Lots of forum conversation lately about the Infernal Machine, everyone’s favorite new v1.05 challenge. The first step is farming the keywardens, which is hard, or not, mostly depending on your gear, play style, and support team. (It’s dangerous to go alone.) Some useful discussion in this thread, which I’ve condensed and combined with personal experience for some bullet points:
Xah’s biggest danger comes from his AoE attack, as he can drop bodies on anything nearby, plus inflicting a big slowing debuff. Characters lacking a snare-breaking escape skill tend to get stuck and ground up, helplessly.
The other main consideration is the Monster Power setting. That’s complicated slightly by the fact that you MUST have 5 stacks of Nephalem Valor to have any chance of getting a key (or the demonic organs from the next stage bosses). (And remember that Magic Find is irrelevant for key drop.) So it’s not just, “can I spend an hour Zerging down the keywarden on MP10 for the guaranteed drop?” Not when you have to build up your 5 stacks of NV first, in that same game since you can’t change MP mid-game. And if you’ve got less than godly equipment, surviving on MP10 is out of the question.
People have argued about the math and the odds in a number of threads, and opinions vary. While MP10 is out of the question for most, given how steeply the monster hit points and damage scales up past about MP5, groups of well-equipped characters are routinely taking down the keywardens and then the Uber bosses on MP4-6. Your odds of a key dropping are 50% on MP5, which is pretty good.
If you’re doing it alone… it’s going to take a lot longer. It seems like MP2 or higher is really what you want to aim for; the monster difficulty doesn’t increase that much from MP1 to MP2 or 3, while the odds of finding a key go up from 10% to 20% or 30%. If you can double or triple your odds of finding a key (by going from MP1 to MP2 or MP3) while only increasing the difficulty by say, 50% (in relative terms), that’s a good trade off.
If you’re really low on gear, or playing HC and unable to die for your treasure, then yes, you can do it on MP0… but man it’s going to take a while. Finding the keys might not be impossible; say you get lucky with your 5% drop chance and it only takes you 10 runs per keywarden, at 20 minutes per run. That’s 30 x 20 = 600 minutes, or 10 hours of play time, but that’s only for 1 of each key. You need 3 of each! So you’re already up to 30 hours, and that’s only step one.
The hard part is killing the uber bosses, since you’re using up 3 keys each time you open one of the red portals, and if you do the ubers (don’t forget the 5 NV stacks) and you don’t get the demonic organ, you’re back to step one and looking at dozens more keywarden runs. Thus it’s damn near imperative that you do the Ubers on the highest MP you can manage, which is helped by the red portal staying open. You can Zerg them, and really… even if takes more than 30m and your NV stacks wear off, you can just go out into Act One and farm up 5 more stacks, before returning to the whittle-fest project on the Ubers.
Of course that’s totally out of the question for Hardcore players. Xanth and his brethren might just be happy that the Hellfire Rings aren’t actually very good for anything other than experience gain, since they’re so dangerous and time-consuming to farm if death is not allowed that it would just be a cruel temptation for HC players if the rings actually had awesome stats.
Players are taking the challenge and Hellfire Rings are being obtained, mostly by people like windstriker who are smart enough to work in groups. Quite a few samples have been posted to the Hellfire Ring show off thread. Congrats and thanks to Katniss, gakky, Martialsage, Kestegs, and Windstriker, so far, some of whom have crafted several of them thus far. If you ask really nicely, maybe one of them will give you an extra one!