Attention, Barbarians of Diablo 4! Prepare for a setback as the latest patch that went live today delivers a crushing blow to one of the most potent endgame builds. The culprit behind this downfall is a bug fix that resolves an issue with Hammer of the Ancients, rectifying the unintended excessive damage it was inflicting.
Like many powerful Diablo 4 builds, this specific Barbarian build relies on a precise combination of abilities and equipment. At its core lies the Hammer of the Ancients skill, which deals substantial damage in a concentrated area directly in front of the player when wielded with two-handed blunt weapons. The build’s true potential is unlocked with the Legendary Aspect of Ancestral Force, causing a portion of that damage to radiate outward.
The Fix That Changed the Game
Today’s pre-season patch introduces various adjustments to the Barbarian, scaling back certain aspects to address imbalances. For instance, players can no longer stack Ripping, Skullbreaker, and Anemia aspects to unleash “extreme amounts of damage.” However, the critical change that affects this build specifically is the resolution of “an issue where the outer edge of the quakes granted to Hammer of the Ancients via The Aspect of Ancestral Echoes was dealing far more damage than intended.”
This fix inadvertently curtails the build’s power significantly. In fact, it was discovered that Barbarian players on PC were purposely missing enemies with their hammer swings to exploit the bugged area-of-effect damage, taking advantage of the bug on all platforms.
Blizzard’s Response and the Developer’s Note
Acknowledging the significant impact of this change, Blizzard issued a brief developer’s note expressing their rationale: “We recognize this adjustment is a significant decrease to the Hammer of the Ancients Barbarian build, but we do not want its strength to be reliant on an underlying bug.” While the presence of the bug was known, the bug fix still disappoints players who had meticulously crafted their builds around the unintended behavior.
Blizzard finds itself in a challenging position with this bug fix. As Diablo 4 Daily pointed out, it’s not necessarily a nerf but rather a bug fix, as the Barbarians were never intended to deal such excessive damage with that particular ability. However, players who invested in builds centered around the bug understandably feel disheartened to see their characters suddenly weakened unless they undergo a complete rebuild.
It’s important to note that Barbarians aren’t the sole group affected by these changes. Sorcerers also faced nerfs in this patch, and unlike the Barbarians, the general consensus among players is that Sorcerers were already underpowered.
As the Diablo 4 meta continues to evolve, players will need to adapt and seek out new strategies in response to these adjustments. The bug fix alters the landscape of the game, challenging players to explore fresh approaches and discover untapped potential within Diablo 4’s ever-changing world.