Blizzard's next update for Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls, patch 2.4, is one of the game's biggest — and it's out today in the game's public test realm if you want to try it for yourself. The patch adds quite a bit: a new zone called Greyhollow Island, two new expanded areas called the Eternal Forest and the Royal Quarters and all manner of new creatures that inhabit those regions.
Patch 2.4 also introduces a handful of all-new features, including Set Dungeons and Empowered Rifts, which both novice and experienced players can explore.
Empowered Rifts, Blizzard says, let players further upgrade their legendary gems. When entering one of Diablo 3's Greater Rifts, players have the option to spend some gold to make it Empowered. Do so, and they'll be able to add a fourth upgrade to their legendary gems.
Diablo 3 lead designer Kevin Martens said the Empowered Rifts feature is a "gold sink for people who have billions of gold," turning what many players have in surplus into something valuable in the endgame. There's a new Kanai's Cube recipe in patch 2.4 that utilizes legendary gems, so upgrading those gems to their greatest potential will likely be worth it for longtime players.
Patch 2.4's new Set Dungeons are designed to help players get the most out of their class armor sets — which Blizzard has also revisited, revamped and revived in the new patch.
Set Dungeons, Blizzard says, are designed to teach players how to play their class sets better.
"Set dungeons might at first blush seem like an end-game feature but it's one that we've worked hard to make [accessible]," senior designer Alex Sulman told Polygon at BlizzCon. "Set dungeons are designed where power doesn't matter so much; you don't have to be super high-level to beat them. They're actually designed to help you learn how to play [class armor sets].
"It's actually a fairly broad feature ... but don't get me wrong — to complete all 24 and master all of them, I'm not expecting many people to do that. But if you find a set and want to test yourself it'll help you learn the set, maybe you'll play a set you've never played before or a class you've never played before and it'll help you learn the game a little better."
Martens said that fairly inexperienced Diablo players can jump right into Set Dungeons by playing a Season of Diablo 3.
"If you play the season journey for the first time ever you get your six-piece set," he said. "For new players it's faster than ever if they jump into their first season the get the best rewards right off the bat. And because there's a mastery objective [in Set Dungeons], experienced players also have something to shoot for."
More details on what's coming in patch 2.4 for Diablo 3 are available at Battle.net. For details on how to get into the player test realm and try out the new patch, check out Blizzard's instructions. Blizzard said it expects to roll out the final version of patch 2.4 on console and PC simultaneously.