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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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      Season 15 begins on September 21! For those among you who enjoy the fresh start a Season brings, we wanted to give you a glimpse of what to expect before you race out the gate as we continue to evolve and bring new things to Themed Seasons!

      New Season Theme
      Season 15 will continue the experiment we began last season with a new seasonal buff. This time, for the duration of Season 15, all Horadric Caches earned from bounties will be doubled. This means that each time you complete a full set of five bounties in an Act, you will receive not one, but two Horadric Caches, for twice the bounty rewards!
      There are a few things to keep in mind with this effect:
      The bonus cache does benefit from difficulty level; it is essentially as though you completed twice the bounties. The rewards inside the Horadric Caches are otherwise unaffected; drop rates or the amount of individual rewards have not been altered. The bonus cache earned from Challenge Rifts is not affected; this is a separate type of cache. Need a refresher on the rewards contained inside a Horadric Cache? Check out our Game Guide for a list of bounty-exclusive Legendary items and more information on the Bounty system.
      In addition to doubling up your Horadric spoils, other celebrations may spring up across the globe that celebrate the nature of this theme! Be sure to keep a close eye on Twitter and Facebook for more information as we move into Season 15!
      New Cosmetic Rewards
      As per tradition, Season 15 will introduce new cosmetic rewards, obtainable by progressing through the Season Journey.
      In addition to the Chest and Glove slots of the exclusive Conqueror Set, a brand-new series of portrait frames themed around the struggle of the Eternal Conflict will be available. For the eager cosmetic pet collectors, we thought you could use a hand. Belphegor is eager to keep a grip on your coin as it accompanies you on your adventures across Sanctuary!
      Season Journey Rewards
      If you’ve been diligently slaying demons for the past few Seasons and reached Conqueror in the Season Journey each time, you’ve surely accrued a few extra stash tabs by now. But players who have not yet earned a total of four stash tabs via the Season Journey can still unlock an additional one by completing the following tasks at the Conqueror tier:
      Finish a level 70 Nephalem Rift on Torment XIII difficulty within 5 minutes Level three Legendary Gems to level 55 Complete 2 Conquests this Season Kill Malthael at level 70 in 1 minute and 30 seconds on Torment XIII difficulty Slay Greed on Torment XIII difficulty Reach Greater Rift level 60 Solo Use Kanai’s Cube to augment an Ancient Legendary item with a level 50+ gem Use Kanai’s Cube to reforge a Legendary item Seasonal Conquests
      Speaking of Conquests, we’re rotating those, too! Returning for Season 15 is Sprinter/Speed Racer, where you’re challenged to complete all of Diablo III’s campaign from Act I to Act V at level 70 in under 1 hour! Next, we have Avarice/Avaritia, where all that glitters is gold—that is, if you can complete a 50 million gold streak outside of The Vault or its Inner Sanctum. Boss Mode/Worlds Apart is a different kind of race; destroy all the bosses in Diablo III at max level on Torment X before your 20-minute timer ends! A fan-favorite for those who enjoy unconventional builds, The Thrill/Superhuman requires completion of a Greater Rift level 45 to be completed Solo, but without any Set items equipped. Finally, Masters of the Universe/Masters of Sets stretches your class set knowledge by requiring a Mastery Rank completion of 8 different Set Dungeons; get ready to start collecting!
      Haedrig’s Gift
      Finally, the Class Sets available for completing certain chapters in the Season Journey courtesy of Haedrig’s Gift have rotated once more. We’ve listed the available Sets below. For those new to Seasons, here’s how it works:
      Completing Chapters 2, 3, and 4 of the Season Journey will reward you with three of Haedrig’s Gifts. Each Gift contains a few pieces from one of your Class Sets. Players can only unlock one Class Set in this manner per Season across Hardcore and Non-Hardcore, so choose wisely!
      The set you will receive depends on the Class of the character you’re playing when you open each Haedrig’s Gift. To collect a full Class Set, you’ll need to open all three on the same character.
      Here are the sets granted by Haedrig’s Gift in Season 15:
      Barbarian – Wrath of the Wastes Crusader – Roland’s Legacy Demon Hunter – Unhallowed Essence Monk – Raiment of a Thousand Storms Necromancer – Bones of Rathma Witch Doctor – Helltooth Harness Wizard – Tal Rasha’s Elements
      Frequently Asked Questions
      Q: When does Season 15 start?
      A: Season 15 begins Friday, September 21 at 5:00 p.m. PDT in North America, 5:00 p.m. CEST in Europe, and 5:00 p.m. KST in Asia. For time zone conversion, see this site.
      Q: When do Seasons go live for players on Xbox One and PlayStation 4?
      A: Seasons go live for all console players globally at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time, regardless of which regional version of the game you may have. Please note that Seasonal Leaderboards for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are still separate by hardware platform.
      Q: When will Season 15 end?
      A: We currently anticipate that Season 15 will be ending on Sunday, December 16 at 5:00 p.m. PDT in North America, 5:00 p.m. CEST in Europe, and 5:00 p.m. KST in Asia.
      Q: Why is the Season end date an estimate?
      A: Traditionally, we have given players two weeks’ notice prior to the ending of a Season. However, we’ve heard the community’s feedback, so going forward, we’ll be providing more comprehensive Season details in the Season First Look blogs. Please bear in mind that this date is an estimate and there is always a chance it may shift. While we will do our best to hit these target dates as closely as possible, we will continue to verify the Season end date at the two-week warning mark.
      Q: When are the non-Seasonal Leaderboards being wiped?
      A: Non-Seasonal Leaderboards are tied to what we call “Eras,” each of which lasts about 6–12 months. The most recent era began November 9. For more information on Eras, please see this post.
      Q: What will happen to older Seasonal and Era records?
      A: Starting with Season 10, we removed old personal bests from Season 1. When Season 15 arrives, we will remove old personal bests from Season 6, and so on. We will be doing the same for personal bests from the previous Era when the next one goes live.
      Seasonal Leaderboard records are not being cleared and will remain archived both in game and on our website.
      Season 15 is almost here! What are your goals for this Season? What do you think of our next Seasonal theme? How will you change your approach to your Season Journey now that you have access to more Kanai’s Cube crafting mats, recipes, and bounty-exclusive Legendaries?