The issue of Realm of Trails came up in the D3 dev chat this week, and fans dissatisfied with the Dev reply have been ranting. What did the devs actually say? I’ve got the transcript below, but first, here’s the Blue forum version of the issue. Realm of Trials: The Nightmare Continues:
“The Realm of Trials was designed to be a convenience to the players.”
-D3 Tavern Talk
It was designed to be a convenience, because before Trials you started at Greater Rift level 1 and advanced from there every time. Trials were designed as a way to skip this process.
Tyvalir: That’s exactly right. When Greater Rifts were first added to the game, players were able to start at Greater Rift 1 and jump up in difficulty quickly. However, this often led to them overshooting their mark and biting off more than they could chew difficulty-wise.
Although Rifts of Trials were intended to solve this problem (by helping players gauge the best Greater Rift level for them more quickly), they ended up becoming tedious for many players. As Travis mentioned during yesterday’s Tavern Talk, we agree with players that it’s silly to have to go through the Realm of Trials each time you want to do a Greater Rift. After all, that’s like having to “measure up” each time you go on the same ride at a theme park (versus only the first time), right?
At any rate, we agree the Realm of Trials is flawed, which is why the development team is looking at other options for how to structure Rifts and Greater Rifts.
I don’t actually mind Trials myself, but we posted a vote about this some weeks ago and the community consensus was clear, with a strong majority hating or disliking Realm of Trials. As with everything on the Internet, the “I hate X” voices are the loudest, but in this case they’re actually the majority, not just the noisy fringe. So what do the devs say in reply to the fans? Click through for the transcript from this weeks’ chat, and our Wave of Trials vote:
Here’s the transcript I typed out from the Tavern Talk. The Realm of Trials conversation runs from 53:15 – 56:30 if you want to hear it yourself.
Wyatt Cheng: Definitely something that… Funny story we were talking about this yesterday. The trials were actually supposed to be a convenience, to replace something even more um… arduous. Which was players used to start Greater Rifts at level 1 every time. And that was the beginning of the beta testing for the Greater Rifts. You’d start at 1 and then you’d skip ahead to like 6, and then 12, and then 18… And by Greater Rift 35 people would hate going through all the Rifts. So we were like, “Hey, here’s the idea, we’ll take the whole rift and shrink it down to 15 seconds an you can skip ahead very fast.”
But it’s still something that’s not pleasant to do. I think Travis uses the “you’re this tall” analogy a lot…
Travis Day: I’m with you… We talk about Trials a lot. We’ve talked about ways to improve it or remove it or modify it in some way. The analogy I always use is, “It’s like when I’m going to Disney World and I get in line for a ride, and they pull out the measuring stick. ‘You must be this tall to ride this ride.’ I’m like, ‘Oh man I’m not quite this tall…’ and then next year I go back and I’m that tall, and if I get off the ride and get back in line, and the guy is measuring me again. But I’m still this tall, I didn’t shrink. Why do I have to prove I can do GR35or 40… I just did it. Let me go right back in.”
Wyatt: In regards to why the Trials still exists, there are a couple of reasons. These aren’t reasons we can never get rid of Trials, they’re just questions we ask and explore. One is that we feel there’s a lot of value in not always pushing yourself to the hardest difficulty all the time. So for example, if we just got rid of the Trial and you could go right into your hardest Tier every single time… That could get wearing.
The other concern I have is multiplayer. Particularly public games. IF you go to do a public game, I might be GR25, let’s say. And someone else is 20 and someone else is 30. We all get matched in a game together and we don’t know which Greater Rift to start at. We have to talk and negotiate and the Trial is sort of this organic way to place this public group in a correct Rift together.
That’s sort of the other problem we’re looking to solve. But we recognize the problem, so we’re just trying… trying to figure out the bst solution.
Nevalistis: It’s definitely a conversation that’s been had. Many, many times.
Devs: *rueful laughter*
Talking to one of the CMs who was surprised at the angry fan reaction and wondered if I’d seen similar in our wing of the Diablo community, I opined that for people who really hate Trials, anything from the devs other than “removing them immediately and paying reparations for their earlier existence” was going to stir complaints. And it did!
My impression is that there are a lot of specific game design reasons that Trials are needed, but they don’t want to get into that detailed of a conversation during the live stream, so we get more philosophical replies.
The multiplayer issue is obviously a real thing, but the bigger issue is Legendary Gems. Since higher level GRifts allow you to upgrade LGems, there needs to be some mechanism to keep players from accessing much higher GRs than they “deserve” to enter, since at least in softcore, people could just Zerg their way to completing the GRs (eventually) and since you can upgrade LGems even if you don’t beat the 15m timer, that’s an exploit.
If it’s really that big a deal if players cheese their LGems at rank 52 instead of rank 44… is another question. (And it’s much less of an issue in Hardcore, since doing a GR way over your char’s ability carries its own punishment.)
That’s why it wouldn’t be ideal if, for instance, the game just let you forever create GR50 keys, since you once did one in a party, when your character could only “earn” GR37, and actually complete GR43ish, within 15m.
The best and simplest Realm of Trials fix I’ve heard is to simply let players cash in more than 1 Key each time. If you could convert 1 or 3 or 5 or 10 keys at once, that would seemingly fix the problem. Just convert 1 key if you crashed out on a lower Wave, and convert 10 when you got exactly the Wave you wanted. The only latent exploit I see there is players cashing in 10 keys when they got party carried to a much higher GR than they could do solo. To prevent that the devs would have to limit how many keys you could turn in during MP games, or implement something so the game tracked if GRKs were earned in solo or party games, and that would be cumbersome and annoying.
Players who really hate Realm of Trials would still complain even if the “ten at once” feature went in, but of the solutions I’ve heard, it’s the simplest and least intrusive. Which probably means we’ll never see it and if/when there’s some new GRK system it’ll be complicated and create a whole new series of issues. Because designing video games is hard!
Here’s the vote we posted in our original Realm of Trials article a couple of weeks ago, with a snapshot of community sentiment. Anyone changed their opinion since then?