Forum Strategy Watch: Choosing the Optimal MP Level for Farming


Detailed and informative guide by Dethklok that gets into math to help determine what DiabloWikiMonster Power level you *should* be playing on for the most efficient/profitable playing experience. Now that the MP system is in, I’ve seen a lot of players talking about playing on the highest level possible, for the experience and Magic Find bonuses. And that’s one approach, and if that’s what you enjoy go for it, but it’s not actually the most efficient way to play, in terms of how many high level rare/legendary items you find per minute. Which is where Dethklok’s math comes in.

You need to look over the whole thread to get all the context and nuance, but here’s a key quote:

Farming consists of two essential types of events. One of these is DPSing, the act of actually attacking monsters to make them drop loot. The other, far broader category, we’ll label downtime, a blanket term to cover anything that isn’t DPSing. Running from a dead monster pack to a living one, kiting (maneuvering around living monsters for survivability purposes), deaths, recharging (waiting for cooldowns to reset or resources to regenerate), selling items to merchants, stash dumps, and even putting found items up for auction are all considered downtime. However, only serious time counts; inefficiency caused by not really playing the game with your full attention does not count towards this definition of downtime.

Unfortunately, the line between downtime and DPSing isn’t quite that clear-cut. Killing white mobs doesn’t have the same magic find potential as killing elites, and the time spent DPSing before achieving 5-stack valor is not as farming-effective as time spent on 5-stack. For the moment, we will assume that such activities count as partial downtime; finding the exact coefficient would be a subject for later inquiry.

Monster Power bonuses on Inferno.

His math then proceeds to figure how much of your total time is spent DPSing, vs. other stuff. And that’s where it might confound your expectations, since the slight bonus to Magic Find and experience that you get on Monster Power 2 or 3 is almost certainly *not* worth the added time it takes to kill those enemies. Even for very powerful characters.

A quick glance at the MP chart shows the monster health outpaces increased magic find, even at MP1. Therefore, only downtime can make a higher MP level more attractive. However, as DPS increases, DPSing time naturally goes down, increasing the relative amount of downtime in a given farming run.

The big exception is key farming, since on that higher levels of MP makes a huge difference in how often you’ll get a key or a demonic organ.

If you have a very powerful character capable of easily handling the higher MP levels, this is an area where you actually enjoy a competitive advantage over other farmers… as opposed to, say, trying to out-farm Legendaries against a DiabloWikiTactical Advantage spamming demon hunter with low defenses who runs MP1 Act1 over and over again. Very many characters can farm items efficiently; very few can farm keys well. As such, high-powered characters who aren’t keyfarming are pretty much doing it wrong.

The final prescription for most characters:

  • Item Farming: MP1 on Act One/Two (to raise the mlvls to 63 and improve item levels dropped), and MP0 on Act Three/Four.
  • Key Farming: The highest MP you can survive without huge delays from death and failure, and it’s very much worth doing this in parties so you can survive on higher MP levels.
  • The possible exception is if you’re one of those people who obsesses over “almost” item finds, in which case you might want to push up your MP to the highest you can manage all the time, just so you won’t feel like you just missed out on an awesome item.

    That used to be fun to worry about in Diablo II, since the item quality went unique > set > rare > magical. So if you found a set or rare item of the same type as a unique that you really wanted, you could curse the RNG gods and gnash your teeth and wish you had just a little bit more Magic Find, since that might have made the difference and you’d have rolled the unique instead.

    That same logic works in D3, but not as obviously, since you find such a huge number of rares (and tiny sliver of legendaries) of all the highest item types on Inferno that they sort of blur together. My DH is desperate for a bow upgrade, but I find rare Revenent Bows so often that I no longer get my hopes up, and I certainly never think, “Wow, that was almost a Windforce (db)!” (See, we do notice item types in Diablo III… sort of.)

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    1. I have a windforce, Flux. 1203dps 3% LS. Or do you not like freebies?

    2. 1.05 MP0 lets my chars feel godly now. My Monk and DH quickly killed Diablo, after being stuck in act 3 for some time.

      I’m going to keep farming on MP0 or MP1 until Legendary drops get boring.

    3. We already did the math on this and the original article’s conclusion is wrong; MP0 for Acts III and IV and MP1 for Acts I and II *is not* where you want to be farming. You want to be farming the highest MP level where you can still one-hit the vast majority of white mobs and not die.

      One-hitting trash takes the same amount of time regardless of whether you do it at MP0 or MP3 (or whichever MP is your one-hit threshold). So as long as the higher MP is not posing an issue for your survivability, you do not increase your down time. Quite the contrary, the higher MP’s bonus to MF and drops for both trash and elites more than compensate for the increase in time spent on the higher-HP elites, which is where the only added time will come from (since you are one-hitting trash just the same).

      If you want to bump your farming productivity, the top priorities should be hard damage (damage+crit), then movement speed, then attack speed. If you have to forego one of these, then forego the attack speed, provided you have enough to generate resource and HP. The reason is that hard damage will make your one-hit threshold higher and run speed, in addition to making you more survivable and giving you more time to attack instead of run away, will reduce your time between trash and elite mobs.

      • Basically the analysis says to farm highest level without significantly affecting downtime. I don’t disagree with the math in thread, just the conclusions.

        Combat in diablo is not easy to simulate. Highly geared characters have more build options and can stack multiple forms of aoe damage skills instead of defensive skills. Higher hp whites can also be herded together and aoe’d at the same time, thus greatly increasing overall damage output.

        Once you factor in time spent identifying, running over gold, and listing stuff on the ah, game downtime is much higher than you think (unless you literally loot nothing except sets and legendaries and have high pickup radius).

    4. Hey anyone try A4 farming? I noticed they added a bunch of champions/elites that used to never be there, seems like their trying to make it more viable?

      • No they fixed the rare and champion monsters that couldn’t spawn for the achievements

      • Act 4 is still quite terrible compared to all other acts for farming. The maps have a lot of dead ens and involve backtracking. The healing curses are especiallly brutal. And the keywarden is quite deadly. You will find 10 to 15 elites total in 30 minutes at mp0, which is pretty bad compared to all other options.

    5. I’d have to say A3 is still king for loot/xp, due to higher mob density, regardless of MP. Depending on your character go Mp0-4, mp5 for very well-geared WW barbs.

      • Vault of Assassin runs in A2 are what I prefer on highest mp we can handle without too much slowdown. Would love to see comments with what mp players find best for them with a link to their profile (didn’t see a thread for this in general discussion).

    6. These types of calculations or stats are a waste of time because it depends so strongly on the build.

      For example, if I farm at mp0 I one hit kill everything and I can’t even build up fury (WW barb). on the other hand, I get to keep WOTB up and all that when I farm at mp3 easily and still kill everything fast.

      Not only for WW barb, but how about multishot DHs for building discipline? Also Wizard CM builds.

    7. The thing is it comes down to what the highest monster power lvl you can cope with without effecting you kills/min ratio to badly.

      Anyway based on maths the sweet spot is monster power 3 it where all the bonus are at the maximum in terms of bonus/HP.

      So what MPlvl should you use well its the one you can 1 hit mobs on that is the best really or the one two MPlvls above (this is the 2 hit spot).
      Other than that its anything between MP0-MP3 that be the best to pick, wouldn’t recommend going above MP3 as then the HP growth is to big to make it worthwhile.

    8. I have a 200k dps unbuffed cm wizzy and a 200k dps unbuffed dh and both have their ups and downs. The only difference is I can’t seem to get the same damage output as I do with the wizard. I have around 800k-1m dps when 3 monsters are around the wizard but with dh its kind of constant. Any ideas on how to max the dh dmg output? On MP8 white mobs are like paper with the wizard. . .

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