Diablo 4's poor Sorcerers spot a glimmer of hope for the Hydra to the tune of a 400% damage bump—turns out it's likely just to compensate for a bug fix

Diablo 4 Sorceress surrounded by undead monsters
(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Diablo 4's sorcerers have had, uh… a bit of a hard time, the poor guys. While they were super promising in the game's beta—with a ton of sorcerous excitement when the game opened its gates—things haven't exactly been smooth sailing since.

For starters, the pre-season one patch crushed them disproportionately—alongside other nerfs, it unilaterally ramped up enemy damage. Sorcerers were already pretty flimsy, so this gave them a critical glass jaw. It also snuffed out Devouring Blaze, a key skill in their toolkit. 

The class has never quite recovered, and while there've been attempts to bring them back up to par, as Blizzard makes Nightmare dungeons more intense the wins they've gained have only grown smaller. Also there was a unique that kinda just gave them motion sickness and little else. Funny in a gallows humour sort of way.

But for some players, hope shines on the horizon with patch 1.2.0—the Hydra, one of the Sorcerer's skills, has received a 400% buff! Well, you know what they say—there are lies, damned lies, and statistics. Sites like WoWHead correctly assert that, yes, the summoned Hydra skill has received a 400% increase (from 12% to 60%), but that doesn't tell the whole story.

From what I can tell, this skill got hit hard by nerfs during the game's beta thanks to a bug (or no-longer intended feature, you decide) that caused its burn damage to scale with an enemy's health. This made it extremely strong in late-game dungeons where boss health reaches absurd numbers—2% of a number in the millions equals massive damage.

Well, that's been sorted now, as the full patch notes read: "Fixed an issue where Hydra's Burning Damage scaled with the target's health, instead of with the player's weapon," with a dev note addendum: "The Hydra’s Burning Damage now scales with the player’s weapon, which is consistent with other Skills."

What's more, "Summoned Hydra" likely refers to a specific node pertaining to the Hydra's burn damage, not the Hydra skill itself. So the 12% mentioned in those patch notes is referring to the damage over time dealt by the Hydra—a shift to 60% is a decent buff, but not a dramatic power boost to the overall skill. 

While the maths haven't been fully sorted out, there's been plenty players quick to rain on the poor Sorcerer's parade in the interest of truth. As Reddit user Not_Like_The_Movie points out: "Post patch, a rank 1 Hydra should hit for 12% direct damage and apply a 7.2% burn … If they had simply fixed the bug with no adjustment, it would do 12% direct with a 1.44% burn."

So, not as sparkly as a 400% buff might seem—still, there have been other improvements. Incinerate's ramp-up time has been lowered to two seconds, Meteor has a bigger radius now, and the Potent Warding passive's Resistance has been nudged from 6% to 9% at rank 3. Whether bumps like this can bring the Sorcerer back from the dead, though, it remains to be seen.

Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.