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.
The Ring of Royal Grandeur (armory) has become the most sought after item in Diablo 3, as its legendary affix is basically mandatory for all end game gearing decisions, given the power of partial Item Set bonuses. The hard part is finding one, as it’s one of the five legendary items that can only be obtained from Act One Horadric Caches. This is good in a way, as it’s the sole remaining item/profit-based reason players have to do *anything* other than RiftRiftRift. (Given the game’s design direction in recent months, I’m frankly surprised the RoRG hasn’t been turned into a Greater Rift Guardian drop.)
Most players hunt RoRGs with brute force, by grinding hundreds of Act One bounties as quickly as possible, which usually means split-farming on Normal difficulty. That’ll work, eventually, but is there a better way? A user in our Diablo 3 community forum named Horadrimm says yes, there’s a trick to it, by following a method players are calling the “Junger Rules.” Quote:
I got 5 RORGS with very minimal effort and so can you!!
How it works: The game has a pity timer, meaning that if you don’t get a legendary within an hour or so it drops one for you automatically. The goal the aforementioned method of farming is to ensure that pity drop is in your horadric cache and not in the world.
What to do:
Do not kill any mobs except those required for objectives. Do not kill goblins. Do not open chests including resplendent chests. Do not destroy breakables (pots, barrels, looting bodies etc). Do not pop fortune shrines. Do not kill mobs from required cursed chest and shrine event objectives until the timer has run out.
Avoiding a legendary drop in the world increases the chance the pity timer drops one in your cache.
First off, the guy who invented this was apparently named Junger, so now it’s called the “Junger Rules.” Which is fine, but how the hell did they avoid the obvious pun and call it the “Junger Games?” So that’s what I’m calling it, since I’m all about obvious puns.
As for the technique, the theory is that since the game has a “pity timer” that increases your chances of finding a legendary item the longer you go without finding one, you can exploit this by obtaining a Horadric Cache after not finding any Legendaries for some time. Hence not killing Goblins, not opening golden chests, avoiding random Elites, etc. This is a sacrifice since it’ll lower your total legendaries found, but boost your chances of finding that all-important RoRG.
Does it work? Some players swear it does, others say it doesn’t. And thus we’re plunged back into the conspiracy theories that are inevitably spawned by item hunting in a game where we don’t know exactly how item drops work. I think the principle is sound, as the pity timer is real, but I’m not at all sure the stated rules are how it should be done.
First of all, we don’t know when items in a Horadric Cache are determined. The Junger Gamers say the legendary pity timer works when you find the Cache, but that seems contrary to what we know about how Horadric Caches determine their item drops. Remember early in RoS, when players were storing Caches up in Normal and opening them on Torment 6? That was a real exploit, easily observed since it caused Imperial Gems to drop from Caches found in Normal. (Which made it seem that items in Caches were determined when the Cache was opened. NOT when it was found.)
Blizzard confirmed that exploit by hotfixing it and adding an internal tag to unopened Caches that tracked what difficulty level they were found on, and the level of the character that farmed them. (So if you find bags with a lvl 70 and open with a lvl 60, all the items will be lvl 70.) Bliz later expanded on that in Patch 2.0.5 when they boosted the chances for legendary items to drop from Caches found on Torment 2 and higher.
Furthermore, Bliz recently confirmed that items from Caches roll their smart drop according to the class of the character that opens the cache. It doesn’t matter who farms the cache in terms of what items drop. That matches my experience and testing as well, as I once farmed a bunch of caches with my DH and my Barb, and then opened them with a WD and got almost all INT gear, plus several Witch Doctor-restricted items.
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One life to live: Close doesn’t countPosted 1 Mar 2013 by
What would you do two levels away from paragon 100 and you died? All your hard work, all your gear, and all your time gone. Wallow in self pity? Stop playing the game entirely? Or rise from the ashes stronger and more determined? Protatoe took the latter, and his story is after the bump.
So set the scene your paragon 98 on your way to 100 and what happens:
My first barbarian “Protatoe” was one of my first characters that I made after the launch of Diablo 3. I had always played him as a “tank barb,” and used a very defensive build with Rend and Leap.
I forget when it was exactly, but after inferno got a couple of nerfs I started to shift toward getting more crit/DPS gear on my barb and sacrificing some EHP. During the weekend of Hurricane Sandy, I bought an offhand and tried out the whirlwind spec. It took a lot of getting used to at first, but I have never gone back since. I had never been able to farm nearly that fast so I was in all out exp farming mode after that.
A couple of months later, I had reached level 98 with only one person ahead of me in the race to level 100 on the Hardcore America servers. I was getting about 75 million exp per hour farming mp1 using a Leorics Signet, Hellfire ring, and radiant star ruby in my helmet.
When I was about 1/5th of a bar away from hitting level 99, I teleported to the Bridge of Korsik waypoint to clear the Fields of Slaughter. I could see a ton of enemies on the edge of my screen, but none of my actions were registering and I could not attack them. I tried to pause by hitting escape and I tried to use health potions, but nothing was registering. I knew I was in trouble because I had not put out a single tornado yet with sprint. My connection came back about 15 seconds later and I was dead.
What was your highest level death prior to this?
My highest death prior to this was a level 60 witch doctor. That happened pre-paragon levels. I had gone a very long time without a death before my barb “Protatoe” died.
How did you react? Any broken monitors?
It happened at the very end of the night after I had just finished farming almost an entire Paragon level. I basically just sat there looking at my monitor in shock. A complete router reset like this had never happened to me before since I moved into my apartment two months before this happened. I talked to my friend Diamond on Skype for a bit and told him that I would probably be taking a break from Diablo 3 for a while. After work the next night I changed my mind and I ended up making another barb and Diamond power leveled me to 60 in about two and a half hours. I spent about 700 million gold on new gear and started up farming again.
How did you decide to return to your barb?
The main reason that I decided to return to barb is because I had another really nice barb hellfire ring, and a lot of backup whirlwind barb gear in my stash. At the time I died, I was using gear that was geared towards farming low MP for experience. I still had a nice offhand dagger, a really nice rare ring, and a few other backup pieces. I also had about 1.1 Billion gold at the time I died so between my backup pieces and the gold I had to spend, I was able to create another whirlwind barb that could efficiently farm up to mp4.
How did it feel to ding 100 after such a huge loss? Were you extra hesitant at 98?
It felt great to finally ding 100 on my new barb. I did level 90-100 after the patch that buffed experience gained in higher monster powers, so it felt really fast. I did pretty much the entire trek from 0-100 on my second Barbarian on mp4, so I wish that patch came sooner J I was extremely paranoid that I might DC again, but luckily I never DCed again after my first barb’s death. It is a very annoying choice for hardcore whirlwind barbs to solo or play in a group. Solo is much faster and more efficient, but if you DC you have very little chance of survival. Group play is slower, but much safer. I don’t think I solo’d at all after level 85 on my second barb because I was so paranoid.
How long did the trek from 0-100 take you?
I dinged level 100 at about 280 hours played. Of course, not all of that time was spent grinding. I did ubers a few times, etc. The second trek from 0-100 was way faster than the first one. I was much more experienced with the whirlwind build and I was already used to maximizing my XP. I also have a Monk who is now level 88 and a Witch Doctor who I got to level 62. I’m going for level 100 on the monk next!
What did you learn from your death that others could take away from?
One lesson that I learned is that if anything feels slightly off with your connection or your computer, just stop playing or play in a group. I had been getting very small lag spikes before I died but I didn’t think anything of it. Ever since then, I completely stop playing if I feel any lag at all. Death is one of the most inefficient things that can happen to you in hardcore, so it is worth being extra careful.
What drew you to hardcore in the first place? Past D2 experience?
I had a couple years of hardcore experience in Diablo 2. I was back in middle school at that point, and I really don’t remember a whole lot about it. I do remember that I was in clan “PK” and I had a top barbarian named PK-Pwny. I played only hardcore in Diablo 2, so when I started Diablo 3 I left softcore at level 10. I think Softcore would just feel too boring for me and I would grow tired of the game way too fast.
As an experienced player any advice you would give the masses in terms of succeeding in Hardcore?
I think my best advice would be to play carefully and efficiently. Try to build a nice balance on your character between EHP and DPS, and don’t lean too heavily toward either side. Only farm on monster powers that you can completely crush. It is easy to look at the monster power bonuses and think that you should be turning up the MP, but farming faster will yield better results in the end. Don’t get discouraged if you go a few days without finding anything valuable. That 1 billion gold drop could come at any time!
After hitting 100 do you risk the barb still?
I still play my barb occasionally. My barb is stronger than ever now that I have put an Amethyst in her helmet and I am wearing a cold SOJ instead of a hellfire ring. My main goal at the moment is to get my monk to level 100 though. I have not done any solo play on my barb now that I have hit level 100 to be safe.
What’s your goal post 100?
My main goal is to level my Monk to 100. I have a Witch Doctor too but he is mostly good for speed farming low MP’s, and with the new patch I prefer to play my Monk and Barb. I am definitely going to stop playing so much once I finish leveling the Monk.
What keeps you playing?
I love to constantly improve my characters and speed up my farming through gear upgrades. Even after playing since the release, I am still finding upgrades for my characters all the time connecting with players online and through the auction house. My friends also play a huge part in keeping me playing. I can log on to Skype or Teamspeak and have people wanting to farm at any time.
Do you play solo or group?
Recently I have done a lot less solo than I used to. This is mostly because I am playing a Monk who works great for team play. I do a cyclone strike build with overawe and I think that type of support build greatly benefits any team composition. I still enjoy turning on some music and solo grinding every once in a while. Sometimes it is hard to feel the difference between gear changes or different skill builds unless you solo to test them out.
Hopes for the future of the game?
I feel like Diablo 3 has a lot of wasted potential. I think the first priority really needs to be increasing the monster density in Act 1 and 2. Everyone knows that Act 3 Alkaizer type runs are the best way to farm exp. There needs to be more choices in places to farm without feeling like you are being super inefficient. I also feel like not enough priority is placed on issues that are very important such as only being able to see more than 5 buffs at once, frame rate issues in zones like Rakkis Crossing, the Dashing Strike and Furious Charge bug where players could get stuck underground and unable to attack, etc. These are huge issues but have gone months without any changes.
I really hope Blizzard can think of some changes for a future patch or the expansion that are interesting enough to bring back some of the player base. In the end, Diablo 3 is still a great game and I have put in so many hours that I really can’t complain.
Having lost a few characters myself I understand Protatoe’s drive. However, the largest paragon I’ve lost is 13, so when the time comes who knows if I could answer that call. What was you biggest loss so far?How did you react?
One Life to Live covers the Hardcore play and life style in the Diablo community. It is written by Xanth and published weekly. Post your comments below, Follow me on Twitter @HCXanth or contact the author directly. For all the archived news about Diablo 3 hardcore check our Archives!