Physical Damage

Introduction

Physical Damage is, unfortunately, one of the most complicated mechanics in Genshin Impact due to how many factors inherently weigh in to how it’s calculated.

Many of the head-scratching moments that players have in the early-to-mid game revolve around Physical Damage due to how it doesn’t scale in perfectly linear format – and dealing less relative physical damage as you progress in-game is one of the more noteworthy transitional points as players start drifting more towards theory-crafted and elemental damage-oriented builds for many of their party compositions.

What we’re going to attempt to do in this guide is provide a simple, easy-to-understand breakdown of the math behind how physical damage is calculated. We’re going to break this up into several different sections with information that you can interchange to fit your own build compositions, and readily make changes as you need to.

To give appropriate credit to where credit is due, much of the math from this discussion was gleaned from the datamined stats on the Genshin Impact Fandom website, and their repository of this information was extremely helpful in our analysis.

Core Mechanics

To illustrate how our damage is calculated, the high-level equation for physical damage consists of:

Physical Damage Dealt = Character’s Outgoing Damage x Enemy Defense Factor x Enemy Physical Resistance Factor

As such, we’re going to first need to go through a process of solving for each of three variables that tie in together to produce what the amount of resultant physical damage dealt is.

1. Character Outgoing Damage (COD)

COD = (Character’s Total ATK) x (Ability % Offset) x (1 + DMG % Bonus)

A character’s total ATK is displayed in their character tile in the character menu. If the character has a temporary buff to their ATK in effect (such as with Bennett’s ‘Fantastic Voyage’), the buff will reflect in their stats on their tile, as well.

The Ability % Offset is the damage percentage given to a character’s normal or charged attacks based on the Talent level for that character’s attacks. If this number is less than 100%, then the character is actually going to take a reduction in their overall damage output relative to that percentage, even if their ATK stat is quite high.

DMG % Bonus in this equation refers to the Physical Damage Bonus % on the character’s detailed stats page. It functions in the same manner as Ability % Offset, and is alongside it as another factor in the same flat-level damage calculation stage of the equation.

It should be noted that the above equation doesn’t factor in if the character’s attack scores a CRIT. In the event of a CRIT, the equation would be slightly more complex, as follows:

COD = ((Character’s Total ATK) x (Ability % Offset) x (1 +DMG % Bonus)) x (1 + CRIT DMG %)

Notice that the CRIT DMG percentage multiplier actually sits outside the parentheses that the remainder of the equation is calculated off of – in other words, it multiplies the end product of our first variable, and subsequently, has the greatest overall effect on how high this raw variable can climb to.

Putting everything together, if I were to plug in the information from my current Level 80 Xinyan build for the first normal attack in her sequence, assuming that it was a CRIT, I’d get:

8,554 = ((2,599) x (0.979) x (1 + 0.833)) x (1 + 0.834)

2. Enemy Defense Factor (EDF)

EDF = 1 – ((5 x Enemy’s Level + 500) ÷ ((5 x Enemy’s Level + 500) + (5 x Character’s Level + 500)))

EDF looks like a nightmare to solve for due to how much “nesting” occurs in the math for it, but it’s not as complicated as it looks at a first glance – just make sure you’re taking things as slow as you need to, a piece at a time.

An interesting point to make here in passing is that due to the way the math is so heavily dependent upon character and enemy levels, this is the driving point behind why your physical damage dealt scales so poorly as you progress further into the game – because the damage curve for it is not a linear increase relative to just your level.

It should be mentioned that the EDF equation doesn’t factor in the option for an enemy’s defense to be debuffed by character or party abilities (we’ll call this the ‘DEF Offset’). In the event you needed this, to solve for DEF Offset, work out your initial EDF variable then plug your resulting number into the equation below:

DEF Offset = (Character’s Level + 100) ÷ ((1 – DEF Debuff %) x (Enemy’s Level + 100) + Character’s Level + 100)

We want to stress to be a bit careful here, because we’re currently solving for DEF-reducing debuffs – this is something that’s different from a Physical RES-reducing debuff, which we’ll get to in the next section. At the time of this writing (Patch 1.4), nearly every character-produced debuff that effects Physical DMG dealt to enemies effects their Physical RES, not their Defense. This statement is mentioned for future-proofing, and completeness’ sake.

Putting everything together once again, let’s take our Xinyan example from before, and combine it up against a Level 80 normal Hilichurl. We won’t be using the DEF Offset portion of our calculations, because Xinyan’s toolkit only reduces an enemy’s Physical RES and not Defense:

0.50 = 1 – ((5 x 80 + 500) ÷ ((5 x 80 + 500) + (5 x 80 + 500)))

3. Enemy Physical Resistance Factor (EPRF)

EPRFInitial = (Enemy’s Physical RES % + Physical RES Bonus % – Physical RES Debuff %)
then
EPRFFinal = 1 – Variable_Modification(EPRFInitial)

Enemies have varying levels of natural Physical Resistance towards Physical Damage. While there are many sources out on the Internet that showcase these resistance levels, Reddit user ‘rdfffggth‘ put together a neatly-formatted list of the most common enemies in Genshin Impact, and we’re happy to use his list as a reference if it is needed by anyone.

Physical RES Bonus % accounts for any bonuses that an enemy can receive to their Physical RES based on effects or their environment. For example, a Mitachurl that is currently being Infused with Pyro because of an object in their environment will gain a Physical RES Bonus % that is applied here.

Physical RES Debuff is the debuff that different character’s abilities, artifacts, or environmental effects (Whopperflowers have lower RES when stunned, etc.) have on reducing an enemy’s Physical RES.

The reason why this stage is broken out into two separate equations is that once you’ve calculated your initial EPRF, it then has a variable level of modification applied to it, depending on how high or low it is – this is done so that reducing an enemy’s RES to below 0 (since most enemies have a default Physical RES of only 10%) doesn’t give the player an absurdly unfair advantage, and doesn’t make enemies with extremely high Physical RES (Regisvines have a default Physical RES of 130%, for example) mathematically impossible to defeat.

This variable modification is as follows:

  • If EPRFInitial is less than 0, divide it by 2.
  • If EPRFInitial is greater than or equal to 0, and less than 0.75, leave it unchanged.
  • If EPRFInitial is greater than or equal to 0.75, subtract (1 ÷ (EPRFInitial x 4 + 1)) from 1.

One principle needs to be reinforced here, because this is something that the lion’s share of other guides to calculating Physical Damage Resistance out on the Internet present misleading information on – you HAVE to factor in this second equation to get the correct final number for EPRF. While not doing so on an enemy with RES between 0% and 74.99% will yield the same inverted percentage result, all other enemies will have a skewed result, causing your final damage number to be fairly off.

Looking at our continued practical application of this information, if I were to apply this all to a Level 80 normal Hilichurl with no other character or environmental influence or effects, I’d get:

0.10 = (0.10 + 0 – 0)
then
0.90 = 1 – Unchanged(0.10)

The End Result

Combining all the information we’ve worked off of for our example, we get a finished product of:

Physical Damage Dealt = 8,554 x 0.50 x 0.90
or
3,849

I’ve had to round off some of the numbers that we solved for in our discussion to the third decimal place even though they went further, and the game itself also only shows you the various stats rounded off to a single decimal position, so there’s a tiny bit of variance in our result versus what I noted in-game (I hit for a 3,903 damage CRIT when I personally tested this).

Observations

There are several key takeaways that we can gather from our look into how Physical Damage is calculated.

First, in the later game when you have a Level 80 character going up against a Level 80 enemy, you are going to lose half of your physical damage potential right out of the gate to the enemy’s level-based Defense, and there’s few things you can inherently do about it.

Second, some characters and itemizations are naturally designed to try and overcome some of the limitations that Defense and EPRF present to players. Xinyan and Rosaria’s kits naturally include Constellations and Skills to help with this. The Superconduct reaction is a great tool at temporarily lowering an enemy’s Physical Damage Resistance. The point we’re getting at is that you do have noteworthy options to try and level-set Physical Damage as a resource at your disposal against some of the challenges it faces, and using these options can be a path forward for players who’d like to successfully use Physical Damage in their parties.

Third, if you’ve ever wondered why a Regisvine has 130% Physical Damage Resistance and yet you’re somehow able to still deal damage against it, now you know why.

Conclusion

It’s our hope that this discussion has been helpful for you, and you’ve found it insightful for your playstyle and general approach to the game.

We welcome comments or constructive feedback if additions or corrections can be made to to this content. Feel free to drop us a note with your thoughts.

Cheers,

The Sons of Dvalin community