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Damage guide for beginners (completed) - HolyCoffee

A general guide for how to build damage – HolyCoffee
I Love this game! Please keep the hard work up
Patch: 0.7.7f

I see a lot of questions in discord, chat and on reddit regarding how to build damage. Especially for new players, this is not always an easy task, since there are no tooltips. So, I thought I would add my 2-cents on the topic. This post is meant to help new players, so they can make more informed decisions, when they are making there first build. Please be aware of, that I might not be right about everything – but I rather be specific, than vague in my explanations.

I will try to avoid using math as much as possible. You can find the formulas on Last Epoch wiki, if you want to see the exact calculations.

1: The skill you are using for main damage

1.1: Attributes

When you know what skill, you will be using for damage, it is important to careful read all the text that are stated on that skill. First you need to realize what attributes the skill is benefitting from. This is tied closely to what defense you will be using on your character. If you have a skill that get 4% increase damage from attunement, you need to know, rather or not, you are building your characters defense around protections – since attunement give flat elemental protection. The golden rule (1) is, if your character can benefit from both the defense and the damage, attribute will be highly valuable to invest in (In most cases). For ward user’s intelligence will always be a top priority, since ward retention can’t be crafted on gear - and in general a difficult stat to get.

1.2: Passives in skills

Passives in the main damage skill, are the most valuable investment you will ever make. This is due to the nature of how the damage calculations are done. All %increase dmg in the passive tree of a skill, will be multiplicative with all other damage sources you are scaling outside of that skill. In general, there are two terms being used for damage in a skill. Increased- and more damage. Increased damage. will increase the damage of the skill, that then will be increased further trough all the other damage scaling you get from masteries and gear. More damage is a multiplicative dmg source within the skill itself. Therefore, you will want to take the more damage over increased damage, if you get the choice.

In general, you want to only invest your passives points in damage, for your main damage ability. This is due to the nature of how the damage is scaling. However, there are two exceptions to this.

  • If you are using your ability for ailments like poison, you don’t care about the hit damage on the ability.
  • If you are using your ability, to proc a certain spell. Procced spells like shield throws eruption node, will not benefit from the increase damage in the passives, UNLESS, it stated otherwise. If you tend to make a build around a specific spell within a skill, you need to know, that the spell is acting like a “separate spell” – this means, that more often than not, it’s damage will not scale from the same stats.

Since the passive nodes in your main damage skill is so valuable, the golden rule is: If the stat can be found elsewhere, you will be better off, saving the passive points, and get that stat another place.

2: The most important item is you weapon

Both for casters and melee builds, the choice of weapon plays a big part in terms of your damage. This is mainly due the nature of all the flat damage you can get on those items. Unless you are playing throwing builds, weapon will simply be a stat stick, for those types of builds. (Flat damage, do only matter for hit damage, and does not increase your ailments damage). The base weapon is therefore really important to upgrade - and the rare affixes you should be saved for crafting on the best possible base weapon that fits the build.

In general, flat damage matters more for fast hitting abilities than slow cast abilities. This is mainly due to the fact of how the game is trying to balance those kind of skills out. Some skills hit fast, but does not hit very hard. This is true in most cases - but some abilities have restrictions or buffs to added flat damage. Warpath only have 40% effectiveness of flat damage, where smite have 150% - due to such restrictions or buffs, these type of spells, benefit of cause more or less from flat damage. But in general flat damage is extremely good no matter what, if you want to scale hit damage. But in terms of rather going for a fast or slow weapon, spells with high base damage, benefits more from faster weapons. Which is why on most spells on sorceress, you rather want to use a relic with high base crit chance (so you can scale damage that way), than using a two-hand staff.

  • Note: Warpaths base damage is 1: So it might be a bad example, due to no matter how low the effectiveness of flat damage is, you are still forced to scale flat damage.

2.1: Crit and base crit on weapon

If you want to build around crit, you will most likely, want those weapons that give base crit chance. This is because of how difficult crit chance is to scale without it. A character has 5% base crit chance. If you see 100% increase in crit chance, it will scale that base crit chance – which will result in 10% crit chance. Compare that to getting a t5 rolled base crit chance on your weapon that gives 13%. You will now have 18% base crit chance, and 100% increase crit chance, will result in a total crit chance of 36%

3: You want to scale your damage from many different things

It is important to not only scale %increase damage, but to scale your damage trough all the various way, that can benefit you. This is due to the nature of diminishing return. %increase damage, is the most “easiest” stat to get (especially since attributes give %increase dmg on skills). Do not go overboard on that stat. Especially can %increase damage, be found on a lot of support skills.

It is important to scale your damage trough all the various ways, so you get the most damage out of your investment. This means, attack/cast speed, %increase crit, crit multiplier, base crit chance, %ailment chance, flat damage – and so on.

The golden rule is (3), if you are giving the choice of choosing between different damage stats, you always want to choose the “rare” stat. What I mean by rare stat is, that some stats can only be found on very specific items. Like melee attack speed, can only be found on weapons, gloves and base neck, in terms of items. Therefor, if giving the choice, you would always want to choose the rare stat over the more “common” stat, that always can be found elsewhere. Which is why, you would almost always choose attack speed/flat damage/base crit chance on melee weapons, since these stats are highly difficult to get elsewhere.

3.1: Damage conversion and flat damage explained
Thyworm asked about this, and it made me realize i should explain how this work - since it can have a huge impact, on how you want to scale your damage.

Any flat damage can be added to any kind of skill. (As long you don’t try to add flat spell damage to a melee skill, or flat melee damage to a spell). Let me use warpath again as an example. Warpath is a physical skill. So, it will benefit from %increase damage to physical. This will only apply to warpaths own base damage (since it physical), and the flat physical damage you have added. If you however add flat lightning damage to the spell, it will not benefit from the %increased physical damage. However! It will still benefit from attribute stacking and generel increases to damage, that does not specify the type of damage.

When you convert a skill from physical to fire, you will only convert the skills own base damage, and the physical nodes in the skill to fire. Any physical damage outside of the skill, will not be converted to fire. So if you add a lot of flat damage to gear, and convert the skill to fire damage from physical, all the flat damage from gear, is not converted to fire.

4: Do not be to concern of what damage type you are using

In general, depending on what class and masteries you are playing, you can easily avoid specific of type of damage increases. What i mean by this is, that if you playing a melee build like warpath, you should not care about rather or not you are scaling flat lightning, void, fire damage and so on. Since you just stack %increase damage that benefit all of those, instead of %increase to lightning.

  • Edit: To clarify a bit more is: What i mean by it is, that you should not be to concern of using different type of damages in your setup, like fire and cold. Since you can use %increase damage, instead of %increase fire dmg. Since %increase dmg will benefit both, and %increase dmg is so easy to get in the current game, that you can easily avoid specific type of %increase, that only increase a specific type of damage.

Something i however also want to mention is, that if you choose a specific type of damage you would like to scale, you will have a bit easier time - in general specific type of damage increases, can give a bit higher investment value. But it’s definently not true in all cases.

  • The biggest exception to this is, when the attribute gives a specific type of %increase damage. Like shatterstrike get %increase cold damage from intelligence
5: Do not scale shred, shock or any kind of protections removal on monsters

In general, these types of protection removal does not seems very useful. There might be a few cases for certain skills this could be very useful for, but for how high the investment is, in the current game - i would not advice anyone to stack these types of “dmg”. This is mainly because of no monsters in the game, have any protections on them. So you need to have a high amount of protection removal, to really see the effect. (If you try to test it yourself, i do not believe you can see the effect on a dummy, due to the high health it have).

An example of an exception could be the storm tide uniq boots. becaise they increase the value of your investment in shock.

The only reason i could see people go for these type of stats, is due to monoliths modifers as 50% of health as protections on monsters, in these specific scenarios, the protection removal is really useful.

  • Edit 05-09: I have been a bit slow to edit this, but due to patch 0.7.7 there have been some changes to protections on monsters, so monsters might not have 0 protections, as i have previous explained. However, shred effects still seems pretty weak. But it seems like LE is slowly increasing it’s power. Something to lookout for, that i am very interested in, is the how it will effect multiplayers. Perhaps shred effects will be really good, in a group, where all applies the same shred effect :slight_smile:
6: Ailment and minion damage

6: Ailment and minion damage

6.1 Ailment damage

Ailment damage in generally works a lot differently than hit damage. First, it does not scale of from how much your hit damage is, there seems to be a bit fewer ways to scale it (at least on gear). What makes ailment so interesting is, that you can do any type of ailment damage with any type of skill. You do not have to use a poison skill, to be able to do poison damage. Although there are many different types of DoT’s in the game, I will in generally only be focusing on ignite, bleed and poison. Please be aware, that I do not by any means think I am a pro on ailment damage, and if you have any good suggestions you want added to the topic, please do so.

6.1.1: Scaling ailment damage

The most important thing for ailment damage, is your %chance to ailment on hit. The reason for this is, that you can reach over 100%, and when you do so, you will be able to apply multiple stacks on each attack. This act like a multiplicator on its own, and therefore, you want to hunt this stat on anything you can get it from. Naturally this goes well with attack/cast speed. Which is why, some skills are so good for ailment stacking. The golden rule is, you want to apply the maximum number of stacks per second – to be able to deal the most amount of damage. Since you are not interested in hit damage, if you are able to add a lot of different things into the build, that also can hit the monsters (besides your main damage ability), you want to do so.

When you are scaling ailment damage, the same rule on what stat to choose, apply here to. You also want to choose the “rarer” stat over the common one, and you want to scale you damage from different sources. Although there seems to be less ways to scale the damage on gear, so do not feel bad, that on an ailment build, you have a lot of %increase damage.

In general, it does not hurt to use multiple ailments to do damage in your build. Like using both ignite and bleed. This is mostly because of how you can just use %increase dmg, and not %increase physical damage. This is true in most cases although, if you choose to do a poison build, you might be better of just stacking poison damage, since this ailment is so strong on its own. The reason for this is, that poison get 8% increased damage, for each poison stack you have on the target.

6.1.2: The skill you are using for ailment damage

If you choose to make a build around ailment damage and not hit damage, you need to forget all the things you learned in the previous chapters for passive points in skills.

Even though the skill you are using is not essential for doing damage in an ailment build, there are still some skills that are better than others. These skills are usually skills, that offer a lot of quality of life in the passive tree. A good example of these kind of skills could be soul feast and Warpath. These skills are particular good for ailment damage, since their passives can add a lot of survival, and since you are not interested in hit damage, you have a lot more points to be used on these kinds of passives. Although it’s really good that the skill have %increase chance to apply an ailment on hit, you should not feel forced to choose those kinds of skills. Some other skills could be better, since you can get a lot more attack speed and survival on them.

Therefore, ailment damage is such an interesting damage mechanic and have an advantage over hit damage. Mainly because, you can use your main damage ability for survival, which is a lot more difficult to do, if you try to scale hit damage. This is particular good on ward builds, since ward builds are so hungry for ward gain.

6.2: Minion damage

The most important thing to know about minions is, they only scale of from stats, that include the word minion. So, any %increase damage and global dmg that does not state minion, does not affect your minions.

Scaling minion damage trough gear is very similar to how ailment damage works. At this moment, there are not a lot of different ways to scale minion damage on gear. All of it is either %increase damage, or a specific %increase dmg, that only affect like physical, spells and so on. This means, that you usually will have a higher %increase damage on these types of builds than others. Because of this, you should again not be to be concerned about what type of damage your minions do. However, having the minion’s doing the exact same type of damage, will be a bit easier to scale.

Especially idols you use determent what type of minion build you will be playing - since you can get some of the “rare” stats on idols you can’t found elsewhere. A good example of this, would be the idols that give base crit chance to minions. So, if you wanted to make a minion crit build, you would have to use these, to be able to scale crit chance on minions.

Minion builds in general, benefits also a lot more from uniqs than other types of builds. This is due to the reason, that special effects can be found on those type of items, that you can’t craft on a normal item. Good examples of these kind of uniqs are Eterra’s Path, Morditas’ Reach and Death Rattle

7: The best defense, is a good offense

I decided just briefly to mention stun, life gain on hit and leech, since they the correlate well, with high damage builds.

7.1: Stun
Although a good offense might not be the best defense in Last Epoch, there is still some interesting defensive mechanics, that is really good especially if you have high damage, and stun is one of those.

Stun only works for hit damage and cannot be procced by ailment damage. You are more likely to stun an enemy, the more hit damage you have. So, stun is usually best used in high damaged builds, where the defense has been less prioritized.

When you stun an enemy, the enemy will be stunned for 0.4sec and it have a cooldown for 0.8sec, before you can stun an enemy again. BUT! The cooldown will start, the moment you have stunned an enemy. This can be extremely interesting for some builds that want to go heavy into stun as a defensive layer. Especially sentinel, have idols that can increase %stun duration – and if you minmax your character enough for stun, you can literally stun-lock monsters. Stun duration can ofc. Also be found elsewhere, but it will be more difficult to be able to stun-lock (if not impossible) on other classes. Still do not underestimate stun, especially if you are playing a glass-canon hit damage build.

7.2: Leech and Life gain on hit

Both leech and life gain on hit, is some good ways to get health. %leech is based on the damage you do and is generated over 3 seconds, where life on hit is flat, but it is instantly. Leech ofc. Is a lot stronger on high damage builds since it scales with damage – which is why, most tanky arena builds heavier invest in health regen than leech. Leech is also really good to survive DoTs damage (compared to health gain on hit), especially when there are no monsters left to leech from. Which is why, the 3seconds is valuable, especially for melee builds, that have a difficult time to make the life gain going.

8: Arena vs. Monolith

If you made it this far, I hoped you learned a thing or two by reading this post.
Lastly, I would like you to think about what type of playstyle, you want the character to be built around, Arena or monolith. Although a character can be good for both arena and monolith, some different choices must be made, if you want to specific make your build good around one playstyle.
In general, tanky characters seems to be better in arena – survival is the key for pushing far. This is true in most cases, since it is easy to stack some defensive layers, that makes you immortal against multiple enemies. So even though you can’t kill the wawes fast, you can still survive. Arena is good for gold and xp farming, where monolith is good for item farming.
If you want to farm a lot of idols, runes, glyphs and affixes, monolith is the way to go. Here is damage and speed the key. (Although speed is also really good for survival in arena to). The gold rule is, if you want to push far in arena, you want to sacrifice damage for survival – the opposite for monolith. Although if you want to go really far in monolith, survival is of cause also mandatory. But for farming, damage is better. Since speed exceed %increased rarity in monolith. So you are better of only reaching monolith 50, and doing it fast, than reaching 100 and doing it slow – if you are only thinking on the loot.

Other posts, You might find useful

Other posts: You might find useful

Thanks to the contributors

Thanks for those of you, who have helped me making this post better.
Forgottenamnesia, beefy2, Llama8, Thyworm, Boardman, Reimerh_qarts, Kotli.

I apologize if i have forgot to mention some of you, but still thanks for your help :)!


Where/when did the devs say that? I know they can say more damage rather than increased damage but I didn’t think that damage from a skill’s skill tree was multiplicative in general.

Hmm i might be wrong, this have always been my believe. And just to clarify, what i mean about it being multiplicative is, that the flat damage and base dmg in the skill, get %increased “inside” of the skill.
Like if you have 100 base dmg, 50% increased dmg (in the passive nodes) and 100% increased damage on gear.
The math will be (100*1.50)*2 = 300
But now you have giving me doubt about it. Thanks for pointing it out. If i found out, that it is not the case, i will definently change it. If you are pretty sure thats not how it works, i will go ahead and change it. I know, you know your stuff :smiley:

edit: I just took a look in the formulas:
Modifided damage dealt = (1+LocalincreaseModifiers - Local Reduce modifies)*(1+global modifiers………)*Total base damage

  • Local Increase/Reduction modifiers which include only those gained from nodes on the specific skill that is dealing damage.

If that’s from the wiki I’ve got my concerns about that as some of the formulae look, off.

For example, here, it talks about damage on crit:
BaseDamageOnCrit = BaseDamage * Critical Strike Multiplier
Which is fine, however if you then scroll down to just above the “Damage Modifiers” section, it gives:
TotalBaseDamage = (BaseDamage * BaseDamageMultiplier * CriticalStrikeMultiplier) + (AddedDamage * AddedDamageEffectiveness)
That implies that a) Crit Multi is used for non-crits (which I’m sure it’s not) & b)flat Added Damage doesn’t get increased by crits (which is possible, but incredibly odd!).

I can see where you’ve taken your comment about damage modifiers within the skill passives being a separate source of increased/decreased which are multiplied separately.

Yea i can see what you mean. But i also base it on my testing in game. If 100% increased damage in a passive skill (from spell) would be the samme as 100% increased damage on gear/masterie points- not having specialized in a skill, would mean very little on an minmax character since you have so high %increased damage usually 200-600% depending on how high you push your damage. And in my findings, the damage in a skill, seems to be increasing my overall damage much more than just simple %increased damage from the masterie. But i could be wrong.

I would say this is why we need a skill DPS screen, but I suspect I’m begining to sound like a broken record at this point.

Not that that would stop me…


Ahahahah yea. Which is why, i tryed to make this guide with some golden rules. just atleast to maybe make it a bit simpler for newer players. that now have played around, and now starting to minmax their character :smiley:

It is i fact true that modifiers on skills are multiplicative with modifiers from gear and passives. That has always been the case, but it isn’t explained anywhere yet.


Thanks mate for clarifying! <3 Danish love <3

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We definitely need the source code now! And somebody that can make use of it. :rofl:

I tried to fix that wiki page some - if you read further, you see that “total base damage” is then used in the damage calculation part, which explains that skill node modifiers are multiplicative with gear.

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Yeah, it’s just a bit odd that it starts with the crit damage.

Yeah, I just clarified the text but didn’t reorder anything, if I have time I’ll rewrite it as a draft and see if people find the new version clearer.

I would also mention the value of poison in this post. Adding poison at 100% or greater values, is incredibly helpful and is very very powerful


Yes good point! My plan is problably to make a new topic for ailment damage, since it scales so differently compared to hit damage :slight_smile:

I think poison while it does scale differently is not needed to be scaled particularly much to be insanely effective. I kinda expect it to be nerfed really hard due to how crazy it is

Yea, there have been a lot of talking about that. Maybe plague staff is the root to the problem, since it give such a high %poison chance. Although i think the main reason why poison seems so good, is because of how well it thrive in arena. Poison get increased damage in longer fights, where normal hit damage is just the same. Here it ofc. meant to use shred and protections removal for hit, but i believe due to balancing issues, EHG have a hard time making it good. If they made it to good, the shred effect would be the same, as it is right now for poison :stuck_out_tongue:

This is why, i hope we see some kind of %health as protections on bosses (outside of monolith). So you can increase you characters single target without, increasing the overall damage. Right now, if you want to increase your damage, you can almost only increase your overall damage. A lot of skills have good clear but lack single target - for these skills particular, it would be aawesome to be able to invest in single target.

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the plague bearers staff alongside the fact that poison getting more and more damage per stack is part of the issue. Bleed and ignite struggle to feel good where as poison its reletively easy to apply 6-10 stacks in a very very short time. Since bleed and ignite dont have any special thing about them or any kind of support like that, they feel very weak in comparison.
My lich can apply something like 50 with a single transplant cast with the rip bloods and explosions its pretty silly.

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Yea i agree! I hope though, they never will stop the scaling for each stack, since it a quite interesting mechanic, and i hope bleed and ignite with get some different but special effects to them to. To add som flavour. Like bleed could remove armor to - haha or something like that. There is a reason why i am not devolopper :smiley:


It’s not the staff, it’s purely due to the fact that poison gets % increased damage per stack. I’ve done some spreadsheets to show this.