Sunday 10 January 2016


Diablo 3’s enormous 2.4 update is scheduled to launch on January 15th. The patch, probably the most significant update to the game since the Reaper of Souls expansion, has been in gestation for a while and will feature a wealth of new content alongside the usual skill changes, re-balances and exploit fixes.

The headline feature is Greyhollow Island, a brand new zone designed explicitly for the game’s endless Adventure Mode, described as a “mysterious forested locale is steeped in intrigue, [where] rumors abound that those who visit are doomed to never return.’ It’s the first area to have been designed from the ground up for the endlessly replayable adventure mode, rather than as part of a campaign, which has allowed Blizzard to experiment with some more non-linear storytelling approaches. Players will be able to try and piece together clues as to what happened on the island and unravel it’s mysteries to their conclusion, or simply go hunting for bounties as per usual. Two other existing game areas have been expanded as well – Leoric’s Manor has had the Royal Quarters added, and the Ruins of Sescheron gains the Eternal Woods.

Item sets have had a big overhaul as well, with many of them being specifically themed around particular playstyles. To that end, Blizzard will also be introducing ‘set dungeons’; dungeons which unlock upon completing a set, and will challenge the player’s mastery of that specific set’s skills. New legendary items have been added as well, and the UI has seen some usability tweaks. To offset the surfeit of players with stupidly large piles of gold and little to spend it on, there is also the addition of Empowered Rifts – essentially the ability to spend gold when opening a Greater Rift for a higher chance and high-end gems and loot.

Considering the current climate around DLC and season passes, I think Blizzard should be commended for still adding so meaningfully to a game already at market without trying to monetize it. Diablo 3 is a game built around repetition, and the addition of significant new wrinkles to the core loop of killing and looting will go along way to breathing new life into the game. It will be interesting to see if Blizzard intend to release any further traditional expansions or continue with this model of adding content incrementally.

A full list of the additions can be found on a blog post here and an interesting look at Greyhollow Island’s design can be found here.