Diablo 4: Blizzard is already making Season 3’s most annoying mechanics… less annoying

Blizzard rolled out patch 1.3.0a for Diablo 4 on Friday, making it the first update to arrive following the launch of Season of the Construct, the game’s third season. While the patch does address several bugs – including the one that prevented players from progressing through the seasonal quest, it actually mostly makes changes to many of the new features in the new season.

Considering Season 3 had only been live for just three days at that point, you’d have to wonder why those tweaks weren’t in the launch version of 1.3.0 to begin with.

1.3.0a address several of the pain points Diablo 4 players quickly identified upon the launch of Season of the Construct. For starters, the new Seneschal Companion just didn’t feel very powerful. While Blizzard hasn’t adjusted the companion’s power directly, it made it a bit easier to level up by creating more sources for Governing and Tuning Stones – which is what ultimately dictates the power of its attacks.

This is done in a few ways. Both types of stones can now be acquired for completing Whispers, and finding a max level Governing/Tuning Stone will now grant 150-200 Shattered Stones. Son of Malphas boss now always drops two-three Governing/Tuning Stones, and Seneschal Stone Caches will now always drop two stones.

To make it even easier to engage with the system, crafting either stone now has a fixed 200 Shattered Stones and 20 Iron Chunks cost, regardless of level. And, the XP required for either stone has been reduced, meaning they’re going to level up more consistently with the player.

Messing around with this should feel more rewarding now. | Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment.

Going back to boss fights, Echo of Malphas was putting an unnecessary drain on resources. In particular, players complained about having to use their Pearls of Warding to fight the boss, rather than its intended use to gain Zoltun’s Warding. To solve this, Blizzard added a new item: Igneous Cores.

Going forward, this is what you’re going to use if you want to summon Malphas. To balance things out, Malphas is now more difficult, though it does offer more rewards.

Here’s what that means in practice:

  • Echo of Malphas has had their level raised from 85 to 100.
  • The health pool of Echo of Malphas has been increased by 30%.
  • Igneous Cores have a chance to drop from Vault Heralds and are guaranteed to drop from Son of Malphas in World Tier 4.
  • The drop rate of Unique Stones from Malphas increased from .25% to .5%.
  • Unique Stones now have a 3% chance of dropping from the chest after the boss.
  • Defeating Echo of Malphas will now reward more Legendary items. Additionally, Item Level 925 items will drop more often.

Elsewhere in the patch, a number of quality of life changes have been made to to the Vaults themselves, as well as overworld event Arcane Tremors. A single Pearl of Warding will now grant ten stacks of Zoltun’s Warding, instead of three. You can also have 999 stacks of the same buff, instead of just 300.

Because of how precious you often need to be to avoid getting hit by traps, Blizzard has increased the grace period for losing Warding stacks (when being hit by multiple traps) from one second to 1.5 seconds. On the subject of traps, the hitbox of the floor-based Elemental Grate and Spike hazards has been reduced by 15%. The projectile speed of Elemental Dart hazards has also been cut by 20%. Finally, the spout hitbox of Elemental Pillars has been reduced by 15%.

At the end of a Vault, you’re now guaranteed to get a chest that will always drop a Legendary time, with a 35% chance to drop another one – though that only kicks in from level 26 onwards. Likewise, Heralds of Malphas now have a 100% chance to drop a Legendary item (level 26+), with a 15% chance to drop another. Everyone’s favourite, the Knockback effect Obelisk Hazards previously had, has thankfully been removed.

Read on below for the rest of the patch notes.

  • Fixed an issue where the Gatehall would not display on the map for players on PlayStation.
  • Fixed an issue where the Brazier could not be interacted with in certain circumstances during the Drums of the Vault quest.
  • Fixed an issue where the Beckoning Thunder Horse cosmetic was invisible for Druid players.
  • Fixed an issue where the damage effect and the visual effect were not in sync for floor traps in Vaults.
  • Various stability and performance improvements.

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