As promised, Blizzard held a livestream today, July 28, going over what Diablo IV players ought to expect from the game’s upcoming 1.1.1 patch. During the stream, the developers laid out their overall philosophy behind the expected changes, and got into some specifics about what to expect when it lands on August 8, 2023.
The Diablo IV community hasn’t been particularly happy with recent changes to the wildly popular action RPG. Shortly before the game’s first season, Blizzard pushed a patch that made sweeping changes to classes and quality of life features that’s been largely seen as a net negative. Players felt that the unwelcome adjustments made the game grindier, among other things. Last week, Blizzard acknowledged that the changes weren’t great and promised to never release a patch of that nature ever again. While full notes for the upcoming patch are expected to arrive next week, August 2, today’s stream gave a good sense of what to expect, with some changes to player power and a few reversals of controversial changes. You can watch the whole stream here:
Sorcerer’s and Barbarians, patch 1.1.1 is for you
Early on in the stream, lead class designer Adam Z. Jackson said that the Sorcerer and Barbarian will see the most changes.
“We know that Sorcerers typically have a tough time when they start getting pushed into later Nightmare Dungeon tiers, so we’re going to be looking at ways to increase [late game survivability] specifically.”
Jackson also said that the team is pinpointing what they call “kiss curse mechanics,” which is when the player gains “a really cool power or effect and then we kind of take something or nerf some other part of you, usually for balance reasons to make sure that it’s not out of control.” One example of this is an expected change to the Serpentine Aspect:
“[The Serpentine Aspect] is the one where you can spawn an additional Hydra, but it reduces the duration of your Hydras. That’s no longer going to reduce the duration. It’s actually going to increase it.”
Jackson said that the Barbarian’s early game experience will also get a boost. One concrete example of this is an improvement to Fury generation. In a slide shown during the stream, Bash, Flay, Frenzy, and Lunging Strike all see their Fury increased.
Jackson said the Barbarian ought to expect other improvements to the late game experience with alterations to Unique items that’ll swap existing effects for more useful ones.
While the other classes can expect some updates, they won’t be as comprehensive as Sorcerer and Barbarian. Still, increases to Spirit gains for the Druid ought to be welcome.
Blizzard aims to start expanding build options for Diablo IV in future updates
During today’s stream, Blizzard expanded a bit on how it wants to see build options change for Diabo IV. Jackson spoke to this directly:
“Vulnerable and Crit are really, really strong right now. A lot of the meta is about [making] an enemy vulnerable, and then you do bonus damage to them, and then you stack as much Crit Strike damage chance and Crit damage as you can, and then you blow them up. [Diablo IV] actually was foundationally made with other types of builds that aren’t only those in mind. We have “Damage Over Time” […] we also have “Overpower” as a mechanic in our game. [We want those damage types] to have parity with Vulnerable and Crit Damage.”
Jackson said that the long term goals with Diablo IV are to ensure that “if you’re an Overpower build, or a Crit build, or a Damage Over Time build, you’ll be relatively equal in power to all the different types of ways to play. This will be in addition to improving how skills and effects scale as players increase in level, potentially opening the door to late game builds that make use of typically discarded abilities. What might that look like? Jackson gave a couple of examples:
“We have a lot of legendary powers and effects that spawn ‘a new thing.’ An example of this is the [Barbarian’s legendary power that] spawns earthquakes or dust devils. Another one is the Necromancer [can] leave shadow trails on the ground that deal damage. These [effects] deal what we call ‘flat damage’ which is [where] we give it a damage number and then that’s how much it does. And that damage number scales with player level. But we find is that a lot of these [effects] are really good in the early and mid game […] but then when you get to the really late game, they kind of fall of really hard. And what we want to do is find ways to add scaling so that the player can opt into making a build out of these things. So if I want to be an ‘Earthquake Barbarian’ or a ‘Dust Devil Barbarian’ I can actually do that.”
Another key way the team is looking to expand build options is to mitigate how many skills require specific scenarios to function. One such is the Sorcerer’s chain lightning, which currently sees bonus damage when the lightning bounces off of you. 1.1.1 will change things so that you gain bonus damage when Enhanced Chain Lightning bounces off of anything.
Teleporting out of dungeons will take 3 seconds again and treasure goblins are getting better
In a complete reversal, the controversial change from dungeon teleportation from three to five seconds is getting reversed. Game Designer Joe Shelly said that the original intention of the change was to mitigate players teleporting themselves out of tough encounters and boss fights. Given the community’s reaction over this change, however, teleports are back to three seconds.
And while associate game director Joe Pieopiora discussed how the Treasure Goblin’s Legendary drop rate was actually 50 percent, player frustration over infrequent encounters with them led to a perception that it was far lower. Starting at level 15, Treasure Goblins are now guaranteed to drop a Legendary.
Other quality of life updates
As discussed during last week’s stream, monster density for Nightmare Dungeons and Helltides are going up. During the stream, the devs showed off a slide of what the increased monster presence will look like.
And while bosses will see their health boosted, at level 35 and up you’ll be guaranteed a Legendary item drop. Legion events will also see a guaranteed Legendary drop.
On the technical side, patch 1.1.1 is also expected to address a specific VRAM issue for PC players, so the game should be more stable.
Patch 1.1.1 is expected to arrive on August 8, with final patch notes coming on August 2.