Elements and matching them

I’d like to understand this better.
Let’s say I have 5 rifles, each otherwise identical in 1000 damage bullet output, but with the following differences each:

  • 1 also does bonus fire damage (25% for 250/ sec).
  • 1 also does bonus shock damage (25% for 250/ sec).
  • 1 also does bonus corrosion damage ((25% for 250/ sec).
  • 1 also does bonus slag (25%)
  • 1 has no bonus damage

I realize I am supposed to “match” elemental weapons with the respective targets. And I realize that some targets resist some types of damage. I am not sure how.

If I were to shoot a bandit who was not wearing a shield, with these guns, would they still each do exactly 1000 damage to the bandit – or does the bandit take more or less from fire or one of the others? Does the bandit have an equal chance to have status effects done to it, or is the chance to ignite or do any other type of status effect (base 25%) affected by the bandit being made out of flesh?

If I were to shoot a Hyperion Bot, would it take less than 1000 damage from all the weapons but the corrosion weapon? Or would it take 1000, and additional damage from the corrosion weapon?

I suppose my question is also this: What exactly do the enemies resist – the DoT, or the base type itself?

Also, if a weapon shoots many projectiles, such as a shotgun, does each pellet have the chance for giving status effects?

Thank you

I haven’t crunched the numbers like others have (there might be links to this subject on this site somewhere) but here’s my understanding of how this works:
each weapon should do its base damage of 1000. A flesh enemy would take 100% of the fire damage, 75% of the shock and 25% of the corrosive (my numbers may be off on the percentages though). Slag is a damage multiplier- in UVHM it allows all other damage types to do triple damage (whether it triples both the base and bonus damage is something I’m not sure about but I believe it does). The reverse would be true for an armored enemy- they’d take 100% of the corrsive damage, 75% of the shock and 25% of the fire. There are the rare enemies that are immune to some damage types like shock nomads and Ion loaders resist shock for example. If you don’t have the matching element the best choice seems to be shock as it has a better chance of at least doing a greater degree of its elemental damage or explosive, another damage type that is rarely resisted (the second Assassin in Southpaw Steam & Power and certain enemy types- constructors?- resist explosive)…

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Using fire on flesh that 1000 would do 1750 damage and have a 25% to ignite them which deals 250 damage per second for 5 seconds. However using fire on a yellow health bar (robots) that 1000 damage rifle would only do 400 and have a 25% chance to ignite the loader for a damage of only 100 per second. Fire on shields will also deal less than 1000 damage per bullet. Now corrosive is the opposite of fire great against loaders but bad against flesh and shields. Shock is great against shields and it is neutral against flesh and armour.

Now slag just increases all damage. Non elemental and explosive are good against everything. Certain enemies are resistant to extra elements these are exceptions and not the rule. Examples include nomad pyros, fire spiderants, ion loaders.

If you search elemetal multipliers you should get more info.

And yes every pellet could apply the dot.

If you really want to get into it, check out the splash damage guide.

Related item is the critical hit bonus guide.

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Armor resist 20% of non-elemental damage.
Shields resist 20% of explosive damage.

Here is some test on how match elements increase DoT chance and the inverse as well.

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I find outside of raiding that 20% damage reduction to be negligible and I tend to ignore it in mobbing, so I didn’t mention it. Although I guess it’s good to mention.

The elemental chance test results is new to me so I’ll check that out.

the base type

Broad strokes: Fire will deal more on flesh, but less on everything else (so you will never actually deal the card damage to anything with fire guns) Corrosive will deal more on armor and less on everything else. Shock will deal massively more on shield and normal damage on everything else)

So in your example, the gun that does 1000 damage would deal 1750 to flesh, only 400 to armor or shield and have a chance to cause a burn dot for 437.5 damage per second (since the 250 damage per second is also boosted)

In addition to that, elemental guns have a chance to inflict elemental effects, which adds further damage on top on a per-second basis. That extra damage is also subject to the multipliers above

Hope that helps


That helps very much indeed – thank you!
It surprises me as well. May I ask…

  • are these rules for UVHM only? (I’m at the end of NVHM with Krieg now, and end of TVHM with Gaige, and things just feel different…)
  • So what you’re saying: a “normal” gun, let’s say from Jakob’s, which has no elemental damage whatsoever, would actually never do its listing on the card, but rather either more (if flesh) or less (anything else)? Right?
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The multiplicators are more severe for TVHM than for NVHM, both the positive and the negatives (so fire does even more on flesh and even less on armor and shield in TVHM than in Normal mode)

If you want to get more than just the broad strokes, you can look at the 2 charts here:

No, A Non-elemental gun would do it’s normal card damage most of the time. What I meant is that in the case of fire (and corrosive) there are no cases where the damage modifier is “100%”: it’s always a good or a bad match.

A fire gun that does 1000 damage on the card would do 1750 on flesh, 400 on shield and 400 on armor…there are no cases where it would deal 1000 :wink:

Thank you very much. I read the article to which you linked and I just would like to ask one last time for clarity’s sake, since this is new to me (and somewhat counterintuitive). If I understand correctly, I was misunderstanding the concept of “elemental damage”. I had thought that this meant (only) the “bonus” damage (which seems to be exclusively Damage Over Time) which some weapons may do (if processed) in addition to the “base” damage which they always do. But what you are saying implicates that

  • a weapon which also may offer “bonus” DoT damage is always considered inherently “elemental”
  • an “elemental” weapon, as such, never does “normal” damage; its main projectile, no matter what “bonus” DoT damage it may or may not end up delivering, will always do more or less damage, depending on its target
  • so a Hyperion bot which is targeted by a non-elemental Jakob’s bullet would take 80% of the card damage, but a shielded or flesh target would take 100%; a weapon which may also deal bonus fire damage (if it procs) is, however, always more effective vs. flesh (no matter if the DoT procs) and less against Bots and Shields


That’s Right :slight_smile:

If that helps you understand better, you can take the elemental chances and DoT completely out of the equation.

Fire guns deal fire damage: any damage you deal with it is considered fire and Acts according to the table. The chance to cause burn damage over time is an added benefit, but it doesn’t change the base behavior of the damage you deal with the gun. :slight_smile:

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Thank you. I suppose that the very first 3 sentences of that article,

Elemental damage is a generic term covering supplemental non-physical damage. A weapon with elemental damage has a chance to add extra damage of an elemental type to the target every time it fires. This effect does not change the base bullet damage of a weapon.

seem somehow contradictory. It seems that elemental damage, thus portrayed, is “supplemental”. I didn’t realize until now that the final sentence of that introduction is what has been misleading me.

Yeah, it’s not expertly written. :slight_smile:

It’s not factually wrong, but I can see how it might confuse people.

If you have a suggestion on how to reword it, I’ll change it in the wiki.

Just remove the word “supplemental” from that sentence. The rest is just bloating the page as DoT are tackled differently in BL1 and BL2. I would remove everything else.

That almost needs to be right at the top, before the Borderlands and Borderlands 2 sections.
And those would be better off as separate pages, but I don’t know if that amount of structural change is possible?

I don’t think it’s necessary: That block of text (that I want to reduce to a single sentence) is the only thing in the article…right before the BL1 section starts. A reader will simply go to the section he is interested in and see the relevant info. :slight_smile: