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Some magical weapons have additional Fire/Cold/Poison/Lighting damage added. It also can be added through runes and gems. What I do not understand are two things.

1. What does each kind of damage do?

Poison is obvious, deals damage over time. Cold slows the enemies, but the other two are unclear. Fire doesn't seem to do anything spectacular, lighting as well.

2. Why are there such differences between gem damage for each kind?

The best gem for each kind of elemental damage give the following:

  • Ruby - 15-20 fire damage
  • Sapphire - 10-14 Cold Damage
  • Topaz - 1-40 Lightning Damage
  • Emerald - 100 Poison Damage over 7 Seconds (14.3 dmg/s)

From this perspective Emerald looks way more powerful than other gems. I don't think the game would be so unbalanced, so I guess I'm missing something that would explain different amounts of damage.

So once more, the question:

Q: What are the advantages of each gem (elemental damage) with regards to the damage balance?

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In later difficulties you will run into enemies that are resistant or immune to certain elements. Also some enemies have elemental weaknesses, such as Andariel to fire.

The poison damage may seem like a large amount, but if you think about it, hitting 7 times in 7 seconds with a ruby will do the same damage over that time.

The elements in Diablo 2 generally follow this trend:

Fire - most consistent damage.
Lightning - largest damage range.
Cold - less than fire, but adds chilling effect.
Poison - high DoT, but consecutive strikes don't stack, just extend poison length.

  • So fire and lighting are both just damage bonus? – Tomáš Zato Dec 31 '15 at 17:14
  • @TomášZato yes. – l I Dec 31 '15 at 22:19
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    Note that actual damage dealt will depend upon the monster's resistances and the skill used to hit. Attacking with normal attack with a sword that does 1-8 physical and 1-8 fire causes the same damage as attacking with a sword that does 2-16 damage if the monster has no resistances to physical or fire attacks. But if the attacker is using a skill like "Zeal" or something else that boosts the base physical damage by say 100%, then there is a big difference between the 1-8 physical (doubled to 2-16 physical) and 1-8 fire, giving 3-24, and the 2-16 physical which is doubled to 4-32 physical. – purple Jan 7 '16 at 23:14

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