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Challenge Rift 100 Guides

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It's the 100th Challenge Rift for Diablo III this week and both regions deal with Necromancers!

Challenge Rift 100 EU Guide

Gear

Kanai's Cube Powers

Skills

Passives

As usual, here's a video guide by Mnemonic.

Challenge Rift 100 US Guide

Gear

Kanai's Cube Powers

Skills

Passives

Raxx is here with a #1 NA clear of the weekly Challenge Rift.

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    • By Starym
      We're getting another Era reset with the new patch, as Nevalistis pointed out, which means the non-seasonal leaderboards are getting a wipe as well! This is very close to the last era reset which happened with patch 2.6.7 aka Season 19, and is a much shorter duration than the usual year-ish period they tend to last. Apparently the reasoning behind it is the big balance changes coming.

      We still don't have exact dates for the patch or the Season, with a high probability of a week in-between them as well, but we do know last season started 12 days after the one before it ended.
      Era Reset (source)
      We’ve been chatting about it, but I wanted to have a finalized answer before I responded to any posts.
      Given the balance changes we’re introducing to Patch 2.6.8, we agree an Era rollover will be needed. So, we will be resetting the Era with the launch of the patch.
      And in case you forgot just what exactly Eras were and what they do, here's the post explaining it:
      Eras (source)
      Hi, everybody. Wyatt Cheng here again with a second installment of Developer Chronicles. Today, let’s discuss Eras.
      When we introduced Seasons to Diablo III, we also debuted "Eras." The thinking was that while the seasonal leaderboard would naturally reset every season, there would be some players who would want the non-seasonal leaderboard to reset periodically as well. There is a certain excitement associated with a fresh leaderboard—a sense that you could maybe see your own name up there at the beginning of an Era. It can also be disheartening to see somebody who is not currently playing the game hold a top position on a leaderboard long after the record was set.
      As Diablo III has evolved, it has become clear in hindsight that while the fresh excitement is there, it doesn’t last very long. First, the Era leaderboard is not something you "climb." If you are capable of achieving a particular Greater Rift tier, you're likely able to replicate that performance, or very close to it, at the very start of a new Era. Second, between patch changes, item buffs, and Paragon levels, there is built-in power growth over time—the concern of somebody holding a high Era ranking long after they've quit hasn’t really materialized.
      Eras Going Forward
      It has been our plan for some time to stop advancing the Era count every time a new season occurs. Expect that to be the norm moving forward. We are looking to move Eras to be 6–12 months in length.
      Besides simply allowing Eras to be 6–12 months long, there is an additional circumstance in which we feel an Era reset will still be warranted: when we expect that the highest attainable Greater Rift is going to go down. As an example, in patch 2.4.2, we made changes to the Twisted Sword, Energy Twister, and crowd control mechanics that caused the highest cleared Greater Rift to go down. When we have strong reason to believe the highest cleared Greater Rift will significantly drop, we do need to advance the Era to keep the non-seasonal leaderboard from going stale. Though this was the case in 2.4.2, expect Eras to advance less frequently moving forward.
      This brings us to a related question. When an Era advances, is it done before a patch goes live or after? The answer to this depends on the intent of Eras. Previously we advanced an Era as soon as a Season ended. This was back when there were season-specific items. The Era would advance in order to record the state of the non-seasonal leaderboards before all the season-specific items were transitioned to non-seasonal. We no longer have season-specific items and there is greatly reduced value in trying to memorialize the leaderboards at that particular moment in time. However, when we expect patch changes to cause the previous top ranks to be difficult or impossible to beat, it makes more sense to advance the Era AFTER the patch has gone live. Advancing the Era before the patch goes live would cause some players to lock in high ranks that become unbeatable once the patch hits. Advancing after the patch goes live allows players in the new Era to compete in a fresh environment based on the balance of the current live patch.
      To summarize, seasons are for those who want a recurring fresh experience; Eras should represent periods of time closer to a year.

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    • By Starym
      Update: In another miscommunication on the D3 team, it seems Season 19 won't be ending next week, but on March 1st!

      The update to the PTR patch have arrived! We have the modified patch notes below with the changes highlighted in red. We have changes to all 3 new sets and some of the accompanying legendaries. The big news is that the Barb set now also effects frozen enemies.
      We also got word that Season 19 will be ending next week on March 1st:
      2.6.8 PTR patch 2 (source)
      General
      Infernal Machines and Organs are now subject to vacuum pick-up Crafting plans from Bounty Caches are now guaranteed to drop unless all plans have been learned   Seasons
      A new Season Theme has been added for Season 20, the Season of the Forbidden Archives: For the duration of Season 20, all slots in Kanai's Cube will be able to select Legendary powers from Weapon, Armor, or Jewelry This means you could select three Armor powers, three Weapon powers, three Jewelery powers, or any other combination thereof across all categories Items are not self-additive or multiplicative (meaning, you cannot stack multiples of the same item's power) Once the Season has ended and characters roll over to Non-Season, players will have all currently active powers in their Kanai's Cube reset Developer's Note: As we outlined in our Developer Insight blog, we want to continue to get creative (and maybe a little crazy) with the Season Themes and powers we add to the game. We heard from some players that they preferred themes that made your character directly feel more powerful rather than needing to focus on the environment around you. If that describes you, then the Season of Forbidden Archives should be right up your alley, and we're really interested to see how this changes the game for Season 20. Two new Seasonal rewards are available for players who fully complete the Season 20 Journey, including a new portrait frame and pet   Classes
      Crusader Developer's Note: We're not convinced that this change has fully reigned in Crusader performance to be more in line with other classes. We'll be continuing to keep an eye on overall Crusader performance (as well as performance among the other classes) as we move into 2.6.8 and beyond. Heaven's Fury The animation for the Fires of Heaven rune can no longer be cancelled early. Witch Doctor Spirit BarragePhantasm The periodic attacks from Spirit BarragePhantasm are now twice as slow, but twice as powerful   Items
      Developer's Note: With Patch 2.6.8, we're adding three(!) new class sets with similar goals to those we included in the previous patch. Each set was designed primarily with boosting long-requested skills and play styles we lifted directly from community feedback. Frenzy, Spirit Barrage, and Hydra were requests that offered a lot of opportunity for gameplay exploration, and we're looking forward to seeing what players do with these new tools at their disposal. Additional changes to associated supplemental Legendaries have been included to round out these builds. It is critical when providing feedback on these sets to include whether or not you were using the Season 20 buff during your testing; while feedback of any kind is welcome, we're especially interested in Non-Seasonal testing as that will better reflect the long-term performance of these sets. Mantle of Channeling The bonus granted by this item now occurs 1 second after channeling has begun Barbarian Developer's Note: We wanted to provide an alternative method to gaining the benefit of the 2-Piece bonus of Horde of the Ninety Savages. Adding in Frozen as an option allows this benefit to work on bosses, provides an alternative gearing option, and should work better in groups without having to remove an option for play. New Class Set: Horde of the Ninety Savages 2-Piece Bonus: Double the effectiveness of all Shouts. Feared and Frozen Enemies take double damage. 4-Piece Bonus: Each stack of Frenzy reduces damage taken by 5% 6%. Frenzy lasts twice as long. 6-Piece Bonus: Frenzy deals 1000% increased damage per stack. The Undisputed Champion Frenzy gains the effect of every rune and deals 300-400% increased damage. Bastion's Revered Frenzy now stacks up to 10 times and hits an additional time per stack. Each additional hit will chain to any enemies within 15 yards and the damage is split between all affected enemies. Witch Doctor Developer's Note: Many of the changes we made for the Witch Doctor focused on improving the set's survivability and server performance. We also improved the behavior of Big Bad Voodoo, so it should be much less likely to be left behind! New Class Set: Mundunugu's Regalia 2-Piece Bonus: Big Bad Voodoo now follows you and lasts twice as long. Big Bad Voodoo will now follow you more closely, across zones, and correctly in groups 4-Piece Bonus: Gain 50% 60% damage reduction for 30 seconds when you enter the Spirit Realm. 6-Piece Bonus: Spirit Barrage deals increased damage equal to 100 times 50% of your Mana Regeneration per Second. Developer Note: This isn't actually a buff or a nerf; it's a rewording to make the functionality of this bonus more clear. The Barber Instead of dealing direct damage, your Spirit Barrage now accumulates on the target. When you stop casting, it explodes dealing 225-250% 400-500% of the accumulated damage to all enemies within 15 yards. Is now classified as a Ceremonial Dagger, with a base 1.4 attack speed Gazing Demise Spirit Barrage gains the Phantasm rune. Each active Phantasm lasts twice as long, increases the damage of Spirit Barrage by 40-50% 250-300%, and also increases the attack rate from Manitou spectres. PTR CHANGE: The attack rate granted to Manitou specters has been slightly reduced. Ring of Emptiness You deal 250-300% increased damage to enemies affected by both either your Haunt and or Locust Swarm. Wizard Developer's Note: Wizard encountered a lot of bugs with its new class set, so please make sure to check the Bug Fixes section below for additional detail! We did consider adding another skill into The Typhon's Veil, but we believe there's more work to do first on Wizard Legendary options to make choices outside of the Etched Sigil/Deathwish/Mantle of Channeling combo more appealing. We're looking at this now as a longer term goal, as we have plans to do much larger overall balance passes in the future after all the new class sets have been added to the game. New Class Set: The Typhon's Veil 2-Piece Bonus: Double the duration of Hydras and increase the number of heads on multi-headed Hydras by two. 4-Piece Bonus: Damage taken is reduced by 8% for each Hydra head alive as long as there is one available. Each time you take damage, a Hydra heads dies. Heads cannot die more than once every 2 seconds 6-Piece Bonus: Hydras deal 1000% 1200% increased damage for each Hydra head alive. Serpent's Sparker You may have one extra Hydra active at a time and they deal 450-600% 350-450% increased damage. The Magistrate Frost Hydra Your Hydras now periodically casts Frost Nova and deal 450-600% 350-450% increased damage. Etched Sigil The bonus granted by this item now occurs 1 second after channeling has begun. Deathwish The bonus granted by this item now occurs 1 second after channeling has begun.   Bugs
      Several issues with adding/removing players to group and starting new games as a group have been resolved Captain Crimson's Trimmings Fixed an issue where the set bonus did not increase damage reduction when using DevourVoracious Barbarian Fixed a bug where Threatening ShoutGrim Harvest would not activate when enhanced by the Horde of the Ninety Savages set bonus Crusader Corrected the spelling of “Imperius” on the flavor text for several pieces of the Aegis of Valor set Fixed an issue where the bolts cast by Fist of the HeavensDivine Well failed to zap enemies Demon Hunter Fixed an issue where In-geom was not properly dropping for Demon Hunters Wizard PTR CHANGE: Arcane Dynamo should now properly apply to extra Hydra heads created by The Typhon's Veil PTR CHANGE: Fixed a bug where active Shields would not prevent Hydra heads from dying while utilizing The Typhon's Veil Fixed a bug where Arcane Torrent would get an extra damage multiplier from Etched Sigil and Deathwish Fixed a bug where HydraFrost Hydra was getting a damage bonus instead of Attack Speed bonus from its owner's Attack Speed; this rune now benefits from Attack Speed in the same manner as other Hydra runes   PTR Only Changes
      Djank Mi'em's Bag of Fortunes now also include crafting materials
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    • By Stan
      Blizzard is intending to launch a new 2.6.8 build on the PTR during the ongoing test cycle, but major changes past the second patch are not expected, because they would put the build at risk before it hits live servers.
      Blizzard (Source)
      As we are nearing the end of the first week of the PTR, is there a sense if/when we will get a patch? I know that Nev said that Blizzard are consolidating bug fixes/other potential changes, but it would be nice to have a week to test things.
      I’m taking a super fast break from updating the incoming PTR patch notes to let you know that that’s exactly what we’re doing; we are intending to launch another patch during this cycle to get a handful of changes back to you to test for the remainder of the PTR.
      Bear in mind that doesn’t mean we’ll necessarily be completely done with the patch. We’d like you to continue testing after this patch to root out any more critical bugs and continue to offer feedback. However, major changes will be more unlikely past this second patch, as the larger the changes, the more it puts the build at risk before it hits live servers.
      Just the same, we’re still committed to ongoing balance even past the live deployment of 2.6.8. If something continues to perform too well or not well enough, we can (and likely will) continue to revisit both the new sets and other existing sets at a later date. 
      Now, back to HTML and proofreading for me.
      Should I interpret this as that after this upcoming patch things like functionalities of the new sets are locked in?
      Correct. We’re actively trying to avoid a similar situation to 2.6.7. That’s both why we had the longer testing period and tried to squeeze in an extra PTR patch.
      Just sent off the patch notes for approval. Assuming all goes, well, we’re hoping to deploy it tomorrow (CAVEAT: as with all things PTR, there’s always a possibility it gets delayed to next week).
      I’ll try to keep ya’ll updated should things change drastically. 
    • By Starym
      The topic of adding the current seasonal buff as a permanent thing to the game has come up a lot, especially with the Ring of Royal Grandeur and Legacy of Nightmares ones, and it's now come up with the Season 20 FFA Kanai's Cube. Community manager Nevalistis has commented on this on reddit, talking about why that's very unlikely to happen and what the philosophy behind the buffs themselves is, as well as explained that there's no exact timing on when the PTR will go up tomorrow and why that is.
      Permanent Seasonal Buffs (source)
      I've said this pretty much every Season we've added a new mechanic, but whenever I see this feedback (and we have for nearly every Themed Season), it means we've probably done a good job with the Season Theme. ? We want them to be compelling, different, and change the way you play. It should be exciting!
      But, and I think this is very easy to take for granted, making something crazy and powerful permanent tends to have an ultimately negative net effect in the long-term. A change like this could make currently fun play styles obsolete, and one too-good combination could actually narrow the build diversity we're trying to expand with our other efforts. We're actively still working on balance (slowly, admittedly, but surely). There will probably be more than one ridiculous combo, some of which we probably won't even see until during the Season; people are endlessly creative, and there's a lot more of you than there are of us.
      Playing around with extreme shifts in power is alright when it's temporary, but committing the change to the greater game is a lot harder to back down from even if it ultimately causes harm. People generally don't like being nerfed, regardless of how good it might actually be for the game. It's why we're pretty selective about those kinds of changes when they become necessary, and supply them with as thorough an explanation as we can.
      While not impossible, unless it ends up not being anywhere near as bananas as we anticipate, it's a pretty huge risk and I don't think it's likely we'd permanently add this particular change.
       
      Exact PTR start time (source)
      Do we know exactly when it will be live?
      No, and that's on purpose. PTRs can, and often are, more unstable than truly live builds, so we don't commit to a time because anything can (and often does) go wrong.
      We do operate on a Pacific Standard Time schedule, since we're located in Southern California, so you can pretty much assume launch will happen sometime during our business hours in that time zone. 🙂

       
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    • By Starym
      With the PTR 2 days away, it's time to hear what the pros think of the new sets, legendaries and seasonal power that have been announced, and who could be more pro than our own Deadset, also known as Mr. Diablo here at Icy Veins, he takes a look at Barbarians, Witch Doctors, Wizards and Crusaders in Season 20:

      Last Friday saw our first sneak peek into the Patch Notes for Patch 2.6.8 / Season 20's PTR! Aside from the no holds barred Seasonal Theme, which unlocks the three Kanai slots for ANY item type (allowing you to slot 3 x weapon powers, etc.), the new Patch adds THREE new sets to the game - one for Barbarians, Witch Doctors and Wizards! Here are some quick thoughts after reading the patch notes, and stay tuned for more in-depth feedback - as well as guides, of course - once the actual PTR hits the servers at the end of the week.
       

      BARBARIAN - HORDE OF THE NINETY SAVAGES
      The 2-piece bonus of the new Barbarian set, Horde of the Ninety Savages, is one of the most potent 2-piece bonuses in the game; doubling the effects of all shouts and multiplying damage against Feared foes turns the Support Barb (which will 100% include this set from now on) from mandatory to... well... super-extra-mandatory, for good or ill.
      As far as constructing a Frenzy Barbarian build with its 6-piece bonuses, the current 'initial PTR patch' notes version of the Savages set will likely perform similarly to an equivalent with Legacy of Dreams - minus the customizability of the latter, which is unfortunate. The newly added damage spread mechanic of Bastion's Revered is a welcome update to a venerable item, but raises concern about the procs of Area Damage - or lack thereof, since a well known Diablo 3 principle is that 'procs don't proc'. Nevertheless, item effects can change and number tuning will occur, so the potential for a non-Thorns-based Frenzy build is tantalizing. With proper tuning it can result in a very primal, visceral and to-the-point Barbarian playstyle that slashes maniacally through the fray.
       

      WITCH DOCTOR - MUNDUNUGU'S REGALIA
      The inclusion of a dedicated Spirit Barrage set for Witch Doctors is not the most thrilling choice, considering Spirit Barrage has enjoyed considerable popularity and reasonable viability over many seasons through the LoN/LoD versions of this build. Even less thrilling is the fact that the set brings no mechanical changes to the skill itself, meaning that the overall playstyle, item rolls and breakpoints of the build remain the same as its older LoD equivalent.
      Numbers-wise however, the added Regalia set and changes to complimentary items so far look like they will result in a tremendously powerful build for both groups and solo play.
      The minor twist with damage multiplication via the Mana Regeneration stat is nice, and will make the tail of item perfection chase just a bit longer - a nice side effect if you find yourself out of items to farm a little too early in a season.
       

      WIZARD - THE TYPHON'S VEIL
      The new Wizard set, The Typhon's Veil, is perhaps the most interesting of the three newcomers - even though it is quite weak in its current iteration, and will need serious number tuning before it is pushed to live servers. It tries to sneak in a viable summoner Wizard build in the form of Hydras, and prioritizes head count (literally, of the hydras!) to amplify damage and protection for the Wizard. The playstyle also benefits from revisions to flavorful and synergistic items like the Serpent's Sparker (now with extra damage on top) and The Magistrate (now applying to all hydra runes and also adding a damage multiplier). Hopefully the long standing Magistrate bug of casting unruned Frost Novas despite your skill selection will be addressed with such a targeted update.
      A potential combo to amp up the damage is a complete investment in Arcane damage, taking Wave of ForceArcane Attunement, Black HoleSpellsteal, and the passive Arcane Dynamo for one massive prep rotation prior to casting HydraArcane Hydra.
      A potential problem - although it is so glaring that I doubt it will not be addressed - is the ability of Mirror Images to duplicate your spells, pushing the Damage Reduction of the 4-piece bonus (dependent on the number of active Hydra heads) past the 100% point and rendering you invincible. It will be interesting to see how this is dealt with, since Mirror Images have struggled for any semblance of viability since day 1 of this game.
       

      A NOTE ON 'SADER
      The indirect nerfing of the Crusader - however little it ends up mattering - via the removal of Fires of Heaven animation canceling is a positive change for overall gameplay, as it removes a counter-intuitive mechanic from the game. However, it sets a dangerous precedent - since other instances of animation canceling exist across various classes - that only 'overperforming' unintended mechanics will receive any changes, and the ones that fly below the leaderboard radar will not receive the necessary treatment.
       
      For my preliminary evaluation of the three new sets and their use (note that they will more than likely change over the coming weeks), check out our set pages:
      Barbarian: Horde of the Ninety Savages Set Witch Doctor: Mundunugu's Regalia Set Wizard: The Typhon's Veil Set Header image source.

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