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Update 2.0 has dethroned stake spam as the king of gunlance damage.
This was forecasted because the major problem of wyrmstake not scaling with anything at all.
Bagel armor gives you for free all the mandatory gunning skills and LOTS, lots of spare slots to include your attack skills.
The new gunlances aren’t a huge improvement from the existing ones. They have lower raw ratings but are compensated by big numbers in affinity and elemental. In the end you have a net improvement.
In this video you will find an analysis of all the options you have to increase your gunlance dps for those styles that aren't about spamming shells and wyrmstake.
The first and most important damage skill for gunlance is not labeled as such.
You will totally want one skill to handle sharpness since both normal and wide spend a lot of it in short amounts of time.
A lot of gunlances come with a bit of white or blue or can achieve it with a couple points of handicraft.
Blue sharpness is a 14% raw increase over green and white is a 25% also over green.
Let’s sink this down.
A green weapon with some handicraft turning it white will get the same effective raw than having 100% affinity without any condition like hitting a weak point.
Note how I’m avoiding to say damage increases.
This is because in gunlance unlike all the other weapons its damage isn’t directly increased with raw because half of your attacks or even less will be shelling that is not modified by raw.
The raw/shelling rating is not by any means fixed and depends on lots of factors including the hitzones of the monster and how easy it is to keep ground splitter or your shell level. A lot of viable gunlances are level 4.
For the sake of simplicity I use a ruling measure of reducing the raw increase to a 50% to get a measure.
This comes from what in poke shelling half your attacks are pokes and half shells. Same with full bursting, a sweep + slam can do similar to the 400 damage of a fullburst.
In reality you will be hard pressed to find a scenario where your pokes do 70 damage each but I like this just because you can calculate more easily than going for 40% or 45%. A 50% is just halving the numbers and this is a measure of the optimal conditions for melee.
Since we are comparing raw with raw and both values are applied the same multiplier there is no difference about which one will be best.
This reduction only serves to expose that we may argue a lot about X being better than Y but at the end of the day, the difference is a 1 or 2 percent and you could use either and finish your hunts in virtually the same time.
By example here, white sharpness will only increase your total dps by a 12.5%
And the opposite also applies. If your white weapon drops to green, you are missing a huge amount of damage.
Even shelling damage will be diminished if drops to orange.
Because this, the most important raw skills in the game for gunlance are protective polish or razor sharp.
With three level 1 slots you can get grinder 3 that goes very very well with protective polish.
The general rule is that the smaller your best sharpness is, the best protective polish becomes.
Razor sharp is better suited for long chunks of your best sharpness or if you focus on shelling where anything yellow or better is good.
Razor Sharp main advantage is the synergy with guard edge. If you guard edge often you will never have to waste time sharpening your weapon.
Wirebug whisperer has a huge synergy here since more frequent guard edge means more sharpness recovered that is slowed down by razor, you are basically double the sharpness gain by guard edge.
With protective polish, sooner or later you will have to grind your gunlance. Seems worse but when one or two fullbursts will drop your sharpness to green even with razor sharp, protective polish gets the edge.
High sharpness enters in conflict with the bludgeoner skill. Bludgeoner only gives you a 5% dps increase (I will apply the 50% discount to raw attack from now on) for three skill points. The only place where it makes sense to use is if your weapon has not natural blue sharpness.
If it has a little bit.
Then avoid it at any cost and use protective polish instead.
After sharpness, the second biggest damage increase you will get is weakness exploit with a 6.25% damage increase in weapons with 0 starting affinity that is almost always the case.
Of course this requires you to hit high value hitzones but that is a big no requirement because if you are doing melee, you are hitting these.
I would also like to talk about mind`s eye 30% extra attack being the opposite of weakness exploit.
Most apex and elder dragon only trigger Weakness Exploit in the head with a 50 hitzone.
If you use mind eye in a low hitzone bumps the damage a whole 30%, a 40% zone works like a 52% one (Note: Sharpness affects when the effect gets activated). Basically can make hitting a leg better than hitting the head and makes hitting anything else better.
Mind’s eye is a perfect match for gunlance fixed damage.
Attack Boost 7 damage increase is relative to the weapon but is always around the 7-8% dps increase.
Critical Eye 7 is only a 5% by itself.
The cost of 7 skill points is deceitful because armor always comes with two or three points of these they are worth when you get them through armor and utter trash as decorations. Don’t waste your decorations here beyond the final one or two points that offer the biggest increase.
By example, the Kaiser helm comes with critical eye 3 and critical boost 1, these are a nice capstone to Rakna gunlance that has 75% affinity with Weakness Exploit.
Critical Boost is a 6% when you have a 100% chance to critical hit. It is only a 3% at 50%
90% affinity is a good point to stop investing skills at all.
Gunlance has a low rate of attack, you more or less will do like 20 pokes in a minute. A 90% means that only one or two pokes will not crit. Assuming they do like 30 less damage each, is like 60 lost damage every minute. That is less than a shell damage! Even if you poked 30 times the difference would be under 100 damage.
And finally, there is Offensive Guard being a 7.5% but with an activation requirement.
You only can trigger Offensive guard in a meaningful way with guard reload and guard edge.
You aren’t getting that bonus all the time and do nothing to wyrmstake than is the common follow up from a guard edge. So its effective dps increase a little lower
The only remaining raw attack skills are conditional skills are agitator, heroics, latent power, maximum might, peak performance and counter strike.
It is hard to evaluate their usefulness in a vacuum.
I have certain fondness of counter strike because of the easy activation and great power in low raw gunlances. In a 170 gunlance is a 7% dps increase and getting hit is not a big deal with enough defense and firewall. The duration is also extensive.
All these like offensive guard are good capstone skills after you got your sharpness and weakness exploit going and you only have three slots to fill.
Elemental damage's biggest draw is that it is not affected by the attack movement.
Pokes in gunlance are notoriously bad, absolutely terrible with 24MV
This is intended because the poke shell mechanic that basically adds your shelling damage to your pokes for free when you master the timing.
Because this, every single point of raw you use to poke gets divided two times. In a 60% hitzone that is the best you normally find, each raw point is only a 14% while element only gets affected by the element hitzone.
This means that in a 15% element hitzone every point of element is just as good as each point of raw in a 60% raw hitzone adjusting for the better sharpness mod in raw (green to blue in elemental is only a 6.5% element increase).
And in a 25% hitzone each element point is worth a 66% more.
If you are attacking a monster weak to your element you can basically add your element value to your damage. A 160 raw weapon with 50 elements suddenly becomes equivalent to a 210 raw weapon.
Note that you should only do this after you have included affinity and critical damage with your effective raw because elemental damage can’t crit without the skill.
Elemental attack skill advantage is that they use level 1 slots and you can get plenty of those easily. Five points increases your elemental damage by 20%.
It is almost free extra damage, don’t make it go to waste.
Finally, I should talk about the stacking.
Affinity increases are always additive. 50% from weakness exploit and 40% from crit eye are 90%
Attack is also additive.
And everything else is multiplicative with every other bonus.
In general you want multiplicative bonuses because they all improve each other and the best your weapon is, the more damage they increase.
For example, Weakness exploit combined with offensive guard will give you almost a 14.2% dps increase that is far better than the 11.25% that would be Weakness Exploit plus Critical eye.
Putting all this together, the damage priority goes:
First Priority, should be always picked if possible:
Green to White: 12.5% average damage increase. Cost 5 to 7 skill points.
Green to Blue: 7% average damage increase. Cost 4 to 6 skill points.
Weakness exploit: 6.25% average damage increase. 3 skill points.
Second Priority, Safe constant reliable damage if can be activated:
Attack Boost: 7 to 8% average damage increase. Costs 7 points.
Critical eye: up to 5% average damage increase. Costs 7 points.
Bludgeoner: 5% average damage increase. Costs 3 points. Incompatible with blue sharpness or better.
Critical boost: from 3 to 6% average damage increase. Only pick it if you have close to 100% affinity.
The high conditional skills. They have a great impact in combat if you can keep them in use.
Offensive guard: 7.5% average damage increase. Cost 3.
CounterStrike: from 5 to 7% average damage increase. Cost 3.
Mind’s eye: 15% average damage increase but only in already low damage hitzones. Can activate at 44% if your weapon has green sharpness. Costs 3 points. Incompatible with weakness exploit. You are also giving up the highest damage possible using this.
Peak performance, agitator, latent power, etc. Damage increases from 5 to 9% but with annoying conditions to meet. Usually only taken when they are free in an armor or charm.
With this in mind, your first six points in any build will be protective polish or razor sharp and weakness exploit or mind eye depending if the monster’s hitzone are good or not.
Then, you should see if you can add some handicraft to reach white or blue. If you are staying in green, add bludgeoner.
And finally go for one of critical eye + critical boost or offensive guard or counter strike.
And I doubt you will have by now any more spare room for more damage without the additive effects watering it down.
At that point, you are going to get more damage from wirebug whisperer allowing you to guard edge into wyrmstake more or guard removing the pushback of some attacks.
The continuation of this
video post ill be the list of armor worth crafting given the current situation in update 2.0
- Crit Element vs Critical Boost vs Attack Boost on DBs
- Elemental Damage Calculation in Iceborne
- Great Sword Weapon Analysis
More about Monster Hunter WorldPost: "Gunlance DPS Optimization Guide." specifically for the game Monster Hunter World. Other useful information about this game:
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