6 Biggest Changes in Diablo 4’s Season 1 Update

Lots to catch up on.

With Season of the Malignant on the horizon, Blizzard has rolled out a new patch for Diablo 4, bringing with it some pretty significant gameplay changes. There a few class balances, new Unique items and Legendary Aspects, and some season rollover progress that you’re gonna wanna know about before Season of the Malignant starts, so let’s get into it.

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All Classes Get Nerfed

Image Source: Blizzard Entertainment

Really, there aren’t any winners in this latest Diablo 4 patch. In fact, all the classes have taken a hit in some way or another, but we’d be remiss not to give a special shoutout to the Sorcerer, who’s certainly been hit the hardest.

The Devouring Blaze bonus change is a big one, as virtually every Sorcerer build relies on Firebolt Enchantment to inflict the Burning status affect on enemies, and by decreasing the Critical Strike damage, you can expect Sorcerers to deal much less DPS going forward. It definitely doesn’t help that none of the other balance changes are helping to offset this nerf.

Helltides Are Much Harder to Farm Now

Diablo 4 Update 1.1.0a Patch Notes, Explained
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If you thought Diablo 4‘s Helltides were a slow grind before, they’re about to get even slower. This latest patch makes it such that enemies are now three levels higher than you, instead of two. In addition to that, the Tortured Gift of Mysteries chest now costs 250 Aberrant Cinders to open, instead of 175.

What this means is that Helltide enemies are not only tougher and harder to beat, you’ll also need to spend much more time farming up Cinders to open all your chests. This is pretty annoying, especially since Helltides weren’t exactly a cakewalk before.

Enemy Levels Don’t Scale as Hard

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The good news is, while you’re leveling your character and going through the campaign, you should have a slightly easier time keeping up with them. Enemies will still scale with your level, but after a certain point, they’ll start trailing behind you.

For instance, in World Tier III, once you hit level 55, enemies will start trailing until they’re eventually always five levels below you. This makes leveling up actually feel impactful for your character, as compared to previously, where it’d feel like you were never quite able to keep up with enemy scaling. It should also make the leveling process feel much smoother and easier, allowing you to reach endgame faster.

Malignant Hearts

diablo 4 malignant hearts
Image Source: Blizzard Entertainment

Malignant Hearts are the big new headlining feature of Season of the Malignant in Diablo 4. These are basically powerful gems that can drop from killing both regular and elite enemies, and they all come with their own Legendary-type powers, making them extremely powerful.

They can be slotted into your gear, and there are also class-specific Malignant Hearts that will only apply for certain builds. There are four different types of Hearts: Vicious, Brutal, Devious, and Wrathful. The first three can only be slotted into red, blue, and purple jewelry slots respectively, while Wrathful Hearts can go in any slot, and are generally regarded to be the most powerful of the bunch.

New Unique Items and Legendary Aspects

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Of course, it wouldn’t be a new Diablo 4 season without an influx of new Unique items and Legendary Aspects, and there are quite a few to look forward to here. While all of the classes have been nerfed in some way or another across the board, the new gear and Aspects should help to pave the way for even more creative and unique builds.

Here’s a rundown of all the new stuff you can look forward to:

General

  • Ahavarion Spear of Lycander (Uber Unique Staff – World Tier 4): Gain a random Shrine effect for 10-20 seconds after killing an Elite enemy. Can only occur once every 30 seconds.

Barbarian

  • Azurewrath (Unique Sword): Lucky Hit – Your Core Skills have up to a 20% chance to Freeze enemies for 3 seconds and deal 0.75-1.5 Cold damage to them.

Druid

  • Fleshrender (Unique One-Hand Mace): Debilitating Roar and Blood Howl deal 0.5-1.0 damage to Nearby Poisoned enemies.

Necromancer

  • Lidless Wall (Unique Shield): Lucky Hit – While you have an active Bone Storm, hitting an enemy outside of a Bone Storm has up to a 5-25% chance to spawn an additional Bone Storm at their location. Each of your active Sacrifice bonuses increases the chance by 25% and the total number of additional Bone Storms you can have by +1.

Rogue

  • Eaglehorn (Unique Bow): Penetrating Shot has a 30-80% chance to fire an arrow that bounces off walls and scenery. Hitting enemies from behind with Penetrating Shot will make them Vulnerable for 3 seconds.

Sorcerer

  • The Oculus (Unique Wand): Gain the effect of the Teleport Enchantment for free. When you Evade using Teleport Enchantment, you are taken to a random location.

7 New Legendary Aspects

General

  • Audacity (Utility Aspect): When there are at least 5 Close enemies, Stun them for 2-4 seconds. This can only occur once every 20 seconds.
  • Craven (Mobility Aspect): You gain 20-40% increased Movement Speed when moving away from Slowed or Chilled enemies.

Barbarian

  • Ancestral Charge (Offensive Aspect): Charge calls forth 4 Ancients who also Charge, dealing 50-100% of normal damage.

Druid

  • Subterranean (Offensive Aspect): Poison Creeper’s active also casts Landslide in a circle around you. Earth Skills deal 10-20% increased damage to Poisoned enemies.

Necromancer

  • Gore Quills (Offensive Aspect): Blood Lance will consume Blood Orbs to also conjure lances from them. Each additional Blood Lance deals 20-50% of normal damage and prioritizes targeting un-lanced enemies.

Rogue

  • Pestilent Points (Offensive Aspect): Every third cast of Puncture is Poison Imbued with 100-150% of normal potency.

Sorcerer

  • Searing Wards (Offensive Aspect): After spending 200-100 Mana your next Firewall is free to cast and will destroy incoming Small Missiles.

Account-Wide Progression

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Finally, perhaps the most important change of all ahead of Diablo 4 Season 1 is account-wide progression for your unlocked Altars of Lilith, Renown, and map progression. All related progress on your original characters will carry over to your seasonal characters and beyond, making it much easier for you to grind through the campaign again as each season begins.

While you do still have to manually level up from level one, these progression rewards should give you a good headstart, and you won’t have to worry about uncovering every map region all over again. It’s a nice quality-of-life update we’ve been asking for since the original release, and it’s nice to see Blizzard put that into action here.


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Author
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Zhiqing Wan
Zhiqing is the Reviews Editor for Twinfinite, and a History graduate from Singapore. She's been in the games media industry for nine years, trawling through showfloors, conferences, and spending a ridiculous amount of time making in-depth spreadsheets for min-max-y RPGs. When she's not singing the praises of Amazon's Kindle as the greatest technological invention of the past two decades, you can probably find her in a FromSoft rabbit hole.