"More" & "Increased"
Wait, are these different?
Yes, they are - and they are two of the most important words (along with their counterparts Less and Reduced) in PoE's language. Unlike other keywords, I include them here because almost no other game text will make sense without a discussion of these terms.
Most games with modifiers applied to skills are somewhat inconsistent about how those modifiers stack with one another, or at least it is difficult to tell at a glance how they stack. PoE solves this by making a distinction between Increased (or Reduced) modifiers, which stack additively, and More (or Less) modifiers, which stack multiplicatively. We'll see what this means in a moment.
In PoE, almost any number associated with your character - from your Attributes like Strength, to the damage of your Spells, to the amount of loot you get - can be modified by at least one effect in the game. PoE has three possible ways in which you can modify a stat, and in order of application, they are:
- "Additional", or just +2, +3, etc. Additional stats are added directly to the base value and affected by other modifiers.
- Note: Some skills have a "damage effectiveness" listed on them that acts as a multiplier to any added damage. So, say, a spell with a damage effectiveness of 30% would gain 3 damage (not 10) from an item that says "Adds 10 cold damage to spells".
- "Increased" or "Reduced" modifiers, which are by far the most common. All relevant Increased or Reduced modifiers are added together (with Increased mods positive and Reduced ones negative), then applied all at once to the base effect (plus any Additional effects attached to it).
- "More" or "Less" modifiers. Each More or Less modifier applies separately as a multiplier: for example, 50% More multiplies the value by 1.5.
The important thing to note is that Increased modifiers are effectively giving you a percent of the base amount, and More modifiers are effectively giving you a percent of the final amount. As a result, More and Less modifiers are usually far more powerful than Increased or Reduced modifiers. This is the big takeaway - if you don't want to worry about the math, just remember that.
(Strictly speaking there is one other type of modifier, called a Multiplier. As of Match 2019, these modifiers are found only for Cold- and Chaos-based Damage over Time. Multiplier modifiers are added together, then multiplied to the main skill - kind of like a separate batch of Increased modifiers. For example, a +10% Multiplier and a +20% Multiplier effectively combine into a single 30% More damage modifier. Multiplier modifiers are found in only a few builds, though, so for the most part you won't need to worry about them.)
A Math Example
Suppose you have a Spell that deals 80 base Cold damage (and has a Damage Effectiveness of 100%). You have the following modifiers on your character - possibly from your items, your passive tree, or by some other effect on you:
- Adds 20 Cold Damage to Spells
- 30% Increased Spell Damage
- 80% Increased Cold Damage
- 90% Increased Cold Damage
- 50% More Cold Damage
- 100% More Cold Damage
To calculate the final damage, we follow these steps:
- Add any additional damage. In this case, your base 80 damage has another 20 Cold Damage added to it from the first mod, resulting in a total of 100 Cold Damage after the first step.
- Combine all Increased modifiers. In this case, we have 30% Increased Spell Damage + 80% Increased Cold Damage + 90% Increased Cold Damage = 200% Increased Damage (note that the Spell increase and the Cold increase work exactly the same way). This increase is applied as a single block to the value from the first step, multiplying it by (1 + 200/100) = 3 (in other words, increasing it by 200%). This results in a total of 300 Cold Damage after the second step.
- Apply each More modifier individually to the damage from the second step. The 50% More Cold Damage multiplies by 1.5, for a total of 450, and the 100% More Cold Damage multiplies this in turn by 2, for a total of 900 Cold Damage.
To see how a More modifier can be far more powerful than an Increased one, imagine that we could, at this point, choose between 10% Increased or 10% More damage. Let's compare how much each would add to the 900 damage we already have:
- An extra 10% Increased gets added to our existing 30, 80, and 90% Increased modifiers at the second step, resulting in a multiplier of (1 + 210/100) = 3.1. So after the second step, we have 310 Cold Damage, instead of 300. This, in turn, gets multiplied by 1.5 (resulting in 465 damage) and by 2 (resulting in 930 final damage). In other words, our total damage increased by 30, or a little bit more than 3%. Note that 10% Increased damage did not actually raise our final total by 10%! This is typical of Increased modifiers - the more you have, the less difference each additional point makes in relative terms.
- An extra 10% More, however, is applied at the end as a multiplier of 1.1, resulting in a total of 990 damage after the third step. In other words, 10% More Damage actually adds 10% of what we already had, and as a result the More modifier here is effectively triple the power of the Increased modifier.
Again, the takeaway here is that More modifiers are usually very very powerful, and Increased modifiers (while still relevant) are much less so. The difference grows the more Increased modifiers you have in play.
This is a greatly simplified example, and in real cases there are usually far more modifiers at work. The details of how modifiers on you interact can be complex, but this is the basic structure that any additional details branch off of, so it's important to understand this structure first before continuing.