Day 1 patches are a very common thing in the videogame industry: You buy a game, preload it, and then before you can start playing it on launch day you have to download an often-massive update filled with all sorts of last-minute fixes and tweaks. Diablo 4 will presumably have its own day 1 patch when it goes into early access launch tomorrow, but we've now learned that not much is changing for the launch.
In response to a question about the day 1 patch, associate game director Joseph Piepiora said yesterday that it will take Diablo 4 to version 1.0, "up from .9" from the Server Slam beta, and that it'll include "balance changes and bug fixes." Earlier today, however, Piepiora corrected himself, saying that he "spoke in error" in that reply.
"The Server Slam build was not .9, but actually a version of our day one build!" Piepiora tweeted. "There will be *very few* changes between this build and the one players will be playing at launch. Deeply sorry for the confusion!"
That's not to say that Blizzard won't be making tweaks and changes shortly after launch: Piepiora added that the developers "will be evaluating the game and are prepared to make adjustments as we go to ensure a smooth gameplay experience."
We will be evaluating the game and are prepared to make adjustments as we go to ensure a smooth gameplay experience. It’s as we’ve been saying all along: Launch is only the beginning!May 31, 2023
The Diablo 4 Server Slam was significantly changed from the earlier beta tests, particularly with regard to things like character progression and legendary drop rates, both of which were slowed considerably to more accurately reflect how the full release will play. The Server Slam went very smoothly overall, which has to be comforting for Diablo fans dreading a potential return of the infamous Error 37.
But the final playtest also left some of the PC Gamer crew cold: Online editor Fraser Brown expressed "serious regrets about wasting [his] weekend" on it, while senior editor Robin Valentine said the Server Slam left him with "even less confidence that Blizzard has any idea how to make this game fun."
On the other hand, Diablo 4 review scores are extremely high at this point, even though it's not yet fully live: Multiple sites including Windows Central, PCGamesN, TRG, and VideoGamer awarded it a perfect score, and numerous others came close—GameSpot, for instance, scored it 8/10 and declared that Diablo 4 "feels like the new standard-bearer for action role-playing."
Our associate editor Tyler Colp found quite a lot to like too, saying in his review-in-progress that "when it comes to clicking demons until glowing loot pops out, Diablo 4 is the most Diablo any Diablo has ever been," although he had some misgivings about the sacrifices Blizzard has made in the cause of making the new Diablo a fully live-service game. We'll publish our complete, scored review of Diablo 4 after we have experience with the live version.