Do Diablo 3 Bosses Drop Legendaries?

I misread this question at first glance, but I’m going to stick with what I thought it said, since that’s a more interesting question. First, here’s the quote:

I was curious as to if bosses actually have a chance to drop legendaries or not. Ive often wondered this, and never really seem to remember anyone mentioning getting a legendary/set item from a boss. So have any of you actually had this happen or know if its possible?

Vaeflare: While I’ve not been lucky enough to experience it firsthand, Diablo III bosses do indeed have a chance to drop Legendaries and Set items. 🙂

Nice of Vaeflare to cement his “noob” status but perhaps he read the post as I did at my first glance, when I thought the OP was asking about Act Bosses dropping legendaries. But yes, regular bosses can drop legendaries. In fact that’s where I get maybe 2/3 of mine now that I’m playing with max MF, with the other 1/3 coming from white “trash” mobs (who aren’t actually so trashy, as they provide most of your exp and plenty of gold and other loot).

Zunimassa’s Vision from one of the minions of an Unburied boss.
That said, in the first dark months after Diablo III’s release, I might almost have echoed the OP’s question, since from like May-August I only found a handful of orange/green items, most from trash mobs, but even back then I’d seen one or two drop from bosses, or had them drop for friends in MP games.

What I had not seen, until fairly recently, was a legendary drop from one of the supposedly bigger-dropping quest bosses such as the Skeleton King, Magda, Ghom, etc. They’d pop 4 or 5 rares, but never a green or orange. (I’ve since seen this a few times.) I still have not ever personally seen a legendary drop from an Act Boss, and I often tack Azmodan or The Butcher onto the end of an item or key run just to give it a try. Diablo 2 this ain’t.

I know it can happen though, since I’ve heard others report it and I’ve even seen it in video; most recently when Green Pants drop from Azmodan in the 3rd kill in that video about how the Barbarian’s off-hand weapon’s DPS doesn’t matter when using WW.

So the question to you guys; where do you get your legendary and set items?

  • The hordes of white monster victims?
  • Random blues and yellows? (I seem to get a lot from yellow boss minions, so they drop during the boss encounter, some slight distance from where the actual boss pops.)
  • Purples?
  • Treasure Goblins?
  • Chests and piles of bones?
  • Golden chests?
  • Bigger quest bosses with their guaranteed multi-item drop?
  • Or have you scaled the highest peak and found one from an Act Boss? And do you wish D3 had more of a D2 style bonus item quality drop from Act Bosses, to make them worth running again?
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    41 thoughts on “Do Diablo 3 Bosses Drop Legendaries?

    1. I have had the game since day 1, and my highest level is a DH level 60 (paragon 15).

      I have never had a legendary item drop from ANY bosses or chapions or rares. The second time I killed Diablo on normal a green blacksmith plan dropped (Captain Swash items). That was the only green item I have ever found.

      I have maybe found a total of 15 legendary items. Two have came from chests (and NOT resplendant chests), while the rest have come from normal/white monster drops.

      • pretty much my experience too

        act bosses are just so anticlimactic
        that to me is the biggest problem with the game

        there is just no reason to kill Azmodan or Diablo or any other Act boss

        think about it, the Alkaizer run is to start near the Act Boss and go in the OTHER direction !

        the suggested end game run is to go BACKWARD and SKIP the act boss


        • When I do Alkaizer I do the Arreat Core last just so I can go down and do Azmodan. It’s never yet been worth it, in terms of loot, but it’s another minute of game and I’m not that min/max on my time expenditure while playing, so I don’t mind the exploration. And at some point, I’ll surely break my streak of no-luck.

          I hadn’t ever seen a legendary from a golden chest until fairly recently, but then I found like 3 in a week, so either I was unlucky for a long time, or overlucky for a short time.

          • It would be more efficient to clear core of arreat first even if you have to come back for azmo after your run. The reason core of arreat is first is because it gets your NV stacks up so quickly. Usually at least 2 packs and often times 3. By the time you make it to arreat crater you will normally have 5 stacks. This is really important since the mobs here are so dense, you want 5 stacks before clearing them all. Getting those 5 stacks asap is one of the most important things for both mf and paragon.

      • My first legendary was dropped by Diablo (nightmare).

        In my personal and highly random experience, act bosses are a much better source of legendaries than goblins or big chests, but not quite as good as keywardens.

      • Same here, around 30 legendaries and 3 sets item and every one of them from trash mob. None from boss or elite pack.

    2. One of the main reasons I don’t farm act bosses has nothing to do with item drops. It’s due to the bizarre quest-linked checkpoint / waypoint system. If I kill Azmodan (for example), I mess up my checkpoint, and my next run doesn’t start at the right location anymore. It’s much easier and somewhat more efficient to do runs that avoid completing quests.

      If they changed item drops, I’d rather see bosses drop more items instead of higher quality (so more chances for a legendary but no more likely for each item). Theoretically you could balance the profit level with either approach, but I think psychologically, if the bosses dropped legendaries more often, it would turn into D2, and you’d farm them exclusively.

      • It’s not bizarre at all, in fact it is implement very well for the problem it is designed to solve: people stopping the quest / storyline at a specific point, and wanting to carry on forwards from that point for their next game.

        The fact that people playing this late after release, particularly in inferno, aren’t really playing for the storyline, doesn’t make the system “bizarre”. It just makes it inappropriate.

        • I thought about that some last night after I posted my comment, and I would argue that you’re half right.

          It is a good design during questing. I really liked it while leveling, but that’s not the game. Not even according to Blizzard themselves.

          Read any of their quotes, and they’ll tell you how it’s all about the item grind, the item slot machine, getting quickly to maximum level and farming for items. You can reach level 60 in a matter of days or perhaps hours. Once you’ve done that, the checkpoints are pointless at best, horrible at worst.

          So basically, it works great for about 1% of the time and makes no sense for 99% of the time. I don’t think Blizzard can claim to be surprised that people are playing “this late after release.”

          Side point: Not completing quests during your farming runs also helps avoid the (also annoying and pointless) forced cut scenes and dialogue, which is another good reason not to kill Azmodan.

          • This:

            “Side point: Not completing quests during your farming runs also helps avoid the (also annoying and pointless) forced cut scenes and dialogue, which is another good reason not to kill Azmodan.”

            -One of the bigger reasons why I don’t farm Act bosses. I honestly have never used the Esc key so often in a game before. 😛

    3. Almost all of my legendaries have come from elites — which is pretty boring and expected.

      I’ve gotten a few off of whites or resplendent chests, and I think I may have gotten one from a goblin once, but in general, my 25 or so legendaries/sets that I’ve found have come from the most predictable place.

    4. I’ve got all my legendary drops from trash mobs / champ packs. Most of the time it drops around a champ pack, but I often cannot be certain who dropped it (as everything is dieing at once). I have had 4 or 5 legendaries drop from Goblins.

    5. First ever legendary was a crappy might belt from I think NM Skeleton King way back before the RMAH was online. Up till 1.05 I had found maybe three others, mostly from trash mobs.

      Since 1.05, I see about one every 6-8 hours of playtime. Of course, most are junk. Pretty much all of them are from yellow elites, with the odd one from random whites or other mobs. Never from chests or goblins, and never again from a quest or act boss.

    6. To be honest, bosses could use a slight drop buff. There’s just too much time investment vs rewards. Rather then fight an act boss with my 5 stacks, I always would much rather A) continue with whatever farming I’m doing or B) exit and re-enter and rebuild up my stacks for a second try on a key warden.

      From day-one until today, I’ve only once gotten a legendary from a boss, and only 2 from elites. Whites drop these things it seems. They die in great masses vs how often elites die so I suppose it makes sense that most people would get legendaries from normal mobs.

    7. I had Depth Diggers drop from the Siege Breaker on MP2 Inferno with no NV stacks and somewhere around 180 MF. This was about a month or so ago. But all the other bosses have dropped nothing worth a hoot for me other than what the Siege breaker did.

      I’ve actually found most of my legendary items from Treasure Trolls or just a random regular monster. But my total number found is about 6 or 7 since I started playing back in the middle of June.

    8. The game system trains us to seek out our five stacks by killing off champ/elite packs, but it’s been my experience that they drop, at best, equal to every other source.

      I’ve found seven set/legendaries in the past week. Two were from the Butcher (my first ever from an act boss… peak scaled!), two from randomly generated purples (not ones you see every time in an area), two from white trash, and one from a champ pack but I don’t know if it was from a minion or the last guy standing.

      It’s a small scale, but really… champ packs suck. I’d like it if drops were balances so that we have targets to run, not to blast your way through half an act and kill off as much as you can since everything seems to drop pretty much the same. It’s all about mob density, not mob quality. Don’t like that much, personally.

    9. Had Firewalkers drop from ZK long time ago. Other than that boss loot is horrible. Horrible enough to merit not doing them unless you are very fast and they are quickly accessible. Chance to drop a legendary needs to be decreased on trash and dramatically increased for bosses. That’s the quick fix. The long fix involves them designing new legendaries that actually encourage build diversity and do not have any corny WoWish jokes typed into the flavor text. Hard for them to resist I know. What do we get now? Gear “fixes” that cause everyone to vendor all their old pieces for the “new BiS” stat crap… oh and them either not changing skills enough or changing them so much that there’s a new “clearly the best” build.

    10. last week and half, i gathered 30 brims, and a few other leg worth under 5m mostly from white and elites, a few from a random chest/corpse that i happen to poke, but i have never seen one from a boss/purple or goblins

    11. The übers seems to have better drop-rate. At least that’s my experience. I have got 2 sets and 3 legendaries from the übers.
      I got one organ and 2 legendaries once killing magda and leoric. That was unreal. I thought I killed mephisto in D2 for a second.

    12. I don’t think I found a legendary from any bosses. Though that might have something to do with the fact that since 1.05 I’ve been doing mostly a variation of an Alkaizer run and only rarely fight any bosses now. And before 1.05 I barely found anything at all.
      Most of the ones I found are from white mobs, with a decent amount from champ and elite packs and a few from goblins, chests and weapon/armor racks.

    13. I’ve gotten plenty of legendaries from all of the sources mentioned…except for the useless purple guys I think.

    14. Mostly from minions of unique monsters and random normal chests.

      NEVER from champions, replesh. chest, normal creeps, and absolutely NEVER from bosses.

    15. only had 2 legendaries drop from goblins, nothing legendary or set from a boss, doubt i ever will get…

    16. Paragon 28 here, standard farming run is Northwest Gate through the Skeleton King on MP2. Majority of 20+ legendarys and a handful of sets from whites and chests. In fact, I googled “Diablo 3 do legendary items drops from elites” the other day, then saw an elite drop one the next day.

    17. Treasure Goblin = +1 salvage fodder
      Azmodan = +1 salvage fodder
      Elite Kills = +1 salvage fodder
      Regular Chest = +1 vendor trash (worthless and no brimstone)
      Every other named boss in the game = +0
      White Trash = +41 salvage fodder, +10 vendor trash, +6 GAH fodder (net 800K), +8 useable/keepers, +2 godly

      Yes, Diablo 2 this isn’t

    18. Most common single source for me is probably keywardens. I have never seen one from drop from an Act boss, but I do specifically remember Maghda dropping one in 1.03.

    19. I run a 161k dps barb (not uber dps but not bad) through MP5-6. I keep over 400MF, though it’s closer to 450 most of the time. I kill things quite fast on these levels, and don’t feel it’s worth the 100-125MF loss of dropping the MP down. Most nights that I play I can run through a good run, typically ending with a keywarden, about 3 or 4 times, depending on how long I want to make the run. On average with the new patches I would say I find about 4 legendries’ a night. Some nights it’s lower, some nights it takes a while between the drops, the odd time I haven’t found any. My record for finding them in an evening is 9 though, so it’s averaged out. Almost everything I’m wearing on all my chars now is self found. My friend runs a monk, we usually duo together, and his stats are comparable to mine (dps and MF) and I would say he finds about the same as me.

      Most of my ‘beams’ that drop (legen/set) I would say are from normal white mobs. With elite packs I find them on occasion as well, but more often than not they drop while mid pack fight, when you drop the 1st or 2nd of the pack, not the end guy. As for mini bosses (kuule / warden / etc) they drop them on occasion for me, but not often. End act bosses I’ve seen once or twice, but I think it’s mainly due to me not killing them unless i’m really bored. As their loot tables have always seemed lacking (much like the uberbosses loot tables), I find it easier just to pack hunt instead.

    20. Never had a legendary item from any of the bosses, respelendent chests or treasure goblins so far, some from elites and most from trash. A whopping two (in numbers: 2) set items so far. I’ve maybe had like 20 high-end legendaries, all of them pretty much junk except a Skorn which rolled decent stats and is my weapon since then.

      Also, the ‘red-cross effect’ which you know from your filled up bagspace (half of the items cannot be used by your current class) kinda dulls your excitement when finding a legendary: not only will it very probably roll crappy stats, you’ll also likely be unable to equip it at all because it’s some mask or daibo for which you don’t even neccessarily have a character … =( They’ve clearly overdone the class-specific item concept in D3.

      That said, I kinda miss the feeling of working towards a boss kill to yield better loot with higher probability. The fact that D3 bosses drop two or three bonus items that have a 0.000000000001% legendary chance like all other drops, doesn’t really emulate this feeling too well.

    21. I believe I found at least two legendaries from act bosses (one from Belial and one from The Butcher) and definitely two or three (or more?) from treasure goblins – recently, the first monster killed/encountered was a treasure goblin and he dropped a legendary…literally less than five minutes from when I started playing. As for normal elites/champion packs vs white mobs, I think I’ve gotten more drops from the white mobs overall though I haven’t been keeping track of who drops what.

      I agree that act bosses should be more likely to drop legendaries/set items. I usually go kill Azmodan (once I have 5 NV stacks) since he’s pretty easy but so far I haven’t gotten much decent from him (no legendaries/sets) and have been thinking about just not bothering with him. However, last night I ran into an elite Succubus w/minions in the Core of Arreat and the boss demoness dropped my first Lacuni Prowlers. I guess eventually you can get a decent drop from the act bosses but I don’t think the two multi-stage fights (Belial and Diablo) are worth the effort at all.

    22. I think the higher MP bonus items from white can really skew this towards them. That said, most of mine are from elite packs. The majority have been in Normal as I farm for Leoric’s Signet. But I find my share in Inferno too. Never had one drop off an Act-end boss, or Major Plot Boss. Never had one off a goblin.

      Then last night a “Dead Guardsman” flavored treasure chest dropped a Zunimassas’s Marrow.

      So, go figure.

    23. I do remember getting a Legendary Club once, but I can’t remember for the life of me which Monster/Boss I got it from and what it was called. All I do know is that after I had used it for awhile and found a better weapon, I salvaged it and 3 Fallen Teeth from it.

    24. I’ve found a total of 4 legendaries:
      1 from a rare pack in inferno
      1 from mahgda in normal
      2 from white mobs

    25. Considering that at mp5 15 trash monsters yields about as much loot as an end boss and takes 15 seconds to kill with good gear, there really is no reason to go kill the act bosses, except for fun. Belial at high mp is very challenging, but the reward for the time spent is terrible.

      Many bosses have annoying cutscenes that slow you down, or large vacant areas you must cross. I also don’t see blizzard changing this – from a server load standpoint, they want games to last longer than it takes to kill a single monster.

      I would like them to add new uber style drops from all bosses. Some ingredient that can be used for crafting that has a drop chance dependong on mp level.

    26. I’ve only found 1 legendary from a boss and that was a crappy pair of Depth Diggers from Cydea. I’ve found more legendaries from trash mobs and corpses than I have from champ/elite packs. Oh, and I’ve only found 1 legendary from a regular chest so far.

    27. I got 2 from consecutive runs of the butcher. since then though, nothing has dropped for over a week 🙁

    28. found maybe 30-40 leges/sets, one of them from inferno Cydaea. Every other from whites/packs, not one from chests or goblins..

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