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kinds and order of damage

There are different kinds of damage and states in the game. According to the state of an unit the application of some damage varies. The kind of unit also affects the amount of damage it takes from another unit.

some states of an unit

The state of an unit is important, because some kinds of damage will be stronger or weaker against that unit. Some states are exclusive, some additive. Following a list of states with meanings in damage order.
These are not all truly states taken from States.txt, take it as illustrational info.

  1. poisoned
    A unit is poisoned when it suffers poison damage. Life regeneration of monsters, pets and hirelings is stopped during poisoning (it is not set off against poison). Poison is exclusive, only one poisoned state is active at any time. If a poisoned unit is hit by another poisonous attack poison's bite damage (damage per frame) is checked. If new bite damage is higher, the new poisoning is applied, otherwise it's skipped with exception of the very first frame.
  2. ill
    this state looks graphically similar to poisoned and is very likely the same. The only difference is, poisoned and ill are not exclusive, both states can be active the same time. Illness can only be caused by Druid's Rabies skill.
  3. suffers Open Wounds
    the effect is quite similar to poison, but it is no poison damage and it can't be resisted. This state can only step in against any unit other than a player when the unit was already in life regeneration (already hurt); versus players it may always work. Duration is fix at eight seconds, and the state is additive to all others.
  4. without regeneration
    prevents the automatic life regeneration of units other than players. All states above will cause this, and in addition the property Prevent Monster Heal. This has no effect on further damage order reflections.
  5. slowed
    a slowed unit suffers according to another FAQtoid either
    • cold damage,
    • a slowing effect from enemy's gear,
    • a Decrepify curse
    • Holy Freeze aura
    This has no effect on further damage order reflections.
  6. does an animation
    an unit may run, block or recover from a hit and more, but this has no effect on further damage order reflections. But a character may only play one animation a time.
  7. cursed
    some units, namely Necromancers and some monsters can put curses upon other units, also other character classes have curse-like skills. Of our interest are three differences.
    • Curse effects which modify native decision routines (AI bending effects) have no effect on further damage order reflections.
    • Curse effects which modify enemy's offensive possibilities, which also have no effect on further damage order reflections.
    • Curse effects which modify enemy's defensive possibilities, in lowering their defense or resistances.

kinds of damage

Several kinds of damage exist, most of them take immediately effect, some work over time. Some kinds won't damage player's red health bubble but mana or stamina. The listed kinds of damage all have FAQtoid chapters of their own, so I won't go into details here.

Some other kinds of damage won't interest us further, since they have no effect on damage order.

damage in Diablo II

There is a certain range between minimum and maximum damage of all spells and attacks, but the exactly delivered amount does not vary for each spell but is calculated individually for each opponent. So any spell or attack with some area of effect ability may cause different damage to the units in area (before resistances, that is!).
All of the damage calculation happens when the enemy is hit!

No matter if several enemies are hit by one attack due to the attack itself or due to some passive skill or item property.
Some examples follow. Despite the examples cover arrows other attacks and spells follow the same scheme.

shooting an arrow

A common bow attack emits an arrow upon the enemy. This arrow's damage in potentia is displayed in character screen as, say, 10 to 15 damage points. So the arrow will deliver a value from { 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 }, each value with same probability. If there's a chance of doing a critical hit the set is { 10, ..., 15, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30 }, the probability for each value shifts with the actual CS chance. If the chance is 100%, the lower values are skipped.

This arrow can - without usage of other properties - just hit one enemy, so it doesn't matter if the value is token when the shoot is done or when the arrow actually hits.

Take Amazon's Pierce skill or the item property Piercing Attack and the arrow can hurt another enemy behind the first one. Here's a big difference in assumption of damage determination when shooting or when being hit.
All damage calculations are in fact target-based. First there is a CtH check, then damage is calculated, then the check for piercing is done. If the latter is successful the arrow travels to the second enemy, and the cycle starts again. An arrow may pierce up to four times, thus it can hurt up to five enemies, provided its range doesn't expire before.

If the CtH check fails on an enemy piercing isn't checked anymore. The arrow 'drops onto the ground'. If the CtH check is successful, but piercing check fails, the arrow 'gets stuck in the enemy'.

We can expand this example to other 'chance' effects like Crushing Blow, Open Wounds, Chance to Cast stuff, Hit Blinds Target, Hit Freezes Target and Hit Causes Monster to Flee.
We add, say, a Flee chance, and this one will be checked separately on every enemy which was hit by that sole arrow.

Take Strafe or Multiple Shot instead of a standard arrow. Every arrow of a salve or spread gets its individual check for hitting, damage etc. Add piercing, and every enemy gets its individual check, even those suffering damage from the same arrow of a salve or spread.

Of course this also happens with bolts and throwing weapons. Just for the sake of completeness.

damage conversion

There's a bunch of skills which convert physical damage to elemental damage. The mechanism stays the same, the conversion step is just added.

area damage of a single effect

Amazon's Exploding Arrow skill causes a little explosion when it collides, let's assume 20 to 30 fire damage for that one. Every enemy in explosion area suffers a fire damage value from set { 20, 21, ..., 29, 30 } individually. The value of fire damage is not set once for that explosion and every enemy in range does not suffer the same fire damage.

area damage of a multiple effect

Let's have a look at Immolation Arrow, especially its tiny fire patch on the ground (the explosion pretty much works similar to the above ExA description).
This patch is composed quite similar to sorceress' Fire Wall of several tiny flames. Each flame has a set of fire damage values from minimum to maximum. Each enemy upon that patch suffers individual damage via each flame he's standing on.

I've omitted up to this paragraph all modifications the enemy does to his suffered damage, thus defense, blocking, resistances, several skills and so on. But even enemies of the very same kind, say cows, will suffer damage individually, since the token values for damage are calculated when hit, not when arrow is fired.

Our damage order so far lists:

  1. weapon damage includion Enhanced Damage (%ED) on the weapon itself is calculated
  2. add all boni to minimum and maximum damage from equipment 1
  3. enhance result with all percentage Enhanced Damage not on the weapon; this is a sum of %ED from equipment (without weapon), %ED from own skills, %ED from weapon-based strength and dexterity modification and %ED from friendly sources like aurae and Combat Shrine, also fill in every source (including weapon) of percentage bonus damage versus undead or demons when encountering those types
  4. now the chance of doing a critical hit is checked
  5. some skills 2 will convert physical to other damage
  6. add plain elemental damage from skills and equipment
  7. some skills 3 suffer a penalty

1 except

2 those

3 those

modification of suffered damage

Delivered damage is calculated individually for any enemy.
Now we have some skills and properties left over. I'll describe physically delivered attacks, but spells work similar, with less variables.

incoming damage

  1. most physically delivered attacks have to check Chance to Hit, if the check fails no harm is done 4, #
  2. physically delivered attacks will cause a blocking check when a shield is in the way #
  3. Amazon's evasive skills are checked
  4. 'XvX' factor is calculated, some units suffer penalties when fighting certain other units 5
  5. some protecting skills may step in 6
  6. a Crushing Blow is done, if its check has success #
  7. check freeze or chill
  8. determine value from damage set
  9. physical and magical damage reduction step in
  10. apply resistances, they're maybe affected by attacker's skills or items
  11. percentage absorption of defender steps in
  12. straight absorption of defender steps in
  13. check other chance effects (I don't know about priorities of Chance to Cast stuff, but curses on hit indicate their effect is applied after damage is done)
5 penalties when fighting certain units - XvX
playerhirelinggolempets *bosses **monster
* all summoned creatures without golems
** all bosses from MonStats.txt
*** in Normal, Nightmare, Hell
pets *
boss100%100%300%500% - 100%

4 not when attack has autohit

5 see table
6 those

  1. Energy Shield
  2. Bone Armor
  3. Cyclone Armor

# not against spells

An ingame check prevents negative damage at any time.
Two more effects should be listed.

  1. the defender gains mana, if he's a player character and wears items with the 'vulpine' affix, also known as damage taken goes to mana and suffered damage was physically delivered and of physical kind
  2. the attacker suffers thorns damage, if he delivered physical damage in close combat (melee) and the defender used thornsy effects;
    Bone Armor doesn't work against thorns damage.

see also:


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