Is it luck? Is it random? Why do they have what I want? All question we may ask as we plow through monsters scouring for our loot. When we find ourselves looking for answers some times we create our own. Several ideas about Diablo’s RNG have cropped up and I have to admit it’s hard not to get sucked into them.

    The party theory

    The theory goes that playing in a party affect your loot drops. Often one person in the group is getting the lions share, while others get the scraps. People have begun to speculate that this is due to a mistiming with parties. That lucky party member is actually getting some drops that should go to you.  Now i’ve been on both sides of this one and I think it’s really just RNG. I’ve had games where i’ve landed three legs in quick succession and seen others do the same.

    Rating: False- you just are more conscious of what is dropping for others, and when you’re on a dry spell anyone else that gets a legs getting more than you.


    Time played theory

    What I am going to attempt to explain over the next few paragraphs is what and how the current drop system works and what you can do to take advantage of it, or just for your own good to better understand how it works and why it works that way.

    My theory (which I am confident in being correct) that very little about when a drop occurs is based on “RNG”and the only aspect of RNG is what drops, not when. I believe that drops are completely time controlled to maintain an even flow of legendaries into the game world. What does this mean for you and why should you be upset? It means that no matter how fast, or efficient you are at killing you will on average get the exact same number of legendaries as Johnny casual that kills at 1/10th the rate that you do. How did I come to this conclusion? 16 hours of comparison (small sample size) with a good friend of mines girlfriend who is the very definition of casual. I started to suspect such a system was in place the stronger my character became and a plotting of the last few days of legs in my clans news. My DH is currently top 250 on Dprogress for elite DPS. I can absolutely face roll T1 and T2 so I figured this would be a good testing ground to compare with her. My friends GF was up for the help so we both started running T1’s solo. Her crusader is a 200k DPS tank and she has 0 idea about efficiency or movement speed. She was clearing around 1 T1 / hour(insanely slow on a crusader with no points into movement) compared to my 5-6. Over the course of 16 hours we both averaged 1.5 leg / hr. This was done over 4 sessions of roughly 4 hours of play. This system appears to be in place to balance the no lifers with the casuals as far as gear progression goes.

    This is why chest farming and purple farming was so popular before the nerf. They are not on the timer controlled system of drops and had an actual drop %. Using a system like this, the more times you roll the dice the more times you’ll hit big… and that is just what people were doing and were able to bypass the intended drop rate and achieve some really high numbers of 10-20 / hr. And as a result it was more rewarding than actually playing the game (which is what Blizzard doesn’t want so it was consequently nerfed) The more times you killed manglemaw, and the more times you opened a chance the more legs you would get simply for the fact you were spinning the slot machine more times. This chance also increased per level of difficulty which is why it was so much better on T6 compared to T1.

    What system are we left with now? The timer system I referred to before. My theory on how it works is this, Each difficulty has an average leg / hour that it attempts to maintain over the long term. Everytime a legendary drop occurs for you it resets to an amount somewhere between 5 seconds and 140 minutes with a higher chance to reset somewhere in the middle, and a lower chance to reset to the extremes (RNG) An example would be something like this:

    • Normal – Master = 1.25 L / Hour over 100 hours would = 125 Legs
    • T1 = 1.5 L / Hour over 100 hours would = 150 Legs
    • T2 = 1.65 L / Hour over 100 hours would = 165 Legs Etc
    • With it probably capping around 2.25 L / Hour for Torment 6 which is why you’ve seemingly seen Legendarys rain from the sky for those able to stay alive in T6.
    • “But Thacker… I’ve gotten 3 legs back to back and blah blah blah”

    This is variance, plain and simple. Short term variance built into a system designed to average out over a certain time. This also explains why you can hit 2 packs of goblins in a rift… and not see a single leg drop. If the timer doesn’t permit it, you could kill 500 goblins and not get a drop. Lengendary drops simply aren’t based off a % drop.

    But this also brings me to my next point… the “Rested XP Legendaries”

    Ask anyone who doesn’t play for 1-2 days… even more. Does their luck suddenly seem better for the first few hours after logging back on? From everyone I’ve talked to… yes it does. Why does this seem to be? The same way that WoW has a rested XP catchup system, so does this game. This also explains why after the “hotfix” everyone was noticing greatly increased drop rates… I believe we were given max “rested” XP as a bonus on the hotfix. I know that for the first night after logging in I got 5-6 legs very quickly and then over the next few days it dwindled down to my current rate. My friend who didn’t log in for 3 days after the hotfix? Also noticed greatly increased drop rates for the first few hours which has now also fizzled to around the 1.5 / hour mark. This also helps explain why a person joining your group and seemingly “taking your Leg drops” might be receiving more than you for that time period. He might have just logged on which would explain him just joining your farm group, and you might be seeing this rested leg system showing off.
    Next point will be legendary tiers, and this is the one that bothers me the most. It’s pretty obvious by now that certain items are simply much more common than others. Blackthornes set… certain bracers, gloves and belts…. Along with every other item category has tiers that it can drop. So while the actual droprate is completely controlled by a timer, what you get is most definietely RNG and it’s absolutely worthless for a singleplayer game without economy and in its current implementation, it’s completely out of balance What appears to happen is this:

    X amount of time passes and you are now eligible for a leg drop:

    • Ding – Leg Drop
      System Rolls
      Chance for Item to = Normal Legendary / Non Class Specific Set (Blackthornes) 98%
      Chance for Item to = Class Set 2%

    Now if Normal Legendary is selected, it then rolls based on a tier system

    • Tier 1 (Saffron wrap, broken promises, gungdo gear) = 50%
    • Tier 2 (puzzle ring, lower class weapons, certain chests / boots etc)= 25%
    • Tier 3 (Mid tier weapons like windforce etc, firewalkers and better amulets) = 12.5 %
    • Tier 4 (Higher end gear such as cindercoat, andariels etc) = 6%
    • Unobtainables (Ice Climbers, Witching Hour, Calamity, Kridershot) = 0.0000000001 %

    This system I have a personal beef with, because I’ve looked for a Kridershot over 300 hours / 300 paragon levels and gambled over 25k shards for one. There’s simply no reason I should be locked out from having an item soley by this system. In D2 and D3 I could trade for the item I wanted with someone of = value. The only way to fix this is to make all of the items have the exact same drop potential.

    This system simply does not work in a game where trading is not allowed. People WILL get geared, but not everyone will be able to have the gear they want to play with… which is what a diablo game is about. We are ENTITLED to enjoy the game with everything the game has to offer, not be locked behind what the game decides to drop us. Without trading, and without a way to specifically target items you have lost one of the main reasons why the Diablo franchise is so enjoyable. I believe they are completely aware of these problems, which is why Kadala and the rested XP legendary timer exist, to assist those that can’t play all the time have the gear they want.

    Is this system exploitable in anyway? Only one… and that is Kadala. Kadala appears to work completely off a % drop rate, but she still holds true to the drop % of the tiers. You might have a 1% chance to roll an item everytime you gamble a slot from Kadala, but you’ll still be fighting against the tier system if you want a certain piece of gear. For every kridershot you see, you’ll see 200 windforces, ravens, and cluckeyes. If you want to really exploit this and get many more legs / hour, simply try the rift it forward community that’s going on right now. Running with that crew I am able to get my 1.5 / 2 legs from rifts, and another 4-5 / hour from leeching rift shards.

    Now Blizzard… I totally understand WHY this system is in place. It’s there so the sword and board barb slow farming T5 is able to get the same rewards as the no lifer blowing through T5 and 6 four times as fast. Blizzard seems to feel that if you are able to survive and complete a T5 rift, you should be rewarded just as well as the person that breezes through it. It’s the no man left behind philosophy of game design. Promote build diversity and gear diversity over speed and efficiency. The problem with the community is this… we want to kill as fast as possible and be as efficient as possible… but with this team managing diablo we simply won’t ever get rewarded for that style of play.

    That above is taken from Thacker’s thread here. The gist being that RNG is a fallacy and that the time played is what counts. The timer theory hinges on what we heard from Travis day back in January

    We added a system in the expansion that tracks the amount of time you spend fighting creatures without finding a legendary and after a certain period of time will slowly start increasing the legendary drop rate. Once a legendary drops for you, actual item not crafting recipe or material, we reset that timer. This is meant to be a safety net so that the random can never be too extreme to the negative end. If players are legitimately going 18+ hours and not seeing a legendary it’s possible that there are some bugs floating around that need to be identified.

    And before anyone responds saying TWO HOURS IS TOO LONG! let me say that we know as time goes on and we patch content or players get better gear and find better specs that will not be the reality. Higher difficulties do in fact increase your chance to find legendary items, coupled with people playing in coop also increasing the rate that everyone overall finds items, etc. Our final target is roughly in the 90 minute range for advanced players. This doesn’t factor in crafting items, trading with friends in coop or any of the other means that we already know players can use to accelerate their legendary acquisition rate.


    From those words came a hundred variants on time based drops. While Travis acknowledges a timer, it is one meant to increase your legendary find chance, not to necessarily  drop you an item every two hours. Another thing to note is what travis detailed for an ideal time for getting a legendary: Once every 90 minutes! To the best of my knowledge I haven’t heard them say anything changing that time. If that’s the case maybe the issue isn’t with RNG but with the goal for gear accumulation from the developers. If we are slated to only see a leg every 90 minutes( and I would argue we see them much more) then of course we are going to question where our drops are.

    Tasker’s theory is just that a theory. However, until we get some clarification how drops are really happening, speculation is going to continue to run rampant. Travis was kind enough to lift the veil before, maybe he can yet again?

    What is your theory on drops?RNG, Timers, or the Dark lord Cthulhu plotting your insanity by giving you magefists from kadala every time when you are trying to get tasker and theo?


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