Blizzard on Party Size and Item Drops

Spurred by the whole D3 geared up in 1/4 the tiem debate, @Diablo spoke, then retracted a reply about the rate of item drops in Diablo III’s MP vs. SP play. Here’s the quote from the forums, where Bashiok chimed in to correct himself.

“Playing with others works exactly like Diablo II. Enemies are tougher, and you have a better chance at getting nicer loot. –Diablo”

This is a little confusing. What exactly would qualify as “nicer loot”? Does this mean that loot has a better chance of having higher stats on them or having a higher chance of getting better quality items? For example, do games that have 4 people increase their chances of a legendary dropping as opposed to a game with only 1 person?
Bashiok: I’ve gotten this same question wrong in the past, I don’t know why it continues to confuse me.

Drops are not different in co-op. The fact that you’re killing faster (which you will) in a group means more items in less amount of time, means we don’t need to provide other incentives.

Your own drop modifiers will affect your personal drops, such as magic and gold find. But that’s the same while playing alone or in a group.

So there you have it. All the other issues brought up in that forum thread are still applicable, and still make an apples to oranges comparison problematic — overall time for killing, end game differences between D2 and D3, frequency of bosses, MF effect in D3, etc.

Tagged As: | Categories: Blizzard People, Blue Posts, Items, Monsters


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  1. Well I guess the “Let’s grade Blizzard PR” thread won’t die today…

  2. I can understand why they’re doing it that way and coming from D2 I think the fact you get your own items counterbalances the fact that the drop % isn’t inflated and the lower player count. Though I did enjoy the “feeling” that drop rates were better in larger games back in D2 and soloing bosses in 8 player games ^_^ I don’t think I will miss it that much.

  3. So the ‘better drops’ aspect is on the basis that 4 players mow through the level faster than a single player, and hence the rate of item drops are higher?
    That’s not better loot. Loot just drops faster. If 4 players can clear a stage in 10 minutes, and in total, 50 items have dropped for you throughout the whole stage, then theoretically, in single player, you could still have gotten all those 50 items but not in 10 minutes. Maybe 30 minutes instead.
    I guess the ‘better items’ aspect would be better attributed to the fact that with 4 players playing, the chances of each player actually finding an item which is suitable for another player is higher. if D2 is any indication, you tend to find items useful for other characters. So to put it simply, 4 player’s worth of grinding is better than one.

  4. If enemies ramp up in 4 player games then you won’t be killing monsters 4x faster. So the drops per player will actually be less than a single player game as you are killing less monsters per player per minute due to the tougher monsters. Well, unless monsters have a seperate drop roll for each player — in effect dropping 4x the items each kill.

  5. It shouldn’t be that difficult. Even in D2, more players never increased the QUALITY of the drops. However, it did increase the QUANTITY of drops. You never changed the odds, you just spun the slot machine a few more times. Bashiok’s post was really badly worded, even for him. B/c of the personal drops, will you see 1/4 the number of things popping out of monsters in a full game versus if you ran by yourself? If so, are we supposed to be killing everything 4x as fast versus a single player? Even if the monsters are harder? Even random groups? Something doesn’t add up.

    • Correct me if I’m wrong, but I do think monsters drop the same amount of items per player regardless if there are 1 or 4 players in the game, so what metric tensor says is true.

      • He never said “per player.” Bashiok says “Drops are not different in co-op.” So, the “drops per player” wouldn’t be the same; there’s only 1/4 of the drops in a full game as a single player game. And Metric Tensor guessed 30 minutes single player and 10 minutes full party (reasonable guess). That’s still only 3-1, which means a full four member party would be getting less loot.
        So either Bashiok got it wrong again (probable), or co-op groups will be getting less loot unless they can break the 4x speed barrier. Maybe we’ll see a weird wrinkle where two or three people is the optimal MF group, and people avoid four person groups like the plague.

        • as in the player would notice no difference in drop rate between single and multiplayer. cause enemies would drop the same ammount.

          however, enemies are actually dropping up to 4x more loot cause they’re dropping it for each player. so where D2 had what a +25% maybe +33% drop? and thats with 8 players.

          in D3 you get +100% drop with 2 players, and +300% with 4 players.

          the difference is, playing with trust worthy people/friends who if they find something that would be good for you, that they’ll actually let you have it.

  6. The unwavering nostalgia people have for all things D2 is perplexing.

    D2 punished your for co-op play. If you were lucky enough to have honest co-op players, you had to divide the drops got you between 8 players. And in exchange for what? The one additional good drop that occasionally got you? Or how about the slight boost in boss run time, which wasn’t even true if you could build, equip and play your character right.

    We got punished for playing with our friends and even more punished when derps jacked the drops.

    This is the drop balance people are praising?

    Blizz fixed both these problems (item-jacking derps and co-op punishment), and the oh-so-devastating consequence of this fix is that you’ll probably get around same drop rate as you would if you had soloed the game – something a lot of us already did/do in D2 to avoid the co-op punishment and derps and it hasn’t killed the D2 economy.

    • Getting 450% more experience in a big game in D2 was something of a benefit, eh? Vastly more items were earned as well; not from bosses, but from regular monsters and chests, which meant many more jewels, charms, gems, runes, etc.

      I don’t think people are holding up D2 as a model of the perfect loot system; they’re just using it for comparison, since everyone in the conversation is familiar with D2’s play mechanics, and we need something in common to compare to D3’s hypothetical model.

      • It really wasn’t 450% increase in experience since a lot of (most?) people who were fed up co-op would still enter 8-player games and solo or just set the game to players 8. I know sapped hundreds of Diablo-Baal runs by doing Baal while the other 7 did Diablo.

        Regarding more items from co-op, I had a different experience than you because I didn’t see that many additional “good” drops. But if there really were a lot more good drops and I just wasn’t seeing them or getting my hands on them – totally possible given that I was often in the rear guard as a pre-enigma summoner – then I think that would just further the argument that individualised drops won’t *necessarily* increase the overall number of drops. After all, who knows if individualised drop rates in D3 will increase with additional players?

  7. @Gensoul
    Apparently there will be separate drop rolls for each kill. Items don’t just drop from monsters you kill. You can actually do no killing at all, and items will drop for you just as they do for every other player. So, it’s 4 rolls per kill, but you may not necessarily end up with better items compared to single player unless you look at the drops per time ratio.

  8. So we can expect tons of leechers gearing up with gold/rune/magic find stuff and staying quite idle in a group so they get much better chance of drops they want.
    The drop should also be calculated on the amount of damage you do to the particular monster.
    How can we rid leechers?

  9. I would Imagine that the host has a kick button, I suggest in situations like you describe….. he use it

  10. @freeid
    But what if the player actually fights but with his crappy MF gear he wont be doing any serious damage and render useless for the group but you can’t tell that unless there’s a threat status bar similar to WoW.

  11. I guess ‘exactly like Diablo II’ means that it will be nothing like in Diablo II.

  12. “Your own drop modifiers will affect your personal drops, such as magic and gold find. But that’s the same while playing alone or in a group”

    Wait,  our drops as in what shows up for us? ie every  4th kill in 4 player co-op?  Or will our MF only affect the  things we get the kill shot on, like in D2?

    • Neither. Enemies may drop items for everyone in a party, but everyone will only see his/her share, hence the term personal drops.

      So for example a fallen shaman may drop a magic sword for one player and a unique staff for another. Both items will only show up for the player it was dropped for. MF stats will only affect your share of the drops.

      I hope this makes it clear how MF will work.

    • A lot of people seem to think you’ll only get items off of every 4th kill in 4-player co-op? Why is that? I’m pretty sure that has never been officially stated. And the way Bashiok talks about it makes it seem more like you get a drop role for every monster that dies in your vicinity.

      Of course, if leachers be leaching, maybe Blizz will put something in that dings players for not participating or dealing damage or whatever, but that still doesn’t lead me to believe that we’ll be taking turns with drops. I think that that would ruin the game for a lot of people, because they’d be getting fewer drops and Blizz would either have to leave them to suffer or increase the drop quality, making good items easier (too easy?) to find.

  13. Loot drops will be working the same in D3 as it did in D2. 
    The reason why thi is confusing is because as you add more players, the # of mobs goes up (to balance for the added players).  More mobs == more loot rolls (i.e. ‘drops’) which can be seen as “better” for drops.  Since more drops means more chances at better loot.  And add in the fact that larger groups will kill mobs faster (stacking buffs help + group coordination) so again, killing mobs faster == more chances at loot.

    This is no different than how it worked in D2 and is a game mechanic being carried over into D3.


  14. No I understanad that, sorry  if I  phrased  it poorly.   What I mean is: I do not contribute the  killing blow to  a creature,  but I have a loot roll from  it,  as does someone else.  Is that loot determined by the  person who killed it (ie their mf) or mine since  it was my loot roll?

    The situation is different from D2 because everyone could see loot, so the killer’s mf determined the loot. But in this case loot is only for certain ppl, so does the MF of the killer or the intended recipient determine what drops?

    • Everyone’s MF factors into the drops, but only into their individual drops. So in multiplayer your MF will be calculated into every item you’ll see dropping from monsters.

    • Nailbchris from what I understand it works like this: Group of players kills a mob the following happens for each player the game rolls to see if they get an item dropped, then it rolls to see what quality any dropped items are (this bit get your magic find/gold find bonus).

  15. I like this change! If anything, it will disincentivize botting. Since you get your own drops, you don’t need any other boost to your MF% or whatever. Good changes.

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