Starym

Developer Chronicles: Greater Rifts

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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!

Blizzard LogoJoe Shely

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.

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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.

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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!

 

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