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Diablo > Diablo 4Jun 8, 2023 7:00 pm CT

What is Fortify in Diablo 4? How you can use Fortify to live longer and survive the demonic hordes of Sanctuary

Diablo 4 has added some new stats (and new ways to use old stats), including the defensive stat Fortify, which helps decrease incoming damage. Fortify is what the game calls a status effect: essentially it’s a buff you build up by using specific abilities, selecting specific talents, or equipping specific gear. When the buff hits a certain level, it will reduce incoming damage.

But Fortify isn’t very well explained in the game. So let’s talk about how Fortify works, exactly what it does, and whether you should stack Fortify to survive in Diablo 4.

How Fortify works in Diablo 4

Fortify reduces incoming damage by 10%, but it only triggers when you have more Fortify than you have health. The game displays your current Fortify level on top of your health globe, with Fortify filling up until you gain its damage reduction, indicated by a spike metal outline around your health globe.

Think of Fortify as a second health globe that overlays your normal health globe. If your Fortify is equal to or less than your health, it doesn’t do anything. Every attack that hits you does damage to both your health and Fortify pools simultaneously, so as you lose health you’re also losing Fortify. But if your Fortify is higher than your health pool — if you’ve been using abilities that generate Fortify or have a Legendary that adds Fortify — you’ll receive 10% less damage from all sources. This lasts for as long as your Fortify is higher than your health, so to keep that damage reduction going, you’ll want to keep generating Fortify.

Though some classes have more abilities that interact with Fortify, all classes can use Fortify. You can earn Fortify with gear, and you can improve Fortify’s damage reduction by gemming your gear with sapphires. Barbarians, Druids, and Necromancers all have some inherent ways to generate Fortify. Barbarians, for example, have Thick Skin and Defensive Stance, passive talents that give you Fortify and increase how much damage it can reduce, respectively.

Fortify for Druids in Diablo 4

Of the three classes that use Fortify, Druids have the most skills that can generate or modify it:

  • Werebear Fortify skills
  • Earth Fortifyskills
    • Fierce Earth Spike adds Fortify when you hit stunned or immobilized targets or ones that have been knocked back
    • Choosing Preserving Earthen Bulwark means that you get 18% of your Base Life as Fortify, on top of the Barrier that the ability also grants you.
    • If you critical hit with an Earth skill, Safeguard gives you a small Fortify bump.
  • Companion Fortify skills
    • Ferocious Wolf Pack means that your Wolves give you Fortify while savaging your enemies
    • Defensive Posture increases all Fortify you gain from other sources, although it doesn’t actually add any Fortitude by itself
    • Thick Hide is like that Chumbawumba song, enemies can stun you, immobilize you or knock you down, but with the help of this talent and the Fortify it gives you you’ll get back up again

Fortify for Barbarians in Diablo 4

While they don’t have as many ways to generate Fortify as Druids, Barbarians can also make good use of Fortify:

  • Strategic Rallying Cry adds Fortify when Rallying Cry is used and also adds Fortify whenever you take or deal damage while Rallying Cry is up
  • Enhanced Bash gives you Fortify when you Bash a stunned enemy
  • Strategic Iron Skin adds 15% of Base Life as Fortify, 30% if you are down to 50% Health or lower
  • War Cry with the Mighty War Cry skill upgrade will give you 15% Base Life as Fortify
  • The passive skill Thick Skin gives Fortify as a baseline.
    • Defensive Stance, which requires one point in Thick Skin to unlock, increases the Damage Reduction granted by Fortitude by 2%, stacking three times for 16% DR from Fortitude at 3 points in Defensive Stance.

Fortify for Necromancers in Diablo 4

In addition to summoning the dead and making corpses explode, Necromancers can make themselves harder to kill with some Fortify skills.

  • Initiate’s Hemorrhage causes Hemorrhage to generate Fortify when it hits an enemy, and can sometimes proc Fortify equal to 100% of your Base Life, meaning it would immediately put your Fortify above your health for Fortify damage reduction.
  • Supernatural Blood Surge gives you Fortify whenever you hit with Blood Surge, but also increases Blood Surge’s damage by 20% whenever you’re over 50% Fortify.
  • Dreadful Bone Prison gives you Fortify for everyone you imprison
  • Drain Vitality is a passive skill that gives you a 25% chance to gain Fortify on all Blood skill attacks
  • Necrotic Carapace gives you Fortify when you create a Corpse

Legendary Aspects that boost Fortify

There are several Legendary Aspects that modify or add Fortify, two for Druids and three for Barbarians. Necromancers don’t have a Legendary Aspect that affects Fortify, but then again, looking at their skills I don’t know that they need one.

  • Aspect of Numbing Wrath lets Barbarians generate Fortify for every point of Fury they generate while at max Fury
  • Aspect of Tempering Blows lets Barbarians gain Fortify after switching weapons six times.
  • Steadfast Berserker’s Aspect gives you a 33% chance to gain Fortify when you deal direct damage while Berserking.
  • Aspect of Retaliation lets Druids increase their core skills’ damage based on how much Fortify they have. It’s a Druid Aspect, but I want it for my Barb so I’m sulking now.
  • Skinwalker’s Aspect grants Druids life when the shapeshift, and if they’re at max life, they gain Fortify instead.

Overpower and Fortify

Though Fortify is primarily a defensive stat, it has an offensive use with Overpower. Every class has a chance to do Overpower damage — 3%, without any modifiers — when they hit an enemy. But these big hits have a particular interest for Fortify users: the amount of Overpower damage you deal equals your current health and your current Fortify.

So even if you aren’t getting damage reduction from Fortify because it’s too low, it will still add to your Overpower damage to help you take out enemies faster.

Should I invest in Fortify?

Whether it’s worth making a significant investment in Fortify is up to you. 10% damage reduction is a modest number, but it’s a flat reduction of all damage, and it is noticeable. However, it’s not going to be enough on its own to keep you healthy and alive in Sanctuary, and you should only consider it to be part of your defensive toolkit. But Barbarians, Druids, and Necromancers all have ways to passively generate Fortify, you don’t have to put a lot of work in to get that extra defense. Particularly at later levels when talent points start adding up, it may be worth putting points into Fortify bonuses to flesh out your defensive abilities.

However, whether you use Fortify is a personal choice. It can be part of a solid defensive skillset, but you could also stack armor for significant damage reduction, or double up on skills from your defensive tier to keep you safe. There are plenty of playstyles available, and you need to decide whether Fortify fits into yours.

And that sums up Fortify for our beloved Diablo 4 community. Now you can decide just how much you want to specialize in the stat and what talents would serve your needs better.

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