Only the greatest can achieve such.

    Only the greatest can achieve such.

    This week’s patch made some changes to the composition and style of the enemies players face during the DiabloWikiRealm of Trials in the process of earning a Greater Rift key. Some players like the changes, others do not, and today Blizzard offered an explanation. Realm of Trials Patch Changes Spark Controversy:

    The adjustments to the Realm of Trials in Patch 2.1.1 had a few goals. First, we wanted to more consistently test your survivability. High damaging creatures weren’t always spawning in each pack, which means your Toughness wasn’t always being properly evaluated. Second, we wanted the Trials to feel less punishing for melee characters. And third, we wanted to mirror the monster variety you’d experience in a Greater Rift as best as possible. While the experience won’t be identical, it should be reasonably close.

    The changes to address these issues are as follows:

  • We’ve adjusted how monsters will spawn during a trial. As part of this adjustment, we recategorized monsters into different “pools.” In the case of the Realm of Trials, a “pool” is a set of potential monster spawns that all have a specific theme. Different pools now include low hit point creatures that die quickly, slightly meatier “mid-ranged” enemies, tanky damage-soakers, and more consistent damage-dealers.)
  • With this, we ensured that least one monster type from each “pool” spawns dependably.
  • Monsters that run or kite frequently were removed from the spawn pools to improve the experience for melee players. To a lesser extent, this also lowers the need for players to have a “vortex” ability.
  • Finally, we realized that the reduction in keystone tier for multiplayer groups was too harsh. As mentioned above, it’s intended that you receive a keystone lower than your theoretical maximum. The increased reduction for player groups helps counterbalance the higher capabilities of a group, especially when considering class diversity and buff sharing. We overshot that counterbalance initially, but this will be adjusted with an upcoming hotfix.

    On this week’s podcast Monstrous talked extensively about the biggest problem with the Realm of Trials (before the patch). Namely that many classes/builds (especially melee) couldn’t finish the Waves quickly enough and thus got much lower level keys than they wanted. Thus a melee character whose actual max DiabloWikiGreater Rift was around GR38 could only earn a GR30~ key from the Realm of Trials, and then needed to spend an hour or two clearing Greater Rifts, progressing gradually upward 1 or 2 levels at a time, to finally reach the 37-39GR range they wanted to start off at. (And that assumes they didn’t get one bad spawn Grift on the way up and fail to finish in time.)

    This was a problem since some classes/builds (notably DiabloWikiM6 Demon Hunters) who were exceptional at the style of waves combat seen in the Realm of Trails, and thus could earn GR40+ keys right from the start, giving them a much faster method to play the higher level Grifts, even if they weren’t actually better/faster at clearing those Grift levels. As a result it’s become common for players to party up with as many DHs as possible just to earn higher level keys via the Realm of Trials.

    Blizzard’s solution, at least with the current Patch changes, is to make the Realm of Trials harder, especially for ranged characters, thus lowering the highest possible keys anyone can get a hold off. Which is enforcing equality of a sort, but opens up a new problem for players at the highest level of competition.

    Now, barring much better equipment being patched into the game, it’s going to be almost impossible for anyone to challenge the current highest GR records. Not because the game is harder, but because all the current top GR times (in softcore, at least) were set by players who abused the old Realm of Trials system to rack up a bunch of 45-50 keys, which they could then attempt over and over again, until they got a Greater Rift with a great monster spawn, found a couple of Conduit Shrines, etc. And that was possible to do trying the same Grift level repeatedly, but is not possible to get several times in a row while working your way up, say GR 38, 39, 40, 41, while chasing the current WD leaderboard.

    This is obviously a problem that only affects a small number of players who have a lot of free time for gaming, and even for them it will be fixed by starting in the next season, whenever the next season stats. It’ll also change as Grift times improve inexorably, as new/better Legendary items are added in patches, as better techniques are discovered, etc, which makes me think it’s not a big deal. But if you’re one of those players challenging for the fastest Grift, it’s probably a big deal to you.

    Those guys, and everyone else as well… what do you think of the Wave of Trials changes? And does anyone support a Grift leaderboard wipe, based on the new style of Trial?

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