There are a ton of comments on Rush’s post from this morning about the v1.05 sneak preview, but not a lot of speculation about what I thought was most interesting in it; the hint about the new end game event. Here’s the quote from the preview:

    New Event: Infernal Machine
    The Infernal Machine is a device that will allow level-60 players to battle “uber” versions of some of Sanctuary’s most nefarious bosses. While the rewards for defeating these bosses will be great, some assembly is required.

    As many of you guys pointed out in comments, this is directly influenced by the Pandemonium Event, an end game challenge added to Diablo 2 in v1.11. (Incidentally, that patch went live on August 1, 2005. That’s FIVE YEARS AND TWO MONTHS after D2C’s release.) The function of that quest was derived from the original DiabloWikiSecret Cow Level; gather various ingredients, stick them into the cube, transmute them into a special red portal to enter a bonus area. That same principle was used for Diablo III’s secret level, DiabloWikiWhimsyshire, and it seems the devs are expanding upon that for this upcoming Infernal Machine event.

    Diablo 2’s Pandemonium Event

    But what might it entail? I want to speculate! But first, let’s flash back to the DiabloWikiPandemonium Event. See the article in the D2 section of DiabloWiki.net for full details, but here’s a quick summary:

  • The first step was to obtain three special keys. They were dropped only by three specific DiabloWikiSuperUnique bosses, on Hell difficulty. The Key of Terror from DiabloWikiThe Countess, the key of Hate from DiabloWikiThe Summoner, and the Key of Destruction from DiabloWikiNihlathak. Their odds to drop a key were around 10%, so finding these keys took a lot of runs, and was a bit like running D3’s Izual for the Plan of Herding.
  • Once you had each key, you could use them in the DiabloWikiHoradric Cube to open a red portal to a specific bonus area, which held an uber version of one of the game’s main bosses. These were all nasty, challenging bosses, much tougher than the usual versions, but at least they had a 100% chance to drop the special item you were hunting them for. Lilith (Uber Anderial) was found in The Matron’s Den and she dropped Diablo’s Horn. Uber Duriel was found in The Forgotten Sands and he dropped Baal’s Eye. Uber Izual was found in The Furnace of Pain, and he dropped Mephisto’s Brain.

    Semi-random Hellfire Torch stats.

  • Players then put Diablo’s Horn, Baal’s Eye, and Mephisto’s Brain into the cube, and created a red portal to Uber Tristram. There they faced uber versions of Diablo, Baal, and Mephisto all at once, and when you slayed them all the ultimate reward dropped, a Hellfire Torch.
  • The torch was basically a super-charm; an object that you held in your inventory and derived huge passive bonuses from. The torch was worth really big bonuses, but had a lot of variation in the potential stats, including class-specific skill bonuses, and each character could only hold one at a time. So, if you did the quest and already had one, you had to drop your current torch to take the new one. In a game without a shared stash this necessitated a lot of inventory and character shuffling, but the item was awesome enough that it was worth the trouble, and the high variability on stats made it worth farming repeatedly.

    Diablo 3’s New Thing

    All that said… what can we expect from the Infernal Machine quest in Diablo III? We’ll see (probably vague, incomplete, and somewhat confusing) details fairly soon, once the patch goes up and gets datamined. In the meantime, want to speculate?

    There’s no real reason to expect the Infernal Machine to mirror the Pandemonium Event, but as the blue quote said, there will be some assembly required. What might that mean? Many players have complained about the purple-named bosses in the game, all of whom (aside from a few quest bosses) seem fairly pointless to kill, since they’re very easy and don’t drop anything special.

    D2’s Pandemonium Event expanded the game world exploration by giving players a reason to run The Summoner and Nihlathak. (The Countess was already popular for her high odds of dropping runes.) Might the Infernal Machine follow that mold, and make some of the less-traveled Elites a newly-valuable object of pilgrimage? The problem with that is the way those bosses in D3 don’t appear every game. Most of us in D3 have been frustrated by running the Caverns of Frost looking for Chiltara, the only source of the Gibbering Gemstone.

    In D2 The Summoner didn’t always drop the Key of Terror, but at least you knew where the son of a bitch was, and you knew he’d be there every game. So perhaps D3’s event will borrow from that concept and come v1.05 we’ll all find ourselves repeatedly running say… The Skeleton King, Zoltan Kulle, and Ghom, in order to score materials required to create the quest? Or would you prefer a more Chiltara style of boss, where you know where he/she/it might spawn, but you’ll need multiple games to get lucky and find them?

    The Infernal Machine

    As for the Infernal Machine itself… any ideas?

    The Infernal Machine is a device that will allow level-60 players to battle “uber” versions of some of Sanctuary’s most nefarious bosses.

    Sounds a lot like an Uber Tristam type of thing, where we’ll face higher quality versions of some of the bosses. Act Bosses, as we saw in the D2 quest? Are you ready for The Butcher, Azmodan, and Siegebreaker all at the same time? How about Belial as a demon troop carrier, vomiting up another mini-Ghom every minute or so?

    The Just Reward

    D3’s Talisman, full of charms.

    How about the reward? I think I speak for everyone when I say that we’ll be pretty disappointed if this whole event just pops a bunch of damn rares. Even if they were say, 10 rares guaranteed to be level 62+… not good enough.

    How about Rares + a guaranteed 60+ set or legendary item? Not good enough? A sure route to item inflation? (I still think D3 so needs some kind of DiabloWikiBoA, so they could bump up the drop rates for green/orange items without flooding the AH.)

    I think they can do better. Just another source of items (which most of us are disappointed with as it is) wouldn’t seem very special.

    The Hellfire Torch worked in D2 since there were already charms. D3 was going to have charms, and did during much of development, until the DiabloWikiTalisman system got shelved (probably until the expansion). Might we see it return for this new quest thingie, though? Even if it’s just in some limited/special form, to allow a Hellfire Torch-like reward? An object that every character can use, that’s not just an upgrade or replacement for an existing item? That won’t wreck the AH economy? That’s variable enough in stats that you’d want to keep completing the quest, to keep finding more of them as you tried to upgrade?

    Or not. Maybe the reward will be something entirely different, that’s nothing at all like the D2 version. Any clever ideas?

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