Here we go, it is there !
- 1.1 Introduction
- 1.2 Acronyms
- 2.1 The Formula
- 2.2 A Word on %
- 2.3 Additive Damage vs. Multiplicative Damage
- 2.4 Generalization and Damage Increase Comparison
- 2.5 Damage Increase per Slot (DIPS)
- 2.5.1 PvE DIPS Categorization
- 2.5.2 PvP DIPS Categorization
- 2.5.3 DIPS for Slot Combinations
- 2.6 The Critical Damage Multiplier (CRIT) Part
- 2.7 The Damage per Second (DPS) Part
3 PvE SIMPLIFICATIONS AND AIDS
- 3.1 General Approach for Damage Maximization
- 3.2 FWD Simplification (PvE)
- 3.3 FWD DM Lists (PvE)
- 3.4 CRIT Flowchart (PvE)
- 3.5 DM List of important Affixes (legend and below) (PvE)
- 3.6 Set and Mythic Affixes (PvE)
4 PvP SIMPLIFICATIONS AND AIDS
- 4.1 FWD Simplification (PvP)
- 4.2 CRIT Flowchart (PvP)
- 4.3 DM List of important Affixes (legend and below) (PvP)
- 4.4 Set and Mythic Affixes (PvP)
5 PvE EXAMPLE
6 WHAT I LEFT OUT
- 6.1 Ignore Resist vs. Weaken & Effective
- 6.2 Elemental Critical Hits
- 6.3 Bleed
- 6.4 Crushing Blow (CB)
7 PDF VERSION
This is the guide I wish I had some years ago when I first started playing DQ. In the
following sections I will unfold everything you need to know about damage calculation
and maximization - I’ll explain and simplify the formulas for you as much as possible,
lay out how to theorycraft your char, have a short word on defensive affixes and split the
considerations up into PvE and PvP.
APS - Attacks per Second
AR - Armor Rating
ASpd - Attack Speed
AT - Attack Time
av - average
BWD - Base Weapon Damage
CB - Crushing Blow
CC - Critical Chance
CD - Cooldown
CH - Critical Hit
conv - converse
CrD - Critical Damage
CRIT - Critical Damage Multiplier
DIPS - Damage Increase per Slot
DM - Damage Multiplier
DMG - Damage
DoT - Damage/Debuff over Time
DPS - Damage per Second
DQ - Dungeon Quest
DS - Deadly Strike
EAC - Extra Attack Chance
EC - Elemental Critical
ECD - Elemental Critical Damage
ED - Elemental DMG
FWD - Full Weapon Damage
HP - Hit/Health Point(s)
iLvl - Item Level
LOHKO - Lucky One Hit Knockout
GG - Green Garden
MA - Multi Attack
MH - Main Hand
MOD - Modifier
MP - Mana/Magic Point(s)
PTL - Push the Limit
PvE - Player vs. Enemy
PvP - Player vs. Player
RCD - Reduced Cooldown
Regen - Regeneration
WD - Weapon DMG
WIQ - Weapon’s Item Quality
I know you probably don’t like it, but it is essential that you understand what actually
happens behind the curtains. We start by presenting the almighty damage formula and
split it up into subparts which we can work with.
2.1 The Formula
So this is it, the formula in all its beauty. So there’s a few things to be noted here, first
of all that all % enhancements come in the form (1 + MOD%) except Skill% (Blast, Orb,
Torrent % etc.), that’s why I underlined it. There are other exceptions, but those result
in more complicated subparts like Druidic and CRIT for example (see subsections 2.5
Then I introduced the abbreviation Full Weapon Damage (FWD), so I can properly
talk about it later on. MOD% stands for the damage percentages from set affixes like
Defiant, Identity, etc. and other affixes like Push the Limit, Barbarian, Glasscannon etc.
2.2 A Word on %
An important thing to know is that “%” is a simple replacement for “· 0.01”, same as “k”
and “M” stand for “· 1,000” and “· 1,000,000”, respectively. So 100% = 100 · 0.01 = 1.
Increase damage by 25% actually means (1 + MOD%) with a MOD% of 25% and is
calculated as (1 + 25%) = (1 + 25 · 0.01) = (1 + 0.25) = 1.25 - or in other words: if you
increase your damage by 25%, you actually multiply your old damage with 1.25 to get
your new damage.
2.3 Additive Damage vs. Multiplicative Damage
This is very important. In a general manner of speaking, damage from the same source
is additive and damage from different sources is multiplicative. An example (2x 50%
Push the Limit (PTL) vs. 50% PTL and 50% Barbarian):
- 2x PTL: 1 + 50% + 50% = 2
- PTL and Barb.: (1 + 50%) · (1 + 50%) = 2.25
So multiplicative » additive, wherever possible get different damage sources! This gener-
alization is of course only true if your damage source is not embedded in a more difficult
subpart of the formula like FWD, CRIT or Druidic etc.
2.4 Generalization and Damage Increase Comparison
If you look closely, you’ll see that the formula is very simple, really:
That is great! Normally you don’t want to calculate your whole damage (albeit interest-
ing), you just want to know: What increases my damage more?
Say you have 50% PTL on your equipment, and you want to know: Is it better to
get another PTL, or is Barbarian the better choice? What you do now is:
- You don’t care about all the other irrelevant Damage Multipliers (DMs) for your
problem, they stay the same!
- You introduce a new DM for both options and compare them, and you’re done.
This is how you do it:
Voilà, adding another 50% PTL gives you 33.3% more damage, Barbarian gives you
50% more damage: Barbarian is better. You can even calculate how much better:
(4)/(3) = 1.125, so Barbarian gives you 12.5% more damage than a second PTL.
This works for everything. Say you want to know if it’s better to add 5000 WD+
or Glasscannon: You divide FWDnew/FWDold and compare it to the 50% from Glass-
cannon. This of course means that you sometimes have to calculate more complicated
subparts of the damage formula, but there are solutions:
- Use Excel, LibreOffice Calc or comparable for the more complicated parts. Most
comparisons are easy and fast to calculate with a calculator (app) though, I rarely
use LibreOffice Calc for this.
- Read on, because I’m still gonna simplify some things for you.
2.5 Damage Increase per Slot (DIPS)
You are reading this because you want to maximize the damage of your build. In order
to do that, it is good to think in terms of How much damage do I get from this slot/each
slot of this combination?
Your available slots are limited, and you can divide them into subcategories:
- Damage slot,
- defensive/survival slot,
If you’re lucky, you can use things that boost both, your damage and your survivability
(like Defiant for instance). In most cases though it’s either or. It makes absolute sense
to analyze the damage of each slot, even those which also give defensive bonuses.
We already calculated the Damage Increase per Slot (DIPS) for one slot in subsection
2.4, where we derived the DM/DIPS for a second PTL and compared it to Barbarian.
I personally like more to think in terms of Damage Multipliers since they directly enter
the formula. DM and DIPS do mean the same though, and are interchangeable with
DIPS = DM − 1.
In the following two subsections I’ll categorize the DIPS for both PvE and PvP on
the basis of my experience for you.
2.5.1 PvE DIPS Categorization
50%: Great! Definitely get this.
30%: Very good! Definitely get this as well.
20%: Good! Get this too.
15%: Okay! Get this if you run out of those above.
10%: Grey zone! Take only if really nothing else can push your damage. I bet
you either didn’t spend enough slots on defense or you oversaw a better boost.
- < 10%: Ouch! Use this slot for something defensive rather than wasting it with
2.5.2 PvP DIPS Categorization
30%: Insane! Not many of these out there.
15%: Very good! Take it.
10%: Good! Fill up with these.
- < 10%: Nah! You need defense too, you know? Especially in PvP.
2.5.3 DIPS for Slot Combinations
Sometimes you come across damage increases which only work because you use several
slots for them. This means you cannot easily calculate how much each slot contributes.
Either you calculate it step by step (as laid out for CRIT in subsection 2.6) or you say
this is a slot combination.
You can still calculate a DIPS value for a slot combination, and I’ll show you how to
do it. Let’s use a Green Garden (GG) derived combination as an example:
- Druidic (5): Increases HP and MP Regen by 125% and increases DoT damage by
(HP + MP Regen)/4000.
- Cosmic Power (5): Increases MP Regen by 125%.
- 1000 Regeneration (legend): Crystal 1500 MP Regen gives 281 more HP + MP
Regen in this combination, but legend Regeneration saves a crystal slot while also
giving some HP Regen.
- 500 HP Regen (Strength) + 500 MP Regen (Intelligence): Both don’t take any
That makes 3 slots in total. The corresponding Green Garden DoT Damage Multiplier
This means these 3 slots give an equivalent of 55.3% DoT damage increase per slot -
that result in a total of 274% DoT damage increase for all 3 slots combined. Hence in
this case, all 3 slots fall into the category “Great”.
What you do here is you calculate the total Damage Multiplier for all n slots, and
then take the n-th root of that to get the DM per slot and thus the DIPS of the slot
2.6 The Critical Damage Multiplier (CRIT) Part
Most players manage to calculate FWDs quite accurately, but this is the part where I see
numbers flipping over wildly in this forum, most of the time not only wrong, but very,
So let me put this bluntly before I talk about chances here:
There is no such thing as Lucky One Hit Knockout (LOHKO). Well there is
actually, but it’s a stupid concept. Nobody cares if your char can deal a gazillion damage
with one hit - what counts is how much damage your char deals on average (per second
of course, but see subsection 2.7 for that).
In PvE, more average damage is more damage. The only exception where LOHKO
actually could be a viable concept is in PvP if your opponent regenerates so much that
you need to apply lethal damage at once in order to win. But since HP values are high
and regeneration values are low in the arena nowadays you never gonna one-hit anyone.
There is the effect of Defiant however, but it’s negligible. If you needed 10 hits on
average to trigger your LOHKO, the damage of this hit equaled exactly the opponent’s
HP and the other 9 hits before didn’t deal any damage, you would need 9% higher DPS
with 10 hits of even damage to kill the same opponent.
In reality, the effect is of course a lot less distinct since hits before LOHKO deal
damage (thereby increasing Defiant’s absorption) and you deal excess damage.
In other words:
- Maximize your average damage.
- If you deal a gazillion damage every 100 hits, it looks fancy on pictures but nothing
else. You gain naught from pushing spike damage for its own sake - it might come
naturally from maximizing your overall damage. In most cases though Deadly
Strike (DS) for instance is not optimal.
I’m emphasizing this because it is tempting to think: “Brutal + Deadly: Woahh, three
times the damage!!” while this is far from true. Different from the rest of the formula
where the modifiers apply always, we look at chances here.
An average damage increase from Critical Hits (CHs) must therefore correctly take
into account what happens if Critical hits, and what happens if Critical does not hit.
Further things to know about CHs are:
- CHs have a base Critical Chance (CC) of 10%.
- CHs have a base Critical Damage (CrD) of 50%. This is additive with CrD from
Let’s cut to the chase:
Equations (7) and (8) give you the converse probability to CC and DS (i.e. the miss
chance for CH and DS), respectively.
Equation (9) reads as follows (in human words): “If Critical hits, your damage will
be increased by 50% plus the increase from all Critical Damage affixes. If Deadly Strike
hits hereupon, this damage will be doubled; in case you have Brutal, it will be tripled
instead. If Critical misses, your damage stays the same.”
Equation (10) just simplifies this as much as possible. Damn it, this looks compli-
cated! But don’t worry, I’ll break it down for you in the subsections 3.4 and 4.2.
2.7 The Damage per Second (DPS) Part
Of course what you actually wanna be doing is maximizing your Damage per Sec-
ond (DPS). Until now I pretty much ignored this part, also because normally you spend
around 30-35 slots on damage, 4-6 on survivability and 1-2 on Attacks per Second (APS).
In PvP it’s more on survivability, but even less (or none) on APS.
The formulas for this part are:
The remaining abbreviations are Attack Time (AT), Attack Speed (ASpd), Cooldown
(CD) and Reduced Cooldown (RCD), respectively. So you also have to see if APSnew/
APSold for each consecutive slot spent on APS (the same categorizations from subsection
2.5 apply) increases your damage more than another DM would - but I’m not going to
dive into the details here.
On the one hand, everything you’ve read so far gives you the tools to do so and I
believe in you, and on the other hand @Clogon wrote a great post about that (better
than I could ever do):
3 PvE SIMPLIFICATIONS AND AIDS
3.1 General Approach for Damage Maximization
The general approach to maximize your damage is straightforward:
- Compile a hierarchical DM/DIPS list,
- take affixes from the top until you run out of slots.
Of course there are affixes that cannot be obtained via crystals hence there are going to
be some limitations, but that’s part of the fun designing your char ;). Here’s a list on
crystal crafting restrictions by @Emman:
And then there are the affixes whose Damage Multiplier (DM) depend on other affixes
like the ones in FWD, CRIT and Druidic for example. You can compile sublists for
those, starting with what gives you the biggest initial damage boost, what gives you the
greatest damage increase after that and so forth.
But because I’m really nice, I’ll even do it for you in the following (sub)sections!
(Okay to be honest I tend to forget a lot, and I’m doing this for myself so I don’t have
to do it over and over again.)
3.2 FWD Simplification (PvE)
Consider this table:
As you can see in table 1, ED+ hardly increases the damage at all - and this is for a low
BWD weapon where it has the largest effect. 3x 100 ED% is a realistic value; the more
ED% you have the worse it gets.
- Don’t use ED+ for PvE.
- We can therefore scratch ED+ from the formula.
- Because we scratch ED+ , ED% becomes a normal Damage Multiplier (DM).
We rewrite equation (1) as:
3.3 FWD DM Lists (PvE)
According to equation (13), we only have to consider BWDav, WD%, Power and WD+ for
the FWD multiplier. Examples are given for high and low BWD weapon representatives
with base/299 Power.
These (sub)lists give you an idea on how much the different FWD contributors increase
you damage in case you use a high/low BWD weapon with base/299 Power.
If you use a weapon with very different BWD, cannot obtain 100 WD% or put some
intermediate amount of points in Power, you will have to calculate your own list, but
it’s a rather fast exercise. This list you can then merge with the values/lists/suggestions
given in subsections 3.4 to 3.6.
3.4 CRIT Flowchart (PvE)
As we’ve seen in subsection 2.6, the formula for CRITav is rather difficult. That’s why a
DM calculation for a slot combination only makes sense for the first two slots. After that
you need to look at the full tree to decide which path is best, and whether it’s worth it
to invest more slots in the CRITav part or if it’s more rewarding getting legend affixes
Figure 1 shows you a flowchart with the corresponding paths. A few observations:
- 45% CC and 225% CrD together give an equivalent of 54.7% DIPS. That is huge!
I can’t think of a PvE char that could use two crystal slots better than this.
- All subsequent slots give you DMs deep in the range of legend affixes already
(subsection 3.5). Since only 6 crystal slots at most are available and normally 2-3
are used for Block/Dodge/RCD/ASpd, the amount of slots left for the CRITav
path are limited - normally you won’t spend many more than the first two on it
(also because they don’t add that much damage, mostly below 30%).
- You can max out CrD with epic 75% CrD + 5x Strength Nature, but keep in mind
that the six Natures you have act together as roughly one epic slot equivalent -
which you normally use for “one” thing only (9% Dodge or 15% ASpd or 50% CrD +
2.5% CC or 150% Luck or . . . ).
- If you already have 30% DS at any point, it makes no difference in average damage
if you take Brutal or another 30% DS as your next DS-related slot. Brutal gives you
spike damage and doesn’t occupy a crystal slot, 60% DS distributes the damage a
bit more evenly.
- If you use 3-4 Slots on CRITav it makes sense to max out CrD (first). In case you
use 5 slots it is slightly better to go for 60% DS and Brutal. At 6 slots it doesn’t
- Brutal does not triple your damage. It increases your damage by ∼20% if added
upon 30% DS and by ∼33% with 60% DS.
3.5 DM List of important Affixes (legend and below) (PvE)
3.6 Set and Mythic Affixes (PvE)
This is where things get really complicated, because Sets and Mythics can give insane
damage but normally only in combination with other affixes. You can calculate DMs
for them as shown for Druidic in paragraph 2.5.3 for example, or determine your gain in
damage for adding single slots as shown in subsections 2.4 and 3.4.
If you want to visit really high floors (1000+) at M3 difficulty, you normally need one
(or a combination) of the big three:
- Arcanist + Ascendent.
Then there are a few Sets that are good on almost every char like Defiant and Adventurer
for instance. Others can give a huge damage boost with some restrictions like the Sets
Living Force, Identity and Masochism or the Mythics Skilled, Exposed, Ruptured etc.
This is where the beauty of DQ lies, you can freely combine anything you want with
each other and I highly encourage you to try things out - you might come up with a new
char idea/killer combo that is unique and your own.
Therefore I’m gonna leave you to it - you gonna find your way ;).
4 PvP SIMPLIFICATIONS AND AIDS
4.1 FWD Simplification (PvP)
Consider this table:
As you can see in table 5, WD% and ED% are totally useless - and this is for a high
BWD weapon where they have the greatest effect. A comparison between BWD and the
damage added from the slots also shows that difference in BWD hardly matters.
Don’t use WD% or ED% for PvP. We can therefore scratch them from the
- ED+ » WD+ because it boosts all attacks.
Put as much ED+ as you can. When you are done with ED+ , you may
You can freely choose whichever weapon is best for your build. You don’t
need to take the one which has the highest BWD because you’ll add as much ED+
as you can ;).
We rewrite equation (1) as:
4.2 CRIT Flowchart (PvP)
As you can see in figure 2, CHs is very ineffective in PvP. Regardless of what you do,
you gain less than 8% damage per slot. With subsequent slots (DS etc.) it gets only
worse, that is why I didn’t even bother showing them here.
To make matters miserable, there’s Flawless Trophy. Although it is currently bugged,
chances are it will be fixed in the upcoming patch: An eternal version will then reduce
CC by 10% and thus render the CRITav tree completely useless. We conclude:
- Don’t use CC/CrD/DS/Brutal in PvP. They are a waste of slots.
I know you like big damage numbers, but be smart and make your char better will you?
Take a look at subsection 4.3 for an idea on what to add instead.
4.3 DM List of important Affixes (legend and below) (PvP)
As you may have noticed, Elemental Critical Damage (ECD) is missing in table 6. There
is a reason for that: It is ineffective. Let me give you an example:
- You have 10% EC and 2x 28% ECD - so 3 slots in total.
- You deal ice/shock damage. We take 20% as a rough estimate you manage to deal
ECD (enemy is sometimes frozen/paralyzed so you get some consecutive hits with
- Your increase in damage thus becomes: per slot
And this is disregarding Flawless Trophy, which will make ECD completely useless once
fixed (see subsection 4.2).
There is another thing completely left out in table 6, and that is Procs/MirrorCast/Spe-
cialist. These can be very rewarding and make your AI incredibly hard to predict, but
this also depends a lot on your build. I’ve heard rumors that there will be changes in
this area in the upcoming patch, so watch out .
4.4 Set and Mythic Affixes (PvP)
Sets and Mythics are your main damage source in PvP (apart from ED+) and can give
huge boosts. You define your char here. I’m just gonna throw a list of good possibilities
at you, but don’t forget to look at the ones that are not mentioned .
- Angelic (Set)
- Cerebral Vortex (high HP builds) (Set)
- Defiant (Set)
- Demonic (Set)
- Hunger (Set)
- Identity (Set)
- Living Force (Set)
- Terrashaper (high HP builds) (Set)
- Discordance (with MA and EAC) (Mythic)
- Exposed (Mythic)
- Ruptured (Mythic)
- Skilled (Mythic)
- Battle Mage (HP + AR) (Set)
- Defiant (Set)
- Faun’s Gift (HP + Resist, with tons of Luck obviously) (Set)
- Plagued (HP + AR) (Set)
- Satyr’s Spirit (AR, with tons of Gold Find obviously - would go nicely with Buc-
- Vampiric Touch (HP) (Set)
- Sanctuary (Mythic)
5 PvE EXAMPLE
This section will host one of my chars as an example when I find time to write it.
6 WHAT I LEFT OUT
Of course I could write ages and ages here, but my time is limited. Maybe I will elaborate
on some of the following things in the future.
6.1 Ignore Resist vs. Weaken & Effective
It seems like 2x crystal Weaken + Effective can give you an enormous gain in damage
and are better than Ignore Resist. I’ve started testing this here:
Still waiting for an answer on some questions in the Developer Q&A though, to be rock
solid about this.
6.2 Elemental Critical Hits
The mechanics behind this make it kind of difficult to determine how much you increase
your average damage with Elemental Critical Hits, so I didn’t.
- Orbit: Triggers with a chance, rather simple to calculate.
Freeze/Paralysis: When the effect is active, you deal higher damage. When not
active, you have the chance to activate it. Hmm. Don’t know for instance if you can
“reapply” Freeze/Paralysis while the effect is active (I guess not). Many difficult,
- Toxic: Triggers almost always because you have monsters in groups.
- Immolate: Triggers with a chance. Applies Bleed, which I also left out.
Basically you want to use the EC tree and max ECD unless you use Arcanist/Ascendent/
Well kind of not so hard to understand. Triggers with a chance which is low (epic affix)
if not granted by a skill. Some Sets give bonuses (Inferno, Vampiric Touch and maybe
others I forget right now) and 50% increases can also be obtained from epic affixes. Short
You may do the calculations yourself with what you’ve learned in chapter 2; don’t forget
to include the converse probability (miss chance).
6.4 Crushing Blow (CB)
Well I didn’t touch this because opting for high damage is better. CB could be used with
skills that have very high Hit Frequencies (i.e. Orb) in conjunction with Demonic, but
even there it takes away big slots (2x crystal + 1x set). After a rough estimation of mine
it is better to increase the damage by other means with the crystal slots since CB is way
more ineffective for the enemies you’d need it for, i.e. epic/legend/eternal enemies. If
you want to know more about the mechanics, take a read here:
Maybe I’ll add an example on why not to use it later.
Because I’m awesome, and I mean overwhelmingly awe-inspiring , you can download this guide as PDF below:
DQ-Mids-Guide-on-Damage-Maximization_v1.pdf (453.9 KB)