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Diablo 4: How Damage Works For Season 2 And Beyond?

Posted: Oct 16, 2023

In this guide, we’re here to help you have a greater understanding of how damage works in Diablo 4, for Season 2 and beyond

I’ve broken down the guide into 4 simple steps, a quick overview of damage basics in Diablo 4, understanding the changes for the damage rework with a before and after, learning how to maximize your damage through optimizing your uptime, and taking advantage of key opportunities through itemization and NPCs. 

Diablo 4: How Damage Works For Season 2 And Beyond?

A Quick Overview Of Damage Basics In Diablo 4

Upgrading skills in the skill tree will increase the skill’s multiplier, which is a percentage of your weapons base damage. Pay special attention to 3 things: Damage tags located on your skills themselves, status effects that are triggered by skill augments, and passives that have multipliers for damage

Equipment you wear will have something called affixes. These can have conditional multipliers to damage. These damage multipliers can relate to status effects like bonus damage to slowed enemies, conditional requirements like damage to close or distant enemies, or even more direct bonuses like Increased Intelligence, Damage from Core Skills, or Ranks to Core Skills. The higher the rarity, the more affixes a piece of equipment can have, and the higher level you become, the larger these bonuses can get. 

Orange and Gold Equipment will have a special augment called a Legendary Aspect or Unique Aspect. You can extract Legendary Aspects from Equipment and Imprint Legendary Aspects onto Rare Equipment at the Occultist. 

A limited number of Legendary Aspects can be unlocked from completing dungeons, which will then be shown in your Codex of Power

Gems can add smaller bonuses to damage by placing them in weapon sockets. Sockets can be added or even increased at the Jeweler. Of course, you’ll need to spend some Diablo 4 Gold to do this.

The Paragon Board is unlocked at Level 50 and adds another layer of opportunity to increase your damage. You’ll need to create an efficient path with your limited number of Paragon Points to capture as many beneficial bonuses as possible. 

Changes For The Damage Rework With A Before And After

Now let's talk about the damage rework with a before and after. On October 10th, the developers had a live stream that explained the changes to Critical Strike Damage and Vulnerable Damage. 

Diablo 4 Season 2 Changes For The Damage Rework With A Before And After

Here’s how damage worked before. We have 5 damage buckets: Global Multipliers, Main Stat, Additive Damage, Critical Strike Damage, Vulnerable Damage

  • Global Multipliers come from bonuses that are marked with an x. 
  • Main Stat is a percentage to Skill Damage. Every 10 main stat is equal to 1 percent Skill Damage. 
  • Additive Damage is every multiplier with a + next to it like on equipment affixes. 
  • Critical Strike Damage is just anything with Critical Strike Damage and the same thing for Vulnerable Damage. 

When a bucket has multiple sources of multipliers, these are just added together. Then, all of these buckets are multiplied, resulting in your total multiplier. 

With the damage rework, there have been changes to the Critical Strike Damage and Vulnerable Damage Buckets. Critical Strike Damage and Vulnerable Damage will only be multiplied in the formula with their natural base multipliers of 50% and 20%. 

So, now our initial example would look like this instead. Additional sources of Vulnerable and Critical Damage will simply be additive, instead of multiplicative. 

So, basically Damage vs Slowed in the additive bucket will be the same as extra vulnerable damage. Overpower damage has also been changed with the following new rules per the Diablo 4 website patch notes. 

Diablo 4 Season 2 Overpower Damage Changes

To make up for the decrease in multiplicative damage, sources of additional vulnerable damage has been increased between 40% to 100% and critical strike damage has also been increased between 20% to 100%. 

This was a major nerf to Vulnerable and Crit Damage, but was a healthy step towards diversifying builds that can’t use these multipliers, like builds that used damage over time. 

How To Maximize Your Damage Through Optimizing Your Uptime?

When we think about maximizing our damage, we need to think about Uptime. 

Uptime is the amount of time your damage multipliers are active. It wouldn’t really matter having 500% critical strike damage if your chance of critical strikes is 1%. his is where weeding through your skill augments, passives, legendary aspects etcetera is extremely valuable. You need to ask yourselves things like: What status effects do I apply the most?

As a Necromancer using decrepify, you know that you can easily apply slow to enemies, so your equipment affixes like Damage Vs Crowd Controlled and Damage Vs Slowed will have high uptime. 

Same concept for Damage to Close and Damage to Distant, really consider how often you damage enemies from close or distant to determine which of these affixes would be active the most. 

Besides equipment affixes, these can also be found on Legendary Aspects, Unique Aspects, and the Paragon Board. For example, if you frequently have a barrier active, you’ll have a high uptime on this damage multiplier that is only active while you have a barrier. 

Uptime also needs to consider which type of skill deals the most reliable damage. For most but not all builds, this will be your core skill. This means you should definitely pick up Damage from Core Skills as you should be using this skill the most often. 

Other ways to maximize your uptime is by choosing non-conditional multipliers. This includes your main stat like intelligence on Necromancer, passives that multiply your damage without a condition, and just getting a weapon with a higher base damage. 

To find your main stat, hover over your core stats in the character menu and look for increases skill damage. To get the plus or times symbols next to multipliers, tick the box that says advanced tooltip information. 

Also Read: Major Changes Coming To Diablo 4 Season 2 - In Depth Community Discussion

Taking Advantage Of Key Opportunities Through Itemization And NPCs

Next, we need to talk about opportunities and how to take advantage. 

The easiest opportunity for more damage is to increase your base damage. This can be done by either finding weapons with a higher base damage or using the blacksmith. 

For each upgrade at the Blacksmith, you’ll not only increase your base damage by 5% but also all the additive affixes on your weapon. Unfortunately, this does not increase the damage of any legendary aspects, though. Jewelry affixes can also be increased at the Jeweler. 

Another opportunity is legendary aspects and unique aspects. Before choosing or creating a list of legendary aspects, we first need to consider uptime. Only use Legendary Aspects that will increase your damage the most often. 

Legendary Aspects imprinted from the Codex of Power will always yield the lowest possible roll. This can be fine while leveling, but as you get further into the game, you’ll need to look for higher rolls. 

Imprinting Legendary Aspects on your weapon or amulet will increase the roll value by 100% and 50%, so save your best aspects and your best rolls for imprinting on these equipment slots. 

Enchanting a piece of equipment at the Occultist gives us a unique opportunity to switch out one bad affix with a random affix. This can even be done with equipment that doesn’t roll damage affixes, by enchanting at the occultist to get all stat or main stat. 

An important opportunity for core skill damage is on our gloves. Gloves have the possibility of rolling ranks to core skill, which will raise our core skill damage multiplier even past the maximum allowed. 

Completing our renown is another source of skill points that will help us get more out of our skill tree. Lucky hit effects might seem kind of cool at first, but the math on these effects can be misleading. 

If your core skill Lucky Hit Chance is 20% and you find a passive or equipment affix that increases lucky hit chance by 20%, your total lucky hit isn’t 40%, it’s actually 36%. If you add an additional source of 20%, it’s 49%. This means the more lucky hit chance you stack, the less value it actually has. 

The Paragon Board can be confusing the first time you look at it, but is important for damage. Every level will grant you 4 paragon points. Additional Paragon Points can be received from Renown and even collecting Altars of Lilith. 

The Paragon Board has a starting node, Normal Nodes with Core Stats, Magic Nodes with bonuses like increased damage, rare nodes with even stronger bonuses, legendary nodes with the strongest bonuses, glyph sockets to attach glyphs, and Board Attachment Gates, which will connect another board to the previous board. 

Our main goal is to find an efficient path to collect as many of the strongest bonuses as we can between the gates. 

When we attach another board, we can rotate the board based on the optimal path we plan to take next. We can find magic and rare glyphs that are dropped from enemies. When we place a rare glyph in our paragon board, we’ll see a red indicator that shows its range of influence. 

Within the range of influence, we need to collect as many nodes that relate to our bonus requirements on the rare glyph. The more required stats we collect, the stronger the bonus becomes. Leveling a rare glyph by completing Nightmare Dungeons will increase the range of influence by another set of tiles.

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