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Diablo 2 classes get rebalanced, 11 years later

Blizzard revisits Barbarian, Druid, et al. with Diablo 2: Resurrected’s next patch

Diablo 2: Resurrected Amazon Mummy Battle art
Amazon battles a mummy in this concept art for Diablo 2: Resurrected. Amazon’s melee skills are getting a buff, and developers are looking at her bow and crossbow skills, too.
Image: Blizzard Entertainment
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Diablo 2 is getting rebalanced for the first time in a decade, thanks to Diablo 2 Resurrected and patch 2.4, which will launch in the game’s public test realm shortly after the new year.

Blizzard developers, explaining the patch, noted that the original Diablo 2 received patch 1.13c in 2010, and it “was officially the last time balance changes were added to the game.” Thus, in terms of gameplay, Diablo 2 Resurrected’s classes picked up where they left off 11 years ago when the remaster launched at the end of September.

“With the game reintroduced to modern audiences, we feel now is the right time to evolve Diablo 2 even further with patch 2.4,” developers said in a news release, “which will introduce improvements to balance, some exciting item changes, and more.”

Blizzard has more on what this means for the classes, but in broad terms, developers have noticed some playing styles becoming more viable in Diablo 2: Resurrected (or, conversely, becoming more challenging than they intended). So Blizzard will be looking at buffing certain skills to encourage players to take advantage of different areas within their perk trees. Developers offered a more detailed explanation on Wednesday, but the general sense is that they’re looking to enhance, and incentivize, more than they are looking to nerf.

These changes will go into effect before ranked Ladder play begins. That will involve four different Ladder modes, standard and hardcore, with and without the Lord of Destruction expansion content. Ranked Ladder play will allow players to unlock all-new Runewords that did not appear in the original Diablo 2. Additionally, these words will not be accessible in non-Ladder play, same as their predecessors in the original game.

Design lead Robert Gallerani and senior producer Matthew Cederquist will discuss these and other changes during a developer update stream to be held Thursday, Dec. 16 at 11 a.m. PST/2 p.m. EST. Tune in via streamer MrLlamaSC’s Twitch channel.

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