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It’s now easier to find unique loot in Diablo 4

New patch nerfs bosses and eases crafting, too

A Rogue in Diablo 4 leaps and readies her bow, surrounded by skeleton eneimes, in this painted art 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.

Blizzard made a lot of noise Thursday with the announcement of a new character class for Diablo Immortal the first new Diablo class in nearly a decade — and the reveal of Diablo 4’s first season. But it also slipped out a new patch for Diablo 4 that makes a handful of meaningful tweaks to the game.

Along with a range of bug fixes, patch 1.0.4 changes Helltide chests so that they now drop Unique items — the most powerful class of loot in the game. The change came as news to Diablo big cheese Rod Fergusson, who admitted on Blizzard’s developer update livestream that he had no idea Helltide chests didn’t drop Uniques. Well, they do now.

This gives players an alternative to grinding Nightmare Dungeons for farming Uniques. Helltides, which unlock in Nightmare difficulty and above after completion of the campaign, are the hourly events in which sections of the open-world map are overrun with more powerful monsters. If nothing else, this will come as a welcome change of scenery for Diablo 4 players on the late-game item-farming treadmill.

However, if you’re on the hunt for the six ultra-rare Uniques in the game — which Blizzard now seems to be calling Uber Uniques — don’t dive in just yet. At time of writing, a note on the game’s launcher says that Uber Unique drops have been temporarily disabled altogether “while we address an issue with Helltide Chest drops.” Blizzard expects to issue a hotfix and make the six rarest items in the game available again late Friday or early Saturday.

Lower-level players may be delighted to learn that three of the game’s more frustrating bosses — Vhenard, Brol, and Cyhrach — have had their health pools and damage output nerfed in the patch. Cannibal warlord Brol, in particular, proved quite a roadblock on my first solo run through the campaign, so I’m delighted to see the big bully brought down to size.

Finally, enthusiastic endgame crafters will enjoy an upgrade to the cap on crafting materials they can collect, from 9,999 to 99,999.

Diablo 4’s first season, Season of the Malignant, starts on July 20 and introduces socketable items called Malignant Hearts that confer new powers on players and open up new character build possibilities that Blizzard describes as “stupid broken” — in a good way. But you’ll need to finish the campaign and start a new character to take part.

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