Blizzard revealed this week that Diablo 4‘s upcoming Season of Blood will feature a number of highly requested quality of life improvements, as well as the game’s debut on Valve’s Steam platform. We’ve taken the liberty of summarizing the biggest changes in the article below.
New Endgame Bosses
For starters, the Diablo 4 team is adding five extra endgame bosses, who can drop specific Uniques (even including some of the extremely rare Uber Uniques!) The idea is that players can now target farm specific powerful items they were missing from their builds, as long as they are ready for a tough fight. Cosmetic rewards are also available for those who prefer to look dapper while cleaning hellspawn from Sanctuary.
World Event Improvements
World events have also seen a number of improvements geared toward making them more accessible to players, with Legion Events popping up more frequently (and having a longer warning timer so people can plan ahead), World Bosses spawning with almost double their previous frequency, higher Gold/Experience rewards from Helltides, Grim Favors and Whispers, and better overall readability for Helltide Chests, among other things.
Leveling Journey Improvements
Next in line is something I’m particularly hyped about, as the developers are finally making the 0-100 leveling journey considerably quicker (according to them, about 40% faster). Experience gains from level 50 onwards will be significantly increased, and we should no longer be feeling like we are hitting a diamond wall once we reach those levels. Level scaling is also being reworked, a hot topic that’s got players up in arms since the game came out. Now monsters will no longer be far behind the player’s level once they get to certain caps (level 55 and 75). This should also help with the leveling experience, as we shouldn’t be hit by level discrepancy penalties as often as we are now.
Experience bonuses such as Elixirs and Seasonal Blessings are now multiplicative with the World Tier bonuses, making them far more effective than they ever were before. In addition to those, Incenses will also no longer go away on death, and will add an experience bonus alongside their other benefits.
Nightmare Dungeons are Diablo 4‘s answer to Nephalem Rifts, but they haven’t been as well received by the community as their Diablo 3 counterparts. The new Season will bring a number of quality of life improvements aimed at making the experience a bit quicker, while at the same time removing certain exploits.
Players will now be instantly teleported into a Nightmare Dungeon when consuming the appropriate Sigil, instead of getting a marker on their map and being able to teleport to the dungeon’s open world entrance like before. This seems to be a change geared towards making dungeon resetting exploits no longer viable, as well as overall giving a faster “time to dungeon” experience for players.
Aside from that, Nightmare Sigils now drop from completing NM Dungeons instead of killing the NM Dungeon’s final boss, which fixes an issue where certain dungeons that had no bosses didn’t drop Sigils for players. Paragon Glyph experience has also been increased, though we didn’t get a number on this.
Further Nightmare Dungeon quality of life improvements include redesigning dungeon layouts, improving trap readability, removing objectives in certain Dungeons, and overall making it so players who follow the critical path in a dungeon won’t be forced to backtrack to an objective that suddenly appears at the start of the dungeon (for example).
A number of NM Dungeon affixes have been updated, such as Backstabbers (now makes players Vulnerable after being hit by a Close enemy attack from behind), Monster Critical Resist (enemy attacks reduce player critical damage for 3 seconds by X%, stacking up to Y%, X and Y are numbers that I presume we’ll find out in more detail once this patch is out in the wild), Death Pulse (certain monsters who already have explosions on death won’t generate death pulses, and death pulses will no longer spawn repeatedly on top of each other), Lightning Storm (will no longer start when players aren’t in combat, and will also only start if the protection dome has a direct path to the targeted player) and Drifting Shade (shade duration reduced from 5 to 3 seconds, respawn time increased to 2 seconds).
While not only related to Nightmare Dungeons, in-dungeon events have also been rebalanced to make their rewards worthwhile to players, and NPCs should no longer die in a single hit in World Tiers 3 and 4 (hopefully this also means NPC deaths from poison effect will be massively reduced, but we’ll see).
- Gems are no longer an item taking up inventory space, as they’ve now become a Crafting Material.
- Scrolls of Escape will automatically be consumed by Hardcore characters that get disconnected mid-combat, teleporting them to a safe area and preventing the character’s death.
- Overall Legendary Enchanting costs have been reduced, aiming to prevent players from being locked into certain stats after a number of unlucky rerolls.
- From World Tier 3 onwards, Normal, Magic and non-sacred/ancestral Rare items will drop as crafting resources (non-sacreds in Tier 3, non-ancestrals in Tier 4). Gold drop rates in Tiers 3 and 4 have been increased to compensate for this change.
- Higher level monsters in World Tiers 3 and 4 should drop Sacred and Ancestral items of greater Item Power potential.
- Normal Whisper cache rewards now provide +10 Item Power. Upgraded caches now provide +20 Item Power rewards.
- Helltide cache rewards now provide rewards of +20 Item Power value.
Renown Grind improvements, misc. improvements
- Non Gold/Experience renown rewards will now persist between seasons and characters. This means that Skill Points, Potion Capacity increases, Max Obol capacity and Paragon Points earned from Renown will persist from each character. Note that Hardcore and Seasonal/Eternal realms are still two separate things, so Seasonal/Eternal realm renown progression will not carry over to Hardcore. However, renown gains from Hardcore characters carry over to other Hardcore characters now, even if they were Seasonal HC characters.
- Items can now be marked as Favorite, and when that happens, they can’t be sold or salvaged by mistake.
- Two new character slots have been added.
- Players who haven’t completed the campaign can now access Seasonal content earlier as long as any of their characters has completed the Prologue.
Horses should be more responsive overall, so the chances of them getting stuck on barriers should decrease considerably. In addition to that, spur duration has been increased, and it now breaks barricades on impact.
The mount’s base speed has been increased by 15%, though this change does not impact top speed. Speaking of maximum speeds, keyboard and mouse players will no longer be required to place their cursor at the edge of the playable area in order to get max speed (this was particularly annoying for me as I play on a dual monitor setup in borderless window, and my mouse would often escape into my second monitor).
Mount ability cooldowns have been reduced by 50% (this includes manual dismount cooldown, forced dismount cooldown, and combat dismounts)
Towns and Cities
- All Capital Cities now have additional Stashes near important vendors, thus reducing the need for extra trips between the Occultist and the Stash, for instance.
- The Tree of Whispers now has an Occultist in addition to the already available Blacksmith and vendor.
- All small towns with Waypoints now have Stashes as well.
- The Purveryor of Curiosities vendor is now closer to the main waypoint in Kyovashad, Zarbinzet, Ked Bardu and Gea-Kul.
- 10 extra Waypoints will be automatically unlocked upon skipping the Campaign on any characters that wish to do so, as long as the player had those waypoints unlocked in any character in the corresponding Realm.
UI and UX changes
- Players can now search within their stash (and there’s also a filter function).
- A Streamer Mode has been added, hiding information such as character names or Battle.net tags.
- Item Affix tooltips should now be displayed in a “more intuitive and consistent order”
- Extracted Aspects with the same Legendary power will be grouped together when sorting in the player’s Stash or Inventory.
- Players can now auto-run. This new ability lets characters continuously move in the direction they face or where the cursor is placed until another movement is initiated by the player or a skill is activated.
- Minimap zoom levels have been adjusted in order to improve navigation.
- Combat text can now be hidden.
- Unique items should have higher visibility.
- The Screen Reader option is now enabled by default.
- Cursor contrast colors and options for versatility and customization have been improved.
As you can see, this is shaping up to be a fairly meaty update. I quite enjoyed the game’s main campaign but its endgame wasn’t exactly perfect, and there were many quality of life improvements introduced by Diablo 3 that were missing in this sequel. Thankfully, going from this update, it would seem that the developers agree that they are important features, as they are working on implementing most of them fairly quickly.