Elemental Damage changes in Diablo 3 Patch 2.1

At least Acid Strike was pretty.

Acid Strike was pretty. “Was.”

DiabloWikiElemental Damage is the big “hidden” damage component in Diablo 3, as it boosts your damage, but only via skills that deal that type of elemental damage. (The elemental damage type on your weapon itself is irrelevant.) There are a lot of issues with the Elemental Damage affixes and we’ve seen dozens of skill runes change their damage type during the Patch 2.1 PTR evolution, while some types, especially Fire and Lightning, seem to be very over-represented in item bonuses.

Some other types are very under-represented, especially for some classes, and Blizzard is responding to this reality by removing some damage types from the affix pool for some classes. Details on Elemental Damage changes in Diablo 3 Patch 2.1:

For the love of God can you answer us Crusaders about why we are plagued with cold items in our smart loot but we only have two cold skills and they’re both spenders?
Tyvalir: Great question! Starting in Patch 2.1.0, we will be removing +% Cold Damage from the pool of affixes for Smart Loot for the Crusader class. The affix can still roll on non-Smart Loot drops.

Can +% Poison Damage be removed from the Smart Loot for the Demon Hunter, please?
Tyvalir: Yep! We actually removed +% Poison Damage from the Demon Hunter’s pool of Smart Loot affixes on the PTR in June, but it wasn’t included in the patch notes. This change will also go live in Patch 2.1.0 (and like the Crusader change, still allows +% Poison Damage to roll as a non-Smart Loot affix on gear).

So, there you are. Can’t complain about smart changes, except to wish they’d come along sooner?

How do you guys feel about Elemental Damage on the whole? Now that they are removing some elements from some classes, would you like to see more of the same? For instance, instead of the devs trying to make 5 or 6 elements equal across each class, what if each class had 1 or 2 elements that didn’t occur on any of their skills or gear? A bit like these Coldsader and Poison Hunter changes. Bliz could remove one or two other elements from each class just to create a bit more specialization in the build/gear game.

Tagged As: | Categories: Blizzard People, Blue Posts, Items, Skills


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  1. Err, each class already has two or three elements that don't occur on any of their skills.

    Barb has no holy, arcane or poison.
    Crusader has no poison or arcane, and very little cold.
    Demon Hunter has no holy or arcane, and now very little poison.
    Monk has no poison or arcane.
    Witch Doctor has no lightning, holy or arcane.
    Wizard has no physical, poison or holy.

    I'm still unsure why they've been steadily eliminating DH poison skills in favour of cold ones in this patch. Poison is a much better fit for the class lore/style-wise. And there were many more poison runes than there were cold ones, so if they wanted to drop an element, cold would have been a lot less work.

    • WD do have Phys skills, just not many. Pile On zombie wall rune is Physical, I think the Bruiser Garg is phys, and more importantly for pet docs, fetish sycophants from the passive are modified by +Phys gear.

  2. I still wish they would give us an elemental damage number under our regular damage number so we could properly evaluate gear pieces and how they truly compare to real damage.

  3. So black damage is still better than elemental damage…

  4. How do I feel?

    I increasingly resent the gamification of the system in lieu of changes that make sense and/or are interesting on a less game-y level.

    It still sucks that elemental damage doesn't differ across types. It still sucks that the affixes for elemental damage are just +damage, instead of something more interesting. I find it really annoying that Blizzard is devoting resources to moving skill damage types / palette swaps to optimize some set of hypothetical builds people aren't going to use anyway, instead of giving players the tools to think about the fantasy of what the skills represent.

    Right now, elemental damage is mostly about choosing what color of thing you shoot and how much you can boost it, as opposed to anything else. There are some legendaries that interact with it (e.g., Fulminator, Rimeheart), but for the most part, it's really just an aesthetic choice. Instead, at the very least, it should be something like:

    Physical: no effect; +physical: increases damage, more than other affixes
    Cold: chills (slows), small chance to freeze, +cold: increases chill/freeze duration, increases damage & crit against chilled/frozen targets
    Fire: short (3-second), high-damage DoT; +fire: increase DoT damage, give each DoT tick a chance to spread the DoT to nearby targets
    Lightning: chance to stun; +lightning: chance to AoE stun & (separate) chance to do 10x damage
    Poison: long (9-second), low-damage DoT; +poison: increases DoT damage, lowers speed, attack speed, and damage of targets
    Arcane: subsequent hits of arcane spells do extra damage, based on resource cost of spell; +arcane: increases AoE and repeated arcane damage scaling effect
    Holy: increases LoH gained from attacks, chance to not use any resource/generate double resource; +holy: extra +crit damage, chance to blind on crit

    • While in theory I think you're point is totally valid, in reality I think this ends up not really being an issue because the different elements do actually end up working very differently do to the simple facts of different runes working very differently. There are numerous Cold dmg runes that do add chill/freeze effects, for example, so the effect often ends up being the same anyway.

      • The problem is that in reality (for me, I can see how someone wouldn't care), I'm bummed by playing the exact same way with cold skills as I do with lightning skills, etc. And even if I do grant that cold does apply chill/freeze, the other elements do not consistently apply any kind of effect or really do anything other than change color.

        Basically, I want a reason to think outside of the contours of the skill I'm using, but right now those added layers only exist in the form of legendary item effects. +damage is pretty linear, crit/crit damage are exponential, toughness is not very interesting, healing is not very interesting, etc.

        • "I'm bummed by playing the exact same way with cold skills as I do with lightning skills"

          But you shouldn't be playing the exact same way because the skills themselves are different. A Cold Arrow and a Lightning Arrow are going to do different things. I know really we're talking about the item game here but ultimately with the variation in base runes, I think we ultimately end up getting pretty much what you (and me, once upon a time) are asking for.

          • I think this is true to some extent, but not to every extent. There are still a ton of skills where this isn't the case, which is what feels kind of lame.

            Obviously Frost Arrow feels different than Lightning Bolts or Ball Lightning, but the Crusader runes for Punish all feel the same despite the fact that you've got 4 different elemental types to choose from. (Same for Sweep Attack, for the most part.)

          • "Same for Sweep Attack"

            Sweep Attack has a DoT, a Stun, a LoH, and a chill – the effects correspond almost exactly to your wishlist! 🙂 If they all feel the same it's because of a broader issue in D3 which is that DPS usually trumps all and defensive stuff like slows and LoH ends up not being that interesting or important. But that's just a sign that the wish for an effect per element isn't all that impactful in reality, as cool as it sounds in theory.

    • This seems like it's way too much thought for the current D3 team for some reason. I've been hoping for elemental effects to actually have an effect for quite a while, as of right now it's basically just picking a color for your fireworks display.

    • I have submitted your resume to Blizzard on your behalf (you're welcome, Blizzard.)

      Seriously, we have all wanted elemental effects since forever, but these particular suggestions are great.

  5. NO! I loved my poison DH on 2.0 PTR. It was so fun with poison bolas 🙁

  6. I don't like the philosophy of getting rid of something because it doesn't work well. Why can't they make the elemental damages more meaningful instead?

    The biggest downfall in my opinion about the game is "choices". There is no option between what sort of elemental damage one wish to use other than how the skills are dictated. Remember back in the days when lightning has a huge damage variance, fire has burn damage effect, poison has damage over time and cold has the utility of freezing/slowing things?

    In terms of Blizzard and Diablo, as a corporate guy, I really think the marketing and finance departments are really hindering the creativity aspects of the company.

  7. They should have stick with four elements for each class. Overall using Physical/Holy/Arcane for regular runes, Cold/Lightning for CC, and Fire/Poison for nukes and dots.

    Something like
    Barb Physical – Cold – Fire – Poison
    Wiz Arcane – Cold – Lightning – Fire
    DH Physical – Lightning – Cold – Poison
    WD Physical – Cold – Fire – Poison
    Monk Physical – Holy – Cold – Lightning
    Crus Arcane – Holy – Cold – Fire

  8. Or bring back monster resistances. That would force variation on damage types, and you would have to actually pay attention to the elements… That would add depth to the game, by having to balance between accumulating damage bonus and having a way to damage enemies that are resistant to your main element. Corrupted Angels are the only ones who still show this in some way… But this must have been said thousands of times, it's obvious they just aren't going to do it.

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