The Diablo 3 difficulty system was completely overhauled, and now we’ve got totally different Difficulty Levels in Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls. There are undocumented bonuses to drop rates all over the place and players are full of questions. What can drop where? What are the odds? When and where do legendary materials and legendary items drop best? All questions are answered in this article.
This article is a condensed version of the massive Difficulty article in the wiki. Figures are taken from numerous Blue posts and other sources. (Refer to the Difficulty archive article if you want to compare to how different things were in Diablo 3 vanilla.
Difficulty BasicsEveryone who has played the game by now is aware that the four tiers of difficulty, Normal/Nightmare/Hell/Inferno are gone. They’ve been replaced with a dynamically-scaling system, where literally every monster in the game can be level 1-70, scaling up or down to match the level of the character who created the game. This has some weird effects; a new character could level 1-70 just doing one area over and over again in game after game, or if you play in Adventure Mode you could head straight to Diablo or Malthael at level 1, but hey… we wanted open world, we got open world.
On top of the scaling there’s a 1-10 level difficulty slider that works much like the Monster Power system used to. Monster Power increased a character’s Gold Find and Magic Find, plus the EXP% gain. The new difficulty system still does most of that, but no more is Magic Find increased, and the monster hit points, plus the EXP and GF bonuses are much higher on Torment 6 than they were in the old system on Monster Power 10. And the +EXP% multiplies the experience rewards for completing quests, side events, Cursed Chests, and bounties, making for huge EXP bonuses for completing those events on higher difficulties.
Higher difficulty settings are still required to obtain keys and demonic organs, but their drop rates increase much more slowly, and you’ve got to play at least Torment 1 to have any chance at them dropping (Minimum chance is 25% and maximum is 50%. In the old system you had a 5% chance on MP0 up to 100% on MP10.)
There are other new difficulty-level bonuses: Expert and above doubles bounty currency rewards, Imperial gems have a chance to drop on Master and above, Torment and above boosts the drop rate of legendaries, with an extra boost if you’re in a Nephalem Rift, the drop rates of Legendary Materials and Death’s Breaths increase with each difficulty level, and Class Set Items and new Legendaries only drop on Torment 1 and higher.
Also, monster powers, Elite Modifiers, and monster resistances (to CC type effects) increase with their scaling level (though not with the difficulty level). Blizzard has not released the exact figures, but they seem to be equivalent to how they worked in the previous difficulty system. For instance, Elites used to gain a 2nd affix on Nightmare, and 3rd on Hell, and a 4th on Inferno. This still happens, but now it occurs around level 30, 50, and 60, which roughly corresponds to the designed character level curve in the previous system. (Details on all the Elite Affixes and monster CC resistances are in the Diablowiki.net Difficulty article.)
Got all that? Easy to remember? Not really. So let’s use some lists for easier comprehension.
The basic monster hps and damage, and the exp/gold rewards are listed below, plus the item drop and other milestones activated at various difficulty levels.
The Infernal Machine
Listed above, but here are the Infernal Machine drop rates. These are the drop rates for Keys from Key Wardens and Demonic Organs from Ubers. Remember that there are now 4 new keys (1 from each KeyWarden) required to make each Infernal Machine, 4 different Portals to 4 different Ubers, and 4 new Demonic Organs. You can not use your old Keys or Organs for the new Infernal Machine.
Legendary Drop Bonus Rates
Legendary items drop with greater frequency on higher difficulty levels, and there is a special +25% bonus to the legendary drop rate while in Nephalem Rifts. The following figures are the bonuses added to the regular drop rates. Of course you have more than a 0% chance of finding legendaries below Torment 1.)
Material Drop Rates
Materials do not directly drop more commonly on higher difficulties, though you can obtain more of them playing on higher difficulties, since more legendary items drop, which can be salvaged to make more Forgotten Souls, etc. Death’s Breaths and Legendary Materials do drop at higher rates, increasing directly with the difficulty level setting.
Death’s Breaths drop only from random Elites, Purples, Treasure Goblins, and Golden Chests. Legendary Materials drop from a few objects, but mostly they come only from Purples (including Rift Guardians) of the appropriate monster type. See the legendary materials forum thread for a full list of the mats and what drops them, and that info is coming soon to the DiabloWiki in convenient table format.
The drop rate of Legendary Materials was changed in Patch 2.0.4 to match that of Death’s Breaths, basically tripling their frequency.
New Difficulty System
Aside from confusion over all these different tiers and bonuses and such, virtually none of which are displayed in the game, how do you guys like the new difficulty system? I’m a fan. I was very sick of having to grinding Norm/NM/Hell on the way to Inferno, and as a Hardcore player I’ve done that more than once per character. Scaling difficulty is delightful, and allows for much more rapid 1-70 leveling.
I also like the increasing bonuses on each difficulty level, where the harder you push it, the more you are rewarded by basically everything. My only reservation is that it’s very much a “time played = destiny” system, especially without trading or an Auction House to allow more casual players a chance at obtaining top quality gear. You must play hundreds of hours in Torment to find the top items, and and you can’t play Torment until you grind dozens of hours to find the gear to become Torment-capable, etc.
I like that some game elements that can’t just be bought or short-cutted, like account bound materials and gems, but putting all the best items and Infernal Machine parts as Torment-only feels like it’s maybe too Elitist and only accessible to people who put in endless hours. (Especially in Hardcore, where you don’t dare just crank things up to Torment and Zerg your way through.)
Would it be better if the stuff that’s now Torment-only could be dropped at lower levels, even if it only came with “win the lottery” type odds? How about super rare drops and only from certain targets; Treasure Goblins and Rift Guardians, for instance? Would that let casuals or less skilled players have access to the Big Boy slot machine, and lift the feeling that they’re doomed without Torment?