I often find cool items that provide melee damage bonuses, e.g. +50% melee damage.

I'd like to know the base of the melee damage calculations, "+50%" of what?

It is easy to find this information on guns, it is written in their specifications, but where can I find this information about melee attacks?

  • You know, considering I play as a melee-heavy Zer0 I don't know why I haven't thought of this question myself :/ +1
    – Alex
    Jan 17, 2013 at 17:05
  • I'm in the exact same situation ;)
    – Anto
    Jan 17, 2013 at 17:07
  • 1
    Damn, those 3 upvotes should be mine! MINE, I SAY!
    – Alex
    Jan 17, 2013 at 17:08
  • <3
    – Anto
    Jan 17, 2013 at 17:10

1 Answer 1


The exact formua is as follows (from the borderlands wiki):

All characters' base melee damage equals 20 × 1.13L, where L is the character's level. Thus, level 1 melee damage equals 22.6, and level 50 melee damage equals about 9014.7.

However that's not the whole story; it's changed by your buffs (and not all buffs seem to stack), badass rank, skills, etc. So the easiest way to find how much damage you do with your buffs is to go punch something. Melee damage is based on your level, and then increased/decreased based on the distance between your level and the enemy's level. Unfortunately I think Target Practice might be too far away to melee. You can melee Claptrap's hand if you can get him to High Five (it shows as a conversation option, which unlocks eventually), but I'm not sure how claptrap's level scales.

Probably the safest way to test melee damage is to find a bandit exactly your level and punch him in the chest, then watch the number that comes off. Hit an unarmored, even level target for the clearest idea of your base damage. Hitting resistant parts of an enemy ("armored" parts like helmets) does reduced damage, so try to hit something unarmored like the common Psycho.

  • You sure about that level difference being real? I seem to recall that didn't exist. Or perhaps you don't do extra damage to lower level enemies. (Only lower damage to higher level enemies). Not sure.
    – Ids
    Jan 17, 2013 at 20:38
  • @Ids Yes I'm sure
    – Ben Brocka
    Jan 17, 2013 at 20:40
  • 1
    Yeah, in the comments of that one smart person says: It only works one way. You only do lower damage to higher level enemies.
    – Ids
    Jan 18, 2013 at 20:55
  • +1 for the easy way to test it. Brick would definitely approve. "I PUNCH the math!"
    – rosuav
    Aug 8, 2018 at 22:28

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