What you need to know
- Blizzard held their second Campfire Chat for Diablo 4, a chance for the developers to discuss some of the changes made in Patch 1.1 that fans have been unhappy about.
- The developers said they won't ever release a patch with this many 'nerfs' again following feedback from the community.
- Changes were discussed, and the good intentions behind them. Developers want to bring balance to the game to make builds more diverse and fun.
- Another Patch will be coming out to address some of the nerfs, which will be discussed in a Developer Livestream next week.
As Diablo 4 Patch 1.1.0 was released this week to the players, it was met with much outcry following what the player base considers to be nerfed across the board to most classes. What should have been a celebration for the community with the release of its first-ever Season, titled 'Season of the Malignant,' has taken a sour turn with players review bombing the game on Metacritic down to a user score of 2.3 in the space of 48 hours. Some changes in the patch were rolled back, but other the developers have stood by, and we waited with bated breath to see what the Campfire Chat would bring in the form of an explanation of what has been perceived as a fun-sucking patch to the game.
A sombre looking team
The Campfire Chat opened with a rather somber-looking threesome of Joe Piepiora, Joe Shely, and Adam Fletcher, though the latter could always be relied on to bring a smile to an awkward situation. In his non-enviable position, Adam started the stream with this statement:
“We want to acknowledge everyone’s feedback regarding reducing player power. We know it is bad, we know it is not fun. We ourselves know that it’s not the greatest player experience for all the players out there.” He went on to confirm that the purpose of the Campfire Chat was to relay to players precisely the motives behind some of the less popular changes, and what they intended for the bigger picture with Diablo 4, but more importantly, “We don’t plan on doing a patch like this ever again.”
Changes to cooldown reduction and vulnerable damage
Joe Piepiora kicked off the discussion about the developers' intentions behind a large patch like this and how it's to bring balance to the game and make all builds viable. Some main points of contention were the huge nerfs to cooldown reduction and vulnerable damage in the game.
The developers feel that players rely too much on cooldown reduction, to the point it's become to dwarf the effectiveness of other options, and it's not their intention for players to feel like they have to choose a certain route of play. Reducing the effectiveness of this was done with the intent to make other skills more viable, but beforehand to adjust this. It isn't a decision that was relished, but it was a necessary one.
The same was said about Vulnerable damage. Almost every build felt like it had to use this because the effect of it was overturned in the game. They wanted to bring this down to more manageable levels so that players don't feel funneled into builds specifically around using this. They wish for Vulnerable Damage to be equal to other forms of damage.
Nightmare Dungeons are too difficult
Nightmare Dungeons are considered too difficult in end game for most players without speccing completely into things like cooldown reduction and vulnerable damage, another unintended mechanic of play. Nightmare Dungeons will be rebalanced until the Developers are happy that Tier 100 dungeons are more similar in difficulty to what we get at Tier 70 now. A hotfix is being released later today to decrease the problem of higher-tier Nightmare Dungeons.
The developers showed a mission statement that the developer wants to live and breathe when making significant changes like this and again emphasized how it wasn't intended to make the game less fun, they simply have more plans to implement, and this patch is just the beginning of that.
Season 2 plans for Diablo 4
Blizzard has announced some of the plans for Season 2 of Diablo 4, which will introduce new challenges and rewards for the players.
One of the main additions will be an endgame activity, which could be new Nightmare Dungeons, Whispers events, a World Boss encounter, or something else. These activities will test the skills and builds of the players and offer them exclusive loot and achievements.
Another improvement that Blizzard is working on is to provide more options to target-farm Uniques in Season 2. Blizzard wants to make it easier for players to find the Uniques they want without relying too much on RNG.
Finally, Blizzard is also planning to rework the Resistance system as a part of Season 2. Resistances are stats that reduce the damage from different types of elemental attacks, such as fire, cold, lightning, etc. Blizzard wants to make Resistances more meaningful and impactful in the game and also more balanced and diverse. They will share more details on how the new Resistance system will work in the future.
More to come
There will be another Developer Livestream next Friday to discuss Patch 1.1.1. This patch will bring major changes and improvements to the game, especially for Sorcerers and Barbarians, who will receive significant buffs for their skills and items.
The patch will also increase the monster density in Nightmare Dungeons and during Helltides, making them more challenging and rewarding. Additionally, players will get an extra Stash tab to store their loot, and the Elixir stack size will be increased to 99, allowing them to carry more potions.
Another welcome change is the reduction of the Respec costs by 40%, making it easier for players to experiment with different builds and skills. Furthermore, the experience curve from level 50 to 100 will be adjusted so that leveling will become faster and smoother.
The team expects to release Patch 1.1.1 within the next couple of weeks after testing and polishing it. They will share more details and patch notes during the Livestream and answer some questions from the community.
Beyond Patch 1.1.1 and Season 2, they confirmed that there will be more updates and patches in between, which will address some of the issues and feedback from the players and introduce new features and content.
One of the features the team is working on is the Leaderboards, which will allow players to compete and compare their performance and achievements with other players. Leaderboards are planned for Season 3, which will also bring new challenges and rewards. This is welcome news as the Diablo community is hungry for Leaderboards, considering we had them in Diablo 2 and 3 and were an essential part of Season play.
Another feature to add is the ability to re-fight Campaign bosses, which is currently only available once per character. This will give players more options and variety in their endgame activities and a chance to get some unique loot from the bosses. Will we get to fight Asteroth again? I hope so.
Blizzard also hinted that they will make Uber Uniques more accessible and attainable in the future. Uber Uniques are extremely rare and only obtainable from certain events or activities, such as Whispers or World Bosses. Blizzard wants to give players more opportunities to acquire these items without making them too common or easy.
Handling updates in the future
Blizzard has shared some of their philosophy and plans on how it will handle updates and balance changes for Diablo IV. Their main goal is to increase the build diversity and variety in the game and to avoid nerfing builds that are overpowered until they have provided compelling alternatives for the players. They also want to make these meta changes at predictable times, such as the start of a new Season, so that players can prepare and adapt accordingly.
However, the developers also stated that they will still react quickly in situations where a bug is causing game-breaking damage or crashes, as these issues affect the stability and integrity of the game. They will try to fix these bugs as soon as possible and communicate them to the players.
Blizzard also promised to improve their communication and transparency regarding patch notes and updates. They will try to release the patch notes at least a week before the actual patch is available so that players can have enough time to read and understand them. They will also explain the reasoning behind their changes and decisions and listen to the feedback from the community.
Windows Central's Take
I’ve already expressed my feelings about the recent patch and suggested what I think could have reduced much of the player's frustration. I still believe that we need a return to the methods of previous Diablo games and a Player Test Realm. The community would feel more respected and involved when it comes to significant changes, and people who already play the game for hours on end are effectively testing the game for free for the developers.
I’m still puzzled why the lack of a PTR wasn’t addressed in the Campfire Chat, as it seems like a win-win solution to me. I would like to know precisely why it’s not a consideration. Content creators would also benefit from this, as they could prepare to build content much earlier rather than rushing on the day of the Season launch. For now, we have to hope that the developers are listening to us and the changes we want will come in time. I’m still enjoying Season of the Malignant, and while I think the controversy will fade away eventually, there’s always another one waiting around the corner for Blizzard.
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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.