Diablo 2: Resurrected is getting ranked ladder play, class tweaks, and new rune words in its next big update. While Blizzard hasn’t confirmed when patch 2.4 will release fully, the update will be on the Public Test Realm “early next year”.
Blizzard explains in a blog post that Diablo 2: Resurrected will have four different ladder modes that are modelled after the classic PC game’s original offering. Standard is the casual version of ladder play that involves playing through the first four acts, whereas Hardcore involves doing just that but with one life. Standard Expansion and Hardcore Expansion are much the same, but with the Lord of Destruction DLC included, so you have five acts to work through.
The incentive to grind Diablo 2: Resurrected’s ladder modes is special loot like new rune words. Once the season is done, your ladder characters will move to a particular non-ladder version of the action-RPG so you can start a new character and begin the grind anew. Blizzard hasn’t decided how long each season will be just yet, though the developer is monitoring community feedback. You’ll also have to wait until a developer stream tomorrow to see any of the new rune words.
Diablo 2: Resurrected is also getting a slew of class changes, which is the first time in eleven years that the characters from Diablo 2 have been tweaked. Blizzard hasn’t revealed the actual changes but has spoken about its design philosophy.
Blizzard reckons that Amazons are quite balanced, though the team sees an opportunity to improve their melee skills by buffing their power and “freeing up skill synergy requirements” to promote more build diversity.
“We’re evaluating synergy requirements, melee skills we think are underused, and other improvements to empower melee Amazons to have more freedom and viability,” Blizzard says. “Additionally, we are also considering buffing certain skills in the bow and crossbow tree to help improve bow gameplay in higher difficulties.”
The Assassins, meanwhile, are getting their martial arts skills looked at. Blizzard says that the team is re-evaluating improving generating and spending combo points alongside synergy requirements to promote more trap builds.
Barbarians are getting greater diversity for their combat skills. “We’re looking into adding more possibilities with combat skills such as leap attack and grim ward,” the developer explains. “Additionally, we think throwing Barbarians can be more viable, so we are looking into enhancing the double throw and throwing mastery skills.”
Druids are getting some TLC, too. Blizzard wants to improve fire skills and the arctic blast ability. “From our perspective, Druid fire skills are underperforming,” the developer says. “We’re re-evaluating casting delays for fire skills, exploring improvements to some of their physical damage components and improving synergies.
“We’re also looking at potential tweaks affecting other elemental skills that are underused. We want to improve the controls for arctic blast too, so it’s smoother to use in gameplay.”
To round off, Blizzard also says that it’s improving summons for Necromancer, combat skills for the Paladin, and armour skills for the Sorceress. If you’d like to read the blog in full, you can find it here.
Activision Blizzard is facing a lawsuit filed in July by the state of California (since expanded for QA and customer service contractors) alleging years of discrimination and harassment. Since then, CEO Bobby Kotick has called the company’s initial response “tone deaf”, employees have staged a walkout, Blizzard president J Allen Brack has left, and the ABK Workers Alliance has demanded change at the company. The lawsuit is ongoing; follow the latest developments here.
In September, an agency of the US federal government opened an investigation into Activision Blizzard’s response to sexual misconduct and discrimination complaints from its employees, as part of which Kotick has reportedly been subpoenaed. The company is also facing a separate unfair labour practice suit alleging “worker intimidation and union busting” filed by a workers’ union, also in September. In another, separate development, Activision Blizzard reached an agreement with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission “to settle claims and to further strengthen policies and programs to prevent harassment and discrimination”. In a subsequent letter to employees, the company has announced an end to forced arbitration, a $250 million initiative to improve diversity, and a major pay cut for Kotick.
A new report published this November now alleges Bobby Kotick knew about and suppressed reports of sexual misconduct. Kotick has responded with an official statement saying the Wall Street Journal’s article “paints an inaccurate and misleading view of our company, of me personally, and my leadership.” In reply, Activision Blizzard’s board of directors declared it “remains confident” in Kotick’s leadership.