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Diablo 3

is an action role-playing video game developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment. It is the third installment in the Diablo franchise and was released in the... read more

Diablo 3, Season 4 Impressions

Author: Dmytro Voloshyn
16-Sep-2015

Category: Preview

Season 4 started in the end of the August. Read about the changes it brought and what overall impact it has on the Seasonal experience, together with patch 2.3.0.

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Contents

Intro
Kanai’s Cube value
Seasonal Journey and Seasonal Rewards
Conclusion(s)


Intro

I will not lie if I tell that many players expected this Season to be great. The patch 2.3.0 felt like mini expansion. The devs introduced new sets, reworked old ones, and did a lot of other important work like "quality of life" changes, or addition of new torment difficulty. But I think many players will agree that one of the most important part of the patch content is Kanai's Cube. I was very intrigued to try playing seasonal character, as I knew that all the stuff mentioned above will drastically change the experience. I hoped that changes will affect my experience in very positive way.


Kanai's Cube value

Image title


Indeed, the Cube influenced on many parts of the gameplay in a very positive way. It solved many problems that existed before, and brought new interesting options to the game. But what I wasn't expecting was the influence on the leveling process. Previously, all the legendaries you would find, during the leveling, would be salvaged. This would happen due to legendary becoming not useful. And after finding better slot, you would disenchant it. Now, you save it, until you acquire Cube, so it can become your legendary power.

Such changes improve the gearing curve a lot. Usually, during leveling you find tons of legendaries, and there definitely will be some that is useful to you, as legendary power, upon reaching level 70. The gearing process after hitting level 70, also feels softer. Now, you don’t throw legendaries at forge, when they are worse than your current gear. You think of them as potential legendary power.

This season i played class that I’m not familiar with, which is Witch Doctor. My hype about the Kanai’s Cube was even bigger, as i didn’t know what gear I’m hunting for, or what gear should i value and what not. So, i ended up having a lot of fun experimenting with different combinations of items and legendary powers. Don’t get me wrong! The Kanai’s Cube is great feature, but when you are playing the class you already know, part of this exploration\experimentation experience is lost, as you know what gear would be beneficial to you, and what not.


Seasonal Journey and Seasonal Rewards

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Few of things that new season introduced were Seasonal Journey and Rewards. I think this content is also a part of the overall success. Previous seasons offered new gems and legendaries. They've created new builds and where main part of the reason why people were allured to the seasons, as new content. However, few gems and legendaries is not enough to create cool seasonal experience.

I still think that idea of seasons, as additional content, is not complete. Personally, I don't have huge motivation to play it, once I acquire new stuff. Seasonal journey and rewards don't solve the problem, but I think are steps in right direction. They create unique content, in a way that it can be obtained only during a period of time. However, I think that rewards should be impactful on the gameplay.

The cosmetic stuff like pet, or portrait, is cool, when you want to show off your progress. But imagine if there were items, which would only exist during the season! This would create huge hype around seasons. Devs could make them slightly overpowered, so their hunting and usage would feel truly epic. Heck! Imagine whole set(s) that is obtainable and usable only during specific season, but is much more powerful than the usual one. It can also be made to enhance the set of abilities and play style that never been used before! I think, then seasonal experience will be a blast, and many players would return to D3 just to feel that awesome experience.

I'm not done with this idea! Let's look at it from bigger scale of things. We imagined items and sets made with such approach, but what if meaningful part of your gameplay would be made like that? Imagine gems, crafting items, followers and environment that are reachable only during the season! There is so much potential in this idea! Potential that would be groundbreaking for D3 gameplay, and will make seasonal experience truly epic and exciting. That way you can make crafting and followers really interesting part of the game.

Imagine unique followers! They are different each season, and offer different options! You can experiment with their ability kit, as well as some follower specific gear. This way you can find a better follower playstyle, according to your build. Followers designed in such way would definitely become more involved in the gameplay!

Let’s dream about unique areas! With recent patch developers introduced new area, but it didn’t make huge impact. It is just that area that you find Cube in. That’s it! There is no real reason to return to it. But what if there were areas only accessible during the season? There could be plenty of goals to visit such. They could provide chance at finding season obtainable content, like crafting recipe, or crafting material, or even part of the set! Such approach would bring back to life the crafting and exploration. You would have the real reason to visit the game not only for Rifts and Greater Rifts, but also for damn interesting and exciting content that is available only for the duration of the season!

Have i told you about Gems with such approach? There are also myriads of ways to make them interesting and unique in comparison to their current version. If you have follower, game areas, monsters, gear made with such approach, you can definitely create tons of interesting options and uses for Gems that will be able to interact with those content!

Okay, i guess that’s enough of the unveiling of the features of the upcoming Xpansion! Devs don’t pay me for the
ideas, sadly.


Conclusion(s)

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In the end, season 4 turned out to be huge success. It was expected that features that new patch brought will revitalize the gameplay experience. However I did not expect the experience to be so refreshing. I played seasons before and they weren’t as exciting as this one. You would receive new and refreshing experience, but it was mainly due to fresh start and dreams about new seasonal items. This, of course, wasn’t enough to keep the game healthy, for majority of the player base.

This season brought completely new experience in almost every part of the game. Only campaign mode left untouched. But then again, you have now loot chest after you kill the boss. This is small, but nice change to have. The early game is now interesting process, as all the legendary items you find have the potential to become legendary power.

The bounty farming is valuable again. It has become vital part of the game once more. Not only it provides mats for the Cube, but also it is a source of crafting mats, recipes and useful stuff. You don't feel like you are doing boring grinding, as rewards are very satisfying.

Lastly, introduction of new torment levels, as well as the ability to reach higher greater rifts is nice change towards game health and overall session period.

To be honest, the content patch 2.3.0., and Season 4 brought were unexpected to me. Overall game content curve felt like it was going down. You had some patches here and there, but I thought that we won't see huge and impactful content until next expansion. I'm glad that I was wrong, and new patch turned out to be a surprise. I'm very glad that last patch made such an impact, and I wish that most of the patches were like that. That would be very healthy for the game, as players would have constant interest in the game.


P.S.

Image titleimage source: https://bnetcmsus-a.akamaihd.net/cms/content_folder_media/ou/OUPNKM1LZQOB1439483438081.jpg


There is nice cross-promotion between Diablo 3 and Heroes of the Storm. If you reach level 70 in Diablo 3, with Seasonal character in Season 4, you will be awarded by awesome mount named “Malthael’s Phantom”, in Heroes of the Storm. And if you reach level 12, of your account, in Heroes, you will be awarded special portrait border and pennant. Additional info can be found here: 

http://eu.battle.net/heroes/en/blog/19843383/play-diablo-iii-and-reap-the-benefits-in-the-nexus-17-08-2015



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