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Diablo 4 Armor System: Damage Reduction, Monsters & More

Prepare yourself for battle with our guide on the new armor, damage reduction, and monster damage system in Diablo 4.
Diablo 4 Armor System: Damage Reduction, Monsters & More

Diablo 4 offers players tons of new mechanics and interesting gameplay features, one in particular that many players are extremely interested to see is how the new armor system will function compared to Diablo 3. 

Below we'll be breaking down how the new armor system will be working in Diablo 4. Including how it's affected by damage reduction, damage dealt from monsters, and much more, so since we have a lot to get into, let's jump right in. 

Update on 18 July 2023: We've updated this article the with latest Diablo 4 Armor system information following the Open Beta.

Diablo 4 Armor System: Damage Reduction & Effect on Monsters

As mentioned previously, the developers have recently given us some insight into the new armor system that will be present in Diablo 4 during a developer interview. They also touched on more detailed aspects of the system, such as damage reduction based on layer levels, monster levels, and much more. 

Diablo 4 Armor System Damage Reduction Monsters And More Overview
The Armor and Damage system in Diablo 4 has been tweaked and tuned to create a new experience for all players. (Picture: Blizzard)

Overall, they unloaded quite a bit of information for us to wrap our heads around, and it can be confusing to grasp at first. So let's break down everything stated in their interview in more simple terms and take it from there. 

Diablo 4 - New Armor System

Armor in Diablo 4 will (naturally) be the main way that players can mitigate incoming damage, and the four main armor slots in the game will be the helm, chest, boots, and gloves. The helm and chest, however, will be responsible for most of the damage mitigation in your gear.

Now we get to some of the changes implemented in Diablo 4, namely how the armor value of your item will depend on something called its Item Power. This means that every item in the game you pick up will have an item power, and this translates into its armor value i.e. its damage reduction. 

Diablo 4 Armor System Item power relating to damage reduction
A new attribute called Item Power has been introduced that relates directly to the item's damage reduction. (Picture: Blizzard)

The item power value will come directly from the monster that drops the item, meaning that the more powerful the monster, the higher the item power of the item will be, and thus it will have a higher armor value. However, this won't always be the case since a piece of gear with a lower item power can have affixes or be slotted with items that make it more viable.

Next, we move on to how damage mitigation works on your gear. In Diablo 4, your armor will not only block physical damage, but also 50% non-physical damage at all times, and is in direct relation to your physical damage at the base.

Diablo 4 Armor System Damage Reduction Monsters Non physical damage reduction at base
At base, all items will grant you 50% of the items' damage reduction in non-physical damage reduction as well. (Picture: Blizzard)

This means that if you have a piece or gear with a 100 physical damage block, that piece of gear will also block 50 non-physical damage by default. You can, of course, slot the item to negate more non-physical damage, but all players will get a 50% block at the base. 

Improving your resistance to non-physical or elemental damage will be required; however, as the developers have stated, implemented penalties for not doing so as you access higher world tiers. This means that if you go from World Tier 2 to World Tier 3, your base non-physical block goes from 50% to 30% of your physical damage. 

Diablo 4 Armor System Damage Reduction Monsters non physical Damage reduction tier penalty
As you move through World tiers, you'll receive less and less non-physical damage reduction at the base, so you can't rely on it at later levels. (Picture: Blizzard)

Going from World Tier 3 to 4 lowers it even more, down to 10%, so be sure not to count on this system saving you unless you've put some effort into your non-physical resistances and Aspects to buff your defenses. The game will even feature a skill tree for the elementary resistances to make this process easier and more intuitive. 

Diablo 4 - Armor and Monster Damage

Next, we move on to the damage mitigation done by monsters and how the developers have balanced the game in terms of players' levels and armor levels. Let's take a look at the first graph presented by the developers below, which showcases the relationship between damage reduction and player level.

Diablo 4 Armor System Damage Reduction vs Player level graph
Damage reduction vs Player level in Diablo 4. (Picture: Blizzard)

The developers have stated that they expect players to have a specific amount of damage reduction (armor level) as they progress through the levels in the game as shown above. They have taken this graph and constructed the enemy damage output to reflect it and optimize it to be challenging, yet still doable for all players. 

The next graph showcases the damage reduction per armor slot you have equipped vs the level that the player will be at any time during the game. What this graph shows is that as the player reaches a higher level, the amount of damage reduction per armor (or per armor point) is reduced by a certain percentage. 

Diablo 4 Armor System Damage Reduction vs player level regarding per armor
Damage reduction per armor vs player level. (Picture: Blizzard)

This was done not only to give players a more challenging time as they reach the end stages of the game but to also incentivize players to not just rely on armor to save them. Instead, the developers want players to find various sources of defense to survive, such as the Necromancer's energy shield, the Barbarian's power stat, and so on. 

Lastly, we have the way damage reduction looks from the attacker's perspective, as shown below by a graph with the damage reduction vs that attacker/enemy level. In this case, a player with an armor level of 2000 will have a high damage reduction up until level 17 or so, and from there, the damage reduction falls steeply as the enemy's levels increase. This means that even with a high armor value, you can't expect it to negate damage all the time, especially in later-game areas.

Diablo 4 Armor System Damage Reduction vs monster attack level
Damage reduction vs attacking monster's level. (Picture: Blizzard)

Diablo 4 - Damage Reduction

Finally, we move on to the stat that is the most I'm[portant and obvious way to reduce incoming damage, damage reduction. This stat comes in a percentage value, and it does exactly what it says: reduces all incoming damage by a certain percentage if the conditions are met. You can get damage reduction from:

  • As a primary melee class Barbarians get a 10% base Damage Reduction
  • Every class gets an extra 92% Damage Reduction in PvP
  • Chests can roll a variety of Damage Reduction stats, such as Close Damage Reduction or Distant Damage Reduction
  • Skills
  • Passives
  • Legendary Aspects

Damage reduction is stacked multiplicatively in Diablo 4, meaning that you can stack damage reduction effects, but you won't ever become invincible doing so. Certain skills and abilities can be stacked with themselves and then will stack accumulatively. So, for instance, Dark Shroud can be added cumulatively, adding to your damage reduction total each time, but since this skill is limited, the game remains balanced. 

Diablo 4 Armor System Damage Reduction and levels new and unique experience for Diablo 4
Overall, the armor and damage reduction system in Diablo 4 will provide a new experience for players, but also push them to invest in the other game mechanics. (Picture: Blizzard)

It appears that the theme of the armor system in Diablo 4 is that "Armor and damage reduction is a vital resource you'll need to manage, but it's only one of many that you'll need to focus on if you want to survive." This leads to the new armor/damage scaling system in Diablo 4, forcing players to think about their build in new ways if they want to survive and not just hope they can tank everything until the enemy dies.

Hopefully, this pushes players into new and diverse playstyles, combining armor with some of the game's unique mechanics, gameplay features, and NPC trading, establishing Diablo 4's gameplay loop as something new and different compared to previous Diablo titles. 

For more Diablo 4, be sure to check out our dedicated section or some of our Guides & Tutorials just below:

Diablo 4 Season 2 Guides
Class Builds & Tier Lists


Tech Guides & Fixes
World, Maps & Locations
Diablo 4 Items & Slots
Legendary Aspects
Gameplay Systems
The Story, Lore & Characters
Diablo 4 Season Guides

Our section keeps growing, so check for new guides daily! Don't forget to pick up one of the Diablo 4 Editions and join the fight to save Sanctuary soon.