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Diablo 4 just got a lot less grindy

The latest patch makes some significant changes for late-game players

A sorcerer attacks a pack of many ghouls with fire spells in Diablo 4 Image: Blizzard Entertainment
Oli Welsh is senior editor, U.K., providing news, analysis, and criticism of film, TV, and games. He has been covering the business & culture of video games for two decades.

Diablo 4 has largely gone down well with players — better than Diablo 3 did during its troubled launch period, anyway — but a consensus has been forming that the late-game and endgame just aren’t well balanced. After around level 70-75, experience doesn’t come fast enough, and neither does loot.

The fixes for this — new high-level loot tables, and a potential fifth World Tier difficulty — won’t come quickly. But the latest patch to the game, update 1.0.3, goes some way towards smoothing things over and alleviating the late-game grind.

Among many bug fixes, the patch notes detail some consequential adjustments to experience rewards. Nightmare Dungeons, which are at the heart of advancing your character later in the game, award “significantly increased” XP for both completion and monster kills. (Some players report getting as much as three times the experience from a Nightmare Dungeon run.) An issue that caused no XP to be awarded for completing the “hold out style event” that can occur at the end of a dungeon has also been fixed. There’s also a time-saving measure for those running the Nightmare Dungeon hamster wheel — these dungeons can now be teleported to directly through the map.

These aren’t the only ways in which the late game has been made more generous: Helltide roaming bosses will drop higher quality loot, and Helltide chests now award more bonus experience. There’s also the promise of more to come: “We are currently working on increasing the monster and elite density of endgame content and plan to introduce this change early in Season 1,” Blizzard said. (Season 1 is due in mid-to-late July.) But the meager progress afforded by Nightmare Dungeons was definitely the community’s biggest bugbear, and players already seem happy with the changes.

Continuing the crowd-pleasing theme, every class has been buffed with damage increases, cooldown reductions. and other skill improvements, some of them quite major — such as the cooldown on the Barbarian’s Iron Maelstrom skill being cut from 60 to 45 seconds while its critical strike bonuses are more than doubled. With not a single nerf on the sheet, these tweaks seem aimed less at balance than a general perception that the classes feel underpowered, and Diablo 4 generally feels a little on the slow side.

Diablo 4 now heads to its first season with the endgame in better shape. But it’s only when that first season drops — and the community comes to terms with its requirement for a fresh character to enjoy the seasonal content — that we will start to get a true sense of the game Diablo 4 will be in the long term.

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