Optimal Item Farming

Posted 7 May 2012 by

We have developed a list of best practices for optimal item farming in Diablo 3 based on observations from the last beta patch.

This article in the new Diablo IncGamers Stategy Section analyses data collected from hundreds of full playthroughs of the beta test and helps us understand how to best structure our magic find runs.

Full analysis after the jump – the results may surprise you.

Disclaimer: Blizzard has repeatedly said that beta was NOT for testing balance and mechanics, it was for testing software and hardware. All analysis is speculation as of beta patch 18 and may change post-launch.

Farming: “Repetitive runs of mastered content to obtain items”

TL;DR for optimal farming:

  1. Seek out area exit aggressively, avoid siderooms.
  2. Kill everything except small packs of normal monsters
  3. Prioritize zones that provide more items-per-minute (our data logging tool can help you get that number)

While hard facts on monster drop rates and spawning mechanics are currently hard to come by, we’ve been able to glean some information from a mix of blue posts and beta observations.



A) Any item can drop off any monster (of a given monster level)

B) Champions and elites have attractive drops rates and can be killed very quickly compared to bosses
The efficiency of boss farming will worsen as encounters become more time consuming.
Blizzard Source

C) Any monster pack is equally likely to spawn as a champion or elite
Monster locations and groupings are random with elites randomly added.
Blizzard Source

D) There are no champions or elites with static spawn locations
Beta had static spawn quest monsters, but if they are a convenient source of loot this would violate blizzard’s stated design goal of ending the repeated shenk/pindle/eldritch or tele-baal 2 minute long games.

E) Area layout is mostly random, but sometimes you can infer the location of the exit

F) In D3, we are far less mobile and monsters have an increased ability to initiate fights


Best Practices

1) Kill priority: Elites > Champions > Bosses > Large normal monster packs
Stragglers are not worth killing – move on after clearing the tightly packed monsters.

2) Backtracking is bad
To get loot efficiently, kill Elites and Champions. Since their locations are unknown, the fastest way to spawn one is to aggressively explore new areas.

Should I explore side rooms that don’t have champions or elites?
No. Side rooms are dead-ends that require backtracking, and should be avoided.

Should you take the area exit as soon as you find it?
Yes. If you run past an exit, you ensure that you backtrack later on.


Does it matter where I farm?

We don’t know exactly how drop rate mechanics will work post-launch, but with the data we’ve collected from beta using DDD  some areas are clearly better than others.


You can find more information for beta 18 specific loot here 


In practice you can’t evaluate areas in isolation
You will need to plan farming runs as a chain of areas starting at a waypoint, and look at their averaged items per minute. You also need to be careful to take into account monster level, as that will affect the quality of the item dropped.

From the data, a Hidden Cellar run looks very attractive since it has high drop rates, but the items dropped are of lower quality compared to the Cathedral. Additionally, since the run can be done so quickly (under a minute potentially), the time it takes to logoff/login/get to the starting point of the run, becomes a significant problem – adding 20 seconds to a 60 second run drastically hurts efficiency.

Once the full game is released we should be able to zero in on the best farming runs through our loot tracker, and account for the effect monster level has on item quality.


Topics in need of investigation:

1) Would rushing a new toon to a boss kill be a faster source of loot? (taking advantage of the buffed drop rate for your first kill) Nevermind, found a blue post clarifying that boosted droprate on firsttime kill of a boss is ONLY in normal difficulty.
Blue Post

2) Are area events (like resplendent chests) worth the time investment?

3) Nephalem Valor Buff – whether or not this will be able to incentivize always ending MF runs at bosses

Blizzard Source

Tagged As: | Categories: Diablo 3

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