We’ve had two bosses in a row that are weak to same element, but the degree of the weakness varies between the two. This is a good opportunity to talk about weaknesses and how they influence your choice of build. It’s a little more nuanced than it appears at first glance.
There is a lot of math here, and you’re welcome to skip the wall of text and go straight to the conclusions.
Assumption Alert: I was not able to find exact data on the weakness percentage for Executioner in this sub or on the usual spreadsheets. I’m assuming a 20% weakness modifier for the purposes of comparison. It is definitely not 50%, and weaknesses between 30% and 50% have not been recorded. A weakness of 30% does not change any of these conclusions, but would reduce the performance gap.
To understand why this is a nuanced topic, it’s a good idea to look at the damage formula and understand how weakness, resistance, and damage bonuses play a part. I’m using a simplified version of the formula that emphasizes weakness and resistance.
Final Dmg = (Base Dmg) * (Total Dmg Mod) * (Resist Mod)
Base Dmg: For the purposes of our exercise this is the damage that you are normally doing based on your ATK/INT, the DEF of the target, multipliers for the attack you are using, and the cancel bonus.
Total Dmg Mod: Add all of the stacking damage bonuses that apply to the current character and treat it as a single multiplier. If specific bonuses do not stack, the strongest one is used. This defaults to 1.0 (100%), and unless future bosses have special gimmicks that apply unique penalties it will never go lower than 1.0. Untyped element bonuses do not stack with bonuses to a specific element, the higher number will be used.
Resist Mod: This is dependent on the element of the attack. Bosses are resistant, weak, or ambivalent to specific elements. The degree to which they are resistant or weak to an element also varies from critter to critter. If the creature has a 20% weakness, the multiplier is 1.2. If it has 20% resistance, multiplier is 0.8. If it is neither strong or weak, the multiplier is 1.0.
The main thing to note here is that the damage bonus and resistance modifier are multiplicative with damage, and not additive with each other. This means that the resistance modifier can take a huge chunk out of your damage even if you have a significant damage bonus from weapons and party buffs.
Case Study: Myuria
Myuria is our best case study for a number of reasons. She’s our strongest Invoker in terms of raw damage, has access to two elements, and has access to the Thunderbird Staff: a weapon that provides a whopping +40% to her preferred element of lightning. It also has racial factors that apply to the last two boss fights: +10% against humanoids, and +20% against demons.
Myuria (Thunderbird Staff) vs. Michael
Michael has a 50% weakness to ice, a 90% resistance to fire, and a 50% resistance to all other elements. Myuria is only concerned with lightning and ice. Michael is also a humanoid type, and Myuria will do an additional 10% damage to him from the staff’s racial damage factor.
Total Dmg Mod: 1.5 (+40% Lightning, +10% Humanoid)
Resist Mod: 0.5 (50% resistant to lightning)
Final Dmg: (Base Dmg) * 0.75 (1.5 * 0.5)
Total Dmg Mod: 1.1 (+10% Humanoid)
Resist Mod: 1.5 (50% weak to ice)
Final Dmg: (Base Dmg) * 1.65 (1.1 * 1.5)
This shows us the importance of element choice when bosses have a high resistance to an element. Even with +50% damage working in Myuria’s favor for lightning element, she only ends up dealing 75% of her normal damage…25% less than normal, in other words. Conversely, she is dealing 65% more damage than normal with her ice element, and the only damage bonus she has from her weapon is 10%.
Ice damage is clearly the winner here.
Myuria (Thunderbird Staff) vs. High Executioner
Note: Exact weakness of the High Executioner/Enforcer is not known as mentioned at the top. We are assuming a 20% weakness for the purpose of this exercise. 30% weakness will not change the outcomes of which element pulls ahead.
The Executioners/Enforcers have an (assumed) 20% weakness to ice, and are neutral to all other elements. Myuria has to decide whether or not she should try to play against the weakness of the boss (ice), or stick with her specialty element. Thunderbird Staff is providing a 40% bonus to lightning and +20% bonus against demons for this fight.
If you’ve been following along, you probably know which is going to win already.
Total Dmg Mod: 1.6 (+40% Lightning, +20% Demonic)
Resist Mod: 1.0 (neutral to lightning)
Final Dmg: (Base Dmg) * 1.6 (1.6 * 1.0)
Total Dmg Mod: 1.2 (+20% Demonic)
Resist Mod: 1.2 (20% weak to ice)
Final Dmg: (Base Dmg) * 1.44 (1.2 * 1.2)
This example serves to illustrate that you should not always try to exploit the weakness of the boss. Myuria is receiving a 40% damage bonus from her staff when using lightning, and a low 20% weakness isn’t going to make up for that. The ice damage is still good here (+44% effectiveness), but it’s not as good. It should be noted that lightning damage will still be better even if we raise the weakness to 30%, just not by much.
It should be noted that Myuria’s contribution to element burst would be greater if she were dealing ice damage, but she’s dealing so much lightning damage that it’s not that much of a loss.
Let’s add one more nuance to this comparison. What if we include Millie in the team, whose +30% element damage bonus does not stack with Thunderbird’s +40% lightning damage?
Myuria (Thunderbird Staff) and Millie vs. High Executioner
Same as above. Millie’s +30% party buff to element damage does not stack with the +40% buff from Myuria’s Thunderbird Staff.
Total Dmg Mod: 1.5 (+20% Demonic, +30% party buff)
Resist Mod: 1.2 (20% weak to ice)
Final Dmg: (Base Dmg) * 1.8 (1.5 * 1.2)
Well now! This is quite a different story. While Millie’s element damage bonus is slightly inferior to what Myuria’s Thunderbird Staff lets her achieve with lightning damage, the final multiplier becomes much higher once the 20% weakness is taken into consideration. +80% is a pretty hefty amount of damage.
But what about Element Burst? Should I prioritize damage over stuns?
The problem with focusing on an Invoker like Myuria as a case study is that all of her damage is elemental. She’s contributing to the next stun no matter what, and even if her preferred element isn’t striking weakness (for double stun contribution) she deals enough damage to where it’s not a huge issue.
With non-Invokers who have neutral damage options, this topic gets a little more nuanced.
When in doubt, go with an elemental weapon over raw damage. This should be your default assumption.
If the difference in final damage multipliers is not very significant between your choice of elements, then it’s best to bring an element even if it means giving up some of your damage.
If your character is more buff/hitcount oriented and a dip in their damage isn’t having a significant influence on the fight, then you’re always better off with the element.
If the fight is consistently manageable without stun chains and you don’t mind the occasional loss (or hard carry) due to 2 players on auto, go for damage.
Before you make that final commitment to go all-in with DPS over element, look over your weapon factors and self-buffs with an eye for how viable they are for stacking purposes. +Damage% is always going to be overwritten by ever-present Maria (and plenty of other characters), single-target damage is overwritten by Phaize, +ATK damage and +MAG damage are overwritten by S.Sophia, and so on. If there is a high probability that your buffs will be overwritten by commonly pubbed characters, your damage focus isn’t going to be nearly as useful and you should stick with an element.
On a final note, “Selfish DPS” characters that are ATK based have a bit of a conundrum. They aren’t bringing party buffs to the table, which means their goal is to do damage and lots of it. This is hindered if their best choice of element for the fight is a 4* weapon or a 5* event weapon with similarly low ATK. (<500 w/ no ATK bonus) At this point it really depends on how vital stuns are to the fight in question. If every stun makes a significant contribution toward a successful run due to the difficulty of the fight, then an element weapon is probably preferred. On the other hand, if you main a DPS carry who can’t meaningfully DPS in a fight where stun chaining is strongly preferred, you should probably consider playing the event with an alt who is better suited to the fight.
Resistance has a large effect on your damage because it is multiplied by everything else.
You don’t always get your best damage results aiming for the weakness when you are a high DPS character. If your specialty element isn’t being resisted and your total damage bonus is notably higher than the weakness, you can consider sticking with it.
Element bonuses from Millie/Fayt/etc. should be considered when forming premade teams. If you’re receiving an element damage bonus that is comparable to the bonus from your favorite weapon, you should consider playing against the weakness instead of sticking with your specialty. These buffs will become much more common in the future, which will make weapons with stacking bonuses more desirable than elemental ones. (which will in turn encourage always focusing on the element)
If you can achieve significantly higher damage without using an element, you should seriously consider the difficulty of the fight before doing so. If wins are too unreliable without stun chaining, you should consider bringing an element to the fight regardless — or perhaps a different character entirely.
Future note: Awakened Myuria still excels despite many JP bosses resisting off-element damage since her release, which should tell you something.
Special credit: Blightbow