Friday, 16 September 2011

Diablo 3: Item Affixes

Today I'm going to have a look at item affixes in Diablo 3.

Affixes are a bonus, usually to a single stat. +2% chance to crit is an example. The word affix means a word or phrase that goes before or after a word. If I'm Sir Stabs of Goldshire Sir is an affix and so is of Goldshire. An affix that comes before is called a prefix and an affix that comes after is called a suffix.

Magic items in the game will have a number of affixes determined by the item type. I'm expecting that rare and standard magic items will work similarly to Diablo 2. In D2 a blue item had 1 or 2 affixes and a rare item had 3-6. This generally meant that rares were better than blues. (There were some exceptions but as Jay Wilson said in an interview rares would be the best items we'll ignore those for the point of thinking about D3).

In this picture from D3 Beta we see two blue items. Both of them have two affixes, one each of suffix and prefix. So if we look at the names it breaks down to:

Prefix=Oak              Item type=wand                Suffix=of the Oracle
Prefix=Ferocious      Item type=Great Axe        Suffix=of Mutilation

Rares don't follow this naming convention, they have names that are not connected to their item properties.

In addition there are crafted items. Crafted items usually have some fixed properties and some affixes. (It will say random properties, which is a synonym for affixes).

In this instance there aren't any fixed properties. When you make this wand you get 4 random affixes. The damage probably varies a little as well.

This will change each time you make an item using the recipe. Even the same recipe will usually produce varying items.

In this picture we can see two pairs of gloves made using the Journeyman Chain Gloves (rare) recipe. The amount of armour clearly varies as do the properties. We've got some properties that are the same on both (eg Attacker takes damage) but it's not possible from this screenshot to say whether the recipe gives 4 random properties or a mixture of fixed and random since it's possible that the gloves have the same properties through chance. Note also that the exact numbers vary on most properties. Here one Attacker takes damage is 5 the other is 6. That's just luck.

Better affixes and different affixes are added into the mix as the level of the item rises. (Level of the item will usually be similar to the level of the area it was found or the level of the player crafting it). Some affixes won't be available at all at low levels and some will have relatively small numbers until later in the game.

And there are also legendary (unique) and set items. Legendary items are generally fairly strong and may have properties that aren't on the standard affix list. Set items are like legendaries but in addition have bonus properties when multiple items from the same set are worn. Most set items in D3 are I believe made by craftsmen using rare recipes dropped by monsters.

One of the many mathematical peculiarities of D2 was that some very similar sounding affixes worked in very different ways. For example + enhanced damage was miles better than + enhanced damage to demons even against demons. This is because the first one got factored into the equation at an earlier stage so it got multiplied by skills and stat bonuses rather than just being added at the end.

We won't know how D3 functions mathematically until people theorycraft by doing practical tests. But just bear in mind that many of the numbers in D2 did not do what they claimed to. +20% attack speed did not make you attack 20% faster, +100% magic find did not double your magic find chance.

For now my best advice is expect it to do something similar to what one would expect but maybe not exactly. I do expect D3 to be less inexact, the D2 mathematics felt rather botched together. I remember Peter Hu, one of the D2 designers explaining a system to us on a theorycraft site and he sounded almost embarrassed.

We have details of what affixes do in Diablo 3, some from beta screenshots and some from this site. Bashiok mentioned the gold find radius affix in passing a few days ago - from this screenshot we see it's not just gold but health globes too.

Looking at the datamined list we see that prefixes and suffixes unlike Diablo 2 are about the same list. I'm now going to classify addons into types:

+ stats
+ damage
+crit chance
+gold find
+gold and health globe pickup radius
+magic find
+ fast cast
+ improved attack speed
CC reduction
Damage reduction
+ defence
+ experience gained per monster kill
+ fury/spirit gain (as a leech effect possibly)
+ health/hatred/mana/spirit regen
+ health globe (drop chance?)
Life and mana leech
Item cost increase (appears to make the item vendor for more gold)
+mana/life per kill
+ maximum Discipline/Fury/Mana/Arcane power
+ run speed
+ salvage (chance for more mats?)
Attacker takes damage (very useful for zookeeper witchdoctors with the passive that extends this to their pets)
plus a few that I couldn't figure out

So there's a lot to choose from and when you find a rare you could luck out and get 6 good ones or you could be unlucky and get some of the turkeys and/or get less than 6. And don't forget that if you don't like what you see there legendary and set items may have properties not on that list.

One thing that does occur to me - I can certainly see myself having a +salvage alt or gear swap and melting everything with a character who has + salvage in every slot.


  1. Very nice write up! Also a very interesting find about the +salvage affix.. will have to explore that more in depth.

  2. Thanks for your kind words.

    One of the ones I'm most interested in is Attacker Takes Damage. That's building on my previous article on Liquidity - I think it will be very easy to trade other mods for Attacker Takes Damage and I think my zookeeper witch doctor will be really powerful.

  3. Wasn't there also some kind of hatred/health regen per hit (as opposed to % leech/flat regen)?
    (was mostly focusing on Demon Hunter mechanics when i was looking at list)

    Also, wasn't "+ salvage" something like "extra salvage from THIS item specifically; DON'T VENDOR ME" rather then "extra salvage from anything you salvage while wearing this"? I'm not sure though, but "salvage outfit" sounds like extremely boring thing not fit for diablo designers :)

  4. Hi Stabs, I was thinking about this last night actually while working on some monk builds. Thinking about a build that I can use that will balance spirit generation with consumption. I got tied up after realizing that many builds will likely be very gear dependent, so I was looking for data mined -affixes to help plan my builds better.

    I wonder if the +fury gain affix will work with your perma-wrath barb build idea. Stack some +fury gain equipement along with proper passives and attacks to keep the uber-buff from expiring.

  5. @ Shalcker I'm guessing at what many of these affixes do based on the descriptions at the wowbox site so some of my guesses will be wrong.

    The salvage mod now that you mention it I have heard described as working the way you say. (I think on Force's podcast). So yup, the salvage alt idea is on the scrap heap and it's probably a good thing too.

    Hatred/health regen may well work in the way you describe or both could be in. There's a mod called Prefix_Hitlife and an affix called Prefix_Lifesteal and one called Prefix_Regen. So we could have Life per hit, life leech and life regen (or they might work differently).

    @ Leonidas I'm sure you're right. In fact if we look back to D2 there were many builds that were only possible with certain gear. We could make characters who gained life from taking lightning damage or teleport barbs or fearazons.

  6. "affix"

    You are either an English professor or a librarian.

    Thank you for the data mining info, however the English lesson I could have done without.

  7. Hey Stabs,
    couldn't find any email on your page, so posting this here although not on topic;

    not sure it's been taken up yet anywhere, since you're doing the Diablo III series, I found this somewhat surprising (if not to say worrying?) news. maybe an interesting topic to hear what others think.

  8. Hey I made a site which includes all skills and runestone effects on those skills. Since your site is on Diablo would you want to link up our sites?

    Let me know. Thanks.

  9. @ Syl thanks for the heads up, I'll blog about it soon.

    @ Mike I won't link to you here because I only link to blogs. It's a nice looking site and I certainly recommend anyone interested to visit it. I've bookmarked the site.

  10. i havn't been able to post on d3 forums even though i played beta

    wondering why no one has asked this

    -- If you say your a level 3 with a level 3 crafted axe and it has 2 random properties, say str and dex

    how do you know what the max dex and str is, i've seen about +9 str or dex in the beta

    and for that matter if your a higher level
    say lvl 10 with a lvl 10 axe with str and dex what would be the max possible stats on that weapon