Currently, both the keys and the demonic organ pieces (Vengeful Eye, Devil's Fang, and Writhing Spine) have higher chances to drop in higher MP levels, all the way up to 100% in MP10.
You'll need five stacks of NV in order for the keys and the demonic organ pieces to drop.
Are you saying that unless you have five stacks of NV keywardens will not ever drop keys?
Yup. (Or, at least that's how it's designed to work. If players are getting keys without the five stack, then that's likely a bug.)
My opinion on this (being a relatively casual player), is that it's a bad system right now. I haven't read the rest of thread, but I wouldn't be surprised if somebody else has already made some (all?) of them.
First, there's way too much randomness in this system. Diablo is already pretty random, but this is going to make it even worse.
If I understand it right, the following things are random:
- Chance for each Key Warden to drop Key/Plan
- Which realm is opened when using device
- Chance for each material/plan (?) to be dropped by bosses
- Affixes on the Ring
The first, the chance for the wardens to drop keys, isn't a huge deal. That's how it currently works for everything in the game. Sure, it'll be slow - if we assume, say, 30 minutes to farm a key warden, with, say, a 1 in 5 chance of the key dropping (on average, assuming you're not able to do MP10), it will take, on average, about 2.5 hours to get a key. That's 7.5 hours for all keys, plus another 2.5 for the plan. Not ideal, but hardly absurd.
The first realm you open, it doesn't matter which one it is - any will do.
The second time you open a portal, though, if you get the same one you've already done, that's 7.5 hours wasted. Sure, you'll get some drops, but my understanding is that you'll get nothing special compared to what you'd normally get while farming, and that's gonna be *really* demotivating for anyone who actually has to work to get the keys.
Plus, of course, you might not even get a material! So, you farm for hours, you get your first portal, and what do you get? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. What did you do wrong? Nothing, you just weren't able to farm it on MP10. If that's possible, then this really, really needs a serious rethink.
Looking at the math, if we assume everything has a 1 in 5 chance of dropping and it takes you 30 minutes to get 5NV stacks and find/kill a keywarden, then it will take 7.5 hours to open a portal.
You will need to do that 5 times before you get a single material. That's 37.5 hours for one rare material. Since it didn't matter what your first material was, it didn't matter what portal you got. Now, however, it does. So you need to farm another 5 bosses to get your second material, so that's another 37.5 hours. But one of those portals (at least) lead to a realm you've already done, so add another 7.5 hours of key farming, for a total of 45 hours.
The last material requires another 5 portals, but 3 of them will be irrelevant, so that's another 3 key runs, and another 22.5 hours, meaning the third material takes 60 hours to collect.
EDIT: I think my math is bad, here. For the second material, 1/3 of the portals are bad, so assuming you need five good portals, you'd need... 5 / (1 - 1/3), or 7.5 portals, so 7 - 8. For the last material, 2/3 of the portals would be bad, so you'd need 5 / (1 - 2/3), or 15 portals. So 8 instead of 6 makes 60 hours for the second material, and 112.5 hours for the last material. Admittedly, it's not actually that bad, since you can still happily use the materials you get, even if they're not what you need right now. But that'd be about how long it takes to get your first ring, assuming that, on average, one mob in 5 drops what you want. Sometimes it might take longer, sometimes it might be quicker, but on average it will take 5 mobs to get a drop. If I'm wrong, and it's easier than that on low MP levels, then cool!
In total, you've spent 37.5 + 45 + 60 = 142.5 hours (EDIT: 210!) getting the materials for this one ring (not including the amount of time it takes to kill one of those bosses). And then the affixes might suck more than the ring you've already got, so you gotta go make another one if you want to be able to wear it... EDIT: Note that 210 hours is over 400 runs...
Now, someone has gone on record as saying that people shouldn't feel compelled to play MP10, right? Let's look at the math above, assuming that MP10 gives a 100% drop rate, but takes an hour to get 5NV and find/kill a keyholder.
3 hours to get all three keys and your first material. 4 hours to get your second material. 8 for your third. Total time? 15 hours. Maybe 20, if the bosses are hard (I wouldn't know). Not too painful.
So yeah, if I want this ring, I should really be playing MP10. If I'm playing MP0, it's never going to happen. If I'm playing MP3/4 (which is probably all I can handle), then it's also pretty unlikely to ever happen.
So you're adding this cool new content with a cool new reward to D3, but it's something that only the top 1% or so players will be able to get access to? Is this actually what you want? Is this something that was explicitly aimed only at hardcore players, with the expectation that casual players would never bother with? If the answer is yes, then... really? Really? You're aiming new content at such a small fraction (I assume) of your player base?
I was pretty excited about the new content, but now that I'm seeing how hard it is to get to, it's a major let-down :(. The other things you're doing with this patch are cool, but I've managed to finish Inferno, which is good, but this new thing is something that I'd have to put way more time than I'm comfortable with into the game to get. And you're not adding anything else into the patch that would count as new content for someone who has finished Inferno...
One other issue is that basing drop rates on MP means that the players who *most* need a new challenge - those able to farm MP10 - don't get one, since all drops are guaranteed for them. Whereas those players who could really, really do with one of these rings have no chance to get one because the drop rates on lower MP values are incredibly poor. In other words, it makes the rich, richer. Admittedly, the poor don't get poorer, but it's not a lot of fun seeing some new feature and going "That looks cool - a pity that it'll take me upwards of 100 hours to see it", while the people who most need a new challenge go "That was kinda cool, but pretty quick. What's next?".
How should you fix this? I'd suggest, at least, giving people a choice about which boss they face. Open a portal to all three realms, and let them choose! Also, have the bosses drop a material every time, regardless of MP. I don't care too much if the keys drop more on higher MP (though that strikes me as a "Win More" thing for already very good players), or making the machine reusable in some way, shape, or form.
The other alternative is to make the keys guaranteed drops, but the materials not be. This makes it easier for casual players to access the new boss content, which could be cool, while still making it tough to actually get the ring.
I'd also like to see the Act 1 and 2 Key Wardens in a smaller zone - it's just not that efficient having to clear a whole zone looking for that one elusive monster in there somewhere. It's just another level of frustration in a process that already has way, way too much of that.
Either way, please, *please* reduce the amount of randomness in this - I just don't see it being something that casual players will ever bother with otherwise.
Oh, and make it obvious that you need 5NV stacks to get a drop, yes? Maybe the key monsters shouldn't appear unless you have 5NV stacks? Either way, I think that should go in the patch notes, otherwise you will have a lot of frustrated farmers out there who don't understand what's going on.