This guide is to help you achieve the optimal build when deciding between Damage, Mana, and Cooldown. It is the reader’s responsibility to know algebra. Please note that “Damage” mostly will be defined as damage multipliers, not necessarily the stats such as Maximize or Additional Damage. You will find damage multipliers in skill rings, effects that give more critical damage/skill damage, etc.

Future edits will be coming to discuss about class synergy and skill traits.

IntroductionSpoiler:

Damage

- How fast you can potentially kill your enemies
- (PvP) How well you can pressure your opponent to mana break rather than tank to keep your opponent’s mana low.
- (PvE) How well you can create space as soon as possible to maintain a calm situation
- Easier on the attention span to prevent errors (Technically, you can accomplish many of the same things with a low enhancement that high enhancement can. The only difference really is the time it takes.)
- Useful for ending opponents before unleashing a devastating move
- Those that invest in Damage first are usually seen with burst builds

Mana

- How early you can access damage/utility for the first time or whenever the cooldown is over
- Allows killing for more accurate costs (rather than having to overshoot)
- Helps with how well you can maintain damage/utility from the entire skill bar and other functions (with enough cost reduction, some skills will start to refund mana or even net positive mana gain)
- Improves how often you can use skills from the entire skill bar
- (PvE) Having cost reduction will allow to use potions more optimally
- Those that invest in Mana first are usually seen with DPS/consistency builds

Cooldown

- (PvE) Gives you more space in your skill bar to brings more necessary skills rather than having to bring many of same type (Flexibility, Tenacity, Strength, Bravery) to keep damage up.
- Example: With enough cooldown reduction, a Blade Master with a Strength build probably would not have to bring Cannon Blade (Magical) anymore. His other Strength skills (Physical) would already be ready to use after cycling through his skills. He could use that open space in the skill bar for something like Flash as an escape tool.
- You get to spam the skills you like more in your build and take out the “other skills” rather than feel obligated to bring the “other skills” ---> more variety in utility
- How early you can potentially access damage/utility
- Allows you to be more prepared for the next enemy
- Helps with how well you potentially can maintain damage/utility
- Improves “firerate” of the few skills that are important and focused on for each moment
- Those that invest in Cooldown first are usually seen having burst builds behave like DPS builds while having some good utility options for consistency.

Calculating your investments in Damage, Mana, and CooldownSpoiler:

Your entire efficiency (assuming that all hits land on the enemy) is calculated as

Damage/[(Mana)(Cooldown)] = efficiency

under these conditions:

- All hits land on a single enemy (If you are measuring hitboxes for multiple enemies, then it is up to you to estimate how much damage you can achieve when attacking a group. Consider the average number of hits your skill can land per target, the appropriate multiplier for each hit, and how many targets you can hit with that skill.)
- Few or no potions are used
- Net mana and average cooldown ratings are able to match each other so that there are no cases such as having incomplete cooldown despite sufficient mana or lacking mana despite finished cooldown

The Efficiency Equation’s Explanation:Spoiler:

Damage is the numerator because it is the direct factor of what can be done in a fight. Mana and Cooldown are in the denominator because they are indirect factors. One flaw in this equation is that (Mana)(Cooldown) in the denominator is not entirely accurate. This is because there are possible cases such as having enough mana while waiting for cooldown or not having enough mana despite finished cooldown. The other flaw is that this equation naturally does not consider hitboxes, yet it still is possible to consider hitboxes by estimating how many targets can be hit and how many hits normally land.

Most people do not consider “Cooldown” in the equation. They argue that there are plenty of skills to use in the skill tree that it is relatively easy to wait for other skills to cool down. Since this is a valid argument, you could ignore Cooldown if you have a smooth, effective cycle with your skills. For standard purposes, most examples in this guide will show only comparisons between Damage and Mana. However, Cooldown is not to be underestimated and still brings an equal amount of benefit when invested properly into.

Since damage has a more specific, complex formula compared to mana and cooldown, damage will be discussed first. Calculating the damage variable:

Damage = (Average Critical Damage)(Damage Group 1)(Damage Group 2)(Heroic Glove)(Skill Traits)(Final Enhanced)

Average Critical Damage = (Critical Rate)(1.00 + 0.50 + Additional Critical Damage)

"Heroic Glove" should only be calculated if you have a Heroic Glove that has a skill type damage stacking property. "Skill Traits" and "Final Enhanced" are only in the equation for each specific skill. Keep in mind that "Skill Traits" and "Final Enhanced" can also affect Mana Cost, Cooldown, and other variables.

Assuming that other variables are constant, here is how to calculate Mana Cost Rate. However, call it "Mana" for short to stay consistent with the Efficiency Equation.

Mana = [(1.00 + cost)(1.00 + cost)......] / [(1.00 - cost)(1.00 - cost)......]

"Cooldown" is calculated the same way as "Mana".

All damage increase, mana cost reduction, and cooldown reduction are calculated multiplicatively within “groups”. Within each group, values are calculated in an additive manner. Here are the groups:

- Critical Damage counts as a group. Add ALL critical damage together.
(Goes to "Additional Critical Damage")- Skill Damage from El Resonance, Skill Type Damage Rings, Ereda Chronicles, and Skill Cut-ins accumulate to one group.
(Goes to "Skill Damage Group 1")- Set effects for mana cost/cooldown/skill damage counts as a group. Set effects for critical damage are additive to the Critical Damage group.
(Set effects for Skill Damage accumulate to "Damage Group 2")- Orange Heroic IDs (accumulate from multiple Heroic pieces) that give overall Mana Cost reduction, Skill Type cooldown reduction, Attack/Attacked, specific skill damage, or other effects counts as a group.
(Orange Heroic IDs that give damage accumulate to "Damage Group 2" except Skill Type Damage Stacks from Heroic Gloves)- Skill Type Damage Stacks from Heroic Gloves is its own group (
"Heroic Glove")- Each category in the El Resonance menu is its own group (except +35% Flexibility/Tenacity/Strength/Bravery damage, which is additive to skill damage)
- Each skill trait is its own group
- Each Final Enhanced effect is its own group

Having an idea how to calculate with examplesSpoiler:

- For multiple orange Heroic IDs, if I had more than one part give mana cost/cooldown reduction, I would add the effects together. Since the orange Heroic IDs accumulate to one group, -10% Mana Cost top with a -10% Mana Cost shoe would give -20% Mana Cost. If I had 4 Heroic pieces each giving +10% damage to Shockwave - Divider, then Shockwave - Divider would get a 1 + 4(0.10) = 1.4 multiplier, not a (1.1)^4 = 1.4641 multiplier.
- You can have Ereda Chronicle giving +10% Flexibility Damage and a Ring of Flexibility giving +20% Flexibility Damage. Since this is within a “group”, the calculation is 1.0 + 0.2 + 0.1 = 1.3, not 1.2 * 1.1 = 1.32.
- The default +50% critical damage applies. All critical hits start off hitting with a x1.5 multiplier. If you add Oath of Ruin, you get 1.5 + 0.5 = 2.0. If you add the HL costume’s ⅘ effect on top of that, you get 1.5 + 0.5 + 0.1 = 2.1. That means critical strikes will deal x2.1 damage compared to your normal strikes.
- To get your total mana cost reduction or total cooldown reduction, each group is calculated as 100% - (whatever % reduction) = new %. If I had 25% mana reduction from El Resonance and 5% mana reduction from Heroic: Wisdom’s 2-piece effect, my mana consumption is calculated as (1.00 - 0.25)(1.00 - 0.05) = 0.7125 or 71.25%.
- Notice that the new mana cost was not calculated as 1.00 - (0.25 + 0.05) = 0.70, yet having 70% mana cost is better than the 71.25% mana cost that was previously calculated. The next section will discuss how this can be managed.

Optimizing your investments in Damage, Mana, and CooldownSpoiler:

Remember that Damage/[(Mana)(Cooldown)] = efficiency. Each group is multiplied together. However, within each group, values are additive.

Notice that Damage is the numerator, which it improves when it increases. Mana and Cooldown are in the denominator, which it improves when it decreases.

Damageincrease* has the behavior of exponential growth.

Example (three groups each with +10% damage):

Assume that mana values and cooldown values are constant. The more groups that Damage has, the greater each bonus gets.

1.0 x 1.1 = 1.1(My damage multiplier and efficiency increased by 0.1 from before.)

1.1 x 1.1 = 1.21(My damage multiplier and efficiency increased by 0.11 from before.)

1.21 x 1.1 =1.331(My damage multiplier and efficiency increased by 0.121 from before.)

Having three groups each with +10% damage is better than having one group with +30% damage.

1.0 x 1.3 = 1.3

1.331 > 1.3

Theoretically for as much damage potential as possible, aim for multiple damage groups instead of all bonuses added together in few groups. Look for ways to multiply instead of add.

Mana Costreduction* andcooldown reduction* have the behavior of exponential decay. This is because they deal with values between 0 and 1. It is best to have a large effect in one group rather than have the effect split evenly into multiple groups.

Example (one group with -30% mana cost reduction):

Assume that damage values and cooldown values are constant. However, remember that cooldown is calculated the same way mana is.

1.0/(1.0 - 0.7) = 1.43(Mana cost rate decreased 0.3. Efficiency increased by 0.43.)

Having three groups each with -10% mana cost reduction is worse than having one group with -30% mana cost reduction. Notice that the effectiveness of mana cost rate decrease becomes less each time.

1.0/(1.0 - 0.1) = 1.000/0.900 = 1.11…(Mana cost rate decreased by 0.1 from before. Efficiency increased around 0.11.)

1.0/[(1.0 - 0.1)(1.0 - 0.1)] = 1.000/0.810= 1.23...(Mana cost rate decreased by 0.09 from before. Efficiency increased around 0.12.)

1.0/[(1.0 - 0.1)(1.0 - 0.1)(1.0 - 0.1)] = 1.000/0.729 = 1.37...(Mana cost rate decreased by 0.081 from before. Efficiency increased around 0.14.)

1.37 < 1.43---> Fewer, yet larger groups for Mana Cost reduction are better

Theoretically for as much mana cost/cooldown reduction as possible, aim for few groups with large effects rather than multiple groups with split effects. This is because having multiple groups will get to the point where the effect will become unnoticeable. The goal is to hit zero mana cost or no cooldown directly. When zero cooldown or zero mana cost is reached (if it ever happens), remove the non-existing variable from the equation despite traditional math standards.

Example (with no Mana Cost):

Damage/[(Mana)(Cooldown)] ---> Damage/[(0)(Cooldown)] ---> Damage/Cooldown

Efficiency does not become infinite even if damage becomes infinity, mana rate becomes 0, OR cooldown rate becomes 0. As long as at least one of the variables still exist, these variables will continue to hold you back from becoming a god or a decent hacker (despite the numerous other variables that are unmentioned in this guide that are part of gaming such as defense and regeneration).

*Notice that for both the Damage and Mana/Cooldown examples, I underlined “increase” and “reduction”. It actually is possible for Damage to begin acting like exponential decay instead of exponential growth if Damage Decrease was calculated. A similar case applies to Mana Cost/Cooldown Increase by behaving as exponential growth instead of exponential decay.

The first question that usually comes up is whether it is better to invest in mana cost reduction or damage. However, now that you know this equation, you can optimize your investments.

Since Damage/Mana = efficiency (ignoring Cooldown due to meta and game design), make sure to calculate your groups properly. While you have learned that Damage increase behaves somewhat like exponential growth and Mana Cost/Cooldown reduction behaves somewhat like exponential decay, do not underestimate how much Mana Cost/Cooldown reduction can contribute to your efficiency.

Example (Compare -25% Mana Cost to +25% Skill Damage):

With -25% Mana Cost

1.00 / (1.00 - 0.25) = 1.33…

With +25% Skill Damage

1.25 / 1.00 = 1.25

Mana has the better first bonus. However, this game does have potions that you may use to cover up your lack of mana if you choose to run a damage build. Remember that damage builds require you to spend more time and funds farming potions outside of your potentially faster important runs as shown from its lower efficiency. Consider that not all modes allow you to use potions, especially PvP and Henir Challenge.

You will begin to notice that El Resonance increases one category of skill damage (minus Hyper Active) by +0.35% for each point while mana cost reduction only gets -0.25% per point. Since 100 points can be invested into both categories each, consider +35% Flexibility/Tenacity/Strength/Bravery Damage versus -25% Mana Cost.

Example (Compare -25% Mana Cost to +35% Flexibility/Tenacity/Strength/Bravery Damage)

With -25% Mana Cost

1.00 / (1.00 - 0.25) = 1.33…

With +35% Flexibility/Tenacity/Strength/Bravery Damage

1.35 / 1.00 = 1.35

There values are nearly equal despite damage between barely superior. Remember that El Resonance can only increase one skill type per category, yet it is likely that you will bring more than one skill type. Mana Cost reduction applies to all skill types. To keep efficiency as high as possible, those using damage builds will have to use as many of the same skill type that are invested in to maintain that less than 0.02 efficiency margin. While this guide might start to seem biased toward Mana Cost reduction, please keep in mind that Damage increase will continue to have bigger bonuses due to its exponential growth behavior and decrease chances to make errors since it directly affects how quickly enemies disappear. It can also get to the point that having so much Damage will make runs so easy that the cost for potions will become negligible. Here is an extreme case that will prove my point: imagine running through a Ruben dungeon with a +12 Apocalypse Void Weapon. There would not be a need for Mana Cost reduction or potions if normal commands can already kill enemies instantly. For more normal cases, you would not have to suffer spamming so many potions from chaining skills in Secret Dungeons or Heroic Hell if one skill hits hard enough to wipe out the enemies. The cost of potions eventually become more and more negligible that it might become a waste of time worrying about potion cost if you can deal enough damage.

Calculating a Realistic Elsword Example with relatively optimal gear:Spoiler:

- 75% Critical rate 1 + (75/100)(0.5 + Additional Critical Damage) = ? applies to overall Critical calculations (this is a calculation of the average Critical Damage)
- Henir Lord costume (4th set effect) +0.1 applies to
Additional Critical Damage- El Officer accessories (3rd set effect) +0.1 applies to
Additional Critical Damage- Heroic Wrath (2nd set effect) +0.05 applies to
all skill type calculations onlyforDamage Group 2- 70 El Resonance Points into Flexibility Damage (70/100)(0.35) = +0.245 applies to
Flexibility skill calculations onlyforDamage Group 1- Heroic Glove (Flexibility Stacking 10% with up to 5 stacks) +0.50 applies to
Flexibility skill calculations onlyforHeroic Glove- Ring of Strength +0.20 applies to
Strength skill calculations onlyforDamage Group 1- Ereda Chronicle (Strength) +0.10 applies to
Strength skill calculations onlyforDamage Group 1

- 70 El Resonance Points into Mana Cost Reduction 1 - (70/100)(0.25) = 0.825
- Heroic Top (Mana Cost reduction -10%) AND Heroic Shoes (Mana Cost reduction -10%) 1 - (0.1 + 0.1) = 0.8
- Heroic Wisdom (2nd set effect) 1 - (0.05) = 0.95

- 40 El Resonance Points into Cooldown Reduction 1 - (40/100)(0.25) = 0.9

Since critical applies to all attacks, calculate critical and critical damage first.

75% Critical rate 1 + (75/100)(0.5 + Additional Critical Damage) = ? applies to overall Critical calculations (this is a calculation of the average)

Henir Lord costume (4th set effect) +0.1 applies toAdditional Critical Damage

El Officer accessories (3rd set effect) +0.1 applies toAdditional Critical Damage

1 + (75/100)(0.5 + 0.1 + 0.1) = 1.525 multiplier for average Critical Damage

Now, skills can be calculated. Do not forget to consider Mana and Cooldown.

70 El Resonance Points into Mana Cost Reduction 1 - (70/100)(0.25) = 0.825

Heroic Top (Mana Cost reduction -10%)

Heroic Shoes (Mana Cost reduction -10%) 1 - (0.1 + 0.1) = 0.8

Mana = 1.00 / [(0.825)(0.8)] = 1.00 / 0.66

40 El Resonance Points into Cooldown Reduction 1 - (40/100)(0.25) = 0.9

Cooldown = 1.0 / 0.9

Flexibility Damage Calculations:

- 1.525 multiplier for average Critical Damage
- Heroic Wrath (2nd set effect) +0.05 applies to
all skill type calculations onlyforDamage Group 2- 70 El Resonance Points into Flexibility Damage (70/100)(0.35) = +0.245 applies to
Flexibility skill calculations onlyforDamage Group 1- Heroic Glove (Flexibility Stacking 10% with up to 5 stacks) +0.50 applies to
Flexibility skill calculations onlyforHeroic Glove

(1.000 + 0.245) * (1.000 + 0.050) * (1.000 + 0.500) = 1.960875 damage multiplier for Flexibility

[(1.525)(1.960875)] / [(0.66)(0.9)] = 5.034... efficiency rate with Flexibility skills

Strength Damage Calculations:

- 1.525 multiplier for average Critical Damage
- Heroic Wrath (2nd set effect) +0.05 applies to
all skill type calculations onlyforDamage Group 2- Ring of Strength +0.20 applies to
Strength skill calculations onlyforDamage Group 1- Ereda Chronicle (Strength) +0.10 applies to
Strength skill calculations onlyforDamage Group 1

(1.00 + 0.20 + 0.10) * (1.00 + 0.05) = 1.35 damage multiplier for Strength

[(1.525)(1.35)] / [(0.66)(0.9)] = 3.465... efficiency rate with Strength skills

Choosing Skill Traits / Class Synergy / Your Gameplay:

Spoiler:Some questions that you can ask yourself before you start using a skill

- Why am I using this skill? How effectively will it do its job? (burst, DPS, buff, clearing, grouping, i-frame dodging, etc.)
the skill may have more than one purpose- What are the consequences? (mana/health cost, knocking enemies down, mana/awakening feed in PvP, hit counter feed in PvE, etc.)
- What are my stats? How will my stats help? (damage, mana, cooldown)
- Are there external factors that will help with the skill that I am choosing? (other skills buffing the chosen skill, passives,

environment, status effects)

I hope this guide has helped you. Thank you for reading.

-Sage

Special thanks:

Reziaktifor helping me fix errors in group identification and calculations