Diablo 3 Guide: Know Your Loot


Posted May 21, 2012 - By Brittany Vincent

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What would a dungeon-crawler be without a sprawling menagerie of loot? Our guide to Diablo III's Loot System will aid you in quickly becoming an expert in which item yields what, how your brand new shinies can be identified, and how each is generated. You'll be an epic hoarder in no time, and we mean that in the nicest way possible.

What's a loot drop?

As you rampage through Sanctuary felling enemies or bashing any type of breakable object you're often rewarded with "loot drops," otherwise known as a pile of swag. Like you'd gather at E3 or another convention, but in-game. These randomly-generated collectible items will fall to the ground for you to squirrel away. For some, it's why they fight. For others, it's a steady stream of income-generating valuables that aid in the epic quest ahead. The items dropped can range from potions, weapons, armor, gold, and other types of equipment.

Of course, there is a system in place to determine at which interval specific items are available, and what they are. There are several variables by which loot is distributed: if it drops at all, how much of it, and what the properties of each item actually is. Anything from a monster's level to the type of breakable item destroyed can affect what type of drop you receive. For instance, a low-level enemy most likely isn't going to produce a top-tier item. Slay a more formidable foe, and the loot produced is much more valuable.

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What types of loot are there and how is it generated?

You can find attribute-enhancing equipment like a brand new sword to raise your Damage, or armor that raises Defense stats. But unlike most other dungeon-crawlers, there's no real "set" index of what type of items are available to uncover. Diablo III generates an item drop after you slay a monster, but starts with one "vanilla" -- bland -- piece of equipment. After the equipment is settled upon, quality and rarity are weighted in as an afterthought. In simplest terms, the quality and rarity of the enemy slain are the determining factors as to what item you will receive, relevant to the defeated monster's level.

Sometimes, special properties are attached to an item, which can be discerned by "affixes," or descriptors added either before or after the regular item name. You may have seen these names before in your previous outings with Diablo, or if you're new to the series, in other similar games in the genre. For example, if a monster drops an item known as the Sword of the Heavens, the base item would obviously be a normal sword with no particular additional elements. In this case, the game has given the plain-Jane sword another name, in the form of the suffix "of the Heavens." Thus, the weapon effectively has two different elements: the normal damage dealt by the base item (the sword) and the powers granted by "of the Heavens," which in our example might heal the Hero. The tougher the monster, the rarer the drop, and the mightier the weapon or item.

Some affixes such as "of razors," "of the castle," or "of malice" require a minimum level for certain weapons. This is not the case for all affixes such as chest armor "of the gladiator" does not require a certain level for the player to attain it. If you're looking for that dagger "from beyond" or you want to wear a ring "of death," there's a bit of grinding between you and the level you need to reach in order to find this particular item.

What kind of special items can I potentially receive?

There are several different tiers of items that go along with the levels of each monster successfully slain. Kill a lowly scrub, and you will most likely receive a lowly item -- if you get an item at all. A random item is dropped according to which tier the monster belongs to, according to level. Very rarely this may not be the case -- you could absolutely find a rarer, high-quality item when facing a low-level enemy. But don't expect this to be the norm.

In fact, many items in Diablo III are actually quite common pieces of equipment. But there are a menagerie of items that carry special properties, divided into three different categories: Legendary items, Special Sets, and Rare and Magic items.

What are Legendary items?

Exactly what they sound like -- "legendary" loot drops that come with a powerful mix of enhanced abilities and properties, making them one step above normal equipment. They're also given different types of names: for example, Echoing Fury or Leoric's Crown (a mace and a helm, respectively). You can discern a Legendary weapon from a regular weapon from its brown backgrounds and lettering when checking their stats in menu windows, and they are usually found after killing off the big daddies of Diablo III -- the Big Bads you're dying to square off with. Basically, the stronger the monster, the better your change of nabbing a Legendary item.

What are Special Sets?

Just like you might coordinate a matching outfit in real life, you can do the same thing in game. You may often find items with matching properties and equip them separately as the need permits. Equip items at the same time that all belong to one magical set, and you will be awarded additional buffs, abilities, and enhancements. You can discern a piece of a Special Set by checking your menu window for green backgrounds and green font. Crafting individual pieces is expensive, and finding each piece is a work in itself, so be very selective when dealing with Special Sets.

What are Rare & Magic items?

These items are normal, everyday drops, only enchanted with special properties. They're easily identified by their blue backgrounds in menu screens and blue fonts.

As we've gone over, the Loot System of Diablo III is quite an intricate one. Before setting out to amass a collection of your own, why not educate yourself on the potential combinations and available items? You might be saving yourself some time before setting off to slay low-level enemies looking for a Legendary drop. What items have you come across in your quest so far?

Diablo 3 Guide: Know Your Loot


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