Guide: Understanding +Elemental Damage

Elemental damage + skill damage + damage to elites beats 3x elemental damage.

Elemental damage + skill damage + damage to elites beats 3x elemental damage.

Elemental Damage, along with +skill damage and Increased Damage to Elites are very valuable stats, but are also much understood. These bonuses were very undervalued early in RoS, partially since they didn’t show up in the Character window or DPS display. Then as more and more players caught onto the bonuses, and once Blizzard hotfixed them into the Character window they seemed to become overvalued, with some people making all sorts of DPS sacrifices to add another 15 or 20% damage to their chosen type of elemental damage or favorite skill.

Is that wise? Sometimes, but not entirely. Adding Elemental Damage is great, but it has diminishing returns due to how the formulae are calculated in Reaper of souls, and this new short video tutorial by Such Stronk does a great job explaining how and why.

elemental damage

The takeaway is that sure, it’s always better to add more elemental damage. But that’s never an option in a vacuum. In real situations you’re almost always looking at trade offs, and due to how the formulas work in the game, you’ll do more damage with (for instance) 2 elemental damage affixes, 2 skill damage affixes, and 2 elite damage affixes vs. 4 or 5 elemental damage and 1 or none of the others.

If you’ve already got 60 or 80 elemental damage, you’ll get as much or more benefit from adding 15% damage to your main skill, than you would adding another 20% elemental damage. As always, math is not your friend.

Tagged As: | Categories: Diablo 3, Loot 2.0, Videos


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  1. Very infomartive video and in a nice format too!

    I say posting more of these would be great! (You could even create an "explanatory" category on wiki with such uploads thrown in for everything in one place)

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  2. The thing is that your Elite dmg is obviously only working against Elites.

    So taking the same calculation your dmg would be at 1.44 against Whites. So now you have to think about how much of your general rift time do you fight against Elites/RG ?

    At the same time you have to think about how many of your skills do you use mainly as a dmg spender and how many of them have the same element….

    Gets even worse if you add sentries who scale of +hatred spender skilldmg and +sentryskill dmg

  3. So,if I understand it correctly,it is better to get a specific skill dmg,an elemental dmg to match the rune you are using rather than just 2*20-30%elemntal(or skill)dmg?

  4. It works similarly to All Res and Armor for EHP. For that, take armor, divide by 100. If that number > all res, getting more all res is better. Otherwise getting more armor is better.

    In this case, if skill damage % > elemental %, then get more elemental %. Otherwise get more skill damage %.

    Keep in mind here I am omitting elite %. If you throw that in, just get whatever you have least of.

    I’m also assuming that all the skills you do dps with work on the same element. You may consider also balancing elemental % and skill damage % across multiple skills. Alternately, just go all in with a single skill and element.

  5. Yep, we're back to D2's one-skill to rule them all setup, and it's even worse w/o immunities (except for those two special demons in Battlefields). At least you have a lot more CC/defense/mobility/etc skills to work w/. They need stop this rabbit chase; builds are more inflexible than ever, b/c now you can't change your build when you find one piece of gear, you have to change your build when you find four or five pieces of gear.

    Oh, and they're going to have to nerf Marauder. Don't "fix" the Sentry skill, the set is the one causing the problems.

  6. 1) Let's make this video my Secret app for a while, shall we? "I cheated on high school to pass on Math. When my first book chapter on human sciences was out, it was a relief :)" That said, "I got the vid" (thanks to the dolls :p) and it is on the same line of my experiences with area damage and the early 2.0 realeses (pre-ros) with acid cloud/acid rain (the increased area).

    2) Now that the video mentioned it, I will replace my normal bounty build (for RoRG and or speed) piranhado with acid rain on the poison version. Maybe it will add to the final speed. Also, I think TF proc helps with the whole "yard covering" issue, especially on lower levels.

    By the way, poison clouds from pets (garg, area from dogs, or even pox faulds) justify some paragon area damage imo and make poison dmg strickly better than fire when you are undergeared (at least on WD, obviously on a DH your mileage may vary in seriously ways – I tested it with rares and a bad TF on seasons), due to the tendency of going splashy.

  7. The video links to Area Damage instead of Elemental damage 🙂

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