Legendary Gems were first officially revealed in the Patch 2.1 preview blog back in June of this year. They will be added to Reaper of Souls in Patch 2.1, and are currently undergoing testing on the PTR.
The gems add special bonuses when socketed in rings and amulets (only on Characters and not on Followers), and can be upgraded in power via Urshi, the NPC who appears after Greater Rifts are cleared.
While the developers are calling them “legendary gems” these socketables have nothing in common with regular gems in stats or appearance, and are more analogous to the Rainbow Facet unique jewels of Diablo 2. The main difference in Diablo 3 is that these gems can only be socketed in jewelry, and the way the gems can be upgraded to improve their functions over time.
Legendary Gems Listing
While the Legendary Gems are still undergoing development on the PTR, their stats and bonuses are changing constantly. A major revision was created on July 15, 2014 with new or upgraded stats for almost every gem. The following are the most current details about Legendary Gems.
|Bane of the Powerful|
|Bane of the Trapped|
|Boon of the Hoarder|
|Bliz Note: As was discussed in another thread, allowing this this gem to rank up to +100% pet Crit would likely cause undesired gearing issues and probably be a little out of line.|
|Gem of Efficacious Toxin|
|Gogok of Swiftness|
|Mirinae, Teardrop of Starweaver|
Greater Rifts (GRs, initially known as Tiered Rifts) are a higher level of Nephalem Rift, meant to provide a greater challenge and greater rewards for players geared well enough to take them on. Greater Rifts are timed, and *must* be completed within 15 minutes to earn rewards. All treasure in Greater Rifts, with usually a legendary item or two, comes from the Greater Rift Guardian (GRG) which is an upgraded version of the regular Rift Guardians.
Difficulty: Greater Rifts are numbered as a measure of their difficulty. A level 1 Greater Rift is very easy, equivalent to Normal difficulty (or less.) Greater Rifts scale up quickly though, and will become challenging for any player ability. Level 8 is equivalent to about Torment 1, Level 15 is equivalent to about [Torment 3, and Level 25 is approximately the same as Torment 6. There should be an infinite number or Greater Rift levels since each one merely increases the hit points and damage of the monsters by some percentage.
Shrines: There are virtually no shrines or pylons in Greater Rifts. Pylons are seen occasionally, but their bonuses last only 15 seconds (instead of the usual 30) and Blizzard specifically said that Conduit Pylons would not be found in Greater Rifts since they are so powerful they would skew the entire rift Leaderboard system.
No Respecs: Characters can reallocate their Paragon Points while in a Rift, but can not access their inventory or skill menus (respec) while in a Greater Rift. It is possible to return to town mid-GR, and players can respec and make repairs then, though it’s not recommended since the GR is a timed race. This is a feature designed to limit exploits via equipment or skill changes, so players can’t change gear or skills to be more effective against a single target before they reach the Greater Rift Guardian for instance.
Rewards: Items and gold do not drop in Greater Rifts, and there are no chests or other clickables. All treasure comes from defeating the Greater Rift Guardian, who drops a huge amount of stuff, about double that of a normal Rift Guardian, and has a very high probability of dropping at least one legendary item. (Note that the lack of gold and chests hurts the effectiveness of legendary items such as Goldwrap and Harrington Waistguard that proc up in effectiveness via gold pickups or chest/clickables opening.)
Progress Bar: The progress bar in a Greater Rift increases gradually from killing trash mobs, but jumps up by larger amounts for Elite kills. (Elites drop objects that look a bit like gooey health orbs, which count for big boosts in the progress bar when collected.) This is a feature designed to keep players from simply rushing past Elites to more quickly finish the rift by killing trash mobs, as can be done in normal Nephalem Rifts, and players will fill their progress bar more quickly by killing Elites than by skipping them, except in very rare long Elite battles.
Accessing and Process
- # Get a Greater Rift Keystone level 1 from completing a Nephalem Rift. – Drop rate still being determined.
- Use the GR Keystone to open a portal to a Greater Rift at the regular Nephalem Obelisk next to Orek.
- Kill all the mobs in the Greater Rift before the timer runs out.
- No regular or champion mobs drop loot in Greater Rifts.
- The Rift Guardian will drop loot regardless if the timer has run out or not.
- If the Rift Guardian is killed before the timer runs out he will drop a Greater Rift Keystone.
- The Keystone’s level is determined by how quickly the Greater Rift was cleared. The quicker, the higher the GR key fragment.
Progress Bar and Rift Speed
The progress bar in a Greater Rift looks the same as the bar in a normal Nephalem Rift, with two added slider needles, displayed above and below the bar. The total bar coloured in orange, and the icon above it show your current progress towards completing the rift. The icon below it and any colour in blue shows how fast you need to progress to complete the rift in time.
When players are battling through a Rift that’s just at the limit of their killing power, they will often see their progress dropping behind and the bar showing blue, before they kill a couple of Elites in a row and see the bonus from Elites shoot them back up ahead of schedule.
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On the Drawing Board #17: Religion and Morality in GamingPosted 2 Dec 2009 by
By “religion” I don’t (necessarily) mean an earthly religion, but a religion in a game. Many games with a story have some mentions of religion, but these hardly ever affect the gameplay. They certainly don’t in the Diablo games, as I will discuss later. Likewise, a gameworld can be steeped in religious concepts, or concepts borrowed from known religions. Diablo; with its angels from the High Heavens and demons from the Burning Hells is an easy example, though nothing in the gameplay or world fiction are taken directly from elements of Christian literature. It’s not like Jesus, or Satan, are act bosses.
Which isn’t to say that games don’t go there; though developers seldom risk the heresy of involving religions anyone still believes in. God of War is an easy example. The game is set in ancient Greece and draws its plot from Greek
religion mythology, with the hero battling for and against the Greek gods, ultimately triumphing over and usurping Ares, God of War.
The issue of morality in games is a different one, and is included in the play mechanics or many RPGs, generally with a “reputation” stat that rises and falls with your character’s actions and determines how NPCs will treat your character. Most versions of Dungeons and Dragons, whether played with dice or a computer, have something like reputation, as well as fixing character “alignments” that shaped your character’s actions. The Ultima series of games took this to a further level with the system of eight Virtues, Richard Garriot’s effort to impart moral considerations into the gameplay.
Nothing like this is found in the action-intensive Diablo games, where all characters are basically “good” in that they constantly kill evil men and monsters, rather than working with the demons against humanity. (Leaving aside the mythical concept of a role-playing PK.)
But why not include some morality? Why not require players to think about something other than maximizing their magic find while they decide whether to spend the next hour running Pindleskin or Meph? Plenty of games allow players to think and deal with moral issues, and not just RPGs. Check out Scott Jennings’ account of the instantly infamous “No Russian” mission in the brand new mega-seller Modern Warfare 2.
Morality in Diablo 3?
Would adding some sort of morality to the mechanics of Diablo III improve the game, or just complicate things? Off the top of my head it seems like an unnecessary complication. Moral issues or reputation or alignment or other such features sound nice in theory, but in practice they just become another stat to tweak. It usually has players doing this sort of math in their heads: “I need to kill 50 more monsters to raise my rep to “lawful,” which will let me buy a new weapon, with which I can gank another noob, which will force me to kill another 50 monsters to get back to lawful.”
Of course there’s no way to tack that sort of a system on to Diablo 2 at this point. A game needs to plan for morality from the beginning, include punishments and rewards, provide quests that differ depending on a character’s reputation, and so forth. And it’s possible that that sort of considered gameplay would never fit into a fast-paced, action-RPG like Diablo anyway.
How about some quests that at least provide food for thought? None to be found in the series. Every quest involves killing bad people or monsters, returning items to selflessly help out NPCs, saving lost kittens and puppies, etc. In the Diablo world you can’t be bad even if you want to. (Leaving aside the issue of PKs, which isn’t addressed in any way in the game lore or story.)
Everything you can attack in the Diablo games is a monster that needs to be destroyed. You can’t attack the NPCs in town, there aren’t any missions where you can accidentally kill friends, etc. About the only moral issues to be found in Diablo 2 are underfoot; ambient life. Do you go out of your way to step on, or avoid, the bunnies? (Incidentally, the D3 team is clearly pro-stomping. Snakes in the D3 desert try to flee when you come near, but they wriggle directly away from you, which makes it very easy to step on them if you just keep running straight ahead. And they splat very messily, providing additional “stomp them for fun” feedback.)
There is one sort of moment of moral decision in Diablo 2. In Act 3, once you destroy the Compelling Orb in Travincal, the remaining Zakarum warriors will run away from you, instead of fighting. The Zakarum mages still attack, as do the Vampires who spawn there, but the foot soldiers become non-violent. They were “compelled” to fight, you see, and with the Orb broken, they return to normal. They don’t talk or beg for their lives, but they do run away. They’re still worth experience though, and they still drop items, so in terms of moral dilemmas, this one isn’t exactly The Fat Man and the Train. And they get caught in corners, so can be easily herded along the stone walkway around the perimeter of Travincal. Not that I?m recommending that, or anything. *cough*
Religion in Diablo 3?
We don’t yet know quite how this issue will be handled, but if the new developers follow the lead of the guys who made D1 and D2, religion will exist, but be irrelevant. There will be religions; the Monk class is said to worship 1001 Gods, which must make for a lot of holidays. The other cultures have their own gods as well. But it seems unlikely that any of this will actually matter, in terms of gameplay. The various religions will flesh out the story and provide the motivation for some quests, but I’ll be shocked if what the characters are said to believe actually affects the gameplay.
Why? Look at Diablo 2. In the aforementioned Act 3 storyline, the player’s mission was to wipe out the corrupt High Council. Who were, incidentally, the heads of the Zakarum church. Of which the Paladins were members and protectors. So if you were playing a Paladin in Act 3, you were basically killing your commanding officers and religious superiors, who had betrayed all you had pledged belief in, and who had destroyed the spiritual foundation of your life. Yet the Paladin did so with no more inner turmoil or need for reflection than if he were wiping out another bunch of giant mosquitoes.
So yes, there will be religions in Diablo 3, but will they matter, in terms of game play? I’m guessing no. It never has in the past, since the developers haven’t given that aspect of the game much thought.
Over the past decade I’ve had several chances to speak with Erich Schaefer, Max Schaefer, and Dave Brevik about their original collaborative creation of the game that grew into Diablo, and I can honestly say that never once did any of them mention religion or the game’s cosmology. In the early days they were focused entirely on making a fun game, and only added in the plot and story and world setting as they went, and needed a skeleton from which to hang the meat of the gameplay. (Since I’m partially cut out of that photo with Dave, I uploaded two others from different interviews in that same room, just to prove it was me talking to him.)
Here’s a quote from an (unpublished) interview I conducted with David Brevik in 2007.
Flux: The D1 manual was really nice. It had stories and legends and monster info and more story than the game.
Dave Brevik: Oh absolutely. (laughs) Because we came up with the story after we came up with the game! (laughs heartily) The game was halfway over and we were like, “Well, we should probably put a story in here!” That was really more the reason than anything.
I’m sure Chris Metzen at Blizzard Irvine contributed a lot of those story ideas as well, but I’m fairly certain that the designers had created all sorts of demons to populate the game, and they knew the main bad guy was going to be called Diablo, and since they’d grown up in an American culture permeated with Christianity, they naturally gravitated towards a version of Hell for that. With a hell in the game it was only natural to have a sort of heaven, with warrior angels to counter the demons, and so on. Though the basic concepts of the Diablo cosmology are similar to those in Christianity, there are no “gods” in the Diablo mythology. Neither in Heaven or Hell.
The overall cosmology of the game will likely be further explored as well, (it’s been largely developed in the Diablo novels) with what appear to be planned cinematic scenes from the High Heavens. We also expect more interactions with Tyrael and perhaps some other Archangels, and it seems likely we’ll get more info about events in the Burning Hells; the plot info the developers have teased thus far tells us that everyone expected a demonic invasion twenty years ago, after the Worldstone was destroyed, but that it didn’t happen. And no one knows why. I’m betting we’ll find out, though.
Interestingly, I got the idea for this column over the weekend, while resurrecting the last eleven columns of Salem’s Fire. It wasn’t one of the last 11, but Salem’s Fire #32 was entitled, Monk, I need a monk! I was, of course, curious about that one, written in 2004. No, it’s not a psychic discussion of a Diablo 3 character to be announced 5 years hence. It’s actually about how games usually duck the subject of religion, and how Monk characters have some religion, but it’s never anything that’s important in the gameplay.
Okay, so maybe it was slightly psychic…
Interestingly, the principle bad guys in Diablo 1 are figures of authority; King Leoric and Archbishop Lazarus. Both are controlled by or in service to Diablo, but as the game’s plot unfolds the king and the leading religious figure of the land are the enemies most often referred to by in-game sources. (I bet their reputation scores really took a dive!)
The theme of fighting corrupted figures of authority continues in Diablo 2, most notably in Act Three, where the player’s mission is essentially to kill the entire ruling authority of the Holy Zakarum religion. To throw in a real life analogy, imagine God of War 3: Massacre in the Vatican, or Splinter Cell 6: Target Dali Lama? We don’t know much about the plot of Diablo 3 yet, but I wouldn’t rule out more of the same, at some point in the game.
I don’t think there’s some unified theme here; it’s just a useful plot device to have rulers in a medieval setting be evil, since they have all the power and are dangerous enemies. Look at the rest of Diablo 2; the Rogue leaders and Jerhyn in Act 2 are friendly, as are the leading Barbarians in Act 5, with the traitor Nihlathak a treacherous exception. More functionally, evil humans are fun enemies, just since they provide a break from the slaughter of scaly monstrosities that makes up the bulk of the game(s).
Morality and Religion?
This installment of On the Drawing Board is a bit of a scattershot take on the issue, but what do you guys think? Would you like to see more morality in the game? Do you want to be rewarded for being good, or have the option to be bad? Would you like some quests that required you to kill the innocent, or forced you to be careful to avoid doing so? What if the Barbarians you had to rescue in Act Five of D2X could die, if you were careless, and you didn’t get the reward, or as good a reward, if not all 15 of them made it back to town?
And would you like the religions seen in the Diablo games to matter more? Perhaps your character will refuse to complete some quests, since they offend his/her faith? Perhaps there are special quests you get only because of what your character believes in? Perhaps you have to accomplish some quests with alternate methods than the rest of the players?
On the Drawing Board is written by Flux. These articles examine crucial game design issues and decisions in Diablo 3 by explaining the issue and presenting arguments for and against. On the Drawing Board aims to spur debate and further the conversation, rather than converting readers to one side or the other. Conversation and disagreement is encouraged. Have your say in the comments, or contact the author directly. Suggestions for future column topics are welcomed.