Diablo IV's much-awaited season 1 update is almost upon us and ahead of that, Blizzard has rolled out a new patch for preparation. The hefty 8GB patch 1.1.0a brings a range of balance changes, fixes some bugs, and adds unique items, in addition to making permanent upgrades such as Altars of Lilith unlocks available account-wide when starting as a new character. For the uninitiated, ‘Season of the Malignant' is set after the events of the main campaign, once you've defeated Lilith and unravelled the Tree of Whispers. Diablo 4 season 1 goes live tonight at 10:30pm IST in India/ July 20 at 10am PT in the US, across PC and consoles.
The Sorcerer class — spell-based — has been hit with the biggest nerf in Diablo IV season 1, with the Devouring Blaze ability's bonus critical damage getting reduced from 10/20/30 percent to 7/14/21 percent. A unique characteristic of this ability is that the damage bonus is increased when enemies are immobilised, though it seems like Blizzard has delivered a blow to it as well. The damage numbers have now been reduced from 25/50/75 percent to 10/20/30 percent. Essentially, all classes have been nerfed, causing the Diablo IV community to be furious, one of whom expressed their frustration on the official subreddit, which at the time of writing stands at 23,600 upvotes. You can check out the entire list of Diablo IV's latest patch notes on the official website.
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The new season was supposed to kickstart a side saga in Sanctuary — a plague that slowly spreads around, turning all living beings into bloodthirsty fiends. When the new content was announced, the developers claimed that by collecting Malignant Hearts from these beings, players would be able to create overpowered “stupid, new broken” builds that let them storm through the map, in a quest that serves the new character Cormand. However, every decision listed in the pre-season patch seems to slow down your character's progression significantly. The Barbarian class' Hamstring (bleed) skill now only slows down Healthy enemies, while the Necromancer's Splintering Aspect Bone Shard damage has been reduced from the original 50–100 percent to 30–60 percent.
“We have observed that the experience bonus rewarded for killing higher level monsters escalates too fast when compared to the relative challenge involved,” a developer note from the patch note reads, essentially slowing down the progression system. During pre-season, besting a monster that's one level higher grants a +15 percent bonus, going up to +25 percent upon killing enemies that are three levels or more above you. For those playing Diablo 4 on Nightmare difficulty (World Tier III), Helltide events have been made slower, starting with an increase in monster difficulty. The spawning demons would now be three levels higher than your character instead of two, while the Tortured Gift of Mysteries chest's cost has increased from 175 to 250 Aberrant Cinders. In a hotfix, the studio fixed the reduced drop rate of Abberant Cinders in Helltide, which it claims was originally ‘lower than intended.'
Seeing the community backlash, Blizzard has decided to address it all in a Campfire Chat live stream session, set for Friday, July 21 at 11:30pm IST/ 11am PT in the US. The session will be streamed on the official Diablo YouTube channel, though I wouldn't expect to see any immediate changes to the new features that make Diablo IV gameplay a ‘slog.' Elsewhere, Adam Fletcher, community director, confirmed that Blizzard will be removing the level requirement for World Tier 3 (40) and World Tier 4 (60) that were introduced in the pre-season patch.
Diablo IV is out on PC (via Battle.net), PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S/X.
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