- Diablo 4's first season patch received negative reception due to nerfs and downgrades to classes and gameplay features, leading to little excitement for making new characters.
- The game's level scaling changes in the patch disincentivize playing the seasonal loop, as underleveled enemies in Malignant Tunnels provide very low experience.
- The lack of level scaling after a certain point makes the grind to level up characters to 100 repetitive, with running dungeons being the most efficient route. Players want Blizzard to address this issue and provide more options for scaling level multipliers.
When it first launched in early access and then worldwide just a few days later, Diablo 4 was largely praised for its gameplay loop, how fun and engaging its ARPG features were, and how much of a breath of fresh air it was overall, especially coming from Blizzard. However, fans' reception has changed massively since then, and one of the main culprits is Diablo 4's first season, which not only undermined some of the core conceits that made fans happy, but also introduced little incentive to play seasonal characters instead of Eternal Realm ones. The patch did a lot of damage to the game's reputation and player morale, but one of the worst outcomes was that a key launch feature was gutted.
Diablo 4's Season of the Malignant patch notes stopped the hype right in its tracks due to the multitude of nerfs and downgrades to all of the classes and several gameplay features, to the point that there was little excitement for rolling out new characters. On top of that, the seasonal loop is not as prevalent or enticing in the first place, but one of the most lamented additions is Diablo 4's battle pass, which feels unnecessary and unrewarding. And yet, the moment-to-moment gameplay is now suffering from a different change that has everything to do with level scaling.
Diablo 4's Changes to Level Scaling Made Season 1 Less Enjoyable
Among the many class nerfs in Diablo 4's Season of the Malignant was also a major change to how level scaling in the overworld works, with every zone capping at the player's own level to make exploration challenging and rewarding. This also meant that players could at times bite more than they could chew by entering high-density areas and dungeons, and while the approach had its pros, a big con was that newbies of the franchise and the genre could often be met with their character's demise with unoptimized builds.
However, the way the game handles level scaling now is equally problematic, to the point that it actively disincentivizes playing the all-new seasonal loop due to the extremely low experience one can get from underleveled enemies in Malignant Tunnels. The main purpose of Diablo 4's launch level scaling was to keep every location and activity relevant even in the endgame, but this becomes increasingly harder to achieve the higher the player character's level. At this rate, Diablo 4 encourages players to run through the same set of activities over and over if they want to improve their characters.
Diablo 4's lack of level scaling means that the most efficient route for leveling up characters past level 50 or 60 is to run dungeons, with Nightmare Dungeons being the best way for players to obtain experience and good items. Past a certain point, regular dungeons too become obsolete, as well as cellars, the Tree of Whispers' bounties, side quests and objectives, and Malignant Tunnels. This makes the grind to go up to level 100 quite repetitive and mechanical, as there is only one true best way to handle it.
Diablo 4's Helltides can offer some degree of variety from Nightmare Dungeons, but the core problem will remain until Blizzard addresses the feedback regarding level scaling. The previous system was far from perfect, but in the eyes of many, it was simply much better than the current one, where players can get stacking decreases to the amount of experience gained from activities where enemies are a few levels under that of the player character. As such, some suggested that Blizzard should implement more ways to scale level multipliers, possibly with players having control over this particular feature.