In-depth Analysis on Prefix Effect II: Armor


In the second part of the guide, the prefix effect for armor will be discussed. Unlike weapon, armor effect has a cooldown after its activation. Agan, i will only focus on effect which is useful in PVE. PVP-oriented prefix effect will not be looked into at the moment.

Refer to PART I of the guide for prefix effect of weapon.
In-depth Analysis on Prefix Effect I: Weapon


The most popular prefix for armor is the Life prefix: there is a chance to recover a certain amount of HP when you are hit. The reason for its popularity is the cooldown for the activation is the shortest: 5sec.

The amount % HP recovery varies with armor type and class. 4 parts of Life armor parts (no life prefix for helm) give a total of 3.1% HP recovery for cleric, 4.0% for warrior, 6.6% for sorceress and archer. The % Hp recovery will be increased when the armor is enchanted beyond +8. For example, the basic Hp recovery for cleric life armor is 1.05%, after +8, the Hp recovery becomes 1.15% (approximately 10% increase).


It was recently discovered that iron wall and curtain prefix effect were mistranslated.  Instead of reducing damage received BY 25%, the iron wall and curtain prefix has a chance of reducing phy or mag damage received TO 25%.

While the chance of activation is the same as life, the main reason that most players stay away from those 2 prefixes is the long cooldown.  For example, the activation cooldown for iron wall/curtain prefix armor and pants is 2min 5sec. The cooldown will be reduced by roughly 15% if you manage to +8 the armor.

Despite the long cooldown, can the iron wall and curtain prefix armor be more effective than the life prefix armor?

To answer this question, first we need to understand that, HP recovery effect of the life prefix is also a form of damage reduction. So the damage reduction effect from iron wall/curtain prefix effect can actually be compared with life prefix quantitatively.


I have categorized the armor parts according to their activation chance: 25% High (H) chance armor (shirt, pant and helm) and 12.4% Low (L) chance armor (glove and shoe). Fortunately, the activation chance for Life, iron wall, curtain and intelligence prefix are all similar for a particular armor parts. Table I shows the activation chance for all possible combinations of High chance and Low chance armor.

Table I: Armor parts combinations and their activation chance

Life Prefix Combination

This is where things get very interesting. For Life prefix, you would want to equip as many as possible parts (max 4 parts, because life prefix helm doesn’t exist) to increase the chance of activation.

The  combination that gives you the highest chance of HP recovery activation is H+H+L+L (shirt, pants, glove, shoe) , which offers 41% for one part to activate, 13.8% for two parts to activate, 1.9% for 3 parts to activate and 0.1 % for all 4 parts upon receiving the first hit. This means there is a total of 56.8% (1 in every 1~2 hits) of chance to activate at least one part and heal your HP upon receiving the first hit.  If more than 1 part activate, the % HP recovery will be higher of course (or you can say that those HP recovery effect stacks). Since the cooldown is merely 5sec, you would expect the effect to trigger quite often.

However, remember that you need to get HIT to trigger the Hp recovery effect. That means while trying to recover HP, you might actually lose more HP if you receive higher damage than the HP recovery amount. This is especially true because the Hp recovery amount is actually very low for individual part.

Iron wall / Curtain Prefix Combination

On the other hand, we have Iron Wall and Curtain prefixes which have very high damage reduction, up to 75%. However, the cooldowns are 1min 40sec (helm), 2min 5sec (shirt and pants) and 2min 55sec (shoe and glove).

Once the damage reduction effect activates, a buff stays on your character for certain duration: 3sec for helm/glove/ shoe and 6 sec for shirt/pants.  The buff is very useful because it protects you from further life-threatening combo from bosses, for example the 3-hit earthquake punch of archbishop or the2-hit raise-leg chasing stomp of Monta in sea dragon nest.

The chances of activation for Curtain/Iron wall prefix parts are the same as the corresponding life parts. However, you can wear up to all 5 parts of curtain/iron wall prefix armor parts.  This gives you a 67.6% chance to activate the damage reduction effect.

However, the % damage reduction in Dragon Nest is capped at 80% only. Let say, you receive a 30% damage reduction buff from a priest and the 75% damage reduction buff from Iron wall prefix. The total damage reduction from phy. damage should be 30%+75% > 100%. In theory, you should receive 0 damage. However, due to the 80% damage reduction cap, you will still receive 20% of the damage. Even if 2 parts of the iron wall prefix activate upon hit, you will only get a maximum of 80% max damage reduction. The second part which activates can be considered as wasted.

To avoid this problem, it is not advisable to wear a full set of iron wall armor or a full set of curtain armor unless you want extreme protection from phy or mag damage. Take a close look at Table I. What we want is a combination which gives us:

* the highest possible 1 part activation 
* low chance possible 2 or more part activation
* low chance for 0 part activation.

3 parts and 4 parts combinations give very good chance for 1 part activation. However, 4 parts tend to have higher chance for 2 or more part activation (wasted activation). On the other hand, 3 parts have higher chance for 0 part activation (no damage reduction triggered). I can’t tell you exactly which combination is the best, but the choice will largely depend on how safe you want to be and how often you willing to waste some of the activations.


After understanding both the properties for life and iron wall/curtain prefix effects, it is finally time to compare the damage reduction effect. I will define an important determining parameter called Damage Reduction per Minute (DRM).

DRM is introduced to take into consideration the long cooldown effect for the iron wall/curtain and intelligence prefix effect. In other words, DRM allows you to spread the damage reduction over time, even if it is just activated once over a long cooldown period and tell you how much damage you can reduce per minute.

For simplicity, I will only compare Life prefix and Iron wall prefix for A rank sorceress armor. Intelligence and Curtain prefix or other classes gears follows more or less the same argument. Also, the comparison is done by assuming you are wearing only one piece of armor and no combination effect.

Life – High (H) chance part: When being hit, 25% of chance to recover 2.25% of Max HP. CD 5sec.
Life – Low (H) chance part: When being hit, 12.4% of chance to recover 1.05% of Max HP. CD 5sec
Iron wall – High (H) chance part: When being hit, 25% of chance to reduce phy damage to 25%. CD 2min 5sec.
Iron Wall – Low (H) chance part: When being hit, 12.4% of chance to reduce phy damage to 25%. CD 2min 55sec.

High chance parts refer to shirt and pants. Helm is not included in the comparison because there is no life prefix helm, though there is iron wall helm. Low chance parts refer to shoes and glove.

3 important factors that affect the efficiency of damage reduction have been identified:
* Max HP
* Damage received per hit
* Frequency of you receiving hit (number of hits received per minute).

The changes of DRM under the variation of the 3 factors are shown in Fig. 1.

Fig. 1 : The effect of (a) Max HP (b) Damage received per hit and (c) Number of hit received per minute on damage reduction per minute for Life and Iron wall prefix armor

Max HP
Refer to Fig. 1(a)

DRM for Life prefix armor increases with higher Max HP.
DRM for Iron wall prefix armor is constant regardless of Max HP.

Assuming the char is receving 6 Hit per minute, each hit deals 10,000 damage,
H: Life is better than Iron wall if your max HP > 110,000
L: Life is better than Iron wall if your max HP > 300,000

Interpretation: It is very clear that the life prefix efficiency is closely tied to the Max HP of the char because it heals a percentage of the Max HP. You will get higher healing amount if your Max HP is higher.  Otherwise, if you have low HP, iron wall would be much more efficient. Also note, Life glove and shoe are very inefficient as compared to Iron wall glove and boots. Typically, you will need extremely high amount of HP to make the Life glove and shoe worthwhile.

Damage Received per Hit:
Refer to Fig. 1(b)

DRM for Life prefix armor is constant regardless of the damage received per hit.
DRM for Iron wall prefix armor increases with higher damage received per hit.

Assuming the char has 60,000HP and is receiving 6 hits per minute,
H: Iron wall is better than Life if the damage received per hit > 6000
L: Iron wall is better than Life if the damage received per hit > 2000

Interpretation: The efficiency of Iron wall prefix increases with higher damage received per hit. Life prefix is only good if the damage deal to you is low. In other words, you will need to have high defence or when the monster deals low damage to you to make good use of the Life prefix.  On the other hand, iron wall will protect you from receiving heavy damage if it triggers at the right time, since it reduces a hefty 75% of the damage.

Number of Hits Received per Minute
This basically refers to the frequency of you getting hit. Refer to Fig. 1(c).

DRM for Life prefix armor increases with higher number of hits received per minute.
DRM for Iron wall prefix armor is constant regardless of numbers of hits receive per minute (provided that the frequency exceed a certain minimum threshold).

Assuming the char has 60,000HP and each hit deals 10,000 damage,
H: Life is better than Iron wall if the number of hits received per minute > 11
L: Life is better than Iron wall if the number of hits received per minute > 31

Interpretation: Life prefix is good only if you are getting hit very often. Having said that, if your defence or Max HP is high enough, receiving as much as 11 or more hits per minute in a high difficulty nest is simply suicidal.  Unless you are a tanker, who use block and various invincible skills most of the time (whichdoesn’t even trigger the life prefix!) while getting hit, most skilled player will not get hit at such a high frequency in normal nest.  If you rarely get hit, using iron wall prefix would generally be more efficient.


* If you have high max Hp, Life is more efficient; if you have low max HP, Iron wall is more efficient.

* If you receive low damage (high defence), Life is more efficient; if you receive high damage (low defence), Iron wall is more efficient.

* If you get hit very often, Life is more efficient; if you seldom get hit, Iron wall is more efficient.

Iron / Curtain prefix has a very serious flaw: it reduces either phy. or mag. damage. It is absolutely possible for magic attack to trigger the iron wall prefix effect orphysical attack to trigger the curtain prefix; the effect will be wasted.

Life prefix on the other hand, reduces both physical and magical damage indirectly by healing your hp. Do consider that factor too when choosing which prefix you want to add to your armor.


While intelligence prefix offers low damage reduction as compared to Iron wall and Curtain, it adds a more useful stats: Int which gives you more m.att, MP, and mag defence. It also has slightly shorter cd as compared to Iron wall and Curtain (1min 40 sec for shirt+ pants, 1min15sec for helm, 2min 5sec for shoe)

It also protects you from both phy. and mag. damage, but only if it is ELEMENTAL  (we rarely see elemental phy attack though). Since the effect gives 20% elemental resist, you will be seeing 20% damage reduction from elemental attack.

An important feature of intelligence prefix is that the effect stacks effectively with other damage reduction buff because elemental resist is calculated separately from other damage reduction %.

Damage received= base damage received x (1-% damage reduction) x (1-% elemental resist)

While the % damage reduction is cap at 80%, % elemental resist has no known cap (probably it is 100%).  This means it will give additional damage reduction on top of other buff or iron wall/curtain buff effect, to further reduce the elemental damage received.
Some deadly elemental damage skills in Sea Dragon Nest (SDN) are Ring of Fire/Fire Charging by Lava Golem, AOE lighting and ice rain from the lizard brothers, Monta Poison Field and Sea Dragon’s Breath/Ice Claw/Ice flower.

Sea Dragon Breath and Prefix Buff
Sea Dragon Breath dispels all buffs from you, including prefix effect buffs. However, the damage for first hit of the attack will be reduced by the buffs, while subsequent hits from breath will deal full damage to you.

There are two category of dragon breath:
Single Hit type: Swoop (Linear) Dragon Breath , Fan-shaped (Frontal) Dragon Breath
Multi-hit type: Rotating Dragon Breath, Side Dragon Breath
Prefix-triggered elemental resist, or any other prefix buff will be good against the single hit type while almost useless against the multi-hit type.  Unfortunately, the single hit type of dragon breath is very easy to dodge; the multi-hit type is much more deadly.


Table II shows the base stats for various 50A armor prefix. It briefly tells you what is the trade-off for choosing a certain prefix over other prefixes. Again only the stats that shows the meaning of the prefix are listed. Some prefixes give you additional stats on top of the one listed here.

Table II: Bonus stats for 50A armors with variuos prefixes


Below are just examples of possible combinations and the outcome that you will get from the combinations. They are not listed because of superiority as compared to other combinations. It’s purely for illustration purpose.

Combination 1:
Iron wall: Helm, Glove, Shoe
Life: Pants, Shirt
Effect: 42.4% chance to reduce phy damage to 75%~80%. 43.7% chance to heal HP.
Pros: Good protection from phy damage. Medium HP healing capability.
Cons: Weak against magical damage.
* Suitable for mages, archer or any class which is weak to physical damage and has high magical defence.

Combination 2:
Curtain: Helm, Glove, Shoe
Life: Pants, Shirt
Efffect: 42.4% chance to reduce mag damage to 75%~80%. 43.7% chance to heal HP.
Pros: Good protection from mag damage. Medium HP healing capability.
Cons: Weak against phy damage.
* Suitable for sword master, archer or any class which is weak to mag damage and has high phy defence.

Combination 3:
Int: Shirt, Helm
Iron wall: Pants, Glove, Shoe
Effect: 42.4% chance reduce phy damage to 75%~80%. 43.7% to reduce elemental damage by 20%~40%.
Pros: Good protection from phy. damage. Medium protection from elemental damage.
Cons: No HP healing capability.
* Suitable for dungeons with high phy damage and medium elemental damage.

Combination 4:
Int: Shirt
Iron Wall: Pants, Helm
Curtain: Glove, Shoe
Effect: 20% chance to reduce elemental damage by 20%, 43.7% chance reduce phy damage to 75%~80%. 23.3% to reduce magical damage by 75%~80%.
Pros: Good protection from phy. damage. Small protection from mag. damage. Additional elemental protection on top of the iron wall and curtain prefix.
Cons: No HP healing capability.
* Suitable for dungeons with high elemental mag. and phy damage.

Combination 5:
Life: Shirt, Pant, Glove, Shoe
Helm: Int
Effect: 56.8% chance to heal HP. 20% of chance to reduce elemental damage by 20%
Pros: Highest chance to recover HP. Small protection against elemental damage.
Cons: Susceptible to high damage skills.
* Suitable for high hp and high phy+mag def character (normally paladin/priest), or char with various damage reduction skill/buff (mercenary) who rarely receive life-threatening high damage skills. This is actually one of the mainstream combination and probably one of the most popular combination now.

Note that I don’t take any credit on this post. Credits to Chaose5 from MMOsite forum. Thread Link is here. You can go over to look at the various arguments.

Posted on August 8, 2011, in Armor and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Hi, are you going to make an analysis for geared towards pvp?

    • Hi there. We have played PvPs in foreign servers using our own PvE equipment. And at that time, the equipment was not introduced with all these new prefixes. Hence, we are not quite sure whether there is any need to prepare 2 different sets of equipment for PvE and PvP.

      We welcome any experienced players who can give us more information about that, while in the mean time, we will try to find out more information regarding this.


  2. sir, in dnSEA, we still dont have the “life” prefix, i thnk. so, what alternative combination can i use if im a magical paladin? thankyou for answering. 🙂

  3. hi:)
    im playing dnSEA also, want to know what combination should i use if im a acrobat. now i use all wind type armors and weapons for high damage and also a high chance to do crits. but i found out that i focus more on damage and forget about deffece. which is i think not good for acrobats… need help to improve my set…TYVM.:)

  4. Should i use life or wind as an acrobat for pvp purpose? Tear drop can i add you ON MSN? seem like we have the same goal.

  5. im a force user what is the best combination of equipment is suitable for me???

  6. hi im playing dragon nest sea. . mercenary. . what you mean of LIFE?. life = VIT? hmm

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