Since Diablo 4’s launch, the game has won over millions of players with polished gameplay, comprehensive progression systems, and a myriad of content to lose hours into. With the promise of having more robust post-launch support, the community was eagerly waiting for Season of the Malignant, the very first major content update. A couple of days before the official launch, Blizzard Entertainment released the Diablo 4 Patch 1.1. This brought about a number of changes, most of which were major nerfs across all characters. As you might’ve guessed, players are not happy with this.
It has gotten so bad to the point that Adam Fletcher, the Global Community Development Director of the Diablo franchise had to announce on Twitter that the studio is hearing the feedback from the public and is looking to address the issues.
We have been hearing feedback from players regarding some of the changes in 1.1.0 for #DiabloIV.
We are going to have a Campfire Chat later this week on Friday to talk more about it.
We will have more details/timing in the next day. Thanks again for the feedback!
— Adam Fletcher (@PezRadar) July 19, 2023
The entire point of a Diablo game is to make you feel as powerful as you can be. You are a hero that will just simply plow through legions of demons in the most bombastic way possible. It’s a type of game that really plays into the power fantasy that a lot of genres struggle to balance. Diablo 4 scratched this itch for many of us since it launched. It was a game that you can boot up and play while watching or listening to something at the side. It’s the perfect palette cleanser after a long day.
While it is normal that a developer would try to balance out the experience as much as they can, dishing out slight nerfs and buffs when necessary, no one would’ve expected that Blizzard would go as far as to seemingly downgrade nearly everything that has made our respective Diablo 4 characters powerful and satisfying to play with. This is especially shocking given that a previous patch was released as an attempt to buff certain aspects of the game.
Diablo 4 Patch 1.1 was launched with a resounding backlash from the community. You only need to take a peek at the official patch notes to know why. It details every change that was made per class.
From a more general perspective, here are the changes that made the Diablo 4 Patch 1.1 a sinful update for the game
- All classes now do less damage. Damage affixes like Critical Hit and Vulnerable were nerfed to the ground. If you were doing a peak of 9 million damage before, it’s possible you’ll only be seeing 5-6 million right now.
- It’s now much easier to die. Damage mitigation from defensive skills and gear aspects was reduced. Dying in Diablo 4 is no longer mostly a skill issue, Blizzard really just made every class take fewer hits before they go down.
- Cooldown reduction was… reduced. You won’t be able to use as many skills as before (which was where most of the fun of a Diablo game comes from) until you have to wait longer for a timer to stop.
- The values of XP gained have also been nerfed.
The bottom line is, the Diablo 4 Patch 1.1 changes made it so that players dish out less damage and receive so much more of it. All of the builds that you worked so hard on now feel weaker.
Nerfing XP gains in a game that’s designed to have an engaging progression for the player is a bit counterintuitive. The developers basically increased the risks while lowering the rewards.
As a Sorcerer main, my character is now infinitely most squishy than it already was, to begin with. It’s nearly impossible to go through the higher-level endgame content given how weak I am from a statistical standpoint. The survivability is now much less than before.
A Reddit user has even gone as far as to challenge any Blizzard developer to use a Sorcerer in endgame content. They would allegedly reward them with $1 million if they come out successful. While this is something to laugh at, this post is also indicative of what the community thinks. If the developers really tested out Patch 1.1 extensively, they would know that this drastically changes a lot of things in the gameplay experience to a much weaker state.
I was always of the firm belief that nerfs should be as minimal as possible in a PvE-centric experience. The player is supposed to feel powerful, in control, and rewarded at most times. I’m not saying that nerfs should never exist in Diablo 4, but when it is at the cost of nearly everything that made the game fun for both casuals and endgame enthusiasts, then it might be time to rethink the decisions made before releasing a patch as big as 1.1 before a major seasonal update.