Among the features on the way to Diablo III in the upcoming patch 2.6.0 are Challenge Rifts. Blizzard has provided new details explaining exactly how they work, and they sound like a good change in pace from the usual style of play.
Challenge Rifts do away with the normal randomization of Diablo in favor of a set experience. A Challenge Rift challenges you to beat another player’s Greater Rift run time. The game takes a snapshot of a Greater Rift run–complete with that Rift’s layout and the character’s gear and skills–and then tasks other players with finishing it more quickly than the original player.
A new Challenge Rift will be released every Monday, and a selection of crafting materials and Blood Shards are available to anyone who can beat the target time. This reward is available only once per week, but you’re free to replay the Rift as much as you want, as you’ll be able to compete with friends on weekly leaderboards.
As shown in the video above, choosing to take part in a Challenge Rift won’t immediately launch you into one. You can first reassign the keys that your skills are assigned to (but not change which skills you have access to) and test the setup out on two groups of enemies: one comprised of a single tough enemy, and one consisting of a bunch of weak enemies.
In addition to patch 2.6.0, the Necromancer Pack is also on the way to Diablo III. This is positioned as a “content pack” rather than an “expansion pack” along the line of Reaper of Souls. Its primary addition is the Necromancer class, which returns from Diablo II. Blizzard recently revealed the Necromancer-specific Legendary effects and Set items that are on the way. You can see the sets in this video or read the details about all of this on Blizzard’s website.