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Should Diablo 4's best items have such low drop rates? It depends who you ask

Now that all of Diablo 4's best unique items have been found by players, it's time to argue about whether the low drop rate is good for the game.

Diablo 4 is a game all about collecting rare loot, decking out your character with as many shiny pieces of weapons and armour as possible, and jumping headfirst into increasingly challenging combat encounters. Just recently, players have found all of the six incredibly elusive unique drops in the game. These items are so hard to obtain as to be virtually impossible to drop for the average player. But they payoff? They are unparalleled in terms of power.

But is this good for Diablo 4? Does the inclusion of these six uber-rare items add some mystique to the game, or rob the realistic possibility of getting the best gear from the best players? In this article, Connor and Sherif hash it out – battling for their respective point of view in a fierce war of words.

Are super rare unique drops good for Diablo 4?

Sherif: I hate to be the 'this is good, actually' guy here, but I'm going to have to be a little bit today. I am not entirely behind those specific six items being as rare as they are, more of a fan of the idea of loot games having aspirational objectives.

Part of that is ultra-rare loot drops, which shouldn't take away from all other unique drops players can guarantee getting after finishing certain activities. Obviously, the rarest items will be unlocked by the game's most dedicated players, who also happen to get incredibly lucky. Which is fine. I know that's never going to be me, and I'm happy for whoever does get one (or more) of them.

I don’t feel left out simply because Diablo 4 has so many other rewards to chase, so many things to grind, that these items are never going to make or break my build.

Encounters like The Butcher being rare seems to hit that sweet spot - just rare enough! | Image credit: Blizzard

Connor: I hear you, but I feel the problem in this case is that due to the drop rates being so low, dedicated players won't be able to reliably obtain these items. There's an aspiration, but one based on absurd luck rather than player skill or clear levels of time investment.

These items being so fantastic means that a dedicated Diablo 4 player must sit down and slam through untold amounts of miscellaneous content for a near-nonexistent chance of getting the best gear for their class. You don't have to be good to get them, nor do you have to achieve a goal like 'beat these incredibly hard dungeons without being hit' you've just got to roll the dice endlessly until the game decides you are worthy of its best rewards.

It also means that some random player, someone who hasn't worked towards these aspirational goals, can simply stumble upon these items. The inclusion of these items as wildcard drops does detract from other gear players can work towards, because all rewards pale in comparison to them and those who put the work in aren't necessarily those who will get them.

Sherif: Yeah, I totally feel the current odds are silly... but I can't say that improving them would make things better. Imagine if they went up to 5%, meaning you'd potentially have to run just one dungeon 100 times to get one (and Diablo 4 has many). That still wouldn't make a difference to the vast majority of players.

By the same token, if you attached them to certain endgame activities (that require a lot of skill to beat) and made them guaranteed drops, they would lose all of their current appeal. Diablo 4 is full of Uniques that alter builds, some that players are already targeting (and getting) to boost their existing builds.

Adding six more to the pile won't meaningfully change, well, anything. The hardcore will just have a few other things to look forward to, and casual players won't really appreciate the difference between those six and the existing Uniques (which they have a much higher chance of getting) - if they care about that side of gear hunting at all.

I think a good compromise is for Blizzard to share drop rates for those items, and anything that gets into the ultra-rare category. Sort of like how publishers have to share breakdowns of loot box odds now.

There are Rogues out there desperate for certain super rare unique items.

Connor: They would lose a lot of their current appeal, but would instead gain prestige as indicators of in-game excellence. At the moment, seeing one of these out in the world is rare, but there's no way of telling if the player wearing it is good or just stupid lucky.

Consider the humble World of Warcraft mount ecosystem - in my mind a perfect example you can compare to practically any game when it comes to rarity and virtual clout. The mounts that stand out and actually matter are those with either some serious graft behind them (Gladiator PvP mounts) or those that required some long-gone great feat (Classic WoW Scarab Lord mount).

These items have prestige because you had to actually work hard and play well for them. Compare these to the piles of drop-rate porn, the 0.1% weekly-reset mounts that look cool sure, but have no real value in the eyes of collectors. It's a matter of time, not merit. Officially revealing the drop rates would simply shine a light on the absurdity of the situation.

Sherif: Given the isometric perspective of Diablo 4, I don't think most pieces of gear and weapons would stand out in quite the same way as WoW mounts. Diablo 4 mounts might actually be the only thing that you can see other players riding, and they're entirely cosmetic! Even armour can get lost in the noise, and you’d have to really know your stuff if you can identify a named piece on a random player.

The true appeal of the game's super-rare items is that they're incredibly powerful, and damn near impossible to get. They're not game-breaking to be worth the grind for most, which leaves that job to the very dedicated hardcore, who are already more inclined to go after such things anyway, regardless of the odds.

Blizzard needs to offer guaranteed drops for certain endgame activities, which will solve the problem for players who want certainty, and leaves a few other odd bits that maybe 1% of players will see.

Hunting down these super rare items isn't the only thing on the mind of Diablo 4 players, as season 1 is set to launch very soon, bringing with it a range of new content for the masses to enjoy.

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