Bashiok on Nephalem Valor + Magic Find

A fan tweeted Bashiok a question about how the Nephalem Valor system, which grants you a bonus to your Magic Find for X seconds after you kill a boss, will interact or stack with Magic Find. Bashiok replied, but didn’t exactly answer.

Hey Bash can you tell us if there will be Diminishing Return in magic find and if yes how is gonna work with Nephalem Valor? –hungrak
Well I don’t think it’s a linear scale, if that’s what you mean. We might share what it is on our game guide sometime after launch. –Bashiok

I think Bashiok’s non-answer stems from two sources. 1) He doesn’t know (and wouldn’t tell us if he did) the actual formulas for Magic Find in D3, and 2) He doesn’t know how diminishing returns worked on Magic Find in D2. (If you want to add a third option, and attribute it to Bashiok’s legendary “Tai Chi B” style of evasive communication, that’s up to you.)

I suspect he’s not alone in #2, though. After all, D2 was a long time ago, and lots of people just played the game without getting into the calculations and such. So here’s a reminder, with a table taken directly from our exhaustively-informative Magic Find article from the Diablo 2 wiki.

It’s pretty self-explanatory, but the values in the columns show exactly what’s meant by “diminishing returns.” Every point of MF in D2 boosts your odds of finding more blue items (instead of white or gray), but only some % of that applies to your odds of finding rare, set, or unique items. These diminishing returns were added shortly after D2C’s launch, when players accumulated more MF than the devs ever imagined we would, and broke the drop system to the point that monsters were dropping only rares and better.

So, taking that knowledge back to the original tweet, hungrat is asking, or at least spurring me to ask, two questions that need answers: 1) Will MF in D3 will have diminishing returns, and 2) How is the MF bonus from Nephalem Valor calculated? Does it work independently from, parallel to, or just add onto your existing Magic Find?

I’ll construct a D2 example, for the sake of the argument. We haven’t been given the details of the Nephalem Valor system yet, but say it adds 50% MF, and can stack up to five bonuses. That’s a great benefit if you’ve got zero MF, but if you’ve got 500% MF already, boosting that up to 750% doesn’t do much, in terms of finding more Set or Unique items.

This might not matter much, since Inferno is supposed to be too hard to go around with much Magic Find, rather than stat bonuses that add to your survival. (Personally, I’ll believe in that kind of difficulty in a Blizzard game when I see it with my own eyes.) But as we know nothing about modifier scarcity at the high end, or the sorts of bonuses we’ll see on Set and Legendary items, we can’t even speculate about how common high Magic Find will be on level 60 characters. Much less how hypothetical diminishing returns may or may not affect that.

But speculate anyway! We’ve got 50 days yet to amuse ourselves, after all.

Incidentally, I’d love if Wyatt or someone proved me wrong, but I’m not expecting Blizzard to ever divulge the really detailed info, in terms of math and orders of operations and such, that powers the game engine. After all, almost all the technical details and inside info we know now has come from datamining during the beta, rather than official disclosures.

When it comes to D1 and D2, we know pretty much everything about how items are generated, how combat works, why there are so many errors in the DiabloWikiLCS, why some modifiers will or won’t generate on different items, why some item types don’t drop properly, why some unique and set rings/amulets are so much more or less common than others, etc… but that info came almost entirely from the cracking and decoding done by code wizards in the Diablo community.

I suspect we’ll repeat that process in D3, with no more info than you can read in tool tips offered up by Blizzard’s official website, and the real nuts and bolts calculations (and all the bugs and oddities inherent in it) not discovered until fans dig it out, and share it in forums like this one. Someone light the Bat Signal for the D3 version of Jarulf and Ruvenal!


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  1. Instead of increasing MF, I would prefer that item drop quantity is increased on bosses when buff is on. Increase of MF most likely will only yield diminishing returns.

  2. Diminishing returns or not, I don’t really think that it is what’s important regarding NV. The whole point of it is to discourage players to abuse the freespec system by changing their skills and builds for every different pack of mobs.

    I don’t really believe that the NV will be the way to go for MFing. I just think of it as an incentive. We will still have to stack our own MF stats to be really effective. So it most probably have diminishing returns. I am a little confused though regarding multiplayer and how it affects diminishing returns, now that MF is supposed to be shared.

    • I imagine that the effects of diminishing returns would be applied after MF is split up in a multiplayer game. So, if we hypothetically assume a 4-player game where one player has 400 MF and the other players have none, and we use the D2 values just for the example: that player’s effective “unique find” (after the effects of diminishing returns) would go from 153 to 71. It isn’t split by four; his 400 overall MF is split down to 100, and then his “unique find” is recalculated.

      That’s just a guess, of course, but I can’t really imagine them doing it any other way. Not only would doing it differently make the charts a lot more complicated/less intuitive for those who care to look into the numbers, it would also run the risk of drastically affecting the balance of multiplayer for magic find, and Blizzard seems to want to keep it relatively on-par with single-player (faster killing rate from cooperation notwithstanding). 

      • + 1

        Your suggestion makes perfect sense to me.  It’s probably the easiest as far as coding is concerned and is logical to calculate the returns on the MF you have, whether that’s your own or that afforded by others’ equipment.

  3. In Bashiok’s post, he stated that you get increased magic and gold find. However, in his updated reply to questions posed for NV, he stated that pretty much each champ pack will give a “stack” and you can have a total of “X stacks”, and each stack will give 1 additional item drop (so 2 stacks would give 2, etc) although the number of stacks seemed yet to be determined (probably 4-5 at max). So it will be item drop quantity as well as quality (at least according to Bashiok).

    • With those sorts of benefits (stacking MF bonus) that’s a huge incentive to stick to your build, and of course not to quit out the game and lose it.

      I can see a lot of people idling for dinner to keep hold of that.

  4. what arindred said.

  5. unique = legendary?

  6. Uhmm…. seriously? 😀
    There is an option 4: The question was straightforward and it also was not worded as “Hey, does the Diablo III’s MF system differentiate between magic/rare/unique/set drops, when it comes to drop chance being increased by MF?” Because that is what the question did not even touch.
    Feel free to speculate behind that, of course, but still: if you want a straight answer, ask a straight question: “Does D3’s MF affect the chances of finding a rare/unique/set item equally, or is there a difference in effect?”

    • What the hell else would MF do?

      • not differentiate between magic/rare/legendary items? There are a number of different ways that MF could apply differently (or not) to different types of items. Seems a valid question to me, and I suspect you just didn’t read Oldern’s post.

        What Oldern seems to be suggesting, and perhaps rightfully so, is that the phrase “diminishing returns”, on its own, just means that you get less effect for each increase. If we read hungrak’s question as written, he could be asking about whether there’s a point where you get fewer blue drops after a certain value of magic find; the question doesn’t directly touch on how magic find relates to the value for finding rare or legendary items. We know that in Diablo 2 there were diminishing returns on rare, set, and unique items, but that’s not what the question was asking.

        Sure, Bashiok could have replied with a question of his own to clarify, but Twitter isn’t really the best medium for a detailed back-and-forth discussion. 

  7. This buff gives aswell more variety to playstyle. Finally you will be able to farm ALL the content, without stacking MF in your gear, without killing ONE boss over and over again and still be able to maintain decent magic/rare/legendary drop rate thanks to this buff. Looks really nice to me…
    IF you like to stack MF or kill boss over and over again you still can but now you got more options.

  8. I was (and am still) under the impression that neph valor isn’t MF at all. It guarantees another item will drop from a boss. That’s not MF. It doesn’t guarantee a quality level or anything like that, unless I’m missing something.

    • ^^^What Risingred said.  I simply think Bashiok was fumbling with the MF having diminishing returns and then punted the ball with a non-answer.

    • Right–there is a difference. Increasing the number of drops will increase the number of blues (and so forth). This is Valor.

      MF works by (correct me if I am wrong), by increasing the probability that individual drops will be a blue (and so forth).

      Is that the distinction?

  9. It increases the quailty of the items you get you not the quantity , its only blues in beta becuase thats all that will drop at that ealy stage in the game in normal difficulty. I have found two yellows in  barrels before with max beta magic find 5/6% on all items.
    As for diminishing returns, I hope they don’t penalize people for stacking MF.

    I think the Valour system has nothing to do with your MF % but is a seprate buff that give more items from boss’s to stop people doing boss speed runs.

  10. From the official description:  ”By killing a Rare or Champion pack, not only do you get their loot, but you’ll also receive a buff granting you increased magic find and gold find. However, if you change a skill, skill rune, passive, or leave the game, the buff disappears. As an extra reward, if you kill a boss while this buff is active, you’ll receive extra loot drops from that boss.” So it both increases Magic Find (from every monster I assume) and increases the number of drops from bosses. The question adressed in this thread is interesting, but just the fact that the Nephalem Valor will at least increase the quantity of drops from bosses seems to make it worthwile.

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