Datamined: Diablo 3 Difficulty Changes in Reaper of Souls

Game difficulty seems set for a revamp in Reaper of Souls, with datastrings pointing to big changes and a new interface image that drives it home visually.

The relevant data strings:

  • DifficultySelector_Description_0 – At this difficulty enemies are weaker and have less health. — Recommended for players with either little or no experience with dungeon crawlers (point and click RPG’s) or for players more interested in story than a challenge.
  • DifficultySelector_Description_1 – This is the baseline Diablo III experience. — Select this difficulty if you are familiar with dungeon crawlers (point and click RPG’s).
  • DifficultySelector_Description_2 – Enemies are slightly more powerful and have a little more health. — This level is intended for players with experience playing dungeon crawlers and want a little challenge.
  • DifficultySelector_Description_3 – Enemies are more powerful and have more health. There is also an increase to experience and item drops. — This level is intended for players who are looking for a challenge and have a healthy amount of gear to back them up in combat.
  • DifficultySelector_Description_4 – Enemies are more powerful and have more health. There is also an increase to experience and item drops. — This level is only recommended to players who have aquired a good deal of gear and are seeking a much greater challenge.
  • DifficultySelector_Description_5 – Enemies are much more powerful and are very difficult to kill. There is also a significant increase to experience and item drops.. — Only adventurers with the highest level of skill and gear should consider this difficulty..
  • It sounds like you’d need to move up to level 3 to see any boost to MF/GF/EXP and monster density? Here’s a slightly scrambled look at the new interface, with cute little demonic skull and crossed-swords icons in another image below. (As pointed out in comments, there are not 12 different icons, but 6 different with an on/off graphic for each.)


    If you’re wondering, this is *not* the same as the modified DiabloWikiMonster Power system seen on the DiabloWikiconsole. Click through for details on that and hit comments to explain why this is a terrible change meant to punish casuals and preserve all the good bonus stuffs for players who are rich already. Or vice versa; your choice.

    This system sounds a bit like what we see on the Diablo 3 console today… Here’s the console version of Monster Power:

  • Easy = Equivalent to Monster Power 0
  • Normal = Equivalent to Monster Power 2
  • Hard = Equivalent to Monster Power 4
  • Master I: +60% Magic Find, +60% Gold Find, +120% XP Bonus (Equivalent to Monster Power 6)
  • Master II: +70% Magic Find, +70% Gold Find, +140% XP Bonus (Equivalent to Monster Power 7)
  • Master III: +80% Magic Find, +80% Gold Find, +160% XP Bonus (Equivalent to Monster Power 8)
  • Master IV: +90% Magic Find, +90% Gold Find, +180% XP Bonus (Equivalent to Monster Power 9)
  • Master V: +100% Magic Find, +100% Gold Find, +200% XP Bonus (Equivalent to Monster Power 10)
  • The console system requires higher MP levels to gain rewards, but that’s fair enough since the console is easier in a variety of ways. Loot 1.5 means more drops of higher quality, items roll much higher stats, Paragon levels are shared across all your Inferno characters, Elites only get 3 random affixes on Inferno, etc.

    It’s not known how RoS will tweak the overall difficulty, and the whole system is still under heavy development, as recent posts by Wyatt Cheng have stressed. Presumably we’ll find a lot better gear in RoS with Loot 2.0, and Paragon 2.0 will make characters stronger in Inferno. Hence perhaps it’ll be fair to make players turn up the MP more in order to gain added Experience and Magic find?

    Reaper of Souls game difficulty icons.
    Reaper of Souls game difficulty icons.

    It’ll be interesting to see how this translates into Hardcore. Modestly geared chars in softcore can happily run MP3-MP5, especially in multiplayer games, since dying once in a while (or more often than that) is no biggie. In Hardcore that’s not the case, because forever. Hardcore chars can pretty cheaply gear up to farm MP1, but going higher than that gets quite expensive, and many players don’t bother since the added bonuses don’t really scale with the increased risk.

    Besides, there’s not a huge need to go higher than MP1, since that’s all you need to get the full monster density increases. Above that just adds marginally to your bonus EXP/MF/GF, and that’s optional. If the RoS system changes that, and requires players to deal with the equivalent of MP4 or MP5 to get the monster density boosts and other bonuses, it’s going to be a real issue for Hardcore chars.

    Or perhaps not, if Loot 2.0 really does make it rain…

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    45 thoughts on “Datamined: Diablo 3 Difficulty Changes in Reaper of Souls

      • something like that should be the bnet 2.0 back ground when we log in instead of our characters.

      • “i like the looks of the stained glass”

        Yeah, I loved the image when I found it digging through the massive heaps of datamined images. I’d have posted it even without the difficulty info to go with it, but having some actual game info makes it more fun.

    1. Whatever they change, I’m sure there will be ppl saying it’s to easy within a couple of weeks!
      Playing HC, i will never say that

    2. I understand why they swapped away from having a bunch of different MP levels, especially for progression (before you start farming Inferno), but I’m kind of disappointed about what this will mean for endgame eventually.

      I’ve been moving through MP levels steadily, and getting a good piece of gear to enable me to move up a level is still what feels rewarding and progression-esque. By narrowing the list of options, they’re constraining the progression by making it so, for example, the Difficulty 3 above is too easy but Difficulty 4 is too hard, for example. It’s not granular enough, I guess, or at least I fear that it won’t be.

      Maybe they didn’t need all 11 difficulty settings from the MP system, but really there are only 3 sliding scale difficulties now, as opposed to 10 before.

      Of course, this solution is pretty neat for first-time progression through the game & Act 5, but hopefully they allow for some more granularity like 6 months after expansion release or something. I just don’t want to feel like I’m permanently stuck anywhere.

      • Anyone give thought to the idea that perhaps there is not enough people playing the game? There are not enough people to spread around 4 difficulties and 11 MPs. How many times have I tried to join a public game Act2 Hell MP6 and…tick tick tick tick. And presto, I’m alone. Some condensing could be tolerable but they really need to bring back the game lobby. Dropping people in random games is just stupid. Beyond stupid. That must be a console thing? idk?

        • The God agrees. Having easy-medium-hard in 10 flavours was a band-aid. With right scaling of difficulties, hardest one can present a challenge. Close to mind is that, with bigger differences in difficulty, players not equipped and generally unable to play difficulty X wouldn’t join it. The God states this reduction should maybe go even further, with differences matching normal/nightmare/hell

    3. *Click through for details on that and hit comments to explain why this is a terrible change meant to punish casuals and preserve all the good bonus stuffs for players who are rich already. Or vice versa; your choice.*

      Being rich matters way less without the (RM)AH

      • “Being rich matters way less without the (RM)AH”

        Yeah, if Loot 2.0 does not deliver you won’t have a chance at all. Enjoy!

    4. The way inferno was talked about back in pre release days it sounded very appealing that there would be this very hard difficulty that would require us to farm Hell mode for months (supposedly) so that we could acquire truly the best gear.If we look back we know that it wasn’t so much that the idea of this was flawed it was the circumstances of other systems.

      (Inferno back then is apparently equivalent to MP2 now which is interesting to keep in mind)

      The problem was the implementation of other systems such as loot and their drops and difficulty progression. Everyone rolled through normal,nightmare,hell easily then suddenly hit a brick wall in inferno. It was too much at once and one of the culprits was the bad loot drop system and the fact that the difficulty spiked way too high so those two things were not in balanced with each other mind.

      I think with their loot 2.0 they can smooth out the difficulty pace but obviously the pace at higher difficulties should take longer to achieve and not easy “gimme hand outs” from the loot system.

        • Nitpick: roughly MP3-4. The defensive skills and monster damage were both nerfed heavily after release. 1.04 maybe?

      • Another thing I would say is that the champions/elites Affix combinations should only grow in the selected power level of difficulty not with norm/nightmare/hell but rather MP1 = 1 affix, MP2 = 2 affixes MP3 = 3affixes etc.

    5. The way I see it, with these hard caps the game is going through a massive shift. The entire stack DPS dynamic is pretty much out the window where the goal is no longer to stack damage until you win. I mean, it’ll be a factor for sure, it’s just a lot shorter path to get there.

      I imagine most if not all players who put in the time will reach max level/max power, and the fun (or boredom, depending on who you ask) will come from the legendary items you get, and what kinds of combinations/builds you create with that.

      Of course, you can bet many players will just find the most efficient method/combo/load-out and that’ll be that. But it is what it is.

      Of course, with ladders, and a potential reset every six months, (more or less) this could work out alright for people.

      • Essentially what we had in DII, which I see as a good thing. It was always more about the item hunt to, in turn, try out different builds.

        People min/maxing and always looking for the “most efficient” will never stop, but I maintain that the franchise as a whole was never really meant for those players.

    6. huh, well now I’ll have to adjust to this system now… I didn’t really find MP system bad. I wonder why they’re doing this.

      • “I wonder why they’re doing this.”

        to keep the code for the console and pc as similar as possible so that future patches will be easier to test and less likely to cause problems

    7. Flux, if I had to guess I’d say that the stained glass images match up to what character you’re playing (You can see each of the classes in different images.) Then at the top of that is where the difficulty icon would sit. Just a guess of course.

    8. “I’m not sure why there are 10 or 11 different intensities of the icon, when there are only 6 levels in the tooltips”

      There are twelve icons- six pairs. One is for when the mouse is hovering over the icon on the menu, the other is not.

      • Close, there are 18 icons. Three groups of six. One regular and one hovering as you said; plus one presumably for clicking. But in the end it’s the same thing – we are seeing six different icons.

    9. I think they need to make the drop rates the same across all difficulties. So it’s not just the high geared players that are the only ones finding all the high end gear more often. It’s like the rich stay rich and poor stay poor. I hope loot 2.0 sounds is as good as they say it’s going to be and it rains amazing loot so you can get upgrades no matter what difficulty you are on. I’m an exclusive hardcore player for almost a year now farming mp3-5 with 4 out of my 5 classes. I might only be able to play 2 or 3 according to this new model? Who knows? They are changing so much to this game it’s going to be a interesting to see how it all plays out.

    10. that is cool. The monster power option always seemed too weird and artificial for me. I mean yeah, it worked, but it was too dry, not thematic. And combined with Normal/NM/Hell?Inferno just seemed artificial as hell (no pun intended).

      I like where this is going, we need more details.


      Josh M. is taking his experience from the Console and putting it into the PC version and I hate it.

      I play console right now due to lack of internet, but I hate the fact that I have to play on Easy until Master I is viable in hardcore, it’s wayyyy too easy, but medium and hard offer no reward and Master I will most likely kill me. Soooo I’m stuck on easy mode until I’ve found enough gear to safely farm Master I…

      Whether it scales differently, or the same as it does now, each difficulty level should offer a bonus other than being more difficult. Otherwise, why risk it until I can safely traverse the first level that offers a bonus?

      My suggestion:

      MP0 – 0 Bonus
      MP1 – 5% mf/gf – 20% increase difficulty
      MP2 – 10% mf/gf – 50% increase difficulty
      MP3 – 20% mf/gf – 100% increase difficulty
      MP4 – 40% mf/gf – 225% increase difficulty
      mp5 – 60% mf/gf – 335% increase difficulty
      mp6 – 100% mf/gf – 600% increase difficulty

      Obviously, the bonuses don’t scale exactly with the increase in difficulty, BUT, as we know from the current MP system, whatever you can clear the fastest is usually what you do, so the ramp up in difficulty just means that once you can clear mp6 with no speed loss, you move up. Being near perfect gear should allow you to run MP6 with some fear of death in Hardcore, only perfect gear will allow you to run it with little to no fear.

      Just my 2 cents, I hate this new system of no bonus for harder difficulty. If death matters, why risk it for no reward?

      • Because not everyone plays to accumulate more junk to play more to accumulate more junk? Some people actually like challenge?

    12. Maybe this is a good time to remove one (or more) of the standard difficulties. We don’t need to repeat the game 4 times. Hell, let’s just jump into mp whatever and drops and monster levels scale to that.

      • I hope that happens, but I’m not convinced now. The devs seemed receptive to it when I argued for it on the interview some months ago, anyway. And it makes sense with another act of content, even with the level cap going up to 70.

        Currently the theory is 30/50/60 progression. But if you do a high MP level or twink a hellfire ring etc, it’s more like 35/55 by NM and then you hardly level in Hell and just want a rush to get to 60 when the real game starts.

        But in RoS we’ll have a 5th act and lvl 70 max… however with things like the changes to difficulty and items, I don’t think they’ll feel an urgency to drop Hell difficulty level. For one thing, the current game lvl 59 gear sucks, while 60 is awesome. But in RoS there shouldn’t be such a jump from 69 to 70, and you’ve had good gear from 60-70, so that time frame shouldn’t be such a boring slog as it is in D3C.

    13. So many difficulty setting… Why do we have to complete game 4 times in row??? IMO 1 gamethrough and endgame content + multi difficulties setting.

    14. They talked about changing the number of difficulty levels… Could be that the 18 icons are for 6 MP levels time 3 levels of difficulty.

    15. Less MP levels means higher chances to find partners in MP games.
      As a HC player myself I agree with the concerns regarding loot buffs, but all-in-all, even in the current game, ppl only cared about mp1-3-5-8-10. I’m sure Blizz will adjust the levels if needed, they are so competent dammit!

      • Or, maybe with a smaller number of difficulties to pick from, they will enable different difficulties in public games?

    16. Could maybe someone with some skill in photoshop or similar bring the 6 glass panes into the right order? I mean they obviously make a single picture, so would be cool to see it as such…

    17. The more experienced HC crowd normally play on MP3-6 these days. I would say the norm for me and the 80 people on my f-list is around MP4/5.


    18. If those difficulties retain same bonuses as MPs now, I am fine with it. As long as Difficuty 5 = MP10, Diff 4 = MP7-ish and so on, I am fine with it.

    19. I, Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, The God, state that leveling up to 70 doesn’t matter. In any scenario imaginable. With ‘permanence’ taking all the joy of taking new character, leveling it perfectly and making ‘perfect’ build sacrificing some skill-points and some not, competing with yourself in perfection of using skills and time needed to reach Hell (then), it doesn’t matter.

      You will do it once, or five/six times or more if HC, and nevermore. It is basically a question of how will player spend 2, 5, 8h on an medium-to-large act. Even question of 69/70 is irrelevant, it would last 10 minutes.

      Gradually, players are being pushed towards HC, which retains some permanence, only in death, though, and question asked is meaningful only to HC characters.

      The God won’t be pushed into HC. Even lukewarm HC with cheating death and inherent (Sharagon) bonuses. Too much disconnections with divine internet…

      Sharagons also make leveling 60-70 largely irrelevant, since it won’t be the same for players with and without large number of bonuses…

    20. Glad they took in my suggestion to reduce MP0-10 to only 6 difficulty modes. The 0-10 gap will too big.

      I suggested for only 4 but heck, it’s an improvement. What I gave was that every mode is different.

      EG. Last mode – Double elite spawn, double normal mob spawn rate. Special monsters spawn.

      Looks like they might incorporate neph trials into the difficulty since they spawn randomly. Maybe more trials will spawn in the higher difficulties? Can’t wait to play RoS!

    21. I think it’s pointless to discuss difficulty and this point. I mean they will increase/reduce difficulty based on player feedback anyways after release.

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