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While fighting a large group of enemies in Act 2 Normal, some of them used an ability that created a circle on the ground, with a sort of green, swirling vortex pattern in it. I didn't get a screenshot before they disappeared, and I haven't seen this effect since.

My first thought was "green = poison", but it didn't seem like I took any damage from standing in them.

What is this effect? Is it unique to a particular monster type? Or a random elite monster ability?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

It is caused by any monster with the Plagued attribute

It does damage over time if you stand in it. The damage is negligible on Normal, however you will not want to be standing in this at higher difficulty levels.

In addition, the circles can stack on top of each other. I know this from experience where I can safely stand still and tank some Plague monsters, however over time they'll add more stacks of the green void to where I am standing and eventually it will be doing insane amounts of damage per second, so I'll need to move to a new spot :)

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It's what the plagued elites do, similar to the wall elites who create walls. Not sure what the green vortex is supposed to do, I thought damage too but have never noticed any. At least not on normal.

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On normal, you can safely ignore it. Nightmare and up, though, you really need to watch out. –  Frank May 23 '12 at 18:06
    
Honestly I'm playing Monk in Hell, and the damage of the plagued circle is still barely noticeable compared to the area damage of desecrated, arcane and mortar. It can be ignored for a good while by a proper tank –  Codemonkey May 23 '12 at 18:57
    
@Codemonkey until they stack multiple piles on top of each other... It starts to really hurt in Inferno. –  nzifnab May 23 '12 at 19:52
    
Is it just me or does plagued seem to just increase damage taken instead of doing any real damage itself? Plagued without any other damaging affix seems trivial to deal with, I can just stand in the pool and take hardly any damage. But I fought a Plagued Magma Vortex pack and would die (34k hp, 290 resist all) in under 2 seconds if I stood in magma with a pool on top of it. –  dpatchery May 29 '12 at 13:28
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