Precision Damage is the damage dealt by an attack to an adversary's weak spot. The event of damaging such a weak spot with an attack is called a Precision Hit, and kills in which the last attack required to bring the adversary's health down to 0 dealt precision damage are called Precision Kills.
Some sources use the phrase Critical Damage - though this term is meant to mean the same thing as Precision Damage, the connotations of the word "critical" in an MMO context (e.g. random crit systems) are not applicable to Destiny 2's added-damage mechanic, making Precision Damage the more suitable descriptor of the concept.
- 1 Precision Hits
- 2 Precision Multiplier
Sources of damage (player-held Weapons, Class and Subclass abilities, Vehicles and their weapons, and temporary weapons) can inflict Precision Hits (and thus deal Precision Damage) when they hit an enemy on an exposed weak spot. However, though many damage sources can land Precision Hits, some sources do not give visual feedback (i.e. yellow damage numbers) when they occur - this is usually the case for explosive damage sources, which generally land both normal and Precision Hits simultaneously and thus are balanced with this in mind.
Weak Spot Exposure
Most PvE Enemies have at least one weak spot (usually the head for humanoids and the "eye" for non-humanoid robots). Shanks, Exploder Shanks and Tracer Shanks (as well as all destructible inanimate objects) do not have any weak spots, so it is impossible to deal Precision Damage to these enemies (and objects).
It is only possible to deal Precision Damage if it is possible to deal non-zero damage. Thus, it is impossible to deal Precision Damage to enemies that are immune to your source of damage, whether due to an encounter-specific immunity shield (usually white in color), an enemy-specific shielding effect (e.g. Hobgoblin's reactive shield or Taken Goblin's shield-channel) or another source of temporary immunity (e.g. certain bosses are immune during phase transitions in order to ensure that encounters work as designed).
Attacks must hit a weak spot directly (or with splash damage for explosive attacks) in order to deal Precision Damage - any sort of barrier protecting a weak spot will prevent Precision Hits from occurring. Elemental bubble shields, deployed shields, terrain, and non-weak parts of enemies all count as barriers for the purposes of preventing Precision Hits.
Precision Damage Visibility
Many player-held Weapons are capable of dealing visible Precision Damage, but there are quite a few that do not have the capacity. The following weapon types deal visible Precision Damage (i.e. can produce yellow numbers in normal circumstances):
- Auto Rifles
- Pulse Rifles
- Scout Rifles
- Submachine Guns
- Hand Cannons
- Sniper Rifles
- Linear Fusion Rifles
- Trace Rifles
The following weapon types, though they do deal Precision Damage, do not display it as such:
Class and Subclass Abilities
Vehicles and Vehicle-Mounted Weapons
Physics-based attacks (including, but not limited to, running over an adversary using a vehicle) and death explosions are not able to deal Precision Damage.
The following vehicle-mounted weapons are able to deal visible Precision Damage:
The following vehicle-mounted weapons, though they likely deal Precision Damage, do not display it as such:
- Heavy Pike Bouncing Bomb (?)
- Drake Cannon and Missiles (?)
- Interceptor Grenade Launchers (confirmed)
The following "temporary weapons" are not able to deal Precision Damage at all:
- Elemental charges and their variants
The following temporary weapons are able to deal visible Precision Damage:
- Scorch Cannon
The following temporary weapons have not yet been tested to see whether they deal visible Precision Damage:
- Prism Weapon
- Vex Cranium
When a Precision Hit occurs, Precision Damage, usually shown in yellow numbers, is dealt to the enemy. However, yellow numbers are not always indicative of Precision Damage.
- Precision Hits made by the indirect components of explosive attacks show their damage in white numbers rather than yellow numbers due to the damage usually being much smaller than normal damage.
- All damage dealt to enemies weakened by Shadowshot tethers, even if comes from hits on non-weak spots(?), is shown in yellow numbers to indicate that the tethers are causing the enemies to take more damage than usual.
The magnitude of Precision Damage scales with the magnitude of normal damage. In order to factor out the effects of normal damage magnitude on Precision Damage, Precision Damage magnitude is represented as a multiplier rather than as a quantity, allowing for convenient calculation of Precision Damage in a wide variety of scenarios.
The multiplier representing Precision Damage magnitude for a given damage source is called its Precision Multiplier. This multiplier only applies its stated effect when the damage source lands Precision Hits on non-Normal Enemies or enemy players in PvP activities - on Normal Enemies, the Precision Multiplier is instead applied at 200% effectiveness (e.g. a weapon with a 1.5x Precision Multiplier against players in Crucible has a 3.0x Precision Multiplier against Normal PvE threats).
- Exception 1: Against the weak points of Heavy Shanks, Precision Multiplier is applied at 400% effectiveness on Normal versions and at 200% effectiveness on non-Normal versions (i.e. Heavy Shanks take double Precision Damage compared to other enemies of the same toughness).
- Exception 2: Humanoid Cabal enemies seem to take more Precision Damage than expected from Precision Hits on their rear vent weak spot.
Weapon Precision Multipliers
Precision multipliers for weapons depend primarily on weapon type and secondarily on their PvP archetype (which is usually related to their Intrinsic Weapon Perk). Certain Weapon Perks, primarily Exotic weapons, are partially accounted for below. Weapon Frame multipliers are current as of Patch 220.127.116.11.
Visible Precision Multipliers
|Auto Rifle Archetype||Adaptive||High-Impact||Precision||Rapid-Fire||Lightweight|
|Pulse Rifle Archetype||Adaptive||High-Impact||Lightweight||Rapid-Fire|
|Scout Rifle Archetype||High-Impact||Lightweight||Precision||VEIST Rapid-Fire|
|Hand Cannon Archetype||Adaptive||Aggressive||Lightweight||Precision|
|Sidearm Archetype||Adaptive||Lightweight||Omolon Adaptive||Precision||SUROS Rapid-Fire|
|Submachine Gun Archetype||Adaptive||Lightweight||Precision|
|Sniper Rifle Archetype||Adaptive||Aggressive||Rapid-Fire|
|Shotgun Archetype||Aggressive||Lightweight||SUROS Precision||Rapid-Fire|
|Linear Fusion Rifle Archetype||Precision||Sleeper Simulant|
- Trace Rifles: 1.4x
Non-Visible Precision Multipliers
- Non-Linear Fusion Rifles: 1.0x
Other Precision Multipliers
Visible Precision Multipliers
- Knife-Juggler: 1.3x
- Golden Gun with Crowd-Pleaser: 2.0x
- Pike Repeater: 1.0x
- Heavy Pike Repeater: 0.6x
Non-Visible Precision Multipliers
- Interceptor Grenade Launcher: ~0.167x