Blizzard is making a ton of changes to Diablo 4 based on feedback provided by players who participated in its two betas.
Combining this feedback with actual gameplay data allowed Blizzard to review and make changes to Diablo 4 in time for its official launch on June 6.
The first thing changing is dungeon layouts, with Blizzard saying one of the most common pieces of feedback it received was around backtracking within certain dungeons. Multiple dungeons have since been optimized to reduce this, including Caldera Gate, Defilied Catacombs, Derelict Lodge, Forbidden City, Hoarfrost Demise, Immortal Emanation, Kor Dragan Battacks, Maulwood, and Rimescar Caverns.
"Our primary goal with the layout changes was to reduce certain kinds of backtracking which detract from a player's experience," Blizzard said. Structure objectives that previously existed down side paths have now been repositioned to the main area, for example.
Dungeon events will also occur much more frequently in the final version, as Blizzard has increased the chance for an event to spawn in dungeons from 10% to 60%. Quality of life improvements were made too, such as removing the wait time when depositing an Animus, increasing movement speed when carrying Ancient Statues and equivalent items, and adding a mini-map ping to newly open doors.
"While our dungeons offer a variety of objectives to complete, player feedback stated that the action of completing each objective felt tedious," Blizzard said. "We hope that providing bonuses, such as the increase to mobility while carrying certain objective items, will streamline and vary the experience of completing objectives. This adjustment is merely a starting point, and we intend to extend this philosophy to keys in a future update."
Cellars have seen similar changes, as Blizzard has increase the chance for a dungeon event to occur in Cellars. They also now consistently reward players with a chest upon completion. Issues have also been fixed where Cellars would prematurely be marked as completed and the guaranteed elite monster would be absent from the Cellar.
Classes are also changing
Changes have been made to classes too. The Barbarian has received a passive 10% damage reduction, its Whirlwind skill now deals more damage and costs more Fury, and the Double Swing enhancement refunds its full Firy cost when used on Stunned or Knocked Down enemies.
The Druid's Companion skills will now deal heavily increased damage, all Ultimate skills have had their cooldowns reduced, the usability of Maul and Pulverize has been improved, and using a non-Shapeshifting skill will now transform a Druid back to their human form.
The Necromancer's summoned minions will die more often, meaning players will need to utilize corpses more often. Meanwhile, many Book of the Dead stat bonuses have been increased, the Corpse Explosion skill has had its damage reduced, and the brightness of Skeletal Warriors and Mages has been lowered.
The Rogue's Subterfuge skill have had their bonuses increased alongside multiple passive skills, while all Imbuement skills have had their cooldowns increased.
Finally, the Sorcerer's Charged Bolt's damage has been increased and the mana cost reduced, Chain Lightning's damage has been reduced, and the cooldown of the Incinerate skill's enchantment bonus has been reduced. Firewalls will also now spawn underneath enemies more frequently when using its enchantment bonus and the Lucky Hit chance has been increased for the Meteor skill's enchantment bonus.
"Whenever we introduce changes to our Classes, it is with the goal of making both them and their Skills feel impactful and powerful," Blizzard said. "Your feedback has helped us uphold this ideal.
"Some players have adeptly noticed that certain Skills were too powerful. One of our goals for Skills is to have them be interesting to wield and interactive in terms of itemization and combat feel. We've made some changes to help in this regard, with one example being the Necromancer’s Minions. We've made a change that makes them more vulnerable in combat, which will make raising the dead a more active component of the Necromancer's gameplay. Launch is just the first step of our class balance journey, and you can expect further updates that iterate on this pillar of Diablo 4."
A better quality of life.
Blizzard is making further quality of life changes alongside fixing a ton of known issues in Diablo 4 like the Butcher boss becoming unresponsive. A lot of these changes are coming to the game's user interface, as Blizzard is shifting things around to allow for a better experience.
This starts with the chat box now being displayed on the left side of the screen when using the centred action bar configuration. A character's stats will also now be displayed by default when players click the materials and stats button within their inventory, while the move and interact inputs can now be mapped to one button while the Primary Attack input is mapped to a secondary button. Finally, the text is being changed to a new serif font.
Blizzard will discuss these changes and more in a developer update livestream taking place on April 20 at 11am Pacific / 2pm Eastern / 7pm UK. Game director Joe Shely, associate game director Joseph Piepiora, and associate director of community Adam Fletcher will also share details about the endgame.
The betas, that were a struggle to even join for some people for both KFC and queue time related issues, saw the Sorcerer and Necromancer classes played most, though a total of 46,924,644 deaths were recorded in total in more than 60 million hours played.
Despite all the talk of launch, Blizzard also shared recently that Diablo 4's Battle Pass will take around 80 hours to complete.
Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelancer and acting UK news editor. He'll talk about The Witcher all day.