There are 51 quality of life changes in the Diablo 4 season 2 patch notes that address some of the action RPG's most glaring issues. Major parts of the game, like leveling speed, mounts, and dungeon layouts have been so dramatically changed that you could almost call this update Diablo 4 2.0—a dramatic overhaul for a game that's just four months old.
Starting on October 17, when the Season of Blood begins, your seasonal and non-seasonal characters will level up faster, have cleaner inventories, finish dungeons more easily, ride their mounts faster, and find better gear than in season 1. Just about everything that got in the way of jumping around Sanctuary and slaying demons has been smoothed out.
"Season 2 really represents the first release where we've had a bit of time to really read all of the feedback from players, watch the videos, and watch players play, and play a lot ourselves in a more live environment with our friends," associate game director Joe Piepiora said in a group interview with PC Gamer.
"The best live service games are ones where there's a healthy dialogue between the player base and the development team," he said, explaining how the new patch targets some of the community's most-requested changes, particularly with the endgame, or post-level-50 experience.
But you'll likely feel these improvements even before level 50. I combed through the patch notes and found seven of the most impactful updates in Diablo 4 season 2.
Everyone can skip the campaign
It's easy to miss one of Diablo 4 season 2's biggest changes for new players in the huge list of patch notes: Now, once you complete the prologue, you can skip the campaign on new characters. Blizzard really said the cataclysmic feud between Lilith and Inarius can wait; do the campaign on your own time. As long as you finish the roughly hour-long prologue on one character, you can skip the other 20 hours of the story and jump straight into the seasonal quests from now on. The patch note doesn't specify it, but I'd assume Eternal Realm characters will be able to skip the campaign, too.
Leveling to 100 is significantly faster
In Diablo 4 season 2, raising your character to level 100 will be considerably faster than it was before. Blizzard says it's "about 40% faster" to reach max level, fully filling out both your skill tree and Paragon Board. Monsters at level 50 or above now reward much more experience, and XP boosts from elixirs and Season Blessings stack multiplicatively (read: better) with the bonuses from each World Tier. We'll have to wait for people to start testing out this massive change, but hopefully it won't feel like you hit a brick wall when you reach level 50.
Dungeons won't waste your time anymore
Blizzard says it's "massively reduced backtracking" in dungeons by plotting their required objectives on the critical path. Dungeons will also be "more procedurally generated and random," to break up the monotony of running the same one several times a week. These changes are listed under Nightmare Dungeons, the high-level version of Diablo 4's regular dungeons, but they should affect both versions and save everyone the pain of reaching a dead end.
Inventory and stash management is much easier
Inventory and stash management will be much easier and faster with the changes coming in Diablo 4 season 2. As previously announced, gems will finally skip your inventory and count as crafting resources that you'll need to take to a Jeweler in one of the major cities to use. That alone would do a lot to keep your inventory clean, but now the three lowest tiers of items in World Tiers 3 and 4 will drop as crafting resources, too, saving you a trip to town.
Blizzard has also added a search bar and filters to your stash. You can simply type the name of the item you want or use a filter to highlight a specific category of items. And any town with a waypoint will now have a stash as well.
Mounts are just better in every way
Diablo 4's horses hit the gym for season 2 and are just better all around. Their normal speed is 15% faster, they're less prone to getting stuck on the environment and slowing to a crawl, their boosted speed with Spur lasts longer and breaks through barriers, and the cooldowns for summoning them after dismounting has been cut in half. The same cooldown reduction applies to the unique mount skills for each class. And you don't have to move your mouse to the edge of the screen anymore to reach full Spur speed—it's now relative to where your mouse started when you activate the ability. If this isn't Diablo 4 2.0, it's definitely Diablo 4 horses 2.0.
Renown rewards are finally permanent
Diablo 4's worst grind is finally over: Renown rewards are permanent once you've earned them once. Instead of having to hunt down the same Altars of Lilith, complete the same dungeons, finish the same side quests, and re-explore all of Sanctuary every single time you start a new character, all of the rewards for maximizing your renown per region will persist forever. All the skill points, potion capacity upgrades, max Obols upgrades, and Paragon Points will be available from the start on any new character you make. If you're a sicko, you can redo it all for the XP and gold rewards, but I wouldn't recommend it.
Unique and Uber Unique items will be farmable
Diablo 4's most powerful and rare items, Uniques and Uber Uniques, will have a higher chance of dropping off of one of season 2's five new endgame bosses. This is huge for endgame players who want to hunt down specific build-changing Uniques, like the Necromancer gloves that make Corpse Explosion spawn skeletons that explode. It will also be the first time you can farm for Uber Uniques, which have a famously low chance to drop off of high-level enemies. Without spoiling who the boss is (beware of the patch notes), you can summon them repeatedly at level 100 for a chance at one of the few Uber Unique items in the game.
In our interview, Piepiora said the chance of a Unique dropping from the bosses won't be 100%, but it will be a "very, very high chance." I imagine the level 100 boss won't drop Uber Uniques quite as often as those, but more often than other monsters in the game.