Melee FL4K math - Hidden Machine is weird

[This started out as me having a really hard time getting Hidden Machine to proc and thinking it doesn’t work on melee at all. It does… it’s just weird about when it procs and harder to use than expected. Not sure if this is working as intended or not, enemies seem to count as targeting FL4K a lot even when FL4K is invisible, enemies aren’t looking at them, or are shooting their pet instead. See the second post. A lot of the stuff in this first post turned out to be wrong.]

I’ve been playing a ton of melee FL4K and it’s been a blast but I just started trying to look into the math of their skills and what affects melee damage and found something kinda disappointing. :frowning:

I was hoping Hidden Machine would be like Zer0’s Ambush because the wording is very similar and it says it makes FL4K do increased “Damage”. Not gun damage, just damage. So I assumed this would work with melee, and I was REALLY hoping it would be multiplicative like Ambush.

I just sat down and tried to look into the numbers to find out the math of how this skill works… and it turns out… it doesn’t.

At least I couldn’t get it to change anything. Stabbing from the front with the Buttplug gives me 2831 damage with or without Hidden Machine and being in Fade Away, and from the back is 5661 with or without Hidden Machine & FA. I’ve respecced a few times, logged in and out, tried it with a pet to pull aggro, stabbed enemies who were busy shooting my pet in the face and absolutely not targeting me… no changes from the melee numbers I get without Hidden Machine.

Video of this happening:

The one hit for 5661 damage I do while invisible isn’t Hidden Machine doing anything, it’s the same number I get on a backstab with the Buttplug while not specced into Hidden Machine.

Unless I’m doing something horribly wrong and Hidden Machine is freakishly hard to proc even if you’re invisible and standing behind an enemy who is busy shooting your pet… yeah, it doesn’t seem to work on melee. I have not tested the numbers on guns or tested this skill in general to see if it even works on guns because I’ve been too busy stabbing things in the ass.

(I have like… a very tiny Guardian Rank melee boost. Put a point into there before I remembered I wanted a blank slate for testing melee math. Whoops. So my melee numbers may be a tiny bit off from other people’s.)

I’m gonna keep on keeping on with Melee FL4K because stabbing enemies in the ass while invisible is working out great and really fun but uhh… Gearbox? If you’re out there? Halp? Fix this? I wanna pretend I’m a very weird Borderlands 3 version of melee Zer0 and this skill not doing what it says is kinda sad. Plz buff Hidden Machine so it works on ass stab.


Okay now I’m extra confused because I was messing around with this more and this happened:

I’m getting the same 2831 damage that I get without Hidden Machine… but then on that ONE SINGLE PERSON I get a hit for 3680 that’s about what I’d expect with a 30% multiplicative multiplier.

That person was walking in a mostly idle-looking state until right before I hit her. Is it just like extremely extremely difficult to proc Hidden Machine at all? Is this actually some weird problem with enemy targeting? I’m so confused.

EDIT: Uhh… okay. Tested this more and Hidden Machine does work on melee, it’s just hard to proc Hidden Machine and Hidden Machine does NOT automatically apply when you are invisible and it doesn’t even seem to apply when enemies are shooting your pet instead of you. But… I got it to happen a bunch with enemies who were not aggroed at all. 7360 is what I’d expect with a 30% multiplicative boost on top of a back hit from the Buttplug, and I got that number to happen a bunch here, but only on enemies who were not showing up red on the minimap.

This is… very not practical for use in most combat. It’s not proccing on enemies who aren’t even looking at me while I’m invisible and behind them, they still count as targeting me somehow?

I may test this more in co-op. For now, gotta go to bed.


need to save and quit once you spec points for it to activate.


This skill and Zane’s Trick of The Light are probably going to be the least consistent damage bonuses. What an odd condition for a game to try to track

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Yeah. I saved and quit but it still seemed really hard to get the skill to activate unless I did not aggro enemies at all before stabbing them. The skill seems to not automatically activate when FL4K is invisible or when enemies are targeting their pets instead of them. :frowning: Something weird seems to be going on with what counts as enemies targeting FL4K or not.

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Now I’m curious if Trick of the Light is also really hard to activate. Like if there’s something weird going on with enemy targeting in general, or if it’s a FL4K thing. Let’s test this! :smiley:

I love that our co-op team might actually be perfect for pulling aggro off of each other and actually getting our skills to work. If… it actually works like that. I’m still so confused about Hidden Machine not consistently working even if enemies are shooting at my pet. Hoping Zane’s clone doesn’t have a similar problem counting as distracting enemies or not.


Trick has been…interesting. Like. I purposely picked one of my clone augments to be the “enemies target the clone on swap” and I switch places allll the time (hahahaha, you know this) just to keep it up, but occasionally an enemy won’t show shock damage. Or Tyreen will take Shock Damage when I was sure she was targeting me. Or Graveward was just never targeting me at all. That’s the weird one. When is it “targeting”.


I always suspected Hidden Machine and targeting mechanics were buggy as hell in this game. I only ever spec 2 points in it just to get to Unblinking Eye. Now I might consider dropping it entirely and putting my points elsewhere…


Yeah. It seems like this skill is just not going to be activating most of the time even in Fade Away because of weird targeting mechanics. This sucks. The skill is way less useful than it should be.

I’m going to keep testing this because I’m pretty sure it’s a multiplicative damage boost and Zer0’s Ambush was SO GOOD. Wondering if it activates more in co-op if there is another player for enemies to target, or if there is any way to get enemies to target the pet and not FL4K. It was so weird that even when enemies seemed to be focused on shooting my pet, I wasn’t getting Hidden Machine. I need to test this with Not My Circus to see if that skill actually draws enemy attention to the pet and off of FL4K. Will test when I have time.


Apparently my weekend will now consist of buttplugs and nerf guns! Test times!

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what is the highest melee damage you inflict?

I actually have no idea what my highest melee damage is yet! :smiley: I’m gonna keep messing around with this and will post when I have more numbers.

I just did some testing of Hidden Machine in co-op with Sammantix and the results were interesting.

It’s a lot more useful in co-op, like I was getting it to proc consistently on enemies who were targeting them instead of me. It’s definitely worth picking up if you play co-op.

I’ve also had more luck getting it to proc in solo play now that I know what the deal is. Before, I was activating FA after running into the middle of a bunch of enemies because I assumed I was disappearing and that it was activating. Now I know to activate it before I aggro the enemies, so I can get it at the start of a fight, at least.

Another really weird thing is it seems to be always on when dueling. Other players aren’t AIs and don’t have a targeting mechanic so they don’t count as targeting me even if they’re looking right at me and Hidden Machine always procs, I guess??

Also I think Hidden Machine is multiplicative. I’ll post my math and more video stuff in a bit.


Demonite’s version

I run somewhat the same build with a few points here and there. and i use a level 1 cryo resist ward plus a cryo hex to strip it and freeze enemies as well.


Ooh! That’s awesome. Yeah, I’ve been doing some pretty similar stuff and it’s kinda awesome to see I’ve been on the right track. Main difference is I haven’t been going pure melee so my build has Head Count for action skill cooldown so I can stay in Fade Away as much as possible.

Hoping to get more time this weekend to work on my build and get some video. Have not had enough free time to play lately.


Melee fl4k

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That is awesome. :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: Just posted my build here [Build] 4SS4SS4SSIN – Melee FL4K! I finally have some time to play this weekend, gonna keep working on my build and try to get some video.

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Hope it’s ok to resurrect this thread… I just did more testing on Hidden Machine after the latest patches and yep, it’s still weird.

Being in Fade Away does not automatically proc the skill, if you’ve already aggroed the enemies they still count as targeting you even if they’re not attacking you, and the way to consistently proc the skill is to activate Fade Away before you aggro enemies at all.

It gets weirder though. I just did more testing with a pet around, and I’d tested this a bit before and already knew that it usually doesn’t proc even if enemies are clearly shooting my pet instead of me. But… it sometimes procs? I’m still trying to figure this out.

Lots of fail at the beginning. :stuck_out_tongue:

It’s just very inconsistent about when it procs and doesn’t proc and I still don’t totally understand it. Is it proccing when enemies are aggroed only by my spiderant and were never aggroed by me? Is it proccing when enemies are actively in the middle of a direct attack on my spiderant and not busy reloading or hiding or anything? Might be that. I’m still trying to figure it out. If anything, this shows how often Hidden Machine just doesn’t proc if you’re in combat in the middle of a bunch of enemies and playing solo, even if you’re using Fade Away. But it’s weird and when it does proc it’s a great damage boost, and there’s at least one point in this video where it unexpectedly procs when I run up and stab an enemy in the face while they’re attacking my spiderant, so there’s that.

Even with all the inconsistency I will say I do like Hidden Machine - It’s great when it procs, I usually play co-op and it does work when enemies target co-op buddies, and it can be consistently procced at the start of fights if you use Fade Away before aggroing enemies. I do wish it would always be on when using Fade Away though because… it seems like that would just make sense.

I should test next with Red Fang and Gamma Burst, see if the pet taunt gets it to work more consistently.


No offense intended by my comments here - but I am genuinely curious as to why folks seem focused on Hidden Machine and its mechanics.

I have never really played too much with Hidden Machine, partially because I have read here on these forums that it is bugged, but moreso because the skill just kind of - sucks. I mean, at 5/5 it is 30% damage, and even boosted it could be a maximum of 60%, and even then, the damage bonus is conditional. Fl4k has better skills to utilize, even for melee, doesn’t he?

This skill has never seemed that great to me. Am I missing something?

The damage from hidden machine is probably better than you think because of the way it fits into FL4K’s damage formula. FL4K has two separate damage multipliers, which we call V1 and V2 after demonite’s video on the topic. Your final damage is basically (card damage) * (gun damage) * (V1 damage boosts) * (V2 damage boosts).

V1 is Frenzy, Empathetic Rage, Pack Tactics, Pet Skag passive, interplanetary stalker, and the power inside.

V2 is Hidden Machine, rakk attack anointment, deadeye class mod, and the robot bonus on hunter’s eye.

So in practice for the most situations, Hidden Machine and the Rakk attack anointment will be multiplicative to everything else you have going on.

Also, I run a pretty standard base fade away build, and I’m not really sure where else I would put those points. I have 26 in Hunter to reach megavore, and the other points in Stalker. I could move the 5 from Hidden Machine into health, cooldown, or fire rate, but I don’t really need more of those things over more damage. Even if the damage is inconsistent.


Well, to sum it up quickly, the person who made this thread and I play a Melee Fl4k and Shotgun Zane. They both have a conditional multiplicative skill based on not being targeted. We both keep eachother untargeted a lot so we both spec into these skills because they’re consistently active for us. And a big part of how our damage works.

But then we have to figure out how they work solo.