I've recently tried to go up in higher Torment difficulties with my Demon Hunter. Despite my damage being good enough to fight, I always have trouble staying alive and especially during prolonged battles, when all my resources have been used. I have about 6M toughness :

  • 325 000HP
  • ~1200 All resist
  • 5K armor

I rarely get one shot, however, I can't seems to be sustainable enough. I've tried to use the templar regeneration and to boost up the health from Globe so I can get my health back between elites pack (which seems fine enough), but versus hard to kill elite (like Max Health and Return Damage) I always end up dying. Since there is an hardcore mode, I believe it's possible to fight in Torment 6 without dying so :

How do I boost up my survivability ?

  • Your question is not good enough. What class are you playing? What skills are you using? What sheet dps do you have? What stats did you focus on? Commented May 4, 2014 at 9:38
  • 2
    @Assylum I believe Sheet dps is irrelevant aswell as my class/skills. This question can apply to any class more than only Demon hunter. The toughness mechanic is the same for all classes and I'm pretty sure asking the exact same question for my Wizard would get it closed as duplicate.
    – WizLiz
    Commented May 5, 2014 at 6:34
  • One very minor tip for the DH is that the companions have and active/passive ability. The ferrets' active ability is to harvest health globes instantly. If you all you need is a tweak to keep your regen up, this might be worth using.
    – horatio
    Commented May 6, 2014 at 15:58
  • Know thy enemy! I played d2 solely on hc. It was next to impossible to kill everything, or at least not worthwhile. Just skip the hard creatures, or tp and equip proper items to make it easier.
    – Madmenyo
    Commented May 7, 2014 at 9:14
  • Whats your DPS? A good offense is pivotal to a good defense Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 13:48

2 Answers 2


Survivability in Diablo 3 takes in account 2 components : toughness, and healing. While those stats are easy to understand, the mechanic behind and between them and how to take profit of both is not always obvious. I'll try to explain to you how to take advantage of the different affixes you have in the game in order to become really survivable and have a great sustainability.


Toughness represents (if you read the tooltip) the number of damage your character car undergo from full life to zero.

While it's clear what toughness is, it's harder to understand how to optimize it. A common mistakes is to have a really high life pool (lot of vitality) and overlook armor and all resist. While your sheet toughness will look the same, if you don't have enough resistances and armor, your life pool is just a big amount of lie. It provides a fake sense of toughness when you can actually die really easily.

Toughness is a balance between Vitality, Armor and All Resistance. To reach Higher Torment difficulties (and especially Torment 10), you will need at least about 800+ All resist, 15 000 Armor and a life pool of ~600 000. With a Demon Hunter, you can boost up those stats with your companion Boar and with the passive skill Perfectionnism. Last but not least : the more Life you have, the less the healing stats will be effective, that's what I'm going to explain in the next section

Healing and synergy with an optimized Toughness

Healing affixes are : Life on Hit, Life after kill, Life per second and Life per resource spent (The latter exists only for melee classes). Why are those affixes important ? It's easy to overlook the healing stat by thinking that health potion and health globe are enough. While they offer you some good sustainability, the drop rate of globe and the cooldown on the health potion doesn't make them as reliable as other Healing affixes.

Let's take a quick example by comparing 2 situations:

Character A

  • 5M toughness
  • 30 000 HP regen/sec
  • 500 000 HP

Character B

  • 5M toughness
  • 30 000 HP regen/sec
  • 300 000 HP

They have the same toughness however B has 200 000 less HP which implies more armor and/or all resistance: but why does it matter ?

Let's assume both are being hit by a monster that deals 500 000 damage per second. It's 1/10th of their toughness which translate into them losing 1/10th of their life pool per second. For A this represent 50,000 HP and for B 30,000. However, both heals for 30,000HP per second... see where I'm going ? Indeed, in this situation B will never die while A loses 20,000 HP per second and die after 25sec. Of course in the game you are facing way more factors than just one monster hitting you but you get the general idea.

The trick is to understand that healing give back raw HP and not toughness, so depending on your life pool : you are getting back a better % of your toughness if you have few HP but High Armor and All Resistance. For A each life point account for 10 toughness and for B each life point account for ~16.5 Toughness which makes the healing stat about 65% more efficient for B.

You now understand that healing can be very powerful, you should use :

  • Life on hit when you have a high attack rate or you are using a skill that have a high proc rate.
  • Life after kill allow you gain huge amount of life when clearing trash mob (if you have powerful AOE, this stat does wonder).
  • Life per second offer sustainability during the whole fight (you can gain it easily with Paragon point or with the Templar compagnon when playing Solo)
  • Life per resource spent if your character benefit from it.


Survivability is a mix between killing fast, toughness and healing. for the defensive aspect, the more you stack Armor, All resistance (and damage reduction modifiers), the more powerful your healing becomes so you can survive much longer even with a smaller toughness number. What you get with this sense of "false toughness" when stacking a lot of vitality is actually "diluted healing".

  • It is the best explanation I've seen so far! Great job and thanks a lot! It surely has made me rethink my build.
    – ykb
    Commented May 5, 2014 at 7:23
  • 2
    Be careful relying on 'Life after kill' as a means to regenerate life. If you get alone with an elite pack, this stat could be useless.
    – Bob2Chiv
    Commented May 5, 2014 at 13:56
  • This is a thorough and well-explained answer, so +1 from me. However, it would benefit from a caveat on Life on Hit. The efficacy of LoH is more dependent upon the skill used than on the attack rate. More specifically, it is highly dependent upon the proc coefficient of the attack skills used. Many classes have skills that are very good, work well with fast weapons, yet have horrible proc coefficients, making LoH practically useless. Example: I have yet to find a skill build for my arcane wizard where stacking LoH makes and difference at all.
    – Beofett
    Commented May 5, 2014 at 19:15
  • pretty sure life per resource spent only exists for the melee classes. wiz/wd doesn't have it either.
    – l I
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 16:34

At first I have to say, that for sure this is the purpose of higher difficulties: making it harder to farm because of more damage, leaving you with the need of more gear or better dodging (using more defensive skills).

But for sure there is a way how you can make this easier for you. From your question I interpret that you are going for straight toughness, which is an error that a lot of people do. Toughness is the stat telling you how long you can prolong before getting killed, BUT toughness doesn't take the regeneration of your life into account. Meaning if you are fighting for a longer time (for example elites) and do not have a significant amount of life reg without health globes spawning you will die, even with a high amount of toughness. This doesn't mean you should get Life Reg/Life per Hit on every item, but you should definetely consider getting this on a few items.

Also a very important point is, that Vitality and Life% are the most useless stats after a certain amount(dependent on difficulty Level). For example in Torment 1 you really don't need more than 200k HP, Armor and +Res are multiple times better, because it doesn't only make you harder to kill, it also makes your Regeneration multiple times better.

In the most cases you should aim for armor and +Res on items, or even Reforge it, this will most likely fix your issues with higher torments.

If you want deeper inside thoughts into Toughness, you can also watch Moldran's video about it!

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