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Ward Tooltip - Better description; examples

A better explanation for Ward could help, I understand it is a damage mitigation pool separate from life. Gained like a ‘shield’ that damage (most types) before your life total is affected. However, I am not sure at what rate it decays, and a little explanation would suffice. If I have 250 ward, without combat / passive decay, how long does this last? 2.5s? 3s? 5s? Obviously it’s impossible to predict combat scenarios, but just a brief estimate would be awesome. It’s hard to build without knowing what kind of values I’m dealing with, and the respec cost is prohibitive toward mindless experimentation. On a tangent, I’m around level 30 so it is very expensive.

Secondly, as a new player, I have no idea how common ‘Ward’ suffixes/affixes are, adding more to the gamble of spec’ing into it prematurely. I’ve found for some reason 3 of the same unique that gain ward on hit (level 6), waiting for the rogue class to try a dual-wield scenario, assuming I can equip two of the same unique.

Did you take a look at the game guide (press G ingame). Also I’m not 100% but isn’t there a formular on mousover on “ward retention” on the character stats sheet ( C )?