tl;dr – use a variety of stats based on your character, not just ATK%
In this post, I’ll briefly explain how damage is calculated and theoretical methods of building your artifacts for your main DPS. This will not cover things like specializing healers and Anemo users. If you’re still in the early game, don’t really bother with optimizing.
Note that the information in this post is based on research I’ve done from previous posts on stat calculations done in CBT and some of my own rough experimentation. Lets begin.
Firstly, we have a damage number we will call BASE, which is the number that appears in your Attributes screen, and is calculated as follows:
Most terms here are self explanatory. ATK% is a standalone stat, and does not encompass things like “Normal Attack %”. FlatATK is all flat stat bonuses from any piece of equipment.
WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER STATS?
This is where things get interesting, many other bonuses in the game are multiplicative with BASE, and will result in much higher damage output than just stacking ATK%.
The calculation is as follows:
Elemental% is any elemental bonus (Geo Damage, Pyro Damage etc) or Physical%
Type% is the bonus for a specific type of attack, such as Elemental Skill, Elemental Burst, Normal Attack or Charged Attack.
CritDMG% is critical damage (duh).
As a result of this, ATK% begins losing value due to diminishing returns, Thus, there is some math involved in optimizing a character’s gear and some analysis has to be made on whether a character is more elementally or physically focused.
Just as a note, enemies have some innate damage resistance modifier that makes them only take a percentage of damage, so don’t expect damage numbers to line up perfectly with the stat screen.
Say we have 3 items with 30% ATK bonuses each, which additively results in a 90% increase in damage (30 + 30 + 30)
Alternatively, lets say on Keqing who does majority Electro damage with equipment 30% Electro, 30% Normal Attack and 30% ATK, it results in a ~119.7% increase in damage ( 100% * 1.3 * 1.3 * 1.3 )
This also explains why the Crescent Pike is really good on Xiangling, since it boosts both Physical and Normal Attack stats.
ARTIFACTS AND YOU
The possible artifact stats are as following:
Flower – Flat HP
Feather – Flat ATK
Clock – ATK%, DEF%, HP%, Elemental Mastery, Elemental Recharge%
Goblet – ATK%, DEF%, HP%, Physical Bonus%, Elemental Bonus% (One for each element)
Circlet – ATK%, DEF%, HP%, Critical Rate%, Critical DMG%, Healing bonus%
As a result of this, we have to make 3 choices when considering artifact base stats, notably the clock, goblet and circlet.
For Clocks, its probably best to go the easy route and stack ATK% since the other stats aren’t too useful for a main dps.
For Goblet, this is the only way to increase Elemental Bonus% aside of set bonuses, and it can reach pretty crazy values on 4* pieces (Like 30%+ bonus) so its probably best to always go elemental/physical%. Note that some characters like Mona and Beidou innately increase their Elemental% from ascending, making this stat less useful.
For Circlet, this is probably character dependent. Some characters like Diluc innately increase Crit Rate% from ascending so Crit DMG is more viable. Keqing increases Crit DMG from ascending, so would better appreciate Crit Rate%. Fischl get an innate ATK% from ascending that makes stacking more ATK% less optimum.
Note that some characters like Noelle have abilities that scale on DEF% and Barbara with HP, so always check your talents before deciding.
This is the part of the post where I can’t really clarify much since I don’t own many 4* or 5* weapons, so I have no idea where they get added into the damage calculations.
I hope this posts helped you in your journey to gearing up. Feel free to leave questions or point out any inaccuracies in my findings!