Diablo 4 director: 'It is time for the buffs'

diablo 4
(Image credit: Blizzard)

The Druid and Necromancer have gotten some buffs, but otherwise Diablo 4's first two weeks have been characterized by big nerfs as Blizzard weakened builds that were outside its "bounds for what is reasonable" and downgraded the best XP farming sites with hotfixes. Now it sounds like things will be swinging the other direction. 

A "chonky patch," as associate production director Tiffany Wat referred to it during today's Diablo 4 Campfire Chat, is in the works, and game director Joe Shely says that buffs will be one of its themes.

"Our philosophy is to prioritize improving [player] choice by looking at things that are not working and making them better," said Shely on the stream. "Now, it hasn't felt like that in the last two weeks, right? And when I came here today, I was thinking about—I don't have a shirt like this—but I thought about getting a shirt and then writing 'it's time for the buffs' on it. I didn't do that, but it is time for the buffs."

Later in the stream, Shely said that a future patch will include "a variety of buffs" that will affect "many things across many classes." We got one example, which is that builds which struggle with resource generation "should keep an eye out for things that address that," but details on specific buffs were sparse, except in regard to Nightmare dungeons.

It's a bit weird to me to say that a type of dungeon is being "buffed," but in this case it refers to how efficiently players will be able to earn XP from running them. Franchise GM Rod Fergusson explained on the stream that normal dungeons currently make for better XP farming spots than the endgame Nightmare dungeons because of the number of elite enemies that spawn in them, which hasn't made sense to players. That's not how Shely wants it to be either.

"We want [Nightmare dungeons] to be a great place to farm, including if you want to farm dungeons over and over, if you want to loop dungeons," said Shely. To that end, sigils are going to create waypoints you can teleport to, so you can skip the travel time to a Nightmare dungeon, and the amount of XP you get from them is being increased. The plan is to make those changes soon, before the first season starts in mid-to-late July.

The nerfing ain't over, though. Fergusson joked that even players who've bought into the idea that Diablo 4 should have "no meta" and every build should be viable are liable to flip tables when their class gets nerfed in pursuit of that goal, but said that it has to be done. The same goes for nerfing easy XP farming spots.

Best Diablo 4 builds

Diablo 4 Necromancer build - A necro wearing armor with a sickle

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Diablo 4 Sorcerer build: Element-ary
Diablo 4 Barbarian build: Stay buffed
Diablo 4 Rogue build: Need for bleed
Diablo 4 Druid build: Air and weres
Diablo 4 Necromancer build: Stay undead

"I remember Destiny 2 had the loot cave, and we're like, 'there's a loot cave, let's just sit here and farm loot, and we're having so much fun, it's Christmas morning all day long!'" said Fergusson. "That can't persist. For the good of the game, that has to not exist at some point."

Shely also responded to players who wish that, instead of nerfing their class, they'd address imbalances by buffing everyone else's classes.

"In theory while you can do that," said Shely, "when you have many classes and many builds, and you have one thing that is too strong, the process of buffing everything else: A, is likely to result in more balance issues, because you're changing many, many things at once, and B, you can very quickly run into a place where you have 65,000% on Whirlwind or something, and it can get sort of crazy. So, yeah, we have to nerf things sometimes."

During today's livestream, we also learned how Blizzard plans to prevent death by disconnect in Hardcore mode, and heard about an upcoming (but further off) tweak to the way gems work that may please players who struggle with inventory space.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.