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Diablo III Season Five Postmortem

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A look at the legacy of Season Five, and how it has shaped the game.

What will we think of when looking back at Season Five?

 

Another Season has come to pass in Sanctuary, and with it some pretty massive revelations. We saw a rise in certain playstyles, reactions from Devs, changes in Team Diablo, No-Boss runs, Banwave after Banwave, and even new ways to play the game.

 

So what is the lasting impact of Diablo Season Five?

 

Disclaimer: This post is purely the opinion of the author, Realbookwurm, and is intended to review from the broad community perspective what Season Five was like to many players. Many arguments here have subjective components, and as such should not be taken as fact. Your mileage or experience probably varied. 

 

Let us start with the bad, and work our way to the good stuff, since there is a lot more that Season Five has done to impact the game positively than negatively.

 

The Ugly

 

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  • Set Dungeons: While the concept is novel, the execution and reality did not meet the standards of the community by-and-large. Born as an attempt to give players a specific goal, something which Diablo often lacks, the idea was sound. Why not create a scenario where players can demonstrate mastery of a Set's mechanics, and even be rewarded in game for the their efforts? Well, the schism between great idea and the reality is probably most related to the actual objectives of the dungeons. Some set dungeons were quite easy to grasp and execute, the Immortal King's Dungeon for an example. Others suffered from mechanics that were unclear, counter-intuitive or just plain at the mercy of RNG. Firebird's Finery Dungeon asked players to die on purpose. Shadow's Mantle Dungeon gave an objective that failed players for consecutive hits on an enemy. Jade Harvester Dungeon gave you invisible enemies, and penalised you for not killing them. Wrath of the Wastes Dungeon put you in a Melee build and told you not to take ANY physical damage. The number of dungeons which seemed to nail it were small, and the ones that frustrated players seemed numerous.  

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  • Power Creep: While this is always present, Season Five saw an unprecedented leap forward in the average player's experience. From people doubling their highest Greater Rift, to Paragons running into the thousands, the whole game now has a higher bar set. There were many reported situations of public groups that would kick people for "only being Paragon 800" or similar. Players in groups cleared Greater Rifts well past the 105 mark, while solo saw numbers in the 90s. Season 4 had not even saw the group move past 90, so seeing people now doing it alone has really driven this point home. 

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  • Paragon Disparity: This point is substantially tied to the previous issue, but deserves a special nod, as many player find themselves on one side of the divide or the other. The group meta saw legitimate players spanning well into several thousand paragons, and on the flip side any number of posts in r/Diablo's reddit detailing solo player journeys saw people hitting new highs in the hundreds. While many were not directly affected by this divide, the solo leaderboards closed in a stranglehold not from the Solo players themselves, but instead were mainly comprised of group players who then leveraged their superior paragons and gear in order to also dominate in this area. 

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  • No-Boss Runs: This one was saved for last on this list, because it is a bridge between the two previous issues listed, and The Worst issue which is near the end of this editorial. While it was not a new idea, the prevalence of this phenomenon in Season Five had new levels of impact. The idea behind a No-Boss Runs is that players in a group (or even solo) run an extremely high greater rift level (usually higher than could actually be cleared) and play up until the rift guardian is spawned. Players then exit the game and make a new rift, repeating the procedure. The result is massive amounts of XP gained, lending handily to the paragon disparity. Since the rift guardian is usually the bulk of time spent in a rift, and nets significantly less experience per time spent comparative to the rest of the rift, this practice born of pragmatism characterized greater rift pushing this season. 

 

 

The Bad

 

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  • Lost Devs: This season saw the departure of many strongly talented figures from Team Diablo, and while some could potentially return, others are lost for good. How this will affect the game moving forward remains to be seen, but the figures lost were those who had direct and observable impact on the game as a whole.

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  • Class Diversity: In what always results in a continued struggle, Diablo's developers yet again took painstaking efforts in balancing, with a goal of roughly approximating all sets to be equal in terms of power. Once more, we saw a season ruled by flavor-of-the-month builds, and a particular class warping the entire group meta in around itself. While Season Four was the Year of the Monk, Season Five will forever be the Year of the Wizard. Like the Static Charge Monk of yester-season, the strength of the Energy Twister Wizard left an indelible mark on the group play of Diablo, and even caused a series of severely hard-hitting changes to several class and item mechanics. Health Globe spawning as a purposeful mechanic has all but been removed from the game, and the warp was so massive that even other classes had their skill mechanics changed thanks to the Wizard build in question.  

 

 

Mixed

 

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  • Buff UI: While this issue is actually part of larger change that has positively impacted the game, it also has some quirks that presented and still require a clean up. The changes to the Buff UI that came baked into Patch 2.4 are overall successful. Making the bar more concise, it grew in Season Five to be the tool of information it was also supposed to be, and no longer is quite the source of player focus it once was. While the goal of making players engage the game (not their buff bar) seems to have been achieved, the improvements have left some aspects seemingly unpolished. The two most common issues that now seem to arise in discussion are the lack of drop shadow on stack numbers, and the paragon point allocation button covering part of the bar itself. With some minor tweaks, these could be changed and really let the newly designed buff bar come into its own glory. Rightfully so, as it now is leagues ahead of its old counterpart! 

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  • Stash Tab: While this might be a confusing place to find the stash tab, please read on as to why it finds a home here. Many players, myself included, were ecstatic about the inclusion of this reward. To me, the gaining of the extra space was massive, and let me fully devote a tab of stash to each class, as I am an alt-a-holic. I did not have any issue with the implementation, but the implementation was inline with how I play the game already. For many players, the implementation did not line up with their playstyle, or desired mode of play, and this is what lands the stash tab here. Like a billion dollars in the bank, it's great for those who have it, and not so much so for those who don't. I play seasons exclusively now in Diablo, and even quit during the interseason period to recharge and play other games. While Seasons are on, I religiously play each weekend with some friends, and manage to go far in, or complete the season journey. Getting the stash tab for me was merely a consequence. Now, my playstyle is not the only one. Many players don't play seasons. Others, are not as able or willing to devote the many hours needed to get to where I do. As a result, many groups found themselves left out, or struggling with a game (something we play for fun) to get what they felt was necessary to enjoy the game. This lack of fun for those players, well it's rough. I applaud the developers for setting a standard which players must achieve to be rewarded optional content in the game. Likewise, I see the strong argument from those who do not like being forced to play a game mode they do not enjoy in order to get access to something they want, and sometimes feel compulsion to gain. I am not sure what the right answer here is, and as such it remains in the murky waters of mixed. My only input is that I do think there is strong value in rewarding players for certain achievements. The term reward is defined as "a thing given in recognition of one's service, effort, or achievement." Perhaps the discussion should focus not on what is wrong, but what else can be opened as an avenue for others to also achieve. 

 

The Good

 

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  • Single Player XP: Wait, wasn't there something about paragon disparity earlier? Yes, but there is strong hope for solo players, and Season Five gave the most compelling evidence. While by season's close the gap was huge, the early reports of the season saw solo players hitting 70 in roughly the same time as partied groups. This was the first time this had occurred in season play without some form of XP exploit being used. The main driver behind this was the addition of bonus kill-streaks which had previously been seen in console versions. Additionally, changes were made to group dynamics and xp sharing. More changes are coming with Season Six, meaning the outlook for this aspect is high. Perhaps this issue will eventually see a form of parity between groups and solo players. Certainly, we are seeing that goal closer than further as of writing.

 

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  • Death's Breath: They're a distinct color now, making them much easier to distinguish. This optimizes time spent while farming, and is a seemingly small, yet huge-in-impact change that I have yet to see a complaint about. An all around victory. 

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  • New Zones: For those who saw the Diablo panel at Blizzcon this year, the amount of changes coming with 2.4 seemed impossibly large. Since Season Five is a child of Patch 2.4, the addition of new zones with the patch meant that many players saw these sights for the first time in season. From minor additions with the Library at Leoric's Manor, to the entire zone replete with new mobs, tiles and lore (Greyhollow Island) there is not a fair argument against these additions. Free is free, but quality additions for free are just gravy!

 

The Great

 

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  • Empowered Rifts/Caldesann's Despair: While Wyatt Cheng (@Candlesan on Twitter) might hide his despair of this change behind a weak anagram, finally having a viable and impactful gold sink enter the game has many of the Diablo 1% jumping for joy. With so much gold coming from regular farming of high torments, and trips to The Vault, the community saw gold inflation in the highest order. With so many sources of generation, and few sources of loss, the amount players had stashed away became looney (Canadian money jokes). The idea of slightly lessening the time needed to level gems, and thus getting to imbue gear with the new enchanting recipe in Kanai's Cube faster, all while making gold worthwhile again was a massive victory for Team Diablo. It addressed an issue in a creative, fun, and engaging way that had players wanting to play the game more. It also diversified to a greater extent what players did while playing at endgame, and I think it is easy to classify this as an example of creative game design which resulted in a victory. 

 

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  • Haedrig's Gift: The thorn in my side, (I played Invoker's Burden Crusader this Season) I have to admit that this feature was a success from the community perspective. I will freely admit that I was bent out of shape with the announcement of this feature, and still question its merit. However, I was shown how my opinion here is narrow, and needs broader context. As a gamer who loved the early adventure games such as Sierra's King's Quest line, or the amazing LucasArt's Monkey Island series, I lamented the inclusion of "free sets" as a softening up of gaming culture, and an attempt to cater to those who want things without working for them. I also still question if this sped up the progression of seasonal character too much, leading to faster burn-out or season completion. The second point I hold true to, the first, I was gravely mistaken on. While I can be crusty old gamer who complains about walking uphill to school both ways "back in my day," I also have my scope wrongly adjusted to those old games. Many old computer games are famously confusing and difficult at times, and often lead to out-of-the-box or just plain weird solutions. These games also could often be played, once you knew what to do, in a matter of hours. You might sink lots of time into solving the puzzles initially, but the actual game length is relatively short. Now, we have a whole genre of game with the word massive in its title. These are games where a player can take an hour just to make a character's appearance right if they so choose. In this wave of massive gameplay comes things like Diablo, which actually never end. Sure you can beat the game, but that's not the goal for most. Set dungeons still leave the stopping point role unfulfilled. Instead we continue to push hard, faster and further a group each season, and many players were not having fun anymore trying to keep up. Enter the Gift, and now player who might have never even owned a full set before are getting a chance to explore the game in new and exciting ways. This is obviously a positive, and something that is good for the health of the game. In practice my Softcore Crusader who received Invoker's Burden through the Gift, and my Hardcore Crusader who farmed the pieces had very little difference of experience. It was a small gap in time spent between their progression, several hours to be fair. My enjoyment was no less on my softcore crusader, and progression only felt slightly slower on my hardcore one. The upshot? It let players with limited time, or perhaps those who don't spend hours talking theorycraft on the forums to be able to get moving faster and enjoying themselves sooner. Thus, I have to concede this to the clear win category. 

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  • Diablo Unannounced Project/Job Postings: While this isn't anything related with the Season, it did come to light during the season, and had a measurable effect on the community. The posting of various jobs to Blizzard's career page, and the mention in those posting about a "Diablo Unannounced Project" have many speculating. With the possibility of another Diablo III expansion, to another game set in the Diablo universe, to Diablo IV, the community is abuzz with theories. Only time will tell exactly what it is that Blizzard has up their sleeve, but many remain exceptionally excited for whatever that could be. More Diablo is always welcome.

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  • Kanai Event: Like the previous entry, this is more something that merely came to light during Season Five, and is not a direct product of it, but it certainly merits mention. The event consisted of a longstanding mystery of Kanai's Throne Room finally being revealed. Since the arrival of Ruins of Sescheron in Patch 2.3, there were cryptic in game clues and references to the "right time" in Kanai's Throne Room. The right time turned up in Season Five, with the Kanai's Stomping Ground event coming to life in March. This tribute is touching and tasteful on behalf of Blizzard, and is set to outlive this past season, by coming around each March. More can be read about the event and the person it honors here. 

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  • Legacy of Nightmares/Invoker's Burden: These two sets might not share anything in mechanics, but what makes their birth in the Season 5 meta important is that both represent a paradigm shift in what makes a character powerful in Diablo. Firstly, let's examine Invokers. This set, also known as the Thorns Set, offers a look into a world where Crit Chance/Crit Damage stats and Sheet DPS are utterly irrelevant. This change was lauded by many long term pundits of the game, who often argued that Crit was a stat too crucial to DPS output. This new way of thinking about how you get your damaged threw convention out the window, and did so successfully. 97,786 is how much DPS when my Invoker Crusader cleared his first 70 Greater Rift, something I know because I immortalized it via screen capture.28rp37o.jpg With DPS figures ranging in the 2-3 million range for well-geared and high paragon toons, the idea that 97,786 could do anything of impact seemed astounding. It still is, if you think about Diablo convention to this point. This brings us to Legacy of Nightmares, another fly-in-the-face of conventional Diablo 3 Since the Loot 2.0 revamp, sets have been king of DPS. Some argue the lack of true diversity is gone in builds, something Vanilla had a surprising amount of in contrast. Few arguments could be mounted for anything but set based builds of late, and enter unique_ring_014_x1_demonhunter_male.pngThe Legacy of Nightmares . The "No-Set Set" gave rise to a new and exciting branch of gameplay that satisfied many of the prior complaints of too heavy reliance on set bonuses. While the issue is still not dead, after all Wizards couldn't seem to materialize a competitive build with LoN, it went on to dominate the solo leaderboards for classes like Crusader and Demon Hunter. I will state there is much work to be done here, but like Apollo 11, this was a "Giant Leap" for Diablo III. 

 

Now, the heart of article is revealed. We have made it this far, and now the rock bottom and the sky-high aspects of Season Five come to light. 

 

The Worst

 

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  • A Support Meta/Single DPS Gameplay: This is probably not a twist(er) to those who played Season Five, as we saw a worrying trend that began in Season Four take a whole new level of notoriety in Season Five. In a game that is all about smacking skeletons until they collapse, a striking meta emerges where 75% of a Four-man group are not doing it. David Brevik (you know, the guy who envisioned Diablo and worked so hard to make the game a reality) stated fondly of working on the first Diablo "I clicked on the mouse, and the warrior walked over and smacked the skeleton down. And I was like, ‘Oh my god! ...That was awesome!'" Thus was born the Action Role Playing Game, or ARPG. This quote characterizes what makes the arpg so special, and for many what their first Diablo experience was like. With this in mind, consider a situation where only one out four in a party are doing the skeleton smacking. Change might be good, but such a dramatic shift away from what seems so core to the arpg and the Diablo experience is nearing criminal. The reaction from the developers behind the game seems to be in vein with my own take on the situation, as they have mobilized en masse to try and cull this type of gameplay. Even well-known community figures admit that they only partake in it because it is the most efficient, not because it's what they enjoy. It is how to climb the leaderboards, for better or worse. Worse, really. This will likely be the most remembered aspect of Season Five looking back. Actually, strike that. The most remembered thing about Season Five, the thing that will put it down in the history books as what went right is: 

 

The Win

 

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  • Season Five saw the purge of the Botter, and humans attaining victory. An update to Blizzard's Warden, in conjunction with well timed and decisive waves, saw the leaderboards all but purified of those who chose to break the Terms of Service by utilizing suspect third party softwares. Whether you and Brother Chris played Diablo 24/7, or you used a software which rhymes with MurboMud, or maybe plotted your trips through Sanctuary using some GPS, you probably saw the boot. While not all elicit software users were burned by the righteous fires of the purge, a great chunk saw, and thus now fear the Light. Whatever this means moving forward, the message has been sent, and the result are clear for all to see: Play by the rules, or risk consequences. Exceptionally well played on Blizzard's part with timing and deployment, the banwave has many of the jaded questioning if perhaps there is much to be said about the game after all. Excellent work to Blizzard, and I personally hope that you keep this momentum you've gained. 

 

 

Conclusion:

 

Season Five has come and gone, and with it a new legacy was born. What the full effect is still remains to be seen, but we can assess some core principles in the immediate. What we know is that like any Season, there are going to be bad aspects, and those that make us remember exactly what has us logging in again and again and again. Season Five seemed to polarize the issues, making the extremes of the bad, as well as the good, more apparent than ever. In the end there more good than bad, and this should have all fans of the franchise reaching for that mouse.

 

Personally, I had a great time in Season Five, and I am looking forward to Season Six, which will begin as follows: 

  • North America: Friday, April 29 @ 5:00 p.m. PDT
  • Europe: Friday, April 29 @ 5:00 p.m. CEST
  • Asia: Friday, April 29 @ 5:00 p.m. KST

 

I want to thank readers, and now that I have said my piece, I open the comment box to all of you below. Do you agree or disagree with my take? Let me know! 

 

In the meantime, happy farming! 

Edited by Realbookwurm

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Great article! I definitely agree with your points but I feel like you forgot to mention how upset many players got with the addition to insane skill damage on legendary items like The Gavel of Judgment or Tzo Krin's Gaze thus removing some creativity to changing builds up. In know Quin ranted a lot about how he did not like this. I was rather indifferent about the issue but I know from the forums that many people hated it.

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Good stuff.  In reference to the extra stash tabs, I would call it bad if not ugly,  Of course, you've heard me gripe about this before. biggrin.png

 

You said that you come from a gaming culture that believes in working for rewards, so from that perspective, the seasonal cache tab reward is good.  For the most part, I agree.  The problem in this case is, lack of storage is such an issue in this game that offering a fix for it via a reward is ludicrous.  It's like they said, "Oh, your game crashes to the desktop every 30 minutes?  Do well enough in the next season and you can earn a fix for that!"  Seriously--if they said this, I'd consider it no more ridiculous than earning new stash tabs.  When part of the game is broken, don't ask me to "earn" a patch for it.

 

But I realize I'm on the extreme end of wanting storage.  I could easily put to use 10 times as much stash space.  So considering the normal players, ok, they want to offer the tabs as rewards.  They still messed it up, and here's why:

 

In-game rewards fall into two categories--cosmetic and useful.

 

Cosmetic: wings, transmorgs, pets, banners, etc.  It's perfectly ok to lock these things up to where the casual player simply can't get them.  No matter how cool I think those wings look, if I can't put in the time to get them, it doesn't hold back my game.

 

Useful: armor, weapons, skills, recipes, NPCs, maps, waypoints, stash tabs, etc., etc.  Anything effecting actual gameplay.  It is never ok to lock these things completely away from the casual player.  Non-casual players will earn these things a lot sooner and faster and more often, but the casual player will get there eventually.  They may go a really long time before they finally get to Cube a Furnace, but it will happen and be really cool when it does.

 

Extra Stash Tabs are useful items (very useful) that have been completely locked away from the casual player.  No matter how long I keep playing the game, an extra stash tab won't finally "drop" (because the Season expires before I can get there.)  Then they add insult to injury by locking them away from even some non-casual players by requiring a game mode they don't enjoy.  All this for something that should have been considered a fix--not a reward--in the first place.

 

/rant

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      Season Journey Rewards
      Seasonal Conquest
      Haedrig’s Gift
      Patch Notes
      Season 30: The Lords of Hell
      Though the Black Soulstone has been destroyed, lingering fragments of The Lords of Hell once contained therein still persist in Sanctuary. These Soul Shards hold immense power—power that once belonged to the Prime and Lesser Evils. Cunning Nephalem who find and wield these Soul Stones must exercise caution. Power can be alluring, and the road to the Burning Hells is paved with good intentions...
      Season 30 is the first to utilize our new Season theme rotation system, reintroducing The Lords of Hell theme first seen in Season 25. Players can embrace evil by infusing themselves with the essences of Hell’s Lords using Soul Shards. Players will embark on their Season Journey to discover and upgrade demonic Soul Shards based on the seven Lords of Hell. By embodying a Prime and Lesser Evil, players will inflict new forms of pain and suffering on the demons of Sanctuary. We can't wait for players to get their hands on Soul Shards to start unlocking their true power.
      Nephalem can find 7 unique Soul Shards(based on the seven Lords of Hell), which give players demonic new powers. One of 3 Prime Evil Soul Shards can be equipped into Helms and one of 4 Lesser Evil Soul Shards can be equipped into Weapons. Each Soul Shard can be upgraded three times using a new seasonal-exclusive consumable, the Hellforge Ember.
      Soul Shards and Hellforge Embers can drop from anywhere in Sanctuary, but Soul Shards have a higher chance to drop from Bosses. Soul Shards cannot be traded, but can be salvaged or utilized in Caldesann’s Despair. You may only equip one Prime Evil Soul Shard and one Lesser Evil Soul Shard at a time. Lastly, Soul Shards and Hellforge Embers only drop in Seasonal play, and will not transfer to your non-seasonal character when the season ends. For a look into the capabilities for each of the Soul Shard powers look below.
      Prime Evil Soul Shards
      Sliver of Terror
      Base Power: Your cooldowns are increased by 25%. For every skill on cooldown, you take 12.5% reduced damage and deal 12.5% increased damage. Additional Powers: Your attack speed and critical hit chance are increased by 5% for each skill on cooldown. You cast a devastating Ring of Fire after killing 100 enemies. If three or more skills are on cooldown, your lightning and fire skill damage are increased by 50%. Shard of Hatred
      Base Power: You deal 15% reduced damage while you have 3 or fewer enemies within 25 yards. If more than 3 enemies are within the same distance, you deal 5% increased damage per enemy (to a maximum of 50%). Additional Powers: Killing an elite enemy pulls all enemies within 40 yards to where the elite died. Your Movement speed is increased by 50%. Each enemy within 25 yards reduces your movement speed by 10% up to 70%. You now deal 15% 10% increased damage for every enemy instead of 5% (to a maximum of 100%). Fragment of Destruction
      Base Power: You move unhindered through enemies. Each enemy you pass through receives Mark of Destruction for 7 seconds. Each marked enemy that dies removes 1 second from one of your skills on cooldown. If the Mark of Destruction expires before the enemies die you lose 2% of your maximum health as damage. Marks are not applied if you are below 35% health. Additional Powers: You have a 25% Chance to restore 5% health when an enemy dies with Mark of Destruction active. When you apply Mark of Destruction to an enemy, you increase your movement speed by 5% for 7 seconds. Max 10 Stacks. You now leave a trail of fire in your wake that slays enemies with the Mark of Destruction and are below 10% health. Lesser Evil Soul Shards
      Stain of Sin
      Base Power: You deal 25% less damage. When you kill 50 enemies, you spawn a pool of blood that increases the damage done to elite enemies by 150% and lasts 15 seconds. Additional Powers: The pool of blood now negates Elite affixes within its area. You gain an additional Rift Progress Orb when you kill and elite pack. The pool of blood now collects Rift Progress Orbs. Dregs of Lies
      Base Power: You deal 25% less damage. Your pets deal 25% increased damage. Additional Powers: Killing an elite enemy reduces all your active cooldowns by 5 seconds. On receiving fatal damage, spawn a shadow that prevents your death, restores your health to 35%, and grants +225 All Resist to all party members while it is active. The shadow only lasts 15 seconds. Each time your pet hits an enemy, your damage is increased by 0.5% for 5 seconds. This stacks up to 100 times. When you reach 100 stacks, the stacks quickly reset to 0. Remnant of Pain
      Base Power: Your Critical Hit Chance is reduced by 15%. Attacks against Incapacitated enemies are automatically critical hits. Additional Powers: Hitting enemies with cold damage has a 50% chance to freeze them. Cold skill damage is increased to frozen targets by 20%. Gain passability while your movement speed bonus is over 50%. When you move through enemies you knock them back and stun them for 2 seconds. When you critically hit an enemy you increase the attack speed all players by 5% for 5 seconds. Max 10 stacks. Essence of Anguish
      Base Power: Every time you deal poison damage to an enemy you increase your cooldown reduction and movement speed by 2.5% while your damage received is increased by 5% for 10 seconds. Max 10 stacks. Additional Powers: Your movement speed and cooldown reduction can be increased up to 15 times by dealing poison damage to an enemy. When you deal poison damage to an enemy they receive 50% increased poison damage from all sources for 10 seconds. Killing an enemy deals the damage done by the death blow to all enemies within 25 yards. Return to Top
      Season 30 Cosmetic Rewards

      In addition to the Chest and Gloves slots of the exclusive Conqueror Set, players will be able to earn a series of portrait frames bedecked with the mysterious beauty of Blood Shards. A ghastly All Hallow’s pennant will also be available, allowing you to proudly proclaim your love for all things grim and creepy.
      Return to Top
      Season Journey Rewards
      If you’ve been diligently slaying demons for the past few Seasons and reached Conqueror in the Season Journey each time, you’ve surely accrued a few extra Stash tabs. You’ll earn one additional tab each Season by finishing the Conqueror tier, up to a maximum of five Stash tabs:
      Guardian of Sanctuary: Finish a level 70 Nephalem Rift on Torment XIII within five minutes. Gem of My Life: Level three Legendary Gems to level 55. All I Do IS Win: Complete two Conquests this Season. Disarm You: Kill Rakanoth at level 70 in under 15 seconds on Torment XIII difficulty. Money Ain’t A Thang: Slay Greed on Torment XIII difficulty. Take U There: Reach Greater Rift level 60 Solo. Power Amplification: Use Kanai’s Cube to augment an Ancient Legendary item with a level 50+ gem. Cubic Reconfiguration: Use Kanai’s Cube to reforge a Legendary item. Return to Top
      Seasonal Conquest
      Want to prepare your Conquest plan for Season 30? Here are the challenges you’ll face!
      Push your way to Greater Rift level 75 to complete Divinity/Lionhearted. On a Good Day/I Can’t Stop guides you to get your Legendary Gem grind on; level three Legendary Gems to 65 to complete this challenge! For the speedy, Speed Demon/Need for Speed requires the fastest Nephalem to complete a Nephalem Rift at level 70 on Torment X or higher in under two minutes. For Curses!/Stars Align, pick any Cursed Chest event that requires killing monsters and defeat over 350 or more at level 70 on Torment X or higher. For the fiercest demon slayers, Boss Mode/World’s Apart is a speed challenge where you’ll need to eliminate the following bosses at level 70 and Torment X in under twenty minutes:
      The Skeleton King The Butcher Zoltun Kulle Ghom Cydaea Rakanoth Diablo Adria Queen Araneae Maghda Belial Siegebreaker Assault Beast Azmodan Izual Urzael Malthael Return to Top
      Haedrig’s Gift
      Finally, the Class Sets rewarded for completing certain chapters in the Season Journey courtesy of Haedrig’s Gift have rotated once more. We’ve listed the available Sets below. For those new to Seasons, here’s how it works:
      Completing Chapters 2, 3, and 4 of the Season Journey will reward you with three of Haedrig’s Gifts. Each Gift contains a few pieces from one of your Class Sets. Players can only unlock one Class Set in this manner per Season across Hardcore and Non-Hardcore, so choose wisely!
      The set you will receive depends on the class of the character you’re playing when you open each Haedrig’s Gift. To collect a full Class Set, you’ll need to open all three on the same character.
      Here are the sets granted by Haedrig’s Gift in season 30
      Barbarian: The Legacy of Raekor Crusader: Armor of Akkhan Demon Hunter: Embodiment of the Marauder Monk: Inna’s Reach Necromancer: Pestilence Master’s Shroud Witch Doctor: Zunimassa’s Haunt Wizard: Delsere’s Magnum Opus
      Return to Top
      Patch Notes
      Below you’ll find patch notes for the upcoming update to Diablo III: Patch 2.7.7. It goes live on January 9.
      Note: All changes apply to all versions of Diablo III, including PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, and PC unless otherwise indicated.
      New Permanent Features: Rites of Sanctuary and Visions of Enmity
      Back by popular demand, the Rites of Sanctuary and Visions of Enmity Season themes have become a permanent fixture of Diablo III. While we are extremely excited to make these features always available, to ensure your time slaying demons remains balanced, we had to make some adjustments to the bonuses provided by the Altar of Rites. When existent alongside Visions of Enmity, continual Season themes, and adjustments to Class balance, we felt the game’s balance would benefit from adjustments to Rites of Sanctuary. Here’s what has changed:
      Force Decreased damage to +100 from +200. Shadow Decreased Missile Damage Reduction to 5% from 25%. Exodus Decreased Movement Speed (Uncapped) to +10% from +25%. Command Increased damage against Elites reduced to 5% from 15%. Tenacity Increased damage reduced to 5% from 20%. Reverence Reduces damage taken from Elites by 5%, previously 25%. Numb 25% Decreased Melee Damage Reduction to 5% from 25%. Nature Highest elemental skill damage bonus increased by 5%, previously 10%. Prowess Increased damage against Elites reduced to 5% from 20%. Roar Damage done to Bosses increased to 5% from 50%. Elegance Chance to Dodge increased by 5%, previously 15%. Malice Decreased to +5% Damage from +30% Damage. Father Power pylon has been removed from random Shrine effect. Mother Triune of Love Circle now increases damage by 50%, previously 100%. Empowered shrine has been removed from the random Shrine effect of the Father Seal from Altar of Rites. Feature Changes
      Chilltara now has a 20% drop rate of Gibbering Gemstone. Whisper of Atonements can now be salvaged for 1–3 Forgotten Souls. Orek's Dream encounter rate buffed from 1 to 4%. Gelatinous Sire goblins no longer spawn from the Goblin Shrine inside Echoing Nightmares. Class Balance Changes
      Striking a middle ground between fun and balanced is our top priority when it comes to Classes. As we mentioned in our Season 29 article, going forward, a series of iconic themes from Seasons past will be reintroduced roughly every 3 months. The below Class balances changes were made to ensure each Class remains both fun and balanced as powerful Season themes return to Diablo III.
      Any changes made to the below between the PTR and now, and any new additions, have been marked in red.
      Barbarian
      Might of the Earth Increased the damage of Earthquake, Avalanche, Leap, Ground Stomp, Ancient Spear and Seismic Slam to 37,500% from 20,000%. The Legacy of Raekor Hitting enemies with Furious Charge or Weapon Throw increases the damage of your next Ancient Spear by 2,500% from 5,500% and causes it to release multiple spears from its target. This effect stacks and each spear throw consumes a maximum of 5 stacks. Crusader
      Roland's Legacy Increased the damage of Shield Bash and Sweep Attack to 40,000% from 17,500%. Aegis of Valor Increased the damage of Fist of the Heavens and Heaven's Fury to 15,000% from 20,000%. Akkhan's Manacles Blessed Shield damage is increased by 400-500% for the first enemy it hits. Additionally, this bonus continues and is reduced by 50% for each subsequent non- Shattering Throw target. Blade of Prophecy Condemned enemies also trigger Condemn's explosion and the damage of Condemn is increased by 600-800%. Faithful Memory Each enemy hit by Falling Sword increases the damage of Blessed Hammer by 60-80% for 10 seconds. Max 10 stacks. Each stack of this buff can now stack between uses instead of resetting. Denial Each enemy hit by your Sweep Attack increases the damage of your next Sweep Attack by 100–125%, stacking up to 5 times between uses. Each stack lasts up to 5 seconds. Demon Hunter
      The Shadow's Mantle Impale’s additional damage increased to 120,000% weapon damage from 75,000% to the first enemy hit, and to 40,000% from 25,000% to subsequent enemies. Embodiment of the Marauder Your primary skills, Elemental Arrow, Chakram, Impale, Multishot, Cluster Arrow, Companions, Vengeance, and Sentries now deal 9,500% increased damage, previously 12,000%, for every active Sentry. Monk
      Raiment of a Thousand Storms Your Spirit Generators increase the weapon damage of Dashing Strike to 60,000% for 6 seconds and Dashing Strike increases the damage of your Spirit Generators by 14,000%, instead of 6,000%, for 6 seconds. Uliana's Stratagem Increased the damage of your Exploding Palm from 9,000% to 12,500% and your Seven-Sided Strike detonates your Exploding Palm. Kyoshiro's Blade When the initial impact of your Wave of Light hits 5 or fewer enemies, previously 3, the damage is increased by 200-250%. Necromancer
      Pestilence Each corpse you consume grants you an Empowered Bone Spear charge that increases the damage of your next Bone Spear by 6,000% from 3,300%. In addition, Corpse Lance and Corpse Explosion damage is increased by 6,000% from 3,300%. Each enemy you hit with Bone Spear, Corpse Lance, and Corpse Explosion reduces your damage taken by 3%, up to a maximum of 75%. Lasts 15 seconds. Inarius Bone Armor also activates a swirling tornado of bone, damaging nearby enemies for 1000% weapon damage and increasing the damage they take from the Necromancer to 19,000% from 10,000%. Trag'Oul's Avatar Your Life-spending abilities deal 6,250% increased damage, previously 10,000%, and your healing from skills is increased by 100%. Masquerade of the Burning Carnival Bone Spear cast by you and your Simulacrums deals 5,500% increased damage, previously 9,000%. Simulacrums gain triple this bonus. Bloodtide Blade Death Nova deals 300-400% increased damage for every enemy within 25 yards, up to 10 enemies, previously 25 enemies. Grasps of Essence When an exploded corpse damages at least one enemy, your Corpse Explosion deals 150-200% increased damage for 6 seconds, stacking up to 4 times, previously 5 stacks. Corpsewhisper Pauldrons Corpse Lance damage is increased to 50-75% from 20-30% for 3 seconds when you consume a corpse. Max 20 stacks. Witch Doctor
      Raiment of the Jade Harvester Soul Harvest reduces damage taken by 50% for 12 seconds and consumes your damage over time effects on enemies, instantly dealing 26,000 seconds worth of remaining damage, previously 10,000. Helltooth Harness After casting Wall of Death, gain 37,500% increased damage, previously 17,500%, for 15 seconds to your primary skills, Acid Cloud, Firebats, Zombie Charger, Zombie Dogs, Gargantuan, Grasp of the Dead, Piranhas, and Wall of Death./li> Mundunugu's Regalia Spirit Barrage deals 17,500% increased damage, previously 20,000% plus an additional % equal to 5 times your Mana Regeneration/Second. Spirit of Arachyr The damage of your creature skills is increased by 11,500%, previously 25,000%. Creature skills are Corpse Spiders, Plague of Toads, Firebats, Locust Swarm, Hex, and Piranhas. Zunimassa's Haunt Enemies hit by your Mana spenders take 13,000% increased damage, previously 15,000%, from your pets for 8 seconds. Wizard
      Delsere's Magnum Opus Enemies affected by your Slow Time and for 5 seconds after exiting take 20,000% increased damage, previously 12,500%, from your Arcane Orb, Energy Twister, Magic Missile, Shock Pulse, Spectral Blade, Electrocute, and Arcane Torrent abilities. Tal Rasha's Elements Attacks increase your damage by 1,000%, previously 2,000%, for 8 seconds. Arcane, Cold, Fire, and Lightning attacks each add one stack. At 4 stacks, each different elemental attack extends the duration by 2 seconds, up to a maximum of 8 seconds. The Smoldering Core Lesser enemies are now lured to your Meteor impact areas. Meteors deal 40-50% increased damage on consecutive hits to the same target. This stacks up to 3 times, previously 10. The Twisted Sword Energy Twister damage is increased by 125-150% for each Energy Twister you have out up to a maximum of 3, previously 5. The Raging Storm rune is automatically applied to Energy Twister and allows the tornado to merge with 3 additional Energy Twisters. Return to Top
    • By Staff
      The Darkening of Tristram returns to Diablo 3 on January 3. Find out more about the event in the official blog post!
      (Source)
      Diablo’s anniversary is right around the corner, along with the Darkening of Tristram event! Whether you’re a series veteran craving nostalgia, or a newcomer hungry for your first taste of the franchise’s past, this annual loving homage to the earliest days of Diablo is for you.
      Read on for more, including a closer look at the anniversary dungeon and its unique rewards.

      Stop the Cultists
      Your journey begins on the trail of a group of mysterious cultists causing trouble in Sanctuary. As you hunt them down in Adventure Mode, you’ll uncover clues leading to a portal into Tristram’s past, and the terrifying darkness that took hold of the town so many years ago. . . .

      Explore the Cathedral
      Follow the clues and you’ll soon find yourself in a realm of glorious RetroVision™, where an all-too-familiar cathedral looms. Explore the depths and you’ll discover familiar enemies and iconic items, all brought to life in the Diablo III engine. Meanwhile, deep beneath the catacombs, the Dark Lord himself awaits any intrepid adventurer who dares to challenge him. . . .

      Discover Precious Loot
      What is a Diablo game without shiny new loot to call your own? Completing activities in the anniversary event yields unique transmogrification effects, achievements, portraits, pets, and more.
      While some rewards are easy to find, others may have you scouring every nook or unlocking every achievement before you can get your hands on them. Can you earn them all? There’s only one way to find out!

      Your Journey Begins…
      Exclusive rewards and challenging enemies await you, but they won’t last forever! The cultists will appear on December 31 at 4 p.m. PST, and the portal opens January 3 at the same hour. Both parts of the event end January 31 at 4 p.m. PST.
      Enter the dungeon, reap your rewards, and survive the evils within—or die in the process, never to be heard from again. . . .
    • By Staff
      The Diablo 3 patch PTR is up and we have all the details on it! From the new permanent Rites of Sanctuary and Visions of Enmity features to class balance and more, let's take a look at what's coming.
      Patch 2.7.7 PTR (Source)
      Hail, Nephalem! We welcome you to the Diablo III Patch 2.7.7 PTR. From December 5–12, we’ll need your help in testing balance changes for all Classes and 2 returning Season themes that are being permanently added to the game for all modes—Rites of Sanctuary and Visions of Enmity.
      Seasonal Journey
      PTR Focus and Details
      PTR Testing Tips
      New Permanent Features: Rites of Sanctuary and Visions of Enmity
      Class Balance Changes
      How to Participate in the PTR
      PTR Character Copy
      Please note that this is a preview for PTR content, which is subject to change. As this is a test server, please anticipate uneven game performance, and note that restarts and downtime may occur without warning. Thank you, and we look forward to your feedback!

      PTR Focus and Details
      The Patch 2.7.7 PTR will soon be under way. During this time, there may be periodic maintenances, outages, hotfixes, or minor patches. We urge you to focus your playthrough on the following:
      Rites of Sanctuary and Visions of Enmity: Based on positive community feedback, we saw these Season themes were such a hit that we’ve decided to make them permanent. Players can harness the might from the Altar of Rites and Diabolical Fissures to dream up unique Class builds and achieve new levels of power. Class Balance: To ensure that the most significant class changes receive an ample amount of attention, we'd love for you to focus testing and providing feedback on the balance changes for all Classes. PTR-unique buffs will be active to help you on your journey: increased experience gains, and double Blood Shard drops. You can also buy new gear for testing from the special PTR vendor, Djank Mi'em, who will exchange Blood Shards for class-specific bags full of Legendary Items that we'd love for you to test! So that we can efficiently review your posts, please provide feedback in the PTR Feedback forum and bug reports in the PTR Bug Report forum.
      Back to Top

      PTR Testing Tips
      As with our previous PTRs, this testing period is short, so it's best to hit the ground running. Whether you’re a PTR veteran or newcomer, we thought we’d pass along a few tips to get you started.
      Because of the limited duration of this PTR, we ask that participants pick a particular portion of this update to focus on testing. For example, if you’re primarily a Witch Doctor player, consider what changes impact the Witch Doctor specifically. What you like best, what you think may still need adjustment, and what you’d want to see in the future (even if that may be beyond the scope of this patch) are all good questions to ask yourself before submitting feedback. Try to break things! Just tell us when you do so we can make sure that the patch’s launch is as smooth as possible. When providing feedback, focus less on a solution and more on your experience. How did the changes make you feel? Did something seem incorrect or insufficient? Suggestions are always welcome but identifying the issues themselves is most important. Back to Top

      New Permanent Features: Rites of Sanctuary and Visions of Enmity
      Back by popular demand, the Rites of Sanctuary and Visions of Enmity Season themes have become a permanent fixture of Diablo III. While we are extremely excited to make these features always available, to ensure your time slaying demons remains balanced, we had to make some adjustments to the bonuses provided by the Altar of Rites. When existent alongside Visions of Enmity, continual Season themes, and adjustments to Class balance, we felt the game’s balance would benefit from adjustments to Rites of Sanctuary. Here’s what has changed:
      Force Decreased damage to +100 from +200. Shadow Decreased Missile Damage Reduction to 5% from 25%. Exodus Decreased Movement Speed (Uncapped) to +10% from +25%. Command Increased damage against Elites reduced to 5% from 15%. Tenacity Increased damage reduced to 5% from 20%. Reverence Reduces damage taken from Elites by 5%, previously 25%. Numb 25% Decreased Melee Damage Reduction to 5% from 25%. Nature Highest elemental skill damage bonus increased by 5%, previously 10%. Prowess Increased damage against Elites reduced to 5% from 20%. Roar Damage done to Bosses increased to 5% from 50%. Elegance Chance to Dodge increased by 5%, previously 15%. Malice Decreased to +5% Damage from +30% Damage. Father Power pylon has been removed from random Shrine effect. Mother Triune of Love Circle now increases damage by 50%, previously 100%. Back to Top

      Class Balance Changes
      Striking a middle ground between fun and balanced is our top priority when it comes to Classes. As we mentioned in our Season 29 article, going forward, a series of iconic themes from Seasons past will be reintroduced roughly every 3 months. The below Class balances changes were made to ensure each Class remains both fun and balanced as powerful Season themes return to Diablo III.
      Barbarian
      Might of the Earth Increased the damage of Earthquake, Avalanche, Leap, Ground Stomp, Ancient Spear and Seismic Slam to 37,500% from 20,000%. The Legacy of Raekor Hitting enemies with Furious Charge or Weapon Throw increases the damage of your next Ancient Spear by 2,500% from 5,500% and causes it to release multiple spears from its target. This effect stacks and each spear throw consumes a maximum of 5 stacks. Crusader
      Roland's Legacy Increased the damage of Shield Bash and Sweep Attack to 40,000% from 17,500%. Aegis of Valor Increased the damage of Fist of the Heavens and Heaven's Fury to 15,000% from 20,000%. Akkhan's Manacles Blessed Shield damage is increased by 400-500% for the first enemy it hits. Additionally, this bonus continues and is reduced by 50% for each subsequent non Shattering Throw target. Blade of Prophecy Condemned enemies also trigger Condemn's explosion and the damage of Condemn is increased by 600-800%. Faithful Memory Each enemy hit by Falling Sword increases the damage of Blessed Hammer by 60-80% for 10 seconds. Max 10 stacks. Each stack of this buff can now stack between uses instead of resetting. Demon Hunter
      The Shadow's Mantle Impale’s additional damage increased to 120,000% weapon damage from 75,000% to the first enemy hit, and to 40,000% from 25,000% to subsequent enemies. Embodiment of the Marauder Your primary skills, Elemental Arrow, Chakram, Impale, Multishot, Cluster Arrow, Companions, Vengeance, and Sentries now deal 6,500% increased damage, previously 12,000%, for every active Sentry. Monk
      Raiment of a Thousand Storms Your Spirit Generators increase the weapon damage of Dashing Strike to 60,000% for 6 seconds and Dashing Strike increases the damage of your Spirit Generators by 14,000%, instead of 6,000%, for 6 seconds. Uliana's Stratagem Increased the damage of your Exploding Palm from 9,000% to 12,500% and your Seven-Sided Strike detonates your Exploding Palm. Kyoshiro's Blade When the initial impact of your Wave of Light hits 5 or fewer enemies, previously 3, the damage is increased by 200-250%. Necromancer
      Pestilence Each corpse you consume grants you an Empowered Bone Spear charge that increases the damage of your next Bone Spear by 6,000% from 3,300%. In addition, Corpse Lance and Corpse Explosion damage is increased by 6,000% from 3,300%. Inarius Bone Armor also activates a swirling tornado of bone, damaging nearby enemies for 1000% weapon damage and increasing the damage they take from the Necromancer to 19,000% from 10,000%. Trag'Oul's Avatar Your Life-spending abilities deal 6,250% increased damage, previously 10,000%, and your healing from skills is increased by 100%. Masquerade of the Burning Carnival Bone Spear cast by you and your Simulacrums deals 5,500% increased damage, previously 9,000%. Simulacrums gain triple this bonus. Bloodtide Blade Death Nova deals 300-400% increased damage for every enemy within 25 yards, up to 10 enemies, previously 25 enemies. Grasps of Essence When an exploded corpse damages at least one enemy, your Corpse Explosion deals 150-200% increased damage for 6 seconds, stacking up to 4 times, previously 5 stacks. Corpsewhisper Pauldrons Corpse Lance damage is increased to 50-75% from 20-30% for 3 seconds when you consume a corpse. Max 20 stacks. Witch Doctor
      Raiment of the Jade Harvester Soul Harvest reduces damage taken by 50% for 12 seconds and consumes your damage over time effects on enemies, instantly dealing 26,000 seconds worth of remaining damage, previously 10,000. Helltooth Harness After casting Wall of Death, gain 37,500% increased damage, previously 17,500%, for 15 seconds to your primary skills, Acid Cloud, Firebats, Zombie Charger, Zombie Dogs, Gargantuan, Grasp of the Dead, Piranhas, and Wall of Death. Mundunugu's Regalia Spirit Barrage deals 15,000% increased damage, previously 20,000% plus an additional % equal to 5 times your Mana Regeneration/Second. Spirit of Arachyr The damage of your creature skills is increased by 11,500%, previously 25,000%. Creature skills are Corpse Spiders, Plague of Toads, Firebats, Locust Swarm, Hex, and Piranhas. Zunimassa's Haunt Enemies hit by your Mana spenders take 13,000% increased damage, previously 15,000%, from your pets for 8 seconds. Wizard
      Delsere's Magnum Opus Enemies affected by your Slow Time and for 5 seconds after exiting take 20,000% increased damage, previously 12,500%, from your Arcane Orb, Energy Twister, Magic Missile, Shock Pulse, Spectral Blade, Electrocute, and Arcane Torrent abilities. Tal Rasha's Elements Attacks increase your damage by 1,000%, previously 2,000%, for 8 seconds. Arcane, Cold, Fire, and Lightning attacks each add one stack. At 4 stacks, each different elemental attack extends the duration by 2 seconds, up to a maximum of 8 seconds. The Smoldering Core Lesser enemies are now lured to your Meteor impact areas. Meteors deal 40-50% increased damage on consecutive hits to the same target. This stacks up to 3 times, previously 10. The Twisted Sword Energy Twister damage is increased by 125-150% for each Energy Twister you have out up to a maximum of 3, previously 5. The Raging Storm rune is automatically applied to Energy Twister and allows the tornado to merge with 3 additional Energy Twisters. Back to Top

      How to Participate in the PTR
      To participate in the public test, you must have a Diablo III game license attached to a Battle.net account in good standing (i.e. one that hasn't been suspended or banned). In addition, you will also need to download and install the Blizzard Battle.net desktop app if you have not already done so.
      Step 1: Restart the Battle.net desktop app.
      Step 2: Navigate to the Diablo III tab on the left-hand menu.
      Step 3: On the Diablo III screen, there is a drop-down menu right above the "Play" button (note that this may say "Install" if you do not have Diablo III currently installed). Select "PTR: Diablo III" from this drop-down menu before proceeding.
      Step 4: Click Install to begin the installation process.
      Your PTR account will be created automatically if you do not already have one. The PTR is available in all supported languages, and accounts from all regions are eligible to participate. For additional assistance with installing and launching the PTR, click here.
      Back to Top

      PTR Character Copy
      The option to copy your existing Diablo III characters from your live account to the PTR will be available and can be done directly through the PTR client. However, only one region per account can be copied at a time. So, if you choose to copy characters from your account in a different region, any previously copied PTR characters will be lost.
      Step 1: Log into the live game and then log out.
      Step 2: Log into PTR client and create a level 1 character. After you're done, return to the main character screen.
      Step 3: Click on the "PTR Copy" button located in the upper right-hand corner. (The PTR Copy button will not appear in-game until you have created a new level 1 character.)
      Step 4: Select your region.
      Step 5: Click "Copy." This will copy all characters on your account from the selected region.
      Step 6: You will be disconnected from the PTR client.
      Step 7: Log back in. Your copied characters will be available for play.
      Please note that you can only copy characters from one gameplay region at a time. If you choose to copy characters from a different region, any previously copied PTR characters will be lost. In addition, you can only copy characters over to your PTR account once every 24 hours. Attempting to copy characters before this cooldown is up will result in an error.
      We hope you enjoy the PTR!
      -The Diablo III Development Team
      Back to Top
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