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  1. #1
    IncGamers Member Dethklok's Avatar
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    Choosing the Right Monster Power Level For Farming

    For Blizzard's official numbers regarding MP levels, check out their blog post here.

    Contents
    Part 1: Mathematical Basis
    1-1. Farming Quantified
    1-2. No Such Thing as Half a MP Level
    Part 2: The Goods
    2-1. MF/GF Chart
    2-2. MF/GF Conclusions
    2-3. Keyfarming Chart
    2-4. Keyfarming Conclusions

    1-1. Farming Quantified

    Before I get into the results, let's talk about how farming should be properly measured.

    Farming consists of two essential types of events. One of these is DPSing, the act of actually attacking monsters to make them drop loot. The other, far broader category, we'll label downtime, a blanket term to cover anything that isn't DPSing. Running from a dead monster pack to a living one, kiting (maneuvering around living monsters for survivability purposes), deaths, recharging (waiting for cooldowns to reset or resources to regenerate), selling items to merchants, stash dumps, and even putting found items up for auction are all considered downtime. However, only serious time counts; inefficiency caused by not really playing the game with your full attention does not count towards this definition of downtime.

    Unfortunately, the line between downtime and DPSing isn't quite that clear-cut. Killing white mobs doesn't have the same magic find potential as killing elites, and the time spent DPSing before achieving 5-stack valor is not as farming-effective as time spent on 5-stack. For the moment, we will assume that such activities count as partial downtime; finding the exact coefficient would be a subject for later inquiry.

    Let F equal your farming efficiency, m equal your magic find, gold find, or the key-find modifier (depending on what you're looking for), x equal the health of the monsters at MP0, h equal the monster power health modifier, d equal DPS (damage per second), and w equal downtime in seconds.

    F = m/[(hx/d)+w]

    The interesting thing about the Monster Power system is that many of these variables remain at least somewhat constant. The premise of all of the following math is: downtime remains constant moving from one monster level to another. In regards to time spent moving from one mob to another and time in town, this is a pretty safe assumption; in terms of kiting, deaths, and recharging, it's a much less safe assumption. However, most skilled farmers take care to avoid exactly these forms of preventable downtime, by over-gearing for content and maximizing resource regeneration/sustainability.

    1-2. No Such Thing as Half a MP Level

    Due to the integral nature of MP levels, finding breakpoints is the practical application; in order to find the breakpoint of an inequality, we need merely find the point where they are equal. A quick glance at the MP chart shows the monster health outpaces increased magic find, even at MP1. Therefore, only downtime can make a higher MP level more attractive. However, as DPS increases, DPSing time naturally goes down, increasing the relative amount of downtime in a given farming run. So what we need to find is a measure of downtime.

    Remembering that downtime is a constant, eliminating other constants such as DPS*, and setting F1 to the lower MP level, we get:

    F1=F2=m1/[h1+w]=m2/[h2+w]

    Solving for w, we get:

    w=(h1m2-h2m1)/(m1-m2)

    Calculating the exact amount in seconds is too obsessive for the layperson, so what we want instead is a ratio of DPSing to downtime. In other words, if I ask you right now how many seconds you have of downtime per run, you probably wouldn't have an answer, but if I ask you whether your downtime is greater or less than 50%, you could probably tell me. Framing this downtime as a percentage of overall farming-run time for the lower MP level gives us:

    W=w/(h1+w)=(h1m2-h2m1)/((h1-h2)m1)

    Now it's simply a matter of applying this formula to MF and keyfarming scenarios.

    2-1. MF/GF Chart

    The chart below has two different types of breakpoints on it:
    • The 0DT breakpoint assumes the character has 0% MF (or GF) from gear AND no Paragon levels whatsoever; however, it does assume 5 stacks of Nephalem Valor;
    • The 300DT breakpoint assumes the character has 300% MF (or GF) from gear and/or paragon levels, as well as 5 stacks of Valor.

    As a reminder, breakpoint values are the minimum percent of downtime per farming run at the listed MP level before graduating to the next MP level.
    Code:
    MP 0DT   300DT
    0  71.4  89.5
    1  75.0  90.0
    2  75.2  89.4
    3  75.1  88.7
    4  77.2  89.1
    5  79.2  89.6
    6  80.8  90.0
    7  82.2  90.4
    8  83.3  90.7
    9  84.4  91.1
    2.2 MF/GF conclusions

    The TL;DR is: MP0 for Act 3, and MP1 for Acts 1 and 2, are awesome. Everything else pretty much sucks.

    However, for you nitpickers out there, this is where the unclear definition of downtime becomes somewhat important.

    For gold-finding, I think everyone agrees that killing whites is beneficial, and therefore it's almost impossible to graduate up to higher MPs while maintaining efficiency.

    For loot-finding, auction house actions and the possible downtime aspect of killing whites (or if you don't kill whites, moving from one elite pack to another) enter the picture. Even then, it can very difficult for a serious farmer to graduate to a higher MP level while maintaining efficiency. For example, if you go on a 19-minute run killing 17 elites, finding one AH-worthy item which takes you 1 minute to list afterwards, your elite battles averaged a mere 20 seconds each, and you don't count whites or the elites you downed to get 5 stacks of NV (not even partially!), you still only have 80% downtime, which means you are staying at MP1 unless you have near-zero MF from gear or Paragon levels. Even if you're the most godly DPSer on your server, I can't imagine anyone who's ideal farming MP level is higher than 4; for 99% of the population, it's 0 or 1... as the TL;DR said.

    2-3. Keyfinding chart

    As a reminder, breakpoint values are the minimum percent of downtime per farming run at the listed MP level before graduating to the next MP level.
    Code:
    MP %DT
    3  17.0
    4  37.2
    5  50.1
    6  58.3
    7  64.3
    8  68.8
    9  72.2
    2.4 Keyfinding conclusions

    You might notice there are no entries for levels 0, 1 and 2. That's because the value is negative; if your downtime is zero or greater, increasing MP level benefits you! MP3 is the minimum MP level that anyone seriously farming keys should consider; for virtually every keyfarmer, MP5 is a much better goal to aim for.

    Keyfinding also scales much better with increased MP level than MF and GF, although at the high MP levels it still likely becomes inefficient. However, 60% downtime isn't really that hard to imagine, especially since whites do absolutely nothing in the keyfinding process and should rightly be treated as a waste during downtime computations. Therefore, MP8 keyfarming runs aren't necessarily an undertaking reserved solely for the insane.

    One thing to keep in mind though: Deaths (and extra kiting) both decrease farming efficiency. Don't try to farm something you can't handle.

    If you have a very powerful character capable of easily handling the higher MP levels, this is an area where you actually enjoy a competitive advantage over other farmers... as opposed to, say, trying to out-farm Legendaries against a Tactical-Advantage spamming demon hunter with low defenses who runs MP1 Act1 over and over again. Very many characters can farm items efficiently; very few can farm keys well. As such, high-powered characters who aren't keyfarming are pretty much doing it wrong.

    * Very nitpicky math note:
    Spoiler
    Last edited by Dethklok; 21-10-2012 at 04:53.

  2. #2
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    Re: Choosing the Right Monster Power Level For Farming

    Interesting analysis, and it essentially matches my qualitative experience. Farming MP0 act 3 is by far the fastest way to get rares/legendaries, and farming the highest MP level you can reasonably manage is the best way to get keys.

    Of course if you're looking for both the analysis becomes more complicated. I include a key boss in any of my farming runs, because why wouldn't you? At that point you have to choose how much you want to weight keys against regular loots before you can make a reasonable choice. However, if you can increase MP level without much decrease in downtime (by your metric, by a more typical metric, without much increase in run length) then it makes sense to do so.

    Edit: you also don't seem to have accounted for the guaranteed yellow drop from elite packs, which further skews things in favor of MP0, although not by much, since 4 stat yellows are rarely worth anything.
    Last edited by magicrectangle; 21-10-2012 at 10:32.

  3. #3
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    Re: Choosing the Right Monster Power Level For Farming

    The thing is, if you only care about legendaries and keys, and can have a lot less downtime by skipping normal monsters, but lose a lot of XP in the process. Since most people care about all of them, and most would have very different MP levels for maximum efficiency for all of them, it starts to get really complicated. Only if you're high enough level to not care so much about XP does it get easier.

    To make things more complicated, if you're a sprint barb, skipping and killing takes about the same time if you're playing on low monster power, but killing would take much longer on high monster power (therefore, if you do want to kill, you need to keep monster power lowers even if you want to have a strong emphasis on keys).

    In the end, we all care about everything, but I agree with the general concept of the analysis, and actually use a spreadsheet that takes into account your paragon level and downtime to give you the relative efficiency of XP, MF and key finding for all MP levels.

  4. #4
    IncGamers Member Dethklok's Avatar
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    Re: Choosing the Right Monster Power Level For Farming

    Quote Originally Posted by magicrectangle View Post
    Interesting analysis, and it essentially matches my qualitative experience. Farming MP0 act 3 is by far the fastest way to get rares/legendaries, and farming the highest MP level you can reasonably manage is the best way to get keys.
    Happy to know the theorycrafting matches reality.
    Quote Originally Posted by magicrectangle View Post
    Of course if you're looking for both the analysis becomes more complicated. I include a key boss in any of my farming runs, because why wouldn't you? At that point you have to choose how much you want to weight keys against regular loots before you can make a reasonable choice. However, if you can increase MP level without much decrease in downtime (by your metric, by a more typical metric, without much increase in run length) then it makes sense to do so.
    Ideally, Hellfire Ring market prices would reflect how, generally speaking, you need much better gear to farm for the ring properly. However, it's more likely that it won't be that simple. Nevertheless, and especially during this early part where Hellfire demand will be high, you should probably prioritize that. Later, it will be a function of relative market value, which someone else can do the formulas for. (Quantifying the profit per MF run for normal loot is very hard; however, quantifying the effort to create a Hellfire is actually pretty easy.)
    Quote Originally Posted by magicrectangle View Post
    you also don't seem to have accounted for the guaranteed yellow drop from elite packs, which further skews things in favor of MP0, although not by much, since 4 stat yellows are rarely worth anything.
    Slightly misleading: I mentioned it as effecting downtime, and said it's a topic for later research. However, as galzohar says, there are lots of angles to this view of downtime, more than I covered, and the topic is actually pretty complex. The point is that now we have an objective standard for when to move from one MP to another, based upon single goals. Averaging efficiency as well as goals together is just some additional work.

  5. #5
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    Re: Choosing the Right Monster Power Level For Farming

    Excellent analysis; I like to see this kind of thing. Much like magicrectangle, it fits my experience too. I do end up running a higher Monster Power than theoretically optimal, as I just can't bring myself to give up the 20% move speed and dps of WotB. If monsters' hp is too low, I can't sustain it in 1.0.5 even with a mighty weapon, 48% crit chance, and Boon of Bul Kathos. I guess that's where math meets reality for me; the fun factor. XD

    Hellfire rings are account-bound, though. On the other hand, they can easily roll stats that make them worth many hours of normal farming, so you have to take that into account too.

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    Re: Choosing the Right Monster Power Level For Farming

    Quote Originally Posted by Dethklok View Post
    Ideally, Hellfire Ring market prices would reflect how, generally speaking, you need much better gear to farm for the ring properly. However, it's more likely that it won't be that simple. Nevertheless, and especially during this early part where Hellfire demand will be high, you should probably prioritize that. Later, it will be a function of relative market value, which someone else can do the formulas for. (Quantifying the profit per MF run for normal loot is very hard; however, quantifying the effort to create a Hellfire is actually pretty easy.)
    As Karth says, Hellfire rings are account bound, so assigning them a market value would be rather difficult.

    The WotB issue isn't just about fun factor. Being able to keep WotB up increases DPS, and reduces travel time. It makes sense for you to make a more empirical (rather than theoretical) analysis. Simply time your run a few times on each MP level (5 times would be good, but 3 times is probably more practical, 5 is a lot of runs for each MP level). Divide the average run length for a given MP level by 1+MF (total MF expressed as decimal, not percent, including MF from gear, paragon, valor, and MP level), and whichever number comes out the lowest, that's the MP level you should be doing, from a loot perspective.

    For an even more accurate number, rather than use 0.75% for the valor MF contribution, calculate the exact contribution (for elite drops anyway):



    Note that the guaranteed extra drop has been ignored. In order to include it, we would need to know what percentage of loot we expect to get from trash mobs as opposed to elites. The contribution would tend to be small, so I'll just leave it ignored for now.

    For keys, time the run just the same, but divide by key drop chance: 0.05 for MP0, 0.1*MPlevel for the other MP levels.

    The (partially) experimental approach, while it doesn't offer the ability to generalize to any player as easily, takes into account all variables such as WotB uptime, and other things more specific to your class/build/playstyle.
    Last edited by magicrectangle; 21-10-2012 at 22:08.

  7. #7
    IncGamers Member Dethklok's Avatar
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    Re: Choosing the Right Monster Power Level For Farming

    Quote Originally Posted by Karth View Post
    Excellent analysis; I like to see this kind of thing. Much like magicrectangle, it fits my experience too. I do end up running a higher Monster Power than theoretically optimal, as I just can't bring myself to give up the 20% move speed and dps of WotB. If monsters' hp is too low, I can't sustain it in 1.0.5 even with a mighty weapon, 48% crit chance, and Boon of Bul Kathos. I guess that's where math meets reality for me; the fun factor. XD
    Thanks. And keeping WotB up impacts your downtime (specifically time spent running from one mob to another)... it destroys the key assumption that downtime remains constant. My belief was that downtime defaults to remaining constant, but numerous modifiers (WotB among them) have an impact. Quantifying each type of modifier, although difficult, is something I think is possible. I think in the case of WotB we could find a breakpoint for (time DPSing)/(downtime) such that, if over that amount, both DPSing time and downtime are reduced by their own modifiers (corresponding to attack speed and movement speed increases).
    Quote Originally Posted by magicrectangle View Post
    As Karth says, Hellfire rings are account bound, so assigning them a market value would be rather difficult.
    Heh. My sole check was I looked to see if you could search for them in the AH or not. You can, but none are available; I just assumed they were flying off the shelves.

    Nevertheless, there is a supply and there is a demand, so little manipulations like "account bound" will only do so much to stymie market forces.

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    Re: Choosing the Right Monster Power Level For Farming

    Even with all that WotB excitement, in the end testing for 1 hour doing alkaizer runs, I earned 25% more exp/hour at MP0 than MP4. And it's not a gear issue, as at MP4 I died once in an entire hour (to a lunatic ambush), and I kill everything extremely fast (a quick pass through is enough if they take enough ticks from tornadoes, though a rend needs to be added to kill the bigger stuff or the runners in 1 sweep). Even with more WotB uptime at MP4, everything dying instantly at MP0 just can't be matched.

    I still need to test MP1~3, and I do believe I played a bit worse (made more mistakes) while doing the MP4 testing session, but still I doubt I can get more exp/hour at MP4 than I can get at MP0.

    As for MF, with my gear I estimated (trying to take into account the extra drop chance that doesn't work on guaranteed elite drops using some relatively old statistics) it to scale about the same as XP does (1.3X XP and loot per kill/run at MP4 compared to MP0), so I would also get more loot/hour (or shall I say legendaries/hour, as those are the grand majority of anyone's income nowadays and even were so back in 1.0.4).


    In the end, I think it would be best to just count xp/hour, figure out the increased run time and compare it to the increase (or decrease) in loot/hour or keys/hour. But that still doesn't account for runs where you skip normal monsters to maximize your loot/hour and keys/hour at the expense of a lot of xp/hour. To do that you need to count elites/hour or keys/hour to get a reasonable idea of whether or not you are gaining from running at higher MP. Of course to get meaningful results you need to do a lot more than "just 1 hour" sample size that I did, and run each MP level for at least a few hours. If anyone can get more XP/hour in MP1 over MP0 using a sprint/whirlwind barb testing 5 hours in each MP setting then I can start thinking more seriously about farming higher MP For anything other than keys.

  9. #9
    IncGamers Member Dethklok's Avatar
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    Re: Choosing the Right Monster Power Level For Farming

    Quote Originally Posted by galzohar View Post
    Even with all that WotB excitement, in the end testing for 1 hour doing alkaizer runs, I earned 25% more exp/hour at MP0 than MP4.
    Thanks for the testing to confirm the theorycraft, although XP does have significantly different metrics.

    If F0/F4=1.25 and we assume 5-stack Valor is up continuously (obviously it's not, but we're simplifying here), then 1.25=[(x0+75)/(100+w)]/[(x0+45+75)/(457+w)]. Solving for w yields w=(1328*x+77100)/(x+300). If you have a radstar ruby socketed in your helm, w is about 582.5 (as a raw score), which would put your approximate downtimes as follows:
    Code:
    MP  DT%
    0   85.3%
    1   81.6%
    2   78.5%
    3   75.4%
    4   72.6%
    I don't know your MF from gear+paragon, so I can't determine which of those MP levels is best for you in terms of legendary hunting. If it's maxed out, you want to stay in MP0 (counterintuitively, the more paragon levels you gain, the more attractive MP0 becomes for loot).

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    Re: Choosing the Right Monster Power Level For Farming

    This math does not compute for WW barbs, since now its much harder to sustain zerk the best way to find loot is the MPL where the health of the monsters enables you to keep zerk almost all time but at the same it must be the lowest possible MPL so u can kill monsters the fastest possible.

    http://us.battle.net/d3/pt/profile/r...6/hero/1353836

    Look at my case for instance, i just cannot keep zerk on mpl 0-2, on 3 i strugle a little so i farm on MPL 4. Zerk not only increases your dps, but the best bennefit of it is that it reduces your downtime IMMENSELLY. It reduces kiting, it gives you insane speed and insane dps. So ... for barbs just keep that in mind when farming.

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