[Guide] Area Damage Explained

Monk
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******Edit: The most updated version of this guide can be found here: http://bannedofgamers.com/index.php?AD/

---------------------------------Area Damage Explained---------------------------------

If you'd like to view a more aesthetically pleasing guide with embedded pictures/video, go here: http://bannedofgamers.com/index.php?threads/guide-2-0-1-area-damage-explained.1144/

Ever since Area Damage (AD) was introduced in PTR in the form of splash damage I've been trying to figure out just exactly how it works. Well, I'm happy to say after some testing I've come to you with some pretty definitive and compelling evidence that Area Damage is one of the best, and most underrated affixes in the game.

I'll try my best to explain both, how this affix works, and how it can effectively be implemented to gain the most from it. We are going to start at the basics and move up.

How does area damage work?
    - Area damage has a flat 20% chance of activating each time a monster receives damage from you as a source. If AD activates it will deal X amount of damage to all monsters within a 10 yard radius of the monster who procced Area damage. Where X is the amount of area damage you have.


Let's look at some hypothetical examples.
    1. You have 25% AD. You shoot a monster with poison dart for 100 damage, proccing AD. All 10 monsters within 10 yards of the monster you shot take 25 damage. (100+(10*25) = 350 damage total)
    2. You have 50% AD. You shoot a monster with poison dart for 100 damage, proccing AD. All 10 monsters within 10 yards of the monster you shot take 50 damage. (100+(10*50) = 600 damage total)
    3. You have 100% AD. You shoot a monster with poison dart for 100 damage, proccing AD. All 10 monsters within 10 yards of the monster you shot take 100 damage. (100+(10*100) = 1,100 damage)


Observations of Area Damage Mechanics
    - AD is not affected by any damage modifiers like crit chance, crit damage, or + elemental damage. Since AD is already filtered through damage modifiers it wont do it again.
    - AD will not damage the monster who activated it, thus it is useless for boss fights.
    - AD has a chance to activate EVERY time a monster takes damage.
    - AD can activate from Damage Over Time spells (DOTs)
    - AD becomes progressively better when fighting more mobs at once and when using AOE skills.
    - AD always shows as white damage. (this warrants no further explanation below)
    - AD doesn't always match the math, varying by a couple percent. I can now explain this below.
    - All AOE AD damage procs are added together and shown as a sum. (explained in AD math section)
    - The AOE damage from AD emanates from the target who took the damage that caused AD to proc. It doesn't come from your character.
    - To my knowledge AD cannot proc anything. Since only skills have proc coefficients and AD is not a skill, it cannot proc item effects, LOH. AD cannot proc more AD
    - AD cannot be procced from pet damage, sweeping winds, or item procs (LTK helm, storm crow etc.)
    - AD seems not not work with sever killing blow hits and crits :(
    - AD can roll on:
  • Shoulders- 16% (confirmed)
  • Gloves- 15% ?
  • Rings- 16% (confirmed)
  • Amulets- 15% ?
  • Weapons- 20% max (confirmed)
  • Mojo- 14% (confirmed)
  • (I'm not sure about the max percentages, so I am going to list approximations. Some legendaries (Blackguard) can exceed the 15% and the cap might be higher at 70. If you can provide screenshot evidence of normal rolls (not legendary special) of over 15% please do.) Here "confirmed" just means this is the highest I've personally seen in game. Not the highest possible


AD is not affected by any damage modifiers
    - The reason for this is because all of this math (average damage, skill/passive damage, skill damage, elemental damage, crit chance and crit damage) are all taken care of when you first damage a monster. So, you cannot crit a monster for 1,000 damage, and have that be multiplied by your 500% Crit Damage for an area hit of 5,000. It just doesn't work like that.
    - In this way AD is insanely easy to calculate. If your X spell is critting for 2,000,000 damage, do the math in your head with your AD and you can know immediately the AOE damage of your AD on one of those crits.


Ad will not damage the monster who activated it
    - AD is like communistic damage. The monster just wants to share with his friends, and will not take an extra share for himself. I'm sure the reasoning behind this is that the monster already took the brunt of the damage and cannot take an extra share of the damage he already took.
    - As previously stated, since AD can't affect the monster proccing it, using it on bosses is pretty useless.


http://i.imgur.com/QxbQM5j.png
[In the above picture the mob taking the 9k damage doesn't also take 4k more damage.]

AD has a chance to activate EVERY time a monster takes damage. AD can be activated by DOT spells
    - I'm going to explain both of these at the same time, since they really go hand in hand with the same explanation.
    - First we need to know how DOT spells actually calculate damage. For my example I'm going to use Exploding Palm (monk).


Exploding Palm(EP) and Area Damage
- If you didn't already know, EP is a debuff as well as a DOT spell.
- EP ticks 8 times per second, showing the sum of 4 ticks each half second. Here is what it might look like.
50+50+50+50=200 50+50+50+50= 200​
- In this example the character would only be shown the 200 twice in one second.
- In this instance AD has a chance to activate 8 times in one second from this spell. You would effectively be rolling the dice 8 times with a 20% chance to activate area damage procs.
- Lets look at the same examples with AD procs highlighted in red. We will assume 50% AD​
50+50+50+50=200 50+50+50+50= 200​
- Since the damage is only shown every half second for EP damage the area damage on monsters can be a bit confusing. You will see the following numbers from monsters affected by the mob with EP.
25+0+0+0=25 25+0+25+25= 75
- This can be unintuitive since you will say (like I did) "What! 25 isn't 50% of 200!", and the same with 75. The reason for this is because each of these ticks is calculated independently, leading to numbers like the above.​

    - The applications for DOT and AD are really compelling, because a spell like Locust Swarm: Pestilence could proc so many times on so many mobs that the AD would be off the charts.

    Here is a (long) video showing EP being used on mobs and notable timestamps It's slowed to 10% speed. In the video, especially around 6:24-8 you can see a lot of different numbers popping out for EP. 40k was my baseline EP, so 4 AD procs would equal 20k. 3 procs would be 15k, 2 for 10k and 1 for 5k.

    http://youtu.be/Oaictp3KPic


Area damage numbers don't always match the math

Occasionally you might see something like a 3,000,000 crit followed by something like 1,650,000 area damage. If you are running 50% AD like in most of my tests, this is a bit confusing. I've figured it out though.
    - The AD number shown is the sum of all area damage procs from that spell. If you're using a single target spell this shouldn't be a problem. If you're using AOE, you might find yourself in the situation I mentioned above.
    - Here is what happens. The game calculates correctly the 50% of 3,000,000 as 1,500,000 damage. However, doe to AD numbers overriding normal damage numbers when there are a lot of crits on the screen, we don't get to see how much damage they do. So, you could have 5 non-crits for about 300k that you can't see. If one of them procs AD, the 150,000 damage becomes added to the 1.5 million, giving you 1,650,000
    - The reason I know this is because I crit 3 elite minions for about 3.5 million each and saw a 5,700,000 number pop up over the head of the elite. That means I crit all 3 minions, procced AD on all of them and got about 1.85 AD from each of them, adding to the huge 5,700,000 number. (I was at 65% AD). Unfortunately I don't have a screenshot since I wasn't recording :(


AD becomes progressively better the more mobs you're fighting/more AOE spells you use
- This here is the most compelling part of AD for me. It is what makes this affix one of the best in the game, I think. Let's take a look at some videos (slowed to 10% speed) and screenshots of some AD tests on my monk.

AD damage tests with Pillar of the Ancients
    - I went into COTA with my monk, first with 0 AD, next with 50 AD (the max from paragon) to see how it would affect a simple AOE cast like Pillar of the Ancients.

    http://i.imgur.com/reCg7oa.png
    - Above is 1 pillar cast without any AD (in this situation there are probably 2x more mobs hit by Pillar, explaining the many damage numbers. The average crit is about 1.8-2 million. The average non-crit is about 320k

    http://i.imgur.com/BV8IDkI.png
    - Above is 1 pillar cast with 50% AD. The average crit is again about 1.8 million. However, you are seeing multiple instances of 1,125,413 damage. These same numbers are all area damage hits. This is because a the 2,123,420 crit procced area damage. Half of that crit is really 1,061,710, but, like I said ealier, sometimes AD is calculated funny. I'd say the margin of error is close enough to assume that the 2.1 crit procced the AD. (I've now figured this out! Check the "The Numbers Don't Always Match the Math" section at the bottom of the first post)
    - An interesting observation about this screenshot is that nowhere on the screen do you see non-crit numbers. I am unsure of why this is, since I guarantee you they exist. Perhaps the AD overrides the non-crit numbers.

    0% AD video: http://youtu.be/a78XcsL2lLE
    50% AD video: http://youtu.be/2H20vM83-1Y

    Why is this so badass? Because, with 50% AD, I turned a single crit (2m damage) into 1 million AOE damage that hit at least 7 monsters. What other affix in this game can do something like that?


    Let's look at a hypothetical AOE situation with some well-rounded numbers.

    1. There are 10 mobs clustered within one another's 10yd radius (so all AD hits all mobs)
    2. You drop a pillar of the ancients that crits for 1m damage on half the guys (50% CHC), the other half take the regular amount.
    3. Statistically 1 mob of the 5 who took the normal hits will splash, doing around 200-300k damage to all 10 guys
    4. Likewise 1 mob of the 5 who took the crit will splash, dealing 1m damage to all the mobs in 10 yards.
    5. Pillar, like always, hits again.​

    To sum up, instead of doing 1m x 5 and 200-300k x5 you did 1m x15 and 200-300k x 15, which is overall a difference of 6.25 total damage vs. 18.75m, or 3x your normal area damage, which is absolutely insane for something you need just 50% from on normal gear and 50% from paragon.

    When pillar hits again, and if the same thing happens you will have statistically done at least 3-4m per mob, as opposed to 500k-2m

    Here is a video of killing an elite in T5. Got 2 6mil+ AD hits!

    http://youtu.be/EBgd8Cm9jW0​


Final Thoughts
Since most of this game is based on "How can I kill all these guys faster?" I would argue that when AD appears on items it will make them immediately more valuable (from a damage perspective) than an item without it. In that light, shoulders without AD on them are no longer going to be BIS.

I've been doing COTA runs on mp5 with 65% AD and I am absolutely wrecking elites. A couple LTKs to the face and I can kill almost all the minions, doing about 75% damage to the elite.

Special thanks to Druin for explaining/figuring out the EP thing and for letting me copy his guide format <3
FAQ and Answers
Before you ask any questions, check out the "Observations of Area Damage Mechanics" section (it's the first section) since most posited questions have been answered in there.
Very informative. Now they just need a quick way to adjust the paragon without clicking. Very reasonable to quick re-allocate passive area damage to a different stat such as LoH for boss fights.
Thanks for the sweet guide. I think once we get into rifts with the increased density, AD will become much more badass!
03/12/2014 09:42 AMPosted by Amiar
3. You have 100% AD. You shoot a monster with poison dart for 100 damage, proccing AD. All 10 monsters within 10 yards take 100 damage. (11 monsters*100= 1,100 damage)


Not sure how this should be different from the other two expamples you mentioned above.

Should it be 100 +9 *100=1000?
<3
03/12/2014 10:33 AMPosted by Neuron
Not sure how this should be different from the other two expamples you mentioned above.

Should it be 100 +9 *100=1000?


You are correct. If there are 10 monsters in the area, it's +9. It only becomes 11*100 if there are 10 *additional* monsters in that instance.
3. You have 100% AD. You shoot a monster with poison dart for 100 damage, proccing AD. All 10 monsters within 10 yards take 100 damage. (11 monsters*100= 1,100 damage)


Not sure how this should be different from the other two expamples you mentioned above.

Should it be 100 +9 *100=1000?


Good catch. I changed that section a tad to make it much easier to understand. In the example there are 11 monsters, the one you shoot and the 10 that take AD.

03/12/2014 10:24 AMPosted by Artimen
Very informative. Now they just need a quick way to adjust the paragon without clicking. Very reasonable to quick re-allocate passive area damage to a different stat such as LoH for boss fights.


Hold shift and click your paragon points. It will add 10 at a time. :)
03/12/2014 10:44 AMPosted by Amiar
Good catch. I changed that section a tad to make it much easier to understand.


Just my 2 copper, but I think it reads much better in that section, now. :)
Great write-up. I had some questions/concerns about this. You answered a few of them. Interesting thought: does LoH proc on AD?
03/12/2014 10:54 AMPosted by Buckster
Great write-up. I had some questions/concerns about this. You answered a few of them. Interesting thought: does LoH proc on AD?


03/12/2014 09:42 AMPosted by Amiar
- To my knowledge AD cannot proc anything. Since only skills have proc coefficients and AD is not a skill, I am going to assume (and can futher test) that AD cannot proc LOH, item effects etc
FAIL. Thanks Amiar. I need to learn to read. Was skimming while doing something else at work. Sorry for wasting your energy!
Man nice guide! I was wondering about this the other night and started adding like 20 something into area damage. I can't remember exactly how many points but I maxed out resource cost reduction for my build and put the rest of the points into AD.

I ran t6 CoTA last night with no points into LOH or regen. I have no LS on my weapons either and ran through it rather easily and just skipping most elites though.
Here is a video I just recorded of killing an elite in T5. Got 2 6mil+ AD hits!

http://youtu.be/EBgd8Cm9jW0
Amiar is the man!

Area Damage seems like a very competitive affix.

Fighting 6 tightly clustered mobs with an AOE turns 100% Area Damage into 100% more dps.

And, i'm rarely engaging anything less than 6 mobs, more often 20+, which if all hit and all within 10 yards, would be 400% more dps.

This just makes Implosion that much more incredible. It's nuts! The implication for group play is that monks might want to consider rounding more monsters up together. Even before the introduction of Area Damage, killing a ton of monsters was always much easier than killing a few, one at a time.

50% Area Damage from paragon is incredible value.
03/12/2014 11:43 AMPosted by Amiar
Here is a video I just recorded of killing an elite in T5. Got 2 6mil+ AD hits!

http://youtu.be/EBgd8Cm9jW0


So crazy! What rune are you using with DR is it scattered strike? I find myself getting stuck at times inside mobs while DS is charging.
03/12/2014 11:49 AMPosted by MrNastyTime
03/12/2014 11:43 AMPosted by Amiar
Here is a video I just recorded of killing an elite in T5. Got 2 6mil+ AD hits!

http://youtu.be/EBgd8Cm9jW0


So crazy! What rune are you using with DR is it scattered strike? I find myself getting stuck at times inside mobs while DS is charging.


DR: Scattered Blows. Are you using the quick silver rune to allow for three charges? Also, if there's an elite around, make sure you only DS when necessary :)
Love the post Amiar, everything I've checked so far looks good. I'm only going to quote one thing.

03/12/2014 09:42 AMPosted by Amiar
To sum up, instead of doing 1m x 5 and 200-300k x5 you did 1m x15 and 200-300k x 15, which is overall a difference of 6.25 total damage vs. 18.75m, or 3x your normal area damage, which is absolutely insane for something you need just 50% from on normal gear and 50% from paragon.


This is the only part I think you may want to change. You are essentially comparing AD affixes and 50 AD paragon points to blank affixes and 0 paragon points.

A more accurate comparison would be to
1) Calculate the additional damage of 3 different max affixes/stats that would replace the 50% AD (I use 3 because I assume you could go with 20% from weapon, 15% from gloves/amulet or some other item combination).
2) Calculate the additional damage of 50 paragon points spent on something besides AD. I'm thinking Resource Cost?

In doing so, I think you will find the damage difference will not be anywhere near triple the amount. However, it may still be a good deal better but at least give a more accurate representation of how MUCH better.
So essentially this means that EP:EB really IS the best rune for EP? Awesome!!

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