Guide: In-Depth Weapon Legendary Effect Mechanics (As they’re best understood)

fallout 76 discussion and inform - Guide: In-Depth Weapon Legendary Effect Mechanics (As they're best understood)

I'm making this guide to compare the main Legendary Effects in Fallout:76 based on math, testing, and (few) 100% verified numbers. I will be updating this when I receive more specific numbers and corrections.

As this definitely isn't perfect due to the nature of trying to find reliable numbers on this topic, please, feel free to correct me on anything at all you feel is incorrect! Preferably with sources 😉

Side Note: Please keep in mind, most of these specific numbers are based on how these effects should work, but math in fallout is… troubling. Often times, you can't get a clean number during testing, and many numbers have been changed from fallout 4. Aside from this, sometimes legendary effects just don't work properly in certain scenarios because of too many factors to calculate, such as lag.

Anyways, with that out of the way, let me start explaining the specific mechanics of the Primary legendary effects, as they're best understood;

I'm only mentioning the heavily used effects that need explanation, most other prefixes such as Instigating and Suppressor's do exactly what they say and don't need explanation.


This simply adds +5% Damage for every 5% HP lost. Bloodied is one of the few effects that actually appears to work 100% correctly with no gimmicks. Also keep in mind that the ratio is not 1:1, and if you lost only 4% of your health it will round down and not add damage

(this is my theory at least, because when about 94% of HP is lost, the damage buff is only around 90%)


Furious is questionable and needs further testing, specifically for the actual damage numbers, as different people are reporting different numbers. The three main possibilities seem to be a +30%, +50%, or +100% damage cap.

30% damage cap appears to be the most accurate based on experience and general agreement among others, as well as limited testing, but clarification would be appreciated.

A few things that do appear consistent:

– It takes 6 hits to reach max damage (+5% Between Shots, if the cap is 30%)

– There is a short window of time in which you can miss/not hit and still keep the damage stacks. (Actual time is unknown and it's also unknown whether this changes with the fire rate of the weapon or not. This may also be different for different weapon types)


Aten Ra - Guide: In-Depth Weapon Legendary Effect Mechanics (As they're best understood)

u/Aten_Ra explains it better than me here, I'll quote them directly:

"Vampire: –Gives you 2 HPs over 2 "Ticks" -Stacks with itself per Hit. -Each "Tick" appears to be roughly 2 seconds

Stacking: If you have a fast weapon, or shotgun (though erratic) and can hit twice in a second you'll get 4HP's over 2/Ticks…, if you hit twice more you'll get 8HP's on the next tick and 4 HP's on the tick after that, etc.

We've not maxed it out, the cap is limited to how fast / often you can strike an enemy.

Continuous hit weapons Are functioning erratically, if you keep the "hit" button pressed to do non-stop damage to a target it's not often registering a new hit, however if you spam attacks it does. The same issue is present for "Furious""

As another note, simply swinging with a melee weapon will activate the effect.


Two-shot shoots 1 more projectile and increases base damage by 25%, and significantly decreases accuracy and recoil control. Base damage means that while this extra damage IS affected by perks, it is only based on damage before any mods are attached to the weapon.

That's really as simple as it gets – it doesn't double the amount of projectiles, the 1 extra projectile doesn't do 25% of the base damage itself, it doesn't do 25% of the damage of the other pellets, it just adds 25% base damage and adds 1 pellet.

This means that, while Two-Shot Explosive Shotguns aren't as OP as they may seem (as they would be if the amount of projectiles doubled), they aren't any more or less efficient than other weapon types when it comes to the two-shot effect itself, although shotguns are naturally more effective with Explosive (which adds 20% base explosion damage on every projectile), but we'll get to that in a second.

By itself, two-shot adds less than 25% damage if you have mods attached (with no mods attached, it really does add 25% damage).

If a mod were to add 15% damage, for example, two-shot would only add 21% damage.

Coupled with Explosive, however, the extra projectile does add another 20% Base Damage explosion, so you actually end up getting +45% Base Damage from the two shot effect when synergized.

Again, however, this doesn't scale with mods, so if you have a mod that adds 15% damage, that 45% will turn into +38.25% Real Damage. Still, respectable.


whoo boy… this one is going to be difficult to explain, so I'm going to shorten it significantly, because the actual math surprisingly isn't that important. Like, at all. Just read the bold parts or look at the table if you want a general understanding/damage increase.

Armor in 76 is based on fo4's mechanics, which uses a very hard to understand formula to figure out how much damage Armor penetration actually adds.

If you'd like to see that and simply do the calculation yourself, feel free>
Fallout Wiki: Damage Resistance And if you'd like a more comprehensive version, here's a graph:
Fallout 4 – Armor Reduction Graph

Otherwise, the only thing that's really important is the damage threshold in which Anti-Armor beats other legendaries. Because, ultimately, more damage will bust through armor itself, making anti-armor less effective than it seems even against heavily armored targets. Personally, I recommend reading this test in fo76 to see how much damage Anti-Armor adds depending on the damage of the actual weapon itself. I'll summarize by saying Anti-Armor always results in a flat 28.9% increase in damage BY ITSELF because the convoluted formula implemented is completely pointless and dumb.

As well as this (as if it wasn't already unnecessarily complicated enough), when stacking armor penetration (ex: Anti-Armor and Tank Killer Perk) you get diminishing marginal returns in the % of Armor Penetration you actually gain.


More math to understand stacking of Armor Penetration: by "diminishing marginal returns", I mean effective Armor Penetration is determined by something similar to what you see below.

Take the largest Armor Penetration effect. That's your starting point. Then, take that percentage (50%, for example) of every other effect and add it to that (so if you're adding 40% on top of the 50%, only 20% will effectively be added). This is how I understand it to work, and It's 100% known that it isn't simply additive, although his may not be the exact method.

Another possibility may be that once you add another effect, that total becomes the main multiplier for other effects from that point forward, so in the last example were you to add another effect, you would take 70% of the next effect to be added. This only matters when stacking 3+ effects.

^ You can probably ignore all that if you want. ^

Here's more summary from that test I mentioned earlier, with rough math. See below


Total Armor Penetration (AA) and actual Damage Increase:

Effect 1Effect 2Effect 3Total Armor PenetrationDamage Increase
AA Legendary (50%AA)//50%~29%
AA Legendary (50%AA)Perforating Mod (40%AA)/~70%~56%
AA Legendary (50%AA)Perforating Mod (40%AA)Tank Killer (36%AA)~88%~116%
AA Legendary (50%AA)Incisor (75%AA)/~87.5%~115%


As you can see, Armor Penetration effects by themselves are where you get the most effectiveness out of them, but this effect may end up doing more damage by stacking a lot of Armor Penetration.

Also keep in mind that at some point with low armored targets, your armor penetration will have completely busted through their armor and you'll actually get no additional damage from your additional penetration. This only begins to matter once your total Armor Penetration % begins to near 100% AND/OR if your damage per shot is very high, which is very difficult to do.

(even at 92% AA, if you have less than 50 damage, this negation only really kicks in against opponents with less than ~66DR, so it shouldn't be a big issue. With high AA and high damage, you may want to lay off the Anti-Armor.)

Hope this uh…. clears things up? lol

——————–NOTABLE MENTIONS——————–

Nocturnal – Caps at double (+100%) damage at Midnight, does half (50%) damage at noon. Night is 6pm-6am.

Junkie's – REQUIRES TESTING – Caps at 5 Addictions for (+20% or +15%) damage each, capping at +100% damage. Hard to maintain.

Berserker's – Bad. Needs testing, honestly if anybody cares about this feel free to ask and I'll look into it, but I must say using no armor for something that doesn't outshine bloodied isn't worth it. If you're running a glass cannon build, just use bloodied. The reason it's so bad is that it actually lowers your damage if you have even the slightest amount of DR.


___________________________________________________NEXT SECTION_______________________________________________________


This section, I will talk about secondary and third legendary effects. This should be a LOT more simple and comprehensive than the previous section and should go by quickly.

Explosive – Adds 20% Base Damage per Projectile. Keep in mind, Dense armor mods + the Fireproof perk can negate up to 95% explosive damage vs players, so this is counterable.

+25% Faster Fire Rate – Does what it says. This translates directly into +25% DPS, however, this bonus is less effective in practice if you have to reload, as it drains ammo quicker. Needs confirmation to determine whether this effect works for weapons that require a reload between shots (such as the Dragon) or weapons that require an animation between shots (such as the Hunting Rifle)

+50% Limb Damage – This doesn't do more damage to limbs, a better description would be to say that this degrades limb health 50% quicker, so you're going to be crippling limbs more often. This can be completely negated with adamantium skeleton vs players, but also can get Scorchbeasts to land by crippling their wings.

Move Faster While Aiming – As with most other movement bonuses in this game, this doesn't stack. If you have speed demon, gun runner, etc… this completely goes to waste. However, by "aiming" this doesn't just mean aiming down sights, and increases movement speed as long as your weapon is drawn.

+50DR While Aiming – Similar to above, this effect gives you +50DR as long as your weapon is drawn.

90% Reduced Weight – This may do exactly what it says and stop at that, however, testing needs to be done as to whether it decreases AP Cost or increases Sneaking, as generally weight does affect those.

+50% VATS Crit Damage – This really does exactly what it says, however I wanted to take this opportunity to point out a hidden mechanic: VATS Crits appear to completely ignore Damage Reductions, namely effects such as Sentinel's, Lone Wanderer, Dodgy, etc…


tl:dr, because why not:

Bloodied has the most damage potential, Two-Shot is very effective with explosive, Anti-Armor stacking is great for low-damage/projectile weapons, and Vampire is good in any build where you want to stay alive and can shoot a lot of bullets. All 4 are viable.

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