Defensive Stats Overview
There are eight core ways to keep yourself alive when taking damage: base life/hp, restoring life/hp, barrier, armor, resistance, damage reduction, fortify and dodge.
More life equals more potential to take hits, and that’s about as defensive a stat as one can get. Hit zero and you’re dead, forced to respawn, wait for a revive, or if you’re playing hardcore head back to the menu to contemplate your life decisions (We know we’ve been there).
Each level up increases your base life allowing you to get significantly tanky over the 100 levels.
Other ways to increase your base life include but are not limited to:
- +Max Life on gear
- Rubies in Armor (Increases with Gem Quality)
- Enhanced Challenging Shout (Barbarian)
- Imposing Presence (Barbarian)
- Rathma’s Vigor (Necromancer)
- Blood Golems (Necromancer)
- Ursine Strength (Druid)
There are a number of ways to restore life after losing it. First and foremost you can use your healing vial (which can be upgraded via the alchemist. Check out our plants and potions guide to learn more! Healing Vials will automatically restore life, depending on healing vial level, as well as 35% of your maximum life over 3 seconds. You can store several charges at once with renown allowing you to store more. These charges can be restored by finding healing shrines, visiting the town healer, killing enemies dropping vials, and damaging bosses beyond a threshold which will force drop vials.
Other ways to restore life include
- +Life Regeneration while not damaged recently (Rolls on Helmets, Pants and Rings)
- +Life on Kill (Rolls on Helmets, Amulets, Rings, Focuses, and from Skulls in Weapons)
- Lucky Hit: Chance to heal (Rolls on Gloves and Off-hand Items)
- A number of Skills and Passives which allow the player to heal for percent maximum life
- Healers in towns
- Healing Wells
All sources of life restoration can be boosted by rolling the healing received stat on Helmets, Amulets, Pants, and Off-hand items.
Barrier operates similarly to life over a limited period of time. Any damage taken while the barrier is active will reduce the total barrier before reducing the total life. Multiple barriers will stack toward the total barrier value, but the duration of each will be tracked separately. Once a barrier expires it is removed. Further, total barrier cannot exceed max life.
These are some of the ways a player can gain barrier
- Defensive Aspect of the Protector
- Defensive Aspect of the Shielding Storm (Necromancer)
- Snap Frozen Defensive Aspect (Rogue)
- Iron Skin (Barbarian)
- Ice Armor and Prime Deep Freeze (Sorcerer)
- Protection (Sorcerer)
- Earthen Bulwark (Druid)
- Temerity (Unique Pants)
The amount of Barrier gained by these abilities can be increased by the Barrier Generation stat which can roll on Rings, Helmets, Off-Hand items, as well as Diamonds socketed into armor. However, maximum barrier is limited by max life, so increasing max life is oftentimes the best way to increase barrier.
Armor and Resistance
Armor is the go to stat for reducing damage. Armor comes standard on every piece of armor and the amount given scales linearly with item power. Armor can also be increased from skulls socketed in jewley. All of your flat armor can be further increased by a percentage bonus applied on Helmets, Chests, Pants, Amulets and the Defensive Aspect of Disobedience.
Armor reduces incoming physical damage by a percentage based on total armor and attacker level. Against enemies of the same level damage reduction scales linearly with your armor. Damage reduction from armor cannot exceed 85%, however this cap is hard to reach as the amount of armor needed to gain a 1% damage reduction increased as your level increases. The graph below shows roughly how armor scaling compares with level.
Half of your armor value contributes to non-physical damage reduction. Non-physical damage can be reduced further by resistances basd on elemental damage types.
Elemental damage includes:
To further reduce elemental damage players need to stack elemental resistance. This stat comes from a percentage found on pieces of gear
How it works
- Resistances Stack Multiplicatively: For example if you get two pieces of gear with +50% shadow resistance you don’t get 100%, instead the shadow damage is cut in half by the first 50% reduction, then cut in half again by the second. Therefore you take 75% less shadow damage.
- Resistance works alongside the armor stat which further reduces its appeared effectiveness: remember you are already taking percent less damage as a result of your armor. While this is reduced for elemental damage you still have percent mitigation, which stacks multiplicatively with your percent elemental resistance.
- Resistance is less effective at higher world tiers: In WT3 and WT4 resistance is reduced by 20% and 40% respectively.
Damage reduction is a powerful stat that comes on gear as a percentage and it reduces all incoming damage, sometimes it has a requirement which must first be met.
Sources of Damage Reduction include but are not limited to
- Barbarians have 10% damage reduction automatically
- All classes have a 92% damage reduction in PVP
- Chests and Pants are able to roll damage reduction, damage reduction from close enemies and damage reduction from distant enemies.
- Chests can roll class specific versions of this stat such as damage reduction from enemies that are bleeding.
- Pants and boots can roll damage reduction while injured
- Amulets can roll all listed above
- Legendary aspects
Damage reduction also stacks multiplicatively. So you can’t become invincible by stacking it. However an exception to this rule is when damage reduction comes from the same source, here and only here will it stack additively.
Barbarians, Druids, and Necromancers have access to the fortify status which operates in a unique way to increase defense. When fortify is greater than current life you become fortified. Fortified character received 10% less damage. This decrease to damage received can be further amplified by socketing sapphires into armor and by the defensive stance skill. When fortified damage received will decrease fortify and life by the same amount, applying the damage reduction of fortify. The amount of fortify received can be increased by bonus fortify rolls on rings and helmets.
When hit by an attack your character has a chance to dodge it, this will completely negate the damage received by that attack and any other effects tied to it.
Some ways you can increase your dodge chance by
- Increasing dexterity (adds 0.025% dodge chance)
- Rolls on pants and boots
- Escape Artists Aspect and Aspect of Elusive Menace (rogue)
- Assimilation Resource Aspect
- Agile (Rogue Skill)
Dodge chance stacks multiplicatively so you can’t become invincible.
Defense is incredibly important especially as you push into harder content. A failure to understand how defense works in Diablo 4 can lead to repeated deaths and frustrating one-shots. So try your best to learn how to maximize making your character an unkillable beast. For more information on how to optimize your defensive stats, check out our Optimizing Defensive Stats article.