How to run Echoing Nightmares in Diablo 3 Season 26
Every Diablo 3 player receives the warning, “many Nephalem have stood where you are now, but few succeeded in overcoming the trials,” from Orek when learning of Greater Rifts, but the development team decided to turn it into something even more special. Welcome to Season 26, the Fall of the Nephalem, where we tackle a new end-game scenario for our seasonal theme: the Echoing Nightmare.
What are Echoing Nightmares?
The preview blog describes the Echoing Nightmare as “an intense, densely packed, increasingly challenging event that stretches their ability to stay in the fight as long as possible.” We’re experiencing the memories of failure from past Nephalem — and maybe even encountering some of those lost souls as we progress.
This event is a wave-based mode on a relatively small map with four shrines at the start. The difficulty scales as you spawn additional waves of monsters. There are only a few map types, as the focus here is on wave clearing rather than map clearing (like Nephalem and Greater Rifts). The faster you kill stuff, the quicker your tier level increases! Your tier counter lives under your Overwhelmed bar.
What to expect from your first Echoing Nightmare
Step one of running Echoing Nightmares: reach level 70. No, really. The item required to open an Echoing Nightmare drops in from the guardians in Greater Rifts. Once you hit 70, do you standard Rift key farming, then run a few Greater Rifts; Rift Guardians have a chance to drop a Petrified Scream. The Petrified Scream works like a Puzzle Ring or Bovine Bardiche — pop it into Kanai’s Cube (without selecting a recipe) and click Transmute.
To complete the Echoing Nightmare, you either get defeated or overwhelmed. The standard progress bar space on the right of your window tracks your current Overwhelmed, and it will go up and down based on the number of mobs spawned. That’s it. There’s no real ‘win’ condition, which is very Diablo-like.
Once you’re overwhelmed — or dead — a chest spawns near the portal to take you back into your starting town. You’ll receive your blast of turn-in XP, and the chest can drop any of the following items: Legendary Items, Blood Shards, Gems, and a new Legendary Gem, Whisper of Atonement (pre-ranked based on your performance). But be warned — opening the chest kicks off the 30-second closing timer.
This event is doable both as a solo player and for parties. If you are in a group, only one player needs to transmute a Petrified Scream to open the rift’s portal.
Tips, Tricks, and Important Notes
The max rank that a Whisper of Atonement can drop is 125, based on the tier you complete. Experience rewarded in the Echoing Nightmare aligns with Greater Rift turn-in rewards up to GR150. Therefore, you benefit from getting as close to tier 150 as possible before you are overwhelmed by mobs or defeated.
The devs tuned difficulty for tiers 100+ after the PTR ended. After 100, meteors will occasionally fall from the sky. Hellish Machination (a new mob type) can appear and spawn Expoding Lunatics, which run straight for the player and explode, dealing significant damage. While the Lunatics are alive, they count against your Overwhelmed meter. After tier 150, mobs’ damage resistance scales upward.
In addition, monsters resist most crowd control methods — freeze, stun, root, and knockback will not impact them. This restriction does not include Fear and Charm, but you won’t benefit too much given the small map and event goal. If you have a great AOE build, but it relies on freezes — think Necromancer with Land of the Dead’s Frozen Lands — this limitation will probably impact you. Similarly, builds using Bane of the Trapped will not perform as well.
That said, rare monsters and Rift Guardians can spawn in the Nightmare, so combos like In-geom and Bane of the Powerful will still benefit you. If you’re highly cooldown-dependent, wielding or cubing a Messerschmidt’s Reaver will be a fantastic boost since the Echoing Nightmare’s goal is constant killing.
Like Greater Rifts, monsters will not drop gold or items. They will also not drop health globes, so you’re dependent on skills, gear, and your potion to bring your health back up during the waves. You get four pylons, one in each map corner: Conduit, Power, Channeling, and Speed. Don’t grab them all at the onset! A Power Pylon might mean the difference between a rank 100 and rank 125 Whisper for you.
Is it worth running Echoing Nightmares? What are the rewards?
The new legendary gem, Whisper of Atonement, is specifically for augmenting Ancient Legendary items. We had a similar experience in Season 25 with the soul shards, which you could use to apply a set augment level based on the shard’s rank. Augments will scale up your damage output or survivability based on which gems you use for your augment: ruby/topaz/emerald for a damage increase (based on your class), amethyst for health, and diamond for resistances.
Now, for the downsides. First, Echoing Nightmares will not count towards progressing any of your Season’s Journey — sorry, pet farmers. Patch notes have not indicated the Whisper is a guaranteed drop, but you’re still effectively farming augments in a new way from just completing Greater Rifts over and over. And you still need to run Greater Rifts — first, to farm the Petrified Screams, and second, to level up your socketed Legendary gems.
Now, getting a gem to rank 125 for augment normally would take (at minimum) 25 greater rifts. So, I’m going to say yes — the Echoing Nightmares are very worth it.
Season 26 is almost here; clear out your post-Season 25 mailbox, rebirth that favorite character, and go blast. Happy hunting, Nephalem!
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