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Things you should know about Diablo 2

From Diablo 2 Wiki

This massive FAQ-like compilation of interesting D2 tidbits was put together by Ernir and posted on the old forums. (Source.) The version here in this wiki is reformatted and has had numerous links added to additional information and images.

How do Traps and Rainbow Facets work together?

The -res% and +damage% on Griffon's Eye and Facets do not add to trap damage. With the exceptions of Fire Blast and Shock Web, the Assassin Traps are considered minions by the game. Your minions do not benefit from any -res% or +damage% your character has.

Note that Sorceress Hydras benefit from both Fire Mastery and Facets. This exception is explained by T-Hawk:

The missiles fired by Hydra have a special-case check of their caster's "+% Fire Skill Damage" ability. That's why Hydra works with Fire Mastery and Facets. This check was added in version 1.05; before that, Fire Mastery didn't boost Hydra damage.

Can immunities be removed?

Yes, they can. Monsters immune to a damage type are classified as monsters with 100 or more percentage resistance to the damage type in question. If you lower the monster's resistance below 100%, you can damage the monster.

There are only two things that can remove elemental immunities: The Paladin's Conviction aura, and the Necromancer's Lower Resist curse. Conviction Aura also doesn't affect Poison resistance. The Necromancer curses Amplify damage and Decrepify can remove physical immunity.

All other types of -resist (Facets, Cold Mastery, Griffon's Eye) do NOT have an effect on immune monsters.

Also, all the spells mentioned above work at 20% efficiency when dealing with immune monsters. Example: A hell Doom Knight has 110% Fire resist, meaning it is immune to fire. That Doom Knight is hit by a level 3 Conviction Aura, which under normal circumstances would lower the monster's fire resistance by 40%. However, since the monster is immune, the Conviction aura only works at 20% efficiency, making those 40% in effect only 8%. The calculation is: 110 - 40*0.2 == 102 fire res, making the monster still immune.

This fact makes it much harder to break immunities. There are monsters whose immunities are simply impossible to break. Hell Oblivion Knights, for example, have 180% cold resist. Doesn't matter what you throw at it, it is impossible to break.

Even though you can combine Lower Resist and Conviction (the resist reduction percentages are simply lumped together and the combined number reduced to 20%), any resist >== 145 can not be broken, even with a Level 25 Conviction (-150% Resist All) and a Level 60 Lower Resist (-70% Resist All). Thanks to Technomage-C01 and BIGeyedBUG for pointing that out, and Tommi and Adeyke for the information.

-res from items and other skills are not completely useless when dealing with immune monsters, though, because once the immunity has been broken, these items take effect.

Physical immune monsters are monsters with a physical resistance of 100 or more. This immunity can (as mentioned above) be removed using the curses Amplify damage (which gives -100% physical resist) or Decrepify (which gives -50% physical resist). Again, the same penalties apply to Amplify Damage and Decrepify as to the elemental immunities.

How do I spend my stat points for build x?

For 95% of post-1.10 character builds, this is the recommended stat distribution:

  • Strength - enough for gear.
  • Dexterity - enough for gear or a block rate of 75% should you choose to.
  • Vitality - everything else.
  • Energy - in most cases nothing. Extremely mana-hungry casters may want to spend some here, but at the cost of the life vitality provides.

Thanks to Posterboy: Major exceptions from this rule include "glass cannon" Bowazons and Energy Shield Sorceresses.

How do I get to Über Tristram/what do the Keys do/what are the "Übers"?

Loosely based on a post made by Armaege:

The 1.11 patch added to the game a so called "Pandemonium Event" available ONLY on the realms, in hell difficulty. To trigger the event, you must collect items called keys. There are three types. The Countess drops the Key of Terror, the false Summoner drops the Key of Hate, and Nihlathak drops the Key of Destruction.

When you have collected three keys, go anywhere in the town of Harrogath in Act 5 and transmute these three keys together in the Horadric Cube. One of three portals will open, to the Furnace of Pain, the Matron's Den, or the Forgotten Sands, in which you will fight Über-Izual, an Andariel-like creature called Lilith and Über Duriel respectively.

Each of these bosses drops one of the Prime Evil's relics, Lilith drops "Diablo's Horn", Über Duriel drops Baal's Eye, and Über Izual drops Mephisto's Brain.

When you have collected all three relics (a.k.a. body parts) you must go back to Harrogath, and transmute the three relics. This will open a portal to Über Tristram, where you will fight improved versions of the Prime Evils all at once - the Übers. Prepare for the hardest fight of your D2 career.

The last of the Prime Evils you kill will drop a large charm called the Hellfire Torch. It gives 3+ to the skill levels of a random character class, 10-20 to all resistances and attributes, a chance to cast Diablo's Firestorm on striking, 8+ to light radius and Hydra charges. This is your reward for all the trouble of collecting keys, relics, and killing the Übers.

The last Über that goes down also drops a "Standard of Heroes", one for each player in the game. These do not do anything, as far as anyone knows. They are trophies, nothing more.

What does Standard of Heroes do?

I repeat, there is no known use for the Standard of Heroes small charm. On this matter, I am going to quote the Blizzard forum moderator MicahW.

The Standard of Heroes is a trophy you get for having completed the patch 1.11 world event.

And if you don't believe MicahW, Blizzard forum moderator NickJS said this:

They are merely trophies. If we ever release a future patch hopefully we implement a "trophy case" to put these in. Available in Maple or Oak. You could have your friends over and show them off!

There is absolutely nothing that suggests it has a function besides looking pretty. All rumours that say otherwise are products of someone's overactive imagination, or a pitiful scam attempt. Why it has a level requirement is unknown.

How frequently do "the Keys" drop?

Adeyke had this to say on the matter:

Key of Terror has a 1/14 chance of dropping per kill in a 1-player game. Key of Hate has a 1/11 chance, while Key of Destruction has a 1/12 chance

You can get two, three, or possibly even more keys from a single drop.

These keys are nonmagical and your chance to find magic items does NOT have an effect on their drop rate. However, having more players in the game will increase your chances.

Note that even though you can find the keys in Single Player, they do not do anything there. The Pandemonium Event is exclusive to the Realms.

Why do the Vipers in the Halls of Vaught kill my GOSU char in one hit?

Explanation by Gta-maloy]:

A percentage of their charge damage is included in the secondary cloud of poison. The AoE cloud. This means that you could avoid the initial poison from the spear but still get the physical + poison damage of the cloud should you run into it.
THE CLOUD IS NOT VISIBLE. This is why many people think they get killed by something that isn't really there. The cloud will stay about five seconds AFTER the initial spear's cloud vanishes. If you do not move in this time, the second cloud will not effect you. Getting knocked back will also not trigger the second cloud. You will get poisoned by the viper and get a nice percentage of life taken away from you but it won't be over time.
Best thing to do is stand still when they fire or run past them at high velocity. The cloud will only form a second or two after the spear is thrown, this gives more than enough time for a character to run past them. Should you need to stop... stop and don't run or walk until five seconds after all the clouds have gone.

As for whether or not this is a bug; Blizzard forum moderator MicahW made the following statement:

Wheres the fix on those pesky Tomb Viper in Nihlathak place?

Working as intended.

How does Über Mephisto's Conviction aura work?

Exactly like the corresponding Paladin aura. Über Mephisto's Conviction is level 20, and lowers your resistances to fire, lightning and cold by 125%. There are two very popular ways to get around that:

1) Stack your resists. Even though they are "capped" at 75% all resist, anything above 75% still gets counted when your resistances are lowered. If your resists are stacked more than 125% over your max, Mephisto's Conviction will do you no harm.

2) Override the effect of Mephisto's Conviction by using a higher level Conviction aura yourself. Yes, that's right. If the level of your Conviction aura is 21 or higher, Mephisto's Conviction will not affect you. Your hirelings, minions, and party members, however, will still take full penalty from the aura, so this is really a selfish but easy way to get rid of his aura.

Note on overriding Conviction - According to Sol1's and The_Terror_Lord's testing, both auras "work" if the skill levels are equal, meaning both you and Über Mephisto suffer the resistance and defense penalties. You need a higher level aura to override the other.

Do mercenaries hired at lower levels gain better stats?

No. No matter what you may have heard until now, the level at which the merc is hired is completely irrelevant. What does matter is the difficulty in which it was originally hired. A merc hired in normal has better stats than the same type of merc hired in nightmare, and a merc hired in nightmare has better stats than the same type of merc hired in hell. You should always hire your mercs in normal unless you need a specific aura from a nightmare act 2 merc.

  • Mercenaries basic information.
  • Hugely detailed Mercenary Guide with strategy, skill levels, and tons more information about mercs.

Can socketed runes poof?

Yes, they can. Socketing a dupe protects it from "Passive Ruststorm" which is run when you enter and exit games. There is, however, nothing that can be done to save your precious dupes from the wrath of the Full Ruststorm. If your duped Enigma did survive, you were simply lucky, or you were on non-ladder where Full Ruststorm has never been run.

Ortliebj said it best:

Full Ruststorm v2.5 will delete "dirty" items, even if they are components of other items. Full Ruststorm was last run in August of last year (2nd week, iirc).
It will also delete items that have been tampered with in attempts to fool the Ruststorm process. In other words, personalizing your Engima won't help, so don't even try it. All eleven different attempts/strategies of which I am aware to try and circumvent this process have failed.
When a full active Ruststorm is actually run, illegitimate items of types you've never even dreamed about will be deleted and/or invalidated.

If you have had an item disappear from your inventory, it most likely was a dupe that Ruststorm caught.

What is the "strength bug", and how does it work?

There are two glitches commonly referred to as the "strength bug".

The first one is rather harmless. When you don't have the base stats needed to equip an item, other players will not see the item, even though they are there and take full effect. This can be quite humorous when a "naked" barbarian stands in the middle of a monster pack and "punches" them to death. Another example is when Amazons throw Lightning Furies with their bare hands. This is not a hack, merely a display issue.

The second glitch is somewhat more serious. This is when you do not have the base OR end stats to equip an item that has +stats, making the item sustain itself. Example:

Your character has 150 strength after all gear, excluding the shield. You want to equip a Stormshield. In order to reach the 156 strength required, you put a charm in your inventory that gives you +6 to strength, giving you 156 strength, enough for Monarchs. You can now equip the shield. This brings your total strength to 186 with the strength bonus from the Stormshield. Now this is where the glitch comes is: You can now remove the charm from your inventory, but the +strength from the shield will still be enough to equip the shield. The shield is now, in effect, supporting itself. This is an extremely dangerous practise, because if you die, you will not be able to reequip all of your gear, so if you die again, you will be left with multiple corpses. Since only one corpse (the one with the most valuable items... in gold) will be transferred to the next game you enter, abusing this glitch to save stat points is an excellent way to lose your gear. Excepted from this are hardcore players, who lose all their gear anyway when they die.

On a related note, using +stats from items to equip other items is not a "glitch". This is perfectly natural. However, doing this can sometimes result in needing to click your corpse multiple times to get all your gear back, and having to pick up and reequip items when you enter a game. The order that items are respawned on your character was provided by Ortliebj:

  1. Head
  2. Neck
  3. Torso
  4. Right Hand *
  5. Left Hand
  6. Right Ring
  7. Left Ring
  8. Belt
  9. Feet
  10. Gloves
  11. Inventory (meaning charms, etc.)
  • * Right hand from the character's perspective, so glove side and then boot side.

Ruvunal discovered the initial order of item pickup upon corpse retrieval. He tested, verified and updated it after 1.09 and 1.10.

Meaning... if your helm provides you with the stats you need to equip your armor, you will only need to click your corpse once. However, if your armor provides you with the strength you need to equip your helm, you will have to click twice, as the helm is left on the ground the first time you click.

Using +stats CAN cause you to lose items if you are killed the moment you are clicking to pick up your items and the order doesn't match with the strength requirements of the items. This is no where near as dangerous as glitch-equipping your gear, but it is nevertheless something to keep in mind.

Addition pointed out by Bonkshasa - if you have enough room in your backpack to pick up all your items, you won't lose them, even if you are not able to equip them right away. This is rarely the case these days (when PvPing your inventory is full of charms, and in PvM the potions from your belt probably filled up any available space already), but this could very well be the difference between losing your Crown of Ages or keeping it.

Disclaimer: The factual accuracy of the item pickup order is currently under dispute.

How does the +damage from Grief and Astreon's work? And why does it look so low on the character screen?

In most cases, the +damage from weapons such as Grief, Astreon's Iron Wand, and Stonecrusher adds directly to the weapon's base damage, meaning it is multiplied by pretty much everything. This is what can easily make a good Grief the most damaging one-hand weapon in the game.

Unfortunately this bonus to the base damage does not show up on the Lying Character Screen, not correctly at any rate. That is simply because it is out of date. I don't think the LCS has been fully updated for LoD yet.

To see your REAL damage, use PPR's Weapon Damage Calculator.

Note that there are exceptions from this rule. Vengeance, for example, does not seem to use the added +damage as base weapon damage. Mikeandroe performed a series of tests on how the Vengeance damage is calculated, and the results can be found here.

On the other hand, when Smite is used, the +damage is added directly to the shield's base damage. Because the most damaging Paladin shield in the game deals 46.5 average damage, the +damage makes a HUGE difference. This is why Grief and Astreon's IW are so popular (and possibly unbalancing) for Smiters. The Smite FAQ by Oramin and Bloodshrike explains Smite in detail.

The Assassin kick attacks do not benefit from +damage in any way. Blade Fury and Blade Sentinel also do not benefit from it, although the display is incorrect. Thanks to BIGeyedBUG for bringing it to my attention, and adeyke for the information.

How much dexterity do I need to reach max block at level x with shield y with character z?

PPR's Block Calculator can answer that.

How can I stop monsters from regenerating?

There are three ways:

The "Prevent Monster Heal" mod. It prevents all monsters except the Pandemonium Übers from regenerating. The Übers have been specifically made immune. Mercenaries do not apply "Prevent Monster Heal" effect, regardless of equipment.

Poison. Monsters do not regenerate while poisoned. Once the poison wears off, however, they start regenerating again.

Open Wounds. Being affected by open wounds automatically sets the monsters' regeneration rate to a negative value.

Also note that these methods only negate natural regeneration. Things such as healing spells, the Prayer aura, healing potions and life leech should still work.

How can upgraded items get a lower Defense than the item had before?

Upgrading items does not guarantee higher stats. All it does is take a normal base item to exceptional status, or an exceptional item to elite status. The end stats depend on the stats of the upgraded base item. Vampire Gaze is probably the most famous example.

Grim helms have a defense range of 60-125. All Vampire Gaze Grim Helms have a defense of 252. This is due to the fact that when armors spawn with the enhanced defense mod, the defense is invariably set at max +1. When we are dealing with a Vampire Gaze, the base item's defense of 126 receives a 100% bonus == 252 defense.

However, when the item is upgraded, the base defense is rerolled. The defense range of Bone Visages is 100-157. Which means that a Vampire Gaze with a base item defense of 126 has a very good chance of being turned into a Bone Visage with a lower defense. In case of the worst roll imaginable, your 252 defense Vampire Gaze would go down to 200. Not good.

Adeyke's upgrade calculator shows how upgrading will affect the various unique items.

Note that in the 1.10 patch, ethereal armors would lose their ethereal defense bonus when upgraded, in addition to having their defense rerolled. This is no longer the case, ethereal items now retain their defense bonus (although the hack fix implemented had most unfortunate side effects). Adeyke's page still shows ethereal upgraded items with the same defense as non-ethereal ones, but nevertheless, this has been fixed.

What level requirement will my upgraded rare item get?

Syrith had this to say:

Upgrading rare/unique from normal to exceptional: +5 levels to base req
Upgrading rare/unique from exceptional to elite: +7 levels to base req
Upgrading rare/unique from normal to elite: +12 levels to base req

Examples by Daten (slightly modified to represent updated information):

If the item that will be upgraded has a Level Req. higher than the upgraded base item, it will get +5 Req. Example: Rare Long Sword (Lev 48 Req (the Level is determined by the Mods on the Sword)) upgrade to Rare Rune Sword (Lev 53 Req)
If the requirements are lower than the Base Item Requirements, the upgraded Item will get: Requirement on upgraded Base Item + 5.
Rare Sharkskin Boots (Lev 25 Req (Level is determined by the Base Item Requirements)) upgrade to Scarabshell Boots (Lev 56 Req (Scarabshell Boots == 49, +7))

Can +to Holy Shield spawn on white scepters in 1.10/1.11?

Yes, they can. They are obscenely rare, but they can. Normally, Holy Shield is not allowed to spawn on sceptres. However, if the game has failed six times in finding an "allowed staffmod" for the sceptre, it picks the one that was rolled last, regardless of whether or not it is on the "allowed list".

If you do not want to take my word for it, here is a screenshot of one, provided by Nucularterraist. It was taken in early ladder season three.

It has not been altered in any way. I didn't even crop the image to remove the sophisticated background chat.

What runes can you get from the Hellforge Quest on each difficulty level?

  • Normal: El - Amn
  • Nightmare: Sol - Um
  • Hell: Hel - Gul

Notes: You get exactly one rune only per quest completion. There is an equal chance (1/11) of getting each rune available. Having more players in your party when you complete the quest does not increase the number of runes (although you do get more gems). So it is generally a good idea to unparty/leave the game if more than one person needs to complete the quest.

Also note that Gul is the highest rune that can drop from the Hellforge on any difficulty. The runes from Vex-Zod are impossible to get from the Forge. If someone claims they got a rune above Gul from the Forge, that person is either lying or suffers from an overactive imagination. Hephasto the Armorer can drop any rune in the game, but the Forge itself can only drop up to Gul.

My Merc wears an Infinity Polearm, will the -55% Light Res work for my Sorceress/Trapsin/Tesladin?

No it won't. -x% Elemental Damage (Cold,Fire,Lightning,Poison), as well as +x% Elemental Damage work like Sorceress Masteries. Both modifiers are only applied for attacks dealt by the Player that wears the Item (since Traps and Skeletal Mages are treated as Minons, this won't increase their Damage (see 1.)! Having the Item with the -x%/+x% Damage on the Weapon-Switch won't help either.

+x% Fire/Light/Cold Damage is added to the Sorcs Fire-, Cold- or Lightmastery. A Lightsorc with lev 31 Lightning Mastery (+410%) will only get a tiny damage Boost from a +5% Lightfacet (415%). That's why Cold Sorcs look for +5%/-x% Facets and Fire/Lightsorcs prefer +x%/-5% Facets.

To get back to the original Question: A lot of Builds that rely on Elemental Damage equip their Merc with an Infinity Polearm because of the Conviction Aura, not because of the -x% Lightning Resistance.

The above section was provided by Daten.

Why do people talk about the "Lying Character Screen", or LCS?

Because the screen flat out LIES about many important stats. Meaning that the numbers you see on the character screen are not the numbers the game actually uses. I do not think it has had any major updates since 1.06, so things like +damage modifiers, off-weapon ED%, etc. are NOT displayed correctly, if at all.

Gta-maloy] had this to say about it:

That screen, in many circumstances, only properly shows resistances, the character's level, the experience gained and the damage dealt for the first two levels.
After that is done, it sucks.
Once you die, the Anya bug is not listed. (interjection: I, Ernir, will discuss the Anya bug below)
Masteries and synergies are not properly multiplied together, damage modifiers are completely ignored, the equations used for AR and damage are outdated....
The chance to block seems alright though

Ortliebj added this:

It is broken by the time you reach a place called the "Den of Evil".
There's even an old bug where your name can be displayed incorrectly.

What is the "Anya bug"?

Those who have finished the game know that when you have rescued Anya in act 5, Malah gives you a Scroll of Resistance that "permanently" increases your resistances to the elements. But we also know that Malah did not make it past Firebolt casting 101. That shoddy little scroll does not work quite the way it is supposed to.

When the scroll is cast, it does increase your resistances. But when you die, that bonus is lost, even though it does is not displayed on the Lying Character Screen. The bonus is regained when you reenter the game, but for the rest of the game in which you died, your resists are really 10% lower for each Malah scroll you used - up to 30%. That is quite a difference. Your paladin may not have 90% resist all, maybe he has 60% all res.

This is of special concern to duelers, who often die multiple times in each game - and it also means that if you lose to an elemental attack once, you are likely to keep losing.

In turn, hardcore players don't have to worry about this bug at all, for obvious reasons.

22. What runes can the Countess Drop?

I will address this very briefly and in the most simple way I can think of. The countess has two separate "ways to drop items". A normal drop, and a special rune drop. The rune drop is what people are looking for when they run the Countess (along with Terror keys). The "normal drop" can give you runes up to Lo in hell difficulty. However, your chances to get a Lo from her are not really any better than from any other monster.

The Rune drop can drop up to Ist in hell. The possibility of getting higher runes from this drop are far greater than from the normal drop. Again, this drop is what you are looking for.

The runes that the Countess can drop in each difficulty are:


  • Normal drop - Nef
  • Rune drop - Ral


  • Normal drop - Ko
  • Rune drop - io (eye-o)


  • Normal drop - Lo (ell-o)
  • Rune drop - Ist

What level requirement will my crafted item get?

Gta had this to say:

For crafted items.....figure out the highest level requirement from all affixes on the item, add ten and add three for every affix other than the set ones.
So a ring with 6% mana leech (level req of 74) and 4 affixes (including the mana leech, excluding the life leech, str and life provided by the cast) will get +22 (10 from the cast, 12 from teh affixes). There is a rlvl 98 cap, certain charges like Lightning Strike and Freezing arrow can provoke up to rlvl 108...but this is now remedied in 1.11 and brought down to rlvl 98.

Is there a "cap" on Crushing Blow, Open Wounds, or Deadly Strike?

The only cap is the logical cap of 100%. You can not get these to go off more than 100% of the time you hit an enemy. Percentages over 100% (Headstriker on a high level char, for example) do not help at all. You have no chance for a double crushing blow, double bleed, 4x damage or whatever you may think that 100%+ may do.

There is a persistent rumor about these being capped at 95%. I guess this originates from the fact that you can usually only deal these out 95% of the time you attack, since the maximum chance to hit with attack-rating based attacks is 95%, but these will still go off 100% of the time you actually hit an enemy.

Short: They are all capped at 100%.

What does "damage reduced" or "DR" mean?

The Damage Reduced by x% mod, which is found on items such as Stormshield, Shaftstop, Verdungo's Hearty Cord and Harlequin Crest, reduces the physical damage you take by increasing your physical resistance. This has no effect on any type of magical damage.

Your physical resistance is not displayed on the character screen. Unmodified the resistance is 0%. The beforementioned items (and several more things) can bring this resistance up to 50%. 50% is the cap for physical resistance, both in PvP and PvM.

This resistance works exactly the same as elemental resistances. Example: If you are hit by a physical attack that does 100 damage and you have a total of 20% damage resistance, the damage you take will be 100-(0.20*100)== 80 damage taken.

Note that there is also a mod called "Damage Reduced By X", found on items like Gladiator's Bane and Nature's Peace. Note the lack of the percentage symbol. This reduces the damage you take by a fixed amount, not a percentage of the attack damage.

Example: You are hit by a physical attack that does 50 damage and your total Damage Reduced By 30. The attack's damage would be 50-30 == 20 damage to you.

This type of damage reduction does NOT have a cap. Also, this mod is capable of negating ALL damage you take. If the example above had been with a 25 damage attack, no damage would have been taken at all.

And which type is better? Both. DR% has an advantage when it comes to heavy hits, and DR when it comes to multiple light hits. You decide which you want.

What is the difference between "Ignore Target's Defense" and "Always Hits"?

The following section was mostly provided by Posterboy.

"Ignore Target's Defense" is not the same thing as "Always Hits." "Ignore Target's Defense" simply means that the targets defense rating will be set to zero in the To Hit calculation. From the Arreat Summit: "This ability will not work on Unique Monsters, Super Unique Monsters, Hirelings, other players, and Act-end bosses." Player/monster level still plays a part in the equation, and the is a min/max cap of 5%/95% chance to hit.

"Always Hits" means that this attack will bypass the To Hit formula altogether. Guided Arrow, Smite, and most spells are "Always Hits," although some, like Guided Arrow, can be blocked. That means if you had a level 2 Paladin with one point in Smite you can hit a monster like Hell Diablo consistently. Also note that "Always Hits" does not necessarily mean that you will literally always hit because there is still shield blocking, Zon Dodge/Avoid/Evade, and Assassin claw-blocking to consider, not to mention manually dodging an attack. Note that the Assassin's claw block can block many things that ordinary shields can't.

Range is also a considerable factor when discussing attacks that always hit. Smite, for example, depends on weapon range. If the target is farther away than the weapon range allows, the animation is shown, but the opponent is not hit. This is why skilled melee characters using range 3-5 weapons can often beat Smiters that use a cookie-cutter range 2 Grief Phase Blade.

How do synergies and +skills work together?

There are so called "soft" skill points, and "hard" skill points. Hard skill points are the points you gain from leveling up and from quests. Soft skill points are skill points you gain from ANY gear, including charms, weapons, armor, whatever.

When calculating the level of a skill, both the soft and hard skill points are taken into account. However, when calculating how great the skill benefits from synergies, only the hard points you spend in the synergizing skill are counted in for the benefit of the synergized skill.


You have spent 20 hard points in Blessed Hammer, and 20 points in Blessed Aim. You also have a helmet that gives 2+ to all skill levels. The displayed levels of the skills are now 22 for BH, and 22 for BA as well. But when the game calculates the benefit Blessed Hammer recieves from Blessed Aim, it applies the benefit from a level 20 Blessed Aim skill to the level 22 Blessed Hammer skill.

Exceptions from this rule include the Necromancer summon masteries and the Sorceress elemental masteries. These are not actual synergies, but rather skills whose only function is to enhance other skills. When the benefit from these is calculated, both hard and soft points are counted. The Druid summon cross-bonuses work that way as well, according to MMAgCh.

How can I find skillers/what is the first, or best place to find skillers?

Skillers, or Grand Charms with +to a character skill tab, require an item level of at least 50 in order to spawn. The first area in which all dropped grand charms have an item level of 50+ is the nightmare Great Marsh.

In order to maximize your chances of finding a skiller, you want the item level to be as close to 50 as possible. Why is that? Because when affixes are selected, they are chosen from all available affixes. Having a GC with an ilevel of exactly 50 is the best in this regard because they do have the possibility of getting a skiller, while the possibilities of other affixes are being kept to a minimum.

However, there is an alternate approach. Items dropped from Hell Baal have an item level of 99, and items dropped from Hell Nihlathak have an item level of 95. Grand charms dropped from these two bosses can spawn with very, very high life, namely the 41-45 to life vita suffix. Grand charms that both have +to a skill tab and high life can trade for astronomical values. However, due to the high item level, most any affix can spawn. Your chances of getting a skiller from an ilvl 95+ Grand Charms are very slim, and the chances of getting that Grand Charm to spawn with the desired 40+ life are even slimmer. However, the time and effort needed to aquire these are worth it to some.

There is a way to significantly shorten the amount of time needed to find a skiller compared to just hunting the most likely drop zones over and over. This is referred to as "rerolling" or simply "rolling". This is done by placing a Grand Charm and three perfect gems in the Horadric cube, and transmuting. This will reroll the mods on the charm, but preserving the item level. This means that if you have a Grand Charm with that perfect ilevel of 50, but it has useless mods, you can reroll it into a useful skiller. In effect, it drops the item again at the cost of three perfect gems. Be prepared to spend a lot of perfect gems, but it can be worth it.

Note that this formula works on all magical items, but it is typically used the most on Grand Charms due to the high usefulness of blue Charms compared to the usefulness of blue equippable items.

Footnote: I must admit that I slightly lied about the first place you can get a skiller the first place would be normal Baal. The items he drops have an ilevel of 60, more than enough to get a skiller. But the nightmare Great Marsh is the first area in which every monster has the possibility of dropping a skiller.

A common misconception is that MF increases the chance of getting skillers. That is simply not true. This lies in how MF works, and I direct you to Gta's Guide to all that is items again for explanation.

Good areas to hunt for skillers and rerollable Grand Charms include:

  • The nightmare Great Marsh the first place they can drop, the area level is 50.
  • The nightmare Flayer Jungle run more often than the Great Marsh due to the number of Flayers, which can all drop ilevel 50 Grand Charms.
  • Nightmare Cows there is a very large number of easily killable cows here, and the charms they drop have a decent chance of becoming a skiller.
  • Nightmare City of the Damned there is a lot of Wraith-class monsters here.
  • Hell Diablo, hell Nihlathak and hell Baal all three (and those three only) have the capability to drop skillers with 41-45 to life.

How does Magic Find work with minions?

When a minion or mercenary makes a kill, the minions MF percentage is added to your MF percentage. However, if you make a kill while one of your minions has MF, only your MF is used. It was probably made this way to allow minion characters (Summoners, Trapassins) to hunt for items effectively, while keeping the game as balanced as possible for characters that do not depend on mercenaries or minions for the kill.

Is there a way to resist "pure" magical damage from other players?

Pure magical damage, such as the damage from the Barbarians Berserk, the Paladins Blessed Hammer, and the Necromancer bone spells is mostly unresistable. There are some ways to reduce the damage, but no really effective ones. The main methods are:

  1. There is a mod called "Magic Resistance" on crafted safety shields. This is only 5-10%, though.
  2. Integer magic absorb. This is found on the runewords Spirit, Oath and Crescent Moon.
  3. Integer magic damage reduction. This is probably the most effective thing you can do to protect yourself against magical damage. This is found on Dwarf Star rings, the String of Ears Demonhide Sash, and Skin of the Vipermagi Serpentskin Armor to name a few. It wont do much against a 10000+ damage Blessed Hammer directed at your face, but it could mean the difference between surviving 2-3 hammers or 3-4.

These means of course also counteract the magical damage that monsters deal, such as the hell and nightmare guest Viper Bone Spears.

How come my Blessed Hammers can damage monsters immune to magic?

It simply lies in the nature of the Blessed Hammer skill to completely ignore the magical resistances of both Demon and Undead class monsters. This is part of what makes Hammerdins (Paladins that use the Blessed Hammer skill) so ridiculously powerful, the ability to pierce the resistances of virtually any monster in the game is unmatched, anywhere. The only monster types that Blessed Hammers can not damage are monsters that are both immune to magic, and of the Animal class.

As of now, there is only one monster that meets both classifications. That is the Wailing Beast in an act 3 hell Kurast Temple. Aside from that single type of monster, Blessed Hammers can damage absolutely everything.

How does Venom work?

Poison damage in-game is always listed as X damage over Y seconds. Unfortunately, this isn't how the game calculates it. The damage per second is X/Y. The value you should be concerned about is the damage per frame (aka bitrate), which is X/(25*Y). Most of the time when poison sources are combined (not when Venom is concerned), your bitrates are added, and your durations are averaged. In order to achieve the highest possible bitrate, you want the highest possible poison damage over the smallest possible duration.

Maximizing your final damage output involves getting the highest bitrate possible, and being able to re-apply the poison damage before the duration timer runs out.

The strength of the Assassins Venom skill does not lie in a huge displayed damage number, but rather the short duration, which can be applied multiple times in very short succession. The relatively modest displayed damage is much more effective than it looks. Lets say Venom does 400 damage over 0.4 seconds. That damage is really 1000 damage per second if you manage to constantly keep the poison up (which can be done with a speedy kick attack, for example).

A slightly worse thing about Venom is that it effectively ruins all other sources of poison on your equipment that you may have. If you have Venom active, all poison attacks are scaled down to fit the short duration of Venom. Lets say you have a charm in your inventory that does 100 poison damage over 5 seconds == 20 damage per second. Having Venom active does not actually lower the bitrate of the charm, but rather shortens the duration. When Venom is active, that charm deals 20 damage per second over 0.4 seconds == only 8 total damage for each attack. Most unimpressive.

This is why poison charms and other poison sources work very badly with Venom. If you intend to use Venom, avoid using equipment for the sole reason of added poison damage. It won't hurt you, but it won't help you (much) either.

In order to maximize your Venom damage, do three things:

  1. Have Venom as high of a level as possible when casting
  2. Have as much +% Poison Skill Damage on your gear as possible when casting and attacking
  3. Lower your target's Poison Resistance as much as possible

Thanks to Ilkori for updating this section. Poison is not my forte.

I am a hardcore player. How can I avoid being killed by malicious players?

Before we begin, there are two acronyms that need to be understood:

PK: Player killer. It can be used as a verb also; Im going to PK you, noob. The term is not to be confused with actual dueling. Duels are mutually agreed upon. Player Killers dont ask for permission.

TPPK: A number of methods that involve setting up some sort of a deathtrap, going to town, and hostiling another player in rapid succession. The goal is to catch the victim/the PKed by surprise and kill him in the process.

On how to avoid being PKed, I am simply going to quote the celebrated forum troll and TPPKer 2_Much_4_U.

Wow, okay. First off, don't feel too bad about having some lowbies ganked. Happens all the time.

To help you avoid further happenings, let me run down a couple of things to look for.

1.) Paladins with red armor, red helms, and a two-handed weapon are going to pk you. Especially if you are playing in a Tomb Run game.

2.) Sorcs who tell you to leave town for an enchant could very well be baiting you to set you up for an orb tppk.

3.) Never trust necromancers, no matter what they say their build is.

4.) Level 16 characters of any type who wear Twitchthroe (you can tell they are wearing it if they have dark green, nearly black studded leather graphic armor) are at the very least llds. Some of these people like to pk in pubby games.

5.) Characters with funny, stupid, or hostile names will often be pkers. The mentality of most pks is that you kill for laughs, and a good name such as AnInnocentChild makes a funny screenshot:

Noob was slain by AnInnocentChild.

6.) Make passworded games and set the character limit to one.

7.) Don't get rushed. Some pro pks like to help people level so the ear is higher when they kill you. Sometimes if you Baal with people they will talk to you, get to know you a little, maybe even befriend you, then they will fire an Ice Blast up your ass.

8.) Set level restrictions on all nightmare level games and above. This won't keep you from getting killed by the pros, but you will avoid sucker clans like IceNine.

9.) Be aware of the pk clans on your realm, know who the most active pks are, and never group with people who can one-shot champion monsters.

10.) Look for people using +damage gear like wands and circlets. You can never be certain that necro is a tppker, but if he has blue leather armor, doesn't display a helm graphic, and carries a plain-colored wand, he is likely using White, +3 PnB circlet, and Vipermagi. Cheap but powerful gear with very little in the way of survivability mods. Pks are built for damage, not for duels, and as such their gear will usually be easily and cheaply replaced.

11.) If you decide, against my advice, to join a pub game, be aware that the good pkers won't attack immediately. Amazons wait until a monster procs amp on you, sorcs wait until you fight a conviction aura'd mob. A good necro will use his bone walls to corral you in, or if you are melee he will wait until you are in the thick of battle and you aren't paying attention to him. Also of note, if the necro has a lot of skeles, mages, and revives, yet they all seem to die fast, he is probably a pk. Experienced nec pks will use the massive lag caused by bone structures and summons to execute you.

12.) Escape up enter is your best friend. I can do it so fast that it looks like disconnect.

13.) Set up your belt to have a full slot of major rejuvs, a full slot of town portals, and two slots of minor rejuvs. Guzzle those potes like kool-aid, they are free after all and will save your life many times.

14.) Buff your cold and poison resist. You can do this by drinking thawing potions and antidote potions. Drink the thaws so a cold sorc can't wtfown you in one shot. Drink the antis so you won't be low on health when you least expect it from poison procing mobs.

15.) Put every point you possess into vitality. You don't need anything else. My untwinked bear druid had more than 1000 life at level 18. Invest in getting lower level life scs, which you can farm on the way to Countess in Normal.

16.) If you are in a game full of tagged people, and they start moving away from you, leave the game.

17.) If a player opens a tp anywhere near you, hit your tp hotkey and leave the area.

18.) Don't start NM until level 45. Don't start Hell until level 80.

19.) Be a nice person. If you piss somebody off, they can easily put a bounty on your head and have someone smoke your ass. Ask Hurricane_Ivan, RazzerFraz, Mithrandirr, Yeti, or any of the many infamous pks just how much their ears have been worth over the years. A successful kill on a rich person's enemy can snag you upwards of a Gul rune, which is worth a lot more in hc than it is in sc.

20.) If somebody follows you around in town, they are most likely weighing you in the balance. Don't be found lacking. They will gauge your gear, how much life they think you have, and what your likely resists are. They won't attack you unless they think they can one- or two-shot you. My personal best has been two people killed with a tornado volley. I have heard of and seen screenshots of five people being killed in a single attack.

21.) Avoid wps, public portals, and starting areas.

22.) Play with friends.

Where is the "Reziarfg" monster?

The Reziarfg monster does not exist. If you take a careful look at the spelling of its name, you will see that is in fact the name of Geoff Fraizer, a member of the Blizzard web team, spelled backwards. The monster is a joke, nothing more. It is not found in any game file, not even a hint. If it were there, the experienced modders would have found out long ago. There simply is no monster called Reziarfg in the game.

What does the chat gem do?

The Chat Gem does not have a purpose. It changes colour, and sends messages like Gem Activated, Perfect Gem Activated and Mooooo. Nothing else. People use it as a marker for their channel conversations, but the gem does not affect gameplay in any way whatsoever.

If you like clicking the thing, go ahead. But know that any change you notice is a result of good-old chance.

What are "Stacked Resists"?

Under normal circumstances, players resistances to fire, cold, lightning and poison are capped at a maximum of 75%. Using certain items and skills you can boost the maximum resistance cap up to 95%, but no further. Therefore you can not make yourself immune to an element by boosting your maximum resistances up to 100%. When you have hit the final cap allowed by your gear and skills, the resistances will show up in golden letters on your character screen. Whatever resistances you may have that surpass this cap are not calculated when hit with regular attacks.

However, having resistances above your displayed cap can come in handy. They will play a large role when you are affected by resistances, such as the ones from the Conviction Aura or other players Rainbow Facets. When these resistances come into effect, they start with subtracting from the resists you have over your displayed cap.


We have player A, whose items give a total of 150% resistance to fire.
And player B, whose items give a total of 75% resistance to fire.

Player A is hit by a Fireball that does 200 damage. Player As resistances hit the cap at 75%, and the player takes 25% of the damage == 50 damage.
Player B is hit by a Fireball that does 200 damage. Player Bs resistances hit the cap precisely at 75%, and the player takes 25% of the damage == 50 damage.
In this case, the stacked resistances were useless. But when that Fireball also lowers the targets resistances, the situation changes greatly.

Player A is hit by a Fireball that does 200 damage and lowers the players resistances by 50%. The Fireball starts with affecting stacked resistances, bringing them down to a total of 100%. The players resistances still manage to hit the cap at 75%, and the player takes 25% of the damage == 50 damage.
Player B is hit by the same Fireball that also reduces the players resistances by 50%. The Fireball can now directly lower the resistances in use, bringing the total resistance down to 25%. The player takes 75% of the damage == 150 damage, which is three times the damage player A suffered. Resists can make a HUGE dent in anyones life bowl unless properly countered. The next section will demonstrate this.

If you expect anyone is going to attempt to lower your resists, stacking them is generally a good idea if you wish to live. Cold Sorceresses, Über Mephisto and Avenger Paladins are all infamous for their ability to lower resistances. Dont be caught off guard.

Physical resistance has its own cap too, which is at 50%. But unlike elemental resistances, this resistance is not displayed on the character screen, and is not affected by the nightmare and hell resistance penalties as far as I know. This is what is generally referred to as Damage Reduced %. Stacking this resistance against the Necromancer curses Amplify damage and Decrepify is not advisable due to how difficult it is to gain a respectable amount of this rare resist.

Resistance to pure magical damage (Blessed Hammers, Bone Spells, Berserk) is almost impossible to resist. See section 31 for the reasons. This resistance most likely has a cap, although it is absolutely impossible to hit it.

What is the effectiveness of resistances compared to +damage%?

This has been slightly addressed before in sections 2 and 19, but only as side points.

Many seem to think that reducing an enemy's resistances by some percentage is roughly the same as increasing your own damage by that same percentage. This is not true. When the damage is calculated, -resist% "nearly always" come out on top. The effectiveness of -resist% relies completely on the defender's resistance. For example, if a defender has 95% resistance to the damage type in question and no stacked resists, the -5% would DOUBLE the damage output. Also, if the defender has maxed resistance stacked 5% or more over the cap, -5% would do absolutely nothing. The reasons for this are purely mathematical.

For an everyday example, let's assume an attack does 200 damage, and it is applied to a target with 50% resistance to the element in question. The damage output would be 200 * 0.50 == 100 damage.

If that attack also lowered the resistance by 5%, the damage we are looking at is 200 * 0.55 == 110 damage. A 10% increase in damage. Directly increasing damage by 5% would obviously only increase damage by 5%. Oddly enough, in this case -5% > +5% applies.

Examples when resist% do NOT improve your overall damage more than +damage% are few, but they include:

A) When the target already has negative resists. Basically, -x% enemy resist is more effective against a target with positive resists, and +x% skill damage is more effective against a target with negative resists (assuming the same value of x, of course). So in other words, if you had to make a choice between a -5%/+3% facet and a -3%/+5% facet, you should know the resists of your target first and make a choice depending on whether it's positve or negative (after taking Conviction, Lower Resist, Cold Mastery, etc. into consideration.) Thanks to Posterboy for the explanation.

B) When the target already has -100% negative resists, -resist% is completely pointless. You can never reduce someone's resists below -100%.

C) When the target is using Cyclone Armor or Energy Shield. These are applied before resistances, so resist% does nothing at all until the shield has been broken.

D) In many cases, Cold Sorceresses already have more than enough resist% from their Cold Mastery skill, making +damage% more desirable.

E) When the target has enough stacked resists to completely negate your resist%.

How does the "Eth Glitch" work?

In Diablo 2 version 1.11 and 1.11b, there is a bug regarding the socketing of ethereal armors. Ethereal armors are assigned a 50% bonus to their base defense rating when dropped. This is normal. What is not normal is the fact that when sockets are added to an ethereal armor using the Horadric Cube, that ethereal defense bonus is applied again. The result is an armor with an absolutely impossible defense rating. Enhanced defense modifiers are then added to that base defense rating, so the difference in end defense is rather huge.

This bug appeared as a side-effect when the 1.10 ethereal armor upgrade bug was fixed (the bug is described in section 14). In order to fix that bug, a defense bonus of 50% was simply crammed into the ethereal unique armor upgrade formula. Unfortunately that fix also affected the ethereal armor socketing formula, making armors now gain a second defense bonus when socketed.

The use of this bug is very controversial, and that is the reason I haven't added this section earlier. The overwhelming number of questions asked about this forced me to make up my mind.

It is not debatable whether this is a "bug" or an "undocumented feature". It is obviously a result of a programming flaw, making it a bug. Ask anyone who has looked at the code, ethereal armors gaining defense when socketed is NOT intentional. Not a chance.

However, the community is split regarding the practical use of this bug. One half argues that since Blizzard hasn't removed the bug, they intend it to stay, and that they need the bugged armors to stay competent when compared to those who do use the bugged armors. The other half considers the use of any ingame bugs to their advantage to be cheating. Personally, I agree with the second group, and suggest that anyone who wants to consider oneself a legitimate gamer to avoid this bug until fixed.

How do Energy Shield and "Damage taken goes to Mana" work together?

I didn't add this section until now simply because I do not use the Energy Shield spell on any of my characters, so I have no practical experience with it. It is correct on technical issues, however. Thanks to Gta-maloy] for confirming it.

First of all, the "damage taken goes to mana" mod found on items is NOT the same as the ES damage conversion. "Damage taken goes to mana" modifiers add to your mana pool a percentage of the damage you take. Example: A character with a "10% damage taken goes to mana" mod is hit with an attack doing 50 damage. 50 health points will be removed from your health pool. 10% of those 50 points will now add to your mana pool.

End result: Life -50, mana +5.

However, when a Sorceress using ES is hit, some of the damage is subtracted from your mana pool instead of your health pool. The percentage of the total damage converted to the mana pool is dependant on your ES level, and it maxes out at 95%, at ES slevel 40. The ratio at which the damage is converted depends on points spent in Telekinesis. The base ratio is 200%, or 2:1. With no points in TK, every health damage point converted spends 2 mana. Each point spent in TK decreases that ratio by 6.25%, bringing it down to 100% == 1:1 at level 16. Notice that the TK bonus is a synergy bonus, only hard points will work.

Which means that if a Sorceress using a level 40 ES with 16 hard points in TK is hit for 100 damage, her mana will absorb 95% of the damage, while the health pool absorbs 5%.

End result: Life -5, mana -95.

If that Sorceress also had 20% damage taken goes to mana from gear, 20% of those 5 points that were actually removed from her health pool would be added to her mana pool. That's one point. Not very impressive.

End result: Life -5, mana -94.

You can see that making an "immortal Sorceress" by combining "damage taken goes to mana" and Energy Shield is impossible.

Miscellaneous information about Energy Shield:

ES is not affected by resistances, it takes 100% damage at all times, no more or less. That can be good, and bad. Its good in the way that you don't have to worry about maxing your resistances as much as most other character types, and enemies that depend on the ability to lower your resistances will be sent home crying. It is bad in the way that you can not raise the resistances of your ES above 0%.

Note that ES does not stop poison damage. The negative regeneration rate from the Open Wounds modifier can not be absorbed either. Be careful when those are around.

And to quote PeterPaulRubens:

the real bummer of combing DTM and ES is that DTM's mana boost is applied to your mana BEFORE the mana loss from ES is calculated. In other words, your mana can still be reduced to zero by a hit. DTM won't ever save you from having NO mana.

What makes Anya's Red Portal go away?

Rather simple. The Red Portal closes when you have killed Nihlathak AND gotten the Halls of Pain waypoint. As long as you don't do both, the portal stays.

Where is the Pit, and why does it drop good items?

Introduced in 1.10 were several areas with very high area levels. Everything can drop from the champions and unique monsters in these areas. Please correct me if I am wrong, but I can not name a single thing that can not drop in there, excluding things like the 1.11 charms and keys, Annihilus and quest items, of course.

This of course makes the areas very powerful places in which to MF. The Pit is often favoured because:

  1. It is easy to find. Go to the Outer Cloister waypoint and follow the road that splits to a cave (the other leading to the Black Marsh). That cave is the Pit.
  2. The monsters in there are relatively easy to kill for most characters.
  3. Aside from the drops, it offers good experience to characters in their low and mid 80s.
  4. The area is big, meaning lots of monsters. More monsters mean you can spend more time killing them, not finding the Pit.
  5. There is a sparkly-chest at the bottom of it.

When item hunting in high level areas, always kill everything.

The AreaLevel 85 areas are:

  1. The Pit, levels 1 and 2
  2. The Mausoleum next to Blood Raven. NOT the Crypt. Easy area, but does not have very many monsters.
  3. The Maggot Lair, level 3 only. Difficult to get to, difficult to navigate. Rarely used.
  4. The Ancient Tunnels, found in the Lost City. Not very easy to find since there is no road leading up to it, but it doesn't have any cold immunes at all. Cold Sorceresses love it.
  5. The Sewers in act 3, level 2. Where you find Khalim's Brain. Horrible access, tiny area. I've never heard of anyone using it.
  6. The Forgotten Temple, The Ruined Fane, and The disused Reliquary. All easily found temples in act 3, but the areas are small.
  7. The River of Flame. It's a relatively large area, lots of monsters, fine experience. It is however a fairly difficult area for poorly equipped characters, which is probably why it isn't used more often.
  8. The Chaos Sanctuary. Same as the River of Flame, but with the mercinary-slaughtering Iron-Maiden.
  9. The Worldstone Keep levels 1-3, and The Throne of Destruction. They are perfect in all regards but one - they are the most difficult normal areas in the game.

This is of course all assuming hell difficulty.

What is NextDelay, and why is it so bad?

I will simply quote the Assassin FAQ on this matter:

NextDelay is a property that activates a hidden "hit timer" that limits how often any attack from that group (i.e. all the skills listed here) can damage a single target. This works similarly to the infamous spell timer, which limits how often any spell in that group can be cast. The difference is that the hit timer doesn't prevent you from attacking, it just sets everyone's (includes you, your minions/merc, other players(hostile/neutral/allied), and their minions/mercs) chance-to-hit that monster (with a hit timer attack) at zero until the timer runs out.

Here's a list of skills that are affected by NextDelay, and the lengths of them:

25-Frame Delay (1 second)

  • Shock Web
  • Blade Sentinel
  • Twister
  • Tornado

10-Frame Delay (0.4 seconds)

  • Volcano (initial eruption)

6-Frame Delay (0.24 seconds)

  • War Cry
  • Grim Ward

5-Frame Delay (0.2 seconds)

  • Fissure
  • Volcano (small fireball)

4-Frame Delay (0.16 seconds)

  • Multi Shot
  • Strafe
  • Lightning Strike
  • Chain Lightning
  • Nova
  • Frost Nova
  • Poison Nova
  • Shock Wave
  • Fist of Heavens (Holy Bolts)
  • Wake of Fire
  • Claws of Thunder (only 2nd and 3rd charge charges have Next Delay. 1st charge does not trigger Next Delay)
  • Phoenix Strike (only 2nd Chain Lightning and 3rd Chaos Orb charge have Next Delay. 1st charge does not trigger Next Delay)
  • Dragon Flight
  • Battle Cry
  • Battle Command
  • Battle Orders

So, the moment a certain skill from the list damages a monster, it prevents every other skill on the list from hitting the said monster for the original skill's NextDelay duration (whether from you or any other character).

What is the difference between a damage spell and an attack?

There is no single, easy way to seperate skills from attacks. In some cases the difference is obvious, as in a Sorceress Fireball is obviously a spell, while a Paladin Zeal is obviously an attack. There are a number of abilities which walk on the edge of the definition by having an attack component and a spell component as well. A few elements that seperate spells from attacks include:

  1. An attack uses a weapon of some type to calculate its damage, while a spell's damage is based entirely on skill level and skill damage modifiers.
  2. The time it takes to perform attacks is typically decided by increased attack speed modifiers (IAS), while spells' casting speed is typically decided by faster cast rate modifiers (FCR).
  3. Most attacks can be blocked with a shield, while spells can not. Exceptions include the Paladin's Smite skill, which can not be blocked even though it is an attack. Also, the Assassin claw block is unique in being able to block some spells.
  4. Attacks can return mana and life through
  5. An attack allows leeching, while spells do not.
  6. Some attacks can set off "procs", spells can not.

It should be noted that the damage type is a bad way to distinguish skills and attacks. For example, War Cry is a spell that deals physical damage, while Berserk is an attack that deals magical damage.

The tricky part is when you have a skill with both an attack and a spell component. In general, these fall into two categories.

  1. Attack with an additional Spell damage
  2. Spell that enhances an attack (usually by adding non-physical damage)

For a basic list, there are: Assassin Venom(2) and elemental charge-ups(1), Amazon elemental attacks (bow and spear/javelin) (most are 1), Druid Fireclaws(1)/Rabies(2), Paladin Holy Fire/Freeze/Shock(mostly 2), Sorceress Enchant(2), and Necromancer Poison Dagger(2). The (1) or (2) indicates which cateogry it falls into. The mechanics of each skill is specific, and a few have some odd quirks attached to them.

An even worse case is the Assassin Dragon Tail which falls into a category of its own, since the Fire splash damage actually depends on how much physical kick damage is dealt to the target.

What is the difference between a ranged and melee attack?

These two types of attacks are very similar, but have some important differences. Disclaimer - This is intended to help distinguish game mechanics. These distinctions have nothing to do with PvP rules which are based on what players agree on.

The Assassin kicks, Paladin's Smite, and Amazon's Guided Arrow all have some exceptions to the general rules for attacks. Kicks have a different damage formula, Guided Arrow is always-hit, and the Paladin's Smite is always-hit, ignores shield blocking, and follows a different damage formula. There are also a number of odd idiosyncrasies with other skills, such as the ED on Vengeance providing elemental damage, Berserk converting the physical damage to Magic damage, and several attacks having movement involved as part of the attack.

Here's a list of the different abilities and what category they are in. After that is the list of differences between ranged and melee attacks. Anything not listed is the same for both.

Ranged Attacks

  • Bow or XBow attacks (except Wereform attacks with a bow/xbow)
  • Throw attacks available with javelins, and throwing axes/knives (except potions)
  • Assassin's Blade Fury and Blade Sentinal
  • Amazon's Bow/Xbow tree
  • The physical portion of the Amazon's Plague Javelin, Poison Javelin, Lightning Bolt, and Lightning Fury
  • Barbarian's Double Throw (except when using a potion)

Melee Attacks

  • The "Normal" attack with anything but a bow or xbow
  • Barbarian Combat Skills (except Double Throw)
  • Paladin's Sacrifice, Zeal, Vengeance, Charge, and Conversion

- Druid's Wereform Attacks - Assassin's Martial Arts - Amazon's Jab, Impale, Fend, and the physical portion of Power Strike, Charged Strike, and Lightning Strike - Necromancer's Poison Dagger


  1. Crushing Blow and Open Wounds work at half-effectiveness with ranged attacks.
  2. Attack Rating% bonuses listed on some ranged skills are not actually applied (for example all Amazon Bow skills).
  3. The mod +X damage (Grief, Asteron's) is not calculated in ranged attacks.
  4. Iron Maiden only affects Melee attacks.
  5. +% <element> damage applies once to melee and zero to ranged, despite the LCS.

How does "Absorb" really work?

The basic idea of absorb is rather simple, it couses portions of attacks that would normally damage you to heal you instead. There are a few points regarding it that cause confusion, however.

There is a difference between percentage absorb and integer absorb. It is basically the same as the difference between DR% and DR (see section 25). Percentage absorb heals you by a fraction of the damage dealt, while integer absorb heals you by a fixed amount. For item examples we have Blackhorns Face with integer absorb, and Dwarf Star with percentage absorb.

Absorb does not save you from one-hit KOs. The damage affects your health pool before absorb is applied. If the attack reduces your life to zero, you will die.

Damage is applied in a predetermined order. It is as follows:
1) XvX penalty (for example Player vs. Player == -5/6)
2) Sorceress Energy Shield
3) Necromancer Bone Armor and/or Druid Cyclone Armor
4) Integer DR/MDR
5) Percentage resists (including DR%)
6) Percentage absorb
7) Integer absorb

This is relevant, because it helps you decide what type of damage reduction modifier will serve you best. Consult LanderZs damage calculator for further information:

  1. Percentage absorb can never heal you on its own. It is capped at 40%, meaning that even if you have maximum percentage absorb, you will still take damage. Integer absorb does not suffer from this penalty.
  2. Absorb actually heals you two times the listed amount both to negate the damage and to heal by the same amount.
  3. The "magic absorb" modifier found on safety shields and Spirit Runewords (for example) only affects "pure" magical damage, such as the Necromancer bone spells. Elemental damages like Fire damage are not affected. This has been tested by Oramin.

Most of the information used in this thread came from Tommi Gustafsson's site, which is now defunct. Most of its content can now be accessed on b_77's site:

What are "procs" and how do they work?

"Proc" is a collective word for all sorts of effects that can happen on striking and attacking. If an item you are using contains a line that looks similar to "X% chance to do Y when Z happens", odds are that item contains a "proc". A good example of a proc would be "5% Chance To Cast Level 10 Life Tap On Striking" found on Dracul's grasp.

A member of my party is using Ondal's Wisdom. Is he stealing my experience?

No, not at all. It is one of the more persistent rumours, but it is not true. As confirmed by Ortliebj, the "+x% To Experience Gained" modifier found on the staff and the popular Annihilus charm is applied after the experience has been split among the party members. It has no effect on anyone but the user.

The rumour probably originated when players using Ondal's Wisdom were called "leechers" in party games. It would be a reference to the Ondal user's reduced ability to help the party, not an experience stealing modifier.

What kinds of life bonuses are affected by Battle Orders?

If you are asking this sort of a question, you have probably heard that not all life is multiplied by Battle Orders and other percentage-based life boosters. This is true.

When it comes to calculating your final life, there are effectively three factors you need to consider. These factors could be called "Boostable life", "Non-boostable life" and "Percentage boosts".

  1. Boostable life is life gained from spent vitality points, life naturally gained per level up, +life bonuses on items, and life gained from quest rewards.
  2. Non-boostable life is life gained from "soft" vitality points on items, life gained from life per level bonuses on items and life gained from vitality per level bonuses on items.
  3. Percentage boosts are the life% bonuses that can (for examples) be seen on the skills Battle Orders, Oak Sage or Lycanthropy, and items such as Doombringer or Jah runes in armor.

For the actual calculation, add together all your boostable life sources, and calculate your life. Then add together all percentage boosts to form a single percentage, and apply it as a bonus to your boostable life. After that, add the non-boostable life.

This information would be best displayed by an equation: Final life == Boostable_Life * (100% + Boost%)/100% + nonboostable_Life

Mana calculations follow the same equation and mechanics.

If I create an Iron Golem from an "indestructible" item, will the golem be invulnerable to damage?

No. Basically, the "indestructible" modifier that can be found on items like Phase Blades or items that have been socketed with a Zod rune has to do with durability. It does not literally mean that the item can not be destroyed. Iron Golems do not seem to be affected by durability in any way. The Golem's summoning item being indestructible changes nothing for the Golem.

How are the elemental masteries applied to attacks?

The following section was written by Oramin.

There are 3 basic rules to determine how Elemental Masteries (e.g. Fire Mastery) increase a character's damage.

  1. The Elemental Masteries apply to Skills at the time of casting/application to weapons.
  2. They amplify Melee attacks.
  3. They do *not* amplify Ranged attacks.

This means that if you were to cast Enchant then Fire Mastery would apply at the time of casting (and this is already shown in your displayed Enchant damage). Holy Shock would also be amplified by Lightning Mastery when the bonus Lightning damage is applied to the weapon.

If you do a Melee attack, the Fire/Lightning damages from Enchant/Holy Shock will be boosted again by whatever the levels of FM/LM happen to be at the time of attack. You get no additional damage if you choose to do a Ranged attack.


Assume you are a Sorceress with level 20 Fire Mastery, level 20 Enchant, level 20 Lightning Mastery, and a "Dream" helm which gives level 15 Holy Shock. Further assume that you have charms which add 1-100 Lightning damage and 1-100 Fire damage and that you are using an ordinary javelin.

Level 20 Enchant (including the single point in Warmth) does 74-97 damage.
When we include level 20 Fire Mastery (+163% damage), the displayed damage at the time of casting becomes 196-256. This Fire damage is added to the weapon. The 1-100 Fire damage from the Charms is not Skill based damage so it is not amplified by Fire Mastery when applied to the weapon. The total Fire damage on the weapon is now 197-356.

Level 15 Holy Shock does 1-648 damage. At the time of application to the weapon, the level 20 Lightning Mastery (+278% damage) will amplify it causing 3-2449 Lightning damage to be added to the weapon. The 1-100 Lightning damage from the Charms is not Skill based damage so it is not amplified by Lightning Mastery when applied to the weapon. The total Lightning damage on the weapon is now 4-2549.

Fire damage: 197-356
Lightning damage: 4-2549

If you were throwing the javelin, the above would be the correct totals.

However, if you do a Melee attack with the javelin instead then Lightning Mastery and Fire Mastery would amplify the damages giving the following damages:
Fire damage: (197-356) * (1 + 1.63) == 518-936
Lightning damage: (4-2549) * (1 + 2.78) == 15-9635

Note1: Due to the LCS (Lying Character Screen) you will see Ranged attacks receiving the same amplification as Melee attacks this is *not* correct.

Note2: We were not able to determine precisely how/if FM affects the bonus Fire damage from Explosive Bolts/Arrows but as the inherent damage is negligible, don't worry about it.

Where can I find wands with charges of Amplify Damage?

Nowhere. Amplify Damage charges can not spawn as a random affix. The only item in the game that has Amplify Damage charges is the unique Martel de Fer, The Gavel of Pain. It has three charges of level 8 Amplify Damage. If you want a non-Necromancer character to use Amplify Damage, your best option is to get an item that procs (see section 45) the curse.

What types of +skills work with mercenaries?

The following quote on how the various types of +skills work when applied to mercenaries was stolen from adeyke:

  • +X to all skills works.
  • +X to fire skills works for the mercs with fire skills.
  • +X to a specific skill the merc already has (e.g. +X to bash (barbarian only) for barb mercs, +X to inferno (sorceress only) for fire iron wolves) also works.
  • +X to a specific skill the merc doesn't already have doesn't work. Barb mercs will gain nothing from +X to natural resistance (barbarian only), for example. Mercs also don't use any oskills.
  • +X to skill tabs doesn't work for any merc.
  • +X to class skills (e.g. +X to barbarian skills, +X to sorceress skills) doesn't work for any merc.

What decides the Assassin's Trap laying speed?

The trap laying speed of Assassins is decided like most attack speeds. That means it is affected by things like gear-based increased attack speed (IAS) and the weapon speed modifier (abbreviated WSM, also often called "base weapon speed"). The weapon speed calculator can calculate your trap laying speed.

The Faster Cast Rate modifier (FCR) has no effect on trap laying speed. When Assassins emphasise FCR, it is usually to speed up their casting of Mind Blast, which is affected by the Faster Cast Rate modifier.

How long do items stay if left on the ground?

This section belongs to Posterboy, who originally poked the information my way, and Antitrust who re-confirmed it for 1.11 and wrote the contents of the following quote:

  • Socketed items, Ethereal items, Equipable White items, Runewords, Keys, Quivers, Potions, Scrolls/Tomes - vanish in 10 minutes
  • Runes, Gems, Magic Items (including charms) - vanish in 20 minutes
  • Rares, Uniques (including charms), Sets - vanish in 30 minutes
  • Gold, Horadric cube (the only quest item I tested) - last for at least 2 hours and 36 minutes (at which point I stopped)

This was tested in Single Player. Results on the realms may be (and I actually suspect that they are) different.

Does poison cancel Deadly Strike, Critical Strike, or Crushing Blow?

No, it does not. There seems to be a glitch when it comes to displaying the associated "puffs" when the target is poisoned, but it is purely graphical.


Big thanks to the posters I have shamelessly exploited and plagiarized in order to make this thread grow: 2_Much_4_U, adeyke, Antitrust, Chaotix, Daten, Gta-maloy], Ilkori, TommiG, Oramin, Ortliebj, PeterPaulRubens and Posterboy.

And thanks to everyone who pointed out missing things and possible additions, bumped this thread, made comments, or just generally helped me in some way whether they know it or not:
Armaege, BIGeyedBUG, Bonkshasa, Dargad, Derisive, LaughingBuddha, MicahW, MMAgCh, NickJS, Nucularterraist (Nucnuc), Orphan, sambo., Sarrick, Sol1, Technomage-C01, The_Terror_Lord, T-hawk, Veneteaou and WizAdept.

Technomage-C01 deserves special mention for keeping the thread from being munched by the B.Net Gameplay Discussion forum for more than a year and a half. And the most special thanks of all go to Ortliebj for inspiring me to make this thread. Thanks to all of you.