How does attack rating compare to damage in Diablo 2?

I have two bows for my companion, one having higher damage (100, but in poison, so it takes effect slowly) and 5% life steal (with other stuff) and another with lower damage and 7% life steal (with other stuff) AND +attack rating based on the character, which currently is more than +1000.

Now I don’t really know how attack rating works and if there is a cap or the +1000 is going to waste or not, but somehow that number is so big, it makes me want to keep the lower-damage-higher-rating bow for my companion.

Can somebody explain to me how attack rating is valued against damage? Am I doing a good thing by choosing the higher rating one?


According to, the inherent attack rating (AR) of Act 1 mercenary is quite low: 796 on level 80.

Combined with the fact that the monsters in Hell difficulty have defense rating (DR) on the order of 1500 and the chance to hit formula (assuming equal levels of attacker and defender): toHit = AR / (AR + DR) , this makes her base chance to hit very low: 796 / (1500 + 796) = 0.35.

If we add 1000 to her AR, we’ll get the chance to hit of 1796 / (1500 + 1796) = 0.54, which is 1.57 times higher!

So, if there were no other factors, I’d keep the AR bow even if it had 1.5 times less damage.

Note that other factors affecting the AR and Defense include Inner sight and Fire arrow.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the poison damage does not stack. If you have a weapon dealing 100 poison damage over 3 seconds and you hit once per second, the damage poison deals between hits will be mere 33.3, and then, when another hit lands, the old poison will be replaced with a new one, not added to it. On the other hand, poison stops the natural monster regeneration, which may be a big deal for really tough monsters.

Source : Link , Question Author : Shahbaz , Answer Author : Rotsor

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