Finally, Diablo 4 gets a feature Diablo 3 has had for years — just in time for Season 4 and the onslaught of itemization changes

 Diablo 4 gauntlet.
Diablo 4 gauntlet.

What you need to know

  • The mid-season Diablo 4 Campfire Chat took place today, and upcoming features for both Season 3 and 4 were discussed.

  • Diablo 4 will be getting a PTR (Player Test Realm), accessible through before the start of Season 4, for experienced players to test the new itemization changes and major gameplay updates before they are rolled out to all players.

  • The Gauntlet, the leaderboard challenge will drop on Tuesday 5 March along with Patch 1.3.3.

  • Vampiric powers from Season 2 Season of Blood will be returning as Legendary aspects.

Mother Lilith's blessings rain down upon us, Diablo 4 have listened to community feedback and will be implementing the long begged for Player Test Realm (PTR) as utilized already in Diablo 2 and 3 ahead of huge changes to the game. I've been banging my Khazra drum about this ever since Season 1, when Diablo 4 players were pretty unhappy and I feel it could have been mitigated with a PTR from the start. The PTR will be introduced ahead of Season 4 and some pretty huge itemization and gameplay changes, and give the more experienced members of the community a chance to test it out before it rolls out on all platforms.

What is a PTR and why will it help Diablo 4?

Cow Level
Cow Level

The Player Test Realm (PTR), is a version of the game that goes live on a few weeks before the intended date of the changes. Anyone can access it on PC, but it's mainly a tool for the most hardcore players, the theory crafters and the really passionate players to test out changes to Diablo and give Blizzard much-needed feedback before those changes go live across the game for everyone else. Something that could have prevented the shaky start to Season 3, Season of the Construct. We've had this system in the previous games for so long to test new seasonal content and it's always been a mystery to the community why there wasn't a PTR for Diablo 4, but in today's Campfire Chat with the developers, it was finally announced. I think this spells great things for Diablo 4 going forward, and I'm glad the right people are now going to be testing the new itemization.

The Gauntlet arrives on March 5 with Patch 1.3.3

Diablo 4 gauntlet
Diablo 4 gauntlet

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The long-awaited Gauntlet, Diablo 4's official leaderboard and competitive content arrives after a few delays on March 5. The Gauntlet can be played on both the Eternal Realm and the Seasonal Realm whether you are in normal or hardcore play.  The only prerequisite to play is having World Tier 4 unlocked, at which point if you feel you are ready for the challenge you can travel down to Gea Kul and activate the Horn of Trials. Monsters will be beyond level 100, so you may want to wait until you are also level 100 before you hit The Gauntlet.

The developers confirmed that each week's Gauntlet will be a fixed layout, non-linear dungeon, and your final score will be based on how many Proofs of Might you collect by the end of the dungeon and 8-minute time-limit. Proofs of Might can be earned by killing demons and opening chests, so it's down to you to learn the most efficient way through the challenge. Trying out different routes and adjusting your build will be essential to climbing the leaderboards for each week’s layout. Each week The Gauntlet starts at 10:15 a.m. PST on Tuesday and concludes the following Tuesday, at 8 a.m. PST, with a new Gauntlet starting again at 10:15 a.m.

Diablo 4 gauntlet
Diablo 4 gauntlet

As you fight your way up the ranks in The Gauntlet, there will be Seals to earn to prove your prowess in the trials that week. These, in order of difficult to acquire are:

  • Seal of the Blooded

  • Seal of the Steadfast

  • Seal of the Iron-Willed

  • Seal of the Worthy

The score you'll need to achieve to get these Seals will vary each week depending on the layout and class you are playing in The Gauntlet.

Leaderboards are divided into Ladders based on Class, Party size, Normal, and Hardcore modes. Players can filter them by Friends and Clan to compete against allies. Class-specific Ladders are for Solo players, creating 16 weekly Ladders. Cross-play isn't required for rankings but is needed to view leaderboards. The top 100 in any Ladder earn a Conqueror’s Crest Mount Trophy, while the top 10 gets immortalized in the Hall of the Ancients. The developers also let us know a new event called Leaderboard Legends is coming on March 19. Players competing in The Gauntlet will be able to earn a customized art print.

Vampiric powers make a comeback, but not how you expect

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Diablo 4 vampiric powers
Diablo 4 vampiric powers

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Diablo 4 vampiric powers
Diablo 4 vampiric powers

We loved the Vampiric Powers in Diablo 4's Season 2 Season of Blood, and we'll be seeing our powers again but no longer within the Sanguine Circle. The Vampiric Powers will be added as Legendary Aspects in future patches for the game. Previously when Malignant powers were added, they came in the form of Malignant Unique rings so this is a small departure from the norm. The powers returning are:

  • Accursed Touch

  • Blood Boil

  • Hectic

  • Metamorphisis

  • Moonrise

  • Undying

The Vampiric Aspects will drop on loot like other Legendary Aspects in the game, they will not be assigned to dungeons as some Aspects in the Codex.

Could we soon earn items from the shop?

Diablo 4 microtransactions
Diablo 4 microtransactions

When Diablo 4 first launched, the developers were firm on their promise that the in-game gear you could find would be just as cool as the items you could purchase from the store, and this was true — up until Season 2 at least. From Season 2 onwards the items in the shop have got even more tempting and frankly make the in game cosmetics look like you're wearing a garbage bag. From beautifully designed lingerie-themed armor to obscenely priced class-specific town portals, the shop items have started to speed ahead in covetable status compared to what you can earn in game from the free Battle Pass.  The developers said in today's campfire chate that they have active conversations about this issue, and potentially allowing players to earn shop skins. This would massively reward the more dedicated players who spend hours in the game and give them more to work for.

Watch the full Campfire Chat for more on class changes and The Gauntlet gameplay

The Campfire Chat as usual went through some lengthy notes about class changes for all Diablo 4 classes which may be of interest, but there will be full patch notes for Patch 1.3.3 dropping soon for a full run down of what to expect. Don't forget also that Diablo 4 comes to Xbox Game Pass on March 28 and will be the first Blizzard title to do so, which should bring a huge number of new players into the fold and fresh meat for The Butcher.