HP vs. Defense

I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that it is almost always better to add to HP than defense, for the following reasons:

b[/b] Defense does nothing against damaging status or percent damage effects, while having a higher HP does. 85% of 200 is 170, which is better than 85% of 100 (85, obviously).

b[/b] Defense doesn’t mitigate damage derived from speed, while if you have a huge HP count, you don’t really care.

b[/b] The various “Remove X% of Defense” effects really don’t matter when your Defense is about 10 anyways.

b[/b] Enemy blasting spells are derived from spellpower, which has no relation at all to your creature’s various defenses that I’ve noticed. If you have high max health you can shrug off that Armageddon / Planets / Stasis Sword that much easier.

b[/b] Mend becomes much more effective with high max HP.

b[/b] Shellbust.

b[/b] As rare as they are, the Leak and Pandemonium Drain effects steal percentages of your Defense, and if it’s crappy, then they won’t get anything worthwhile out of it.

Now, I have seen some negatives. Damage-dependent effects like Splash/Thrust/Cleave get better when they hit an health-maxed creature and splash over to a defense-dependent one, but I almost see that as a further argument against focusing on defense. Likewise, the Pandemonium Strike effect does Spider Occultist-style scaling damage off of Chaos Defense, but only the Pandemonium King has that effect.

Really, the only problem I can see that healing spells are much more effective on Defense-maxed creatures than health-maxed ones, because the amount of healing is a static number.

Can anyone check my math on this?

Everything you said checks out for me. I realized this dilemma pretty early on and have definitely neglected to invest in defense, instead, my tanks use tons of hp and go for the enchants that reduce X class’s damage received; since it scales and can’t be hurt by defense nerfing abilities.

I totally agree. When I’m making a tank Nether like a Stronghold or Pegasus or something, I do almost all health (ruby) enchantments. Maybe some speed/luck (topaz) to reduce the proportion of mortal blows it will receive. The damage mitigation from Defense just isn’t nearly as reliable as having more health.

Saphire topaz skill removes the whole thing of speed giving extra damage.

That’s true, but it also takes up one of your precious ability slots. You only get 12, and I’ve never found the Sapphire Attunement ability useful enough to justify taking it. Topaz Attunement, on the other hand, is awesome. Having your whole team go first is incredibly valuable, especially on higher realms where enemies would always go first otherwise because of their much higher Speed.

Yea, my bad, it was sapphire attunement. To be fair pretty much all the attunement abilities are pretty strong, but that might just be my view of it.


Your points 1 and 5 are circular. If high defense and high HP are equal strategies, then each hit point is “worth more” at high defense. So 85% of high-defense 100hp might be just as good as 85% of low-defense 200hp.

The thread topic is about how they aren’t equal strategies, bro dawg. ;D

I think he means that if you neglect defense, the value of health decreases, and therefore both stats rely on each other in some way.

Yes, and I’m saying that points 1 and 5 don’t support that argument well, because they only work if you already assume it’s correct.

[quote=“creidieki, post:7, topic:584”]Vagrant,

Your points 1 and 5 are circular. If high defense and high HP are equal strategies, then each hit point is “worth more” at high defense. So 85% of high-defense 100hp might be just as good as 85% of low-defense 200hp.[/quote]

This would be true if Defense mitigated all forms of damage, but it doesn’t. It only partially mitigates normal attacks. It doesn’t mitigate the portion of normal attack damage from Speed, or indirect damage (Splash, Cleave, Thrust, etc.), or bonus damage (Spider Occultist’s Enchantment, Raptor Occultist’s Thaumaturgy, etc.), or spell damage, or “% Maximum Health” based damage, or debuff damage (Burn, Poison, Bleed, etc.).

Also, there are other ways to mitigate normal attack damage that are more reliable than Defense, like Holy Defiance or a Pegasus with the Cradle to Grave ability. Defense is just too situational to be useful unless you’re dealing with a Defense-specific ability like the Amaranthine’s Incandescence ability. Even then I’m not sure it’s worth it.


Look, (.85)200 is an absolute higher value than 100(.85), correct?

So when you take into account effects that do unmodified damage, like the Raptor and Spider Occultists’ damage bonuses, or the Death Crafter ability, or any kind of splash - that higher HP value will leave you less vulnerable than defense, because defense will do nothing to prevent that damage, while more HP will, surprisingly, leave you with more HP.

Example: if you’re fighting a creature with 10K defense and 100 health, and you have a level 1 Raptor Occultist and 200 power balance, it is absolutely irrelevant how much defense that creature has, because the Raptor Occultist deals damage that isn’t affected by stats. You will kill that creature if you hit it, while if it had over 200 HP, it would live.

Similarly, if you have more HP, Mend gives you more health. 10% of a bigger number > 10% of a lower number.

In neither of the above situations does Defense help you in any way, while more Max HP does.

So because non percent special damage is uneffected by defense its worthless as a stat? That logic seems a bit off to me. Currently from what I’ve seen, what makes defense irrelevant is the heavy use of the pegesas and witch doctor sacrificer. Splash does next to no damage to the rest of your party if you have a high defense creature with taunt, even more so with the sapphire attunement. The game does value all defense to be higher then max hp for good reason, you will end up seeing less damage total over the course of a floor if you was to use a large shield vs using armor as an artifact.

My point is that Defense does nothing against percent damage, status, speed, damage spells, or Shellbust, and that the stat itself is vulnerable to defense-lowering spells and the menagerie of creatures that target Defense, such as:

Abyss Banshee
Anguish Banshee
Diabolic Commander
Dragon Revenant
Glutinous Slime
Mutant Bonescraper
Pit Worm Tunneller
Spitting Pit Worm
Thunder Storm

If you don’t stack Defense, then none of these enemies do anything you have to care about. If you lose 20% of 10 Defense, you have lost nothing worth worry, while if you lose 20% of 1000 Defense, you’re suddenly taking 200 more damage to your Health that you did not choose to buff. You can have 0 Defense and not care; but if you have 0 Health, you’re dead. Defense becomes an additional concern that you have to worry about in battle, because suddenly all the creatures and spells I just mentioned become relevant and do deleterious things to your ability to survive punishment, instead of being little more than warm bodies and turn wasters for the other team.


Sapphire Attunement is not a selling point of Defense. It removes Speed scaling and minimum damage, but these are not the factors that contribute to Tank creature death - it makes your defenders better at resisting things they already are good at, while doing nothing against spells or percentage damage or defense debuffing.

Here’s my point: Sapphire Attunement does not actually improve your defense value. If you’re already taking minimum damage, then you don’t care about the ability to eliminate it, because it’s literally minimal; and if you’re not, and you’re taking significant amounts of damage - and thus in a situation where you actually need an equalizer - all Sapphire gives you is a tiny damage resistance to the fraction caused by Speed. If you’re going to focus on defense, you’d be better off equipping Pristine Dragon Armor, or Battle Born, or something that meaningfully increases your ability to not die in a scenario where that is an actual threat.


I don’t dispute that, in certain situations, Defense can be useful, but the vast majority of the time, this is its quandary:

Defense exists only to reduce damage to your health.

But since there are so many things that bypass, mitigate, or debuff Defense, and you don’t actually need Defense to be alive, why not just add more health and be better off for all those awkward situations?

I have to she with vagrantsun and clarify. It’s not that defense can’t be useful in some situations. However, in a much larger majority and over all, health buffing and stacking is by far superior to the capabilities that defense puts on the table. I just have enchants that reduce all damage by half and attack on health to my tank, who already has good defense naturally. Budding it in any way would be a waste compared to stacking more health instead.

hm…I’m not familiar with shellbust. Regardless max hp is just as vulnerable to those you listed excluding the damage spells.

Anyways, I’ll start actually putting numbers out there. The hp on creatures range from 27 - 52 with an average of 36, the defense ranges from 6 - 21 with an average of 16, there may be others outside of this range. Artifacts are generated at 3player level for hp(armor) and 2player level for all defense(heavy shield). Compare this to the average 36 hp and 16 defense on creatures. Since attack is a factor as well it tends to range from 19-42 with an average of 34. So lets look at it this way, at level 1 will +3 hp make more of a difference then +2 defense?

Hm…I guess to answer that question I’ll need to actually take as generic of a party as possible and record down the amounts of incoming damage.

Shellbust is a spell that massively reduces your highest Defense and then deals 200% the amount reduced as damage. It regularly oneshots enemy Nethers and I specifically avoid building Defense in my Nethers because of its existence.

There are plenty of effects that reduce Max HP, no question. But if you have two creatures that are focused in Defense and Health, respectively, and they both get hit with Piercing Dragon Claws (reducing Max Health by 25%), the one that focused on Health still has more actual health. 75% of his health total is still more than 75% of the Defense creature’s health total, and in fact it’s probably considerably more.

I didn’t actually know that health enchants were 50% stronger than defense enchants, but that’s something that will become pretty handy down the road as you hit the hundreds of levels. But as regards your example:

Yes, 3 > 2. And as the ratio increases, the imbalance will grow.

I would have to argue otherwise at this point, my initial tests shows that on average when using a taunt/provoking creature with the large shield(defense) will end battle with more % health left over then using armor(hp). This is with no healing involved. The numbers are also showing around 87% of damage that happens can be mitigated by defense. At this point it is starting to feel more like work then having fun playing a game, so I’ll just leave it at that.

In the end, people can play however they want. I would like to say, however that it is far more optimal to use health armor and instead of buffing defense, use the five “reduce damage taken by X class” enchantments and more health buffs. You take 50% less damage from enemies always, as well as have the health to take the unmitigated damage that completely ignores defense.
That unmitigated damage is what really lowers the efficiency of defense verse health. I think that specifically, is what vagrant is trying to get at.

Precisely, Boks. If so many things didn’t bypass Defense, I would love it. An even better balance would be if Sapphire Attunement, upon negating an attack’s damage, also negated all other on-hit effects; immediately that would give me a reason to build a defense monster, and I seriously doubt it would effect the balance of deep-realm play because eventually all stats-based builds are overwhelmed.