A site reader named Bas de Ruiter mailed in a few days ago to point out that running Grifts in Patch 2.3 was going to require a lot more Rift Keystones, since you could no longer upgrade your stone when you completed the rift. That was correct, but it didn’t feel like a big deal leaping into the Patch 2.3 on the PTR with existing Season Three (or Era) characters, since most of us had dozens (hundreds?) of Grift keys, and characters powerful enough to earn new keys quickly by rolling roll T6 (or higher) Rifts.In patch 2.3, Grifts seemed like a dream as we were seduced by the convenience of instantly creating a new Grift of any level we liked, without the wasted time of a Realm of Trials or even the 30s cooldown after completing a Rift.
Playing fresh characters in Season Four on the PTR puts that issue in a very different light. You’ve got to earn each Grift key, they only drop from Rift Guardians on T1 or higher, and the odds are pretty low until you’re up to T4 or higher. Plus each Grift key is only good for one Grift. Which can be tricky with a brand new character, since you’re not strong enough to do higher Torment levels, and it’s hard to get stronger when you don’t have any Legendary Gems, which you can’t get without doing Grifts, which you can’t do without Grift Keys.
You’re seeing some circularity to that issue, but it’s a thing since the game has changed. Patch 2.3: No More Grift Slow Rolling.
The usual trick during Season 1-3 was to “slow roll” Grifts, by starting at Rank 0, clearing 95-99% of the Grift, then portaling out and doing Bounties to waste time until you had less than 4:30 remaining, when you’d head back and complete the Grift. This trick was widely used to run 8 or 10 (or more) Grifts from a single Grift Key, allowing players to quickly obtain most of the Legendary Gems (albeit at Rank 0), and to gear up, since the Grift Guardians would often drop 2-4 legendary items even on the very easy low level Grifts.
In Patch 2.3:
On the whole, it’s much slower to collect Legendary Gems since you can’t exploit one Grift key into a bunch of low level Grifts. Plus you get a LOT fewer Legendary items per Grift, which slows your gearing up. You have to hope you find useful LGems in your first Grift or 3, ones that can benefit you without more than 1-3 ranks, and you have to constantly alternate Rifts and Grifts, since you need to keep finding more Grift Keys, and the free 2-4 Legs per Grift you’re not finding in v2.3 are very noticeable in that P1-P50 range.
What do you guys think of these balance changes? Did you slow roll in the past, and will you miss it? Do you think Grifts should be easier to get into early in the season, say by making keys optional for GR1-5? Or maybe by making the Guardians drop multiple Legendary Gems per Grift, or increasing the drop odds for Grift Keys from lower difficulty Rift Guardians? Or do you like the new paradigm and think players should have to earn their keys and earn their LGems?
Update #1: I should have mentioned, but there are no more normal Rift keys in patch 2.3. You can enter Rifts from level 1 without any token or expense, just like going to any waypoint in the game. So you do not need to farm bounties to get into normal Rifts, you just need to do Rifts to get GRift keys.
Update #2: It takes a surprisingly long time to get all the LGems when you can only do one Grift per key. In S4 I’m now P130, geared enough to fly through T6 Rifts, with a best Rift of GR32 in 9m. (I’d have done more but the PTR keeps crashing this weekend.) But I’ve only got 1 LGem to 25 and still haven’t found several LGems, including Bane of the Trapped or Iceblink, either of which I’d probably use with my cold M6 build.
I’m not actually complaining; it’s kind of fun accumulating the LGems gradually and I’ve had to adjust my gearing strategy based on which ones I have (or don’t have), but when you start out in Season 4, just be prepared to gather and level your LGems more slowly than in previous seasons. (You need the new Horadric Cache materials for cube stuff and crafting, so you wind up spending a lot of time running Act bounties, rather than just grinding Rifts/Grifts, as in previous patches.)