If you've got a hankering for more Diablo 4 but can't be asked with another blasted level grind, Blizzard's got good news for you. As of Diablo 4 Season 2, your grind to level 100 should be about "40% faster" compared to Season 1 thanks to a raft of buffs.
Blizzard unveiled sweeping changes to the Diablo 4 level grind today, complete with a revised roadmap explaining what all you can do as you level up and progress your World Tier. The headliner is this comment from game director Joe Shely: "There are a number of different experience bonuses here, and cumulatively, compared to Season 1 your time to get to level 100 is going to be 40% faster."
"Why'd we do that?" jokes associate game director Joseph Piepiora.
"We just talked about all of the boss changes that add more content as you're leveling up," Shely responds. "We also want players to be able to get to level 100. It's a goal that many players set for themselves, and it should be an achievable goal. In Season 1, we saw that there were some players getting frustrated. Maybe you get to level 75 and you're like, 'I want there to be more things to do, it feels like it slows down.' We really wanted to smooth that over and make the process of reaching that goal and getting to the end of the season journey feel like an achievable goal for all our players who invest time in the season. And along the way, you're going to have a lot more cool stuff to do."
The updated level 1 - 100 roadmap that Shely's pointing back to shows sharp contrast between Diablo 4's launch progression flow and post-Season 2 progression. Here's the before and after:
Piepiora notes that while World Tier 4 is currently "a lot of Nightmare Dungeons, a lot of Helltide," the endgame rhythm is getting a refresh with more breadth. "Players are looking for more milestones, they're looking for more goals, they're looking for more things to farm, ways to make their characters powerful," as he puts it.
To that end, Season 2, the Season of Blood, is injecting some new directions into the World Tier 3 and 4 ecosystems, with a bigger focus on the ultra late-game. At Tier 3, you'll encounter two new bosses: the Echo of Varshan, a source of Uniques that only drop from him, and Grigoire, The Galvanic Saint. Hunting Varshan feeds back into the reprised Whispers gameplay loop of Season 1, while Grigoire adds a new challenge to Helltides with "lightning-themed attacks."
Tier 4 appears much more open with its own, souped-up versions of Varshan and Grigoire which will now drop summoning materials for fighting Duriel, King of Maggots, "a new level 100 boss who will have a chance to drop Unique items as well as a low chance to drop Uber Unique items." These mega-rares will still be uncommon, but much more accessible.
Tier 4 Nightmare Dungeons are getting a special boss of their own, the Beast in the Ice. This boss appears at Nightmare Dungeons of Tier 31 and higher; as you clear them, you'll have a chance of getting a new material used to make "a new, special Nightmare Dungeon key that explicitly brings you to the Beast in the Ice's lair" in search of new items.
Finally, Lord Zir, the main baddie of Season 2, will have a buffed World Tier 4 version that can likewise be summoned using materials collected from other high-level bosses. Piepiora notes that "if you've got friends, you can try to farm these components up together as a way to more quickly access these fights. You can also trade these materials between players as well, so if you've got half the things you need to summon Varshan but you don't have the other half, you can go on trade chat and try to find the other components and spend the gold necessary to exchange for those things and more quickly summon the boss you need."
As a reminder, outside seasonal figures like Lord Zir, a lot of this content will be available in the eternal realm going forward. And as evidenced by Varshan's return, seasonal bosses may be revisited in the future as permanent content.