Diablo® III

Legendary "Drop Rates" Explained (TLDR Warning)

04/18/2014 10:33 PMPosted by Fatcat
Probably one of the best posts I have ever seen explain something in a game. Every point you made makes 100% sense. Give this man a Medal.
he doesn't explain anything, even if it makes the most sense in the world, he merely speculating and I highly doubt that this is the way things are actually working because neither of us have enough records to reverse engineer the loot system and understand how it works.
04/19/2014 12:00 AMPosted by Falcon


Now that I'm playing my DH, I feel very discouraged. I've been getting the same rare drops over and over again, and the legs I get are not good ones. I haven't played must lately because I feel very bored with the game. The great items that were promised with the expansion just aren't there.

Before the expansion, my DH had very good gear, so I'm not finding items are much better than what she already had. What happened to the new gear that was supposed to be so great? It's not not there. This makes the game boring and frustrating to me.


This is kind of a separate issue, but falls back to my complaining about tier systeming the loot. It HAS to be this way... yes.. but they could make some of the insanely rare items much more common. I've completed 4 Danettas sets, and have yet to see a Calamity. I have gotten 5+ windforces and every other bow... but never saw a Kridershot. This is with 200+ hours JUST on my Demon hunter.
@topic

yes and no

yes, I agree that the system in place certainly is not "just" a simple rng based loot mechanism.

no, it does not go to that extreme that it is "only" a certain amount of legs per hour per difficulty that cannot be beaten by "efficiency".

I have pretty much "no lifed" RoS since launch as well, so I can add my own testimony here: Until you reach a really really high efficiency mark, your drops will always average out on the 1,5 per hour on t1. Higher torments will only net you roughly the same if you still kill at a reasonable speed (not necessarily very high though), but it does not really net you "more" via the timer per se, or if, it is hardly noticeable.

Meaning, if you progress in power and play "as intended" and move up in difficulty gradually, you usually stay at the same drop rate throughout all torments.

If you however min/max like a crazy man, the numbers change. +200 movementspeed and oneshoting elites on t1 nets 4 legs per hour on average. Funny thing though, I had 3,5 legs per hour on t1 before the "100%" buff. Very often though, the drops come in droves and draughts, but still average out on the 4 per hour mark.

Now if you move up the difficulties, it roughly stays the same, since you have to sacrifice movementspeed for deeps. I have done loads of testruns and lots of spreadsheet comparisons. My "clear speed" prolonges itself at a rough 17-18% per torment tick average. And the drop rate supposedly increases by 15% per tick. So on t4 I roughly get 3,8 legs per hour, so hardly any difference and in line with rng based drop rate that got increased with the 15% slider.

My addition to the "rare" items: yes, the rarer legs are so rare, that it is a real pain. I cannot see another hammer jammers or blackthorns any more. To have different rarity types is ok, but the different chances are grossly overdone. Rng already reigns supreme with more than 300 different legs and mandatory stats that have to roll, having yet another factor that reduces chances by a 100-500 fold just seems absurd.

What does that leave me with:

a) the time based mechanism is for the vast majority of players to make sure people get averages at least
b) the rng drop based chances are really really low to make sure exploits or crazy effective methods dont break the game completely.
c) rarity types have a really huge difference in drop chances (4 tiers of legs)
d) difficulty does not really reward, it is aimed at giving you the same overall by playing as intended, just giving you the same by doing the same over and over again.

--> all things that need some adjustment imho, since it does not promote challenge or a real feeling of pogression or goals to aim for.
Edited by page#2841 on 4/19/2014 12:17 AM PDT
I think he's right, I play with 2 friends in a lan setup quite often and the one who barely plays will get 4 legs seeming every session, yet I am lucky to see anything but I play much much more. It's literally like he gets the 4 in an hour that I spend 5 getting. No doubt there is loot pacing involved.
Just another anecdotal data entree here from me...

Before i got SoH (pre nerf of course), I was averaging about 1 leg per hour or less. After I got SoH, the rate went up to 2, and with my current gear currently averaging around 2.5 if I go try-hard mode (non stop rifts with zero downtime).

I don't doubt that the soft curve system (the one that blues acknowledged) doesn't let the 'hardcore/no-lifers' from differentiating themselves from casual too much... but to think that the opposite is the true (where casuals get better drops) seems wrong.
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04/18/2014 09:10 PMPosted by Bizi
i read...and then i went and put on my tin foil hat


With as closely controlled as this game is right now, you're completely naive if you think nothing the OP said is correct.

He is absolutely correct, and that is the #1 problem I have with the game right now. It is loot on rails, where they want everyone doing the same thing and gaining gear at a rate that they strictly specify. It is a system that doesn't reward efficiency as much as it should and in fact it punishes efficient farming methods because anything efficient promptly gets destroyed. All of this really makes for an increasingly dull and trite experience and is why I can only play for an hour or so now without getting bored and playing something else.
Edited by Koravayne#1802 on 4/19/2014 12:25 AM PDT
what i can say after all my playtime the op is absolut right, with every single statement.

nothing more to say. just a stupid mechanic.
While your theory has merit, I am having a very hard time believing that the devs completely eliminated %chance to drop for legendaries when killing monsters.
Great post OP, finally someone with good background of the subject explaining the possible RNG system in place. Yep I highly suspect the code for legendary drop rate is somehow seeded on time as well. It could be intended, or a side effect of their safety net code.

Although many are questioning the lack of evidence, there is another thread also floating around that has done extensive testing on drop rates as well. They are also hypothesizing the same theory by OP.

One more addition to taking advantage of this timer is to hoard ur horadic cache and only open them when you log back in the next day.

If this timer is truly in place, I guess I can take my time to play my alts rather than try to be efficient.
This is in response to finding the same # of legs as a noob
-You say you played poker for 6 years and talk about short term variance but you think 300 hours in a brand new game (expansion) with a ton of legendaries and an unknown drop rate qualifies as long term?

This is why the quality of items seems worse and worse
-You found great items when the game first came out because you had no legs, as you find better and better equipment it gets harder and harder to find upgrades so even though you're finding the same amount or more legs you scoff at them and complain "i never find anything and when i do its junk". Eventually you hit a wall that takes EXPONENTIALLY more time to find an upgrade than your last upgrade -

As for finding more of certain legs (BT sets and etc) Bliz has already said some legendaries have a higher drop rate than other so i agree with this, its true. Why make all the best gear easily available? the longevity on a game like this solely depends on people having a reason to keep farming. Its been out for less than a month if people had the best gear it would be poorly designed. That doesnt mean they have some system in place to reward casuals further, just come to luck.

If you played poker professionally for 6 years you should be able to go 5 hours without finding a leg and laugh it off because poker beats all irrational fear and emotion out of you regarding variance.
ah sry for my next post.. there is something the op is missing.

after hardcorefarming ( chest/leg mobs/rifts/ routes) i figured out something else.

whatever u do, if a set item droped, think about my words, do yourself a favour " log out of the game!!!" and back in ....cos otherwise u wont see a leg anymore in hours.

i dont know why this is, but this is the mechanic i learned from chestfarming and leg mobs and so, i figured, it is in rifts and in normal gameplay too.
04/19/2014 12:27 AMPosted by Wesker
While your theory has merit, I am having a very hard time believing that the devs completely eliminated %chance to drop for legendaries when killing monsters.


Considering there is 0 transparency on the subject from their end and we are given arbitrary PR statements like "+100% bonus chance to drop a legendary inside a rift" I really don't see how it's that hard for you to believe.
Good job Thacker.

Chances are your post will be moved to an obscur subsection like the exact same previous post on the subject (and matching your observations) made :
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/12504870821?page=1

So to the nay sayers, as you can see, the sample isn't that small & Thacker doesnt wear a foil hat.
And Blizz actions on moving the previous post are speaking for themselves...

@Vhailor
" I suspect Blizzard wouldn't intentionally design a timed-loot system and then magically exclude large sources of loot. " Demonic vessels want to say hi. They were magically excluded, or included I should say, for 2 years.

And I don't think it's necessary to explain why Blizz would make secret about rested xp for drop or timed drops...

You will also note that Blizz has 2 different statements when it come to drop chance and accounts :
- There s no, none, never any link between drop chance and an account.
- There's a safety timer for legendary drops...for each account. (and at this point, I maybe will concede I'm wearing the foil if I ask, so what prevents some accounts to have a different timer, or none at all, without looking at the free advertisement and visibility on twitch ?)

If you look at this from a company point of view (pleasing as much customers as possible, like in sells number) , a cycling timer + "rested xp" for drops will please, to an extend, a casual sitting 1 or 2 hour not even every day and a hardcore sitting 8+ hours 7/7.
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Posts: 1,620
04/19/2014 12:33 AMPosted by KinGX


If you played poker professionally for 6 years you should be able to go 5 hours without finding a leg and laugh it off because poker beats all irrational fear and emotion out of you regarding variance.


Why *should* someone have to laugh this off though? You think it's a rewarding experience to play for 5 hours and get nothing? If that is in fact happening, then that's also bad design, regardless of how the player feels about it.
04/19/2014 12:33 AMPosted by KinGX
This is in response to finding the same # of legs as a noob
-You say you played poker for 6 years and talk about short term variance but you think 300 hours in a brand new game (expansion) with a ton of legendaries and an unknown drop rate qualifies as long term?

This is why the quality of items seems worse and worse
-You found great items when the game first came out because you had no legs, as you find better and better equipment it gets harder and harder to find upgrades so even though you're finding the same amount or more legs you scoff at them and complain "i never find anything and when i do its junk". Eventually you hit a wall that takes EXPONENTIALLY more time to find an upgrade than your last upgrade -

As for finding more of certain legs (BT sets and etc) Bliz has already said some legendaries have a higher drop rate than other so i agree with this, its true. Why make all the best gear easily available? the longevity on a game like this solely depends on people having a reason to keep farming. Its been out for less than a month if people had the best gear it would be poorly designed. That doesnt mean they have some system in place to reward casuals further, just come to luck.

If you played poker professionally for 6 years you should be able to go 5 hours without finding a leg and laugh it off because poker beats all irrational fear and emotion out of you regarding variance.


Please go back and re read some of my posts. My main problem isn't the legendary timer (I wish they would simply admit this.)

I would be fine going multiple hours without receiving a legendary. My main gripe is that when I do, it's not something even remotely in the realm that I can use despite the fact I can efficiently farm T3 and T4. Going up in torments should have some sort of merit. The easiest method they could deploy would be to greatly increase the chance that when you do receive a drop, it comes from one of the upper tier desirable legendaries (and they obviously know exactly which ones these are given the fact that they have made them so insanely rare).
Edited by Thacker#1999 on 4/19/2014 12:42 AM PDT
04/19/2014 12:41 AMPosted by Jinndra
04/19/2014 12:33 AMPosted by KinGX


If you played poker professionally for 6 years you should be able to go 5 hours without finding a leg and laugh it off because poker beats all irrational fear and emotion out of you regarding variance.


Why *should* someone have to laugh this off though? You think it's a rewarding experience to play for 5 hours and get nothing? If that is in fact happening, then that's also bad design, regardless of how the player feels about it.


I understand where he's coming from.

Basically, a good poker analogy would be this
Legendary drop = pocket pair
Blackthornes = missing a set on the flop
Andariels or Ice Climbers / Thunderfury = Flopping a set
Kridershot = Flopping Quads

The problem is, there not enough flopped sets, and I've yet to flop quads despite the sample size.

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


I strongly disagree there.

I can disprove this easily by running T2 rifts with a VERY efficient group where pack killing goes insanely fast. More killed packs, mobs, more opened chests --> more potential legs.

Johnny Casual who takes 3 minutes for a pack as opposed to a great group which needs 10 secs max ....and Mary Casual who sits there smashing a THRASH MOB'S skull in for 1 minute will never be as efficient in clearing a rift and will never get the same amount of potential legs in the same time.

More packs, more kills in same time == More legs.

Your timer theory, while possibly right insofar that a timer might be "on top" of drops from packs, chests etc. doesn't change that. Go get an incredible bad group into a Rift which needs 10x longer to "clear" as opposed to a great group which can rush through..and then after, say, two hours count WHO got more drops...
Edited by Flexyana#1496 on 4/19/2014 12:48 AM PDT
Agree with the OP. Just like to ask how this pertains to caches? Everything I've seen from a blue states that difficulty does not affect the cache contents, but I haven't seen anything that discredits caches from being "legendary timer" affected. If they are, would it be advantageous to run speed bounties (trying to get my friggin ring) first thing after not playing for a couple days? And would it then be even more advantageous to wait to open them until I've not played for a couple more?? I think I will test this to find out. I've grown frustrated watching all my friends get two, three Rings while I still have not seen one.
by my experience by now I should have had at least one straight flush :p damn no lifers ^^
04/19/2014 12:48 AMPosted by Flexyana

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


I strongly disagree there.

I can disprove this easily by running T2 rifts with a VERY efficient group where pack killing goes insanely fast. More killed packs, mobs, more opened chests --> more potential legs.

Johnny Casual who takes 3 minutes for a pack as opposed to a great group which needs 10 secs max ....and Mary Casual who sits there smashing a THRASH MOB'S skull in for 1 minute will never be as efficient in clearing a rift and will never get the same amount of potential legs in the same time.

More packs, more kills in same time == More legs.

Your timer theory, while possibly right insofar that a timer might be "on top" of drops from packs, chests etc. doesn't change that. Go get an incredible bad group into a Rift which needs 10x longer to "clear" as opposed to a great group which can rush through..and then after, say, two hours count WHO got more drops...


This is the exact kind of mentality that simply doesn't hold true for diablo anymore. It feels good to know how fast you are... and to see how efficient your group can be... the problem? You aren't really rewarded for that.

I urge you to try. Jump into a T2 pub (generally horrible at this age of the game) and mess around, and see how many legs you get over a 15 hour span. Then do the same thing with your group (you'd probably uninstall well before this) and you will see... the numbers aren't so different despite the efficiency being 4-5 times different. My argument is that it simply doesn't scale, and when it doesn't scale 1-1 that means something else is effecting it... in this case? Time.
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