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Every once in a while I'll come across the sneaky devils and they always flee. What determines when they flee (time, distance, etc.) and do I get better loot by killing them faster? Is there anything else I should know in order to get the most out of the encounter?

EDIT: What I mean is: Is the final drop better based on how effectively I defeat them?

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Don't quote me, but from experience they flee when harassed, and you have to keep up with the buggers and hit them to spill loot, gold and intestines. They usually drop substantially fancier stuff when they die. –  mindcorrosive May 15 '12 at 12:23

4 Answers 4

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It does not seem to matter how fast you beat on them to determine the quality of the overall drops. The most important thing is to actually kill them before they open a portal and escape. The last drops upon death (and possibly right before death) are magic items, as opposed to gold, so it is well worth making certain you kill them.

There are different types of treasure goblins, and they seem to have different qualities of loot.

I encountered a Treasure Pygmy during Act 3 of normal, and, despite not killing him particularly quickly (certainly not as fast as I had killed some early treasure goblins), I had the extreme fortune of having 3 rare items drop from him. I'm not certain if this is simply an extremely lucky coincidence, or if the quality of the drops was influenced by the particular monster title.

Edit: I just encountered a Treasure Goblin much later in Act 3, and he dropped 4 regular magic items (no rares), even though I beat him down much faster than the Treasure Pygmy. This seems to corroborate the idea that the Treasure Pygmy may simply be a rarer, better version of the Treasure Goblin.

Edit: After quite a few more tests, ranging from chasing the Treasure Goblin (of a number of varieties) around, to beating them down before they could move more than a few yards, to killing them moments before they step through a portal, there is absolutely no discernible difference in the quantity or quality of items they drop. They always drop 1-4 magic items, plus gold, gems, and crafting pages/tomes (if you are high enough level for gems and/or crafting pages/tomes to drop).

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With Patch 1.0.5, Monster Power has changed the answer to this question.

In Inferno, in addition to increased experience, Magic Find, and Gold Find, whenever a monster dies and drops an item normally (whether it be gold, a potion, or a piece of gear), the monster also has a chance to drop an additional bonus item. The chance to drop a bonus item will scale up with each MP level as detailed in the table below.

MP table

When the treasure goblin is fleeing from you, each pile of gold he drops has a chance to trigger this bonus item. I've seen plenty of blue and yellow items drop in addition to the gold.

So if you want to maximize your loot from the treasure goblin and you are playing with any level of Monster Power, do not kill him until he starts casting his portal and no longer flees when you damage him.

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With Puzzle Ring shenanigans I have a feeling this will be hotfixed or patched, but for now it stands. –  dpatchery Oct 19 '12 at 3:12
    
Per a blue post, bonus items only apply to some (but not all) "normal monsters". Can you confirm that treasure goblins are affected by the bonus item chance? Also, waiting until he starts casting his portal may be problematic, as they have literally millions of points of health in higher MP levels. –  Beofett Oct 19 '12 at 12:04
    
I've witnessed it firsthand. I've seen white, blue and yellow items as well as double gold-piles. And you don't want to leave him completely alone until he starts casting the portal. Just get him low and finish him off once the non-interruptable portal goes up. –  dpatchery Oct 19 '12 at 12:24
    
They dropped white, blue and yellow items before dying before the patch, but double gold-piles sounds like a pretty clear indication! I normally try to leave them low on health until they're ready to portal, to maximize the random drops (even before the patch I managed to squeeze extra rares out more than a few time), but given the health at higher MPs, it may be a challenge for some builds to kill them at all, let alone get them low then wait :) –  Beofett Oct 19 '12 at 12:28

What determines when they flee (time, distance, etc.)

One important thing about treasure goblins is that after a while they'll use their portal regardless of whether you hit them or not.

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Beofett's answer deals with Oragami's specific additional query about how fast you lay the smack down - so take this answer as more generally "getting the most out of the encounter" (per the original phrasing of the question).

Treasure goblins drop progressively better loot the more you beat on them, so you should beat the tar out of them as soon as you see them and don't let up. They will run away from you - so it is best to try and herd them into a cleared area. If they are allowed to run into a pack of other monsters they are much harder to target and take down.

The official Blizzard description is:

He'll randomly and rarely appear in dungeons, but when he does you'll want to beat the candy out of him as he'll drop progressively better loot with each hit. Don't let him escape!

They can't hurt you or steal from you, and if you stop beating them they will eventually run away or use a portal to escape. You can not pass through the portal they use.

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2  
I meant is their final drop better based on how fast I defeat them. –  user9983 May 15 '12 at 13:07
    
Well that's a good question, but it will be very hard to answer. :) I'll see what I can find out. –  EBongo May 15 '12 at 13:15
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Also curious if that means that hitting them repeatedly with a low-damage weapon is smarter than hitting them with high-damage weapons. –  Sterno May 16 '12 at 15:57
    
They run away from you, not just 'towards other monsters' - so its possible to cut them off in a way that they only run back into a previously cleared area –  Alok May 23 '12 at 16:51
    
@Alok "Tend to" being the operative phrase, but I'll edit to clarify. –  EBongo May 23 '12 at 17:32

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