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Is there a way to maximize my chances of finding a specific item if I'm absolutely determined to farm until it drops? I understand that it could take thousands of attempts, but if I'm going to be running repeated farming runs, I'd like to be able to pick runs that maximize the chances of getting items that I'm actually interested in using.

How do I determine the best location(s) to farm if I'm looking for a specific item?

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Maximizing your chances of a specific item is a complex set of events when an item is generated. There is a good guide here for how items are generated. More info can also be found here.

In short for weapons and armors when a monster dies or a chest is opened the item that drops is picked from a Treasure Class (TC), the TC has to be equal to or less than the monsters level(mlvl). Other items(ring, amulets, jewels, charms and runes) work a bit different, see the above links for more information on them.

Once the item has been chosen a check for the quality of the item is done, this is where your Magic Find (MF) helps. Set and Unique items can have higher item level (ilvl, some times also refereed to as quality level/qlvl) than TC, before such an item can drop the mlvl needs to be equal to or higher than the ilvl. If the mlvl is lower than the ilvl of the unique/set item it tried to spawn it will spawn as a rare with triple the amount of durability instead.

So if you want to increase your chance of getting an item you need to kill monsters with higher mlvl than the TC of the desired item and with a mlvl higher than the ilvl/qlvl of the desired item. By keeping the max TC of the monster your slay as close to the TC of your desired item, you can exclude unwanted items from even having a chance of dropping and there for increase your chance of getting the item you want.

So the questions you need to answer to get the item you want is what is the item level of the item you want, what TC is it in and where do I find monsters that are above them.

Super Uniques are very good for this since they can have predefined TC that can be a lot lower than there mlvl, reducing the number of items they can drop while keeping there mlvl high so they can drop as Unique/sets. Here and here are some list with mLVL and TC for some of them.

A good example for this is Cow King on normal, he has TC 12 and mlvl 31, this means he can drop items up to TC 12 where Chain Gloves are found and still have high enough level to drop the unique Chance Guards that are ilvl/qlvl 20 because he is mlvl 31. Usually you would need to kill level 20 monsters to make sure the mlvl was high enough for the unique version of the gloves, but because the Super Unique monsters TC is lower than his mlvl you can exclude items from TC 15 and 18 even having a chance of dropping, there by increasing your chances of getting Chain Gloves.

Here is a list of 1.10 items so you can find the TC and ilvl (listed as qlvl there)

Monster Levels

  • Regular monsters: mlvl = Area level (Alvl)
  • Champions (all species): mlvl = Alvl + 2
  • Uniques (and every minion): mlvl = Alvl + 3

Exceptions

  • Normal uses mlvls found in the game files (Monstats.txt) rather than the area level based values
  • Blood Raven, Griswold, Radament, The Summoner, Izual, Nihlathak, the Act Bosses, and the Ubers have predefined mlvls (here and here are some list with mLVL and TC for some of them)

Area Levels

Act N NM Hell Level Name 
Act 1 Rogue Encampment 
Act 1 1 36 67 Blood Moor 
Act 1 2 36 68 Cold Plains 
Act 1 4 37 68 Stony Field 
Act 1 5 38 68 Dark Wood 
Act 1 6 38 69 Black Marsh 
Act 1 8 39 69 Tamoe Highland 
Act 1 1 36 79 Den of Evil 
Act 1 2 36 77 Cave Level 1 
Act 1 4 37 69 Underground Passage Level 1 
Act 1 5 38 80 Hole Level 1 
Act 1 7 39 85 Pit Level 1 
Act 1 2 37 78 Cave Level 2 
Act 1 4 38 83 Underground Passage Level 2 
Act 1 5 39 81 Hole Level 2 
Act 1 7 40 85 Pit Level 2 
Act 1 3 36 80 Burial Grounds 
Act 1 3 37 83 Crypt 
Act 1 3 37 85 Mausoleum 
Act 1 7 38 75 Tower Cellar Level 1 
Act 1 7 39 76 Tower Cellar Level 2 
Act 1 7 40 77 Tower Cellar Level 3 
Act 1 7 41 78 Tower Cellar Level 4 
Act 1 7 42 79 Tower Cellar Level 5 
Act 1 8 40 70 Monastery Gate 
Act 1 9 40 70 Outer Cloister 
Act 1 9 40 70 Barracks 
Act 1 10 41 71 Jail Level 1 
Act 1 10 41 71 Jail Level 2 
Act 1 10 41 71 Jail Level 3 
Act 1 10 41 72 Inner Cloister 
Act 1 11 42 72 Cathedral 
Act 1 11 42 72 Catacombs Level 1 
Act 1 11 42 73 Catacombs Level 2 
Act 1 12 43 73 Catacombs Level 3 
Act 1 12 43 73 Catacombs Level 4 
Act 1 6 39 76 Tristram 
Act 1 28 64 81 Moo Moo Farm 
Act 2 14 43 75 Rocky Waste 
Act 2 15 44 76 Dry Hills 
Act 2 16 45 76 Far Oasis 
Act 2 17 46 77 Lost City 
Act 2 18 46 77 Valley of Snakes 
Act 2 16 48 79 Canyon of the Magi 
Act 2 13 43 74 Sewers Level 1 
Act 2 13 43 74 Sewers Level 2 
Act 2 14 44 75 Sewers Level 3 
Act 2 13 47 78 Harem Level 2 
Act 2 13 47 78 Palace Cellar Level 1 
Act 2 13 47 78 Palace Cellar Level 2 
Act 2 13 48 78 Palace Cellar Level 3 
Act 2 12 44 78 Stony Tomb Level 1 
Act 2 12 44 79 Halls of the Dead Level 1 
Act 2 13 45 81 Halls of the Dead Level 2 
Act 2 14 47 82 Claw Viper Temple Level 1 
Act 2 12 44 79 Stony Tomb Level 2 
Act 2 13 45 82 Halls of the Dead Level 3 
Act 2 14 47 83 Claw Viper Temple Level 2 
Act 2 17 45 84 Maggot Lair Level 1 
Act 2 17 45 84 Maggot Lair Level 2 
Act 2 17 46 85 Maggot Lair Level 3 
Act 2 17 46 85 Ancient Tunnels 
Act 2 17 49 80 Tal Rasha's Tomb 
Act 2 17 49 80 Tal Rasha's Tomb 
Act 2 17 49 80 Tal Rasha's Tomb 
Act 2 17 49 80 Tal Rasha's Tomb 
Act 2 17 49 80 Tal Rasha's Tomb 
Act 2 17 49 80 Tal Rasha's Tomb 
Act 2 17 49 80 Tal Rasha's Tomb 
Act 2 17 49 80 Duriel's Lair 
Act 2 14 48 79 Arcane Sanctuary 
Act 3 21 49 79 Spider Forest 
Act 3 21 50 80 Great Marsh 
Act 3 22 50 80 Flayer Jungle 
Act 3 22 52 80 Lower Kurast 
Act 3 22 52 81 Kurast Bazaar 
Act 3 23 52 81 Upper Kurast 
Act 3 24 53 81 Kurast Causeway 
Act 3 24 54 82 Travincal 
Act 3 21 50 79 Spider Cave (Arachnid Lair) 
Act 3 21 50 79 Spider Cavern 
Act 3 21 51 80 Swampy Pit Level 1 
Act 3 21 51 81 Swampy Pit Level 2 
Act 3 22 51 81 Flayer Dungeon Level 1 
Act 3 22 51 82 Flayer Dungeon Level 2 
Act 3 21 51 82 Swampy Pit Level 3 
Act 3 22 51 83 Flayer Dungeon Level 3 
Act 3 23 52 84 Sewers Level 1 
Act 3 24 53 85 Sewers Level 2 
Act 3 23 53 84 Ruined Temple (In Kurast Bazaar) 
Act 3 23 53 84 Disused Fane (In Kurast Bazaar) 
Act 3 23 53 84 Forgotten Reliquary (In Upper Kurast) 
Act 3 24 54 85 Forgotten Temple (In Upper Kurast) 
Act 3 24 54 85 Ruined Fane (In Kurast Causeway) 
Act 3 24 54 85 Disused Reliquary (In Kurast Causeway) 
Act 3 25 55 83 Durance of Hate Level 1 
Act 3 25 55 83 Durance of Hate Level 2 
Act 3 25 55 83 Durance of Hate Level 3 
Act 4 26 56 82 Outer Steppes 
Act 4 26 56 83 Plains of Despair 
Act 4 27 57 84 City of the Damned 
Act 4 27 57 85 River of Flame 
Act 4 28 58 85 Chaos Sanctum 
Act 5 24 58 80 Bloody Foothills 
Act 5 25 59 81 Rigid Highlands 
Act 5 26 60 81 Arreat Plateau 
Act 5 29 61 82 Crystalized Cavern Level 1 (Crystalline Passage) 
Act 5 29 61 83 Cellar of Pity (Frozen River) 
Act 5 29 61 83 Crystalized Cavern Level 2 (Glacial Trail) 
Act 5 29 61 84 Echo Chamber (Drifter Cavern) 
Act 5 27 60 81 Tundra Wastelands (Frozen Tundra) 
Act 5 29 62 82 Glacial Caves Level 1 (Ancient's Way) 
Act 5 29 62 83 Glacial Caves Level 2 (Icy Cellar) 
Act 5 37 68 87 Rocky Summit (Arreat Summit) 
Act 5 32 63 83 Nihlathak's Temple 
Act 5 33 63 83 Halls of Anguish 
Act 5 34 64 84 Halls of Death's Calling (Halls of Pain) 
Act 5 36 64 84 Halls of Vaught 
Act 5 39 60 81 Hell 1 (Abaddon) 
Act 5 39 61 82 Hell 2 (Pit of Acheron) 
Act 5 39 62 83 Hell 3 (Infernal Pit) 
Act 5 39 65 85 The Worldstone Keep Level 1 
Act 5 40 65 85 The Worldstone Keep Level 2 
Act 5 42 66 85 The Worldstone Keep Level 3 
Act 5 43 66 85 Throne of Destruction 
Act 5 43 66 85 The Worldstone Chamber 
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+1, especially for the monster level list. That is awesome. –  Frank Apr 30 '12 at 21:49
    
@fbueckert yea, it is a good list, edited the post to make it more clear and why it is good. –  Blem Apr 30 '12 at 21:54
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