Resists and Resisting Spells-

Starting with Resists - You may have noticed that on your main status bar are 5 little tiny icons with numbers next to them.
There is a little shield for PHYSICAL
An orangish-red flame for FIRE
A blue cirle thing (maybe a snowflake?) for COLD
A green skull and crossbones for POISON
and a purple lightning bolt for ENERGY

Each resist ranges from 0 to 70 and is actually pretty straight forward in terms of what it does. At 70 you block 70% of that damage type, at 35 you block 35% of that damage type.

The ideal resistance armor set would be 70 in each resist. That being said resists aren't always the most important thing to consider in your armor. Anything above 60 in a resist is considered fairly decent.

Say for example you get hit for 40 fire damage - if you have 70 fire resist you take 12 damage, at 60 fire resist you'd take 16 damage. 4 damage can add up fast - 5 extra hits is 20 extra hit points- but don't always get caught up in resists. You may have 60 in a resist but as a result may be wearing 4 armor pieces with + 5 hp- right off the bat you can see the potential for other properties being worth the trade off.

Without getting too much into resists things like mana regeneration, lower mana cost, defense chance increase, hit point increase, might be a fair trade off for a few resist points here and there.

Back to resists and damage- you have 5 different types of resists and monsters/players can do damage to you in each of those types. Let's go back to our example of 40 fire damage. Let's pretend that instead of that being 100% fire damage it was 50% fire damage and 50% cold damage. That would then mean that you would do a combined 40 dmg - 20 of which would be fire, 20 of which would be cold. The resists are then applied to each damage type.
i.e. fire resist would apply to 20 of the fire dmg, cold resist would apply to the cold dmg.

If you had 70 fire resist and 0 cold resist you would take - 30% of the fire damage (6 dmg) and 100% of the cold damage (20 dmg) so you would have taken 26 damage, whereas if it had all been fire damage at 70 resist you would have only taken the 12 damage. This is why you need to keep all your resists up, any one low resist makes you have a weakness. Against monsters (PvM) you can pick your foe accordingly i.e. avoid dragons if you have low fire, but in PvP players will exploit your weaknesses! Being well rounded in your resists is important.

That being said typically Physical and Fire dmg are the most common in both PvP and PvM.

To help you plan here is a table showing basic spells and their damage type:

Magic Arrow – Fire damage
Harm – Cold damage
Fireball – Fire damage
Lightning – Energy damage
Mind Blast – Cold damage
Energy Bolt – Energy damage
Explosion – Fire damage
Flame Strike – Fire damage
Chain Lightning – Energy damage
Meteor Swarm – Fire damage
Earthquake – Physical damage

As another note- don't expect to go toe for toe against a heavy hitting monster without 65-70 in each resist. (unless of course you are a mage/archer and can keep your distance i.e. get hit less often, even still resists are still important)

It should be noted that in PvP damage is capped at 100% damage increase, for PvM it is capped at 300% damage increase. (damage from tactics/anatomy is not considered part of the damage increase)

Resisting Spells - The skill that people neglect and why it is important

Resisting spells only works on a handful of spells so people often don't consider it important as it will do nothing to stop that flamestrike from wiping you out- but right off the bat it sets a minimum for each of your resists.

Your minimum resist is equal to: (resisting spells skill *10 - 400) / 15
At GM resisting spells or above your minimum resist is equal to: (resisting spells + 100) /5

Here is a quick reference for what levels at resisting spells sets you minimum resist at:

Resisting Spells Skill Minimum Resist
40 and below 0
44.5 5
55 10
70 20
85 30
100 40
110 42
120 44

The spells that are impacted by resisting spells are: clumsy, mana drain, paralyze field, weaken, curse, mana vampire, poison, feeblemind, paralyze, poison field, blood oath, mind rot, corpse skin and pain spike.

Here is a quick guide about how resisting spells works:

Clumsy - Reduces target's Dexterity by ( (8 + (Evaluating Intelligence) / 10 - (Resisting Spells) / 10 )
Mana Drain - Mana lost = caster's Evaluating Intelligence + 40 - target's Resisting Spells
Paralyze - Paralyze lasts for (caster's Evaluating Intelligence / 10 - target'sResisting Spells / 10) in seconds (Paralyze field at 120 resist results in 2 seconds paralyzed)
Weaken - Decreases target's strength by a percentage: ( Evaluating Intelligence /10 ) + 8 ) - ( Resisting Spells / 10 )
Curse - works the same as weaken/feeblemind/clumsy more or less (within a few points)
Mana Vampire - Mana drained = Caster's Evaluating Intelligence - Target'sResisting Spells
Poison/Poison field- gives you a chance to resist the poison completely (the higher the resist the better the chance)
Blood Oath - ((caster's Spirit Speak - target's Resisting Spells) / 80 ) + 8 seconds = duration ALSO ((Resisting Spells Skill x 10) / 20) + 10 = percentage of damage resisted
MInd Rot - Effect lasts (caster's Spirit Speak - target's Resisting Spells) ÷ 5 + 20 in seconds
Corpse Skin- (caster's Spirit Speak - target's Resisting Spells) ÷ 2.5 + 40 in seconds
Pain Spike - (caster's Spirit Speak - target Resisting Spells) ÷ 100 + 18

There is a lot there to take in so let me give you some examples that drive home the importance of magic resistance. If you get hit with the spell pain spike in PvP with someone with 120 spirit speak the damage reduced by resisting spells can be quite substantial.

For example caster has 120 spirit speak you have 0 resisting spells - damage = ((120 - 0) / 100)) + 18 or 30 damage
Same scenario 120 spirit speak versus 120 resting spells - damage = ((120-120) / 100)) + 18 or 18 damage - 12 damage is a good chunk of change

Let's look at paralyze - 120 eval int versus 0 resisting spells means you could be frozen for 12 seconds versus 0 seconds. That can mean life/death in many situations and resisting a poison can mean an extra heal gets in.

On Oblivion we have an 1100 skill cap - meaning that you will always have room for this skill on your build. Hopefully this little discussion will encourage you to add it to your build if you don't already have it! I think you'll find that if you ask some of the best players on the shard about their build almost everyone (if not everyone) of them will have this skill in their build at higher than GM (most will strive for 120).

My warrior runs at 100 and my mage is 115 - I'd bump them both to 120 if i had the powerscrolls!

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