It’s been a while since my Diablo 4 review and I was dedicated to taking the highway to hell and grinding out that Diablo 4 endgame and show mommy Lilith what a good boy I am. Well, it’s quite the story with a roller-coaster of emotions and ominous feelings. Let’s take a look at the Diablo 4 endgame content and gameplay loop before the first season hits. Enjoy the Season 1 trailer below!
On top of the world
After beating the campaign you will probably feel hyped and eager to explore the parts of Sanctuary that you missed before. Eager to explore the bounties for the Whispers of the Dead, finish up those last dungeons for your missing aspects and start building the perfect XP per hour grinding build to reach max level.
But that hyped up feeling quickly diminishes when you realize that the loot you get is not even close to being better. The reward from the Whispers of the Dead bounties are underwhelming, inconsistent and a chore to get done. And then a random stranger on the internet reveals the following: “World Tier 2 loot is capped at lower than level 50”.
Level capped world tiers for maximum frustration of the Diablo 4 Endgame
I wasn’t really bent on grinding out to the maximum world tier just yet after completing the main quest. A full list of side-quests demanded my attention and I was low key eager to get started with them. Finding out which ones weren’t just simply grind and collect quests and finding those that had an interesting little storyline or a funny character.
You are essentially being punished for doing side-content during the first fifty levels. You are punished for doing side-quests and exploring the world at a natural pace. You lock yourself out of content that helps you wind down and find your groove before diving into the next big challenge.
So I begrudgingly set out to do the Capstone dungeon in order to increase my world tier. Doing this dungeon was actually a lot of fun. The enemies’ levels were at maximum world tier level and I was a few levels lower than recommended. Their damage was big enough to keep me on my toes but not punishing enough to make it feel unfair. I completed it with renewed energy and motivation because I was at the first step of unlocking more of my rogue’s potential.
World tier 3 unlocks more legendary gear and has a chance of dropping Unique items. A tier up from legendary and extremely rare. This World tier also introduces Sacred items. At first I noticed even white Sacred items had a boost in armour or damage and couldn’t wait to try out the rare or legendary Sacred pieces.
The hunt was on, I scoured the landscape for legendaries or even better sacred legendaries. Only to be utterly disappointed. The legendaries looked bland, had basic uninteresting traits and only a handful really fit my build or did something actually unique to a skill. I had one Unique drop, outside of the Unique item you get at the end of the story. And luckily it was a perfect god tier roll for my build.
Now thirty hours into the end-game the legendaries I find are all useless and have become a source for materials. Not for actually upgrading my current gear. But simply as a stocked stack for the chance of ever getting something better at World tier 4.
A speck of light in the darkness of hell
The only real fun thing that goes on every once in a while is either a world boss or Helltide and the occasional nightmare dungeon. World bosses are huge monsters invading Sanctuary. Their arenas are denser populated than the open world and I rarely ended up doing one with a smaller group. Mostly because I played at night.
Helltides are literal tides of the forces of Hell into Sanctuary. The area changes, it’s more densely populated and all events and enemies are hellish. In these areas you farm aberrant cinders and turn those in with chests that spawned in the areas. These chests show up on the map, but the good chests remain hidden until you get real close. Helltides have it all, exploration, challenge and good density to go loco and spin to win barbarian style.
Nightmare dungeons are OK but far from actually fun to do. They are the replacement for Rifts from Diablo 3 but I liked Rifts so much more. Why? Because they were randomized. Doing the same Nightmare dungeon five times in a row is still the same dungeon with the same enemies and same boss and same layout. It gets boring even with the small modifiers that each Nightmare dungeon key has.
Don’t forget to grind
So after a while you will get a nice build going, those perfect pieces will eventually drop. And the current system where you can collect or extract aspects really speeds up the process to find a good piece of gear. Or turn an OK piece into a great one. But upgrading these pieces is a nightmare.
The cost of re-rolling any aspects spikes like Dogecoin when Elon Musk tweets about dogs. My gold was drained after trying to get one stat re-rolled. And I still had eight pieces to go.. And if you eventually want to upgrade your perfect rolls to their maximum upgrade level. Well… you will NEED to do Helltides because it’s the only event that drops Forgotten Souls. Don’t like Helltides because they are too red? Good luck never upgrading your gear.
Currently I’m sitting at level 60, debating if I should mindlessly grind nightmare dungeons or only log in for Helltides. I need to be level 70 for the next Capstone dungeon and achieve World tier 4. There is no more interesting or better loot for me to find right now and the levels keep getting bigger and longer.
The live service looming doom
The double sided coin of live service games is a tricky one. I’m not completely against this model. But I do know one thing: there is only place in your life for that one and only one life service game. If you want to maintain a social life and enjoy a hobby like Flesh & Blood, there is no place for a second live service game.
In their recent campfire talk Blizzard has announced a ton of quality of life stuff that is going to be added to the first season or later this year. All these quality of life features stem forth from community feedback and analysis they have gathered over the past month. They react to it and are actively working to make Diablo 4 and the Diablo 4 endgame more enjoyable and fun. This is good and they have shown true dedication to this iteration in the series.
This also means that the content we will be receiving is hopefully a continuation of the pristine quality we experienced during the campaign. Hopefully it’s engaging enough and delivers meaningful stories for the world and characters we met during the campaign.
There are obvious holes in the plot and plug-ins for later content. Intentionally designed to be drop fed to the player base to maximize player retention. We can’t look into the future and know what is going to come for Diablo 4 or for the Diablo 4 endgame. What kind of model will the seasons employ? Will we be able to play previous seasons with friends dropping in a year later? Is there really going to be enough to keep everyone engaged?
The seasons and its content could be tailor made for the whales or that group of players on the verge of purchasing a thirty euro skin but not yet convinced. Which is a crazy amount of money for a digital skin in an online-only game that could disappear at any moment when the service stops.
Live service games require a steady stream of income. Me and you are that steady stream of income. We basically become the cows they want to milk to pay their employees that toil away at future content so they can make more money to get paid. And don’t forget the shareholders that milk the employees that milk us. Man, this milk industry is totally fucked up if you ask me.
Live service games are no longer about making good games. But about making money through a possibly good game. Right now Diablo 4 and its content are worth the box price. The ever glowing icon next to the shop keeps drawing my attention, as by design. But the vile practice of making my legendaries look ugly and selling beautiful skins on the sides is enough to keep me at bay. Will the seasons be worth their price? Read more on that next month.
Hell can wait
Right now I’ve taken a short break from being a speedy exploding rogue slayer of demons. The season nears and the gap between world tiers and lackluster gear/content isn’t enough to spend my precious time on.
I do still recommend Diablo 4 to anyone interested. But don’t feel bad about saying enough is enough and moving on to another game for the time being.
What are your thoughts about the Diablo 4 Endgame? Am I too lazy to grind out dungeons? Am I too greedy to demand content that makes me actually think? Let me know down below.