The recent 1.0.3 patch preview indicates that Blizzard is modifying item drop chances in Inferno. Some persons seem to be confused about how to discern the best farming spots, given that every act shall have a chance to drop ilvl61 – 63 gear. What follows is my take on the changes, and how I think one ought to decide where they shall farm.
These are the Current Inferno Drop Rates:
Act 1 – ilvl 61. 0% chance for 62 or 63
Act 2 - ilvl 62. 0% chance for 63
Act 3-4 - ilvl 63
Persons who farm Act 1 Inferno have absolutely no chance of attaining an ilvl 62 or 63 item. This shall change in 1.0.3.
1.0.3 Drop Rates:
Hell Act 3/4: iLvl 61 - 9%, iLvl 62 - 2%, iLvl 63 - 0%
Inferno Act 1: iLvl 61 - 18%, iLvl 62 - 8%, iLvl 63 - 2%
Inferno Act 2: iLvl 61 - 19%, iLvl 62 - 12%, iLvl 63 - 4%
Inferno Act 3/4: iLvl 61 - 24%, iLvl 62 - 16%, iLvl 63 - 8%
Currently, it is not possible to get iLvl 62 or 63 in Act 1 Inferno.
In 1.0.3, it is not probable to get iLvl 62 or 63 in Act 1 Inferno.
The question is how this change affects the viability of Act 1 farming. Once 1.0.3 is released, where is the most efficient place to farm? To answer this question, one first has to discern their own ability to farm each difficulty, in terms of mobs-per-minutes.
Let's suppose that your mobs-per-minute is:
Act 1 elite pack: 2 minutes.
Act 2 elite pack: 6 minutes.
Act 3 elite pack: Oh god the pain.
Since one has the ability to farm both Act 2 and Act 1, the question becomes which act offers the most efficient farming. In the time it takes you to kill one Act 2 elite pack, you could have killed 3 Act 1 elite packs. This means that your farming situation is:
Act 1, iLvl 62: 3 * 8% chance.
Act 2, iLvl 62: 1 * 12% chance.
In terms of iLvl 62 gear, in this scenario, you have to compare 3 8% chances against 1 12% chance, every six minutes.
For iLvl 63 gear:
Act 1, iLvl 63: 3 * 2% chance.
Act 2, iLvl 63: 1 * 4% chance.
At iLvL 63, you're stuck deciding between 3 2% chances and 1 4% chance, every six minutes.
1.0.3 significantly changes the means by which one decides where to farm. Since every Act in Inferno has a chance to drop any piece of loot, one has to discern the relationship between their mobs-per-minute farming ability and drop percentages.
The important thing to keep in mind, while discerning the afore mentioned relationship, is this: As one’s ability to farm later content increases so, too, does one’s ability to farm early content. When you reach the point of easily farming Act 2 elites at 2 minutes per pack, that would mean you could farm act 1 elites in, say, 30 seconds per pack. In this scenario, you could kill 4 Act 1 packs in the time it takes to kill 1 Act 2 pack.
This would put you at:
Act 1 iLvl63: 4 * 2% chance
Act 2 iLvl63: 1 * 4% chance
When we reach this point, we need consider a larger context than pure mobs-per-minute and incorporate other aspects of farming. Currently, each difficulty drops a higher quantity of gold. So, in addition to assessing your mobs-per-minute, you'd have to incorporate your gold drop rate, in each act, and factor that in. You'd also have to discern the drop rate of lvl60 blues in each difficulty, to add in the gold you're making by salvaging those and selling the crafting mats.
Additionally, one needs to assess the structures of each act, in terms of farming. How does the layout of each act compare, in terms of kiting ability? How closely are elite packs grouped in each act? How much trash is there between packs in each act? What is the amount of quest reward gold that one can attain while moving from pack to pack, following the shitty, shitty storyline?
All of these factors need to be incorporated in one’s farming decision.
In conclusion, to pick a farm spot in 1.0.3 one must:
1) Discern your mobs-per-minute on each act.
2) Compare that to the drop% in each act.
3) Factor in the gold/melty gear in each act.
4) Discern quest reward gold for each act.
5) Assess the level designs / elite-to-boss ratio of each act.
Then you just math it out to discern the location of your best gold-per-hour farm spot.
Alternatively, one could bypass all of that and utilize the following decision making framework:
Step 1: Herp.
Step 2: Derp.