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An in-depth view at the central feature of D3.
With Season 8 having started last week and rumors swirling about an announcement (or lack thereof) at BlizzCon, Blizzard are keeping the game alive and keeping us informed of the thought process behind some of the most important mechanics in it. With no new legendaries in this latest season and an increased focus on cosmetics it seems certain the majority of the team has moved on to something else - now, whether that is a new expansion or the fourth installment in the franchise, or even some completely different project is up for debate.
In any case, we'll have to wait until BlizzCon to find out if we're going to find out anything, but until then, let's take a deeper look at the inner workings and thought process behind Greater Rifts!
Hello, Joe Shely here again. Today I’d like to answer a question about Greater Rifts.
Before we start, I’d like to note that although this post will focus on Greater Rifts, it’s important to keep in mind that Nephalem Rifts and Bounties are equally important ways to play Adventure Mode.
“Sometimes I can clear a level 45 Greater Rift, but other times it feels like I’m not even close. Why?”
Greater Rifts present an ever changing set of circumstances to overcome, which can naturally prove more or less challenging for your character. From different monster types to elite affixes to environments, you never know exactly what’s around the next corner.
Before we get into how you can better overcome these challenges, we’ll first look at the philosophy behind them, including the importance of balance and diverse styles of gameplay.
Finding the Right Balance
We want Greater Rifts to feel varied, diverse, and engaging, time after time. As a result, we don’t balance them in the same way as games that focus on competitive multiplayer (like StarCraft II). Instead, we strive to provide a level playing field where there’s always a path to make your character better, stronger or cooler, including challenging content like Greater Rifts.
At the same time, we recognize that sometimes it can feel like a rift contains only monsters or environments that make life difficult for your character. There are two ways we tackle this problem.
First, we examine outliers including monsters or environments that stand out as sore spots. For example, we’ve adjusted the cave environments to reduce the number of looping structures on maps and reduced the length of dead ends. We’ve also made some monster changes, like limiting how far Exorcists can turn when they attack and reducing the damage of their lightning hands.
Second, we add more options for gearing. These include items or crafting tools that allow your character to adventure through rifts in new ways. So far, we’ve improved class set bonuses and added companion Legendary items for many sets. We’ve also added Kanai’s Cube and new recipes to squeeze extra power out of your items. Finally, we’ve added powerful new Legendary Gems and made them easier to level up with the option to empower a rift.
Encouraging Diversity of Play
Variety keeps Greater Rifts fresh and compelling over time. Each one is intended to be a little bit different, even if it’s something small like giving your character stalagmites to break for an extra speed boost.
Just as each rift is different, each class has unique strengths and weaknesses in dealing with the challenges rifts provide. Some floor layouts or monster types will be more challenging for specific classes, but the diverse nature of rifts ensures the next floor or rift can be one where your class excels.
Tips for Conquering Greater Rifts
A key part of the fun and challenge of Greater Rifts is obtaining and choosing gear and skills for your character that allow them to survive and flourish in many different situations.
If your character is struggling in a particular spot, try thinking of different approaches to the problem. Some monsters are easier to fight in open areas, for example, while others have projectiles that you can avoid with clever use of terrain.
When playing solo, don’t forget to specialize your Follower with helpful crowd control spells and items. In groups, one player can focus on controlling the most dangerous monsters or moving them to a better location to fight, while another focuses on buffing party members and the rest focus on dealing damage.
Try different Legendary Gems, or take a trip to the Mystic to improve your gear. Often a little extra survivability or damage can transform a harrowing fight into a much more manageable one.
That’s it for today’s chronicle. Thanks for playing, and I hope to see you in the rifts!
Our guide writer Deadset discovered that Blizzard has updated the background for the Diablo III webpage. Could Blizzard be teasing a new expansion?
From the traditional Westmarch (Reaper of Souls themed background) it has been replaced by a new untitled demonic background.
Blizzard is well-known for teasing the community by adding elements to their websites. To set an example, below, you can see two claws, which were added to the Heroes of the Storm website when they teased with Misha's Claws the addition of Rexxar to Heroes of the Storm.
Something may be brewing! Do you expect an announcement at BlizzCon?
Season 8 starts tomorrow. Be ahead of the curve with our leveling guides!
Exact start times:
Friday, October 21 at 5:00 p.m. PDT in North America, Friday, October 21 at 5:00 p.m. CEST in Europe, Friday, October 21 at 5:00 p.m. KST in Asia. Click here for timezone assistance.
For details covering rewards, Seasonal Journey and more, check out our Season 8 preview.
Leveling / Fresh 70 Guides
Deadset has been busy lately updating our guides for the latest Season. The guides are intended for leveling & fresh 70s. Links below for quick access.
Barbarian Crusader Demon Hunter Monk Witch Doctor Wizard If this is your first Season, don't worry we have a Beginner's Guide to Seasons. Don't forget to check our entire Diablo III guide section for builds and advice during the various stages of your progress!
After Eras, here we have a developer chronicle about engaging monsters.
Joe talks about engaging monsters:
An engaging monster has to affect your behavior. If you see a Succubus in your Zombie Rift, it's unpredictable and qualifies as engaging, as you probably don't want to get hit by her Blood Star (slowly moving projectile) on higher difficulties. You may also predict the cast and stun the mob. Mob selection for Greater Rifts is like a monster soup and too much Lacuni throws off the flavor. There are failsafe mechanisms in place, so you won't see Exorcists, Succubi, Moon Clan Shamans and Lacuni Huntresses in a single pack together, when progressing through rifts. Blizzard Entertainment
Hello, Joe Shely here.
I’m one of the designers on the Diablo III team working on gameplay systems and content like Greater Rifts. One of my responsibilities is to make sure the monsters you fight are fun and engaging. Today, I’ll be answering a question about rift monsters.
Lacuni in my Zombie Rift?!
Progressing though a rift is about dealing with the unexpected. Zombies are slow and predictable, so fighting one group of zombies will feel about the same as fighting another group. We add engaging monsters like the Lacuni or the Succubus to change the fight dynamics.
What Qualifies as “Engaging?”
An engaging monster has the capacity to affect your behavior. Let’s look at the Succubus for a moment. Her primary attack, Blood Star, is a fairly slow-moving, seeking projectile. When pushing Greater Rifts, you’d probably prefer not to get hit by that projectile. You might take an action to avoid it, like moving out of the way just before it reaches you or stunning the Succubus when you see her cast.
We like engaging monsters. They make the game more interesting by providing opportunities for your character’s abilities and legendary powers to shine. It’s satisfying to use Cyclone Strike to pull several Succubi close and then Blinding Flash them all before they can cast Blood Star.
Of course, when you’re playing on a difficulty level that’s easy for your character, you might not worry about the Succubus at all. That’s okay, too.
Too Much of a Good Thing
Imagine visiting an area and finding it packed with Moon Clan Shaman, Exorcists, Lacuni Huntresses, Blood Clan Sorcerers, Succubi, and Exorcists. Bit of a mess, right? Although we do throw monsters from different areas together in Greater Rifts, we carefully choose which monsters you see together. A good mix of monsters has a couple of things to avoid, a healthy chunk of basic attackers, and a little spice in the form of a big bruiser or a monster with unusual movement.
It’s like monster soup. Too much Lacuni in your soup throws off the flavor.
In addition, while a monster’s signature ability can make it engaging to battle against, sometimes it can cross the line and become frustrating. When Reaper of Souls launched, the Primordial Scavenger’s armor wouldn’t break until you’d taken off a significant chunk of its health, but only certain types of attacks were able to bypass the armor to deal damage. This mechanic wasn’t communicated clearly, and some classes had trouble delivering the right kind of damage to break its armor. It didn’t make the monster engaging because it wasn’t obvious what you were supposed to do or how to do it. So in patch 2.3.0, we changed the armor to break after it takes five hits. Since it breaks more consistently, you can now focus on putting the hurt on the Scavenger after it breaks.
We’re always on the lookout for cases where we can make a monster more fun and satisfying to kill while keeping the game engaging, and it’s something we consider when designing new monsters.
Being a big fan of the Jade Harvester build of Witch Doctors I'm still conflicted in my choice sometimes because I'm a hardcore player and the issue I seem to run into going past GR70 is surviving certain bosses.
If there is any question here it would be: How, if even at all, do you deal with charge bosses like the Pitlord/Ravager on hardcore as Jade Harvester?
My last Jade died around GR70 to this because I was determined that I should kill it but after waiting out some cooldowns I didn't even get to move when walking back in because the charge is instant and oneshots you because of the lack of Soul Harvest stacks and Horrify.
I love the build but dealing with bosses with it is by far one of the most tricky things I've done in Diablo 3... All other builds I've tried up there in 70+ all have their ways of killing just about any boss but Jade sometimes feel like I have to end the GR if the wrong boss spawns making it a slightly more annoying "fishing" than seeinga monster and nope out of it right away.