Diablo 4's upcoming loot rework will be so massive Blizzard will let you playtest it early in its first PTR

Diablo 4's Lilith
(Image credit: Tyler C. / Activision Blizzard)

In a stream today, Blizzard said Diablo 4's next season "goes beyond the scope" of the massive changes it brought to the game in season 2 last year. And for the first time, you'll be able to play with all the new features before the season goes live via a playtest server in a few weeks.

Players have begged Blizzard to offer a PTR, or public test realm, for Diablo 4's new seasons—as it did with Diablo 3 and does with Diablo 2 Resurrected—since season 1. Last month's rocky launch to season 3 was an important example of how bad it can be when Blizzard's internal testing doesn't meet players' expectations. Progress-blocking bugs and a disappointing seasonal pet wasn't how anyone wanted to start a fresh season, and Blizzard agrees.

Not every season will get a PTR, however, Blizzard explained in today's stream. "It depends on the scale of changes that we have, but for season 4 we most definitely plan on having a PTR," associate director of community Adam Fletcher said. A date for the PTR and what to expect in season 4 will be announced on another stream in "a few weeks."

Details on what's coming in season 4 remain vague, but Blizzard has promised it will make foundational changes to how loot works. Right now, items are either worth keeping or salvaged for crafting materials. You have to train yourself to quickly skim for valuable stats on every single item, which can take longer than running an entire dungeon.

The goal with season 4, as Blizzard has said in previous streams, is to make items valuable regardless of them being an upgrade for you. And if you take a look at other action RPGs that do this well, like Last Epoch and Path of Exile, I think it's pretty safe to assume it'll be some kind of crafting system that lets you improve the items you actually care about.

Today's stream also teased substantial changes to Necromancer minions in season 4. Season 3's spider pet has shown how fun a minion can be if it actually scales in power with your character, unlike the skeletons that Necromancers can currently summon. "Minions [are] one of our big priorities to make feel really good," lead live class designer Adam Jackson said. "We'll have a lot coming in season 4 in addition to [the changes coming in next week's mid-season patch.]"

Blizzard ran a demo of The Gauntlet, Diablo 4's new weekly dungeon with leaderboards, on the same stream and it looks like an exciting addition to its endgame activities. It will arrive with a mid-season balance patch on Tuesday.

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.