Beginners guide to increasing your damage

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Hey guys, Whitesushi here. Fortnite is a game about killing stuff. In fact, all our missions require us to kill stuff in order to successfully defend some form of an objective. As such I want to talk about the many ways a player can obtain more damage or rather where your main sources of damage come from. Do note that this is a beginners guide so I won't go into too much detail on some of the stuff but that being said, I left something in that might interest veterans alike. On a side note, I also hope to help new players understand that

  1. Having good weapons doesn't mean you are going to have good damage
  2. and consequently there's no point trading for high level weapons

Also, some disclaimers before we dive in

While damage, more specifically weapon damage, is the focus of this post, I'm not trying to say that it is the only thing that matters in this game. Players can perform just as well on any other role, stacking any other stat as long as they contribute to the objective. In fact, a low damage player is still infinitely better than a non-contributing high damage player farming in the corner of the map. Furthermore, weapon damage isn't the only damage in this game. For most missions, majority of your damage is going to come from either traps/ abilities because those are the factors that hit many targets. However, I choose to focus on weapon damage because there are things to min-max and I like min-maxing

Feel free to refer to my other post here for my thoughts on min-maxing

With all that out of the way, let's jump in

1. Offense survivor squads (F.O.R.T)

So we all know that survivors that are slotted into offense squads give us damage, but how does it do that? If you look at the top left of each survivor card, you will notice a number. This number represents the power level of the survivor but also how much stat you get when you put him into a squad. There are a few ways you can influence this number being

  1. Leveling the survivor up increases this number
  2. Evolving the survivor increases this number
  3. Placing the survivor in a squad with matching leader increases this number based on the leader's rarity
  4. Placing the survivor in a squad with non-matching Mythic leader decreases this number

What determines the stat it gives is the squad you place him in. If you place him in Fire Team Alpha/Close Assault, you are going to get Offense and if you place him in EMT/ Training Team, you are going to get Fortitude. A fellow community member u/korb3n did a really good visual representation of this and you can check out his post here. Either way, to understand the influence of survivor squads, we need some numbers. Just know that

  • A level 1 legendary survivor has 20 power level in an empty squad
  • A hunter-killer (yes, not Siegebreaker because I like switching things up) has 30 base damage

When you place this legendary survivor into an offense squad, your offense is going to go up by 20. Assuming the player has 0 offense to begin with, he now has 20 offense. This 20 offense helps scale the base damage of hunter-killer in the following equation

New Damage = Base Damage * ( 1 + Offense / 100 ) 

Which means that his hunter-killer is going to now do 36 damage as seen from the calculation below

30 * ( 1 + 20/100 ) = 30 * ( 1 + 0.2 ) = 30 * 1.2 = 36 

That's a lot of damage and since a player can get up to around 2479 offense from both offense squads combined, the base damage can go up to 773.7 from survivor squads alone, making it a 25.79 times increase. That being said, do note that this 26 times can only be achieved by maxing out your survivor squads which is something new players aren't going to do right off the bat. However, it is still worth bringing up and actually takes up quite a sizable portion of your overall damage

2. Skill & Research Trees (F.O.R.T)

These 2 work similarly to the above as they add stats to your overall offense which is then used in that little formula I included. You can access these by going to your skills tab located in the main menu. For the skill tree, you get points by

  1. Increasing your commander level (which isn't shown) – about ~90% of your skill points come from this
  2. Completing your own stormshield defense missions
  3. Increasing your collections book level up to 130

basically also known as playing the game. You can then use these points to purchase nodes on the tree that give you offense. Research on the other hand is a little bit more complicated and tedious. You need to login everyday to collect resource points from the resource tree. If you don't collect it and it fills up, you won't get any more and will be basically missing out on potential points.

You can make the process faster by picking up the research generation skill points located in the skill tree but you need to be in Canny Valley to take advantage of the highest tier of that skill

Anyways, like the skill tree, players can choose to invest points into offense nodes. There are a few other things you can spend the points on including transformations and expeditions so its up to you how to allocate your points but do note that it takes quite a long while to max things out on the tree. Altogether, skill tree and research tree gives us a total of 548 offense

3. Weapon Level

Earlier we talked about the F.O.R.T stats, now we focus on the weapon itself. When you level and subsequently evolve a weapon up, the weapon gains base damage (just like survivors). To level weapons up, you need schematic experience which you can obtain from doing missions. A good way to farm these experience would be to look for missions which

  1. Give duplicate schematic XP rewards
  2. 4 player missions
  3. Category 4 atlas (if you can handle it comfortably, otherwise run Deliver the Bomb)

Moving on to how weapon level affects damage, the formula looks something like

New Damage = Base Damage * (1 + #Levels * 0.05) * ( 1 + #Evolutions * 0.2) 

and while I noticed that the evolution part of it is a little wonky when calculating certain assault rifles, it works for the most part. Either way, here's an example to get you guys started. If I were to find the base damage of a level 50 Hunter-Killer, the formula would be

30 * ( 1 + 49 * 0.05 ) * ( 1 + 4 * 0.2 ) = 30 * ( 1 + 2.45 ) * ( 1 + 0.8 ) = 30 * 3.45 * 1.8 = 186.3 

Do note that again, we assume a level 50 weapon which is not something beginners are immediately accessible to but it represents correctly how much of a power growth you can expect to gain by focusing on this aspect. As you can see, this is only about a 6.21 times increase to damage as opposed to the 25.79 times survivor squads gave. That said, this does not mean survivor squads are like 5 times better than weapon levels and I will explain this a little later

It is also worth noting that leveling weapons up lets you unlock perks which subsequently increase your damage but we are not covering that in this section.

4. Shadowshard

This is pretty small but still part of the whole "weapon" kit. When you level a weapon up to 30 and try to evolve it, you get the option to choose between either Obsidian or Shadowshard. Besides the resources used for crafting the weapon going down an alternate path, the weapon stats also change being

  • It gains 20% damage
  • It loses 10% fire rate
  • It loses 20% durability

The resulting DPS changes differ from weapon to weapon but just know that going Shadowshard is an overall DPS increase but Obsidian does more damage per craft. You can read up more over at my other post which is quite dated but still fairly relevant since Epic didn't really change this mechanic much. As a new player, this is basically something you don't have to worry about for a while but for reference sake, just think of it as a 0.1 to 0.2 times increase in DPS

5. Perks

Last but not least, we have our perks. First you have to understand that there are 2 types of weapons, one being the general weapons you get from llamas like Siegebreaker, Hunter-Killers and another being "limited" weapons you get from event questlines or the event store. The difference between the two is that

  • General weapons follow the same perk rules meaning you can only roll damage related perks on 2 slots, utility perks on 1 slot and a specialty perk on the last

  • Limited weapons follow their own rules meaning some of them might let you roll damage related perks on 3 slots, be missing a specialty slot or having a fixed element slot

When you obtain a weapon from a llama, it comes with a set of perks dictated by a set of rules put in place on what you can and cannot roll mentioned above. These perks are also generally low rarity. You can make the perks better through 2 ways mainly

  1. Coming up with synergies like critical hit rating + critical hit damage by rerolling certain perks through the use of RE-PERK!
  2. Increasing their rarity and consequently the amount of stats they give through PERK-UP!

Both resources mentioned can be farmed through missions just like schematic XP so refer to the section above if you missed it and want some tips for farming them. On top of missions, the weekly event store also sells lower versions of the PERK-UP! which you can obtain using gold.

The calculations aspect of perks is very complicated so I won't go through how it works but just think of it as a modular system that runs something like

New Damage = Base Damage * Damage * Critical * Headshot 

Overall, streamlining and maxing out perks at an early stage would only net players about 1.8 times increase in DPS which is honestly not that significant. However, I would like to reiterate that this "times" thingy is just for reference and I will explain it further down.

6. Loadout

In other words, your hero and support slots. As you level heroes up, they

  • Unlock abilities
  • Unlock higher tier bonuses

For example when you level Urban Assault Headhunter to level 20, you gain access to her "Make it Rain" and "Rain Faster" perks which essentially gives you 50% fire rate. On the flip side, as you evolve her to 2 stars and subsequently 3 stars, her bonus "Improved Headshots" increases from 13% to 20% and finally 27%

Oh yea, refer to my above section on schematic XP which also applies to hero XP if you are looking to farm that

Basically, both her perks and her bonus behaves similarly to weapon perks and are in fact added on top of whatever perk your weapon has. Thus if your weapon has a 42% fire rate perk, equipping Urban Assault Headhunter would push this value to 92% for the final calculations (assuming you land a headshot that is). For new players, having UAH+UAH in your loadout would net you about 1.5 times increase in DPS

Putting the pieces together

Finally, we get to the most important part and also the part relevant to veteran players so this is the time to start paying attention. In order to figure out the actual impact of each of those factors listed above, we need to calculate their impact on the overall weapon. With the help of my spreadsheet, I started from the bottom to look at a new weapon on a new player and generated a table. Here's how I did it

  1. Assuming Hunter-Killer with 100% accuracy and 85% headshot accuracy, I took down its Base DPS as calculated by my spreadsheet calculator
  2. Next, I added each of the factors in to record the new DPS but of course I restarted from the base DPS for each factor
  3. Lastly, I did some simple math to find out the % gained in each instance (each factor) and found their percentage in relation to the others (sum of all % gained)

Here's what the table looks like image

NumbersPercentage% GainedWeightage
Weapon Level1540.28621.00%521.00%13.38%
Hero (UAH)558.25225.07%125.07%3.21%
Support (UAH)304.95122.95%22.95%0.59%

As you can see, survivors take up majority of the stat increment followed by skill/research totaling about 78% of the entire table. Yea, F.O.R.T stats is important. However, like I said earlier, that's only assuming the player maxes out his survivor squads which would take a lot of time. Furthermore, survivor squads themselves include multiple survivors which means you usually end up having to spend a lot more resource (leveling them up of course) to achieve that really high weightage. Even so, looking at all these factors in isolation don't really paint the full picture since all these factors work together with one another, multiplying on top of each other to give us our final DPS in game.

As such, I made another table

This time, I worked from the top down. Instead of assuming a new player with a fresh Hunter-Killer, I assumed a player who is decked out with a level 50 hunter-killer and worked backwards. As such instead of adding the factors in, I took them out, wrote down the new numbers and calculated the % loss in DPS. Here's what the table looks like image

NumbersPercentage% LostWeightage
Weapon Level63465.0116.10%83.90%26.04%
Hero (UAH)178340.1945.25%54.75%16.99%
Support (UAH)336487.8785.38%14.62%4.54%

As you can see, survivors and skill/research still took up majority of the weightage being 30.05% but it is a lot lesser than previously. Factors which used to take up minority of the weightage like Perks and Hero (UAH) occupy up to 36.17% of the entire weightage. This is because after a certain point of stacking all that base damage from F.O.R.T, even a little increase in the other multipliers lead to huge gains in DPS.

If you really want to focus on one table, I would say the second table is a lot more representative simply due to the fact that it reflects changes at an equal playing field whilst taking into account the various interaction amongst those factors. That said, those weightages are but mere estimates and shouldn't be taken as concrete numbers. A player running different weapons, different perks and different loadouts would easily end up with different numbers


Summing things up, the main sources of damage come from

  • F.O.R.T stats (survivors / skill & research trees)
  • Weapon level as well as if you Shadowshard it
  • Perks
  • Hero & support bonuses

Every single resource that you need to increase each of these aspects can be obtained by playing and farming missions. There are methods to streamline the farm as outlined in the third section where I covered weapon levels but the general idea is to focus on missions with duplicate rewards

In this post, I also took the opportunity to look into which factor affects your damage the most and for new players, the weapon itself actually offers very little. By trading weapons and neglecting your other factors especially survivor squads, you only achieve 18% of your potential damage gains which in fact would be a lot lower since your weapon level gets downscaled in lower zones like Stonewood or Plankerton

If we really want to get to the bottom of this for new players, its a lot more complicated because I will then have to impose certain ceilings to curb the effects of maxed offense squads. However, I think since we are also using values from a maxed weapon, we're not being all that biased in this regard

As for veteran players looking to close in on that perfect "loadout", I would say maxing out your weapon should give you the best returns for investment (of experience) followed by perfecting your perks and finally finishing the survivor squads. Of course, the hero helps a lot but that's more of a playstyle decision so it's really up to you if you want to tap into that

So, what do you guys think? Are the numbers what you expected? Did I make a mistake somewhere? Leave a comment if you have any questions regarding how to farm certain stuff, this post or the game in general

TL;DR Damage is sourced from F.O.R.T stats, weapon levels, perks, hero loadouts and a little bit of Shadowsharding and you can improve most of these factors by farming missions. New players who focus only on their weapon misses out on up to 80% of their potential damage

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