Remove Progress Orbs from Greater Rifts?

Every flavor orbs...

Every flavor orbs…

Some fans dislike having to pick up the purple eggs that DiabloWikiElites lay in DiabloWikiGreater Rifts, and ask why they must do so, instead of simply receiving the +1% experience boost directly. Remove DiabloWikiProgress Orbs from Greater Rifts?

So can somebody at Blizzard please tell me why the progress in greater rifts isn’t baked into the elites and instead we have to zig zag all over the place to pick these annoying little globes up? I can’t think of a single good reason, but if there is one I’d like to hear it.
Tyvalir: That’s a fair question.

During the initial development of Patch 2.1.0, we experimented with a variety of different designs for Greater Rifts. For example, in one such design, loot dropped throughout the Greater Rift. This was eventually changed and we removed said loot from everything but the Rift Guardian (so that the focus can be on killing things).

At one point, we actually tested a version of Greater Rifts where nothing dropped at all; not even progression orbs. Based on feedback, though, that scenario felt strangely unrewarding, especially when killing the more challenging monsters.

The current design provides a reward visually while playing through Greater Rifts, up until the final loot-splosion when you slay the Greater Rift Guardian. While we don’t have plans to change this, it is a great question, so I’m glad you brought it up. 🙂

Sometimes they get lost if you kill them around certain things. Like lava and or mobs that fly off the actual map….

…Is there any way to change how they’re tossed out/received? The only real flaw in the system is the time lost while scrambling to pick them up. Also it can be a real pain when they fall in the radius of a molten explosion, or other still-active elite effects.

…The problem is when you’re in a room and the orbs drop on 3 opposite corners and you end up running around to pick up orbs vs making progression on the map. Some elites drop them in a small radius and there’s those that throw them across screen. That’s what needs to be fixed
Tyvalir: Ah, I’ve seen this happen, too. Basically, you’re saying that when you kill an Elite or Champion pack, the resulting progress orbs can fly off in different directions, which can be frustrating if they end up being very far apart or being hidden behind other objects.

It’s not his job to argue fans out of bad ideas, but I think Tyvalir went too, “all feedback is are good feedback!” here. The reason, fairly obviously, is that a valuable reward like progress orbs should take some (minimal) effort to acquire. If you want the bonus Progress from the purple orbs, you have to go pick them up, and sometimes they don’t drop right in a stack, or you have to avoid Molten or Frozen or Arcane, etc. Welcome to Sanctuary, where random things are random. Enjoy your stay. Watch your step.

Early progress orb graphic.

Early progress orb graphic.

I wouldn’t say purple orbs are exactly a balancing factor, but obviously the fast moving builds with DoT damage are (slightly) inconvenienced by having to delay or detour to get the purple orbs, while direct damage classes/builds are generally standing right there when the Elite pops. That seems fair to me, as a help to the slower classes in a game where mobility is almost always a huge advantage.

And lest you think I’m just hating on Spin2Win Barbs (generally a safe assumption), my current fave build is a Strafe/Nat’s DH, and in T6 Rifts I use RoV: Dark Cloud, plus DoT on my Lgems, which means I’m usually well past the Elites when they pop, so any leg drops require me to backtrack. The same would be true in mid-level Grifts, (I use Fire RoV on higher Grifts, and can’t race madly past Elites) but of course I know that every Elite is going to drop purple orbs, so I stay closer to the bosses to make retrieval quicker when they die. (And still sometimes just keep on going, if I’m far ahead and flying with a Conduit or Channeling Pylon active.)

Do you guys like purple orbs and want them to stay? They are another form of shiny and they make a cool “gulpgulpgulp” sound when you PacMan over then. Do you think there’s a valid strategic element or class equalizer to having to pick them up, rather than just baking their bonus Progress into the Elite kill? Or do you want to just get the bonus without having to pause for an instant? Rushing is what Grifts are all about, after all.

What should happen to Progress Orbs in Greater Rifts?

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Just as a history lesson, remember that legendary drops gained the orange star on the map back in the height of D3v’s Spin2Win OP Barb days, msotly due to fan complaints that players were missing all the leg drops since they were already 2 or 3 screens ahead by the time the DoT whirlwinds finished off the targets. Builds that didn’t rush ahead weren’t missing any legs, and actually spotting the good drops when they dropped was considered a necessary skill to succeed in the game, as it was in D1 and D2.

I’m certainly not advocating the removal of orange stars and green asterisks, and without those I would miss multiple legs per day when they drop offscreen. Plus the *CLANG* and beam provide an instant of fun and anticipation even if they drop right next to your character. But neither do I think legs should just appear automatically in your inventory, as taking the moment to pick them up is part of the strategy/play mechanics.

For more history, remember when Progress Orbs were orange and spongy looking, first off on the PTR?


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  1. Can’t count how many potentially personal max grifts I’ve missed out by a few seconds. Having to backtrack for orbs is more than just an “inconvenience.”

  2. How about the vacuum mechanics they already use for the crafting materials? Couldn’t that be used?

  3. I’m rather in the “shiny/equalizer” camp. Someone with one of those super fast AoE builds should check if it’s not faster to leave those orbs on the ground and just press forward. It might be a valid strategy for someone…
    Slightly off topic – where I can find Flux’es Strafe/Nat’s build or similar? I have a pretty good idea what this build is about (so don’t explain it here) but I wanted to see it first hand for those little details 🙂

  4. Spin2Win is my favorite aspect of barbs, Flux. They’ve only been spinners for 15 years now. And I don’t play Flavor of the Seasons, only that which I enjoy.

    I dislike the orbs being thrown all over the playfield. I realize everyone is under the same game mechanics, but it just doesn’t feel right having to chase them down. I don’t even kill most elites anyhow, takes too long for such low reward.

    • I’ll likely play one myself later this season, once I’ve gotten my fill of the new DH builds. I used to play a lot of Barb WW in D2 and even tried it early in D3v before spin2win became a thing.

  5. There may be something to this, there might not be…what we do know is that there are MUCH, MUCH bigger fish to fry than this.

    That said, I don’t mind them. If you’re a baddass and don’t need them, more power to you. If you aren’t and feel like you need the boost…then you’ve got to put on your big person pants and decide whether you’re gonna play pinata arcane sentry limbo or go see what the next elite pack has in store.

  6. How about just one, larger progress orb instead of three? We still get the pick up mechanic but faster acquisition and no hunting around.

  7. If there are no drops in GR, yeah they should enforce that philosophy across the board and remove any kind of monster drop outside of guardians.

  8. Anyone remember Progress Quest? I used to play that all day long. Didn’t even need to touch my keyboard! 🙂

  9. They should take 30 seconds from my progress bar instead of taking it from my real life! I’m playing SOLO! Why the hell I have to wait when I die?

  10. Actually, when I first saw the orbs I thought their mechanic was the more you picked up the more loot you would get from the RG. I still think this would be a much more fun mechanic. Maybe instead of more loot each orb would increase MF/leg drop chance by a couple % I dunno. When I found out they just sped up the progress meter I just thought, meh, who cares…

  11. It is fine the way it is. Some people just want an instant clear rift button and give 5 ancient items as reward cause whine.

  12. i like how they are, maybe orbs should drop in smaller area but…

    if we remove everything random… guys.. only trials will remain
    and some builds are better single target some aoe some are faster some are slower, some builds can get orbs instantly some not.. well

    we need diversity

  13. I’m on the fence on this one. Frankly I’d much rather the devs put their time into another pass on the amount of progress different trash mobs give than worrying about this.

  14. I’m constantly annoyed with people wanting the game to be more and more trivial. Leveling being so easy is not enough?

  15. Since there are no drops like gold, etc. in the GRs… couldn’t blizz make it so your pick-up radius is increased by 5-10 naturally in GRs, so collecting orbs is a little smoother?

  16. Yeah, leave ’em be. It’s actually more of a pain if they fly off in multiple directions and your static melee because you have to rush round in lots of different directions. But hey… These are GRs. That’s code for “progression” which everyone says they want. Like you’ve said I. The article – RNG is RNG.

    If you’re so far ahead you haven’t got the time to backtrack then you don’t need them – your forward momentum is enough to make up the 1% without too much trouble.

  17. This matters? If depending on the orbs makes or breaks your Grift clearing, you have bigger spec issues than worrying about missing a little purple ball.

  18. The thing I like about the progress orbs is that I can either pick them up or leave them alone. I leave them when I’m trying to max exp and I don’t care about the time of the grift. It’s great to have options … that’s what makes grifts a better option for me personally.

    • One must realize that with the trouble it is to get keys now (this might change – is due to change but, we don’t know if it will really be much easier to get a stack of … let’s say level 35 keys) grifting for exp can be a hastle. fast grifts, done in under 3 minutes, are the best exp in the game. But, in order to make the most of those grifts … one can simply avoid picking up the majority of the purple globes. Thus, extending the length of the grift and maxing out the exp. It’s something of a habit for me and my circle of friends to not hit the globes when grifting for exp. And, it proves to work wonders. again, having the option, for that specific reason, is wonderful.

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