[Guide] Bonus Elements Breakdown

This thread has been a team effort and has been authored by @Ratore, @DocStrangelove and @Prismatic.

Introduction

Bonus elements are a complex topic with many subtleties and confusion surrounding them. Here we are going to break down and explain their key points. So buckle in as we tackle the math and noteworthy mechanics around them.


Acknowledgements

  • Thank you to Days for help testing and clarifications on the interactions of Amara’s skills.
  • Thank you to @Lioness_Rampant for help testing and general feedback on this thread.
  • Thank you to @plenipotence . This would not be possible without Plenipotence. Special thanks to Plenipotence. Thanks again to Plenipotence.

Table of Contents


General Bonus Element Rules

Bonus Elements vs. Elemental Modifiers

Elemental modifiers are a multiplier in the damage formula that increases your damage with a specific element but requires you to be dealing that type of damage. The game usually words this as “deal increased ELEMENT damage”. This type of bonus can also be present on gear and will appear on artifacts as “+ ELEMENT Damage”.

Other examples: The Old God Shield FL4K’s Scorcher, Moze’s Stoke The Embers and Amara’s Tempest are all sources of this damage multiplier.

Bonus elements are different, these are new sources of damage and add an element. These bonuses are generally worded as “additional ELEMENT damage” or “bonus ELEMENT damage.” These are common bonuses and can be found on numerous anoints or through character skills such as Experimental Munitions, Cold Bore, or Forceful Expression.

Bonus Element Math

Final Damage Output = %WeaponBonusElement x Gun Damage x V1 x V2 x Slide/Airborne Damage Anoints x Elemental Multiplier x Crit x Guardian Rank Gun Damage x Amp Shield x Pearl Stacks x Harmageddon

Detailed Formula Breakdown

The most notable aspects are that they are based on the card damage of your gun and don’t receive splash damage boosts. Bonus elements from skills or anoints on your gun will receive weapon type boosts (e.g. SMG Damage) but bonus elements from your grenade or shield do not receive weapon type boosts.

The last oddity to these calculations is Moze’s Fire in the Skag Den, which does not scale with crit damage.

Bonus elements are calculated on hit. Meaning that if your anoint ends before your bullet hits you will not receive the damage bonus.

Bonus Element Types

N2M, While Active, and Skills

These are bonus elements that apply only to damage coming from gun sources. Their notable characteristics are:

  • Cannot receive boosts from Splash damage.
  • Receives boosts from Weapon Type damage.

Character specific anoints such as While Gamma Burst Active, While SNTNL active and While Auto Bear active all fall into this category and follow the same rules. When referencing Next 2 mag anoints in this guide unless specifically stated otherwise you can assume the same applies to these anoints.

Universals

These are bonus elements that universally apply to damage sources (with some exceptions, like Iron Bear and FL4K’s pets). This includes Guns, Melee, Action Skills, Slam, and other special effects. There are some key differences between these bonus elements, depending on whether they are a Grenade/Shield bonus element or URad/Terror Cryo/Conductor/Green Monster…

Grenade And Shield ASE’s

When applied to guns:

  • Cannot receive boosts from Splash damage.
  • Cannot receive boosts from Weapon Type damage.
  • Receives Guardian Rank Gun damage.

When applied to other damage sources:

  • Cannot receive boosts from Splash damage.
  • Cannot receive boosts from Damage Source Type damage (like Melee, Grenade and Action Skill damage).
  • Receives Guardian Rank Gun damage.
  • Currently does not receive any form of Mayhem Scaling on the applicable sources. Grenades have their base damage scaled through the loot system, and therefore face no scaling issues.

It’s important to note that effects that are based on the main damage dealt also work correctly with the Grenade/Shield bonus elements, since they will scale from the effect’s base damage. An example is the White Elephant Artifact, which uses the main damage dealt on the melee attack for its base damage. Even though the bonus elements on the melee attack that triggered it receive no scaling, the White Elephant bomb’s base damage will be used when the bonus elements trigger on it, effectively causing no problems related to scaling.

Urad, Terror Cryo, Conductor and Green Monster

When applied to guns:

  • Cannot receive boosts from Splash damage.
  • Receives boosts from Weapon Type damage.

When applied to other damage sources:

  • Cannot receive boosts from Splash damage.
  • Receives boosts from Damage Source Type damage (like Melee, Grenade and Action Skill damage).
  • Receives proper Mayhem Scaling on the applicable sources.

Bonus Projectiles

Bonus elements used to create bonus projectiles, this is an interaction that was patched with the 23rd of July, 2020 patch. Bonus element instances no longer create bonus projectiles.

Bonus Elements and Ammo Return Special Effects

Bonus Elements used to have an unique interaction with Ammo Return on crit effects present on some weapons, which allowed multiple instances of the effect to be triggered.

After the fix to bonus elements and their interactions, now only 1 instance of such effects may be achieved, and it requires the main damage to crit, not resulting in anything should the crit be only on a bonus element (a scenario only achievable through Megavore, which previously worked for more instances of the effect).

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Amara

Siren Radiation Anointment (Srad)

The siren-exclusive “+40% radiation for a short time” ASE anointment generally behaves the same as the N2M anointment, except that it is time-limited and deals much less damage. It is generally worse than the N2M anointment without one single advantage.

Action Skills / Melee

Only universal bonus elements are applied on these; N2M, Srad, Infusion and Forceful Expression are ignored. Urad scales with Mayhem level, shield/nade does not - e.g. Phasecast deals x31 damage on M10, Urad is also x31 then while shield/nade is only x1. However, augments that alter AS damage (e.g. Revelation) and Ascendant do alter shield/nade ASE’s by the same percentage.

Remnant, Catharsis and Do Unto Others are action skill damage, so the same rules apply.

Ties that Bind

TTB generally transfers all damage dealt to the struck target (except DOT) to all tied targets; hence, bonus elements applied on the struck target also cause damage to tied targets. The damage TTB then deals to tied targets however does only receive universal bonus elements: being action skill damage, weapon-only bonuses (N2M, Srad, Infusion, Forceful Expression) are ignored. As with other action skills, Urad scales with Mayhem but shield/nade does not.

Indiscriminate

Indiscriminate has a chance to proc off of any bonus instance of damage, this ricochet will then reapply universal bonus elements (no N2M/Srad). As always, Urad is Mayhem scaled and shield/nade is not.

Unlike other action skill damage skills, Forceful Expression is applied on the ricochet and scales with Mayhem. When using Infusion, both instances of damage can ricochet individually, ricochet damage is then based on the instance that caused it. The ricochet itself is not affected by Infusion.

Infusion

For the amount of bonus element damage, Infusion is ignored: e.g. if you have 60% kinetic and 40% shock damage, bonus elements will be based on 100% kinetic damage instead.

Personal Space

All bonus elements scale with Personal Space. PS only applies to gun shots, however since shield/nade bonus elements behave like gun damage, they are affected no matter the primary damage source. This leads to the odd behaviour that melee/AS/grenade damage is not affected by PS but the resulting shield/nade bonus element is.

Unlike shield/nade, Urad is only affected by PS if the primary damage source is a gun shot.

Other Skills

  • Sustainment: no life steal from any bonus elements, including Forceful Expression. However, Infusion does give life steal.
  • Laid Bare: this debuffs enemies so that all damage dealt to them is increased. This includes all bonus elements.
  • Do Harm: increases both Urad and shield/nade bonus elements. However, as always, the latter are not Mayhem scaled.
  • Transcend: since all bonus elements scale with crit damage, they all scale with Transcend too.

Example Calculations

To make it a little more understandable, I’ve created 2 sheets exemplifying all that word salad with numbers. The first sheet demonstrates the damage of different bonus elements ignoring any other bonuses or elemental multipliers, assuming 100 base damage and Mayhem 10:

Bonus_Ele_Chart1

The second one assumes a certain scenario: we’re using TTB on Mayhem 10 with a fire gun vs. flesh enemies (x1.75 damage), action skill damage is fire, Tempest is 5/5 (x1.3 damage), and we’re using only one bonus element (which is unlikely but it’ll give us a general tendency). We’ll also use radiation for N2M and Shield/Nade for better comparison. I’ve also added +100% and +200% gun damage for comparison (+200% can be achieved either with the ASA or with the consecutive hits anointment):

Bonus_Ele_Chart2

Now I like to create charts to illustrate the numbers:

Bonus_Ele_Chart3

As can be seen in all those examples, Urad destroys all other bonus elements – however at the great cost that if you’re using Front Loader / Deathless, you don’t get health gate so enemies can (and will) instadown you. In real life situations, you’ll have much more stuff going on; e.g. using several bonus elements at the same time works in favour of gun damage anointments (because they multiply with gun damage but are only additive with other bonus elements), while using gun damage-increasing gear like Zerker/Driver/Pearl works against them (because they are only added to them). This is just meant to give a general idea of the basics from where you start.

Personally, I prefer gun damage anointments on guns because:

  1. they also increase other bonus elements, while a bonus element on the gun does not
  2. they usually outperform most bonus elements on the gun
  3. they don’t have Urad’s no-healthgate disadvantage
  4. as you can see in the chart, while Urad is extreme against tied targets, 200% gun damage is stronger against single targets. Since TTB pulverises tied targets anyway, I prefer having more single target damage, because that’s TTB’s Achilles’ Heel.

My personal favourite is the consecutive hits anointment on guns that hit MANY times in a short time, e.g. License, Flipper, Light Show, Hellshock. +200% ASA has the great disadvantage that it does nothing while no enemy is grasped.

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FL4K

Megavore and Bonus Elements

Bonus Elements on Weapons

  • Each Bonus Element (URad, Terror Cryo, N2M, Gamma Anointment, Shield/Grenade ASE) has its own independent chance to crit when hitting a non-weak point.
  • If the main damage of the weapon crits via Megavore on a non-weak point, it will not result in a crit for all the bonus elements, and they will instead still roll for their own chance at a proc.
  • On a weak point hit, all bonus elements will crit if the main damage source can crit in the first place.
  • Head Count and Leave No Trace can only proc on crits from the main damage.

Grenade/Shield Bonus Elements On Other Damage Sources:

Universally includes: Action Skills, Melee, Slam etc but not FL4K’s pets

  • Each Shield and Grenade bonus element has its own independent chance to crit when hitting a non-weak point.
  • On a weak point hit, all bonus elements will also crit if the main damage source is capable of a crit in the first place. Otherwise, they will roll for their own chance at a proc.
  • Is not currently affected by Mayhem Scaling on the applicable sources. Grenades, however, get the proper values since their base damage scales through the Mayhem Loot level.
  • Effects that are based on the main damage dealt (e.g. White Elephant Stickies, which use the main melee damage dealt for their damage calculation) also work correctly with the Shield/Grenade bonus elements, since the bonus elements will scale from the effect’s base damage.
  • Head Count and Leave No Trace can only proc on crits from the main damage.

URad/Terror Cryo Bonus Elements on other damage sources:

Universally includes: Action Skills, Melee, Slam etc but not FL4K’s pets

  • These bonus elements cannot crit independently on non-weak point hits.
  • On a weak point hit, these bonus elements will also crit if the main damage source can crit in the first place.
  • Is affected by Mayhem Scaling on the applicable sources.
  • Head Count and Leave No Trace can only proc on crits from the main damage.

Fade Away

Fade Away crits are what we can call pseudo-crits. For all practical purposes, they count as a crit, but they’re essentially a damage boost added to the crit portion of the formula, not taking the place of true crits nor guaranteeing them. This means that, in regards to Megavore and Bonus Elements, they will behave the same in the sense that Megavore can still proc on Fade non-weak point hits, but the shot will count as a crit for a gun’s practical effects, even if they didn’t result in a true crit.

Here’s a basic differentiation between non-weak point and weak point Fade Away hits:

Fade Away Non-weak point Hit = (Base Damage + %Of Base as Bonus Elements) x RestOfDamageFormula x (1 + Fade/Guerrillas + UnblinkingEye)

Fade Away Weakpoint Hit = (Base Damage + %Of Base as Bonus Elements) x RestOfDamageFormula x [2 x (RestOfCritFormula) + (Fade/Guerrillas + UnblinkingEye)]

A Megavore proc results in a true crit alongside the Fade Away damage, and therefore is the same as a weak point hit. But since we have bonus elements, each one and the main damage will have their own chance at a Megavore proc when hitting a non-weak point.

Fade Away’s damage boost properly applies to bonus elements alongside the main damage. Since Fade Away hits count as crits for practical effects, in practice this results in Ammo Return and most crit-dependent weapon effects being triggered on a hit, be it on a weak-point or not. Bonus elements will not affect the amount of instances of the effect you get, since it is only triggered based on the main damage critting (or pseudo-critting).

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Moze

What applies to Short Fuse

Short Fuse is only affected by universal bonus elements and Skag Den. This means Next 2 mags, skills and Auto Bear active anoints will not provide bonus damage to Short Fuse. 150% Bonus Radiation Damage While Under 50% Health and Terror Cryo are the only 2 gun anoints that affect Short Fuse. Green Monster was not mentioned in the general section but also counts as a universal bonus element and will apply.

Skag Den and bonus elements from grenades and shields do apply but will not benefit from Short Fuse’s Mayhem scaling making them less impactful.

Do bonus elements give me an extra proc chance?

Having bonus elements active has no effect on your chances of proccing any Moze related effects such as; Mind Sweeper, Short Fuse, Means of Destruction, etc.

N2M and why it falls short on Moze

The next 2 mags anoints seem like a natural fit since Moze can keep them active for so long, these anoints are also top picks on other characters. So why is Moze different?

Moze occupies a unique position where the majority of her damage is not coming directly from the gun. Short Fuse is well known to be Moze’s best damage skill and Mind Sweeper is an increasingly popular class mod. Both of these options are well worth building around however neither benefits from N2M. Since bonus elements do not benefit from splash damage boosts, a bonus that both Short Fuse and Mind Sweeper benefit greatly from, the option becomes much less appealing.

To put this into context let us compare N2M to consecutive hits and Airborne Damage.I’ll be using Short Fuse for this comparison as its more widely applicable but Mind Sweeper follows a similar pattern.

For our example we’ll need to make some basic assumptions. The first assumption I’ll make is that the build has 3 stacks of Drowning in Brass, 4 points in Armored Infantry and 5 points in Scrappy. This gives us a baseline of 102% gun damage. I’ll also assume we’ve recently thrown a grenade with the 25% on grenade throw anoint which lends us 25% v2. We also need to consider that we likely have splash and area of effect damage on our com and artifact. This combined with 5 points in Torgue cross promotion gives us 106% splash damage. Lastly we need to consider that Short Fuse doesn’t proc on every single pellet, for simplicity we’ll assume it procs on 1 in 5 and I’ll provide an “average SF” value which is the Short Fuse number divided by 5 in an effort to more accurately represent its impact.

This is a gross simplification and I urge you not to use it for anything rigorous, but for the purposes of demonstration it will be sufficient here.

The relevant part of the damage formulas are:

Gun: Gun Damage x Airborne Anoint x v2 x Splash
Short Fuse: Gun x 0.75 x 7 x v2 x Splash
Average SF: Short Fuse / 5
100% N2M Bonus Element: Gun Damage x v2

Approximate Final Damage: Gun + Average SF + N2M
The x7 on Short Fuse is the Mayhem Scaling of Short Fuse at Mayhem 10.

Without anoints our damage would be:

Gun: 2.02 x 1.25 x 2.06 = 5.2
Short Fuse: 5.2 x 0.75 x 7 x 1.25 x 2.06 = 70.3
Average SF: 70.3 / 5 = 14.06
Approximate Final Damage: 5.2 + 14.06 + 0 = 19.26

Now with N2M

Gun: 2.02 x 1.25 x 2.06 = 5.2
Short Fuse: 5.2 x 0.75 x 7 x 1.25 x 2.06 = 70.3
Average SF: 70.3 / 5 = 14.06
100% N2M Bonus Element: 2.02 x 1.25 = 2.53
Approximate Final Damage: 5.2 + 14.06 + 2.53 = 21.79

Now with 50% Damage while Airborne

Gun: 2.02 x 1.5 x 1.25 x 2.06 = 7.8
Short Fuse: 7.8 x 0.75 x 7 x 1.25 x 2.06 = 105.45
Average SF: 105.45 / 5 = 21.09
Approximate Final Damage: 7.8 + 21.09 + 0 = 28.89

Now with 200% Gun Damage from Consecutive hits

Gun: 4.02 x 1.25 x 2.06 = 10.35
Short Fuse: 10.35 x 0.75 x 7 x 1.25 x 2.06 = 139.92
Average SF: 139.92 / 5 = 27.98
Approximate Final Damage: 10.35 + 27.98 + 0 = 38.33

Moze’s damage is Short Fuse heavy and any Anoint that doesn’t benefit Short Fuse has minimal impact on her overall damage. N2M increases total damage output by about 10%, this compared to the Airborne damage anoint which improved damage by 50% or consecutive hits which is nearly doubling our damage in the listed example.

It should be noted that I’ve focused on N2M as my example here, however this example holds for any non-universal bonus element as all of them would math the same way.

A bonus element, such as 150% Bonus Radiation Damage To Enemies While Under 50% Health, does apply to Short Fuse and doesn’t suffer the same diminishing returns as N2M. To see this let’s revisit the example above.

Gun: Gun Damage x v2 x Splash
URAD on Gun: Gun Damage x v2 x 1.5
Short Fuse: Gun x 0.75 x 7 x v2
Average SF: Short Fuse / 5
URAD on Short Fuse: Gun x 0.75 x 7 x v2 x Splash
URAD on Average SF: Short Fuse / 5
Approximate Final Damage: Gun + Average SF + URAD Gun + URAD Average SF

Deal 150% Bonus Radiation Damage while below 50% health

Gun: 2.02 x 1.25 x 2.06 = 5.2
URAD on Gun: 2.02 x 1.25 x 1.5 = 3.78
Short Fuse: 5.2 x 0.75 x 7 x 1.25 x 2.06 = 70.3
Average SF: 70.3 / 5 = 14.06
URAD on Short Fuse: 5.2 x 0.75 x 7 x 1.25 x 1.5 = 51.19
URAD on Average SF: 51.19 / 5 = 10.24
Approximate Final Damage: 5.2 + 14.06 + 3.78 + 10.24 = 33.29

Fire in the Skag Den

Fire in the Skag Den is an oddity among bonus elements, It follows all the same rules as other bonus elements such as not scaling with splash damage. However, Fire in the Skag Den is the only character skill based bonus element that doesn’t receive weapon type boosts. Skag Den also doesn’t scale with Crit damage, meaning it will provide the same amount of bonus fire damage whether you hit a crit or not.

Skag Den also receives a damage bonus from Stainless Steel Bear and Scorching RPM’s Iron Bear Damage.

Skag Den also scales with Mayhem levels. Mayhem 10 will give 31x the listed card bonus meaning Skag Den provides 93% bonus fire damage per point at Mayhem 10.

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Zane

Do My Action Skills benefit from my bonus elements

The clone’s damage will not benefit from any bonus elements.

The SNTNL’s damage can benefit from Universal bonus elements. As with other instances of non gun damage that gets universal bonus elements the nade and shield versions do not scale with Mayhem levels. Furthermore the drone receives Trick of the Light as it cannot be targeted.

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23 Likes

Nice writeup man…

Hmm…wierd interaction, just like Short Fuse used to be…coding error?

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My suspicion is that in order for them to have Skag Den function correctly for Iron Bear and Auto Bear they needed to add Iron Bear damage to the equation, but either couldn’t or forgot to disable it for when Moze deals splash.

2 Likes

As always excellent guide.

Shouldn’t it be 2,02 x 1,25 x 1,5 = 3,79 and the final damage will be slightly lower?

1 Like

That looks like a copy paste error on my part let me go correct it.

Got it, thanks!

1 Like

At least you didn’t have to add a section for bonus ricochet projectiles now! Lol

Great write up @Prismatic @DocStrangelove and @Ratore.

4 Likes

Oh, but we had one…

4 Likes

I figured you did lol this post would have taken much longer than 3 days to create.

2 Likes

:+1:

I’ma review my builds and then not change them at all, but will at least know why some things work or don’t. :laughing:

Seriously though, thanks for this!

1 Like

great guide from the badass trio.

4 Likes

Braintrust of the Borderverse, Mathemagicians, whatever you wanna call them I’m glad to have them around! Lol

2 Likes

Thank you guys

Thanks you for sharing this with us, very much appreciated :kissing_heart:

Good knowing shield and grenade ASE doesn’t scale with mayhem.

You mentioned Forceful Expression not healing with Sustainment? Was that changed recently? I thought that it healed with they patched it and made other skills like infusion heal.

That’s how I remembered it too. But I tested this after the latest patch and FE didn’t heal. Infusion does. I actually had a fire damage number popping up that was 58% (40% + 18%), but only 40% healed me.

1 Like

Great info - a lot to digest.

Question about shotguns if anyone knows - are more pellets still better with the changes to bonus elements? Assuming no specific synergy with extra hits like Megavore and brain freeze. For example I have anarchies in both x13 and x20 And obviously the x13 has way better accuracy and ammo consumption.

DocStrangelove has added some example calculations to the Amara section and given a visual comparison of the impact the different anoint’s have on Amara’s damage. That can all be found in this wonderful section.

This hasn’t changed for most shotguns, what was best before is still the best now. The most notable change is that an x14 Reflux is now superior to an x7 version due to its ability to stack chains faster and maintain them better.

2 Likes

I think we all know this will get nerfed soon…

Theoretically speaking, would it be better if all fire skills scaled to Mayhem levels?:
(Assuming scaling is x7)

Experimental Munitions - 105 (7 x 15)
Selfless Vengeance - 105 (7 x 15)
Fire in the Skag Den - 105 (7 x 15)
Cloud of Lead - 78.75 (7 x 11.25)
w/ Stoke the Embers - 512 (393.75 + 118.13 (30%))

At least this way, every skill has a requirement, and it’d lead to some interesting fire builds…

Bonus elements have no reason to scale with Mayhem levels. They are percentage based damage that scales with the damage of the hit that procs them. This means that if your gun is scaled to mayhem then the bonus element will naturally scale with it. Scaling bonuses that already received mayhem scaling was exactly the reason TTB and Indiscriminate were detached from Action Skill damage and why TTB had to wait a month to receive action skill damage boosts again. Frankly I’m still against any percentage based damage sources scaling, this includes TTB, Indiscriminate and Short Fuse. This is however not a Moze thread so I’ll refrain from debating that here, anyone interested can ask me in the Moze category.

Moze and bonus elements are a conundrum that will take a miracle to work in a balanced manner. Not only are Selfless Vengeance and Cloud of lead non universal and therefore of no use to Iron Bear, Mind Sweeper or Short Fuse, but they also suffer the issue all bonus elements suffer on Moze. Moze’s most valuable bonus is splash damage, Moze builds and especially the successful ones have an over abundance of splash boosts. Every time you boost splash damage the impact of a bonus element on your overall damage diminishes.

A generic Moze build with splash from TCP, com and artifact already has 106% splash damage. That halves the impact a bonus element has on her damage. This is before I even mention Short Fuse and how it kills any impact that non universal bonus elements have.

To make bonus elements on Moze impactful you’d need to give them numbers that are blatantly unfair to Amara and Zane who also get skill tree bonus elements.

9 Likes