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DiabloDec 20, 2021 2:00 pm CT

The Diablo 2 Resurrected team is making big changes to class balance

It’s pretty rare for a game to get a balance change twenty-two years after its release, but that appears to be what’s about to happen when Diablo 2: Resurrected gets a balance pass in patch 2.4, likely coming out sometime early next year in 2022. The last balance patch for Diablo 2 was in 2010 and of itself that’s pretty wild, considering that Diablo 2 came out in 2000. It’s also uncommon for a game to get a balance change ten years after its release, so it makes sense that the D2R team isn’t treating that final patch from 2010 as sacrosanct.

It’s interesting to see the D2R team so comfortable with the idea of making changes to the classes from the original game, because it feels a lot like treating the game as a continuation, and not the museum piece most remasters end up being.

Diablo 2: Resurrected class balance changes aim to increase build diversity

In the full recording of the live stream from the Diablo 2: Resurrected devs, they spent a lot of time chatting about what they’re doing with these balance changes and what they’re hoping to accomplish at length, but the graphic above sums it all up fairly well if you want a precis. Essentially, they want to make more builds viable, especially for endgame. The goal is to get players to consider using skills that are currently considered undesirable especially at endgame, while leaving each class still in its niche, so that Barbarians are still viable as berserk engines of destruction or Paladins still fit that holy zealot burning away evil with their faith vibe they always have.

Looking at the changes listed in the Patch Highlights post, it seems apparent that D2R is aiming at selective changes for the desired increased viability at higher levels, making talents and abilities that don’t always perform well at endgame their focus. In all of these instances, the focus is on getting players to want to unlock certain skills, both for synergy and to increase the viability of variant builds. Specifically, the melee abilities of the Amazon, the martial arts of the Assassin, Barbarian combat skill diversity — as well as making the Throwing Barb build viable — Druid fire skills and summons, Skeletal Mages and Golems for Necromancers, Thorns and Offensive Auras for Paladins, and underused Cold, Lightning, and Fire skills for the Sorceress class.

Unfortunately these are philosophical directions, not concrete changes as yet — we know changes are coming, and we know the goal is for classes to feel the same while also having more diverse build options, but we don’t actually know what the changes are as yet, just ideas for what they’re thinking about doing. But it’s a fairly progressive direction to be embarking on for a game that is a remaster of a game that launched almost twenty-two years ago. Now we just wait to see how it all shakes out.

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