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Breakable Weapons

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"There's something very wrong about a katana that shatters after five or six hits, one that ostensibly isn't made out of glass or chocolate."

An inexplicably common occurrence in video games is that weapons have only so many times they can be used before they cease to function. The game usually gives you some sign as to how many uses you have left (usually called "Durability"). While superficially contributing to both balance and realism, this trope usually requires Willing Suspension of Disbelief of its own, for several reasons:

  • When you run out of durability, the weapon does not dull, jam, or otherwise suffer impaired functionality; instead, it breaks outright, rendering it immediately unusable. This is despite the fact that, in most cases, it works at full strength until it's broken.
  • The amount of time and uses is often inexplicably small; in real life, a well-maintained sword can serve its wielders for decades if not centuries, suffering strictly superficial damage. Partly justified because of just how much use a video game character can actually get out of their weapon in the span of a couple of hours. Or a competently manufactured firearm, even a complex modern assault rifle, can expect a few thousand rounds of harsh use before suffering anything worse than a trivially-cleared jam or missfire.
  • There are either no ways to repair or reinforce your equipment before the durability expires, or, on the contrary, such repairs restore the item to brand new condition, disregarding such things as material fatigue.
  • Any Emergency Weapon the character might use when their weapon breaks is likely to be unbreakable. Especially egregious when the character's fists are perfectly capable of withstanding the amount of fighting that just ruined his sword.

On many occasions, the game forces weapons to break to keep players focused on the style of combat the developers intended; for example, it's quite common for weapons in a Beat 'em Up to break (or run out of ammunition) so that the player must focus on bare-handed combat. Another reason, often used in MMORPGs, is to act as a Money Sink forcing players to spend some of their money on repairs, especially for that Infinity +1 Sword. Or it could be just a nod towards realism, though in most games, the speed of degradation is preposterously high.

Occasionally, the Infinity +1 Sword has infinite uses, often because it doubles as a Sword of Plot Advancement and/or a boss would be impossible to defeat without that weapon. If the designers feel like making things really difficult, it will have exactly one use (and promptly become Too Awesome to Use).

Compare with Throwaway Guns; guns that cannot be reloaded are one way of implementing this trope. Of course, if a game doesn't feature this trope, it probably has Unbreakable Weapons. If you can break weapons before even getting them, it falls under Destroyable Items. This is a Sister Trope to Wrecked Weapon when weapons break in fiction. Contrast with Scrappy Mechanic and Fake Difficulty.


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Video Game Examples

  • Seven Sixty Two High Calibre has two different stats for weapons: Wear and Dirt. Both accumulate as the weapon is used, with Dirt rising faster (representing dirt, grime, carbon buildup, and other such byproducts of firing or careless use in a dirty environment). Dirt can be eliminated with a few seconds and a cleaning kit, while Wear can't be fixed without a weapon repair kit that can only be used when the gun breaks entirely. In both cases, a worn-out or dirty weapon causes a higher chance of a jam (requiring a second for the merc to fix his weapon, which may take multiple tries).
  • All of the swords/staves etc. in The Matrix: Path of Neo if they don't last through a level, will break without warning after a few strikes requiring you to either get another.

    Action Adventure 
  • In Assassin's Creed II, certain moves with the polearm will cause Ezio to break it. That doesn't stop Ezio from ramming both halves into the Enemy after a surprised look at the weapon pieces in his hands.
  • Like the modern-day Prince of Persia, Prince Ali of Beyond Oasis (The Story of Thor in Europe) carried an arsenal of breakable weaponry. Only his knife (which he was best with anyway) stayed around... unless you could find the top-secret "Infinite" items! Oddly, for a number of years, the only infinite item anyone knew anything about was the best one. An early on Infinity +1 Sword would be the Fire Crossbow which you win in a minigame.
  • Blood Omen 2: Legacy of Kain features this; there is a considerable variety in the types of weapons shown, but they're all breakable, usually only lasting two or three fights. When they break, they will shatter into a million pieces. Oddly, weapons only break when you use them; You can strike an enemy's weapon all day long, and block their every attack, but it'll never break until it gets into your hands.
  • A Downplayed Trope in the PS2 Buffy the Vampire Slayer game Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds. A shovel, for example, will eventually snap (including if you bash it against a wall enough times), but since vamps are weak to wood, you can just pick up the handle and keep using it until it snaps again and makes a standard-sized stake, which you can then keep using until it is completely worn away. Metal weapons like swords never break, though.
  • In Drakan: Order of the Flame, the only weapons that are indestructible are the starting dagger and the two strongest ones: the vampire sword and the Infinity +1 Sword (a.k.a. the Sword of Plot Advancement) that you only get shortly before the Final Battle. Worse even, there is no way to repair broken weapons in the entire game, so you will be forced to go through an impressive array of weapons before you acquire the first high-level indestructible blade. At least the sequel gave you the option to bring broken weapons to the smith to be repaired, although each time that happened some of the weapon's durability was lost and it would break sooner than it had earlier.
  • In Godai Elemental Force, weapons would wear with every use. A lot. And you can't repair them. Add to that the fact that all of the bosses have more HP than all your weapons combined, and this game gets very hard, very fast.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Ocarina of Time:
      • The Giant's Knife is a powerful sword that breaks after only a few swings — though the hilt retains its great strength even when broken, taking only a considerable decrease in range.
      • Deku Sticks can be used to hit enemies, but the stick breaks on impact. Incidentally, there's a glitch in the game that involves using a Deku Stick in a jumping attack from a ledge which nets you a shorter but unbreakable stick that you can swing around until you pull out another item. Useful in the early game when the sticks do considerably more damage than the tiny Kokiri Sword.
    • Majora's Mask has the Razor Sword, an upgrade to Link's usual weapon which blunts back down to its original form after a hundred swings. A Side Quest allows it to be upgraded into a permanent, stronger form.
    • A variation also appears in Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess, where wooden shields are destroyed if set on fire. As an added bonus, the Ordon Shield in Twilight Princess is Permanently Missable. You can buy an infinite number of replacement Wooden Shields, which work just as well, but they don't have the same coat of arms as the Ordon Shield has.
    • Skyward Sword has breakable shields with their own health meters lowered by improperly deflected attacks and for the wood shield being set on fire. A damaged shield can be repaired by Gadgeteer Genius Gondo in Skyloft or using a special potion that's poured on the shield, and the Divine Shield fixes itself over time, but a broken shield is gone entirely. Gondo can also upgrade your shields to make them more durable. Near the end of the game, it's possible to earn the Hylian Shield via a Boss Rush, and it's indestructible. The sword isn't easily destroyed, being of divine origin, but the shields can be destroyed if subject to too much abuse. This forces the player to time their shield bashes well so as to keep the shield meter up.
    • Breath of the Wild has this as a major mechanic, where all of Link's weapons and shields have a limited number of uses. Part of the gameplay involves scavenging weapons and shields from enemies and treasure chests to replace the broken ones. The hit that causes a weapon to break does extra damage. Also, hitting an enemy with a thrown weapon causes it to shatter, unless it's a boomerang. Even the Master Sword isn't immune to breaking, though it repairs itself after ten minutes and an optional quest in The Master Trials DLC lets Link increase its durability.
  • Marc Eckō's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure: Given that the game is more focused on Double Dragon-style hand-to-hand combat and tagging, melee weapons are breakable after three to four uses. And yes, that includes steel pipes and crowbars. Every Improvised Weapon breaks eventually, although fortunately they're only throwaway weapons and rarely vital to the gameplay.
  • In Prince of Persia: Warrior Within and Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, the Prince's sword is unbreakable, but enemy swords — once picked up by the Prince for two-weapon fighting — break after about thirty seconds' worth of use. This is particularly silly considering the first unbreakable weapon the Prince picks up after the shipwreck in Warrior Within is a stick. And the second unbreakable weapon he gets is a sword he takes from an enemy — the same way he gets his breakable weapons later. Given that The Dragon was attacking him personally, she probably armed her men with better weapons, and the "Spider Sword" doesn't appear in the hands of any other mooks. In The Two Thrones, the unbreakable permanent weapon is the Dagger of Time, a near-godly artifact, so it's plausible. Also, the rapid wear of the bladed weapons can be handwaved by the enemies being made of magic sand.
  • Warden: Melody of the Undergrowth: Any/all weapons Tavian collects breaks after enough use. Good thing there's plenty dropped by the enemies.

    Action RPG 
  • The Boktai features this mechanic:
    • Boktai 2 had weapons that, rather than outright breaking, would lose their attack bonus or their special abilities (think like a weapon dulling) over time. It was possible, though difficult, to make weapons that would never do this if you did particularly well at the forging process.
    • Boktai 3 had weapons that would outright break and need to be repaired from time to time, although you could reforge them whenever you wanted to restore their durability meter. There was also the La Vie En Rose, which was one of the best weapons in the game because it was the only sword to never need reforging.
  • Utilized to varying degrees in FromSoftware's "Soulsborne" series:
    • In Demon's Souls, weapons and armor degrade slowly with use and requires a blacksmith and some souls to fix. If they lose all their durability, their damage/defense values go down the drain and become much more expensive to repair. But in most cases, managing durability was only a small concern and only a small handful of weapons had special attacks that used up durability to use, but durability-reducing effects were utilized in a few PvP troll builds. Dark Souls does mostly the same, but lets you buy a Repair Box to fix it at any bonfire, and added Repair Powders to instantly give all your equipment some durability.
    • In Dark Souls II, equipment degrade much faster, but resting at a bonfire fully restores durability on all non-broken items. In many cases, your weapon will be more than halfway degraded by the time you get to one bonfire to the next and the threat of items breaking was real. There was also a major bug where items degraded twice as fast if the game was running at 60 FPS but has fortunately been fixed. One peculiar item is Santier's Spear, which turns into a better weapon when it breaks and stays broken.
    • Bloodborne goes back to requiring you to visit the Workshop every now and then to repair durability on weapons, but items degrade slower than ever. Dark Souls III made durability more or less superficial, as everything not broken is automatically repaired when you rest at a bonfire and are much harder to break in the first place, and most durability-consuming attacks were turned into Weapon Arts, which use FP.
    • Elden Ring got rid of durability entirely.
  • Devil May Cry 5: Nero's Devil Breakers can break if he's hit while using them, or if he uses a "Break Age" (charged attack) or a "Break Away" (special dodge). However, the base Devil Breaker stump on his arm's joint is indestructible, allowing him to use its Wire Snatch function even if he doesn't have an arm equipped.
  • Equipment in Dragon's Crown degrade the more you use them until they break, decreasing their effectiveness. You will need to repair them in Morgan's Magic Item Shop to bring them back to tip-top shape.
  • Let It Die: Melee Weapons degrade when you hit something, Ranged Weapons degrade when you shoot, and both degrade faster if you use their secondary attacks. Uncapped Weapons take enormous amounts of time and materials to develop[note]You need to upgrade a total of 21 times[/note] but have over five times the durability of standard weapons at only twice the cost.
  • Lies of P:
    • Every weapon has a durability meter that's reduced by blocking and attacking. The durability can be recovered by using items or resting in a Stargazer checkpoint. Pinocchio's arm has an infinite-use grinder that allows him to repair damaged weapons, but the blade will shatter if the durability drops completely, rendering the grinder ineffective and forcing the player to retreat to a Stargazer to restore it.
    • Enemies in turn can have their own weapons broken using perfect guards, with anything that can get smashed glowing a bright red when Pinocchio performs a parry. Not even bosses are immune to this, with the Mad Donkey's saw-sword and the Parade Master's head mace can be snapped in two with some effort.
  • The player can pick up numerous melee weapons in Marvel Ultimate Alliance. They break after a few swings but are more damaging than the default weapons which is quite a feat considering the base weapons include Thor's Mjolnir, Wolverine's adamantium claws, and Cap's unbreakable shield. This will leave opponents with lower damage and shorter attack range.
  • In the Monster Hunter series, melee weapons like the hammer, the swords, and the axe have varying levels of sharpness, and become duller the more they are used. However, one can buy whetstones (or gather them from the environment) and resharpen the weapon back to its original form during hunts. Also, when the weapon loses all its sharpness, it is still usable, albeit very weak. Rather bizarrely, you also have to sharpen blunt weaponry to the same effect. Ranged weaponry is entirely exempt from this system, instead having to deal with ammo.
  • In Muramasa: The Demon Blade, your swords will break and become useless for attacking and defending if you use them too much for blocking or using special moves. They can, however, be repaired if you keep them in your sheath for a while. The fact that you can switch between three equipped blades and the two not in use regenerate (faster if not broken) makes this less of an issue, though you won't have access to durability-draining special moves if you block too much.
  • In Westwood's Nox almost EVERYTHING that can be equipped, is breakable, whether on the player character, NPC's, and enemies. Each time the character gets into city, he should visit a smith and fix his worn-out armor and weapons. If he won't, they may break in the thick of the fray. Even clothes have their Hit Points, so it is possible to strip someone naked.
  • Several equippable items in Pandora's Tower, from the main weapon chosen to the add-on items that enable various different attributes, to even normal collectibles destined to be used for Item Crafting, are susceptible to being broken by extremely strong attacks. However, it's possible to repair them all by paying a small price apiece to Mavda in the Observatory.
  • Soulbringer uses this fairly realistically. Weapons gradually become less effective as they're used (especially if used against certain armors, like using a scimitar to slash against plate armor.) They can be repaired to perfect condition at any point up from 'ruined' but use beyond that can break them beyond repair. The game also features breakable armor, in the same manner.
  • In Summon Night: Swordcraft Story you have weapons with their own meter in battle that measure how much you can use it (attacking and blocking) that resets in every battle. If it runs out it breaks and you have to use another type of weapon, and if you don't have any left, a forging hammer. The same goes for human opponents in duels where you can only use one weapon and if either's weapons break, they lose. Defeating an opponent this way will get you the plans for their weapon, so it's usually a good idea that you go for this outcome.
  • In Summon Night: Swordcraft Story 2 this is slightly changed. The meter no longer becomes full after each battle but can be repaired after breaking and restored before breaking by items.
  • Ultima Underworld and its sequel have a system similar to BaK above, except they show vague descriptions of condition instead of definite percentages. Everything in them can break upon repeated use (or repeated throwing against a wall), including potions.

  • In The Punisher arcade game by Capcom, all the weapons that can be used by the player have limited durability that is displayed when wielded. After the limit has been reached, the weapon will no longer be usable. Some of the melee weapons, such as the baseball bat and the pipe, will break on its last use.
  • In The Tower of Druaga, though pickaxes can't actually be used as weapons, they will break if you use them on outer walls or, except with the Golden Pickaxe, when used on too many walls on the same floor. Breaking your pickaxe obviously isn't good, but since the puzzles in this game tend to be anything but obvious, there's a floor where you need to break the Copper Pickaxe to get the Silver Pickaxe.

    Beat 'em Up 
  • Weapons in God Hand are good for about ten swings before they just fall out of your hands and vanish. Gameplay-wise this appears to be justified considering how much damage they can deal, and not having them break instantly would unbalance the game's Nintendo Hard nature.
  • In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game, every weapon in the game will break after enough uses. Every weapon. Even the Power of Love sword, although it does have a very impressive number of uses before it fails.
  • The Streets of Rage series has all weapons vanish after a certain number of hits, but a certain exploit in some of the games can make the weapons' durability gauge refill again, basically renewing them. If an enemy picks up a weapon dropped by the player, its durability will be near full once the player takes the weapon back.
  • In the PS2 Beat 'em Up Urban Reign bottles and wooden planks are 2 weapons that break after being clobbered over an enemy's head. After breaking, the bottle remains an effective weapon, but the wooden stump leaves something to be desired.
  • In The Warriors, the focus is on bare-fisted combat — any item you pick up will break after a few hits. This includes wrenches, knives, and bricks. If the weapon was taken from a fallen enemy, expect it to be good for exactly one swing before it disintegrates in your hand.
  • The weapons in Yakuza are breakable, as per its focus on hand-to-hand combat. Weapons you pick up off the ground will fall out of your hand, broken, when their durability runs out; weapons from your inventory (purchased or otherwise acquired) cease being usable until you either use a Repair Kit or pay to have them fixed. Repair Kits are hideously pricey and the cost to have them repaired is a significant fraction of the weapon's value, making weapons Too Awesome to Use in many cases.
  • Every melee weapon in Fighting Force will break after a certain amount of times.

    Eastern RPG 
  • Items break at seemingly random in Albion. There's no durability, just usable items, and broken weapons. Some items are found broken and must be repaired before use.
  • Dark Cloud and its sequel, Dark Chronicle feature Breakable Weapons, and "Repair Powder" to restore the weapons' HP.
    • In the first game, any weapon that dropped to zero HP broke and disappeared forever, save for each character's default, starting weapon (and one Sword of Plot Advancement, which itself became breakable afterwards). Even if you spent forty hours building up and evolving your weapons to forge the Infinity +1 Sword, if it hit zero HP, it's gone. Forever. The only way to get it back is to reload your previous save file, assuming you haven't thrown your PS2 out the window yet.
    • In the second game, broken weapons simply became unusable but otherwise remained in your inventory until you took time to repair them. "Repair Powder" was a bit easier to find more of, as well. You could also hold a stack of 20 repair powders, which made things a lot easier.
  • Some weapons and items in the Golden Sun series had a secondary function that could be used in or out of battles, such as a weapon that blinds enemies or an accessory that restores HP upon use. Using these functions one too many times causes the item to be broken, but all it does is render the secondary function useless and you can get broken items fixed for a small fee.
  • In Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, you can find the Glass/Crystal Boots/Hammer, which while having high attack stats compared to other gear available at the same time, have a random chance of breaking when they're used.
  • Riviera: The Promised Land:
    • Almost all weapons are breakable except for angelic Diviners, which can only be used to any effect by their owners. Sometimes, the player will get weapons that are much more powerful than what they already have, but with only one or five uses. Many of these come back at a later, more reasonable time in the game with 30-40 uses.
    • Knights in the Nightmare has a similar system. You don't get a default unbreakable weapon, but Maria, the main character, can use any weapon effectively to make up for it.
  • Endemic to the SaGa series:
    • The first two titles on the Game Boy had this for all actions: shields, spellbooks, weapons, etc. Final Fantasy Legend III is the exception, playing like a traditional Final Fantasy game. That is, until the remake when the weapons have limited durability. One type (the Mystic Swords) can be recharged.
    • Unlimited SaGa has breakable weapons, but you can repair them in one type of shop.
    • In the remake of Romancing SaGa a weapon's durability plays a large role in leveling up the weapon. You can increase durability by tempering the weapon (which adds a material cost in addition to the usual fee for later repairs) or reduce the durability to increase attack power. Applying harmonic material (signified with red text when you choose to smith it to a weapon) helps the weapon level up when you use techs. The more powerful attacks with greater weapon durability costs level up faster, though you can use Blunt Strike (which deals no damage but has a chance to inflict Paralysis) repeatedly for the same effect.
    • SaGa Frontier 2 has this. Each weapon is good for so many hits (except for rare/special weapons) and you must repair them at certain shops to continue reusing them. This is because the game universe allows people to use magic — as long as they're using "natural" weapons. As a result, the weapons are made of things like wood and stone. In fact, one main character is unable to use magic at all, and as a result discovers the incredible offensive properties of steel, which does not allow magic use but absolutely destroys an army armed with natural weapons and magic.
  • Vagrant Story, true to its nature, has a rather complicated example. Weapons in Vagrant Story have durability. Durability decreases with use, and when it reaches 0 the weapon is weakened by 1/2. The durability can then only be restored at one of the various workshops in the game. This drains the weapon's PP by the number of durability points that are restored. PP, which grows from use of the weapon, will cause the weapon to deal double damage when it is maxed out. On top of that, there is at least one skill that partially restores durability in the middle of combat.
  • Valkyrie Profile:
    • Most of the weapons are unbreakable, though human weaponry, slayer weapons and many staves that allow Great Magic use have a random chance of breaking after each use.
    • The game's sequel was a bit nicer, having all weapons unbreakable unless a certain Sealstone was used, which also boosts their attack power by 300%. Odd, somehow in the time between the beginning of the two games, the ability for Normals to make unbreakables was lost. Covenant of the Plume does away with this entirely, though it makes sense - it's only humans using human weapons, and many of them are soldiers or mercenaries who would know how to maintain their weapons between battles.
  • Koudelka features breakable weapons influenced by its survival horror origins, with the characters being reduced to slugging away with their fists or using magic until new weapons are found. Guns do not break but naturally have limited ammo to compensate.

  • In the original Soul Edge/Soul Blade Fighting Game, it was possible to break a character's weapon if it had to block too much damage, or if you used a certain special move. This mechanic never appeared in any subsequent game, although a similar guard-abusing deterrent appeared in Soul Calibur IV in the form of Clothing Damage rather than weapon damage.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • The multiple items that can be picked up that eventually cease to function. Some won't work anymore, but can still be thrown, while others simply vanish when they fall to the ground. However, for the latter category, it isn't based on how many times the item is used, but how many times it's been dropped.
    • In Wii U/3DS, Robin brings a breakable weapon system inspired by their home series. Both their Levin Sword and magic tomes have limited uses before they break, after which they have to wait for them to recharge before they can be used again. Once the tome or sword is used up, Robin will automatically discard it, allowing a particularly fast player to grab it and throw it at an enemy.
  • The Street Fighter franchise has a recurring example with Balrog/Vega/"Claw": if his claw takes enough damage (usually by blocking too many attacks), it breaks off, reducing his damage and range slightly; in some games, it lands on the floor and can be picked up again, but in others, the weapon is completely destroyed. Some games take it a step further and make his mask breakable too, which causes him to take more damage. Street Fighter EX gives him a move that lets him instantly equip a new claw from Hammerspace, while Street Fighter V gives him a Stance System with a set of alternate claw-less moves.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • The weapons in Far Cry 2 degrade over time, losing effectiveness. Eventually, they'll start jamming more and more often, and will blow up altogether if the player continues using them. Luckily, weapons purchased from the gun stores are always brand-new, and you get an infinite supply of replacements for any gun you've purchased before. Guns picked up from enemies, on the other hand, tend to be rather old and beat-up; it's better just to snag their ammo. The guns themselves are ridiculously bad, however. There is no way a dart rifle (with no propellant fouling) explodes after 15 shots. The actual ridiculing can be found at IMFDB. The most practical weapons are the ones least likely to break in long firefights: the AK-47, M79 grenade launcher, the LPO-90 Flamethrower, and the SVD sniper rifle.
  • Halo:
    • Once the charge on a plasma weapon is gone, the weapon is useless and must be discarded, even the swords. While Word of God is that they're canonically rechargeable, this method is never shown. Even when one plays as a member of the Covenant, which developed and use plasma weapons, no method of recharging plasma weapons is presented.
    • With the exception of detached turrets and some Promethean weapons, anything that doesn't use physical projectiles can and will run out of juice and become nothing more than a slightly interesting bludgeon. Everything else can be reloaded or never needs to be.
  • Left 4 Dead 2 originally was going to have melee weapons fall apart after several uses, but the idea got scrapped for being too annoying.
  • In the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series, all weapons and armor wear out from prolonged use, although they never break completely. The item's condition is directly proportional to, in the case of armor, how much damage it absorbsnote , and as for weapons, its likelihood to jam/misfire, which forces you to reload, a terrible prospect in the middle of a firefight in any of the games. Items with a durability of less than 30% become practically unusable. Thankfully, from Clear Sky and onwards, there are techs who will repair your stuff at a price, and there are mods that implement this sorely needed feature to Shadow of Chernobyl.
  • Prey (2017): The optional 'survival mod' has weapons degrade over time, as well as taking damage from environmental damage and attacks. Poor-condition weapons jam and ultimately become unusable, requiring you to strip spare weapons for repair supplies.
  • Metro Exodus: Guns don't break, but they do get dirty when in contact with muddy water, various kinds of glop produced by mutants, and sand over long periods of time. The more caked a weapon is, the worse it performs, until it becomes practically unusable. Artyom can clean his arsenal at workbenches using chemicals he scavenges from various sources, with the amount needed depending on the number of Gun Accessories attached and how dirty each accessory is.

    Hack and Slash 
  • Dark Souls:
    • Dark Souls: All weapons, shields, and armor degrade slowly with use, becoming drastically less powerful once their durability runs out. Certain enemy abilities cause durability damage on your items, and some weapons allow you to use a powerful special attack at the cost of a large amount of durability. Fortunately, everything can be repaired relatively cheaply and easily, with the exception of Crystal weapons and shields, which have superior damage/blocking capabilities but with the downside of being extremely frail and impossible to repair.
    • Dark Souls II has the durability of all non-broken equipment restored to full upon resting at a bonfire, and anything that is broken can be easily repaired at a blacksmith. However, this is counteracted by most weapons being as fragile as tissue paper, breaking in about 30-50 attacks. And just to make it even worse, the only game in the trilogy where Repair Powder is actually useful is also the only game where it can't be bought in infinite quantities right from the start. The merchant who has an infinite stock of it isn't accessible until about halfway into the game. There are three other merchants who sell it, but they only have one each. One enemy can drop it, but extremely rarely, and they are only found in one of the game's biggest PvP hot zones. In addition to all that, they also gave rings durability, and more often than not the really useful rings are also the ones with the lowest durability. However, there is also a ring that slows durability loss when worn, which provides some relief. There is also Santier's Spear, a weapon with rather sub-par stats but insanely high durability. It will most likely never break unless you do so deliberately by smacking it against the crows' nest in Things Betwixt for several minutes straight, or are trying to do a no-bonfire run. When it finally does break, however, the game breaks with it, since unlike other broken weapons it not only doesn't lose any attack power but also gains a brand new, extremely versatile moveset. And since you can't break what's already broken, it now effectively has infinite durability.
    • Dark Souls III tried to strike a balance between the two. Weapons degrade more slowly, rings once again don't have durability at all, and everything not broken is fully repaired at bonfires (with broken items requiring a blacksmith). However, they may have gone too far in the other direction as weapons now degrade so slowly that even the most fragile katana will easily last you until the next bonfire, and most people go through the entire game without ever having anything being remotely in danger of breaking. In fact, some people aren't even aware that your equipment can break in this game!
  • In the Diablo series, an item keeps all its characteristics intact until it reaches zero durability, at which point it instantly becomes useless, but can still be repaired. Diablo II: Lord of Destruction added three special cases: Ethereal items, which are more powerful than regular items but have lower durability and cannot be repaired, the Indestructible attribute found on some unique and set items as well as regular magical items with the "of ages" suffix and finally the Zod rune (but good luck finding it). In the first Diablo, using the repair skill at lower levels would fix the weapon, but lower its maximum durability number, meaning it would need fixing again sooner.
    • In Diablo I, items reduced to Zero Durability are destroyed, making low-durability items like the Thinking Cap very tedious to use. However, there were shrines in the game that raised maximum durability, and making use of the Thinking Cap item (which had 1 durability to start with), almost required exploiting these shrines.
  • MadWorld, where nearly all weapons are breakable. However, this is more of a balancing issue, because if all weapons were unbreakable, the game would be a breeze.
  • Capcom's Shadow of Rome for the PS2. Weapons in both the gladiator and stealth sections would break with enough use. Justified though, since if they didn't break, any fight would become trivial when the Magnus lands in the arena.

    Mecha Sims 
  • Obscure arena combat mech-sim Steel Lancer Arena International has this...with your Partner AI. It wasn't broken via use, but by repairing your partner's 'data chip' after battles when they've taken a few knocks. Fridge Brilliance sets in when you realize that what you're doing is essentially repairing bad sectors over and over on a hard disk with your partner on it; do this enough times and you start to lose storage space to artifacts of the recovery process. It costs a pretty penny to just port your partner over to a new hard drive, an act equivalent to topping them off to their original HP value, before starting the process all over again.

  • Weapon (and armor) damage returns to the series in The Elder Scrolls Online. As you fight, your equipment slowly accrues damage that must be repaired by merchants (or, in a pinch, by an expensive repair kit). Dying, however, wears your equipment down by a bigger amount than regular adventuring. In the past, equipment slowly lost its capabilities as it wore down like in old Elder Scrolls games, but that was eventually patched out.
  • EVE Online, believe it or not. If you overheat your modules, they will shortly start to incur heat damage, too much heat damage and the module(s) will go offline; you will either need to drop by a station with a repair facility and pay to have them repaired or use some (expensive) nanopaste if that is not an option. Assuming you don't (or can't) overheat your modules, however, the only way for them to get damaged is to be in or on a ship when it goes boom... It should be noted that like all things in EVE Online this is a tradeoff. Modules that can be overheated will often give some addition boot. (range, Ro F, Damage, etc) Additionally, keeping somewhat accurately to science, heat will "spread randomly" to other modules. So, one tactic used is to have an offline modules to act as a "heat sink" to run your other modules hotter longer.
  • In Forum Warz, using broken items causes a temporary maximum health decrease. Fortunately they are repairable, for a price.
  • Done interestingly in Global Agenda (and many similar F 2 P games), where weapons themselves don't degrade, but mods do. (Given that you're putting these mods together from random crap you're looting, it makes a fair amount of sense that they'd break more than military-issue guns.)
  • Kingdom of Loathing has a few breakable items, mostly due to them being of flimsy make, like the Palm-Frond Whip. Usually they have an advantage to offset their fragility; the whip, for example, deals a ridiculous amount of bonus damage when it hits. Another example is the weapon and pieces of armor making up the Antique Arms and Armor outfit, each of which has a random chance of being destroyed during combat, with the offset being that all of the items are some of the most powerful in the game.
  • Free MMORPG Mabinogi has all equips subject to this trope; with functionality is fully retained until breakage. Weapons can be repaired at any time by certain NPCs. However, the reliability of the repairs varies considerably between NPCs, with environment effects also affecting reliability. Failed repairs reduce the maximum durability of the item by a point, potentially to zero with enough failures. Failed attempts to add certain effects to a weapon through "enchantments" can also reduce durability, up to and including permanent breakage. Cost to repair varies with the NPC (higher reliability = higher price), and item value. Subscribing to a paid premium service slows the decay rate, and increases the reliability of repairs.
    • Not all weapons can be repaired. A few, such as the Ghost Sword, break after a single use, or very limited use (a single point of durability). This is justified in that they are often One-Hit Kill weapons, or required for specific quests.
    • Some items, including weapons, are only available for a limited time during special events; and typically cannot be repaired. Justified in the case of most weapons by giving them better stats than similar weapon types; although some are purely cosmetic differences.
    • The game's sentient "spirit" weapons" follow a slightly different mechanic. They also wear out and break; but have a much higher maximum durability, which can be increased. Unlike ordinary weapons, spirit weapons are repaired by the owner, using a more complex process, and the chance of a failed repair is dependent on several factors. A "spirit weapon repair potion" is available through the premium (cash) shop which eliminates the normal repair process, and the risk of losing durability. In a lot of cases, unless you've put the spirit on a really rare weapon (for some reason) it's easier to simply transfer the spirit to another weapon of the same type if the durability gets too low. Early on repair is more economical, but once you get a maxxed spirit the durability rating is so high it's cheaper to just transfer it.
  • Materia Magica has equipment decay. Items will lose durability when used (but won't suffer any stat penalties until they break completely and disintegrate). Interestingly, items can only be repaired a fixed number of times (with better items having fewer repair chances). Items can also be "reforged", possibly increasing (or decreasing!) their stats at the expense of one repair chance.
  • Most of the wooden weapons in Mitadake High - the wooden bat, the bokken, and the nailbat are all susceptible. In a slight variation, tasers can run out of battery life, but you can still hit people with them.
  • In Project Blackout, weapons have a set number of uses. When they run out, the weapon disappears and you need to buy a new one.
  • Puzzle Pirates, a pirate-based MMORPG for the PC, features this trope. Everything you can obtain (with the exception of currency, trinkets, ships, pets, and some promotional items) wears out over time and turns into dust. Except for clothes, which turn into unattractive "rags". You can still wear them—no nudity allowed, even the cartoon variety—but they don't look good.
  • Runescape:
    • The game uses this in a few different ways. First, there are some enchanted rings, necklaces, bracelets, and other jewelry that disintegrate after a specific number of uses. By the same token, there are some gloves that give a massive exp bonus in Runecrafting, but they only last when you create 1000 runes. After number 1000, they just disintegrate.
    • There is also equipment referred to under a blanket term as Barrows Equipment. There exists some incredibly powerful melee, ranged, and magic equipment that belonged to immensely powerful warriors of days gone by, and you can go graverobbing to get your hands on some. They're the best weapons in the game... usually. However, after about 15 hours of combat, they break and require you to pay through the nose to repair. The PVP equipment released afterwards takes this a step further - Powerful to the point of bordering on being a Game-Breaker, but they're rare, expensive, and once used for an hour in combat, it's Permanently Missable. Jagex then took it to the ultimate extreme with the Hand Cannon. It's an uncommon weapon with annoying-to-get ammo, but under the right conditions, it can hit right up to 60 HP (and in a game where the maximum HP is 99, this is a big deal). However, seeing what trope we're in here, it should be obvious what its issue is - Due to the brilliant dwarven craftsmanship, it can violently, and without warning, explode in your face. The 16 damage to your health will heal. The sheer fury of the weapon you were having so much fun destroying people with being suddenly lost forever will stay with you far, far longer...
  • In Shintolin, all weapons can break, from simple sticks to ivory spears. This is justified to the extent that all the weapons are made with sticks, which tend to break when struck against something/one.
  • In Tree of Savior, both weapons and armor have durability gauges that deplete with use (dealing or taking damage). Dying takes a huge chunk of durability out of all equipment worn and wielded at the time. When durability reaches zero, the equipment must be repaired to continue using it.
  • A significant case exists (at least, did - no guarantee that it is still the case after so many years) in Ultima Online. Both weapons and armor have durability which wears down over time and can be repaired by someone with the appropriate skill, but every repair reduces the maximum durability of the item, and weapons at lower durability deal less damage. If you are diligent about keeping your weapons at optimal killing capacity, then you'll have to replace them entirely before long. Fortunately, the really powerful magical weapons were never mandatory, and most people could get by with a simple player-crafted katana.
  • Free MMO Voyage Century Online does not allow repairs to the basic starter versions of weapons, nor to any versions of the various tools used to perform crafts. Not much of an issue because starter weapons are extremely cheap and replaceable at any blacksmith, and the basic versions of tools are much the same. More advanced versions of tools last so long before wearing out that it's rarely a major inconvenience to go back and replace them. Repairing more advanced equipment can be a pain if you do not know how to make the item in the first place, meaning you'll be lowering the item's max durability even as you fix it up, meaning it'll break more easily next time, and blacksmiths will do much the same with advanced equipment.
  • In World of Warcraft, an item keeps all its characteristics intact until it reaches zero durability, at which point it instantly becomes useless (handwaved in the WoW manual), but can still be repaired.
    • In WoW, durability degradation applies more slowly to Player versus Player combat, which also doesn't use the death durability penalty.
    • Throwing weapons in WoW used to be ammunition (like arrows for bows, except that the ammo is both), but a patch changed it so that throwing weapons had durability, which was reduced by one point every time it was thrown and could be repaired like a normal weapon. This was especially helpful for hard-to-come-by throwing weapons.
  • Onigiri has this, and as skills tend to eat up a lot of durability, you are nigh-required to equip up to four different weapons on-hand for dungeons and bosses, being able to switch them on the go. The party blacksmith will do her best to repair your weapons, but at times can either have a Bad Repair, permanently dropping its maximum durability, or getting a Great Repair that increases the max. Repair Fairies are consumables that will prevent bad repairs, and you can get Durability Tickets to permanently increase a weapon's durability. Only your starter weapon is unbreakable.
  • Nexus Clash takes this in multiple directions - only breakable weapons can be improved past normal quality to become superior weapons, so there's an incentive to pick them up and specialize in weapon maintenance abilities.
  • Final Fantasy XIV uses a similar durability system to World of Warcraft, where your gear's condition slowly decreases as you use it, moreso if you are knocked out with it, and once it reaches 0 on a piece of gear, it stops giving you its inherent stat bonuses until you have it repaired.

  • Shadow the Hedgehog has a few melee weapons such as street signs, black swords, and an unlockable katana but all of them are fairly useless due to them breaking after about 8 hits. Strangely picking up the same weapon you're holding gives you more hits with it, like ammo.
  • Panzer Paladin is built around this trope: Every weapon has a durability meter that causes it to break upon depletion. The player can also choose to break their weapon deliberately in order to cast various spells. Fortunately, even if the player runs out of weapons, they can still use Grit's fist and Flame's whip to damage enemies.

  • In Gruntz, it's inverted somehow with the red breakable blocks, which will destroy your Gauntletz the moment you attempt to break them with them. Some other tools are a more straight example, like the Wingz that disappear if you use them too much.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon: Weapon banks can be destroyed if they sustain enough damage, they can also be specifically targeted for the purpose of disarming hostile ships.
  • Warcraft III: The Mountain Giant's War Club ability has him rip a tree out of the ground and use it as a club, changing his attack type and increasing its range and damage, but only lasts for 15 hits.

  • One of the Inventor episodes in Dicey Dungeons gives all the equipment limited usage, in exchange for more chests and changing the gadget system (now broken weapons become gadgets, making it more controllable). This system returns in Reunion, but she immediately exchanges the broken equipment with a random one instead of turning it into a gadget.
  • The Guided Fate Paradox features weapons and armor with limited uses as well; once a thing has "burst", however, you can upgrade it, merge it with another burst item, or sell it for more money than a pristine version.
  • Izuna: The Legend of the Unemployed Ninja and its sequel. Armor is breakable, too, but most weapons and armor last a long time when not overloaded with talismans.
  • Nethack has a variant: You cannot break melee weapons through fighting with them, but using bladed weapons to force locks can break them. Missile weapons have a chance of being "lost" (i.e., disappearing from the game) when they are used.
  • Weapons, armor, and shields in One Way Heroics have durability, which decreases with usage and casting spells. You can replenish it with Scrolls of Repair which are exceedingly rare and only restore it by 50 points (out of 100-200), Shield Repair Kits on shield which are more common or a Scroll of Juryrigging which is the most common and repairs everything to full durability in a jiffy, but like its name suggests, it also adds a modifier that increases the rate at which durability decreases by 50%. There's also Quality Whetstones that can be used on weapons which add a modifier that decreases the rate at which durability decreases by 10% along with increasing weapon damage by 5% and you can stack up to 10 of them if you feel like it, although it won't stop weapons from getting worn down completely even if the durability decrease is at 100% or higher.
  • In Zettai Hero Project, all weapons and armor have limited uses, represented by its Condition. If Condition reaches less than 50%, the item becomes less effective. This instills into the player that weapons, no matter how useful/cool, are ultimately expendable and should be treated accordingly. The objective is to win, at any cost, particularly apt for a Roguelike.
  • Many melee weapons in Death Road to Canada have a chance of breaking when used to attack, as can firearms if used to attack when you're out of ammo. Most of the strongest and most practical weapons are unbreakable, though, and those weapons that can break are subject to a percentage chance of breaking (rather than a durability meter).
  • All weapons in Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead can get damaged and break after many uses. You can repair them if you have the right tool, or, if they break, grab the fragments of your destroyed weapon and use them to craft a new one. Most spear-type weapons are particularly fragile to balance out the fact that they'd give you effectively infinite ranged attacks otherwise. Guns can also get fouling after being fired too many times.
  • Crypt Of The Necrodancer: Glass weapons have a default +4 damage rating making them very powerful even without strength-boosting rings and such but they break if the character gets hit once, leaving nothing but a glass shard which can't even be thrown like the default Dagger. Other glass variants such as the torch, armour, slippers, and jaw also break if hit once except for the Heavy Glass Armour which gives you three blocks against all damage.
  • Shiren the Wanderer: Most weapons are technically unbreakable by default with no durability issues apart from a handful of exceptions such as the Rusty Pickaxe which can dig holes in walls but has a chance of breaking, the Old Mallet which can destroy traps but possibly break in the process, and the Glass Dirk which is a very high base attack but breaks quickly if used normally as does the Glass Buckler. Also, weapons can be broken if thrown against something (unless melded with a Throwing Sword), blown up by a trap if lying on the ground, or if placed in a pot which gets destroyed.
  • Gems in Dungeons of Aether can be equipped into weapons, but they break after activating their effects too many times. The Grindstone item can be used to restore their durability, as can the Forge shops that sometimes appear in dungeons.
  • We Who Are About to Die: Weapons, shields and armor are all breakable, to varying degrees. Low-tier Starter Equipment like Rusty weapons often have very low durability, the random debris scattered around the arena and thrown in by crowds breaks in one hit, and actual, professional equipment of even the most basic sort can often last you several battles without maintenance. Some weapons like the Iron Claw are specifically made to be low-durability, high-damage crowd pleasers.

  • Axes in the Animal Crossing series. What makes the Golden Axe so coveted is that it's unbreakable.
    • In New Horizons, all of your tools except for the Step Ladder and the Pole Vault are breakable to coincide with the addition of Item Crafting. The previously unbreakable Golden Axe is relegated to having the best durability.

    Shoot 'em Up 
  • Einhänder has two ways for your Gunpods to break- either by running out of ammo, or letting them take too much damage from wall/enemy collision and enemy attacks.
  • In Escape Velocity it's possible to design outfits that wear out after a given amount of time by putting together two oütf resources (one for the good version, one for the bad version) and a crön resource (a time delay) that replaces one with the other. EV Nova's in-game example is the black-market versions of the Fission Reactor (which breaks down after a few months) and the Thorium Reactor (which becomes an explosion waiting to happen). Cheap Carbon Fiber has to be replaced, otherwise it becomes a "really expensive paint job".
  • Space Rangers has a similar example in that all equipment wears out if used (so you repair bot will not wear out if your hull doesn't need repair, and weapons don't wear out if you don't fire). Also, if something is broken enough, it starts malfunctioning — for example, the fuel tank starts leaking, making you waste fuel, and sufficiently damaged engine will slow you down to a crawl.

    Strategy RPG 
  • Jacksmith: You have to craft weapons for your team, and their strength is based on how well you crafted them. When the enemies do enough damage to the adventurers you service, their weapons break and they run away. The breakage is more likely symbolic, considering you can launch healing shells.
  • Myth: The Fallen Lords: In the sequel, the Balmung sword cracks lightning all around destroying everybody who is too close. It is so overpowered that those who wield that can defeat literally thousands of enemies alone. This indeed happens in the penultimate mission when Alric confronts Soulblighter, where you don't even need to use the rest of your army until the end. However, after battling the Big Bad, it is scripted to break, forcing the main hero and his soldiers to chase him in the last mission and fight the traditional way.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • The series has had this trope since the beginning (with the exception of Gaiden, and Fire Emblem Fates), and broken weapons usually cannot be repaired. This is the case for every unit, even ones without physical weapons (such as healers and mages, whose staves and spellbooks are Limited Use Magical Devices). Even the legendary weapons have limited durability (except in certain cases like the Falchion in the original and Awakening, and the Ragnell in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance). Certain games have repairable weapons (that when broken gain a statset and a name of "Broken Sword"), but most of the time if a weapon breaks it's gone. One interesting piece is that weapons have always had a fixed number of uses (A "Steel Sword" will always break after exactly 35 hits), rather than random rolls or "durability" stats that goes down at an unknown rate, and that Fire Emblem generally has limited money, making money management another factor of the game's strategy. As a general rule, cheaper weapons and staves have more uses, are slightly lighter (and therefore faster) than average, and are still quite effective in the right hands, so it's strategic to have run-of-the-mill equipment as a back-up for fights/heals that don't need the good stuff.
    • Spell books are also afflicted. Even worse, depending on which game you are playing, if you miss with a spell or staff, it still loses durability. Weapons don't.
    • The one exception comes in the form of weapons that are a part of one's body, like beaks or claws. A dragon's breath also counts...usually.
    • In the games in the series that feature shapeshifters, they usually manifest their power through a stone with a certain number of uses. Said stones are usually in incredibly scarce supply and once they're broken, that character can't fight until you find a replacement, which might even be non-existent depending on which game you are playing, ultimately making you end up with a character in your army that can't do anything at all.
    • The first twelve games (with the exceptions of Gaiden and Genealogy of the Holy War) each have the Hammerne Staff, which can be used to repair other weapons. Of course, it has only so many uses itself, and yes, there is only one per game and it can't repair itself. Except in Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, which has two if you get the last secret character.
    • In Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, you can repair any and all weapons, including broken ones, simply by visiting the castle town shops and paying a corresponding fee (up to 1000 gold per use on legendary weapons). Which is rather less convenient than it sounds when you realize that each unit has its own bag of cash that can only be transferred to another unit under very limited circumstances and healers tend to have trouble acquiring money. Thankfully, in this game, almost everything (bar some specialty weapons, but including the Holy Weapons but not the Holy Staff) has 50 uses.
    • In Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, Lyn's Legendary Weapon, the Mani Katti, has its uses restored between the two times when you get to use her, or a new Mani Katti will be given to Lyn altogether if you manage to break it in the first part. Since the game's main story, which is part of the prequel canon for Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, starts with Eliwood in Chapter 11, and it's been sometime between Lyn's 10th chapter and Eliwood's 11th chapter, it's assumed that it didn't literally break in Lyn's little story mode, even if the player did so while playing through that section.
    • In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and its sequel Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, there's a skill called Corrosion that can wear down opponents' equipped weapons.
    • In Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, a Goddess blesses all your character's currently equipped weapons, making them unbreakable like the Ragnell and Alondite.
    • Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon has an item, the Starsphere, that when held in one's inventory nullifies weapon degradation. Also, one can buy character-specific weapons like the Rapier and Wing Spear from some shops. Also, two used weapons of the same type can be combined into a single, more durable weapon between battles. There's also a single repair item, and Falchion itself, once you get it, is indestructible. (Amusingly, the main character Chrom is still using Falchion hundreds of years later in Fire Emblem: Awakening, and yes, it's still indestructible.)
    • Fire Emblem: Awakening introduced Armsthrift, a skill available to anyone who can reclass to Mercenary, which prevents weapon degradation and activates on a percentage based on the user's Luck Stat multiplied by two. Promoted characters' Luck usually caps at around 45 so a capped character can activate Armsthrift around 80-90% of the time, letting characters have much more use for their fragile legendary weapons. And, if the character also has certain other skills equipped, they can boost the activation rate to 100% thus having infinite uses for their weapons and averting this trope. Interestingly, staves are not affected by this skill.
    • Fire Emblem: Three Houses reintroduces weapon repairing from Geneology. At the same time, it also has Combat Arts from the remake of Gaiden, retooling it so that it costs extra weapon durability to use instead of Cast from Hit Points as in the Gaiden and its remake. Magic is excluded, as it is recharged after every battle.
  • Telepath Tactics, as part of the new inventory system it introduces to the series, requires physical fighters to have a weapon in order to attack. Weapons break after a set number of uses, and stronger weapons usually come at the cost of durability. This is actually more realistic than most examples, as weapons usually do last a pretty long time, especially if they're iron.

    Survival Horror 
  • Alone in the Dark:
    • The Old Cavalry Sabre from the first game. It breaks in two after a couple of strikes. It is necessary for a puzzle later in the game, but thankfully you can use the two fragments to solve it as well. The later cruciform-style sword you can obtain is fortunately unbreakable, as it's needed to defeat a cutlass-wielding pirate ghost.
    • The first game also features breakable ammo: if you fall into the water, all your shotgun cartridges (and matches) will become useless. As a mercy for less-agile players, both have waterproof substitutes you can find in the mansion.
    • The second and third game has automatic weapons that will be "jammed" at certain points in the game, most likely to prevent them from becoming Disc One Nukes.
    • Alone in the Dark (2008) had weapons that fell apart literally in about a dozen strokes. Combined with unlimited supplies of some mooks, this can get pretty aggravating. Things made of metal will typically last forever.
  • Basingstoke: The weapons in the game break after a certain number of hits. How much they can take depends on how strong a weapon they are.
  • In Condemned: Criminal Origins, most melee weapons would last forever if you wanted them to, with the sole exception of firearms used as melee weapons in order to prolong the inevitable invocation of the Law of Conservation of Ammo. In Condemned 2: Bloodshot, -all- weapons degrade and eventually break if used in any form of melee combat, especially blocking. Whether it's to encourage Good Old Fisticuffs or keep you scrounging for weapons is unknown.
  • Dead Island features this, with edged weapons like machetes degrading much faster than a baseball bat or sledgehammer. It's possible to repair weapons at a workbench but this price increases exponentially if you use customized weapons.
  • In Deadly Premonition, melee weapons are much more powerful than guns, but have limited durability and will eventually break; hitting enemies breaks them much faster than hitting crates or fences. You can get some unbreakable melee weapons by doing sidequests, though.
  • In Dead State, improvised weapons have a chance to break whenever they're used — the kitchen knife even has an attack that deliberately breaks the blade off in the wound in order to cause a guaranteed critical and bleeding damage — but survivors are encouraged to carry an unbreakable weapon too, like a baseball bat.
  • In the Dead Rising series, weapons tend not to last very long, largely because one of the game's main features is the fact you're in anything from a mall to an entire city full of potential weapons. Your baseball bat broke? Who cares?! There's a sports store right over there where you can get more of them! However, while weapons can't be repaired, the player can pick up books that increase their durability (for example, the biography of a serial killer improves bladed weapons). The downside, of course, is that these books take up inventory space that could be used for more weapons or healing items. Some weapons can be affected by multiple books, which causes their effects to be multiplied. The Small Chainsaw dropped by Adam the Clown in the first game is considered the best weapon in that game because it swings fast, does decent damage per swing, and can be affected by three books at once, giving it 27 times the durability. Dead Rising 3 changes things up a bit: books don't take up inventory space and can be equipped from the menus once found. However, you can only equip one at a time, until you level up an ungodly amount and unlock the final skill under "Smarts", which lets you equip all books at once.
  • Flesh Birds: There are shovels all around that, while they can splatter a bird with one hit, will break after repeated use.
  • The Last of Us has melee weapons that break after a certain number of hits. At least here though it's justified as most of the things that are used as weapons are made of wood or rusting metal. Joel doesn't go easy on them. Averted however when playing as Ellie, who carries an unbreakable switchblade.
  • In Pathologic, all weapons have 'durability' scores that go down when you use them. Though weapons can still be used even at 0% durability, the game averts Critical Existence Failure; melee weapons will dull and deal less damage, and ranged weapons will become less accurate. Fortunately, you can repair weapons for a modest sum by talking to a certain type of NPC. Equipment also has a durability score that goes down the longer it's worn, though it seems to play Critical Existence Failure straight.
  • In Resident Evil: Outbreak, nearly every melee weapon longer than a knife will eventually break unless in Bottomless Magazines mode is enabled.
  • Rise of Nightmares features this "feature" on basically all weapons. Fortunately, Josh can always fall back on Good Old Fisticuffs.
  • From the page quote, Silent Hill: Origins and also Silent Hill 4. The golf clubs snapping after a few hits was particularly irritating. Then there's Silent Hill: Downpour, in which all melee weapons break after a certain number of uses, and there's one scripted event where the axe you're carrying always breaks and you have to find another. Thankfully, melee weapons are quite literally everywhere.
  • All weapons and armor in Subterrain degrade with use, becoming unusable at zero durability. A nanotech repair machine exists in Central Control that can repair such items up to a limit based on the tier of research software installed in it.
  • In System Shock 2, every gun you find eventually degrades to the point where it breaks and becomes useless, requiring the player to invest in disposable tools and the skills of unjamming and repairing broken weapons. Unfortunately, the rate is cranked up much higher than the developers intended, making weapon maintenance an immediate high priority. An official patch later added a simple way to slow down weapon degrading or disable it altogether. Only melee weapons don't fall apart like cheap furniture after a few uses.
  • In Total Chaos, almost every melee weapon in the game is breakable to varying degrees, with the wrench being the only exception. Depending on which weapon was broken, it will either be unusable for the rest of the game or will give the player a piece of the weapon that needs to be combined with other items to repair/rebuild it.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • The PS2-version of The Punisher has a similar system. Focused on gunplay, any melee weapon you collect can be used to kill a single mook, often literally shattering into pieces in the process. Including pipe wrenches and metallic baseball bats.

    Turn-Based Tactics 
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown: alien weapons self-destruct into fragments when you kill an enemy. You can then harvest the debris and reverse engineer alien technology in order to gain access to laser and plasma weapons. Capturing an alien alive with the Arc Thrower nets you its weapon intact, though it has to be researched before it can be used.
  • Jagged Alliance 2:
    • Guns, armor, tools, and even glowsticks degrade. This is realistic, to a certain point, as guns will jam or misfire when degraded, and armor will not be as protective. However, it is incredibly aggravating to loot opponents' bodies and find guns that they have apparently left in a stagnant pool of hydrochloric acid for a month, which still fire perfectly for them! Fortunately, the Magic Toolboxes needed to restore them to full condition are reasonably common loot and not that expensive to buy.
    • Another thing that realistically damages weapons is explosions; be careful when using grenades or barrels to kill elite mooks, because it might damage their often-better equipment.

    Western RPG 
  • Melee weapons in Arcanum can be damaged if used on hard, hot, or corrosive objects (e.g., doors, chests, fire elementals, or certain slimy things). Axes are suitable for breaking wood, but swords and such are not. Every piece of equipment has its own hit points that go down as it takes damage, and repairing damaged things permanently reduces their durability unless done by someone with Master training. Items reduced to zero hit points become unusable, but can still be fixed by a Master repairer. The only weapons that are damage-resistant are certain high-tech axes and hammers, and weapons with Arcane enchantment - and even some of those can get wrecked if the wielder suffers a critical miss.
  • In Arx Fatalis, every hit damages the weapon as well, and hitting something hard, like armor, bone, or wall, only increases this damage. Repairing lowers max durability, to avoid this you can repair it at the blacksmith. Weapon, however, will be fully functional until the end, when it (according to the following sound) is pulverized. Furthermore, buying or repairing weapon at blacksmith is virtually the only way to get non-damaged weapon; pieces you loot are generally in bad condition, due to being used. However, "generic" weapons with no bonuses can be enchanted with one of several magic ingredients, one of which makes them indestructible. Finally, any Mithril sword is unbreakable by design.
  • Nonmagical metal weaponry early on in Baldur's Gate would sometimes break on you without warning, justified because the first major quest of the game involved a "plague" upon all the iron coming out of the mines that supply most of the region, meaning much of the processed iron and steel goods in the area were constantly breaking because they were so weak. It sucked, but at least they had a reason. Once you got magical weapons (and paying for them at low level was like drinking gold dust) or finished up the "iron plague" questline, it stopped being an issue.
  • Betrayal at Krondor:
    • The game has a curiously rare system where the weapons' and armors' effectiveness (measured in percents) degrades gradually over use instead of going from 100% to snapped in half in one sudden moment. A sword in 73% condition will only do 73% of the normal damage. It employs a similar system for people - when you get injured, all of your skills will temporarily drop in proportion to the injury. Whetstones and hammers for repairing gear exist, though they also degrade over use.
    • A bug in the game's code made the displayed condition of the weapon or armor independent of its actual use; a sword will do the same damage at 10% as it does at 100%, and a suit of armor prevents just as much damage at 35% as it does at 100%. The only in-game effect for the durability is for crossbow strings (which will break randomly, based on the condition of the string and render the weapon unusable) and selling looted or obsolete armor to shops.
    • The same system is also used in Krondor's Spiritual Successor Betrayal in Antara, with the caveat that there is precisely one sword that does not degrade (which is also the second strongest sword in the game), and shields cannot be repaired (except by one guy in the first chapter as a quest reward, but since that's in the first chapter, none of the party's shields are likely damaged enough to be worth the effort of repairing in the first place).
  • Throughout The Elder Scrolls series (until Skyrim, which did away with the mechanic), weapons (as well as armor in Morrowind and Oblivion) wear down with use, becoming completely unusable once their "condition" hits zero. In Daggerfall, only weapons wear down with use, and they must be repaired at a shop (by actually leaving them there for a time). Additionally, enchanted items that wore with "Use" could not be repaired without tweaking the game's *.cfg file. (Starting with Morrowind, enchantment and physical wear are separate item properties.) In Morrowind and Oblivion, weapons and armor can be repaired using repair hammers that are, themselves, destructible through use. (The Player Character's Armorer skill as well as the quality of the repair hammer determine the condition increase of the item.) Additionally, they can be taken to a smith who, for a fee, will instantly repair the items to full quality.
  • Fallout:
    • Weapons in Fallout and 2 do not degrade at all normally, but a Critical Failure has the potential to destroy a weapon, making it disappear completely. This was one of the many reasons that made the "Jinxed" trait so unpopular. In an ironic twist, Jinxed can still be selected if you're playing as a very lucky character. If said character also happens to be a martial artist, then only your enemies are subject to such problems.
    • Fallout Tactics occasionally has weapons break on a critical failure, but rather than vanish you simply couldn't use it and it could be repaired later.
    • Fallout 3's weapons do less damage and jammed more frequently when in poor condition. Armor provides less damage resistance if it's in poor condition, but it won't lose any of the bonuses it gives you. Either could be repaired by NPCs for usurious fees or, unusually, by scavenging parts from other weapons. The maximum condition repair can be bring them too is somewhere between 40% and 100% depending on Repair skill (yours or the NPC's). You could also shoot your ENEMIES' weapons and render them unusable by damaging them enough, causing your enemies to drop them. They could still be repaired or used for pieces, though they cost a huge amount to repair and don't repair other items much.
    • Further expanded upon in Fallout: New Vegas, where loading your guns with poor-quality 'Surplus' ammo or over-charging your Energy Weapons causes them to deteriorate even faster, but with other added benefits like increased damage and armor penetration. You can put together toolboxes which can be used to fix stuff without needing a spare to break down for parts. New Vegas also introduces the "Maintain" threshold, a condition value of about 75% where weapon degradation doesn't affect performance until the condition level drops below it (no damage or DT penalty, never jams). The game also makes it possible to repair items to 100% regardless of your repair skill (NPCs have the same limit as in 3, though generally much higher Repair skills), and with a high enough skill, you can take a "Jury Rigging" perk, allowing you to repair an item with anything in the same class (like using a Sawed-Off Shotgun to repair a nail gun).
    • Power armor in Fallout 4 has durability for each piece (head, two arms, two legs, chest), and any piece that reaches zero durability breaks off, though this just lowers total damage reduction and disables any mods on the piece—the now-exposed parts won't be especially vulnerable. Broken and damaged power armor pieces can only be repaired at a power armor station using base materials, and higher-tier armors need rarer parts. On the other hand, 4 completely does away with the previous degradation system. No other gear degrades or breaks. Instead there is an expanded modding system, making the weapons and armor vary in strength in the other direction. It's rather impressive that guns made out of scrap pipes and 280-year-old weapons can both fire an infinite amount of ammo without deterioration or even jams.
  • In For the King, most weapons are unbreakable; "Breakable" is an attribute applied to certain types of weapon, most of which are particularly powerful (and many of which are unique and irreplaceable). Most of them have an in-game reason for having the attribute, such as a set of powerful unique weapons (one sword, one bow, one wizard's staff, one lute) that are made out of glass. A breakable weapon doesn't have a set number of uses before it breaks but instead will shatter the first time the player gets a Critical Failure while using it.
  • In Jade Empire, your character's personal weapons are Unbreakable Weapons, but you can also pick up legs from broken tables and other improvised weapons, which break after a certain number of uses.
  • Many of the games in the Ultima series had a glass sword that could kill almost any enemy in one shot but would break afterwards.
  • Seen in the CRPG The Magic Candle, with a couple of twists. One is that you can erase your weapons' accumulated "wear and tear" by having someone work on them during a rest period. (You quickly get into the habit of doing this.) The other is that a broken weapon can still be fixed, it just takes a lot longer. One perk of Brennix, the game's Infinity +1 Sword, is that it never needs fixing.
  • Weapons in the Might and Magic series have an annoying tendency to break quite often (as do armor and accessories). However, they can be fixed for the right price or if one of your party has some skill at repairing things.
  • A rare few blades in Planescape: Torment also would break easily, simply because they weren't meant for combat or were in extremely poor shape — things like steak knives, rusted blades, and so on.
  • In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt your swords degrade the more you use them. You can repair them, but the higher the level of the monsters/opponents you fight, the faster they degrade. The same is true for your armor.
    • The Hearts of stone DLC adds a rune that can reduce armour degradation by 100%, making it unbreakable, unfortunately you can't get the same thing for weapons.

    Wide-Open Sandbox 
  • All of the tools in Minecraft are breakable, with their durability varying from fragile (wood, gold) to extremely resistant (diamond). However you can repair tools by combining two damaged ones, or you can just make new ones. You can also make an anvil with which you may repair any tools by combining the item in question with the material used to make it. Given that it would take more iron to repair a low-on-durability iron sword than it would to make a new one, as well as the anvil having a random chance of breaking slightly every time you use it until it breaks completely, it's best to save the anvil for your enchanted gear. The ultra-rare "Mending" enchantment allows equipped items to repair themselves with experience orbs, at a rate of 2 per orb. If an item has this enchantment, it'll never run out of durability, provided it's fed experience orbs often enough.
  • A major part of the Way of the Samurai series of games on PS2. Aside from only being able to carry 3 different swords at a time, each could have different durability stats that represented how much stress the blade was under. Each attack raised the red bar a little, though extremely powerful attacks, some instant kill attacks, and blocking heavy attacks added lots of stress. Hitting the limit dropped the durability one point, making it easier to break again. Losing all durability generally meant the end of the weapon, particularly painful considering the upgrading you can have done to a blade, and that skills you know and attacks automatically blocked are unique to the sword used to acquire them.
  • Item quality is one of the key elements in Unturned unless you're playing on Easy. Every weapon has a variable chance to degrade a certain percentage after each whack or shot, and while they're not technically unusable at 0%, they're so horrendous at their main uses, they might as well be. Repairing takes a certain amount of the material the item is crafted out of and a repair will always take the item to 100% quality, but some metallic items (mostly firearms) require a blowtorch alongside the materials to fix, and more complicated weapons require the player to invest points in the Engineer skill.
  • Firearms in Red Dead Redemption II have a "Condition" value that goes down with frequent use or exposure to the elements. A gun with a fully depleted condition bar won't actually break, but its reload speed, damage, and accuracy will all be degraded. You can restore it by visiting a Gunsmith or by using some Gun Oil.

  • In most Wrestling Games, all weapons, from broomsticks to steel chairs to sledgehammers, break after you hit somebody with them three times. This convention started with games like WWF Wrestlefest and Saturday Night Slam Masters, and continues to be used today. This is one of the few justified uses of this trope. Most weapons used in hardcore wrestling are often made to break easily. A real garbage can does not dent anywhere near as easily as one used in wrestling, and tables do not often break in half (usually the legs will give way first). This didn't stop early Smackdown games from trying to avert this, forcing you to drop a weapon after a few swings, usually right at your feet, allowing you to simply pick it back up, and keep spamming the weapon attacks, allowing for a far quicker beat down than conventional moves do. Later games made the weapons re-spawn elsewhere, if only to allow the person on the receiving end a chance to get a weapon too, rather than all hardcore matches being decided on who could grab a table first.
  • In Def Jam: Fight for NY, participants can get their hands on any number of nifty weapons, from baseball bats to beer bottles to barbed-wire-wrapped 2x4s, all of which break after 1-5 hits. This even applies to the rare (and devastating) chrome tube and lead pipe, though they don't actually break - once you hit the limit, the item bends over the opponent's head.

Non-Video Game Examples

    Anime and Manga 
  • The swords used by the Garrison, Survey Corps, and Military Police in Attack on Titan. It's told that the reason they're used is for their incredible sharpness, as the weapons are hand-made expressly for the purpose of fighting Titans, but they'll break with only a handful of uses. To account for that shortcoming, soldiers utilize sword hilts with detachable, replaceable blades—much like a large utility knife—and carry sheaths of multiple blades that they can switch out on the fly. Also like an utility knife, the blades can break off in sections so that if the tip gets dull the rest of the blade can still be used.
  • In Sword Art Online, weapons and armor in the titular VRMMORPG (and in several games introduced in later arcs) have fixed durability that is easily visible to the player using them. As with dead players and monsters, a destroyed item shatters and Disappears into Light shortly thereafter. This is a major plot point during the "Murder in the Safe Zone" mystery. Players can't lose HP in a safe zone, but items can still be damaged; the "murder victims" stuck weapons into their armor, waited until the durability was about to expire, and then teleported away amidst the shattering.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In GURPS guns will jam on a bad roll; this becomes more likely if the weapon is not cleaned regularly or is poor quality.
    • Shooting without pausing can cause the same problems but heavier barrels warp more slowly and cooling systems allow for basically unlimited fire so long as they work.
    • Melee weapons can break when struck with optional rules. There are even rules for how they break and whether or not the remains are useful (like the difficulty in using a broken-off axe head as a weapon).
  • The d20 Apocalypse book, for running post-apocalyptic games with the d20 Modern game system, strongly recommends that Game Masters have pre-apocalypse weapons and equipment break when the player using them rolls a natural 1 (a "critical failure") on the attack roll or skill check. Mainly justified in that most of this stuff has been lying around without any kind of maintenance and probably exposed to the elements for a few centuries.
  • Jams/misfires are optional firearm rules in Hero System. Melee weapon breakage is an option for a rolled natural 18 (automatic failure) and suggested for genres that use stone/bone weaponry.
  • In Dark Sun, steel weapons with no chance of breaking under normal use are a lost technology, affordable only to the rich. Someone with only ordinary opportunities for acquiring weapons will be using a weapon made of obsidian, which breaks much more easily than metal weapons.
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse:
    • Omnitron and its Good Counterpart Omnitron-X both wield Component cards in their decks. If they take enough damage in a certain timeframe, they break and are destroyed. For Omnitron it takes 7 damage in a single round (a round is one go around the table) while for Omnitron-X he must take 5 damage in a single turn (the start of a turn to the end of a turn).
    • Mr. Fixer's Darkwatch promo card's power works like this — whenever he uses the power to attack, he has to also destroy a piece of equipment or an ongoing effect used by the heroes. This often means whatever weapon Mr. Fixer just used.
  • In Myriad Song "Scrounged" weapons, those cobbled together from whatever junk the maker could find, have a Breakdown dice (usually d8) that is rolled when attacking. If it comes up 1 the weapon breaks.
  • In Call of Cthulhu, rolling a 100 causes the weapon to misfire so badly that it explodes, dealing damage to the wielder and making it permanently unusable.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Early editions had optional rules where a player who makes a very unfortunate attack roll could break his own weapon, or suffer some other similar calamity, at the referee's discretion. With 3rd Edition rules, players can specifically attack an opponent's weapon or shield in an attempt to break ("sunder") it, just like any other object or material. Due to its complexity and the fact that it meant that it meant destroying valuable magical equipment, it was largely regarded as a Scrappy Mechanic rather than a viable tactic.
    • The Oriental Adventures sourcebook had a "weapon breaker" combat maneuver that had a chance to break an opponent's weapon. However, if used on an "unbreakable" weapon it would fail and there was a good chance you'd break your own weapon instead.
  • 7th Sea takes a similar, though more conservative approach. Unbreakable Weapons are the default, but a select few swordsman schools gain the ability to smash opponents' weapons or even crush them in their gauntlets, although both are difficult (the required rolls start at 30, which is higher than the difficulty to hit the vast majority of foes in the first place) and may even require spending a Drama Die. The only weapons that are Breakable Weapons by default are improvised weapons, which break when a player rolls and keeps a 10 on a damage die. Since 10s explode, this tends to mean that improvised weapons break rather cinematically, shattering as the result of a mighty blow.
  • Games Workshop games:
    • Tabletop wargame Warhammer 40,000 features Plasma weapons for its Space Marines and Imperial Guard troops that have a tendency to explode at inopportune moments.
    • The 1st and 2nd Editions of the skirmish game Necromunda would force players to take Ammo Rolls when they fired to represent the difficulty in acquiring good quality supplies in the game's setting. If the Ammo Roll was failed with a natural roll of 1 then the player had to make a second Ammo Roll for their character with another failure resulting in the weapon exploding, destroying the weapon and causing a hit on the model carrying it.


    Web Original 
  • Both Cinder Fall and Raven Branwen of RWBY stand out by using exclusively breakable weapons, with Raven using a sword hilt with Detachable Blades made of Dust while Cinder creates a variety of weapons out of glass. Being in a series rife with weapon symbolism, both of these are significant to the characters: Raven's weapon represents her trying to use brute force, failing, and then trying the same thing again rather than learning from it, while Cinder's shows how fragile and volatile her identity truly is beneath her calm demeanor.


Video Example(s):


Origami King weapon breaking

In Origami King, Mario's weapons will break after several uses.

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Example of:

Main / BreakableWeapons

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