Blizzard on Class-Specific Armor Benefits

A fan asked about if the benefits of DiabloWikiarmor will vary between the classes. Zarhym replied:

Let’s say a tier 10 chest piece gives 500 armor. Will a barbarian and a witch doctor benefit equally from it i.e. they get the same amount of damage reduction from those 500 points armor?

Each class gets equal base benefit from armor value on items, however, there are DiabloWikipassives and DiabloWikiskills which could allow one class to benefit more from armor than another class. For example, DiabloWikibarbarians have a passive available to them called DiabloWikiTough As Nails which increases the barbarian’s armor by 100%, among other things.

This answer is accurate, but a little incomplete. As or more important than the potential passive bonus is the character’s attribute. And thanks to the auto-attributes in D3, a Barbarian of the same level as a Witch Doctor would necessarily have much higher DiabloWikiDefense, which is the character attribute that determines your damage reduction. To paraphrase the in-game tool tip:

  • Each point of Defense gives:
    • +x Damage Reduction (based on class)

Thus, barring huge bonuses from equipment, a Barbarian will always derive considerably more defensive benefit than a Witch Doctor does, from the same piece of armor.

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13 thoughts on “Blizzard on Class-Specific Armor Benefits

  1. wow ty flux. didnt think of that. interesting

    i really hope that it will be viable to wear gear with +defense (attack/…) so that things like melee DH are possible.

  2. So I clicked “Tough As Nails” in the blue text above and what I got was: “Allows the Barbarian to “nail” 100% harder.” Is it just me or can this sentence be misunderstood? 🙂

  3. The defense stat now also increases block and dodge chance – it was tweeted a little bit ago

  4. Armor does not affect “Damage Reduction”, it just reduces your chance of getting hit. So, in other words, your defense stat does not affect your armor. Thus a Barbarian, excluding trait mods, will benefit exactly the same way as a Witch Doctor does from each point of armor.

    • hang on a sec, since when are armor and defense two different stats? seems a little redundant. Your description of ‘armor’ is exactly the same as defense in d2. I have read in many posts that d3’s defense will not reduce chance to be hit but reduce the damage that you take.

      Edit: Looking at the wiki’s attribute page i see now that armor is a sub-attribute of defense. however, I could not find any info on what the armor stat actually does. It looks like all the defensive attributes combined somehow form a defense rating that will reduce incoming damage by a certain percentage?

    • Highwayman,

      Where did you here that? The last I heard – and this was a long time ago – the devs said that they were not happy with the D2 function of armour and did not want it to function as an yet another “all or nothing” factor on top of block, dodge and whatever else. I haven’t heard them say anything about how it works, so I would assume that armour and defence will derive damage reduction.

      Have you got some info?


      Defence is an attribute, armour is an item modifier. The two may/may not affect each other somehow.


      Wouldn’t defence only affect the impact of armour if it has a multiplicative, not linear effect? If defence is still “add X damage reduction” and “X” is a hard point, then it doesn’t really change anything about the armour itself between the barb and witchdoctor. I hope it’s a percent point, though, because that’s just cooler.

      • I pulled it out of my arse.  But, from what Flux was saying Defense is just another name for Armor/Armour and I believe that not to be the case from what Blizzard have said.  I was fishing for accurate, detailed info, that apparently nobody has.

  5. Well, that’s true Flux that a Barb would have an intrinsically higher defense than a WD given equal gear.  However, the question was about the benefit of armor for each class.  In other words, if a Barb and WD both equip a chestpiece with 50 armor, does the Barb actually gain 75 while the WD only gets the base 50 because of some hidden class specific mechanic?  So the answer here would be no… unless they take the Tough as Nails passive, then the Barb would get 100 additional armor from that piece while the WD would just get 50.

    • I just want to point out that you’re correct. And Flux is not.
      The Barbarian would actually receive less benefit from armor, if either class relatively receives more benefit from armor, just because he already has higher damage reduction. Remember, armor will add damage reduction now.
      The damage reduction, if they use the same model as in Warcraft 3, and pretty much the same as in WoW, is based on a non-existent stat called effective HP. Each point of armor adds some number of effective HP, scaled to your max HP, and you determine the damage taken by taking actual Max HP / Max Effective HP. And damage reduction would be 1 – that same fraction.
      What the Blizz Rep would be saying if he went into all that detail, is that each point of armor, and actually each armor item, adds the same amount of effective HP before scaling, no matter what class you are.

      • Right, but what Flux was getting at, which you acknowledge even as you say he is wrong, is that the response implies that as long as the barbarian has identical gear to the witch doctor, and does not have any passives modifying his values, he will have the same defensive statistics (read, effective HP) as the WD.  Which, thanks to autostats, is simply not the case.  Thus Flux’s point.  It is an incomplete answer (deceiving, even) to the person who asked the question if that fact is omitted, because otherwise you are technically answering his question, but leaving him believing something that is untrue.

        • Actually I think Flux is the one giving the wrong info, because the first time I read his statement, just before I caught myself thinking something is wrong there, I took it to mean that a Barbarian would derive a GREATER amount of benefit from the armor than the Witch doctor, because of the stats and such (the Hard as nail stat matter is rather clear so no confusion there).

          But apparently, it is not and the stats and other benefits, while it will give the barbarian a greater over all defense rating than a witch doctor, will not make him receive a greater amount of benefit from the armor itself (other than the Hard as nail trait, that is).

          Now whether if that is enough to differentiate between a witch doctor and a barbarian will depends on the overall difference between the skill benefit, the stat benefits as well as the range of armor value bestow by the top tier armor pieces. At this point, it is still anyone’s guess/

  6. Flux, I noticed in the diablowiki that Tough as Nails states that it provides an armour buff. But Bashiok said that it gives +100% armour, amongst other things.

    I’m thinking (purely theory) that they’ve either gotten rid of Iron Skin and Toughness, or Tough as Nails might be a higher level one (that combines those and maybe more bonuses).

    Either way, he definitely said “amongst other things” – implying that it offers other bonuses aswell.

  7. Flux Zarhym hasn’t got anything wrong he saying that classes get the same bonus from the same bit of armour gear unless one of them got an armour modifying skill.
    IE a WD and barb both with 100 armour have the same damage reduction FROM their armour.

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