Patch 2.6 promises to kick Diablo 3 competition up a notch with the introduction of Challenge Rifts. The mode will give you a real player’s Greater Rift clear that you can take on in an attempt to beat their time. The layout of the Greater Rift, including the map, monsters, and pylons, will be exactly the same as the original player's experience. Additionally, you are given the exact character the original player used, and you'll use the same gear with all the same Legendary gems, Kanai’s Cube powers, and so on. The only thing you can change is the arrangement of the skills on your bar.
So, now that you know more about Challenge Rifts, we're going to discuss why should you be excited about this new feature.
1. New Build Discovery
If you’re the average player, you probably have a favorite class or two that you enjoy playing. Each season, you might contemplate changing it up a bit, but you always end up with your same Wizard or Monk at the end of the day. Challenge Rifts present a great opportunity to get you out of that rut, even if only temporarily. Since Challenge Rifts rotate through the different classes, you’ll have the chance to try out a build you may have no familiarity with, and you don’t have to commit any time to finding gear or coming up with ideas of how to put the skills together.
2. Short Term Commitment for Great Rewards
Challenge Rifts usually present a Greater Rift clear time of about 6 or 7 minutes by the original player. Since your goal is to beat their time, this means that you’ll spend maybe five minutes with that particular Challenge Rift if you're able to knock it out on your first try. For this small time investment, you’ll be rewarded with a Challenge Rift Cache. Inside of the cache are contents comparable to a full run of bounties on Torment VII. Currently on the Closed Beta, you receive 8 of each Legendary bounty material, 100-250 of each regular crafting material, 300 Blood Shards, and 4,000,000 gold. For people that don’t enjoy doing bounties, now you have another source of collecting similar rewards without traversing all of the Acts.
3. Balanced Competition Among Friends, Clanmates, and Regions
One of the major issues with current seasons is that those with the most consistent grind schedule, and therefore the most Paragon points, tend to be the ones occupying the top of the Leaderboards. With Challenge Rifts, there's no grinding involved. The time investment is initially very small, and if you’re a class expert for the current Challenge Rift, you may easily claim the #1 spot on the server-wide Leaderboard. After you meet the goal of beating the original player’s time, you can now work on improving your own time and see how your runs compare against others in the region, in your clan, or on your friends list. With thousands of players optimizing their runs, the top spots could come down to points of seconds, which should get any truly competitive player very excited to test their mettle without worrying about Paragon.
4. Community Involvement and Strategy Planning
Challenge Rifts provide an amazing opportunity for the community to build out additional resources that make the mode as robust as possible. For example, Desolacer put together the map shown above to indicate where the different Elite monsters are, as well as what the layout of what the Greater Rift looks like and where different pylons spawn. Information like this gives Challenge Rifts a more intense feel, as you now have a wealth of information at your fingertips and can better plan your way through attempts at creating the perfect run.
5. A Bright Future
What else can Challenge Rifts do? What if this mode becomes so popular that it feeds into other features like a Spectator Mode? What if we get Global Leaderboards with everyone compared from region to region? What if Challenge Rifts mirror seasonal play and a league develops where your placement in each Challenge Rift gives you a point total, and the person with the most points at the end wins the league? Challenge Rifts are still so young and their potential is quite vast, but early reports from most players reveal that they're surprisingly addicting to compete in. Perhaps the community and Blizzard can work hand-in-hand to take this excitement and evolve Challenge Rifts into one of the most entertaining ways to play Diablo III.
Do Challenge Rifts excite you? With more Closed Beta invites rolling out, have you had the chance to test them? What would you like to see the mode turn into? How would you improve it? Leave a comment below and let us know how you feel.
Leviathan (@LeviathanD3) is a content creator for Diablo Fans and a Hardcore Crusader for life. You can likely catch him streaming high Leaderboard/Conquest rank attempts unless he's out taking photographs or discovering new music.