The “Hidden” Grift Key Exploit

news-realm-of-trials-hatesA new trick/exploit is growing in popularity, since it enables players in a party to repeatedly clear the same level of Greater Rift without repeating the Realm of Trials each time. It’s not an exploit since you’re not cheating anything, just taking advantage of the game mechanics to run multiple Grifts after just one Realm of Trials. The method is slightly complicated to explain, so I’ll try to be clear.

The “Hidden” Grift Key Exploit. Objective and requirements:

  • You want to farm the same level of Greater Rift several times in a row, but *not* the highest Grift you’re capable of. (Going GR25+, especially GR35+, yields FAR more exp than clearing T6 Rifts.)
  • Entering a GR in a party game requires a key of that level, or higher. (This is where the trick comes in.)
  • Assume for the sake of the example that you could struggle through a GR45, but can speed farm GR35. Thus the trick is for your party of 4 to earn 4 GR35 keys, and then use them to quickly clear 4 different GR35s, without doing Waves again.

    1. Start off in the Realm of Trials, where everyone exits once you’re at the appropriate Wave for the GRKs you want. (High 30s, in this example.)
    2. This earns all 4 players in the game one GRK 35.
    3. Three of the players then “hide” their GR35 key by putting it into the stash, then logging on a different character and moving it to that character’s inventory.
    4. Trick: You can not drop GRKs, but you can force the GR35 key to drop to the ground when you first earn it by making sure your Inventory is completely full. (This is slightly risky since if the game crashes, you’ll lose the keys on the ground, but it’s faster than switching characters.)
    5. The one player who didn’t “hide” their GRK then creates the GR35, and all the other players enter, using some other GR35+ key they had already. (If you don’t have any higher keys already, you need to do the Waves twice at the start of the game.)
    6. Players churn through that GR as quickly as possible, earning big EXP and items from the Guardian, and then take the GRK upgrade from Urshi, which will generally be a GRK40+, since your party cleared the GR35 so quickly.
    7. Another player in the game then retrieves the GR35 key they “hid” and creates a GR35 for the party. Everyone joins, using the GRK 40 they just earned doing that fast GR35 clear.
    8. Repeat this twice more, with the other two players taking turns using the GRK35 they earned in the Waves at the start of the game.

    The net result is your party of 4 does 4 GR35 clears, and you only had to do the Wave of Trials once. You’ll gain far more EXP (and Legs, probably) doing 4 GR35s than you would doing 4 (or 6, or 8) T6 Rifts in roughly the same amount of time.

    That clear enough? Anyone got further refinements or tricks to add? If the explanation isn’t clear, ask in comments and I’ll try to streamline it further.


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    1. I don’t get it. You already spent the time to farm the key, what’s the exploit? Surprise, you can run as many grifts as you have keys for? I don’t see how this is advantageous unless you were too stupid to realize it before.

    2. Yeah I'm not sure how this is much of an exploit. They avoid doing a couple Realm of Trials that take about 1 minute each while having to mule GR keys to other accounts which probably takes just as long to move.

      • The thing is, three people swap out to "hide" the keys and it doesn't really take as long as the realm of trials. The one person swapping between GRs can do so while other people salvage/craft/re-roll, etc…

        I think you're underestimating how much people hate the Realm of Trials mechanic, and also how easy it is to accidentally end up with a 42 keystone because you kill too fast.

        My M6 DH melts waves. I have a good half stack of 42 keys that I meant to be 38s.

      • One player in a 4p game switching chars would take no more than the 30s you've got to wait for a GR to end. And if you force drop the GRKs in town, there's zero delay on changing characters.

        The real point, as I understand it, is to repeatedly run the mid-level GR very quickly, without having to do Waves repeatedly. Multiply it out; 4 players could do 3 waves at the start of a game, get their 12 GR35 keys, then spend an hour doing 12 GR35 rifts without doing a single additional Realm. That's a fairly big time savings over doing Waves 12x.

        • Just goes to show what lengths players will go to to avoid having to do Greater Rift Trials. Clearly they need to be removed and a difficulty slider put in place instead.

          • 100% agree with this post. Clearly if people are going the extra mile to avoid a system or mechanic, it’s a clear sign of how broken it is.

    3. Everyone has to spend a key. Normally then you either cash out for 3 gem upgrades or you get a higher level key. Using this method, one realm of trials results in 4 of the lower level easy clears with just one trials run, since you can use a higher level key to enter a lower level rift.

      Scenario 1.) Everyone does trial, gets a GR 35 key, everyone enters and clears in 5 minutes. Everyone upgrades key and gets a 45. Now, if they want to do another 35, it's time for the trial again.

      Scenario 2.) Everyone does trial. Three people who have higher keys laying around put the GR35 key in stash, swap to another character and put it in that char's inventory to "hide" it, then swaps back to main. Fourth person puts in GR35 key, other 3 people use up prior GR 45 keys to enter, they clear, everyone ends up with a GR 45 key. Second person swaps to "hidden GR key" character, puts it in stash, swaps back to main and opens a GR 35 … the other 3 have THE SAME KEY they just got done using and upping to 45 to use to enter the 35. You do this 4 times and you get to do 4x GR 35 but only have to do the trial once.

      This also has the benefit of leaving people with high rift keys to use to further this method (you never actually spend the keystones until you clear the GR45s for gem upgrades) once their gems are beyond where GR35 can reasonably upgrade their gems.

      GR 35 is a very good sweet spot for xp and legs once you are geared well. I have a friend and we can 2 man clear 35 in around 5 minutes. We usually party up with 2 others from the IncE clan and still get clears in the 6.5-7 minute range.

    4. You can recycle GRift keys. If you dont have any trial keys the game will instead use the lowest GRift key you have. So if you have a bunch of 45+ keys you can just hide your lower GRift keys and Trial Keys. Then if someone opens a trial it will use a 45 key for the trial.
      IF you want to up the effeciency you can force the keys to drop on the ground (as described by Flux) so you can recycle multiple keys in one game without muling all the time.

      The reason people do the lower GRifts is that percentage based experience bonuses (such as ruby in a helm) are multiplicative instead of additive. Using this you can gain experience at an insane rat. You also get a much higher amount of Bloodshards and Legendaries.

    5. Maybe I am confused here, but this just seems more like trading down than an actual exploit. You just acquired the keystones in previous games and are using them now. Doesn't seem like you are getting any freebies.

      You have the same amount of keys as you would otherwise, just forcing the game to use the highest key for a lower rift?

    6. Let me see if I got it:

      – Preparation: 2 high GR keys (get a DH and you can make GR40+ key on solo trials in little time – it's easy to get a lvl 40 key on solo because you need to go 3 levels above)

      – Group enter trials, get four GR35-37 keys.

      – 3 players mule away their keys/force them to drop on floor because full inventory is full.

      – The no-muling player opens the sweet spot rift, the rest of group use higher level keys to enter.

      – The group clears the rift and everyone gets a higher level key.

      – Another player mules back a key and open, the rest use higher level keys to enter.

      – (repeat until all the 4 rifts are cleared, after 1 single trial)

      Doing the math, people will still have at least one "higher level key" to start the whole thing again.


      • Most players have some spare 40+ keys lying around that they're not real likely to use, as it's a slow struggle at that GR level. So can thus start this off with just the one Waves, giving enough keys to do 4 fast GR35s, or thereabouts.

    7. The trading down is the exploit. It is much better to run a bunch of 35s than a 35,39,41,42,etc from a time vs loot/exp point of view.

    8. Is doing a bunch of 35s really better than just TPing out of trials getting a 1 then 11 21 31 34-38 etc? From a xp/loot per amount of time spent farming? I could see how per xp it is probably a little faster to juggle and mule keys for paragons only, but loot and mats would be amassed quicker just speed running through on 1 11 21 31 36…

      • It's mostly about the EXP, since that's huge on higher GRs, but it's also a popular way to upgrade Alt LGems, since if you're doing GR34 or higher you've got 100% on rolls up to rank 25.

        Though if you choose to upgrade your LGem instead of GRK, you'll be using other spare high GRKs instead of the one you earn with your speed clear of GR35.

    9. The exploit is obvious. If you can’t get past GR45 then you are stuck doing a Grift that will be painfully long. I’m not suggesting this is wrong and that all exploits are wrong, but, using a game mechanic for something outside the design intent is an exploit.

      So here is the exploit, you have keystones that will reduce your XP/Hour rate if you use them as intended. So you gear up with a Big Red Helm Gem to buff the multiplicative modifier (not available on regular Rifts)on a much lower Tier and never take the Gem upgrade. So, you gain XP by using quadrupling the access to higher XP/Hours Grifts.

      I don’t see anything wrong with this at all. But an exploit it definitely is. Using Leoric’s Crown and XP bonus set item can double or more the billions of XP you get from from killing all the monsters in a GR 35.

    10. I've been doing this since it day one. It's not an exploit by any means. It's just a way to make the best use of your time and your keys. This game mechanic exists, and was created for, all the people QQing in the forums about how much they hate trials. This was blizzards fix.

      I think the real issue is that some people are over the item game and some people are still into it. For the people into it, grifts are a chore; a necessary challenge to upgrade gems but, obligatory; without the pinata waiting around every corner. Wait, I just killed this monster and nothing popped out! I hate this!

      Then there's the crowd who just wants to enjoy the playing game mechanic "I've built this engine and now I just want to see it run." I'm there. I can't stand doing rifts. I don't do them to get keys and mats. I don't have feelings for the gear. I just want to kill monsters and beat my best time.

      So, it's a drag, getting to the end of the grift and knowing that there's no upgrade for you with Urshi. Especially if you fail and you're over the 15 minutes. That's why the smart game play is to use the low level grift. Any well endowed player can reach the end of a grift 30-36 before the timer runs out. But, at that moment you realize that there's no way to upgrade your gem here … you accept it. Let's just get the key. But, that key can be used again and again. It's awesome I'm already Paragon 670+ and climbing. It's not a rapid accent, but, it's been steady and that's the way it should be. This game is enjoyable again

      • I meant to say (about rifts) … I only do them to get keys and mats. NOT, "I don't do them to get keys.

        I'd like to add – the best way to do this 'store the key thing' is with a full party … even though it's trouble to explain; once your mates get it, it'll save you a ton of time.

        4 people do 5 trials to level 35. 3 of those people store the keys on another character. and the one who doesn't uses his 5 keys. while his mates use a higher key … a 42 or a 46.

        Then, after 5 grifts, someone else goes and get's their stored keys. And again, opens those grifts … 5 in a row.

        So, an organized party only need to farm 5 trials to get 20+ grifts … and it's a great time. That's a great game mechanic. People just need to enjoy it, work it and stop crying.

    11. Wouldn't it just be better to replace trials as they currently are with some system that makes it so that people don't jump through ridiculous hoops to avoid them?

      I mean instead of all this they could make it where you put a GR45 key in the UI dialog and there is a slider asking what level from 1 to 45 that you want to open, right?

    12. "It’s not an exploit since you’re not cheating anything, just taking advantage of the game mechanics"

      I do agree with that,
      but I'm sure MANY people have been banned from WoW, GW2 and other mmos for "taking advantage of the game mechanics"

    13. As someone who only plays solo, I’m sure I’m missing something about how group grifts work.

      Why do you have to hide the grift keys?

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