— Blizzard Entertainment

After spending over a dozen hours with my Druid in Diablo 4, I finally felt like I had him in a good place. In the fourth season of Blizzard’s action RPG, I focused on my burly bear boy slamming the ground to create waves of damage to clear entire clusters of enemies in one hit. For a while, those impacts of ursine might leveled hordes of demons, slaughtered bosses, and even managed to handle a few tough guys in PVP.

After finally beating a special dungeon and making my way into the actual endgame of World Tier IV, I realized my bear might not be cutting it anymore. Suddenly, I would walk into a dungeon and my health bar would disappear faster than I could chug potions. But then, as if the angelic Inarius himself came down from above, a new item burst out of a chest. It was a maximum stat staff that I used to make the most powerful storm/werewolf build I’ve ever had. Just one item changed everything.

When Diablo 4 was released in June 2023, it came out in a less-than-stellar form. Throwing away the big damage numbers and zany items of its previous entries, it instead focused on creating a large open world that was grittier and more down to hell. But in its attempt to recreate the skull-covered wheel, Blizzard made a game that felt empty, boring, and grindy. Heading back and forth from the Blacksmith to throw away the thousands of useless items that would drop wasted time you could have spent demon slaying.

Season Four: Loot Reborn has done away with Diablo 4’s old item system to create a much more fun gear-driven experience. The number of garbage items that drop has been lowered, but each piece of gear that does drop is a potential upgrade for your build. Once you reach a higher level, some pieces of gear have a chance to contain a much higher stat, meaning there’s always some way to get stronger.

When you get a piece of gear you want to stick with for a bit, it can be Tempered to include a new powerful stat, or Masterworked to increase every stat across the board. Picking which items to invest in becomes more about player choice, rather than what guides say is the most optimal.

In an interview with Screen Rant, Diablo 4 class designer Adam Z. Jackson said these item changes have made previously underpowered builds viable. Builds that were once considered trash, like Barbarian dust devils and skeleton minion Necromancers are now not only playable, but top-tier.

The level of customization stemming from having high-quality items drops keeps Diablo 4 from ever feeling boring. Even during the deep-end game in the Pit, where players need to slaughter enough enemies in 15 minutes to spawn a boss, each run feels fun and exciting. While you’ll still get a lot of trash to comb through at level 100, it now feels more like dumpster diving to find an exotic treasure rather than picking up dozens of discarded swords on the side of the highway.

Share This