Today Blizzard hosted a campfire chat livestream about Diablo IV focusing on the recent update 1.1.0 which caused quite a stir within the community.
According to the developers, Blizzard is planning not to do an update like that one "ever again."
Game Director Joe Shely and Associate Game Director Joseph Piepiora mentioned that the developers know that reducing player power is not a great experience. They also added that Nightmare Dungeons are dramatically overturned at the moment, so people need to use things like cooldown reduction to get through the most difficult ones (Tier 100). This was never the intent.
As a result, the developers will reduce the difficulty. The current difficulty of Tier 70 is what the team believes Tier 100 should be like. This will actually be implemented with a hotfix coming later today.
That being said, they understand the importance to have content that is really challenging, so they're planning to create a new content type that will fit that role.
The nerf of Vulnerable Damage in 1.1.0 was done because it's far more potent right now than what the developers want it to be, so it needs to be brought back in line. The developers understand that this can be disruptive to players who have found a certain playstyle based on it. At the moment Vulnerable Damage is a must-have stat, and the game would be better if it wasn't, but if the game isn't fun in the process of making the changes, then it's a failure. Since this is a large change, the developers want to take their time to do it right, and it's planned for Season 2. More information will be shared before the release of the new season.
The objectives the developers have identified for changes moving forward are as follows:
- A wide variety of viable builds to discover, put together, and optimize, across all five classes.
- New items and powers every season to keep the game fresh and increase build variety
- Continually evolving endgame content with high monster density for powerful builds to mow down and activities to challenge your builds.
- Make the game more fun for players.
As a result, Blizzard has decided to move according to the following points in the future.
- When making changes to increase build diversity, let some builds be overpowered until we have provided compelling alternatives.
- These meta changes will occur at predictable times, like the start of a season.
- In situations where a bug is causing game-breaking damage or crashes, we'll still react quickly.
Basically, when they identify nerfs they want to make, they won't do it until they find ways to offer viable alternatives that are equally exciting. Ultimately, action RPGs are a power fantasy, and invite the player to find overpowered builds to beat the game. Blizzard wants to make sure that they don't punish players who respond to that invitation.
On top of that, from now on, patch notes will be communicated via livestreams or blogs about a week before the update actually hits. That way players will have time to provide feedback. Next Friday (July 28) there will be another livestream talking about the next patch, 1.1.1.
Speaking of patch 1.1.1. (which is coming soon after next Friday, roughly a couple of weeks from today) some information has been shared today.
There will be a wide range of improvements for sorcerers and barbarians, including a look at legendary powers. Monster density in Nightmare Dungeons and Helltide will be increased (albeit not everywhere in Helltide, as there are areas that are already very dense). Linked to that, the developers are also planning performance improvement to enable the density changes without tanking performance.
While the changes to gems are coming for Season 2, update 1.1.1 will add more stash space with a new stash tab to provide urgent help with that. Elixir stack size will also change to 99.
Respec is also going to be changed by lowering their cost by about 40%. XP will be adjusted to make leveling to level 100 faster. Players shouldn't hit a brick wall at level 75. More specific information will come next week.
Speaking of things coming further in the future, the aim is to introduce leaderboards around Season 3. They will be based on content made specifically for them and is actively in development. Uniques may also be made a "little bit" more common. Crowd control will be adjusted, especially things that at the moment feel unfair.
Incidentally, there will be more patches beyond 1.1.1 within the life cycle of season 1.
You can watch the full Livestream below.
Diablo IV is now available for PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, and PlayStation 4. Of course, you can read our full review of the game, in which our Austin Suther mentioned that it "delivers exciting and accessible ARPG gameplay, a stunning world and engaging narrative to experience, and so many activities to keep you hooked for hours on end."