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Diablo 4 Season 1 Nerfs Spark Backlash, As Blizzard Plans To Address Feedback

Wide-ranging nerfs means the reaction to Diablo IV's biggest update yet has been largely negative, dampening excitement for its first season.


Fans expected Diablo IV's Season of the Malignant update to bring some major changes to Blizzard's ARPG, but what fans didn't expect were wide-ranging nerfs across nearly the entirety of the game. Now, many in the community are heavily criticizing Blizzard over the state of Diablo IV, with Blizzard announcing a developer livestream to address the changes and the community's negative feedback.

Season 1 was supposed to be the kicking off point for Diablo IV as a live-service game, bringing new seasonal mechanics, quests, and a battle pass for players to progress through. Instead of players being excited about all the new content, they are up in arms over major changes to Diablo IV's moment-to-moment gameplay.

Defensive stats across the board took a major hit, meaning all classes heading into Season 1 will be far squishier. The main offensive stats used by most classes and builds--Vulnerable damage and Critical damage--were massively nerfed as well. The Cooldown Reduction stat was nerfed too, and while the change hurts some classes and builds more than others, players seem to agree that being able to use skills less often doesn't feel good.

Experience earned from monsters was nerfed, so much so that now there is little point in fighting higher-level monsters. It's now impossible for high-level players to power-level low-level ones, as there is now a level requirement for completing the World Tier III and IV dungeons and low-level players additionally receive less experience from high-level monsters. The difficulty of the game's endgame Helltide areas has been increased, as has the cost of the most lucrative Helltide rewards, the Tortured Gift of Mysteries chest. A bug reducing the number of Aberrant Cinders dropped in Helltides made the endgame activity even more of a grind, even as Blizzard vowed to hot fix it quickly.

Instead of Blizzard buffing underused skills or builds, it instead took a hammer to some of the most popular builds for each class. Barbarians are feeling the pain after Blizzard implemented a bug fix that addressed the class' Hammer of the Ancients skill doing more damage than intended. Even though Blizzard stated in the patch notes that it was aware the bug fix was a major nerf, it didn't offer Barbarians anything to make up for the loss in damage. Nearly every endgame Druid build utilized Grizzly Rage due to it granting Unstoppable for the entirety of the skill's duration, but that has been changed to now only last for six seconds.

Even Sorcerers, who are regarded as the weakest of Diablo IV's five classes by many in the community, received some huge nerfs, much to the disbelief of Sorcerer players. One of the Sorcerer's key Legendary Aspects, Aspect of Control, was massively nerfed, as was the Devouring Blaze passive. That means the already weak Sorcerer class will be dealing far less damage, on top of the game-wide defensive and offensive stat nerfs. While Rogues and Necromancers did receive some buffs to certain abilities, Necromancer's popular Bone Spear build took a hit.

The Diablo IV subreddit is currently aflame with posts decrying the state of the game. "We asked for endgame, not to 'end the game,''" one Reddit post by user BGStealth reads. "Sure, some builds needed to be fixed, but you didn't have to completely gut entire classes while you were at it," user YourLostBrainCell writes. User Clithertron summed up the community's feelings on the update nicely by writing what many players feel might as well have been the subtext of the official patch notes: "Fixed an issue where players were having fun."

Though the Season 1 update largely made the game more difficult, there are a few ways in which it made Diablo IV easier. Changes to enemy level-scaling means that high-level players will now generally be at least a few levels higher than standard enemies outside of Helltides and Nightmare dungeons. Additionally, enemies will move around less in combat, making battles easier for the game's melee-focused classes and builds.

Overall, however, the community doesn't seem happy with the changes. It's for that reason Blizzard has announced it will be holding a "campfire chat" on Twitch on July 21 to address community feedback and add some additional context to the sweeping changes. While Season 1's Malignant Heart powers will likely make up for some offensive and defensive power lost due to the recent patch, players are still worried about how Blizzard has addressed balance changes and responded to community feedback thus far.

Diablo IV Season of the Malignant starts July 20 and, according to Blizzard, will allow for "stupid broken" builds. Participating in the new seasonal content will require players to have completed the game's main campaign and create a new seasonal character.

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