Diablo 3 PTR: Bigger and Better Nephalem Rift Maps

Diablo 3 PTR: Bigger and Better Nephalem Rift Maps

The size and shape and monster density/composition of the Nephalem Rifts and Greater Rifts is one of the main areas of testing during the current PTR session. The big changes were noted in the first days of the PTR, with much higher density in Greater Rifts allowing most characters to instantly boost their highest Grift completed by 3-5 levels.

That improvement remains, but the changes to layout and density are found in non-Greater Rifts as well, and there are numerous improvements to the map layouts. Some tile sets that most players dread in the live game, such as the Act 1 Spider Caverns or the various long, narrow caves levels (Act 1 dirt, Act 2 water, Act 3 ice), are much better when you get them now on the PTR. There’s much more variety in how those levels are laid out, with hardly any dead ends, more density, more monster variety, and very different overall map shapes.

That issue was covered in the Blizzcon Evolution panel, with the devs sharing horror stories about really long, boring maps in some Rifts. (Though the biggest issue with some maps is fixed now that characters can resurrect at their corpse in Rifts, instead of having to respawn at the last checkpoint.)

Some of the bigger maps are tweaked as well, and you’ll sometimes get them now with two main portions connected by a narrow passageway. I’ve seen that layout type in the Rift version of the Dhalgur Oasis, the Act 5 cemetery, and most notably in the Act One jail. I got one such map playing tonight, and combined two screens to fit the whole thing on the map. It’s the mega-jail! Diablo 3 PTR: Bigger and Better Nephalem Rift Maps indeed:


That’s a reduced image size for easier viewing, and the fact that every bit of it was crammed full of monsters made it seem even larger. The density was very high, the monster variety was varied, and it was an Elite Rift, as often happens in that Jail level. I didn’t count, but I must have gone through 40 or 50 elites in this thing, and if the completion % counter kept going above 100% (I wish it did, just for the sake of curiosity) I’m sure I would have gone well over 500% completion just on this level.

I went left at the start, was confused when the dungeon perimeter turn right (this tileset never does that in the live game, always forming a square or rectangle), and got the Rift Guardian while I was in that area. I kept going since it was Elite-arific, explore that whole lower area, and kept expecting to find the stairs down, or even the Rift end altar. Instead I found a long hallway, and then that whole second half to the lower left.

About to get all Archeologist on a Goblin Tribe.
About to get all Archeologist on a Goblin Tribe.
Note that there are stairs to a level 2. I didn’t check, but I wouldn’t have been surprised to see more levels below that. Rifts on the PTR never seem to end after one level, no matter how large or dense they are, and I have seen many Rifts that keep going for 5 or 7 levels, even when just 1 or 2 was plenty for the completion. These new, bigger Rifts remind me how nice it would be if Rifts gave a bonus for total completion, such as a chance to spawn a second guardian at the ending Altar. You’d really have to earn it now, as these are damn deep dungeons.

This Rift had a special bonus, though just a random one. Mega-pack of Goblins! Click through for some more screens of that, and info about how those guys work in the new patch.

Multi-Type Goblin Packs

Mixed type Goblin packs were added during this PTR cycle, after the initial offering was just the three new types of goblins, with the capability to see a multi-pack of all the same type, including the new types. That was fun, and crazy when you got 8-12 Blood Thieves or Gem Hoarders at once. One such pack of 10+ Odious Collectors brought me the best Goblin sighting I ever have or likely ever will witness, thanks to finding it with my first Season Two character, when I’d only learned a handful of legendary crafting plans.


Those sorts of packs of the new Goblin types were insane, and I documented them in a previous article. Finding 400 Marquise/Imperial gems at once, or 3000+ Blood Shards was fun, but kind of insane, and Blizzard scaled it back.

Thus now when you get a big pack of Goblins in a Rift (they also keep appearing in Greater Rifts also, which is annoying since they don’t drop anything there) the all types at once, in roughly the same frequency you see the different types individually. I’ve not kept a full census, but on the PTR it seems to be something like 70% Treasure Goblins, 25% Blood Thief (red) + Gem Hoarder (silver) + Odious Collector (green), and 5% (or less) Infernal Tormentors.

The pack I got in this mega-jail game was about 8 Treasure Goblins, plus 2 Odious Collectors and 2 Gem Hoarders. There were no Blood Thieves or Malevolent Tormentors. All the goblin types seem to have the same hit points and running behavior, except for Malevolent Tormentors (the rarest type that drop like super-quality Gobbies) who move faster and repeatedly teleport short distances when you’re in pursuit.

Goblins Are Slower to Phone Home

One nice change is that Goblins don’t vanish through their portals as quickly anymore. Now on the PTR, if you get a big pack and some of them run off the screen, they seem to go back to their resting phase, and will sit by their open portals for several minutes if you don’t activate them again. I’ve had games where I’ve scatter the whole pack (it’s hard not to when playing a Demon Hunter, since 1 Multishot blast will hit the entire bunch from a screen away) and gone after half a dozen in one direction… and then returned to the starting point several minutes later to find 4 or 5 goblins still sitting there.

This changes the strategy for dealing with Goblins in groups, since no more do you want to try to get them all at once, and while killing one or some, trying to land small hits on the others so they’ll run again, instead of taking a portal out. Now on the PTR you are better off concentrating on several Goblins at a time, without bothering the whole bunch.

Different Color Portals

I do have one suggestion/request for the multi-packs… make their portals different colors. Rainbow Goblins drop like normal Goblins and may open their rainbow portals on death, but when first spotted they’ve got their rainbow portal open, making them very easy to recognize. (I’ve seen them in mixed Goblin packs on the PTR.)

The 4 new types of Goblins don’t have that display though, and with them all using the same gold-tinted portal it’s hard to tell them apart when you encounter a big bunch at once. It’s especially hard to notice Malevolent Tormentors, solo or in a pack, since they are just a darker golden color than normal Goblins. I’ve killed several of them so far and not noticed they were specials until I read the text or saw legendary item(s) appear in the loot.

Finally, I don’t know if the new types of Goblins can open a portal to DiabloWikiGreed’s Domain. I’d guess that they can, and that it would be the normal version of Greed’s Domain, but I’ve only seen 2 golden portals so far on the PTR, and both were opened by the normal type Gobbies.

I did get one Blood Thief when I was inside The Vault for the second time, which was a nice bonus… though it took me well past the stupid 500 hardcap and forced me to portal back to town from inside the Vault.

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15 thoughts on “Diablo 3 PTR: Bigger and Better Nephalem Rift Maps

  1. i just checked the ptr when it was new to see the then mega-buff but haven't played anymore than maybe half an hour.
    once season two goes live and i transferred whatever gear, gems etc. to the normal game i will play that season too and with all these changes coming up i'm looking forward to it.

    another suggestion i have is to be able to stack legendary gems. once season one ends, players will have multiple legendary gems from live and season one, taking up additional stash space apart from the not (yet) implemented stacking function of crafting materials down where the blood shards are.
    i am very certain this will come one day, since there is so much room down there as well as a few other new things to come up since the UI still has room for a few things and a few other potential giveaways of things to come.

    bigger rifts, more mobs, more elites, more grinding, more legs, more goblins, more lgems, moar, moar MOAR!

  2. "…they also keep appearing in Greater Rifts also, which is annoying since they don’t drop anything there…"
    I got a lone Gem Hoarder in a PTR GRift, and it DID drop the gems. Weird…

    • They were appearing and dropping in the Rifts when the new goblin types first went live, but that seems to have been fixed in subsequent patches. Just the mixed type Goblin packs keep showing up in Grifts. Though I've not seen one the last few days, so possibly the last patch did fix that issue.

  3. While density is usually but not always higher, if you get large numbers of enemies that don't give much in the way of advancement (which is often the case) you still lose by RNG, and because of the new maps it means yes, good maps last a while. So do bad ones.

  4. Man, those PTRs are way too long, the community falls flat every time. They need to address half as much to release twice as often. Every PTR the game dies.

    • They said they wanted this one to be shorter, too. I'm surprised it's gone this long. I'm also surprised they didn't announce the end of Season One/start of Season Two. They've said we'll get at least 30 days notice, so I was expecting it back in November, so S2 would start in late Dec when people had time off to play the game. Then I figured S2 would begin early 2015, as a calendar thing.

      Now I have no idea. Bliz usually goes pretty dark from mid-Dec into early January, so I guess they're not going to bother starting S2 until they're back from their vacays.

      • Could it be possible that (since they were already cooking something bigger on the side for post patch 2.1.2, the next expansion or something of similar nature) they decided to merge the announcement of that with the announcement of Season2 and pushing of the patch 2.1.2?

        The only other plausible explanation is that the fixing/tuning of the DH and Monk sets took longer then they have ever imagined/planned. Let's not forget, they are rather a obsessive bunch and they are very an*l about not putting anything out there without themselves being completely satisfied with the content in the first place.

        • I'd like to think, but they go into crunch mode before an expansion announcement to get all the stuff ready to show… and that's not going to happen early in the year. Late Dec is always their main holiday time, and they might crunch through to make a ship date (D1 released in early Jan 1996) but not for an expansion announcement.

          I am surprised no Season 2 or patch stuff, though. Actually getting the patch done and season ready to launch is work though, and can't necessarily be timed to the calendar as they probably wish it could be. Alas.

  5. "I went left at the start, was confused when the dungeon perimeter turn right "

    Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but didn't you turn 'right' at the start?

    Still, good read. And I too really wish this patch would come out already…

    • I did go right at the start, but as that level (on Live) is always a rectangle, I was surprised to find a right turn as I went right. Always before I'd have gone until I hit a wall that went left at the perimeter of the dungeon.

      The Dhalgur Oasis level now is evey weirder, with sort of corridor exits off to the side. I usually fail to find them, since the Live game that layout is always just a little dead end point, with a dock or bit of grass. And it usually is on the PTR also, but sometimes there's a narrow hallway that leads to the stairs or to another half of the level, but you won't notice it unless you actually go look.

  6. I've discovered that goblins will go back to their resting state even with a DoT on them. My witch doctor has found dead goblins and almost dead goblins just a short distance from the main fight.

  7. Goblins going back to their resting state has already been happening for a while. It's like that on Live. I noticed this a while back.

    • Well, that's handy. I haven't played live in quite a while, but it's very noticeable on the PTR. That article I posted about the Gem of Ease a couple of days ago I found a pack of them at around level 30. And couldn't kill them very well with my self-rushing character, and most of the goblins scattered.

      And I roamed around the level, killing more stuff and mostly trying to avoid Bloodmaw and his one-shot leaps when the Guardian spawned, but I found some of the goblins from the pack literally 15m later, when I was like 12 levels higher than I'd been when I first hit them.

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