Blizzard has addressed the backlash over Diablo 4’s controversial nerf patch, promising a new patch to reverse many of the changes it made.
In a live stream, Associate Game Director Joe Piepiora, Game Director Joe Shely, and Community Leader Adam Fletcher discussed the thinking behind the 1.1.0 patch that sparked an uproar within the Diablo 4 community for drastically reducing player power.
“It’s not the best game experience for gamers out there,” said Fletcher. “We don’t plan on making a patch like this ever again. We hear you loud and clear.”
“We know that limiting a player’s power is never a good experience,” Joe Bibora added. “Sometimes we don’t get it right.”
Patch 1.1.1 is expected to be updated within the next two weeks, possibly just two days after another livestream on Friday, July 28th. This patch focuses on improving the strength of the Mage and Barbarian classes in particular after both of them suffered violent fluctuations. Specifically on the Wizard, players can expect a survivability boost, Blizzard said.
The patch will also increase the density of monsters in the Nightmare Dungeons and in Helltides, two major end-game activities. To address inventory concerns, 1.1.1 will add an additional stash tab in which players can store items. The elixir stash size will be raised to 99. 1.1.1 also lowers character replay costs by about 40%, so players feel more inclined to try out new builds.
Crucially, the upcoming patch will adjust XP gain from level 50 to 100 after players complained about hitting a wall from about level 70. “We’re not trying to slow the game down,” Shely insisted. “We want Level 100 to feel like an achievement, not like a job,” Piepiora added.
In the shorter term, a hotfix is planned to be released later today, July 21, that will lower the difficulty of Nightmare Dungeons. According to Blizzard, the level 100 Nightmare dungeons are “too difficult” for most classes and require players to rely on certain builds in order to stand a chance of defeating them. This change in difficulty should cause Level 100 Nightmare Dungeons to feel more like Level 70 Nightmare Dungeons currently.
During the livestream, Blizzard said it has created new processes that will prevent a patch that drastically reduces player power the way 1.1.0 is happening again. Going forward, Blizzard will allow some builds to falter until they provide compelling alternatives. “We can’t deny those builds are overpowered without providing players with compelling alternatives to pursue,” said Shelley.
In addition, these large meta-variable corrections will always occur at predictable times, such as the start of a new season. Blizzard will of course react quickly to bugs that cause damage or crashes to the game.
“Ultimately, ARPGs are about the fantasy of power, our invitation to players to break the game a bit, find fun games we’ve made, do crazy things with them, and we need to make sure we don’t penalize players for doing that,” said Shelley.
Fletcher announced changes in communication that mean Blizzard will always provide patch notes through streams or a blog post at least a week before an actual update arrives “no matter what”. Blizzard’s next Campfire chat is set for Friday, July 28th, where it will go deeper into the changes coming in patch 1.1.1.
Despite the various issues, Diablo 4 enjoyed a massive launch which saw more than 10 million people play in June. Diablo 4 is Blizzard’s fastest-selling game of all time, and it has boosted record revenue and profits for the company. If you’re still playing, check it out Diablo 4 interactive map To start tracking your progress as you play.
“Friendly food geek. Communicator. Hipster-friendly creator. Bacon evangelist. Zombie nerd. Pop culture advocate. Beer aficionado.”