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First Look: Challenge Rifts

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Challenge Rifts are a weekly static version of a previously completed Geeater Rift. It's pulled directly from a player's account and you will need to beat the timer with the same skills, paragon levels, gear and layout as the original player to claim Blood Shards, and various Crafting Materials. This game mode will be introduced in Patch 2.6.0 and you won't need to purchase the Necromancer DLC Pack to unlock it.

Challenge Rifts will rotate every Monday. For more information, visit our Challenge Rifts Preview.

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The breadth of build variety in Diablo III is vast, and it can take a lot of time to try them all. Challenge Rifts are a weekly opportunity to try a totally new build, receive a reward for your efforts, and compete with other players on a level playing field!

What Are Challenge Rifts?

Challenge Rifts are a weekly static version of a previously completed Greater Rift. To create a Challenge Rift, we pull a Greater Rift run directly from a player’s account. Once we have that snapshot, we make that exact character, including their items, paragon levels, skills, and gear available for everyone to play.

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This also includes an exact copy of the Greater Rift they completed with that character. Enemies, pylons, and the dungeons you encounter will all be exactly as they appeared when the original player completed their run. If you beat the original runner’s time, you’ll be rewarded with a weekly satchel filled with bounty and crafting materials and some Blood Shards.

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Challenge Rifts will rotate every Monday, so each week you’ll have something totally new to try.

What’s the “Challenge” in Challenge Rift?

Diablo III is a game that embraces randomization. Environments, monsters, monster affixes, loot . . . these all have an element of randomness at their core. Challenge Rifts offer a break from that mold, putting every player on equal ground. With the same tools—and, with some builds, the same handicaps—it’s a different kind of contest.

To truly conquer Challenge Rifts and prove you’re the best of the best, you’ll need to be on top of your game by exhibiting your skills, game mastery, and class knowledge. While there is certainly strategy to pushing as far as you can in Greater Rifts, the strategy to becoming a champion of Challenge Rifts focuses on execution. Spending time to get to know the map, spawn locations of enemies, and pylon locations may completely change your approach to improving your time. A floor might be sparse on Elite packs and you find you need to focus on eliminating certain non-elite enemies to push your progress bar—or perhaps an Elite pack is worth skipping because it’s too far out of the way.

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It might even be worth putting together a little plan!

Builds are selected from live players, so you might get something totally different than the builds you’re used to seeing on fansites or your favorite streamer’s channel. A build from the start of a Season might be a mix of the first Legendaries someone happened to find, and you may need to capitalize on the effects of items or abilities you’re not used to using. Regardless of how the build came together, it’s the same set of tools every player in the Challenge Rift will be using—this puts every player on a level playing field, so you’ll play alongside the best in the world no matter your experience!

The choice is yours in how you approach, and when you’re pushing the limit amongst friends and other community members, there’s nothing more satisfying than eking out your buddy’s best score by a handful of seconds. 

Playing Your Way

Challenge Rifts were a long-incubated project from Senior Game Designer Adam Puhl, and it’s clear he’s passionate about it! Adam’s eyes light up when he thinks about the next challenge around the corner and how he’s going to dissect and conquer it. “It’s an adrenaline rush,” he says, and his excitement is contagious. “When you’re racing that clock, it can be some intense, heart-pumping action.”

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Adam hopes that Challenge Rifts accomplish a few feats. For one, they offer a level playing field for players to compete on. Secondly, it’s a different experience than the usual Diablo gameplay, and it’s nice to take a break to focus on your skill mastery, refining the details, and strategizing the best way to conquer a specific map. “I’m really hoping it’s an opportunity for players to hone their skills, sharpen their reactions, or polish their resource management,” he shares. “It’s also a great opportunity to highlight build diversity. Not every skill will be in a top build, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of fun ways to play Diablo.”

On a personal note, the moment I saw Challenge Rifts, I knew I was going to fall in love with them. To me, Challenge Rifts are the game design answer to what I wanted to explore with the original Play Your Way series. Build diversity doesn’t have to mean min/maxing. One of my favorite memories from a past season was watching a friend of mine giggle maniacally as he decimated enemies with the chain spawned by his Maximus. He decided that’s what he was going to build around, and it was silly, fun, and still a great memory I hold dear.

We come together in Sanctuary to slay monsters and collect loot. While Challenge Rifts are more focused on the former, it’s a great way to explore so much more of what the game offers when we take off our optimization blinders.

Ready for a Challenge?

What do you think of Challenge Rifts? Are you looking forward to climbing the leaderboards? What’s your strategy for tackling them? Have you tried them on the Necromancer Beta and knocked a pro off their pedestal? Let us know in the comments and stay tuned; we’ve got more Patch 2.6.0 information on the way!

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I think that could actually be interesting.

I haven't played Diablo since several month, but I will definitly try this out.

How do they decide which GR-Run they take? Balancing that could be realy difficult. If they take a very good player you won't have much chance to beat his highscore (especially if you aren't familiar with the build), but on the other hand you have several tries. And you can learn the rift, making better time with knowing where enemies are located.

 

I admit I am quite surprised, that looks like something new and promises a lot of fun.

And you don't need to buy the Necro-Pack for it :)

Thx Blizzard!

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1 hour ago, WedgeAntilles said:

I think that could actually be interesting.

I haven't played Diablo since several month, but I will definitly try this out.

How do they decide which GR-Run they take? Balancing that could be realy difficult. If they take a very good player you won't have much chance to beat his highscore (especially if you aren't familiar with the build), but on the other hand you have several tries. And you can learn the rift, making better time with knowing where enemies are located.

 

I admit I am quite surprised, that looks like something new and promises a lot of fun.

And you don't need to buy the Necro-Pack for it :)

Thx Blizzard!

i think that, part of Blizzard's intent with releasing this was subtly hinted to in the text above. 

Cookie cutter builds from fansites and streamers are great, but a too much of the player base relies entirely on that. Challenge rifts are an opportunity for players to try out an entirely new play style without first having to grind for the gear for that playstyle, and if they like it then they can focus on it.

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I'm actually excited for the first time in maybe 2 years. I've played Diablo for a long time and it was quite fun. But when you are starting to spend exponentially more time to get exponentially less improvement in each gearslot it tends to get tedious, boring and a chore I'm not interested in. This on the other hand, is not focussed on GRIND, but focussed on FUN, FRIEND-FRIENDLY CONTENT, EQUAL CHANCES and SKILL.

Now that does sound appealing. Even casual Diablo III players can feel strong and empowered because of this mode.

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This is supposed to be Diablos kind of weekly Brawl as Hearthstone, Heroes and Overwatch got it. So that is a nice touch.

But I am not so sure if it is exciting when the only way to make your personal change in a challange rift is making decisions on the route and which monsters to fight. 

It is the pure time based goal that also makes the ladder so boring. Half of the players quit the season after three weeks because the game is only based on that once they already got their full equip.

My idea that might be better for Diablo:
Weekly Dungeons that have completely different goals. Similar to Set Dungeons but with less restrictions and tough bosses.

Week 1: Realm of the Lightning Knight (Kill 100 Monsters in each Level, but you may not stay longer than 60 seconds in each level.)
Week 2: The Seven Hells (Kill seven bosses in seven different rooms whithout taking any healing.)
Week 3: A Pact with the giants (Do not kill any Mallet Lords while completing the rift.)
Week 4: The Shattered Heavens (Witness the aftermath of Diablos destruction. Rescue all Angels. but beware. The Demonic General is walking around and kills you instantly.)
Week 5: Gold Rush (Reach the end of the mines within 200 seconds while collecting 3 million gold.)

Edited by Alkasar991

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13 hours ago, Alkasar991 said:

My idea that might be better for Diablo:
Weekly Dungeons that have completely different goals. Similar to Set Dungeons but with less restrictions and tough bosses.

Week 1: Realm of the Lightning Knight (Kill 100 Monsters in each Level, but you may not stay longer than 60 seconds in each level.)
Week 2: The Seven Hells (Kill seven bosses in seven different rooms whithout taking any healing.)
Week 3: A Pact with the giants (Do not kill any Mallet Lords while completing the rift.)
Week 4: The Shattered Heavens (Witness the aftermath of Diablos destruction. Rescue all Angels. but beware. The Demonic General is walking around and kills you instantly.)
Week 5: Gold Rush (Reach the end of the mines within 200 seconds while collecting 3 million gold.)

 

Mh, to be honest I dont think most of these ideas add anything new at all.

Week 1: Well, absolutly nothing new, that is with a char like DH Multishot. You just kill everything and move on.

Week 2: A bad idea, I am sorry. Yeah, it sounds good - but you have to get tons of new gear. (Because of LoH and similiar effects) Sorry, getting new gear just because of a weekly challenge? How many player would enjoy that?

Week 3: Again, nothing new. Lots of builds skip lots of enemies already. Archon Firebird Sorc e.g.

Week 4: That sounds interesting.

Week 5: Again, nothing exceptional. You equip your farming char with Boon of the Hoarder and you get ten times that much gold, even if you would try to avoid it.  That isn't any different from a farming run (e.g. for GR Keystones) you already did a thousand times.

 

The challenge rifts seem way more interesting to me, because it truly adds something different. Especially if they dont use standard runs, and I am very sure we won't see lots of these. This way you need to learn a realy different playstyle.

Your ideas fit perfectly in the existing meta, you just have to pick the proper char. (DH for Week 1, Sorc for week 3...).

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4 hours ago, WedgeAntilles said:

 

Mh, to be honest I dont think most of these ideas add anything new at all.

Week 1: Well, absolutly nothing new, that is with a char like DH Multishot. You just kill everything and move on.

Week 2: A bad idea, I am sorry. Yeah, it sounds good - but you have to get tons of new gear. (Because of LoH and similiar effects) Sorry, getting new gear just because of a weekly challenge? How many player would enjoy that?

Week 3: Again, nothing new. Lots of builds skip lots of enemies already. Archon Firebird Sorc e.g.

Week 4: That sounds interesting.

Week 5: Again, nothing exceptional. You equip your farming char with Boon of the Hoarder and you get ten times that much gold, even if you would try to avoid it.  That isn't any different from a farming run (e.g. for GR Keystones) you already did a thousand times.

 

The challenge rifts seem way more interesting to me, because it truly adds something different. Especially if they dont use standard runs, and I am very sure we won't see lots of these. This way you need to learn a realy different playstyle.

Your ideas fit perfectly in the existing meta, you just have to pick the proper char. (DH for Week 1, Sorc for week 3...).

Yes. It is all pretty basic. Yet I see more in it than just making decisions on routes and monsters. You are already forced to have certain skills and items in the challange rifts. The concept of those is too straight forward and one sided.

But with these weekly Brawl things you are actually putting your mind and collected gear into it. 

Edited by Alkasar991

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