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Diablo 4 Season 3 Gauntlet falls flat as Steam players drop lower

The start of the Diablo 4 Season 3 Gauntlet has been met with a somewhat muted reaction following the launch of rival ARPG Last Epoch.

Diablo 4 Season 3 Gauntlet - Astaroth, a demon with four large horns and glowing orange eyes.

The much-touted new mode for Diablo 4 Season 3 has finally arrived, and it seems to have arrived to a bit of a damp reception. The new Diablo 4 Gauntlet is a fixed weekly dungeon that allows players to prove that they’ve got the best build in town and the skills to match, competing for a place on a ranked leaderboard against one another. Unfortunately, with little more than prestige to compete for, it appears the Gauntlet hasn’t enticed many people to come back amid the big launch of rival game Last Epoch.

If you’re looking to prove the might of your best Diablo 4 builds in Season 3, the Gauntlet is a fun way to do so – and if you’re already still playing Blizzard’s demon-blasting RPG game then you’re likely to want to give it a few runs; if nothing else, it’s the closest Diablo 4 has yet come to offering a way to measure yourself against other players the way the Diablo 3 weekly challenge and its Greater Rifts allow.

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Perhaps bizarrely, however, you can’t actually inspect the builds used by other players if they’ve set their profile to private – which seems to be the case for most of the top-ranked players so far. That’s a bit of a shame if you’re curious who’s doing well, although it seems reasonable to assume that many of the highest-scoring builds are those making use of Diablo 4’s ultra-rare Uber Uniques.

Unfortunately, it seems the mode hasn’t caught much attention among the wider player base. Perhaps that’s due to its nature as a very endgame test for players who have finished everything else on offer, or it might be a result of the slightly underwhelming response to Diablo 4 Season 3 as a whole, with its robot spider companion that failed to grab my attention – instead, I’ve been spending my time leveling the Last Epoch Falconer following the 1.0 launch of the Eleventh Hour Games ARPG.

Diablo 4 Season 3 player count - D4 24-hour peak of 5,603 compared with rival Last Epoch at 146,665.

It’s of course important to stress that Diablo 4 launched on Blizzard’s own Battlenet client long before coming to Steam, with community manager Adam Fletcher stating that “Most of our players play on the Bnet client.” With the imminent arrival of Diablo 4 on Game Pass, it’s also likely that any potential purchasers are holding off for now. Yet the Diablo 4 peak Steam player count has actually fallen in the past few days despite the launch of the Gauntlet, and its 24-hour peak is just 5,603 players – just 3.8% of rival Last Epoch’s 146,665 equivalent.

It’s a similar story among many big names on Twitch and YouTube. While hardcore veteran Max ‘Wudijo’ R did spend several hours testing out the Gauntlet, he expressed disappointment that consumable elixirs were allowed, and is currently back to Last Epoch, though he says he’ll return for more runs. Casey ‘Darth Microtransaction’ says he’s skipping the Season 3 Gauntlet as he isn’t a fan of the seasonal theme.

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Ryan ‘Raxxanterax’ S, who had previously said he would go in with an open mind and play it “as long as it was fun,” gives it one attempt and placed third on the solo Barbarian ladder. He then declares, “That was actually kind of fun, but there’s no point to playing because all the Uber Unique people that have been playing are going to win, so I’ll take my third and just go back to Last Epoch.”

The arrival of Diablo 4 Season 4 promises a big refresh for Blizzard’s game, so there should hopefully be more reasons to return when that arrives. In the meantime, if you’re looking to take a break, there are plenty of the best games like Diablo that are worth trying.

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