Damage Scaling

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Damage scaling is a mechanic introduced in The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth to provide a more challenging experience to the players, enabling some enemies to retaliate against high damage attacks by deploying an "armor" of a sort. The more damage dealt to such an enemy in a short period of time, the more it gets reduced, offering an approach to keep the fight challenging and the difficulty high.

Overview[edit | edit source]

The armor is based on 4 different criteria: how much base HP the entity has, how much damage it has taken in the last 4 seconds (120 game logic frames), how effective its armor is (every entity has its unique value) and how deployed said armor is (from 0 to 120).

Every entity in the game is predisposed to make use of this mechanic: in fact, every entity sports an "armor deployment status" counter and an "armor value" field, but only 5 use it.

How damage scaling works[edit | edit source]

When an "armor enabled" entity spawns, it'll increase its "armor deployment" each game logic frame going from 0 (no armor) to 120 (fully deployed), and use this value to compute a static degree of damage reduction. The entity keeps track of how much unmodified damage it has taken in the past 4 seconds, which combined with the static degree, the entity's HP and armor effectiveness results in a multiplier to the actual damage dealt.

Overall the formula results in slow, high-powered attacks being being less effective than rapid, lower damage ones; the more damage sources put to work, the faster the entity's HP will go down, regardless of the raw amount of damage.

Entities and Their Armor Values[edit | edit source]

Currently the game enables the armor for 5 different entities, one of which is only partial:

Entity HP Armor
Hush (first phase) 1,000 20
Hush (second phase) 6,666 160
Ultra Greed 3,500 85
Ultra Greedier 2,500 85
Delirium 10,000 (see below)

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • Delirium only has armor while assuming the form of random bosses. Its armor will start from 0 and increase with every damage taken while in "minion form" - once taking the shape of its true form, it won't have any. Its armor only protects its alternate forms.
  • The armor is always actively updated, not only when the entity is taking damage. This makes it possible for the reduction multiplier to actually go above 1.0 after a period of not being hit, making the first attack after such a pause deal more damage than would be done without armor.
  • It is possible to apply the armor effect to any entity using cheating/modding tools: see this video for an example and a visual representation of how the armor works.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Despite the armor attempting to balance damage dealt and keep fights challenging, it's very possible to overwhelm the mechanic and destroy even strong armored enemies like Hush in one shot.
  • Midas' Touch Midas' Touch will lessen Ultra Greed's armor effectiveness by 25%.

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