Diablo III Item Finding: More Varied Hunting Grounds

Bashiok made an interesting post on the B.net forums, explaining D3’s whole “not just endless boss runs” end game play style.

So blizzard is trying to encourage us to do more randomized content. If I want to kill bosses to get my loot shouldn’t I be able to? Why penalize players who want to run bosses as well as random content why not make everything equal?

The purpose is devaluing boss runs, not making them pointless. I guess you could make the argument that anything beyond what is most efficient is pointless, which isn’t totally wrong, but there’s still plenty of grey area.

Bosses have fixed locations, and fixed mechanics, these two basic truths mean for very formulaic gameplay. Formulaic gameplay leads to formulaic builds to best take advantage of them, and as much as some individuals might like the repetition, we don’t believe they’re healthy for what we intend to be a diverse character landscape.

Character and build diversity is not only built by the mechanics and systems that create a build, but also what challenges those builds face that make them viable or not viable. You can have an awesome character customization system with tons of complex systems that feed into infinite character customization, but it doesn’t mean anything if the content that the character is facing doesn’t challenge it and validate the choices that were made.

Rares and champions tend to have either partially or completely randomized locations and affixes. We believe that making it less of a formula, and using the Diablo-centric randomness to drive the end-game gameplay as well as item drops, it will mean for a more compelling and diverse experience, which is simply going to be more interesting for more players. We expect that a huge chunk of people that buy Diablo III will never make it to Inferno, but that doesn’t mean we should punish the people who do with boring and repetitive avenues for acquiring drops. The formulaic nature of bosses will ensure that they are the goal for item runs unless we devalue them, and so that’s what we’re going to try out.

I will also say that we don’t think Inferno is the end-all solution to creating an exciting end-game. We’re pretty sure it will be a great improvement, and excellent first step, but it’s still quite a ways away from a true end-game content solution. We hope to be able to share some of the other thoughts we have post-release.

I agree with the D3 devs on this issue, since I like playing a variety of areas and crafting a build that can deal with all sorts of scenarios, rather than just specializing in doing the same one or two things, over and over again. Like Bashiok says, Meph/Baal/Cows/Pindle/etc runs promote narrow builds and exploitative play. Plus those pattern-following boss runs enable bot use, and they’re just plain boring.

The problem, as the D3 team has acknowledged in the past, is that players will do whatever it’s most profitable for them to do, even if that’s boring. Thus the mission of the game’s developers is to make fun and varied play the most rewarding type of play. They can do this by increasing rewards from random bosses, by decreasing rewards for boss running, or both.

You are, of course, free to disagree. Perhaps we should run a vote on this issue someday, just to see where people are on this, philosophically.

Tagged As: | Categories: Blizzard People, Blue Posts, Bosses, End Game


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  1. A great first start. I’d throw in random events/quests, too (like Jar of Souls, etc).

  2. Yeah I love the underlying thought process that they are using here. The future for Diablo 3 looks bright!

  3. I favor anything to promote playing the whole game.  Nerf or make less profitable the bots and endless, repetitive boss runs.  And to think we will be rewarded with a greater chance of the best items.  I also agree with cacophony that random events/quests are also very cool.  I’d like to see random world type events like Uber-D, but what if they could come up with a Uber Unique that you only see in this world event- so essentially you get a new boss demon or entity but its a tough bad-ass that you need all friends to help take down and it only happens a few times a month or whatever. 

    However, having said all that, the best part of the post is:  We expect that a huge chunk of people that buy Diablo III will never make it to Inferno.  WTF?!  That is what I’m talking about.  I want to have my ass handed to me in a brown paper bag when I first set foot in inferno.  Please just release this game.

    • as a single player guy from D2…never being able to experience uber bosses was always a let down.  I’m not a fan of the events that either A) require you to play multiplayer or B) require you to get lucky and be online at the time of said random event.
      If you are gonna go thru the trouble of adding content like that, make it accessible by everyone.  By all means make it so you have to get specific items to trigger event or something, but please keep it accessible.   They did this in D2 with the uber D and they did this in WoW with events like the opening of the gates of Anj’Qiraj.  Hundreds of hours of development time and your end result doesn’t reach your entire player base.  /fail. Obviously the online only requirement will solve a tiny bit of this. I hope they’ve thought out how they’d approach content like this tho, to keep it accessible.

  4. Every time they mention nerfing boss drops and beefing unique/champion drops, all it makes me think of is alvl85 running in D2. 

    If every unique monster/mob in Inferno can drop everything and the odds are relatively even amongst every potential target, then the end result will be people creating builds that are very well suited to a specific area and run the hell out of it ad nauseum.  Granted, if EVERY area in D3 is the rough equivalent to one of D2’s alvl85 prime hunting grounds, then there will also be an increased number of effective MF builds in accordance to each area’s challenges & weaknesses.

    But it’s still the same.  How many of us ran the Ancient Tunnels with a Blizzsorc until our eyes bled?  D2 suffered in that there were a small handful of places like this, including the WSK, the Pit, and the RoF.  It sounds like D3 will have a greater number of areas to run, but once people figure out the “perfect” builds to run specific areas then that’s all we’re gonna do.

    Especially if boss drops are nerfed drastically.  I honestly don’t see the point.  Nerf ’em a little…  okay.  But if they decrease the value of time & effort spend versus specific targets, then it eliminates those targets to be run, thus decreasing the number of potential MF targets and rendering the item hunt game to be more shallow than it could be.  If they make boss runs virtually pointless, then all that’s left is area running.  Why limit areas to run when you can make EVERYTHING worth running?

    In the end, specialization will prevail and certain builds will run certain areas/targets.  Doesn’t matter what they do; people will find the best way to do something and everyone will catch on.  And when Blizzard changes things to make those builds/areas less optimal, then the next best thing will take its place and everyone will do that instead.  The D2 trend will continue regardless of how things are handled in D3.

    My $.02

    Mind, I’m not complaining. I play D2 to this day, and it’s mostly about the items. I’ll put up with the inevitable boredom if I can get some phat loot.

    • consider that all of inferno will be the same lvl number. (i’m sure i read that somewhere)  If someone wants to dull their experience by only specializing in one area…then by all means.   They are removing the requirement for you to farm specific areas that are max lvl.  This is a very good thing.  Now instead of one little area, i can start and act 1 and proceed to the end…over and over again.  A lot more variation.
      I do however wish they’d make boss kills give some benefit.  Ooh…they should make boss kills give an hour long buff of some sort.  Then, even if we don’t get a nice piece of loot from them, at least we get something and there will be some motivation to kill the bosses.

      • I think the idea is that if drops are spread evenly (particularly in Inferno), then with the ability to freely respec, you can run different areas depending on how you feel at the time. It’s more than likely that people will prefer certain areas more than others depending on personal taste, class, etc. 
        As for bosses, from what I’ve seen, their intent is to eliminate running of any one thing in particular, the way you had in D2. Boss-running, for whatever reason, would fall under that umbrella.

  5. It comes down to this: are you making the player’s ability to obtain loot more “compelling and diverse” or are you just making it more complicated? Players are going to look for unique/rare/champion monsters regardless of their backstory, location, enviornment, etc. simply because they want better items. After your 8th time playing through Diablo III’s story, is your quest for items going to remain bearable, or is it just going to be a tireless and boring sprintfest in all 4 corners of the map to find a champion monster to kill? In Diablo III, you’ll notice that even if you don’t find the next level of the dungeon, many dead-ends have a chest as a reward. With monster hunting, there are no chests. This [champion/etc. monster spawning] is how it was in Diablo II, but luckily we didn’t have to search around for Champions and whatnot because we could farm bosses. If they devalue bosses, then we must find Champions, and if Champions are random, then our sole source for items becomes even more mindless/random/disappointing than a linear grind.

    If everymonster in Inferno has about equal chances of dropping magical items, then it would only be in inferno that item hunting became less frustrating. (‘Less frustrating’, as in knowing the direction you’re travelling won’t lead to nowhere, and knowing that what you’re doing is not potentially a waste; possibly more frustrating considering difficulty.)

    • “If they devalue bosses, then we must find Champions, and if Champions are random, then our sole source for items becomes even more mindless/random/disappointing than a linear grind.”
      I think that’s a large part of the intent. A corollary of it being hard / random to find what you want is that when you do stumble across it, it’s a lot more exciting.
      With that said, it’s hard to gauge how they specifically compare without knowing Champion spawn rates.

  6. I, for one, really appreciate this change.  When I last played D2 my friends and I would do key runs instead of boss farming as it was just more interesting.

  7. I would rather have rare and champion monsters drop better loot. /agree

  8. I agree completely. How is this even an issue? It’s no wonder WoW is as popular as it is. Gamers love mind numbing repetition!

  9. I wholehearted agree with Bashiok here, as well as with you, Flux.

  10. 🙂 you can still run the bosses and i’m sure the loot will be also great. they will increase the interest of the surround world. which is far better for me. More opportunities.

  11. Making bosses pointless to run is yet another in a bad line of decisions that Blizzard will defend to the death.
    “Character and build diversity is not only built by the mechanics and systems that create a build, but also what challenges those builds face that make them viable or not viable.”
    How can any D3 “build” face any challenge when skill swapping is free and immediate?

    • You are a patch behind, Sir.

      • Actually about 12 years behind. GOW seems to want D2 version 2 and nothing else.

      • Simply visiting an alter to reset your skills won’t deter skill swapping for the various bosses and areas. There needs to be an ever increasing cost to skills swaps to prevent skill swap abuse.
        It seems bizarre to be that in inferno the lowliest champion monster will drop better than Prime Evil. Why even include bosses in inferno if you don’t want players to repeat the content? Blizzard is trying to dictate too much how each class should be played and how the player should play the game. If bosses are viable run targets there is more variety in the game.

        • Ok GOW, this is how it works: Bosses will have a lower chance to pop out the best gear and rare champoins/monsters will have the better chance.

          Now here is the crux of why both will still be done:Bosses still drop MORE items than a Rare monster, giving you more chances to find what you want. Even if its only one to 2 times more, over time it’s enough of a difference to make doing both worth it ((One for more shots at getting a uber item and one for a better chance.)).

  12. they need to make boss runs twice(trice) harder after 1st time.  and co-op gameplay bosses is not 4 times harder . but 10x. then will be more fun. suggest it to blizzard please

  13. I agree with Bashiok here, and slightly disagree with actual post.  I loved Diablo when it came out and the best part about it was clearing level 16 looking for new stuff.  The *best* stuff dropped off Diablo, sure, but a lot of great stuff dropped from the random mobs too. For someone like me that won’t be able to play Diablo III as often or for as long each time, the ability to do what’s fun and still be rewarded is great.  Will I make it to Inferno?  Probably not. Is that because I was farming the wrong thing? No way. Will I enjoy Nightmare? Definitely. I will like it because when I do get to play, I will be presented with a number of (potentially) equally rewarding quests to take on.
    I am not concerned about optimizing my build for whatever characteristic because I know that I will never have the time to get to Inferno end-game content. But the idea that all stages along the road to end-game Inferno are all (more or less) equally fulfilling in a progression kind of way is very attractive.

  14. Let best loot drop from random champion packs, and rare monsters. Even chests/urns, etc.

    However, I hope Blizzard doesn’t balance things out too evenly, then it just becomes boring as well. I still like the idea of certain areas/monsters having a higher chance of dropping certain types of items. Of course, these distributions can be randomized as well, for each game created. 

    Just don’t make it boring, Blizzard.

  15. Another issue is where random bosses are distributed. If every unique, for example, were identical, Meph and Baal runs would still be good due to the largenumber of minor uniques you encounter en route.

    • They’ve alluded to making unique monsters randomly spread throughout acts. They know how people play this game. There were a few non-random uniques in D2 of course that always showed up in a pre-defined area, but hopefully they’re smart enough to avoid that mechanic. Even still, if you’re out in the world hunting these guys down, you’ll probably run into a few others along the way. Unless they stick them right next to a way point, ha…

  16. I agree with what TheReadMenace and Voilent Storms said. From what the posted Blizzard quote, why don’t they make some random mechanics for bosses then? Instead of facing a melee type of boss they could make him a mage one that mutates into fighting yourself or another DIII hero class etc, random boss skills, would be a cool idea imo. Only problem is, fixed story bosses, which in D2 was pretty much all of em. So just using this for secondary bosses rather than main story ones.

  17. Why doesn’t blizzard do something where every time you killed a specific boss/rare/unique the boss would level up. And the only way to reset the boss would be redo the difficulty level over from the beginning. For example you complete inferno and all the bosses are level 61. You decide to farm boss A in the third act. So you kill him three times within a couple hours, every time you kill him all the baddies (including the regularly spawned minions) have leveled up to level 64 making them all hit harder and tougher. This would give people reasons for bragging rights/achievements ie. “I killed level 69 Diablo” and if would force people to run through that difficulty over again say give a reset button.

  18. Wow, Flux agreeing with a blue-post and me agreeing with both. This is a miracle! Nevermind. I think the poll idea is good.

  19. FINALLY !!! No more bosses runs as Diablo 2. I was so tired of doing it over and over again and the bots were destroying the game so badly. This might stop the bots invasion in a near future.
    Good job blizzard 🙂

  20. Let me guess for Diablo 4 we’ll be hearing about how no one ever fought the bosses in D3 after they leveled their characters to 60 in the first week.  So, we made boss runs much more rewarding to encourage playing that content.

    • Why would they care about people running bosses when they don’t care about us running bosses now? The GAME itself content, not farming four bosses for 12 years. I don’t understand your issue.

      • That’s probably because you aren’t thinking.  They don’t need to encourage us to run bosses now because we are running bosses now in D2.  They decided we were running bosses TOO MUCH.  So, they’re encouraging us not too.  I’m implying that they’ll get upset that we aren’t running bosses enough in D3 and will swing the focus back in D4.

  21. Another solution: Make bosses an epic affair that takes so long you’d be crazy to grind them. 😀

  22. Let’s be honest, no one will have “never fought the bosses”, they’ll just have fought them 1-5 times, vs 1k-5k times.  And no one ever said the drops off bosses would be useless.  Just not as good as those off champions etc (which makes almost no sense from a logical and not metagame standpoint- how did this random “champion” get better stuff than the Lord of Terror?- but having a polearm pop out of an urn doesn’t make sense either, so….).  My concerns are twofold-
    1) The newbies, those who didn’t scour fan sites for years before the release of the game for every snippet of info they could find- can we realistically expect them to know this?  Won’t their expectation be that the most phat loot comes from the toughest baddies, and thus won’t we see them running bosses all day long?  How do you tell the non-rabid fans what behaviors have, mathematically, the best chance of success for them?
    2) Diminishing the profitability of bots running bosses won’t stop bots from running bosses, as diminishing =/= removing.  Bots will still run bosses, as that is the easiest behavior to do, and will still be profitable in doing so.  Diminished profitability per bot just means more will be needed to maintain the same amount of throughput.  The only way to prevent that is to make bosses drop utter crap, which I don’t think anyone wants, otherwise when you’re facing Hell Diablo, it will be a chore, not a challenge (“%#@&!  Why am I even doing this?  This guy is so hard, and such a pain, and I know all he’ll drop for me is a cracked glaive… where’s the skip button on this fight, I just want to get to the next act already….).

    • I think that nobody is proposing that Act and mini bosses drop utter crap in all four difficulties. I´m perfectly fine with Diablo (if he is Act IV boss) has the best drop rate in Normal, Nightmare and Hell difficulties. What I think should happen is that all act and mini bosses drop crap only in Inferno difficulty.

    • 1) Newbies will NEVER get close to inferno, that part of the game is designed for US, the people who go to those websites and look for every bit of info we can get. The people who they targeted Inferno for already know.

  23. But why would it be considered a \waste\. The whole point of Inferno is that the ENTIRE game is playable. That means that every normal monster has the same drop chance, and unique monsters have the best loot, which I´m sure you already know. In D2, we ran the same boss over and over again, and anything that slowed that process was considered annoying, or hindarance. Point of Inferno is that you log in on your character, go to any act you like the most or feel exploring, and play. Basically, Inferno rewards you for going outside of town and clearing every piece of every area in that act including all of the randomised dungeons and events. Inferno rewards and encourages completionism. If running the WHOLE act full of ever-changing scenery and randomized events and dungeons is boring, then what would you call killing the same boss over and over and over and over again. The Same boss with same scenery that always says the same things is in the same place and is overall completly identitcal. THAT was interesting or that THAT should be encouraged? No, that should be DISCOURAGED.

    Also, on the issue of why not give Act Bosses same drop rates as rares and champions, so that players that are into the grind fest *coughmasochistscough* can run the bosses if that is more interesting to them then the whole world (of Sanctuary). That won´t work. Simply giving bosses same drop rates as uniques won´t solve anything. Act Bosses and Mini Bosses (colectivly known as \bosses\) will be huge, super powerfull monsters that take a while to kill and have their own unique behaviour and they will be mutli stage battles etc, etc. Point is, time, effort and gears required to kill a boss is significantly greater then time, gear and effort required to kill unique, even in Inferno. That means that while rewards may be the same (if they let bosses have same drop rates as uniques) but time spent killng them as well as gear and skill one would have to possess to kill Act Boss in Inferno would both be significantly greater then the requirements for uniques. Which means anybody farming Inferno for gear would get much more gear from uniques then from bosses.

    Basically, if they give bosses worse drop rates then uniques nobody will bother with them.

    If they give bosses same drop rates, nobody will bother with them.

    If they give bosses better drop rates, we will see the return of boss runs.

    EDIT: this was meant as a reply to “Such Violent Storms”, don´t know what happened.

  24. how do the newest skill swapping systems work??

  25. Interesting… It looks like instead of rushing to bosses, I will just be playing the game in regular sequence and hoping I find lots of champions/rares along the way… unless there turns out to be a few specific areas I like enough to farm a lot…

  26. I liked the way it was handled in Diablo 1.  They had good variety in areas that were good for loot, good for gold, and good for xp.

    From level 20ish on, the hell levels of the prior difficulty were the best for gear, and the monastery of current difficulty level were great for rapidly leveling 5-10 times and gold farming.

    lvl 20-30 leveling/gold = nightmare monastery; gear = normal hell
    lvl 30-40 leveling/gold = hell monastery; gear = nightmare hell
    lvl 40+ gold = hell monastery; leveling/gear = hell hell

  27. I have a hard time comprehending how can the vast majority of “softcore” characters never make it to inferno. In the Diablo series, the higher difficulty levels are not the just higher difficulty levels for replay value – they’re actually higher levels of the same game which you’re ‘meant’ to do if you want to ‘complete’ the game. They aren’t optional in the traditional sense. With that said, D2’s hell wasn’t THAT challenging that a softcore character couldn’t simply corpse walk through it – and I doubt inferno would be infinitely harder either. Now if they play hardcore it’s more understandable.

    • Its not surprising,I know  lot of people who stopped playing after Normal cause they thought”thats it” and just moved on not realizing that there was so many more items to get. Plus somepeople just are not into the item hunt for every piece of kickass gear, they just want to get stuff they like and that makes them happy and then stop.

  28. Random Quests or Bonus Glowing Treasure Chests, or whatever other rewards you can think of, should become available in each area once you’ve reached some critical threshold of monsters killed and champions/rares eliminated.    Additionally, once you’ve received a reward in that particular area, there could be some form of diminishing returns, which can be restored little by little as you clear or partially clear other areas. So, you can’t simply teleport around and kill rares/champions (although even that is a lot more challenging and a huge improvement over Pindleskin runs), and the more you change venues the closer back to 100% your super chest bonus or whatever will be when you return to a particular area.

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