How is it going Jens, yours truly here with a clarity potion to pour over Diablo 3 defense mechanics. Couldn't find any decent guide here, so I've made my own calculations using my steady hand and top of the line calculator.
I know that many of us were faced with a choice to make between armor/res/vitality. These commonly occupy the same stat slot. Here is my break down of what each of them provide.
Each point of Armor gives you " 0,028567% " of effective health. It means that you can withstand that much more punishment. If you had "100 000" hp and 1 armor, you can get hit for "100000*1,028567 = 102856.7" which is 2856,7 hp more.
Elemental Resistances offers you exactly 10 times more protection forming sweet "0.28567%" additional health.
Vitality, as you know from game description of it, provides you with 100hp for every point. Health Percentage from items and paragon are additive to each other. If chest gives you 15% and you have 13% from paragon points, you get a total of 28%.
Bottom line is, THIS STATS HAVE NO DIMINISHING RETURNS. No matter how much you have, what class you are playing or what abilities or passives you use.
Every point of armor of resistance will always give you the same amount of benefit.
What you can easily see from these numbers that "All Resistance" stat is always better than armor, since it's usually "500" armor against "100" all resist. Fire/Light/Etc Resists are up for you to decide. I always go with "Physical Resist" over Armor if that's the choice.
Now regarding health vs armor/res, situation is a bit tricky.
Let's say the choice is between 500 vitality and 15% max health. At first glance it's quite simple. You just calculate and pick a better one. But you have to bear in mind that 15% is added to your base Heath (your Vitality stat). It doesn't take into account other Health % bonuses.
Now the most important thing to remember is that when you add Health to your character, Armor/Resists start to count it into their formula so they become even more beneficial to you.
In general, %Health and Vitality are almost always better than Armor/Resist (in pure effective health value). You will live longer if you chose that way.
500 Armor = 14,28% EHP 500 Vitality = 50000 flat hp + Armor that you already have, starts working with this hp For example, we have 300000 hp. 500 Armor will yield us (3000001.1428) = 342840 which is 42840 EHP 500 Vit makes 350000 hp from the get go and Let's say you have 5k armor (142,8% EHP). So 500002,428=121400 EHP And Yes, it amounts to 50000+121400= 171400 EHP over 42840. It's basically the same with %Health from items and paragon. AND ONE last thing. For all of this to even make sense, you have to have a reliable way to replenish you health. If you are unable to heal yourself quickly, you will die anyway. No way can you push high level content without healing.
P.S I haven't tested shield blocking mechanics, so I don't know if shield blocks damage before mitigation or after. If latter is the case, I may revise my opinion on Armor vs Health. It's a late night/morning for me. If you find any mistakes or miscalculations please let me know. Also I will answer any questions.
© Post "Armor/Resistance/Health mechanics" for game Diablo 3.
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