Diablo IV’s first season arrives on July 20. As was previously announced, players will make new characters with each fresh battle pass. Though it might seem a little unexpected, making new characters on a regular basis is common in the world of Diablo. Sadly, the latest patch might make those future characters of yours a little weaker. In particular, if you were hoping to make use of a certain Druid build that dealt over 2-billion points of damage…well, you can’t do that anymore.
As an action RPG all about chasing numbers, leveling up a new character in Diablo is a linear path toward more and more epic powers and abilities. And with a thorough and versatile skill tree, players can build all sorts of classes to deal incredible amounts of damage to hordes of foes. But a recent update ahead of the game’s first season has made characters hit a little less hard, with nerfs that affect basically everyone. Some of these fix a few unfair exploits, while others scale back the numbers more generally. In general, it’s made for a very unsatisfying patch for the Diablo community.
For some of you, the saddest news is the Druid’s absurd billion-point damage exploit has now been removed. Previously, a specific Shapeshifter Druid build let you deal remarkable amounts of damage. This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise as Blizzard, in a statement to PC Gamer, said that this specific use of the Druid’s Shred ability was in no way supposed to be functioning like that.
But it’s not just the druid that got hit. Other classes have been taken down a few notches as well.
It’s hard to pick which nerf stings the most (the answer is probably whichever class you happen to main), but virtually no one got out of this patch unscathed. You can view the nitty gritty details for each class here. Certain nerfs address unintended issues, like the Sorcerer’s Aspect of Control seeing a fix for an incorrect 3x damage bonus.
Other nerfs simply lower numbers for certain classes and abilities: The Rogue’s Siphoning Strikes now require a Lucky Hit chance of 75; the Necromancer’s Splintering Aspect Bone Shard damage was dropped from 50-100 percent to just 30 and 60. The Barbarian’s Hamstring ability only slows enemies with more than 80 percent of their health or above, and its slowing effect has been dropped by 10 percent. These only scratch the surface of the nerfs (though the Rogue was the most untouched), but there are some more general ones that strike at the core of the game’s developing meta.
The patch notes indicate that Blizzard is interested in reducing Critical Strike and Vulnerable damage as they don’t want all builds to center around these mechanics. In the notes, Blizzard said:
Developer’s Note: We’re seeing Critical Strike Damage and Vulnerable Damage often viewed as a hard requirement for a build’s success in Diablo IV. We believe this is a step towards allowing more builds to flourish and will continue to make changes in support of this goal.
Those changes look like this:
- Critical Strike Damage: Reduced by ~17%.
- Lightning Critical Strike Damage: Reduced by ~17%.
- Critical Strike Damage with Bone, Earth, Imbued, and Werewolf Skills: Reduced by ~17%.
- Vulnerable Damage: Reduced by ~40%.
The change to Vulnerable Damage is perhaps the harshest, especially as many builds thus far optimize sending enemies into Vulnerable status to pile on the damage.
Live service games typically have an ebb and flow over the course of their lives. In some ways, the current community sentiment surrounding the frustrations over Diablo IV’s pre-season one patch might just be a bump in the road in what will surely be a long life for the latest action RPG. That said, swift, abrupt changes like these massive class nerfs and core changes to the game won’t do well to inspire fan’s faith in the new live-service structure.