Diablo IV Refreshes Its Endgame With Season 4: Loot Reborn

Diablo IV Loot Reborn Season
Reviewed On
PlayStation 5
Available For

When Diablo IV launched, it was one of the most anticipated action RPGs to release in years. It had a long development process to be sure, punctuated by several public beta tests and then a server slam event right before release. The resulting game was pretty amazing and had just about everything players could want or ask for in an action RPG. It was not quite perfect, but pretty close, and scored very highly in our GiN review.

I spent months playing the core campaign with my co-op partner, slowly leveling up our characters to the maximum level, which is currently 100. The leveling system is kind of interesting in that it really kind of follows three tiers. First you are gaining new skills or enhancing existing ones each time you level up, which is kind of the traditional way that you do things in most RPGs. However, once you reach level 50, you unlock the Rune Board, which takes you into the second phase of leveling up. Eventually you stop getting new skills and only advance on the Rune Board. And even though you get multiple rune points for every character level, the gains you earn there are much more subtle than just learning a new spell or skill. As such, it’s less exciting to populate your board compared with, say, earning a new kind of fireball to toss at enemies, but you still feel the progress. And finally, once you reach level 100, you stop earning points or experience all together. That begins the third tier of development, which is basically trying to find perfect gear to maximize your character build.

That final tier of development is arguably the weakest of the three in terms of player fun, or at least it was before the Loot Reborn season started on May 14. Before Loot Reborn, you generally had to just go through dungeons, participate in legion events, fight bosses or world bosses, and hope that some gear dropped that was at least somewhat helpful to your build. There was an overwhelming number of times where it wasn’t. It’s extremely disappointing to finish an epic dungeon or fight carrying a bag brimming with yellow, orange or even gray tier gear, only to slowly go through it all while saying, “crap, junk, not helpful, enhances a skill I don’t even use, very weak, crap, junk, crap…” until your entire bag of primo-seeming loot has been recategorized as vendor trash. This would happen seemingly regardless of the level of challenge involved in collecting all that loot.

Honestly, Diablo IV had gotten kind of boring for me and my co-op partner, especially in the eternal realm part of it. Now, those players who dove into the new seasonal content every few months did have some new stuff to look forward to, since they were rebuilding and creating a new character each season, but I spent a long time building out my character up to max level, and I am not keen to start all over again. I know some people love doing that for the seasons, and it’s great that they enjoy it, but it’s just not for me. As such, from an eternal realm only player’s point of view (and there are quite a lot of us) I kind of felt locked out of any new fun, especially after hitting level 100.

The new Loot Reborn season aims to change all of that. For the first time, the majority of changes affect both sides of the title, seasonal and eternal, which is a really good thing. Yes, there is seasonal content involving helping out the Iron Wolves in a campaign, which is great, but most of the core changes also happen in the main part of Diablo IV.

For example, hell tides are now much improved. The hell tide events are much more interactive, with characters earning the rage and ire of hell’s minions as they keep slaughtering troops inside the zone. That in turn leads to more ambushes and more powerful enemies seeking them out the longer you dare stay inside. Eventually, you can trigger the boss of the hell tide to spawn along with several legions of helpers. If you somehow survive that onslaught (it’s really difficult), then you can earn a ton of powerful rewards, which, of course, are now much more useful thanks to the new crafting systems we will cover next. Hell tides are also expanding to all tiers of Diablo IV, so even lower-level characters can have fun with them.

However, the biggest change in Loot Reborn, as the name suggests, is a total revamp of the loot system. The changes are amazingly well thought out and designed, and they really help to add a big element of enjoyability and excitement back into Diablo IV. This was done by reducing the amount of loot that drops, but also making each item much more configurable. Drops also fall at maximum level, so there is no need to beef them up for five levels at a blacksmith, which was mostly a trivial annoyance for high level characters with thousands of components and millions of gold pieces stored up to the point where the monetary system was pretty much meaningless. Now, when you get an item, it’s basically at max level but also ready to be configured using two new systems that fully support customization.

The two new systems are Tempering and Masterworking, although the way you add Greater Affixes to your gear also got a revamp. Starting with adding those epic powers to your orange weapons, you no longer have to carry a pile or affixes with you or lock them away in your storage chest. Instead, they are all warped over to the enchanter who holds them for you (really, they are stored inside your Codex of Power). When you break down a new item, any affix it has is automatically moved to the codex too. Affixes have levels, so if you collect two affixes that do the same thing, like stunning enemies when you get surrounded, they will combine to make a slightly stronger power by doing things like making the stun last longer or affecting more enemies. Some affixes can level up 16 times, so collecting them is always a good idea so you can imprint the most powerful version of the affix.

Where working with affixes is basically a modified system, Tempering is entirely new. You will now find drops out in the world that look like scrolls. Picking them up and reading them lets you learn a tempering blueprint which can be used to add a power to an orange-tier piece of gear. Blueprints consist of four possible powers, and you will randomly get one when you temper an item, although the title lets you re-roll up to five times if you don’t like what you get.

For example, for my sorcerer build, I found a frost-based blueprint that either increased the size of my blizzard cloud, gave me more frozen orbs or made either ice shards or frost bolts cast twice whenever triggered. I really wanted the frost bolt power, but settled for the blizzard size for now because I like covering a quarter of the screen in ice. Also, each piece of legendary ancestral gear can take two tempering improvements instead of one, making them very powerful indeed.

You are also less limited by item location restrictions. So, for example, before Loot Reborn, the few powers that could go onto boots were pretty weak. But now you have a bit more freedom. Blueprints are somewhat restricted, but most will work with multiple slots.  For example, that blizzard power I mentioned sounds like a weapon power, but I was able to add it on a ring.

Once you have things tempered, you can then go into a new area called The Pit of the Artificers challenge dungeons, which are tiered and ever increasing in difficulty — basically like The Rifts from Diablo III. Inside those dungeons, you only have a limited amount of time to find and fight a boss, which is done by killing enough monsters to trigger a portal to the lair of the boss. Once finished, you collect special components for Masterworking, which can be spent at the blacksmith to increase tempered powers. It really blasts their power into the stratosphere too. So, for example, my blizzard might one day be able to take up nearly the entire screen if I fully upgrade it. Each level of masterworking generally adds 5 percent to tempered powers, and they can be upgraded 12 times.

Now, imagine what you could do with your character by adding powers like that to your gear with so much flexibility, and then you can quickly understand how amazing (and big) this new update is for Diablo IV players, and how important the changes in Season 4 are for the overall game.

Loot Reborn is easily the biggest update for Diablo IV since it launched. With changes to the eternal and seasonal realms, this is a really big deal for players. For those like me whose interest in the action RPG had started to wane, Season 4: Loot Reborn is a perfect excuse to draw us back into Diablo IV for more hellishly fun gameplay, crafting and conquering.

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