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    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.

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