Earlier this week, Blizzard released the equivalent of a torture rack for Diablo 4's most masochistic players—The Abattoir of Zir (try saying that ten times really fast). It's meant to be an endgame activity designed for the hardest of the hardcore, a task you're "not really supposed to finish." Unfortunately, it hit a couple of speed bumps on the way out.
First off, a bug accidentally nerfed everyone in the game. The game's max-level progression system, the Paragon Board, accidentally nudged players' Glyphs from 15 to 14, which tore through their carefully-constructed builds like one of those 'news anchor accidentally destroys a lego sculpture' videos.
That was hotfixed fast, but there's another problem—the super hard dungeon is a little too hard. As announced in a Blizzard post yesterday, "we have seen players note that the difficulty ramp is pretty excessive even on the first tier for those who were able to complete Level 100 Nightmare Dungeons before. These changes will allow for more opportunities for players to experience the earlier tiers and grow as they progress through them."
PC Gamer's Tyler Colp and Sean Martin have been giving it a go, and according to Tyler it's "significantly harder than anything else in the game". I dipped into the game's subreddit just to see if that tracked, and I think this video demonstrates it better than anything else, courtesy of user franzpuntoit.
While this might be a blink-and-you miss moment for the uninitiated, one commenter did remark franzpuntoit stood "in one of the hardest-hitting explosions in the entire game", to which they shrug their shoulders and admit the "noob virus is in my veins". A level of zen we can all aspire to.
Still, with how quickly their health was deleted, I can only imagine how much of a terror later levels of Zir's wild ride can get, especially when you're facing huge packs of enemies. If something with such an innocuous animation can turn you into giblets like Thanos with a certain gauntlet, things might be a touch overtuned.
While tiers 10 and beyond will remain the same, those below should be a touch smoother, letting players actually enjoy the dungeon before they get their face smashed in. Additionally, Blizzard will implement a whopping -20% damage reduction "throughout all tiers of Abattoir of Zir."
That's a hefty nerf. Though, I'm of the mind that if players who were happily cleaving through level 100 Nightmare dungeons are getting torn in half, it's best to pump the brakes just a little bit. There's endgame, and then there's 'ends your game'.
Community feedback has also focused on the high cost of the Sigils required to enter the Abattoir, which you only earn back if you successfully complete a run. There's also been a lack of the endgame rewards, beyond an (admittedly incredibly powerful) new Glyph called Tears of Blood.
However, once players figured out it'd need 300 hours of grinding just to level it to 50 (at which point its radius of effect on your Paragon board expands, dramatically boosting power) even dedicated content creators questioned whether this was a good use of their time. As a result, Blizzard is boosting the XP each clear grants:
"We are going to adjust glyph experience rewards starting from Tier 2 upward to be significantly more as you progress through higher tiers of Abattoir of Zir. This should help with feedback we’ve been seeing from players on the amount of time it would take to level up your Tears of Blood glyphs and also benefit other Glyphs you may want to level up as well."
As PC Gamer's Tim Clark tells me, Abattoir of Zir is something of an experiment for Diablo 4. It's been added midway through season two, and is clearly a testbed for a new kind of endgame content. Not hugely shocking then that the edges have been brutally rough, but at least it looks like Blizzard is open to changes and feedback both.