For example, the item Tal Rasha's Adjudication randomly has one of the following stats:

  • Adds 5-6% to Arcane Damage
  • Adds 5-6% to Poison Damage
  • Adds 5-6% to Lightning Damage
  • Adds 5-6% to Holy Damage
  • Adds 5-6% to Cold Damage
  • Adds 5-6% to Fire Damage

In the case of, say, poison: does the item give me +6% of my weapon damage (or total damage) as poison? Or does it only add +6% to my current poison damage (meaning if I have no poison damage, it does nothing)?

If it's the latter-case, does +20 poison damage on my weapon affect this?


4 Answers 4


According to the test done in this post, "Adds X% to [Element] Damage" actually means "Adds X% to Total Damage as [Element]".

  • 2
    This is incorrect. "Adds x% to [Element] Damage" does not add to total damage. It only adds to base weapon damage, and ignores other elemental damage sources. Here are more details, including a link to an archived copy of the Blizzard post on the subject.
    – Beofett
    Nov 15, 2012 at 16:42

+x% elemental damage (whether cold, poison, fire, etc. it is all the same) is calculated as an increase to your base, non-elemental weapon damage (sometimes called "black weapon damage").

This base damage is a combination of rings, orbs, mojos, amulets, etc. that add damage, and your weapon damage before any elemental damage on your weapon is added.

This means that a 1000 DPS weapon with "black" damage (non-elemental) will benefit far more from +x% cold damage affixes than a 1000 DPS weapon that has elemental damage (whether fire, cold, poison, holy, etc.).

Here are more details, including a link to an archived copy of the Blizzard post on the subject.


Look at your spell as a Witch Doctor. For example, zombie bears and plague of toads "deal X% damage as Poison". So you do 100k damage with toads as poison, that 6% mod on the item would make the toads do 106k.


Edit: This seems to be the correct answer based on empirical testing.

  • 1
    If you have no source, is this just a guess, or have you tested this? You could test it by, say, equipping a weapon that does at least +40 poison damage, and see if a +2-3% poison damage amulet increases your damage stat by currentDamageStat * 0.025 (which would mean it applies to your current overall damage) or if it just increases it by (currentPoisonDamage*0.025)*attackSpeed * (1 + critChance*critDamage) (which would mean it only applies to your current poison damage) Jun 23, 2012 at 16:00
  • @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft No, I couldn't test it yet. I'll update my answer as soon as I got fitting items for testing.
    – speakr
    Jun 24, 2012 at 13:03

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