[Guide] An Introduction to Borderlands Math

Amazing post, thanks so much for all the hard work here. I’ve already expressed many times how much I appreciate your maths but thanks again! Brb Bookmarking!


I came.


Great post. Thank you so much!

People like you and Sljm are the reason I come to this forum!


Awsome work man! :ok_hand:

This will come to great use :slight_smile:

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Ok, but what about LUCK? there is not Math to this stat?

Luck and rng based mechanics as a whole require a massive amount of testing. I’m yet to see any testing done on a significant enough scale to safely say we know anything about the Borderlands 3 mechanics for it.

Borderlands 2 however is a different story and most of the mechanics seem to of carried over. For a deep dive on that you can look at:


Truly appreciate all your hard work on this.

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Great work - thanks. Is it correct that the card damage number includes a bonus specified on the card? Ex: card damage shows 100. Text includes 50% bonus…, is the damage 100 or 150? I ask because 100 is the answer going around on a FB posting.

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Numbers listed on the card are already included in the item stats. So card damage shows 100, Text includes 50% bonus is going to do 100 damage.

Critical hits are the only number you actually need to go and manually calculate the multiplier for.

The most common occurrence of damage on an item card is generally on red text guns. This is because the Red Text has a special effect, for example let’s talk about the Monocle:


The reason the card lists -24% weapon damage is because this gun is based on a purple Jakobs sniper, Purple Jakobs snipers as most know commonly have a card damage in excess of 2k, the Monocle has a max card damage of about 1600. To create the monocle Gearbox subtracted 24% damage and in return gave it a hidden 250% critical hit bonus.

A second example is the Maggie

(Image from Moze’s Top Gear)

The Maggie’s red text effect is the number of bullets it shoots per trigger pull. The purple gun it is based on however is a Purple Marshal (I might be wrong about which gun it’s based on but the idea holds). The Marshal has a damage of about 1000 and only fires 1 bullet. Can you imagine the power of 1000 x 6? Gearbox didn’t want this so in return for the extra bullets they halved the damage each bullet does on the Maggie, this is why all Maggie’s have -56% weapon damage on the card.



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It’s 250%.

See the proof here:

The link should jump you to where I show the math of the bonus and then show photo proof.

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500% in total :slight_smile: but yeah you are right.

Fantastic post.

However that elemental damage article on MentalMars contains several mistakes worth noting:

  • “physical damage does not suffer weaknesses”: it’s 80% against armor.
  • “corrosive DOT lasts 5 seconds”: it’s 7 seconds.
  • “shock DOT lasts 2 seconds”: it’s 3 seconds.
  • “Radiation explosion irradiates any enemies damaged”: there’s only a chance to irradiate them, it won’t irradiate “any”.

Another thing I find worth noting about bonus elemental damage from shield/grenades is that it treats bonus damage even from grenades, melee or action skills as gun shots. They’re always modified by gun damage bonuses such as gun dmg GR or skills like Personal Space, never by melee/grenade/action skill bonuses. This can increase damage output considerably especially on grenades and action skills (but doesn’t synergise well with a melee build with a ton of melee bonuses).


Thanks, guess I should just draw the table up myself and skip the article link.

Edit: Original post updated, I removed the article link and just posted the table he has with the relevant bonuses. Thanks again for spotting the misinformation!

I’ve got enough info at this point to do a write up on Life Steal in Borderlands 3. Zane’s Refreshment is currently the only unknown to me, I’ve tested guns, the annoints and Salvation and @DocStrangelove tested Sustainment.

Does anyone think it’s worth including here or should I split the post off into it’s own separate thread and link it?


Nice post… thanks for putting this together.

Put it in Loot & Weapons and link it.


Nice post. Cooldown rate makes a lot more sense now.

By any chance, can you go over a breakdown on sticky weapon damage? I heard that the damage on the weapon card is dropped by 33% before you start getting the sticky bonuses. In addition, I have heard that the bonus is additive. On top of that, I have also heard you only get 10 seconds or a reload to get as many stickies on the target as possible (whichever comes first).


Stickies are on my list of things I’d like to do a write up on. I’m yet to test stickies myself so unfortunately I can’t help you just yet.


There was a sortof breakdown for them in response to this post : https://forums.gearboxsoftware.com/t/torgue-stickies-are-bugged/4173895


Brilliant post, @Prismatic. This one will be a well revisited resource for years.