Diablo 4’s Devs promise to FIX the 1.1.0 MESS + a Hotfix Nerf for Nightmare Dungeons
Diablo IV launched on June 6th, 2023 for PC (Battle.Net), XBOX, & PlayStation) and I’ve had my fair share of playing and testing done. After the 18th of July patch 1.1.0a, the game was left in a severely & unreasonably badly balanced state. All classes received massive nerfs mostly in the shape of reduced bonuses of the stats & affixes we get such as: Cooldown Reduction, Vulnerable Damage, Critical Strike Damage, Core Skill Damage, as well as various types of Damage Reduction, to name a few of the major culprits. There were a plethora of other nerfs that affected all classes as well as some buffs that do so too, but the overall result was that many of the working viable meta builds received a big blow and the ones that were non-meta & barely viable even stopped being viable for endgame content.
The aftermath was that a plethora of players, me including, did not feel the game was worth our time in its current state and were left looking for other games to play in the meantime. Blizzard held a Campfire Chat livestream yesterday and made a bunch of promises to address the situation and “fix” the mess in the upcoming Patch 1.1.1 (ETA around 1-2 weeks from the Campfire Chat on the 21st of July). What promises did they make, how do they plan to “fix” this mess, this article will hopefully answer any questions you may have regarding this.
“We know it is bad, we know it is not fun”
Blizzard acknowledged that reducing player power this drastically was uncalled for… but then why do it in the first place? They have at least realized that they made a big oopsie and are fast with the damage control so we already received (yesterday) a Hotfix that adjusts the hp and damage of the middle & higher tier Nightmare Dungeons. They also promise that they “don’t plan on doing a patch like this ever again”. So without further ado, below is a list of the Nightmare Dungeon changes that the most recent hotfix included:
Gameplay Update We are implementing a reduction to overall monster power levels in Nightmare dungeons. The new top range for tier 100 will feel like what tier 70 was previously. Developer Note: Although these values make it appear that the higher tiers are easier than lower tiers, this is not the case because the monsters also benefit from being significantly higher level than players in higher Nightmare Dungeon tiers. Examples Tier 35 HP reduced by ~2% Damaged reduced by ~1% Tier 50 HP reduced by ~20% Damage reduced by ~13% Tier 70 HP reduced by ~60% Damage reduced by 54% Tier 100 HP reduced by ~82% Damage reduced by ~79% Bug Fixes Fixed an issue where additional Blood Lances from the Gore Quills aspect could sometimes not deal damage. Fixed an issue where the Answers in the Ashes quest could have progression blocked if Varshan was killed before the quest updates to the step to defeat him. Fixed an issue where the dungeons Buried Halls and Endless Gates dungeons were not giving players proper rewards upon completion. Fixed an issue where the Akhan’s Grasp Nightmare Dungeon was not giving players proper rewards upon completion. Fixed an issue where the Moonrage Malignant Power would cause the Wolves power to be unequipped from the action bar. Fixed an issue where the Subterranean Legendary aspect was dealing far less damage than intended. Fixed an issue where the Frozen Terror Malignant Power could also fear the player with it equipped. Fixed an issue where Malignant Hearts could be duplicated when salvaging them, logging out immediately, and logging back in. Fixed an issue where Tier Skips wouldn’t be properly rewarded in certain scenarios. Fixed an issue where Whispers sometimes wouldn’t grant experience on completion. Further stability improvements
Why did they do those Nerfs?
Blizzard explains that the reason for those nerfs is that they did not want to see certain stats over-performing as much as they did compared to others and that they wanted people to use a wider variety of affixes instead of always using the same 5-6 affixes in their gear like Cooldown Reduction, Damage Reductions, Vulnerable Damage, Critical Strike Damage, and Core Skill Damage, for example. And this seems like a sound reason BUT the way they went on about it was FAR from the right way to handle this.
First off, if they wanted people to not feel pressured to use damage reduction in 3 out of 4 of their Leg armor affix slots, for example, they should have just buffed damage reduction to the point where people would feel that 3 of those on the same item are an overkill and just 2 would suffice, but they did the exact opposite and nerfed various kinds of damage reduction affixes. And now comes the damage control hotfix I mentioned & listed earlier where Nightmare Dungeons are getting nerfed to match the weak player power. While it’s better than nothing it’s definitely not the proper way those things should be done. I’ll be logging in later tonight to see how the game feels with the new NMD rebalance.
Another change I strongly disagree with is the cooldown reduction nerfs, they went overboard with that one and this severe of a nerf was totally uncalled for. They could have went for a very minor 5 to 10% nerf and then just increased the cooldown of skills that were being abused if they wanted to prevent infinite resources, infinite cast of certain abilities and so on as they said was their intention.
Addressing The “Vulnerable Problem”
I, among many players, agree that we need a rework or a removal+replacement of the Vulnerable damage mechanic. Simply nerfing the Vulnerable Damage affixes/rolls is not going to magically solve the problem. There is a reason why we take this stat in all our builds and why we take advantage of the mechanic. And apparently Joe Piepiora knows that it’s because of how Vulnerable damage is calculated. So the Devs admitted that it was not the proper way to handle this problem and that they’ll need to do a proper rework of the Vulnerable damage formula. He also said that doing a proper rework on Vulnerable will mean needing to look at other things, such as Overpower damage as an example, because all kinds of builds use it currently to be viable, so good alternatives will be needed.
Diablo IV Mission Statement
Blizzard showed a list of 4 key points that they will use as guidelines when making patches & balance changes to avoid such a big mess of a patch from happening again. They are as follows:
- A wide variety of viable builds to discover, put together, and optimize, across all five classes
- New items and powers every season to keep the game fresh and increase build variety
- Continually evolving endgame content with high monster density for powerful builds to mow down and activities to challenge your build
- Make the game more fun for players
So, those 4 mission statement points are obviously something that makes sense. So far, since launch, I have never felt that Blizzard was spot on with either of them while playing Diablo 4 on various builds on each class. They definitely have a long way to go before I would feel like each of those things feels accomplished. I obviously can not speak about point 3 as only the future will tell if the endgame evolves in the right pace but I do believe they should have launched with 2 more endgame activities as an alternative to Nightmare Dungeons that are just as rewarding and give us more ways to level up our glyphs and spend our in-game grind time.
Regarding new items and powers patch 1.1.0 was a hit and miss. Sorcerers, once again, getting the short end of the stick with yet another unique that has an awful negative effect, and is still the only class to get negative effect alongside the positives with their unique and legendary powers. 1.1.0 did bring some cool stuff for various classes in terms of unqiues and legendaries but was kind of a 50-50 for me what i considered cool and reasonable. And that also applies to the malignant hearts that also seem to be 50-50 hit or miss, and also has some underwhelming ones for the sorcerer.
A promise to make Sorcs viable & make Barbs worth it again
Blizzard made a promise that with 1.1.1 Sorcs, who were always at the bottom of the barrel in terms of how underpowered they are compared to other classes, a viable class worth playing. They also made a promise to bring Barbs to a reasonable power level again as 1.1.0 hit the very few reasonable Barb builds pretty hard too. Will this happen? Time will tell but I for sure hope it’s not an empty promise as i love playing elemental mages/casters in games or a good close range brawler class, which the Barbarian never felt like one to me (even with a strong build) ever since the game launched.
Players can expect that to happen partially trough re-visiting of the legendary and unique powers for those two classes and reworking + re-balancing those to make the two classes have a reasonable amount of viable builds for players to use.
Changes to Crowd Control in NMDs?
Blizzard also made a promise to address the ridiculously stupid amount of crowd control that exists in Nightmare Dungeons as well as the lack of many builds capable of dealing with it. I hope this change comes with patch 1.1.1 because right now it’s extremely painful to play certain maps & map affixes on the majority of the builds, especially ones that don’t have enough unstoppable (or any for that matter) to counter the freezing, rooting, slowing, etc. enemies
New Endgame Mode to challenge our builds… in Season 3
Apparently, NMDs are not the best type of content to use as a goal/benchmark to challenge one’s builds and Blizzard will be introducing a new Endgame Mode for us to do that. BUT it’s going to be a long wait of at least another half a year before we get a taste of it as it’s coming with Season 3. Not sure if they were talking about this content but they did also say they plan on bringing back the bosses from the campaign story in new endgame type that suits them when asked about bringing those bosses back. Another thing that they were asked about was leaderboards and they did say with Season 3 they will be bringing leaderboards and content where those could fit.
Here’s a wild guess from me: could we be getting a tower/arena/crucible/survival mode type of endgame with X arena stages where every N stages there’s a bigger boss fight? Is this going to have a timer running to see who get to the end of it the quickest? Is this going to be the content that re-uses the story bosses? I say probably but my guess is as good as anyone’s at this point so we’ll just going to have to wait and see.
A promise to leave overpowered builds as they are until given reasonable alternatives
Blizzard also promised to keep some builds overpowered until they have provided the playerbase with a compelling viable alternative to those builds. What is worth noting is that such meta shift changes will occur at predictable times, like the start of a new Season. However, in cases where a bug is causing game-breaking damage or crashes, Blizzard will still react quickly.
Increased density for Helltides and NMDs
Another changed that we’ll supposedly be getting with 1.1.1 is an increase of the mob density is the majority of Helltide area zones as well as in Nightmare Dungeons. They’ll also look into improving performance for certain effects/skills so that the substantial increase to mob density doesn’t result in substantially worse performance.
More storage? Devs: 1 extra stash tab is my best offer!
A big source of the negative experience in Diablo 4 is the inventory and storage tension. And maybe only players who play 1 class and 1 build only don’t feel this but anyone who has played more than 1 character or likes testing multiple builds on at least 1 character has realized how bad and how little the storage we’ve got available is. Blizzard has previously promised that Season 2 will come with a rework to the gem system and that gems will get their own “materials” tab in the way veiled crystals and the likes do. However, players need improvements to inventory and storage space right now. The best Blizzard can do is apparently give is a measly extra stash tab which is, obviously, better than zero extra stash tabs. So what can they do to hopefully solve this problem?
I, and many others i assume, believe that giving us personal stash tabs + much more shared ones would be the best option. 4 to 5 personal stash tabs + 10 shared ones should be all we need to have enough room for all sorts of builds on every single class. Additionally, I believe we’ll need a big change to the aspects & the codex of power where every single aspect is on the codex of power and can be unlocked from dungeons and other types of content. As an added bonus being able to put extracted aspects in the codex with their “better than min-roll” values being selectable from there when imprinting would be an amazing QoL feature
Respec cost will be 40% cheaper
One more area where the game has needed improvement was the respec cost for skill points and paragon points. The devs promised that 1.1.1 will bring a 40% reduction to that cost, which should make it roughly around 7-8 million gold for a full respec at lvl 100 (down from 12-13 mil). While it’s still far from perfect it’s a step in the right direction. I still believe respecs should not cost much at all and the real cost of switching to a new build should be farming the new gear and aspects for it + re-rolling the stats on that new gear to suit the build.
Currently, having to pay 12-13 Million god coins, on top of the already costly re-roll (enchant), extract, and imprint costs that one would need to do when gearing up for a new build is a kick in the nuts. Reducing it by only 40% down to 7-8 Mil will make the kick feel like a punch in the nuts so it will still be pretty painful. I’ve counted that excluding skill & paragon respecs, switching a build could end up somewhere between 20 and 40 mil gold on average. The main reason why the cost is this high is because of the shitty design of the enchantment system where each consecutive enchant gets more expensive. If they change it so that the cost of our 2nd re-roll is as high as the cost goes, then this whole respec “problem” will be much bearable. We need a gold sink but it also needs to be reasonable with the bloody costs.
More Changes to EXP incoming
Blizzard are also promising more changed to EXP, in particular speeding up the leveling from levels 50 to 100. They did not provide any specifics but they did say they don’t want reaching lvl 100 to feel like a job but still want it to feel like a challenge. They added that they don’t want players to reach a wall around lvl 70 or 75 where leveling becomes a total slog. I’m personally looking forward to that as EXP rates are a sore subject for me in looter games like Diablo 4.