Wyatt Cheng Podcast Interview: Realm of Trials will be Removed

Wyatt Cheng continued his fan media tour with an appearance on the Westmarch Workshop Wednesday night. More than just storytime with Wyatt, this is hostage time with Wyatt, as he stuck around for a full two hours, chatting on a wide variety of topics.

We haven’t had a chance to listen to the show yet so no additional notes as of yet. Leviathan did provide one nice bit of transcript, with Wyatt talking about the development of a new feature that will replace the much-maligned Realm of Trials. Click through for that excerpt transcript, and if you have time to listen to the whole podcast, feel free note the time of any key topics or new infos in comments.

WYATT CHENG: The Trials are not good. We don’t like them. I don’t like them. I would hesitate to say I hate Trials… I would say that they are–


A vote from December.

NEINBALL: Can we say it for you? (laugh)

WYATT CHENG: (laugh) I think it’s part of the natural iteration process. It solved a problem that we had before. And, I don’t want to defend Trials; I’m not going to defend Trials. I think that it is the latest in a sequence of events… and Trials will be getting removed from the game. I can’t tell you when. I can tell you that we already don’t have Trials in our internal builds. We’ve been playing around with it and testing it, and we are committed to removing them. But there were some problems that came up. I don’t want to go into all the details that we have because it’ll sound like I’m defending the Trials system, I just hope that people can respect that we are working on it. Johnny Ebert, he is hard at work. He’s working with Roger, the Gameplay Engineer, to remove Trials.

And some of the problems that we’ve had, just scratching the surface, is what does legendary gem upgrading look like if we don’t have Trials? What happens is– so, in the very first version where we took Trials out, we’d say “well, how do I decide what grift to do?” and it’s like, well, what if we just let you pick? Just like, crazy crazy idea, what if there was just this arbitrary– or what if it was based on your personal best, that gets mentioned a lot, too.

So let’s say that I can do– normally I do grift 40 comfortably, but I happen to get to grift 50 in a 4-player party, and then I go back to solo and my legendary gem is 48. Well, what grift do I wanna do by myself next? I can kind of comfortably do 40, there’s no way I’m going to be able to do 48, 49. And yet to upgrade my legendary gem, I’ll be incentivized to pick 48 or 49. And it’s going to be an absolutely terrible run, it takes 30-40 minutes to clear, but you do it anyway because that’s how you get your 60% chance to upgrade your gem rather than a 2% chance. So we said, okay, that’s no good. So, we iterated a little bit, we made it so that you have to beat the timer in order to upgrade your gem… [Editor’s note: this was still part of the hypothetical ideas. It should not be implied that this timer change is coming.]

Anyway, there was kind of like– it sounds like I’m defending Trials, at least maybe some people think that– that’s not my intention. I want to say that– I’ll keep my answer short. We’ve gutted Trials internally, we’re working on it, there were some issues, it had a bunch of downstream effects, and we are still working on it. But we recognize that people are not happy with them. Asking for them to be removed isn’t going to make it happen any faster. I wish it could! If I could make it happen faster I would say everyone should talk about it all the time, but, you know what, everyone talks about it all the time already, and unfortunately it just doesn’t speed up how fast we can get them out.

The devs have said much the same in past conversations, and the issue of “how else do you slot players into an appropriate GR level, since upgrading LGems is a reward” has always been the main debate point. Like most of you guys, I look forward to our bold and Waves-less future, but I still regret that the devs have let the “perfect be the enemy of the good” for so long.

Fans have long suggested fixing the Realm of Trials by simply letting us convert more than 1 key at at time. That seems like a minor tweak some programmer could have implemented in an hour, many months ago… And yet here we sit in v2.2, still doing Waves one at a time, at least 4 more months of Waves in our future, while half the dev team toils away on some pie in the sky perfect system to replace Trials that may or may not arrive in time for *next* season.

I have confidence in their designing talents and think the replacement system will be an improvement, when/if it finally goes live, but srsly… perfect = enemy of good-enough. Sometimes quick bandaids are fine, while the massive and lengthy surgery continues in the background.

Also, amusing to see the devs agree with the community, from our poll on Realm of Trials, posted a few months ago:

How do you feel about the Realm of Trials?

View Results

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Tagged As: | Categories: Blizzard People, Interviews, Podcasts, Realm of Trials


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  1. I still don't hate RoT, but they feel like a waste of time. Especially in the low or mid range.

    I did about 20 Waves in a row last night, earning a bunch of 16 and 22 and 28 keys just to fast upgrade a handful of LGems now that I'm geared enough in S3 to blitz T6, and it took almost as long to do the Waves as the Grifts. Literally, my new DH in the UE set cleared multiple gr16 and gr22 in 1.5-3min each, with never a second of dead time (until waiting 30s for the Grift to close afterwards).

    Which made the time spent to "earn" each of those keys, by nuking 4 or 5 waves and then sitting in town waiting for the 20s wave timer to expire, feel soooooooooo repetitious and tedious and pointless. A problem that doing 10 keys at once would have fixed completely.

    • While doing multiple keys at once does seem like a good shortcut solution, it’s ultimately the same as “letting someone choose the grift they do based on their personal best”.

      In his example, it means that when you do that group trial, instead of just getting 1 50 grift-stone, you instead cash in 30 of your keys, and get 30 level 50 grift-stones, even though they take you 40+ minutes to do, just so you get the high chance to upgrade your gem.

      Now obviously if you “don’t do stupid things” this alternative of upgrading multiple keys at once isn’t a problem. But they have to design the system so people can’t do stupid things.

  2. Here’s how you fix trials – Allow gambling of multiple keys in addition to making different GR key types.

    If you’re solo, you get solo GR keys.
    Two players, you get GR keys for only 2-player GRs, and so on.

    So you can’t play solo games on a key you earned with 3 players in the trial. And you can’t play a 4-player GR with solo GR keys.

    How is this so difficult?

    • Blizzard is incompetent. This is exactly what I would say though. You can unlock any level of the highest level you completed +1 and it only works on that game mode (solo, 2, 3, or 4 people).

      "But we don't think it's good if players are always doing something difficult!" And if that's what they want, let them. If they want a break farming some 30s or whatever, they'll do that.

      Much better than the current system where you get keys within a ten level range using the same character with the same build.

    • I've heard that suggestion in the past, and I'm sure Blizzard would say it would be inelegant and confusing to have 4 almost-identical stones for every GR#. Or even if they looked different colors or something, it's still a lot of nearly the same thing.

      And imagine the stash space issue? Though ideally at some point we'll get GRKs as part of the account interface like shared gold and shards, instead of objects that take up space.

  3. Eliminate GRift level selection entirely and have GRifts automatically go up in difficulty based on the players' performance. (Grift would start on a level based of player DPS, so not level 1.)

    • I dont like it tbh..

      Say i was capable of solo’n gr40 yet wanted to level a new legendary gem.. i’d just wanna burn through some easy content to get the gem started, not stuck doin’ max level grifts from the get go.

      Also hardcore players. Deaths in hardcore generally mean the loss of your prefered 3 Lgems, leveling up a new character and equipping yourself with any backup gear you may have could potentially put you in a far higher grift level than your comfortable with.

      • Clearing high grifts should allow low level gems the chance to go up multiple levels. The current system for leveling fresh gems by deliberately failing trials then waiting for grift timers to nearly expire before killing guardians is ridiculous.

  4. Keep Trial Keystones, they still drop from Rift Guardians and we use them to choose whichever Grift level we want from what we’ve already completed +1 (or more, based on previous times). So for example, if my highest Grift is 35, then I storm through 36 in 3 mins, then it could put me at, say, 39 for my next one.

    On a slightly unrelated note: can we also implement a window at the obelisk to choose which (G)rift key we want, rather than have to carry them in our stash please?

  5. And no one is commenting that Roger and Ebert are working on the trials. I hope they give em 2 thumbs up.

    I will see myself out

  6. So basically Blizzard thinks their players are idiots.

  7. “it takes 30-40 minutes to clear, but you do it anyway because that’s how you get your 60% chance to upgrade your gem rather than a 2% chance.”

    I find it amusing that he believes players only use grifts for leveling gems.. I often find myself farming solo grifts for bloodshards, legendary drops and experience bonuses.

    • I'm sure Wyatt and the other devs do like players, and mow through GRs of a reasonable level for shards and legs and exp. His example was specifically about a solo SC player slogging through a GR way over his head just to upgrade the gem. No one does that for items or exp, since going that much slower would counter out those gains.

      It's just an issue since in the hypothetical future system of "pick any GR# you've ever done" players could exploit that to solo much higher GRs from MP games than they could ever access solo.

      • So limit the yielded keys to personal best and call it a day. It took me less than 10 seconds to think that up, along with everyone else here, and it STILL saves lots of time over grinding out pointless trials in a group. I wonder if, when a light bulb burns out at Blizzard, it takes them two weeks trying to redesign a Platonic ideal ladder to change it. Just sitting there in a meeting in the dark arguing about it for days.

    • i dont get why he said that….isnt the case right now??? you do a 4 player group end up witha 50+ key (really not that much people can do 50+ solo) …if you decide to do it solo you will get 30-40 min runs to upgrade a gem….Sometime i have start the grift , let me 15 min timer ran out, then come back and clear the grift without the resurection timer.

      i dont understand why its a problem if they make that change, when its already a "problem"…solution : allow downgrade??

  8. Very simple solution: Let normal Rift guardians drop keys based on Torment level. Torment I would drop GRFIFT 5, Torment II 10 and so on. So we would end up Torment VI dropping level 30 grift stone, which is slightly above Torment VI difficulty curve.

    Really, this is no brainer, I sometimes wonder how those devs think.

  9. One simple solution which requires a bit of development.

    Each key has a GR level and a (hidden) accomplished GR level

    You can buy a key of any level from a trial key and the accomplished level of this key will be 0

    When you upgrade a key using Urshi after a GR completion on time, she gives you a key of level X and hidden accomplished level X-1 (you did not really accomplished GR X-1 if Urshi upgrades your key of more than one level but it corresponds to the current implementation)

    When you choose to upgrade legendary gems at the end of a GR, if the timer succeeded you have the upgrade odds of the level of the key and if not, the odds of the hidden level.

    And to be honest all odds has to be increased by one level.

    Or simpler: bought keys do not permit gems upgrade and trial or Urshi keys permit them.

  10. What's wrong with letting us simply select what level GRift we want to run? GRift keys drop from Rift bosses that let you start a GRift and simply select what level you want. Keep everything else the same. Right now people run Trials over and over to get exactly the keys they want. Just make GRift level selectable and eliminate trials.

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