The Let's Play Archive

Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight

by Ragnar Homsar, Dr. Fetus

Part 160: Buff and Debuff Stacking

Game Mechanics: Buff Stacking Diminishing Returns

This is going to a very short mechanics post, but it's an important one.

In previous EO games, while the player usually had access to a pretty wide variety of buffs from classes like Troubadours or Sovereigns, the meta was (barring EO1, where Defender + Immunize reigned supreme) to just stack as many attack buffs as possible, especially in EO3 thanks to how good Berserker Vow was. Accordingly, in EO2U, Atlus finally changed the buff system to massively nerf party attack up + enemy defense down buff/debuff stacking.

The gist of the nerf is that buffs and debuffs that give the same effect become less effective if there are already effects of the same type in play. As an example, let's assume that the following actions are taken during a battle against one enemy:

1) A Troubadour casts Warrior Song (ATK Up) on the party.
2) A Sovereign casts Attack Order (ATK Up) on the front row.
3) A Hexer casts Frailty Curse (DEF Down) on the enemy.
4) A Dark Hunter casts Snake Eyes (DEF Down) on the enemy.

Now, let's assume someone in the front row attacks the enemy. This is how effective each modifier becomes, if we assume they are all level 10:

Warrior Song: 100% effect (outgoing damage from player character increased by 30%)
Attack Order: 60% effect (outgoing damage from player character increased by 18%)
Frailty Curse: 20% effect (incoming damage to enemy increased by 6%)
Snake Eyes: 0% effect

The end result is that all those modifiers only increase damage from that party member to the enemy by 62%, instead of the 119% it would've been in previous games. To put it another way, two modifiers (Attack Order and Frailty Curse in that scenario) have less total effect than just one.

Now, what if someone in the back row were to attack? They don't have Attack Order, so the effect would become this (assuming Snake Eyes only does its normal amplification, and not the bonus):

Warrior Song: 100% effect (outgoing damage from player character increased by 30%)
Frailty Curse: 60% effect (incoming damage to enemy increased by 18%)
Snake Eyes: 20% effect (incoming damage to enemy increased by 6%)

The end result is the same as above, since damage modifiers in EO2U are all pretty standardized--usually a 30% damage boost at level 10 without diminishing returns.

I should note that if two modifiers of the same type provide different boosts/reductions, the modifier that would provide the bigger increase/decrease is prioritized for 100% effect (or whatever's the highest possible) over the other.

So what's the major takeaway from all of this? Well, two major things:

And, for reference, here's a list of buff/debuff types that the diminishing returns system applies to, and what player skills count as each:

Party ATK Up/Enemy DEF Down:

Notes: Even if a modifier only changes one type of damage (physical elemental), it falls under this category. This caveat applies to Medical Rod, Compression, Vital Shut, and Mind Shut. The Troubadour's Fire, Ice, and Volt Preludes do NOT fall under this category, even though they do buff all outgoing damage from the buff owner! As such, for example, a level 10 Warrior Song (30% increase) and level 10 Ice Prelude (28% increase) buff outgoing damage by 66%. Likewise, the Troubador's Fantasias, which increase the party's resistance to an element and reduce all enemies' resistance to that element, also do not fall under this category.

Party DEF Up/Enemy ATK Down:

Notes: The same caveat about physical/elemental only modifiers applies here.

Party Evasion Up/Enemy Accuracy Down:

Party Hit Rate Up/Enemy Evasion Down: