I've got a Monowire and it's cool as hell. Who wouldn't want to run around with a laser whip-cum-garrote.

But I don't really understand how to properly get the most out of this weapon. Its range is inscrutable to me, the damage seems to vary wildly, sometimes it's lethal and severs limbs and heads with abandon, other times I defeat enemies and they're writhing on the floor "unconscious" as though I did a non-lethal takedown, and perhaps most importantly, I cannot for the life of me figure out what stats, skills and perks support using this thing well.

So what am I missing here, beyond simply target enemy -> press attack button in order to get more out of my wrist-mounted laser whips?

  • I think they gain charges when equipped but not used. So keeping them stored for a while before use should make them more lethal. The element chosen also affects the outcome, such as chemical causing poison and physical increasing limb detachment chance
    – Neon1024
    Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 14:45
  • 2
    That text from the description is a bit misleading. There’s a (very faint) charge indicator on screen when it’s equipped, and it starts at 100 when you take the wire out, and recharges while you aren’t attacking - it basically ends up being a second stamina bar. BUT I have seen no impact on my damage if I just attack at 0 charge versus attacking at full charge, sooooooooo Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 18:03
  • From what I've seen discussed elsewhere, it's actually considered a blunt weapon so scales with strength. Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 10:31

1 Answer 1


The monowire is a melee weapon with a charge meter that provides bonus damage that depletes as you attack. It can can be used for both a simple attack (pressing the fire button) and a strong attack (holding the fire button and releasing when ready to attack). A simple attack will swipe across the screen in a frontal cone, hitting all enemies in its path while the strong attack will whip the monowire forwards and do a double attack on the enemy you're aiming at. In testing both of these attacks seemed to randomly miss one of the attacks quite frequently even when it looked like they shouldn't. Both of these attack modes are very close range.

The charge level acts a lot like the stamina meter but is not impacted by any of the traits that reduce stamina cost or increase stamina regeneration (including the ones in the Street Brawler perk tree). Each attack uses some of the charge level - a simple attack will use up to 20% of the remaining charge while a strong attack will use all remaining charge. The charge meter will begin recharging after a moment of not attacking.

Attacking with no charge still causes damage, but without any bonus damage component. As such the monowire works particularly well at 100% charge from stealth on an unaware enemy with the appropriate perks selected to increase damage from stealth.

The current charge level is shown on screen next to the reticle.

Charge meter for Monowire

Monowire gains a +3 damage increase per "Cool" attribute level and 1.5% damage increase per "Body" level. It is unintuitively classified as a blunt melee weapon in terms of the damage it does but this does mean that it gains bonuses from the Street Brawler perk tree - in particular Flurry, Frenzy and Crushing Blows will give quite the damage increase. You can also capitalise on the stun based perks in the Street Brawler perk tree to give you a chance to stun enemies when you attack and in turn do more damage to stunned enemies. Monowire also benefits from other perks that impact melee damage, such as Blood Brawl under the Cold Blooded tree. Neutralising enemies with the monowire will level up the Street Brawler perk tree.

Monowire also synergises well with the Beserker cyberware, which in turn can be augmented by using the Beast Mode mod to further increase damage while Beserker is active. Monowire can be further boosted with cyberware mods - adding a high capacity monowire battery will increase monowire damage by a further 50% and sensory amplifiers will increase your critical strike chance and damage.

The reason why you're probably dismembering some enemies while only incapacitating others is probably down to the wild variance in enemy strength you can find just by walking around - especially before you're level 40 or so it's entirely possible to have a side mission that is easy enough for you to kill everything effortlessly surrounded by a number of other missions that are 10 levels higher than the mission you just did. It's also possible it's simply down to buffs - the Street Brawler tree provides many temporary buffs (such as temporary damage increases on kill) that would increase your damage output over the duration of combat if you're chaining multiple kills together.

  • I’m experiencing the aforementioned wild variance even within encounters, and with no points in street brawler, so that doesn’t seem to explain what’s going on, though that’s certainly helpful information for actually building around it! Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 14:59
  • Also, “tech weapon style charge” does not seem to be accurate; from what I’ve seen, it’s just strong/weak attack when I press versus hold the button. There is a charge meter, as I noted in the comment in response to David above, but it mostly feels like a redundant second fatigue meter in terms of its functionality. Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 15:02
  • @LessPop_MoreFizz if you're still reasonable low level for the city region you're in, if you look at the map you may find the mission you're doing is "moderate" but everything around it is harder. This is especially relevant with certain missions if you pick them up early (like Claires, or the Peralez mission for example) because you'll go to the area and those missions will be moderate but all of the NCPD missions immediately outside will one shot you.
    – kalina
    Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 16:19
  • As for monowire testing. I hate the monowire. It seems like another major casualty of the game being released early and just being shoehorned into part of the skill tree that worked. Mantis Blades have been the only arm augment I've had any fun with.
    – kalina
    Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 16:27
  • I understand that, but I experienced the sort of damage dropoffs I’m describing in contained encounters where that’s not possible; for example, inside of the All Foods plant. Yeah Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 3:51

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