Diablo 4: Season 4/Upcoming Major Patch Planned Review

The developers from Diablo 4 had a campfire chat on Wednesday that appears to have mostly been a success in terms of general sentiment (for the moment). Season 4 along with the base game will introduce major changes to itemization, Aspects and other core features of the game, some of which I might have already written about previously. Regardless, I would like to go over the high level changes and provide my thoughts on those where I’m referencing a well summarized article from Wowhead.

Base Item Updates

  • Smaller pool of affixes
  • More potent and relevant affixes

This is something I think universally everyone agrees upon as the right move. Right now, the game suffers badly due to a huge number of conditional and weird affixes that make it nearly impossible to get an ideal stat. While people wanted the game to be more complex from a system’s point of view, they did not want affixes that made no sense and caused a huge clutter in terms of hoarding in ones stash to be the way we deal with finding key items. Currently, you end up just grabbing everything then spending far too look skimming through each item and potentially cross referencing it against a build that says you may have the correct stat as opposed to knowing exactly what’s good for your particular build and using it. It’s almost like a new version of the old Diablo 3 Auction House where people end up spending more time sorting and searching rather than playing the game. That’s just not fun.

Additional Updates

  • Level 95+ enemies will only drop item level 925 gear.
  • The Gem system has been simplified, and Gems can be sold for more gold.
  • Item Enchanting gold costs will be capped.
  • Many materials have been consolidated and Forgotten Soul will have additional sources.
  • More Unique items will drop in World Tiers 1 and 2.
  • Uber Uniques can now drop in World Tier 3 from level 55+ enemies.

I don’t really mind the first bullet point because it doesn’t take long for the enemies’ level to ramp up. The real key here is to ensure the base power of items remain relevant as you’re progressing upwards in tiers of difficulty rather than hitting a wall gated by higher level items. In other words, you should still be able to do reasonable damage and absorb punishment as long as the items you have and the tiers of difficulty aren’t that drastically different.

Outside of the “gems can be sold for more gold,” I don’t know what they mean by the gem system being simplified. The only thing that really was required up to this point was not clogging up our inventory, which they addressed.  I know depending on the gear slot and gem type, there’s some additional benefits but I’m hoping that it won’t just be +armor, +resistance, etc. Or perhaps that might be good since resistance is a pain to get when your end game build depends on having all unique slots, most of which don’t have the ability to provide resistance.

Item Enchanting gold cap. This is a great thing. I remember last season just running out of gold one night because I couldn’t hit a particular affix. But I think that’s more of a problem of RNG and enchanting in general rather than the cost of gold. But I suppose this is a stop gap for now.

Materials consolidating means for crafting potions, ore, etc. Honestly, the way materials are done currently is more annoying because it’s like WoW farming except without the zone tiers. It just feels really random and you get hit unexpectedly especially while crafting potions and incense later in the game. The materials themselves aren’t interesting on their own to really warrant having that level of variety. I do like the idea of having a variety of component types but they need to have clear impact as opposed to just the annoyance of going to a specific zone and farming and/or conversion. So this is a great general move.

Forgotten Souls having additional sources is great too. It’s good that a material gets used it’s bad when there’s no easy way of obtaining it outside of spending significant time just grinding one zone’s thing to try and convert it to another form type of deal. Because you should be able to enchant more and be able to immediate use a piece of gear rather than run out of mats at the last second then dump the item into your bank, set off into a dungeon, find a better item and just regret wasting all that time farming the mat for the re-roll.

Uniques dropping in WT1 and WT2 is great. In reality, if you really think about it, Uniques are the true “legendaries” of Diablo 4 (in comparison to Diablo 3). While I don’t expect to see the world raining with Uniques, it would be nice to see a build enabling item drop early on. For instance, I didn’t get Starfall Coronet until WT4. But by then I completely gave up on my original plan to run Firewall/Meteor and swapped to Glacial/Blizzard from Chain Lightning. Even if the current Meteor build isn’t great, I could’ve been convinced to try a different build just by finding that unique early on.

Uber Uniques dropping from level 55+ enemies is fuzzy to me. Unless Uber Uniques get a massive buff to their drop rates, this feels like a moot point. I think they should just get rid of the concept of Uber Uniques and figure out a better way to make Uniques have a different methodology for progression that involves rare materials that really hone in a build’s powers. The closest example of something similar was in World of Warcraft Mist of Pandaria where you had those Sha-Touched weapons for one of the patches with the special Crystallized gems. The gems themselves weren’t interesting (just +500 main stat I think) but the concept is accurate.

Codex of Power

  • All Legendary Aspects can now be found in the Codex of Power.
  • Salvaging a Legendary item will upgrade the Aspect within the Codex of Power.
  • Codex of Power Legendary powers can be upgraded up to 16 times to reach its maximum potential.
  • Max-rolled Legendary Aspects will only drop in World Tier 4.
  • Salvaging a max-rolled Aspect will permanently upgrade that Aspect within the Codex of Power.

Okay, here’s where things start to get really interesting.

All Aspects are going directly into the Codex of Power. This alone is going to be game changing because it’ll clean up our stashes massively. Combined with the salvaging of a legendary item, this will make the Codex of Power an incredible asset and has a huge and fun effect. There’s a maximum of 16 upgrades which is similar to how Vampiric powers from Season 2 and the Construct’s powers in Season 3 work. I’m completely fine with this and actually think this is going to be great.

So part of the strategy here will be to make a choice of either permanently upgrading your Codex or keeping a power. It’s not going to be a tough choice because you’re going to want to be hunting for the best base item to apply a power. Until then if the item slot has the max power available, then you’ll probably just continue to use that until the next major upgrade comes up. But this is incredible overall because you now have a deterministic manner to upgrade your powers.

Some people might hate this because I’m guessing season to season, your Codex will reset. However, for me I think that’s fine because I like a clean slate where I’m just starting from scratch (to a degree).

Finally, the max rolled aspects only being found in WT4 is fine for me. You should have clear delineations between World Tiers so that there’s a motivation to progress into harder content. In short, everything here makes sense.

Maybe the only part I’m hoping for that will change over time is the 16 levels of upgrades. While infinite power scaling is a tricky subject, I also want to avoid the boring way things are done at the Blacksmith where you get 4-6 levels of meaningless upgrades. In that situation, it’s just a chore and whether or not you have the mats and/or gold. But overtime, you simply end up having so many mats (except the really high end ones) that it’s just a routine rather than something that has clear impact. I suppose the seasonal restarts will keep your Codex fresh but I still am wary because it won’t be that hard to really max out your Codex I believe.


  • Tempering is a new crafting system that will allow players to add new Affixes to gear.
  • Termpering Manuals will drop from most content in the game, and cannot be target-farmed.
  • Manuals will have four possible Affixes, with one Affix being randomly applied to a piece of gear.
  • Items will have limited Temper Durability that will determine how many times a Temper can be rerolled.

Didn’t I write about something like this before? I wrote about how we should be able to copy stuff from one item to another. Of course, most of those blogs were Diablo 3 related but I always thought it would be an interesting thing to do because of how random stats appear that make gearing frustrating. But this is real item crafting and a pretty nifty concept. I read that it’s similar to a system in Last Epoch (which I need to try soonish). but the main story is that you can add affixes to gear.


That’s a huge addition. I’ve stated numerous times how much I hate pure RNG for determining progression and equating it to bozosort. While finding the manuals as a task is still RNG driven, the fact that these things can be found anywhere lowers the RNG aspect to an acceptable level. And there’s still some RNG when it comes to re-rolling but you still have more control over what that affix pool will be as opposed to sheer randomness that renders the bulk of the current item pool useless. And Temper Durability will keep people in the hunt for items rather than just continuing to use one set of items until the end game.

So I imagine the scenario to look like this. You’re going to have some gear that’s very usable but you’ll also have side gear that you’re going to work on over time to make perfect. Your season journey will be creating perfect gear that’s not just filled with uniques and can be optimized around the build you want. Then if you want a new build, you can start that journey in parallel. Like take say Arc Lash, which is an awesome Sorcerer starter build, and have that build gradually progress to Ball Lightning. Part of the story is the gear that takes you from start to finish and it’s the journey rather than insanity of RNG. HUGE win here.

Greater Affixes

  • The most powerful Affix rolls in the game, with a 1.5x multiplier to previous max rolls.
  • Greater Affixes can only roll on dropped Legendary or Unique items.
  • Greater Affixes can be Enchanted off of items, but cannot be crafted onto an item.

So I’m mixed here. I get what they’re trying to do in keeping some level of RNG available to make items prestigious still and force the player not to retain the same gear throughout. Also, they’re enforcing the use of Enchanting. But given that it’ll just Enchanting seems to be getting easier, I’m hoping that the impact here will be more about finding the right item to use as a base or getting an item that has been upgraded through Tempering and then put all your eggs into enchanting the ideal Greater Affix. So it’s understandable what’s going on but we still need to see what that pool of Greater Affixes looks like. I think it should just be limited to one Greater Affix per gear slot so that you only need to re-roll one slot.


  • Tempering and Masterworking will replace the current upgrading system.
  • Masterworking is a new item upgrading system that will include 12 ranks.
  • Every four upgrades, one random affix will be dramatically increased.

For the most part this should be far better than what currently exist. What currently exist is merely a chore anytime you get a new item. So at least the system here will feel more impactful every four levels. I still think it sounds boring because at the root it’s just RNG and 12 levels as opposed to 4-6. But at the very least when you get that “dramatically increased” random affix, they should play a major bingo sound/effect similar to when you achieve a successful hone in Lost Ark.

Class Updates

  • Season 4 will introduce 10 new Unique items and 1 additional Uber Unique – Tyrael’s Might
  • Frozen Orb will now travel to where the player directs it.
  • Necromancer and Druid Minions will now inherit 100% of the character’s stats.
  • Windlasher Aspect will spawn a lot more Dust Devils.
  • Lacerate will be receiving several upgrades.
  • Sorcerers will be receiving a new Unique item that will allow  Frozen Orb to Conjure a minion.
  • The Inner Sight Specialization can now proc off of any enemy and will also provide a 25% Critical Strike Chance.
  • The Book of the Dead will be receiving multiple improvements that will benefit Minion builds.

I’m going to skip the bulk of the class updates. But the main things that interest me are the introduction of more uniques and a new Uber Unique. I think the uniques themselves are going to be more build enabling items, which again leads me to believe that Uniques are the real Legendaries in D4. There’s going to be a dedicated campfire next week from what I know that sounds like it will be dedicated to addressing a lot of the class updates. But the one thing I do want to address which is class specific is the Necromancer.

Without going into depth about the updated Book of the Dead, I want to say that in trying a Summoning build this season, I absolutely hated it. At low levels, it’s fine because there’s not a lot of mobs and your minions handle all the clean up while you’re checking for the next objective on a map. However, at high levels, minions simply suck. I stayed with my minion build until level 85 and gave up. I barely could handle a T30 Vault without feeling sluggish. Anytime I encountered the Son of Malphas, I just ran. One time I gave up and abandoned the instance because I had Avenger and needed to do that stupid channeled pickup thing in a frost dungeon. But the minions when they’re on a passive mode are useless and the skeletons are far too squishy.

Once I swapped to Blood Surge, it was like a Sid Vicious 1990s WCW squash match. Just a night and day difference even missing an Aspect or two or using a shitty one. In fact, I had fun with Blood Surge maybe more than I did in Season 2. I did make a variety of suggestions to improving the summoner Necromancer and I spotted one new Aspect that makes the priest stronger. For me I think the build just needs a massive overhaul. So I’ll be waiting to see what that looks like. At least, from what I’m hearing both Necromancer and Companion Druids are going to get significant buffs. So no more dying doggies.

Also, I’m not going to address hardcore changes because I don’t care for hardcore.

Endgame Content

  • Helltides will now be available in World Tiers 1 and 2.
  • Enemy density has been increased, and a threat meter can be filled to summon additional enemies.

Having Helltides at all tiers is good. Often times, I’d find myself bored trying to find new content while leveling from WT1 -> Capstone. And the Helltides are an excellent source of materials, experience and gear. I think once you unlock Aspects from your first Dungeon for a new character, doing Helltides will probably be one of the best ways to get more Aspects early on. And you’ll need those legendaries to continue beefing up your Codex of Power.

The threat meter thing is actually cool looking. From what I saw they made it similar to the Season 2 threat system with the vampires. So this should be a lot of fun just having a random boss show up during the Helltides. I wish they added that little well thing with the crazy summoning ritual too but at that point you might as well just bring back the whole  Season 2.

Boss Ladder Updates

  • New Uber Andariel boss fight.
  • Uber Andariel will have the same loot table as Uber Duriel.

So the new Uber Andariel fight looks pretty rough compared to Uber Duriel. But the main thing is that you have to farm Zir and the Beast in Ice for the summoning mats (or use the conversion mechanism). Honestly, I think they should have split the loot table from Uber Duriel and Uber Andariel. I don’t know where the source of the new uniques (and Uber Unique) will be, but I imagine that they’ll be added to both bosses’ loot tables (if not to other end game bosses). If that’s the case, it makes more sense for the new uniques to just drop from Uber Andariel. Or at least split out more of the Uber Uniques between the two. Even if there’s more variety to farm bosses for Uber Uniques, you still have the problem of a giant loot table to sort through. Shrinking that loot table down and splitting it would at least make it somewhat easier to nail down a particular Uber Unique.

Also, if Uber Andariel proves to be a shit fight, most people will probably just end up continuing on Uber Duriel. That’s my plan at least.

  • New endgame content – called The Pit.
  • The Pit will be where players can find Masterworking materials required for the new crafting system.
  • Styigan Stones will drop that can be used to summon level 200 Uber bosses.

Everyone is calling The Pit (which is a revamped version of the Abattoir of Zir) just Diablo 3 Greater Rifts 2.0. Which is fine because it was a pretty good system and you could mindlessly grind in there and feel rewarded. This system will provide a motivation to do which is getting the Masterworking materials. Also, it’ll provide Stygian Stones for the level 200 Uber Bosses. It’s unknown what exactly a level 200 Uber Boss is. If it’s just the main 4 (or 5 if you include Andariel) then this is going to get tedious quickly. I’m hoping it’s going to be a big mix of those and the current Nightmare Dungeon bosses.

Now, if these bosses prove too difficult, then I’m hoping that the developers change their mind on how they implement previous seasons’ seasonal powers. I mentioned that we shouldn’t get old seasonal powers just as uniques and Aspects, especially the way the Codex of Power is being reinvented. With The Pit allowing players to push harder and harder content, we need more ways to increase player power since we’re already level capped at 100 and Glyph capped at 21. So the next way to improve power is bringing back prior season powers as they were or in some mixed format. This is something I’ve suggested.

Like I can see a new tab of seasonal powers that players can accumulate once again if a season proves successful and goes into the core of the game. Those powers might see some power decrease but they should be enough to change how a build feels. More importantly, they’ll help add more positive and deterministic grinds to the game. Like people have clamored to keep Vaults and I agree. I also want to keep the Construct. Similarly, I want the Vampire zones back from S2. Even if those pieces of content aren’t mind blowing and original, they are just more activities that keep me engaged and allow me to see my character grow in power over time.

If they want to continue to pursue Aspects and other item slots for implementing past seasonal powers, then they’ll have to consolidate Aspects together (like what I suggested for +2 Skeletons/+2 Skeleton Mages) or add more item slots (which I think is a good idea like Bracers, Belts, Shoulders, Trinkets, etc.) I get that they want the casual gamer to be engaged but I don’t think the seasonal powers are that confusing to the point where you need anything too special. But the casual player will be more engaged if there’s just a variety of activities in the game rather than a single seasonal piece of content.

Q&A Portion

I’m going to address these point by point.

  • All items that are currently on the Eternal Realm will be flagged as “Legacy Items” that cannot be modified by Tempering and Masterworking. – This is fine to me because I think many people will be more focused on the season than on Eternal. Eternal’s role most likely will just be an experimental place. But the real game is always going to be in the season.
  • Everything announced today will be included in both the Seasonal and Eternal Realms. – This is good. Also, this leaves room for a specific Season 4 mechanic.
  • Masterworking will increase all of the Affixes on a piece of gear by a small amount. – This seems silly. The Greater Rift aspect is pretty much a must do activity. But the small amount for the “must do” aspect sounds is the equivalent of eating crawfish…meaning the work:meat ratio just isn’t there. So this sounds more like a bigger grind than something where you’d see something significantly impactful outside of that “one random aspect.” I have a feeling people are going to complain about this feature being more or less useless and boring but mandatory and meaningless once they start trying to grind more levels on their items.
  • In Season 4, the camera can zoom out further. – Yay I guess? In all seriousness, they should redo the camera because it’s horribly annoying at times. I re-bound my zoom key to prevent myself from accidentally hitting it during an inappropriate moment.
  • The Armory and loadouts will be implemented at some time in the future, but there is nothing to announce today. – I’m assuming that they’re referring to a saved build similar to what exist in Diablo 3. Honestly, I don’t know how to feel about this. Usually, when I want a new build during a season, it’s because the current one sucks and/or I found a completely game changing piece of gear that would allow me to perform better. But I never want to return to the old build.  This might serve one better on the Eternal Realm as opposed to seasonal.
  • Additional Skill Points and Paragon Points could be coming with the new Expansion. – The Paragon board is probably where I see them putting most of their effort. Like I can see more Paragon boards and probably more skills. But the skill “twig” needs a serious examination compared to other games. It simply isn’t very interesting and should be used to custom the effects rather than the power of a character. The Paragon Board and itemization are where I would try to put the majority of the power of a build.
  • Since the drop rate of items will be decreasing, there will not be a Loot Filter added to the game. – This sounds more like a “let’s wait and see” because we won’t know what this will feel like. I think at the very least a search should be added to the stash tab. As far as the decreased drop rate, I expect things to look more like how Diablo 3 feels. I don’t know what they should do with white items and blue items though. Those seem completely useless outside of the first 10-20 levels.
  • Items with Greater Affixes could drop with a new icon, depending on player feedback. – This should be treated with more seriousness. But again this all depends on the decreased amount of items. If we’re only seeing a single item drop off a dead elite, then we’re probably just going to pick it up. But if we still see a loot explosion, then we’ll need a better UI indicator.
  • As players progress deeper into The Pit, the item level will remain 925, but items will drop more frequently. – Again, this is how Greater Rifts played out. Most people aimed for GR90-100 for efficiency in terms of leveling up Gems and getting the best items per/hour. So it only makes sense to increase the quality of items if you’re already capped on the item power dropping (which is to say quality)
  • Players will be able to enter The Pit as a party. – Uh, yay?
  • There are plans for social updates, including a clan rework and player matchmaking, however, these changes will not be implemented as a part of Season 4. – Social needs a massive rework. The clan piece is just so lacking. My suggestion on reddit the other day way to make Strongholds a Clan activity rather than a nonsensical thing you do to unlock the occasional waypoint and/or for a Legion event.
  • Cosmetic portals will no longer be class-locked. – Don’t care. I never pay attention to this.
  • No new content or balance changes are planned for PvP. – Same. Just don’t care for PVP and I hope the devs don’t either.
  • Uniques & Uber Uniques can roll Greater Affixes. – Already mentioned earlier.
  • The Codex of Power will be shared between all characters on the same account and realm type. – This is sensible. If I unlock a generic ability like Edgemaster, I want all my characters to use it and employ it at the same power level that it’s at. Of course, this begs the question of the limit of power that an item can be enchanted since the current system prevents lower level items from higher level aspects (like you can’t use a Sacred aspect on a normal item without some level restriction). If you can get around this level restriction, this should make a huge difference for leveling alts, which I think is great.

There was more from the discussion that I’m certain I’m forgetting but the overall gist is that the game will be in a better state. As I’ve written elsewhere, the changes aren’t an absolute panacea but the direction gives me more confidence moving forward that the correct things are being addressed. What I am certain of in Season 4 is that the game will feel massively different and that every single class and build will change. So the whole system is going to feel fresh with more room to experiment rather than being locked by the current metas.

What I’m also hoping that the developers will realize coming out of the last major patch (disaster) is that ARPG players want to focus on a forward progression with their characters. The idea of a fresh start in a season is to try something new as well as (most importantly) the journey/story of how a character starts off weak but ends up mighty. Locking everything behind RNG, PVP and other oddball contests aren’t what casual players look for in this genre. Instead, the focus needs to be centered around progression in deterministic/controllable means with a variety of activities that feel impactful to each step of that journey. We’re seeing some of it being laid out here so if anything it’ll be interesting to try out these new systems and see how much different the game plays.

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