Let me first say like everyone else, I started out loving this expansion. “They fixed Diablo” I said to all my friends. We all rushed out and bought the game together and loved the first week of it… and then things started to change.
I now have over 300 hours in the expansion (no life, I am aware) and I’ve unfortunately noticed some pretty sad trends that I decided to invest some time and effort into exploring and understanding. I also wanted to clear up most of the misconeceptions about the drop system currently employed in this game.
A little about me before I delve into the details. I am an IT networking administrator who also happened to play poker professionally online for 6 years and for 3 of those I also played live poker as part of my routine. During this time I accumulated over 8 million total hands of poker played all while maintaining a positive win rate. How does this pertain to a game like Diablo you ask? RNG.. Variance…..return on investment etc all sort of fit into this world. We all know that RNG is the current buzzword floating around these forums and many others… but how much of Diablo’s loot system is actually RNG?
What I am going to attempt to explain over the next few paragraphs is what and how the current drop system works and what you can do to take advantage of it, or just for your own good to better understand how it works and why it works that way.
My theory (which I am confident in being correct) that very little about when a drop occurs is based on “RNG”and the only aspect of RNG is what drops, not when. I believe that drops are completely time controlled to maintain an even flow of legendaries into the game world. What does this mean for you and why should you be upset? It means that no matter how fast, or efficient you are at killing you will on average get the exact same number of legendaries as Johnny casual that kills at 1/10th the rate that you do. How did I come to this conclusion? 16 hours of comparison (small sample size) with a good friend of mines girlfriend who is the very definition of casual. I started to suspect such a system was in place the stronger my character became and a plotting of the last few days of legs in my clans news. My DH is currently top 250 on Dprogress for elite DPS. I can absolutely face roll T1 and T2 so I figured this would be a good testing ground to compare with her. My friends GF was up for the help so we both started running T1’s solo. Her crusader is a 200k DPS tank and she has 0 idea about efficiency or movement speed. She was clearing around 1 T1 / hour(insanely slow on a crusader with no points into movement) compared to my 5-6. Over the course of 16 hours we both averaged 1.5 leg / hr. This was done over 4 sessions of roughly 4 hours of play. This system appears to be in place to balance the no lifers with the casuals as far as gear progression goes.
This is why chest farming and purple farming was so popular before the nerf. They are not on the timer controlled system of drops and had an actual drop %. Using a system like this, the more times you roll the dice the more times you’ll hit big… and that is just what people were doing and were able to bypass the intended drop rate and achieve some really high numbers of 10-20 / hr. And as a result it was more rewarding than actually playing the game (which is what Blizzard doesn’t want so it was consequently nerfed) The more times you killed manglemaw, and the more times you opened a chance the more legs you would get simply for the fact you were spinning the slot machine more times. This chance also increased per level of difficulty which is why it was so much better on T6 compared to T1.
What system are we left with now? The timer system I referred to before. My theory on how it works is this, Each difficulty has an average leg / hour that it attempts to maintain over the long term. Everytime a legendary drop occurs for you it resets to an amount somewhere between 5 seconds and 140 minutes with a higher chance to reset somewhere in the middle, and a lower chance to reset to the extremes (RNG) An example would be something like this:
Normal – Master = 1.25 L / Hour over 100 hours would = 125 Legs
T1 = 1.5 L / Hour over 100 hours would = 150 Legs
T2 = 1.65 L / Hour over 100 hours would = 165 Legs Etc
With it probably capping around 2.25 L / Hour for Torment 6 which is why you’ve seemingly seen Legendarys rain from the sky for those able to stay alive in T6.
“But Thacker… I’ve gotten 3 legs back to back and blah blah blah”
This is variance, plain and simple. Short term variance built into a system designed to average out over a certain time. This also explains why you can hit 2 packs of goblins in a rift… and not see a single leg drop. If the timer doesn’t permit it, you could kill 500 goblins and not get a drop. Lengendary drops simply aren’t based off a % drop.
But this also brings me to my next point… the “Rested XP Legendaries”
Ask anyone who doesn’t play for 1-2 days… even more. Does their luck suddenly seem better for the first few hours after logging back on? From everyone I’ve talked to… yes it does. Why does this seem to be? The same way that WoW has a rested XP catchup system, so does this game. This also explains why after the “hotfix” everyone was noticing greatly increased drop rates… I believe we were given max “rested” XP as a bonus on the hotfix. I know that for the first night after logging in I got 5-6 legs very quickly and then over the next few days it dwindled down to my current rate. My friend who didn’t log in for 3 days after the hotfix? Also noticed greatly increased drop rates for the first few hours which has now also fizzled to around the 1.5 / hour mark. This also helps explain why a person joining your group and seemingly “taking your Leg drops” might be receiving more than you for that time period. He might have just logged on which would explain him just joining your farm group, and you might be seeing this rested leg system showing off.
Next point will be legendary tiers, and this is the one that bothers me the most. It’s pretty obvious by now that certain items are simply much more common than others. Blackthornes set… certain bracers, gloves and belts…. Along with every other item category has tiers that it can drop. So while the actual droprate is completely controlled by a timer, what you get is most definietely RNG and it’s absolutely worthless for a singleplayer game without economy and in its current implementation, it’s completely out of balance What appears to happen is this:
X amount of time passes and you are now eligible for a leg drop:
Ding – Leg Drop
Chance for Item to = Normal Legendary / Non Class Specific Set (Blackthornes) 98%
Chance for Item to = Class Set 2%
Now if Normal Legendary is selected, it then rolls based on a tier system
Tier 1 (Saffron wrap, broken promises, gungdo gear) = 50%
Tier 2 (puzzle ring, lower class weapons, certain chests / boots etc)= 25%
Tier 3 (Mid tier weapons like windforce etc, firewalkers and better amulets) = 12.5 %
Tier 4 (Higher end gear such as cindercoat, andariels etc) = 6%
Unobtainables (Ice Climbers, Witching Hour, Calamity, Kridershot) = 0.0000000001 %
This system I have a personal beef with, because I’ve looked for a Kridershot over 300 hours / 300 paragon levels and gambled over 25k shards for one. There’s simply no reason I should be locked out from having an item soley by this system. In D2 and D3 I could trade for the item I wanted with someone of = value. The only way to fix this is to make all of the items have the exact same drop potential.
This system simply does not work in a game where trading is not allowed. People WILL get geared, but not everyone will be able to have the gear they want to play with… which is what a diablo game is about. We are ENTITLED to enjoy the game with everything the game has to offer, not be locked behind what the game decides to drop us. Without trading, and without a way to specifically target items you have lost one of the main reasons why the Diablo franchise is so enjoyable. I believe they are completely aware of these problems, which is why Kadala and the rested XP legendary timer exist, to assist those that can’t play all the time have the gear they want.
Is this system exploitable in anyway? Only one… and that is Kadala. Kadala appears to work completely off a % drop rate, but she still holds true to the drop % of the tiers. You might have a 1% chance to roll an item everytime you gamble a slot from Kadala, but you’ll still be fighting against the tier system if you want a certain piece of gear. For every kridershot you see, you’ll see 200 windforces, ravens, and cluckeyes. If you want to really exploit this and get many more legs / hour, simply try the rift it forward community that’s going on right now. Running with that crew I am able to get my 1.5 / 2 legs from rifts, and another 4-5 / hour from leeching rift shards.
Now Blizzard… I totally understand WHY this system is in place. It’s there so the sword and board barb slow farming T5 is able to get the same rewards as the no lifer blowing through T5 and 6 four times as fast. Blizzard seems to feel that if you are able to survive and complete a T5 rift, you should be rewarded just as well as the person that breezes through it. It’s the no man left behind philosophy of game design. Promote build diversity and gear diversity over speed and efficiency. The problem with the community is this… we want to kill as fast as possible and be as efficient as possible… but with this team managing diablo we simply won’t ever get rewarded for that style of play.
I hope this has been informative to some, and I hope with more pressure on the developers and feedback on forums like this, we are able to get the game moving back in the right direction. I had so much hope after RoS. I will continue to play as I do enjoy the game.. I just don’t look forward to how long its going to take me to get this Kridershot (if I ever do)
-No matter how fast you kill, how efficient you are Johnny casual at 1/10th your rate will average the same legs as you, and even has a chance at better luck and getting better items