The Diablo 4 devs just made an announcement that tells me they are cooking up something good for Season 5

Diablo 4 Vessel of Hatred
(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

What you need to know

  • In a blog post, Diablo 4 devs have announced an upcoming balance Patch 1.4.3 for which the notes drop Friday 14 June.
  • On June 21, there will be a Campfire Chat to discuss the PTR (Public Test Realm) for Season 5.
  • Previously, they have said the PTR would be on a case by case basis, and only being used when there is a lot of new stuff to test, so what could we expect for Season 5?

I'm only just peeling myself down from the ceiling after all the incredible Diablo 4 news we have already had in the past few days. From a brand new, and deliciously dark Vessel of Hatred trailer, to the reveal of the Spiritborn class and shadow-drop of pets into the game, it's been a great time to be a Diablo fan.

But Blizzard is not stopping there. Season 4 is still in full swing and still breaking records for Diablo 4 player numbers a month into the season, and just a few hours ago Adam Fletcher aka PezRadar (Community Director) made a blog post detailing more to come from the Diablo 4 team. We've another mid-season balance patch coming shortly with Patch 1.4.3, and in an exciting reveal, we're getting a PTR (Public Test Realm) for Season 5 which is set to start on August 6. But why am I so excited?

PTRs for Diablo 4 are not a given, so what are they cooking that needs testing?

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

To refer back to my interview with Rod Fergusson in April, I posed the question about PTRs. This tool has been used for seasons in Diablo 2 and Diablo 3, but we only saw it from Season 4 onward in Diablo 4, and wow, is the Season of Loot Reborn all the better for it. I asked Rod if we were likely to see the PTR for every season going forward now. He had this to say:

"That's a good question.  I think that's sort of a TBD for us.  There are pros and cons to PTR. Like Season 4 is such a big change that we definitely needed to get more feedback than usual.

If you look at 
Season 3, we released Season 3, we got some immediate feedback, and then we patched up pretty quickly. And so we could patch Season 3 in the first 3 days. So we can respond pretty quickly to that stuff. There's a lot of value you get out of the surprise and delight aspect that a PTR can, in some ways, take away some of the excitement. It can work for you or against you, depending on what you're trying. And that's kind of why we were like, hey, the stuff we really need to test like the crafting and all the new systems. Let's get that out there. But oh, if there is anything to do with a seasonal theme, we'll hold that back to be a little surprise and delight. So there's still something left to discover. I think we're learning, this is our first one.

So that's a very long way to say we're learning from this one, or we learned from this one. And we can pretty much guarantee that every season we're gonna have that conversation. Is it going to be in our best interest to get people playing earlier? And getting that feedback? Or is it better to surprise and delight with, Hey, here's a new theme you didn't know is coming. We've been really happy with this Season for PTR. So we will probably ended up doing more of them for sure. "

So what I am taking from this statement combined with todays news, is that the developers have had a conversation about if a PTR is necessary for Season 5, and come to the conclusion that it is. This could mean one of two things: they have seen the benefit of having one for Season 4 and decided to just bring in the PTR every season now, despite earlier comments on it being case by case, OR they are implementing a bunch of exciting things in Season 5 that definitely need player testing. I'm going with the latter for the sake of winding myself into a frenzy of excitement.

Another reason for my theory is that we haven't actually had much in the way of season-specific changes with Season 4, the only exclusively 'seasonal' activities being the Iron Wolves honor board and some season-only consumables such as the Profane Mindcage and Holy Bolts Elixir. The other changes implemented, such as the itemization, Tempering, and Masterworking, and a plethora of other improvements, have been added to the base game for the enjoyment of both Eternal Realm and Seasonal Realm players. Season 5 will be the first actual season of thorough seasonal content combined with these improvements.

We will find out for sure next week, though, as there is a Campfire Chat on Friday, June 21, to discuss what exactly Season 5 PTR is. 

Patch 1.4.3 incoming

Diablo 4

(Image credit: Jennifer Young - Windows Central)

Adam Fletcher also let us know that Patch 1.4.3 will drop tomorrow Friday June 14, and give us some insight into the mid-season update coming next week (date to be confirmed). Normally there is also a Campfire Chat for the mid season update, but Fletcher says:

"Originally we had our mid-season update coming after this PTR concluded, but we agreed releasing the mid-season update prior to the PTR would be better for all players.

Why is that? Well, the Season 5 PTR would have some of these changes coming with the mid-season update, and we didn’t want to create any type of whiplash for players as they go from finishing the PTR back to Season 4. Due to this, we believe delivering the mid-season update sooner will be the best for everyone.

As you can see there is a ton going on in the world of Sanctuary. We look forward to sharing more in the upcoming weeks and will have more information on Season 5 PTR including stream times and more next week."

I look forward to seeing what else the team are cooking up, meanwhile I'm starting yet another character in Season 4 because I'm hopelessly addicted to the new Helltide. Don't forget we also have a deepdive coming on July 18 into the Spiritborn class and Vessel of Hatred expansion, Diablo fans are eating good!

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.