Here’s another block of info gathered during our play time at Blizzcon, and supplemented by reports from PAX and Gamescon as well. It’s all we know about boss monsters in Diablo 3, and their bastard half-cousins, the Champions.
Bosses in Diablo 3 work much as they did in Diablo 2; they’re more powerful versions of regular monsters, and they get a random bonus mod or two as well, giving them unpredictable powers and behaviors, many of which are new to Diablo 3 and nothing like the boss modifiers we all got to know in Diablo 2. Click through for a full listing of the 14 boss mods we saw during our play time, and some additional information about the new types of Champions as well.
Diablo 3 Boss Monsters
The function and frequency of boss monsters in Diablo 3 is quite similar to how they functioned and were arranged in Diablo 2. Bosses are found every few screens, usually with a few minions. In addition to bosses there are frequent groups of champions, though there are a few solitary champions as well.
Bosses in Diablo 3 had very similar names to what they wore in Diablo 2. Zagreus noted some specific boss names and types, including: Death Froth a Desert Wasp, Spirit Hawk, Bile Feast, and Rust Raven were all Lacuni Warriors. Haze Fuse and Pit Thorn were Tomb Vipers. I didn’t write down the names of the ones I fought, but they were all about like these; and all similar to the names of bosses in Diablo 2.
Bosses in D3 spawn with various random mods, but so do the champions, some of the times. There are even reports of some regular monsters with a single boss property, which isn’t something ever seen in Diablo 2. It’s not such a weird idea when you think of it. For example, rather than having Burning Dead skeletons, D3 has regular skeletons with the “molten” modifier on them, giving them fire damage and fire resistance. There may also be Burning Dead skeletons as well, but the ability for regular monsters to spawn with boss mods adds another dimension to the game. (And no, we have no idea how common this is or will be, but it was documented in the Blizzcon build.
All of the bosses encountered in the Blizzcon build had at least one modifer, and several had more than one. Those might have been SuperUniques with one or more regular mods plus a random mod, or it might be that some bosses have a chance to spawn with two mods on normal difficulty. We didn’t test enough to find out for sure.
So what were the mods? Few of them were actual repeats (full list of D2’s boss modifiers here), from D2, but many were fairly similar. Of the new ones, we were able to figure out what most of them did, but not all.
Here’s a list of all the boss mods I saw or that were reliably reported by others.
Cold Aura —I didn’t see this one, but it was listed in a hands on report, and described as doing much the same thing it did in Diablo 2. I didn’t see any kind of auras at all, during my play time.
Doppelganger—This one was about the most interesting of the new mods. Bosses with the doppelganger modifier create clones of themselves, much like Baal does during the final battle in Act Five. The clones deal just the same sort of damage and have the same powers, but they had substantially fewer hit points (half, like Baal’s clone does?) and killing them did nothing for you. No item drop; the clone just vanished. It was a good idea to ignore them and go right after the boss itself, since when the boss died, so did the clones.
Unlike Baal’s clone, the doppelgangers are easy to spot, since they actually admit it in their hover names. “Clone of Rust Blood.” for instance. There can be more than one clone; I fought one Desert Wasp boss who had 4 or 5 of them after me at once, all zipping around the desert in crazy directions. (That boss was Fast as well as Doppelganger, and was a real pain to put away.
I thought the clones looked slightly transparent, like the Ghostly type champions in Diablo 2, but I didn’t get enough of them to be sure.
Electrified —These are the new Lightning Enchanted bosses, who hit with lightning damage and emit sparks when you hit them. I only got one of these and it died fairly quickly, so I couldn’t really test out how the sparks spread out. They were fairly damaging, I did notice that much, and my Monk lost visible chunks of health each time I banged the Electrified boss; a noticeable occurrence for the overpowered, never-in-danger Monk character in the Blizzcon build.
I never saw any bosses with the multishot property, but lets hope that if it returns, it won’t stack with Electrified for those instant death invisible death sparks we all grew to know and love back in the D2C days.
Fast —The new version of Extra Fast, with the same function. It’s a substantial speed increase; I got a Doppelganger, Fast, Desert Wasp, and the boss and its clones were moving like lightning. Far faster than any other monster I ever saw in the Blizzcon build, and Desert Wasps usually just hovered in place, hardly moving at all. The boss and the clones did not shoot out any of the little green wasp BBs, at least.
Frozen —The new Cold Enchanted. These monsters hit wit bonus cold damage that chills the target. I believe they had little frost clouds/sparks visible around them, but can’t swear to that.
Magical —I got several bosses with this property, but never figured out what it was doing for them. Or to me.
Molten —Seems to be the new version of Fire Enchanted, adding fire damage to the boss’ attacks.
Mythical —I saw this one just once, and there wasn’t any obvious effect from it.
Plagued —The new Poison Enchanted. These bosses dealt poison damage, and were presumably highly resistant to poison type attacks. Their poisoned nature was graphically visible, with little green clouds puffing out as they moved.
Powerful —I didn’t figure this one out either. It seemed like they might have been the new version of Extra Strong, with more damage per hit, but I couldn’t be sure. They didn’t seem to last any longer than the other bosses, so I don’t think it was higher hit points.
Stoneskin —This one had to be higher defense, though I got it twice with a Wizard, and it didn’t seem to help them at all against my magical attacks.
Teleporting —These bosses, and their minions, would phase to a random location every few seconds, making them hard to track down and kill. It worked like Phasing from Diablo I; the boss just popped every now and then, and quite often. I’d say every 3 or 4 seconds. Their movement was entirely random, so the challenge with these was to run them down and kill them before they teleported again.
I never got this on a ranged attacking boss, but I think it would be very annoying then. With the melee bosses it was merely an amusement that prolonged the battle, since they’d start running back towards me each time they teleported.
I only got this out in the open desert, so I don’t know if it would have taken a boss over a wall or to some other unreachable location. If it did the wise course of action would be to just wait there, since it would probably pop back in 5 or 10 seconds.
Vampirific —Life leech. They didn’t seem to deal any more damage, so weren’t exactly dangerous, but they must have had a quite high life leech percentage, since when they hit me they refilled a substantial chunk of their health. As such this mod became annoying and potentially dangerous, since the boss with it lived a lot longer than usual.
Various types of Champions were very common in the Blizzcon build. More common than they would have been in a similar sized area of Diablo 2, where as the bosses were just about as frequent as I expected, from my D2 experience.
There are 5 types of Champions in D2X. I saw 3 of them in the D3 build: Champions, Fanatics, and Possessed. I didn’t see any Ghostly or Berserkers, though there is a new type, Frenzied, which might well be a replacement for the Berserkers.
We don’t know if the D3 champion types have the same bonus stats as their D2 counterparts, but they were fairly similar.
- Champions were like mini-bosses; much the same as the normal monsters of their type, but harder hitting, faster, and blessed with many more hit points.
- Fanatics were very fast but also took a long time to kill, unlike their D2 versions.
- Possessed took much more damage to finish off, though I don’t think they actually had 12x the hit points of their normal types, as they do in Diablo 2. If they added any more special bonuses I didn’t notice it during the combat.
In addition to their inherent Champion class bonuses, some of the Champions spawned with boss modifiers as well. I have no idea if this is random or the ones doing it were SuperUniques of some type, but it was a scary sight to see an already powered up Champion with a bonus mod or two as well.
Special thanks to Zagreus for his PAX reports, which reminded me of several monsters I’d forgotten, and listed a few boss mods I never saw at all. More info on the new types of monsters in the Blizzcon build is coming soon.