Season 2 of Diablo 4 brings exciting new challenges and opportunities for Diablo enthusiasts. As a professional Diablo 4 guide author and player, I’m here to provide you with valuable insights on how to maximize your damage output (DPS) and bolster your defences to conquer the perils of Sanctuary.

When to Prioritize Crit and Vulnerable Damage
One of the most frequent questions I encounter is whether crit and vulnerable damage are still viable for character builds. The answer depends on your specific build, Paragon points, and various factors. In previous seasons, I would always recommend investing in crit and vulnerable damage because they act as multipliers, significantly enhancing your damage.
However, it’s crucial to understand the distinction between additive and multiplicative damage. Additive bonuses simply add to a single damage bucket, while multiplicative bonuses multiply with each other, resulting in greater damage gains. Here’s where the decision-making process comes into play.
Crit Chance: If your character doesn’t achieve 100% crit chance, additive crit damage becomes inefficient because it only applies when you actually crit. Most builds typically hover around 50% crit chance, making crit damage less effective.
Vulnerable Damage: Vulnerable damage remains valuable, especially when it’s a core component of your build. Some skills and passives interact with vulnerable damage, amplifying its effectiveness, making it a multiplicative bonus.
Core Skills: Many builds benefit from core skills, which come with hidden multipliers for damage over time or specific conditions. You should prioritize these skills if applicable.
Other Conditional Damage: Consider other forms of conditional damage that you can maintain consistently, such as damage to slowed or chilled enemies, as they often outperform additive bonuses.

Optimizing Gear for Season 2
The choice of gear greatly influences your character’s performance, and it varies depending on your class and playstyle. Here are general guidelines for optimizing your gear:
Helmet: Prioritize cooldown reduction, maximum life, and resource bonuses, unless you have a specific need for resistances.
Chest Piece: Look for damage reduction and resistances, with maximum life. Balancing resistances across different gear pieces is a smart strategy, and I have an article on perfect resistance management that you should check out.
Gloves: Focus on crit strike chance, attack speed, and skill bonuses. Main stats (e.g., dexterity or strength) can be valuable too.
Pants: Aim for life and consider adding dodge chance for added survivability.
Boots: While Penitent Gus was once the go-to choice, resistances, movement speed, and resource cost reduction have become more relevant in Season 2.
Weapons: Prioritize core skills, crit strike chance, and, in some cases, crit strike damage or other multiplicative damage bonuses.
Amulet: Include cooldown reduction, movement speed, and skill-specific bonuses. Max life and passive skill bonuses are also beneficial.
Rings: Crit strike chance, max life, and specific conditional damage bonuses are top priorities for rings.
Remember, gear optimization can vary based on your character class and playstyle. Always test and adjust to find the best combination for your character’s strengths.

Understanding Multiplicative Damage
To make the most of your gear and skills, understanding the concept of multiplicative damage is crucial. Multiplicative bonuses are more potent than additive ones, as they stack and amplify each other. Consider enabling the “Advanced Tooltip” setting to see the X multipliers in the game, as they play a significant role in maximizing your damage output.
For instance, if you have a 30% damage multiplier and a 50% damage multiplier, their combined effect isn’t 80%. Instead, it becomes 195% of your original damage due to the multiplicative nature of these bonuses. Therefore, prioritize stats and skills that offer multiplicative damage increases whenever possible.

Enhancing Defense in Season 2
If you find your character squishy or underpowered in Season 2, here are some valuable defensive strategies:
Aspect of Disobedience: This skill received a substantial buff and provides excellent armor for regular enemies. Obtain it by visiting Halls of the Damned and Heder St.
Barrier Skills: Look for skills that grant a barrier upon damaging an elite. You can unlock these by venturing to Lost Archives in the Fractured Peak.
Vampiric Powers: These powers can also improve your survival by enhancing your life leech capabilities.
Undying, Sanguine Brace, and Homan: Equip these defensive abilities to bolster your character’s survivability early in the game.
Resistance Management: For a comprehensive guide on managing resistances, check out my linked article in the comments.

By following these tips, you can maximize your damage output, optimize your gear, and enhance your defenses, making Season 2 of Diablo 4 an even more thrilling and successful experience.