Diablo 4’s Sorcerer class is the star of patch 1.1.1, which is set to drop next week, but the big list of changes doesn’t exactly fix their worst problems.
In the Campfire Chat stream last week and in today’s patch notes, Blizzard says it wants to directly address the Sorcerer’s late-game survivability and skills with fussy requirements that effectively hurt your overall power. Greater Chain Lightning, for example, used to deal 5% extra damage when it bounced off of your character, but now it will do that when it bounces off of anyone.
While the list of changes to Sorcerers lifts their weakest skills up, particularly the fire-based ones, they don’t seem to drastically change how many viable builds there are once you start delving deeper into the hardest Nightmare Dungeon tiers, namely Ice Shards and Blizzard. But, like the controversial patch 1.0.1 that tanked survivability and overall damage output for every class, the changes raise the value of weaker builds and skills on your way to 100.
Fire and Shock Sorcerer builds will see the most changes. Fireball’s skill tree upgrade, Enhanced Fireball, will now just make the explosion 50% bigger regardless of how far it’s traveled. Hydras, the little fire-spewing pseudo-companions, will stick around long enough that they might be strong enough to make a build around.
For Shock builds, the Aspect of the Unbroken Tether adds even more bounces to Chain Lightning, which further increases the damage buff I mentioned before. And a new Legendary bonus, the Mage-Lord’s Aspect, adds up to 27% damage reduction when you’re surrounded by enemies—a significant increase in survivability for one of the flimsiest classes in the action RPG.
Barbarians are the other focus of the patch and their changes are also relatively minor when it comes to popular endgame builds. The changes to Fury generation should reduce how long you have to wait for powerful skills while leveling, and bleed builds have several options to increase their damage with a massive increase to Enhanced Ruptures explosion damage. Much like with the Sorcerer, Blizzard is lifting up weaker skills and effects to form builds around, but isn’t really touching the popular builds that struggle to compete with other classes.
Elsewhere in the notes are considerable increases to the number of monsters in Nightmare Dungeons and Helltides to ramp up XP gains and rewards. Level 60 and higher bosses will now have a lot more health as Blizzard intensifies the importance of having a build that can clear out huge waves of monsters as well as a single, powerful enemy. Sorcerers are the worst at this and it’s possible that this change might nullify the small damage increases they’ve gained in this patch.
Patch 1.1.1 drops next week on August 8, and even though it won’t turn Sorcerers or Barbarians into the walking gods that some players want them to be, it’s gradually opening the game up for you to come up with even more creative builds. To me that’s what Diablo is all about, but I have a feeling this isn’t the last round of buffs we’ll see for these beleaguered classes.