I Legitimately Thought Diablo IV’s 1.1 Patch Notes Were a Joke


Diablo IV

By: Jason Siu


4 min read

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Diablo IV's pre-season patch has many long-time fans scratching their heads

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After playing the closed and open betas for Diablo IV, I had a lot of concerns about the game. At the time, I felt like I was in the minority, given everyone’s excitement for a shiny new Diablo game. I was too, which is why I wanted to give it a fair chance at launch. Between the Early Access launch and the official launch, the Diablo IV team rolled out some significant changes that had me believing the game was headed down the wrong path.

I felt like, after a couple of weeks post-launch, I had played enough of the game to conclude that it just wasn’t meant for me. I got my Rogue to Level 70, and that was after forcing myself to login for a few days in a row. It’s not a few major issues that prevent me from enjoying Diablo IV, but rather a multitude of design decisions that make little to no sense to me. While Diablo IV is trying to cater to a new audience, it’s effectively alienating long-term fans of the franchise.

Nonetheless, I was looking forward to the first season and was expecting to roll a new character and maybe have some fun. I didn’t expect season 1 to be groundbreaking in terms of what the team was able to do, since it’s so close to the game’s launch, but I wanted to give it a chance anyways. Well, that all changed after today’s patch.

The Diablo IV team has been teasing major balance changes leading up to the first season, based on all the feedback it has gathered since the game’s launch. Before reading the official patch notes, I saw glimpses of it on social media, but I actually thought they were a joke. You know, things the internet loves to do. This one change really caught my eye and I couldn’t believe it when I found out it was real:

The channel time for the Leave Dungeon ability has been increased from 3 to 5 seconds.

I can’t even imagine the reasoning behind such a ridiculous change, other than to annoy the players. The funny thing is, that patch note is sandwiched in between the only positive bits about this patch. Some QoL changes to accounts and Renown. But the further you dig into the patch notes, the more ridiculous it gets.

Helltide events have been changed significantly. Monsters are now three levels higher than the player, instead of two, and the Tortured Gift of Mysteries chest has had its cost increased to 250 Aberrant Cinders, from 175. The problem is, the drop rate on Aberrant Cinders has been nerfed as well, although it could possibly be a bug since it wasn’t documented in the patch notes.

There’s also a significant change to Cooldown Reduction, which is reminiscent of the Increased Attack Speed change from Diablo III. Cooldown Reduction, Imbuement Skill Cooldown Reduction, and Trap Skill Cooldown Reduction have all been reduced by 30%. In addition, Critical Strike Damage, Lightning Critical Strike Damage, and Critical Strike Damage with Bone, Earth, Imbued, and Werewolf Skills have been reduced by 17%. Vulnerable Damage has been reduced by 40%.

Additional damage nerfs include Critical Strike Damage (Inherent on Swords) has been reduced by 50% and Vulnerable Damage (Inherent on Crossbows) has been reduced by 65%. Damage to Crowd Controlled Enemies has been decreased by 30%. There has, of course, been some buffs to other damage types to compensate, but one has to wonder, why couldn’t the buffs just exist without the nerfs? It’s almost as if the team wants to force you to play the game a certain way, which was one of the biggest issues with vanilla Diablo III. Oh yeah, Total Armor has inexplicably been reduced by 30% too.

Overall, the patch notes makes Diablo IV feel even more like a slog than before. Everything has been slowed down, and power leveling has been nerfed. Grouping also feels worse now, since the increased monster HP scaling went from 85% to 100% bonus per extra player in a party. Diablo IV already had very little reason to party with others, and somehow the team thought it would be better to make it worse.

Not surprisingly — or maybe it’s surprising to the development team, who knows — the community isn’t very happy with the changes. The Diablo subreddit, which overwhelmingly supported the game at launch, isn’t shying away from criticism now. You don’t even have to go much further than Global Community Development Director Adam Fletcher’s tweet on the patch notes to see what Twitter has to say about it.

The skeptic in me believes many of these changes were done so that it takes even longer to complete the seasonal battle pass. Don’t forget, there’s a more expensive (or better value, as Blizzard says) battle pass that lets you skip 20 tiers. I don’t really believe that’s why some of these changes were made, but it’s better than the alternative: thinking the development team is completely out of touch with the game and the community. I expect these sort of patch notes from a development team that has never published an action RPG before — something similar happened during Wolcen: Lord of Mayhem’s launch, which basically killed that game. But the fourth entry of the Diablo series is still repeating the mistakes made during Diablo III’s launch window?

The reality is, there are so many games to play these days that you don’t have to force yourself to play a game just because you spent money on it, or you’re hoping it improves. If you’re having fun with Diablo IV, don’t let anyone stop you from having fun. But changes like this reminds me that you don’t have to undyingly support a game if it’s simply not fun. Let’s hope season 2 isn’t such a mess.

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With over 20 years of online publishing experience, Jason Siu is currently the Content Director at VerticalScope and used to spend most of his time writing about cars. His work can be seen on websites such as AutoGuide, EV Pulse, FlatSixes, Tire Authority, and more. As the former co-founder of Tunerzine.com and West Coast Editor of Modified Magazine, he has also authored two books for CarTech Books. In his spare time, he founded FullCleared to indulge in his passion for writing about games. Although Jason is a variety gamer, he generally prefers RPGs.

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