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The player setting gives account of how many players are present in one game. It has impact on monsters' hit points, experience gained and drops. The default player setting is 1. However, with every player joining a multiplayer game the player setting is increased by one up till a maximum of 8 (i.e. the maximum number of players in one game). In Single Player mode, open battle.net and non battle.net Multiplayer mode the player setting can be changed by the Players X Command.
Common abbreviations are "pX" or "/pX", e.g. "I cleared the whole Throne Room on p8", meaning that all of Baal's minion waves were defeated on a player setting of 8 players.
 Influence on game mechanics
In general one could say: the higher the player setting, the higher the monsters' hit points and damage, the amount of experience gained and the frequency/amount of drops. Basically that means:
- You'll level faster
- You'll need more time for killing monsters
- You'll find more items
Note: The player setting does not influence the quality of the dropped items! There's an entirely different algorithm for that.
To make things a bit more difficult: there is a distinction between near players in a party with you and unpartied players. That will be of importance for some game aspects.
 Monsters' Hit Points
Each monster's Hit Points are multiplied by the number of players in the game according to a certain formula, which differs from version to version:
1.00-1.08: Hit Points = X * n
1.09: see list below
1.10+ (any): Hit Points = X * (n + 1) / 2
where X = base Hit Points n = # of players in game
Assorted in a table it looks like this:
|Player setting||HP 1.08||HP 1.09||HP 1.10+|
|(HPs increase by 50% per player past 10 in 1.09a/b)|
 Monsters' Damage and Attack Rating
Each additional player in the game also increases the damage dealt by 6.25%. This bonus is applied after the champion or unique bonus and is further amplified by critical strike. The bonus is the same for both ranged and melee attacks, but not every monster skill in the game is increased. This bonus does not apply to classic Diablo 2.
|Player setting||Damage & AR Bonus|
With increasing player settings the amount of Experience gained also increases according to a certain formula, which differs from version to version:
1.00-1.08: Experience = X * (2n + 1) / 3
1.09 (any): see list below
1.10+ (any): Experience = X * (n + 1) / 2
where X = base experience n = # of players in the game
So it's basically the same numbers as for the Hit Points calculations.
Here's the table:
|Player setting||XP 1.08||XP 1.09||XP 1.10+|
|(XP increases by 5% per player past 10 in 1.09a/b)|
As already stated, the player setting will not affect the item quality, but will affect the amount of items dropped.
So how does the player setting affect monster drops? First, we'll have to introduce a term called "nodrop". Every monster has a certain chance for this "nodrop", that is the chance to drop nothing at all. The greater this number, the greater the chance to drop nothing. This value is cut down with increasing player settings according to the following formula in V1.11 (for basics on item generation, nodrop an so on see the Item Generation Tutorial for Patch 1.11 on the DII Strategy Forum from Warrior of Light):
NewNoDrop=int( ProbSum/(1/((NoDrop/(NoDrop+ProbSum))^N)-1) ),
AdditionalPlayers — the number of all additional players in the game, where the monster is killed,
ClosePartiedPlayers — the number of players in your party near you (not far than two screens away),
int — operation of truncating fractional part of a number.
This looks pretty complicated, so for the sake of comprehensibility let's just say:
- For normal monsters: The more players, the more drops.
- For Super Uniques (like Pindleskin), Uniques and Champions: player setting is irrelevant.
- Super Uniques will always drop two items.
- Uniques will always drop one item.
- Champions will always drop one item.
- Bosses: "nodrop" will be reduced to zero for 5 unpartied players or 3 near players in the same party. In Single Player the difference between the drops for 3 player setting and 5 player setting is only marginal though.
Note: The formula implies, that for unpartied players (and simulated players via the Players X Command) only every second additional players has impact on drop rates. So the steps for more drops are players 3, players 5 and players 7.
In other words: players 8 and players 7 have the same drop rates, players 6 and 5, players 4 and 3, and players 2 and 1. Note that the amount of Experience gained and monsters' Hit Points are nonetheless different for each player setting (as stated above).
 Skills and Abilities
A frequent question when it comes to player setting is, which skills and weapon abilties that correlate with a target's Hit Points scale with the player setting. For example, the Necromancer's Corpse Explosion deals damage depending on the corpse's HPs (between 60% and 100%). Does the skill take the base HPs or the modified (higher) HPs on higher player settings? Unfortunately the answer is: Depends on what version you are using. Here's a list of skills and abilities, that correlate with a target's HPs.
The list is not complete yet. Feel free to add any information you have about scaling.
|Summoned minions (HPs)||-||-||+||?||?||?||?||?||?||?||?||?|
 The Players X Command
From version 1.09 onward, the player setting can be changed arbitrarily in Single Player mode, open battle.net and non battle.net Multiplayer mode. In order to do so, one has to enter a certain command while in game. This is done by hitting "Enter", typing the players X command, and confirming by hitting "Enter" again (yes, it's the normal shoutbox usage). The command differs slightly for the different versions of Diablo II.
In general the Players X command simulates an amout of players in the game equal X, although less players are actually in game. X cannot be lower than the actual number of players in game. For example, if you're playing with 2 friends a multiplayer game via TCP/IP, you can only choose a number equal or greater than 3. All other commands will be ignored.
The Players X Command only simulates unpartied players. (Important for drop mechanics as explained above)
Note that the Players X command doesn't affect monsters that have already spawned by the time you type the command. I'm not entirely sure about the radius in which monsters spawn around you, but according to jiansonz's testings it's somewhat smaller than the distance from the stairs in Durance level 3 to Mephisto's spawning point (meaning that one could still tune down the player setting shortly after entering Durance 3 and thus have the Council spawn on a different player setting than Mephisto himself). To make sure every monster is affected, typing the command while still in town is recommended.
Players X does however affect all clickable items (i.e. logs, chests, urns etc.) immediately. In theory one could clear the whole area on p1, then set the player settings to 8 for maximised drops (i.e. minimised NoDrop) and pop all chests, urns etc. only then. This is in no way illegal, but considered cheesy by most players in the SPF. Ususall this (ab)use of the Players X command is prohibited in SPF tournaments.
In V1.09, when hit points of your summoned minions (e.g. Golems, Valkyrie) scaled with the player setting, it was useful to change the player setting to maximum before casting the minion and then immediately switch back to a lower player setting, which is also considered as cheesy.
In V1.10 minions' hit points no longer scale up with the player setting.
 Versions 1.00 to 1.08
No players X command available.
 Version 1.09a/b
The command is players X, where X can be any number between 1 and 64. You won't get any confirmation that the player setting has changed.
 Version 1.09c/d
The command is players X, where X can be any number between 1 and 8. You won't get any confirmation that the player setting has changed.
 Versions 1.10 and 1.11
The command is /players X or /playersX, where X can be any number between 1 and 8. You will get the confirmation players set to X on your screen.
This command is available in all versions of 1.10 and 1.11.
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