Since the last update and the recent magic buffs, I've been using it quite a lot but quickly had to realize that it still has a far way to go until it can compete with the best in slot setups for range at almost every boss.
Magic has been weak for a long time now and even with the recent buffs it still falls behind range and even melee at most bosses.
I will provide information and calculations as to why magic needs a buff and what needs to be done to bring it back to its former glory.
Those are the three best in slot setups, crossbow, bow, and magic. I will only compare the t90 magic setup and not the t92 here.
There are two stats that need to be looked at, accuracy and damage.
This is the easier stat to compare as you just have to read the numbers and realize what a huge difference there still is. Now I gotta admit that I'm not fully aware of the calculation Runescape makes to decide whether your hit splashes (misses) or hits but I assume that it just depends on the stat you have in your attack bonuses and on the defense of your enemy.
Range comes off huge with 202 more accuracy with the crossbow and 177 more with the bow. I think this is rather easy to fix and the setup just has to be buffed by about 200 magic attack bonus.
Here you are able to see both setups without their weapons/ammunition to notice that the difference does not lie in the gear itself.
The difference is in the weapons and ammunition.
Crossbow weapon setup
The mainhand of the range setup has a huge accuracy bonus of 200 and 255 whereas the seismic wand only has 65. Assuming the seismic wand would be buffed onto 200 to be on par with ascension crossbow since the wand also has an offhand the whole setup would still only reach 485. Obviously, this comes from the ammunition and since (at least to my knowledge) the spell doesn't add accuracy this accuracy needs to be either put into the offhand or the mainhand.
This is more complicated to calculate due to the different numbers. What comes here into play is the attack speed of the weapon and the maximum possible dmg.
The crossbow attacks each 3s.
The bow attacks each 2.4s.
Miasmic attacks each 3.6s.
After testing for a while I've found the max damage to be:
Nox Bow: 1386
This is not the absolute maximum you can hit, it can probably go about 10 - 20 higher for each of those setups but I think it's close enough to draw conclusions from it.
To definitely say if one setup is better than the other we need to look at the damage in contrast to the attack speed, the crossbow can do 20 attacks in 60s, the bow 25 attacks and the magic setup roughly 17 (16.66).
I could've tested each setup, pvm for 30min and count how much damage each does in a 100 hits but I prefer calculating it as I do not trust this method to be a 100% accurate. Calculating it: since we know the near maximum damage and the lowest dmg (which is 1) there is the question if the game rolls freely from 1 - (your max hit) or if there is a mechanism that lets you hit more often your above average than your under average damage. I personally have the feeling that this is the case but since I have no proof, I'll do three different methods of calculating. All are calculated with the number of attacks each setup can do in 60s.
1. Calculating how much damage your maxhit can theoretically deal.
Crossbow: 1506 * 20 = 30120
Nox Bow: 1386 * 25 = 34650
Miasmic: 1595 * 16.66 = 26583
2. Calculating how much damage you deal with the average damage.
Crossbow: ((1506 + 1) / 2) * 20 = 15070
Nox Bow: ((1386 + 1) / 2) * 25 = 17337.5
Miasmic: ((1595 + 1) / 2) * 16.66 = 13300
3. Calculating the damage assuming all of the hits roll between average and maximum hit.
Crossbow: ((((1506 + 1) / 2) + 1506) / 2) * 20 = 22595
Nox Bow: ((((1386 + 1) / 2) + 1386) / 2) * 25 = 25993.75
Miasmic: ((((1595 + 1) / 2) + 1595) / 2) * 16.66 = 19941.5
To put these numbers into a perspective, the crossbow deals 13.3% more damage than miasmic, the nox bow deals 30.35% more damage than miasmic and the nox bow deals 15% more damage than the crossbow. There needs to be said here that one calculation would've been enough to showcase the % differences but I've wanted to show all three cases to also give a perspective for the pure dps numbers.
It is clear that magic needs an accuracy buff. The question is how much should be added. The crossbow setup is on 552 with an attack speed of 3s, the bow is on 527 with an attack speed of 2.4. Logic suggests that the one that hits faster doesn't deserve as much accuracy as the one that attacks slower,. The bow is 0.6s faster than the crossbow and gets punished by having 25 less accuracy. Magic is 0.6s slower than the crossbow and should therefore be rewarded with 25 more accuracy. Drawing a conclusion from that leads to a final magic accuracy number of 587.
(I assume in this calculation that all bosses have the same magic and range defense unless for certain bosses that want to be killed within a certain way (e.g. forms of kk, different barrow brothers at rots etc.))
The damage buff is a bit more complicated but I hope that my calculations show you how necessary it is. Range can be balanced onto the 2h and 1h weapons while for magic it'll always be the same, it does not matter whether you equip a 2h weapon or a 1h, the attack speed always is the same and the spell used will not differ. This means, at least in my opinion, that magic needs to be buffed to be on par with the nox bow setup. To do this the damage needs to be increased by about 30% but its a bit trickier than just adding ~40% magic damage to it. This is because of the other factors that come into play when it comes to your max hit such as your prayer, magic level and the basic damage of the spell.
I need to admit that I am not certain to know all the different factors that lead to the final max hit but what I do know is that everything is a % number and it's all multiplicative. With that we don't need to know the exact composition, we can just add 30% to magic damage number on the stat board for the bis t90 gear. the current number is at 132%, adding 30% to that means calculating:
130% * 232% = 301.6%
We need to add and then subtract the 100% to each of those numbers or otherwise, it will not work:
30% * 132% = 39.6% (doesn't sound right)
So the magic damage number needs to be at 201% (or 202%). Now calculating what the maximum hit with this change would be 1595 * 130% = 2073.5.
I am aware of how op that must sound but its all based on math and if I've made any mistake in my calculation, please let me know and correct me. Otherwise, this change would bring magic exactly on par with range excluding some external factors I will bring in now.
1. The bow attacks faster which can be immensely helpful in situations where a) example rots, multiple enemies with relative low hp, when the enemy is at 200, 500, 1k health a 2k hit is not needed but rather a fast attack to finish him off and b) at bosses like kk which have a time window where an animation/attack makes them invincible for a short time, the bow can come off clutch and do an extra hit where magic could not.
2. If you've ever used a brew while using magic you would've noticed how much more your current magic level affects your damage while range gets far better away with it. When I used a supreme pot and then drink 2 sip of brews my magic level is down at 101 and I suddenly crit at 700 damage whereas with range I can still deal around 1k damage.
3. Magic is aoe, this can be helpful when you are doing aod with 1-2 ppl to stack the minions, stack the brothers at rots or sometimes to aoe some minions at kk. It is a nice effect but definitely nothing that makes or breaks it (unless for future bosses which I'm unaware of).
If the dream comes true and those or similar changes were added, where should they be added?
The accuracy needs to be buffed by around 237 points. It is clear that the difference lies in the weapons, so change those. Give the mainhand and the offhand the accuracy buff.
For the magic damage, which needs to be increased by 69% I'd suggest take a look at tectonic. Every piece only adds 6% magic damage, which is even compared to the current state, laughable. Coming off with an only 18% addition on the magic damage when the whole setup is 132% sounds minor, to say the least. It would not be very hard to increase this to 29% each which would then include that 69% added magic damage.
I hope you stayed till the end, I'm looking forward to constructive criticism and feedback.
Tl;dr: Buff magic accuracy by 237 points and magic damage by 69%.
Thanks for reading!
edit: range strength has been buffed by 5, this should not influence the max hit too much, maybe that magic now needs to be buffed by 70% and not 69%.