Diablo 2 Defense, sometimes known as “armor class”, is a measure of the quality of your armor. In its simplest definition, the higher the defense, the fewer enemy hits land.
- See the Defense 101 strategy guide for specific details about defense.
Increasing Your Defense
Every piece of Diablo 2 armor equipment (apart from weapons) comes with a defense value. This includes headgear, shields, boots, gloves, belts, and body armor. Amulets and rings also can also feature +armor properties.
Dexterity also affects your defense which multiplies across the total armor value. Increasing dexterity will improve your defense.
Other points to note are charms which can include defense and time-limited Armor Shrines also increase your armor.e.
Defense can be seen at the top of the character sheet. Hover your pointer over hover defense for details of the to/hit of the last monster you interacted with. Note these numbers are approximations and are never too accurate.
What does defense do?
For melee characters, defense is an important stat to invest points in while casters and ranged attackers often ignore it. Defense will not help you defend against magic attacks.
A few key points, taken from the Defense 101 guide.
Defense does not reduce damage directly
Defense just makes you less likely to be hit by physical attacks. Reduced damage mods, by % or straight values, reduce damage.
Physical Attacks Only
Defense will help protect against a physical attack that uses Attack Rating. Only these types of attacks apply to defense.
Defense works against physical attacks that have elemental damage added to them. If the physical misses, then so does the fire, cold, etc, damage stacked on it.
Defense is zero when running
You are more likely to be hit while running, but the actual game mechanics work so that the entire to/hit formula is ignored. Any attack that can hit will deal damage.
By ignoring the to/hit calculation, factors besides defense, such as Clvl and Mlvl are also ignored. Therefore low-level monsters that would often miss who was standing still, will usually hit that same character if they are running.
Diablo 2 Defense Exceptions
Spells, auras, curses, and other effects affect your defense. Decrepify and Conviction lower your defense considerably. Enemies boosted by Blessed Aim and Fanaticism will have a higher chance to hit, decreasing the effectiveness of your defense.