Building Blocks 9: Weapon Comparisons 8

Calculating Weapon Damage pt 8: Comparing Weapon Basics

Now that we have the numbers for basic weapons at our disposal, we understand how the damage modifier [D] and the seeker bonus [D] apply, and we’ve gone over most special weapon abilities we can really start comparing weapons.

We can express any weapon’s damage as the following equation: [base damage] + x[D] + y[S] + SUM(weapon abilities) where x is the weapon’s damage mod multiplier and y is the seeker bonus multiplier.  This might seem like a lot of variables, but we already have a chart that shows us [base damage], x, and y. The variables [D] and [S] are character and gear dependent, but are easily referenced. (open your inventory and expand the information at the bottom and you will find your weapon damage expressed as some dice + #, this # is your current damage modifier).

Expressing weapon damage as a formula allows us to do several things.  First, because all of the individual components of a weapon’s damage are added together, we can calculate these things independently and then simply add the appropriate special weapon abilities to weapon damage.  This makes calculating weapon damage with a character fairly simple.  To compare 2 weapons we can simply do the math for both weapons and observe which is higher.

We can also manipulate an equation to pull out things like weapon enhancement bonuses.  This is the +# that appears in a weapons name and attribute list.  While we can leave it as part of [D] this is not necessary, and may be more helpful to not have as part of this variable since we don’t always compare weapons with similar enhancement bonuses.  Let’s express the enhancement bonus as [E]. This gives us the new sub-equation [D+E](old) = [E] + [D](new).  Plug this into our equation and we get [base damage] + x([D] + [E]) + y[S] + SUM(weapon abilities) which we can simplify to what will be our new version of our weapon damage equation that separates enhancement bonuses from [D].

[basic damage] + x[E] + x[D] + y[S] + SUM(weapon abilities)

The final advantage is that we can compare 2 different weapons to see which is better depending on our damage modifier.  To do this we take our equation for each weapon while leaving our variables [D] and [S] expressed as variables (or you can insert [S] if it is known).  Then by solving for [D] + [S] we can see at what value the 2 different weapons are equal.  We can then say that for any [D] + [S] greater than this number one weapon is better while lower makes the other weapon better.  Let’s do this first with a rapier and a long sword, then a kopesh and a bastard sword, then finally a greataxe and falchion.  For these calculations I will not be separating [E] from [D] and will use a seeker bonus of 0 but no other weapon abilities (which is the same as having the exact same weapon abilities since they cancel each other out – note that you would need to put in crit based effects if the 2 weapons have different crit profiles).  For the second weapons I will use a=x and b=y

[rapier damage] + x[D+E] + y[S] = [long sword damage] + a[D+E] + b[S]

4.375 + 1.25DE + .6(0) = 5.175 + 1.15DE + .4(0)

.1DE = .8

DE = 8

[kopesh damage] + x[D+E] + y[S] = [bastard sword damage] + a[D+E] + b[S]

6.075 + 1.35D + .6(0) = 6.325 + 1.15DE + .4(0)

.2DE = .25

DE = 1.25

[greataxe damage] + x[D+E] + y[S] = [falchion damage] + a[D+E] + b[S]

7.475 + 1.15DE +.3(0) = 6.25 + 1.25DE + .6(0)

.1DE = 1.225

DE = 12.25

So what do these numbers mean?  The weapon with the higher damage multiplier will be better so long as your damage modifier is greater than these numbers.  Keep in mind that this includes enhancement bonus.  That means that with a +2 to damage the kopesh does more dps than the bastard sword (though this ignores extra glancing blow damage for the bastard sword).  The rapier will do more dps if the damage modifier is 8 or better while the falchion must first reach 13 (remember we can only get whole numbers for our damage mod).  With a +5 enhancement bonus these numbers are very easy to achieve.  And here’s the funny thing – if you assume a +6 seeker bonus all of these weapons become better unless [D+E] is a negative number!

If you have a topic or a build you’d like me to look at drop me an email ( or leave a comment.  I am in no way guaranteeing that I will consider, reply to, or let alone read comments in anything resembling a timely manner (sorry, time is unfortunately not an infinite resource of mine until I am high enough level to cast time stop).

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