Serpent with a good whip and dex-spec is far better than BM. The cheap 78/172 whip I got gives me about 18.4% higher DPS than blademaster at 12 dex/str, and 26.6% better DPS at 16 dex/str.Ernam said:
Serpent is a bit tankier than BM, but not much, although the disparity between there DPS is not that large.
This is completely backwards. Dexterity for serpents doesn't have diminishing returns like str/int does, so it makes even more of a difference for DPS than str/int (shown pretty clearly in the comparison above), and there's even more reason to go past 16. And since con-spec reduces dex and dex-spec reduces con, choosing one over the other has more impact than for other classes.Ernam said:
serpent can get away with maxing con with minimal impact on bashing DPS. The payout on this, however, is that classes with bashing attacks directly altered by stats can generally out-do classes that cannot, past a certain threshold. BM with 19-20 str (not that hard to accomplish with gaunts) does pretty insane bashing DPS, but it would almost never be wise for a serpent to go past 16 Dex.
No one really forges whips unless asked so it is unlikely that you'll find a 200 speed whip in a shop. Anything 180 and over is good though. I recently got a few whips forged and have some extras stashed. They are mid to high 170s for speed and decent damage. Ask me about whips in game and I'll offer to give one of them to you.
Camus bites are not a "weak" bashing method, particularly for shielding denizens.
100% guarantee that it's better to bite through shield than flaying.
Mostly, when I use camus bites, it felt like I was doing less damage. I'll try throwing camus back into my hunting routine.
Damage and DPS are totally different. Camus does slightly less damage, but has comparable DPS (15% more with fangs). The big difference is that flay/garrote drops garrote's DPS by about 50%, where camus is unaffected.
Classes with abilities that can bypass shield (dragon, knights, serpent, maybe 1-2 more) are typically the best classes in the game for bashing, because at high levels, bashing speed is primarily a factor of crit rate, and classes that can bypass shield have a much higher crit rate. If the average NPC takes you 8-9 seconds to kill, two shields (2-4 seconds) makes a pretty massive difference. Using Camus to ignore that 2-4 seconds of delay per NPC is a massive boost to overall bashing speed, and this becomes more and more the case as your crit rate increases.
These classes also have a massive advantage in one of the premier bashing areas in the game, Annwyn, since their ability to bypass NPC shields allows them to avoid the sinister Sidhe Lady roped/shield loop. I'd ballpark that Sidhe take about 20% less time purely due to being able to kill Sidhe Ladies while they're shielded, and you also take a hell of a lot less damage.