by Anthony O'Connor

Year:  2024

Director:  Joe Shely, Sebastian Stepien, Luis Barriga

Rated:  MA

Release:  Out Now

Distributor: Blizzard Entertainment

Running time: 15-30 hour leveling, endgame content, PvP

Worth: $16.00
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If you’ve been sitting on the fence, waiting for the perfect time to face Lilith and her horny acolytes, well it’s hard to imagine a better time than now.

Twas the month of June in the year of 2023 when Diablo IV first launched. Returning the aesthetic to the more grim and gothic style of Diablo 2, the long-awaited sequel made a great first impression, featuring a generous campaign and plenty of activities to keep the casual player invested. However, as more and more ARPG fans started hitting the endgame, they began to notice a problem: there wasn’t much of one. Oh sure, you could grind Nightmare Dungeons for days but for nebulous rewards at best. Worse still, the loot itself was overcomplicated and underwhelming, a big problem when trying to keep players interested long term.

Then season one dropped and things took a turn for the worse. Season of the Malignant was a content-light mess that also featured a number of dramatic nerfs, which made the grind longer and even less rewarding. Blizzard were not off to a great start and a bunch of players dropped off.

Season of the Blood was the next cab off the rank and, thankfully, a huge improvement. The addition of vampiric powers, the Blood Harvest event and a bunch of much-needed XP/progression boosts made the game fun again. And yet… the itemisation systems were still in a bit of a state and the endgame remained thin.

Season of the Construct followed and much like season one, was a massive misfire. Trap-filled dungeons sound like a neat idea on paper, but in an ARPG that usually focuses on clearing mobs of monsters in as short a span as possible, it was simply a bad choice. This season proved to be a breaking point for many players and people quit the game in droves.

Now, almost a year after launch, we have the Season of Loot Reborn and hooly dooly, it looks like they’ve finally fixed some glaring problems with the game.

As the name would suggest, Loot Reborn has given a glow up to every aspect of itemisation of gear in Diablo IV. It’s a huge change, with affixes no longer needing to be hoarded, gear perks not requiring the divination of chicken guts to understand, and loot drops finally feeling exciting and rewarding. In addition to this, Hell Tides have become relevant (and fun) with upgraded challenges, additional content and better drops. Finally, The Pit – an endgame activity – has been added to the game (both seasonal and eternal realm), which will give players a reason to keep killing demons beyond level 100, with a new masterworking system giving min/maxers all the fiddly micromanaging joy that you can muster.

In short, Diablo IV’s non-campaign aspects are now at a very solid stage indeed. Should they have been this way at launch? Probably. And honestly, it shouldn’t have taken eleven months to figure out the title’s major shortcomings, but it does mean that future seasons will have a very solid foundation upon which to build.So, is Diablo IV now ARPG perfection? No. The endgame bosses still feel a little thin (and the Tormented versions inaccessible to all but a handful of builds) and there are still dull moments in the leveling, but it’s a hell of an improvement. If you’ve been sitting on the fence, waiting for the perfect time to face Lilith and her horny acolytes, well it’s hard to imagine a better time than now.

Let’s hope the upward trend continues and Diablo IV remains an occult classic.