Season 29 of Diablo III is the game’s final season featuring its own theme and new content. Called “Visions of Enmity,” Season 29 may not have been as fun as Season 28 and its Altar of Rites, but it still does a good enough job reminding me where Diablo IV stumbled. Despite its faults, even in its final season, I found that I spent more hours playing Diablo III’s Season 29 than I did playing Diablo IV. And I think that says a lot.
How Far We’ve Come
Climbing Greater Rift tiers is still great fun
Regardless of your opinion on the current state of Diablo III, it’s hard not to appreciate the game’s evolution since its troubled 2012 launch. Error 37 was merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of the game’s issues. Comparing the launches of Diablo III and Diablo IV reveals more similarities than differences, which is almost funny. I believe the game truly hit its stride with the Reaper of Souls expansion. Back in 2014, we detailed how Diablo III had changed from its initial launch to the release of its expansion. Since then, the game has continued to improve over its 29 seasons.
The current and final themed season of Diablo III is titled “Visions of Enmity.” The two major features of Season 29 are a solo self found mode and these portals that randomly spawn in the open world called Diabolical Fissures. When you enter a Diabolical Fissure, you’ll encounter random conditions and effects ranging from a small room packed with elites and champion packs, to fighting three random bosses at once. After clearing the floor, you’ll be greeted with another portal, and it repeats until the end, where you’ll kill a loot goblin that drops a massive chest. This feature fully embraces the essence of Diablo III’s Rift system, offering completely random dungeons and monsters, repeatedly, until you’ve grown bored.
While Diabolical Fissures are engaging, they lose their unique appeal once you’re powerful enough to conquer the highest Torment levels. However, the journey to reach that point can be quite an adventure, especially in solo self found mode. The first time I stepped foot into a Diabolical Fissure while still leveling my character to 70, I struggled with trying to kill multiple elites and champion packs at the same time. Although Diabolical Fissures don’t fundamentally alter Diablo III’s gameplay, unlike Season 28’s Altar of Rites, they serve as a reminder of the importance of variety in a Diablo game.
Diablo III is at its most fun when you feel absolutely overpowered, clearing Greater Rift 100 in under 1 minute
At some stage in its development, Diablo III’s developers decided that letting players become exceedingly overpowered wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. The introduction of Greater Rifts was a turning point, allowing for increasingly large numbers without significant drawbacks. While farming in the open world at the highest Torment level may not be particularly challenging, for many, the game’s real objective is leaderboard progression. Even if leaderboard rankings aren’t your focus, there’s still plenty to do, and you can feel powerful while doing it.
In my view, one of the greatest strengths of Diablo III lies in its varied endgame. You can choose to clear bounties for caches in the open world, or run normal rifts for rift keys, loot, and Death’s Breaths. You can climb Greater Rift tiers and level up your Legendary gems. In Season 29, another option is to hunt down Diabolical Fissures, which offer a seemingly endless stream of loot. The game provides multiple avenues for destroying hordes of demonic monsters, a level of variety not yet available in Diablo IV.
More importantly, the game offers a variety of gear sets to match the content you’re tackling. For example, if you’re planning to run bounties, you’ll want to equip a set that gives your character plenty of mobility. This way, you can go from one objective to another as quickly as possible. We like to call that the speed farming set, which can also be used with some minor changes for normal rifts. Then you have a more powerful set that blends movement speed with damage, which can be used for all sorts of content. We like to use that set to farm the highest Greater Rift tier that we can in under three minutes, which equates to tons of experience for Paragon levels and quickly leveling our Legendary gems.
What I’m getting at is that Diablo III simplifies this process, particularly with its wardrobe feature that allows for one-click switching of skills, gear, and gems. It remains to be seen whether Diablo IV will eventually offer similar features, and if so, it’s likely to take some time.
Somehow, It Aged Well
We managed to clear Greater Rift 150 in Season 28
Nearly a decade has passed since the release of Reaper of Souls, and playing Seasons 28 and 29 provided an odd sense of comfort. According to my Diablo III character roster, I’ve logged 2,189 hours and 17 minutes in the game, equivalent to 91 days, 5 hours, and 17 minutes. That’s the time many spend playing MMORPGs like World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV. Despite its issues, I find Diablo III to be quite enjoyable.
So what does Diablo III offer that Diablo IV hasn’t quite captured yet? I believe it’s the carrot-on-a-stick effect. In Diablo III, you always have a clear goal or item to chase. Which piece of gear needs an upgrade, what stat you need to change, what you need to have a perfectly rolled set. I found Diablo IV’s itemization system lacks this clarity. For all the issues with Diablo III’s reliance on set pieces, you can actually find a set that suits your playstyle and use it for all of the end-game content. You may not be able to clear Greater Rift Tier 150 with that particular set, but you’ll be able to do everything else the game has to offer.
I understand the complaints about Diablo III’s fast-paced combat and large numbers. However, the essence of Diablo games has always been the ultimate power fantasy. Building a character that’s so powerful that everything just melts in your path. You get more loot, you get stronger, and then you find the next challenge. Diablo IV may ultimately find its way there, but like Diablo III, it may take a couple years.
Without the allure of a new seasonal theme, I’m likely to set Diablo III aside for good. I feel like Season 28 would have been a much stronger season to bid farewell to the game, but I still found Season 29 quite fun. Capturing my attention for nearly 40 hours, I managed to reach rank 405 on the solo self found leaderboard. I’d say that’s not too bad of a last memory for a game I spent over 90 days playing.
Diablo III was released on May 15, 2012 on PC, while its expansion, Reaper of Souls was released on March 25, 2014. This review is based on a purchased retail copy of the base game on PC, but a retail code for Reaper of Souls was provided by Blizzard Entertainment. While FullCleared does have affiliate partnerships, they do not influence our editorial content. We may, however, earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links.