Diablo 4’s redemption arc isn’t over yet. Speaking on a stream today, Blizzard says it’s heard the criticisms about finding good loot and plans to address it in season 4 next year.
The current season, Season 2, radically increased the speed of progression in Diablo 4, practically dumping buckets of XP and loot on players like it was Diablo 3. Players are largely positive about it, too, but it’s revealed a deeper problem with how loot fits into the experience. Items come with a number of stats on them and trying to find the right combination (or the best rolls on the stats) for your build is way more of a gamble than it should be. My Ball Lightning sorceress, for example, is still wearing a low-level necklace because I’ve never found anything with both movement speed and ranks to my Mastery skills in weeks.
Director of community Adam Fletcher, game director Joe Shely, and associate game director Joseph Piepiora began the loot discussion by revealing matching t-shirts that read: “DAMAGE ON TUESDAYS”—a joke in reference to the unnecessary complexity in some of Diablo 4’s conditional stats like “deal 10% extra damage when an enemy is slowed,” the very thing Blizzard is looking to reduce so it’s easier to find upgrades.
“One of the things we want to think about more as we get into 2024 is having items really be a start of a journey,” Piepiora said. “When something drops for you as a player, you want to be able to get this and say ‘This is awesome, I can’t wait to do X, Y, and Z to this and make it really really great,’.”
Piepiora went on to suggest that Blizzard plans to let you customize your loot to fit your build regardless of how perfect it is when it drops. Right now, you spend a lot of time judging loot based on whether or not it has two or three of the stats you need (out of the many possible stats) because you can only reroll one stat per item. Piepiora didn’t specify what exactly will change, but made it clear that you won’t have to spend weeks trying to find the right gear. But because of the scope of the changes and how much of the game they touch, you’ll have to wait until season 4.
(Image credit: Blizzard)
“If Diablo is a game about killing monsters and getting loot then killing monsters feels pretty good right now. I think getting loot has places where we could make improvements,” he said. “We need to make sure that’s holding up its end of the bargain.”
Foundational changes to support this incoming item overhaul are coming in January with season 3. Shely says there will be more ways to get the highest level of loot and that Helltide, the lucrative open world events that appear every other hour, will instead spawn every hour with only a five minute break in between. The Helltide change alone will let you farm up materials to kill endgame bosses for powerful unique items much faster than you can in the current season, likely paving the way for what’s coming in season 4.
Blizzard says it has already run some of the itemization changes by its partnered content creators for feedback and will properly detail them next year. “It’s more about getting it right than keeping it a secret,” Shely said.