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What is ‘Fortified’ in Diablo 4 and how does it work?

You should put Fortify in your build (if you can)

A Barbarian with a Fortified health bar attacks a door in Diablo 4 Image: Blizzard Entertainment via Polygon
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

Diablo 4 adds quite a few new terms and effects to the series, including Fortify. Fortify is a special damage reduction tool available to Barbarians, Druids, and Necromancers. (Sorry, Rogues and Sorcerers!) It’s also needlessly complicated and poorly explained in-game.

In this guide, we’ll teach you everything you’ll ever need to know about the Fortify effect in Diablo 4.

What is Fortified?

A Barbarian looks at his menu, which shows how much damage reduction they  have from Fortified Image: Blizzard Entertainment via Polygon

Fortify is an incredible defensive tool that’s new to Diablo 4, and it’s not explained very well — even for veterans of the series.

There are two parts to Fortify: Fortify generation and Fortify use. Certain skills from Druids, Barbarians, and Necromancers create Fortify (which looks like a dull red color that overlaps your health bar). But having some Fortify on your health bar doesn’t mean you are Fortified, which is where things get complicated.

You only become Fortified when your current health drops below the amount of Fortify you currently have. Once you are Fortified, you take 10% less damage from all sources.

As an example, let’s say you have 2,700 Fortify built up on your health bar but have 4,200 health. When you take damage, you’ll lose health normally until your health bar dips below 2,700. From that point on, all damage you take will be reduced by 10%.

However, you will also lose your Fortify alongside your life. So if you’re healing faster than you’re generating Fortify, you’re going to lose the damage reduction. In order to maintain the buff, you should attempt to max out your Fortify (equal to your max health) before taking a large hit of damage.

How to generate Fortify in Diablo 4

A Barbarian does a dungeon while hovering over the health bar in Diablo 4 Image: Blizzard Entertainment via Polygon

A 10% reduction in all damage is pretty good, but it’s not amazing. Still, Fortify can be an incredible buff, and is used in many different builds, as you can enhance it to make it stronger.

Putting sapphires in your armor, for example, can further reduce the amount of damage you take while Fortified. And if you focus on enhancing Fortify, you can bump that number up from 10% all the way to 40%+ reduced damage. That’s a major difference, and can significantly impact how survivable your character is.

As for generating Fortified, only certain abilities from certain classes can do it. And just using your natural abilities isn’t going to help you generate much. However, there are some incredible Legendary items and Aspects that streamline the process of generating Fortify.

Barbarians, for example, have an Aspect called Numbing Wrath, which makes it so all Fury generated past your maximum Fury will create Fortify. When used properly, this can create a build where your Barbarian is constantly at max Fortify, which in turn means (if you’re buffing the damage reduction) you could permanently take 40%+ reduced damage.

Finally, Fortify is crucial if you’re running a build that deals heavy Overpower damage.