First let's clarify terms as the word boss is used for slightly different things and it gets confusing.
Common enemies or normal enemies are just the standard unenhanced footsoldiers of Hell, there for us to slay in great numbers.
|These Risen are a common enemy in Diablo 3.|
Sometimes you run into upgraded versions of these monsters.
Champions generally come a few at a time and have a mauve name and on Normal one special ability. They have the same name as regular mobs. This is a Champion spawn of a Skeleton mob type:
|This champion has the Frozen special ability.|
Rares are also variations of regular spawns. They are more powerful than Champions and have individual names:
|This Illusionist rare boss is a menace to adventurers in Normal difficulty.|
And finally at certain points in the game there are placed Super-Unique bosses like Diablo which form part of the game's story:
|The much farmed end boss of the D3 Beta.|
This is how I expect loot generation to work.
Normal mobs: drop items based on their monster level and difficulty. Mostly white items even with magic find.
Champion mobs: drop the same type of items as regular mobs although in higher quantities. But drop higher quality. So many drops will be magic, legendary or rare.
Rare mobs: as Champion except it mostly comes from one big boss rather than a pack of beefed up Champion mobs.
Storyline bosses: drop well the first time you kill them, then slightly worse than Rares and Champions. They will also take longer to kill.
(It was Bashiok who revealed that rares and champions will drop the best loot). He recently added:
You will not be farming bosses. Bosses won't drop the best loot, they won't even drop really great loot. Part of Inferno and our intent with getting people out into the world and hunting and killing lots of different things is putting the best loot on rare and champion packs, and the great thing about rare and champion packs is they have random affixes. They're like a box of chocolates. Murderous, snarling, blood-soaked chocolates. You're not going up against a boss where you know "Build A" is the best way to minmax against it because it has abilities and resistances X, Y, and Z. What is the best build vs. an "Arcane Enchanted, Teleporter, Frozen, Knockback" skeleton pack? Got that figured out? Cause it's not going to be the best against the next pack you come across, and you're going to want to kill that one just as much.
This is then the obvious way to farm in Inferno. People will scout areas they feel comfortable in like perhaps the Cemetery of the Fallen looking for rares and champions. They will check the boss mods and cherry-pick mods they feel comfortable fighting. They will then kill the packs they can handle and move to a new area or restart a new game.
Although Bashiok said they will try to design so it's harder for people to adjust their builds for each fight people inevitably will when boss fights are one hour wipefests. Also currently the cooldown on skill swapping does not apply while in town.
Now to complicate this Bashiok added:
The designers have been working on and testing a system that actually ties the rare/champion pack kills to boss kills quite nicely. It seems like it's solid enough for us to talk about the intent and goals even though it's still in testing, we can look into sharing more about it ... SOON.
We don't know how this system will work but here's my guess. They want you to play through the game. They don't want people jumping in and out of Leoric099 type runs or Cemetery099 runs. I think there will be an accumulating bonus to storyline boss loot if you kill the Champions and Rares that lead up to him. Say Leoric usually drops a couple of blues if you go straight to him. If you clear all the Champions and Rares in the same game and then head to him you might see better loot: rares and legendaries. That would eliminate both the cherry-picking I described and the skipping on the End boss. So instead of the system I described earlier where a team might spot 6 rare packs, cherry pick 2 and kill them then remake a new game, you get a system where the best loot comes from killing all 6 then moving on to the Skeleton King. Or if some are absolutely horrid, people might kill 5, skip the one no one wants to face, then do the Skeleton King with improved but not uber loot.
Have a close look at the action revealed in this video where Blizzard staff are fighting a Champion pack on Inferno. They are clearly wiping over and over and this may be because they chose to fight a pack with very nasty mods (Electrified Vortex Desecration Teleporter). In particular if it works like the D2 Teleporter ability then the mobs heal when they teleport and teleport when they are low on life. That makes them extremely difficult for underpowered players to kill. You're fighting a monster, it vanishes. A few moments later you find it again and it's almost healed back to full. This is because they Teleport out of sight and heal. This may be how this boss mod works in D3 and would explain why these guys found this pack so hard.
So if you are one of the first players to reach Inferno and you want to group you will probably be talking to other players about builds. People may expect you to get on voice comms, even random strangers. People will certainly expect you to be prepared to adjust your build and gear to suit the needs of the team.
Gradually it will become easier to tag along with a less underpowered group and get a few kills. Although of course a lot of the early people into Inferno will solo rather than play with undergeared and inexperienced randoms. I certainly think that at first Inferno will be extremely hard to do the first time you finish Hell if you do not want to group. Even more so if you do not want to improve your gear from the Auction House.
Tomorrow I'll take a detailed look at boss mods (Teleporter etc).