How to run Echoing Nightmares in Diablo 3
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 now a new type of Rift awaits us: the Echoing Nightmare. This style of Rift was introduced as a mechanic in Season 26, but is now part of the core game so you can run one whenever you’d like.
Not sure what Echoing Nightmares are or how to run them? Let’s cover everything we know about Echoing Nightmare Rifts, so you can enjoy this challenging new end-game scenario.
What are Echoing Nightmares?
The original 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 (tuned lower as part of its move from seasonal theme to a full-time game system), 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 transmutes a Petrified Scream to open the rift’s portal.
Tips and tricks for running Echoing Nightmares
The max rank a Whisper of Atonement can drop is 125, based on your tier at overwhelm or death. 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 126 as possible before you are overwhelmed by mobs or defeated to max out the legendary gem.
Hellish Machination (a new mob type) can appear early on in one of the room’s four corners 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 100, meteors will occasionally fall from the sky. Pass tier 150, and 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 depend 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 demonic 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. You’re still effectively farming augments in a new way from just completing Greater Rifts over and over. That said, you still need to run Greater Rifts — first, to farm the Petrified Screams, and second, to level up your socketed Legendary gems. But getting a gem to rank 125 for augmenting normally would take (at minimum) 25 greater rifts. So, I’m going to say yes — the Echoing Nightmares are very worth it. Happy hunting, Nephalem!
Updated August 29, 2022.
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