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Things ain't What They Used to Be

some Selected Skills

Covering each class' skills would boost this file immensely. I'll only cover some oddities or tidbits which are hard to find at other places.
Usage of other classes' skills is covered in a separate FAQtoid. Also summoned creatures have a FAQtoid dedicated to their own.
In Appendix below is a hoplist to more common skill descriptions.

TitanSeal created new skill desriptions with great detail, though they're available in german only. Differences to my elderly findings may be judged in TitanSeal's favor.

see also:

Special Informations


- Assassin and Barbarian only -

Confusion arises everytime when 'left' and 'right' sides of a character are described. Technically the game doesn't differentiate like that, it uses 'primary' and 'secondary' weapon. You may have noticed that you can equip a character with a shield in his primary hand and a weapon in secondary hand. However, the display of the avatar will always show the shield in left hand and the weapon in right hand. Keep this in mind to understand following paragraphs more easily.

The first equipped weapon is always the primary weapon, regardless of slot. This is of utter importance to Barbarian's Frenzy, Doble Swing and Double Throw attacks as well as to Assassin's IAS-dependent skills, especially kicks while dual-wielding claws (C/C).
If a weapon gets destroyed by heavy usage or manually taken from its slot, the other weapon will automatically become the primary one, regardless of status before. To ensure the primary weapon is the desired one, unequip always both weapons and equip the desired primary weapon as first one. Say, when you've died or were at the blacksmith's.
Avatar shows correctly primary weapon always in right hand. Easily recognizeable if graphics style of weapons differs.

Doing a switch from weapon slot I to slot II will cause the weapon now shown on left slot to be used as primary weapon. Do some testings with, say, a dagger plus sword in slot I and a sword plus axe in slot II.

You may encounter undesired effects regarding primary weapon if you abuse the strength bug to gain required strength or dexterity for primary weapon via secondary weapon.

to avoid problems always

  1. equip desired primary weapon at first
  2. equip desired primary weapon in right hand (left inventory slot)
  3. fulfill strength and dexterity requirements for both weapons (and also for both in slot II) without weapon boni


Skill-Icon Slower Missiles Slower Missiles

There's a very large posting by adeyke, listing all missiles which can't be slowed down. It contains all affected missiles in technical terms, but this is not the same like 'projectile'. I don't want to repeat that listing, so as a rule of thumb Slower Missiles slows down arrows, bolts, throwed weapons and single-projectile spells like Bone Spirit, but it won't affect area of effect spells like Blizzard or Meteor.
A newer list provided by LastCorpse and published by Othin can now be found at the Basin as well.

Slower Missile doesn't affect:

The enemy whose missiles should be slowed down must be in 13.3 yards range while Slower Missile is casted.

Slower Missiles does not work versus missiles from monsters flagged as Boss marked.

Skill-Icon DodgeSkill-Icon AvoidSkill-Icon Evade Evasive skills

Dodge, Avoid and Evade are effective against nearly everything. They don't work against damage caused in a radius, though, like Sorceress' Static Field or Paladin's damaging Aurae. They do work against explosions and basically everything using a missile to transfer damage.
All skills have eight Frames animation duration. It seems that this can be decreased only via external meanings like an aura.
The animation will be prolonged due to slowing effects of any kind.


Skill-Icon Pierce Pierce

This skill works additively to Piercing Attack item property, see Atair's german listing on d2wissen.
Pierce only works with ranged attacks.

D2C Marke Once upon a time (1.06?) spellcasting characters could cast piercing spells if equipped with appropriate items; even if the spell itself wasn't designed to pierce. Since at least Lord of Destruction expansion's release Pierce affects only projectiles from missile weapons and throwed weapons.

Skill-Icon Penetrate Penetrate

Attack Rating bonus granted by this skill is negated if Amazon is affected by a friendly Blessed Aim aura. Technically both skills use the same aurastate, and the Aura overrides the Passive then, regardless of both skills' level.

see also:

elemental skills

The bonus to Attack Rating granted by elemental skills is displayed correctly ingame.
Unfortunately it doesn't work.

see also:

Skill-Icon Magical Arrow Magical Arrow

Other than Fire and Cold Arrow the added bonus damage is physical, and it figures into damage order before any conversion is done.

1.09 Marke In 1.09 all skill-based damage of a Magical Arrow was physical.

Added bonus damage affects minimum damage only.

see also:

Skill-Icon Lightning Bolt Lightning Bolt

Because all physical damage minus 25% is converted into lightning, elemental damage granted by equipment is not transferred via the javelin. Surprisingly events like Crushing Blow or Open Wounds will be triggered.
The Lightning is not checked for Chance to Hit, it is autohitting.

see also:


attack speed

With Standard Attack's exception Increased Attack Speed on secondary claw is completely irrelevant.

Kick skills

Kicking damage depends on Assassin's strength and dexterity. Physical damage enhancement granted by equipment and/or aurae will buff kicks. Deadly Strike and/or Claw Mastery are not applied to kick damage.
Kick damage formula is:

1.09 Marke
Kickmin = ((dex + str - 20) / 4) * (1 + Skill% / 100%) Kickmax = ((dex + str - 20) / 3) * (1 + Skill% / 100%)

1.10 Marke
Kickmintotal = Kickmin + minDBoot * (1 + str * 0.012 + (Skill% + Equip%) / 100%) Kickmaxtotal = Kickmax + maxDBoot * (1 + str * 0.012 + (Skill% + Equip%) / 100%)

special effects working with kicks

Kickmin: minimum kick damage Kickmax: maximum kick damage dex: dexterity str: strength Skill%: kicking skill's percentage damage bonus Equip%: Equipment's percentage damage bonus minDBoot: minimum shoe damage maxDBoot: maximum shoe damage

The shoe damage visible only to Assassins is an 1.10 novelty. Thus in 1.1x Sin profits a bit more from strength than from dexterity.
Since 1.10 also elemental damage granted by equipment will be transferred via kicking; same applies to 'buff skills', say Venom, Sorceress' Enchant and Paladin's Elemental Damage aurae.
In 1.09 the Assassin couldn't leech Life or Mana with kicks, this is possible in 1.1x, too.
Secondary claw doesn't count for special events. A claw granting skill bonus or defensive enhancements is best used here.

Kicks need to pass Chance to Hit check. All modifications will work.

Kicks' melee range is copied from claws. In 1.09 they had range=1, in 1.1x they have range=2

see also:

Skill-Icon Venom Venom

Venom will work with the skill level the Assassin had while casting, so she may switch from skill boni gear to combat gear after activation. A higher skill level will prevent it from being recasted with a lower skill level, though, so she'll have to wait until the higher level Venom wears off or switch to skill boni gear again.
In 1.1x Venom can be active at the same time with Fade or Burst of Speed. Fade and BoS can't be active the same time.
1.09 Marke In 1.09 only one of that three skills could be active at the same time.

Venom cuts down all poison damage granted by equipment to ten frames duration (0.4s), which is a huge nerf. Don't use such items with Venom, space could be used better.
In combination with Necromancer's Poison Dagger duration of item's poison damage will be shortened as well, but not the duration from dagger skill. Since Venom alone, either equipped via a Venom / TalDolMal dagger or a Treachery / ShaelThulLem armor, will cause a noticeable enhancement of poison's strength this will shoot Poison Dagger's damage through the roof.
This mechanism will also work with other poisonous skills which deliver poison damage via contact, but due to different tactics commonly needed with Druid's Rabies and Amazon's toxic javelins the benefit is small here.

see also:

Blade skills

Blade Fury will leech in 1.1x. In addition to blades' damage 75% from Standard Attack damage with actually equipped weapon will be delivered; in case of two-handed weapons it's only 37.5%. This also includes elemental damage from equipment and buffing skills like Venom. Ethereal weapons may be used without sorrow, since they don't loose durability via Blade Fury. Shooting speed is five Frames per attack and is neither subject to attack speed nor to cast rate.
Blade Fury is treated as ranged attack, thus doesn't benefit from '+ x elemental damage' item property granted by, say, Rainbow Facets. But the bonus gained via Claw Mastery is applied.

A Blade Sentinel will only carry 3/8 of Standard Attack's damage. Unfortunately it also has a Casting Delay of whopping two seconds.

The Blade Shield will only carry 25% of Standard Attack's damage. It won't trigger any events anymore since 1.10.
Range isn't taken from equipped primary weapon anymore, but is fixed to two yards radius around the Assassin.

Skill-Icon Weapon Block Weapon Block

Other than blocking with a shield blocking with claws won't work while moving, neither walking nor running. But claws may block far more kinds of attacks than a shield. They can't block flames from the ground or Frozen Orb's main missile, as far as I know.

see also:



Skill-Icon Bash Bash

The straight bonus +X to punching damage will only enhance minimum damage, not maximum.


With Bash a Barbarian may leech from physical immunes, circumstances are unknown. It works far worse than with non-immune enemies, but it works.
see also: Leeching from PIs due to Bash?


Skill-Icon Leap Leap

Leaping will knockback enemies to a hidden radius. All knockbackable enemies will be pushed away 1,98 + sLvl * 0,66 yards. There seems to be no size differentation like with Knockback item property.

Skill-Icon Leap Attack Leap Attack

Only the attacked enemy will be knocked back. That one is pushed away 1,98 + sLvl * 1,32 yards.

If a Barbarian is hit by an attack or spell during a leaping animation he's rendered completely harmless and can't touch anyone anymore. Only solution here is leaving and re-entering the game.

1.09 Marke In 1.09 a leaping Barbarian didn't suffer reflected damage caused by Thorns aura or Iron Maiden curse. The simple explanation called Leaping a ranged attack. The more complex cause was found in different event handling by animations. Leap Attack does first the leaping followed by the attacking animation. Reflected damage was checked at leaping's starting, and at that moment was no damage dealt to be reflected.
In 1.1x this check happens later, thus also Leaping Barbarians suffer reflected damage now.

see also:

Skill-Icon Double ThrowSkill-Icon Double SwingSkill-Icon Frenzy dual-wielding attacks

First punch is always done with primary weapon. IAS on secondary weapon is irrelevant. Damage related properties like Enhanced Damage, Attack Rating, Leech and Triggers are only checked when the weapon is used during the cycle. Character modifying properties like Life, Defense or Resistances will work permanently.
Dual-wielding attack speed is subject to many factors.

  1. average base weapon speed of both weapons (omitting IAS properties)
  2. IAS on primary weapon
  3. IAS granted by other items
  4. IAS granted by skills (Frenzy, Fanaticism)
IAS Formula

IASeff = [120 * (∑IASitem - IAS2nd)/(120 + ∑IASitem - IAS2nd)]

Frenzy acceleration formula

Vinc = 70 + (WSM1st + WSM2nd)/2 + ∑IASskill + IASeff fpa = {256 * 17 / [256 * Vinc / 100]} / 2

Double Swing acceleration formula

Vinc = 120 + (WSM1st + WSM2nd)/2 + ∑IASskill + IASeff fpa = {256 * 17 / [256 * Vinc / 100]} / 2

Double Throw acceleration formula

Vinc = 70 + (WSM1st + WSM2nd)/2 + ∑IASskill + IASeff fpa = {256 * 12 / [256 * Vinc / 100]} / 2

IASeff: effective IAS IASitem: IAS granted by items IAS2nd: IAS on secondary weapon Vinc: speed increase; hardcoded limits: (175 ≥ Vinc ≥ 15) WSM1st: primary weapon's base speed WSM2nd: secondary weapon's base speed IASskill: skill bonus to IAS (Frenzy, Fanaticism) fpa: Frames per Animation { }: Ceiling Function [ ]: Floor Function

There's some more recent testing and evolving of a different mechanism done by Behaart, which indicates some even more odd behaviour regarding different base weapon speeds of primary and secondary weapon. I haven't dug deeper into this, but maybe you want to check out the german Thread in d2info board.

see also:


Nothing to see here.
Move on.


Nothing to see here.
Move on.


Skill-Icon Smite Smite

The Smite attack is not blockable with a shield, just with Assassin's Weapon Block. The attack is autohitting, thus will always hit (not 95%, as you may read sometimes). Shield's Punching range is inherited from the actually equipped weapon. Damage modification only considers strength, 100 points will calculate as 100% offweaponED, similar to aurae etc.
Despite punching with the shield the weapon will loose durability. But even when worn down to zero durability points the weapon will treated as intact as long as it is not used with another attack. Then it breaks, and the Paladin looses all boni granted by it.

won't work
will work


Skill-Icon Charge Charge

Neither weapon's base speed nor additional attack speed modifications via items will affect a Charge attack.
The attacking part of the animation can't be accelerated.

The skill grants a straight bonus of 150% to walking speed and switches movement mode to 'run' if necessary (it switches back also, if character was in walking mode before the attack). This value is stored in Skills.txt as velocity increase.
This doesn't increase Charge's punching speed, too.

RunCharge = Vrun * (1 + FRWskill+Slow+Armorspeed) * 150%

% is stripped away from both sides


Skill-Icon Vengeance Vengeance

Elemental part of damage is only based on weapon's damage including regular boni to minimum and maximum damage, and not on overall physical damage. Thus status points, physical damage enhancing aurae and other percentage offweaponED, and chance to do critical hits won't affect elemental damage.
Vengeance's chill duration is 15 * (sLvl + 1) Frames and may be enhanced via cold damage granted by equipment.

So the elemental part is only enhanceable via synergies and skill boni, further via lowering enemy's resistance.
It won't be increased by '+X to fire skills' item property like Magefist grant, sine Vengeance isn't treated as fire skill. Enhancement via '+x elemental skill damage' is possible, but not because Vengeance would count as an elemental skill, but because this property always affects elemental damage in melee.

see also:


There was a nasty glitch caused by that silly 'aura when equipped' item property. If the item was repeatedly equipped and un-equipped to a hireling the aura effect stacked. This is fixed now. This fix doesn't allow a hireling having more than one equipped aura, only the last one equipped will work. This doesn't affect Act2 hirelings' native aura.

Skill-Icon Sanctuary Sanctuary

Sanctuary only works versus undead. Their physical resistance is set to zero. Only every spell and attack of the unit contributing the aura will benefit from that effect. It's excluding Crushing Blow damage, which is still affected by regular physical resistance or immunity.
The aura pushes undead enemies away, quite similar to Knockback item property. But there's no differentation in sizes.
Sanctuary's pulses also deliver Magical Damage, which only affects undead, too.

The resistance-ignoring effect will only apply to undead with physical resistance greater than zero.

The percentage damage bonus granted versus undead is buggy, it works neither in melee nor in ranged combat.

see also:



Skill-Icon Enchant Enchant

Enchant will work with the skill level the Sorceress had while casting, so she may switch from skill boni gear to other gear after activation. A higher skill level will prevent it from being recasted with a lower skill level, though, so she'll have to wait until the higher level Enchant wears off or switch to skill boni gear again.

Skill-Icon Telekinesis Telekinesis

Telekinesis delivers a small amount of Lightning Damage. Of more importance in tactical terms is the ability to push an enemy away, quite similar to Knockback item property.
Furthermore the Sorceress may open chests or activate shrines from far away. The ability to pick up items from far away is restricted since 1.09, for it was abused a lot. It only works with tinsel stuff like scrolls or gold. Which is annoying enough if abused.

Formula of synergy to Energy Shield

Manadam (32 - TKbase) / 16

Manadam: mana loss per damage point TKbase: Telekinesis base skill level

Skill-Icon Static Field Static Field

Static can't lower a given monster's life below 33% of actual maximum life in Nightmare difficulty.
In Hell this effect is even restricted to 50% of actual maximum life.

D2C Marke In Diablo II Classic Static is not restricted this way.


Since this FAQtoid is too huge already, all kinds of minions got one of their own.

common skill descriptions

Unfortunately detailled and neutral descriptions of player's skills are very rarely found.
The Arreat Summit - may it stay corrected for ten thousand years - is not that bad place some might call it. You'll get a good skill survey there. Since it's stuffed with graphics it takes some time to load, especially with slow connections, so I put up a hoplist here with deeplinks to the skill descriptions.
If you're in search for synergies orban's Skill Kalkulator at indiablo.de is a good choice. It doesn't cover hirelings properly, since it is restricted to player's maximum skill level of 20.
Due to the german root of the FAQtoids most detailled links lead to other german resources. If you want to contribute other valueable topics related to single skills or skill trees give me a hint, since I'm no more that active on several boards.

hoplist - Arreat Summit

Since this FAQtoid is too huge already, all kinds of minions got one of their own.

Monsterskills are thoroughly described by LastCorpse in this thread at the indiablo Strategie-Archiv.

detailled descriptions

single skill descriptions

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