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Blizzard Addresses Diablo IV Season 1 Patch: ‘We Know It Is Bad’

Blizzard Addresses Diablo IV Season 1 Patch: 'We Know It Is Bad'

Blizzard Entertainment has addressed the heavily criticized Diablo IV season 1 update 1.1.0 that launched yesterday. Game director Joe Shely, associate game director Joe Piepiora, and associate director of community management Adam Fletcher all took the time to address the controversial patch, which essentially made major changes that resulted in reduced player power and survivability, during a Campfire Chat segment. The trio doesn’t beat around the bush: Blizzard is well aware that post-launch content for Diablo IV is not off to a strong start.

“We want to, obviously, acknowledge everyone’s feedback in regards to reducing player power,” Fletcher said. “We know it is bad. We know it is not fun. It’s something that we, ourselves, know it’s not the greatest play experience for players out there.”

He continued: “We don’t plan on doing a patch like this ever again. We have most definitely heard the feedback from players on that front.”

Piepiora attempted to explain Blizzard’s thought process behind nerfing players strength, acknowledging that “reducing player power is never a good experience in general.” He says that, from the get-go, the team has aimed to emphasize player choice. Part of this means making an effort to ensure that each of Diablo IV’s classes feels balanced and worthy within the overall meta experience. This led the team to take aim at some seemingly overpowered aspects of prevalent builds, such as cooldown reduction. Basically, it appears Blizzard was worried these overpowered builds were dwarfing the effectiveness of other strategies.

“We know that blasting through content with those things is really fun, so it feels really, really painful to have to take some of those things away,” he said. “We certainly don’t relish the idea.”

Blizzard is already taking steps to address the feedback it has received since the launch of Diablo VI season 1 patch 1.1.0. For example, an upcoming patch will reduce the difficulty of upper-tier Nightmare Dungeons, with Piepiora saying, specifically, that the aim is to make tier 100 feel more like tier 70. For players still looking for that additional challenge, Blizzard is working on a “new endgame content type” that is meant to give players “more things to chase.”

“Sometimes we don’t always get it quite right,” Piepiora said. “I think that we see that with some builds that are not performing at the level we need them to be because they don’t have the right interactions with the kind of content or skills that you want to use to get through the game. This is an example of, when we’re thinking about our goals in terms of creating this balanced experience where there’s lots of interesting choices for players to engage with, we can’t make balance decisions without accounting for the way that players who are playing those classes are going to feel about things.”

He continued, “If our goal is to create an ultimately balanced experience without regard for how much fun the player is having as part of that exchange, that would be a failure on our part to not think about things.”

Blizzard reiterated that it is serious about addressing not only fan feedback, but the fear that these kinds of changes will continue to happen as future patches roll out. To help achieve its goals, Blizzard promises that when making changes to build diversity and the meta Diablo IV experience, it will let resulting builds be overpowered until the team has “provided compelling alternatives.” Additionally, all future meta changes will occur at predictable times, such as the beginning of a season.

“Ultimately, ARPGs, are about power fantasy, right? They are about us inviting players, to some extent, break the game, find fun toys that we’ve made, and do crazy things with them, and we need to make sure that we aren’t trying to punish players for doing that,” Shely said. “That’s the playground we built.”

All three members of the Diablo IV team appeared to be visibly upset about the feedback they’ve received since the season 1 patch went live. Time will tell if Blizzard’s efforts to improve communication work out. You can watch the entire Campfire Chat video below.

About the author

Michael Cripe
Michael joined The Escapist team in 2019 but has been covering games, movies, TV, and music since 2015. When he’s not writing, Michael is probably playing Super Mario Sunshine, Dead Space, The Binding of Isaac, or Doom Eternal. You can follow his news coverage and reviews at The Escapist, but his work has appeared on other sites like OnlySP, Gameranx, and Kansas City’s The Pitch, too. If you’d like to connect and talk about the latest pop-culture news, you can follow Michael on Twitter (@MikeCripe), Instagram (mike_cripe), or LinkedIn if that’s your thing.