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Penetration vs Critical Damage in 2024

Zama666
Zama666
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Hello,

Which should concern me more as a Templar?
Jabs gives my Brutality - I can Crit or do more base damage
Jesus Beam - Crit is very nice, but what does this mean for pen?

Should I strike a balance?

I am more group action, and in 1:1 I usually die a horrible death, I last, but get outlasted!

TankZ,

  • thegreeneso
    thegreeneso
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    Penetration is better until you reach the cap (18200). Keep in mind that you don't need your build to have 18200 penetration, unless you are playing solo, because you will get a lot of penetration from group buffs. Use the tool below to determine how much you need.

    https://www.esoresources.com/pen-calculator
  • the1andonlyskwex
    the1andonlyskwex
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    Penetration is better until you reach the cap (18200). Keep in mind that you don't need your build to have 18200 penetration, unless you are playing solo, because you will get a lot of penetration from group buffs. Use the tool below to determine how much you need.

    https://www.esoresources.com/pen-calculator

    This thread is in the PvP section. The cap doesn't apply.

    I am also curious about this for PvP. My guess is that in most cases pen is almost always better than crit for damage (especially after factoring in crit resistance), but that you might want some balance because pen doesn't benefit healing.
  • Vaqual
    Vaqual
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    The answer is easy: there is no easy answer.
    It depends on who you encounter. Against a player with no armor, crit damage (given enough crit chance) gives you good damage scaling, while still giving you good heal scaling. Players with high crit resist (e.g., rallying cry full impen) generally negate a lot of value from your crits, but at the same time crit damage can help to overcome some of that stat investment if you hit critical mass. Generally, I would say anything below 15-20k pen is unlikely to be wasted, but that doesn't mean that this would be giving you the most effective damage. Crit damage relies on crit chance and sufficient base damage to be effective, so it requires more overall investments, but there are good sources for all of these stats with low opportunity cost.

    Many players rely on a turtle/disengage&burst playstyle, where you try to land a high burst kill combo and then play defensively until the combo is available again. For that playstyle, where you can basically "reroll" the burst until the crits line up, crit damage can be highly efficient, since you push the value of your multiplier, which is otherwise balanced by the chance to reap 0 value when not landing a critical hit. In other words, if you are not trying to maximize the dps from crit, but you just want to maximize your burst spikes, going heavily into crit damage can be a valid playstyle in PvP. But you need to have a plan for the time between your burst attempts. This is also often combined with procs, as they naturally force a short damage downtime during their cooldown phases.

    In the end it will depend on your playstyle and on how much of your build (abilities, sets, mundus, food, armor weight, glyphs) you consider "fixed", as that dictates the opportunity cost for increasing a specific stat.


  • GooGa592
    GooGa592
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    This is a big time generalization, but penetration is for PvP, and crit is for PvE. For newer players that don't have the experience to work out all the math for different builds, this rule of thumb works for the most part. For experienced players that know all the caps and mechanics it's a different story of course.
  • Casul
    Casul
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    I generally think base weapon damage + crit damage is the way to go, as you inadvertently double dip into stronger base heals + crit healing. And let’s be honest you can just use Balorgh and get plenty of pen from that.
    PvP needs more love.
  • Udrath
    Udrath
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    People do a lot of different things on Templar and I think draugrkin/wretched/markyn/balrogh or bloodspawn is what most people run as a ranged build and vampire. Staff/shield. It’s pretty strong and tanky, does well in all group play and solo. It’s kinda hybrid but more like a magplar imo.

    I prefer playing a stamplar stacking damage high as possible like 8-9k buffed without balrogh. Then having a least 10k pen which is easy to get. Then 35-40% crit chance and use medium armor and Templar passive for extra 20% crit damage. Really enjoy stat builds and seeing how high I can get all my tooltips. I use rally as my burst heal and big HOTs and run no vampire for the rp lol so in good faith I can’t really recommend my build to anyone, but I have a lot fun in all pvp. Feels like high risk no reward sometimes though.

    Edited by Udrath on February 4, 2024 10:50PM
  • Luede
    Luede
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    n terms of damage, penetration is always better in pvp (as long as the opponent does not have less armor than you have penetration), but since crit and wpn dmg also affect healing, a healthy mix is necessary.
  • Kartalin
    Kartalin
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    I like to try to get to the 15-20k effective penetration mark (base pen + major breach and maybe minor breach), after that I see if I can get my crit chance to around 35% or higher, meaning at least 1 in 3 hits is a crit. This combination is easier to do on some classes than others. Crit damage maybe to 70% or so at least, which is not huge considering the crit resist we face. That's why I take the approach that pen is more effective at least initially.

    Pen is at the point though that from a defensive perspective damage reduction and avoidance might be a better approach. Impen is still important but rallying cry is easy and rampant. On top of that we have protection, evasion, etc. If you can get the major (and minor) buffs via your skill bar then that allows equipment to do a little more damage for you. That's part of why we're in the meta we are now.

    On the other hand, I have a no proc melee gankblade that runs 10k pen, 52% crit chance and 124% crit damage, and it works fairly well except on emperors (literally the first player I tried to test it against - got to about 30% health and recovered).
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  • Zama666
    Zama666
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    Currently I have about 10K pen (Divines, trying out Spriggans, sharpened) I tossed in pierce armor. That puts me up to about 19K pen.

    I think it is slightly better. But it barely scratches some people.

    Is that enough pen?

    Or what is the 'Peniest' (careful spelling that) build I should go for?

    While I realize the game is a balance, sometime I get curious of a build that just does pen but it likely very squishy and lost.

    Tankz
  • Udrath
    Udrath
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    Zama666 wrote: »
    Currently I have about 10K pen (Divines, trying out Spriggans, sharpened) I tossed in pierce armor. That puts me up to about 19K pen.

    I think it is slightly better. But it barely scratches some people.

    Is that enough pen?

    Or what is the 'Peniest' (careful spelling that) build I should go for?

    While I realize the game is a balance, sometime I get curious of a build that just does pen but it likely very squishy and lost.

    Tankz

    I think the general damage gain for penetration is 660 pen = 1% damage increase for reference.

  • DrNukenstein
    DrNukenstein
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    They're all damage buckets that hit critical mass at a certain point and then start falling off. Unless you put your 64 points in max stats and use infused damage jewels, weapon damage will actually pay off the most the furthest.

    Penetration: The sweet spot is around 10k. The squishies that need to die on contact will be around 19k resists and debuffs will bring that down to 10k. Anything past that is wasted, and won't push your margins of murder hard enough to make the difference on tankier targets. Targets overcapped on resists punish tunneling on penetration. You want to hit this benchmark while sacrificing the least weapon damage sources. Balorgh, the lover, and a sharpened mace can be all you need.

    Weapon damage: one line of 129 weapon damage is more than a 2% damage increase up to 20k mag/stam and 4800 weapon damage before scaling/procs and is not hard capped. It boosts your tooltips for healing and damage. If you want to one shot the 30k hp target with 19k resists, your combo needs to add up to 30k after battle spirit and other modifiers. I'd say hitting that benchmark of sum 6800 (Mag/10+weapon damage) should be the first goal in shaping your damage profile. After that a line of weapon damage will start giving less than 2% damage. Once you hit critical mass in crit damage and penetration, stack as much of it as you can if you don't want to split into more utility or survivability. Once you're over 6k self buffed consider dropping damage in your jewels.

    Crit damage: I love crit damage, I think it's cool, I think it's the keystone damage stat for nightblades. That critical mass is at 100% crit damage. Past that 1% crit damage gives less than a .5% damage boost to your crits and you've already meaningfully overcome that all too common 50% crit resist. It's easy to hit this benchmark on most classes without a crit damage set. Can be completely dumped alongside crit chance on classes that aren't sorc or nightblade which lets you build tankier with more consistent damage.

    Due to the plar minor: I'd go all in on weapon damage, hit the penetration sweet spot, and avoid crit damage and chance in favor of survivability and sustain. Investing in crits means depending on crits to do your damage.













  • SmellyUnlimited
    SmellyUnlimited
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    @DrNukenstein so for a nightblade, you’re saying shoot for more Crit damage/chance over say penetration?
    DO. NOT. WIPE. (in game OR out!)
  • DrNukenstein
    DrNukenstein
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    @DrNukenstein so for a nightblade, you’re saying shoot for more Crit damage/chance over say penetration?

    I'm saying hit the benchmarks, then push weapon damage or (usually a better idea) hedge on sustain/durability.

    Crit damage falls off hard after 200% in pve and pvp. At that point where you hit all benchmarks there are still "stats on the table" and at that point weapon damage will give you the most value out of the 3 damage stats. Damage is additive though, so at that point you will get the most value out of working in a little sustain and durability. Like if you have 30k magicka and 5500 base weapon damage 258 weapon damage (2 lines) is a 3% increase to your damage. It'll do more for you than pushing crit D or pen past their benchmarks, but you can boost your survivability by like 15% by working in a line of health and a line of armor instead... or for only 208 weapon damage (2 infused traits, even less than 3% damage) you can literally boost your move speed by 15% (2 swift traits) outside of expeditions and CP.

    Crit chance and damage can be ignored to good results if your class doesn't incentivize it. Since Nightblade gets a ton of passives for crit and sorcs get minor prophecy, not hitting those crit benchmarks wastes a big part of their power budget.

    Think at what point the relative gains aren't worth the nominal gains.



    Edited by DrNukenstein on February 6, 2024 8:24PM
  • buzzclops
    buzzclops
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    It depends on the type of playstyle you’re going for. If you want to brawl and be tanky usually penetration and wpn damage is preferred. Race against time will give you a bit of crit damage and your basic crit buff will get you around 22-25% crit chance. Well rounded damage at this point.

    I wouldn’t invest into crit damage if I can’t reach 35-40% minimum crit chance as you lose a lot of potential max stats elsewhere that also buff your defense. They made crit chance a lot harder to stack than it used to be.

    On nightblade it’s a whole different story tho. Go for crit damage almost on any build to scale your damage ridiculously.

    The minimum I try to aim on my brawlers is always
    Pen : at least 10k (counting breaches)
    Damage: 6k
    Max stats: 25k of the main ressource
    Crit:20% chance
    Sustain: 2k of my main ressource
    Edited by buzzclops on February 8, 2024 2:56PM
  • Zama666
    Zama666
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    Hey @buzzclops

    For a 1v1 anything, I die a horrible death. It is likely my skills..panic and running out of rss. But some players have INCREDIBLE burst damage. Lately eviscerate and force pulse do me in. Can't stop that. Can I?

    In smaller groups fight ball group, targeting one person, I have a little success.

    Hoping Pen will help...but there is not secret formula for a templar.

    Crit healz are great. pen does not help there!
  • SkaraMinoc
    SkaraMinoc
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    Penetration: The sweet spot is around 10k.

    Personally, I build for ~22k total penetration as that's about the equivalent of a fully buffed target running 1/5/1 without any armor stat lines. Sure there's players that run less but they're going to die regardless :smile:

    22k total pen = 11k base pen + 9k major/minor breach + 2k Force of Nature

    I put together a 36k total penetration build for fun (Shattered Fate, Wood Elf, Lover, Divines, 5 Light, Fracturing poison, Crushing enchant, Sharpened frontbar, 5x Force of Nature, Major/Minor Breach) and it doesn't hit as hard as if you cap out at ~22k total penetration and dump the rest into damage. This is because most players run 22-30k armor so 36k total penetration is often wasted.

    For example, Veiled Heritance adds ~12% extra bash damage when fully buffed with Malacath which is almost identical to the damage provided by Shattered Fate's penetration. Except it's very easy to overpenetrate with Shattered Fate if you're already built heavily into penetration. Take that 36k total penetration build, swap out Shattered Fate 1/1/5 for Veiled Heritance 6/0/1 and now you have one of the hardest hitting bash builds in the game. The difference is easily measurable.

    The only exception is Mechanical Acuity. It's much easier to find large sources of crit damage than penetration.

    Edited by SkaraMinoc on February 13, 2024 12:38AM
    PC NA
  • taugrim
    taugrim
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    How many of you build for being able to apply both Major Breach and Minor Breach?

    There are classes/builds where that's obviously not an issue, e.g. Warden.

    I don't use Vateshran staff. It's super strong but I also think it's kind of broken (imbalanced).
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  • DrNukenstein
    DrNukenstein
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    SkaraMinoc wrote: »
    Penetration: The sweet spot is around 10k.

    Personally, I build for ~22k total penetration as that's about the equivalent of a fully buffed target running 1/5/1 without any armor stat lines. Sure there's players that run less but they're going to die regardless :smile:

    22k total pen = 11k base pen + 9k major/minor breach + 2k Force of Nature

    So 11k base which is 1k more than my benchmark. My thinking on 19k is that's what a 5/1/1 build usually has when they grab all the defense that doesn't cost damage. I think that once you full pen that resist profile you start getting a lot more value from damage on the vast majority of targets that are built to kill.

    But once you do hit the benchmarks it really is just moving nickels around, just pushing one of those stats further than the others will make you stronger against certain targets. Like more pen will obviously help more against tankier targets than crit damage, and crit damage will blow up squishy targets the hardest where more pen would be wasted. I believe in the power of weapon damage though. It'll keep scaling off your modifiers, boost your healing, and give big number when you read the stuff.

    taugrim wrote: »
    How many of you build for being able to apply both Major Breach and Minor Breach?

    Depends on the content. In BGs or group IC/cyrodil you can almost always count on someone else tagging someone with Mbreach. Solo, I noticed that in practice it really doesn't give much more damage than what camo hunter gives (not counting ele sus with it's mbrittle and mvuln) as a buff and camo would be the thing to drop for it. 10-13k pen by itself is a fat multiplier to your damage.
    Edited by DrNukenstein on February 14, 2024 9:58PM
  • taugrim
    taugrim
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    SkaraMinoc wrote: »
    Penetration: The sweet spot is around 10k.

    Personally, I build for ~22k total penetration as that's about the equivalent of a fully buffed target running 1/5/1 without any armor stat lines. Sure there's players that run less but they're going to die regardless :smile:

    22k total pen = 11k base pen + 9k major/minor breach + 2k Force of Nature

    So 11k base which is 1k more than my benchmark. My thinking on 19k is that's what a 5/1/1 build usually has when they grab all the defense that doesn't cost damage. I think that once you full pen that resist profile you start getting a lot more value from damage on the vast majority of targets that are built to kill.

    But once you do hit the benchmarks it really is just moving nickels around, just pushing one of those stats further than the others will make you stronger against certain targets. Like more pen will obviously help more against tankier targets than crit damage, and crit damage will blow up squishy targets the hardest where more pen would be wasted. I believe in the power of weapon damage though. It'll keep scaling off your modifiers, boost your healing, and give big number when you read the stuff.

    When you say 5/1/1 are you talking 5 light armor pieces? If yes, then it makes sense why you're targeting 11k base pen.

    I used to stack 8-10k base pen on most Stamina builds, then depending on class maybe include Minor Breach and / or Major Breach.

    More recently though I've been stacking more Weapon Damage and Crit Chance, and the damage still feels good and I have stronger healing.
    taugrim wrote: »
    How many of you build for being able to apply both Major Breach and Minor Breach?

    Depends on the content. In BGs or group IC/cyrodil you can almost always count on someone else tagging someone with Mbreach. Solo, I noticed that in practice it really doesn't give much more damage than what camo hunter gives (not counting ele sus with it's mbrittle and mvuln) as a buff and camo would be the thing to drop for it. 10-13k pen by itself is a fat multiplier to your damage.

    Thanks for the input.

    On my current Stamplar melee build (4 medium, 3 heavy), I've gone down to 6.2k base pen + PotL for Minor Breach so effectively 9.2k against a focus target. I make up for some of that lack of pen with more crits with Order's Wrath, and the healing boost is noticeable.

    This is weird for me because I used to stack a lot more base pen.
    Edited by taugrim on February 15, 2024 5:50AM
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  • Zama666
    Zama666
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    I am not sure if my Pene set up is making a difference.
    Been relying on the Jesus beam for my kills...

    Jabs, even with a high pen, seems to do nothing. I thought the whole pen+crit+brutality was going to make a difference, nope. Better off bashing or low slashing it seems.

    Crit heals - those are nice!
  • taugrim
    taugrim
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    Zama666 wrote: »
    I am not sure if my Pene set up is making a difference.
    Been relying on the Jesus beam for my kills...

    Jabs, even with a high pen, seems to do nothing. I thought the whole pen+crit+brutality was going to make a difference, nope. Better off bashing or low slashing it seems.

    Crit heals - those are nice!

    I don't know anyone who using Low Slash in PVP. Bash builds are totally viable. Low Slash build, not so much.
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  • DrNukenstein
    DrNukenstein
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    taugrim wrote: »
    I make up for some of that lack of pen with more crits with Order's Wrath, and the healing boost is noticeable.

    This is weird for me because I used to stack a lot more base pen.

    I used to cope mad hard on both breaches (nightmothers gaze+surprise attack), balorgh, the lover, sharpened mace offhand. ~25k pen on the average ult, and it would hurt people.

    Then when I tried the turbo meta rallying cry-markyn chassis with three piece trainee instead of a monster set I was surprised at how close the damage was to an all out damage build like above while being like 5 times tankier.

    I gave up like 12k pen for 600 weapon damage, and at that point in my damage-investment-portfolio that 600 weapon damage would do me about as good as 12k pen while freeing up a bunch of my stat budget. If there was ever a reason to learn calculus, it would be to do the most damage possible in this game.



  • Zama666
    Zama666
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    taugrim wrote: »
    Zama666 wrote: »
    I am not sure if my Pene set up is making a difference.
    Been relying on the Jesus beam for my kills...

    Jabs, even with a high pen, seems to do nothing. I thought the whole pen+crit+brutality was going to make a difference, nope. Better off bashing or low slashing it seems.

    Crit heals - those are nice!

    I don't know anyone who using Low Slash in PVP. Bash builds are totally viable. Low Slash build, not so much.

    yeah, i am unique and die often....see the correlation?

    Suggestions for my spammable?
  • Zama666
    Zama666
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    taugrim wrote: »
    I make up for some of that lack of pen with more crits with Order's Wrath, and the healing boost is noticeable.

    This is weird for me because I used to stack a lot more base pen.

    I used to cope mad hard on both breaches (nightmothers gaze+surprise attack), balorgh, the lover, sharpened mace offhand. ~25k pen on the average ult, and it would hurt people.

    Then when I tried the turbo meta rallying cry-markyn chassis with three piece trainee instead of a monster set I was surprised at how close the damage was to an all out damage build like above while being like 5 times tankier.

    I gave up like 12k pen for 600 weapon damage, and at that point in my damage-investment-portfolio that 600 weapon damage would do me about as good as 12k pen while freeing up a bunch of my stat budget. If there was ever a reason to learn calculus, it would be to do the most damage possible in this game.



    Wow...this is so interesting...so you can still kill...and put a lot more into base weapon damage? Is that how this works?
  • DrNukenstein
    DrNukenstein
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    Zama666 wrote: »

    Wow...this is so interesting...so you can still kill...and put a lot more into base weapon damage? Is that how this works?

    More damage is more damage. If you want a bigger number, you can make it bigger with more damage.

    But things like crit chance, penetration, crit damage, and the as of yet unmentioned "%damage" all scale your damage up multiplicatively. By hitting the right amount of each multiplier, you optimize your damage.

    What makes it especially tricky is that the optimal mix of multipliers varies from target to target. Like @SkaraMinoc seems to optimize for higher resistance targets (more penetration) where as I would optimize for lower resistance targets (more crit damage and weapon damage).

    @buzzclops laid out some nice benchmarks to shoot for that will leave plenty of stats on the table for you to play with. So when you're playing with those extra stats, you could think about what kind of targets you want to take down. In general more pen for tankier targets, more weapon damage or crit damage for squishier/"elusive" targets.

  • buzzclops
    buzzclops
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    Zama666 wrote: »
    Hey @buzzclops

    For a 1v1 anything, I die a horrible death. It is likely my skills..panic and running out of rss. But some players have INCREDIBLE burst damage. Lately eviscerate and force pulse do me in. Can't stop that. Can I?

    In smaller groups fight ball group, targeting one person, I have a little success.

    Hoping Pen will help...but there is not secret formula for a templar.

    Crit healz are great. pen does not help there!

    Pen does help indirectly! When your enemy is on the defensive more often then you are you will take a lot less damage from them.
    It’s all about balancing everything right for your playstyle. It takes time but I suggest recording your gameplay. And make changes/adapt everyday. Die because you run out of stam. Get more recov or use well fitted/sturdy. Swap some cps. It’s a long process but players that you feel have god builds have tweaked their stats hundreds of times. Don’t be afraid to change stufff even if you followed a specific build.

    There are a few defensive archetypes in eso that you can aim for to layer your défenses! Not everyone is good at being super reactive (dodge/block just the right abilities so you don’t wreck your ressources.) having sturdy or well fitted will help.
    High healing(high stats) and high sustain combined with mobility. Will make your healing go through while you’re evasive. Sorcs nightblades can build like that
    Just an example but there’s a couple ways ppl build their défenses.

    I personally aim for high sustain and high stats and get 2200 non crit vigor ticks in PvP. Powered back bar wretched vitality 3 heavy reinforced and markyn ring. Easy 29-30k resists without too much invested. Great sustain and I have a full five piece free for damage. My mundus still available also. 3 Infused damage jewelry. I start all
    My builds like that and tweak. Sometimes I’ll even be able to remove wretched and push nasty damage. Easy on sorc with dark deal!
    Edited by buzzclops on February 20, 2024 2:40PM
  • Zama666
    Zama666
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    Man, this is so much going on here.
    So far, for my playstyle, I think Pen is making more of a difference. My crit, when it triggers is seems to be low ie.not bursty at all.

    Ultimately, there are so many buffs and debuffs going off...I can't keep track of it. but I am keeping at it...

    Tankz for all advice...going to take it apart, and try it little by little till I get it.

    multipliers, eh?
  • VixxVexx
    VixxVexx
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    I usually end up focusing on %dmg increases when looking for an offensive set, always falling back to Essence Thief.
    There are some exceptions with flat damage bonuses (Draugrkin, Appetite, Maelstrom 2h, Bash glyphs, etc). But I can't use those on every build.
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