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DiabloFeb 6, 2020 10:00 am CT

How to conquer the weekly Diablo 3 Challenge Rift with minimal loss of sanity

Diablo 3 Challenge Rift Soul Mirror

A little over two years ago, the Diablo 3 team added a new, self-contained game mode to the title. These evil little jerks are called Challenge Rifts, and they’re a fascinating inclusion to the game. But not everyone understands how these challenges work or why it’s worth running them every week. Because, really, everyone can successfully conquer Challenge Rifts and earn some great loot in the process.

For those of you who are trying to figure out these weekly puzzles, let’s walk through the basics of Challenge Rifts and find out how — and why — pretty much anyone can tackle them with some time and perseverance.

What are Challenge Rifts?

Challenge Rifts are accurate to their name: you are completing a challenge to beat another player’s Greater Rift completion time. Everything — class, build, gear, rift maps, skills, paragon points — is pre-determined. From the Challenge Hub staging area, you can familiarize yourself with the character setup of the week. You can change your keybinds for skills and test the build on a group of standard enemies and one elite-style enemy before you head into the rift itself.

The challenges change weekly on Mondays between 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. Pacific and can vary from super easy to “How did an actual person manage to pull this off?” All Challenge Rifts reward a Challenge Rift Cache on first successful completion of the challenge, which contains the following:

    • 15 of each Act’s Bounty Materials: Khanduran Runes, Caldeum Nightshades, Arreat War Tapestries, Corrupted Angel Flesh, and Westmarch Holy Water
    • 35 Death’s Breaths
    • 475 Blood Shards
    • 5,100,00 Gold
    • 125 Veiled Crystals
    • 350 Arcane Dust
    • 375 Reusable Parts

Diablo 3 Game Mode Menu

How to get to the Challenge Rifts

Challenge Rifts don’t exist in an in-game location. Instead, they’re accessible from the game menu before you launch into a specific game mode. To access the week’s Challenge Rift, go to your character screen. Click the Game Settings button on the left side, select the option for Challenge Rifts, and hit Start Game to get to the Challenge Hub. This area gives you a place to review your spec and gear, test out your abilities, and re-arrange your hotkeys.

Finally, click the Obelisk behind Edira in the middle of the room when you’re ready to roll.

How to qualify for Challenge Rifts

Not just any character can stroll into a Challenge Rift — though if you’ve played for very long, you’ve probably unlocked these challenges.

Before you can play the Challenge Rift, you need to have leveled a character at 70 and completed a Greater Rift. Until then, you are locked out of Challenge Rifting. This requirement is honestly a good benchmark; the dev team references Greater Rift clears for the Challenge Rifts, so if you haven’t completed a Greater Rift, are you ready to try the Challenge Rift?

Diablo 3 Greater Rift Map

How to complete Challenge Rifts

Each weekly Challenge Rift is uniquely based on existing player builds and completion times. There may be similarities, but Blizzard is working with a pool of seven classes, 4-5 gear sets, and many Legendary builds using the Legacy of Nightmares ring set or Legacy of Dreams legendary gem. Even though we are on Challenge Rift 137 (spanning 2.5 years so far), there probably isn’t a ton of overlap in class, build, and gear setup.

Step 1: Review your character

That said, there are a few useful strategies you can apply across the board, even if the weekly CR is for a class you’ve never played. First, review the build. Check out your gear buffs and how they work with your skills, as this will inform what you use the most on your spell bar. Make sure to review your passive skills as well as your actives. You never know when something like Unstable Anomaly can grant you a “Get out of Death Free” card.

Step 2: Spend some time practicing

Next, try your build! This advice is especially applicable if you’ve never played the class before. The Challenge Hub provides enemies to test your mettle against, so make use of them.

Step 3: Be patient

Once you’re ready to enter the CR, be patient with yourself. They’re called Challenge Rifts for a reason; they will not be the easiest to run, the map will probably be frustrating, and there’s a distinct likelihood of wanting to throw something at the screen. You won’t always be successful in your very first run, and that’s ok.

Step 4: Check how others have bested the challenge 

Finally, if you’re just completely stuck, check YouTube. Many exceptional content creators devote their time weekly to providing tactics, strategies, and maps of the Challenge Rift. A few good options that consistently post weekly are:

Enjoy this week’s challenge!

Challenge Rifts are a unique opportunity to compete in a level playing field against any skill level in D3. All players are running the same rift layout, using the same class, with the same build. You can run them solo or in a group. You can even repeat runs following a successful clear to improve your time and land yourself on the leaderboard.

It’s also a surprisingly fun (and occasionally irritating) way to test drive a class you may not play.

Give it a shot and see what you think. Let us know about your experience in the comments below!

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