Wu Jian's Whirlwind vs single monsters

Until now, I thought that because of the chance to attack repeatedly, Whirlwind was “generally better than plain old hits”. Even against single monsters, unless they have high AC. This was purely my gut feeling. I may have to correct myself, though. Tried to crunch the numbers, now, and this is what I came up with.

Let’s assume we’re using Unarmed Combat, movement speed is 10, and we keep hitting (or whirling around) an infinite HP monster with 0 AC and 0 EV for exactly 100 damage.

Plain old hits

attack delay average damage / 10 auts average damage / turn
1 100 100
0.9 111 100
0.8 125 100
0.7 143 100
0.6 166 100
0.5 200 100


attack delay double-hit chance average damage / 10 auts average damage / turn
1 0 80 80
0.9 1/9 = 0.11 88.89 88.89
0.8 2/8 = 0.25 100 100
0.7 3/7 = 0.43 114.29 114.29
0.6 4/6 = 0.67 133.33 133.33
0.5 1 160 160

Seems like Whirlwind is just worse in terms of damage per aut. On average. If you get lucky and double-hit more than average, Whirlwind can outperform plain old hits for 0.7 attack delay or slower. But for 0.6 attack delay or faster, plain old hits always deal more damage / aut. I’m not sure if attack delay uses more than one decimal place. Didn’t try to dive the code.

However, starting at 0.8 attack delay, Whirlwind catches up in terms of damage per turn. So, it might be (slightly) superior for low turncount runs.

Do you agree? Do my calculations even make sense? It’s not a big deal, of course. Won’t make much difference in most fights. But it’s interesting. Not what I expected.

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wirlwind attacks only deal 80% damage. And you deal (on average) the same number of attacks. I’m not sure how this adds to that.
I do think the damage reduction for wirlwind attacks is silly, I don’t think bcrawl has that either, but it is as it is. It was introduced to compensate for the pinning effect, which has since been removed.

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Yeah, it seems straightforward that proportional number of attacks to time taken and less damage per attack would translate to less damage per time taken.

I don’t mind the damage reduction because

  • whirlwind is the marital attack you can almost always repeat to keep building heavenly storm. There is a use-case for it even against single enemies but it’s a slight trade-off (I assume whirlwind is almost always better than tab if heavenly storm is active even vs single enemies)
  • against 2+ enemies it still seems better to whirlwind, even with axes (unless there’s only one enemy you really want to prioritize or something). This feels right to me. If the damage reduction were so much that cleaving wasn’t worth it, I don’t think whirlwind would be in a good place.

But I don’t feel strongly about the damage reduction being removed either. I dunno if that would be too powerful or not. How does it feel to you when you’re using whirlwind to cleave?

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I don’t mind the 80% damage either. The best use case for Whirlwind is the fighting retreat, imho. Even when fighting a whole pack of monsters, I often move around hitting just one monster, and repositioning so that only one monster can hit me back.

I feel it’s just as effective as axes, but the damage you take is spikier. It’s not a problem for me (a very slow player), but a Whirlwind (without forms or status effects) is always 10 auts. If you tab with 0.5 attack delay, you have twice as many opportunities to react when things start to go south. There’s no autofight_stop for movement, so with Whirlwind it’s easier to get yourself killed by pressing buttons too fast.

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