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A comment here suggests that

Whenever you kill a boss for the first time (on normal difficulty only), it is guaranteed to drop at least 2 rares: One general rare and one specifically suited for your class

Is this true?

I'm fairly sure I didn't get anything but blues the first two times I killed the Skeleton King (although my friends got yellows), however the Spider Queen, the Butcher, and Maghda all dropped me two yellows. I can't remember if one was class-specific in all cases, however it was true in at least some cases.

Edit: I've verified that the Skeleton King does not always drop two yellow items, and am trying to determine if A) this quote is correct, incorrect, or partially incorrect and B) if correct or partially correct, does this only apply to end-of-act bosses?

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  • I'd expect it's certain bosses only. (Perhaps end of act bosses?) I Know the Butcher dropped 2 Rares. Commented May 17, 2012 at 19:54
  • @RavenDreamer I did receive a yellow on skeleton king. He may not be considered a boss in this sense.
    – Emerica.
    Commented May 17, 2012 at 19:55

4 Answers 4

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It's true... sort of.

The rare drop rate is substantially higher for first time kills of major bosses on normal mode, but it isn't necessarily two drops guaranteed - the specific bonus and which bosses it applies to hasn't been laid out explicitly. For what confirmation does exist, see this post by Bashlok:

The bonus to drops for first-time boss kills only exists in Normal difficulty.

Whether the 'bonus to drops' is 'guaranteed class-specific yellow', or simply 'twenty percent increase to the chance to drop' is unclear, and without a very large data set or some (very unlikely) additional candor on the matter from Blizzard, it's difficult to say. Anecdotally, people seem to be citing the '2 rares, one for your class' fairly widely, and I'm yet to personally have any experiences that contradict that - at least on major bosses. If I had to guess, I'd wager the Skeleton King doesn't qualify as one however.

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    But, that's not to say that you'll never get Rares from the Skeleton King. You're just not getting a bonus chance at Rares from him. Commented May 17, 2012 at 20:09
  • So to clarify, no yellows are actually guaranteed, nor is a class-specific item guaranteed the first time you kill an end-of-act boss on normal?
    – Rachel
    Commented May 18, 2012 at 4:37
  • @Rachel the specific details haven't been released by Blizzard, so it's impossible to confirm that without more testing than I'm able to do. All that we can confirm is that the drop rates on yellow items is increased for first time kills. Whether it's increased to the level of 'guaranteed', I have neither the time, nor the wherewithal to kill the Butcher for the first time, 100 times, in order to test it, TBQH. I've clarified this in my answer. Commented May 20, 2012 at 3:05
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I am not sure Skeleton King is considered a "boss", in fact it does not appear in Highest Progress. The Butcher is the first boss and it should indeed drop at least 1 rare (yellow) item.

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  • Interesting, I'll update with loot when we get to the Butcher.
    – Kexlox
    Commented May 17, 2012 at 20:02
  • Just to add one more data, I beat the second boss on normal and it dropped 2 rares (yellow).
    – Drake
    Commented May 17, 2012 at 23:54
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    @Drake it's a "boss encounter"; when in a group it's locked and you are unable to "graveyard run" (to use the WoW term). In any event, this seems like a comment on a small portion of the question ignoring the broader sense of it
    – Nick T
    Commented May 18, 2012 at 4:34
  • The Butcher is the first Act end boss; I have also noticed Skeleton King not dropping 2 rares but many others (spider queen etc.) do.
    – Alok
    Commented May 27, 2012 at 14:17
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No.

Anecdotal evidence, but I've been playing through with a pair of other players, and we just got to the skeleton king last night. I (as monk) got a rare demon hunter crossbow and boots. The wizard got a rare sword, and the witch doctor got all blues.

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I didn't get any rares from Skeleton King with both of my first characters. So at least he isn't counted as a "boss" in that way. I did get rares from the Butcher with both, but not enough testing yet to confirm a pattern. :)

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