Diablo 4 Season 4 'Loot Reborn' will be so game-changing — it may make Eternal Realm players give Seasons a shot

Daiblo 4 Season 4
(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

What you need to know 

  • Diablo 4's fourth Season starts on May 14. Today's Campfire Chat discussed the changes made since the game's first Public Test Realm and what differences we can expect in Season 4.
  • The main theme is 'Loot Reborn' as this upcoming patch makes huge fundamental changes to the Diablo 4 endgame.
  • All new content will apply to both Seasonal and Eternal Realms, with the exception of an Iron Wolves activity and rewards for Seasonal players.
  • Seasonal players will now be rewarded with a set of legendary gear tailored to one specific build for each class, making Seasonal play a lot more approachable.

It feels like we've been talking forever about the changes coming to Diablo 4 with the launch of it's new Season, and frankly, new era in Season 4. With brand new endgame crafting mechanics, a simpler more streamlined itemization system, new boss ladder and The Pit to look forward. It's no surprise that this season's theme is 'Loot Reborn' which is a fancy way of saying "making Diablo 4 a better game."

A couple of days ago, Blizzard announced the Loot Reborn theme. Thanks to the inclusion of the game's first-ever Public Test Realm earlier in April, and the last incredibly long Campfire Chat, we already know a lot about what to expect from Season 4.

That being said, Seasonal players will be getting a short storyline in the Iron Wolves, who savvy PTR players noticed in the new Helltides. In today's Campfire Chat, developers sat down to discuss the seasonal activity, and all the changes made to the game following the feedback from the PTR. 

"This was our opportunity to go back and look at feedback since the launch of the game from 2023."

An example of an item with reduced affixes. (Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

The main driver for the sweeping changes is that Diablo 4 is an ever-evolving game. Much has been learned since launch and from previous seasons, some of which we discussed in our exclusive interview with Diablo GM Rod Fergusson. The laser focus with this next update is to dramatically improve itemization.

"We want it to be easier for players to compare the items in their inventory." At the moment, due to the long list of stats, it's not immediately obvious if something is better or not. From May 14, there will be a lower number of affixes overall on all loot but more generic utility within those affixes. Rare items will drop with 2 affixes, and Legendaries will drop with 3 Affixes. Quality over quantity.

All items after post-level 100 will drop at level 925 (the highest i-level), so you'll only be concerned with affixes past this point instead of sorting through low-level loot.  

Masterworking updates since PTR

Masterworking animations have been cut  (Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Masterworking is an activity that takes your items to endgame levels, juicing your stats as high as they can go. Feedback received was that it was tedious to do multiple upgrades, so animations were removed or made skippable.

"The town is lava we want to address that." said one of the devs. Town is lava being the catch phrase of an efficient Diablo player. They've added multiple scales of material conversion to the caches for Masterworking as a temporary solution to speed up the time it takes to convert crafting materials to what you need, there is a better solution in the works.

There was a lot of feedback that the chance of failing a masterwork roll was too high; this has now been removed completely.

Veiled crystals rate finally buffed

The team expressed thanks at the 'very vocal feedback' received on how tedious it is collecting veiled crystals and just not having enough for the level of crafting involved in endgame. Legendary items will now break down into equal amounts of veiled crystals, Sacred to double, Ancesttral to triple.

Greater affixes and visibility

Items can drop with not just a legendary affix but a Greater Affix. These are more powerful versions of regular affixes and have a 1.5x multiplier on the affix's max roll. The devs really want this to feel like a "jackpot moment" but feedback from the PTR showed that they were still a bit difficult to see amongst other drops.

Changes have been made so that not only does a Greater Affix items now have a more visible marker on the item drop itself, but it will be obvious in the inventory thanks to a star marker. "Long gone are the days of the Roman numeral."

Class balance changes 

The developer team for Diablo 4 (Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Adam Jackson, Lead Class designer went over some lessons learnt around classes from the PTR which mean further class balancing changes will happen for the Season 4 patch.

End-game survivability issues were mentioned where players found that enemies went from too easy to suddenly 1 shotting you. A lot of work has gone into balancing this unpredictable variation in players' defenses.

Armor and how it works was said to be confusing, with the player not really knowing at what point in their journey they need to stop being concerned with armor rating. For example, the amount of Armor you need to be at the 85% cap is based on the level of the monster you're fighting; in Season 3, this looked like this:

  • Level 50 Monster - 5,265
  • Level 100 Monster - 9,230
  • Level 150 Monster - 12,960

In Season 4, it will cap out when fighting level 100 monsters, once you get 9230 armor you know you are finished improving your armor stat. Much simpler. New caps are being input on certain stats to balance the feeling of power without compromising the performance of the game, so:

  • Cooldown Reduction cap — 75% (on gear only, you can still cooldown from your skill tree and other sources)
  • Increased Area Size cap — 100%

Lots of other balance changes based on feedback:

  • Changes due to combat readability and to balance player power
  • Fewer Dust Devils
  • Fewer Fractured Winterglass Frozen Orbs, still going to spawn a lot, just not crazy amounts
  • Fortify Damage Reduction increased from 10% to 15%
  • Many Tempering Affix updates
  • Druid Wolves health increased by 200%, respawn rate reduced by 50%

Scoundrels Kiss changed as a result of feedback to work better for single target damage, players weren't happy that the skill was more melee than range. Now you can hit from more range and because the arrows explode they hit multiple targets. 

Bug fixes

  • Druid's Hurricane incorrectly scaling damage corrected
  • Ebonpiercer's extra missiles incorrectly had a Lucky Hit chance
  • Fixed an issue where Flameweaver was able to split a Firebolt multiple times if the Fire Walls were stacked on top of each other

Helltide reborn

Diablo 4 Hellborn

Hellborn are new enemies to face within the Helltide (Image credit: Blizzard)

In our interview with Rod Fergusson, he mentioned that Season 2 Season of Blood really gave the team food for thought when it came to making better Helltides, the Blood Harvest being such a popular overworld event. It's clear that the new version of the Helltides are heavily inspired by what went well with Season 2, and this is a good thing.

Not only will the Helltides be a more rewarding experience overall, but they'll be available to players in World Tiers 1 and 2 for the first time. Permanent upgrades to the Helltide experience have a  "heavy focus on improving monster density and activity variety." These are permanent across Seasonal and Eternal Realms.

  • The Hell Born are a new enemy, inspired by Blood Seekers from Season 2 vampiric theme. Fallen heroes of Sanctuary for the player to face that will drop better rewards.
  • Blood Maiden summoned by collecting Baneful Hearts, collect these to summon using the Accursed Ritual and summon a mini boss to fight solo or with other players. Very lucrative.
  • Cinder drops have been increased following feedback that drop rates were too low in the PTR.
  • Baneful hearts are gained from Tortured gifts, the Hellborn etc but they had inconsistent drops on the PTR so drop chances have been improved.
  • People who actually sacrifice hearts to summon the Blood Maiden will reap more benefits, whether you place 1 or 3 hearts into the ritual. Incentives to make sure those who are farming the materials are actually getting decent rewards. 
  • Blood Maiden's loot value has been improved, now has a chance to drop Legendary's, Forgotten Souls, Lord Zir Mats, % Chance End-Game Boss Mats, etc.
  • Reduced channel time to open Tortured Gifts from 3s - 1.5s

Call of the Wolves seasonal event

The Season 4 theme is 'Loot Reborn', so the focus here is on the changes made to improve the game; that being said, a small activity is being added for Seasonal Players. The Iron Wolves are now a permanent part of the Hell Tides in both realms, but for Seasonal Players we have the Call of the Wolves activity. Players can spend more time with Iron Wolves and earn honor towards a reputation system 'Wolf's Honor' "Super juiced rewards that are specifically tuned to power level your journey from level 1 to 100." Early access to gear with "juiced stats, boss materials, and more."

Some cool Iron Wolf cosmetics, such as Iron Wolf Banner and Bloodmaiden Mount Trophy, are earned through completing the associated activities.

Another specific Season 4 item to earn is the 'Profane Mindcage' which is an experiemental item for this season, consuming what looks like a demon brain will buff the Helltide monster level by 10 depending on what World Tier you are playing in.  These are a guaranteed drop from the Hellborn, and you're encouraged to use them, not hoard them. Brains will be plentiful, EAT DELICIOUS DEMON BRAINS. 

Season Journey

You'll receive rewards based around a specific build for your class (Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Perhaps the part of the Campfire I was most excited about, was the announcement of better Season Journey rewards. Currently, there isn't really much incentive to complete the chapters outside personal accomplishment, but the developers want to make the Season Journey more rewarding and exciting.

Bringing back a method from Diablo 3, now for every class you'll receive a preset of items as you go through the journey for your chosen class, that are all designed towards a specific build (very Haedrig's Gift for those that played the Diablo 3 seasons.)  Using these items is of course optional, but it's a great leg up into endgame and good starter build that you can either drop later, or use to take you all the way to level 100.

The 'build' you are given will change each season, for each class in Season 4, these will be:

  • Barbarian - Dust Devil
  • Druid - Pulverize 
  • Necromancer - Minion Army
  • Sorceress - Incinerate
  • Rogue - Barrage 

At least I know what starter builds to recommend for the new Season!

Pit of the Artificers and Nightmare Dungeon changes

Diablo 4 Pit of Artificer

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

The Pit of the Artificer answers the feedback that there isn't anywhere in the game to push builds and measure their efficiency. "Where's my measuring stick?" You'll be able to push deeper levels of The Pit in a similar manner to Season 2's Abbatoir of Zir. However, the difficulty spike between levels is much less severe, and it's not an activity reserved for top-level insane builds. (Similar to Greater Rifts from Diablo 3).

Feedback from the PTR was that The Pit, while fun, was too easy. So changes have been made to this so the rewards you seek, for example, Masterworking crafting materials, will be obtainable from much higher levels. Monsters have had health and damage increased in both The Pit and Nightmare Dungeons.

Additionally, the team has responded to feedback that The Pit wasn't rewarding players who helped others with their Pit runs but hadn't opened the Pit themselves (they didn't receive Masterworking items). This has been changed so that players helping will also get rewards.

Nightmare Dungeons level 46 and above, and The Pit level 1 will also drop obols. At this point the devs joked "but Obols are terrible!"  They're not really high on the list of currency Diablo players covet that's for sure. But no longer! The Purveyor of Curiosities will now guarantee level 925 items at level 100 as with the 'Loot Reborn' changes and also be able to drop Greater Affixes, so gambling will now be an efficient way to get the loot you want. Obol cap has also been increased substantially to 2500 to allow for more farming of these. This will be incredibly efficient since you can gamble for specific slots. Kadala and her Blood Shards found reeling.

In addition to all of the above, Glyph XP has been increased by 25%.

Boss ladder and Uber Unique updates 

The material cost for taking on Tormented versions of the bosses on the boss ladder was too high compared to the rewards in the PTR, so this has been changed. Cost nerfed to 3x for 5x rewards.

Also, feedback on farming materials for certain bosses required tedious, repetitive actions that just weren't fun, so boss materials can now drop from things like Whisper caches, Elite monsters, Hellborn, and other more organic activities in playing the game. You can still farm them, but you'll have natural drops, too.

Uber Lilith will now drop a Resplendent Spark the first time you kill her (Resplendent Sparks are incredibly rare materials that can be used to craft Uber Uniques).

All ladder bosses now have a small chance to drop an Uber Unique; Andariel and Duriel will still have a higher chance, but fighting all of the bosses should be more exciting. 

Q and A 

The chats always finish with questions from the community, answers are paraphrased:

Q: What does this mean for Season Powers in the future?
We need to make sure that getting loot feels as good as killing monsters. There are so many things we have done to make the game better, such as Tempering, Masterworking, etc. We still love the idea of Seasonal Powers like vampiric powers; you will see these again.

Q: Season 3 ran longer due to the PTR, and Season 4 is starting late, so will Season 4 be shorter?
It will be around a week shorter

Q: Would you guys consider a different beam color for Greater Affix drops?
We have changed the symbols to make these drops more obvious, but we're open to seeing how they work and amending them later. We're monitoring it.

Q: Are the Season 4 updates going to update into the Eternal Realm retroactively?
The Season 4 update will include everything for both Seasonal and Eternal Realms, with the exception of the Iron Wolves questline and rewards. Old items will be marked as legacy items, retained, and you won't be able to use Tempering and Masterwork mechanics on them.

Q: With the itemization reworks, what is the next big thing you are working on?
We want to create more gameplay around the post-level 100 experience; there's more opportunity to build on this. The things that drive a player forward to continue engaging with the content, we're thinking about this going forward.

Q: Does the mindcage stack or does the timer reset if you consume more than one?
A: The timer resets

Q: Do mind cages trigger a single player or a whole group?
A: It's a personal buff, but we want feedback on the mind cage mechanic.

Q: Do Unique items get a stat/functionality boost since Tempered Legendaries are straight-up better? Is it no longer better to equip a Unique after the patch?
A: We've also made changes to the Unique items. The patch notes will contain information, but we're still considering Uniques in the long term. We believe many of them are key to the best builds.

Q: Are there more social features coming to Diablo 4?
We are very aware that people want this and are looking at it, we'll share more when we can.

Q: Will leaderboards be added to The Pit?
This could be fun, we like the idea but right now we're testing ideas out and The Pit being variable complicates it. It doesn't mean we won't add it, just not right now.

Q: With Tempering, can you keep previous rolls (like the enchantment system)
A: No right now you are committed to rerolling, but again we are open to feedback

Q: General question about future character customization options

A: The team are looking at this, "we care about this a great deal". We want to get a lot more cool looks and cool stuff into the game.

The stream ended with the developers saying that Patch notes will follow shortly, re-iterating all of the above changes and also anything missed during todays stream, you can read the full notes here.

Season 4 could bring back some prodigal players

I firmly believe that the changes made with Season 4 are not only going to drastically change the game for the better, bringing back a bunch of players who may have tired around the launch of Season 1, but also that many things mentioned today will make the whole concept of 'Seasonal' play a lot more approachable for players who previously would have only considered the Eternal Realm.

Seasons are a fun way to learn the endgame mechanics, not least because the listed 'tasks' explain what endgame activities need to be done and in what order. The added bonus of a gift of legendary gear based around one single build for each player's chosen class is basically giving any player, experienced or new, a build on a plate to start the end game with an advantage.

I didn't think I could get more excited about Season 4 than I already am. Still, this, along with Codex of Power changes and the itemization reworks, is really getting me pumped for jumping back into my favorite game. Will you be there on May 14? 

Jennifer Young

Jen is a News Writer for Windows Central, focused on all things gaming and Microsoft. Anything slaying monsters with magical weapons will get a thumbs up such as Dark Souls, Dragon Age, Diablo, and Monster Hunter. When not playing games, she'll be watching a horror or trash reality TV show, she hasn't decided which of those categories the Kardashians fit into. You can follow Jen on Twitter @Jenbox360 for more Diablo fangirling and general moaning about British weather.