Developer update livestream
The next Diablo 4 Developer Update Livestream is just a few days away. The Devs, including Adam Fletcher and Joe Piepiora, have allocated two hours to discuss what we can expect for the Season of Blood and to answer some questions from players. As a side note, isn’t every Season of Diablo a season of blood in one way or another? But I digress.
It may be true that many new players have left the game forever. However, my sense is that the vast majority of long-time casual players are anxiously awaiting the upcoming details with their fingers crossed on both hands. In fact, it’s probably true that the future of Diablo 4 depends more on the success of Season 2 than it did on its initial launch.
For the past several weeks, the Diablo forums and press have been inundated with speculation, demands, criticism, and optimism regarding the current status and future of the game. What follows is a review of where things stand right now along with some of the most commonly requested changes.
What we know
Season 2 Seasonal Theme
Season 2 will team players up with the Vampire Hunter Erys, voiced by actress Gemma Chan (Sersi from Eternals) in her first video game role. Characters will gain special abilities that will transform them into daywalker vampires as they join Erys in the hunt to defeat a powerful Vampire Lord (could his name be Markus or Viktor?). The new Season starts on October 17th and will introduce a new Seasonal Questline, which the Devs have promised will be more intriguing and robust in terms of content and narrative, along with the accompanying Seasonal Journey and Battle Pass featuring more cosmetics and player rewards.
Blizzard has previously announced that it will be updating a number of game systems, including how elemental resistances are handled as well as additional ways to deal damage.
Many members of the Diablo community have pointed to the issue of Resistances as being the most important problem in the game thus far. Although this may not adversely impact every player, it does contribute to the strain of leveling from 70 to 100 due to the scaling of enemies.
Despite the claims from the Developers that the game would foster genuine flexibility when building a character, the role of effects like Vulnerable damage or Critical Strike damage are still relatively too large. The Devs have promised more options in this area, some of which we should expect to see in the next one or two patches.
We can also expect to see more improvements made to Nightmare Dungeons, Mounts, and a World Boss Timer, the details of which will be revealed in the upcoming livestream.
One of the biggest changes coming up is that all of the Renown achieved by any previous characters will now carry over into every future Season, including the next one. That means no longer having to repeat any strongholds, side dungeons, or side quests for Renown points. Players who have previously unlocked all of the available Renown rewards will be able to start the season with nine health potion charges, ten skill points, and twenty Paragon Points. It may be necessary to reacquire Aspects for the Codex of Power, but that’s about it. We’ll be able to focus right away on leveling our new characters and completing the Seasonal questline without having to bother will all that Renown housekeeping.
The next Season will add new Unique Items, as usual, along with five new endgame bosses. What’s more, is that these new bosses are expected to facilitate the target farming of those Unique Items. To that end we might expect something like each boss having a much higher chance of dropping a specific Unique Item. It’s also possible that this type of target farming will result in more chances to obtain Uber Uniques as well.
New filter and sort systems will be added to the stash, and gems will be moved to the Materials Inventory. It’s a good start, but there’s still plenty of room, pun intended, for more needed improvements to inventory and storage. See below for additional perspectives on this issue.
Loot & Itemization
Having to sift through mountains of essentially useless Ancestral Rares in search of one gear item that’s even halfway decent is a prevalent complaint from the community. To make matters worse, the majority of Unique Item drops are usually no better.
In my last article I talked about how the Devs wanted the hunt for good gear to feel more organic compared to Diablo 3 and to also be both challenging and rewarding in order to foster build diversity. However, the current loot system in Diablo 4 has turned out to be a major turn off.
What can be done to address this issue? Well, making the game more like Diablo 3 by showering players with Legendary items is probably a bit too hasty. In the meantime, though, there are some changes that could have a positive impact on the progression from Level 70 to 100.
Such as rewarding players with some legendary gear that’s actually decent when they complete a high tier Nightmare Dungeon, or kill the Butcher, or whack a Goblin Pack that’s hiding in a cellar. There’s currently no guarantee of getting anything good by doing any of those things. So, it sure would be nice to have at least a few more opportunities to get some really good gear while the Devs sort out the issue of Itemization.
Speaking of sorting, what about a Loot Filter? A really, really good loot filter with a vast array of toggles and sliders to automate the now laborious task of sifting through all those Ancestral Rares. While they’re at it, the Devs might as well add an auto-salvage feature. In fact, why not build those loot filter and auto-salvage features into a minion that can pick up whatever players want it to pick up, including gold and gems. Let’s face it, other popular ARPGs have features like this. Heck, we even got something like that in Season 28 of Diablo 3. It’s not rocket science because the game testers at Blizzard already have those keys, they just need to decide to share them.
Everyone talks about the wasteland that is the grind from Level 70 to 100. That level cap is right in front of our faces from the get-go as watch to see who will win the race to 100 at the start of the Season. It’s also featured among the Seasonal Journey objectives and players must hit Level 100 if they want to have any chance at all of defeating Uber Lilith.
Getting to 100 is so much work, though, and it’s beyond the reach of most casual players. That’s partly because there’s currently little else to do other than grinding Nightmare Dungeons, which still takes many hours even with the party and proximity buffs active.
The Diablo community has been clear about wanting the other activities currently in the game to be more worthwhile, along with some new activities to help break up the monotony. Adding new endgame bosses might help with this to a degree, but solving this issue will likely require much more than that.
Yes Joe P., we all understand the challenge presented by a shared open world as it pertains to server memory and other resources. The thing is, the Devs started talking about a shared open world for Diablo 4 back at BlizzCon 2019. That means the decision to create a shared open world was made as early as 2016, give or take. With all that time to prepare, the best they could do at launch was four stash tabs? Many of us finished all seven chapters of the first Seasonal Journey, as well as the Battle Pass, and we didn’t get another stash tab? I mean, what gives?
True build diversity, especially among multiple classes, requires ready access to a massive number of individual material items in order to do it well. It’s great that gems are being moved to the Materials Inventory, but the stash space we currently have doesn’t even come close to satisfying players’ needs. In fact, not only should players be able to get another stash tab per Season, but the cap should also be higher than 13 given that the itemization in Diablo 4 is even more complex than in Diablo 3.
The list of potential quality of life improvements for this game could fill an entire article on its own. Nevertheless, let’s take a look at just a few of the ones that keep popping up most frequently on the forums.
Okay, so charge me 50 million gold for a full build slot, including the skill tree and Paragon boards, and I’ll happily pay it. Failing to provide loadouts will inevitably increase the demand for gear sets, which will then result in power creep and far less build diversity, which we definitely want to avoid.
The party and proximity buffs to XP are a significant factor when leveling a character. So, players need a mechanism that is more effective than the emote wheel to link up with other players who are looking for a party, especially when participating in activities such as World Boss, Gathering Legions, and Helltides.
Class balance changes will be with us until the end of time, and the resulting cost to respec a character in the late endgame can be excessive. There’s been lots of feedback from the community about what the Devs can do to improve the situation. In the meantime, every patch that implements a class balance change should also include at least one free Scroll of Amnesia.
Whatever happened to…
Choosing Team Lilith or Team Inarius? This question went around and around in the weeks leading up to launch weekend, but then we all finished the campaign and forgot about it. Will we ever have an opportunity to choose an alignment as part of a Seasonal Theme? Sounds pretty cool to me and I still hope we get to do this at some point.
One final note here is that, although most Seasonal players skip the campaign for obvious reasons, it still might be nice to be able to replay specific chapter sections so we can conveniently enjoy certain boss fights, cut scenes, etc., with our new Seasonal characters.
PureDiablo will be publishing a Recap in real time for the next Developer Update Livestream on October 4th, which will summarize all of the changes coming up in Season 2. So, be sure to check back for that.
The same goes for the next Campfire Chat on October 10th, which will cover everything included in the Patch Notes that will be posted after the livestream.
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.