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Damage is the possible, but not guaranteed result of attacking from a monster to a player or vice versa. Damage can be realised by:

  • Melee damage—The attacker is toe-to-toe to the defender. Most weapons are melee weapons.
  • Ranged damage—There is a distance between the attacker and the defender. Bows and Crossbows are often used for ranged damage.
  • Spell damage—The attacker uses spells (from a Skill Tree) against the defender.

Spell damage is always successful. The success of melee and range damage depends from the Attack Rating.

In all case of damage the hitpoints of the defender is decreased. If the defender has no resistances, the hitpoints of the defender is decreased with the same amount as the damage from the attacker is. If the resistance is greater than 0, the amount of taken damage is decreased. If it is less than 0, the amount of taken damage is increased. If the damage is higher than the defender's hitpoints left, the defender dies. Some damage can also be negated with items that provide a Damage reduction bonus such as "Damage Reduced By 7" in which case physical damage will be reduced by 7.

There is a difference between Attacking and damaging. If you attack a monster, it is an attempt to do damage to it. It is not guaranteed that the attack is successful. In case of damage the attack was successful.

Diablo II[]

For damage in the Diablo II engine, the maximum amount available to be dealt in a single hit is 8388608 (223). This number, however, is reduced severely when used in Player Vs Player scenarios.

All damages save poison[]

Physical damage is reduced by the PVP penalty of 100% to 17% and reduces the aforementioned 8.38 million damage to 1426063.6 which is often rounded to 1426064 for ease of calculation.

The second method of damage reduction is the Sorceress' skill "Energy Shield" (henceforth ES). At maximum capacity, it can reduce the damage done to life to % which is 71303.2 damage, calculated from the rounded value. Note that the similarities of Phyisical and Elemental/Magical damages end here.

Physical damage[]

After the ES effect, Damage Reduction by Integer takes effect, (henceforth DR#) and can reduce, by the limits of the game engine, up to 198 instances of 63 damage reduction. This reduces the 71303.2 to 58,892.2

From there, Damage Reduce by Percentage takes effect, (henceforth DR%) and can further reduce the damage by up to 50%. this takes the damage to a new low of 29414.6 physical damage that hits life as a game engine best case scenario.

Non-poison Elemental damage[]

Onscreen resists (the resists shown by the Character Screen) can go up to 95% and reduce the damage as such. The 71303.2 damage from the previous instance is reduced to 5% yet again, taking the damage to 3565.16 per hit.

Absorption reduces the damage further, and will be explained by their two different types. Absorbs by percentage, similar to DR% for physical damage, further reduce the damage taken by the non-poison elemental types. The way it works, is that Absorbs up to 40% are effective in reducing the damage by said amount. However, they also heal the same amount, which in turn doubles it's effective value. This reduces, in a perfect scenario, the 3565.16 damage to 20%, which is 713.032 damage per strike as a maximum.

Absorbs by integer can reach a maximum easily above 100,000 if using the character limits, rendering the elemental damage able to HEAL instead of hurt, however, for simplicity's sake, a small integer of 200 will be used. This would reduce the damage further from 713.032 to 513.032, and would heal for 200 as well, which would negate 200 of the damage, reducing the actual damage taken to 313.032.

HOWEVER! Absorbs % and integer absorbs reduce the damage before healing it, but the end result is the same.

3565.16 reduced to 2139.096, a difference of 1426.064 (the number looks familiar, yes?) then is further reduced by the 200 integer absorbs to 1939.096. The heal would then reduce the damage by (1426.064+200) or 1626.064, which comes to 313.032, as seen before.

Poison Damage[]

Poison damage is unique in the way that it can deal up to 8388608*25 damage per second, the 8.3 million damage per frame. That's a lot of hurt, and a very sickly poison. Maybe Lilith herself concocted this with some help from Rathma and Alkor?

Nonetheless, it's also reduced by the PVP penalty to 1426064 (rounded) per frame, which is still ridiculous. However, it's also reduced similarly by up to 95% onscreen resists, which takes that again down to 71303.2 per frame. There are no poison absorbs, so the damage cannot be absorbed like the other elements.

It can, however, be reduced by time, by various different sources. It reduces the overall damage similar to absorbs, as poison damage is calculated as (XXX damage over XXX seconds) and then it is transcribed as, when the damage value is selected, to (XXX damage per frame for XXX seconds) which would then greatly reduce the damage done.

Magical damage[]

As the elemental damages from above, it only skips the resistances part and is absorbed by the possible absorbs available. Note that Magic resists are there, but they are, however, unable to be accessed by the game's base drop rates and affixes, which does not allow magical resistance.

Diablo III[]

Diablo III calculates damage quite differently than previous games. Most attacks targeted at an enemy will automatically hit, and the only random chance (for player attacks) is whether each will be a Critical Hit. The attack's baseline damage is almost always based on weapon damage for players, and is multiplied by a series of offensive bonuses and defensive decreases to calculate the final "unsaved damage", which may then be blocked or absorbed before being applied to Life. There is also a chance to Dodge some types of attacks; a dodged attack is nullified completely.


Damage numbers abbreviation presentation

Damage numbers may be shown above enemies when damage is inflicted: white color for normal hits, yellow for Critical Hits, and red for damage done to the player. As of Patch 2.4.0, very large damage numbers may be abbreviated (rounding down), M for millions, B for billions and T for trillions. These options can be adjusted in the game settings, including an option to display the color of damage more orange and red if its damage is substantially higher than previous hits.[1]

Damage statistic[]


Damage is right above Toughness. This Monk's basic attack delivers an average of almost 216,000 damage per second.

The game calculates the damage per second that a continuous series of basic attacks would deliver, for the purpose of giving players a baseline to compare to when they change their items and skills, and shows this as "Damage" (also called DPS) on the character screen just above the other "effectiveness statistics", Toughness and Recovery.

Attack Speed, Critical Hit chance / damage, overall damage increased by passive skills and several item powers, and a few other stats are all taken in account. Also included are temporary increases to overall damage caused by triggered item powers or active skills with a duration. On the other hand, Area Damage, Cooldown Reduction, bonuses to specific skills, and conditional overall damage bonuses granted by most class sets are not included.

For example, if a skill deals 200% damage of the basic weapon damage, and one has 100,000 DPS, the attack will deal (on average) 200,000 damage per second not including more specific bonuses. If it deals, for example, Fire damage, and the character has a 10% bonus to either Fire skills or that specific skill, the total effective DPS will increase to 220,000. In other words, for almost every skill in game, the Damage stat reflects the effective damage done pretty accurately. Some effects and builds, however, especially those relying on Thorns and other specific stats, scale very differently, so this number becomes somewhat meaningless for them.

Calculating damage[]

Before multipliers are applied, the "base damage" is determined:

  • Monster attacks and environmental hazards have a pre-set range. A damage amount is randomly chosen from this range, then multiplied by the current difficulty or Greater Rift rank modifier.
  • Player attacks are almost always based on their weapon damage range. A number is randomly chosen from this range, as well as each other added damage range from items' magic properties, to form a total base damage. Then, the skill used specifies some percentage of this number that the skill actually deals - for example a skill that deals "240% damage as Physical" means the weapon damage is multiplied by 2.4 in addition to other modifiers, and that effects which improve Physical skill damage apply.
    • Fast weapons tend to deal less damage per hit, and slower weapons more damage, yielding similar damage per second for weapons at the same level regardless of weapon Attack Speed.
    • Occasionally, non-weapon factors are used to determine damage for some skills or effects, such as Shield stats, Thorns damage, or an amount set by a specific Legendary Item power.

Offensive damage bonuses include:

  • The primary stat for the player increases damage output by a percentage which is proportional to the stat.
  • A Critical Hit increases base damage by 50% as a baseline, but can be increased quite a lot by item bonuses and a few skill bonuses. Critical chance is checked on each attack; the chance is 5% by default but can be increased by many factors. Monster attacks never crit.
  • Bonuses to skills of a specific element can be acquired primarily from items. Note that the elemental damage added by the magic property of weapons, if any, is ignored here.
  • Bonuses to specific skills are available from items and passive skills.

These bonuses are almost universally in the form of a percentage added to the total damage. This can be treated as a multiplier by that percentage plus 100%; for example a 40% bonus is the same as a 140% or 1.4x multiplier. Note that multiplication gives the same result regardless of the order the increases are applied.

Defensive reductions to damage to players include:

  • Armor rating is used to calculate a percentage all damage is reduced by. While Armor is essentially the replacement for Defense from previous games as a primary defensive statistic, it does not cause any chance to miss, simply a direct reduction in damage taken.
  • Resistances to each Elemental Damage type are used similarly to calculate percentages damage of each element is reduced by. In Diablo III, all damage is associated with one or more elemental types, including Physical, and a player has some resistance to all of them.
  • The melee classes (Barbarians, Monks, and Crusaders) get 30% damage reduction from monsters and the environment.
  • In PvP, the melee classes get 35% damage reduction, and the ranged classes get 30%.
  • Reduced damage from melee or ranged attacks are found as rare Secondary Magic Properties on items. Melee includes ground-based spell effects.

Most general defensive multipliers are known as Damage Reduction. Each reduction is applied sequentially, affecting only the amount of damage remaining after the previous one is applied. This can be treated as multipliers on the total damage equal to 100% minus the reduction, for example 30% reduction is a damage multiplier of 70% or 0.7. In either form, the result is the same regardless of the order the decreases are applied. Since the separate effects are not summed, and no single type of effect ever grants 100% damage reduction, it is impossible to reduce damage to 0 even with many of these effects.

Some sources can grant damage increases or damage reductions, or both:

  • Many Legendary or Set item powers increase or reduce damage. Damage increases are often to specific skills, but may be to all damage as well. In most cases each is applied separately ("multiplicative stacking"). The bonuses may be conditional.
  • Some active skills create a temporary effect during which all damage is increased and/or damage taken is decreased. This includes a few skills from other players or Followers.
  • Some passive skills increase all damage dealt or reduce all damage taken, sometimes under specific conditions.
  • Some "debuffs" applied to enemies increase their damage taken or reduce their damage dealt.
  • Increased damage to or decreased damage from Elite Monsters can be gained from items. This also applies to damage from players.
  • Some Shrines and Pylons increase overall damage or reduce damage taken.
  • Various seals of the Altar of Rites increase overall damage or reduce damage taken.

The remaining amount is known as 'unsaved damage', and is applied to the character's / monster's Life, though it can be reduced further by special absorption shields granted by certain skills. A shield's block value also applies to this amount if the blocking check proves successful. Note that even if all unsaved damage is entirely absorbed, the hero still counts as having suffered a damaging hit. After all absorptions, the remaining damage is drained from the Life pool, and kills the target if it brings the Life to zero.

Elemental Damage[]

Main article: Elemental damage

All attacks count as Physical, Fire, Cold, Lightning, Arcane, Poison or Holy in Diablo III. The relevant element for attacks by players is usually the one from the its selected Skill Rune, as most elemental bonuses are based on skills of a specific type. However, damage from players often has two types, or even three if Dual Wielding: one from the skill, and one from added elemental damage from each weapon's Magic Properties. A few effects do care about dealing any damage of a certain type rather than specifically with a skill of that type, for example Tal Rasha's Elements, Holy Cause, the Essence of Anguish, and a couple Unique Monsters with an elemental immunity.

Periodic Damage[]

Main article: Damage Over Time

Periodic damage (such as Bleed, or Plagued pools) counts as many separate strikes with rapid succession. Some abilities can roll Critical Hits, while others simply increase damage by average of the Critical Hit chance / damage ratio. Attack Speed also boosts the periodic damage: it either increases the plain damage done, or allows delivering it in a shorter duration.

Character Attributes
Diablo I Diablo II Diablo III Diablo Immortal

DexterityAttack RatingArmor ClassBlock

DexterityAttack RatingDefenseBlock
EnergyManaMana Regeneration


StrengthDamageCombat Rating
IntelligenceDamageCombat Rating
Fortitude ArmorArmor PenetrationCombat Rating
VitalityLifeCombat Rating
WillpowerPotencyResistanceCombat Rating

  1. "Engineering Diablo III's Damage Numbers". Blizzard Entertainment (22 Jan 2016).