The backlash to Diablo 4’s pre-Season of the Malignant patch (which was seen by many as a general nerfing across the board) has been addressed by Blizzard in the time-honoured fashion of embattled developers since forever. Key members of the studio have fronted an irate audience in a Campfire Chat-style livestream, a format that’s supposed to put the audience at ease with its relaxed, informal style.
Instead, with the energy and body language of the guilty facing trial, associate director of community management Adam Fletcher, game director Joe Shely, and associate game director Joe Piepora promised change over the course of an uncomfortable hour.
Fletcher set the precedent for the tense mea culpa with admirable frankness: “To kick us off here, I think we want to obviously acknowledge everyone’s feedback in regards to reducing player power. We know it’s bad, we know it’s not fun, and its something we ourselves know is not the greatest play experience for players out there”
A hotfix was deployed over the weekend that would increase the density of enemies in Endgame Nightmare Dungeons. Buffs are on the way for Sorcerers and Barbarians, in addition to another Stash tab for loot, but not until patch 1.1.1, likely still a couple of weeks away.
As you might imagine, unhappy gamers did what unhappy gamers tend to do in their own time-honoured tradition; Diablo 4 on PS5 enjoys an impressive Critical Rating of 88 on the review aggregate site Metacritic, which is quite at odds with its 1.9 User Score, which fell off a cliff after an apparent concerted review-bombing effort.
It remains to be seen where the game lands and only time will ultimately tell. Diablo 4 remains a sales juggernaut, with a monstrous player base, the majority of which (at least, last month) hadn’t even beaten the game’s campaign and, therefore, likely don’t care much about Endgame balance right now. What do you think of all this? Let us know in the forgiving community found in the comments section below.