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a minor grave dig as I referenced a friend to shaggys post (which is the best explanation so far) he still didnt get it so im going to elaborate a bit on shaggys post.
Weapon 1: 100-1000 damage + 10-100 "black" damage
Weapon 2: 100-1000 damage + 10-100 FIRE
Weapon 3: 100-1000 damage + 10-100 LIGHTNING
this is what happens behind the scenes:
weapon 1 for all intent and purposes reports as being 110-1100 damage for consideration of extra damage via rings etc. Weapon 2 and 3 reports as 100-1000 for extra damage (even though they deal 110-1100 "vanilla" the system DOES NOT CARE about the elemental damage - only the physical aspect is used to calculate bonus damage).
The wording on the items SUCKS. If an item says adds 10% lightning damage, this DOES NOT mean adds damage to *existing* lightning modifiers. With the + 10% lightning damage what would happen is:
weapon 1 would deal 110-1100 physical and 11-110 lightning damage for a total of 121-1210 damage deal (obviously some mobs may mitigate physical or lightning damage behind the scenes as appropriate)
weapon 2 would deal 100-1000 physical and 10-100 fire and 10-100 lightning for a total of 120-1200 damage (obvioulsy some mobs may mitigate physical, lightning or fire damage as appropriate)
weapon 3 would deal 100-1000 physical and 20-200 lightning (the original 10-100 + the extra 10% bonus damage of 10-100 - IT WOULD NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE FACT IT ALREADY HAS LIGHTNING DAMAGE.
Triumviate would add 3x5% elemental damage. This would mean:
Weapon 1 deals 110-1100 physical + 6-56 fire +6-56 lightning and +6-56 arcane for a total of 128-1268
weapon 2 deals 100-1000 physical + 15-150 fire + 5-50 lightning and +5-50 arcane for a total of 125-1250 damage
weapon 3 deals 100-1000 physical + 5-50 fire, 15-150 lightning and 5-50 arcane for 125-1250 damage
(yes I know triumvirate adds to your physical too but this would be uniform amongst all 3 weapons so not really relevent and complicates it)
As you can see the items when they say "adds 10% <insert element here> means that is adds 10% of the TOTAL PHYSICAL ONLY damage as <insert element here> additional damage. If your weapon says 100-1000 damage + 500-5000 POISON(!) then all the above examples would only take the PHYSICAL 100-1000 into account for determining extra damage.
This is a way you can get a wizard to deal holy damage using a +10% holy damage "something" would deal physical and holy damage regardless of what the weapon said on it.
Just as shaggy said. +elemental damage weapons are less favourable to +black damage weapons except when the above maths give you a much larger +elemental damage vs the physical element + bonus (im not counting specific skills that increase multiples of specific elemental types - WD have some nice poison builds etc, these will obviously need a spreadsheet to compare 2 weapons or bonus sets/rings/etc)
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