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How does Venom work?

Venom is, without a doubt, the most effective poison damage source in the game. The reason why is because it's duration is so amazingly short.

This duration is 0.4 seconds on Normal difficulty. On nightmare and hell difficulties however, it will become a bit longer. This is because Nightmare and Hell have a hidden Poison length penalty; -40% for Nightmare and -100% for Hell. This means that with these penalties the duration, aswell as the damage gets multiplied. On Nightmare, a 1000 dmg attack in 0.4 seconds becomes a 1400 dmg attack in 0.5 seconds. On Hell, this 1000 dmg attack in 0.4 seconds becomes a 2000 dmg attack in 0.8 seconds.

For the thinkers among us; I whirl with 4 frames between each hitcheck, a longer duration takes more frames to complete the attack, doesn't the -100% PLR penalty mean trouble to me? The answer is No, you will always deal more damage on Hell than you would on Normal. Click here for clarification.

+% Poison skill damage modifications; logically, a +25% item (such as on Trang-Oul's Claws) would increase your damage with 25%. Completely true, but that is not all. +% modifications act twice on venom; the first time occurs when you cast venom, the second time when venom is active and you keep wearing the item that gave the bonus.

Let's say your venom skill displays 1000 damage. You equip an item which grants +50%. Your skill will now display 1500 damage (1000*1.5). When you cast venom and take a look at your character screen, without taking off the +% source, you'll notice that your damage has increased not with 1500 but with 2250! (1500*1.5) Unequipping the +% source will cause the added damage to drop to 1500.

Another one of venom's great features is that it completely bypasses Energy Shield and Bone Armor.

Unfortunately, venom is dominant in relation to other poison damage sources. It will convert all durations to 0.4, 0.5 or 0.8 seconds. Great, extra damage, right? No, only the duration is converted, not the damage. As an example, Ill show what happens to a 290 poison SC;

A 290 SC deals its damage in 10 seconds. Along with venom, this becomes; 290*(0.4/10) = 12 psn damage, without the PvP penalty and 75% resists. So every 290 SC will increase your damage with 12/6*0.25 ~ 1. The morality of this little story: DO NOT USE POISON CHARMS ALONG WITH VENOM.