Sorry Necromancers, Diablo IV Is Nerfing One Of Its Most Popular Classes

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A necromancer character is seen with glowing blue eyes.

Diablo IV is still a couple of months away, but Blizzard is already stomping down some of the game’s most popular classes ahead of its June 6 release date. The studio posted a new blog on its website reflecting on the game’s recent beta, and shared what’s basically a full set of patch notes it will implement ahead of Diablo IV’s launch. While there aren’t a lot of hard numbers to go off of, you can at least get a sense of where some of the game’s character classes will be by the time fans get to play them again.

What is Blizzard doing to my precious baby angel Necromancer?

At the end of March, Blizzard said Necromancers and Sorcerers were the most popular classes among beta players. This was especially significant for Necromancer, as the class was only available during one of the game’s two test periods, while the Sorcerer was available for both. Kotaku’s own Levi Winslow used Necromancer most, and said the class was “truly busted” thanks to its ability to revive dead skeletons to fight alongside them. While Blizzard’s new blog says these dead minions will die more often, there are no specific numbers or any mention of a smaller skeletal headcount being forced upon players. The developer notes the dead’s increased vulnerability will make raising them “a more active component” in playing the Necromancer, rather than something you can just set and forget.

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The Sorcerer’s debuffs seem less all-encompassing, with Chain Lightning dealing less damage and specifically reduced effectiveness against boss characters. But beyond that, the class is getting some buffs with abilities like Charged Bolt and an increased Lucky Hit chance for Meteor Skill’s Enchantment bonus.

While players will be getting some changes in the final game, some enemies will, as well. The Butcher, an enemy who gave some players a tough time during the beta, may be getting some kind of rework before the game launches. The blog states that the team has “re-evaluated” the enemy for difficulty, and it will “present a greater challenge in World Tiers III and IV.” So it sounds like it might become easier on lower difficulties, but even harder on higher ones.

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What’s happening in the Diablo IV pre-release patch notes?

Beyond balance changes, Blizzard is also tweaking Diablo IV’s dungeon layouts to avoid backtracking, which it says was a common complaint during the betas. Here is the full list of patch notes for those curious:

Dungeon Layouts

  • One of the most common pieces of feedback Blizzard received is that players felt they were doing a lot of backtracking within certain dungeons. The team has optimized multiple dungeons across all zones to minimize the need for backtracking. Here is a list of dungeons specifically in the Fractured Peaks zone which received layout updates:
  • Caldera Gate
  • Defiled Catacombs
  • Derelict Lodge
  • Forbidden City
  • Hoarfrost Demise
  • Immortal Emanation
  • Kor Dragan Barracks
  • Maulwood
  • Rimescar Caverns

Developer’s Note: Our primary goal with the Layout changes was to reduce certain kinds of backtracking which detract from a player’s experience. An example of this change is that players previously needed to enter side rooms to interact with Structure Objectives, causing them to retread the same path. Now, many of our Structure Objectives have been repositioned along main dungeon pathways, making them easier for players to reach and allowing them to readily explore the dungeon after defeating the Structure.

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Dungeon Events

  • The chance for an Event to spawn inside of a dungeon has increased from 10% to 60%.
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Dungeon Gameplay

  • To reduce the need to backtrack, small numbers of straggling monsters will seek out the player to help complete the Kill All Monsters objective.
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When Animus is gathered, the player and nearby allies will:

  • Gain 10 Resource.
  • Reduce all active Cooldowns by 1 second.
  • Depositing Animus channel time was reduced from 3 to 0 seconds.
  • The time to Rescue was reduced from 3 to 1.5 seconds.
  • All Rescue objectives now drop a Health Potion upon completion.
  • While carrying the Ancient’s Statue, Bloodstone, Mechanical Box, or Stone Carving, you will receive a Momentum bonus granting a 25% move speed increase to you and nearby allies.
  • Pedestals have had their channel time reduced from 2 to 0 seconds.
  • Returning a Portable Object to its Pedestal now fully restores Health, Resource, Potions, and resets cooldowns for all nearby players.
  • All doors will now generate a minimap ping when they are opened.
  • All Structure Objectives in dungeons now have additional combat mechanics players must overcome.
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Developer’s Note: While our dungeons offer a variety of Objectives to complete, player feedback stated that the action of completing each Objective felt tedious. We hope that providing bonuses, such as the increase to mobility while carrying certain Objective items, will streamline and vary the experience of completing Objectives. This adjustment is merely a starting point, and we intend to extend this philosophy to keys in a future update.

General

  • Effects like Stun and Freeze can be applied to Elite Monsters twice as long before they become Unstoppable.
  • Reviewed class skills to confirm that all classes have access to sufficient skills that remove control impairing effects.
  • Many Legendary Powers have had updates to their effectiveness.

Barbarian

  • A flat 10% passive damage reduction has been added for the Barbarian Class. Some Skill Tree passives had their damage reduction effects reduced to compensate.
  • The Whirlwind Skill now deals more damage and consumes more Fury.
  • The Double Swing Skill Enhancement refunds its full Fury cost when used on Stunned or Knocked Down enemies.
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Druid

  • Companion Skills will now deal heavily increased damage.
  • All Ultimate Skills have had their cooldowns reduced.
  • Usability improvements have been made to Maul and Pulverize.
  • Using a non-Shapeshifting Skill will transform a Druid back into their human form.
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Necromancer

  • Summoned Minions will die more often, requiring players to utilize Corpses more often.
  • Many bonuses in the Book of the Dead have had their stats increased.
  • The damage dealt by the Corpse Explosion skill has been reduced.
  • The brightness of the Skeletal Warriors and Mages has been reduced.

Rogue

  • Upgrades for Subterfuge Skills have had their bonuses increased.
  • Multiple passive Skills have had their bonuses increased.
  • All Imbuement Skills have had their cooldowns increased.

Sorcerer

  • Charged Bolt’s damage was increased and the Mana cost to cast has decreased.
  • Decreased the damage of Chain Lightning and reduced its effectiveness against Bosses.
  • Decreased the cooldown for the Incinerate Skill’s Enchantment bonus.
  • Firewalls will now spawn underneath enemies more frequently when using its Enchantment bonus.
  • Increased the Lucky Hit chance for the Meteor Skill’s Enchantment bonus.

Developer’s Note: Whenever we introduce changes to our Classes, it is with the goal of making both them and their Skills feel impactful and powerful—your feedback has helped us uphold this ideal. Some players have adeptly noticed that certain Skills were too powerful. One of our goals for Skills is to have them be interesting to wield and interactive in terms of itemization and combat feel. We’ve made some changes to help in this regard, with one example being the Necromancer’s Minions. We’ve made a change that makes them more vulnerable in combat, which will make raising the dead a more active component of the Necromancer’s gameplay. Launch is just the first step of our Class balance journey, and you can expect further updates that iterate on this pillar of Diablo IV.

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UI

  • Fixed an issue where the built-in Screen Reader was not reading key prompts, game options details, and other UI text.
  • Fixed an issue where actions could not be bound to the mouse wheel.
  • Fixed an issue where Evade couldn’t be bound to the right Analog Stick on controller.
  • Chat will now display on the left side of the screen when using the centered action bar configuration.
  • A character’s stats will be displayed by default when players click the Materials & Stats button within their Inventory.
  • The Move and Interact inputs can now be mapped to one button while the Primary Attack input is mapped to a secondary button.
  • The sans serif font used in-game has been replaced with a new serif font.

Encounters

  • Fixed multiple issues that allowed bosses, like the Butcher, to become unresponsive.
  • The Butcher has been re-evaluated for difficulty and will present a greater challenge in World Tiers III and IV.
  • Bosses such as T’chort, Malnok, Vhenard, and others were reevaluated for melee character difficulty, resulting in changes to attacks and fight mechanics.
  • Fixed an issue where Vampire Brutes using the Shadow Enchant affix would chain-cast Impale.
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Cellars

  • Increased the chance for a dungeon Event to occur in Cellars.
  • Cellars will now consistently reward a chest upon completion.
  • Fixed an issue where Cellars would prematurely be marked as complete.
  • Fixed an issue where the guaranteed elite monster would be absent from a Cellar.

General quality of life

  • Fixed an issue where players could increase attack speed by move-cancelling attacks early.
  • Fixed an issue where characters weren’t immune and untargetable after loading into an area.
  • The Reset Dungeon button has been disabled.
  • Fixed an issue that caused Gale Valley and Serac Rapture to have less monsters than intended until the campaign quests in those territories were completed.

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