Combat Game Mechanics

Critical

Criticals can be dealt by either riposting or backstabbing an enemy. A riposte is done through parrying; guard breaking; or attacking enemy weak points. Backstabs can be done by pressing the right hand regular attack button behind some enemies.

The Hornet Ring increases Damage by 17% for Physical damage and 30% for Element Damage for Critical attacks against enemies, or by 30% for all damage types against other players and NPCs.

Notes

  • Criticals use one-handed AR, and don't gain two-handed Scaling AR from Strength. If a weapon can only be effectively wielded two-handed, it utilizes the AR as if it were one-handed (with appropriate Scaling) during two-handed Criticals.
  • A bug exists where Hornet Ring Critical attacks with Dark damage don't gain the increased Damage against other players (but does on NPCs). App 1.11, Regulation 1.30 attempted to fix this, but either failed or was mistakenly undone.

Enemy Criticals

Certain enemies can riposte or backstab player characters.

Enemy Ripostes

Enemy Backstabs

Damage Types

Every attack in the game has a damage type, divided into Physical, Magic, Fire, Lightning, and Dark. Physical damage is further divided into Strike, Slash, and Thrust. Additionally, some other factors may affect damage.

Counter

Counter hits occur when one is attacked mid-attack animation, dealing additional Counter Damage. This is caused by the Counter state, wherein one's Physical Absorption VS Thrust is reduced by 30% during attacks for both enemies and players.

The Leo Ring can increase Damage on Counters by 15%, raising it from 130% to 149.5%.

NOTE: In PvE, the window is generally a bit before an attack may deal damage, and during most frames of an attack. Combos may have Counter frames between attacks, and more rarely there may be counter frames during an enemy's recovery.

Soul of Cinder may not be Counter hit at all.

Instability

Instability frames are activated when players or enemy are hit during specific animations, and increase Damage dealt by 40%. A special "thunk" sound will play to indicate the difference from a normal Counter.

Valid Animations

Sources of instability affect enemies and players unless specified otherwise.

Source:1

Headshot

Many enemies can be headshot by certain actions, which deals 50% more damage and may temporarily stun them.

Items Weapons Skills
Throwing Knife Bows (Neck Swipe) Reapers
Poison Throwing Knife Greatbows (Leaping Slash) Claw
Church Guardian Shiv Crossbows (Onislayer) Onikiri and Ubadachi
Kukri (Hurl Spear) Follower JavelinAoA

Falling

Falling is gravity calling your name for either a safe fall, a proportionate amount of damage, or death.

Falling damage is calculated as a percentage with respect to your embered max HP and how long you have been falling, as well as other aspects such as your amount of Dexterity and Equip Load. After a certain point, you die regardless.

Spook or the Silvercat Ring will completely negate all fall damage as long as the fall is not otherwise lethal for you.

Example: Fall down off the cliff next to Eygon Of Carim (Irina of Carim's watcher in Undead Settlement) and you'll live with a sliver of health at max health. Fall down much farther than that with falling damage protection on, and you'll die.

Source:2

Defense

Defenses are divided into Defense, Absorption, and Resistance. Resistance applies purely for Status Ailments, while Defense and Absorption are calculated one after the other to determine damage from the various damage types.

Damage Formula

As of App 1.10, there's five breakpoints for the defenses. The calculation for attacks against Defense Formula are as follows:

  • If DEF >8x ATK, deal damage equal to 0.10 * ATK
  • If DEF >ATK, deal damage equal to (19.2/49 * (ATK/DEF-0.125)^ 2 +0.1) * ATK
  • If DEF >0.4x ATK, deal damage equal to (-0.4/3 * (ATK/DEF-2.5)^ 2 +0.7) * ATK
  • If DEF >0.125x ATK, deal damage equal to (-0.8/121 * (ATK/DEF-8)^ 2 +0.9) * ATK
  • If DEF <0.125x ATK, deal damage equal to 0.90 * ATK

Absorption is a % reduction applied afterwards.

Resistance

Status Ailment resistances are flat numbers represented by a bar on the screen as the ailments build up, and when the number reaches the total resistance (the bar fills), the Status Ailment is applied.

Deflection

Deflection is a hidden value primarily concerning Shields and the Perseverance Skills. This value is not listed in game, and is not the same as the stability value of the shield. Upgrading equipment will not affect Deflection.

If an attack connects with a shield, and the shield's Deflection rate is high enough to overpower it and that attack doesn't break your guard by draining the rest of your Stamina, then the attack will be deflected. Your opponent will be in a staggered state, allowing for extra damage from Instability.

As a general rule:

1 Perseverance Skills:

In PvP scenarios and against player NPCs, Deflection functions differently. Very few attacks will actually bounce off Shields.

Projectile Deflection

Certain actions are capable of Projectile Deflection, with the exceptions of Greatarrows, Spells, and most Throwables (all variants of Throwing Knife can be deflected). Spells are deflected with Spell Parry and Twisted Wall of Light.

Weapons Spells Tools
(Hold Strong Attack) Frayed BladeTRC Force Dragon Torso Stone
(Wind Wheel) Splitleaf GreatswordTRC Flame FanTRC

Source:3

Enemy Weak Points

Certain enemies have weak points that will expose them for a Critical attack if enough damage is dealt over time.
Enemy Weak Point Damage Boss Weak Point Damage
Great Crab Slam Riposte Old Demon King Head 14.44% Max HP
Deep Accursed Head 30.00% Max HP Yhorm the Giant Head
Machete Arm
6.172% Max HP
3.857% Max HP
Stray Demon Legs 37.23% Max HP Dancer of the Boreal Valley Head 24.27% Max HP
Sulyvahn's Beast Head 30.06% Max HP Oceiros, the Consumed King Head 8.78% Max HP
Giant Slave (Irithyll) Head 45.54% Max HP King of the Storm Head 44.40% Max HP
Monstrosity of Sin Grabs Any Darkeater MidirTRC Head 69.96% Max HP
Icy Great CrabAoA Slam Riposte Oceiros must be in P2. P1 damage carries over.

Additionally, certain enemies can have their Poise broken for a Critical attack.

Enemy Base Poise Boss Base Poise
Ravenous Crystal Lizard 115 Nameless King 215
Great Crab 140 Twin Princes 210
Elder Ghru 115 GreatwolfAoA 170
Gargoyle 110 Father AriandelAoA 250
Icy Great CrabAoA 140 Demon PrinceTRC 210
Great WolfAoA 170
Some enemies are weak to certain levels of Hitstun, either exposing them for a Riposte or stunning them regardless of Poise.
Enemy Hitstun Effect Notes
Starved Hound Medium or More Knockdown
Crystal Lizard Heavy or More Knockdown
Cathedral Evangelist Flip/Knockdown/Pancake Stun
Boreal Outrider Knight Heavy or More Stun
Darkwraith Heavy or More Stun
Skeleton (Wheel) Heavy or More Knockdown Medium collapses them.
Skeleton Swordsman
Grave Warden Skeleton
Medium or More Knockdown Must be Strike.
Jailer (Handmaid) Heavy or More Knockdown
Corvian Knight (Talons) Light or More Riposte Must be attacking.
Vordt of the Boreal Valley Medium or More Riposte Must hit the head during Frost Breath.
Slave Knight Gael Flip/Knockdown/Pancake Stun Phase 1 Only.
Slave Knight Gael Headshot Riposte Phase 2/3 Only.

Damage dealt to HP weak points will not reset with time passed, however, Poise will regenerate to full after enough time.

Grab Damage Reduction

Many enemies and bosses have grab attacks, and some grabs can have their damage reduced or entirely nullified by mashing the face, shoulder, or trigger buttons on a controller. Keyboard & Mouse inputs are ineffective for escaping grabs.

Each input reduces "Escape HP", allowing the player to escape early, reducing or in rare cases entirely nullifying damage.4

i-Frames

Certain actions will provide i-frames, where the player will be unable to take damage from attacks. This can even be seen in animations such as opening doors or rising off the ground.
Action (60 FPS) i-Frames Bloodring Hyper Armour Roll Cancel
Fast Roll 0-26 0-32 N/A 42
Med Roll 0-26 0-32 24-40 42
Fat Roll 0-24 0-30 24-50 56
Jump (Roll) 40-60 N/A N/A 74
Quickstep 0-34 N/A 0-30 46
Quickstep with no FP 0-10 N/A N/A 54
(Crystal Sage's) Rapier Stance 0-6 N/A N/A 84

Source:5

Damage from Status Ailments such as Bleed and Poison can additionally be i-framed, notable for making Bleed less effective in PvP against experienced players as latency allows easier timing. The build up of such effects from the environment such as swamps or maggots cannot be i-framed, but the damage once the bar fills may still be i-framed with correct timing.

Shield Pierce

Certain Weapons and Skills can Pierce Shields, dealing damage through block even against Shields with 100% absorption.
Source and Data:6

Types of Hitstun

Separate from Poise Damage, every attack from Enemies/Bosses and Weapons in the game deal different types of Hitstun. The most common may be divided into Light, Medium, or Heavy, with stronger Hitstun lasting longer or other effects.

In PvP and against NPCs, Hitstun is applied differently than to PvE, generally to allow R1s to combo into R1s. For example, in PvE, Straight Sword R1s have hitstun identical to the R1s of Daggers. However in PvP, Straight Swords have enough hitstun to combo R1s into R1s, while most Daggers (excluding Harpe and Murky Hand Scythe) deal less Hitstun and do not combo.

Knockdowns

Some attacks knockdown opponents, stunning them for even longer than regular hitstun. These are generally only effective against enemies without passive Poise, but on certain smaller enemies with passive Poise such as Silver Knights, they may be knocked down if the attack also deals enough Poise Damage to break their Poise. Bosses are generally immune.

They may be divided into Pancakes, Throws (or just Knockdowns), and Flips (also known as Burger Flips).

Pancakes slam the enemy down into the floor, Throws knock the enemy away, and Flips launch the enemy into the air.

Sources:7

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