Complaints About Great Axe, Empower, Whirlwind, and Tooltips

So, my company has been gearing up for war, and as a part of that we have been researching and testing pvp builds and weapon & skill combinations. For any noobs reading this, here’s some background information you need to know about NW mechanics:

1: Buffs and Debuffs with keywords have a cap of 50% effectiveness. So if you stack “Empower” the visible benefit you get from it caps out ant 50% increased damage to the target.
2: Debuffs in the same bucket can stack against buffs, and and thus require you to stack more buffs to hit the cap. So if you get hit with a 20% weaken, you would need 70% empower in order to hit the 50% empower cap.
3: The damage calculation formula is broken up into groups which I refer to as buckets, each buff in a bucket is additively calculated with others in the bucket, and buckets are calculated multiplicatively with each other. That is why some damage perks and passives generate a smaller measurable damage gain than the tooltip specifies.

With the Brimstone patch, AGS made an effort to add key words to tooltips, to enable the average joe to better able to process the information presented, and be able to make an informed choice. Which, I appreciate. I do think the tooltips overall look a lot cleaner. However there are a LOT of problems still, and with Great Axe specifically, pertaining to Empower cap and the tooltips for the skills and weapon perks.

This passive states, that you gain 10% damage while 3 or more foes are within 4m. However, this “bonus damage” is an Empower, NOT a bonus to raw damage.

Same story here, the capstone buffs counts towards Empower cap, but lacks any indication of such.

I haven’t tested this passive, but given the similarity in wording to Center of Attention, I think it’s fairly safe to assume that it is an Empower as well. I’ll note here, it also lacks a range for “around” you. But it is probably copy and paste bock of code from Center of Attention, so probably 4m.

The weapon perk for Fortifying Whirlwind, SAYS it increases Slashing Damage. This is a lie, it is also an Empower. Slashing Damage perk on Ring, is a raw damage increase. Slashing Damage in the passive tree is a raw damage increase. This is not.

SO… you may have figured out what the problem is by now… but if you haven’t, here it is.
The problem, is that probably most players who use Great Axe, are WAY over the empower cap, and thinking that all these passives are stacking together and increasing their damage. When in reality, if you have Mauler’s Fury up, with a Honing Stone of T3 or better, and you proc Keenly Empowered, you’re already at Empower Cap.

If you’re spinning with Whirlwind with ONLY a Honing Stone (yes this is an empower too… kek) and you have 3 enemies near you, and you have the Center of Attention passive, you’re at 45% empower.

Most pvpers stack buffs to the max, and expect to be under the effects of Oblivion at critical points in war.

This this is 15% empower. Keenly Empowered is another commonly used weapon perk (see above) that grants 15% empower.

So for effect, lets to do some optimized math. Setting the scene:

The greataxe player, sees a group of three enemy players… knowing he’s a badass and has the BEST AoE weapon in the game, he charges them with all the confidence of a power gamer. His teammate is right beside him ready to drop oblivion. He has a casual tier III honing stone running because they’re just out questing. He throws his Gravity Well, and catches both, so he charges in, and hit Whirlwind. His buddy dodge rolls in, and drops Oblivion under their feet. He’s now within 4 ft of them and Center of Attention and Surrounded are both active. He hits all 3 of them with his first 4 hits, and now Mauler’s Fury is at maximum stacks. He saw one crit, so his Keenly Empowered buff is active. One of the fools tried to block him, so Frustration is active. He has them RIGHT where he wants them! He hits Maelstrom, the Coup de Grace of his AoE rotation, Gravity Well explodes in their faces, SPIN! SPIN!.. and no one is dead. All 3 are only at half health. WHY?

15% Empower from Oblivion,
15% Empower from Keenly Empowered,
15% Empower from Frustration,
5% “Bonus Damage” (Empower) from Honing Stone
Empower is now capped
30% “Bonus Damage” (Empower) from Mauler’s Fury
10% “Bonus Damage” (Empower) from Center of Attention
50% “Bonus Slash Damage” (Empower) from Fortifying Whirlwind
15% Empower from Greed

For part of the time:
30% “Bonus Damage” (Empower) from Surrounded

Additional Possible Sources of Empower:
20% from Empowering Breaker (on gloves)
16% from Shirking Empower (Amulet)

An optimized Bruiser player dipping from all the possible empower sources, and taking all the big juicy damage perks, is putting himself WAY WAY WAY WAY… over the Empower cap. Conservatively, double the empower cap, but possibly even TRIPPLE.

The Damage output of whirlwind is TERRIBLE, because everything is an empower. You’re already at empower cap, so all those big numbers on the tooltip are irrelevant.

Slotting the weapon perk ON the weapon is gratuitous above and beyond the base form of the perk on armor, which ALREADY over caps both empower and fortify for the duration.

AGS needs to standardize how they scale damage on weapon abilities, as well as how they annotate the tooltips. My friends and I shouldn’t have to do all this work, just to figure out why we aren’t seeing any increase in damage from an ability when we keep stacking “increase damage” buff passives.

If all these passives are converted from empower to the raw damage they SAY they are, Great Axe will be BEYOND over powered, but if they leave the math as is, and just change the tooltip to say “empower” at least people can do the math for themselves and know what to avoid. I just think it’s shitty to select a passive or a weapon perk that SAYS it does one thing, and it does something completely different that also happens to be 100% useless.


it’s really not meant as a DPS ability. Surprisingly though it does pretty well on light GA assassins. It’s mean to do a little bit of damage, escape or engage + build mauler stacks to combo a maelstrom or grav+maelstrom.

You probably didn’t read the whole thing and just assumed I was complaining about whirlwind damage. I’m not.

I was pretty sure that, for example slash damage, on ring was counting towards the empower cap, now i am not :smiley: . To my knowledge, every +% damage like slash/strike/w.e count towards empower cap (ring perk, mortal empower, etc), and every protection like slash/thrust/w.e count towards fortify cap (gems, protection perk on amulet, etc.). But, scaling and mechanics in this game are so confusing and i guess many not even working as intended, it is impossible to test everything and have a reliable source that you could use in the future for everything in the game… Rend caps at 30% you would think, but then here comes VG and you have some different +15% rend on top of that :confused:

Now that i understand better thanks to your post i started to do some testing(i always questioned myself why GA damage was so low in my PVE content even with all this buffs stacking) and it is real the empower is not stacking, It made me quit the game after that, because im absurd mad that my Favorite weapon is being held back because of that. And then we have Greatsword and Hatchet complete busted. I belive the game is good but if i cant play the weapon that i love in the content that i want i will just move on to anything else.

Pretty sure Rend cap is 50%. I’m not sure where this 30% keeps coming from. I hear it all over, but we’ve tested all the way up and it does cap at 50%.

EDIT: Haven’t actually tested the ring slash damage. I simply reference NWDB which indicated that it was basedmg.

Lol wait until you figure out how Empower and Crit Damage interact.

Anyhow, the developers do need to make it more clear what is an Empower, base modifier increase, and bonus damage.

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As far as i remember, when we tested rend months ago, it was 30%+15% on top of that from VG. Not sure why devs can’t answer such an important and simple question…


Give this thread a read, lots of useful info to help you understand the difference of empower, base dmg etc

Happy hunting

My problem isn’t understanding the difference, or how where they input into the damage formula. My problem is because of how the damage formula works, most of the alleged damage increase passives won’t work if you stack them. So they’re basically lying to the player base.

Empowered Leaping Strike for instance has “Empowered” in the name, but it’s a debuff on the enemy. Which means anyone with the same perk can benefit from someone else’s debuff, and the bonus damage goes above Empower cap.

Hatchet’s “Against All Odds” does not count towards Empower cap, and one of the primary reasons why it out performs a lot of other weapons.

I don’t think it’s asking a lot for the developers to standardize their keywords, and actually make the code comply with the wording of the tool tips.

Few things to note.

  1. Slash ring is An Affix Empower.
  2. Whirlwind Surrounded is Basedmg.
  3. Empowered Leaping strike is basedmg.
  4. Hatchets Against All Odds is also Basedmg.

and Finally the keywording is horrible and needs to be almost entirely redone. many many suggestions have been made yet nothing much has been done

It’s not. Yes there’s an issue with tooltips, and how they represent them, but the strength of great axe is that it’s always in empower cap even when thrown weaken to. It’s not being held back, that’s it’s strength.

@Aenwyn :pray: tooltip clarification and keyword standardization would be greatly appreciated


There is a problem with GA, i use this perk i tested the damage and i can say that i lost 400+ damage with the perk right now with my calculations. This fix good, it is something that i was waiting for, still in PTR right now.

So there needs to be way less empowerment in the game or way more big sources of weaken like enfeebling skewer(on weapon).

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I mean… even if I got hit with Enfeebling from the 2 biggest sources I’d still be able to sit comfortably at Empower Cap.

Also spear doesn’t have a huge place in the war meta, so the likelihood of this ever happening is slim to none.

Yeah that’s what I’m saying. less sources of empower, more sources of weaken? Idk if that would make it unbalance though.

How bout just lower values for empower, and more sources of base damage. So stacking buffs actually results in a damage increase.

And how bout buffs that count towards Empower cap ACTUALLY state that.

I find the fact that Honing Stones, and “Slash Damage” count towards empower cap to be the worst game design choice ever.

Anything with a status effect is either an empower or counts towards the cap. (There’s only one case where it doesn’t apply but that’s cause it’s a placeholder icon)

Technically not empower, but since you can’t go past the cap with affixes currently it caps other status effects. Blood Lust is also technically not empower

Agree, I previously did the work for that and sent it to them but nothing came of it :confused:

Lack of consistency is probably one of the reasons they struggle with game ballance.

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I dont play GAxe, but seeing all these stacked damage amps, I now know why I get ‘1 shot’ in these Grav Wells + Maelstrom dmg. Its udder insane how even dodge, I still get destroyed. ALL THE DAMAGE AMPS.

Fix your game AGS