Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Diablo III: % Elemental Damage

Diablo III has a very poorly worded item mod: "adds X% to {element} damage". Any reasonable interpretation of that ability would indicate that it would amplify your {element} damage. Adding to your fire damage should increase the amount of fire damage you do! It turns out it doesn't do anything of the sort. What it actually does is amplify the physical damage of your equipped gear (including weapon) by tacking on some bonus {element} damage. It does not amplify any elemental damage on your weapon. It also doesn't actually do damage of the listed element if you use a skill with an innate element! So it's all kinds of counter-intuitive. Wizards have a passive that makes lightning damage stun people. It doesn't work with my storm crow hat if I'm casting blizzard, for example, because that added lightning damage is actually cold damage.

Ok, so the ability doesn't do anything resembling what it says it does. It does have a game effect, though, and the question then becomes how good it is. My current build doesn't make terribly efficient use of it (my weapon comes with a massive elemental boost on it, and it's pretty much the only option for me to use with my budget) but would another build with a pure physical damage weapon (apparently these are called 'black weapons' because they have a black background) make it an awesome ability or just an ok one? What about other sources of this mod? What are they, and could they be worth building around?

Assuming I had a black weapon then the 8% on my storm crow hat should be a straight 8% damage boost. For comparison I have 2177 int, so in order to get a similar 8% damage boost I would need to add on 182 int. That's a pretty good boost. Most items can only roll 100 int in a single mod, so adding on almost twice that is good. And if I already had, say, 30% elemental damage then adding 8% more from storm crow would only be a 6% damage boost and would be the equivalent of 140 int. Still good, but going downhill. For comparison adding on 50% crit damage would be worth 278 int in my gear according to d3up. So, a good mod, but not the best option by any stretch.

At any rate, what are the level 60 elemental damage options? I am going to skip weapons which aren't black.

Storm Crow (wizard only) - 7-8%

Frostburn Gauntlets - 5-6%, also 15-30% more damage from cold skills (but no stats of any kind)

Inna's Favor - 7-8%

Zunimassa's Trail - 7-8%

Tal Rasha's Allegiance - 5-6%

Stone of Jordon - 5-6%, also a massive 20-30% damage to elites

Triumvirate (wizard only) - 15-18%

That's actually a fair number of slots covered by this mod. Triumvirate in particular looks potentially insane. 18% more damage? That's worth more than 400 int. That it also comes with 150-169 int, 8-8.5% crit chance, a ton of physical damage and a random mod makes it all the sweeter. Frostburn seems terrible except maybe if you're only using blizzard. Stone of Jordon can't have any stats at all which makes it seem pretty odd, but I guess 30% damage to elites could be sweet. The witch doctor and wizard set pieces with this mod both seem fantastic. (Boots/amulet.) Assuming you don't want arcane power on crit (say, you're running archon) then dropping storm crow for a better hat would be reasonable. Getting 32% extra damage from 3 slots on top of their built in stats could be pretty awesome. So I think I'm going to keep an eye out for Zunimassa's Trail, Tal Rasha's Allegiance, and Triumvirate to see what the prices are like...

I spent some time last night browsing the auction house between games of League of Legends and found some reasonably cheap items to go into this sort of build. The tricky thing with a lot of these legendary items that start with some good mods and can only roll 1 or 2 other things is the versions with relevant random rolls are actually really expensive. I wanted to get a set of Inna's pants for an extra 12% movement speed (apparently really important for an archon build) and it only has one random mod. Getting one with int was stupidly expensive. It is the pants with attack speed (and therefore awesome for the stunlock build too) so pretty much every high level wizard wants a set of them, despite it being the monk set. And with every wizard wanting them it isn't terribly surprising that pairs with int are expensive. I ended up buying a pretty cheap set that has armor instead. Similarly I bought a Tal Rasha amulet and a Triumvirate that had +gold find on them instead of useful stats. I figure gold find is better than something completely worthless like thorns or fire resistance and will eventually pay for itself! I also bought a fairly cheap socketed black weapon with crit damage on it. I made an 80% crit damage emerald and stuck it in the socket so my weapon alone is worth 124% crit damage. Yay pumping up my best stat!

My listed damage number has gone way up on the character sheet with the new items, but I know that's a bit of an illusion. Archon is pretty much a straight 3x multiplier from character sheet damage to actual DPS while the wicked wind spec was more like a 6x multiplier on a fight after ramping up. So I feel like this build is going to do less sustained damage, but is going to be significantly better at killing lots of things in a row. In other words, absolutely perfect for farming experience on a low monster power! I haven't tried it out yet, but it should be fun. I do feel like getting the Inna's pants will help with stun locking on the infernal machine bosses as well, though I may well need to spec for surviving instead of doing damage in order to use them.

I tweaked my spreadsheet a bit, because I want to see what stats are worth assuming a straight archon beam killing everything. Is crit damage still the best or do I have enough of it now? Generally because all the different damage stats stack multiplicatively you want a nice balance of them all. I went whole hog on crit damage (partly because my awesome crafted gloves and ring rolled it) and may need to double back and get some other stats now.

100 int = 21397
6% crit = 44215
50% crit damage = 33264
.1 base attack rate (switch from wand to dagger, though that has the issue that the dagger should have less base damage) = 31728
9% attack speed = 30286
4% damage to elites = 17084
8% damage as elemental = 27127
33 min damage = 7579

Ok, these numbers are all way bigger than they were for my other spec, even though it had such a high damage scaling factor. My current top stat is crit chance, which doesn't surprise me since I'm critting for +360% damage now. % damage as elemental still looks pretty good despite having 30% already.

My two worst damage items, according to d3up, are the two slots that have 12% movement speed on them. I guess that makes sense. Assuming I can play at a monster power where I murder everything then the ability to run to more things is going to be worth giving up damage and tankiness. I stuck two vitality gems in the pants so they're actually a fine tanky item compared to a lot of what I have. The Triumvirate looks to be as sick as I thought it might be. And that's one with gold find as the random mod!

I may still try to pick up a Zunimassa's Trail to replace my current boots. My boots are really good for tankiness with vit, armour, and resist all on them but maybe I'll be fine with doing more damage instead. It'll depend on how archon actually plays out.

Interestingly I plugged in what would happen if I replaced my worst ring with a Stone of Jordan and it was a 19% damage boost to elites and an 8% damage loss to everything else. So if I can find a sweet spot where I'm still killing trash trivially but could use some killing power on elites that might actually be a viable choice. It also chunks 8% off of my effective health. They were dirt cheap when I looked. I wonder if I'm missing something about them. Or maybe my second ring is just garbage and I should replace it with something better than both it and a SoJ?

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