Recent Features

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.

Read More & Comment >>
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.

Read More & Comment >>

Reaper of Souls Hardcore from the Start?

Posted 29 Nov 2013 by

This is a topic Xanth will probably tackle in a column at some point, but a fan brought up the issue of tackling Reaper of Souls Hardcore from the start vs. some initial playtime in softcore to get the hang of the new system and changes and difficulty levels, and got some Blueage on the bandwagon.

I switched to playing HC months ago and when the RoS announcement first came out I told everyone I’d be playing HC right away when the patch drops. That has changed and I’ll explain why…

GAME MECHANICS
Before we can safely play hardcore we need to understand how all the mechanics work. Even items as simple as potions are different. Probably for the better but still different. Until we can adjust to these slight changes we are putting ourselves at risk.

LIFE STEAL
We are too comfortable with this and until we learn to life without ls we are bound to put our characters in a spot they shouldn’t be in.

LEVEL DIFFICULTY
The change from MP to normal-torment is really going to trip me up. I know what mp Id be able to handle but what level of difficulty will we test this out? One slip up and you’re toast.

SERVER STABILITY
With many old members coming about there are bound to be additional lag and we are going to suffer the most.

Because of these reasons I will most likely start out playing soft core for 1-3 months then switch back to HC. I think my characters will thank me.
Grimiku: Personally, I plan on playing it safe when the expansion goes live. Rushing into an expansion on a higher difficulty is a little like aiming Vault into unexplored areas of your map.

And what’s wrong with Vaulting into unexplored territory? :P

Grimiku: Nothing if you don’t mind a dirt nap!

I found Reaper of Souls has a greater tendency to lull me into illusions of safety (and then drop the hammer when I’m unsuspecting) than the current live game. I’m used to playing on MP10, but it didn’t take long before Master difficulty wasn’t comfy. Also, I should admit that I’m talking about my Normal mode character here, but I play it like it’s Hardcore.

I recently swapped focus to my Hardcore character in the beta, and am currently leveling from 60 to 70. The first few levels are easy, but somewhere around mid 60′s the difficulty starts getting more unpredictable. We’ll have to wait and see how things pan out after some tuning passes, but I think it’s worth mentioning to the Hardcore community that the difficulty settings may not be as straight forward as they seem. I know it’s part of the fun, but it’s good to know when the road might get rocky too.

I leapt into RoS with my hardcore Monk, who was Paragon 70 and arguably the best equipped of my D3V paragon level characters, and I had no regrets. (Admittedly, I felt safer since the Beta works as a sort of PTR where nothing is permanent, so I wasn’t *really* risking my Monk.)

Xanth started off RoS in Hardcore...

Starting off HC in RoS has potential drawbacks

The Monk leveled from 60 to 70 over several hours of semi-cautious, “Hard” level DiabloWikiAdventure Mode games, and it wasn’t a real tough voyage. That Monk, as well as the level 60 softcore Demon Hunter and Witch Doctor I’ve since made the voyage with, all felt overpowered at level 60 in RoS, about like I was playing on MP1 with much lower monster density. That OP feeling faded quickly as I leveled up and the monsters scaled up with me, and by 65 I felt like I was on MP3 (with much lower monster density), and by 70 I’d have been dead, had I not been gearing up as I leveled.

I think gear is the real issue, more than new game mechanics and skill changes and such. Those matter as well of course, but Diablo 3 is a game chiefly about your gear, and while not knowing how to react to Elites with Poison Enchanted or Frozen Pulse is dangerous, playing with crappy gear is fatal. Therefore I think you’ll be fine leaping right into RoS with your hardcore chars, so long as you don’t get too crazy overconfident and pull a Xanth’s WD, leaping right into Master and relying on your now nonfunctional DiabloWikilife steal knife to keep you alive. (With grim results.)


Will you start of Reaper of Souls playing Hardcore?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...


Click through for more discussion of the changes to difficulty levels in Reaper of Souls and some first hand insight on how hard those levels are for newly geared up characters in the beta.

Difficulty Settings in Reaper of Souls

  • Normal
  • Hard: 75% Extra gold/xp
  • Expert: 100% extra gold/xp, Bounties award double currency.
  • Master: 200% extra gold/xp, Bounties award double currency, New legendary recipes can drop in this difficulty.
  • Torment 1-6: 300% extra gold/XP, Bounties award double currency, New legendary recipes can drop in this difficulty, New legendary items can drop in this difficulty, 250% bonus legendary drop rate, Additional gold/XP/legendary drop rate per slider tick.
  • Yes, it was much simpler just calling them DiabloWikiMonster Power 1-10. I guess we still could, though there are only 9 increases if you count Normal = MP0, but as you see in the tooltips, there are really points of punctuated equilibrium in Reaper of Souls. That is not the case in D3, where as long as you’re at MP1, you get the full monster density and higher levels just move the slider up on the damage, exp, magic find, etc.

    The real jump in Reaper of Souls is Torment, where you see huge boosts in the legendary drop rates. Your goal as a player should be to survive and prosper on Torment+, since that’s the most rewarding stage. Moving up each level of Torment increases those bonuses still further, but it *really* skyrockets the monster hps, and you won’t see anywhere near the changes or benefits going from Torment 1 to Torment 2, and so on, as you see going from Master to Torment.

    My HC Monk is able to play Master fairly comfortably at this point, after just a couple of weeks of RoS, without any great item finds. I’ve spent a lot of time with a HC Crusader and my old softcore Demon Hunter as well, so don’t take my two weeks of play time as any kind of intensive Monk-building exercise.

    YMMV, but the point is that it’s taken me less than two weeks of sporadic play to gear up to the point that my best character is almost ready for Torment. So, if you’re setting that as your target, even in Hardcore, it’s not a wild dream. And you get to do it without spending a dime in the Auction House! (Or earning a dime selling gear that way, but try not to think about that.)