Over the course of the first week of Diablo 4 Season 2 it’s been my privilege to interact with several members of the PureDiablo community along with many other players in the game. As usual, they’ve been both glad and eager to share their insights and opinions about the current Season, including likes, dislikes, and some surprises on both ends of the spectrum. Thanks to all of you who responded to my request for feedback, a summary of which is provided below.
A bumpy start
Okay, so let’s get the bad news out of the way first. A delayed start to the Season, followed by frequent disconnects and a good deal of rubber banding brought out the review bombers right away. It’s fair to say, though, that the bumpy start to Season 2 deserved such criticism. Compared to the relatively smooth starts for the initial launch in June, as well as Season 1 in July, players who wanted to jump right into Season 2 were suitably upset and disappointed. Thankfully, most of the issues were resolved within a few hours of the Season going live. Hopefully Blizzard will handle things more carefully next time, perhaps by releasing and testing the Patch at least a week in advance and maybe even by making a PTR available.
With enough pages of Patch notes to stretch all the way across Sanctuary, it was a pretty good bet that the Season 2 update would bring many important and much-needed fixes and improvements to the game.
Nearly all of the Creator content and Forum posts over this past week have been overwhelmingly positive. It’s far less common now to see negative feedback about class balance, the leveling progress, farming Uniques, common QOL issues, or insufficient endgame content. One might even say that if Season 1 was the true first launch of the game, then Season 2 is the true first Season. At least we hope it turns out that way.
Among the many welcome changes has been the anticipated and conspicuous jump in the number of people returning to play and watch the game. As things stand, the previous claims that Diablo 4 is dead and buried seem to be rather ridiculous in retrospect.
On the other hand, there has also been a decent amount of feedback about the game now being too easy. In response to that I would again point out the fact that the vast majority of the people who play the game do so casually. A large percentage of them did not reach Level 100 last Season, and fully engaging in the Seasonal mechanics can prove to be impractical for many of them due to personal time constraints. While it is true that the Season 2 buffs and nerfs have made the game less challenging for some, a larger percentage of players are now able to enjoy it more thoroughly. This translates into a greater number of people playing the game more of the time, as well as returning to the game from one Season to the next. So, to those of you who still desire a more intense challenge, I would suggest taking a shot at SSF HC or competing in a PvP tournament (which, by the way, Blizzard has now endorsed to offer cash prizes).
The Devs did, indeed, deliver on their promise for a more intriguing and robust Seasonal questline. The journey that Erys takes us on feels more relatable within the context of the Horror genre.
Virtually every gamer who provided feedback to me mentioned how the Vampiric Powers add more depth and customization to the leveling process. It’s like having another set of Glyphs to help carry us through the early game. This means less reliance on Itemization and Min-maxing, which genuinely helps to lighten the burden for casual players. Blizzard would be doing the casual community a great service by including a vigorous feature like this in all future Seasons.
Blood Harvest is filling a couple of spaces that were empty last Season, first by offering yet another activity, in addition to the Tree of Whispers and Nightmare Dungeons, to bridge the gap between Helltides and World Bosses. It has also turned out to be a fairly efficient way to help gear and level up Alts. The only real downside is that the Hunter’s Acclaim endeavor is quite grindy, somewhat overblown, and the rewards are rather lackluster.
Having the Seasonal quest lead character of Erys be voice acted by Gemma Chan (“Sersi” from Eternals, “Anita/Mia” from Humans) is a really nice touch and will hopefully result in more celebrity appearances in the future.
The Premium Battle Pass cosmetics seem to be a hit again this Season. This is, without a doubt, the best deal available in the game considering that the cosmetics from one Battle Pass can be used to dress each of the five classes, and they also include a new horse with barding and a trophy. Some folks are still complaining about the $10 price tag on the Premium Battle Pass or the high cost of the cosmetics in the shop. To them I would say that, while averting Pay to Win is a hill most definitely worth dying on, protesting about the pricey shop cosmetics is just not worth the headache.
Tips for filthy casuals
I would now like to share with my fellow casual players some tips that have been offered to me multiple times over this past week, which should help to make your Seasonal experience more fulfilling.
- When it comes to choosing a class and build, either pick what you like or go with what is most popular. For example, Sorcerer continues to be the most popular class because it’s fun and relatively easy to play, and most players like it because most players are casuals.
- Effectively selecting and applying the proper assortment of skills and Legendary Aspects is probably the most important factor in playing successfully. For example, it might seem cool to have your Ice Shards Sorcerer use Hydras, or to equip a wand that is imprinted with the Frozen Memories Aspect. However, doing so will diminish the effectiveness of potential skill synergies, etc. There are many sources for build guides online and it’s usually worthwhile to review at least one basic leveling build guide to get your new game off to a good start.
- The next important consideration is properly mapping your Paragon Boards because they yield so much power. For example, we know that Sorcerer is one of the classes that benefits most from the Intelligence main stat. However, going through your Paragon Board and clicking every Intelligence node will not necessarily get you the results you’re looking for. A basic endgame build guide will provide all the information you need to optimize your Paragon path.
- Running higher tier Nightmare Dungeons will give more XP, right? I hear this all the time. However, the truth is that once you reach a Nightmare tier that is higher than your character level minus forty-four, you’re going to encounter increased enemy health without getting any more XP. For example, if your character is Level 67, then you want to run Nightmare Dungeons that are max Tier 23. Any higher than that and the enemies will be tougher, but you won’t be getting any more XP. If you’re just looking for a greater challenge, then go right ahead and dial it up. However, if your goal is to level efficiently, then it can help to keep this ratio in mind.
- Although Min-maxing gear is certainly a worthwhile endeavor, it’s not really necessary to be meticulous about it as long as you put together a really solid build with at least some attention paid to the most important stats for your class, such as Critical Strike Chance, Cooldown Reduction, Resource Cost Reduction, etc.. So, if you dislike having to sift through tons of Rare items in search of perfect stat lines, then focus more on the tips listed above. That, along with upgrading your Paragon Glyphs as high as possible, will undoubtedly result in your being able to eventually achieve all of your goals for the Season.
- The last tip is actually the most important one, which is to always have fun. If any of the above suggestions interferes with that then just skip it.
There is still a great deal more work that needs to be done with Balance, Itemization, and QOL features, and that work is underway by the Devs as we speak. In the meantime, keep the faith and keep monitoring the news feed here at PureDiablo for future Developer Update Recaps.
We would love to hear your opinions on the matter, so please sound off in the comments section below. Do also keep an eye on the news feed here at PureDiablo so you’ll have all the most up-to-date info you need to get the most out of your game.
If you believe that any of the information shared above is inaccurate in any way, please let us know, along with a reference for the correct information, so we can update this document accordingly.