It’s safe to say that Season 10 is right around its midpoint, and despite the trend of previous seasons, there seems to be a great number of active players still going strong. Patch 2.5.0 brought great quality-of-life changes and the Greater Rift meta has shifted a bit, so maybe this flurry of activity shouldn’t be so surprising. Let’s take a closer look at some of the factors that have contributed to making Season 10 so addictive.
Heralded as one of the best quality-of-life changes the game has received in its five year history, the Armory has done wonders for allowing players to change their builds on the fly. Gone are the days of having to tell your friends to wait while you shift your set pieces around. Even worse was the strategy of making three or four characters of the same class to have different builds at the ready. Due to the Armory’s ease of use, players are tweaking their builds more than ever and setting aside particular pieces of gear to experiment with. This has propelled players to get more out of their season since the burden of making build changes manually has been lifted. It’s too easy not to save your main build and try something else out.
Nothing keeps you chasing loot like the promise of a perfect drop. While Primal Ancients had a rather contentious entrance, their second iteration was received in a more lukewarm fashion overall. Perhaps this was the wrong stance though, as many of the detractors of the second version, myself included, find the current Primal Ancient system at the crux of the reasons they continue to grind. At this point, any dedicated player is geared with well-rolled Ancient pieces, so Primal Ancients may not even represent that much of an upgrade. However, there is still something to be said for that excitement of getting exactly the piece you want with the exact affixes you want. Whether you’ve just found your first or fiftieth, Primal Ancients have definitely kept players hunting for longer than usual this season.
For those into the Greater Rift meta, Season 10 promised to be entertaining before it even started. Finally, the Monk would see its position as the boss killer challenged by new classes. The Lightning Hydra Wizard, a variant of the Lightning Wizard from Season 9, came about due to changes in the way the Manald Heal ring is procced in Patch 2.5.0. Several advocates for the class claimed that the Wizard would be the best choice come Season 10 for boss killing in 4-player groups. However, Shadows Impale Demon Hunters were receiving just the right amount of changes to their Holy Point Shot quiver to make the class a contender for the throne as well. The reality of the situation is that, currently, both classes are keeping up with one another exceedingly well at high-tier boss killing. The jury is still out as to which will reign supreme. Although, Demon Hunters seem to be more popular, perhaps due to Shadows being such a different playstyle for longtime Demon Hunter players. Variety is incredibly attractive, so this shakeup is likely driving motivation to push the Demon Hunter and the 4-man Greater Rift meta itself all the way to the end of the Season 10.
This build gets a talking point all of its own for a reason. Legacy of Nightmares Spirit Barrage has caused quite a stir due to the buggy interactions of Spirit Barrage’s Phantasm rune with pet-boosting items such as Mask of Jeram and the Enforcer gem. More notably, its lack of Area Damage has brought to light just how enjoyable high-tier Greater Rifting can be without lag caused by the server trying to keep up with Area Damage calculations. Blizzard recently confirmed that, despite the interaction being bugged, this build will not be modified by the developers. As a replacement for Arachyr Firebats Witch Doctors in the 4-man meta – one of the kings of massive Area Damage lag - this is a sigh of relief for players everywhere. Build diversity arising when no one predicted it or sniffed it out during the PTR is one of the best surprises.
Did I miss something that you’ve been surprised by this Season? Let us know in the comments section below.
Leviathan (@LeviathanD3) is a content creator for Diablo Fans and a Hardcore Crusader for life. You can likely catch him streaming high Leaderboard/Conquest rank attempts unless he's out taking photographs or discovering new music.