What we learned about endgame in the Diablo 4 live stream

Diablo 4
(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

What you need to know

  • Blizzard just aired a 90-minute live stream detailing what we can expect from the endgame in Diablo 4 when the base game releases in June.
  • We now have more information about Nightmare Dungeons, Helltide events and paragon boards.
  • Blizzard also announced another beta to test their recently implemented changes. This will take place May 12th - 14th. 

Since the beta one of the most pressing questions on fan's lips has been, what will Diablo 4 endgame be like? Well in their commitment to transparency, today we had another Developer Livestream specifically around what to expect from endgame activities in Diablo 4. Blizzard got Rhykker on board, a respected member of the Diablo community and popular Diablo content creator, to discuss exactly what we'll be doing with our time in Sanctuary when its story has come to a close.

Level 50 and Capstone Dungeons

World Tiers 1 and 2 are open to all players, as we found during the beta. When players hit level 50, they will be able to adjust the World Tier to Torment, the third level of difficulty, but first will need to complete a capstone dungeon to prove their worth for this extra difficult setting. Many veteran Diablo players may have lamented that the 'veteran' tier 2 difficulty was a cakewalk, but Rhykker was quick to point out that he got his butt handed to him for swanning into World Tier 3 unprepared. Heed his warning.

To enter World Tier 3 you will need to complete a skill test of sorts, a capstone dungeon, your reward for completing this will be getting beaten to a pulp by higher-level monsters, that drop higher rarity rewards.

The capstone dungeon itself should be sufficiently challenging enough to mean you won't just want to dive in Leeroy Jenkins style when you hit level 50, but first, ensure your build is viable. Passing the dungeon will be a satisfying achievement.

From World Tier 3, Nightmare, new and rarer items will drop, the world will be more challenging and aggressive and you'll need to constantly improve your gear to survive. Rhykker confirmed he definitely felt the increased hostility of Sanctuary when raising the difficulty level. It wasn't just a case of higher damage numbers but an increased feeling of danger. 

Diablo 4 EndGame Live Stream

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Loot drops will improve at each World Tier level increase. So at World Tier 3 you will begin to see sacred level items, at World Tier 4 you will get Ancestral rarity item drops. These items drop at differing levels of power. For example Sacred can drop at a level of 50-70 and it's entirely possible to get a perfect drop at level 51.

Legendary powers are attached to legendary items and are designed to appear on multiple slots, the same power can appear on an amulet, gloves, or boots for example. These powers can be extracted and put on another item to truly customize a unique build. More powers become available as you increase difficulty, yes you can become a permanent werewolf if that's your playstyle.

A point of interest in the items displayed was that Shako is back! The legendary hunt for the Diablo 2 cap of dreams lives on in Diablo 4. This is just one of a few items that will be making a comeback for fans of the previous games. 

The developers took a moment to point out the UI changes made to the text and layout for equipment following feedback from the beta. Originally they focused on readability, but the community felt strongly that the font resembled a mobile game UI, so this has been tweaked to be more stylized. 


Diablo 4 EndGame Live Stream

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Helltide is a random world event that can occur from Tier 3, that players will want to farm. The sky turns red, blood rain pours and new monsters appear to slay for Cinders, a currency in Diablo 4.

Helltide Caches will be scattered around the infested area and each one will have a specific cost and drop certain items. So you may want to hunt down the cache that drops boots if you need to upgrade that slot. The Butcher and other fearsome bosses will show up in Helltide.

The stakes will be high, if you die, you will lose half your Cinders. So don't get greedy! Helltides are active for around an hour in different areas, if you don't spend before the end you lose the Cinders.

At the beginning of the Helltide you may want to scout where the caches are that you're interested in before you start farming. Helltide will be a great activity to farm crafting materials as well as loot upgrades, as specific crafting materials will only drop in this activity. 

Nightmare Dungeons

Diablo 4 EndGame Live Stream

A Nightmare Dungeon (Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

A key mechanic in the gameplay loop with any great dungeon crawler, is replaying the dungeons. In higher difficulties you will encounter Nightmare Dungeons, for which Nightmare Sigils can be used to open portals to a side dungeon. A dungeon within a dungeon?

You collect Sigils by completing Whispers of the Dead, they will modify the way the dungeon behaves and the strength of the enemies you encounter. The higher level a sigil you use the tougher it will make the dungeon.  At the end of a nightmare dungeon, you will be given the opportunity to upgrade your paragon glyphs, which are socketed into your paragon board for extra power.

Sigils can also be salvaged and broken down into crafting materials to create sigils you are more interested in using. Nightmare Dungeons will push in difficulty past level 100, to 150. 

Paragon Boards

A closer look at the paragon boards

A closer look at the paragon boards (Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

The paragon board was a lot more in depth than what was shown in the trailer earlier this month, where we saw +5 to stats and other less interesting affixes. The board shown on the stream today was full of unbridled potential for various build crafting.

Rare nodes offer potent power buffs such as extra damage to Elites, and significant increases to main stats. The costs of unlocking the nodes will increase as you unlock more on each paragon board, so you'll need to be strategic in which order you choose your bonuses. For those who played Diablo 3 Season 28, think back to the increasing costs and paths of the Altar of Rites for a comparison. 

Zoomed out full view of the Paragon board

Zoomed out full view of the Paragon board (Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Each board will have a legendary node, specific to each class. Some nodes will be sockets you can place powerful glyphs that work in harmony with the nodes around it. These are the glyphs that can then be upgraded in Nightmare Dungeons.

The board rotates so you can choose which path you take, you path may be very different from your similar-leveled companions. It's worth noting each paragon board is tailored to a certain playstyle and specialization for your class, Rhykker used the example of combining bone and blood on the board for his Necromancer build.

Learnings from the beta

List of class changes following feedback from the beta

List of class changes following feedback from the beta (Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

As we reported previously, Diablo 4 has taken the feedback from the beta seriously and implemented some pretty impressive changes in a small time frame.

Feedback was taken from the community, but also player data from the beta weekends, e.g did a certain class die more than others, so the player test was extremely helpful to give a huge volume of data. The melee classes felt considerably weaker compared to the range classes. 

The barbarian at lower levels needed better damage reduction and this has been buffed by 10% amongst other improvements. While the Druid has also received some love from this update, Rhykker did point out that when he played a Werewolf Storm Druid at endgame, the skills really gelled together with the right equipment and build choices and he's now changed his mind on the Druid being a second-class choice.

Necromancer was the stand-out damage dealer extraordinaire of the beta weekend, and definitely needed some tweaks. Summoned minions for Necromancers will die more often rather than feeling immortal, making the playstyle more interactive. Managing minions should be an integral part of the necromancer fantasy, reviving minions was a key part of Diablo 2 Summonmancer and it's likely you can work towards gear that will improve minion health. 

Dungeon layouts

Dungeon with dodgy MS paint diagram showing dead-ends

Sad Dungeon (Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

More feedback from the beta was that dungeon layouts just didn't feel good to play, there was too much back-tracking for required items, often through empty corridors and dead ends. An example of the Hoarfrost Demise above shows the path most players would find themselves on, through the power of MS Paint.

So not only have layouts been improved, but you can expect to be ambushed by monsters if you do find yourself needing to backtrack.

Dungeons with kill monster objectives will now force straggling monsters to seek you out if you are struggling to find them (someone should have really told the Diablo 3 team to implement this too, but that ship has long sailed.)

Diablo 4 EndGame Live Stream

Happy Dungeon (Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Server Slam Weekend

Diablo 4

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

In news that, well everyone saw coming as of this morning's sneaky tweets, Blizzard has announced we get one more chance to play Diablo 4 before launch. The Server Slam takes place on May 12-14 and we'll have the opportunity to test all of these implemented changes to the game. This comes hot on the tail of the news that Diablo 4 went gold.

If you didn't manage to take on Ashava during the last beta weekend, her spawns have been increased for the Server Slam, and you'll be rewarded for your efforts with the Cry of Ashava Mount Trophy.

If you want to mentally prepare for battle now, we have a boss guide to take Ashava down. 


Cry of Ashava Mount Trophy. (Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)


The developers finished the stream with a short Q&A from the community:

How long will it take to get through the battle pass?
There will be a ton of content outside of the battle pass, ensuring that all classes and all playstyles will be able to complete it within the course of the season.

Will Nightmare Dungeons rotate each Season?  Yes, there are 30 Nightmare Dungeons in total each season and these will rotate each time so that all 150 dungeons will at some point become one.

Do you have plans to keep interest for people who don't want to play Seasons? There will be regular balance changes, new unique items added and there will always be new infusions of game content regardless of if you play seasonally or not.

Was the skill tree for each class designed so you can add different skills with DLC? Yes, updates will be made with different nodes and different skills, most likely in expansion updates.

How will Altars of Lilith function between Seasons, will they reset? There are two purposes for Altars of Lilith, a collectible feature for the stat points and also Renown. Renown score goes down to zero at the start of each season, but you do not need every single Altar in each zone to max out your Renown. The stat boosts will only need to be unlocked once for normal-play characters and will increase stats across all other normal-play. You will need to unlock it again for Hardcore characters. 

Are there item types that only drop in certain zones or from certain monsters? World Bosses have a higher chance of dropping certain crafting materials and this is similar with certain monsters. Some monsters have a higher chance to drop certain types of items also, for example, skeletons may have a bonus chance to drop a crossbow. You'll learn which monsters to farm for which items.

Will there be any additional changes to the game after the Server Slam? Between the Server Slam and launch, there will be no changes. The game has officially gone Gold and this is what is ready to ship. However, as a live service game, change will be ongoing after release. Developers will continue to take feedback and make changes and improvements throughout the life of the game. 

Why do we not get an overlay map? Developers agreed the overlay map is extremely effective for navigating, so effective players don't close it. For Diablo 4, they want to keep the combat and navigation spaces as separate as possible by using a mini-map and map markers.

Will we get multi-level dungeons?
In Diablo 4 you don't need to load between floors, so it may be that you don't even notice that you have changed floors, as it's so seamless. This in comparison to the labyrinths of Diablo 1 and 2 is how far the technology has come, so there are already elevation differences in the game.

Is there instancing to separate solo and groups in PvP? "The Fields of Hatred are not a place for honor, they're a place for slaughter." Yes you will experience group ups and pile ons, that's the intention. Be prepared to die occasionally if traversing these risky areas for loot. There is some form of skill-based match making in place to prevent high-level players from being matched with lower levels. There are also elixirs you can buy to be more evasive or escape a situation.

Will there be couch co-op on PC, or mouse and keyboard for console? The answer is no to both. Couch co-op is difficult to implement on PC due to needing two battle.net accounts.

Will the crafting system become more robust over time?
They will constantly be changing and modifying options depending on feedback, that's the benefit of being a live service game.

If you're on your mount can you pick up crafting materials?

Tune in again in May for more

There will be another live stream in May, going deeper into the Battle Pass and Season structures, we can't wait to find out more. Diablo 4 releases on June 6 to Windows PC, Xbox and Playstation consoles.

Until then, see you in the Server Smash!

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Diablo 4: Ultimate Edition
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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.