Mechanics – Physical Damage Basics

Welcome to Monkun’s Mechanics and Theorycrafting!

In this article, we’ll be covering Physical Damage Basics. If you’re looking for info on Magic Damage, check out my other article on Magic Damage Basics.

Physical Damage Basics

Aside from your unit’s ATK and the enemy’s DEF stat values, there are quite a few additional factors that determine what damage you’ll ultimately end up doing.

The simplified formula for physical damage can be expressed as follows:



Total Unit ATK: Base ATK + Equipment ATK + Traits/Materia + Buffs/Debuffs

  • Base ATK vs. Equipment ATK = It’s important to distinguish between Base ATK and Equipment ATK because for a lot of the Traits you’ll come across, such as the equippable +10% ATK ability, only grant bonuses based on Base ATK. Equipment such as Hero’s Rings which grants +10% ATK/MAG work the same way.
  • Traits/Materia = Most traits and equipment such as Hero’s Rings that grant the same bonus type (+% ATK) will stack additively. A unit with a native +20% ATK Trait equipped with 2 Hero’s Rings and a +10% ATK materia will effectively gain +50% of their Base ATK. One notable example of a TM that affects Equipment ATK instead of Base ATK is the Doublehand materia, which gives +50% ATK based on Equipment ATK only. It has been confirmed by the devs that Global cannot stack multiple Doublehand materias.
  • Buffs/Debuffs = Buffs such as Cheer and Bravery also grant bonus ATK in battle based on Base ATK only. The same applies for Debuffs such as Power Break/Full Break when used on your own unit. Stacking of Buffs/Debuffs is not discussed in this article but will be addressed in a future article.

Additional Multipliers/Modifiers:

  • Level Correction Modifier = The higher the unit level, the more damage they will do as a result. This is also explains why two units with identical ATK values will deal different damage if one is a higher level than the other. This is calculated as: 10 + (Current unit level/10)
  • Killer Trait Multipliers = Most Killer Traits grant an additional 50% damage vs. specific enemy types. Multiple Killer Traits of the same type are additive – for example, if you have a CoD equipped with a Werebuster and Ifrit 2* with Beast Killer (for a total of 2 Beast Killer Traits), CoD’s damage against beast type enemies will be increased by 100%.
  • Ability Multipliers = All physical damage abilities have an associated multiplier. Blade Bash for example has a multiplier of .8x or 80% while Mirror of Equity (formerly known as Tranquility) has a multiplier of 1.2x or 120%. Normal attacks have no multiplier and simply do 1x or 100% damage.
  • Elemental Weakness Multiplier = The enemy’s elemental weakness can easily be identified by using Libra or Analyze on it. The typical multiplier is 1.5x if an enemy is weak to a specific element however this can modified further by debuffs such as Imperil.
  • Critical Hit Multiplier = Critical hits simply do 1.5x or 150% damage.
  • Spark/Chain/Elemental Chain Multipliers = Depending on the timing of attacks, physical hits can also gain additional bonus multipliers from Sparks, Chains, and Elemental Chains. These bonuses will be discussed in detail in a future article.

Total Enemy DEF = Final DEF value of enemy including any buffs/debuffs and DEF Ignore component of any attacks

  • DEF Ignore = Some abilities have a partial DEF ignore component, such as Raging Fist granted through the Ifrit Esper and Chizuru’s Light Shell. The most common DEF Ignore abilities will ignore 25% DEF while some future abilities may ignore DEF at even higher percentages. While mathematically 25% DEF ignore can be expressed as a positive multiplier of 133.33% or 1.3333, it’s simply easier to express this as it relates directly to DEF. (The reason I mention it here is that it can come in handy to help compare different ability multipliers.)

Weapon Type Variance

Depending on the weapon equipped, damage will vary within a certain range. For example, a Katana type weapon such as Murasame will have a weapon type variance of 90-110% whereas a Hammer type weapon such as the Mythril Hammer will have a weapon type variance of 75%-125%.

While some weapon types will have greater swings in damage numbers, all weapon types will always average out to 100%. Unarmed (no weapon equipped) does not have a weapon type variance and will always do 100%.

The game likely calculates Weapon Type Variance by generating an integer between Low Range % and High Range % for a specific weapon type.

Damage Variance

Regardless of weapon typed used, the final damage is further randomized to fall within a certain range. There are many sources that state that final damage varies by +- 10%, however through my own research and testing I was unable to reconcile the data that I collected to this range and have come to the conclusion that this is not correct.

Instead, my data supports the theory that final actual damage will in fact vary from 86% to 100% of total calculated damage. One way the game can determine this Damage Variance is by generating a random integer from 86 to 100 then dividing by 100 determine the percentage. There are other ways the developers may have generated this value however the exact method cannot be known unless one has intimate knowledge of how this is coded in FFBE.

Further support of this theory is seen when you take any unit unarmed into a battle and observe the damage being dealt – you will notice that the same 15 numbers will come up over and over again (outside of critical hits, chains, etc.)

NOTE: The initial testing data I collected may have suggested some type of damage cap against weak enemies however this is still inconclusive after reviewing new additional data from testing. I’ll likely explore this further at some point but it’s a low priority.

Multiple Hit Attacks

You’ve likely noticed that some units perform a single hit when attacking while others perform two or more. For example, Cloud of Darkness always hits once while Chizuru hits twice – this doesn’t mean Chizuru will do more damage however just because she hits twice.

After the damage is calculated via the simplified formula above, it is then distributed over the number of hits at a set percentage, depending on each unit. Cloud of Darkness hits once for 100% total. Chizuru also hits for 100%, however the 100% is distributed over two hits at 50% for the first hit and 50% for the second hit.

Just because units may have the same number of hits, it does not mean the damage distribution will be the same over those hits. For example, Chizuru hits twice at a distribution of 50%/50%. Rain also hits twice but his distribution is 60%/40%.

The reason why this is important to note is that Sparks/Chains/Elemental Chains only apply to one of the hits if a unit hits more than once. We’ll delve into this deeper in a future theorycrafting article.

Putting It All Together

Now that we’ve covered the basics, I’ll go over a few real in-game examples of this formula in action.

Example #1 –Trial of the Guardian – Golem 2* – Max 5* Lasswell – Unarmed, Normal Attack

Through my data, I’ve been able to determine that Golem 2* has 300 DEF. In order to keep things simple in this first example, we won’t include any buffs/debuffs and consider just normal non-crit attacks.

Consider a max level 80 5* Lasswell with 137 ATK who is unarmed (no weapon). If we plug these values in the formula we get:


Out of the Additional Multipliers/Modifiers, only the Level Correction Modifier applies. We can leave the Weapon Type Variance out as well since he is unarmed. After this is calculated, we’re left with:


Now let’s look at the range where Lasswell’s damage will fall.


This means Lasswell in this scenario will always do from 968 – 1126 damage per normal attack.

NOTE: Due to uncertainty on where the game performs rounding, the actual results may be off by one point.

Example #2 –Trial of the Guardian – Golem 2* – Max 5* Rain – Unarmed, Raging Fist

Again, we use 300 as the DEF value for Golem but this time we have a Max level 5* Rain with 139 ATK using Raging Fist. Raging Fist has a 1.2x or 120% Ability Multiplier and a 25% DEF Ignore component which we will calculate from enemy DEF value. First, let’s see plug these numbers into the formula:


As you can see, we can again skip the Weapon Damage variance because Rain is unarmed. When we calculate this out we get:


Next, we determine the damage range by multiplying the end result by the min and max damage variance values:


Rain’s expected damage while using Raging Fist will be from 1595 – 1854.

Example #3 – Trial of the Fire Beast – Ifrit 2*

For our final example we will be using a max 5* Lasswell equipped with Murasame and Ifrit 2* (Beast Killer + Raging Fist) with a total of 238 ATK. After many test runs, I’ve been able to determine that Ifrit’s DEF value is 280.


When we calculate this all out we get:


For Katana type weapons, the Weapon Variance range is 90%-110%. Damage Variance is a value from 86%-100%. Let’s see what the final min and max ranges look like:


So in the scenario where Max 5* Lasswell equipped with Murasame and Ifrit 2* Esper using Raging Fist, he will do from 6764 to 9613 damage.

The following damage table shows every possible likely outcome (total of 315) based on this formula and includes real actual data from one of my test runs. Due to uncertainty where the game performs rounding, most results were within 1 point and all results were within 2 points to the nearest number. Red numbers show unique outcomes whereas blue numbers indicate the real result came close to several outcomes per the table.


This concludes Physical Damage Basics – be sure to stay tuned for more more Mechanics and Theorycrafting topics!


References and Credits:

While some of the information was obtained from various sources such as the FFBE Reddit, Exviuswiki, and other Japanese gaming sites such as Altema and Famitsu, the majority of the research, data collection, examples, and theorycrafting is completely my own work. If you feel that I may have missed crediting a specific author or individual, please drop a comment below. Thanks 🙂