How to get the 6900 Blood Shards you need to fully unlock the Altar of Rites in Diablo 3 Season 28
Blood Shards are not a new inclusion in Diablo 3; they’ve been a necessary currency for the franchise’s current form of item gambling through the merchant Kadala, found near the Nephalem Obelisk in every Act. However, their value has skyrocketed in Season 28, with five different altar unlocks requiring ever increasing amounts of shards to sacrifice. But there are actually two components hidden in this requirement: unlocking higher caps (allowing you to earn up to the various thresholds of Blood Shards), then going out and collecting Blood Shards to your new threshold.
Whether you’re exploring the purple-highlighted shards in depth solely for Season 28’s theme or you’d like to explore the basics of speedfarming (the skills carry over between titles, regardless of the currency), let’s talk about earning increasing amounts of Blood Shards.
First, you have to increase your Blood Shard cap
Your starting pool cap is a mere 500 Blood Shards — not a huge amount, especially in the face of the numbers we’re talking about for the Altar of Rites. Increasing your maximum Blood Shard pool is done by clearing a higher Greater Rift rank solo — you get ten more in your pool for each rank. Clear a GR50 to increase your pool to 1000, GR 100 to increase to 1500, and so forth. The magic target for Season 28 is a GR110. Complete this solo, and you will hit the cap needed for your 26th altar unlock.
Actually earning Blood Shards to fill that cap can be done in a few different ways. First, Blood Shards are available from each week’s challenge rift cache — 475 a week, along with gold, Death’s Breaths, Act bounty mats, and crafting mats. You can also earn Blood Shards through Bounty Caches. The exact amount of Shards contained in the Cache increases based on the difficulty of the bounty completed, so try to complete them as close to Torment 16 as possible. And of course there are the Blood Thieves — Treasure Goblins dropping exclusively Blood Shards — but I wouldn’t build a farming strategy around those.
To farm up to those bigger caps, we need more options.
How to farm Blood Shards
The most time-efficient method of farming Blood Shards efficiently is (shocker) running Greater Rifts. While the Legendary item drop rate caps around GR90, Blood Shards continue to scale linearly all the way up to GR150. Because the Blood Shard drop only goes up by 3 Shards per GR tier, the efficiency really comes down to your run times. There’s a whole set of variables that come into play here, but when it comes to farming, you want your runs to be consistently below 3 minutes to complete (including killing the Rift Guardian). This means even if you get an awful map, you have enough damage and mobility to blast through, no problem, so your farming Rifts may fall into a range!
For example: My first run, I clear a GR90 with an excellent map in 1 minute and 47 seconds on my Demon Hunter. This nets me 397 Blood Shards, averaging 222 Blood Shards earned per minute in that run. On my second run, I completed a GR95 with an above-average map in 2 minutes and 8 seconds, earning 412 Shards (or 193 Shards per minute). Finally, I tried a GR100 with an average map, clearing in 3 minutes and 12 seconds for 427 Blood Shards. In that case, my average Blood Shards earned per minute of the run plunged to only 133 — a surprisingly big drop.
Let’s take our math a little further, and see how many Blood Shards I’d earn in an hour of farming (assuming a minute in between each run to open a new Rift):
- GR90 — 2.78 minutes total, max 20 runs/hr, 7940 Blood Shards earned
- GR95 — 3.13 minutes total, max 19 runs/hr, 7828 Blood Shards earned
- GR100 — 4.2 minutes total, max 14 runs/hr, 5978 Blood Shards earned.
That turns out to be almost 2000 Blood Shards fewer per hour for trying to farm 10 ranks higher. Crazy difference, right? So my farming range (right now) is GR90-95.
Blood Shards can be abundant, but they still require effort. Farm them up for those final unlocks, then blast with the full power of the Altar of Rites in Season 28. After all, you’ve got one more beautiful, angelic dragon pet to earn before Diablo 4!
Originally posted March 6, 2023. Updated March 20, 2023.
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