The moment Diablo 4 players have been waiting for has arrived. It’s not quite the launch of Season of the Malignant, mind you, but it’s about as big. We’re talking about the pre-season patch, of course, which dropped earlier on all platforms.
Diablo 4’s patch 1.1.0a comes in at around 8.84GB, and it’s the game’s largest so far in terms of the number of changes, but also in how fundamental so many of them are. The list of patch notes is long, especially when you factor in class-specific and item-specific balance tweaks.
So, instead of listing the full changelog (which you can read yourself on Blizzard’s blog), we’re going to highlight the changes with the largest impact on most players.
First, in terms of new content, 1.1.0a adds six Unique items, and seven Legendary Aspects.
All of those are in the game right now, available to all players. If you play after the release of the patch, you’re able to acquire them, and they can drop for you if you’re within their range. Here they are:
Season 1 Unique items
- Ahavarion Spear of Lycander (Uber Unique Staff – World Tier 4): Gain a random Shrine effect for 10-20 seconds after killing an Elite enemy. Can only occur once every 30 seconds.
- Azurewrath (Unique Sword, Barbarian): Lucky Hit – Your Core Skills have up to a 20% chance to Freeze enemies for 3 seconds and deal 0.75-1.5 Cold damage to them.
- Fleshrender (Unique One-Hand Mace, Druid): Debilitating Roar and Blood Howl deal 0.5-1.0 damage to Nearby Poisoned enemies.
- Lidless Wall (Unique Shield, Necromancer): Lucky Hit – While you have an active Bone Storm, hitting an enemy outside of a Bone Storm has up to a 5-25% chance to spawn an additional Bone Storm at their location. Each of your active Sacrifice bonuses increases the chance by 25% and the total number of additional Bone Storms you can have by +1.
- Eaglehorn (Unique Bow, Rogue): Penetrating Shot has a 30-80% chance to fire an arrow that bounces off walls and scenery. Hitting enemies from behind with Penetrating Shot will make them Vulnerable for 3 seconds.
- The Oculus (Unique Wand, Sorcerer): Gain the effect of the Teleport Enchantment for free. When you Evade using Teleport Enchantment, you are taken to a random location.
Season 1 Legendary Aspects
- Audacity (Utility Aspect): When there are at least 5 Close enemies, Stun them for 2-4 seconds. This can only occur once every 20 seconds.
- Craven (Mobility Aspect): You gain 20-40% increased Movement Speed when moving away from Slowed or Chilled enemies.
- Ancestral Charge (Offensive Aspect, Barbarian): Charge calls forth 4 Ancients who also Charge, dealing 50-100% of normal damage.
- Subterranean (Offensive Aspect, Druid): Poison Creeper’s active also casts Landslide in a circle around you. Earth Skills deal 10-20% increased damage to Poisoned enemies.
- Gore Quills (Offensive Aspect, Necromancer): Blood Lance will consume Blood Orbs to also conjure lances from them. Each additional Blood Lance deals 20-50% of normal damage and prioritizes targeting un-lanced enemies.
- Pestilent Points (Offensive Aspect, Rogue): Every third cast of Puncture is Poison Imbued with 100-150% of normal potency.
- Searing Wards (Offensive Aspect, Sorcerer): After spending 200-100 Mana your next Firewall is free to cast and will destroy incoming Small Missiles.
Patch 1.1.0a also has a number of big gameplay changes, some of which Blizzard previously discussed. Altars of Lilith unlocks are now account-wide, meaning you only need to find them once. The same also goes for map discovering and fog of war clearing. This applies to all future characters, including seasonal characters, which is why doing as much of those things as possible before the start of the season sets up for a strong start.
Silent Chests, which have so far served as a sad source of low-tier drops, have had their loot quality significantly improved. Whispers should no longer reward Sigil Dust, which is great news for people hoping for more meaningful rewards from them.
Melee players will be happy to know that monsters won’t move around as often in combat, so you shouldn’t be doing as much chasing. What’s not quite clear is why Blizzard increased the cast time of the Leave Dungeon ability from three to five seconds – but that’s a change that’s been made. PC players looking for a reason to plug in an expensive controller get one, thanks to DualSense Edge controller support.
If you just made it to World Tier 2, there’s good news there. Bonus gold has been increased from 15% to 20%, and monsters in that world tier now drop 15% more items. While there are no changes for World Tier 3 and 4, Blizzard adjusted enemy scaling in those two higher tiers.
Enemies will now begin to fall behind player level at a certain point, up to maximum of five levels behind. For WT3, that begins after level 56, and level 76 for WT4. “We want to give players a better sense of their power progression and mastery over the world while still challenging themselves with structured End Game activities,” Blizzard explained.
Another change for World Tier 3 and 4 is that the XP players get from completing Whispers has been significantly increased. Now onto the changes that are bound to make some players angry.
Earlier today, we covered a detailed chart about the best ways to quickly level up, which relied on the XP bonuses higher-level enemies have, as well as the dungeons and strongholds that hold the largest number of enemies while being fast to complete.
While that information remains valuable, patch 1.1.0a changed how bonus XP is calculated in several major ways. Before the patch, players received 15% more XP when the enemy killed was one level higher, 20% when two levels higher, and 25% at three or above.
Now, the game will add just a 1.5% bonus per level, which caps at 10 levels above the player’s own. For example, an enemy that’s one level higher will now grant 1.5%, whereas one that’s ten whole levels higher will grant only 15%.
There’s more, too. XP rewards from monster level offsets in World Tier 3 and 4 are being reduced. World Tier 3 now goes up to +6 (instead of +10), and World Tier 4 is now at +10 (instead of +100). This is meant to make group farming much less effective.
A common tactic was for high-level players to invite low-level friends to areas where they can’t realistically make any progress. The low-level players would wait outside a dungeon, for instance, while the higher-level pros would tear through dungeon mobs, thereby giving those idling massive XP payouts for doing nothing. That should now be much less viable.
Helltide is also becoming more challenging. Helltide monsters are now three levels above the player’s, instead of two. The Tortured Gift of Mysteries chest will now cost 250 Aberrant Cinders to open, rather than 175. To compensate, any interactable object in a Helltide zone now has a small chance of dropping Aberrant Cinders.
The full changelog at the link at the top of the page is well worth reading, particularly if you’re worried about a certain nerf to your class. Season of the Malignant kicks off Friday, July 20.