One issue that came up in comments on the encyclopedic Boss Modifier wiki articles we posted yesterday was what to call the various types of beasties in Diablo III. There are three types of boss-quality enemies; Champions with blue names, bosses/elites/rares with yellow names and random stats, and elites/uniques/superuniques with purple names and fixed stats. The system of monster organization in D3 is taken from D2, but the names are changed… and perhaps not for the better.

    History lesson:

    Diablo II created the boss organization system, but used different terms. In that game “Bosses” was the generic term for everything, and that was broken down into Champions (which D2X diversified into Ghostly, Champions, Berserker, Fanatic, and Possessed), Bosses, and SuperUniques. This nomenclature was workable, though “boss” being a general term and a specific one could be confusing, and “SuperUnique” is a fairly unwieldy term which was sure to confuse newcomers.

    Diablo III’s boss organization system is much the same as we saw in D2, but they’ve changed around the names. They refer to all such monsters as “elites, and here’s a quote from 2 years ago, with the specific types named. (These terms were confirmed in yesterday’s Game Guide update.)

    Champions – small packs of tougher mobs that have a unique champion trait, one affix, increased health, damage, harder, etc.

    Rares – single enemy of great difficulty, can have a few affixes, they’re named (randomly), much tougher, comes with a group of minions that inherit their affixes and bonuses

    Uniques – Unique boss monsters. Unique name/art/skills/lairs(or specific location) and are usually a part of the story/goal of a quest, if not the actual end-boss of an act. The Skeleton King and the Siegebreaker would both be uniques.

    If we’d all dropped from the sky with no memories of Diablo 2 (you know, like the D3 developers themselves) this would work fairly well, except that the dominant item type in the game is also called Rare, which guarantees confusion if you refer to “rares” in conversation or a forum post, since most people will assume you’re talking about an item. That everyone who played D2 also thinks that “unique” means an item type is icing on the cake, and it’s odd that “boss,” which is the accepted term for any kind of more powerful enemy in a video game, isn’t used at all in D3.

    More different opinions than Illusionists.

    So what are players calling the bosses? The naming system I’ve most often heard from players is: Champions > Bosses > Elites. That’s good since all the terms clearly refer to monsters, not items. It’s bad in that “boss” is the generic term for any more powerful enemy in gaming, and thus leads to confusion if you mean the specific random yellow name enemies, or just a boss in general.

    So, neither the official D2 or D3 naming systems, or the colloquial fan terminology works, for quick clarity and eschewing obfuscation. What would be better? If I had a time machine, I’d use it to go back to 2005 (or better yet, 2000) to convince the D3 team to call them Champions > Elites > SuperUniques. (I’d get to that right after I finished making love to Cleopatra and filling the trunk with da Vincis and van Goghs. And yes, you’re free to threaten death to anyone with a time machine and D3 influence who does nothing more than try to change the term for a monster type.)

    Champions > Elites > SuperUniques are not perfect terms, but they’re familiar, fairly logical, appropriate, and they don’t confusingly overlap with item names. But that’s just my quick theory. Perhaps you have your own? Does anyone have good names that make clear which of the three boss types you’re talking about, that aren’t terms also used for bosses in general, or for items, or anything else equally confusing?

    I threw the current options into a vote, so we can further the confusion, indecision, and indifference with statistics.

    Diablo 3's Boss types should be called:

    • 1) Champions > Rares > Uniques (34%, 738 Votes)
    • 5) Something else/don't care (24%, 511 Votes)
    • 3) Champions > Elites > SuperUniques (20%, 434 Votes)
    • 4) Blue Bosses > Yellow Bosses > Purple Bosses (19%, 410 Votes)
    • 2) Champions > Bosses > SuperUniques (3%, 73 Votes)

    Total Voters: 2,166

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