[Guide] An Introduction to Borderlands Math

Absolutely fascinating and fun guide, thank you.

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I’ve added a section that walks through a gun damage example and addresses multiplicative boosts and how we can compare which boost offers more value. The section is extremely wordy and I’d like it to be shorter, so if anyone has suggestions on it please let me know. I’m really unsure if the section even makes sense to anyone but me. So please voice all constructive criticism of it, I want nit picking!

Also if anyone thinks a section could use an example let me know. All the better if you have an idea for interesting an insightful example.


Just to give you some feedback: It think it’s perfect. Even though I’m no math-y kinda guy, I think I fully understood everything you said. For me, it’s even better when it’s wordy. So, yeah, great work, man!


I’ve added a section on double dipping bonuses. There’s enough in the game and the terminoogy comes up enough that it’s worth knowing of.

I also made few minor format tweaks and added a link to the general Borderlands Gun Damage post I made.

I’m tempted to add a section on when each bonus is calculated although as it already sits at the bottom of the General damage thread I’ll leave it there unless anyone has questions on it that would be well suited to being answered here.


How is this not pinned?

Because “Math” scare people? :smirk:

If he renamed it to, “An Introduction to Borderlands Puppies and Kittens”, I’m sure they will pin it then. But then the comments will become nasty and filled with threats of lawsuits because ppl expected puppies and kittens but found formulas instead; which triggered their high school and/or college math PTSD so they want to be compensated for the pain and suffering induced by said formulas. It’s just too risky! :grin:

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How about like the books:

[Guide] Borderlands Math for Dummies

Friendly yet recognizable. (Might get sued by “for Dummies”?)

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It’s not pinned because we already have quite a collection, and too many pinned posts fill up the category pages. It is linked from the Community Resources Guide iirc.


This is absolutely amazing Prismatic! Incredible job thank you so much! I was wondering if you would be able to also break down damage calculation for Action Skills?

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Action Skills are hard to do a general calculation for as they vary significantly.

As a general they get

Action Skill Damage = Base Skill Damage x Action skill damage x Splash x Special Multipliers x Elemental Multiplier

Is there a more specific Action skill I can breakdown for you?


Wow man thank you for such a quick reply! This is very helpful. Actually I was looking into Rakk Attack, I was wanting to work on a “Caster” R4k Fl4k. So basically I was hoping to find the damage formula so I know which stats to look for to maximum as much damage as possible out of my Rakk Attack. I noticed in your formula you didn’t manage overall damage (Damage % Bonus). Some skills fl4k has, gives just Damage Bonus opposed to weapon and action skill damage. Does this Neutral Damage Bonus also increase Action Skill Damage?

Generally when it’s just Damage it will fit into one of the two primary special multipliers. The community labels these v1 and v2. They weren’t something I covered in this guide as I just labelled them under the Special Multipliers tag. You’ll have to check the more in depth damage write up I did on for a brief overview of them

Back to your question though, I’m not a Fl4k player myself so I’m going to reference @Ratore’s work in this excellent doc. You’ll find which bonuses apply where within the aforementioned special multipliers.

The relevant section of the doc for action skills says

Action Skill Damage = [(Action Skill Base Damage) * (1 + GrimHarvest + IntStalkerHuman) * (1 + Frenzy + EmpathicRage + PackTactics + SkagDmg + Interplanetary + Powe Inside + Victor Rush) * (1 + HiddenMachine + HuntersEyeArmor + DE4DEYE + IceBreaker) * (1 + ClassModSplash Dmg + ArtifactAreaDmg + SplashDamageAnoint) * (1 + ArtifactElementaDmg + Scorcher)]


This is amazing, thank you so much for this help! I will check out that excellent doc as well!

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That AS Formula needs a bit more testing but it’s basically 99% confirmed for Rakk. I also adjusted my typos on it that i just noticed now lol.


Great post. Most of it went over my head. But interesting nevertheless. But i am 68 so it’s not surprising.

Wow! I just stumbled across this post. Trying to figure out some of the mechanics behind cool down rate. And here I found a treasure trove of information about the other mechanics too. I feel like I’ve just found a new vault. The amount of time and effort behind this post is self explanatory and I thank you so much for putting it in to share with your fellow Vault Hunters. You’re awesome. :blush::+1:


I’m no longer an active guide poster around here, but I do still check in here regularly. So if you have any questions feel free to ask. This post was also written awhile ago so some mechanics are better understood now. Not to mention aspects like how Grizzled and Headcount affect cooldown isn’t covered here but might be important to your theory crafting.


Hello everyone, I’m new in this borderlands math stuff and I want to do some calculations by myself, but I need some data that I can’t find, those are enemies base health, how they scale and how much XP they give, and bosses too, if you can help me, I’ll appreciate

Pretty sure that data is not available outside of data mining, and therefore would not be allowable on the forums (please see the FORUM RULES)

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You’ll have to ask in a discord if you want hard data on base numbers, try the more math savvy streamer discords or Borderlands official. As noted above discussion of that isn’t allowed here.

The scaling by level however is known and is

Enemy Hp base x 1.09level x (1+(0.02xlevel))