Diablo III Necromancer Beta Preview: Challenge Rift Mode

Credit: Blizzard
Credit: Blizzard /

Diablo III’s Necromancer beta is now live! We dug deeper into one of the game’s upcoming but often overlooked features, the new Challenge Rift mode.

Yes, the new Necromancer class is the highlight of Diablo III’s upcoming Rise of the Necromancer DLC. But a new competitive Challenge Rift mode is also making its way into Blizzard’s fast-paced action RPG and is now playable in the current Necromancer beta. First revealed at Blizzcon 2016, Challenge Rifts are a way for players to test out different classes and builds in a competitive Greater Rift scenario without having to worry about gear.

Challenge Rifts snapshot an actual player’s in-game character build each week, and let other players use them in a static Greater Rift dungeon. You have ZERO customization over your character: the gear, gems, abilities, runes, paragon points, passives, etc. are all pre-set. The dungeons themselves are also the exact same, a divergence from Diablo’s typical procedurally generated layouts. This puts all players on a complete level playing field, making the competition more about pure speed and skill than it is gear grinding and RNG.

Diablo III Challenge Rifts
Credit: Blizzard /

With Challenge Rifts now available for testing in the live Necromancer beta, we sat down to give them a try and see what this mode currently looks like. When this feature goes live, these rifts will reset weekly (Diablo’s take on a Brawl mode anyone?), but during the beta, they plan to reset more frequently. For our first play through, we were given a Demon Hunter equipped with the Unhallowed Essence set running a Grenade build similar to this one.

When you first enter into the rift, you are met by an NPC named Edira. Rocking a nice robotic placeholder voice, she explains that this entry staging area has monsters in the corners for you to practice you build before you start the Challenge Rift. Which makes a ton of sense considering you most likely have not mastered every build of every class in the game. You are then free to start the rift whenever you want. Be sure to check out our playthrough video below:

The rift level itself was just like any other, except that you can see a timer ticking down for how long you have to beat the original runner’s time. Once you complete the rift, you can compare your times to the weekly leaderboard. It is not currently available in the beta, but you will also get reward with a special Challenge Rift Cache of loot.

Diablo III Challenge Rifts
Credit: Blizzard /

More from Previews

I find this to be an extremely interesting idea that will make more features of the game accessible to a wider audience. Diablo III’s endgame is a notorious gear grind to find the perfectly itemized gear to min/max your build. It’s near impossible to get a realistic idea of different class playstyles without all the required gear pieces. Challenge Rifts will help to alleviate this grind and give players a chance to test drive different class setups they might not normally get to play. And lest we forget to mention the awesome competitive aspect of Challenge Rifts, allowing casual players to compete with more veteran players on the same playing field.

It will be interesting to see if this mode changes at all throughout the PTR. Be sure to keep checking in with us for more Diablo III coverage!

Related Story: The 50 Best RPGs Of All Time

The views expressed in this article explicitly belong to the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of, nor should be attributed to, App Trigger or FanSided as an organization.