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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What if Diablo III Allowed More Skill Hotkeys?Posted 26 Nov 2012 by
During much of Diablo III’s development, the game had seven skill hotkeys. 1-5, LMB, RMB, and you could even stick another skill on the TAB key to switch it with the RMB. As development progressed the 5 key became the default button for health potions before health pots were moved to their own dedicated key, and the Tab skill switch was removed as well, dropping the total skill hotkeys down to six.Back in those days players mostly thought of that change in terms of skill point allocations, and wondered how the total skill points would be tweaked to spread across one or two fewer skills. That consideration became irrelevant not long after when skill points were removed as well (though some players still want them back), and the total number of skills was dropped to six. (This is not ancient history — check the DW Interface article — the belt had 8 skills as of Blizzcon 2010 and 7 as recently as mid-2011.)
The number of skills became an issue shortly after release, when players first hit Inferno, found how hard it was (before all the nerfs in post-release patches), and felt overwhelmed by the difficulty and underwhelmed by their build options. Inferno was a big adjustment, in those days, since most players loved the smorgasbord of offensive skill choices while they leveled up, and it was common to use 3 or 4 or 5 different offensive skills to slaughter the Normal and Nightmare and even the Hell enemies in multifaceted varieties. And then came Inferno and any build without at least 3 or 4 skills devoted to defense, escape, movement, debuff, CC, etc… was a failed build.
This provoked much fan outrage and anger (and death) and many were the complaints from players who felt “straitjacketed” by the required play style in Inferno. At that point, in a number of podcasts, we pondered the issue of more skills. I don’t recall the exact wording of my questions, but I remember asking several guests if they thought the end game builds would still feel limited in attack variety if there were 7 or 8 skills, instead of just 6… or if everyone would just add more defensive skills and still use just 1 or 2 offensive skills?
Click through for the rest of the discussion and a vote.
Putting the Toothpaste Back Into the Tube
Thanks to D3′s lack of modding options, those questions had to remain hypothetical. Furthermore, they’re largely moot at this point, since the game has moved on and grown easier (from in-game nerfs and the spread of better equipment, builds, and player skill) and we’ve all sort of grown used to playing how we have to play.
This is true even though we could vary it now, if we wanted to. Not just rerolling (hah!) and trying different builds on the lower difficulty levels, but with high level characters in easier parts of Inferno. Most players with good gear can blast through Inferno on MP0 at this point, but does anyone do that with a weird build just to test out more offensive options? Not often; mostly players use their same build and put on more Magic Find gear, or turn up the Monster Power a bit to add challenge and more key finds.
Playing in a Straitjacket
I really noticed this over the weekend while trying out a new “Bottle Rocket” Wizard build. See the thread for full details and movies and stuff, but basically it’s Arcane Torrent and Hydra for offense, Diamond Skin and Energy Armor for defense, and Magic Weapon and Familiar for buffs. The resulting Wizard has no mobility and not much variety, but can deal huge burst damage to chew up bosses, and does even better against packs with heaps of splash Arcane damage.
Which is fine and quite effective… but it’s boring. The play style is very repetitious since you’re doing nothing but fishing ahead with Hydra and nuking anything that gets closer with Arcane Torrent. My Wizard is basically my 4th character, and she’s entirely Ironborn so the gear isn’t overwhelming, but I had zero trouble chewing through Act One and Two on MP0. Act Three got more challenging since I couldn’t kill everything so quickly before they could hurt me, when switching Diamond Skin to Mirror Image wasn’t enough to keep me from dying I eventually added traded damage for mobility by swapping Magic Weapon out for Teleport.
With that I stopped dying and feeling helpless against any kind of Jailer or Waller or Vortex bosses, and I enjoyed the play more since I had to move around and dodge stuff rather than just standing still and winning through superior DPS… but even as I was making those changes, I kept thinking, “Imagine if I had another hotkey and could add in some big AoE like Blizzard! Or could have kept Magic Weapon’s damage buff and still had Teleport for escape! Or could have added Wave of Force or Frost Nova for close range panic button assistance!”And sure, I was only thinking those thoughts since my Ironborn Wizard has 40k DPS instead of the 100k I could easily increase her to by investing 5 minutes and 500k on the GAH, but my Demon Hunter and Witch Doctor are strong enough to faceroll through Act Three… and I still wish they had more skills in their builds. I know the DH the best and I switch around offensive skills fairly often, whether I’m in the mood for Multishot vs. Ball Lightning, or Gloom or Marked for Death, or Evasive Fire vs. Hungering Arrow vs. Bolo Shot, etc…. but I still wish I could use 2 or 3 of those at once, instead of just one or the other. Or that I could carry Rapid Fire or Cluster Arrow around for just occasional burst damage. Or that I could tack on the Ferret Companion for the bonus gold and retrieval.
Balance, Balance, Balance
That said, there’s one big obvious drawback to adding/allowing more skills. And no, I don’t mean that it messes up the stupid, late-game tacked-on, training wheels, arbitrary categorization system that Elective Mode mercifully allows all non-noobs to avoid. The problem is balance.
That there are only six skills allowed forces players to make hard decisions about which skills to enable. If you want more offensive options that means you have less defensive power. If you want two CC skills then that’s going to limit your offense. And so on.
Yes, it would be a blast to have more skill slots to tack on situational skills, and it would let us use those fun skills that just aren’t good enough to break into your real build. But it would also mean players could add two more CC or debuff skills, and we can all imagine a character using one of the powerful builds and getting to tack on two more skills to make the build just comically overpowered.
Happily, I have a solution. Skill points. Those are the traditional method to limit skill power, and we saw them leveraged to that purpose in that other popular ARPG… what was it called? Oh yeah, Diablo 2.
We had not six but sixteen hotkeys in that game, and could use damn near every single active skill at once… but not very well, since they needed multiple points invested in them, 20 in most cases, to become really kick ass. I’m not suggesting that D3 go back to that system and throw out the entire new skill design, but even a simple 1-3 point (per skill) mechanism, where players could max our 3 or 4 skills, but had to have at least one point in everything, would seem to give the devs enough knobs to twist to keep balance at least semi-balanced. (And since perfect balance is neither possible nor desired, that’s good enough.)
So, there’s the argument presented as a conversation-starter. Would you like to see more skill hotkeys in D3? Would you enjoy adding a skill or two to your build? Can you imagine all the new builds that would be invented, and changes the devs could make to add variety to rune effects, if they were freed from trying to make everything “good enough” to fit into just the handful of skills a build can now include?
I think it would be awesome, though obviously compensating changes would have to be made across the board. It’s certainly not something to stick into a patch, but as we’ve been talking about potential Expansion features lately, I’d love to think of this as one of them. New class, new act, new play modes… and a new skill slot! (Or two!)
Should Diablo III add more skill hotkeys?
- Definitely. At least 7 or 8. (56%, 414 Votes)
- No way. Six is a better design. (27%, 196 Votes)
- Not sure / no opinion. (17%, 124 Votes)
Total Voters: 734