This is a question that’s been bugging me for a long time. It SEEMED like there was an effect when I wore magic find… but I could never definitively tell one way or the other if it was helping.
So, being the nerdy accounting major that I am, I kept detailed statistics and now we have a definitive answer!
Here’s an infographic I made that illustrates the benefits of Magic Find, and then I’ll write up a bit extra for those who want more details.
With 69% magic find barrels, corpses, chests, and trash mobs dropped noticeably more blue(and the occasional yellow) item.
Bosses(Warden and Butcher) both dropped higher iLevel blues and yellows. Keep in mind I had 5 stacks of the nephalem valor buff when killing Warden and Butcher so my actual magic find was sitting at 75% and 144% respectively. At 144% the yellows and blues dropped by the two bosses had a much higher chance of being 59+ than with 75% magic find.
At 0% magic find with five stacks of the nephalem valor buff I would notice about a 50/50 split in elite packs(yellow and blue names) dropping rare(yellow) loot. At 69% magic find with five stacks of nephalem valor I noticed it was roughly 75% of elite packs killed would drop at least one rare, sometimes multiple rares.
Finding good items
At 69% base magic find, over 10 runs I found that each run netted 1.7 “good” items for the auction house. At 0% base magic find, over 10 runs, each run netted 1.5 “good” items for the AH.
I define a good item as anything I think has a good chance of selling. There’s a lot of items now you find in Act 1 that just won’t sell, not even if you put them for less than 5k on the auction house, and that’s just not worth the slots in my opinion especially when you consider those same ten slots could be used for items that sell between 200k-1mil gold.
Most of the items included in this “1.7 per run” would sell between 50k and 300k on the auction house.
So extrapolating this information 69% increased magic find increases your chance to find a good item by .2 per run. Double your base magic find to 138% and you’ll increase your chance to find good items by .4 over 0% magic find. Over 100 runs that equals out to be 40 more items to sell on the Auction House, and if we assume each item sells for 200,000 that’s an extra 8,000,000 gold in revenue from your increased magic find.
Magic find is great… IF you’re not sacrificing so much DPS/damage mitigation that it dramatically slows down the speed of your runs. There’s a break even point(which I didn’t calculate because jesus christ that would be complicated) where magic find actually costs you loot as you’re running through a dungeon so much slower.
Let me know if you found this infographic useful in the comments, if so I’ll keep collecting data on different aspects of D3 and post them up.