Originally published at: State of the game – Diablo 4 – Episode 1 – Alphagamer
Diablo 4 has received a lot of attention and (mostly negative) coverage since the launch in June of this year. I started playing the game before launch as I had pre-purchased the game and I will use these “State of the game” episodes to give my views on how much fun it is to currently play Diablo 4 covering the different updates and seasons.
During the last 5 months the intensity of me playing this game has fluctuated significantly, as I think it did for most players. I created a Druid and played a lot during launch. I was able to level my character to 91 when Season 1 started (without using level or build guides…). During Season 1 I created a Rogue and lost interest in playing quickly. I was just not captivated by the seasonal storyline and seasonal game mechanics. Especially the game mechanics were demotivating, slow and clunky, to a point I didn’t even reach level 100 and stopped play altogether for about 2 months.
At the start of Season 2 on October 17th, I decided to give it another go. I decided to make a Necromancer, a class I never really played in the previous Diablo games. I was able to hit level 100 within 2 weeks of season 1. So what changed compared to Season 1 and the Eternal realm (base game)?
Speed to level up to maximum level
Storyline is captivating introducing a new boss
Introduction of a new zone, the Blood Harvest
Ability to target farm bosses and class specific unique items
Mid seasonal updates and new content
The “Not So Great”
Limited amount class specific uniques
Enchant ability only limited to 1 stat
No crafting of any sorts
No gear sets
Strong focus on intake micro transactions
A closer look at the “Good”
Let’s first have a closer look at the “Good”, specifically focussing on the seasonal changes.
The seasonal theme is heavily subjective, you either like or don’t like vampires. Not much more to discuss about that. The seasonal mechanics however has been improved significantly. In previous season you found a Malignant Heart, you had to click on it, it then spawned a boss, you had to beat the boss which in turn dropped a Malignant Heart that could be slotted into rings or amulets. Besides the fact that most of these were not very useful, the process of getting a heart was clunky and time consuming.
The Pact System and Vampiric Powers.
Season 2 brings a new mechanic, adding a total of 22 Vampiric Powers to the game. These powers are the same for each class and a maximum of 5 Vampiric Powers can be equipped at a time. In order to equip these Powers the Pact System comes into play, a characters armor will provide these Pacts in various quantities and mechanics are introduced to add/adjust Pacts on gear to allow to equip the best Vampiric Powers for a specific build.
The new powers can be levels by using Potent Blood which drops from killing Vampires. A new seasonal world event is introduced to allow targeted levelling of Vampiric Powers: Blood Harvest. This event is active 100% of the time and circulates over multiple map locations.
Target farming and mid-season patches
Season 2 adds a number of Boss dungeons allowing players to farm bosses and the class unique equipment they drop. The summon bosses specific materials area needed that either drop from Nightmare Dungeons, handing in Tree of Whisper quests or defeating bosses to get materials to summon even stronger bosses.
Lastly, Blizzard seems to be taking the feedback it received over the first 5 months of the game release seriously. They released new class specific Rings in the last update and will be releasing more end game content in the next update which is scheduled on the 5th of December.
More details on what didn’t “Work Great”
What typically keeps an ARPG interesting is the fact you can farm and collect items. This is not different in Diablo 4. However at this point I believe the game is lacking that “WOW” factor.
Basically all the gear a player finds while leveling will be rendered “useless” within the days following hitting max level. At this point in the game people either start leveling Glyphs by farming Nightmare Dungeons or start target farming bosses. With doing this class specific unique items will start dropping sooner than later. By the time you are leveling your 3rd Glyph to the maximum level you probably have found most, if not all, uniques. At this point it becomes a game of finding the unique with the best stats on it, which is pure RNG and doesn’t add to the enjoyment of a game. It furthermore rewards gamers who can spent 12 hours a day vs games who can spent 3 hours a day. There should be rewards for folks that play more than casual players but this should not be by just being able to do more RNG rolls and therefore have a higher chance to find better stat rolled items.
Another thing that is missing are armor sets, something I greatly enjoyed from my time in Diablo 3. It was rewarding to be able to grind and farm a set together with the benefit of getting the set bonuses and at the same time look really cool.
Enchanting and crafting
Crafting is basically non existent in the game. The only thing that is noteworthy are the legendary aspects that can be imprinted on gear. Aspects can either be imprinted from the Codex of Power (which is basically a library of aspects that have been unlocked by completing dungeons) or my extracting aspects from legendary items found. To extract and imprint aspects through an occultist you will need materials that you get when salvaging items at the Blacksmith.
Adding an aspect can only be done once, so you can’t keep re-imprinting aspects. The other thing is most aspects found and extracted from items are typically better than those imprinted from the Codex of Power.
Although the mechanic is not necessarily bad this quickly becomes a game of storing massive amounts legendaries that will never be equipped but are kept around to, at a later stage, extract the aspect from. The game doesn’t have a good way to store aspects (amount is very limited) or upgrade the Codes of Power aspects.
Besides the aspects, you can craft potions and incense at the Alchemist, sigils for nightmare dungeons at the Occultist and gems at a Jeweler. Even though each of these play an important part in the game and will increase and improve damage, armor and life and other stats on a character, these mechanics are not very deep (at the moment).
Micro Transactions for real money
Last point, which is probably one of the biggest sources of annoyance and frustration for a lot of gamers is the in game shop providing micro transactions in the form of cosmetic armor skins for specific player classes and mounts.
This in game feature was clearly well developed and looked polished while, especially in the beginning, a lot of the game mechanics were not on par with expectations. This obviously created the sense of “greed”. Lastly, the difference between the cosmetics found in game from farming compared to the cosmetic skins that can be bought in the shop is too big. This, considering the money spent on the purchase of the base game is disappointing.
After a rocky start it seems Blizzard has found a sense of direction with Diablo 4. The game looks and feels great and they seem to be working hard on resolving the issues that exist since launch. However, Blizzard still has a long way to go before this game will be at the level of Diablo or Diablo 2. A long long way!
So far I have been enjoying season 2 and I will complete most of my end game targets (kill Uber Lilith and run level 100NM dungeons). I will probably stay busy with that for the next 2 weeks which is around the time Blizzard will release the new end game content.
Should you buy Diablo 4?
In my opinion? Yes, you should.
For me, it was a no-brainer to buy Diablo 4. I played all previous Diablo release on launch dates (expect Diablo Immortal and Diablo 2 Resurrected), including spending an enormous amount of time in Diablo 2 in the early 2000’s. I am accepting the shortcomings with the hope these will be fixed of the next 2 seasons.
With all the is shared in this “State of the Game” and what is published on the internet you should be able to draw your own conclusion if you are willing to invest the money and time in this game.
Diablo 4 for Sale due to Black Friday
For those interested in the game but not willing to spent $69.99, the game is currently on sale at $41.99 until November 27th.
Feel free to check out Battle.net.
Please note: we are not affiliated with Blizzard in any shape or form and will not receive any benefits from you purchasing Diablo 4 or another other game after reading this “State of the Game” or clicking any of the links.