As the Diablo 4 Server Slam start time approaches, a raft of Diablo 4 changes promise an experience rather different from the previous open betas. As Blizzard continues to hone one of the biggest RPG games of the year before launch, it appears that some pretty hefty Diablo 4 patch notes mean it’ll feel like almost an entirely new game from the last time we got hands-on with it.
Almost every skill has been tweaked in some way and none of the Diablo 4 classes escape these changes – but, while some of the most powerful builds may have been nerfed, this isn’t necessarily bad news. After all, if one particular loadout is dramatically stronger than all the rest, as was the case in a few instances during the beta tests, you’re all-but forced into pursuing that build. With Blizzard already deploying numerous nerfs and buffs for this Server Slam, however, you should be much more free to pick your favourite skills and still compete on a level with everyone else.
The best Barbarian builds have been hit by nerfs to their shouts, which were so strong that many players were loading up on three different ones at once. They should still prove pretty worthwhile, but you’ll find it harder to become almost completely unkillable. The best Druid builds will welcome the more varied generator options as all but the strongest pick gets buffed, and companions get some pretty spectacular bonus damage that should make them rather potent allies.
The best Sorcerer builds are in shambles as both chain lightning and hydra get hit with very heavy nerfs. It’s not quite as bad as it sounds though; the pair were so overpowered before that even in their much-reduced state they should still be viable options. The best Necromancer builds lose the shotgun damage of Bone Splinters, and probably won’t be able to chain Blood Mist quite as effectively to stay safe, but their Bone Spear – already touted as a very viable skill, especially against Diablo 4 world boss Ashava – is actually getting stronger.
Last but not least, the best Rogue builds are actually still in pretty good shape, although the rather filthy cooldown reduction on Twisting Blades now requires you to hit far more enemies than before to hit its original cap of three seconds. Imbuements have seen their cooldowns lengthened as expected, but the Poison Imbuement I was already eyeing up to take on Ashava gets some pretty hefty damage buffs to compensate.
On top of this, it’s worth reiterating that the legendary drop rate will be akin to the actual game, whereas the previous betas featured a heavily inflated number of legendary items to help give you a bit more of a taste of power.
As someone who poured plenty of time into the beta test weekends and is fully intending to do the same with the Server Slam, I’m very pleased with these changes. It almost doesn’t matter if they’re actually the perfect balance adjustments, although initial signs suggest that they’re pretty solid and many of the top Diablo players talking about the changes seem to agree. The important thing is that Blizzard is prepared to make changes – and dramatic ones at that – in service of ultimately making a game that’s more fun to play.
Check out our Diablo 4 tips and tricks to get started, and you’ll be certain to get your hands on all those juicy Diablo 4 Server Slam rewards. If you’re unfortunate enough to be stuck on the ultimate boss of all – getting into the game in the first place – have a read through our list of all Diablo 4 error codes to find a solution.