Diablo 4's first major patch buffs every class but is totally focused on the early game

Diablo 4 Necromancer wearing shop armor in a dungeon
(Image credit: Tyler C. / Activision Blizzard)
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(Image credit: Tyler C. / Activision Blizzard)

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The long-awaited balance patch for Diablo 4 is here with buffs for every single class, but most of the changes target the leveling experience rather than the most popular endgame builds.

Many of the buffs in Diablo 4's patch 1.0.3 notes increase the effectiveness of each class' basic and core skills near the top of their skill trees. Barbarians, for example, start with four skills to choose from and all of them will now deal increased damage and generate more of their Fury resource to spend on powerful moves. Likewise, Necromancer's can generate a little more essence resource from their ranged Bone Splinters attack, which should reduce downtime between using costly abilities.

In other words, every class should have an easier time generating whatever resource they use and will get more out of spending it. The worst thing in an action RPG is hearing "I'm out of energy!" over and over, so Blizzard has tried to make that early game experience feel powerful before you've got endgame gear.

"These changes will not change the fundamental relationship between basic skills and core skills, but we hope that they help smooth out the leveling experience while we explore additional ways to strengthen them," Blizzard's comment about the class changes says.

The patch seems to specifically target Diablo 4's first season, which starts next month and will require you to level a new character. Leveling will be a big part of every season going forward and many of the skills in today's patch tend to require a lot more skill points and legendary gear to feel powerful. By raising their effectiveness across the board, no class should lag behind when the season starts in mid-July.

Despite all the changes, endgame builds haven't changed a whole lot. Even the legendary hardcore Rogue player Wudijo wasn't floored reading through the changes on his stream. Although rogues will get a whopping 35% increase to their Heartseeker basic skill damage, the ability isn't all that vital to the best Rogue builds, which only use a core skill to reduce the cooldowns on more powerful attacks. In fact, many of the most popular endgame builds don't rely on core or basic skills.

Blizzard says that it's monitoring "heavily discussed topics, such as [Necromancer] minion survivability and build parity," for future patches. I'd expect those changes to come either within season 1 or afterward.

Associate Editor

Tyler has covered games, games culture, and hardware for over a decade before joining PC Gamer as Associate Editor. He's done in-depth reporting on communities and games as well as criticism for sites like Polygon, Wired, and Waypoint. He's interested in the weird and the fascinating when it comes to games, spending time probing for stories and talking to the people involved. Tyler loves sinking into games like Final Fantasy 14, Overwatch, and Dark Souls to see what makes them tick and pluck out the parts worth talking about. His goal is to talk about games the way they are: broken, beautiful, and bizarre.