Elements are a major factor in combat, significantly affecting how much damage you take or deal, and influencing the chances of inflicting or resisting debuffs.
There are six elements, divided into two superiority wheels.
In the tetra-element wheel (sometimes colloquially referred to as the "main elements"), every element has a strength and weakness:
- Wind is strong against Earth and weak against Fire
- Earth is strong against Water and weak against Wind
- Water is strong against Fire and weak against Earth
- Fire is strong against Wind and weak against Water
In the sub-element wheel, elemental superiority always goes to the player:
- Light is strong against Dark
- Dark is strong against Light
Fighting with the superior element is called being "on-element" and comes with many benefits:
- Damage taken is reduced by 25%
- Attacks gain a 50% elemental multiplier
- Higher chance to successfully inflict debuffs
- Party members have a chance of dealing critical damage (if they have any sources giving them a chance to crit at all)
When the enemy has the superior element, you are similarly disadvantaged:
- Damage taken is increased by 50%
- Attacks get a -25% elemental multiplier
- Lower chance to inflict debuffs
In some fights, such as Unite and Fight Nightmare-difficulty battles, you are not affected by off-element resistance. But generally, when fighting against an enemy that is the same element as you are, your chances of inflicting debuffs on it are even lower than if the enemy had the superior element.
Certain enemies (e.g. Primarchs) will take less damage from all elements that are not superior to theirs.
Non-elemental foes do not possess an elemental weakness, and generally attack with a random main element. Characters do not have an elemental attack bonus against them, but are allowed to deal critical attacks. Light and Dark characters deal 10% less damage to non-elemental foes in exchange for not being weak against any of their attacks.