After Swimming In Gold For Months, Diablo IV Players Are Begging For A Bailout

After Swimming In Gold For Months, Diablo IV Players Are Begging For A Bailout

When Diablo IV first came out its economy felt hopelessly broken. Incrementally better but mostly worthless gear was incredibly expensive to buy during the main campaign, while gold was so tangential to the end-game grind that players quickly amassed Scrooge McDuck-like fortunes with nothing really worthwhile to spend it on. No longer.

The season 4 update has changed all that and made players so poor Blizzard is in emergency mode, monitoring whether Sanctuary needs some quantitative easing to keep its economy moving. For example, while the Loot Reborn overhaul made Aspects permanent unlocks, applying them to new gear can still cost a lot in addition to the usual fees associated with repairs and rerolling items at the Occultist. But the biggest culprit has been post-campaign masterworking, a new system for slowly levelling up the stat affixes on a piece of gear.

Only available at World Tier 4, each new rank costs additional crafting resources and a ton of gold. While the first few levels will only run a couple hundred thousand, the gold costs quickly ramp up into the millions, especially if you’re aiming for a fully masterworked set of gear across every equipment slot. And because of the RNG involved, hardcore players will often find themselves resetting and starting over, which alone costs 5 million gold. It was creating a huge bottleneck as players farmed the new Pit of the Artificer boss rush mode for crafting materials, only to find themselves short on gold.

“While we continue to review the gold economy there is one change we felt we needed to make right away,” associate game director Joseph Piepiora tweeted over the weekend. A hotfix “dramatically reduced” Masterworking material conversion costs to ease the stress on post-game players’ pocketbooks. It was a huge nerf. The biggest cost of 6 million gold went down to just 60,000. Players were relieved, but it still wasn’t enough.

“Gold costs are too damn high!” wrote one player on the Diablo IV subreddit today. “I got equipment, beautiful pieces of equipment with greater affixes. They’re sitting in my stash. I need to reroll stats off them. I need to redo the aspect power. I need to masterwork them. Just not enough gold for all of that.” Not everyone is on board with the gold nerfs, however. More casual players have been enjoying the currency’s renewed significance. “Your items are on a journey, you aren’t supposed to get there overnight.” wrote one.

One major source of the frustration around gold is the fact that farming it is so uneven. The most efficient way to build up your bank account is grinding Whisper Caches, which players don’t like because it doesn’t involve rapidly crushing hordes of demons. Helltides, which do involve rapidly crushing hordes of demons, can net you a lot of gold if you sell off all of the gear dropped during them, but they’re still a noticeably slower gold farm overall. As one player recently put it, “[the] issue is not with gold grind, it is the gameplay loop for gold grind.”

The masterworking gold rush recently led to a spike in real money prices for buying the in-game currency through online trades. Currently, you can get about 1 billion gold for around $US25. That’s a nearly seven-fold increase from what gold was selling for just before season 4 went live. Some players have used this as evidence that Diablo IV’s current gold economy is still out of whack, while others argue that the action-RPG’s progression design shouldn’t be influenced by the illicit activities of high-end players.

Despite the recent massive gold cost nerfs, it sounds like Blizzard is still looking for other ways to give players a break. “Team made a change this weekend but we may turn some additional levers on this and a few other mat items players have noted to us,” global community manager Adam Fletcher wrote on the Blizzard forum yesterday. A couple players immediately perked up, though not everyone is on board with more tinkering. “Please don’t do any more changes to gold,” responded one player. “Wooooooooooooooooo turn all the levers!” wrote another. “Season of Levers Reborn baby!”

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