[PORT] The real and complete melee Zer0 formula

This is a port of Zer0’s melee damage formula by @Voshy. Not my work!!
The archive version is here.
I’ve done some minor edits : mostly spelling and formatting, but also updated Deathmark stacking as it changed after the 2015 patch.

Hi everyone. If you ever played Zer0, you probably wondered how are bonuses for all of his melee skills, relics and COMs calculated, as did I. Apparently nobody had enough time or will to test it all out so far, so only thing we got on this forum is “passive skills before, active skills after”, which is completely wrong.

I am writing this thread to let you all know that we took 3 days to test everything and now we have a real formula with all skills, relics, COMs, weapons and BAR.

In our testing we encountered some wierd things that also nobody mentioned before. For example slag multiplier changes depending on number of players, death mark can stack up to 320% with 4 assassins and so on. I will mention all of that later.

Another quick note, complete melee formula is very complicated and a bit ****** up. We tried to make it as simple as possible by combining it into only one formula (altho relic for example has his own thing going on), but some explanation will be needed to understand it.

So, here comes the formula:

(base+roid) * Ambush * Backstab * Killing Bl0w * [ weapon bonus * ( %Decepti0n + %Ir0n Hand + %C0unter Strike + %Rising Sh0t + %Be Like Water + %F0ll0wthr0ugh + %Like the Wind + %COM + %BAR ) + 0.RELIC ] * Execute * slag * crit * Deathmark

So let’s explain it from beginning. To make it simpler I divided the formula into different color parts.

  • Base - base melee damage for your level.

    • For level 50 : 9015
    • For level 61 : 34580
    • For level 72 : 132,641
    • For OP8 : 158,678 effectively, factoring in average DR [ed. - OP8’s damage reduction varies between foes’ individual level. See here for DR info]
  • Roid - roid damage from your shield, IF IT’S DEPLETED. You can find roid number on your shield’s weapon card.

  • Ambush, Backstab, Killing Bl0w, weapon bonus - all of these values are calculated the same. All of them come in percentages and you have to make a multiplier our of a percentage. That is done by taking the percentage, dividing it by 100 and then adding 1.

    • For example if we have +20% from Ambush , it’s pretty logical that multiplies the number before by 1.2. If you have +200% from weapon (Rapier) then that’s means x3.

    • All of this mentioned skills values can be changed by class mods and depend on how much points you have in that skill. For example if you look at the formula, Backstab with 5 points in it will add 40% or a multiplier of 1.4 to everything else. If you have a class mod with +6 Backstab then it will add 88% or multiply everything else by 1.88.

    • Note: you will always get an Ambush bonus when hitting from Decepti0n.

Ok, now the green stuff.

  • %Decepti0n, %Ir0n Hand, %C0unter Strike, %Rising Sh0t, %Be Like Water, %F0ll0wthr0ugh, %Like the Wind, %COM, %BAR - All of this values are calculated the same. Percentages are added together, and then the multiplier is made from the SUM of all multipliers.
    • So for example, last second Decepti0n will add 650%, Ir0n Hand will add 15%, C0unter Strike will add 250% and BAR will add 10%. In this example we don’t trigger Rising Sh0t , F0ll0wthr0ugh , Like the Wind , or wear a +melee COM just to make it simpler. In this case we will add all the percentages we have : 650+15+250+10=925%. Then we will make a multiplier out of it just as we did before. 925% means x10.25.

Now the thing that made us go crazy : the relic. In practice, relic adds at the same time as weapon bonus. So for example a rapier and +35% melee relic will add +235% at once. But then the “fun” begins. Ambush, backstab and killing blow will behave like that bonus damage exists, but all of our green skills will behave like all before happened without a relic. Basicly relic has its own formula that calculates the bonus damage relic woud do before the green stuff and then just adding that number. We wanted to get it all in one formula so it looks better and thats wh formula has 2 brackets and it’s a bit more complicated. Now to explain how to add relic in this formula:

  • 0.RELIC - means that although you have a relic that says +35%, you want put 1.35 as a multiplier here, you will just replace the blue part with 0.35. I know it makes no sense now, but if needed I can later explain the seperate relic formula and how it was added into the original formula. Basicly for calculations all you need to know that 30% relic means blue part is 0.30. +35% relic means blue part is 0.35.

And last, but again not so simple, a pink part.

  • Execute - this one is simple : Execute will always add +100% wich means a multiplier of x2.

  • Critical - again a simple one : crit gives us +100% again, so another x2 multiplier.

  • Slag - this is where it gets interesting. In our tests we found out that slag doesn’t always double your damage. In fact, slag multiplier depents on number of players. If playing solo, slag really does add 100% (multiplier x2) on normal and TVHM, and 200% (multiplier x3) on UVHM. But:

      2 players = slag does +95% = multiplier 1.95
      3 players = slag does +80% = multiplier 1.8
      4 players = slag does +75% = multiplier 1.75
    • UVHM
      2 players = slag does +192.5% = multiplier 2.925
      3 players = slag does +170% = multiplier 2.7
      4 players = slag does +162.5% = multiplier 2.625
    • Not sure how nobody noticed this before. This has nothing to do with melee, slag just loses efficiency with more players, period.
  • Death Mark - another interesting part of the formula. Deathmark officially adds 20% or a multiplier of 1.2. But, if adding Deathmark with kunai, it can stack up to 4 times to 80%. Throwing kunai fast helps stacking it BUT DOES NOT GUARANTEE IT.

For the end, there is another, a bit longer way to write this formula that makes looking at every percentage bonus the same. I will put it here so if anyone finds that one simpler to use, go ahead.

Same formula in different shape:

(base+shield) * (1+Ambush) * (1+Backstab) * (1+Killing Bl0w) * [ (1+weapon bonus) * ( 1+Decepti0n + Ir0n Hand + C0unter Strike + Rising Sh0t + Be Like Water + F0ll0wthr0ugh + COM + BAR ) + RELIC ] * (1+Execute) * (1+slag) * (1+crit) * (1+Deathmark)

To use this one, you just need to consider every percentage as a percentage of 1. So 35% = 0.35. 20% = 0.2. 650% = 6.5. The advantage of this formula is that you just insert all the percentage bonuses in the exact same way, and formula does everything else for you.

So there you have it. A complete melee Zer0 formula. It would be nice if this was linked in some general Zer0 guide so everyone can see it. We can finally calculate our melee damage, and I’m sure alot of Zer0 players will be happy.

For the end I want to thank some guys that were patient enough to spend almost 20 hours with me testing every single possibility and double-checking everything. Firstly Alade, a guy who was with me helping with this almost all of that time. Then @StrikerZidane, a terrorist we love so much who I kept awake for hours because he still has a Marcus dummy that can be killed so I can test Killing Bl0w and kill skills. And finally @Blackadder, a math professor that wanted to play and I made him work on the formula to make it look nicer.

Also, tnx to Goth and Bahroo for helping test Deathmark with 4 assassins.

Conclusion: Ambush, Backstab and Killing Bl0w are the sh1t. Whoever gets to this part after so much text, gets a cookie from me.


Base damage formula : 20 × 1.13^(level)
^ meaning an exponent ( as in 1.13 to the 50th power, multiplied by 20 - for level 50 ).

Regarding OP level damage reduction, this is the scale of DR at various enemies’ levels above your own ( that being, in effect, level 72 ) :

Levels above you +2 +3 +4 +5 +6 +7 +8 +9 +10 +11 +20
Damage Reduction 10% 20% 30% 40% 45% 50% 55% 60% 65% 70% 99.2%
More detailed info from the wiki

The table below describes the effective level that game scales enemies to, when you reach a particular Overpower level:

Overpower Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Effective Level 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80

Damage Reduction

As additional Overpower levels are gained, enemies will generally begin to spawn at higher levels. These enemies receive a passive damage reduction that is based upon how many levels they outrank playable characters. Damage reduction simply means they receive less damage from weapons and powers than they normally would. The exact percentages are expressed in the table below:

Levels above you +2 +3 +4 +5 +6 +7 +8 +9 +10 +11 +20
Damage Reduction 10% 20% 30% 40% 45% 50% 55% 60% 65% 70% 99.2%

For example, at level 72 and Overpower level 8, weapons will deal 10% less damage against a level 74 enemy or 55% less damage against a level 80 enemy.

Generally, most regular enemies will cap at around 82, but there are a few exceptions to this. The Ancient Dragons of Destruction, Dexiduous the Invincible, and Vermivorous the Invincible can reach level 83, which grants them 70% damage reduction. Bridget Hodunk and Colin Zaford cap out at level 85, making them the highest possible level among bosses.

Standard goliath enemies can level up to a maximum of 84 upon reaching GOD-liath status. The Iron GOD, a max level Golem, can reach level 92 - the highest in game. This grants him a staggering 99.2% damage reduction which means weapons will only deal 0.8% of their actual damage against them.

Even though you’re still technically level 72, melee damage does scale in OP levels

Base Damage After DR DR Level
132,641.04 132,641.04 0% DR OP0
149,884.38 149,884.38 0% DR OP1
169,369.35 152,432.42 10% DR OP2
191,387.36 153,109.89 20% DR OP3
216,267.72 151,387.40 30% DR OP4
244,382.52 146,629.51 40% DR OP5
276,152.25 151,883.74 45% DR OP6
312,052.04 156,026.02 50% DR OP7
352,618.81 158,678.46 55% DR OP8

Except that this isn’t strictly true : DR depends on the level of the enemy, which can vary.

For this in video format from MoLMF :

and from Poka :


Awesome- I may yet attempt to actually play my melee Zero (aka Element Zero) at a higher level- and he is level 72 already :wink:


This has been patched, correct?

formula correction in title.


Lol at my description. My brother and voshy inspired me to do Melee zero. I got really curious when voshy also made a vid where he one shotted the warrior.


Any input on the DM stacking thing?


Found this on forum:


I think before it 80 up to 320%?now it’s only 80%
I’m not sure. I leave all computations to others, i hate math XD


It’s max 80% now.
The Kunai nerf lasted for a few months. I even made comparison (pre and post Kunai nerf) and maybe Gbx saw it and decided to bring it back. Though not the previous 320% bonus for quad nai runs, still 80% is a good thing.


Ok - edited to this. Let me know if it needs to be modified.


The nerf was accidental - they went to reset it to the 80%, but something went wrong. It was quickly repaired in a hotfix. Not sure if you still need a hotfix for that or not, but it should be in the patch notes.


thanks for clarifying! :slight_smile:


From what I remember, it used to be 20% and stacked to 80, then it got nerfed and wouldn’t stack anymore.

They tried fixing it but it seems they couldn’t, so they just brought the value from 20 to 80%.


By the way, at one point there existed a calculator. janderson’s Reddit guide has a dead link for one. If anyone is up for recreating it, that would be amazing.


I’m back after a week long SG trip.

@jefe i recreated the formula. But i am seeing some inconsistency on the damage, it might be due to the deception time or something. I will check and share it later. There are lots of post to read and clips to watch. :open_hands::open_hands:


Welcome back nat!


you can add this @Jefe from Poka.

I have checked his channel and can’t find part 2 though.


I never knew this existed - nice find. I’ll review it when I can. But for now I’ve added it to the second post with Luke’s guide.

Also - can you expand on this :

I’d love to know what you’ve done/found even if it’s not ready yet. Or have you recreated the calculator?

And, can you tell me where you got level 72’s base melee damage ( and by extension, what is OP8’s exact damage - all I could get was what the game shows ).

I can’t believe we’re still doing this stuff 6 years later :laughing:


Poka explained it very well. 132k is base melee damage for 72 and OP8 formula is (20*1.13^72). it stays the same in the OP levels.

you get 190k i think is because of the 50% damage bonus from a rubi/grog. 198k to be exact.

I will look at my formula, it is quite a mess since i am recreating the damage sun and I are doing as well as yours and strikers. (for the pyro pete run) lol


You had posted that the exact is 132,641. Where did this come from?