Why Crit Damage Gear is Bad and What Should Be Done

For those who are unaware, crit damage gear is terrible because it requires an unrealistically high critical hit rate to achieve parity with attack damage gear:

For the mathematically inclined, these are the equivalence formulas for attack damage and critical damage gear (x = critical hit percentage):

Against enemy BB: 1.091*(1-x) + 1.51.091(x) = 1.00*(1-x) + 1.51.119(x)
Against enemy non-BB: 1.091*(1-x) + 31.091(x) = 1.00*(1-x) + 31.119(x)

(attack damage gear is 9.1% additional damage and applies to both normal and critical damage; critical hit gear is 11.9% and applies only to critical hit damage; crits deal 50% additional damage against enemy BB and 200% additional damage against non-BB)

Some quick algebra (or throwing it into Wolfram Alpha) tells you that critical hit gear only becomes better than attack damage gear when you’re crit rate is at least 52% against non-BB and 68.4% against BB (the reason for this discrepancy is that crits against non-BB do twice as much damage as crits against BB). That’s pretty insane, all things considered; in order for crit damage gear to be better, you need to be scoring significantly more crits than normal hits, which just seems kind of wrong.

It’s even more amusing, to me, because it’s way easier to score crits against NPCs (who move predictably and even stand still).

Now, I do understand that the devs want to avoid increasing kill speed in PvP too much: Battleborn isn’t meant to be a twitch shooter and, if crits are too big, things can quickly fall apart, but the fact that crits are so weak does mean that twitch accuracy doesn’t really amount to much.

My recommendation is two fold:

  • Set critical hit damage so that necessary crit rate for equivalence with attack damage is a more realistic number
  • Increase crit damage against BB

The first recommendation is pretty simple: we just need to pick what crit rate should be balanced around; anything better than the assumed crit rate is a reward for greater skill (which is appropriate, imo). At the moment, the crit rate is ~68.4% against players (and I’ll continue using the v. players numbers because the game is fundamentally balanced with PvP in mind) which is so high as to be ridiculous, especially with a low critical damage modifier like 1.5. Before I get into the math on this, however, it’s important to address the second part of the recommendation (since that will affect the math for this part).

In BB PvP, critical hits aren’t really important. They provide you with 50% additional damage, but they require the target to no longer have their shield and are notoriously difficult to get against players because a vast majority of BB have small crit locations in places on their models that don’t encourage taking crit attacks (the head is the crit location for most BB and is placed to that attacks that don’t score crits will miss because there isn’t a lot of normal hit space anywhere else) and players move around incredibly unpredictably. This heavily shifts the payout for attacking players from crit shots to body shots since decreasing your accuracy by 50% doesn’t really justify a 50% increase in damage (and only if the target’s shield is already broken).

As such, I recommend increasing critical damage against BB increased from 50% additional damage to 100% additional damage: in this way, the steep drop off in accuracy (~50%) will be commensurate with the increased reward (if someone wants to provide a different ratio, I welcome it since these numbers were chosen basically heuristically; I would love to see some actual tests about differing results when aiming for crits v. aiming for hits to arrive at a more scientific answer).

As to the actual assumed crit rate, another decision needs to be made about what the “expected” crit rate should be (e.g. how good do you have to be at crits to get more out of crit gear than out of attack damage gear). My personal opinion places this at 1/3: it’s still very high considering how players move around, but at least it’s feasible (I’m open to others’ opinions about this as well).

With both of these new numbers in mind, the formulas look like this:

Against enemy BB: 1.091*(2/3) + 21.091(1/3) = 1.00*(2/3) + 2*(1+x)*(1/3)

Some quick math (or copy-pasting into a math program) gives us a needed value of 18.2% (it would actually be fine to say “exactly double of attack damage gear”, which is one of the other reasons I like these two changes: the math is really clean so any time the devs decide to tweak attack damage for balance, they can tweak crit damage too).

This does end up being a buff to PvE players, but I don’t think anyone will really mind the “designed” crit damage rate to be 25% (which might be a bit low but is much more realistic than 52%).

Feel free to come up with your own recommendations. The formulas are really easy to mess around with.


One word- uh, name- one name: Toby. Crit gear is a MUST on him.

Any particular reason why it’s better for him than attack damage gear or is that just personal opinion (my argument here is based off of the math)?

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Sorry, was watching a movie. I wasn’t implying that crit gear is BETTER than attack damage gear on Toby; just that, because Toby’s damage is so HIGH, he benefits greatly from it. Throw on the Symbiotic gauntlet, and even just a zero cost crit monocle on him, and it’s a one to two shot kill on all but the tankiest of battleborn; in other words, one stun mine, and you can USUALLY get a free kill. If your were just saying that there is no benefit in taking crit gear IN PLACE of attack gear, then i agree; but i take both on Toby, because what else do you need on him? Nothing, really. You can even leave the third slot for a zero cost shard generator or his Double Hug if desired. Skill damage is also viable.

EDIT: Going to bed now, so don’t think i’m ignoring you if i don’t reply. I have a bad habit of posting and then disappearing for a while, haha.

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I feel I should point out that this would be an indirect buff to stuns, which are already pretty dangerous right now. Just buffing crit gear itself would surely be safer for game balance than making crits stronger.


Crit gear by itself is mathematically inferior to attack damage, as you demonstrate in your post. However, that just is a comparison between the two. It doesn’t mean “crit gear is useless”, it means “crit gear is better than AD gear”. As such, you should only use crit gear when you already have AD gear on your loadout (thus why my loadout for Toby and Marquis have a shard gen, AD blue, and Crit blue, for +15% AD and a 1.8x critical modifier, making for juicy 750-800 crits with Toby and something like 500 on Marquis).

I don’t feel that buffing crit gear is necessary, if you take the mindset of “crit gear should only be used to supplement AD on characters you can land crits with”. It makes the headshots extra juicy, and it makes tearing down sentries as a sniper super easy. I could understand an argument for buffing the gear on consoles only, where the aiming is worse and landing crits is harder.

I don’t think that buffing the base crit modifier would be a good idea.

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actually Double Hug is a MUST

This right here.

I’m definitely not a crack shot on PC games (honestly, haven’t played a shooter for awhile on PC,) but there’s a marked diffference between what is possible on PC and what is possible on console. If you’re good enough, it’s possible to get critical chances up to and including your 68% figure with some characters (snipers in particular) on PC.

That said, I absolutely agree that critical damage gear (and the way it compares to attack damage gear) inherently makes it a second-class damage source, if it’s even viable for that candidate’s loadout at all. I would argue that the buff to gear makes sense, but the buff to critical hits themselves should apply to console only (or be scaled to a lesser value on PC, such as 60~75% rather than 100%.)

However, once you do that stuns still become a problem … but we already know they’re a problem. There’s an easy way to solve that … make people immune to stun for 4x the amount of time they’ve been stunned. So if it’s a 1 second stun, I’m immune to stun for 4 seconds after it. This means Double Hug doensn’t need to be changed, because you can’t chain stun. Same is true for any duo that could previously chain their stuns together to confirm a kill: now you’ve got at least a few seconds to reposition and run for your team, while their second stunner now has to hit a moving target as well (who knows … they might miss.)

If Immunity is too much (don’t want people feeling they wasted their skills,) we could instead of complete immunity do something akin to how Darkest Dungeon does repeated stuns: have the stuns themselves grant CC reduction for a longer period of time. There’s even the option to either do a straight buff that lasts for a set duration based on the duration of the stun, or it could ramp down over a longer period of time, such as 100% immunity while you’re stunned, and ramping down by 25% CC reduction every few seconds once the stun wears off. (so 75% CC reduction once you’re free of the stun, 50% a few seconds thereafter, etc etc.)

This would also make Galilea’s MASSIVE amount of different crowd control effects less powerful because the stun itself would reduce the duration of the other effects if they were used back to back. Honestly, I think this is really the best way to fix stuns in general, and the Double Hug or Galilea issues individually. However, I would want stuns to be the only CC effect that gives CC reduction to the person affected, as it is the most powerful CC effect.


[quote=“EdenSophia, post:5, topic:1553417, full:true”]I feel I should point out that this would be an indirect buff to stuns, which are already pretty dangerous right now. Just buffing crit gear itself would surely be safer for game balance than making crits stronger.

I actually have a plan for that and to somewhat address the CC heavy meta. I was contemplating posting a thread on that topic last night after I finished this one, but I decided against it to give this one some time to discuss.

If crit damage against BB isn’t buffed up, to gain equilibrium with attack damage, critical damage gear would need to be buffed up even higher:

1.091*(2/3) + 1.51.091(1/3) = 1.00*(2/3) + 1.5*(1+x)*(1/3)

That formula gives you an equivalence of ~21.2% (only need a 20% crit rate for crit damage to be better). Crit damage would be on part with reload speed for the size of the buff.

I think you got that backwards. It should read “AD gear is better than crit gear” (since, if crit gear was better than AD gear, you wouldn’t be wanting to use AD gear).

As to the rest of your post, my point remains. Critical Damage gear is only remotely useful after you’ve already stacked attack damage gear and are on a character that is extremely good at scoring crits (and doesn’t just receive more benefit from attack speed, reload speed, or some other stat). In my mind, for the uber-crit characters, critical damage should be their first priority, not just a viable stat to start taking after you’ve gotten attack damage.

[quote=“BenHoliday, post:8, topic:1553417, full:true”]If you’re good enough, it’s possible to get critical chances up to and including your 68% figure with some characters (snipers in particular) on PC.

I find this to be somewhat unlikely. Even on a hitscan sniper like Marquis, I rarely hear of anyone getting more crits than hits with their attacks. 68% is actually pretty unlikely even in PvE because you’re talking about getting more than 2 crits for every 1 normal hit and enemies in PvE don’t move around as rapidly or unpredictably as players do in PvP.

Just consider how long it takes for most players to get WF’s crit lore challenge completed (and WF is really good at crits because he fires multiple shots and is a high damage and accuracy character). Having to break a target’s shield first and then having to hit them in a small and specific location that can only be accessed from specific directions makes crits significantly more uncommon than you seem to think.

@JoeKGBX @Jythri It would be awesome to get some stats on crit rates in PvP (the game already does track hit rates for some characters so I don’t see it being particularly difficult to break down crit rates).

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Yeah, got that backwards. You get the gist.

Not to mention that you can’t crit if a shield is up.

Also buffing crit damage is a nerf to all eldrid lol :smiley:


Interesting read.

May change the gear use for my WF build (which is crit based).

Only when you’re not very good with Toby and have no empathy does the Double Hug become a must.

@vagrantsun Do you use crit gear?

I don’t. My standard set for Toby is a 0 cost shard with minus reload, the Codex Fragment, and the Double Hug. I run him as a waveclear/assassin (there’s an odd word to associate with Toby) because all I have to do is soak a couple shots on my boosted shield from level 3 helix while I line up my shot, and I can wipe whatever I hit out with the Codex boost.

I’ve never used crit gear, though the meta has inclined towards easily critted-characters like Ernest, KU, Ambra, Toby, Kleese, and Kelvin. I could see the use of it, though in practice there’s no part of my gear that I’d consider giving up the slot for.

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Oh, people did testing as they’re liable to do, and found out that while Codex is a good gear in theory, the stacks barely last, to the point where unless you’re a tank or Ghalt getting harassed by multiple Mellkas, its.not worth it to take it. An epic Eldrid would end up doing better, or something like Bola’s need be. Not to say your choices are bad, but wanted to check if you were aware

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Bola’s would quite likely be superior, but I loathe PvE, and in particular the Saboteur. I can pass.

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You’ll be happy to hear it’s actually from the Experiment (Antem, Advanced) haha. I getcha though

I’m not saying 68% is something everyone can do with every character, or even that it’s possible for everyone to do even with their favorite character.

I’m saying crit gear shouldn’t be as good as attack gear, and yes it should be improved, but you’ve definitely got the ability to crit more effectively on PC than on console, except on a stunned target. If you think 20% is normal on console, then 60% should be achievable on PC, for those who play snipers and are very good with them. Exceptions, of course, if going up against Kleese without taking out his rifts, or facing a good Reyna, etc, etc.

There are exceptions to every example in the case of criticals because it depends so much on who you are playing as (try landing crits at range with Montana vs Whiskey,) and who you’re facing off against (any Eldrid, particularly Miko compared with Kleese, S&A or Reyna.) But this is true with every piece of gear. For every flaw that doesn’t affect a character, there’s a whole set of gear pieces that are made worthless because they get no benefit from that type of gear. Critical gear is the same, just not as extreme … it’s only worth using on SOME characters who have the capability to land a high percentage of their shots on a crit spot, and honestly, probably will only ever be better than attack damage gear against a stunned target or if your controller is a keyboard and a mouse.

Significantly improving crit gear (and improving the baseline of crits to begin with,) each both have the effect of making stuns more powerful, and certainly will make a larger difference on PC against targets who aren’t stunned. I agree that crit gear should be improved (right now it’s borderline useless except in a few key examples,) but I’m a little hesitant to improve the baseline bonus damage applied by criticals if it’s going to be the same amount for consoles as for PC, and especially if we aren’t doing anything about how much extra power that gives to the ability to stun.