Starfield | Securing The Scientist
It’s great to see Diablo IV is ramping things up for season two starting on October 17th, 2023. In just a couple of days, we get to dive back into the game, this time getting infected by a vampire transforming in some way and having a new line of powers. It seems this time of year is perfect for such a plot.
I for one am super excited that they are putting forth what appears to be even more effort than season one. I felt like season one in a way was almost another beta testing out the waters of how seasons were going to be run.
I have to say I'm glad they are ramping up the storyline for season two. I have always felt Blizzard in a way and their employees have done some amazing work over the years when it comes to storylines, cutscenes, and having some grand adventure unfold in front of the player for their different games.
This is also in a way a bit of a tell-tale of how much of an investment they are putting into something. If the storyline and other elements appear to be lacking in one of their products. You know that kind of sets the bar for the rest of it. I’m super hyped hoping the bar they have set for season two is a bit higher.
I do love it short-term when a season in a game tries to match the overall theme going on in the real world. With it being October and Halloween and many other events coming up, a darker and more blood-themed season seems great. At least for the first half of the season. When we are nearing the end of the year holidays, I just don’t feel that kind of vibe is not wanted which makes me wonder a bit when they plan on ending this next season.
I do think it’s a neat idea to change from a storyline standpoint the overall player being bitten by a vampire. Not forever changing us almost seems like they want some continuation in a way of things and not making it all a single standoff to be forgotten about next season kind of thing.
Consuming blood and acquiring vampiric powers sounds interesting in this upcoming season. I do feel in a way that is a bit playing with fire. If you don’t 100% nail balance between different classes when you are making such a gaming-changing thing to gameplay. You are going to make some classes feel like they are even further behind (cough sorcerer.)
Such things could also just be a total flop. If they are not powerful enough, players might just ignore whatever extra abilities and powers a vampire has in needing to acquire blood. It would not be the first time I've seen players just totally ignore a game mechanic that was rolled out for a season in an ARPG focusing more on standard play.
I do at least like the fact that since there is a big push on the idea that people are being kidnapped and harvested for blood this brings a new event to the map. Blood Harvests will be something always active somewhere on the map. Since they move around if you end up hating it you just have to wait a little bit if they appear in an area you want to be in.
While I admit I don’t care too much about going around slaying vampires and turning into a bat. As if it was some chance for someone to live out their far too deeply profound love for some rather lame movie shows and books about vampires (you know what books I'm talking about). It at least puts a major twist on things for the short term.
It appears this will be the way to get new items and quench our thirst for blood and our builds. It will be interesting to see how much of this season spills over into the normal run-of-the-mill activities of the game outside of Blood Harvests.
As far as any powers we will be getting and the effects of these new vampire things we are getting. I’m somewhat staying away from information relating to that. I like there to be a little surprise and fun to find out for myself without spoiling things before the season is even out.
One of the things I've noticed in some of the videos and screenshots coming out for the next season is an increase in inventory tabs. While it might not sound like much. I strongly believe certain items in the game need their own separate tab. I can only hope that is in fact what we are getting.
There appear to be some changes to gems. At the very least according to the patch notes gem fragments will now go into the materials tab instead of the inventory. While I'm not the biggest fan of no longer looting an entire gem and then having the option to upgrade it to a higher tier. It seems at least they are playing around with different ways to go about things while solving the inventory issue.
While such a change to gems might not sound like a big deal. It speaks volumes about the kind of overhaul they are willing to do to something. Such as Whisper Caches getting more specific in only dropping armor pieces for the reward you select. I always found it a bit odd anyway when you selected a reward for helms and got anything but that.
I would not be shocked if in proceeding seasons, we see them tie down Whispers, Helltides, Hell Dungeons, and World Boss fights to be more exclusive in the rewards given compared to the other actives you can perform. It seems in the next season they will experiment slightly with such an idea with what they are doing with gem fragment drop rates and it being more favored by Whisper Caches.
I hope they don’t force us in the long run to do everything to target farm a particular object we want from gem fragments to sigils. I do feel many players enjoy min and maxing so playing into that a little bit might have a better overall result for many. There are however many who simply don’t enjoy say killing world bosses due to it being far more time-limited when it is available.
There are also just a lot of changes that we were expecting to see in season one that either did not go far enough or did not at all. In season two there appears to be a massive overhaul to the experience. In season one once you got to a high enough level, it was more about how many kills you could get an hour than it was about pushing yourself to fight increasingly higher-level creatures.
In season two it looks like certain level ranges are getting a nice ~35% experience boost at the higher levels. I am also rather shocked they are increasing Helltide chest rewards for tier IV by 750%.
At first, I wondered if this was an attempt to lure people away from running Nightmare dungeons. After further looking into things, it seems that is not the case. They are also improving the Nightmare dungeon experience. Unlike Helltides and many other actives which are clearly stating how large of a boost they are getting they have again not made it clear the improvements in exact amounts being made to Nightmare dungeons.
At the very least they are bringing back some of the creature density that they nerfed before season one even started regarding dungeons. At the time they attempted to push players into running Nightmare dungeons over doing other things. While it appears Nightmare dungeons are getting the bulk of the boost one can only suspect it would trickle down to non-Nightmare as well.
All of this is just increasing how fast we as players will level up. Do I feel that was needed? While I welcome more density for Helltide to Nightmare dungeons I was ok at the rate I was leveling up as. The faster players level up and meet their goals for the season the less time they need to play it.
Increasing how fast your level should increase how many more players will attempt to attain level 100. I feel overall if it’s over the amount of time people take off from season one reaching their goals the next season could end up being far too long of a time. There is a reason many games that have seasons try to keep the player playing for the bulk of the time before the next one.
Towards the end of season one, it did feel like a total ghost town. That was even without playing the last week and some change of season as well. Games like Path of Exile have attempted to resolve the issue by having special events running towards the end of a league (season) that get players playing in short-term leagues requiring even more cost and effort by the developer while not solving the overall issue of players getting bored and waiting for new content to come out
One thing I am not so thrilled to see is the increase in gold cost for enchanting, rare items. For a savvy player, you would always save loads of gold and enchant a rare item before putting an aspect on it making it a legendary item. At the very least the overall gold cost for legendary items is getting somewhat decreased. I still do not feel they are going far enough in reducing costs. It’s just insane how much gold you can spend on an item after only rerolling the same stat slot a couple of times.
For many a rather big change is now all renown gained will be carried over. In the past, this was only done for areas discovered renown. Seasons I feel have poked a hole in the renowned system itself. Many players just experienced the dread of having to spend large amounts of time having to re-farm the majority of it.
This is just one of those systems in this game that appear to have been a great idea for non-season play. It's just a little strange having a fresh character at the start of a season with extra skill points and all the other stuff you get for finishing off renown once you have done it at any point in the past. This also just seems like the cheap way to resolve the issues it created in season play without having to rework it all to make it fit better with what the player base wants in the short term.
It will be interesting to see if the developers make any ninja nerfs or last-minute changes to class balances. The amount of class balances changes is far too massive to want to single out anything. It at least seems like while browsing through it they are more focused on increasing than nerfing. Far too many ARPGs out there focus heavily on nerfing which the players tend to hate over just buffing. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the long run and if any of last season's top-performing builds are no longer valid or get replaced by something else this time around.
This is naturally quite a condensed overview of quite a few changes and what the next season will bring. These were just some of the more interesting things that stood out to me. I can only hope they bring up a much better season than the last one and do not have that feeling that we are just beta-testing things even further. Regardless I'm going to have a blast in Season of Blood. Some of it I'm attempting to not dig too deep into at this time, so I have some surprises ahead for myself to discover in the first couple of days of the season.