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Developer Chronicles: Rift Fishing

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Challenge Rifts are a different beast to master as opposed to Greater Rifts. Joe Shely talks more about how to keep the experience fresh and discusses Rift fishing.

The main goal of changes to Greater Rifts was to reduce variation while keeping the play experience different at the same time.

Blizzard LogoBlizzard Entertainment (Source)

Hi all, Joe Shely here.

I’d like to talk about our philosophy for the design changes we make that affect Greater Rifts and how we think about Rift “fishing.”

When you are pushing Greater Rifts (either to improve your highest Greater Rift rank or to increase your maximum Legendary Gem rank), you start to encounter situations where you’re selecting a Rift that you may not be able to complete.

Whether you can complete that Rift or not depends on three factors:

  • Your character’s overall power, including how much main stat you have, your Critical Strike chance, etc. This is the largest factor and comes primarily from your gear.
  • How well you execute your character’s build. For example, maximizing Focus and Restraint uptime, getting the most value out of each Convention of the Elements cycle, and so on.
  • How well you adapt to the various challenges the dungeon throws at you. These include things like dungeon layout, number of branching paths, room size, enemy population type, and which Rift boss you encounter.

In other words, Greater Rifts require some combination of three things: Power, Execution, and Adaptability.

DeveloperChronicles_RiftFishing_D3_Embed01_MB_550x309.gif

If we wanted to, we could make every Rift roll the same tile-set, layout, population, and boss. That would put all of the focus on execution. This can be fun in short bursts, and in fact Challenge Rifts do exactly this at a fixed power level. Each time a new Challenge Rift is introduced you’ll be presented with a new character and build to try. We plan to introduce new Challenge Rifts frequently to keep the experience fresh.

Greater Rifts are a different beast.

You spend a lot of time with the same character. That character’s power level doesn’t change very fast, especially in the late game when you’re running with a complete set of well-rolled items. And your execution—the buttons you’re pressing—doesn’t change very often. You improve over time and might try a new build, but overall this value is fairly static…so we need to look elsewhere to keep Greater Rifts fun to play again and again.

This is where adaptability comes in. We design monsters, Rift Guardians, affixes, and dungeon layouts that throw a wide variety of challenges at you—within reason.

Your experience should vary from one Rift to the next, but if it varies too much, it feels like whether you can complete a Rift is entirely out of your control. Our target with Rift changes has been to reduce that variation while keeping the play experience different from Rift to Rift.

DeveloperChronicles_RiftFishing_D3_Embed02_MB_550x309.gif

If you step into a Rift and see that the first floor is a cave, or the first population has a lot of Writhing Deceivers and you instantly know that Rift will be impossible to complete, then the cave tile-set or the monster probably needs tweaking.

Along these lines, we reduced the average size of a Rift floor in Patch 2.4.3 to increase the number of floors you see in a given Rift, placing less emphasis on the tile-set or population of a given floor. We also made improvements where a specific monster or tile-set was out of line, like fixing big empty areas in the Heaven tile-set or making Writhing Deceivers emerge more quickly from hiding.

Now, when you’re pushing the absolute limit of your character’s power and execution, there will inevitably come a point where you can only succeed if you get that perfect Rift. That’s a reality we aren’t trying to circumvent. But by setting the right balance between character power, execution, and adaptability in Greater Rifts, we can broadly improve the experience and raise the threshold at which everything has to go perfectly.

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      The total amount of Paragon experience earned is the amount that rolls over, but not the raw total Paragon levels that you gained. For example, if your Seasonal heroes reached Paragon 300, and your current non-Seasonal heroes are already Paragon 400, your new non-Seasonal Paragon level will still be less than Paragon 700, since Paragon levels require more experience to earn the higher you go. Blood Shards
      Much like how it works with gold, any Blood Shards you have available at the end of the Season will transfer to your non-Seasonal heroes. If your non-Seasonal heroes are currently at the Blood Shard cap, any Blood Shards you earn once the Season ends will temporarily ignore the cap. You can spend these at your leisure; however, you can’t pick up any additional Blood Shards until you are below the current cap. Items
      Items that are currently equipped on a hero or in that hero's inventory will stay on that hero as it moves to a non-Seasonal game mode. Items that are in your Seasonal stash will be sent through the in-game mail system to your non-Seasonal heroes. These items can be claimed by any non-Seasonal hero up to 30 days from the time you first log in after the Season ends. To access these items on PC, enter a game and hit the Mail icon located in the lower left corner of your screen to open your inbox. Console players can do the same by visiting the mailbox found in any town hub. If you’ve unlocked Primal Ancient items by completing Greater Rift 70 on a Seasonal hero, you’ll also be able to obtain them on non-Seasonal heroes after the Season ends (if you have not previously unlocked them for non-Seasonal heroes).  Artisan Progress and Recipes
      If your Seasonal Artisans are a higher level than your non-Seasonal Artisans at the end of the Season, their level will transfer to your non-Seasonal Artisans. Any recipes you have on your Seasonal Artisans that are not available to your non-Seasonal Artisans will be transferred as well. Shared Stash
      Any Shared Stash slots or tabs you purchase during a Season that are not currently available to your non-Seasonal heroes will be transferred accordingly. Achievements
      Any achievements earned or achievement progress made during the Season are automatically applied to your non-Seasonal achievement profile. This happens in real time and does not require the Season to end first. Your achievement point total is also updated appropriately throughout the Season. Kanai's Cube
      After the Season rollover, any Legendary Powers unlocked using Kanai’s Cube on a Seasonal Character will become available on non-Seasonal characters as appropriate. At the start of a new Season, Seasonal characters will not have access to any Kanai’s Cube Legendary Powers unlocked during previous Seasonal or non-Seasonal play. Season 14 Rewards
      All players who reach level 70 on a hero in Season 13 will unlock exclusive transmogrification appearances for legs and boots. These appearances will unlock immediately upon hitting level 70 on a Seasonal hero, and will be available on Seasonal and non-Seasonal heroes alike (even before the Season concludes). To access your new appearances, simply visit Myriam the Mystic and open the Transmogrification tab. Players can also earn portrait frames and an exclusive cosmetic pennant for completing various chapters of the Season Journey. Note: All heroes, rewards, and progress will convert to the appropriate non-Seasonal game mode. Any items, gold, Paragon experience, achievements, Artisan levels or recipes, Stash space, and Blood Shards earned on Normal Seasonal heroes will transfer to your Normal non-Seasonal heroes when the Season is over. Similarly, anything you’ve earned on Hardcore Seasonal heroes will transfer to your Hardcore non-Season heroes instead. 
      Season 14 Conquests [Return to Top]
      Unlike other rewards, Conquests do not roll over at the end of the Season (because they aren’t available to non-Seasonal heroes). This also means that your non-Seasonal Achievement point total will not be affected by any Conquests you earn during a Season.

      Season 14 Leaderboards [Return to Top]
      Once the Season ends, all Seasonal Leaderboards will be wiped and you’ll be unable to attain new Leaderboard ranks until the next Season begins. The results of the previous Season’s Leaderboards will remain available for viewing in-game for PC players. Once the new Season begins, PC players can view a handy dropdown menu to compare current and previous Season records. Similarly, console players will be able to view their rank for the previous Season.
      PC players can also view current and past Leaderboards on our website.

      In addition, the non-Seasonal Greater Rift Leaderboards on PC will be wiped sometime after the end of the Season. However, players on this platform can immediately compete in the currently active Era with their non-Seasonal heroes (including those who have just rolled over), and will not have to wait for the start of the next Season. 
      Season 14 End & Season 15 Start Dates [Return to Top]
      You can sort through your Seasonal rewards and review your progress on the Leaderboards between Seasons. It’s a great time to reflect on the accomplishments you’ve made and enjoy the fruits of your pre- and post-Season loot hunts!
      Season 14 will end on the following dates:
      North America: Sunday, September 16 @ 5:00 p.m. PDT  Europe: Sunday, September 16 @ 5:00 p.m. CET Asia: Sunday, September 16 @ 5:00 p.m. KST Season 15 will begin shortly after on the dates below:
      North America: Friday, September 21 @ 5:00 p.m. PDT  Europe: Friday, September 21 @ 5:00 p.m. CET Asia: Friday, September 21 @ 5:00 p.m. KST For time zone assistance, check out this handy guide. More information about Season 15’s theme and exclusive rewards will be available shortly; stay tuned for our preview blog. We look forward to seeing you in Season 15!
      Ready for the Rollover?
      How have you fared during Season 14? What was the highest Greater Rift you reached? Did you complete any Conquests? Any other exciting accomplishments to share?