Blizzard has posted another preview of some of the big changes coming up in Patch 2.3. Adventure Mode has a lot of changes (almost all improvements) and the preview discusses streamlined crafting recipes, much faster Infernal Machine harvesting, improvements to Bounties and Bonus Acts, and changes to Rifts and Greater Rifts (no more Realm of Trials). The preview is full of useful info, and since I've done a lot of PTR testing this cycle, I added some analysis of the new changes, many of which are much more impactful on other aspect of gameplay than you'd expect from how this preview describes them. Here's the start: Crafterpiece Theater Let’s start with the basics: crafting. Crafted items have fallen into a strange place where they feel too expensive to craft and, aside from a few select pieces, often not worth the effort. We’re aiming to fix that in Patch 2.3.0. First off, we’ve removed an entire tier of crafting materials, including Common Debris, Exquisite Essences, Iridescent Tears, Demonic Essences, and Fiery Brimstones. This leaves one remaining tier of crafting materials, making items salvaged at any level always useful. We’ve also trimmed the fat away from the list of crafting recipes for both the Blacksmith and the Jeweler. There is now a much smaller pool of recipes at each artisan level, and while there should still be a good mix of different types of gear to craft, each unlocked level should feel like a meaningful stepping stone that’s worth the crafting materials you spend. Disparities in crafting material abundance have been evened out, both in terms of how often they drop and how often you’ll require them for crafting: no more 72 Arcane Dust bracer recipes! [caption id="attachment_385305" align="alignright" width="250"] Patch 2.2 crafting.[/caption][caption id="attachment_385306" align="alignright" width="250"] Patch 2.3 crafting.[/caption] Crafting costs in general have been reduced across the board, especially for gear that’s intended for use while leveling or to help you gear up when first hitting level 70. Crafted Legendaries, for example, no longer require Forgotten Souls to craft (though they also no longer provide Forgotten Souls when salvaged). Instead, they will now require new Act-specific crafting materials that can be obtained at any level by completing bounties. This should make these items feel like a viable option for starting out whether you’re a new player or starting a new Season.[source]http://us.battle.net/d3/en/blog/19842936/patch-230-preview-adventure-mode-8-4-2015[/source] After fairly extensive PTR testing, I approve of most of the changes and agree with most of this preview... but this is one I differ on. I don't think current crafting recipes feel all that expensive (in blue mats, I guess?) and at any rate, the new ones feel much more expensive since they require 1 or 2 of the new Horadric Cache materials. I was amazed to find, during the PTR testing with a new S4 character when the community buff was *not* active, that my white/blue/yellow materials stayed fairly in balance. In the current game, you tend to accumulate vastly larger amounts of yellow than of white and blue, and players who want to do a lot of crafting or enchanting wind up opening every chest for the blue items and clicking every armor rack for the white items, while racking up up huge stacks of yellow mats even without picking up rare items. That's very changed in v2.3, mostly thanks to Odious Collectors dropping much bigger stacks of all mats (including Forgotten Souls), and bigger mat stacks coming from other goblins, golden chests, caches, etc. Plus with the Anger of Iben Fahd Cube Recipe, you can losslessly convert 100 white/blue/yellow mats into another color. Which means that 1) you should mostly pick up blue/white items since they convert to more mats than Rare items, and 2) when it comes to level 70 crafting, the only mats you don't have a decent amount of are... the new Horadric Cache materials. Which are exactly what all of the level 70 set and legendary crafting recipes require. This is probably more of an early-season issue, exacerbated by the usual long PTR queues making it impossible to create new games and quickly farm more cache materials. And also by Kanai'c Cube, since most players spend their first Horadric Cache mats in the Archive of Tal Rasha recipe, since adding those legendary properties is a huge power boost. That said, the legendary item crafting recipes on the PTR felt much more expensive than they do in patch 2.2 or earlier. In the long ago players often crafted up Aughild's or Cain's or Asheara's sets soon after hitting 70, as cheaply-made but powerful upgrades over rares, and used those while they farmed up better stuff and moved up in Torment levels. That's not really necessary anymore since legendary drop rates are higher and all six piece sets have such huge bonuses, but it would also be really hard to do in Patch 2.3, since you wouldn't have anywhere near enough Cache mats. (Except Act One mats. You wind up with a ton of those since you have to farm for a RoRG.) Furthermore, the great bottleneck on all crafting and enchanting in Patch 2.3 is... Deaths Breaths. As soon as you can, you'll move above T7 just for the chance of elites dropping double DBs, since they are needed for everything, and are in perpetual short supply in Patch 2.3. Click through for the rest of Blizzard Previews Patch 2.3: Adventure Mode, with commentary/analysis based on the many hours I've spent on the PTR. Bountiful Bounties In addition to adding a new zone with its own new bounties to tackle, the rewards gained from bounties have been revised. Nephalem Rifts no longer require Rift Fragments to enter, so we needed to change the incentive behind completing bounties. In addition to being the only way to obtain the new Act-specific crafting materials used with Kanai’s Cube, we’ve shifted the reward from bounties to focus on being the primary source for gold and crafting materials. It’s also a great way to complete your crafting recipe collection as each cache guarantees at least two crafting recipe drops if you are missing any. If you want to craft a bunch of stuff, bounties are now the place to go to get started! Bonus bounties are bound to be beneficial. We’ve also changed up the bonus Act mechanic. You’ll find there is now only one bonus Act active in a game at a time. Each player in a game who completes the active bonus Act will receive a Bonus Cache, stuffed to the brim with crafting goodies. Once the bonus Act has been completed, it will automatically rotate to a new Act, eliminating the need to start a new game to receive this benefit. Rather than navigating game menus, we want you to spend more time doing what matters: fighting the good fight and destroying demons. Rifting It Forward Nephalem and Greater Rifts both have a huge number of changes coming intended to draw a clearer line between the two. Nephalem Rifts are aimed at being a more relaxed version of a loot run while Greater Rifts are where you go to strut your stuff and push the limits of your nephalem heroes. Let’s start with the biggest change that you asked for: the Realm of Trials has been removed from the game. To accommodate this huge change, we’ve reduced the number of Greater Rift keys down to a single, universal type. These new keys are used at the Nephalem Obelisk to enter any level Greater Rift, up to one higher than the highest level you have previously completed (though if you totally crush a Greater Rift, you can still move up to 3 ranks at a time). In addition, we’ve removed Rift Fragments from the game. Nephalem Rifts are now open to players of all levels and difficulty, requiring no special key to access. Greater Rift tiers are even labeled with their approximate difficulty equivalent. Greater Rift keys are now able to drop from Rift Guardians at any difficulty level, including Normal through Torment I. This chance scales up to 100% at Torment VI and there is an additional scaling chance for a second key to drop in the new Torment VII-X difficulty levels. Greater Rift keys are now only usable for one level and can no longer be upgraded. Instead, when you successfully complete a Greater Rift, you’ll automatically get the Legendary Gem upgrade screen. Please note you will no longer get the gem upgrade screen if you fail to complete a Greater Rift. Our concern is that players might tackle a Greater Rift well beyond their ability just for a chance at upgrading. This experience would feel sluggish and miserable and isn’t something we want to incentivize. There have been several other balance changes made to Rifts, including tweaks to Rift Guardian mechanics, enemy health, and the progress meter to even out the amount of time you spend clearing regular enemies versus fighting the Guardian. For more information, we recommend checking out the full PTR patch notes or simply giving the PTR itself a go! We discussed this weeks ago, but the biggest change the new Rift system creates is a much slower accumulation of Legendary Gems. You can no longer "slow roll" and run multiple Grifts from the same Grift key. All Urshi does now is upgrade gems, never Grift keys. Clearing a Grift in less than 15m enables you to move up to higher level(s) much as upgrading keys works now, but you've got to find a new key from a Rift Guardian for each one, and that's pretty time-consuming early on. Yes, as the preview points out, Rift Guardians can now drop them on any difficulty level, but not until you're level 70, and the drop rate below T1 is paltry. Basically you need to get into a six piece set (or leech off people who have) and spend some serious time running Rifts on at least T4 or T5 to start to accumulate Greater Rift keys, which you can use to obtain Legendary Gems. (Note that regular Rifts in v2.3 take 33-50% longer to clear than on Live, plus you're spending a lot of your early lvl 70 time running Bounties to get Cache mats, instead of just concentrating on Rifts, like in the current game) In the first Season 4 run on the PTR, playing entirely without the community buff, I was solo running T6 by P100, but it took me until around P200 before I finally got all of the LGems, and my only LGem to 25 at that point was a Bane of the Powerful, since it was one of the first I found and I kept leveling it since I had bad luck finding the LGems I really wanted. It's not necessarily a bad change, but the way you only gradually acquire one of each LGem feels very different in Patch 2.3, and you'll very likely wind up putting 9 or 12 or 15 ranks onto a gem you don't want long term, just because it's the first useful one you find, and you've got to upgrade *soemthing* with Urshi when you finish a Rift, or else you can't even close the Rift. (And forever after in S4, you'll look at that Moratorium or Simplicity's Strength with 3 or 6 ranks on it and laugh. Or cry.) Infernal Machinations Last but certainly not least, the Infernal Machine event is getting a few minor but meaningful tweaks. The largest piece of feedback we’ve heard regarding the Hellfire Amulet and its counterpart Ring is that these items often felt too gated by multiple levels of luck. The time investment was high and, even after dedicating that amount of time, the payoff wasn’t guaranteed. While we still want the Hellfire items to be an investment, we’ve slimmed down the process to make it less time intensive to complete. To start, there is no longer a need to craft Hellfire Machines; the recipes have been removed from the game and each Keywarden now has a chance to drop an appropriate Infernal machine. The chance for an Infernal Machine to drop remains the same, though now appropriately continues to scale into Torment VII-X. We're cutting out that middle man, Haedrig. His interest rates were terrible anyway. In addition, the Hellfire Amulet is now guaranteed to roll with a socket. This removes a layer of luck to acquiring that perfect complement to your gear and should, overall, make the time invested into crafting one of these items feel well spent. Less Mode, More Adventure! Adventure Mode has been an extremely popular addition to Diablo III. You love spending time there, and we want that experience to continue being fresh, rewarding, and fun. These changes are currently live on PTR for testing, and we’d love to hear your thoughts on them. Which change are you most looking forward to? Have you given any of these changes a try? What did you think? Let us know in the comments and we hope you’re looking forward to Patch 2.3.0 as much as we are![source]http://us.battle.net/d3/en/blog/19842936/patch-230-preview-adventure-mode-8-4-2015[/source] Their mention of the Infernal Machine was pretty brief, but the change is huge. Anyone can see that dropping the Machines instead of the Keys is at least a 4x speed increase, but the preview doesn't mention that 1) Keywardens often drop 2 keys on T8+, and 2) the Ubers usually drop 2 organs on T4+, and above T8 they usually drop 3 organs. This makes the process of creating a Hellfire Amulet at least 8 or 10x faster than it used to be, and with the guaranteed socket in each HFA, the odds of a good roll are greatly improved. If you farm all the Keywardens (yes, they should now be called MachineWardens) in a game on T10, you are guaranteed to get at least 1 of each Machine, and if you did the Ubers in that game, you'd get 2 or 3 Organs from each. That means in every T10 game you could make at least 2 Hellfire Amulets, and often 3 or 3.5 or 4 (in terms of the materials required). Compare this to Infernal Machine farming on Live in v2.2, where you can, at best, score all 4 keys, good for just 1 Infernal Machine, in a full T6 game clear. Hellfire Amulet farming in the current game is a once in a while slot machine pull for most players, and a regular thing only for players who are trying to assemble perfect gear, and who have a super fast movement build character to farm keys. In Patch 2.3 the Infernal Machine will be much more accessible to everyone, and will be almost a freebie for power gamers, who will make dozens and dozens of HFAs in a single afternoon. Continue reading the Original Blog Post.