Cyberpunk 2077 Combat Strategy #1: Status Effects and Damage Types Guide
Alright, investing time leveling your character's Attribute and Skill tree is a big part of RPG fun. But, really? Status Effects? Well, something like Status Effects and Damage Types could just be the reason why your new shiny katana with high DPS and Thermal damage isn't performing as well as you expected it to -- at least when you are going against Valentino gangsters. They can also explain why your V seems to be knocked down and on fire more often than you would want, constantly eating up your health points.
In other words, Status Effects and Damage Types can make a big difference for your DPS and defense. They could save you some extra ammo, MaxDoc charges, RAM, and last save re-loads.
Something as simple as changing the Damage Type of your gun or melee weapon could make exploring a district or completing a local quest significantly easier. Or, maybe you are just tired of being Shocked, Poisoned, Bleeding, and on fire? Filling out your integumentary and immune Cyberware slots will make you immune to all of these effects and more. That's what we are here to walk you through.
And, goodness forbid, we aren't about to drag you by the ankles into the swamp of overwhelming Excel sheet data. If you really just want to be aware of what to generally look for in Cyberpunk 2077 to improve your combat experience, you can glance over bullet-point summaries we have prepared for you inside each section and check out orange-colored sections in particular. Anything you might want to learn more about we will cover in more depth and offer a few simple lists you can reference as you continue playing.
You can use this guide as your ultimate Smart Combat Reference for how to improve your damage and defend against your better-equipped opponents.
Now, let's begin!
All Damage Types
In Cyberpunk 2077, both V and all of their opponents have 5 Damage Types, which they can be resistant or weak to, and which they can inflict in combat.
These Damage Types are:
- Physical (no visual representation, standard type of damage)
- Thermal (fire icon, dealt by heat and fire)
- Chemical (skull icon, dealt by toxic substances)
- Electrical (lightning icon, shock damage)
- Hacking (binary icon, RAM cost modifier for quickhacking)
See the section "How Can I Defend Against Damage Types and Status Effects?" for ways of gaining resistance or immunity against these Damage Types.
Dealing Different Damage Types: Quickhacking will be a great tool against opponents susceptible to Hacking. Meanwhile, many of the weapons you will buy or find will deal one of the 4 remaining Damage Types, with Physical being the most common type.
Several of the Unique Weapons you find will truly exploit a certain damage type with higher damage, additional Status Effects, or related debuffs. Consider Second Opinion, for example: not only will this Nue gun deal electrical damage, but it will shoot one additional projectile per shot and have a chance to apply Shock.
You can equip Cyberware mods for your cyberarms (for example, Gorilla Arms' various Knuckles) to deal a specific Damage Type.
Other special types of damage in Cyberpunk 2077 are Fall Damage (counteract with something like "Plume" clothing mod), Explosion Damage ("Boom-Breaker" clothing mod can reduce that damage), and Headshot Damage (different firearms will come with different Headshot Damage multipliers, can be improved with Kiroshi Optics mod, "Trajectory Analysis").
How Do I Check My Opponent's Strengths and Weaknesses?
Using your optical scanner on any enemy will bring up a Data tab. In this panel you will see the weapon type they have equipped, level assessment (think twice before fighting enemies with red skull icons!), the NCPD reward for neutralizing the target, and abilities. The strengths and weaknesses will be at the bottom.
"Weak to:" will have a green color, followed by Damage Type icons that your opponent will receive extra damage from, defined by a percentage value. It will also show the RAM cost reduction if your opponent is weak against hacking assaults.
"Resistant to:" will have a red color, followed by Damage Type icons that your opponent will receive reduced damage from, defined by a percentage value. It will also show the RAM cost increase if your opponent is resistant to hacking assaults. Netrunners will generally be a rank higher in Hacking resistance than their fellow gang members.
Gangs and Corpos in Cyberpunk 2077 tend to share damage types which they are resistant or weak against. We will discuss this in the section titled "Strengths and Weaknesses of Enemy Factions" below.
This goes without saying: for best results try to use weapons that deal the Damage Type your opponents are weak to and beware of their resistances.
Other Benefits of Scanning Enemies
Just like mentioned above, there are a few bits of information you can learn about your opponent via a quickscan, which can help you decide what weapon to pull out first.
The weapon type your opponent is wielding may change when you come into close range or create some distance, but it's a fair assessment of what your enemy will be doing in the first few seconds. You can sink extra bullets into a melee wielder by honing your ranged precision while dilating time with Sandevistan cyberware.
Enemy abilities are useful to know, but you will not see many of them on your scanner, like an enemy's Berserk or Sandevistan, or their Making Ink that could deflect Smart weapon projectiles. In the majority of the cases their abilities should not reduce your quickhack debuffs or DPS substantially.
The most useful bit of knowledge is the faction affiliation of the group you are facing: they tend to share strengths and weaknesses, which is great for picking your weapon Damage Type and general approach before charging in. Check out our list of "Strengths and Weaknesses of Enemy Factions" in the section below.
Strengths and Weaknesses of Enemy Factions
(The list was adapted, with some changes, from Cyberpunk 2077 – The Complete Official Guide by Piggyback.)
Note: Netrunners will generally be a rank higher in Hacking resistance than their fellow faction members.
Overall Faction Breakdown
- 6th Street: Weak against Chemical. Very Weak against Hacking.
- Aldecaldos: Can deal Thermal. | Weak against Chemical, Hacking.
- Animals: Strong against Chemical. | Weak against Thermal, Electrical, Hacking.
- Arasaka: Can deal Electrical, Hacking.
- Kang Tao: Can deal Electrical. | Very Strong against Electrical, Hacking.
- Maelstrom: Can deal Electrical, Hacking. | Strong against Chemical. | Weak against Electrical.
- Militech: Strong against Thermal.
- NCPD & MaxTac: Can deal Hacking. | Weak against Thermal, Chemical, Electrical.
- Scavengers: Can deal Chemical, Hacking. | Strong against Chemical. | Weak against Electrical. Very Weak against Thermal, Hacking.
- The Mox: Weak against Chemical.
- Tyger Claws: Can deal Electrical, Hacking. | Strong against Chemical, Electrical. | Weak against Thermal.
- Valentinos: Can deal Thermal, Hacking. | Strong against Thermal. | Weak against Electrical, Hacking.
- Voodoo Boys: Very Strong against Hacking. Strong against Chemical, Electrical. | Weak against Thermal.
- Wraiths: Can deal Chemical. | Very Strong against Chemical. | Weak against Thermal, Hacking.
Why is Physical Damage Not Listed?
We couldn't find a reliable source of information for how enemies in Cyberpunk 2077 deal and defend against physical damage.
This type of damage will not show in the results of your Quickscan. It's possible that some enemies like Heavy Melee Tier 3 enemies (named Claw, Juggernaut, Thickskull, Toro, etc.) who come with Subdermal Armor have particularly high resistances, including against Physical damage. There are probably many more, but as of now we don’t know how the game represents them aside from visual cues.
V can defend against Physical Damage Type by improving their Armor score, which comes with any clothing item.
Cyberware like "Pain Editor" for the immune system can reduce damage from all sources, including Physical.
Some Status Effects are linked to Damage Types (for example, Thermal damage causing targets to Burn), but many stand on their own. If Damage Type applies to a singular attack, Status Effects last over some period of time, causing damage over this period of time or introducing some disability to the target.
We will focus on negative Status Effects in this section, but we will briefly cover the "positive Status Effects," effects gained from Consumables, in a dedicated section later in the guide.
List of All Status Effects
How Can I Defend Against Damage Types and Status Effects?
Different resistances and immunities are scattered all over the game's equipment, Skills, and Perks. However, the best ways to defend V against most Damage Types and Status Effects come with Clothing, Integumentary and Immune System Cyberware, and the Cold Blood Skill Progression Rewards and Perks.
We have a separate guide discussing the Overheat -- the most common enemy netrunner Quickhack attack (in case if you are tired of constantly being set on fire). However, we have a detailed list of useful strategies against these kinds of attacks, different Damage Types, and Status Effects below.
Keep in mind that many of the immunity system Cyberware augmentations you will see below will require a certain level of Cool, increased by their rarity rank. Interaugmentary Cyberware, on the other hand, will require points in the Body Attribute. You can check the detailed breakdown in our Cyberware Guide.
Positive Status Effects: Cyberpunk 2077 Consumables
It can be argued that status-based abilities like Sandevistan, Berserk, and Cold Blood constitute positive Status Effects, but we will focus on Consumables-based bonuses to keep things simpler. Do keep in mind that there are a good number of duration-based positive effects in Cyberpunk 2077, some of which aren't as obvious as others (for example, the unique ones that come with unique weapons).
Consumables are often an underused source of extra Stamina and Health, especially considering how many food and drink items you can loot around the world (and how cheap they are to purchase).
If you would rather sell food and drink after your build begins to provide sufficient regeneration (remember to invest into Perks like "Regeneration" under Athletics), definitely keep your Boosters for harder encounters -- they will give your character a significant health or stamina bonus for 30 minutes.
Definitely grab the perk "Innovation" under Crafting Skill if you do tend to use your Consumables frequently.
Note: Beware that alcohol drinks will reduce your movement speed and increase weapon spread, stacking up to three times, for 30 seconds. We recommend selling this type of a consumable, especially since some of them have a noticeably high price.
- Food (450 seconds): increases maximum health by 5%. Regenerates 0.5% health every second outside combat.
- Drink (450 seconds): increases maximum stamina by 10%. Increases stamina regeneration rate by 50%.
- Bounce Back Mk.1/2/3 (30 seconds): instantly restores 15%/20%/25% health and further regenerates 3%/4%/6% per second.
- Health Booster (30 minutes): increases maximum health by 20%.
- Stamina Booster (30 minutes): increases maximum stamina by 50%.
- RAM Jolt (30 minutes): increases maximum RAM by 2.
- This does not scale with your level, so its effects will be felt much greater on lower Quickhacking Skill levels.
- Capacity Booster (30 minutes): increases max carry capacity by 50%.
- Oxy Booster (30 minutes): enables underwater breathing.
Why is this article only half written? SMH, wasted my time...