Archer Demon vs Sage
If you're an archer heading towards level 89 it's time to decide if you're going to go demon or sage. This page compares and contrasts the differences between demon and sage for archers to help you decide which is for you.
PvE Cultivation Comparisons
As a PvE archer you can choose to use either a bow or fists/claws. Recently, with the 5 APS hype, fists and claws have become much more popular amongst archers. If you were smart you would roll an assassin. Assassins can deal 3x more damage and heal themselves while doing it. If you're still too stubborn to switch, then the arguments presented here are more applicable to you.
The first major difference between demon and sage archers is their spark.
|+500% Weapon Attack|
|Reduces damage by 25%||Reduces Interval by -0.10|
Due to demon spark's increased attack rate demons required 2 less interval pieces to achieve 5 APS. Depending on your server's economic situation, simply having a demon archer can save up to 700 million coins as you may not need to purchase a scroll of tomb to achieve 5 APS. If you're willing to spend the 700 million, then a demon cultivation can prevent you from investing un-needed points into strength. The following are two 5 APS builds for a sage archer:
There are varying builds of armor that will allow sage archers to reach 5 APS. The primary advantage of a demon cultivation is the flexibility to add higher grade gear to their characters while still having the ability to attack at 5 APS. To reach 5 APS as a Sage Archer, some armor slots must be sacrificed for lower grade interval pieces.
Although sage archers have a disadvantage gear-wise, spark-wise sage archers are superior. Since it is impossible to exceed 5 APS, sage archers have the advantage of 25% damage reduction. The 25% damage reduction helps sage archers tank heavy melee damage should a sage archer pull aggro.
PvP Cultivation Comparisons
For PvP there are 3 important factors:
- (1) Critical Rate
- (2) Attack Speed
- (3) Damage Per Hit
As an Archer, a Bow is the weapon of choice for PvP. Primary reason is that most end-game bows have the interval of a slingshot, a better damage spread, and the ability to purge. As of June 6, 2011, most servers have heavily geared characters. This ranges from TT99 to Rank 9. Most end-game characters usually have higher refines and better physical defense. The best geared characters are impossible to kill as an archer when they're fully buffed.
A fully buffed Rank 9 character with full Jades of Steady Defense will have nearly double if not more than double their Defense Rating. A full Rank 9 archer can jump from 40,000 defense rating to 120,000 in the extremist of cases. It is imperative that you be able to debuff these people if you hope to ever be able to kill them.
Well attack speed is a no-brainer for archers. Attempt to gain as much attack speed as possible without sacrificing damage per hit. The higher your attack speed with a bow, the more shots you can make within a limited period of time. In PvP you must be able to tear through an opponent's HP in less than 10 seconds. If you can't, you will never be able to kill a charmed opponent.
Assuming you have an end-game archer with average gear (as of June, 2011), you likely have about 0.8-0.87 attacks per second - see Archer Attack Speed Basics for more information on how Interval works. This means in 10 seconds you can deal a total of 8 hits at best.
|Attack Speed||Shots fired in 10 seconds|
Fortunately, for demon archers, both Spark and Quickshot grant a -0.1 interval buff. This allows demon archers to increase their attack speed with the same gear as a sage archer. Although, to be fair archer chi is better spent on other things than sparking. Which leaves Quickshot as a demon archers triumph card.
Using demon Quickshot, archers can hit the next interval bracket 0.87 - 0.95 attacks per second. Once an archer hits 0.91 attacks per second, an archer will deal 9 shots in 10 seconds. Effectively, as demon archers get more base interval, the benefits of Quickshot on attack speed for PvP increase.
It's easy to understand why critical rate is important in PvP for bow-weilding archers. When a shot criticals the damage is doubled. To compete with equally geared opponents, criticals are how you as an archer are going to win. Criticals are the archer's charm breaker. Criticals can allow archers to nearly double their damage.
The question is: how much of a difference does critical rate make? Does an archer with 2% more passive critical rate, hit more critical hits? What about 10%? The answer comes from the statistics, more specifically the Binomial Distribution. For those less-math-literate people reading this article, the binomial distribution basically tells us how likely K-critical hits are likely in N shots, with a critical rate of P.
|Chance of at least K critical hits in 8 shots|
|K-Critical Hits||10% Critical Rate||20% Critical Rate||30% Critical Rate||40% Critical Rate|
|Chance of at least K critical hits in 9 shots|
|K-Critical Hits||10% Critical Rate||20% Critical Rate||30% Critical Rate||40% Critical Rate|
Typically end-game archers have around 30% critical rate. From the charts above, a 10% increase in critical rate translates into a much higher probability that half of an archer's shots will critical. Attack rate also increases the frequency that shots will critical in a given time period.
Again critical-rate favors a demon cultivation. Demons can improve their chances of critical hits when they use their critical-rate increasing skills, combined with their attack speed increasing Quickshot. For sage archers, Quickshot is the only sage skill to increase their critical rate.
Demon/Sage Skill Comparisons
Sage and demon skills for archers are very contested. Each skill may have its own use depending on whether its being used for PvE or PvP. Generally demon archer skills are better for PvP than their sage counterparts. This is primarily because demon archer skills target 2 of 3 defining traits of a bow-using archer:
- (1) Critical Damage
- (2) Attack Speed
The following table lists sage and demon skill differences considering their use in PvE and PvP.
Dispelling Common Myths in Sage/Demon Arguments
2 Meters makes a difference.
- The slowest characters in game move at 4.8 meters a second. In half a second (0.5 seconds) a character will have moved 2 meters. If your ping to the server is around or greater than 500 milliseconds, then a 2 meter advantage is useless. By the time you see your opponent, he is actually 2 meters closer than your maximum range.
15% more damage is huge!
- Not really. An archer doubles the damage of their attack if they critical.
- The real benefit of 15% more damage from sage Bow Mastery is that its permanent and guaranteed. Furthermore it will stack with critical hits from sage archers. In the long term 15% more damage may be beneficial. For short term (PvP) targets, higher critical rate is favorable. A doubled attack is far more valuable in the short term than an attack with 15% more damage to it.
More evasion will let me dodge more attacks.
- Not really. Magic never misses, and end game physical attack characters are running around with +50% accuracy rings. The only time extra evasion is helpful is when you use Blessing of the Condor (level 79 skill) which increases your evasion by 1000%. This is very useful against melee classes and other archers.
Sage Blazing Arrow will stack with sage Bow Mastery.
- Yes and no. Yes the damage will be added, but no, it will not be multiplied by sage Bow Mastery. Blazing Arrow will add 10% more weapon damage in fire attack after all other damage is calculated (before attack levels.) See the Damage page for more information.
Sage can triple Spark more.
- Yes this is true. But it doesn't really matter: If you're gearing for PvE then you're likely going to have equipment that enables 5 attacks per second (APS). At this point demon and sage spark at equal rates. If you're using a bow it's likely for PvP, in which case your chi is better spent on defensive skills like Winged Shell, Wings of Grace, and Elven Alacrity. So yes, you can triple more, but is it useful? No.
2% extra critical rate makes a difference.
- Yes it makes difference. But not a one big enough to be a major game-changer in your ability to critical more shots.
10% Accuracy doesn't make a difference.
- Totally wrong if you care about PvP. While it doesn't make much of a difference against your typical arcane classes, against blademasters, assassins, and other archers it makes a huge difference. The latter two classes have naturally high evasion due to the pure (or near pure) DEX builds they use. Blademasters have above-average evasion if they've stated to be able to use claws/fists. The extra accuracy just might allow you to deliver fatal shots before their charm ticks.
- Furthermore, if you PK, then you'll be facing more assassins than any other class.
Sage sharpened tooth's 20% HP reduction is more useful.
- Totally in PvE, but not as far as PvP is concerned. The 4% advantage over demon Sharpened Tooth Arrow is minuscule and insignificant for low HP targets. Against better geared players with a little over 10,000 HP, a 4% difference translates to a mere 400-ish HP. Granted 400 HP might make the difference between death an ticking in rare circumstances, but most players with over 10,000 HP have insane gears. If you're not dealing quantities of damage that are much over 2000 HP a shot, you're going to get pulverized long before you make that 400 HP matter.
- Against very high HP targets in TW (Territory War) such as catapult barbarians, 4% HP may translate into 800, 1200, or 1600 HP more HP taken off than demon Sharpened Tooth. While this matters from the prospective that a turtled barbarian will turn all 4 digit damage into low 3-digit damage, it is really insignificant when you consider that Bloodvow is your choice of skill here. Furthermore if a barbarian managed to turtle in TW, it means you lack demon cultivated characters using Mo-Zun's Taunt (chi stealing).
Thoughts and Considerations for End-Game cultivation choice
PvP vs PvE
Before making your choice about your archer's cultivation, you need to ask yourself:
- What will I be doing when I'm level 10x?
- What will I be doing when I have all the gear I want?
- What will I be doing when I have accomplished my goals?
Many archers say they're choosing their cultivation to do PvE activities for the rest of their time when playing an archer. But few actually consider what their PvE objectives/goals are, and even fewer consider what they'd do once their objectives are reached. What is there to farm? What comes after? TT99 (Twilight Temple)? Nirvana? Rank 8? Rank 9? What is there to do after you've leveled to 105?
Many who actually give this serious thought realize that building for PvE activities are a dead end. PvP, whether in the form of open-PK or TW, is where the "end-game" is. After you've achieved all you set out to achieve, is it enough to beat who you want to beat? If it isn't, this drives you to build your character, whether by improving your PvP skills or gear. It's no coincidence that the best geared archers and players are in large TW-centered guilds. The competition drives them to constantly upgrade their gear.
It's this sort of competition that drives many archers to keep playing archers. As an archer you are a vital TW asset that big guilds won't turn down if you have decent gear. You can be a Rank 8 archer with average-to-decent refines, and be considered more important than a full +12 rank 9 assassin with full Jades of Steady Defense.
So when choosing between your cultivation choose the cultivation that you think will allow you to be most effective in PvP. If you're serious about TW, keep in mind Mo-Zun's Taunt (demon chi steal) is more useful than Master Li's Technique (sage chi gain). The more demons you have, the faster catapult barbarians die because they cannot use defensive skills.