Blizzard Blog: Greater Rifts Introduction

As Patch 2.1 draws ever-closer, Blizzard has rolled out another feature preview, this time a Greater Rifts introduction. We’ve posted a ton of news about those and our DiabloWikiGreater Rifts article is quite extensive, but for fans who haven’t been following along, the Blizblog provides a good overview. And here it is…


Patch 2.1.0 Preview: Greater Rifts

In addition to DiabloWikiSeasons and DiabloWikiThe Vault, another notable feature coming in patch is 2.1.0 is a system we’re calling Greater Rifts. Formerly known as Tiered Rifts, Greater Rifts are a special type of DiabloWikiNephalem Rift designed to measure and showcase hero progression.

Featuring a progress timer, unique rewards, and custom DiabloWikileaderboards, Greater Rifts are the perfect opportunity for players to see just how far they can push themselves on the battlefield—and glean some incredible treasure along the way!

Click through for the rest of the article.

With Great Power Comes Great Rifts:

To enter a Greater Rift, you must first acquire a DiabloWikiKeystone of Trials. These keystones have a chance to drop from any normal DiabloWikiRift Guardian when playing in Torment difficulty on a level 70 hero.

Once you’ve acquired a Keystone of Trials, you’re ready to take on what’s known as the DiabloWikiRealm of Trials. To access this realm, visit a Nephalem Obelisk in any town hub, right-click on the monument, and place your keystone into the appropriate slot near the top of the window. Click “Accept” and your trial will begin. Be sure to prepare your skills and gear ahead of time, because once inside the Realm of Trials, you cannot change either until the trial is over.


The Realm of Trials is a small arena designed not only to test your hero’s mettle, but evaluate at what level you should begin your Greater Rift run. Each trial will be timed and consist of increasingly difficult waves of enemies. Upon completion of the trial, or it ending due to your hero’s death, you will be rewarded with a Greater Rift Keystone. The level of the keystone you receive will be based on your performance during the trial itself. The more waves you destroy, the higher the keystone level. The higher the keystone level, the more challenging the Greater Rift…so aim high!

Of note, game difficulty will not impact the Realm of Trials in any way; in this case, the Realm of Trials is considered independent of the standard difficulty system. With this, death in the Realm of Trials will be permanent for Hardcore heroes. If you die during a trial, your hero will be lost and he or she will not receive a Greater Rift Keystone.


With a fresh Greater Rift Keystone in hand, head back to the Nephalem Obelisk in town. Right-click on the monument one more time and place your ranked keystone into the designated slot. Click “Accept” and it’s off to the races—your Greater Rift journey has officially begun!

The Need for Speed:

Similar to the Realm of Trials, each Greater Rift level will be timed. Players will have 15 minutes to spawn and defeat the level’s Rift Guardian, with faster runs bringing greater rewards.

The goal in Greater Rifts is to progress through each level and kill the Rift Guardian as quickly as possible. If you slaughter a Greater Rift Guardian before time expires, you’ll be eligible for a higher level Greater Rift Keystone. If you perform exceptionally well and have a lot of time to spare, you’ll be able to skip multiple Greater Rift levels and can receive a keystone of a much higher rank!


Greater Rifts are tracked by a new progress bar (located at the right side of the screen) that compares your monster kill count to the time remaining. Monsters will grant varying progress based on their health and difficulty, so Elite and Champion packs will have a greater pay-off than your average minion. Players will also be able to collect new Progression Orbs to speed along their journey.


When the progress bar is capped, all remaining monsters in the area will vanish and the Greater Rift Guardian will appear. If you run out of time before you’re able to kill the Rift Guardian, don’t worry! You won’t be able to advance to a higher Greater Rift level, but you’ll still be able to complete the level you’re currently in and claim the spoils of war.

Speaking of spoils, we’ve made some changes to how loot is distributed in Greater Rifts to help streamline the experience and keep players focused on completing their run. Monsters won’t drop loot, chest spawns have been disabled, and destructible objects will be limited. Instead, we’ve moved a lot of this loot to the Rift Guardian itself. As a result, and in reward for your valiant efforts, players will encounter a veritable “loot-splosion” upon defeating a Greater Rift Guardian!

Legendary Gems:

As you search the remains of a Greater Rift Guardian, there’s a chance you’ll find a new kind of gem that may very well pique your interest.

These DiabloWikiLegendary gems can only be found in Greater Rifts and offer powerful abilities when socketed into amulets or rings. What’s more, you’ll have the opportunity to upgrade Legendary Gems over time with the help of Urshi, a new NPC.

DiabloWikiUrshi is a nephalem spirit who worked closely with Orek in life, and has the unusual ability to draw out and guide the powerful magical essence of gems. Like Orek, Urshi will extend her unique gift to any brave nephalem willing to challenge themselves in the most dangerous of realms.

Urshi's much-upgraded, upgrading interface.

Urshi’s much-upgraded, upgrading interface.

Urshi will appear once you’ve slain a Greater Rift Guardian and will offer players one of two services. You can only pick one service per Greater Rift level, so choose wisely when you can.

The first service is to upgrade your Greater Rift Keystone to a higher level. As noted above, if you did really well during your run, you’ll be able to skip multiple Greater Rift levels and receive a keystone of a much higher rank. This option will only be available to players who are able to defeat the Rift Guardian before time expires.

The second service is to upgrade your Legendary Gem(s). You’ll have three attempts to upgrade a Legendary Gem. You can use all three attempts on one gem, or split the attempts between multiple different gems. The chance for an upgrade attempt to succeed is based on a combination of the rank of the Legendary Gem you’re attempting to upgrade and the level of Greater Rift you reached. The higher the rift level, the more likely your attempt will succeed!

While you will always be able to attempt to upgrade your Legendary Gems, even if you aren’t able to kill the Rift Guardian in the allotted time, it’s important to note that choosing this option will conclude your Greater Rift run. Once a run has concluded, you will need to find another Keystone of Trials and start your journey anew.

Track Your Progress:

Once you reach the end of your Greater Rift journey, your best results will be posted to the appropriate Leaderboards. To view your Leaderboard ranking at any time, simply click on the “Leaderboards” button located in the bottom right corner of the main hero screen.


Greater Rift leaderboards will be split between both Hardcore and Normal gameplay modes as well as Seasonal and Non-Seasonal characters. To help encourage a variety of play styles and allow you to measure yourself against similar competitors, we’ve also broken up Greater Rift leaderboards into the following categories:

  • Solo play for each class (e.g. top players for Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Crusader, etc.)
  • 2-Player Groups
  • 3-Player Groups
  • 4-Player Groups
  • Designed to be informative and detailed, Leaderboards will allow you to compare your progress to that of your gameplay region, friends, and clan members, and can be viewed both in-game and right here on!

    The challenges you face in Greater Rifts will push you to your limits and test your skill in battle. They offer measures by which to judge your ability, and rewards that make you stronger with every test. Will you overcome your enemies and succeed? Your trials await you, nephalem!


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    1. I hadn't realized that Keystones of Trials only drop in Torment difficulty. That is… disappointing.

        • I know it won't be an issue for most people who frequent incgamers, but this does mean it is unlikely I will have the opportunity to run Greater Rifts at any point in the near future. Since the first GRift level is approximately normal difficulty, it never occurred to me that the new feature would be gated past requiring max level

          • There is no reason to want to experience Greater Rift outside of max level, regular Rifts are still there for 1-69 characters. As for Torment dropping keys, even if you start from fresh with no paragon levels, left-over gear or crafting, once you reach level 70 it takes around 20 hours to be able to play on T1.

    2. So is there an option on Hardcore to 'end' a Realm of Trials when you want to?

      • Waiting 'till the timer goes off and killing monsters after that? I don't think there is other way, but then I played RoT only once.

      • If you want a GRK 1, which I highly recommend in HC as entry level stone, kill the first wave and wait until the timer runs out — done.

    3. Disappointing ? I think this is right.

    4. This sounds so tedious and boring.

    5. Really not developed with hardcore in mind i think. Waiting for timer to run out is a big fail.

    6. Too bad everything is based on speed (enrage timers, cursed chests and shrines, realm of trials and greater rifts). I would a challenge based on taking the smallest amount of damage.

      But this is clearly not the spirit of Blizzard. The do not want us to kite.

      • Really? You literally want a challenge to take the longest time? That doesn't sound like a lot of fun. I would like to see other challenges than just fastest too.

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