Dark Souls 2 can be quite confusing especially with all the math done behind the scenes; however, after spending a day at Blacksmith Mcduff I have found some interesting scaling mechanics. If you are looking for the materials required to fully upgrade or infuse a weapon you should check out the Dark Souls 2 weapon upgrade guide.
For every level you upgrade a standard weapon in Dark Souls 2 your weapon will gain 10% of the original base damage per level.
The shortsword has 100 base damage. 10% of 100 base damage is 10 damage per level.
+1 Shortsword: 110 base damage
+2:Shortsword 120 base damage
+3 Shortsword: 130 base damage
+4 Shortsword: 140 base damage
+5 Shortsword: 150 base damage
+6 Shortsword: 160 base damage
+7 Shortsword: 170 base damage
+8 Shortsword: 180 base damage
+9 Shortsword: 190 base damage
+10 Shortsword: 200 base damage
If a weapon has an innate elemental stat the rule still applies to the physical damage, but an unique-per-weapon-percentage is added to the elemental damage of the weapon per level.
Twinkling Titanite weapons
Some weapons only go up to +5 and are upgraded with Twinkling Titanite. These weapons follow the same rules as the +10 weapons, but get cut-off earlier. This is why unupgraded +5 weapons have higher base damage, than unupgraded weapons that go up to +10.
The Drangleic Sword has 186 base damage. 10% of 186 base damage is 18.6 damage per level
+1 Drangleic Sword: 204 base damage
+2 Drangleic Sword: 222 base damage
+3 Drangleic Sword: 240 base damage
+4 Drangleic Sword: 258 base damage
+5 Drangleic Sword: 280 base damage (It makes a higher jump here, because the game did not factor in the 0.6 for the other levels).
Boss weapons are weapons made from boss souls and they are upgraded with Petrified Dragonbones.
For every level you upgrade a boss weapon in Dark Souls 2 your weapon will gain 30% of the original base damage per level.
The Pursuers Ultra Greatsword has 156 base damage. 30% of 156 base damage is 46.8 damage per level.
+1 Pursuers Ultra Greatsword: 202 base damage
+2:Pursuers Ultra Greatsword 249 base damage
+3 Pursuers Ultra Greatsword: 296 base damage
+4 Pursuers Ultra Greatsword: 343 base damage
+5 Pursuers Ultra Greatsword: 390 base damage
If a boss weapon has an innate elemental stat the rule still applies to the physical damage, but an unique-per-weapon-percentage is added to the elemental damage of the weapon per level.
When you infuse a weapon you allow the weapon to deal another source of damage or status effect. The first thing that will happen is the base damage already available on the weapon will be lowered to 70% of its original value, and an elemental stat will be added that is also equal to 70% of the original base damage.
For example, the shortsword has 100 physical base damage unupgraded.
We decide to infuse the shortsword with lightning, which will lower the physical base damage to 70%. 100*0.7= 70 physical damage
To determine how much fire base damage we will receive we take 70% of the base damage originally present on the weapon before infusing. 100*0.7= 70 fire damage
So we end up with a Fire Shortsword with 70/70
The aditional damage gained from stat scaling is reduced when you infuse a weapon, and not just loss of the scaling letter grade rank.(S/A/B/C/D/E)
The +10 Blacksteel Katana has an S scaling on Dexterity which nets it +160 aditional physical damage at 40 Dexterity.
The +10 Fire Blacksteel Katana has an S scaling on Dexterity which nets it +82 additional physical damage at 40 Dexterity
The Dark Silverblack Sickle receives +136 additional Dark damage from its B scaling on Dark with 30 intellect and faith;
The Dark Great Scythe receives +48 additional damage from its B scaling on Dark with 30 intellect and faith.
As you can see in the examples the weapons have the exact same letter grade in scaling, yet the bonus damage gained from your stats differs immensely. This leads me to believe that infusing a weapon with a new element causes a percentage based penalty to aditional damage from stat scalings.
Noteworthy is that the Dark Roaring Halberd that also came with an original dark scaling has a +104 additional dark damage with just a C scaling, which is lower than the B scaling on a Dark Scythe, yet seems to yield more damage from the Dark BNS.
Does this mean you should always infuse an element present on the weapon? No. You can play around with Mundane by leveling everything equally, you can hit just base requirements and go raw, or you can upgrade your Blacksteel Katana to Fire and use the Pyromancy weapon buff. Although resins cannot be used on infused weapons, spell buffs can.
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