Last updated on October 22nd, 2018
Out of all of the weapons in Bloodborne, the Logarius Wheel stands out as whimsical and strange. I’ve thought a lot about it from every angle and there are some things about it that don’t quite make sense to me. What follows is largely theory based on facts, trends, and small inconsistencies in the game.
“One of the secret treasures hidden in Cainhurst. The gloves of an executioner from a faraway land.
Passed from executioner father to executioner son, these gloves can be used to summon wrathful spirits of the past by smearing them with blood.
It is said that the nobles found immeasurable delight in the dances of these vengeful specters.”
The description of the gloves as being a treasure in Cainhurst and that the nobles delighted in watching the dances of the vengeful specters suggests that they may have originally been a Cainhurst treasure before the decision was made for the “Executioners” to be the rival faction of the Vilebloods (the Executioner’s Gloves may have inspired the creation of the Executioners as the faction during development). If the Gloves were originally created by the Vilebloods, who are known for utilizing their corrupted blood to make effective weapons, why wouldn’t the Wheel follow suit as well and make use of the same technology? This is an idea that may have been abandoned during development. The evidence isn’t very strong here, but this is only one piece of the puzzle.
Until the DLC “The Old Hunters” released, there were only 2 weapons in the game that drained HP in the game: Logarius Wheel and Chikage. They are polar opposites, as it stands, with the Wheel being Strength-Arcane and Chikage being Skill-Bloodtinge. Oddly enough, they both require a base Skill stat of 12. Now factor in the Bloodletter. We have 2 Bloodtinge weapons that both reduce HP in their transformed mode and one Arcane weapon that drains HP. In this scenario, the Wheel seems out-of-place because HP deterioration is a running theme with the aforementioned “pure” Bloodtinge weapons, not Arcane. In fact, the Tonitrus gains additional power from the user being at full HP, which contradicts the draining buffs of the Wheel.
Alfred carries Ludwig’s Rifle as a sidearm, which takes more than base Bloodtinge to wield, and does not use any sort of spell or arcane-scaling firearm. Queen Killer carries a Cannon to go along with his Wheel, a sidearm that is powerful with base Bloodtinge and scales quite well with its respective stat, and uses absolutely no spells. Why in the world would you invest in anything but Strength and Arcane if your main weapon is the Wheel? I get that the NPC’s don’t need to follow build rules, but when you consider the other NPC’s in the game, their respective weapons and firearms generally match a general build archetype: Skill-Bloodtinge, Skill-Arcane, and Strength-Arcane. The only true example of Strength-Bloodtinge is Brador. The Kirkhammer–Repeater NPC is an example of Bloodtinge supplementing Strength, but it contextually makes sense because Kirkhammer doesn’t have alternate scaling and is not a true archetype of Strength-Bloodtinge. So why would Alfred and Queen Killer deviate from following their archetypes of Strength-Arcane? What if those archetypes were changed somewhere along the way between the design period and release so that they no longer fit perfectly? That would explain this slight inconsistency in stat-use by NPC’s, which model the most common build types in PvP.
It is entirely possible that From made most or all of the weapons of both the DLC and the vanilla-game before the vanilla release and saved niche weapons like the Bloodletter for later, but let’s forget that for a moment. If we were to assume that the Bloodletter was a post-release idea, there were no Strength-Bloodtinge weapons in the game at all, yet the Wheel is characteristically paired with firearms that can be used or benefit greatly from higher-than-base Bloodtinge. It makes no sense to split between three different stats that serve different purposes from a build perspective. That’s yet more evidence that makes me think it wasn’t originally supposed to be that way.
Attack Multipliers and Damage Output
Now, let’s have a look at the attack multipliers and damage output. Unless you’re running top-tier Blunt gems or Flat Arcane gems, the Wheel isn’t going to hit very hard. Kirkhammer makes better use of Blunt gems (despite the halved effective moveset) because it has 210 base AR, scales from both Strength and Skill, has greater reach, carries a modest area-of-effect on all strikes that hit the ground, and has better attack modifiers (up to 2.3 for the charged R2). The Wheel has 200 base AR, scales only from Strength on the physical side, and has modifiers that only go up to about 1.6. Flat gems give the greatest damage output of any gem type for the transformed moveset of the Wheel simply due to their effect multiplying with the number of hits without considering the attack multiplier. Nourishing are ideal for using the full moveset of the weapon, but hits are weak relative to other weapons until the scaling stat total exceeds 75 (50 in one stat and 25 in the other, or something in-between). What does this have to do with Bloodtinge?
My theory is that the Wheel was originally a Strength-Bloodtinge weapon. And why wouldn’t it be? We’ve already seen that it has HP decay that’s characteristic of Bloodtinge weapons, that it was potentially a Cainhurst weapon before the Executioner faction was created during development, that it’s paired with firearms that require or benefit greatly from higher Bloodtinge, and that the attack modifiers are rather low compared to other weapons in the game. But what if the gems the Wheel was supposed to use weren’t Nourishing or Flat Arcane? What if those gems were Tempering and that the Wheel was going to have BloodAR and Bloodtinge scaling? This would effectively compensate for the low modifiers and make the weapon hit hard while filling the originally-unfilled niche of a Strength-Bloodtinge weapon.
If the Wheel was originally going to be a Strength-Bloodtinge weapon, why did they make it an Arcane weapon? Here’s the likely reasoning they had (if my theory is correct):
- The Wheel+Cannon combo is already deadly. Allowing them to synchronously scale from Bloodtinge would be a potential disaster for PvP, with the Wheel hitting devastatingly hard up close and the Cannon being an equally devastating ranged threat. It’s possible that they wanted to downplay the use of the Cannon and the overall appeal of Bloodtinge.
- “The Wheel does not synchronize well with Bloodtinge due to the 2h nature of its transformation.” I say this in quotes because this is the poorest possible argument against it, but still possible. The Bloodletter and Chikage are the same in execution, but Bloodtinge would surely have been the ultimate build for PvP. There would have been absolutely no room for Arcane to succeed when Bloodtinge is so much more powerful per point.
- The Strength-Arcane niche was only filled by Tonitrus, which may be incredibly powerful, but it’s fragile, has extremely short range, and retains only half of a moveset due to its self-buff taking up the transformation slot. Arcane didn’t have a lot going for it back then, so naturally, it was the first alternative.
- While it’s not a reason, Simon’s Bowblade was originally an Arcane weapon in the Old Hunters beta and became Bloodtinge in the final release. Such a change may have been what happened with the Wheel before the final release, but we never got a beta to see that change if it did happen.
What would the difference in the Wheel’s AR have been if it was a Bloodtinge weapon instead of Arcane? Some simple math can answer that:
Base 200 Physical AR
+ 110 at 25 Strength = 310 PhysAR
+ 187 at 50 Strength = 387 PhysAR
Base 50 Arcane AR
+ 1 at 10 Arcane = 51 ArcAR
+ 14 at 25 Arcane = 64 ArcAR
+ 25 at 50 Arcane = 75 ArcAR
With 19.3% Nourishing, 19.3% Nourishing, and 21.5% Nourishing: 1.729
- 50 Strength, 25 Arcane with gems: 669 PhysAR + 110.7 ArcAR
- 25 Strength, 50 Arcane with gems: 536 PhysAR + 129.7 ArcAR
With 19.3% Nourishing, 21.5% Nourishing, and 21.5% Nourishing: 1.76
- 50 Strength, 25 Arcane with gems: 681 PhysAR + 112.7 ArcAR
- 25 Strength, 50 Arcane with gems: 545.6 PhysAR + 132 ArcAR
If the Wheel were Strength-Bloodtinge instead:
Base 200 Physical AR
+ 110 at 25 Strength = 310 PhysAR
+ 187 at 50 Strength = 387 PhysAR
Base 50 Bloodtinge AR
+ 1 at 10 Bloodtinge = 51 BloodAR
+ 14 at 25 Bloodtinge = 64 BloodAR
+ 25 at 50 Bloodtinge = 75 BloodAR
Three 27.2% Tempering gems:
- 50 Strength, 25 Bloodtinge with gems: 796.4 PhysAR + 131.7 BloodAR
- 25 Strength, 50 Bloodtinge with gems: 638 PhysAR + 154.4 BloodAR
The difference might not seem that drastic, but the damage differences would be great. In fact, if Bloodtinge scaling were to follow the same rules as Arcane does on the Wheel, the PhysAR would be reduced to 70% in the transformed state, but the Bloodtinge side of things would get a massive boost (I estimate by multiplying by a factor of 4, but if scaling and base AR were to both double as theorized by others, it’d be a factor of about 2.7 times the amount of BloodAR calculated above).
Spinning the Wheel boosts Arcane AR by a factor of 1.1 for each of the first two spins and 1.2 for each of the last two spins, a total boost of 80% to your multiplicative Arcane AR. If the theoretical Bloodtinge Wheel followed this trend, it would be far-and-away the deadliest weapon in the entire game, capable of dealing thousands of damage per hit in PvE due to its ability to stack a Beast Blood Pellet and spins. It would also have OHKO potential in PvP.
As it stands, the damage for a 50Str/25Arc Nourishing Wheel is around 300 on untransformed (UTF) R1’s, around 500 on transformed (TF) R1’s, and around 700-800 on TF R2’s in PvP. The 25Str/50Arc Nourishing Wheel deals almost exactly the same damage, but with lower UTF damage to trade off for spell damage and better spins. The damage for a Tempering Wheel with Bloodtinge scaling would likely be 100-300 more on any given hit, perhaps more. Without a doubt, it would be a top-tier weapon and would likely hit well over 1000 damage on its strongest hits in pvp. As much as I would have liked a more competent Wheel, with better modifiers or slightly higher damage, it’s probably better that this weapon wasn’t Bloodtinge because of the sheer damage and potential for abuse.
There’s a lot to take in here and it’s very speculative, but these ideas that I’ve had since the very first time I used this crazy weapon and I’ve only now just put them into print. If you have anything you’d like to add to support my theory, or if you disagree, feel free to comment. Let’s see if we can get to the bottom of this!
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