Travis Day Discusses 'Reaper of Souls' Beta

Developer thoughts on Legendary drop rates & gambling, Nephalem Rifts

Reaper of Souls Closed Beta
As the Reaper of Souls Expansion beta barrels forward, the feedback from players in the Closed Beta keeps growing. The latest beta patch brought some changes that were unexpected, including certain reduced Legendary drop rates. Diablo III developer Travis Day stopped by the forums to provide perspective on some of the changes in the last patch, and explain what the developers are looking to achieve. Topics addressed include the Legendary drop rates, gambling for Legendary items, and the rewards from completing Nephalem Rifts.

Here's what he had to say:

Hello folks,

This has been a topic of much discussion within the community so I wanted to take the time to sit down and talk to everyone about drop rates. I'll start out by saying when F&F went out we set the rates far higher than we knew was appropriate because we wanted to get as much feedback and testing on the new and revised legendary and set items as possible. Over the course of F&F the unanimous feedback both internally and from the community was that the drop rates were too high. We knew this ahead of time but we wanted testers to get their hands on as many cool things as possible while also helping us debug and, ya know, test things.

Going into our subsequent beta waves we said we wanted to start narrowing in on what the appropriate drop rates were for legendaries. We had set forth some goals and stated internally what our design intent was so we adjusted these values to reflect a more practical farming environment. As a general rule people won't speak up if you being too rewarding, usually only a handful of people in a crowd will vocalize that "things may be a bit too high" in terms of drop rate. So when the entirety of our player base and internal team were swarming us with this feedback we knew the drop rates were actually FAR too high. Based on that feedback and also the detailed drop rate data that we track and review on a daily basis, we lowered the drop rates to something more reasonable and closed to what we wanted for release of RoS. For the record, I literally told people internally that I actively wanted to hear the feedback that drop rates were too low. We decisively found where too high was, we needed to find the lower bounds of reasonable so that we could narrow in on a place that would be best for the game.

Now with that said, the data that we have has shown us that drop rates are in the right ball park but that's not to say they are final. A big piece of the pie that was missing was that we always intended for Kadala to be able to generate legendary items. More specifically she was intended to help give players more direct control over their ability to find specific items they were after. Not to the tune of "I want X item so I buy it" but we wanted players to have a degree of control by saying "Man I really want X helm, so I'll spend all my Blood Shards buying helms and try to get the one I'm after eventually". The environment that you have all been playing in has been missing this key piece of the puzzle for quite some time. When we are talking about the overall income of legendary items and finding a good pace for them Kadala has always been intended to factor into this. We are very actively tracking data and adjustments will be made to narrow in more as we proceed. However since obviously you all haven't had the insight into these conversations I'm here to say that you've only been seeing a piece of the pie and with the latest patch should now be seeing the full picture.

A couple of other related notes, Rifts have always been intended to feel highly rewarding and we don't think they are there yet. We want the obvious answer when someone asks "Whats the most rewarding thing I can kill with the time I have?" to be Rifts, this is part of why access to them is restricted by keys, they are meant to be AWESOME!. We have a plan changed that I'll be hotfixing in hopefully today or tomorrow to add a reasonably large number of Blood Shards to the loot run boss but more importantly to give him a chance to drop Forgotten Souls. One of the problems that has been expressed here is how legendary and rares compare, barring the obviously build changing ones. A large part of the reason that players sometimes have a hard time replacing a rare with a legendary that should be an upgrade is because, generally, you are comparing rares that have been enchanted many times over to a stock legendary. We want the act of enchanting legendaries to have some degree of investment but what you are seeing in the beta is too much. In addition to being able to use the, soon to be acquired, crafting mats to enchant your legendary items it will also allow everyone a reasonable amount more access to the crafting legendaries.

Lastly on the topic of split farming, this is very clearly not how we want players to play the game. We know of the problems it causes as well as the reasons its occurring and are actively discussing ways to address the problem. While we love coop and we want players to enjoy playing the game together, the right answer should obviously not be "Lets play coop and all go solo in the game!". I'm walking into a meeting as soon as I post this to discuss the issue and possible solutions.

Hopefully this helps clear the air some and I'll touch back in later to answer more questions.
Me again to clarify a couple things.

First off, Kadala is not meant to be the primary source of legendary items, she is meant as a self targeted supplement to the items you find from killing monsters. Diablo is an ARPG and killing monsters should always be the most rewarding thing to do. If Kadala is representing too large a portion of the incoming legendary items than I will address that. She's meant to be a bonus, not the primary loot acquiring mechanism.

Second, the drop rates being "in the ballpark" means they aren't off by a factor of 10. The F&F drop rates were at least 5 times higher than what we were aiming for, and the current drop rates are probably likely within the 50-100% range. Again Kadala is meant to cover some of this ground and if she ends up covering more than we want her to we will reduce her chance to generate legendary items and shift the difference into the monsters. It's a big ballpark but from a top down look, it's not TOO far from where we want it to be.
Posted by: REAPER666

it's not TOO far from where we want it to be.

its far from where WE want it to be :P

Let me ask you this. What amount of time do you personally think it should take to get a legendary?

After you answer that I'll give you guys some insight into the numbers we have for contrast.

I'll say outright that when it comes to rewards what players want and what designers want are generally not going to sync up. We have a game trying to meet the demands of a huge spectrum of players. It's important to us that everyone have a good experience regardless of how little they play, this is a huge part of why first kill legendary drops were added to bosses. It's also important to us that people who enjoy playing the game for hundreds of hours to be able to do so without completely exhausting the rewards in a week.
Honestly the numbers you guys are throwing out are all reasonable, they are also pretty close to the drop rates that our data is showing. I said I'd show and tell a little so I will.

The drop rates in F&F alpha were as long as 40 minutes per legendary and in the case of MP6 Crushing Blow farming as short as 20 minutes per legendary.

The data that we currently have shows legendary drop rates at roughly 2 hours per, and that's before Kadala was changed to be able to give legendary items.

The fact that some people claim to go for 10+ hours without finding a legendary is not only not our intent, but should in fact be impossible. 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.

Betas are incredibly important to the development process, once upon a time we stated we wanted 4 hours per legendary. At the time that we stated that we were living in a land where people on the team had literally never seen a legendary drop so even one every 4 hours sounded like insanity. As the development of RoS has continued and as we have played and tested the game ourselves and also due to the feedback of the community we have moved to a more and more generous environment. We genuinely want D3 RoS to be everything it can be and everything you want, and every change we make when tuning the game is with that goal in mind.
Hey folks I'm back with some clarifications and some news that should please everyone.

First the clarification, the timer system that works behind the scenes is meant to be exactly that, behind the scenes. No you can't afk the system, there are a lot of moving pieces to it and we talked about it extensively before we implemented it to guarantee its not exploitable. At it's heart Diablo is a game about slaughtering demons and getting random cool rewards. The system that is in place should never be experienced by 99% of the population, it's there for the 1% who just get really bad random rolls for an excessively long period of time. If we want you to get a legendary every 2 hours, the system basically says "ok it's been like double/triple that period of time, just help the guy out!"

Second and more importantly. I'm in the process of working up another hotfix for the beta that will do 2 things.

1. Reduce the chance for Kadala to give legendary items. We have a lot of solutions to the split farming problem but they are going to take a little time to be put in place and in the mean time we don't want peoples feedback to be completely skewed based on her rewards. This reduction will be revisited once we fix all the split farming issues.

2. Double the legendary drop rate. Your feedback hasn't been falling on deaf ears, and much discussion and deliberation has gone into it. We know that drop rates aren't exactly where we want them right now and it's very important to us to get as much feedback as possible during our beta. We are going to adjust the legendary drop rates via hotfix so that you guys have as much time as possible to test and give us feedback on how the changes feel, also more time for us to compile data and get RoS to be the best it can be.
Posted by: TheTias

Edit: Since this thread is about to reach the cap, I'm requesting a thread extension so as to keep the discussion in one place instead of scattered everywhere.

Was already taken care of a while ago. :)
Posted by: DrothVader

What about the hotfix, was there an ETA on that or is it still in the works.

(Not trying to rush anyone, just wanting to know if tonight's going to be the night!)

Don't have an ETA to share. It needs to be implemented, tested, and then deployed. All three of those steps can have varying time frames. We'll update these threads once it's live, though:
Posted by: Zombie

It has been updated, so I guess it's live now.

Start showing those drops!

Yep! Just confirmed it this morning. I'm pretty sure it went live last night, but I had already left for the day and missed the e-mail. /sadface

Go forth and conquer, my friends!
Hey folks hope you are enjoying the recent changes.

I look forward to seeing more feedback in regards to how the drop rates feel once people have more time to play with them.

For Drothvader and Starbird. I dug into your accounts and characters with the help of one of our awesome programmers. The data that we pulled up showed that you guys were in fact at the extremely unfortunate end of the bad rng scale. However in looking into the system, while we did verify it was working, I also decided the extent to which you went without seeing an item shouldn't have been acceptable and made some adjustments to our safety net system. Again for clarity, 99% of you should never even run into this issue, ideally the drop rates are rewarding enough that we never have to step in and over ride the random number generation. However it's also important to us that noone has a bad experience with the game just because "they were really unlucky" and that's the sole intent of the back end system.

Have fun storming the castle.
Posted by: HandsomeNerd

Noice! Thank you for the communication.

PS - What are your thoughts on 2h's vs 1h's at the moment?

We are going to make some adjustments to 2handers, they could stand to be better. Not sure how much of a change we will end up making but we agree they are a bit lack luster atm compared to the 1h counterparts.
Lets dig into the 2h complaints for a second. It seems to had discussed 2h vs 1h at one point in a previous design meeting and as a result investigated them relative to each other. The end result was that 2h are actually in a good place relative to 1h.

So I'm curious what specific 2h vs 1h comparisons are people referring to? Are we talking 2h staves for Wizards and WDs vs 1h + orb/mojo? Or are we talking 2h axe vs 2 1h axes?

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