Introduced in Diablo 3, Nephalem Valor is the most important buff in the game currently, period!
Now most people who get to level 60 read the buff's tooltip and think they know everything there is to know, but in reality there are a lot of hidden benefits. In this guide I will do my best to cover every possible aspect of Nephalem Valor allowing you to maximize its use.
First off, the buff was meant to enhance end-game content and as such it is only available to level 60 players. The buff can stack up to 5 times and you get a stack each time you kill a Unique (yellow) or Champion (blue) monster. Killing Super Unique (purple) monsters and Bosses does NOT give a stack!
The buff persists upon death but you can still loose it by doing the following:
- Leaving a game (there is a short grace period for dropped connections)
- Changing skills
- Changing acts
The buff has a 30 minute duration but it refreshes each time you kill a Unique or Champion, so you can effectively keep the buff running all the time.
Now everyone knows that the buff gives a 75% Magic Find and Gold Find bonus when you have 5 stacks, but what is the real use for this buff?
The real reason Blizzard implemented this system is because they wanted players to hunt elites first before killing a boss. You see, bosses actually have worst drops by default than elites, but have better drops when you stack Nephalem Valor 5 times. In layman's terms, they basically don't want you to do JUST boss runs.
It does sound confusing, but it is actually very simple. Each stack of the buff increases the number of items dropped by a boss by 1, with the last stack providing a guaranteed Rare drop. This makes it mandatory for anyone who is doing boss runs as without it bosses just aren't worth the effort. Don't be fooled into thinking this buff only helps against bosses however, as not only do you have the Gold Find and Magic Find bonus but you also get a guaranteed Rare drop from Uniques and Champions.
These facts have been confirmed by Blizzard in many places, two of which are the Patch 1.0.3 design preview:
It’s no secret that our goal for the end-game item hunt is players hunting monsters packs, building to five stacks of Nephalem Valor, and then killing a boss. While we’re seeing a lot of that occurring, what we’re missing is people feeling like it’s worthwhile to continue onward after killing a boss. To help hit that goal we’re lowering the number of guaranteed Rare items on bosses when you have your full five stacks of Nephalem Valor from two guaranteed Rares to one guaranteed Rare (you still have a very good chance at multiple rares, it's just no longer guaranteed). In exchange, all champion and rare packs will now drop a bonus guaranteed Rare item when you have your full five stacks of Nephalem Valor. The change benefits players with more overall drops, and a reason to push to continue progressing."
And this Q&A:
Q: When you say extra loot, do you mean, extra loot. Or do you mean extra loot that is on par with what elite/champs drop. I remember from the article before, bosses do not drop gear that is as good as champs/elites.
A: They will drop gear as good as champions and elites with this buff (because you have to kill champions and elites to get it, which was the point). With the buff active you’re guaranteed one extra item drop from the boss, and it’s likely that it’ll be 1 item per stack of the buff. Up to X stacks. We don’t know how many it’ll be, probably a handful.
The only thing I do not like about this buff is that when a late player joins the game he will want to kill elites while the others (who are already at 5 stacks) want to do the boss. Blizzard could fix this issue by making the buff shared amongst all players, but this would allow for abuse by some.
I hope this guide answered all of your questions, if not, leave a comment below and we will get back to you. Click here for more information regarding the game.