Guide to perk priorities and identifying great weapons

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Hey guys, Whitesushi here. Determining what perks are good and what weapons to level have always been one of those big questions plaguing players, especially new ones. I mean, no one really wants to waste their hard earned experience leveling a weapon they are going to feel bad about and not use right? Thus today, I want to go over what determines a great weapon that you should level and keep to end-game. Do note that this analysis will be heavily subjective since damage is what I'm primarily concerned about and the analysis will thus be based around maximizing that.

If you are not the type who wants to sit through my lengthy posts, I actually have a few tools available located on my spreadsheet namely

  • TDPS calculator that lets you compare the DPS, Damage/Shot and Time-To-Kill values of up to 3 weapons
  • Loadout page (my post on it) where you can get all your weapons ranked by keying in your game name

Why do you prioritize damage?

This is a legit question which a lot of people actually ask me, especially those "fun" advocates who go

Damage doesn't matter as long as you have fun


This is a casual game, you don't have to min-max


I like reload and impact because I like to stagger things

Well truth is, a lot of people, myself included actually have the most fun when we are heavily contributing to the game and a lot of that actually comes from killing the bigger targets… A.K.A having more damage. Of course it isn't the only way to play the game. However, it is the most measurable metric that we can run off and this is the reason why this post, as well as many of my other posts, are so concerned with squeezing out more damage.

What are good perks?

There are a variety of perks in the game ranging from straight up damage to funny ones trying to be useful (I'm looking at you roman candle). As such, people are going to have a lot of opinions on what is good and their list is likely going to be very different from mine. But for what it's worth, I'll give you guys my opinions as well as the reasons behind ordering them this way. The perks are also ranked in descending order (from best to worse) within their own table tiers

S – Tier

Perk Scaling Description When is it good When is it bad
Element with Affliction 10% The king of all perks. Having a specific element and affliction on top of it is absolutely huge. If we just look at pure numbers, this is 49.25% more damage than energy and 100% more damage than normal against elemental husks All the time Never
Element w/ Headshot streak/Element 10% No affliction makes it slightly worse than the one above but the differences in raw damage is still there compared to the energy option All the time Almost never
Energy with Affliction 10% Energy alone gives the gun 34% more damage than a weapon without against elemental enemies. That's equivalent to the weapon having 47% damage perks at least to match the damage When you don't have specific elements Almost never
Energy w/ Headshot streak/Element 10% Basically the above but without affliction. Having the headshot streak is basically a nice bonus Same as above Almost never

A – Tier

Perk Scaling Description When is it good When is it bad
Affliction with Damage 10% Affliction ticks usually outweighs an additional 10% damage (such as in the case of 20% damage), not to mention it acts as trigger mechanism for %damage to afflicted The next best alternative to having elements When your weapon is stacked on crit chance and %crit damage becomes insanely better
%Damage while aiming down sights 30% It's easy to aim down sights while firing. In fact, most people already do that by default. Shame it can't co-exist with elemental rolls and doesn't trigger %afflicted damage On weapons which have innate energy rolls You don't aim down sights
Critical Hit Chance 14%/21%/28% Most weapon have 50%-75% innate critical hit damage so this perk is pseudo 7% damage at worst and goes up to 14% damage. Not to mention if you have additional %crit damage rolls or perks Coupled with %Crit Damage or Shotguns/Pistols due to hero perks Low %Crit Damage weapon without any additional crit damage rolls
%Damage to Afflicted OR %Damage 15%/22.5%/30% OR 10%/15%/20% Damage is just outright good in every situation. Obviously if your gun has affliction, %damage to afflicted targets becomes better than the default one All the time Almost never
%Crit DMG to Afflicted OR %Crit DMG 67.5%/101%/135% OR 45%/67.5%/90% Not as good as crit chance but works off the same concept. Given most weapons have 5%-10% innate crit chance, it is pseudo 2.25% damage at worst and goes up to 9% %Crit Chance perks. Just 20% bonus would bump 90% crit damage to 22.5% damage equivalent B-Tier When you have no %Crit Chance rolls/perks

B – Tier

Perk Scaling Description When is it good When is it bad
Magazine Size 25%/38%/50% Not as good as raw damage because you are basically compensating with more shots. However, damage/magazine is important because if you can take down a big target in one clip, you bypass the reload speed which is usually substantial (a few seconds) When you only have one of it on the gun Guns especially double-barrel shotguns where the perk doesn't push you to get an additional shot
%Damage on headshot streak 30% A size-able damage boost if you can aim and it's on a convenient weapon for it (examples in "When is it good). If you have this, it means you don't have elements so it's a little ~Eh Fast fire rate, large magazine size, easy to aim Your headshot accuracy is ResidentSleeper
%Reload Speed 25%/38%/50% So if we can't kill something in 1 clip, our next best alternative would be to reload as fast as possible and kill it in the next. Pretty decent on rocket launchers since people claim they use those for impact (lol) Great on weapons with small magazines (shotguns) When you have >1 of it (huge diminishing returns)
%Fire Rate 14%/21%/28% The ultimate "using more bullets to compensate for damage" and does a pretty poor job at it. Why is it bad you say? In terms of DPS, 28% fire rate is akin to 13% damage on a Siegebreaker (Yep, Legendary quality = Blue quality on another perk)… and you use more bullets Better on weapons with low fire rate Terrible on semi-auto unless you are using an auto-clicker (probably not allowed)
%Headshot Damage 13.3%/20%/26.7% Ok so you probably didn't expect headshot damage to be this low. Fact is, it has pretty terrible scaling and requires the player to aim. You can check my other post on why it's bad "I have 100% headshot accuracy" If you have some common sense
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C – Tier

So there are some perks here and I don't think I need to explain why they are bad

  • % Damage to slowed and snared targets
  • % Damage to stunned, staggered and knocked down targets
  • % Weapon Stability
  • % Longer Durability
  • Roman Candle

Step by step weapon evaluation

So how do I determine if a weapon is good? Before we dive in, I would like to state that there's a huge difference between what different people perceive as good. This can range from

  • Worth leveling
  • Viable at end game (Usable, Slygumbi's definition)
  • Top tier (destroys things in end game)

Since this is my post, I will go with "top tier" as my definition for if the weapon is good. However just to touch on the other 2 points

It is generally worth leveling your "best gun" regardless of how bad it is. This is because with the recycle changes, you are really only losing out on some schematic experience when you do eventually retire the weapon for something better. It is also fairly important to at least have something you can use and it really makes your gameplay experience a lot better (fun factor)

so without further ado, these are the questions you want to be asking yourself when you look at a weapon

Here are the steps
1. Does it have an element?
Just to reiterate on why having an element is so important (one of the S-Tier perks), A counter element gives you a 100% damage increase over a normal gun against elemental husks (which are extremely prevalent at end game zones). Putting that into perspective, that's literally the equivalent of a similar weapon having 120% damage perks, 6 x Legendary 20% damage perks on your gun (which is actually impossible). So if you don't have an element, your weapon immediately FAILs by my definition.
2. Is it Legendary?
So a legendary weapon usually has approximately 10% more damage than its Epic counterpart along with having an additional perk (5 instead of 4). If you think about it, it is as though the legendary rarity itself grants the weapon 2 additional perks over its Epic counterpart. In terms of raw numbers, assuming 4 x 20% damage rolls on Epic vs 5 x 20% damage rolls on Legendary, the Legendary weapon has approximately 21.69% greater damage (more potential) than the Epic weapon. This also ties in directly with our next section
3. Do you have any C-Tier perks?
A C-Tier perk is akin to having no perk. If we look at the numbers, a 100% damage Siegebreaker does 11.11% more damage than a 80% damage Siegebreaker so it's not too bad. However the moment you have 2 C-Tier perks (like if your Siegebreaker now has only 60% damage), the 100% Siegebreaker would be 25% better. In other words having 1 C-Tier perk isn't that bad but having 2 would pretty much FAIL your weapon, again by my definition.
Quick Recap
Going by my definition, if you really want a top-tier weapon, your weapon so far needs to be a legendary with element and no C-Tier perks. However if you want a generally "OK" weapon to use, you can technically afford 1 C-Tier Perk if your weapon is Legendary or 0 C-Tier Perk if your weapon is Epic. Element is a must
4. Do you have at least 3 Tier-A perks? (3A:1B OR 3A:1C OR 3A)
So there's actually 2 reasons for this. First of which being that our "benchmark weapons" (weapons with fixed perks like the Gravedigger and Hydra) are both running ratios of 4A:0B or 3A:1B. Obviously if we want to talk about top tier weapons, the weapon needs to have a better ratio than our benchmarks. Secondly, B-Tier perks are absolutely worse damage wise. Assuming our weapon can roll 4 legendary perks, a 2 Crit%/2 CritDMG% Siegebreaker is 20.61% better than a 1 Crit%/1 CritDMG%/1 Mag%/1 Reload% Siegebreaker but it is only 8.91% better than a 2 Crit%/1 CritDMG%/1 Mag% SB.
5. Is it a good weapon type?
There are actually 2 parts to this. Firstly if you are playing a Ranger/Raider, then having a god rolled (fulfills all conditions above) Assault Rifle is meaningless unless you plan on switching to an AR Soldier and vice versa. Secondly if it is a terrible weapon like the Terminator or Maverick (to name a few), then it doesn't really matter how good the rolls are. Thankfully, there aren't too many weapons which fall within this category.
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A point system

So if you find the above too hard to understand, I came up with an arbitrary point system to make the process easier but more ambiguous. However, it should be enough to give you a rough understanding of how good your gun is. Referring to my table above

  • Specific element gives +6 points (element is like 6 perks)
  • Energy gives +2.25 points (energy is like ~2.25 perks )
  • Legendary gives +1 points (10% damage is like a perk)
  • A tier gives +1 point each (Yep a full perk)
  • B tier gives +0.75 point each (Less valuable perk)
  • For every afflicted perk on an affliction weapon +0.5 point (Afflicted condition increases the bonus by 50%)
  • First Crit% + CritDMG%, +1 point, second +2 point (Perfect crit weapons have 30% more damage than full %damage weapons which requires 2 more perks for the %damage weapons to catch up)

While these points are arbitrary numbers, there were some math done behind it to measure them up against each other. Alright so going by this point system, the highest point a weapon can score would be 15 if the weapon has the following perks

  • Specific element with affliction
  • 2 Critical Chance perks
  • 2 Critical Damage to Afflicted targets perks
  • is Legendary

If we were to just score some weapons based on this system, the

  • Gravedigger sits at 6+1+4+0.5+1 = 12.5
  • Hydra sits at 2.25+1+3+0.75+1 = 8
  • My Dragon's Breath sits at 1+3+1.5 = 5.5
  • My Siegebreaker sits at 6+1+2+1.5+1 = 11.5

Hopefully you guys get my idea here. So to sum this section up

  • Gravedigger is undoubtedly a top tier weapon
  • Your weapon should have 12 points or more to be considered god rolled
  • Your weapon should have 8 points or more to be considered good
  • Perk rarities have been purposefully excluded (refer to below)

Probable Questions
  1. But what about perk rarities? How does their points measure up?
    A. Honestly I haven't thought too much about that. That's because the point system is just a simplified version of the step-by-step guide for people to get a rough idea of how good their weapons are. If you have a good way to measure that, feel free to share with me in the comments.

  2. What's the differentiation between afflicted damage and regular damage?
    A. They are both really good which is why I didn't touch on them in the step-by-step guide. Having either doesn't really matter too much unless you are really looking for a "God-tier" weapon. However if you look at the point system, afflicted damage is essentially 50% better than regular damage and thus the additional 0.5 scoring.

  3. Why is the roman candle C-Tier when it offers AoE?
    A. In high Twine (PL 100+), a lot of the smaller husks and sometimes even Husky Husks are killed with trap funnels using gas traps and the likes. As such, the only monsters that make it through would it Blasters and Smashers. Having some damage from Roman Candle doesn't help with those at all and you're better off with other perks.


So I basically left you guys with 3 means through which you can determine if your weapons are good.

  1. For the power users, looking at my tier tables for perks should give you a holistic view of what perks are good in what situations and at that point it's up to you to fit the pieces onto your own weapons and decide for yourselves

  2. For the min-maxers, the step-by-step guide should walk you through your weapons while providing sufficient information on why certain criteria is important

  3. For the general crowd who just wants to get an idea of how strong their weapons are, the point system should be sufficient in providing that general understanding

Ultimately, there is no "one size fits all" answer when it comes to determining whether a combination of perks is good or bad. That is not to mention all the people out there who aren't actually in it for the raw damage. That said, I try to explain my rankings as much as possible so even if you aren't going by the numbers, the descriptions should give you some ideas on the usability of certain perks.

That said, hope you guys enjoyed the analysis and maybe learnt something even if you felt that my rankings are absolutely garbage. Do let me know your thoughts, what you agree with, what you disagree with in the comments below.

TL;DR No element = fail. Otherwise order goes something like Element > Rarity > Minimal # of Bad Perks > # of Good Perks > Weapon Type

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