This Article is a guest post written by Adam G who you can find on Youtube and Twitch

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Twenty Years of Diablo

Blizzcon has come and went, and for the Diablo 3 community there were quite a few announcements! The addition of the necromancer class, challenge dungeons, and a slew of quality of life changes were all announced. And, while that’s all very exciting it doesn’t solve the problem with Diablo 3’s (D3) current endgame.

D3’s player population has been stagnating for a while and season 8’s release without any new content has seen a further drop in in-game population. This is mainly due to the fact that the entire end game revolves around fighting against RNG and fishing for greater rifts that you may be able to clear in time which would push you farther into the leader boards.  After several seasons with the only real changes being for balance and itemization (and the new builds that may enable) the community is in a state where it is looking for something more.

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Diablo 3s end game involves a lot of racing against a timer

Greater rifts were first released August 26, 2014 with patch 2.1.0. Since they were added the only thing that has changed with the greater rift system has been the removal of The Realm of Trials and several fixes to help smooth out monster density.  This is the majority of D3’s endgame; farm keys, use keys to open greater rifts, barrel through the rift and hope to reach the end in time to possibly level up a gem. For TWO YEARS! That’s a long time without any significant changes to the way the game is being played.

Farming greater rifts can be frustrating because depending on your class and setup there are many variables that will ensure failure at higher levels. Bad tile set? Poor monster spawns? Low Density? In some cases just ONE of these things spells ruin. Because of this, “fishing” for rifts is a common practice. You enter a rift, begin to clear, but as soon as you see something that would hurt your progress you simply exit the game and restart, forfeiting your key.  Sometimes it may take a dozen remakes before you get a rift you can clear and if you’re unlucky it can take many more.  I feel it’s very frustrating to jump in and out of thirty games making and remaking rifts to get one you might clear.

Blizzard has tried to renew interest in the game in that two year span by tweaking various item sets and adding new powers to the game. When they change items it often opens (or in some cases reopens) different play styles.  Experimenting with different classes/items/builds can be entertaining, but at its core it eventually boils down to more greater rifts.  Additionally, every time they beef up the items and sets in the game they increased the damage to make them more competitive and appealing and the power creep is pretty substantial.  When greater rifts first released the average player cleared to about greater rift (GR)35.  In the two years since its introduction players can now farm over GR100, but usually not without someone playing in a supportive role.

d3In the coming year we will get some distractions from the Greater Rift grind. The original Diablo’s twentieth anniversary is coming this winter, and Blizzard has announced that they are remaking Diablo within D3.  The remake will come complete with a retro filter and custom items for the event. This has received some criticism from the community though as the items are mostly cosmetic and have no real value in the game.  In addition to that the event will only be available for one month of the year.  The event has also received criticism for being very short since the entire stage can be completed in just over an hour.

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Challenge rifts are coming early next year, and may help with some of that greater rift fatigue

Later in 2017 will see the addition of challenge rifts.  Challenge rifts are a new game mode where someone selected from the leaderboards will have their gear, skills, and the rift map and density copied. This will become the template for the challenge rift. Everyone who attempts the challenge for that period will play with that person’s gear and skills and compete to complete the rift in a faster time.  Completing the rift in time will offer some rewards, speculated to be a bag similar to those received from completing bounties. Blizzard has said the challenge maps will refresh every three to five days but has not commented on how they will select the person being copied.

This could be a good way to experience different play styles without having to farm all the required gear yourself.  But I feel that it doesn’t fill the void the lack of content has left, as this feels like something you do once or twice and then abandon until the next cycle.

 

Despite the lack of diversity in end game content, D3 is still a lot of fun. With Blizzard also adding a new class and a new zone this year the grind will hopefully be less. The addition of the Necromancer is sure to breathe some new life into the game even if it doesn’t change the end game. The two new zones being added, The Temple of the Firstborn and the Shrouded Moors, while not providing a break from Greater Rifts will at least give a change of scenery within them and come with new monsters. I for one have dreamed of a D3 Necromancer for a long time and am very excited, but I would love to hear your opinions on this. Comment below what you think about the new things coming to D3, or what you think about D3’s endgame in general.

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