Diablo 4’s actual end-game is pretty tedious

diablo 4
By | June 13th, 2023 | Categories: Diablo

To get it out of the way, I’m having a decent enough time with Diablo 4 – I’m in World Tier 4, pushing Nightmare Dungeons with my level 85 TB Rogue. The campaign was more or less serviceable and enjoyable, apart from a jarring section where the game seems to forget who a character you meet is and that you’ve met her before as someone completely different.

Progression was fine until World Tier 4, although there were problems with it which I’ll get into later. The primary focus of this article will be on the false promise of maxing out renown and finding all Altars of Lilith. I thought I could finally enjoy the endgame once all the renown was earned and all Altars collected. However, after completing the grind, I realized that the Renown progression edifice was the only thing giving Diablo 4 endgame meaning. Let me explain.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

I’m not a casual player, but I’m also not a no-lifer, I only finished my Renown grind yesterday. Players who have reached that point of the game will be familiar with the feeling as you get close: a sense of relief that this tedious mechanic would be over and done with and the actual endgame progression would start in earnest. That’s not what I encountered, though.

Once you no longer have the framework of Renown, the endgame of Diablo 4 essentially boils down to three possible activities: Helltides, Tree of Whispers, Nightmare Dungeon pushing, and as a capstone, uber Lilith. Since Helltides and Tree of Whispers don’t present any real difficulty, the only real activity that is comparable to Greater Rifts from Diablo 3 are Nightmare Dungeons – pushing higher tiers.

Item drops cap at 820 item power. By the time you’re level 75 or above, no Nightmare Dungeon tier really poses a challenge. You have all the needed Legendary Aspects, if not BiS ancestral gear then at least gear with the right rolls, minus one or two affixes. At this point, the game becomes some version of unique hunting, since actual item drops provide such marginal improvements in the endgame (considering the number of item affixes in the game and the cost of rerolling) the gear treadmill is functionally non-existent.

There are no longer build-defining drops, all you’re hunting for are higher multiplicative damage boosters or an improvement in one affix or another. This is not a satisfying gameplay loop, and there is no difficult content or itemization improvements players can look forward to past level 75ish.

This means, and I think many players who get to the end-game will feel the same way, after your build is itemized correctly in WT4, you’re using the exact same build pushing Nightmare Dungeons to farm EXP to take on Uber Lilith, replacing an item or an aspect maybe every 12 hours. This is not a satisfying gameplay loop.

The Illusion of Choice

Blizzard touted the versatility of both the Paragon Boards system and the skill-tree, advertising the ability to respec whenever players want, but this simply isn’t true. Refunding up to 250 paragon points and all skill points can cost millions of gold, not to mention the material and gold costs of outfitting an entirely different build which has other stat priorities and legendary aspects.

Unless you’re simultaneously farming for multiple builds, the reality is you’ll scrap most of the items needed for a secondary build. And it’s cost prohibitive to experiment in the end-game. If non-min-maxers want to make measurable progression as far as Nightmare Dungeons are concerned, they will be forced to stick with a build regardless of their level of enjoyment.

The End-Game Needs Meaningful Progression

In Diablo 4, the endgame progression is a paradox. It is simultaneously tedious and meaningless without the tedium. The promise of reaching maximum renown and collecting all Altars of Lilith turns out to be false, as it merely serves as a framework that gives the endgame some semblance of meaning. Perhaps something similar to the Greater Rifts or some other meta-framework, such as limited sets, more powerful build-defining uniques, more Uber-bosses, or some combination of the above.

As it stands once players have completed the grind, they are left with limited activities and a lack of meaningful progression. Nightmare Dungeons, the main endgame activity, lack challenge due to item drops capping at 820 item power. The gear treadmill becomes non-existent, and players are left with a repetitive and unsatisfying gameplay loop.

Furthermore, the touted versatility of the Paragon Boards system and skill-tree is hindered by the high costs of respeccing, discouraging players from exploring different builds. Overall, Diablo 4’s endgame progression falls short of delivering a fulfilling and engaging experience. It requires substantial improvements to provide players with challenging content, meaningful itemization, and true build versatility in order to break free from the paradox of being simultaneously tedious and meaningless.

Leave A Comment

Latest posts

Latest Wiki

Featured Posts

Diablo 4 Player Count