As announced, last night Blizzard Entertainment launched the first ranked season of Diablo II: Resurrected. On this occasion, a new trailer was released, which also introduces the new features introduced in update 2.4. You can watch it below.
Patch 2.4 for Diablo II: Resurrected is now available. We had to wait for the update much longer than announced, but it looks like the long stay on the Public Test Server (PST) turned out to be fruitful. Along with the patch to the game came a lot of important changes.
Diablo rankings are heading to the game
Patch 2.4 introduces support for ranked mode. Only "support", because the first ranked season will start on April 29. However, the creators have already discussed what we can expect.
- As part of the optional ranked games, we will get four ladders, each with its own scoreboard. Classic variant will include only four acts of the basic version of Diablo II and the expansion ranking will include the content from Lord of Destruction expansion. Both modes will be complemented by their "hardcore" versions, in which one death means the end of the game.
- Ranked mode will also receive unique content not available outside of it. At least until the end of the season. After that, players will be able to transfer loot from ranked mode to "normal" online play. This option will only remain available until the start of the third ranked season.
- Blizzard is also preparing a special broadcast with famous players from North America, Australia and Korea. The Infernal Race will start simultaneously with the first season. You can watch the duels on the Twitch channel of the developers.
Diablo 2: Resurrected balance - developers are catching up
The lion's share of new features introduced in update 2.4 are changes in gameplay balance. The previous patch for Diablo II that modified character classes was released in March 2010, and that's the only reason why version 2.4 of the remaster sparks a lot of emotions. Especially that there are a lot of changes.
- This includes not only value changes (such as doubling attack speed after using Unleash and tenfold increase in the time it takes to cast Shadow Warrior), but also added or removed synergies (such as with Lightning Fury) and updated descriptions to better reflect how items and skills work.
- The bonuses for item sets have also been changed, including Cathan's Trap (16% mana regeneration for 2 items added) and Iratha's vFinery (24% chance of piercing attack for 3 items).
- New schemes for the Horadric Cube and runic words have also been added to the game (only in ranked mode; although the ability to transfer characters and loot suggests that sooner or later we'll check the new Runewords also outside the ladder).
- Mercenaries have been modified by, among other things, eliminating random level differences. In addition, some monsters will be more challenging on infernal difficulty.
The list of changes is huge - you can see that the developers decided to make up for twelve years that have passed since the last patch for Diablo II. There were also some changes in gameplay mechanics. Details can be found on the game's official website.
Uber Diablo, uber patch?
Patch 2.4 also contains changes in so called Uber Diablo - more powerful version of the iconic boss. From now on, progress will be counted in regional bases, which will make Uber Diablo appear not only on a given server, but for all players in a given area. Furthermore, progression will be tracked separately for each of the eight game modes.
It doesn't stop there. The developers also weeded out quite a few bugs, added three options to emulate the original visuals in the "Legacy" section, improved AI of mercenaries, pets, and summoners, and improved the interface etc. For the full list of changes we refer again to the game's official website.
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So far, it seems that the update has been warmly received by the players. Fans appreciated above all the elimination of many bugs (including the so-called mana burning), as well as some other improvements (including increasing the limit of arrows and bolts to 500). Balance changes are more difficult to assess - with so many of them, it will take some time before the players will decipher the new metagame of Diablo 2.