Diablo 3’s season 29 demonstrates everything Diablo 4 gets wrong

Diablo 3 is Entering a Semi-Retirement Phase

Diablo 3, released 11 years ago, is now the oldest of the four Diablo games that Blizzard currently operates. While it is not being discontinued, the developer has decided to move it into a semi-retirement phase. The latest season, “Visions of Enmity,” launched on September 15 and will be the final season to receive its own theme and new content. After season 30, Diablo 3 will cycle through old seasonal content on a three-month basis. Although seasons in Diablo 3 were never a significant feature, the game has undergone changes and updates throughout the years. However, upon revisiting the game for season 29, it becomes evident that Diablo 3 still has some advantages over its sequel, Diablo 4.

Contrasts between Diablo 3 and Diablo 4

Diablo 3, despite its age, offers a level of randomization and abstract gameplay that Diablo 4 lacks. The “Visions of Enmity” season introduces Diabolical Fissures, which are portals that appear randomly as players progress through the game. These portals take players to scenes from the game’s campaign, filled with challenging monsters and unique conditions. Surviving this onslaught offers players a chance to earn valuable loot. Diablo 3’s willingness to embrace randomness and remix its dungeons endlessly creates an exciting and fun gameplay experience.

In contrast, Diablo 4 focuses on creating a massive and grounded world. While Diablo 4 is legitimately vast and cohesive, with every location and theme making sense within its physical world, players may find themselves spending more time traveling to their destinations and encountering familiar places. This can make the game feel less expansive compared to Diablo 3’s more immediate and action-packed gameplay.

Itemization and Character Progression

One area where Diablo 3 surpasses Diablo 4 is in itemization. Diablo 3 provides a more satisfying and immediate sense of progression when equipping new items, especially weapons. Players feel more powerful as soon as they equip an item that increases their damage. Diablo 4, on the other hand, offers a granular stat system and deep itemization that focuses on theorycrafting and incremental progress. The complexities of Diablo 4’s stat system may not provide the same sense of satisfaction for players.

Furthermore, Diablo 3’s itemization has come a long way since its launch. The initial item game was lacking, featuring a real-money auction house that hindered player progress. However, with the “loot 2.0” update before the Reaper of Souls expansion, Diablo 3 significantly improved its item drops and rewards. Legendary items become more frequent, providing players with a steady flow of loot. However, this constant escalation of generosity has led to balancing issues in the game’s math, with a significant power gap between players and monsters.

The Fun Factor: Diablo 3 vs. Diablo 4

Despite its flaws, Diablo 3 remains a more enjoyable and fun game than its sequel. While Diablo 4 is well-balanced and offers a constant challenge, Diablo 3’s gameplay mechanics and immediate gratification make it more engaging. Boss fights in Diablo 3 can vary from being impossible to too easy, which adds a sense of unpredictability to the game. Diablo 3 may have had a rocky start, but Blizzard’s efforts to improve and break the game in a fun way ultimately paid off.

Although Diablo 3 is entering a semi-retirement phase, it still offers an exciting and satisfying gaming experience for players. Diablo 4, while promising and vast, lacks some of the immediate gratification and randomization that makes Diablo 3 a standout game in the series.