Ok, from what I’ve seen, people don’t really understand how to calculate damage. I’ll leave out a link for the ones who are too lazy to understand and just want an excel sheet, mad props to the author u/Im_Rhyme
Ok, moving on the the meat and potatoes, this is a guide that’ll leave even the most common player with some basic understanding of how damage works in this game. I will show the damage formula, explain how it works, what each parameter means, how it should be interpreted and more importantly, what impact it will have in the long run on dps building
Damage = (base attack * %ATK buffs + artifact flat ATK including feather) * skill damage multiplier * %elemental/physical damage * crit damage multiplier * external bonus damage sources
After that, the damage gets reduced by enemy physical or elemental resistance (higher lvl enemies have more resistance hence why you see massive damage numbers when cooping on lower lvl worlds)
Base attack = your character’s built-in ATK + weapon ATK. When you click Details on your character Attribute page, it’s the white number in front of ATK right before the green number. Weapons with high ATK have an advantage early game because they give a sudden big boost to your base ATK but the later you go (since the character’s built-in ATK, feather ATK and other multipliers will grow) the impact will be smaller. That’s why at lvl 90 with full legendary gear, despite slingshot only having ~360ATK it can outdamage a 505 ATK prototype when using normal attacks because of slingshot passive (see external bonus damage*)
%ATK buffs = all +%ATK buffs from either weapon’s secondary stat or artifacts. As you can see from the formula, %ATK buffs only work on base attack, so they don’t affect flat bonuses like the feather (which is significant since late game feather gives ~300 ATK). An important thing to take notice of is that %ATK gets affected by all other multipliers and that’s why at a certain point of the game you’re better off focusing on other stats which we’ll discuss further below
Artifact flat ATK = feather plus all flat bonuses from artifacts. It’s not affected by %ATK but it ends up being affected by every other multiplier – important detail
Total ATK = the white number (base ATK) plus the green one (%ATK + flat ATK). It’s what shows on your attribute page when you don’t go into detail. Your skills/attacks’ damage gets calculated based on your total ATK. Some very rare skills have scaling with base ATK like bennett’s ult attack buff
Skill damage multiplier = the basic multipliers on your character’s skills and attacks. No skill in this game deals 100% ATK, some deal more, some deal less. Every single normal attack or spell has a certain scaling from your Total ATK. On the talent page, you can check how much it scales. Certain characters might have big scalings but then attack slow or “fake” small scalings that get compensated by massive attack speed. Since it’s the basis of how much dmg your skills and attacks do, it’s also the main reason why leveling up your talents with those book materials you get from domains can net you such a big increase in damage, almost a 50% or more boost in damage at high talent levels when compared to lvl 1 talent
%elemental/physical damage = it increases only elemental or only physical damage by a certain %. Should be used on characters who are pure elemental or very physical focused. Look at the formula – you can see that it affects your TOTAL ATK (base + %ATK buffs + flat ATK), that’s why it becomes massive late game since it’s an undiluted buff. By late game, 1 single legendary artifact gives 58%ATK and feather gives 300ATK. Most of the times, your weapon also gives %ATK or you have secondary artifact stats that give %ATK. It all adds up and you usually get around 80%ATK minimum bonuses or even more at late game – if on top of all this %ATK you get another bonus 40%ATK which only affects base ATK, the final damage will be significantly lower than if you get 40%elemental/physical which will affect the base ATK + 80%ATK + 300ATK
%crit damage multiplier = whenever you’re able to get a critical hit (which depends on your critical rate), your original damage gets increased by the amount of %critical damage. You always start with 50% critical damage, so a critical hit deals at minimum 1.5x damage. Critical damage is an outside multiplier, just like %elemental and %external bonus damage sources – as such, it’s a very powerful undiluted buff! End game builds, with the correct secondary stats, can net you at least 50% crit rate with 100% critical damage, which means half of your attacks and spells do DOUBLE damage. Early game, there’s no point in getting double damage with crit because you can just stack +90%ATK and you’ll get the same results. Also, early game artifacts don’t give enough crit rate in order to be able to crit consistently and take advantage of crit damage. End game though, with all that juicy base ATK + 80%ATK minimum + 300ATK minimum + elemental/physical damage bonus + external bonus damage sources, crit rate + crit damage becomes huuuuuuuuuuuuuge. On characters that have a lot of equally mixed damage (both elemental and physical), late game crit rate + crit damage is very viable
Critical Rate = your chance of getting a critical hit. Theoretically, if you have a 5% crit rate, it means in every 100 attacks/spells (yes, spells can crit), 5 will be have that bonus critical damage
%external/additional bonus damage sources = outside sources of damage that don’t fit any of the other categories. Such examples is the spear that gives +80% damage against slimes, +35% normal attack damage from 4 piece gladiator set, +60% damage from slingshot or rust. They are also undiluted buffs and become massive the later you go for the same reasons mentioned before. These external multipliers interact with the elemental/physical damage and crit multiplier and end up boosting your damage even more.
Side note: %elemental/physical stats only appear on goblets. %crit damage and %crit rate only appear as mains stats on head piece.
One final note just to make sure everything’s understood: when you get %bonuses of the same category, they are additive. As an example, if you have a goblet that gives +40% physical damage and a bow that gives +30% physical damage, the end result is that your physical attacks will deal +70% damage (1+ 0.4 + 0.3). On the other hand, different category stats get multiplied. if you have a 40% physical damage goblet and a 30% external bonus damage sources, the end result on physical attacks is +82% damage (1 * 1.4 * 1.3).
%ATK only affects base ATK; other multipliers affect Total ATK
A post-final note about defense: the higher the lvl of enemies, the more elemental and physical defense they have. That’s why the higher your lvl, the more important superconductive (cryo + lightning) is for physical damage teams since it reduces physical defense by half. The same happens with the viridescent set for elemental teams since with that set anemo users can reduce elemental resistance (to certain elements depending on swirl effect) by a flat 40%
Ok, I’ll shut up now. If you’ve reached the end, then thank you for listening to my pep talk. I hope you’ve gotten some more insight into why %ATK with high ATK weapons is so broken early game and how it ends up losing value the later you go into the game. With the excel doc that u/Im_Rhyme made and with your new found understanding of how damage works, I hope you can finally build the most broken builds ever. Give that man some love