Patch 2.3 EXP and Rift Progress Changes



Blizzard has posted several focused feedback threads in the PTR feedback forum, and one of the most interesting is the experience / monsters thread. Here's the blue post that starts it off:

This Focused Feedback thread is dedicated to Rift Monsters and Guardians, including:

Monster Experience Changes

Increased experienced granted by 10-30%
  • Exarch
  • Anarch
  • Exorcist
  • Corrupted Angel
  • Winged Assassin
  • Primordial Scavenger
  • Accursed/Reviled
  • Morlu Incinerator
  • Executioner (Westmarch Brute)
  • Bogan Trapper
  • Sand Wasp

Reduced experience granted by 10-25%
  • Skinny Zombies (e.g. Risen, Dust Retcher)
  • Regular Zombies (e.g. Dust Eater)
  • Basic Skeletons
  • Basic Skeleton Summoners
  • Cuddle Bears

Rift Guardian Changes
  • All Rift Guardian health reduced by ~50%
  • Stonesinger redesigned and health changed to match other Rift Guardians
  • Orlash damage reduced and several design changes
  • Sand Shaper cyclone duration and radius reduced

Other Changes

The amount of XP required to complete a rift has been increased by 50%. This complements the previously mentioned rift guardian health reduction by ~50% change because we'd like players to spend less time on the rift guardian and more time clearing the rift, especially at higher rift levels.

Monster Affix - Jailer
  • Damaged has been reduced by 50%
  • Duration increased from 1 second to 1.5-2.5 seconds
  • The cooldown between monsters in the same pack casting Jailer has been greatly increased

Monster Affix - Reflects Damage
  • Only one monster in a pack can be reflecting damage at a time
  • Damage inflicted by each reflects damage has been increased
  • The average damage taken from a reflects damage pack should remain mostly unchanged but the spikiness in damage should be greatly reduced


[caption id="attachment_384006" align="alignright" width="238"] Time for a 10m Guardian fight![/caption]We recently engaged in debate about the progress per enemy thanks to a fan-created chart showing the relative progress value of every type of monster. The general consensus/complaint at that point was that exp and Rift progress tracked much too closely with monster hit points, and didn't factor in AI, density, or danger.

Thus enemies that spawned in small numbers, or were invulnerable while in their appearance animation, or that dashed or flew or burrowed out of reach, or that dealt especially high damage, weren't worth enough exp/progress to compensate for that, compared to high-density, slow motion, exp punching bags like zombies. It seems that Blizzard agreed with the feedback, since most of the least-popular/valuable monsters are in the "buffed exp" listing.

Did it work? I guess so... the Rifts feel a little more evenly-balanced in terms of progress time than they used to be, and hopefully we won't see as much reliance on zombie rifts + Stonesinger for record times. And the changes to make Rifts require more kills to finish, while Guardians are much faster fights, also seem to be popular, even for non-Barbs who weren't stuck spinning around Guardians for half the Grift timer.

Click through for a follow up post by John Yang, in which he discusses the design theory and logic behind the monster hps and Rift progress changes.

Patch 2.3 EXP and Rift Progress Changes:

John Yang: We have made a number of changes in 2.3 to reduce the disparity in difficulty between different instances of the same Greater Rift Level. The overall goal is to more appropriately reward rift progress based on the effort required to kill the monster. Ultimately, we want randomness in rifts to provide differing gameplay experiences but not be a huge deciding factor between rift completion success or failure.

The experience granted/rift progress awarded for many monsters has been brought more in line with the effort required to kill the monster. This might be due to one of several reasons: the monsters have more than usual health, deal more than usual damage, run away, have dangerous special abilities, have defensive abilities/immunities, etc. These changes are intended to more appropriately reward players for the effort they spend to kill an enemy so that they are less incentivized to skip certain monster types. Additionally, we are reducing the experience granted for the easiest monsters and bringing them closer to the midline so that fishing for that Slow Zombie Rift is less rewarding.

We reduced the health of rift guardians by 50% because we’d like players to spend less time on the rift guardian and more time clearing the rift. At higher rift levels it could take 6+ minutes to kill the Rift Guardian with some builds and that is more than double what we'd like ideally.

Please continue to provide feedback on on rift monsters and rift guardians here. Thanks to everyone who has provided feedback in the general forum, class forums, and PTR feedback forum. [source][/source]

The Guardian hit point reduction is very noticeable for almost all builds. The Rifts all feel slower until the end, and then when you get the Guardian, it's like you've got a Power Pylon active. In clan chat we were joking that all Guardians now feel like Stonesinger, even though Stonesinger no longer feels like Stonesinger.

The balance between Rifts and Grifts feels different also, on the PTR.

In my experience on Live, Grifts of even much higher difficulty (GR40+) are often faster to complete than T6 Rifts, because the Grifts have much higher density + progress orbs. That's still basically the case on the PTR, but both Rifts and Grifts are slower to get to 100% (offset by the much faster Guardian fights). So in Grifts on the PTR it doesn't feel like such a super rush to get to 100%, though the overall time is about the same.

Rifts, in the other hand, are much slower to finish than on Live. Partially since we're running them on higher difficulty, partially since the community buff means you find 50+ legs by the time you hit 100% and it's hard not to stop to pick some up, but mostly since you simply require a lot more total kills to get to 100% progress. It actually took me several attempts to earn the sub-5 minute Rift completion reward on the Seasonal Progress feature in Patch 2.3.0 on the PTR, and with my Natalya's DH on live, I can easily average 2-3m for T6 Rifts.

Rift Layouts and Tile Sets

[caption id="attachment_383761" align="alignright" width="350"] Worst tileset ever....[/caption]I can't argue with the monster changes, but not addressed in this patch is the issue of some Rift tilesets being dramatically less dense, to the point that anyone fishing for a top time will automatically skip them. I bemoaned that on this weeks' Podcast, telling how my first try at GR50 on the PTR got me the no-density Burning Westmarch map, filled with wasps and butterflies... 14:20 to clear floor 1 for 62% progress! And then floor 2 was the Cathedral with Grotesques and goat men and I did the last 38% in about 2 minutes.

The punchline is that I had to slog through and complete the whole Grift since there's no way to cancel a Grift once you begin it, and with the 5+ hour queues to create a game on the PTR, I couldn't just exit and start a new game. I had to finish the terrible tileset with the terrible monsters, no matter how long it took, just so I could try again and hope for a better spawn.

I suppose it makes sense for Bliz to focus on the monster changes, since you can get any of the enemies on any tile set. But the changes to the monsters make little difference when there are several tilesets (Westmarch and Bone Repository are my personal least faves) that are usually so poor in density and long dead end layout that they give you no chance of a successful GRift, and feel slow and boring even on a regular Rift.
Continue reading the Original Blog Post.
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Diabloii.Net Member
Yeah some rift tilesets are just balls. My most hated though would have to be ones that have 'loops' in them. So many times when I go into auto-pilot mode (as is often the case with D3) I mindlessly go through a full loop and find myself back at the start having missed where the down-door is, and then have to pull up the map to see that it's all the way over the other side. Worst.

I like the change to rift guardian health - less time fighting that one giant health pool the better. But, in the end, I really doubt if any of these changes will do anything to reduce the reliance on fishing. Randomised GRifts + Infinite Scaling = Fishing ftw. Infinite scaling is an awful, awful idea, and I really hope they abandon it completely in the expansion, but I very much doubt they will...


Diabloii.Net Member
Reflect damage still sucks . As carnevil wd the moment i see those 24 fly towards a pack and suddenly one monsters put up reflect i need to hit spirit walk asap or when on cd i die...


Diabloii.Net Member
I wish the downscaling for the guardians wouldn't be so aggressive on the lower difficulties though (up to T2-3 at least). Killing them barely takes any longer than an elite for new chars, so they feel really underwhelming.

As for the fishing, I feel infinite scaling doesn't affect it as much as the random nature of the game combined with the competition does. If we had T10 normal rift leaderboards people would still fish for better rifts.

Also, an infinitely scaling dungeon was one of the most requested features from fans IIRC and I don't think it's a bad idea at all. It makes sure that the game remains difficult for everyone, no matter their gear level, so it counters future power creep. At this point I'd even get rid of the T1-10 nonsense, since it only leads to the addition of even more difficulty levels in the future. I think they should implement a similar, endlessly scaling option for normal difficulty selection they did for greater rifts and allow us to unlock higher difficulties as we progress through greater rifts. The two should still be separate, to allow for quick leveling of low level gems in otherwise really hard games for example. The problem would be balancing item drops appropriately, which is an issue they don't really have to deal with in greater rifts.


Diabloii.Net Member
Not a big fan of the jailer change as a whole. I feel like making the damage half of what it used to be is just a short term quickfix that will come back to bite you later and we'll be back where we started.

I wish they would just make it do a small overall % dmg that is always like 10-30% of your HP based on difficulty and instead highlight the JAILING portion of it by making that longer or harder to deal with.

Damage you can't avoid is crappy game design when it's oneshot mechanics like these. Scaling damage infinitely higher is a really lazy way of doing things and just creates an illusion of difficulty. What exactly is difficult about dying to something you cannot avoid. How about making jailer actually focus on what the name implies instead of damage.

Same goes for other similar things - be more creative than just outputting damage more as the difficulty goes up. I feel like this would open up a bunch of ideas for affixes.


Diabloii.Net Member
It would be nice to deploy strategy to beat higher GR, not just to achieve paragon 1K+ and perfect gear (the case now).


Diabloii.Net Member
Infinite scaling means that there will always be a difficulty beyond 99.5% of the builds - it's a filter 'designed' to filter out every build except the top-performing one (so it's also bad for diversity). Would people fish to compete on T6 rifts? Possibly. But I doubt the problem would be as big because a lot of builds can do T6.

A 'bottomless' dungeon was a highly requested feature, but, as people have pointed out, they didn't specifically have GRifts in mind. It's fair enough that Blizz had a go at making something like it, but IMO it hasn't really worked out.