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Diablo 3 Survival: Healing vs. Toughness vs. Hit Points

Posted 19 Apr 2014 by

Players are greatly overvaluing Vit/HPs and undervaluing healing and resistance and defense. That’s the argument made (confusingly, IMHO) in a post on the B.net forums. But since Wyatt Cheng dropped in to commend it, clearly it’s advice we should all take to heart. Especially for Hardcore players: Diablo 3 Survival: Healing vs. Toughness vs. Hit Points?

I’ll quote the whole OP’s post and then Wyatt’s reply, though I’ll explain first since the OP’s example confused me and everyone I asked about it. After reading a bunch of replies to this post, I understand where he’s coming from, but I think it requires more explanation. Here’s how combat and damage works in Diablo 3:

  • Raw incoming damage is DiabloWikimitigated by your DiabloWikiresistances, armor, blocking, -melee/ranged% affixes, etc, which results in the red number you see displayed in game.
  • That number is subtracted from your Hit Points which are largely derived from your Vit and Life% gear.
  • Your healing (DiabloWikiregen, DiabloWikiLpH, Health Orbs, etc) produces the green numbers you see in-game, which refill your HPs pool.
  • The point the OP is making here is that all other things being equal, you derive more value from damage mitigation (via resistance, armor, blocking, etc) than you do from Vitality. But since all of those stats are factored into the single number of your Toughness, it’s hard to tell which numbers are providing the most benefit. Thus his confusing example which says that all other things being equal, it’s better to have more damage mitigation than hit points.

    Thus the example (with fake numbers). A character with 5m toughness and 200k hps is *better* off than a char with 5m toughness and 500k hps, because the 200k hps character would have to have MUCH higher damage mitigation to achieve the same 5m toughness, because vitality is a large part of toughness. (It’s not that you want lower hps — that same 200k hps char would be better off with 500k hps, but if he added 300k hps without changing his other gear, his Toughness number would increase greatly, since Vitality is a major factor in toughness. And then you’d have 2 chars with 500k hps, and one of them would have 8m toughness.)

    Anyway, here’s the post and Wyatt’s reply:

    So I have been playing for a very long time on softcore and recently have been doing a bunch on hardcore, where survivability becomes paramount (of course). I ran across someone in my clan the other day, and have actually ran across many people of a similar mindset so I decided to write it all down here so it could actually help someone.

    Anyway, he could not understand why I am able to do 1 level of difficulty higher than him when my toughness number was about 40% of what his was. So we joined a game together and started killing some things and he began to wonder why my life pool was barely moving as I took damage, while his would drain a little bit, but not significantly to put him in danger.

    The thing to remember is that your character survivability is a function of all 3 things, Damage, Toughness, and Healing.

    Also, we are assuming no other damage reduction for simplicity. we are only considering healing, life, armor, and all resist.

    Lesson 1: Kill Quickly
    The faster you kill, the less damage you take, and thus the less you have to heal. This is pretty self explanatory, and not specifically the aim of this thread.

    Lesson 2: Life is strengthened by All Resist and Armor
    What is better?

    1. 5,000,000 Toughness with a 500,000 life pool
    2. 5,000,000 Toughness with a 200,000 life pool
    3. Doesn’t matter, 5,000,000 toughness is 5,000,000 toughness

    The answer, every time, is option 2. If you keep your toughness constant while simultaneously lowering your life, it means each life point becomes stronger which makes your healing more potent.

    Let’s do some math and assume we heal for 20,000 life per second and we are fighting monsters while taking 500,000 damage per second… How long will your character last?

    1. 5,000,000 Toughness with 500,000 life pool
    The enemy does 500,000 damage per second which is 1/10 of your toughness, so that means each second, those monsters are hitting you for 50,000 life. we are healing at 20,000 life per second, so we are at a net loss of 30,000 life per second.
    In this case, we will survive for 16.67 seconds.

    Not too bad huh?

    2. 5,000,000 Toughness with 200,000 life pool
    Again, same as above… the enemies damage us for 500,000 damage which is 1/10 of our toughness… That means these monsters are hitting us for 20,000 life per second. But we are also healing for 20,000 life per second. That means we are at a net change of 0 life per second.

    In this case, we will NEVER die!

    3. 8,000,000 Toughness with 800,000 life pool (which is about what my clan-mate had)
    Again, 500,000 damage which is 1/16 of our toughness, so the monsters are hitting for 50,000 damage. we end up in the same scenario as number 1 where we eventually die, but it takes a lot longer. Losing 30,000 health per second with 800,000 health.
    In this case, we will survive for 26.67 seconds.

    Lesson 3: Healing is more potent when stacking armor and All Resist
    we saw above how someone with 3 million more toughness will eventually die when stacked next to someone whose toughness is more seated in all resist and armor. The reason is each point of life has a toughness value associated with it when taking into account all of the other multipliers.

    1. 5,000,000 Toughness with 500,000 life pool
    Each life point here accounts for 10 toughness, so when we have 20,000 healing per second, we are really only regenerating 200,000 toughness per second.

    2. 5,000,000 Toughness with 200,000 life pool
    Each life point here accounts for 25 toughness, so when we have 20,000 healing per seconds, are are actually regenerating 500,000 toughness per second

    3. 8,000,000 Toughness with 800,000 life pool (which is about what my clan-mate had)
    Each life point accounts for 10 toughness so again, we are only regenerating 200,000 toughness per second.

    Conclusion
    Suvivability is a combination of killing speed and toughness and healing. for the defensive aspect, the more you stack Armor, All resist and damage reduction modifiers, the more potent your healing becomes so you can survive much longer even with a smaller toughness number. This leads to people witnessing a sense of “false toughness” when stacking life. In actuality, it isn’t “false toughness,” but just diluted healing

    Wyatt Cheng: Thanks for spreading awareness! Great write-up.

    Damage, Toughness and Healing are all designed to be rough guides to try and help players make gear choices, but knowledge of the underlying mechanics will always allow players to get the most out of your gear. Savvy players understand that mechanics like “+% damage to skill X” or “Cooldown Reduction %” can provide significant increases to your combat effectiveness. Equipping your character is about much more than just making an abstract number on your character sheet as large as possible.

    Healing is currently an estimation of approximately how much Life the game thinks you probably heal per second. Obviously it’s just an estimation because mechanics such as Life Per Kill and Life Per Resource Spent don’t translate directly into a Life per second value.

    We’ve been talking about changing Healing into a “Toughness healed per second” value. This unfortunately makes it even more of an abstract concept, but it would help take into account that your damage mitigation enhances the value of your Life recovery stats. The ultimate goal of the three summary stats is to provide a “quick gut check” of an item’s effect on your character, and making this change to Healing could probably help guide people better.

    Here’s my Shorter version of the whole moral of the thread and Wyat’s reply:

  • TLDR: Healing and damage mitigation (via Defense and Resistance) are more valuable than HPs, and players are getting a false sense of security from big Toughness numbers based almost entirely on high VIT, when survival is more about mitigation and healing.

  • Wyatt’s post suggests that the devs want to make the importance of Healing much more apparent to players, and that’s basically what the OP was trying to emphasize. You are much better off adding to your healing (via LpH, Regen, Life for resource spent, etc), or increasing your damage mitigation (via All Res, Defense, +blocking%, reduced damage from melee/ranged attacks, etc), instead of just tacking on some more Vit for a higher HPs number. Currently, the game doesn’t make that very clear with the way Toughness increases via gear upgrades, and the way that Healing is listed separately and not factored into your total Toughness/HPs.

    What do you guys think of Wyatt’s suggestion for a better display of the Healing mechanic? And/or do you think they need to recalculate Toughness, since it seems to overvalue Vit and types of damage mitigation your character isn’t necessarily benefiting from, while not accurately showing the more important factors in survival?


    Tagged As: | Categories: Blue Posts, Strategy News, Wyatt Cheng