called assassinate that will deal 300% more damage and remove all the stacks upon hit replacing them with a buff that increases critical hit chance and critical hit severity.

Where's The Bug?

If you have played WildStar then you know that it is possible to remove a buff from your buff bar or from the stacks in your buff bar by right-clicking them. If you gather six stacks from the class set's buff you can use assassinate and the six stacks are not gone yet. Remember they are only removed when Assassinate hits. This means if you right click your six stacks before assassinate hits the enemy.

The next thing that happens now is that you have removed one stack and you have only five. Since you don't have six stacks they won't be removed you keep your five. The assassinate however still deals it's 300% more damage since this is checked when the skill is activated and not while the skill is in animation or assassinate is traveling.

With five stacks you only need one more auto-attack to shoot out another assassinate that will have the damage bonus and you can remove one buff from the class stack before it hits, just to find yourself in an infinite loop. An infinite loop of pain and damage.

Why Is the Bug Rotation Considered Difficult?

The biggest difficulty in this rotation comes from the fact that your distance from the boss defines how much time you have to remove the stack additionally the stack may not always be in the same position. Some add-ons place this buff to a fixed position in the buff bar or let you customize the position size and much more. Unfortunately, the buff bar changes its position when you gain or lose an absorb and the helper add-on throws all the buffs together in one spot and then filters all others out. So there's a chance to always click at the "wrong" moment resulting in not taking away one stack and losing all six gaining the other buff for multiple seconds. Seconds of damage loss. From experience failing this can lead to a DPS loss of around 25k. When I tried this rotation I got between 40k and 70k damage numbers in the raid.

The other issue is to balance your Spellsurge between assassinates and your auto attacks while still rotating between rapid fire and quick draw respective to the cooldowns. Each and every assassinate should be Spellsurged if possible.

How to Fix the Bug?

To fix the bug you need to know where the issue lies exactly. Luckily my explanation should have pointed you exactly to where we're searching for. So, one easy way to fix this bug is for Assassinate to instantly remove the six stacks and replace them with the other buff once it has been cast. This allows the player to have no chance to remove one stack before something could go wrong.

This would be the easiest way to fix it and quite simple.

Another way to fix it would be to prevent the player from dispelling or removing buffs on their buff bar. However, this could prevent the player from getting rid of certain buffs they don't want to have any more or that they don't want to have during damage tests. This does fix any related bugs in the future though.

Opinion

If Wildstar wouldn't be in such a bad shape as it is this issue would probably get fixed in just a few days. To be honest though, even if the DPS meter mentions one skill dealing 80% of the damage or so, actually performing the rotation is not an easy feat. As such the resulting damage is worth the work put in. Thus I would deem this to be a bug but not an exploit. Especially since the Spellslinger pretty much stays on par with the other classes damage numbers. Yet, still fixing this bug and buffing the Spellslinger damage would be the best option.
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I'm a junior game developer and software developer and I created this blog to share my ideas, thoughts and whatever I'm working on or doing.