The size and shape and monster density/composition of the Nephalem Rifts and Greater Rifts is one of the main areas of testing during the current PTR session. The big changes were noted in the first days of the PTR, with much higher density in Greater Rifts allowing most characters to instantly boost their highest Grift completed by 3-5 levels.
That improvement remains, but the changes to layout and density are found in non-Greater Rifts as well, and there are numerous improvements to the map layouts. Some tile sets that most players dread in the live game, such as the Act 1 Spider Caverns or the various long, narrow caves levels (Act 1 dirt, Act 2 water, Act 3 ice), are much better when you get them now on the PTR. There’s much more variety in how those levels are laid out, with hardly any dead ends, more density, more monster variety, and very different overall map shapes.
That issue was covered in the Blizzcon Evolution panel, with the devs sharing horror stories about really long, boring maps in some Rifts. (Though the biggest issue with some maps is fixed now that characters can resurrect at their corpse in Rifts, instead of having to respawn at the last checkpoint.)
Some of the bigger maps are tweaked as well, and you’ll sometimes get them now with two main portions connected by a narrow passageway. I’ve seen that layout type in the Rift version of the Dhalgur Oasis, the Act 5 cemetery, and most notably in the Act One jail. I got one such map playing tonight, and combined two screens to fit the whole thing on the map. It’s the mega-jail! Diablo 3 PTR: Bigger and Better Nephalem Rift Maps indeed:
That’s a reduced image size for easier viewing, and the fact that every bit of it was crammed full of monsters made it seem even larger. The density was very high, the monster variety was varied, and it was an Elite Rift, as often happens in that Jail level. I didn’t count, but I must have gone through 40 or 50 elites in this thing, and if the completion % counter kept going above 100% (I wish it did, just for the sake of curiosity) I’m sure I would have gone well over 500% completion just on this level.
I went left at the start, was confused when the dungeon perimeter turn right (this tileset never does that in the live game, always forming a square or rectangle), and got the Rift Guardian while I was in that area. I kept going since it was Elite-arific, explore that whole lower area, and kept expecting to find the stairs down, or even the Rift end altar. Instead I found a long hallway, and then that whole second half to the lower left.
About to get all Archeologist on a Goblin Tribe.
Note that there are stairs to a level 2. I didn’t check, but I wouldn’t have been surprised to see more levels below that. Rifts on the PTR never seem to end after one level, no matter how large or dense they are, and I have seen many Rifts that keep going for 5 or 7 levels, even when just 1 or 2 was plenty for the completion. These new, bigger Rifts remind me how nice it would be if Rifts gave a bonus for total completion, such as a chance to spawn a second guardian at the ending Altar. You’d really have to earn it now, as these are damn deep dungeons.
This Rift had a special bonus, though just a random one. Mega-pack of Goblins! Click through for some more screens of that, and info about how those guys work in the new patch.
Read More & Comment »