Some effects, such as the Barbarian's Overpower ability, gain benefits from striking critically a lot (in this case, the cooldown of the skill is lowered by one second per critical strike).

The answer to this question would have some important implications for certain builds, which focus on these abilities. For example, one-handed weapons would clearly be better for such builds, since critical strike frequency is higher with them.

The question is: What is "one critical strike"? Are critical strikes rolled per enemy, or per attack (meaning, if you crit, do you hit all enemies critically?)? And then, are they counted as individual critical strikes per enemy, or only once per attack?

  • As critical damage is shown in yellow, it should be easy to just try it - I'd expect it to be per enemy, however.
    – schnaader
    May 20, 2012 at 12:40

2 Answers 2


From my observation (with my crit wizard), the crit is calculated individually and with separate chance. You can hit 2 enemies at the same time, and each of those have a separate crit chance. You can tell because a yellow number will pop on one of them and not the other sometimes.

For example, one-handed weapons would clearly be better for such builds, since critical strike frequency is higher with them.

Indeed. Some additional tips :

  1. Instead of pure damage, choose a weapon that has attack speed. The end dps include this extra speed, but you'll hit a lot faster for the same damage.

  2. Dual wield. Having two weapons means hitting faster. Having two weapons both with attack speed bonus is even better.

  3. Builds based on critical chances have good affinity with life steal. Additionally since you're going for an attack speed build, often life per hit is more beneficial than pure life steal %.


It is per enemy. Most area-of-effect attacks hit each enemy individually, so hitting more enemies at once will give you a greater chance to land a critical hit. This reason is why most area-of-effect skills have less damage that single-target skills; they can trigger critical effects more often.

  • The way you said felt like AoE have increased Crit Rate. Is not like that. AoE behaves the same as if you had hit each mob one time with a single spell. Therefore the Crit Rate is the same, but since hit more monsters at once, feels like more, but the crit roll is same.
    – RaphaelDDL
    May 25, 2012 at 4:15
  • @RaphaelDDL, the "Critical Hit Chance" listed in the detailed character attributes will not change, but the actual rate at which a critical hit activates increases for each enemy that is hit by the attack. For example, if a Barbarian with a 20% critical hit chance uses Cleave to hit three enemies at once, there is a 60% chance that a critical hit will happen. The DPS will remain the same as if there is only a single enemy, but effects such as the Scattering Blast rune will get activated more often.
    – Apples
    May 25, 2012 at 5:10
  • DBRalir, that does not make sens. If you hit 5 enemies with cleave, you don't get 100% crit chance. You can have no crit on all 5 targets... so your math is flawed, you don't just add the chance like that.
    – Draken
    May 27, 2012 at 12:00
  • @Draken His math is wrong, but his argument is sound. He's saying that AoE attacks will trigger a higher numerical frequency of crits. That said, it isn't a 60% chance (Gamblers fallacy), but rather three independent 20% chances. The odds of one of them being a crit is higher, and you will see a higher frequency of crits, because you are hitting more targets more often. May 27, 2012 at 14:38
  • @LessPop_MoreFizz You are correct that my math was flawed in my comment above, I was merely making an estimate. If the math is done properly, one finds that the chance of landing at least one critical hit on 3 enemies is not 60%, but approximately 50%. For 5 enemies, the chance is around 65% (these calculations assume a 20% critical hit chance). My apologies for not thinking before posting. Note that the chance of getting a critical hit against all the targets at once drops rapidly as the number of enemies increases.
    – Apples
    May 29, 2012 at 18:52

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