Diablo 3 Ladders and Tiered Rifts Discussed in Interview


A new interview has appeared (perhaps done at the recent PAX?) with Josh Mosqueira, John Hight, Kevin Martens and Derek Duke over on Shacknews. Topics are varied but of specific interest to many of you will be the Ladders (or ‘Seasons’) and Tiered Rifts.

There is no new information on the Rifts, in fact the description isn’t as detailed as the one Wyatt Cheng gave back on 25th March but how they work seems unchanged. Most people were really pleased with the news of Tiered Rifts back then. That they are still on coarse should be welcome news.  Sometimes I’m half expecting an ‘on hold’ announcement with these new systems.

John Hight:

Second is Tiered Rifts. DiabloWikiTiered Rifts are variations on the Nephalem Rifts concept from Reaper of Souls. You have a timer to finish a Rift (kill enough monsters to draw out the boss and slay the boss) and the better you do, the more challenging the level that you get to tackle. For example, if you finished a Tiered Rift in just a few minutes, you’d get to jump ahead to a much harder rift. These will also have unique rewards, custom leaderboards, etc. Tiered Rifts are a new end game activity that offers both challenge and competition but are easy enough for everyone at max level (70) to try.

Seasons, or Ladders if you’re old school, are shaping up nicely too which talk of new powerful legendaries…

Seasons are a shard of the existing game where everything is a fresh start. You start with a brand new character without access to any of the gold or items you collected with your primary account for the length of the season. We plan on creating brand new, powerful legendaries that only drop within in the season. After the season ends, all of your progress — your experience, your items, your gold, etc. — will be rolled into the main roster. The goal is the fresh-start feeling — so many changes and tweaks have happened since the launch of Diablo III — it is really energizing and fun to recreate that ‘first-moment-in-a-new-game’ feeling.

We’ve also added leaderboards. Players can race on a variety of metrics to try to become the leader in their region or the top of their friends and clan lists. That friendly competition angle lends itself really well to Diablo games.

This should add a competitive aspect to the game that is missing right now (okay, there is DiabloWikiBrawling but, well…you know) and as a PvP system implemented in the way lots of people want it is still firmly on the back burner it could keep the more rabid players happy. I don’t think it’ll stop them asking for it however.

Both of these systems are due to roll out in patch 2.1 and the ball park date for the release is mid this year.

There’s plenty more in the interview and it’s worth hopping over there for a read.

Thanks to fmulder for the news.

Comments

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  1. Their answer to pvp was really disappointing

    • Honestly at this point I’m thinking may be Heroes of the Storm team told D3 team to not put in PvP because that’s what they are doing…

    • I find it to be great. I could care less about PvP in Diablo so more focus on other stuff is great.

      • Amen, bro. You want PvP, kids? Play a PvP game!

      • I agree to an extent. PvP is as core to Diablo as Ladders are, so they really should just remake the “arena” Team Deathmatch type thing they had going at that one E3 or whatever with pre-set builds/gear/matchmaking and be done with it.

  2. I’m definitely looking forward to tiered rifts and ladders. I never was able to do d2 online, and while I messed with a bit of Path of Exile I never really found it appealing to start from scratch (mainly because I never got close to the point where I was content with what was in my stash or on my toon.)

    But in D3? After 2 years? Shut up and take my…gratitude!

  3. I posted this in the thread, but I wanted to add it here as well to get some feedback.

    The way I read the article (pertaining to Seasons,) is not that there will be Legendaries for each specific Season, but rather for Seasons in general. I agree that the former would be a horrible idea; not only would it ostracize people who miss Seasons entirely, but it could also cause mass-hatred from players who put time into a Season and fall victim to the wrath of RNG. I suppose they could do something like various other games such as Borderlands 2 and even Phantasy Star Universe have done for events; have mini-goals for players to hit and automatically reward them with a specific item, as well as community goals where ALL Season players are rewarded when specific milestones are hit.

    Personally, I would like to see a combination of both; for example, the community could work towards unlocking bonuses that apply for the remainder of the week/month/Season, as well as being rewarded individually for completing smaller goals.

    Goal Examples:

    – Reach 70 with any class or even a specific class
    – Clear Campaign
    – a set number of:
    — Enemies/an enemy-type killed
    — Rifts cleared
    — Bounties cleared
    — Boss kills/a specific boss kills
    — Paragon Levels

    Reward examples:

    – A universal Legendary item or specific Legendary for each class
    – EXP/GF/MF Bonus for a set time
    – Legendary Drop Rates increased for a set time
    – Bonus Paragon Levels awarded for the remainder of the Season
    – Automatic Levels applied to Crafters
    – Automatic Stash Page Upgrades
    – A Gold Bonus applied to/sent to each player account

    Obviously these are just some of the more obvious examples, but I think these kinds of things would get more people involved in Seasons. What do you guys think?

  4. I am actually surprised that they are going to include seasons exclusive legendaries. Considering how often they have spoken of not wanting to make one way to play feel mandatory, this sure feels like the exact opposite. Offering seasons only achievements and cosmetic awards would give some incentive to take part in them without making them feel forced on you.

    I for one hope they don’t add seasons only items if only for the sake of the players who don’t want to participate. The person who wants nothing to do with seasons, but really wants some specific legendary only attainable through them, will be forced into playing them just to have even a chance at finding their desired item. They then either go the entire season without finding the item, possibly feeling like they wasted all that time, or they get lucky and they do find the item but are then forced to wait until the end of the season to be able to transfer the item to their “real” character. If I was in that predicament I know neither of those two scenarios would leave me with a real great feeling about the experience.

    I will definitely give seasons a try, and I may or may not like them. Either way I would prefer my decision to play them or not be based purely on how much I enjoy seasons compared to the regular game. Not on how badly I desire the exclusive content contained within.

    • I’m sorry but your logic basically consists of this:

      Jee, I sure hope they don’t give these other individuals rewards for investing time into something that I don’t want to invest time into. It’s not fair for them to get things and for me to not get things.

      That’s like saying: ‘You know what, Tim shouldn’t be allowed to make 160k a year, it’s not fair that he chooses to work at IBM, I don’t really want to work at IBM and I only make 21k at McDonald’s, the US government should intervene and prevent Tim from making more money than me for investing more time and effort into his career.’

      What kind of shit flawed logic is that? You’d wish they don’t have seasons and rewards for participation simply because you don’t want other people to have access to them in the off chance that you don’t want to participate and they do?

      If you don’t enjoy playing seasons, simply don’t do it.

      • “That’s like saying: ‘You know what, Tim shouldn’t be allowed to make 160k a year, it’s not fair that he chooses to work at IBM, I don’t really want to work at IBM and I only make 21k at McDonald’s…”

        We are talking about legendary items. So in your example I think it’s more like saying ‘You are not allowed to own a computer because you don’t work at IBM.’

      • Wow…I think you completely missed his point and went off on a tangent.

        Personally i like the idea of season only legendaries but agree that they should not be so powerful that they feel mandatory.

        Remember that not everyone has 20 hours a day to devote to playing Diablo and for most people with a family and job (like your buddy Tim over at IBM) rerolling a new character every season will only result in no empty character slots and a bunch of level 30-60 alts to delete with no shiny legendaries to show for it.

        Some people have different views on this subject and that is what will make it so interesting to see how the developers implement it.

        • I think that what makes sense is to have season-only legendaries become part of the main game once the season ends. That way, everyone gets access to the legendaries, but it might take a long time if you don’t play the ladder. For instance, League of Legends’ seasons tend to last for roughly a year; if D3’s seasons lasted approximately the same amount of time (or, hell, even less; two or three months would work too) then you’d still be able to get the legendaries without playing the ladder, but it would take a long time. You’d have to wait for the season to end, then get the drop itself. I think that would be most fair way to do it, as it does not force players into ladder play, just prods them to play if they want specific legendaries any time before a couple of months pass.

    • I think Blizzard is aware of this problem.

      The most simple solution is to make season items available to all characters once the season ends, and make the items from the last season have higher chance of dropping (or rewards) in tiered rifts.

      As long as the seasons aren’t too long, it would only give season players a couple of months head start in finding them. And while that is happening, non season players will get more legendaries and more paragon levels from playing their normal characters, since they have better gear and higher level.

  5. I think the rewards for Seasons should be for Transmog purposes only, as I don’t want joining the Seasons to become mandatory. The transfer of XP, gold and items back to the main characters is enough.

    • It will be mandatory to play ladder if you are interested in the new items which will probably also be OP.

      • You realize if there are new items for each seasons, the items from say, season 1 could just start dropping in NL after said season is over, making it not-so-mandatory.

        • And season 2 would have new items again.

          If you enjoy staying behind the curve sure.

          • staying behind the curve ?

            you do realize you start every season with NOTHING ?
            no gold, no stash space, no items, no mystic, no leveled artisans

            so while the people in the season are trying to gain their first Paragon level, you’ll be working on Paragon level 478

            and since there are items that only drop in T1 and onward you’ll have a chance to get those with every run,
            while people on the ladder will still be working through boring Act 2 and Act 4

  6. Please please PLEASE, for the love of all that is and has been, DO NOT add Ladder-only items.

    I have zero interest in ladder play, but by adding ladder-only items i’m now basically forced into playing ladder anyway if i want access to all items, which quite frankly is bullshit.

    I was under the impression people wanted ladders as a way to compete against other players on leaderboards and whatnot, so why not let them do just that? Don’t go adding ladder exclusive items to the mix.

    And before people start going “oh, when the season is over you can get the new items anyway”

    Sure, it’s super fun waiting, what, 3-6 months(?) to get access to the new items, aaaaaand then they just start a new season with, guess what, MORE NEW ITEMS I CAN’T GET, unless i play the ladder, again.

    So, PLEASE, no ladder-exclusive items.

    /rant over 😛

    • I agree with you 100%. Ladders put me off D2 all together. But Blizz don’t care. The number of people who want ladders seems to be 100x the ones that don’t.

      People say that their friends quit playing after a couple of months, but if there was a ladder season they would come back at the start of each 1. WTF is the point of that? If you stop again after a month or 2 and the season is 6 to 12 months, your not going to win anything! It’s only a few different items that will be in it, not a whole new expansion pack.
      Why should they get those items to themselves?

      But if you want a little bit of notice. Then this needs to be on the Blizz forum, and you need to be bumping it every 2 minutes. Because if you don’t, then that’s how fast it will be gone.

    • Agreed.

      I was hoping that this game would not go down this path.

      Clearing areas should be a thing, Rifts should be a thing, Bounties should be a thing, and ladders should also be a thing. The key is to make each play have unique rewards without forcing the player to choose one over all others.

      Exclusive items and greatly increased drop rates only hurt every other play style.

  7. I don’t really carry over equipment so I’m fine with the ladders.

  8. I like ROS a lot, but this is how I often feel when I read about the future of the game: Grinding Gear Games did all the thinking, while now Blizz is just taking their ideas and putting them in a nice box called D3;)

    • How cool D2 could be if it had ladders… wait, D2 had ladders! How cool is that Blizz took ideas from Grinding Gear Games back then…

      • actually you mean how cool is it that Blizz finally realized how disappointing D3 is and how awesome PoE is

        so Blizz is FINALLY doing what GGG has been doing for years – taking its cues from D2

        its about freaking time

        so they finally

  9. The logic of some ppl saying that new orange in seasons forces them to play season is, I am sorry to say that, retarded (no logic). I don’t intend to play seasons, I doesnt force me to do anything, it is an incentive for ppl to start fresh. If you say, I are forced to play for new orange, well guess the incentive works for you (nudge!)

  10. D3 had ladder-only items. Nothing new here. That was the only thing that made me interested in ladders, so no problem here. Though I enjoyed rune combining more.

  11. I like to see more developed PvP system:
    – restore point after death (restore bottle somehow)
    – arena
    – defending fortress, attacking fortress maybe in the future?

  12. Seasons sound like fun. I like the idea of a play option to start absolutely fresh with a character.

    I’m guessing that season characters will have their own separate slot category just like hardcore characters?

  13. I don’t see why ladders are needed, if you want a reset every now and then, play hardcore. Personally the game would be a lot better if they work on the legendaries and set items we actually have in the game right now. Half of them are nothing more than rares to begin with. Ladders won’t improve the game that much, it’s nothing more than nostalgia and people romanticizing D2. Laddders sure won’t fix the Vile Wards and Witching Hours of the world, or the uninspired +2000 life regen set bonuses, fixing them would.

    As for tiered rifts, if they trully offer a challenge people in hardcore won’t try them, unless you can’t die there. It’s plain and simple, if there is a 1 in a 4 chance a rift can kill you, 4 man/woman enters, 3 leaves, nobody will go. Again, this is another “great” community idea that just waste everybody’s time. We don’t need tiered rifts, we already have torment levels. We don’t need tiered rift rewards, we need more density and more than 1 guardian per rift, per example the first meter spawns 1 guardian, the second meter spawns 2 and the last one spawns 3, each encounter dropping better and better loot, what about spawning an actual non-instanced boss inside a rift? And we also need better rewards scaling with difficulty for completing individual bounties so that bounty can be something to do other than splitfarming caches on normal.

  14. I don’t understand why Blizzard is introducing Season to D3. I feel it doesn’t work because of the way our characters are now. They feel like WoW characters, intended to have staying power. Is that not why we have access to all skills and can respec freely?

    My other outstanding issue with seasons is the leveling process. It’s just a bump in the road that isn’t going to be very enjoyable in D3’s current state unless A) Every drop was a legendary and B) I can directly control my character’s growth. Of course hitting max level in D3 from the start is relatively quick compared to D2 and PoE that this could be a non-issue but it still isn’t very interesting.

    Ladder Seasons worked well in D2 (pre 1.13) and PoE because there is/was no full respeccing on demand. You had to at minimum tinker around with which build you were going to take to on your way to high level magic finding. The journey was fun. The build twinking was enjoyable, seeing it progressively get stronger gave a good feeling. What is a leveling in RoS? A socketed weapon with a flawless imperial ruby.

    I’m fine with Ladders, they don’t affect me, but what was the point of D2’s ladder besides getting Ladder only uniques and runewords? Getting drowned out at 91+ by bots?

  15. Somebody had posted this article on the forums earlier and highlighted the same portions Elly did here, which I find odd because neither highlighted the one legitimacy new – and IMO, more interesting – info:

    “We don’t have any short term plans at the moment, but we all agree that the socketing game is not super deep and we’ve said so before. We are talking seriously about some legendary gem ideas that will offer new tactical options to players.”

  16. Really disappointed in Season only legendaries. Now we’re forced to do them or we’ll be forever inferior. Remaking and starting from scratch isn’t as fun in D3 as it was in D2 since you only need one character from each class to experience every build.

    I really hope they add Season only legendaries/items to the normal pool after the Season ends. “BUT THEN SEASON ONLY LEGENDARIES WILL BE POINTLESS!” That’s a good thing. Your fault for not pushing for things like custom Paragon Portraits, pets, transmog plans, flag stuff and cosmetic only rewards that would make you feel elite without screwing up gameplay.

  17. So…will we be getting more character slots or have to use existing ones?

  18. I do think seasons are good, but the season-only legendaries seem like a cheap incentive. I agree with the fact that it is more of a “junk lure” attempt at bringing appeal. If this does happen, then it should be fair enough that the legendaries should be added to the general pool once the seasons change. That way, there is always something to strive after, and a reason to go to the next season.

    But if we have a pool that is strictly seasons-only, that just doesn’t compute.

  19. Old style D2 ladders worked (create a new character, afterwards that character was rolled into a “normal” character) because you could create an unlimited number of characters. How is this going to work in D3? Those people who filled up their character slots long ago will have to delete max level characters or won’t be able to run ladders? As it is, character slots must compete for both hardcore and softcore spots! Ok, maybe make ladder characters as part of a different pool of character slots. Well, that’s how hardcore should have been handled in the first place, but what happens after those characters are “retired” from the ladder? What then?

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