Diablo® III

MF & You: A Beginners Guide

Since the launch of D3, there has been a lot of speculation and theories about how Magic Find works. There has been a lot of complaining about loot and drops on these forums lately, and much of it can be attributed to a general misconception of how Magic Find works, how loot drops and so on.

So, I've decided to write a guide to explain these concepts in detail, and hopefully it will help people understand what Magic Find does, what it doesn't do, and why you are getting the drops you do.

My post is based on the fact that Magic Find in Diablo 3 works much like it did in Diablo 2. All my tests and experiences throughout while playing D3 has indicated this, and last week Wyatt Cheng confirmed my assumptions. Magic Find in D2 has been extensively documented, I've played the game for several years, and I'm almost certain that most of the information in this post is correct, except for perhaps minor details.

Terms
Quality - refers to whether an item is white, magic, rare or legendary.
Legendary - includes legendary and set items.

Overview
As most people probably aren't interested in the mechanics behind it, I'll start with a short overview.

Magic find does:
  • work.
  • most likely work when swapping gear just before the mob dies.
  • increase the chance for an item to be of higher quality.


Magic Find does not:
  • affect stats/affixes on items.
  • affect item level of items.
  • affect number of items dropped.
  • guarantee higher quality items


Magic Find Basics
  • Magic Find is not capped, but there is a limit to Magic Find on gear.
  • Magic Find is subject to diminishing returns (confirmed by Bashiok).
  • 100% Magic Find most likely doubles the chances of getting a magic quality item from any mob.
  • Diminishing returns affect chance of legendary items the most, followed by rare, then magical.

So because of the way diminishing returns work, we get that:
  • MF increases the chance of magical items more than it increases the chance of rare items.
  • MF increases chance of rare items more than it increases the chance of legendary items.


Magic Find in groups
The amount of Magic Find you have in a group is the average of all players in the group.
Player 1 has 200% MF.
Player 2 has 100% MF.
Player 3 has 0% MF.
Player 4 has 100% MF.
Every player in the group will have 100% MF.
Your group MF is not shown anywhere, your character sheet still shows the MF on your own gear.

Magic Find on followers
Followers can be equipped with Magic Find, but you only receive 20% or 1/5th of his total Magic Find. You can see the amount you gain in your followers character sheet.

Nephalem Valor is not Magic Find
Nephalem Valor provides the player with 15% Magic Find per application, but that is where the similarities end.
  • Nephalem Valor has additional effects on most bosses in the game.
  • These effects cannot be reproduced by having 75% MF on gear instead of 5 NV stacks.
  • NV stacks increases the amount of items that drop from a boss.
  • A common estimate is 1 additional item for each NV, giving maximum 5 additional items.
  • NV stacks increases the chance of additional rare items, beyond the guaranteed ones.
  • 5 NV stacks guarantee minimum 2 rares from a boss.

There are currently 2 bosses in the game that are not affected by NV, Izual and Iskatu. I'm not sure if this is a bug or intended due to ease of access.

Speculation
I vaguely remember a blue post before release stating that you needed x NV stacks to unlock higher item level or higher quality drops. I'm not sure if this has made it into the final game. Does anyone remember the specifics of this post?

Magic Find on Bosses
There is a lot of uncertainty around MF and it's effect on bosses, mostly because of the new NV mechanic. The information below has not been confirmed, but is a rough guesstimate on it's effects.
  • Magic Find affect bosses the same way it affects any other mob.
  • With 0 NV, bosses have an extremely low chance of dropping rare or better.
  • NV stacks boost the chance of rares significantly.
  • Killing any boss for the first time gives loot as if you had roughly 3-4 NV stacks. (1-3 rare items)
  • After the first kill, the chance of getting any rare items is very low as you have 0 NV stacks.
  • The effects of MF is is very small compared to the amount of blue and 2 guaranteed rare items from 5 NV.


Discussion
There's a few things I'm uncertain about regarding bosses. I've definitely noted that MF has little effect on the total drops from bosses compared to other item sources, but I do not think this directly related to the MF mechanic, but rather to how drops from bosses are determined.

Assming 5 NV:
Does MF affect the 2 guaranteed rares, that is, can you get 1 rare and 1 legendary? Or is there always 2 rares? If so, that helps explain why MF seemingly has lower effect on bosses.
Bosses also seem to have x number of guaranteed blue items, can MF affect these?
If not, that further explains the seemingly lack of MF effect.

Blizzard has stated that bosses will have a higher chance of dropping rares when killing them for the first time (like normal) on NM and Hell in a future patch.

Magic Find on Chests and Quests
Magic Find works the same way on chests as I described above.
Magic Find probably works the same way on events/quests that give you rewards.

Item generation
  • All item attributes and affixes generated at the time the item drops.
  • Identifying an item simply reveals the affixes already determined.
  • The player cannot in any way affect the affixes on an item.


The n-roll mehanic
While I cannot guarantee on the details of implementation, I believe this is fairly close to the actual mechanic used in diablo. When an item drops, a series of 'rolls' are performed, where each roll determines an aspect or attribute for the item.

Rolls we can assume are being performed:
  • Item type (Sword, Chest, Pants eg.)
  • Item level (ilevel61, 62 eg.)
  • Item quality (If the item is magic, rare or legendary. This is the only roll affected by MF.)
  • Affixes (Actual stats on your item)

And there could be many more, specific details are not important and cannot be guaranteed for. The important part is the separation of rolls for the item quality, affixes and item level.

Closing
I would be happy to receive feedback and constructive criticism on the information, structure and layout of this post. I will try to keep it up to date and perhaps it could even become a sticky one day :)
Edited by eZet#2105 on 6/16/2012 8:40 AM PDT
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Reserved.
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+1
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Thanks
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Nice post thanks for the collected info.
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Feel free to ask if anything isn't clear, and let me know if you think something should be added or removed, if anything is inaccurate, could be explained better and so on.
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A well written informative post in a sea of garbage on this forum. +1
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Great guide; sticky requested.
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06/16/2012 07:21 AMPosted by SmashingZwan
by increasing chance of better-than-white, indirectly increase chance of magic, rare and legendary.


It directly increase the chances that items will be of higher quality than white. There's nothing indirect about it.

MF would not make a difference when:
a magic, rare or legendary item drops. MF already helped make them non-white, the rest is random.


That is not true, in particular the bolded part.

A player or teams magic find % is directly applied to the % chance for an item to be of varying qualities.

If an item has a 10% chance to be magic, a 2% chance to be rare and a .05% chance to be set or legendary, 100%MF makes it so that same item has a 20% chance to be magic, 4% chance to be rare and .1% chance to be set or legendary.

Magic find does *not* simply determine whether an item is white or not-white, leaving the rest up to more RNG.

I'm about 99.9999% sure your understanding of what MF affects in the item generation process is incorrect. Though a large majority of the information in your post is accurate.


You are actually correct in most of what you say, and I'm remembering it wrong. I will fix the incorrect information asap. You are probably wrong in saying that MF boosts the chance of finding magical, rare and legendary by an equal amount. This was how it worked originally in D2 but was since scaled so that MF boosts the chance of rare less than chance of magic, and unique even less.
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Thanks for this comment. It has further enlightened me on MF/GF. I personally favour better stats and therefore only have 18% MF and 0% GF. I am more interested in obtaining achievements although I have only been playing the game for a week...

Thought of collecting MF/GF gear and swapping but decided it just wasn't worth the hassle of swapping and then getting smashed and dying...

Just my 2 cents
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Very good and useful post. I would like to see some verification about MF directly affecting Rare/Legendary. Everything I've heard up to this point was that it did directly affect that and not just affecting whether or not whites go up. That being said, it makes sense the way you put it because without NV, it doesn't appear that you have much chance of getting rares from bosses after the first kill and if MF raised the chances of improving anything other than white, you should have a good chance to get rares.

I haven't tried testing how MF works because I really don't need to know specifics, but I think that may be something that needs to be verified one way or another because it's different from what everyone has been saying all along.
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I have corrected the incorrect information in the original post. To clarify, MF does directly affect the chance of magic, rare and legendary items, and also the ratio between these.
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06/16/2012 07:30 AMPosted by eZet
You are probably wrong in saying that MF boosts the chance of finding magical, rare and legendary by an equal amount. This was how it worked originally in D2 but was since scaled so that MF boosts the chance of rare less than chance of magic, and unique even less.

One thing I don't understand about rolls (and how mf affect them) is this: During the roll that determines an item to be magic,rare or legendary, do they roll seperately or the quality of that item is determined in one roll? Let me ask by giving an example..
So let's say we have %100 mf. It increases the chance for an item to be magic by %100 and rare by %80 and legendary by %60 (don't mind the numbers,just trying to reflect the concept).If it is determined by one roll,wouldn't it lower the chance of getting a rare out of it in a way since chance of getting a magic item increases higher?
Or is it determined in seperate rolls using a priority system? Let's say an item dropped and due to high MF it will not be white. Start the roll for item1 : Is it legendary? -No. Is it rare? -No. Then no need for a magic item roll since it was determined by MF to be a magic item before the roll starts.
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89 Worgen Death Knight
5735
06/16/2012 07:21 AMPosted by SmashingZwan
by increasing chance of better-than-white, indirectly increase chance of magic, rare and legendary.


It directly increase the chances that items will be of higher quality than white. There's nothing indirect about it.

MF would not make a difference when:
a magic, rare or legendary item drops. MF already helped make them non-white, the rest is random.


That is not true, in particular the bolded part.

A player or teams magic find % is directly applied to the % chance for an item to be of varying qualities.

If an item has a 10% chance to be magic, a 2% chance to be rare and a .05% chance to be set or legendary, 100%MF makes it so that same item has a 20% chance to be magic, 4% chance to be rare and .1% chance to be set or legendary.
Magic find does *not* simply determine whether an item is white or not-white, leaving the rest up to more RNG.

I'm about 99.9999% sure your understanding of what MF affects in the item generation process is incorrect. Though a large majority of the information in your post is accurate.


You are correct sir, if we were playing Diablo II LOD. But, I believe you are about as close to how it is in DIII. I do not believe they deviated too much from that system of MF. However I do believe that a smaller percentage of MF in DIII (example 35%) has more of an effect than that same amount would have had in DII LOD. Currently my Paladin in DII LOD in his full MF set can reach 475% MF with equipment and charms. In DIII my Witch Doctor has 65% without Nephalem Valor and has drops nearly as good rarewise in Inferno Lvl as my Paladin had Uniquewise (example: Normal, Exceptional, Elite Unique drops) in Hell lvl. This is just how it seems to me. I could be totally wrong.
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You are probably wrong in saying that MF boosts the chance of finding magical, rare and legendary by an equal amount. This was how it worked originally in D2 but was since scaled so that MF boosts the chance of rare less than chance of magic, and unique even less.

One thing I don't understand about rolls (and how mf affect them) is this: During the roll that determines an item to be magic,rare or legendary, do they roll seperately or the quality of that item is determined in one roll? Let me ask by giving an example..
So let's say we have %100 mf. It increases the chance for an item to be magic by %100 and rare by %80 and legendary by %60 (don't mind the numbers,just trying to reflect the concept).If it is determined by one roll,wouldn't it lower the chance of getting a rare out of it in a way since chance of getting a magic item increases higher?
Or is it determined in seperate rolls using a priority system? Let's say an item dropped and due to high MF it will not be white. Start the roll for item1 : Is it legendary? -No. Is it rare? -No. Then no need for a magic item roll since it was determined by MF to be a magic item before the roll starts.


In diablo 2, it performed a series of rolls, starting with unique/legendary. If that fails, it continues on to rare, magic, superior, normal, and so on until one returns true, or if all fail you get a low quality item (grey).

I believe it works in a similar fashion in this game, which is what you described as a priority system. Also, your understanding of the 100% magic, 80% rare and so on should be correct, ignoring the numbers.
Edited by eZet#2105 on 6/16/2012 8:27 AM PDT
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You are correct sir, if we were playing Diablo II LOD. But, I believe you are about as close to how it is in DIII. I do not believe they deviated too much from that system of MF. However I do believe that a smaller percentage of MF in DIII (example 35%) has more of an effect than that same amount would have had in DII LOD. Currently my Paladin in DII LOD in his full MF set can reach 475% MF with equipment and charms. In DIII my Witch Doctor has 65% without Nephalem Valor and has drops nearly as good rarewise in Inferno Lvl as my Paladin had Uniquewise (example: Normal, Exceptional, Elite Unique drops) in Hell lvl. This is just how it seems to me. I could be totally wrong.


I think you are completely correct in saying that the amount of MF is scaled down in d3, roughly by a factor of 2. The graphs and tables created for diablo 2 can probably be used for rough estimates for MF/quality gains if you account for this scaling.
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Any more feedback would be appreciated. Also, a discussion on the issues mentioned under the Boss section would be nice. Has anyone gotten 1 legendary and no more than 1 rare from a boss with 5 NV ?
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