The Parameter Bonus, also known as Scaling, is a mechanic in Dark Souls III. It indicates the level of bonus damage one can do with a weapon, based on the associated stats. In order of most to least effective, this rating can be S, A, B, C, D or E.
As a rule of thumb, a weapon's physical damage is affected by the wielder's Strength and Dexterity, while elemental damage is affected by Intelligence and/or Faith. Some weapons, such as Anri's Straight Sword and Hollow weapons, also scale with Luck.
How effectively a weapon scales is not only affected by the weapon's parameter bonus, but also its base damage. As such, weapons with high scaling but low base damage are likely to get less bonus damage than a weapon with more base damage and similar scaling. It is even possible that a weapon with a considerably worse parameter bonus gets more scaling due to having much higher base damage.
Elemental damage scales as follows:
- Magic is usually affected by Intelligence, but can also on some occasions be affected by Faith. However, they're rarely mixed.
- Fire is generally boosted by a combination of Intelligence and Faith, scaling equally well with both stats.
- Lightning is always affected by Faith.
- Dark is, much like fire, affected by both Intelligence and Faith, and scales equally well with both.
Parameter bonuses are displayed as letters ranging from E (lowest) to S (highest). Each letter represents an approximation of how well the weapon scales with a specific stat. For example, two weapons can both have equal base damage and a C scaling in Dexterity, but deal different amounts of damage because one weapon has a "low" C while the other has a "high" C. Similarly, the same scenario but with one weapon having a B scaling, the damage difference could be negligible because the C is "high" and the B is "low", as the letters are affected by breakpoints in the exact scaling value.
Some weapons scale with Luck. However, the parameter is not displayed anywhere on the weapon's stat screen and it is unknown if Luck scaling is the same across all applicable weapons or not.
Additionally, most weapons that scale with Luck will also boost Luck by five points when held, if the player's hollowing stat is 15 or higher.
Stat scaling is affected by diminishing returns. This means that the higher one's stats are, the less each invested point is worth.
The diminishing returns are applied using breakpoints at 25, where a minor decrease in the damage-per-level ratio is applied, and 40, where the ratio will often become less than one point of damage per level.
- Weapons with non-scaling elemental damage will interact with both weapon buffs and infusions.
- For example, one can infuse a Drakeblood Greatsword with Chaos or Dark to add scaling to the pre-existing magic and lightning damage, as well as the added fire or dark damage.
- Similarly, one can cast Blessed Weapon on a Lothric Knight Greatsword to add Faith scaling to both the physical and lightning damage of the weapon.