Season 4 Ranger's Victimize Mechanism Update and Comprehensive Skill Benefit Calculation

 Author:  Gameusd


Diving into the boundless adventures of Diablo IV's Season 4, this comprehensive review zeroes in on the Ranger class, offering an in-depth analysis of skill performance tailored for avid demon hunters seeking to optimize their gameplay experience. Through meticulous data dissection and real-world testing, the article unveils not only the true colors of the Ranger's core skills under the latest PTR updates but also delves into the game-changing potential and practical applications of the pivotal passive "Victimize" following its mechanism overhaul.

From maximizing single-target damage to crowd control efficiency, the piece meticulously examines the impact of revamped lucky hit mechanics alongside vulnerability, critical strikes, and core skill damage. Enhanced by illustrative comparison tables and real-life scenarios, readers gain clarity on which skill combinations thrive in this new environment and which falter.
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Moreover, addressing the current challenges faced by Rangers – including limitations in skill synergy and playstyle issues – the review provides forward-looking insights and recommendations based on PTR evaluations, guiding players towards envisaging potential balance adjustments on the horizon. For those yearning to strike a balance between speed and efficacy in the Pit, this review transcends mere skill yield appraisal, serving as a pragmatic roadmap for dominating the battlefield as a Ranger in the new season.


During the Public Test Realm (PTR) for Season 4 of Diablo IV, the only viable builds for Rangers revolved around the awkward Playstyle of Projecting Arrows and the universal lucky hit triggering of damage for all classes. It's foreseeable that the lucky hit triggering of damage will inevitably be nerfed; meanwhile, Projecting Arrows will soon face dual fatigue in terms of gameplay feel and visual effects.

The key passive, Victimize, which received a buff, has been scarcely attempted, leading to a high likelihood of it being introduced into the live server unchanged. With a proper understanding of its mechanics, it's expected to see widespread use in Season 4 on the live servers, offering Rangers another option for speed runs in the Pit.

Although during the PTR, due to time constraints, I was unable to gather the necessary gear, simple experimentation revealed that its damage could increase by over tenfold in certain scenarios. Thus, I believe developing the Victimize playstyle holds the potential to become the future's hope for the Ranger's resurgence.

Explanation of Victimize's Mechanism

The skill's description reads: Lucky Hit: Dealing direct damage to a Vulnerable enemy has up to a 45% chance to trigger an explosion, dealing 23% of the initial damage to them and surrounding foes. Victimize's damage is augmented by 120%[x] of your Vulnerable Damage Bonus.
Vulnerable Damage Bonus amplifies the minimum explosion damage dealt by this skill at a conversion rate of 120%. The damage amplification formula is as follows:

  • Explosion Amplification Ratio = 1.2 * 1.2 * (1 + Malice Level * 0.03) * Total Vulnerability Modifier
  • Actual Explosion Damage = Base Damage * 23% * (1 + Explosion Amplification Ratio)
    Once generated, this explosion damage does not benefit from critical strikes or receive secondary boosts from character damage bonuses, akin to the Wizard's Shatter Ice.

Note, post the May 11th update, there's an unverified hypothesis:
In version 1.4.0, special damage enhancements based on an enemy's status conditions apply a second bonus when Victimize explodes. This means the "Base Damage" enjoys one boost upon creation; a second enemy status-based boost is applied when the explosion hits.Eligible enhancements include Icy Momentum, Control, Exploitation, Malice, Ambush, damage to enemies affected by traps/smoke bombs/caltrops, damage to Healthy/Wounded enemies, and elite enemy damage. Among these, Malice is also involved in the multiplication damage conversion formula, potentially resulting in triple damage amplification.

The crux lies in the definition of "Base Damage."

  • Previously: Victimize's "Base Damage," apart from Elemental and Fists of Fate, followed the same mechanism as Poison's "Base Damage." Critical hits, suppression, core damage, assassination skills, specific skill damage were all ineffective. This is the root cause of Victimize's current weakness.
  • Presently: A significant PTR enhancement now includes critical hit damage and core damage, previously ineffective, in Victimize's "Base Damage."

Additional Verifications

  • Poison's "Base Damage" remains unchanged compared to Season 3 and hasn't seen a synchronous boost like Victimize's. Anomalously low damage instances have emerged, with the source of the issue yet to be determined, necessitating further validation on the live servers.
  • Clone's "Base Damage" also remains unchanged from Season 3. Although summoned clones can crit independently, they still do not benefit from various damage enhancements, with Core Skill Level having the most significant impact on clone damage.
  • Clones still cannot trigger Victimize. Despite PTR notes mentioning fixes for some non-triggering scenarios, hopes were raised that support for clones might be salvaged. However, they continue to fail in activating Victimize. Summoned creatures typically don't benefit from Lucky Hits, except in the case of the S2 ability Warlock Fangs.

Below is a comparison table for the effectiveness of damage amplification by Victimize

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Completed Verification of Victimize's Damage Amplification:

Crits and Suppression now affect Victimize damage.

  • Previously: When the triggering skill crit or suppressed, Victimize's "Base Damage" remained at the level of non-crit, non-suppressed damage. Hence, the final Victimize damage was equivalent to what it would have been had the attack not crit;
  • Currently: If the triggering skill crits or suppresses, Victimize's "Base Damage" mirrors this actual damage value. While Victimize itself doesn't crit, it benefits from the increased damage caused by the triggering skill's crit.

Testing Method:

  • Utilized guaranteed crit and suppression from Invisibility and a necklace, verifying the Victimize explosion damage from Piercing Shot at varying crit values. The ratio of direct damage to Victimize explosion damage remained constant, but the Victimize damage saw a substantial increase.
  • In S3: When critting, the ratio of direct damage to Victimize explosion damage significantly increased, indicating no enhancement to Victimize's explosion damage on crits.

Core, Assassin, and Ranger damage bonuses now influence Victimize.

  • Previously: Assassin, Ranger, and Core bonuses were excluded from Victimize's "Base Damage". Thus, Conviction or Beastslayer Boots' bonus to core skills didn't impact Victimize.
  • Currently: Assassin, Ranger, and Core bonuses contribute to Victimize's "Base Damage". Therefore, Conviction or Beastslayer Boots' bonus to core skills also affects Victimize.

Testing Method:

  • Used Beastslayer Boots, comparing Victimize explosion damage from Piercing Shot with and without the boots. The ratio of direct damage to Victimize explosion damage stayed consistent.
  • Employed Trader's Trickery, comparing the Victimize explosion damage with and without the skill active. The ratio of direct damage to Victimize explosion damage remained stable.
  • In S3: Victimize explosions triggered with Beastslayer Boot buffs showed no difference compared to those without. With buffs, the ratio of direct to Victimize damage was much higher than without, indicating no damage boost from Trader's Trickery to Victimize explosions in S3.

Yield Calculation

Summarizing the above verification outcomes in 1.4PTR: When triggered, Victimize now faithfully scales with the actual damage of the triggering attack as a more-damage effect. The expected damage amplification can be calculated as:
Hit lucky strike chance * 50% * 0.23 * [1 + 1.2 * 1.2 * (1 + Malice Level * 0.03) * Total Vulnerability Modifier]
Note: This formula applies to single-target damage.

For Area of Effect (AOE), the expected damage amplification would further multiply by the number of monsters hit. However, the core limitation of this passive revolves around single-target damage, so our subsequent discussion focuses on the damage amplification scenario involving a single target.
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Single-Target Damage Amplification Scenarios

Based on this formula, we can deduce:

  1. Higher hit luck per instance results in greater expected damage amplification by Victimize for that skill. Consequently, abilities like Rapid Strike, Scatter Shot, and Quick Shot, with inherently lower base luck per hit, offer limited benefits. Conversely, Blade Dash and Piercing Shot (especially when paired with the 3-star Cunning Plan), along with high-luck base skills and Shadow Step, show promising damage amplification potential.
  2. Increasing lucky hit bonus attributes effectively raises the expected damage output. Seek to max out lucky hit bonuses from equipment, such as Reviving Wind (a must-have) and Alchemist's Luck if you can maintain full uptime with Infusion's cooldown reset and Backfire coverage.
  3. Prioritize raising the level of Malice.
  4. Seek out vulnerability sources where possible, but they are not essential. Vulnerability from equipment is relatively inexpensive, while the peak vulnerability bonus from Paragon levels is low (after the vulnerability mechanic was toned down, Blizzard overlooked increasing its value), so it's unnecessary to strive for every vulnerability boost.
  5. Remember to utilize universal damage amplification methods. Factors like skill levels, critical hits, and global damage increases should not be overlooked.

To illustrate point 1, let's calculate the expected single-target damage amplification for several candidate core skills under a given character state:

  • Status Example: Lucky hit bonus at 60%, Malice at level 6, Vulnerability at 600% (which translates to approximately 1019% conversion on the panel for Victimize, achievable easily considering doubled vulnerability on gear and the effect of Tempering).
  • Blade Dash: Per hit luck at 33%, expected damage boost: 0.331.60.50.23(1+*6) ≈ 0.679772544, or about 68% increase. Comparable to the current version's maximum achievable close combat damage amplification.
  • Rapid Strike: Per hit luck at 11%, expected damage boost:*6) ≈ 0.226590848, around 23%, which is quite low.
  • Piercing Shot (with Readiness or Eagle Eye): Per hit luck at 50%, expected damage boost:*6) ≈ 1.0299584, roughly 103%, a substantial figure! Nearly equivalent to Precision’s per-hit damage amplification!
  • Piercing Shot (with 3-star Combo and Cunning Plan): Per hit luck at 90%, expected damage boost:*6) ≈ 2.1917514752, or about 185.39%, nearly matching Precision’s per-hit damage amplification efficiency.

For a clearer comparison, here’s a table. It clearly illustrates which skills are better suited for the Victimize passive—Blade Dash and Piercing Shot shine as optimal choices, while others fall somewhat short. Aside from Throwing Knives, base skills exhibit high damage amplification ratios, suggesting that with appropriate adjustments to damage mechanics, Victimize has the potential to be a formidable skill.
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In summary, this comprehensive review of the Ranger class in Diablo IV's fourth season delves into the recent PTR adjustments through rigorous analysis and practical testing, uncovering the restructure of the Ranger's power and tactical potential within the current season. Central to the discussion is the pivotal revision of the "Victimize" passive skill, which emerges as a game-changer by significantly amplifying the Ranger's damage output and fostering innovative build strategies and tactical applications.

The review meticulously compares the damage outputs of various skills under different circumstances, highlighting which combinations prove most effective under the new mechanics, while also pinpointing limitations in current configurations and suggesting avenues for improvement.

By taking into account critical hits, suppression, core damage, and a myriad of amplification effects, the evaluation furnishes practical strategic guidance aimed at elucidating how players can optimize the Ranger's damage output in both single-target and area-of-effect scenarios. Additionally, emphasis is placed on the importance of equipment selection and synergistic pairing of passive skills, along with leveraging vulnerabilities and lucky hits to further augment combat effectiveness.

In essence, this review goes beyond a mere examination of skill yields; it serves as a beacon for players navigating the depths and breadths of the Ranger class in Season 4 of Diablo IV. It equips every aspiring Ranger player with the strategic insight and technical prowess to skillfully hunt demons and forge their own legendary path across the vast expanse of Sanctuary.

The journey to legend requires the backing of equipment and gold. In Season 4, both Tempering and Masterworking prove to be highly gold-consuming endeavors. Opting to purchase Diablo 4 items from Gameusd can be a worthwhile choice to enhance your gaming experience.