Guide to Farming Bounties Efficiently
There are three core activities in Adventure Mode, the gameplay mode where you will spend the majority of your playtime: Bounties, Regular ("Nephalem") Rifts, and Greater Rifts. Unlike Normal and Greater Rifts, Bounties tone down randomization and take the relatively static nature of the Campaign map layout.
Introduction to Bounties
Unlike the Campaign, Bounties feature no cinematics, scripted dialogue sequences or plot progression. You are free to take any waypoint in all five acts, and you are distributed a random set of tasks in different locations, marked by an exclamation point. In general, bounties emphasize long distance running and interaction with objects spread across a map; high mobility builds are favored. There are six types of bounties:
- Kill a Unique Monster: This bounty assigns a Unique (purple name) Monster as the target, plus a number of enemies from the same zone (ranging from 25 for small zones to 150 for large, open areas). The bounty target does not prevent other Unique Monsters from spawning in that area, so pay attention to whom you are killing.
- Kill an Act Boss: As the name implies, you will have to overcome one of the Bosses from the selected act. Waypoints directly before bosses, where applicable, are disabled — you will need to run through the entire zone before getting to the Boss. Only one Boss can be actively engaged at a time (important for parties — you can coordinate the your progression so no one is stuck outside a Boss door waiting for another's kill). Killing a boss yields the more bountiful "Diabolic Hoard" chest.
- Complete an Event: This type of bounty encompasses tasks with object interaction. Scripted events (i.e. activating catapults, uncovering urns), cursed shrines and chests fall into this category. Note that losing a bonus reward (in a timed event, for example) will have no adverse effect on bounty completion.
- Dungeon Clearing: This type of bounty can only occur in smaller dungeons and requires that you kill all enemies present on the level. In a multi-tiered dungeon, it will always be the last level. With 15 or less enemies remaining, the map will helpfully highlight the last targets.
- Exploration: These bounties require the exploration of a large, open map area and freeing imprisoned friendly NPCs. They are always surrounded by a group of enemies specific to the bounty and tileset.
- Cursed Grounds: This bounty points you to one of the larger maps, making you search for a red portal. Through it is always a tiny, closed-off dungeon area with a timed task to complete.
Completion of bounties bring in a reasonable number of regular crafting materials (Reusable Parts, Arcane Dust, Veiled Crystals, Gems) and Blood Shards, but not to an extent that will make them preferable over Normal Rifts strictly for that purpose. Legendary and set item drops can also occur naturally from slaying monsters, elites and bosses; the chance for such loot drops scales with difficulty, but at a lower rate than doing Rifts (making bounties inferior for farming regular legendaries and sets). For the sake of information, the bonus to legendary drop chance inside bounties scales as such:
- No bonus on Normal to Master;
- 15% on Torment I;
- 32% on Torment II;
- 52% on Torment III;
- 75% on Torment IV;
- 101% on Torment V;
- 131% on Torment VI;
- 164% on Torment VII;
- 205% on Torment VIII;
- 256% on Torment IX;
- 320% on Torment X;
- 400% on Torment XI;
- 500% on Torment XII;
- 625% on Torment XIII.
The real reason to run bounties are the exclusive legendary materials and legendary items that drop from the Horadric Caches, given at the full completion of an Act's bounties.
Bounty-specific Legendary Materials
The legendary materials are Khanduran Rune, Caldeum Nightshade, Arreat War Tapestry, Corrupted Angel Flesh and Westmarch Holy Water. They are only obtainable from their respective act's Cache. The number of legendary materials that you obtain from caches scales with difficulty:
- 3 from Normal to Master;
- 6 from Torment I to Torment VI;
- 8 from Torment VII to Torment IX;
- 10 from Torment X;
- 12 from Torment XI;
- 14 from Torment XII;
- 16 from Torment XIII.
These legendary materials are incredibly important at all stages of character progression, due to the fact that they are used for crafting legendary armor (i.e. Sage's Set or Reaper's Wraps) and, more importantly, Kanai's Cube recipes. The extraction of a legendary power via the Archive of Tal Rasha cube recipe — a vital power spike for any build, especially early on in character progression — requires one legendary material of each type. Reforging a chosen legendary with completely new stats via the Law of Kulle cube recipe requires five of each, and is crucial for endgame character optimization.
Bounty-specific Legendary Items
Bounty Caches also have a set of exclusive legendary items that will never drop from Regular or Greater Rifts, and cannot be crafted. The chance to obtain legendary items from caches scales with difficulty:
- 10% chance for 1 legendary item from Normal to Master;
- 50% chance for 1 legendary item in Torment II;
- 60% chance for 1 legendary item in Torment III;
- 75% chance for 1 legendary item in Torment IV;
- 90% chance for 1 legendary item in Torment V;
- 100% chance for 1 legendary item in Torment VI;
- 100% chance for 1 legendary item and 5% chance for a second in Torment VII;
- 100% chance for 1 legendary item and 15% chance for a second in Torment VIII;
- 100% chance for 1 legendary item and 25% chance for a second in Torment IX;
- 100% chance for 1 legendary item and 50% chance for a second in Torment X;
- 100% chance for 1 legendary item and 65% chance for a second in Torment XI;
- 100% chance for 1 legendary item and 80% chance for a second in Torment XII;
- 100% chance for 1 legendary item and 90% chance for a second in Torment XIII.
The usefulness of these legendaries ranges from vital to situational to non-existent; the following is a ranking system to help you evaluate which acts are important for you to run in terms of cache legendaries.
Vital Cache Legendaries
Ring of Royal Grandeur is an Act I cache-specific legendary that reduces the required number of worn set items by one. This is an extremely useful power that will help you obtain 4- and 6-piece bonuses earlier than you have farmed them, or will help you mix and match sets for potent combos. Due to its innate Attack Speed and Life per Hit stats, it is unable to obtain the most traditionally desirable offense triumvirate of Crit Chance, Crit Damage and an open Socket. As such, it is often a priority extract in Kanai's Cube.
Avarice Band is an Act III cache-specific legendary that increases the wearer's Pickup radius by up to 30 yards as they picks up gold, forming a natural synergy. This synergy is strengthened even further by the other two parts of the gold trio, Boon of the Hoarder and Goldwrap. When played correctly, that potent combo can render the wearer practically invulnerable during Normal Rift and Bounty farming (but is useless in Greater Rifts, since gold does not drop from monsters there). Avarice Band is a cornerstone of many speed farming builds.
Illusory Boots are specific to Act II caches. Their unassuming power — removing collision with enemies and allowing passage through Waller affixes — is of tremendous help to Support builds in group play. Precision of movement and party positioning is a primary concern for those builds, since they decide the flow and location of battle — and true, unhindered mobility can only be achieved with Illusory Boots.
Situational Cache Legendaries
- Pauldrons of the Skeleton King (Act I) can be added as a random cheat death proc on builds that lack a necessary shoulder piece.
- Sanguinary Vambraces (Act I) have a natural Thorns stat, a decently useful legendary power, and are a common and easily targeted drop. They are often taken as a stepping stone legendary in Thorns builds before moving on to a more useful, but harder to obtain legendary.
- Gloves of Worship (Act II) extend the duration of shrines (but not pylons!) to 10 minutes. They can be considered as the armor power of choice in the cube, especially when you do bounties — shrines are more plentiful (and useful) there.
- Envious Blade (Act III) guarantees a Critical Hit on the first strike against the enemy. As long as you overpower the content and have a mainhand, offhand or weapon Cube slot that is free to be taken by Envious Blade, it will speed up your runs even further by turning a large portion of the enemies into oneshots.
- Pride's Fall (Act III) reduces Resource Costs by the significant 30% after not taking damage for 5 seconds. This bonus is impossible to maintain on melee builds for obvious reasons, but far-ranged builds (and especially the resource-intensive Demon Hunters) have a decent chance at using this legendary.
- Overwhelming Desire (Act III) offers a low chance, multiplicative damage proc on affected enemies (sadly excluding Rift Guardians). They can be considered on Support builds, if rolled nicely.
- Death's Bargain (Act V) have a very niche use in Shi Mizu's Haori builds, since they allow you to stay in the relevant health range and prevent health regeneration mishaps. Shi Mizu's builds require a lot of stat and battle micromanagement, and Death's Bargain allows you to play them more lazily.
Useless Cache Legendaries
These legendaries have a power that is largely considered inconsequential in any build. A nicely rolled item from the list below can still make a temporary fit, especially during early character progression. At any stage past that, they can be salvaged without further consideration. The following items fit into this category: Golden Gorget of Leoric, Mad Monarch's Scepter, Cloak of Deception, Coven's Criterion, Boots of Disregard, Burst of Wrath, Insatiable Belt, Pandemonium Loop, Salvation, Helltrapper, Soulsmasher.
An observant eye would catch that there is no mention of Act IV cache legendaries. That is because Act IV caches instead drop a random legendary from all the other acts. If your goal is a specific cache legendary, Act IV is never a good choice to run over its native act.
How to do Bounties Efficiently
You will constantly see bounties referred to as 'split bounties', for a good reason. 'Split bounties' means that a four player group is formed, and each player sets off to do an act's bounties on his own. Thus, you need to be prepared to handle monsters meant for four players by yourself — do not join difficulties you do not comfortably overpower. Do not join players on their bounties — there is little chance you will speed up the bounty in a meaningful way (an exception can be made, of course, once 1-2 bounties are left globally). Players usually take acts 1-4 on their own, and work on the separate act 5 bounties together (since they are relatively longer and harder). That is not a hard rule, however, and no one will stop you from taking act 5 on your own (it will probably be appreciated, in fact.)
Make it clear when organizing a group whether you intend to clear only one act over and over (for a specific cache legendary) or all five (for legendary mats).
Try to waste as little of the group's time as possible, especially at the end of a run. Save the opening of the caches and a minor reroll/change you are planning for the start of a next run, and leave the game with complete bounties. This allows an organized group to immediately start the next run. This way even if one needs a little longer to pick up his cache loot, do a quick gamble or one-two rerolls, the others can continue with the next set of bounties. Do not start a long rerolling, build remaking or cube reforging session if you are playing in a bounty group — this is very discourteous since the other three players are picking up your slack.
It is considered good manners to announce rarer goblins — Blood Thief (purple), Gelatinous Sire (large and bright blue) and Menagerist (pale with a blue cap) and allow a few seconds for a player to teleport to you before engaging it, especially if he announced "+" in chat. The value of your announcement is bigger at the start of a Season, and diminishes as it goes on (to a point where people will type "-" to indicate they do not care.) The advice above is also applicable to portals to the Goblin's Vault, which can spawn from any goblin kill in bounties.
Recommended Builds for Bounties
Bounty builds heavily favor mobility, and also benefit if they are not reliant on procs (such as In-geom for cooldowns), although that is less of a necessity. The list below is not exhaustive, but provides a good example of a strong bounty build for every class:
- Barbarian: Whirlwind Build;
- Crusader: Bombardment Build;
- Demon Hunter: Multishot Build;
- Monk: Wave of Light Build;
- Necromancer: Trag'Oul Corpse Explosion Build;
- Witch Doctor: Gargantuan Build;
- Wizard: Lightning Archon Build.
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