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Thread: A Brief Mathematical Analysis of Marksman Skills

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    Default A Brief Mathematical Analysis of Marksman Skills

    A Brief Mathematical Analysis of Marksman Skills

    Table of Contents:
    (I) Introduction
    (II) Background Information
    ->(II.1) Critical Shots
    ->(II.2) Mastery
    (III) Marksman Skills
    ->(III.1) Sharp Eyes
    ->(III.2) Marksman Boost
    ->(III.3) Piercing Arrow
    ->(III.4) Snipe
    (IV) Conclusion
    ->(IV.1) Basic Build Comparison
    ->(IV.2) My Proposed Build
    (V) Post “Big Bang”
    ->(V.1) Changes to Critical Shot
    ->(V.2) Changes to Arrow Eruption
    ->(V.3) Changes to Sharp Eyes
    ->(V.4) Ultimate Strafe
    ->(V.5) Piercing Arrow
    ->(V.6) Crossbow Expert
    ->(V.7) Snipe
    ->(V.8) A New Soloist Build
    (Just search for the text (IV.1) etc to find a section!)

    (I) Introduction
    I play a level 10x Sniper on Broa (ImCompiling), and I've been thinking a lot lately about what I'm going to do at 120. The rules keep changing, and it's hard to find up-to-date information on how everything works. There's a standard build, but especially with some of the recent changes powering up Snipe and Piercing Arrow, I'm not content to just follow the beaten path without at least doing my research first. ^_^ This guide is intended as much to organize my own thoughts and research as it is to present it to those who follw.

    This guide is intended for those who are in a similar boat as me. High level Snipers or just people curious about Marksman skills. Bowmasters might find my calculations for Sharp Eyes and Marksman Boost helpful: just substitute in the equivalent Ranger/Bowmaster skills whenever I mention Arrow Eruption of Marksman Boost.

    Of course there's this rumored”Big Bang” update which may or may not be heading our way and which may or may not do any number of things to any umber of skills so obviously this guide isn't up to date on that. If and when that update does come, I'll update this guide to account for it as soon as there's reliable information on the changes. I've seen what's at least rumored to be the new damage calculations, and that wouldn't change almost anything in this guide, except perhaps the specifics of the Snipe discussion. For now, I'm assuming most of the skills remain relatively unchanged, at least with respect to eachother.

    In case you're new to doing bowman calculations here's a bit of helpful background:

    (II) Background Information

    (II.1) Critical Shots
    Hopefully you know by now that Critical Shot does not actually do 200% damage! Rather, it adds a flat 100% damage to your shot. This is why Double Shot does more damage than Arrow Blow, because it can critical twice per shot and each critical adds 100% for up to 460%. The 260% in Arrow Blow doesn't double, it just gets 100% added to it for 360%.

    (I actually prefer Arrow Blow, but that's more personal than anything else. Just so nobody makes a fuss over it the average damage for Arrow Blow is 300% and for Double Shot it's 340%, so not all that different actually. You'll see how I got these values in a second ^_^)

    Bowmen, as you know, have remarkably unstable damage, and Critical Shot only makes it worse by upping our maximum damage without moving the minimum damage at all. Thus, knowing the maximum damage we can do isn't very useful, it's much better to know the average.

    So how do you calculate the effect of a Critical Shot that may or may not go off on your average damage? The equation is simple:

    Average damage =
    (Chance of Critical)*(Critical Bonus + Normal Damage)+(Chance of Non-Critical)*(Normal Damage)

    If you rearrange the equation a bit, you'll see that we can get:

    Average damage =
    (Chance of Critical)*(Critical Bonus)+(Chance of Critical+Chance of Non-Critical)*(Normal Damage)

    and since the chance of getting either a critical OR a non-critical hit is 100%, that's just

    Average damage = (Chance of Critical)*(Critical Bonus) + (Normal Damage)

    In other words, you can just add a flat (Chance of Critical)*(Critical Bonus)% to the base damage done by a skill to figure out its actual average damage with critical.

    For example, if your critical does +100% damage 40% of the time, which it does if you have maxed Critical Shot but not Sharp Eyes, then your bonus average damage is (100%)*(40%) or +40%

    So take for instance Arrow Eruption. It has a base damage of 160% per enemy. With critical, that's 200% damage on average per enemy.

    Similarly, Strafe does 140% average per arrow after critical, or an average of 560% damage per shot.

    (II.2) Mastery
    Mastery is what determines your minimum damage. Mastery will be a certain percentage value, and you simply multiply that by your maximum damage to get your minimum damage. Archers begin with only 15% Mastery, but bump it up to 60% in the second job advance with Crossbow Mastery. If you have 60% Mastery, you will on average do 80% of your maximum damage. Why? It's a simple average. Your arrow could hit anywhere between 60% and 100% of your maximum, so simply take the average: (100% +60%)/2 = 80%.

    Note that that's the damage not counting Critical Shots. Critical shots move your damage all over the place overall. But in general, a non-critical shot will on average hit 80% of what a non-critical shot could, and on average a critical shot will hit about 80% of what a critical shot could. However, this is multiplicative not additive like Critical Shot bonus damage. If a skill does 100% damage, it will hit about 80% of your maximum damage range on average. If a skill does 500% damage, it will hit about (500%)*(80%) = 400% of your maximum damage range on average.

    Since Mastery applies to all skills equally, it's not generally counted in “average damage %” equations that you'll see here or in most other guides. It's omnipresence is simply assumed ^_^

    However, understanding how it works will be important for our discussion of Marksman Boost later on in this guide.

    Anyway, on to the guide itself!

    (III) Marksman Skills

    There is a nearly universal consensus among marksmen that the first four most important Marksman skills to get are Sharp Eyes, Marksman Boost, Piercing Arrow, and Snipe. This guide represents everything I have been able to learn about these four skills and my arguments about which order to get them in.

    (III.1) Sharp Eyes
    The description for sharp eyes is somewhat misleading. The description would lead you to think that at level 1, Sharp Eyes adds a 1% critical chance and an additional 11% damage per critical, for example, that a critical which used to hit a bonus of 100% would now hit a bonus of 111%.
    Similarly, that at level 30 it will add a 15% bonus to critical chance plus an additional 40% damage per shot, so the equations for how much this would improve your average damage per shot would be:

    Level 1 : 40%*11% + 1%*111% = 5.51% average damage increase
    Level 10 : 40%*20% + 5%*120% = 14% average damage increase
    Level 30 : 40%*40% + 15%*140% = 37% average damage increase

    However, this is not how Sharp Eyes works! Sharp Eyes is such a coveted skill because where it says “11%” it actually means “111%!” Some people have described this as the critical damage from Sharp Eyes “stacking” with existing critical damage. In other words, a warrior with a level 30 Sharp-Eyes applied will hit a critical 15% of the time at an additional 140% damage on top of what they would normally deal. On the other hand, an archer who already hits critical 40% of the time with a +100% bonus to damage would now hit 55% of the time with a 240% damage bonus. That means 340% on a normally 100% damage shot such as in Strafe! This is why Marksman and Bowmasters often triple or more their damage on critical vs non-critical hits!

    So the equations REALLY are:

    Level 1 : 40%*111% + 1%*211% = 46.51% average damage increase
    Level 10 : 40%*120% + 5%*220% = 67% average damage increase
    Level 30 : 40%*140% + 15%*240% = 92% average damage increase

    Whereas before you would add 40% to an average damage equation to account for critical hits, you would now add the following value to %damage per shot:

    No SE : 100% damage * 40% chance = 40% average bonus
    Level 1 SE : 211% damage * 41% chance = 86.51% average bonus
    Level 10 SE : 220% damage * 45% chance = 99% average bonus
    Level 30 SE : 240% damage * 55% chance = 132% average bonus

    In other words, this would be the damage from Strafe:

    No SE : 4*(100% + 40%) = 560% average Strafe damage
    Level 1 SE : 4*(100% + 86.51%) = 726.24% average Strafe damage
    Level 10 SE : 4*(100% + 99%) = 796% average Strafe damage
    Level 30 SE : 4*(100% + 132%) = 928% damage

    This represents, overall, a 65% increase in average damage output.

    This would be the per-enemy damage from Arrow Eruption:

    No SE : 160% base + 40% critical = 200% average Arrow Eruption damage
    Level 1 SE : 160% base + 86.51% critical = 246.51% average Arrow Eruption damage
    Level 10 SE : 160% base + 99% critical = 259% average Arrow Eruption damage
    Level 30 SE : 160% base + 132% critical = 292% average Arrow Eruption damage

    This represents, overall, a 46% increase in average damage output.

    So as you can see, Sharp Eyes gives you a significant (~50%) increase to both mobbing and single-target damage, and best of all, will affect your entire party, though warriors and mages will only experience about a 21% increase in damage, since they don't have an existing critical to build on that's 140% bonus * 15% = 21% That's just flat added, so less than that overall, I suppose. Feel free to do the math yourself if there's a particular skill you're curious about, you know how to do it now! ^_^ Using these equations, you should be able to figure out the effects of Sharp Eyes on any other skills.

    (III.2) Marksman Boost
    Marksman Boost is a skill which increases both Mastery and Weapon Attack. Unlike Sharp Eyes, the mathematics behind this is fairly simple to understand:

    Mastery affects your minimum damage. If you have 60% Mastery, your minimum damage range (before critical! See Mastery discussion above!) will be 60% of your maximum damage range (also before critical!). In other words, with 60% Mastery you will do an average of:

    (100% max + 60% min)/2 = 80% of maximum damage on average.

    Note that this does not account for critical shots, which is why at level 100 you might be able to hit 5,000 damage per strafe shot in theory (for a theoretical maximum of 20,000 damage) but you will hit far less than 16,000 damage on average with those stats, because only 40% of your shots, on average, will be critical.

    What Marksman Boost does is to increase your Mastery to 90% and your Weapon Attack by +10. The effect of the Mastery increase will be an average 15% overall increase in damage across all skills. Why 15% and not 30%? because this is an average:

    (100% maximum + 90% minimum)/2 = 95% average

    As compared with 80% from before.

    How much 10 Weapon Attack will improve your character depends on how much Weapon Attack you have already. Because the equations for damage are based on your Dexterity multiplied by your Weapon Attack, the key is to increase Weapon Attack by ratios. In other words, if your Weapon Attack increases by 1%, your damage will increase by 1%. So if you have 100 Weapon Attack total from your weapon, gloves, cape, etc, and you add +10 Weapon attack, that's an increase of 10% and you'll see a corresponding increase in damage. If you have 150 Weapon Attack, that would be a 6.7% increase in Weapon Attack and thus, in total overall damage. How much Dexterity you have will not affect what amount of increase you see here, just how much Weapon Attack you have.

    So from this you can see that combined, you will have approximately a 15% + ~8% = 23% overall increase in damage across all skills with maxed Marksman Boost. Though 90% Mastery may sound amazing from the description, this is actually less than half the increase you'd see from Sharp Eyes and perhaps not quite as powerful as it sounds.

    (III.3) Piercing Arrow
    Piercing Arrow is an interesting skill. It requires a short charge-up, but when maxed, can do an amazing 850% damage to up to 6 enemies. Its real power, though, is that it increases in damage as it passes through each enemy, approximately doubling by the time it reaches the 6th enemy. When maxed, the increase is 150% per enemy, so:

    850% + 1,000% + 1,150% + 1,300% + 1,450% + 1,600% = 7,350% damage against 6 enemies.

    And that was before accounting for criticals! Though admittedly, an extra 40% or even 132% average damage per shot won't make a significant difference since the base damage values are already so high.

    I'm not sure how much the increase per enemy is at lower levels of Piercing Arrow, but for these equations I'll assume that the damage will approximately double by the last enemy. In the next set of equations, we'll look at Piercing Arrows average damage against the maximum number of enemies, assuming 40% critical at 100% (no Sharp Eyes). For the sake of readability, the percent-per-enemy values shown already have average critical damage calculated in. Bear in mind that at level 1 Piercing Arrow can only hit 4 enemies but by level 30 it can hit 6:

    Level 1 : 360% + 460% + 560% + 660% = 2,040% damage
    Level 11 : 560% + 685% + 810% + 935% + 1,060% = 4,050% damage
    Level 30 : 890% + 1,040% + 1,190% + 1,340% + 1,490% + 1,640% = 7,590% damage

    And with a level 30 Sharp Eyes:

    Level 1 : 452% + 552% + 652% + 752% = 2,408% damage
    Level 11 : 652% + 777% + 902% + 1,027% + 1,152% = 4,510% damage
    Level 30 : 982% + 1,132% + 1,282% + 1,432% + 1,582% + 1,732% = 8,142% damage

    Sharp Eyes thus increases the overall damage output or Piercing Arrow by about 7%, not very much.
    As with all other attack skills, Marksman Boost will increase the average damage output of Piercing Arrow by about 23%, a much larger increase.

    However, since the question is which order to do skills in, let's do a bit of comparison work. It should be fairly obvious that by the time Piercing Arrow, Sharp Eyes, and Marksman Boost are all at level 30, Piercing Arrow will be your most powerful mob skill. However, at level 120 you can increase your mob damage either with Piercing Arrow OR with Sharp-Eyes, and Piercing Arrow's stiffest competition will come from Arrow Eruption. So, let's run some equations!

    Based on observation, Arrow Eruption, can fire approximately 2.5 times for each time a Piercing Arrow is fired, due to Piercing Arrow's charge-up time. Thus in the time it takes to fire a single Piercing Arrow, without Sharp Eyes Arrow Eruption can do:

    200% * 6 * 2.5 = 3,000% damage

    Not even as much as a level 11 Piercing Arrow. However, this isn't really relevant since if you don't get Piercing Arrow first you will almost certainly have gotten Sharp Eyes. So here's what Arrow Eruption can do with a level 30 Sharp Eyes:
    292% * 6 * 2.5 = 4,380% damage

    About as much as a level 11 Piercing Arrow, but not even close to a level 30 Piercing Arrow. Piercing Arrow represents a potential 153% damage increase over your old non-Sharp Eyes Arrow Eruption mob skill, as compared with Sharp Eyes increase of only 46%. Even if we are generous and assume you can get off 3 or even 4 Arrow Eruptions in the same time as one Piercing Arrow it still doesn't compare. Remember that Marksman Boost will increase both Arrow Eruption and Piercing Arrow proportionally to the damage they already do, so there's no change in the comparison there.

    The one drawback to Piercing Arrow is that the damage will be very back-heavy. In other words, enemies 5 and 6 will take much more damage than enemies 1 and 2, so you'll often be left with the front few monsters still standing, and need to Strafe them away since even a mob skill as powerful as Piercing Arrow is not particularly effective against a lone target compared with your single-enemy skills.

    Some people would say that there is a drawback in that Piercing Arrow only fires in a straight line, like Iron Arrow, and you will not always be able to hit 6 enemies. However, I don't view this as much as a problem, and here's why: Marksmen have a specialty. We're often thought of as generalists. We can do pretty good single-target boss damage, but can't compare to Corsairs, Night Lords, or even Bowmasters in that department. We're one of the top mob-killing classes with Piercing Arrow, but ultimately in terms of pure damage output can't really compare with high level Bishops or Arch-Mages just from spamming our attack skills like they can. But at level 120, you'll have Puppet, a 3-second Blizzard, Power Knock-back, Dragon's Breath, and Frostprey. How often do you find yourself with a nice big clump of enemies, neatly tucked into a corner and either flailing helplessly about your Puppet or frozen and incapacitated, just waiting to receive whatever punishment you choose to dish out? Assuming you're a Marksman or Sniper, I'm willing to bet it's not that uncommon for you, either! With only half these skills, it's not hard at all. With all of them, it should be a breeze! Mob control is our specialty, and getting our enemies into tight, controlled clumps is what we do best. Thus, in my opinion, Piercing Arrow compliments a Marksman's existing abilities brilliantly!

    It's my general opinion that this skill is underrated. Just take for example the fact that “not getting Hurricane” is often listed as a “con” of being a Crossbowman as opposed to a Hunter. I think it's the other side that's missing out! This is also largely due to the fact that the charge-up for this skill was recently halved, which has powered up Piercing Arrow in relation to other mob skills considerably. If you can get off 5 or 6 Arrow Eruptions in the time as one Piercing Arrow instead of 2 or 3, it doesn't stack up nearly as well.

    (III.4) Snipe
    Snipe, if you don't know, is a skill which basically does 200,000 damage on every shot. It hits one enemy, and will kill any non-boss monster in the game in one hit. It also has a cool-down timer which is 4 seconds once maxed. This means you can fire Snipe approximately once every 5 seconds, for an additional 2,400,000 damage per minute!

    Snipe is not affected by Critical Shot or Mastery and will do between 190,000 and 200,000 damage every shot regardless of your stats, skills, or equipment. Thus, in some ways it is a great equalizer because a Marksman with a level 12 Crossbow and no armor will do the same damage with Snipe as a Marksman decked out in half a dozen pieces of billion-meso gear.

    It's hard to compare Snipe directly to other skills since it's not based on a percentage of your damage range. However, think of it in this way: based on online videos and Marksmen I've met in Maplestory, around level 130 you might expect your Strafe to do 20,000 to 30,000 damage, total for all four shots. Let's assume it's an average of 20,000, because you don't have Sharp Eyes (because you maxed Snipe!) but you have some fairly good equipment. In that case, you can fire 83 shots per minute with your crossbow. That's:

    20,000 damage per shot * 83 shots per minute = 1,660,000 damage per minute.

    With a level 30 Sharp Eyes, that would be increase by 65%, or 33,000 damage per shot average which comes to:

    33,000 damage per shot * 83 shots per minute = 2,739,000 damage per minute

    Let's compare that with Snipe. With a level 30 Snipe, you'll be doing 12 Snipes a minute, which leaves 71 shots left over, which will be Strafes:

    (20,000 damage per Strafe * 71) + (200,000 damage per Snipe * 12) = 3,820,000 damage per minute

    Which is a 130% increase in single target damage as compared with only a 65% increase from Sharp Eyes. Or, to think of it another way, that's 39% more total damage than you'd be doing with Sharp Eyes and Strafe. Of course, you'll eventually have both, but this is just a comparison of which skill to get first.

    Now, sadly it's not all good news with Snipe. This is the damage you'll get while bossing, but against normal monsters it's a different story. Since ordinary monsters, even very high-level ones, don't have 200,000 hit points to begin with, a lot of that extra damage is “wasted.” It doesn't do you any good against a Skelegon, for instance, to do 200,000 damage as opposed to just 100,000 so you've lost a huge chunk of Snipe's massive damage advantage.

    There's another drawback, which is that Snipe is essentially a bossing skill but ultimately it's not your best one. If you intend to solo bosses a lot, it's a very good skill to have as early as possible. However, since most of us fight bosses in groups, Sharp Eyes wins out. Just in terms of damage output, “you'll” do more damage when Sharp Eyes is affecting 6 people than simply by upping your own damage. You'll also be in higher demand in parties for your party skill than just for your damage output. If you maxed Snipe by 1evel 30, I predict you would do more damage than even a level 130 Corsair. But the other bossing classes will quickly catch up to you since Snipe doesn't improve as you level, and for that reason when parties go looking for a Marksman, massive damage output is usually not their highest priority compared with Sharp Eyes and sometimes Puppet, so Sharp Eyes is what will get you into those parties in the first place.

    A third drawback is that, as it currently stands, at level 1 Snipe has a cool-down time of several minutes. Snipe's power is based on how quickly you can fire it, so right now it's power actually quadruples (that's x4 ;p ) in the last 3 points. What does that mean? It means that this skill is basically just for showing off until it's maxed out.

    There's also a rumor that the new “Big Bang” updates may be making Snipe more powerful, but pushing it's cool-down back to 10 seconds. This would potentially maintain it's power against bosses, but result in even more wasted damage against ordinary monsters. Doing half a million damage to a Skelegon is no better than doing 200,000, or 80,000, if it comes right down to it. So in ordinary training, Snipe means you would instantly kill one monster half as often if the damage and cool-down timer are both doubled.

    For all these reasons, awesome as it is, Snipe should probably not be the first skill you max out.

    (IV) Conclusion

    (IV.1) Basic Build Comparison
    The traditional build is to go for Sharp Eyes and Marksman Boost before anything else. These equations have shown us that if you do that, you'll experience an overall 88% increase in your single-target damage and a 69% increase in your mob-skill damage by level 140, not including the increase from higher stats and new equipment.
    Were you to take Piercing Arrow and Snipe, you would experience a 130% increase in single-target damage, and a 153% increase in your mob-skill damage by the same level. In terms of damage, the second build clearly wins out. Secondary considerations could guide this decision, though, since damage isn't everything and Snipe in particular has quite a few drawbacks.

    (IV.2) My Proposed Build
    So what am I planning on doing when I get to 120?

    120 : 1 Frostprey, 1 Dragon's Breath, 1 Snipe

    Level 1 Frostprey has been pretty much universally regarded as necessary. It does more damage than even a level 30 Golden Eagle, it freezes multiple opponents automatically, and it doesn't require and summoning stones.

    Dragon's Breath is useful for mob control, which I see as the Marksman's greatest strength. Level 1 should be more than sufficient for this.

    Level 1 Snipe – it doesn't do anything for you and the “smart” thing to do would be to put a point in Sharp Eyes or something more useful. But here's my reasoning: At level 1 Snipe isn't going to be a big training booster, but it will occasionally have it's uses. That one monster that sneaks up behind you just as you have your mob under control? Snipe it! That one really nasty enemy you can't take a hit from even though it's just a normal monster? Snipe it! These situations don't come up every few minutes, in general, so it's a nice utility skill even if it can't be used that often.

    And here's my ACTUAL reason: I want to go to the Mu Lung Dojo, 1-hit kill a Crimson Balrog, and then brag about it to my friends :p It's may mostly only be good for showing off, but hey, what can I say, showing off is fun ^_^

    121-123 : 9 points in Sharp Eyes

    Why? Because it increases your damage for both mob and single target damage, which is nice. Because even level 1 Sharp Eyes is extremely useful but I don't want to have to cast it every 10 seconds so level 9 for a more reasonable 90 second timer. Most of all, so that I can get into parties that will expect me to have it.

    123-133 : 30 points in Piercing Arrow

    Piercing Arrow blows all our other mob skills out of the water while complimenting our mob-control skills very nicely. Bossing can be fun, but 90% plus of Maplestory is just slaying hordes, and I intend to take full advantage of marksman's superiority in that area. ^_^ Piercing Arrow will become worthwhile by 11 points (level 126 for me), and will then be my main way to level up pretty much forever. Having that in place will help me get to and through all the other skills faster. At least, that's the idea.

    From there, I'm not entirely sure.

    If I find I'm doing or want to be doing a lot of bossing, and that 9 Sharp Eyes is enough to get into parties, I'll go for Snipe. If I'm wanting to do a lot of parties and don't care to much to be soloing bosses, then Sharp Eyes.

    If I find that I'm still mostly training and happy doing it, probably Marksman Boost, since that will power up Piercing Arrow more than maxing out Sharp Eyes would. Sharp Eyes, if I find I'm using more Strafe than I anticipate using, which will probably be true but I'd still go for Piercing Arrow first since it will do the main mob damage and that's the best way to level. I did Arrow Eruption before Strafe as a Sniper, I guess mob skills are just what I lean towards the most ^_^

    Probably Sharp Eyes, since it seems to cover so many bases, but I'm leaving my options open at this point.

    At level 14x I'll most likely go for Snipe or Sharp Eyes since I'll probably be thinking more about bossing by then. And then after that, whichever skill I still have left and that brings us to 160 ^_^

    Of course all of this is dependent on getting skill books at the right time, and also it might all get scrambled up if the “Big Bang” update ever actually comes through.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts on the early bits of Marksman. I hope you find them useful!

    (V) Post-Big Bang notes

    Well, “Big Bang” or whatever they're going to call it in GMS is coming any day now. So pretty much anyone who's reading this guide is probably thinking “How useless is all this? All these skills will be completely different!”

    Well, I found an online guide to the “Big Bang” update. Here are some notes assuming that the info at: is accurate and correct.

    (V.1) Changes to Critical Shot
    Criticals will work differently than before. They will be multiplicative rather than additive and will multiply the damage of a shot by between a minimum and maximum multiplier (see the above link for more info!)

    What criticals will now do is between a minimum and maximum extra % damage. As I said before, this percentage increase is multiplicative. In other words, skills like Piercing Arrow (one really big damage) and skills like Hurricane (lots of small amounts of damage really fast) will now be equally improved by Critical Shots whereas before skills like Hurricane clearly benefited a lot more.

    Every class now has a base 5% chance to do a critical shot:
    Critical Base: 5% activation, 20% min 50% max = 35% damage bonus → 102% damage each shot
    Bowmen with 1st job Critical Shot: 45% critical chance → 116% damage each shot

    The damage of some common skills with the new damages and new critical factored in:

    Iron Arrow = (380 + 360 + 340 + 320 + 300 + 280)*1.16 = 2,296
    Strafe: (150 * 1.16) * 4 = 696%

    (V.2) Changes to Arrow Eruption
    Arrow Eruption can now apparently hit 10 enemies at once. Here's calculations for 6 and for 10 enemies:
    Arrow Eruption = 400 * 6 * 1.16 = 2,784%
    Arrow Eruption = 400 * 1.16 * 10 = 4,640% (Could be hard to get 10 enemies at once, though, even with all our fancy control skills 10 enemies seems pretty steep to me! Possibly Arrow Eruption will have an increased range?That would make it easier. I don't know, though.)

    (The following calculations assume SE gives now a +30% bonus as opposed to + 130%, which seems to be the case, and that criticals are multiplicative as described earlier)

    (V.3) Changes to Sharp Eyes
    Critical with SE = 65% chance, 20% min 80% max = 50% damage bonus → 133% damage each shot (14% increase overall from ordinary 1st job critical)

    Strafe w/ SE = (150 * 1.33) * 4 = 798%
    Arrow Eruption w/ SE = (400 * 1.33) *6 = 3,192
    Arrow Eruption w/ SE = (400 * 1.33) *10 = 5,320

    (V.4) Ultimate Strafe

    We get a new skill, Ultimate Strafe. It's only 10 points to max but fires 6 shots at 200% each. Basically it replaces Strafe.

    Now those of you who’ve been keeping up with bowman math thus far must be thinking: “Hey, that's the same damage as Hurricane! That can't be right!” Both do 200% an arrow (hurricane got an upgrade in Big Bang! It used to be only 100%) and the old Hurricane fired 500 shots per minute. A Strafe fires at 83 per minute, so 6 arrows * 83 = 498 arrows per minute, nearly identical to Hurricane speeds! That's assuming, of course, that Hurricane still fires at 500 arrows per minute. But that's not very balanced. Everyone knows that we marksmen OWN bowmasters at Mob damage, so clearly it's only fair their single-target attack skill should be more powerful than ours.

    And it is, so here's the catch – it's all about the new way that Final Attack works (PS: You will definitely want it now!) Final Attack now works with 3rd and 4th job skills and, unlike before, it doesn't take any time to fire. So if you fire a shot that activates a Final Attack, the original shot and the Final Attack will hit at the exact same time. Final Attack now doesn't slow down your regular attack speed at all, which used to be a major problem. So here's the thing, each Ultimate Strafe has one chance to activate Final Attack (a 40% chance.) Each final Attack is one arrow that does 150% damage, so it's like adding 1 addition, slightly weaker arrow to the attack. That's 150% * 40% chance = 60% extra damage per 6 arrows (one Ultimate Strafe). However, every single arrow in Hurricane has the chance for a final Attack, meaning 6 times as many Final attacks in the same number of arrows / time. Thus 150% * 40% * 6 arrows = 360% extra damage per 6 arrows. This may not seem like much on an attack that's doing nearly 1400% damage already (see below) but it's actually about a 25% increase in damage. Bowmasters also get Concentrate, which could improve the damage of each arrow by as much again.

    Anyway, who cares about boring Bowmasters anyhow? We're here to talk about Marksmen, right? So on to some math about Ultimate Strafe!

    Ultimate Strafe w/o SE = (200 * 1.16) * 6 = 1,392%
    ( 74% increase over Strafe w/ SE, much better to have this! Twice as much damage as Strafe w/o SE!)

    Ultimate Strafe w/ SE = (200 * 1.33) * 6 = 1,596%

    I strongly believe that in general multi-target skills are the way to go. But you can have this maxed in just over 3 levels. In other words, you could have this maxed by level 123, doubling the single-target damage you could do at 119 in only 4 levels. If this skill turns out to be 30 points, I'd still recommend going for a mob skill first.

    (V.5) Piercing Arrow
    Now on to Piercing Arrow:

    Pierce w/o SE (guessing 200% increase each enemy) =
    (1,150 + 1,350 + 1,550 + 1,750 + 1,950 + 2,150) * 1.16 = 11,484%
    (/2.5 = 4,594% (Compare with Arrow Eruption))

    Pierce w/ SE (guessing 200% increase each enemy) =
    (1,150 + 1,350 + 1,550 + 1,750 + 1,950 + 2,150) * 1.33 = 13,167%
    (/2.5 = 5,266% (Compare with Arrow Eruption))
    Thus : Much better than AE for 6 or fewer enemies, but AE is better if there are ~10 enemies, about the same damage, but Arrow Eruption doesn't have the same overkill problems. On the other hand, if you can charge your Pierce while walking or climbing than it becomes much better since you aren't just waiting around for the skill to charge up, you're doing things you'd be doing while not attacking anyway. Since yo'll often launch a Dragon's Breath and then have to chase after your enemies a bit to get them clumped up and ready for a Piercing Arrow, this is something to take into consideration.

    (V.6) Crossbow Expert
    Crossbow Expert has been improved, giving us slightly less mastery but more weapon attack and an increase to our critical damage:

    Crossbow Expert:
    + 20% Mastery = 10% damage bonus
    + 30 WA = ~24% bonus (assuming 125 WA beforehand)
    +15% min crit damage = 3.6% w/o SE or 4.5% w/ SE
    TOTAL = ~38% (multiplicative) damage increase across all skills

    (V.7) Snipe
    Since Snipe doesn't do a set percentage of damage, but rather does a stable damage no matter what your attack range is, we'll first have to figure out how much damage you might see a skill like Ultimate Strafe doing before we can decide just how good Snipe is. Here we go:

    Damage formulas: (from above link, of course)
    Max Damage: Multiplier*((Main stat*4)+Secondary stat)*(Attack(or M.Attack)/100)
    Min Damage: (Base mastery+Mastery skills)*Max
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Assume: 600 dex, 120 str, 125 WA, crossbow (1.35 multiplier) at level ~130

    Max:1.35*((600*4)+120)*(125/100) = 4,252
    Min:(65% (no Expert))*4,252 = 2,764
    Average = Max * .825 = 3,508

    Ultimate Strafe (w/o SE or Expert) = 3,508*1,392% = 48,831 damage
    US w/o SE w/o Snipe = 48,831 * 83 shots/min = ~4 Million dpm (damage per minute)

    Ultimate Strafe (w/ SE) = 3,508*1,596% = 55,923 damage
    US w/o SE w/o Snipe = 55,923 * 83 shots/min = ~4.6 Million dpm

    Ultimate Strafe (w/ Expert) = base * 1.38 = 67,386 damage
    US w/o SE w/o Snipe = 67,386 * 83 shots/min = ~5.52 Million dpm

    Snipe = 500,000 damage every 5 seconds => 12 shots = 6 Million dpm
    Ultimate Strafe and Snipe (no SE or Expert) = 48,831 * (83 – 12) + 6 Million = ~9.46 Million dpm

    Thus, Snipe will more than double your single-target (bossing) damage. However, it still retains all of it's old problems of 'wasted damage” making it not the best skill for training.

    (V.8) A New Soloist Build
    THUS: (This is the Solo Build that i've come up with)

    1 Frostprey, 1DB, 1 Ultimate Strafe (or 1 Snipe for fun ;P)

    max Ultimate Strafe (only 10 points! Best bang for your buck for only ~3 levels of investment)

    After this, max Pierce or Expert depending on if you want to train on maps like Time Temple or if you want to train in high-density Arrow-Eruption maps like Typhons. The maps and monsters are all being changed around so it's hard to say which would be the better choice. But I suspect that hitting 10 enemies at once is still a tall order so I'd go for Pierce first.

    max the other one ^_^
    You could potentially max Snipe instead, to hit up both your mobbing and bossing skills. But I still think that 95% of Maplestory does not involve bossing, especially for a soloist Marksman like me. Besides which, we've already got Ultimate Strafe which has bumped up our single-target damage a great deal already. 38% more damage on Piercing arrow and Arrow Eruption means 38% faster training to me! ^_^

    max Snipe

    max Sharp Eyes.
    This skill has been COMPLETELY NERFED. If you're in a large party, maybe it's a good skill still, which is why I call this a “solo” build. But compared to the other three skills, Sharp Eyes won't increase your damage output nearly as much. It affects all your skills (just like Expert) but it's only a 14% increase in damage.

    Things that could lead you down another path:
    Arrow Eruption training, if there end up being good spots to hit 10 monsters at a time (ie: if Arrow Eruption's range has increased) could be better than Pierce Training. I find this unlikely since pierce will get you the same damage with only 5 or 6 monsters that you'd need 8 to 10 to get with AE, but if it turns out to be good getting Crossbow Expert before Pierce may make sense. Another thing to keep in mind is that while there may be one or two spots where you could hit 10 enemies (Typhons come to mind...) Pierce will be better on almost every other map where you have enemies on longish flatish platforms, and there are a lot of maps like that (Sharks, Skeles, Time Temple....Time Temple....Time Temple ;p) Of course a lot of the maps are changing too, so I hear, so who knows ^_^ I'd imagine though that a 4th job mob skill will be better than a 3rd job one overall.

    If you very much want to be a party character, SE is still a good party buff. Usually I think bowmen tend to solo but maybe that's just me :)

    And of course if you REALLY love Bossing, Snipe has actually been made even more powerful as a bossing skill so go for it. I just have trouble seeing myself doing that much of it. It can be fun, but it's a slow way to level compared to killing large groups of enemies. There are a few maps where I can see Snipe being extremely useful, like Jr. Newties, but it seems like that would be the exception rather than the rule.

    Also: If any of this info is inaccurate or if there are qualitative changes which I'm unaware of, then that of course potentially throws everything off-kilter. If SE still works the way it did before and “stacks” with ordinary criticals, then it's not as nerfed as I thought. However, from the videos I've seen this doesn't seem to be the case. Of course, what Big bang looks like in KMS right now and what it will look like in GMS when it gets here might be totally different so … let's cross our fingers and hope for the best, yeah?

    Peace, and happy Mapling ^_^

  2. #2


    Hey, I noticed you didn't include the new skill "Marksmanship". How would that influence dmg with the new monster defense formulas?

  3. #3


    Well, here's my analysis of "Marsmanship" then -
    The new defense system is that a monster will ignore a set percent of damage recieved, usually 10% for normal monsters, 20% for some normal monsters, and higher for higher level bosses.
    Marksmanship skill ignores 20% of a monster's defense. I'm not sure if this is multiplicative or addative. For instance, if a monster has a defense of 50% I'm not sure if Marksmanship takes of 10% off (20% of 50%) or if it takes off a flat 20%. For now let's assume it's the latter as that would be the more powerful option.

    So against a normal monster, you would ignore up to 20% of their defense, which is only 10%, so you would ignore all their armor. This means that against most monsters you will do 10% more damage. This is less than the increase from Sharp Eyes or even from Maples Warrior and does not affect the rest of the party, which is why I do not list this skill as one of the major hold skills.

    If the effect is multiplicative, than against most monsters this would reduce 20% of 10% = 2% for a pitiful 2% increase in damage.

    Where this skill IS useful is against a boss like Horntail or Pink Bean. Horntail and Zakum apparently have a defense of 50%, so if this is a flat 20% reduction that would increase your damage from 50% of no defense to 70% of no defense, which is a 40% increase in damage. Againse Pink Bean's 70% damage reduction, you would go from a 30% of no-defense damage to 50% of no-defense damage, almost doubling your damage against Pink Bean. This would be effective even if the effect is multiplicative rather than addatvie, as 20% of 70% is 14%, which is still a significant increase when only 30% of your damage is getting through the base 70% defense.

    So this is a good skill to have at higher levels. However, unless you plan on fighting horntail and Pink Bean as your primary way of leveling prior to about level 160, I would recommend getting the skills listed here first. Even if you did plan on doing that, Snipe is probably the best skill to get first (after Ultimate Strafe) due to it's massive dps increase over just Ultimate Strafe when fighting a boss.

    So in summarry: A good skill to have against Pink Bean, Horntail, or Zakum, though not as good as Ultimate Strafe or Snipe and arguably not as good as Sharp Eyes since Sharp eyes would affect the entire party rather than just you and nobody is going to solo any of these bosses - certainly not before level 163 (which is the level by which you would have the skills already recommended). This is why I don't recommend it as one of the major must-have skills.

    The flipside of that is that it's only 10 points, rather than 30 points, so it could give you a nice (small) boost particularly against bosses without too much investment. However, I still think it's more worth it to invest in the larger damage-boosting skills first even though they take more time since the boost from Marksmenship is so small in most cases.

    One possible option would be to get this skill prior to Sharp Eyes if you are mostly soloing, since the damage bonus from Sharp Eyes is only 14% and this is a 10% boost for a third of the points. But that's assuming this is a flat addative 20% rather than a multiplicative 20%. With Maplestory, it is always so hard to tell what equation something uses from the description, but since so many things (new critical system, the base equations for the new defense system) are multiplicative now, I wouldn't count on this being a flat 20% which again, if this is a multiplicative reduction in armor that's only a 2% increase in damage rather than 10% against most monsters.

    I got all these numbers from

    (PS: sorry for the delay in getting back to you!)

  4. #4

    Icon1 Marksman skills post-BB

    I would recommend getting only 1 Ultimate Strafe till maxing other skills that mob. According to your logic mobbing is more important but Ultimate Strafe is too good to pass up. Indeed it is but at level 1 you immediately get 2 more arrows per Strafe and an added boost in damage by 23% per shot. Overall that is a 438% instant damage hike to a 600% damage skill that only stands to be improved another 162% when Ultimate Strafe is completely maxed. Another skill you instantly benefit from is Crossbow Expert with an immediate 1% minimum and maximum critical hit boost and a 6% mastery boost. Snipe, Dragon's Breath, and Frost Prey also have an instant gratification effect at level 1. I would also like to point out that since the Ultimate Strafe hits 6 times it benefits from the Marksmanship skill 6 times over. Not to mention the added HP, therefore that's also a beneficial skill to max early on seeing that it only takes 10 SP. That would make Marksmanship the first skill to be maxed in my book but not till you have 1 point in each of the skills afore mentioned. Counting the 3 SP you get at the job advance you'll have these basics maxed by level 124 and see a dramatic improvement in your capabilities over 3rd job. Piercing arrow is less important from what I see due to the dramatic upgrades to Arrow Eruption. A 240% damage hike with the 4 additional monsters to be mobbed is a tough competitor when cooped with amazing range capabilities which allow you to hit above, below, and behind you in comparison to Piercing Arrow. So according to your guide I would choose Crossbow Expert next followed by Sharp Eyes. If you had the skill books that is.

  5. #5


    I also have a 102 Sniper, so I do have an understanding of the dynamics of a crossbowman and the complications of 4th job as a bishop. Also a 106 Chief Bandit and 74 Crusader tee hee XD! Great guide btw!

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