Prepare to throw out a lot of your Diablo 4 builds after Season 2's itemization, class, and damage changes

Diablo 4 Season 2
(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Diablo 4's latest developer update revealed even more massive changes coming to Season 2, including class balance updates, itemization adjustments, and more.

Last week's dev update largely focused on sweeping quality of life updates as well as a new 1 - 100 roadmap, changes to the Uber Unique drop rate, and a Steam version of the game. Now, we're learning more about how Season of Blood will affect the actual meat of the game in terms of classes, itemization, and combat meta. You can check out the complete 1.2.0 patch notes here, a behemoth I absolutely don't have the space to break down comprehensively in this news story, but do keep reading for the broad strokes covered during today's stream.

First and foremost, Blizzard says the "overwhelming majority" of class changes coming in Diablo 4 Season 2 are buffs. Again, check the official patch notes for every little tweak, but rest assured your character will be buffed overall no matter what the class. Necromancer, Barbarian, and Druid classes are the only exceptions with a handful of nerfs, but they're far outweighed by a laundry list of buffs.

Itemization also got a much-needed looking during today's stream, with Blizzard promising updates to almost every Unique in the game. "Our goal for Unique items is that they feel impactful to your build and create a moment of excitement upon dropping," says Blizzard. "Some Unique items were falling short of this goal, so we are updating them in a few ways to ensure that these items feel distinctly different from other items and are appealing."

Chiefly, Season 2 is adding new Affixes that hadn't existed on items before, adding Affixes that already exist but at a "much higher value than normal," adding Affixes to slots where they normally wouldn't be, and updating Unique powers "to be more desirable."

Season of Blood is also bringing with it an overhaul to Elemental Resistances. Whereas in Season 1, Elemental Resistances were inverse multiplicative and had no hard cap, they're now additive and have a base cap of 70% and a hard cap of 85% with new effects. "Armor now only reduces physical damage," Blizzard says. "The more Resistance you have against a particular element the more valuable each percentage is for total effective Life. For example, going from 60 to 65% Fire Resistance is much more valuable than going from 20 to 25%."

Damage buckets are also getting big changes to nerf builds that are reliant on Critical and Vulnerable damage, which Blizzard says have been "disproportionately powerful." Blizzard says it "wants players to be rewarded for investing into their primary vector damage (ex. Blood Necromancers invest in + Overpower Damage), and to then find other vectors of damage scaling as they customize their character," adding, "we do not want the game to only be simpler with this change (only removing this synergy and giving nothing back."

The change could reduce your damage scaling somewhat, but Blizzard assures it's working carefully to balance monster power to account for that. Ultimately, it expects "total player power difference should be minimal" and says builds will "likely [be] more powerful due to Unique upgrades and other changes."

All of this seems like it could be enough to dramatically reshape Diablo 4's meta and change the way you approach your builds, which should give build-crafters plenty of meat to chew on when Season 2 goes live on October 17.

One Diablo 4 dev recently said Season 2 is "enough of a motivating factor for people to come back and play."

Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.