Mitigation and Survivability in Diablo III

In my last post, I mentioned that I might go more in-depth on some Diablo III theorycraft topics. Here’s the first. I’ll review the math surrounding mitigation in Diablo III and discuss what I think is the most helpful way of keeping track of it for everyday purposes. I also made a simple tool for doing any of the computations discussed here for any stat values; it’s linked below but I’ll also put it here so it’s easy to find: D3-mitigation.

The Mitigation Formula

Armor in D3 reduces all incoming damage by a constant factor M:


Where A is your armor stat, L is your attacker’s level, and C is a constant equal to 50 in this game.

Every hit is then further reduced by the appropriate resist (physical or one of the 5 magical schools). The mitigation from resist follows the same formula as mitigation from armor, except that C is equal to 5 instead of 50 (which, as we’ll get into later, roughly makes a point of resist 10 times as effective as a point of armor).

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Armor Dyes in Diablo III

This post has nothing to do with theorycrafting. It will instead cover Armor Dyes found in Diablo III, including what difficulty level they are first available in, item costs, vendors, and related achievements.
General Info
  • There are 20 dyes available, not counting two reusable dyes from the Collector’s Edition. Dyes are purely cosmetic items and will recolor a player’s armor.
  • Each level of difficulty unlocks several new dyes. Dyes available from easier tiers are still available for their cheap prices in later tiers.
  • Each in-game dye can be used only once. It can dye one of the following armor slots: helm, shoulders, chest, gloves, pants, boots. Belts, bracers, weapons, amulets, and rings cannot be dyed.
  • Dyes can be traded between party members, sold on the AH, stacked up to 20, and put in a stash. They are initially found on vendors (see section below).
  • There are no level requirements to using dyes: a dye only available in Inferno can be put into a stash and used on a fresh level 1 character.
  • The following list of dyes shows the earliest difficulty level the dyes can be found at. The dyes then have a chance at showing up in all later levels.
  • Some details on distinctive armor cannot be completely dyed. An example of this are chest panels on Demon Hunter-only shirts. Other dyed armor may only show a faint tint on an item’s metal detail.

Diablo 3 Gear Basics

Now that I understand D3 theorycraft a bit better, I’m going to try to boil down a few useful things that players might want to know to have a sense of how things work. This is a basic summary that should get most people going on picking sensible gear; anyone who wants more detailed info or formulas can ask me or look them up in various places.

Really short version

  • Use the weapon with the highest listed DPS (big number in the tooltip).
  • Value other items for offensive power simply by seeing how they affect the “damage” listing in your character sheet.
  • For survivability, stack Vitality as much as you can, but armor and resists are still valuable.*

*Edit 6/5: This point is out of date.  It’s still fine a low levels, but the situation at max level is a lot more complex.


1. Basic DPS Scaling

Diablo 3 tries to tie the damage of literally everything you do to one number. The goal was clearly to eliminate the complicated spreadsheeting of WoW in favor of a simple setup where any stat improvement would improve all of your skills exactly equally.

This number is the one labeled “Damage” on your character sheet. It shows the DPS you do with autoattacks (putting aside that you never autoattack in D3), taking into account weapon damage, speed, and crit chance. The logic goes like this–if a skill does a fixed percentage of weapon damage per hit, has the same attack speed as your autoattack, and the same crit chance and crit bonus as well, then its DPS will scale in parallel to this “Damage” value. If every skill in the game is designed this way, then you only need to look at one number to determine DPS upgrades, regardless if your skill setup.

So if you read no further, your takeaway is that simply equipping whatever maximizes that number will get you pretty far (also, when you mouseover any item, the tooltip will show whether your Damage will go up or down if you equip it). Below are some further details that should be helpful.

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Notes on Ocarina of Time, Part 8: Water Temple

This is a continuation of our Ocarina notes project. You can see all the parts here.

Part 8: The Water Temple

Perculia: Outside of Hyrule Castle Town, Zora’s Domain has the most striking visual changes in the interim seven years–it was saddening to see how it was all frozen over. The frozen lake, slippery sounds, and total lack of life turned this zone from gorgeous to creepy instantly. While Kokiri Forest had frightened villagers huddled away from menacing enemies, the basic life of the town was recognizable and there was still hope it was inhabitable. Goron City was abandoned, but Child Link brought warmth to the narrative and an explanation as to why the villagers left of their own accord. In Zora’s Domain, it’s just empty, save for King Zora encased in ice. There’s no sign of any life, not even hostile monsters. I was disappointed not to interact with Princess Ruto at least (and was curious to see what became of her engagement agreement).

Notes on Ocarina of Time, Part 7: Fire Temple

This is a continuation of our Ocarina notes project. You can see all the parts here.
Part 7: The Fire Temple

The Fire Temple

Perculia:Entering the Fire Temple required specific items, like the Forest Temple–but with a more sinister twist. If you didn’t have the Red Vest on, you would eventually burn to death. You could also easily kill yourself improperly exploring the area outside of the Fire Temple, by falling into lava or executing a jump imperfectly. Acquiring the Red Vest wasn’t as complicated as winning the hookshot from Dampe, but it held sentimental value as Goron Link gives it to you as a gift.

Hamlet: I never thought the vest mechanic amounted to much. Need the red one for Fire Temple, need the blue one for Water Temple–never anything interesting about it. I guess what I’m really saying is that the whole equipment system in this game never pulls any weight (worth pointing out especially since it’s the first Zelda game where they do something like it). The only exception is Master Sword vs. Biggoron’s Sword, which is an actual decision based on the combat situation. Once you learn to manipulate the controls to instantly pull out your shield even after using the two-hander though (keep a one-handed item like Hookshot equipped, mash Hookshot and block in quick succession and you’ll block, even if you had the two-handed sword out a moment earlier), even that’s degenerate. The whole equippable-items system is bloat in this game.

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