Shotgun (dps) Shortguide


While I wouldn’t call myself the most knowledgeable person ingame I did get a good look into shotgun mainhand dps.
So I thought why not sum up a guide about what I think about the diffrent shotgun abilities when it comes to dealing damage with my favorite boomstick.
It’s less a short guide in the sense of a short read but something that gives you base level knowledge about all the abilities at desposal, giving one a headstart when getting into shotgun. There are things that go further when really going deep into shotgun but those are probably best things that one finds through normal play as playstyles and preferences differ and the guide is already pretty biased on some points.


First row:

1.Pump action

The basic you will use. Nothing really special. That said you probably will use it quite a lot. (For reasons I pick up when getting to the passives).

2.Double Barrel

Sounds good on paper. It even comes with a bit more damage than other compareable abilities which can be increased with the passive “Blast Barrels”. On paper that is not that bad but the devil lies in the detail. It has a really, really crappy area of effect: A cone.

Doesn’t sound bad? It kinda is. As the greatest damage is useless if you have to fidged around with the positioning and constantly back up to kinda hit your enemies. Especially since enemies love to “swarm” you beating you up from all sides.

The area Double barrel can hit stuff is 25,6m² or 269 feet squared compared to 78,5m² or 845 feet squared for a standard 5 meter around player or 5 meter around target AoE.

3.Opening Shot

Another ability that brings the devil in the fineprint. First things first. It does bring more damage (in form of +30% crit damage) which is really nice to have. Bringing someone with a group that can cast it is pretty nice. Having more than one person is waste of actives, shells, time to deal more dakka. So one always has to judge the situation if it’s appliable or not.

And than we get to the passiv “Fire at will”. More damage is something of a ring to dps everywhere and like smeagol they flock to it.

Downside is that it comes with a trick. It only applies until you get hit. One says: Easy. I say: No, it isn’t. At least not constantly. Things like debuffs ticking on you, adds, reflect barriers and thousand other things can break it. Not getting damaged isn’t always an easy thing. So think before you use it and adapt to the fight you go into. If you can’t keep it up at the next bossfight, why use it? Also bonus number 2 that comes is that you reload a shell on critical hits. While it sounds cool, it isn’t. Knowing how many shells you have and preplanning attacks so you get your reloads when you want them is the thing you want, not random shells popping up on every corner.

Last sidenote is that while the crit damage buff is cool, it isn’t constant, so learning to cast it not during a shield phase should be a given. You get 7ish seconds and a 20 second debuff that prevents you from getting the buff again. Also why having more than 1 person casting it in a group is pointless.

4.Raging Shot

It sounds odd (I think my shotgun became possessed by a feral biest) but is your bread and butter skill. It hurts like every energy waster, takes 5 energy per cast and puts the boom into boomstick.

On the passive side we get “Point blank shot” a passive with good and bad sides. The good side it that it gives you more damage and on top of that it’s by increasing the damage of your attack instead of dealing an additional hit, meaning bigger, badder, boom. On the downside it came with a range restriction that stays true to the name and has more of a bad joke than anything else: 3 meter. So you have to stick to bosses as if you picked a melee weapon and than decided you still were to far away.

Generally I found it worth it since it brings extra damage that is easier to make use of than opening shot even if you can’t get 100% uptime. It’s just a bit short and you sometimes will question your weapon/lifechoice.
It basically “cripples” a ranged weapon to some kind of melee weapon and while some people play melee I believe they will agree that having range is extremly nice.

5.Full Salvo

It’s a goodie. While there are options you normally go with this elite. It may be a cone (which I still think is garbage but let me finish the sentence) but it comes with tools that counterbalance it. Mostly the fact that you shoot 5 times in intervals of 0.5 seconds lets you readjust if you are off your mark. You basically have up 2.5 seconds to wiggle yourself better into position if you for some reason didn’t hit well. Also it goes further so it’s easier to hit (Double barrel has 7 meter and full Salvo 9). Even the fact that you will linger 2.5 seconds casting it is normally no problem. Cause it means 2.5 Seconds to regain energy on top of 5 hits. It basically conserves energy and makes managing energy far easier.

The passive is “withering salvo”, so far it was pretty decent from what it brings to the table but it is a bit weak on the damage side but with the passive it turns into an add blender. You get 40% more damage with every hit aka pain, paain, paaaaain, PAIN and my personal favorite DEATH TO THE ADDS. You want the passive and any consideration of mainhand dpsing shotgun without it shall be buried deep deep underground.

Now to the major downside: It costs 5 shells. Not like other shotgun elites don’t but it means you can’t cast it when you please, you have to preplan to have your shells when you need to clear adds. Adds don’t die, healer dies, tank dies (sometimes…survival tanks really turned that upside down), you die…

Another thing to point out is that in some fights you would love to use it for energymanagement but have to safekeep it for the spawning of adds. Meaning it can happen that you end up in an awkward wait for adds to spawn since you need the cooldown up and at least 5 shells. Making you depend a little on whatever you have as offhand to bridge the time.

Second row:

1.Reconstitution Shells

It’s an odd one. On the one side does it not do much for your damage (Assuming you get 1-2 stacks worth of damage from procs of the SPES shotgun) on the other hand does it equip shotgun users with a lot of utility.

Why would you want it: Without passive it’s A. A cleanse B.A selfheal that isn’t bound to heal rating but a percentage of max life (depending on how many shells you can use up for it) C. A group heal. D. A “shellwaster” aka a skill that lets you force a reload.
The first two are great for soloing ,for when things go wrong in lower elite dungeons where adds still don’t hit that bad and scenarios.
The third is really great to support a healer when the group heals run out and everyone is a bit to low for your liking.

Now the passive. “Fortifying shells” provides a groupwide protection buff (More shells equalls stronger buff) for a few seconds. Nothing you normally need to use but something to keep in mind since it opens up the possibility of adding a protection buff to the tools of your groups tank on top of him getting healed. There are situations were he (she?) would kiss your feet for that service. Keep it in mind so you can keep it in your toolbelt.

On the last point that’s good of Reconstitution shells: Since it uses up shells, like all of them it forces you to reload which is…a good thing. Reloads may take 1 second of not damaging stuff but the wrong ammunition or the lack of ability to cast full salvo can be far worse than the one second you need to reload after reconstitution shells (reconstitution shells if not bound to a GCD). I call abilities that do that “shell waster” and RS isn’t the only one that does it.

2.Glutton for Punishment

Nothing for dps. Poor tankability and nothing I wanna see in a shotgun dps build. Technically a shell waster but don’t use it as dps. (I skip the passive because it also plays no role for dps)

3.Shell Salvage

The other option for a shell waster for dps and this one does something for your damage output in theory. Shell Salvage gives you (shotgun)energy based on how many shells you use up with it.

I did some math and the essence of it is while it gives you energy and with that damage the time spend to cast it and the extra reload after makes it in average a damage loss.
While a shell waster is a core ability of a shotgun main build and dps always seek more damage it doesn’t seem shell salvage can provide that to a degree that it improves a rotations damage output.
It can be used between bossphases to force a reload (or any other moment you want to force a reload) but I am pretty sure reconstitution shells does it better even thought from it’S design you can see it is planned as a tank skill while dps where thought of using shell salvage.

On the other hand does the passive “Salvage expert” offer 5 energy for your other weapon which makes it probably useful for offhand shotgun users (which I will only mention as this is a shotgun mainhand not offhand guide and also is unconfirmed) and the small bonus feature to reload the same shell as the salvaged.


A group cleanse for multiple debuffs over time. A really odd ability that you probably won’t use often. But in the case your healer is a cleanse short or enemies throw debuffs around a lairgroup like it’s christmas something you can use to be a utility helper. It’s not a really precise tool but it can help, it’s not easy to use (thanks to costing 6 shells) but it technically can be used…it’s a skill for special moments.

The passive: Cleanup Crew adds a damage buff if you cleanse a debuff. If you need cleanup in an hour of need it’s really not wrong to pick the passive too cause when you need cleanup you normally have debuff to cleanse on every corner.


It’s the other option to Full Salvo. The active itself deals damage to enemies in a circle with possibility to deal damage to enemies close by and gives the status exposed . The passive “cluster bombs” adds even more additional strikes raining down on the enemy. I have to admit even thought full salvo is nice, bombardment is far more satisfying to watch. Main sellingpoint compared to the option of Full Salvo is that it deals exposed. So much of it that the enemy can be permaexposed. Which in bigger groups makes a lot of diffrence (thanks to the defense reduce, talismans…). To my knowledge there are weapons doing a better job with it so it’s more a thing of “If noone casts exposed on the regional/boss” than you can jump in with ease. Theoretically you can also get exposed with “blue shells” but later to that why that doesn’t work.

The two main downfalls to the ability are that an enemy has to stand still if you want the full effect of the damage/expose which not many bosses do and that you lose effectiveness as other people start to cast expose since you get to the max and can’t get more out of it. (20 seconds)
So definitly a skill you can use in situations when needed that adds to your flexibility but generally you are better off with the simpler full salvo as elite.

Another thing to point out is that it costs 6 shells compared to the 5 shells of full salvo which means it’s only usable when you come freshly from a reload but it’s an instant cast instead of taking 2.5 seconds. So it definitly is the faster cast. If you take it, take the passive with it instead of whithering salvo from full salvo (Thing of a shotgun elite as a combo pack together with the passive…one should come with the other)

Third row:

1.Rocket pod

While it sounds like a good idea to have a 3 energy power ability of dps don’t use it. The devil lies like so often in the detail. It generates hate, which is SWLs form of aggro, having it in your build makes your tank hate you for good reason.
While one could say “But I only use it in solo” I advice strongly against it. To often it happens that you just forget to switch build and kill your dungeon group just for this ability. So don’t get into the habit of using it.
The passive “Reinforced rockets” is a stacking protection buff pointing out even more the nature of the ability as tank ability.
That said if you want/need/prefer it for solocontent don’T let me stop you.


Now cones come as hate generating basic attacks. While you want a basic attack (for reason given later) this isn’t the basic attack for dps. Stick to pump action and pump enemies full of lead.

3.HEAT Round

Recently I got into the habit of calling it “The AoE a dps needs with the hate generation he doesn’t”. Every issue Double barrel has with it’S area of effect is not existent with HEAT rounds. It’s a circle centered around the target. So basically a ranged circle. Why not use it? Same reason as Rocket pods. It generates hate. Generally your best shot for AoE damage is Full Salvo and anything that your secondary weapon brings to the table and the weak AoE play is one of the major weaknesses of shotgun.
The passive is inline with rocket pods as that it gives you protection (this time for every enemy hit).


After a lot of meh hate generating abilities CQC is a goodie. CQC is a ultrashortrange (think of raging shots passive aka 3m) interupt/knockdown that does some damage. Free interrupt, good for tanks, good for dps, especially nice for scenarios where there is a lot of stuff flying around. Definitly a skill that has it’s uses. The passiv “Fatal Funnel” extents the effect to every enemy 5 meter around the target and turns it into an aoe knockdown. Definitly a passive to always consider when slotting CQC (Close Quarter Combat btw).

The only reason I don’t use it is because I have a gadget slot that is free for Bashosen (AoE Knockdown) anyway. But if I need more knockdown (like when Shambala pops every 3 years or during the shambala events) I slot it and laught as I toy with my enemies. Slot it when you need extra interrupts/breathing room or want to lessen the load on a tank and gadget alone doesn’t do the job. A quirky little ability you just have to love since it lets you do more stuff and be more flexible than you already are.


It produces hate. Do I have to go into detail on it? Also we had such a nice high note with CQC. Basically if you slot Kneecapper as dps you deserve to get your knee capped hard. Use Full Salvo or Bombardment but not this.


We already talked about most passives (3 of the 5 rows) but there are a few not bound to the abilities. And I go into them a bit since there is at least one that is essential and another that is pretty good so you also get an idea about those.

4.Row or the Shell Passives

Passives in this row are for making specific shell types stronger or the overall use of shells.

1.Odds and Evens

This is the must have I talked about and the reason Opening Shots passive isn’t great when it generates extra shells. On Even counts your power abilities deal 15% more damage (6/4/2 shells) and on uneven counts your basics deal 70% more damage (5/3/1). That’s a lot of firepower for the cheap, cheap price of not 3, not 2 but only one single Passive slot.

It’s what makes shotgun dps work but it also comes with a downside. You need to start counting shells. Every time you don’t know your count you can’t proc O&E and lose damage. So if opening shots passive would give you a shell and you miss it it could lead to some trememdous damage lose. You want your shellcount to be static so you can plan ahead so you have full salvo when you need it (or bombardment or 6 shells for shells salvage/reconstitution shells/cleanup…you get the idea).
I let that sit with you and move on. If you plan on playing shotgun mainhand this is your best friend and the ability you need to know in your sleep.
It is also a reason why energy isn’t as valuable as for some of the other weapons as it makes your basic so much stronger that the diffrence to spending energy over raging shot compared to pumpaction (divided by 5 cause 5 energy cost) is shrinking quite a lot.

2.White Phosperus Shell

A simple passive that makes your Red/Dragonbreath Shells 12% stronger. If you have a free passive slot you can get free damage here. I have to admit I never quantified how much it effects damage output but generally it’s not that essential just a cherry on top of the ice cream cup that is your damage.


An odd skill I never needed that much. It increases the shellcount of purple/depleted uranium shells by two. With 8 shells a lot of abilities like bombardment, cleanup etc are far easier to cast and if you have problems with getting your shellcounts right for some of the big abilities this is the passive for you. Think of it as the training wheels passive for new shotgun users or the odd trick in the veterans arsenal.
One thing to keep in mind that the UI currently doesn’t support showing 8 shells so it only shows you 6 even if you have more shells loaded, If you keep track of your shells you should still be able to follow it, and that it only gives you 8 shells on combatreloads but regains only 6 shells out of combat.

4.Munition Expert

While odds and evens is the must have this is the ability that I deeply recommend. It improves the amount of dragonbreath/Depleted Uranium/Armor-Piercing Shells in favor of Anima Shells (more red/purple/blue shells for less green/healing shells) which makes it far easier to get the shells you need in every situation.
Values are: 35% Green, 35% Red , 20% Purple and 10% Blue (without passive) to 25% Green, 42% Red, 23% Purple, 10% Blue (with passive).

In terms of chance increase of purple shells that means it improves your ability to at least have one purple reload option depending on the amount of shotgun abilities by roughly 5% for 2 to 6 shotgun abilities. (See spitball values in picture.)


Since the normal order for max damage looks like red-purple-red-purple… having the extra percent purple helps to sticking to the order and also in keeping purple more often for solo play and scenarios (I explain later why that is a thing) and also shows why bombardment is the way for exposed compared to blue shells. Blue shells are to rare to be consistent.
In my opinion while it doesn’t add damage directly, it does improve the handling of the weapon a lot.

5.Row or the Passives for Tanks (mainly)

1.Condensed Anima

This passive is similar to other shell passives but this time strengthens the only shell that doesn’t give you damage: Anima Shells. It improves the healing from them from 3% to 4,5%. Nice to have when you start out solo but the later you get the more you stick with reconstitution shells or just killing stuff faster than a minimal damage increase especially since green shells are also a dangerous damage sink.

2.Riot Shield

It gives you protection when you reload (for a few seconds). Not much to say about. Generally I don’t see it viable in any dps build. Take white phosporus over this if you have the free passive slot.

3.Combat Reload

You reload 1 shell every 5 seconds in combat. I think since we already talked about shellcount in odds and even it becomes clear why this passive is a waste of oxygen and a passive slot for any main hand shotgun user. You just make your life harder for no reason. You can use it but there really is no reason for it. It solves no problem but creates one.

4.No Time to Bleed

You heal 3% of your max life on a glance. Definitly tank ability and I think I don’t have to explain that.

After going through all rows there is only one passive left. The starter passive:

Restorative Reload

This is actually a more defensive passive with quite some use. You get 6% of your hp healed with every reload. Sounds fine? It has some hidden feature. It buffs reconstitution shells. Assuming you want reconstitution shells with 6 shells you come from reloading and reload afterward again which triggers this passive twice on top of the heal from reconstitution shells. That is the diffrence between nearly dead and pretty good on hp.
Definitly something that proofed useful on my first play through the story and is still in use to quickheal minor damage from story mobs.

Shell types:

Anima-Infused Shell aka Green

A healing shell that is the bane of dps. Basically picking it doesn’t give you damage. In that it is compareable to 0% heat elemental/0 corruption blood or any other mechanic just not giving a bonus. It does have some uses in early story gameplay but as you get stronger the incentive to use it gets lower and if you get stuck with it your prime concern should be getting rid of it as fast as possible. One rim case I found use for it is when I’m trying to lower my damage intentiously.

Dragonbreath Shell aka Red

One of the most loved shell times giving you a dot to stack up to 6 stacks on an enemy. I normally go with half my shells in longer fights (raid/dungeon/lair) as you can have the dot and depleted uranium shells at the same time. One has to be careful to not what I call “overstack” or “burn” stacks. Since you can’t get past 6 stacks of debuff on an enemy using to much of dragonbreath results in suboptimal damage due to the shell only refreshing the 6 stacks instead of adding a stack.
On the other hand it has some uses on bosses and enemies that like to port away or put up shields regulary (assuming they aren’t reflective shields), as you can stack the debuff on the enemy and he still gets damage in the case he ports or gets hit by 6 stacks of dragonbreath ones the shield drops.

Depleted Uranium aka Purple

Personally the best shell you have. A flat damage increase that never is a wrong idea, not always the optimal choice, but never really totally wrong (like green). In longer fights it makes the other half of your shells as it gives you it’s damage buff while you keep your dragonbreath debuff going. In shorter fights the value of purple outpaces red as a dot hasn’t got enough time to fully apply compared to purple working more directly. Which means it is a good shell for solo/story content (first playthrough it’s not really showing it but the higher you get the more you will feel how it makes short fights shorter) and in scenario where fights should take as short as possible and because of that you are actually trying to make dot less and less effective. Keeping purple up as much as possible in scenarios greatly reduces difficult.
Only sidenote I would love to make is that even with munition expert it’s a rarer round. So trying to finish a fight before a reload can help in improving uptime. I let it up to you finding the ways to do that.

Armor-Piercing Shells aka Blue

A shell that isn’t as good as a red shell (assuming you don’t burn stacks) and definitly not as good as purple shells but still better as green shells. While the shell doesn’t give damage directly the fact that it can apply exposed on enemies that didn’t have exposed (even if short and only with a 50% chance. Keep that in mind) does it create an opportunity to create more damage. Sadly it’s to weak in it’s effect as that it can be combined with other shells and it is to rare as that it has a use as source for consistent expose debuffing.
Technically it was planned as group content shell, practically it does a really bad job at it and doesn’t even have a passive to make it better.



Version 1.0
-Talk about actives
-Talk about passives

Version 1.1
-Added Shelltypes
-Formated the text for better structure
-Changed some titles/words from lower case to upper case

Version 1.2
-Added data to the passive Munition Expert

Version 1.3
-Added values for the area of effect on Double Barrel compared to other standard AoEs

Version 1.4
-Changed the text of Shell salvage to represent my new made experience and deeper math of it.

Version 1.4.1
-Added a bit of text and fixed a few typos

Version 1.4.2
-Formatted the text further. It now looks way less scary and one can easier read up on specific skills and passives.

Version 1.5
-Changed the rough values for Munition Expert to exact values. Rewrite of a few other sections in light of that planned.

Version 1.5.1
-Small change to the enrich passiv

How to Build: All Weapons
Consolidated list of Gameplay Guides
Ideas for Hammer Offhand - need builds :D

Nice initiative!

I’m interested in a build with Shotgun, what other weapons you use? you always use the shotgun as main?
you use signets for shotgun?


What other weapons you use?

My secondary and only other weapon is blood. Do I recommend it: Can’t. I don’t know how other weapons handle offhand.

I use maleficium when energy is low, I need the long range or I don’t wanna spend a shell (cause I keep my full salvo for some adds).

Dread sigil as simple aoe (since double barrel isn’t good) for “softening” enemies up, “catching” aggro in scenarios or killing weaker mobs or mob groups when full salvo is on cooldown.

The last skill I use is sanctuary for solo/story/scenario, having a healskill avaidable even without putting Anima allocation toward Healer is a lifesafer in story and makes scenario easier at least for me since I can sponge damage.

Thing is I don’t know if that is the best for shotgun or even reasonable…that would need some testing with every weapon to get a feeling for the pro and cons and I don’t have the time to grind that many weapons.

The other two questions are easier:

You always use the shotgun as main? I used it since I switched pistol and shotgun from my starter build. I personally didn’t like the “feeling” pistol, especially the sound and that it’S silly akimbo (dualwield). Blood was just the first thing I picked up in a mission bag and with dread sigil, sanctuary it just felt natural to me and so it kinda grew on me.

You use signets for shotgun? All weaponsignets are shotgun. I think the first I leveled up was basic attacks due to the weapons nature with Odds and Even, followed by the power attack signet and than the elite poer signet. No real magic for it: As dps you go for the more damage signets for your weapons.

P.S.:Since you seemed to be interested into my build I will put one up once I have time in a seperate post. Since my build is more personal preference compared to what this guide goes into.


Ele secondary is probably the best. Get an inverter (winter cache, still available as of this post). I personally use CryFlame, Blizzard, Raging, Mjolnir, Shell Salvage (w/passive) and Pump Action.

Shell Salvage is better than you think Leo. The ability to always be able to hold onto fire or DU rounds is more value than I can adequately describe. Also activating SS is off global. Fire an attack and use it during that attack’s global.

SS kicking energy to the secondary with the elite cooling works out so you are firing off the majority of your ele energy while in the top damage bonus zone (inverter is key to this).

Also this build burns its energy so fast due to 5 point single gcd spenders that you actually use your basics in it. This is important. I see people brag “I can go basic free in my build and I don’t even use my secondary except for utility.” They are sitting on loads of energy unspent. Energy = damage, if you aren’t spending it, you are giving up damage. This is also why Hammer dps performs so well.


Reconstitution does the same as a “shellwaster” that is without gcd so that you can force a reload.
With SS the issue is: What does it for me and what could I do instead? You get 8 energy: That’s 1 2/3 raging shots instead of 1 2/3 pump actions + one pump action or maleficium (in case you have blood like me) worth of damage (from the time shell salvage eats due to reload…ss isn’t on gcd but the reload before and after is). That assumes that you even have an enemy to quickly vent energy. A lot of bosses have shields or phases that just don’t let you use up energy.

Don’t get me wrong. In the right situation it can be a pretty useful skill…but I don’t see how mainhand shotgun, a weapon with pretty low energy worth, profits from it. Energy is far less worth for shotgun than any other weapon. One of the reasons it is the weapon that is the worst for cold silver dice.
I know offhand can work but mainhand I doubt it…

That all said and my stubborn rambling aside I will do some research into the effectiveness of ss soon. Already did some research for shellcycles that needs finishing and probably add to that some testing for SS.

P.S.: Little addition since I double read over you build…you are using shotgun basically how I would recommend it for offhand. Raging shot, Shell salvage (passive) and in case of weapon double barrel to speed it up. More energy for your ele without really sacrificing the damage potential of shotgun since shotgun has a pretty good weapon mechanic for offhand


All mainhand means is twice as much natural energy regen. Shotgun is a great main hand because raging shot can convert energy into damage faster than most weapons are capable of. You are locking yourself into some kind of weird mindset where main hand means you must use more abilities of that weapon. You should eliminate that idea from your mind now and start making far better builds.

You also undervalue energy to an absurd degree. So much so that I don’t know what to say about it except that you are so wrong on that front that you should seriously consider just flipping your opinion to the opposite and watch your effectiveness increase exponentially.


Definitly thanks for the thoughtshare. I think about it in the upcoming weeks.


This is not entirely true. When determining how efficient a weapon is at converting energy to damage, you have to take into consideration the opportunity cost. As in how much damage you would get if you had used a basic ability instead of a power ability. Shotgun isn’t particularly good at this since its basic attacks get full benefit from the speciality and there’s Odds and Evens. So Shell Salvage is significantly less useful to a Shotgun primary build with Odds and Evens, than it is to a build that’s using Shotgun as the secondary.


Some Math that will soon be included into the guide in some form. For people that don’t know what those numbers are:

On the left the rough values for shells. (Keep in mind that dragonbreath ticks 5 times)

In the middle the majority of the work: Rough values for the average cpdamage from shells for a reload of dragonbreath and Depleted Uranium assuming average values for stacks. aka a long way to explain why Dragonbreath becomes really nice in combination with Depleted uranium.

On the Right some data that supports me like for munition expert. Percentage of getting at least one Depleted Uranium reload with/without Munition Expert and assuming diffrent amount of shotgun abilities.


Just saw this, a bit late but better than never!

I see people brag “I can go basic free in my build and I don’t even use my secondary except for utility.” They are sitting on loads of energy unspent. Energy = damage, if you aren’t spending it, you are giving up damage. This is also why Hammer dps performs so well.

People “bragging” as you state it have a very good and valid reason. See Vandelay’s answer on that matter, and the theorycrafting spreadsheet about energy values per weapon:

I think the best example i can provide for that matter is blood as primary. Consider a maxed out basic signet. With the signet, Torment (blood’s basic ability) will deal 1.18 * 2.11 = 2.49CP damage. With how the blood specialty works, at full Corruption (which blood is at the majority of time), the damage bonus of Corruption is multiplicative, which means that the damage of the basic already scaled by the basic signet will become: 1.18 * 2.11 * 1.543 = 3.84CP.

Now, let’s say you’re playing with an elemental offhand with Mjolnir. Here, Mjolnir is unscaled by any signet by default (since the majority of people will use a blood power signet in the neck slot for blood primary builds), so its damage 3.43CP.

Now you can see that using Mjolnir instead of your basic is actually a DPS loss (3.43 - 3.84= -0.41CP, for each Mjolnir used instead). That’s why actually not using the secondary weapon’s energy is the go-to to maximise DPS for quite some builds. By replacing Mjolnir by Crystallized Blaze, you’re using only 1 GCD every 21s. Blaze deals 14.7CP total from 1 usage, for the cost of 1 GCD which replaces the primary’s basic by default. For blood primary, this means a gain of 14.7 - 3.84 = 10.86CP per Crystallized Blaze usage, or 10.86 / 21 = 0.52CP/s if using Blaze every 21s. In this scenario, you’re not using elemental energy besides 2 every 21s. The maths isn’t that simple since you also have to account for the passive slot for Crystallized Blaze, but you get the idea. Fists used as secondary for only Savagery buff were popular-enough as well for example before the Blaze rework.

As Vandelay pointed out, one has to always consider the opportunity cost of doing something over something else.

About energy value for shotgun, i just let you glance at the spreadsheet and see by yourself that shotgun primary is one of those weapons for which energy has a very low value.

Edit: i actually forgot to factor the Inverter’s bonus on Crystallized Blaze on top of its already high damage. 14.7 * 1.36 = 20CP

It gives 20 - 3.84 = 16.15CP extra every 21s, or 0.77CP/s.


When I started TSW my goal was to run around with a double barrel shotgun fighting the hordes of the undead. Unfortunately no side by side undead slaying double barrel was ever added to the models. However SWL rectified this with a very nice Double Barrel Shotgun, sure it has 5 barrels, but hey it looks awesome. I decided this weapon was going to be my main before I even knew what it do. Two barrels of buckshot is better than one.

On the subject of Shotgun DPS I wanted to chime in as if there are any other crazy people out there with Red Quality double barrels running around we should get a club going. That said, presented below is my weird musings on why a crazy double barrel; build throws everything out of whack for shotguns and why it might need some testing to see how good/bad it is that I am to lazy to do.

First the biggest “problem” with shotguns is that they quickly become energy neutral as a mainhand. Alternating basic and power attacks for odds and evens means you spend 4 energy on a power attack (3 on a crit) and you gain 1 energy on a basic attack (2 with a crit). Throw in cold silver dice, or a weapon of energy and alternating power attacks and basic attacks means one you hit a decent crit chance you are probably never going to run out of energy. Since we only get X amount of attacks per time period what can we do to make sure those attacks are the higher damage ones. The first thought is use more Power attacks, but odds/evens means using a power attack with an odd shell drops our damage.

This is where the double barrel shotgun comes into play. It removes the ability for us to be energy neutral, you cannot by default ever regain enough energy to spam raging bullet for every attack. However this moves the question to just how many raging bullets can we fit into a given time period.

We know standard regen is going to be 1per second. Crits return 1 energy. of energy is a 33% chance on crit for a 3rd energy, and cold silver dice is another 22% chance at a 4th energy. Even if everything fired every shot you are still spending 5 energy and gaining 4. Your 4th shot is a reload which regains 1 energy so in 4 seconds you are spending 15 energy and regaining between 4-13 energy.

Now add in shell salvage and full salvo . You open with an offhand power attack (i like mjolnir with voltaic shunt) and then immediately blow 3 raging bullets. Reload, and use Full Salvo. By the time Full salvo is done you will have enough energy for another 2 or 3 raging bullets. If you hit 15 offhand energy, or <3 shotgun energy you use an offhand power attack. When voltaic shunt procs you use the offhand power attack. By alternating Full salvo, shell salvage, and the occasional offhand attack. You will almost never use a basic attack. The only time you end up possibly using a basic attack is after full salvo since it takes 5 shells. However if you use opening shot, you will then full salvo into a reload, and the timer of both abilities will synchronize.

The fun part is the more your crit chance goes up, the more energy you regain, the more raging shots you use, and the less you use your offhand. You reload more, which gives you more procs on the belt. So far its been pretty viable for everything up to e8-e9. Best way to play? Probably not, but it is a way to completely remove Basic attacks from your rotation and deal very high spike damage.


Personally I recommend this way of playing (double barrel+shell salvage) for offhand. Shotgun has the beauty of not needing constant use to give you profit from the weapon mechanic and with the slower energy regain it’s probably way easier to fit in the 8 (actually 10/offhand 9 since reload+shell salvage + reload until you can spend energy again) energy into the bar without losing energy getting over 15 while your other weapon who doesn’t get as much from shell salvages passive gets the better regen rate plus the 5 energy from SS.
Basically every twenty seconds you have lots of energy to throw out.
Never thought that someone would play the same idea main hand but definitly wanna try it. I do have the double barrel for it stored.

For your 5 shell “issue” with full salvo. Ever thought of combining full salvo with opening shot? While not really optimal often it does sync the full salvo and opening shot to one 6 shell combo. Only issue I have with it is that full salvo activates it’s CD after finishing the cast which makes syncing it opening shot+Full salvo impossible and only allows full salvo+opening shot which puts the crit power buff behind the biggest spikedamage you have in shotgun.

All in all I love your post to bits and may use it as inspiration for future build shenanigans. Gotta see if I can’t squeeze out some nice build out of it. Not sure if my blood will suit as a offhand for it or if I have to grind up another offhand.


Yep I think i mentioned that opening shot + full salvo is great for burning that extra shell. Plus it ensures all 5 shots benefit. You are right about the sync up, and it will gradually result in less opening shots to your group, but overall it works out well. Plus people are always happy to have someone running opening shot. Since you are doing full salvo on cooldown for energy regen it makes it easier to throw opening in that rotation. You can also just throw in something like crystalized blaze instead and just use a basic attack.

The build is very tricky to get the hang of because it plays so differently than normal shotgun. It takes a bit to rewire the brain from the power, basic, power rotation. . You have to be watching your energy for both weapons, and planning ahead to make sure you are using shell salvage or full salvo at the right time. If you blow them to close together you can energy starve yourself 10s down the road. 1 or the other every 10s is probably best. Also You never want to use full salvo at 15 energy since it regens for 2 seconds and then takes the 3 energy at the end. Using it at 15 gets you 12. Using it at 12 also gets you 12. Reload puts you at 13 which is enough to fuel the next 3 raging bullets at least. Factor in trying to keep your elemental energy above 5, below 10 so your heat is high and you are using enough attacks to allow for bare minimum shotgun regen while maximizing ability to use voltaic shunt procs is a complicated dance. Furthermore you want to try and use shell salvage at 6 shells, occasionally 4 if you have a lot of procs and end up at say 7 energy and 6 shells. Better to shoot, salvage, reload, and resume shooting than delay.

Your shell usage also changes. You go from DB-DU-DB to DB-DB-DU-DU-DB-DU-DU-DB. Takes longer to build to six stacks, but you don’t waste as many shells maintaining six stacks. If you do it right you get to six with 6 shells (3 shots, reloads 3 shots) then dump 6 shots of DU (3 shots, reload, 3 shots) and then can swap back to DB to refresh. You might even drag that out to DB-DU-DU-DU if you dont mind sitting at 5 stacks for 4s before the refresh. As long as you build to six and make every 4th reload DB you will constantly be between 4-6 stacks ticking with less waste than refreshing to six with your first or second shot, and having 4 DB shells do no extra damage and just refresh the dot.

With the voltaic shunt offhand you always want to have 5 energy for the offhand when that procs, i setup an alert on screen. From there you want to weave in the occasional offhand mjolnir (or something else) for the times when your double barrel energy is low. However the higher your crit gets the longer you can do spamming raging shot. Its not uncommon to do 3 raging shots, reload, do a 4th shot, shell salvage, do a voltaic boosted mjolnir dump, and then do 3 more raging shots.

This also carries over into PVE. HEAT round gets the bonus from using 2 shells on double barrel and destroys groups. Plus 3 raging bullets will kill most things. Opening a fight with a Mjolnir (to start the voltaic shunt timer) followed by 4x16k Raging bullet crits never gets old. Of course with better gear will come bigger numbers, as well as i could slow the passive and hug the boss for more damage. This may synergize well with a hammer offhand for maximum energy dump.


a quickview at Mjolnir (the depth of real usage is beyond simple model)… 3.43CP * 1.24 (average ele bonus for Mjornir, depends on fight) + 1.5CP (for voltaic, up to 2.5CP, depends on fight and gear) gives approx. 5.73CP (it REALLY varies as the damage/skill depends on how often it is used, which depends on fight and gear selection, but this would be close to dummy parse).

Just a note in otherwise non-applicable “math”, because the reality goes beyond this simple comparison.

And ofc. there is the thing with voltaic/mjolnir particularly doesn’t fit blood main because of its 2 slot requirements for offhand.


Ran some quick numbers for a post on reddit, wanted to add them here in case anyone is interested.

Also i am unsure why you mentioned a 2 slot requirement for offhand voltaic + mjolnir. I only use one slot for elemental. Unless you meant both an active and a passive slot, but in regards to blood main ive never can it so i could not give a solid answer.

Fun with fuzzy math:
To throw some numbers into the equation my power attacks hit for about 7k and crit for about 17k. My basic attack hits for about 3.5k Effectively every power attack i do has double the damage of a basic attack, in my gear, currently.

Now lets look at a 20 second rotation with a 1s GCD. Full salvo is going to use 2.5 seconds (effectively 3). 1 of these global cooldowns will be shell salvage. and so far 2 will be reloads. This leaves us with 15 seconds to make attacks. 3 of these attacks will be offhand 5 energy power attacks to maintain energy neutrality (10 energy regen on offhand every 20s. 5 energy from Shell salvage). This puts us at effective 12 global cooldowns for use with shotgun attacks.

Regular shotgun would be 6 Power attacks. 5 basic attacks. 1 reload, and leave us with one shell. Using my numbers that would be 42k in Power attack damage 15.5k in basic attacks. Assume 0 crits for simplicty. This puts us at 57.5k

Double barrel shotgun will be 9 power attacks and end the rotation already reloaded at 6 shells ready to start over. 63k.

Worth noting double barrel gives me currently an extra 584 damage on each power attack which is added into the weapon damage, is not a separate hit, and is therefore buffs crits even higher. Pulling this out of the regular shotgun means it is actually at 54.5k and any other proc needs to add 8.5k damage over 20 seconds to break even. A plasma forged shotgun adds a baseline 6k in total across 3 hits. Assuming 25% chance to proc You are going to get a baseline of 2 procs from your shotgun rotation, and likely 3, possibly 4 during your full salvo. Average this across three rotations and the extra damage is about 8k total, still short of the double barrel math if not by much. (25 dps)

A spes gives a 20% chance for an extra 2k damage. Assuming You spend 6 shells on shell salvage, 6 shells on opening shot/full salvo. and 11 shells on attacks per the rotation you are going to get about 4.2 procs. best case scenario not counting any kind of stacking. Or about 8k total damage.

Shotguns in this game are very close, but assuming no crits double barrel will eek out a small win. At the high end currently my Raging shot crits for about 17,000. My basic attacks would crit for 8400. Every power attack for me is worth the damage of two basics. By doing nothing but power attacks my damage will always exceed a build alternating powers and regulars by the value of a at least a single power attack every 20s, or about 175-420 DPS. The power/basic rotation will also not reset until 22s once it has used the 6th basic, and reloaded.

TLDR: Double barrels will give slightly better results, rising as gear improves, in exchange for a more interactive rotation and the numbers will be higher but within spitting distance of the current meta BIS.

Other factors such as more usages of Depleted uranium shells, less over-capping on dragons breath, and more usages of the shotgun belt all serve to skew the numbers further into double barrels favor.


Because Mjolnir sucks. It just “do a job” but it’s quite behind alternatives. The reason why you use Ele as offhand like this is Crystallized Flame. If you don’t use that, don’t use Ele.

So the real alternatives you have are:

  • Inverter + Flame (one slot solution, with open position for Blizzard)
  • Voltaic + Flame + Mjolnir + Vali (two slot solution with the most damage, not open for Blizzard)
  • Frozen figurine + Ice Beam/Blizzard (requires Elite slot, brings group buff, open for subpar flame)

So if you only have one slot, use inverter instead.

With Voltaic without Flame you can’t have energy for keeping heat at 75+ range and that is necessary for Ele (DPS wise you would be better with Firebolt instead of Mjolnir). Mjolnir itself is worse then Flame even for single targets. But solo Flame without heat is not that good either (and CD doesn’t pair with Voltaic ofc).

So to get any good performance from Voltaic version, you need Flame because it’s the best DPS you have (on top of AOE and CC thing), you need Mjolnir to heat it up without spending too much time (as opposite to Firebolt without Vali version) and you need Vali to keep 80% of Ele damage with 37% damage boost from Thermonics.


Im less worried about “optimal” on my offhand since that is more of an aesthetic choice than a practical one. Honestly as you mentioned there are likely better options. However Since I run opening shot im pretty much restricted to one slot, if someone else is running it i can drop opening shot in favor of flame and get some more damage. Sadly usually im the guy with opening.

Secondly i need something that can burn 3 GCDs in a 20s rotiation since every other GCD is going to be used for Power attacks. If i could drop my basic (oh god id love to be able to remove my basic from my hotbar) id add flame. Are there better offhand solutions? Absolutely.

Inverter + flame sadly does not eat up enough GCDs for me to be completely energy neutral at the current level of gear. Bit more crit and it will be possible. Ive got an inverter of energy sitting in the bank if it ever occurs. Basically Voltaic and Mjolnir are the most attractive elemental option given my current constraints, but I do not disagree with you that it would be better to run blaze, and prefer to when possible.

As a shotgun main i tend to focus my math calculations toward that end. Currently Double Barrel is going to give you the most scaling of the other shotguns albeit only a very slight amount due to how balanced the shotgun abilities are. So far nothing has been added that really skews the power curve.


I tend to get triggered by such misleading information.

Here’s my answer on Reddit to that same statement / maths of yours about double barrel:

Basically, double barrel is probably the worst shotgun choice at the current state of the game, and it becomes worse when one gears up more and more, since the basic’s damage will scale a lot with the basic’s signet.

This is the biggest mistake for anybody to do regardless of the level of gear. It has been a mistake from the community back in the game’s release days, before maths about basic’s damage has been released. The opportunity cost for trying to go energy neutral is too big and yields to a DPS loss in the long term - what i mean is that, for instance, choosing Cold Silver Dice over Gambler’s Soul for shotgun mainhand is a bad choice.

You’ll certainly be using slightly more power abilities with more crit, i can agree to that. However, having a 0.475CP proc on each raging shot for an absurb cost of an extra shell makes this shotgun too bad. Check the maths i provided on the Reddit link - at 50% crit chance (so capped crit), SPES will still provide 32 times more damage than Double Barrel if you play with Shell Salvage.


I posted over there, and wanted to reply over here. I ran some tests this morning based on your math because when i first tested double barrel I swore the damage was added in. Now occasionally i am seeing a proc, but not 100% of the time. I did a post on the bug forums because something is very odd with the way its procing.

Short answer with SPES saving multiple procs it is going to win hands down. Most of my math had been focused on plasma and other more recent purple additions, and i had completely spaced the SPES. The good news is now we have more math on the forums, and more math is always fun.

Anyway thanks for chiming in!


The important thing for people to know in what i said is that basics are very important in the endgame context (or pretty much any context where people can start grinding the basic signet - even a purple 20 basic signet already makes a big difference). Out of every 6 extra shells consumed by double barrel, it translates into an extra reload, so this is a loss of a basic + average extra energy lost by an eventual basic’s crit. So the damage gain of 6 extra procs from double barrel will have to offset the loss of the basic by A LOT. In this situation, it barely does, the 0.475CP proc out of double barrel is just way too weak in its current state to be even considered. I’m not even talking about the bug you noticed with it (if there’s any bug), that was just some general maths about the weapon, the bug just makes things even worse.