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A Total Guide to Greater Rifts

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 DiabloWikiGreater Rift Guardian (GRG) which is an upgraded version of the regular DiabloWikiRift Guardians.

Greater Rift CompletionDifficulty: 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 DiabloWikishrines or DiabloWikipylons in Greater Rifts. Pylons are seen occasionally, but their bonuses last only 15 seconds (instead of the usual 30) and Blizzard specifically said that DiabloWikiConduit Pylons would not be found in Greater Rifts since they are so powerful they would skew the entire rift DiabloWikiLeaderboard system.

Dying in Greater Rifts

Revive at Corpse. No.

No Respecs: Characters can reallocate their Paragon Points while in a Rift, but can not access their inventory or skill menus (DiabloWikirespec) 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 DiabloWikiGoldwrap and DiabloWikiHarrington 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

  1. # Get a Greater Rift Keystone level 1 from completing a Nephalem Rift. – Drop rate still being determined.
  2. Use the GR Keystone to open a portal to a Greater Rift at the regular Nephalem Obelisk next to DiabloWikiOrek.
  3. Kill all the mobs in the Greater Rift before the timer runs out.
  4. No regular or champion mobs drop loot in Greater Rifts.
  5. The Rift Guardian will drop loot regardless if the timer has run out or not.
  6. If the Rift Guardian is killed before the timer runs out he will drop a Greater Rift Keystone.
  7. 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.

greater rift progress bar

Ahead of the progress 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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The State of the Monk: Additional follower or future OP class?

state of the monk in diablo 3It’s no surprise that the Monk class has been in need of some love pre 2.1. However with the second iteration of the patch on the PTR that need has not yet been abided. People are still clamoring for more sweeping changes(pun intended).

I was a heavy Monk user pre ROS and took a break with the xpac to delve into my first love(WD) and my new fling(crusader). I returned to the Monk only a few weeks ago and what I found was a shell of what I had left. After suffering for a long time as a WD it was nice when they finally rose to prominence. After a while on the top I wanted a new challenge and set my sights back on my monk, however even this challenge seems to daunting then all that time as a struggling WD. Diablo Forum MVP Druin put together an eloquent look at the myriad issues facing the class:


Hello everyone!

I am back from vacation and I am looking to write up a concise review of where we stand in 2.1.

My plan is to give a quick overview of our major issues then discuss the 2.1 changes and how they affect the various facets of our class.

I will be using this thread to fine-tune what we want to communicate to the devs and then I will make a major “state of monks in 2.1″ thread on the PTR forums to attempt to get some help for our lovely class! :D

1. Current Monk Issues

Damage

This is really at the forefront of the monk issues.

Since the release of RoS, monks have been having a tough time with DPS. We have a very limited range of options mostly centering around the skill Exploding Palm. (Un)fortunately EP is being changed as it breaks greater rifts (along with Rimeheart and Furnace) so our only source of widely competitive damage is going away. This leaves monks in a pretty bad spot.

Our spenders do very little damage (I mean VERY little) relative to their cost and our generators are used more as proc-vehicles for Odyn Son, Thunderfury, Shard of Hate and Rime/Furnace more than as sources of damage themselves. This leaves us with our 6pc Raiment of 1000 Storms which makes DS proc a 3000% weapon damage attack on cast. 3000% damage is a lot and it scales with lightning damage gear but DS has a flat-immutable 6 second cooldown. This can be mitigated to some extent by using Jawbreaker to give “free” dashing strike charges but that interaction is quite clunky.

Basically, monks will be forced into a clunky, hard-to-use situationally terrible Storm-breaker set in order to compete with other classes in damage. If they don’t want to use this mechanic, they will do very poor damage.

Durability

Next on the list is our ability to survive. This is a more controversial topic with some finding survival to be quite easy and many others finding it to be quite hard. In 2.1 with the change from dex giving dodge to dex giving armor and the change from OWE to Harmony, many monks who had minor synergy with OWE will see a minor tankiness boost. (my Raiment set for example)
On the other hand, monk who are deeply invested into OWE will see a major tankiness loss. (my Shatter-palm set). In either case, both types of monks probably have a lot of trouble living in T6 without 2x Unity or the constant dashing from Storm-breaker. Why is this? Because monks have to face-tank so much stuff.

Our primary source of resource generation comes from skills that require you to be up-close and personal with mobs which means a lot of damage can’t be avoided. To compensate for this, end-game monks are forced to take defensive passives (Harmony) defensive skills (Epiphany-shroud / Serenity / Inner Sanc / Blinding Flash) and CDR in basically every single spec. This is extremely limiting to the monk playstyle though arguably less of a problem than the DPS as the defensive skill/CDR solution does exist.

Additionally, sustain is nearly non-existent. LoH requires primary affixes which takes away from our already terrible DPS, LPS is the same, LPSS both takes primary affixes AND is extremely poor and Globes took a pretty big hit in 2.1. Monks actually have access to healing skills but, for some reason, they are tuned to be SO weak that they are essentially non-existent.

Resource Management

This is a more fundamental problem than the other two issues. Mere number tweaks would likely not result in this issue being resolved.

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PvP Arena Screens and Hands-On Play Report

Posted 22 Oct 2010 by

Along with the new DiabloWikiDemon Hunter info, Diablo III’s PvP DiabloWikiArena debuted at this year’s Blizzcon. There’s an info page about it on Blizzard’s site, and eight screenshots as well.

I was able to spend some time playing it this morning at the show, and have a few comments to add to the basic info Blizzard has revealed. We’ll have more later this weekend, after we get some more battle time in the Arena.

The Arena, as presented at Blizzcon this year, is very much an arcade game. You join in two teams of three players, you each pick your class from the three available characters (Wizard, Witch Doctor, and Barbarian; no Monk or Demon Hunter options), give them a name, and you’re launched into the arena. One team is blue, one team is red, marked by circles under their feet, and you start on opposite ends of the roundish arena, with various obstacles and posts in the way. There are a few spots where health orbs can spawn, but most of the fights were over so quickly that orbs were hardly grabbed and didn’t make much difference when they were.

In the final game you’ll presumably have more choice of skills, arena maps, equipment, and characters. The version at Blizzcon is just the start of the system, and it was meant to be a fun, arcade-style battle for fans to try out, without necessarily telling us that much about how the feature will be presented in the final game.

Click through for more first hand details from my first play time session.

The play sessions are very quick and brutal. There’s not much room for strategy, especially when everyone’s fairly new to the game. The characters are all pre-made; when you pick a wizard, male or female, you get the exact same build, equipment, skills, skill runes, etc. It’s like an arcade fighter, where everyone has the same tools to pick from and only the tactics differ.

The games are very fast and chaotic. You get a single fall, and when your character dies, you’re done for the battle. You stay dead until everyone else on your team (or the other team) dies, and then all six of you start a new round at once. In the fifteen minute battle, the final score in my game was something like 14-5, which gives you an idea how quickly it goes.  While dead you can look over your menus; I spent the time looking at my skill hovers, equipment, skills, etc. You can follow the action if you want; clicking on the screen moves your “camera” so you can follow the action as the remaining contestants battle it out.

Once you pick your class, you’re stuck with them for the duration. My team soon wished that was not so, since our group of two wizards and a witch doctor were getting destroyed by a barbarian and two wizards. Player skill seemed to have something to do with it; the Witch Doctor on my squad was clearly very new to the game and spent several rounds standing in a corner, throwing firebombs at a wall. This wasn’t an especially effective tactic, surprisingly. The barbarian was much better than our witch doctor though, since he was a tank and kept chasing our wizards around, while the other side’s wizards were able to hurl Meteors and keep up a constant death beam of Disintegrate non-stop.

The character equipment was all plain stuff. Nothing on my wizard was even magical; it was just low level “white” plate mail type stuff. Nothing to boost my stats at all, and the weapon was a plain staff as well. I don’t know if the Barbarian had a magical weapon, but I doubt it. The skills were preset, and all had runestones as well; all of the damage spells were socketed to lower their Arcane Power cost, while my Diamond Skin defensive skill had a rune to increase the damage absorption from 100 to 150.

All the characters had about 850 hit points to start with. You saw your own and everyone else’s hit points displayed over their heads when they were taking damage. There were no healing potions or ways to regain health other than from the occasionally spawning health orbs.

The Wizard skills available:

DiabloWikiSpectral Blades on the left click. This was not wise to use, since at melee range a Barbarian would destroy you, and other Wizards didn’t hold still at close range.

DiabloWikiDisintegrate on the right click. The attack of choice. Long range, straight beam cooking laser attack with a slightly slowing/zapping effect. Negligible Arcane Power cost, so it could be used non-stop. The only danger was standing

DiabloWikiMeteor on the #1 key. This works like it does in D2. Click a spot and a flaming rock falls down a moment later. Huge damage, around 220-250, and leaves an AoE burn zone.

DiabloWikiHydra on the #2 key. This works like it did in D2, but the graphics are totally redone. The default Hydra is three-headed, purple, and slightly translucent, like an Arcane serpent. They work like minions, you can only have 2 of them at once; if you cast a third the first one vanishes. They did around 40 damage per shot.

DiabloWikiTeleport on the #3 key. It works faster than you’d think from the screenshots; moving to another location is virtually instantaneous, as it was in D2.  There was a 6 second cool down between uses, so it was best used as an emergency escape.

DiabloWikiSlow Time on the #4 key. This huge bubble of slow was very useful against enemies. It would block off entire pathways, and if used well, ideally stuck right on top of a Barbarian or Witch Doctor, they would get slaughtered by other attackers before they could get clear.

DiabloWikiDiamond Skin on the #5 key. This was basically a new version of Stone Skin. It changed the Wizard’s appearance to a sort of protective shell, allowing her to absorb 150 damage. The duration was quite short, something like 8 seconds, and it had a long cool down between casts, like 20 seconds. Like teleport, best used when you were in imminent danger.

We’l have more on the PvP later this weekend, after I get some more play time. I need to try out the WD and Barbarian, to see how the compare; especially since I’d already played the Wizard in the PvM game demo, though entirely different skills were available to the much lower level PvM character than in the PvP.

See all eight PvP Arena screenshotsso far released.