Mercurial wrote:In my back of the envelope calculations, the Dervish Dancer was hitting on a 6 at level 4 verses a CR 6 monster (with Heroism and Battle Dance being your only non-permanent buffs). The primary attacks at level 8 were hitting the median CR 10 monster on a 4 or better (assuming Heroism, Haste, and Cat's Grace or a +4 Dex belt.) That drops to a 7 at level 4 and a 6 at level 8 with Power Attack.
One of the things I try to take into account (and all that formula may have) is how likely I am to hit an equivalent level foe. If my attack bonus is so high that it's all but guaranteed, PA seems a better choice than if I'm struggling to hit. In this case I find a properly built DD to have a well above average chance to hit, especially once I start including magical gear.
Just a note on the assumptions:
This is a PFS character, so you have to watch out for fame limitations on purchases: You won't be able to buy a +2 belt until you have 18 fame, which is tight at level 4 (you have to hit all secondary success conditions on 9 scenarios and play no modules). It's more likely to have the fame for a 16K item at 8th level.
Also, at some point you'll have to pick up a headband of charisma if you want to cast any spells above 2nd level.
When I'm doing damage calculations, I usually run the numbers for unbuffed, one round of buffs, and fully buffed to compare them. If you only want to do one set of calculations, I'd assume one round of buffs, on average.