Damage in the game is categorized into three primary types: physical, magical, and unique.
In Patch 6.3, a UI option was added to allow players to view the type of damage they were hit by.
Physical damage includes most player weaponskill actions. Most (but not all) enemy auto-attacks are physical, along with many enemy actions.
Physical damage taken can be reduced by the Melee DPS role action Feint (which also reduces magical damage to a lesser degree), along with other actions that reduce damage from all types. Only physical damage can be parried.
Magical damage includes player spell actions and many enemy actions.
Magical damage taken can be reduced by the Magical Ranged DPS role action Addle (which also reduces physical damage to a lesser degree), the Gunbreaker ability Heart of Light, the Dark Knight abilities Dark Missionary and Dark Mind, the Scholar ability Fey Illumination, and the Red Mage ability Magick Barrier, along with other actions that reduce damage from all types.
Unique damage, sometimes referred to as darkness damage by players, includes some miscellaneous enemy actions and instant-kill damage (e.g., enrage actions or death walls). Unique damage cannot be mitigated by actions that affect only physical or magical damage, although some sources of unique damage can be mitigated by actions that reduce all damage taken. Unique damage often also bypasses effects that normally prevent damage entirely (such as Hallowed Ground and similar tank job abilities, as well as Transcendent from Resurrection spells).
Damage can also be categorized into other types such as elemental (fire, ice, lightning, water, wind, earth, dark, light) and physical sub-types (slashing, piercing, blunt). These are usually specific to particular duties.
Often, players will encounter debuffs that will increase damage taken from a certain primary type, element or physical sub-type (e.g., Fire Resistance Down). These are commonly used to enforce ways of handling particular mechanics.
- This is most commonly seen in "spread" mechanics, in which each player is targeted by an AoE that inflicts a damage vulnerability debuff for a short time, making overlap with other players lethal.
- For example, a mechanic may require players to soak an attack that inflicts Fire Resistance Down. Players with that debuff would take lethal damage if they attempt to soak the attack, requiring someone without the debuff to handle it.
- In another example, a "tankbuster" attack inflicts Physical Vulnerability Up on the target. The other tank can Provoke the boss to prevent the original target from dying to the boss's subsequent auto-attacks due to the debuff.
Some mechanics also use these types in the opposite direction instead, providing some means for players to obtain buffs that massively increase their resistance against powerful and unavoidable attacks. For example, a puddle of water may be used to mitigate fire-based attacks.
Many action tooltips will indicate the element of an attack (e.g., "Deals fire damage with a potency of XXX"). These can generally be ignored. (The main exception is the Astral Fire and Umbral Ice job mechanic for Thaumaturge / Black Mage, which only affect fire and ice spells, respectively.) Innate elemental resistance is not a factor in combat. For example, a Bomb will not take reduced damage or absorb damage from Fire. It will also not take increased damage from Blizzard. Innate elemental and physical sub-type affinity is only relevant in the Masked Carnivale, and only Blue Mage has any actions that affect or interact with specific sub-type resistances. Elemental affinity also plays a key role in The Forbidden Land, Eureka, although it is based on the player's Magia Board and not influenced by the element in an action tooltip.