Diablo 4 players love the endgame, and also hate it, and want it to be harder, but also easier, and the game's not even truly out

Diablo 4
(Image credit: Blizzard)

Diablo 4's early access period is coming to an end ahead of the game's official June 6 release date, and some players are already dipping their toes, feet, and indeed entire legs into its endgame systems, unsurprisingly sparking debate among hardcore grinders.

Diablo veterans will tell you that arguing about endgame is the true endgame, and Diablo 4 players have wasted no time. I've spent a few hours perusing several Diablo 4 communities, doing my best to sift through knee-jerk complaints in the vein of 'give me more of X faster and more easily.' Despite generally positive reception – our own Diablo 4 review gives the game full stars for good reason – a few recurring pain points keep coming up in endgame discussions. 

Class balance is a bugbear as usual, especially with the first big patch rolling out tweaks for almost every class. Every class is plenty playable right now, though some seem to be pulling ahead, but meta builds are changing regularly as abilities are retuned and combos are discovered. 

When it comes to how to respec in Diablo 4, many players have asked Blizzard to reduce the cost during the game's launch phase, not just to make experimenting easier, but also to reduce the frustration caused by balance changes. I can kind of see where players are coming from here; funnily enough, the mentality reminds of the way Blizzard's card game Hearthstone handles balance changes by letting players temporarily refund nerfed cards for their full crafting cost. 

After the latest round of balance changes, resource-generating abilities have seen particularly widespread criticism, with fans of several classes arguing that their resource-spending abilities are currently outstripping their generators by some margin, resulting in a lot of downtime in combat. As players learn the ropes and level up, I suspect this complaint will naturally die down, but there's always a chance of a resource rebalance in the game's early days. 

Diablo 4 Ashava

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Perhaps the fiercest debates are centered around Diablo 4's level scaling, which ensures that enemies stay close to your power level as you fight to reach Diablo 4's max level. This keeps the challenge alive even when revisiting earlier content, but some reckon it's weakened Diablo 4's sense of power and progression, and potentially undermined its tiered difficulty system. This system can also blur the line between what's a Big Endgame Threat and what's a Regular-Ass Skeleton. 

Again, I'd expect to see this perceived problem improve as people get better at the game, but level scaling is a standout subject in the great Diablo 4 launch debates. There is one unquestionably positive side effect, though, and that's co-op scaling for players at totally different levels.  

I've particularly enjoyed the contrast between two posts on the main Diablo subreddit arguing that "progression isn't satisfying" and "progression is super satisfying," with the former becoming one of the hottest posts on the sub. Level scaling comes up in both arguments, and the two seem to inadvertently frame the kind of progression plateau that's common to new action-RPGs: progression feels really good until it doesn't, and then it picks up again once you unlock some new system or affix. 

One player posits that "the endgame has too much intentional friction," laying into tiny inconveniences that add up and consume time. Rather than the heavily upvoted post itself, I'm intrigued by a comment from HiccupAndDown which has more votes than the post itself: 

"I agree some things can be tuned better, and I suspect the live service nature of the game will actually be a net positive in terms of ironing out the endgame... but again, sometimes it seems like some people want to do nothing but stand still in town and grind dungeons for six hours while they slurp down a milkshake. That doesn't strike me as any more fun than what we currently have." 

DIablo 4's Inarius close to smiting down a foe

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Marrying arguments over itemization and level scaling, BigFudgere laments that "When I level up and upgrade my gear, the world around me simultaneously just levels up with me. The relative Power of my character compared to the content always roughly stays the same. So what's the point?"

Here again, a post-surpassing comment weighs in: "You farm gear to make it easier to farm more gear," MillerLiteMondays writes, presumably while enjoying a Miller Lite on this fine Monday.  

Diablo is the ultimate loot treadmill, and Diablo 4 is just its latest incarnation. The important thing to remember is that you're only supposed to stay on the treadmill as long as you want. If and when you feel like you've had enough, you can stop and play something else. It feels to ridiculous to say this so early on, but maybe come back when there's new loot, like when a season starts. That's the best way to enjoy any live service game in my experience. And as Blizzard said, Diablo 4 isn't "intended to be played forever."

That said, the game's technically not even out yet, so sleepless grinders aside, Diablo 4 is undoubtedly still a ways away from any sort of content drought. It'll be interesting to see how early access impressions compare to the general population once the June 6 floodgate breaks. 

On top of seasonal content, with Season One now in its final stages, Blizzard is already working on two Diablo 4 expansions

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.