What you need to know
- Diablo 2: Resurrected's massive Patch 2.4 is hitting the Public Test Realm (PTR) for PC only on Tuesday, January 25.
- Patch 2.4 includes class balancing and mercenary changes, new runewords and Horadric Cube recipes, and much more.
- No word yet on full launch of Patch 2.4; it will be tested on the PTR until further notice.
Diablo 2: Resurrected fans were teased about a month ago with Patch 2.4, the first major update that heralds the introduction of ranked ladder play and so much more. And now, alongside major news about Microsoft buying Activision Blizzard and ongoing Activision lawsuits, we have a firm January 25 launch date for Patch 2.4 into the Public Test Realm (PTR) on PC. There's still no word on when Patch 2.4 will be fully released to the regular game, though it is expected to also bring ranked ladder play. The developers should share more about ladder play in the near future.
Patch 2.4 focuses heavily on making each class more viable through the reworking of skills, mercenaries, set items, runewords, and farming areas. Considering there are only a handful of truly potent end-game builds, this is great news for everyone who's sick of playing Hammerdin or Blizzard Sorceress.
Eminent Diablo 2 YouTuber MrLlamaSC's full breakdown and review of the 2.4 patch notes is a great way to absorb this huge dump of information.
Each class in Diablo 2: Resurrected is seeing changes to each of its three skill trees. Not only are underutilized skills being buffed to make them more attractive, there are also some reworks to casting delays and synergies. For example, the Paladin — who is most commonly associated with the Blessed Hammer skill — has received buffs to Holy Fire, Holy Freeze, and Holy Shock auras, as well as Fist of the Heavens and Holy Bolt. Auradins and FoHers will hopefully become much more potent.
In the same vein, the Amazon's reliance of becoming a Lightning Javazon for end-game damage should be tempered a bit with the rework of the Bow and Crossbow skill tree. Strafe and the elemental arrow skills have been reworked, offering more damage across the board. And for those who can't give up the javelins, Impale and Fend skills have seen a significant buff.
Barbarians are notably getting a buff to throwing and leap skills, as well as a rework to synergies with combat skills and shouts. The Assassin Martial Arts skill tree is essentially all being buffed to make it better for end-game content, and casting delays for Shadow Disciplines and new synergies with Traps should make for more diverse play.
The Druid is getting a ton of love, most notably for the fire portion of the Elemental skill tree. Casting delays and synergies are being reworked, as well as better functionality when shapeshifting at the same time. Necromancers are seeing their Skeletal Mages buffed to promote better build diversity. Bone Armor is also getting a buff for better protection.
And finally, the Sorceress — arguably the most powerful class in the game — is mostly seeing her underutilized skills get a bit of a buff for better diversity. There are way more changes that I didn't list here for the sake of space. You can read the full list of class changes in Blizzard's official patch notes.
Mercenaries have long been in need of a rework due to the dominance of the Act 2 Desert type. On top of these changes to each act type, hired mercenaries will now be the same level as your character. There will also now be no power penalty to hiring them later in the game at a higher level (instead of hiring them at a low level and leveling them naturally).
Rogue Archers from Act 1 can now use Freezing Arrow and Explosion Arrow. Desert mercs from Act 2 can now be hired with all six auras in Nightmare and Hell difficulties, and the Thorns aura scales better. Iron Wolves from Act 3 have better life, defense, and resistances. They can now cast Enchant and Static Field. And Barbarians from Act 5 have better life and defense, as well as higher level Bash and Stun skills. They can now also cast Battle Cry.
Runeword and Horadric Cube changes
Runes and runewords are a huge part of the Diablo 2: Resurrected experience. And now with Patch 2.4 we're getting seven brand new runewords to play with.
- Plague — Made with Cham + Shael + Um in swords. Adds a Cleansing aura, saps enemy poison resistance, and has a 20% chance to cast Lower Resist.
- Pattern — Made with Tal + Ort + Thul in claws. Adds damage, resistances, attack rating. Good for low-level Assassins.
- Unbending Will — Made with Fal + Io + Ith + Eld + El + Hel in swords. Adds +3 to Barbarian Combat skills, increased attack speed, increased damage, life steal, and a whole lot more.
- Wisdom — Made with Pul + Ith + Eld in helms. Adds 33% piercing attack, extra attack rating, better defense, and the Cannot be Frozen mod.
- Obsession — Made with Zod + Ist + Lem + Lum + Io + Nef in staffs. Grants +3 skills, 65% faster cast rate, 60% faster hit recovery, resistances, magic find, and more. A good alternative to a Spirit shield and caster weapon.
- Flickering Flame — Made with Nef + Pul + Vex in helms. Adds a Resist Fire aura, +3 to fire skills, reduced enemy fire resistance, and more.
- Mist — Made with Cham + Shael + Gul + Thul + Ith in bows and crossbows. Adds a Concentration aura, +3 to all skills, 20% increased attack speed, 100% piercing attack, enhanced damage, attack rating bonus, and resistances.
On top of the new runewords, the potent Insight runeword can now be made into bows.
There are some new Horadric Cube recipes to work with in Patch 2.4, mainly focused on improving set items.
- Exceptional version of set weapon — Ral + Sol + Perfect Emerald + Normal set weapon
- Elite version of set weapon — Lum + Pul + Perfect Emerald + Exception set weapon
- Exception version of set armor — Tal + Shael + Perfect Diamond + Normal set armor
- Elite version of set armor — Ko + Lem + Perfect Diamond + Exceptional set armor
Set item changes
There are plenty of set items in the game, but unfortunately only a few full sets are really worth using for long. Instead of messing with the late-game sets, the developers have mostly focused on buffing the low-end sets you find in Normal and Nightmare playthroughs. A total of 12 sets have seen changes, including Arcanna's Tricks, Arctic Gear, Bul-Kathos' Children, Cathan's Traps, Civerb's Vestments, Cow King's Leathers, Infernal Tools, Iratha's Finery, Milabrega's Regalia, Naj's Ancient Vestige, Sazabi's Grand Tribute, and Vidala's Rig.
Level area changes
One of the biggest glitches in Diablo 2 is the ability to almost completely bypass Act 3 if you're being rushed by a higher level character. That's ending with Patch 2.4, as it will now be required to smash the Compelling Orb with Kalim's Flail to gain entrance into the Durance of Hate. No more taking a Town Portal to the Durance 2 waypoint.
End-game farming currently has only a few level 85 areas (where the best gear drops) to choose from. Patch 2.4 adds a total of 16 new level 85 areas across Act 1, 2, 3, and 5 for a lot more variety.
Again, these are just the highlights of the lengthy patch notes. Be sure to check out the official Diablo 2 blog post for the full list with a deeper explanation of the expected changes.
How to participate in the Diablo 2: Resurrected PTR
The Diablo 2: Resurrected PTR is only available on PC. All you have to do to get in is click the dropdown menu above "Play" in the Battle.net launcher, click PTR: Diablo 2: Resurrected, and click Install. You can swap back and forth between the current live patch and the PTR with the same dropdown menu following the installation. Note that the PTR Patch 2.4 is expected to be deployed January 25, 2022.
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Cale Hunt is formerly a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full-time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.