Combat 2.0: How does it work?

Since the latest release of the Adamant Alliance series 2 update last week, I’ve been attempting to make sense of how the combat system actually works. Thus, I’ll be running a series of experiments in testing out against a variety of minions and keepers as I possibly can with my current set of gears.

Do note that I’m a considerably semi-free player so I don’t have all possible gear combinations. I’ll do, however, make the best out of what I have and try my best to unravel this mystery. ūüôā

This will be a 3-part series that breaks down the understanding of the damage calculation into several posts to be released in intervals of every week (I hope):

  1. Hypothesis & Initial Experiment <- You are here now!
  2. Dealing & Receiving Damage (Minions)
  3. Against Players & Predicted formula & Suggestions to deal with it

Be warned, you’ll be stepping into territory that involves some (hopefully simple) math formula. I read it’s a real turn-off in some publications, but if you want to actually know how it works, we’ve got to dig into the good stuff. ūüėČ

But as usual, I’ll give the TL;DR options at the end.

EDIT: Added more images and a diagram into the post. 

What we know

As written in the wikia and forums, there is a semi-vague description that is listed out about what the combat system is like now:

Combat System:

  • Modified¬†the way damage is calculated against targets with extremely high armor or extremely low armor to produce a smoother damage curve. ¬†Easy challenges will now be more difficult and harder challenges will be easier.
  • Elemental advantage and disadvantage is no longer affected by character level.
    • Using the weak element against a target now deals 50% damage at any character level.
    • Using the strong element against a target now deals 200% damage at any character level.

Besides the strangely true statement where difficulty is ‘reversed‘ (what?), there are some key takeaway points from these sentences:

  • Extreme armor variations seem to make a lot of difference
  • Damage formulation is based upon a curve with a smooth (?) gradient
  • All elemental gear is now really useful (esp. in ToE)
  • A level 1 with 8k stats can probably hit you as hard as a level 125 with the same stats

While I can’t test the last one since I just maxed out my character’s level a few days ago, I can look into the general formula of how damage is being dealt, received, resisted for players. Moreover, if this claim of the level not affecting the formula is true, then it would be pointless to test it anyways.

TL;DR: Elemental advantage matters a lot now. Base stats are calculated differently too.


Before I begin, I would like to share a few hypotheses I gained from observations of the game (through raiding, attempting ToE and dailies) and from watching game play videos and reading the forums. Do note that these are my predictions and you can almost call them speculations as I’m still in the process of proving whether they are true or not.

TL;DR: These are potential predictive outcomes of how the system works and might not be real…until proven!

1) The higher they get, the less significant a role that Base Stats are used in the damage calculation

The fundamental example¬Ļ for this was my experience in raiding at the start of the update. As an almost 4k attack light user, I attempted to face an 4.9k base armor¬†legendary light user which led to a rather interesting outcome (see below for the exact stats).

¬ĻI would very much like to do a video of this but this was what I could recall at that point in time and testing this would first need us to understand how the stats work separately first before we pit ourselves against other minions or players. Nonetheless, my third post will cover this aspect in greater detail.

If it were based on the previous damage formula, I would’ve dealt negligible amounts of damage and be dead in no time. Conversely, I was actually hitting the keeper with quite decent damage (~700-900) per strike.

Not to mention that greatsword keeps your opponent on the ground most of the time.

Here are the stats of both, with the left being the keeper’s stats (censored to protect his privacy) and the right being my current main raiding setup (before this post was made).

Thus, I’m postulating¬†that there is a multiplier attached to base stats, similar to the 200%/50% multiplier attached to global damage. This means that the higher your base stats, the lower the multiplier.

As an hypothetical example:

For the range of attack/ armor 2000 – 2500, your base stats might get multiplied by a high value, like 1.5 in the calculation, while the range of attack/ armor 3501 – 4000, your base stats get multiplied by 1.3. Thus, the higher you go in base stats, the less they contribute to the final damage/ defence.

damg calc.png

Raw Damage Output = [3250 (base attack) * 1.4 (multiplier)] * (unknown global attack formula) * 200%/50%(elemental bonus/weakness)

(Of course, this doesn’t take into account the enemy’s defense yet, as that would factor in his side of global and base armor into the mix.)

If this hypothesis were true, this would mean that it makes sense to increase the base armor/ attack value of legendary items as they might be getting a multiplier like only 1.0 since they have such high stats.

In contrast, weak armor, ie. less than 1,500 base armor, could essentially be have a high multiplier like 2.0, in order for them to survive hard hitting minions, and make it such that one doesn’t die too much at the start of the game.

TL;DR: There seems to be a multiplier attached to your base stats. The lower your figures, the higher the multiplier, and hence your damage/defence is higher than before (and vice versa).

2) Global percentages play a big role now and lack of elemental advantage/ weakness would result in slightly lower than 100%.

If the elemental advantage/weakness makes such a huge difference now, it would actually mean that global percentages (from your gear and trinkets) would be much more useful.

While I’m not entirely sure how this 200%/50% is multiplied into the equation, I’m postulating that this is multiplied directly to your global stats by the percentage bonuses, which would explain why characters, with elemental advantage gear, deal much more damage to ToE monsters even though the difficulty remains the same.

However, with the 200%/50% elemental multiplier has been applied to all creatures at all levels, what happens to the element-neutral type of armors/ weapons?

From observations, I’m speculating¬†that elemental-neutral gear would still be at a disadvantage, but only at a marginally slight difference (eg. 80-90% of damage/defence) and hence a light vs light showdown¬†wouldn’t be significantly in favor of the character of higher stats.

TL;DR: Trinkets and elemental %s become more useful. Also, without elemental advantage/weakness, the global multiplier could be slightly less than 100%.

The Experiment: Elemental Advantages

Examining these observations and hypotheses, I decided to look into an experiment to be used as an initial test to understand how these work.

The approach I decided to be most stable (and without compromising my SH defence too much) would be to test against the damage values of a trap room. And to be able to see the change in damage variations, I chose the strongest damage-dealer type I had in my inventory, ie the Ashkardian Crypt, to see how the darkness bolts could damage against an element-weak armor (light), an element-strong armor (nature), and an element-neutral armor (dark).

Trap Room utilised for this experiment

While I couldn’t get the armor value perfectly standardised for all the global and base stats, I tried to get them as close as possible by swapping skill items (within +/- 60). Trinkets were used only if absolutely necessary to balance out the global armor value¬†Testing of Global bonuses will be covered in a later post!

Subsequently, a weaker version of the armors will be equipped to show how much effect do the stats actually play a part in this. However, there were limitations (see next section).

Damage will be taken from each bolt (since they don’t vary) and recorded into a table like format.

The Gear Used and Recognised Limitations

Below are screenshots of my character’s gear for the test, together with the global and base armor values.

*Do note that due to the variations in the type of gear which I had, I tried to keep the base armor and global armor deviations as low as I could from the target value. Unfortunately, Global armor was more difficult to control as it’s a percentage.¬†

High Armor Values

  • Target Base Armor: 3,800
  • Maximum Base Deviation: +18 (Nature)
  • Target Global Armor: 4,400
  • Maximum Global Deviation: +57 (Water)

Low Armor Values
*Unfortunately, I don’t have a low dark armor for this one and considering that the damage values for water was close to dark (see below), I decided to use water instead as a comparative elemental-neutral armor that fit in this range.

  • Target Base Armor:¬†2,100
  • Maximum Base Deviation: -7 (Water)
  • Target Global Armor: 2,450
  • Maximum Global Deviation: +23 (Light)

Discussion of Results

Below is a table of the findings as recorded from the different gear and the damage received. Screenshots are included as visual evidence of the said test.

High Armor Values

From left to right: Light, Nature, Water; Top Row shows damage received when close to the turret mouth (3 shots); Bottom Row shows damage received when at a distance from the mouth (8 shots)

high dmgdmg-0

As per the description, the light armor received the most damage (200%) and almost double of the water and dark armor, which were of neutral elements (100%). Nature, conversely, received 4 times less damage as an elemental advantage armor (50%) than the light armor, and 2 times less damage than the elemental neutral armor.

Due to the larger value for global water armor (as noted above), the discrepancy of 57 global armor resulted in  a 1-value damage reduction for both close and distant darkness bolts.

Thus, from this test, we can clearly see that the elemental advantages and weaknesses are working appropriately as the changelog has described them to be. However, my 2nd hypothesis is wrong since elemental-neutral armors receive 100% damage, instead of less.

The other thing which we can draw a conclusion would be the amount of damage the crypt deals since its removal of the stun (yes, I know my current blog post is not obsolete because of it, and I’ll need to update it soon): The damage up-close to the turret is approximately¬†1.18 times less than the shots fired at a distance. And if we observe the results below, this is affected by the amount of global/base armor you possess too.

TL;DR: Elemental Advantage and weakness work (200%/50%)! Against Elemental Neutral is 100% damage; Being close to the Ashkardian crypt bolts results in 1.18 times less damage taken.

Low Armor Values

From left to right: Light, Nature, Water (similarly as above); Top row with the damage received when close; Bottom row with the damage received from far.

low dmg

First, we can observe that the crypt damage obeys the general 1.18 times multiplier for up-close against distant bolt damage.

Also likewise as above, the elemental multiplier kicks in as per described, with light receiving an overall 4 times more damage than nature, and 2 times more damage than water.

However, what I found intriguing is how much the nature armor (as an elemental-strong armor) managed to reduce the damage received from the darkness bolts. Even at 2.1k (base) and 2.4k (global), nature was able to reduce the damage received to close to the previous higher armor stat experiment results. Thus, this would prove that weaker armors are indeed more powerful when facing an element that they are more powerful against, like in this case, nature vs dark.

TL;DR: Everything works as per above, only thing is that weak armors appear to be much more powerful.

But how exactly much do the global armor and base armor affect the values?

Well…that’s something that will be left for next week’s entry (least the blog post stretches way too long and everyone gets dis-interested), but I’ll attempt to work out a preliminary study below.

[Optional Read due to inconclusive results] 

From the table, we can see that the average values show that a 0.55 reduction of Armor (for base and global), ultimately result in 1.54 increase in damage.


However, this is inconclusive and we need an extra set of armors that are either in-between or much less than this current set of gear to test and actually do a proper comparison, which will be covered in detail next week.

TL;DR: I don’t have sufficient data so this is purely an optional read.

[Optional Read due to inconclusive results] 


From the results of the experiment, we can draw the following conclusions:

1) Elemental Advantage plays a big role now, boosting double the damage or double the defence against weaker armors (200%); and vice versa for weak ones (50%)

2) Elemental Neutral armors have 100% damage output/ damage resistance.

3) The elemental multiplier is the final multiplier in the equation as the output damage demonstrates the relationship of the results correspond to the stated 200%/100%/50%. This reinforces the previous point (1).

4) Regardless the armor value, this elemental multiplier applies consistently to all values for global and base values.

5) Weak Armors are much more powerful and, with elemental advantage, are comparable to higher armor values in terms of resisting damage.

6) Ashkardian Crypt does 1.18 times more damage for shots fired at a distance, than those fired up-close.

Okay! That’s about it from now.

Hope you’ve learnt something, like I have, and stay tuned for the follow-up posts on this topic. Do drop a comment if you’ve noticed anything wrong with my methodology, observations or conclusions, or if you want to add something which I didn’t see from these results.

I’ll also post a review post of the Easter items (minions and gear) within this week, so do look forward to that as well! ūüôā


9 thoughts on “Combat 2.0: How does it work?

  1. I’m afraid that room / minion to player damage formula may be different from PvP. I think it’s important to make a test versus keeper.


    1. Yes, I recognise that there might be a difference with that. However, think of this as a simple control experiment first to recognise elemental multipliers as there are way too many factors involved in regular PvP which makes it complicated to derive what stats/traits are affecting the damage output. ūüôā

      That said, I’ll be releasing my second post of this series soon.


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